Mohammed El-Kurd: Palestine | Lex Fridman Podcast #391

Regardless of whatever was written in These books that were written thousands And thousands of years ago the fact of The matter is no one has a right to go On slaughtering people removing them From their homes and then continuing to Live in their homes continuing to drink Coffee on their balconies Um decades and decades later with no Shame with no introspection With no reflection that's no one has the Right to do that no one has the right to Keep an entire population of people in Arcades Which is what's happening to people in The West Bank who have no freedom of of Movement which is what's happening In Gaza which is blockaded To water air and land and Is deemed uninhabitable by human rights Organizations like the UN no one has a Right to do that The following is a conversation with Muhammad alcard a world-renowned Palestinian poet writer journalist and An influential voice speaking out and Fighting for the Palestinian cause He provides a very different perspective On Israel and Palestine than my previous Two episodes with Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Noah Harari I hope his story and His words add to your understanding of This part of the world as it did to mine I will continue to have difficult

Long-form conversations such as these Always with empathy and humility but With backbone And please allow me to briefly comment About criticisms I receive of who I am As an interviewer and a human being I am not afraid to travel anywhere or Challenge anyone face to face even if it Puts my life in danger But I'm also not afraid to be vulnerable To truly listen to empathize to walk a Mile on the well-worn shoes of those Very different from me It's this latter task not the formal one That is truly the most challenging in Conversations and in life But to me it is the only way This is the Lex Friedman podcast to Support it please check out our sponsors In the description and now dear friends Here's Muhammad alcard Tell me about Sheikh jarah the Neighborhood in East Jerusalem where you Grew up In a way a typical neighborhood despite The despite the Absurd reality the Surrounds it it's a typical neighborhood In terms of Palestinian neighborhoods is One that is threatened with Colonialism with settler expansion and With forced expulsion and it has been That way since the early 70s my family Like all of the other families Were expelled from their homes in the

Nakabe in 1948 and they were forced out By the hagana and other Zionist parallel Militaries that later formed the Israeli Military And they were driven to various cities And My grandmother moved from City to city And she ended up in 1956 Silverado has Established as a refugee housing unit By the United Nations and by the Jordanian government which has which had Control over that part of Jerusalem at The at the time And then people lived there Harmoniously they were all from Different parts of Palestine And you know they managed to rebuild Their lives after the first explosion And then in the 70s you had cellular Organizations Um many of whom were registered here in New York and in the United States Claiming our houses and our lands as Their own by Divine decree and because Obviously because the judges are Israeli And the Lords were written by Israeli Settlers and the whole Judiciary was Established uh atop the the rebel of our Homes and villages we had no You know we had no real pull in the Courts the Israeli courts would look at The Israeli documents which we argue are Falsifies and fabricated Um and they would take them at face

Value without authentication and they Refused to look at our documents they Refused to look at the documents from The Jordanian government the documents From the U.N the documents from the Ottoman archives so you already have This kind of asymmetry in the court that For any person with common sense would Lead you to believe that this is not in Fact a legal battle Um or a real estate dispute as the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Likes to frame it but rather a very very Political battle one that is about Social engineering one is about Demographics one that is about removing As many Palestinians as possible From occupied Jerusalem So we did what all Palestinian families In Jerusalem do when they're faced with This kind of threat and we bought time We we pleaded and pleaded and appealed The courts and appealed the cases and we Got Over 50 expulsion orders In 2009 Rifle wielding settlers Accompanied by police and Israeli Military came over And shoved our neighbors outside of Their home around 5 a.m it's like It was the most Brutal violent thing I'd seen as a child At the time and I didn't realize that my

Turn was coming my turn was next they Threw they threw them out in the middle Of the night with sound bombs and rubber Bullets and they Had to live in tents on the street For many many months and even lived in Our front yards for a few months and Lived in their cars can you look on that Process 2009 you said 50 expulsion Orders what uh what was happening Between the 70s and 2009 there had been Many dozens of expulsions orders against Us and against many other families in The in the neighborhood 28 other family 20 28 families in total actually Um and in 2008 2009 the first wave of Explosions finally happened it actually Began with uh On camera recorded we're not related but We live on the same street in the same Neighborhood she was thrown out of her Home her husband an elderly man also Named was pronounced dead on the spot he Had a stroke and died he they the Israeli soldiers pulled him out of his Home while he was um urinating and threw Him under the streets and he died a few Months later the Ravi and the hanoon Families which are you know kind of not A clan but you know in Palestine you Have sometimes a building that contains Multiple brothers and their wives Um each have little apartments About 35 people were thrown out in the

Middle of the street right across from Us And then by the end of 2009 I had come Home from school to find all of my Furniture scattered across the length of The street and I saw the settlers many Of whom had American accents Living in our house And their justification for this the Reasoning for this is you know Divine Decree this is this is what God wants This is the promised land this is so and So as if God is some kind of real estate Agent Um So they took over half of our home and We continue to be in courts for the Following decade this was I was still a Child and I had broken English and I was Talking to all of these diplomats and All these journalists Who would you know subjugate me Um to their subject me to their you know Racism and biases and and so on and so Forth and he had to prove my Humanity Time and time again and I had to you Know do all of this all with broken English Um and we were lucky even if we got a if We got a quote in the in the article Written about us by the times or so on And so forth Move forward to 2020 I was in New York City studying a master's degree getting

A master's degree and My father calls me And he tells me you know we haven't yet Another expulsion order and we decided To launch a campaign It was quite ambitious at the time But the whole objective of the campaign Was to demystify what is happening right Because it's reported on in the news It's reported on Around the world as this real estate Dispute as these evictions which was not Really what's happening evictions do not Entail A foreign army in an occupied territory Forcibly removing you out of your home Uh so I came home from New York and we Launched a campaign which turned into a Global success and I believe it was a Global success because finally the the Images on the screen matched the Rhetoric that was being said it wasn't So confusing or complicated anymore All of this asymmetry was pronounced and Articulated in a way that any of you or Be it in Alabama be in New York be it in Egypt was able to understand the Asymmetry of the digi of the judicial System and you know the agenda of Colonialism that was taking place here And due to immense International and Diplomatic processor Um from all over the world even the United States

The Israeli Supreme Court was forced to Cancel all of the eviction orders Until further notice this I consider was A small victory because obviously we are Still at risk of losing our homes once They decide to do the land registry Which we can get into a little bit later If you'd like Um But nonetheless it was something that we Haven't seen Before and the fact That the Supreme Court canceled all of These dozens and dozens of past eviction Orders it's set a precedent and it also Proved that this was a political battle Not a legal one so let's just add a Little more detail to the people who are Not familiar with the story with the Region With the evictions with the courts so First of all shakes your eyes in East Jerusalem maybe you can say what is Jerusalem where is it located What are we talking about in terms of Regionally and second what kind of People that live there so if you could Talk about the Palestinian people And Um we should also make clear that these Evictions is literally people living in Homes and their homes are taken away From them I suppose technically it's legal

Uh evictions but you're saying that There's a asymmetry of power in the Courts where the legal is uh not so much Legal but is politically and maybe even Religiously based Yeah I mean the biggest the most Important context here is that Oftentimes Americans think that Israel And Palestine are some kind of two Neighbor two neighboring countries Um That live next to each other and they Are at War but the fact of the matter is Palestinian cities exist All over the country and it's just one Country it's just one infrastructure and Israel is literally on top of Palestine It was established on top of our Villages Um in the late 40s uh now according to International law the eastern part of Jerusalem is under occupation so Israeli Presence Ends with Dixon Over the area is completely illegitimate They say the evictions are legal because The settlers Write their laws so obviously they're Going to allow settlements to expand but According to international law according To even U.S policy Um Israel occupies the eastern part of Jerusalem it's jurisdiction there is

Illegitimate we shouldn't even be going To their courts in the first place but We have no other option Um we're talking we're talking about how We're talking about Jerusalem we're Talking about generations and Generations and generations of people Who have lived there For the longest time who now even though You know for example me I don't have a Citizenship I'm a resident a mere Resident I have a blue ID card even Though my grandmother and my grandfather Were born in Jerusalem their Grandparents were born in Jerusalem Um Even though we've lived there for Generations but Palestinians in Jerusalem we are not Citizens We're just Mere residents same thing with residents Of the occupied Syrian Golan they are Not citizens they are just residents in Their own hometowns this is an important Uh piece but all of this gets convoluted And Lost in Translation and I think I I would argue it's a lot more it's A lot of the time it's dubious it's it's Malicious the fact that these little Pieces of context that frame the entire Story get lost You know I'll talk to you about Something else Um just 10 minutes 10 minutes across From my neighborhood there's another

