Abir Kopty مدوّنة عبير قبطي

You will never be free until you respect the freedom of others

Tent 1948

9 Comments

First published on: http://mondoweiss.net/2011/08/tent-1948.html

If you are Palestinian, it will be difficult to find anything to identify with in Tel Aviv’s tents’ city on Rothschild Boulevard, until you reach Tent 1948. My first tour there was a few days ago, when I decided to join Tent 1948. Tent 1948’s main message is that social justice should be for all. It brings together Jewish and Palestinian citizens who believe in shared sovereignty in the state of all its citizens.

For me, as a Palestinian, I don’t feel part of the July 14 movement, and I’m not there because I feel part. Almost every corner of this encampment reminds me that this place does not want me. My first tour there was pretty depressing, I found lots of Israeli flags, a man giving a lecture to youth about his memories from ’48 war’ from a Zionist perspective, another group marching with signs calling for the release of Gilad Shalit, another singing Zionist songs. This is certainly not a place that the 20% of the population would feel they belong to. The second day I found Ronen Shuval, from Im Tirtzu, the extreme right wing organization, giving a talk full of incitement and hatred to the left and human rights organizations. Settlers already set a tent and were dancing with joy.

The existence of Tent 1948 in the encampment constitutes a challenge to people taking part in the July 14 movement. In the first few days, the tent was attacked by group of rightwing activists, who beat activists in the tent and broke down the Palestinian flag of the tent. Some of the leaders of the July 14 movement have said clearly that raising core issues related to Palestinian community in Israel or the occupation will make the struggle “lose momentum”. They often said the struggle is social, not political, as if there was a difference. They are afraid of losing supporters if they make Palestinian issues bold.

The truth is that this is the truth.

The truth is, this is exactly what might help Netanyahu, if he presses the button of fear, recreates the ‘enemy’ and reproduce the ‘security threat’, he might be able to silence this movement. The problem is not with Netanyahu, he is not the first Israeli leader to rely on this. The main problem is that Israelis are not ready yet to see beyond the walls surrounding them.

Yet, one has to admit, something is happening, Israelis are awakening. There is a process; people are coming together, discussing issues. The General Assembly of the encampment decided on Friday that it will not accept any racist messages among its participants. Even to Tent 1948 many Israelis arrived, read the flyers, listened to what Tent 1948 represent and discussed calmly. Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli I will be proud of the July 14 movement. But, I am not a Jew, I am not Zionist, I am Palestinian.

I don’t want to beatify the reality, or hide anything for the sake of ‘tactics’ and I will not accept crumbs. I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation, I want to speak about discrimination and racism, I want to put everything on the table, and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Social justice can’t be divided or categorized. If it is not justice to all including all Palestinians, then it is a fake justice, elite justice or “Justice for Jews only” exactly as the Israeli democracy functions “for Jews only”. July 14 is a great opportunity for Israelis to refuse to allow their state to continue to drown into an apartheid regime.


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Author: abirkopty

Palestinian social, feminist and political activist. Works as media analyst and consultant. Former city council member in Nazareth & former spokeswoman for Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel. Holding a Master's in Political Communication from the City University of London.

9 thoughts on “Tent 1948

  1. I came to tent 1948, a few days ago.
    At every place you went people were in one mind or they were silent in respect to one another.
    At tent 1948 people were fighting, discussing, yelling… some were listening too :)
    There I felt that the political controversy blinds the people to the common crisis.
    Right-winged passer byes could not accept the idea of Arabs showing their crisis, and seeking social justice.
    The slogan of the campaign is: “the people demand social justice” (for everyone).
    I believe personally that these demonstrations are desperate cries to change our country, and i will not consider the struggle over until there is truly justice and equality in Israel for everyone.

  2. Without coming to grips with militarism, racism, and oppression, the Israeli protest movement will be easily coopted and will not be able to achieve its goals. Regime change is the only way to social justice. So, which way forward?

    There are local tent camps all over the country. These are the nuclei of local fighting organzations of the oppressed people. The Palestinian oppressed must join this movement on their own terms. Tent camps should be erected in solidarity all over the Nakab, Galilee, Golan, Triangle, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Jordan.

