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There's no debate: Palestinian rights are key

by Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director
June 7th, 2015

Pushing the Conversation Forward

This past Thursday I took part in a debate with Peter Beinart, contributing editor for The Atlantic, at the New America Foundation about "Achieving a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel." 

The debate highlighted two perspectives that are increasingly gaining attention in the United States: the perspective of those working for freedom, justice, and equality for all and that of those who believe in Israel as a Jewish state, thus privileging one people over another. 

These differences in perspective are especially underscored as we commemorate 48 years of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. 

There are those like Peter who want to separate Israel as a state from Israel as an occupying force, and would like us to focus narrowly on 1967 and the creation of two states to solve this issue. Yet as I pointed out, Palestinians are one people, whether they are living under occupation, living as citizens in Israel where their rights are severely restricted, or living in refugee camps waiting to return to their homeland. Israel denies the most basic right of self-determination to Palestinians and thus we cannot focus our boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns only on Israel's war crimes in the occupied territories. From the 50+ laws that discriminate against Palestinians within Israel to the refusal to recognize refugees' right of return, we must challenge the totality of Israel's denial of Palestinian rights

You can watch the entire debate here. One major takeaway I had is how far we have come in the discourse. There was a time when those committed to Israel would even deny that the occupation needed to end and that Palestinians deserved a state. Now there are open debates of one vs. two states and a growing acceptance that the root of the problem is the way in which Israel was created - through the depopulation of Palestine and the dispossession of its native inhabitants. 

But we need your help to keep moving this discourse to a point that not only is it widely recognized that ending the occupation is not enough, but U.S. complicity in all of Israel's war crimes is ended.

Please consider making a donation of $24, $48, $96, or more to help us expand our BDS work and force a change in U.S. policy.

It is U.S. taxpayer money that allows Israel to continue its occupation, apartheid policies, and ethnic cleansing unabated. Help us end this U.S. support, which will be a major step towards not only ending the occupation but achieving justice for all Palestinians.