Another neighborhood called silhouette And the people in Silvan are also Threatened with expulsion but not Through evictions but through home Demolitions and if you look at American State American Media or Israeli State Media you would read the headlines you Know Palestinians living in homes built Illegally are gonna face you know their Homes as they're going to be torn apart What these headlines don't tell you and Even sometimes most of the time the Substance doesn't tell you that Palestinians seldom ever get Building permit applications Um in fact recently a spokesperson for The Israeli military confirmed that was 95 of building permits applications Submitted by Palestinians and is Jerusalem and the West Bank are rejected By the Israeli authorities and to make This even more absurd the guy The councilman who is responsible Um for rejecting and accepting building Permit applications his name is Jonathan Youssef and he's a he's a an activist in The settler movements and he's a Jerusalem council member And he last week following the expulsion Of uh A sublaban family in the old city of Jerusalem he posted to his official Facebook his Facebook account naked by Now

Um demanding a second promising another Nakaba he has done so on many occasions He has chanted with a megaphone just a Few months ago walking down the street In my neighborhood chanting we want Nick By now this is a man who has vandalized Their murals who has screamed Islamophobic slurs this is literally a Man in the government making these Decisions right uh and this is similar To you know masafriotto in the South Hebron Hills for those who don't know It's uh it's it's a place in the Occupied West Bank where Bedouin and Cave dweller Palestinians have lived for Generations they have cultivated the Land Um and recently they were expelled from Their homes over a thousand people were Expelled from their remote small Villages again if you're reading American Media they would say it would Say Palestinians living in firing zones Were removed because they're living in a Military zone what these media reports Will not tell you that in the 80s the Israeli government Purposefully classified many lands in The occupied West Bank As firing zones as off limit military Zones for the sole purpose of expelling The residents and this is not some kind Of conspiracy theory this is Declassified information that was

Released from the Israeli State archive That was later reported on by her audits Also these reports will not tell you That the judge Who rules on whether these people Continue to live under homes or not is Himself a settler in the West Bank I'm Not even talking about You know I'll lose the definition of a Settler but according to international Law this is a settler living illegally In an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank this is the Judiciary Um that we deal with which is hilarious Considering how it's being reported on Um in American Media recently as some Kind of Beacon of progress and democracy That the new government is trying to Undermine so there's no representation In the courts for the Palestinian people I mean we have lawyers but no there is No there's no in fact there is for Palestinians with Israeli citizenships For example there's over 60 laws that Specifically and explicitly Discriminates against them So again it's technically legal the Evictions and the demolitions yeah so Was Jim Crow was legal also you know When something is legal it can also Still be Wrong absolutely history has shown us Time and time again Um that legality does not necessarily

Mean morality and the law you know is uh The law is a bloodbath in many ways Um it has been used And abused to facilitate the most Horrendous atrocities in in the case of The Palestinians the law has served to Facilitate and bureaucratize our ethnic Cleansing Do you think there's people Judges and just people in power in the Judiciary that have hate for the Palestinian people I mean I'm not really the the easy Simplistic answer is yes but I don't Really care about the contents of their Hearts what I care about the policy they Enact right the laws they write and Enact are hateful demolishing a person's Home Um so you can have somebody from Long Island New York Who is fleeing you know fraud charges This is the case in my house live in in Their in their you know front yard That's hateful so I don't need you know Confirmation this is something we see a Lot actually you know Um Palestinians and people who are Pro-palestine and just people who want To make a difference in how this cause Is represented We often Run for the first Um Opportunity to cite an Israeli being

Hateful you know the recent the last uh Israeli Prime Minister said that he has Killed many Arabs and that he has no Qualms with it Um Netanyahu has said a slew of racist Hateful things Um josinski the pioneer of Zionism herzl One of the pioneers of Zionism all have Said horrible hateful Things we also like cannot wait to you Know Cite uh a confession from a former Israeli soldier who is guilty Consciousness is keeping them you know Up at night and we use all of these you Know Confessions or slip UPS as evidence to Prove that this is a racist country that Is an acting race racist acts but we Don't need this because the material Proof is on the ground you see it in the Policies that are enacted you see it Um In how the country how this regime has Behaved for the past 75 years I don't Need you know Confessions from the likes of Netanyahu To understand that his heart is full of Hate So if you could return to 1948 and Describe something that you've mentioned The nakba which means catastrophe in Arabic What was this event what was this

Displacement and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 Well you know like May 15 1948 Um Is commemorated every year as you know The anniversary of the knuckleberry but I would even argue and I think this is Like an A very popular Idea is that the network did not begin Or end in 1948 the 48 was rather you Know a crystallization Of the Zionist Enterprise in Palestine Um and what what happened was that Many zionists Paramilitaries that again today merged And made the Israeli Army which calls Itself the Israeli Defense Forces even Though they're literally always Aggressor Um Committed atrocities and massacres and You know they Destroyed over 500 Villages they killed Over 15 000 people they forced A very large portion a majority of the Palestinian population Uh to flee their homes and this was you Know The near total Destruction of Palestinian society that continues on to This day we refer to it as the ongoing Nakba and you see it in in you see it in Silangi state and Hebron and all of

These people losing their homes and In many cases time and time again you Know I grew up and my grandmother told Me the stories about the nakabe she told Me stories about her neighbors who Were Running away in a panic and they had Mistaken a pillow for their offspring And they just took it with them and they Realized later that they forgot their Child and they came back for many many People who were separated from their my Grandmother herself she lost her husband For a few months for nine months he was Imprisoned by the Israelis Um You know she told me all of these Stories and she wasn't just reminiscing About them she was You know Letting me know that this is still Happening and then and I didn't need to Grow up that old to see it happening in My own front yard to see that expulsion Happened in the same fashion she's she's Talked about it but You know now they have replaced their Artillery with the Judiciary They have replaced you know the the the Slashing of the pregnant women's bellies In the Daria scene Massacre with with Laws that say you know you're not you're Not legally allowed to be here we're Going to kick you out of your home and

It's happening and it has happened in in Broad daylight Um one piece of context for The Listener Who doesn't who is not familiar with the Knuckleberry Is developer declaration Which was a promise quote unquote Promise made by the British To the Zionist movement in 1917 Committing to The Establishment I'm Quoting I think word for word committing To the establishment of a Jewish state In Palestine Um as if Palestine was you know the British to give away Um And there was this whole movement that Called for colonization of Palestine and There were different there were Different schools of thought in Zionism You know people like zanguo said that This was a country without a people Um and Palestinians who have existed There who have cultivated the lands who Have you know Had diverse cultural and religious and Political uh practices they were Completely erased and other people like Zobozinski Um Were a lot more explicit and a lot more Honest and said that we need to fight The Palestinians because they love their Land much like the red Indians love

Their lands and he had a paper called The Iron Wall colonization of Palestine Must go forward Um And all of these all of these schools of Thoughts were then shopping around for You know Imperial support For their cause They tried they tried to get support From the Ottoman Empire they tried to Get support from Germany and this is in The 1800s and then they got support from The United Kingdom a great book to Recommend is the 100 year the Hundred Years War on Palestine Um that's the you know traces the Zionist movement oftentimes in Designists own words Um and so today what we're seeing is a Continuation and you know people like Zabotinski who are like profoundly and Explicitly racist who have called for Genocide who have uh called the Palestinians barbaric who have Said and done Racist things you know Japanese also was Like the founder of the ergon one of the Other militias that later merged to Become the I the Israeli Army uh which Was responsible for that area scene Massacre which was responsible for the Bombing of the King David Hotel Um this is a person who's still Celebrated in Israeli Society there are

Still streets named after him and Netanyahu just two weeks ago if I'm not Mistaken honored him in a public Celebration Um so this is Zionism it's not even Through my own Words what he said to people That describe Israel as having a Historical right to the land So if you stretch out across decades but Across centuries into the past This kind of thing is a red herring um It's a destruction because you don't Think of any state As having rights but there is this Exceptionalism to the Israeli regime Where it is it has a right to defend Itself and it has a right to the land And it has a right to shoot 14 year old Boys because It thought they had a knife in their Pockets You know a lot of the time people cite The Torah on site religious books and You know sometimes zionists will even Say like read the Quran and blah blah Blah you know regardless of whatever was Written in these books that were written Thousands and thousands of years ago the Fact of the matter is no one has a right To go on slaughtering people removing Them from their homes and then Continuing to live in their homes Continuing to drink coffee on their

Balconies Um decades and decades later with no Shame with no introspection With no reflection that's no one has the Right to do that no one has the right to Keep an entire population of people in a Cage Which is what's happening to people in The West Bank who have no freedom of of Movement which is what's happening In Gaza which is blockaded To water air and land and Is deemed uninhabitable by human rights Organizations like the UN no one has a Right to do that Do you have Hate in Your Heart for Israel why does that matter As one human being to another you're Describing quite brilliantly that the Contents Of people's hearts don't matter as much As the policies and the context of the Courts and the laws and what actually is Going on on the streets in terms of Actions but This is also a human story Yeah and Uh I feel like At the core Of the situation here is Um Hate Is or maybe inability for some group of