    All those who claim to speak for the workers, the farmers, and the refugees must endorse this struggle. All those who advocate BDS to isolate the Zionist regime must reach out to all the victims of the regime and form a common front.

    Those who understand that social justice in Palestine requires regime change must lead the fight and proclaim: “The people demand an end to the regime”, “Not one shekel for the settler-colonies; the entire state budget for housing, healthcare, and education”, “For a 35-hour workweek with no reduction in pay”, “Free Gilad Shalit; free all Palestinian political prisoners”, “Housing is a right; no to house demolitions — no matter what”, “The Palestine refugees are our partners for coexistence — let them come home”, “Tear down the wall; build housing for all”, “A state for all its citizens — not for the settlers, the generals, and the tycoons”.

  3. Hello sister Abir.
    My name is Kamal Hassan, I am a Palestinian refugee born in Lebanon in 1950, I live in USA west coast. I have 3 wonderful kids, Sabrina 36, Raina 33 and Jamal 26.
    I consider my self a Palestinian peace activist that works for Equality Justice Human rights and Freedom for all Palestinians anywhere.
    I am very proud of you and your courage, because I’m well aware of Israeli brutality for any one that oppose it or even tries to discuss the Palestinian plight.
    I try to do my part in educating Americans about our dilemma. I do lectures and talks to any one that would listen. I also do a monthly protest in the middle of the town I live in, small town on west coast of USA. Grants Pass is a town in southern Oregon, about 30k people. it is a very conservative little town. So my views are always welcomed or tolerated. Although I am very vocal and not afraid of the truth, I try to strike a balance….
    I also have a blog kamalchassan.wordpress.com.
    Keep up the good work that you’re doing, and lets keep in touch…Be well.

    Kamal Hassan,
    Palestinian Refugee.

  4. How can you call yourself a Palestinian, when practically speaking, you have so little in common with the people in Gaza or the refugees in Lebanon, etc. I’d really like to understand you.

    Joel

  5. it’s great to hear about tent 48! how many people are there? i’ve also heard about some places (like nazareth?) that have been joint palestinian and jewish-israelis protests. has anyone heard more about this? i’m in the u.s. and really interested to see if these protests will take up the question of palestine, the occupation, and equality for palestinian citizens of israel.

  6. Thank you very much for your article 1948. It is important for the Palestinians, the Arab of the Middle East and the workers and poor of the world to know that there are some groups in Israel, of Israeli Jews in addition to the Palestinians that struggle against the oppression of the Palestinians and think that the Palestinians refugees have the right to return to their homeland. These people the writer included believe that the Palestinians including the refugees and the Israeli Jews who are ready to accept the Refugees have a common future in a new state that will be Palestinians as the Palestinians after the return of the refugees will be the majority, from the river to the sea. That these revolutionary changes must be part of the Arab revolution of the Middle East that if will be won will create new reality with social justice not in the framework of unjust capitalism but in the frame works of truly workers states where the workers with the support of the peasants and the urban poor will rule.
    yossi schwartz

  7. I appreciate your words and your hope and pray and work to realize justice for all. I believe that the existence of Tent 1948 along with the knowledge that many in the Israeli peace camp are involved in the civil uprising works to infuse the movement with broader goals that will last beyond the government fixes established to deal with housing prices and shortages. The conversation you speak of needs to occur across the length and breath of Israel and Palestine and promote mutual understanding and the relationships necessary to force both governments back to the negotiating table. Peace can only come and last when it is the fervent desire of both peoples.

  8. Abir,

    How’s it that I’ve not seen you address Islamic intimidation of Christian Arabs in Nazareth or the flight of Arab Christians from Bethlehem? Isn’t this social justice we’re talking about?
    To put it another way, in what country in the middle east are Arab Christians treated better than in Israel?
    I welcome a response from you or your readers.

  9. Same Equality Justice Human rights and Freedom for all Palestinians and jewish-israelis!!!, only by this way Peace can be possible.

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