Rabbibrian's Blog

A Voice for Justice and Peace in Israel/Palestine

Ezra Nawi in the New York Times

Posted by rabbibrian on June 29, 2009

I wrote about Ezra Nawi two weeks ago and this morning’s New York Times has an article about him.  The mainstream media doesn’t cover heroes like Ezra often and I encourage you to read the article.

In response to my post two weeks, Geraldine Brooks commented:

“The only thing that will be left here is hatred.” Ezra Nawi to the soldiers arresting him.
I urge everyone to watch the Youtube video of Ezra’s arrest. It’s three minutes and it tells you everything you need to know. This man should be given a medal by the State of Israel for defending Jewish values. Instead he’s facing jail.”

In the Times, Nawi is quoted as saying:

“I don’t have a solution to this dispute. I just know that what is going on here is wrong. This is not about ideology. It is about decency.”

The reason he is facing jail is because the Israeli government does all it can to prevent people of conscience from providing support to the Palestinians under Occupation.  In my earlier post I pointed out that Nawi is in the same situation as internationals who support Palestinian human rights, as Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights and others from Israeli human rights organizations who are the eyes and ears of the Occupation.  Rachel Corrie and other internationals have been killed, Rabbi Ascherman and others have been arrested and harassed.

Nawi  is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.  You can see the video that Geraldine Brooks referred to and also send a letter to your local Israeli consulate by clicking here on a page sponsored by A Jewish Voice for Peace.

I hope you do so.

On a related note:  This morning’s Times also has an article about Israel’s latest effort to avoid a total freeze on the building in settlements.  In a meeting between Ehud Barak and George Mitchell scheduled for tomorrow, Israel will propose  a temporary freeze for three to six  months in return for a Palestinian agreement to negotiate the end of the conflict and actions by Arab nations that will build confidence, like permitting Israeli airplanes in their airspace.

The Israeli response to Obama’s demand for a total freeze on settlements is a temporary freeze that will not include construction already underway, nor would it include East Jerusalem. It  is cast as a concession that requires concessions by the Palestinians and the Arab states.   Freezing settlements is not a concession, it would merely put an end to the flouting of international law and U.S. policy by the Israeli government.  Freezing settlements is an essential first step to be followed by the dismantling of many, if not all, of the settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.  Without this,  the two state solution is a fantasy. In any scenario the Palestinian state will be tiny broken up into different enclaves.   While the New York Times presents this as an Israeli shift on a settlement freeze, the “shift” is way too small and is part of a long Israeli tradition to deflect demands to end the Occupation by agreeing to a series of Middle East Peace talks while it continues to create facts on the ground.    I hope Mitchell holds firm on the demand for a complete freeze on settlements or at least pushes for a real shift in policy.  This  is also,  as Nawi said,  just about “decency.”

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6 Responses to “Ezra Nawi in the New York Times”

  1. Miriam said

    btw, JTA news this morning reported that NEW settlement construction ‘must’ be undertaken to house those poor displaced illegal settlers from the outposts that were allegedly taken down? is there no end to this surreal circus that exists in their deranged thinking? always manipulating the truth…lies of omission, comission and just plain LIES..no agreement is possible with liars..racists…self righteous deceivers…who are these people? this was the culture that I was ‘raised’ in? Its taken me years to deprogram myself but now everyone with eyes can see this nightmarish society for what it is and has become…just as Yeshayahu Liebowitz warned back inthe 90s…they are judeonazis…if he were alive today i can only imagine what he would say…! gott in himmel..

  2. Rob Browne said

    Rabbi:

    Great post. I greatly appreciate the link to the Ezra Nawi site from Jewish Voice For Peace, which has really done a sonerful job bringing his case to light.

    Thanks also for mentioning the settlement shell game that is going on. In addition to Ehud Barak and NYT’s Ethan Bronner trying to spin this new stalling tactic, David Ignatius and Jackson Diehl (both in the 6/29/09 Washington Post) have joined in the con game. Now that it is put up-or-shut up time on the freezing of settlements, the status quo people will really try and all out push to change the subject. That is why it is really imporant to shine a light on these journalists and politicians. Your piece really helps.

  3. Re:

    “I don’t have a solution to this dispute. I just know that what is going on here is wrong. This is not about ideology. It is about decency.”

    This is an extremely significant statement. It deserves to be up there in the pantheon of Jewish aphorisms from Pirke Avot. The world stands, first and foremost, on common decency. “Derech Eretz Kadma La’Torah.”

    I don’t have a patented solution to the Israel/Palestine problem either – but I do know that the current situation is intolerable and immoral. Israel has taken more than its fair share of land and water. It has stolen property both from individual Palestinians and from the Palestinian people as a whole. It is daily imposing unjustifiable and extreme hardship on the entire population of Gaza.

    One doesn’t need a solution in hand to the entire conflict in order to object to this behaviour and these results.