Humans to see the humanity in another Group of humans and so it's important Here to talk about the contents of Hearts if we were to think about the Long-term future of this yeah I mean I Would be concerned actually if I didn't Feel some kind of way in my heart I Would be concerned for my own dignity Because the people who Revolt the people Who are angry the people who refuse to Live under occupation know that they Deserve better People start revolutions not because Some kind of cultural phenomenon not Because of some kind of Desire but Because they cannot breathe because they Cannot They cannot breathe they cannot live They are living under excruciating Circumstances You know Palestinians you know I don't Know I don't know how many Palestinians Have interacted with but we are some of The most wonderful people I mean not all Of us I think some of us are you know Insufferable but most of us You know Most of us you know we're very Hospitable Um We're very hospitable even like in the Early early correspondence between the Mayor of Jerusalem and herzl who wrote The Jewish State you know the generosity

Through which uh the Palestinian mayor Was talking to herzl who was plotting to Take over his land Is impressive and at the same time you Know heart-wrenching um But I I personally Think there is There's a lot of dignity Um in negating your oppressor and I Think it would be ridiculous today today If we like look back at junko for Example and we asked the person who's Lived under under Jim Crow Um if they have hate in their heart for Jim Crow as if that's not the absolutely Logical and natural sentiment to feel in Rivka you wrote my father told me anger Is a luxury we cannot afford be composed Calm still laugh when they ask you smile When they talk answer them educate them So let me Linger on this is their anger In there in your heart and does it Cloud Your judgment Does it Cloud management I don't think so I think with I think Our campaign to defend our homes was Particularly successful because It was honest to what was happening on The ground because it refused to follow The strategy that we have used in our Advocacy before Where we shrink ourselves and we turn The other tree can we try to convince American lawmakers and American

Diplomats and journalists of our Humanity Um because we wait for the approval you Know I was 14 years old when I first Flew to Congress to speak to Congress People And to speak to other European Parliament and I at the time I thought Wow I must be such a brilliant 14 year old Um for them to have me here and you know Looking back I didn't know what I was Talking about I had Horrendously broken English Um and he didn't have any any talking Points and he came to realize that the Reason why we send our kids with their Power points to the hill Is because of the racism and the hatred That lingers inside the hearts of American politicians who refused to sit On the table Um with Palestinian adults as equals Um and so we resort to sending our kids Who will not threaten Um and who will not you know trigger the Biases they have against Muslims and Arab people which Palestinians even Though we're not all Muslim are Racialized as Muslim Um And this is why we emphasize uh the Deaths of women and children as though The deaths of our men does not counter

Does not matter all of these things I Think the new generation of Palestinians Is rebelling against Um I think words like you know I think It's loaded it's loaded language uh Anger and angry and hate and so on and So forth because it Miss Mischaracterizes people and it kind of Delegitimizes them a little bit Um you know I think the real the real Anger is the bulldozer Um bulldozing through my house I think The real anger is the 18 year old Soldier who refuses to see me as a human Being and strip searches me every chance They get that's where the real anger Lies Um And I'm quite honestly proud of You know our unabashedness Um And a refusal to like bow our heads or Bury our heads in the sand I think that's the only way forward So I anger whatever it is is a Fuel for Action absolutely and it has Been throughout throughout history It has been How much of this tension is religious In the Practical aspects of the courts And the the evictions and the Demolitions And you mentioned something Divine Decree

How much underneath it do you feel The division over religious texts and Religious beliefs You know it's convenient to Market What's happening in Palestine as a Religious conflict because it allows Um The Listener the luxury of believing That this is an ancient complicated Thing that stretches thousands and Thousands of years ago but the fact of The matter is The people who invented Zionism who Pioneered the Zionist movement who Called for immigration And settling into Palestine a lot of Them were atheists a lot of them Were not religious at all Um And the leaders of the Israeli state Today a lot of them are atheists And a lot of them are secular and so on And so forth it's easy to it's easy to Say that this is You know about Muslims and and Jews Fighting over the land and so on and so Forth but it's not it's about the land Itself and it's about People being forced out of their homes Benjamin Netanyahu said anti-zionism is Anti-Semitism of course he said that Do you disagree absolutely I disagree What's the gap between Um anti-zionism and anti-Semitism those

Who are against the policies of Uh Israel versus those who are against The Jewish people Like what's the well the first like 20 Minutes and then I couldn't do it Anymore you know but I watched and then What was interesting about Netanyahu is That he said you know being Anti-zionist is like saying I'm okay With the Jews I just don't believe the Jews have a right to form their own State that's like Saying I'm okay with Americans I'm just Not okay with Americans having their own State and there's so much wrong with That statement in the sense that Jewish people are a religious group in Americans and America being an American As a nationality that consists of A diversity Um Of religions and And so on and so forth first of all on The second the second thing that's wrong With that statement is the whole idea That states somehow have a right to Exist or or whatever it's it's such a Destruction you have you have people Getting shot in the street you have like Millions and millions of people besides Do you have people losing their homes You have people who are held in Israeli Prisons without trial Um or charts indefinitely but the

Conversations that are being held in the Head on the hill the conversations that Are being held on CNN Or does Israel has a right to exist or Like why would you negate Israel's Having a right to exist that's one now Of course I'm sorry and I just I just Find it's it's ridiculous again like That uh opposing a secular political Movement that was explicitly colonialist Expansionist exclusive and racist Through the words of its own authors is Somehow and also again opposing such a Political movement that is Quite young and quite recent is somehow Equivalent equivalent to opposing uh a Religion that is thousands and thousands Of years old but it is convenient Again for Israeli politicians To frame us who oppose Zionism A form of racism and bigotry as Anti-semites but I can guarantee you Benjamin Netanyahu has no problem with Anti-Semitism this is the same man who Has no problem getting on stage and Shaking hands with Pastor John Hagee Doing uh web webinars with Pastor John Hagee for those who don't know Pastor John Hagee is the founder of Christians United for Israel who has said on Multiple occasions that Hitler was a Hunter who was sent to hunt the Jews who Said on multiple occasions that Jewish People are gonna perish in hell you can

All of this is like verifiable by Google And this is one of the Israeli regime's Closest allies right Um So the Israeli regime does not have a Problem with anti-semites when it serves Its interests it has a problem I mean like if you look at Evangelical Evangelical evangelicals or like Christian Zionism at Lords Semitism lies at the heart Of Christian Zionism it's the idea that We want to derive all of the Jews Outside of the United States so that Armageddon could happen or whatever the this accusation has been a muzzle It has been used as a muzzle to silence Political opposition Um and this stifle political advocacy For the liberation of Palestine and a Lot of the time people get caught up in Denouncing it and in Justifying themselves and disclaimers And so on and so forth that you lose the Point that you're distracted from the Focal point that is there is an ongoing Colonialism happening where people every Single day are killed I cannot keep Count this morning A kid was shot In Palestine We cannot it's embarrassing even for me That I don't even know the numbers here But this muzzle has been effective and I

Think the only Righteous uh Option itself is to oppose Um these labels these smear campaigns That Target us Um I myself have been labeled an Anti-semite By the ADL and I mean like if you want To talk about The surface level people people say like Wow the ADL Anti-Defamation League you Know uh condemned you but people do not Look at the history of the Anti-Defamation League do not look at The present of the Anti-Defamation League the fact that they are Um The largest non-governmental police Training uh Department in the country Where they train police and Uh racial profiling and militarism the Fact that they have historically and Continued to have engaged in Surveillance on On Black Liberation movements on anti-apartheid South African activists most recently in Charlottesville when white supremacists Were marching Um and chanting anti-semitic the ADL advised local police departments to Spy on the black organizers opposing The white supremacists this is again all Verifiable on the internet go to so if the ADL does not Uh alleviate the uh the hate in the World As it probably is designed to do no it's It's the guys I don't think the Apartheid Defense League is really our Most Progressive but that's what it Stands for yeah okay season no now you Know Uh If we can just Linger on this idea of Anti-semitism There's quite a bit of anti-muslim Sentiment in the United States Especially after 9 11. I've spoken to People about that There's also Uh anti-jewish anti-Semitism sentiment In the United States but also throughout Human history What do you make about This kind of Um fact of human nature that people seem To hate Jews throughout history Especially in the 20th century Especially with Nazi Germany What are your in general thoughts about The hatred of the Jewish people I mean I Think it's obviously wrong I don't know It's it's this it's this idea that I Even have to clarify what I think about Anti-Semitism that doesn't say right Well with me I think it's completely Unfortunate and wrong that

