What Is Security? (Part 2)

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WHAT IS SECURITY? Sally Campbell

(Part 2)

The new movie “Israelism” (available for rent on Kinema) is a must-see eye-opener into the tight connections of North American Jews with the State of Israel. It offers much “insider” insight into just why it is so painfully difficult for many Jews to even call for a ceasefire to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Their Judaism has been linked with Israel at the basic level of identity. If my security as a human being is intrinsically linked with the idea of Israel, right or wrong, then how can I be safe if I let go of that idea?

Peter Beinart, highly-respected American journalist, professor and writer, an Orthodox Jew who has moved inexorably away from Zionism, recently hosted Palestinian Fadi Quran, advocacy officer for Avaaz, on his weekly zoom call. Quran is a remarkable person with degrees from Stanford, who has long been engaged in policy development for Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He lives in the West Bank, 200 yards away from “extremist settlers” and never knows when his door will be broken down, his family attacked, or he will be arrested, perhaps imprisoned. Nonetheless, his deep humanity shone out when he reiterated the importance for Israeli Jews of safety and security, (especially given the historic inherited trauma that has been triggered since October 7th.) As he said, they completely deserve to have security after a long history of anti-semitism culminating in the Holocaust, but the ideology of Zionism has done the reverse, because ironically Zionism has, seeded within it, some of the key racist/supremacist beliefs that earlier Europeans had against Jews. Quran said that Jews do not have security in Israel, and they do not feel safe. In his view, there are now 3 scenarios for Israel-Palestine:

  1. Commitment to freedom, justice & dignity for all “from the river to the sea”, beginning with a ceasefire and an end to the Occupation, legal protections of religion & culture for both Israelis and Palestinians, an interim government which includes Palestinian political prisoners like Marwan Barghouti in the leadership, not the PLO, followed by inclusive elections. He compares Hamas to the Republican Party and says they will have to be included in peace negotiations.
  1. A return to the status quo of occupation, apartheid, and repression of Palestinian resistance – what most Israelis think they need.
  1. Continuing the genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, aiming for their erasure – what Israel’s far-right wants, and which may well lead to a regional war involving nuclear-armed nations.

It is pretty clear that only the first scenario can possibly lead to safety and security for everyone. No one is secure until all are secure.

The Course on Miracles points out that we either come from a place of love or a place of fear. When our security needs are driven by fear responses, we’re locked into a self-fulfilling cycle. Ironically, the 2.3 million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza were, prior to October, in certain ways more secure than the Israelis living so close by yet in another world – one with reliable electricity, clean water, abundant food, housing, access to education, medicines, building materials and freedom to move – all of which have long been denied Gazans. Palestinians’ deep family ties and their practice of “sumud” (steadfastness) gives them an inner security Jewish

Israelis cannot find as long as they remain the oppressors in a modern-day settler-colonial project.

But who decides Israel must change?

The international commons can decide to influence Israel to stop using military responses to address its security needs, primarily by ending financial support for its devastating agenda, and refusing arms trade with Israel. The U.S. gives Israel a minimum of $3.8 billion/year. Both Canada and the US also provide charitable tax receipts for hundreds of millions of dollars of donations to Israel annually, mostly for the illegal settlement enterprise or the Israeli military. That can stop with citizen pressure. Why do Canadian taxpayers need to subsidize (to the tune of

$1/2 B/year) the illegal settlements and military in a country with the same GDP as Sweden? Particularly when that country is under investigation by the world’s highest court, the ICJ, for genocide?

The community of nations can also decide to pressure Israel to end its occupation, its siege of Gaza and its apartheid regime. Until those things happen, we can all decide to support the non- violent Palestinian call for BDS. Israelis and Palestinians can then decide together what their form of governance will look like, and what constitutes security for all. There is no way out, only through.