    Peace is not the only (or maybe even primary) goal. Justice – or its poor cousin, Decency – are important too, and maybe more so. This is the problem with Peace Now. Every time Hamas or Fatah display some intransigency, every time there is a terror attack, the Right says “See, peace is impossible and therefore we can go on oppressing and stealing from the Palestinians.” But the point is to be decent and just even in the face of war and security risks. This conflict may go on for another century. (I hope not, but it might.) Are we to reduce the Jewish people to wild vicious beasts, like some barbarous warlike tribe of another era?

    The core of the issue today is the settlements. They are all the fruits of sin – of theft. Even if you allow (and I don’t) that the Israel cannot evacuate the territories for fear of the radical Palestinians, what right does that give us to move Jews into the occupied territories, to build modern homes with modern infrastructure only for Jews, to appropriate land and water only for Jews, and to deny Palestinians freedom to build and travel in the occupied territories in order to defend the privileges of the settlers. If Israel was only concerned with security, it would keep the army in the territories and remove all the settlements and then relax all restrictions on movement, building, and economic activity within the territories.

    But covetousness for land, greed for economic advantage, and a scorn for the Palestinians that rivals the worst racist attitudes of other societies, has overlaid Israel’s initial security concerns and turned Israelis society into one that daily acts indecently towards nearly 50% of the people under its control.

    Obviously not all Israelis and not all Jews feel or behave this way. But we are all complicit.

    The question for Jews who see all this, and morn all this, is how to we create a more decent environment for the Palestinians and how do we save the Jewish people from the indecency into which it is being dragged. If this conflict goes on another hundred years, will there be anything left of the message of justice and the identification with the stranger that has been the core of Jewish civilization for millennia? If we – progressive Jews – cannot change the situation, how do we at least make it a bit better and how do we prevent it from changing, permanently and for the worse, the Jewish people?

    I don’t have answers. But I am looking. Any ideas?

  4. Y. Ben-David said

    Sydney said:
    ————————————————————–
    The core of the issue today is the settlements. They are all the fruits of sin – of theft. Even if you allow (and I don’t) that the Israel cannot evacuate the territories for fear of the radical Palestinians, what right does that give us to move Jews into the occupied territories, to build modern homes with modern infrastructure only for Jews, to appropriate land and water only for Jews, and to deny Palestinians freedom to build and travel in the occupied territories in order to defend the privileges of the settlers. If Israel was only concerned with security, it would keep the army in the territories and remove all the settlements and then relax all restrictions on movement, building, and economic activity within the territories.
    —————————————————————-

    Almost everything stated here is incorrect.
    (1) The “right” to have Jews live in Judea/Samaria is argued by many people at length. The bottom line as far as Israel is concerned is that the settlements are legal as far as the Israeli Supreme Court is concerned, Jews have lived more or less continously for 4000 years in Judea/Samaria, Jews lived in Judea/Samaria and Gaza before 1948.
    (2) Arabs living in Judea/Samaria are under the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction. They are responsible for infrastructure and are funded generously by external sources (the US and EU) for this purpose. Before the Olso Agreements in 1993,Israel invested huge amounts of resources for infrastructure for the Arabs in Judea/Samaria/Gaza and there was a massive increase in the standard of living and health standards of the Arab population.
    (3) Palestinians are not “deprived of freedom” to build, it is the Jews who are restricted. Jews are allowed to live on something like 5% of the territory of Judea/Samaria, the rest is off-limits, as a result of the Oslo Agreements.
    (4) The restrictions on Palestinian “Freedom of Movement” are a product of the massive increase in terror resulting from the “Oslo Agreements”. Before that, during the period of “Israeli occupation” of Judea/Samaria/Gaza, there were practically no restrictions on Palestinian movement. As a result of Arafat’s decision to launch a massive terror war against Israel, using the territory in Judea/Samaria given to him by Israel in the Oslo Agreements, Israel was forced to restrict Palestinian movement. This exists only because of the security situation. In fact, at this very moment, restrictions are being greatly eased and numerous checkpoints are being removed. If there should be a return to terrorist attacks, they will be restored. It is up to the Palestinians to decide if their face is to peace or to war and if they want war, then they will have to pay the price.

  5. Michael Levin said

    Peace Court in Jerusalem
    by Joseph Dana
    Ibn Ezra
    07/01/2009

    More than 70 people gathered outside the Peace Court today to support Ezra in his sentencing.

    Only a few of us managed to get in. At first, Ezra requested that everyone be permitted to enter and that the sentencing will take place in a larger hall, but his request was denied, and therefore the hearing did not start on time. As a result, the judge decided to postpone the sentencing to August 16, 8.30 AM.

    When told about the amount of letters sent on behalf of Ezra (more than 15,000 signatories through the Jewish Voice for Peace campaign — we brought a stack of 100 papers with a list of names), the judge said, “Wow, that much…”

    Ezra’s lawyer, Lea Tzemel, is convinced that the international campaign has a positive impact on the case. Please continue to spread the word, tell your friends and family to sign the letters in the campaign JVP is running (http://www.freeezra.org)
    __
    http://ibnezra.wordpress.com/

  6. […] rights, who may shortly be in jail over disputed charges of assaulting an Israeli police officer. (Via.) And check out […]

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