Um Jewish people have been prosecuted Across history so one of the criticisms I think I've read the ADL making this Criticism of you is uh maybe you've Tweeted a comparison between uh Israel And Hitler And thereby diminishing the evil that is Hitler Uh what would you say to that Mr Sarah Talks about this a lot Um the exceptionalization of Hitler Um Hitler is a deplorable I don't know condemnable you know rotten Racist horrible human being that belongs In the depths of Hell obviously that's That goes without without saying but I am allowed Um analogy And I'm allowed To say whatever I want Now I don't necessarily think that that Such an analogy is a good strategy to Have But at the time the context came in Um 2021 when Israeli soldiers and policemen and Settlers were literally burning down our Neighborhood Again verifiable by Google Um And I tweeted it and I also I remember I Tweeted something I hope every single One of them dies and to this day like This is some kind of uh you know gotcha

For me as if I should have tweeted like Oh here's the apple pie for every single Soldier that's throwing tear gas in my House You know there is There is Such an exceptionalism when it comes to Palestinians we're not allowed analogy We're not allowed expression we're not Allowed armed resistance we're not Allowed peaceful resistance we're not Allowed to boycott because that's Anti-semitic we're not allowed to do Anything So what are we allowed if I if I can't Boycott and that's against American law And auto boycott and if I can't pick up A rifle because that's against the law And if I can't even tweet My frustration out what am I allowed to Do You know maybe Netanyahu can send me a Manual he's happy with you know So you've spoken about the taking of Homes The IDF uh killing civilians killing Children Uh what about the violence going the Other direction Israelis being killed Um in part by terrorist action Well it depends on depends on how you Define terrorism right across history One man's Freedom Fighter is another Man's terrorist

Uh I don't necessarily subscribe to the Definition of terrorism if uh if a Foreign army is in my neighborhood which It's not supposed to be and and they're Shooting life ammunition at my house I'm allowed to do what I'm allowed to do And again this is another yet another Case of Palestinian exceptionalism Because when it comes to Ukraine People have no problem Seeing ukrainians defending their homes Seeing ukrainians uh dying further man Seeing ukrainians making makeshift Molotovs on Sky News you know Sky News Was running most of making cocktails the New York Times read an article Interviewing a Ukrainian psychologist Who said that hatred I'm paraphrasing But he said hatred for all Um Russians is actually a healthy Outlet The New York Post ran a headline Um Champion championing uh quote unquote Heroic Ukrainian suicide bomber These things we would not even dream of Uh As as Palestinians We are we are told to turn the other Cheek time and time again we're told That we we should continue living these In inside these enclaves Um without access to clean water without Access to to the right to movement

Without access to building permits Without our natural right to expansion Without you know without a guarantee That if we leave our house we're not Going to be sought and we're supposed to Not do anything about it that is absurd Any any person watching this understands This completely people understand you Know people understand that if somebody Is attacking your home you'll fight back If somebody is attacking your family you Fight back that is that is not but again Who gets to call who a terrorist who Gets to Define terrorism this is all About who has power Who gets to write these laws who gets to Write these definitions You know why is it um Why is it that American accents and Iraq Is not called terrorism by American Politicians wise you know violence is Like this Mutating mutating Concepts you know and It takes on many shapes and forms and if It's in in a uniform It's if it speaks in English if it has Blonde hair it's somehow acceptable it's Okay we make Movies about it You know we sell out Tickets About it we make games about it but if It's without a uniform it's if it has a Thick accent if it has a beard you know

That's that's condemnable that's wrong That's terrorism you know do you think Violence is an effective method of Protest and resistance in general in General I think it has been but I think You know I believe in fighting on all Fronts I don't think violence alone is Gonna bring about change I think uh There's so much to do uh in culture and Shifting public opinion there's so much To do in media and fighting back against Media eraser and census and censorship There's so much to do diplomatically and Politically Um Um and I I think I would be naive if I don't take the power imbalance into Consideration Um one side has makeshift weapons and The other side is one of the most Sophisticated armies in the world So I don't know I don't know how Effective violence could be in this case But if you look at the flip side do you See the power of non-violent resistance So Martin Luther King Gandhi the power Of attorney the other cheek he spoke Negatively about turning the other cheek So I sense that uh doing so has not been Effective for the Palestinian people We've turned the other cheek uh Generation after generation there is This Zionist Trope that that is used

Against us they say Palestinian Rejectionism they say that we reject Everything but if you look at the History like our leadership the Palestinian Authority has given up ins After ends has compromised on acre after Acre has signed deal after deal after Deal after deal and still there is no Peace So turning the other cheek is not you Know the most effective method in my Book what are the top obstacles to Peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians The the occupation comes to mind the Strictical policies come to mind The seeds comes to mind the asymmetry of The Judiciary comes to mind The whole the whole system needs to be Dismantled I will quote my dear friend Who's uh who's a lawyer who says you Know the solution Justice comes about Through Recognition return And redistribution There are millions of Palestinian Refugees who are living in excruciating Circumstances and refugee camps around The world there are thousands of Palestinian prisoners Um Who are held in prisons for defending Their homes hundreds of which are held Without charge or trial by the way there

Are many Palestinians who get killed in Broad daylight with no recourse Journalists and Medics and everyday People not just the fire the Freedom Fighters Um we need again recognition return and Redistribution and peace comes about When when When they stop killing us when they stop Keeping us in a cage I mean that's That's quite simple can you describe Recognition redistribution return and Redistribution return return right of Return right the right of return to all Of the Palestinian refugees to their Homes you know when I'm driving around Haifan I see my grandmother is uh home That's now turned into a restaurant you Know I could have you know I I made a Joke in one of my essays recently that Had I had that I could have had it all You know beats front views Her smug attitude you know she grew up By the she grew up by the Sea after she Relocated the High phones after you know Jerusalem Um we want that we want that and um you Know they're lucky I don't want Netanyahu's home but I just want my home I just want my home we want to return I Also wouldn't there needs you know and Like I believe in the 1960s the Israeli Government classified 90 of all of

Historic Palestine as state-owned land This is All land that was owned by Palestinian Farmers who have cultivated their lands For decades you know since the Establishment of the Israeli State there Has been Uh Jewish only towns popping up every Few years and not one town not one Palestinian town has emerged we are even Those of us who have Israeli Israeli Citizenship who live outside of the wall Are encircled and cannot have their Natural Community growth in their towns That needs to change that needs to Change you mentioned the wall can you Describe the wall the wall is a nine Meter high cement wall Uh that was finished in 2003 and if You're American you've probably heard The whitewash sanitized version of the Name which is the security wall but it's Uh it's the wall that literally has Stolen Thousands of Dunhams of land and has Ripped apart Families my mother is a Poet or was a poet at some point and she Had this poems she she published in the Paper Called Love behind the wall and it Describes you know it's it's a poem but It describes a real life situation Of uh two families that who lived right Across the street from each other but

Were then separated by the wall and they Would fly balloons Um you know to see each other from each Side of the wall or something like that This Although it sounds absurd but it's the Reality for many Palestinian families Whose lives were torn apart to his Livelihoods also were torn apart uh by The wall maybe this is a good Opportunity to talk about the the legal Classifications for Palestinians You know um Israel much like any other Colonial entity was has Divine has Divided And fragmented the Palestinian people Um as I said earlier I have a blue ID Which means I'm a resident a friend of Mine who lives in heifa for example two Hours away from me 150 kilometers not Nothing too bad in this country Has and Israeli citizenship he can you Know travel he can enter the West Bank He can Um Do a lot more he's a citizen he can vote If he wants to not that we want to Um you know I always tease my friends or You can go to Italy without without a Visa because you have an Israeli Citizenship but you know they battle National and race or they battle Um crime in their own communities Because of police negligence they they

Battle land conference land confiscation And have battled confiscations in the 50s whereas somebody with a green ID Somebody from the West Bank Cannot leave the West Bank Cannot go anywhere without a special Permit and lives Behind These Walls and Even within the West Bank The West Bank I think hilariously George Bush described it as Swiss cheese Because Of the holes every every few every 100 Meters there's a new settlement or There's a new military checkpoint so Even if you live behind the wall in the West Bank with your green ID even though You're raw you're robbed of your right To movement you still even can't move From town to town within the West Bank Without encountering subtler violence or Military violence while you're crossing The checkpoints and so on and so forth And then the last category we have is People who live in Russia we were Talking about over 2 million people who Live in an open air prison Um Who have no right to movement but also Have no access to clean water water and No access to Supplies no access to good food no Access to Good Health Care and so on and So forth who routinely get bombarded Every few years

Um Is like two hours away from my house it Feels like an absolute far away planet Because it's so isolated from the rest Of the country so imagine all of these Different legal statuses fragmenting Um your everyday identity and creating Different challenges and obstacles for You to deal with for each group to deal With You know it's amazing and impressive That despite these Colonial barriers the The real cement ones And the you know the barriers in the Mind despite all of these barriers the Palestinian people have made have Maintained their national identity for 70 years that is incredibly impressive And it also sends a message that as long As we have a boot on our neck we are Going to continue fighting you know Violence cracking down on refugee camps Bombarding refugee camps is only going To bring about more violence so West Bank is a large region where a lot of Palestinian people live and then there Are settlements sprinkled throughout and Those settlements have walls around them For security cameras and security guards Security guards almost a million sellers In the West Bank and so what are the Different cities here if you can mention So the West Bank in the West Bank or Mileage and in Bethlehem Hebron Jericho

Annapolis They have their own stories they have Their own histories yeah and it's Fascinating also how interconnected they Are you know like a friend of mine Mona Omari recently did a a documentary Report on the day that Haifa fell during The Zionist Invasion the hagana Um Led the Palestinian residents of Haifa Down to the city center And as absurd as it sounds Those of them who stood on the right Side of the street were forced into cars That took them to multiple stops that Would later become multiple refugee Camps the last of which was Janine Refugee camp and Um those who stood on the left side of The street were forced to board uh boats That took them to Lebanon to become Refugee camps refugees there Last month we saw the Israeli Army Invade Janine in maybe the largest Military invasion of Janine since 2002 Um And they killed many people they Attacked Medics and journalists in broad Daylight on camera they have Destroyed infrastructure and it was all Very painful but I think the most Compelling aspect Of the real on Janine was what followed Israeli soldiers at night held their

Megaphones and uh Instructed hundreds of Palestinians to Flee their homes and they told them if You don't leave if you don't have your Hand up in the air you will get shot and They were forced to leave their homes in The camp and walk so God knows where I can guarantee you because the nakaba Is not that old I can guarantee you that Some people who were marching Away from their camps were chased away From their homes in the camp engineering Were some of the same people who were Chased away from the homes in Haifa in The first place this Perpetual exile That Palestinian people Continue to live is is unbearable I mean In my case my grandmother was removed From her home in Haifa in 48 and then She moved from Sydney City and then in 2009 she saw half of her home taken over By Israeli soldiers my grandmother died In 2020 and two months later we got the Next Expulsion order from the Israeli Court I'm quite ashamed to admit that I was Relieved my grandmother had died because I did not want her 102 years old at the Time to go through yet another nakabe And this is the fact for so many Palestinians regardless of where they Are on the map If I may read the description of the Situation in Janine and maybe you can

Comment so this is on July 3rd 4th and 5th just reading Washington Post Description so this was an Israeli Military incursion to Janine The Raid Included more than 1 000 soldiers backed By drone strikes making it Israel's Largest such operation in the West Bank Since the end of the second Palestinian Uprising in 2005 The Israeli military said it dismantled Hundreds of explosive cleared hundreds Of weapons destroyed underground Hideouts and confiscated hundreds of Thousands of dollars in quote Terror Funds many of the 50 Palestinians who Have attacked Israelis since the start Of the year have come from Janine camp And the surrounding area Palestinian Attacks inside Israel have killed 24 People this year U.N experts describe The genie in operation as collective Punishment in quotes For the Palestinian people amounting to Egregious violations of international Law many Of the more than 150 Palestinians killed By Israelis this year have also come From these communities Palestinian Fighters say they need arms to defend Themselves against the Israeli Occupation and Military incursions into The camp during which Palestinian Civilians including children have been Killed so those are the

I would say different perspectives On the many people on both sides who Have been killed many more Palestinians Can you comment more about the situation I mean I think the The Washington Post Article is a little bit more uh You know careful than other than other Media That came out recently about Janine I Think you know I was listening to our Reuters radio show and they failed to Ever mention the occupation I don't I Don't even think this paragraph Mentioned that Janine is under Occupation by the by the Israeli forces By the Israeli regime I think this is The most important piece of context that Gets Um obscured in our media reporting is These cities these refugee camps are Under illegal occupation the Israeli Army has no business being there in the First place Um that is the most that is the Departure point that is the most Important piece of context that will Answer to you why these people Um are arming themselves many of which By the way lived through the 2002 Massacre Um and bombardment of Janine and grew up In the Um violence Um

The the context that Palestine is under Occupation that these Palestinian cities Are under occupation that they have to Deal with land seizures at all times That they cannot leave their towns Um without a special permit all of this Will give context to the violence and You know The thousands of Israeli soldiers that Raided the camp that day That traumatized an entire generation They think they will quell that Generation they think that with such Bloodshed and such barbaric violence Destroying infrastructure attacking Medics killing people left and right They think With this kind of Terror that they can You know quell people tell people that You know they can guarantee that these Kids are not going to grow up and resist But that's the opposite of what happens One thing about Palestinian people They will not compromise their dignity You know these people live in Any live in dire excruciating Circumstances And it is so courageous in my opinion That they even think Um to defend themselves against one of The most lethal one of the most Sophisticated armies in the world Against the nuclear state that can wipe Them out in the matter of seconds but

It's not at the end of the day it's not Even about courage it's about survival They don't do this because you know of Machismo or because of uh heroic Tendencies it's because this is about Survival So the degree there's violence it's About survival absolutely absolutely I Think if there is no if there was no Occupation there would be no violence It's it's quite obvious and again people Understand this I mean like we saw on Twitter in in the recent month uh all of These Israeli uh propagandists who had Tweeted pictures of like little girls With guns in Ukraine and like women Making bombs in Ukraine and and young Men carrying their rifles in Ukraine and Praising them as Heroes post very Similar pictures of Palestinians Um and calling them terrorists It's glaring the double standard I don't Even need to linger on it well the Double standard is glaring but I also Think the glorification of violence is Questionable There's a balance to be struck of course But Yeah I mean I don't what I don't I don't Think I don't think we should be Glorifying violence Um at all but I don't think we should be Normalizing violence either Uh I think that's that's that's what it

Is you know I'll tell you a story I was interviewing a person whose Brother was killed by the Israeli Military during uh Israeli raid On their Village and The person was so concerned about Whether I was gonna report That Her brother allegedly had a Molotov Cocktail in his hand And I found it absolutely insane Absolutely Absurd that we can just glance over the Fact that there is again a foreign Military In tanks with rifles and snipers Invading The Village at 4am in the Morning shooting live ammunition at People's houses throwing tear gas that We can just glance over it's normal we Could just report on it no problem Nobody's gonna abandon eyebrow But The fact That potentially somebody might have Picked up a Molotov cocktail to throw it At this invading Army is where we draw The line it says a lot it says a lot About whose violence is normalized is Accepted is institutionalized is Glorified event right yeah and you walk Around Tel Aviv and you see all of the Plaques plastered around then around the Streets of the country of the city

Celebrating the battles that they had Won the massacres that they had enacted Against the Palestinian people but God Forbid God forbid Palestinians have any Kind of similar sentiment So on July 4th during this intense Period a Palestinian rammed a car into Pedestrians at a bus stop in Tel Aviv Injuring eight people before being shot Dead by a passerby Also that night Hamas fire rock is into Israel and then Israel responded with Strikes on what it said was an Underground weapon site so just to give Some context to the intensives Violence happening here what do you Think about Hamas firing Rockets into Israel Well it's the framing makes it seem as Though like Unprovoked Hamas is like firing Rockets Onto Israel regards to what I think of Hamas obviously but unprovoked but That's not the case the propagation is The fact that they are forced to live in A cage That they have no access to clean water They have no access to basic rights no Access to uh Imports no access to Anything That they can't leave they're living in A densely populated Enclave that was deemed uninhabitable by The U.N that was deemed an open air

Prison Um so the rockets in any case are Retaliation for the seeds let's start There but again this is just to prove my Point violence begets violence Palestinian people are not Violent people we are not violent people At the core and I think you know what Serves this narrative is islamophobia is Like xenophobia towards Arabs which we Don't have like I don't have the luxury You know to like to write laws about Um by the way I'm I'm quite I'm quite You know frustrated by this uh I am I am Preoccupied and the Palestinian people Are preoccupied Um with the material violence that we Have to deal with on the day-to-day the Demolitions the bombings uh the Imprisonment that's what we're Distracted with and and busy with that We can't even talk about the racism Um The Casual racism against its Anti-palestinian racism in the media on Social media and diplomatic circles and But all of this all of this racism that Has gone unchecked has not been Regulated Um for decades allows for these tropes To continue in which Palestinians are Promoted as these like barbaric Terrorists and the only way we could Remedy uh that situation is to is by Marketing them as these like defenseless

Victims but the fact of the matter is is Is not this simplistic Palestinian People are human beings who should enjoy A full spectrum of humanity which in Includes raids which includes uh the Sustain which includes happiness and joy And laughter which includes celebration Which includes Um all of these things but we're not Allowed this but we are doing exactly What any people throughout history who Have been oppressed who have been Colonized who have been occupied have Done and continue to do as we see in Ukraine which is celebrated by Mainstream media I'm sorry to uh keep Reiterating this point but You know at this point uh I am quite you know Exhausted by how exceptional Palestine And Palestinian resistance is when the World tells me time and time again that It doesn't have a problem with violence It just has a problem with who does that Violence Do you in your mind in in the way you See this region uh draw a distinction Between the people in power versus the Regular people so you mentioned the Palestinian people Is there something you can comment on on Hamas and the PLO Do you see them as fundamentally Different

From the people Uh what does Hamas do well where did They fall short I think governments uh wherever globally Any or different from people no Government is a true reflection of its People I think uh You know this is even true in the case Of like Arab countries that normalize With Israel in many of the cases there Are um unelected governments I think the Palestinian Authority Continues to fail I think there are Subcontractors the Israeli regime Through their security coordination And also I'd like to use this as an Opportunity to comment a little bit on The On the analogy thing not to like Stray away from the question but you Know Um the Palestinian Authority Two years ago killed an opposition Activist named nizarbanat it was a Horrendous crime and I was in Ramallah With the people protesting against the Palestinian Authority and at some point They had their batons the position Authority police and they beat us with It and many of the people on the crowd Were liking the Palestinian Authority to Zionism I think people this is what people do We when they are confronted by a great

Evil they liken it to some other great Evil and this is where the Hitler Analogy came from Um again I don't think it's like the Best strategy moving forward but I Refuse you know to be Uh You know criminalized for a little Sentence But to linger on those in power so one Of the criticisms towards Hamas and PLO Towards the Israeli government At least the current coalition Government Is um That there's a lot of incentive to sort Of perpetuate violence to maintain power There's a hunger for power and and Maintaining that power amongst the Powerful that's the way power works so Is there um a worry you have about Uh those in power not having the best Interests of its people so those empower The PLO Hamas not Uh Not being incentivized towards peace Towards Justice You know looking at the PA's action Today it tells you a great deal about What they're interested in and what They're not interested in and maybe yeah The occupation is in their best interest Um and you can infer similar things Looking at at Hamas but the two the two

These two entities virtually have no Power even Hamas Um Yani there is you know the the Context that Hamas is permitted through By international law uh to use armed Resistance blah blah blah does that mean Hamas is like equipped to govern Jose I Don't think so does that mean that uh People around Palestine necessarily want To want to live under uh Hamas rule in 2006 Hamas was Democratically elected I don't know if That's still the case today Um there is there's a lot to be said but Neither of these entities have any real Power Um in in perpetuating they don't the the Only the only body that has access that Can flip the switch and all of this Equation Is Israelis you know they're the ones Who are keeping people in a case they're The ones who are Um wrapping the West Bank with a with a Wall Um everything else to me is just Secondary regardless of what I think Personally of any of those people I know Personally for me I I the world I Envision not just policy in the world They Envision is a world that goes Beyond States that goes beyond this uh Uh framing of power this this hierarchy In which uh some people will over other

People this whole idea of nation-states Be it Israel or any other nation states It's It's it's futile it's not good it's Exclusive I think that we can achieve a Better world than that Well the you know how do you do a better World they actually if you just Linger On that like what The politically speaking geopolitically You have to have representation of the People you have to have Laws you have to have leaders in Governing bodies that enact those laws And all those kinds of things you Probably need to have militaries to Protect The people can you not imagine a world Without militaries I can imagine it but We're not in that world Yeah I'm not saying you know I have all The answers or a PowerPoint in my pocket You know with the instructions but I I'm Saying the world I'd like to live in is One that transcends borders is one That you know does not necessitate Militaries that doesn't necessitate all Of these Um prisons of these walls all of these Racist laws so you don't think violence Is a fundamental part of human nature That emerges And uh combined with the hunger for Power

I do think I do think that both of these Things are like truly intrinsic to to Human beings they also do think there is A way to move Beyond them I'm not saying I have the answers Um I'm tempted Safeway but But you have a hope that there doesn't Have to be War yeah yeah in the world Definitely definitely well if we look a Little bit more short term people speak About a one-state solution a two-state Solution What is your hope here for um For this part of the world do do you see A possible future with a two-state Solution well there's your Palestine in Israel do you see a one-state solution Where there is a diversity of different Peoples like in the United States and They have equal rights In the courts and everywhere else You know I don't think there's a Geography in which two State solution is Is possible Um as we said earlier swiss cheese There's literally uh supplements all Over the West Bank Um And I don't think it's fair Um it's also soon as fair to all of the People whose homes Um Are still in here for Um in Nazareth in yaffa and so far and I

Don't think it's fair that like I'm Gonna have to Travel to another country to visit my Cousin who's married in Nazareth for Example Um And beyond that it's just not possible I do believe that whatever you want to Call it one state to stay 48 states 29 States whatever you want to call it Refugees need to return land needs to be Given back Wealth needs to be redistributed And a recognition of the nakba needs to Happen that is the only way we could Move forward Um and you know regarding whether this Is like a possible situation For two people To live side by side Let's ask two questions Let's say you you lived in a house With a person your roommate you just had A roommate who constantly beat the Out of you I wonder if you'd want to continue to Live with them that's one And let's try another scenario let's say You live in a house with a roommate who You just Absolutely hate Which is absolutely oppose their Existence as a people Um you don't even give him you know a

Key to your to your apartment Let's say now you're like equal Partners In the apartment would you want to give Would you want to live with him I don't Know we'll see we'll see time will tell But you know I don't think I don't think They want to live with us Israelis are Quite good you know especially Israeli Diplomats they're quite good at um using Uh flowery language about peace and Coexistence and so on and so forth and They're good about they're good with Making us seem insane or radical or like Full of hate and so on and so forth but The but the but the policies speak from The from for themselves the the actions On the ground speak for themselves and I I truly I mean every time there's an Uptick many of them leave and I wonder I would like to see I wonder What would happen in on state solution Well okay so you've spoken eloquently About the Injustice of the evictions the Demolitions The settlements Uh but is there uh Can you comment about the difficulty of The security from an Israel perspective When there is a large number of people That want to destroy it How does Israel exist peacefully This one state solution I don't know by Not shooting uh you know a journalist Doing her job in the junior refugee camp

But that's not killing a 14 year old Standing on his front yard this whole Talk about you know Security and security fence and the Whole like propaganda of the Israeli Defense Forces and this whole Iron Wall Ideology in which somehow they are Always defending themselves even though They're you know Netanyahu and the Israeli government Continue to talk about an existential Threat About Iran being an existential threat Even though the Israeli government Is the only body that holds nuclear Weapons In the reason They're the most sophisticated Army in The region and yet they continue hiding Behind their fingers and talking about An existential threat and talking about How like they're insecure and and so on And so forth I came here on the bus you Know I I I live in a I live in a in a house Where everybody in the world can easily Google it and get its address and Anybody can just walk into my house and This is just and I'm lucky and Privileged as a Palestinian journalist There are many Palestinian journalists Who lose their lives this is like that's Real insecurity but we don't even have Time to whine about it because there's

Real going on on the ground that we Are preoccupied whether I'm reporting on All the time that we don't even have the Time to talk about how limited is our Institutional backing how limited is our You know uh cyber security how limited Is our you know even Healthcare you know Like all of these things we don't even Have time to complain about but they're The real life things that formulate an Insecure population Um that Israelis the Israel certainly Um does not suffer from There's a tension here it's it's true That the ideas of existential threats to A nation have been used to expand the Military-industrial complex and To uh to limit the rights of its people So in the United States after 9 11 Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded Under some justification of their being Terror in the world these big ideas And in the same way yes Israel with the Existential threat of Iran is used to Expand its military might over the Region and control over the region but It also has some truth to it in terms of The The threat that Israel is facing Including from Iran if Iran were to get A nuclear weapon do you think there's a Threat from that but who has the nukes Right now Yeah but like we're talking about this

Like Far Away monster that's like we're We're scared of you know it's like Fear-mongering what do you mean any who Has the nukes some of it is Fear-mongering but uh some of it is true I don't think it's true I don't think It's true I think Israelis are obsessed With genocide because they have enacted Genocide against us even when we talk About like a future a liberation of Palestine when we're talking about uh Anything they constantly jump to the To saying things like oh they want to Throw us into the sea they want to kill All Jews what kind of hyperbolic is that to say that if I am Chanting and Marching for my home not to Be taken away from me by some kind of Settler Court I am somehow demanding the The murder of all Jews across the world That is hyperbolic and the fact that we Cuddle cuddle it is insane to me so no I Don't think as things stand right now Um as the power of balance stands right Now I don't think there's an extensive Existential threat to Israel and also Let's redefine what existential threat Do we think Israel Um The Israeli regime the Zionist regime Should continue to exist in its forms Subjugating people enacting the crime of Apartheid according to a bazillion uh Human rights organizations do we think

That it should continue keeping people On the cage if that's what people are Fighting to save then that says a lot About the people who are feeling this Existential threat not me Do your beliefs represent The Palestinian people meaning How many people are there that want Israel to be gone but what does it mean For Israel to be gone uh what it means Is for people who think of Israel as an Occupier who stole land that needs to go Away that this should be all Palestine Yeah but is that a bad thing for these Borders to be like for for the Occupation to end for these uh for the Land to be given back is that a bad Thing well there's different definitions Of occupation I there's still there's People in their homes now right but is It their home I'm not talking about like I'm not talking about like some random Some random home Um but there are many many many many Many many many many many many many many Many many many Israelis Who drink their coffee every morning From living rooms that are not theirs That are not theirs there was they were Taken just a few decades ago yeah where Like the owners the rightful owners of These homes are still lingering in Refugee camps Are still dreaming of return

There are homes on the land of Israel That you wouldn't classify as stolen I mean there is Like if it wasn't told like if it was Built But is the land stolen right is the but All of this again I I try not to like Fall into this because it's just like it It feels so abstract and far away and And this is not how Liberation is gonna Look like whatsoever and I'm not like I'm not fixated on ethnic cleansing that Is not I'm not obsessed with ethnic Cleansing I'm obsessed with ending the Ethnic cleansing campaign that has been That has been visited upon me and my Family and my community for seven plus Decades that's what I'm obsessed with uh All of this other stuff about what Happens to the settlers and like uh you Know we want to kill all Jews and all of This I think it's and I think It's ridiculous and I think you know Um fixating on it is like distracting From the focal point Um There needs to be an end to all of the Injustices to all of the atrocities you Know a little boy from Jerusalem should Be able to go jog around the city Without fearing getting shot that's like The simplest thing we're asking for here And we want our land back And those things do not mean actually at

All the ethnic cleansing of another People Well but that we should be precise here So a little boy being able to run around Jerusalem that's a great vision not just Safely but without Racism yeah without hate That's a beautiful Vision yes but People in West Jerusalem People in Tel Aviv out of homes Do should they stay there if you have The right to stay there that's like Maybe number 99 on my priorities list I'm concerned with the refugees I'm Concerned with the teenagers and the in The prisons I am concerned with my house I'm concerned with my family's house in Haifa I'm concerned there's a lot for me To do before I can even tend To the needs of my occupier yeah that is The least of my concerns do you want the Low hanging fruit the obvious injustices To end yeah But still the long-term vision Of existential survival of a of Israel Which is the concern of its government As concern of its people do you see a Future where Israelis I have a home in the region sure just Not in my front yard you know which Where's the front yard There's literally there are literally Jewish settlers yes one of which from Long Island in my literal front yard yes

And this is the case in hundreds if not Thousands of Palestinian homes you know No one is saying uh uh Jewish people Shouldn't exist or they shouldn't have Uh a state of their own if they I mean I Think all of all like all all religious Based states are like a bad idea all Nation states are a bad idea but Whatever if that's what they want to do That's what they want to do but that Doesn't mean that they are allowed or Have a right to create and Implement a System of Jewish Supremacy at my expense That's not a crazy thing to say that is Not a controversial thing to say you can Have your state just don't kill anyone Thank you have a good day you know like That's that's not a crazy thought to Have and uh seek and establish a Symmetry of power in the courts which is The current source of Injustice I mean That's when it comes to like force Expulsions in our home but there's other There's immediate a myriad of other ways To the military the military I mean the Police Um if you look at like how many times I Should have brought the data with me but If you look at how little times the Israeli military or police has and like Investigated Its own people are indicted its own People I mean just recently Um the killer

Um who has been inhaled a hero by some Some of Israeli Society who killed a Palestinian man who is autistic who Lives inside the occupied old city where Again Israeli military has no business Being there or jurisdiction whatsoever He was shot and killed by an Israeli Soldier who was trigger happy because Again again they have this like Um Siege mentality where like any moving Object is going to kill them and he was Shot and killed and despite it being in Broad daylight despite being well Documented despite the victim being you Know disabled despite all of this he was Acquitted by the Israeli Court the Military the courts the government they All work together which is why it's so Ironic to me that there are hundreds of Thousands of people marching on the Streets of Tel Aviv uh you know trying To save the progressive Beacon that is The Israeli Supreme Court when you'll Find its fingerprints all over the Injustices perpetuated against Palestinians be it you know Legalizing and upholding the withholding Of slain Palestinian bodies who were Killed by the Israeli military to be Used as bargaining trips with Israeli Militaries be it making decisions to Dispossess entire Villages like Be it never once uh you know granting Release to any Palestinian who was held

In administrative detention without Charge or trial be it upholding the Legality of the family reunification law That does not allow Palestinian couples Who hold different legal statuses of Reuniting and living together as Families I mean those are just some of The few things I can think of about the Israeli Supreme Court so they're like The real the the real tension that Exists is The lack of diversity on the Israeli Political spectrum that makes the vision For a future so limited because those on What seems to be like the the far left Um are defending and are defending an Extremely conservative Um institution that is a supreme court That they record as Progressive when in Fact it is the opposite Uh of such so what what do we do how can We how can we talk how can we have peace With with people who Who are chanting to save you know the Very body that is displacing us you know It's it's ridiculous what's your vision Let's just take it as a microcosm of Jerusalem what's your vision for Jerusalem looks like with a peaceful Coexistence of people You know as it looked like before before The Israeli State emerged I mean we should be Reading our history here

Um when you read like European and white Um Historians they'll tell you like Palestine was Barren many of them would Say like it was even without a people There were nobody nobody was there or Like Some of them will say we were Uncivilized but the fact of the matter Is Palestine Jerusalem particularly had a diversity Of religion um druze Jewish people you Know my grandmother continues to talk About well she continued until she died She continued to talk about her Jewish Neighbors when she grew up in the old City or like when she was born in the Old city and then her Jewish neighbors Um in Haifa we even had one Jewish Member of our family M Sammy actually Um who just also recently passed away Their like Jews were a part of Palestine And they spoke Hebrew a different kind Of Hebrew with this book Hebrew and they Were people really need to read the Hundred Years War on Palestine it's it's Really an excellent synopsis of the History but this whole idea that this is Like some kind of war between two Religions is so misleading because What's happening is A bunch of frankly European settlers With a certain political secular Ideology

Came and relocated here and turned it Into a religious conflict between people Who have lived harmoniously together for Decades before that and you know the Whole idea be it like you know Christian Zionism or you know John Hagee or like The calls for Jews to leave the United States and relocate in in Israel or like You know uh recently which we've heard About a long time ago Um but recently an Israeli historian Confirmed uh uh the fact that Israeli Organizations were bombing Baghdad And bombing synagogues in Iraq to get Iraqi Jews to leave and come relocate in Israel right all of this is manufactured And again none of this is a conspiracy Theory I know it sounds absurd and and You know anytime I like look at my my Life from a bird's eye view I think what A circus but it's but it's real and it's It's verifiable Yanni Call the fact suckers you mentioned the Land registry can you can you elaborate What's happening there yeah yeah Absolutely so Um our small victory in the Israeli Courts Um was that they would keep us in our Homes until a land registry is completed Basically it means that they have to Check who owned the land prior Um and then they could decide if or if The land is ours or the land belongs to

The Israeli Um seller organizations that are Headquartered in the United States and Enjoy a tax exempt status here Um and that sounds great On the surface but then you look at Israeli law you look at Israeli courts You look at ownership and you see that Oh Israelis refuse to Authenticate or take into consideration Any land ownership documents from the Prior of the establishment of the state So all of us in Jerusalem who have their Taboo papers their ownership papers from The ottoman era that's not legit in the Eyes of the Israeli court because that Existed before like your ownership Deeds Existed long before Israel even existed So we're not going to take this into Consideration so not to be cynical here But unfortunately the the likely result Of the land registry is that they're Going to say oh all of this land belongs To these Jewish organizations because They're not going to take any of our Documents into consideration But that means that there's going to be Another campaign and there's going to be A long-winded fight and we'll see what Happens but that's that's the fear and There's there's a huge Dreadful fear of A massive loss in property in Jerusalem Following this land registry for the Reasons I just told you it's the mere

Fact that they just refuse To look at land ownership documents what Is the process of the fighting this in The course look like if you can maybe Just comment on it so there's I always Make a joke without being in an Israeli Court is like playing a game of broken Uh broken telephone because you know Everybody's speaking in Hebrew and then Like your lawyer says something to your Dad and your dad says something to your Mom and your mom Whispers it in your ear And then you're like You say it to your cousin your cousin Has like a completely different idea of The verdict than what the verdict is but That's really the reality so a lot of The fights happen family by family no It's like groups so like if in our case It's like four houses every four houses Um but again it happens in a language we Do not speak and a lot of the time our Strategy is buying time And you know building a Global campaign Like we have we know that there is no Recourse in um in the Israeli courts I Mean My grandmother used to say and this Is like a popular proverb if you're if Your enemy is the judge To whom do you complain so the to the Whom you you complain is maybe the International Community yeah I mean in Our case in our case it was the International Community but in our case

Also it wasn't just the International Community it was like the hundreds of Thousands of people in Palestine and Abroad who are Marching on the streets getting beaten And brutalized in Jerusalem and I don't Know sometimes arrested in places like Germany and and so on and so forth Um who who forced themselves inside the Media cycle this was what was unique About we were able to penetrate an Industry that usually ignores us and Usually refuses to use any of our Framing any of our quotations and these People that March these people that Spread the rhetoric Um spread the facts wrote articles these People that made videos online and and Got arrested and many of whom are still In Israeli prisons paying higher prices Than I have ever paid these people are The ones that truly moved the International Community into action it Wouldn't have you know the United States I don't think would have said anything Had it not been for the immense media Pressure that was created from the Immense popular pressure there are a lot Of moving parts to a global campaign and I think it's so impressive you know that We were able to do this without any Media backing without any institutional Backing without any training without Without any budget nothing you mentioned

The United States uh what's the role of The United States In the struggle that you've been Describing what's the positive what's The negative The role is perpetuating what's Happening honey It's all a negative role to be honest With the money with power yeah it's like The 3.8 billion in military aid every Year It's the standing ovation Israel is the Largest recipient of U.S foreign AIDS Since World War II to date United States Has provided Israel 150 billion dollars As you said is providing currently 3.8 Billion every year Um That a lot of people raised the question Of what's the interest of tax paying American citizens in this kind of yeah Zero interest foreign aid what's your Interest I don't think Americans I think Americans a lot of Americans are Concerned with health care a lot of Americans are concerned with clean water In Flint I don't think they are Concerned with funding apartheid in Another country and I think it's a Disturbing phenomenon that although Public opinion in the United States is Shifting I would argue Drastically about Palestine People in Washington are yet to catch up

It was only I think nine Congress people Who boycotted herzog's speech Um in Congress yesterday and he received Standing Ovation after Standing Ovation After Standing Ovation after sending Ovation and I wonder Um if the everyday American Is concerned that many of their Politicians are Israel first politicians Are politicians who care more about Maintaining a relationship with the Israeli regime that they care about Their own districts You've tweeted that 49 years ago gassan Kind of funny You can maybe correct me on the Pronunciation was assassinated you wrote Quote his revolutionary articulations of The Palestinian plight for Liberation Shook the colonial regime yet he's not Dead his ideas remain ever timely and Teachable and he also tweeted an excerpt From his writing between 1936 and 1939 The Palestinian revolutionary movement Suffered a severe setback at the hands Of three separate enemies that were to Constitute together the principal threat To the Nationalist movement in Palestine In all subsequent stages of its struggle Won the local reactionary leadership to The regimes in the Arab states Surrounding Palestine and three the Imperialist Zionist enemy can you Analyze what he means by those three

Things The local reactionary leadership the Regimes in the Arab states surrounding Palestine and the Imperial Zionist enemy And also could you comment on him as a Person yeah I mean what's the kind of Funny is a brilliant uh brilliant Brilliant writer and uh he was prolific He's authored so much books Even though he was assassinated in the 70s but you know he was 37 if I'm not Mistaken 35 when he was assassinated You know he was an inspiration to me in In school and I remember like even Even my teachers had qualms about him Because he was like a secular person but I I loved Austin he has a beloved figure In the Palestinian community and I hope To one day be able to like Shiva fraction Um of what he's achieved in the terms of Like shaping a political Consciousness For Palestinians and four people in the Region did he classify himself as a as a Politician as a philosopher as an Activist uh do you know he was a writer But he was also part of the Palestine uh Personal in Liberation Front pflp so he Used the words To fight Freedom yeah I don't think he would Would have would have thought his words Were divorced from other forms of Struggle but I think he recognized the

Importance of culture uh and shaping Culture and shaping public opinion Um both in achieving uh You know A shift in global stance and also in Achieving you know an Awakening in the Palestinian generation as well you know There's a very famous uh famous Interview of his where he's talking to Uh I believe a British journalist and The British journalist is asking him why Don't you Why don't you have talks with the Israelis and he means what do you mean Talks you mean capitulation you mean Talking that you can't have a Conversation between The Sword and the Neck Um and they think that that really Summarizes the kind of you know Values listed for now to talk about the Three things local reactionary Leadership regimes in the Arab states Surrounding Palestine and the Imperial Zionist enemy yeah so in in today's Terms the local reactionary leadership Is the Palestinian Authority The regional regimes we're talking about You know actually you know the Normalization deals that have emerged in Recent years the abrahamic Accords Have been talked about as though they're Like groundbreaking new Um

Phenomenon but many Arab countries have Normalized relations with the Israeli Regime Um since the birth of the state it's not A new thing Um but yes the only word he I think he Was talking about Egypt and Jordan at The time today we can include United Arab Emirates we could include Bahrain we could include Morocco Um And you know these again these abrahamic Accords they are promoted And marketed and talked about as some Kind of like religious uh Reconciliation which I think is the most Disgusting thing ever because they're Not about religious reconciliation They're about arms deals and economic Deals and they're about you know Consolidating power in the region They're about Mutual strategic interests That all of these nations have together And some people argue that you know Palestine is no longer an Arab cause Because our Arab countries are Normalizing but most of these Governments if not all actually all These governments that have normalized Most of them are monarchies Um are not elected governments and they Do not Um represent the will of the people or The desires or the opinions of their

Peoples and the proof to this is like Places like Jordan And Egypt even though they've normalized and Had peace agreements with Israel for Many many many years Palestine and the Palestinian cause was Still a talking point in the political Campaigning of politicians the Jordanian Egyptian politicians and continues to be Um for them to gain popularity because That's where the hearts of the people Are Um and then you know the Zionist regime Is quite explanatory the Imperial Zionist regime I mean what else do you Call a regime that sought help from Imperialist powers to depopulate an Entire country and build a new one on Top of it So mostly you say the thing That Abraham records achieved is a Is a negative thing for Palestine So these kinds of agreements amongst the Power About the uh between the leadership is Not uh yeah it's not positive for for The region no no obviously they're going To be marketed as as positive and Obviously another They're gonna Have this flowery language surrounding Them and and the idiots in the room Might like nod and smile but anybody

With critical thinking skills can know That if a people continue to be under Occupation you know that's there's Nothing positive there and it's also There's you know let's linger a little Bit on the mutual interests the only way Morocco could normalize relations with The Israeli regime Is So that the Israeli regime could Recognize Moroccan sovereignty over in The western Sahara Which just happened actually last week And now Morocco uh and before that Morocco recognized uh Sovereign Israeli Sovereignty over the West Bank it's not Like Morocco itself is just has no Interest in this kind of uh deal You mentioned that uh you you hope of Accomplishing uh some of the things that Hassan kind of finding was able to Accomplish Let me ask you a silly question perhaps A silly question do you have interest in Running for political office In uh Or in into leadership I hear laughter in The room Um to lead In a leadership position in Palestine Not not currently no Not at all let's see if this ages well I Don't think you know I I don't think There's there's a body through what's

You know I can run for anything it's Like They're completely dysfunctional and Also you know I don't want to wear a Suit all the time that's Who would want to do that So from which kind of pedestal or from Which kind of uh stage do you think you Could be most effective You know I I speak I was born and raised In Jerusalem I speak perfect Arabic I Think my my Arabic writing is much Superior to my English writing but I Choose to Um write in English because I think there's not there's a disparity And there's a Chasm between what is Um said in Arabic on this in the street In Palestine and what is said here About Palestinians Um both by Anti-palestinian racists and people who Are pro Palestine and advocates for Palestine and I believe I and a few Others from my Generations or many Others actually from my own generation Are working to fill that Chasm and I Also believe that literature culture the Public sphere changing the public Opinion changing the narrative is Important to affecting policy to Affecting change affecting material Change you know I'm not gonna I'm not Gonna go read a poem in front of uh in

Front of a checkpoint in what's it cuts In Flames that's not I'm not I'm not That delusional about the power of words But I do think That I have a responsibility and I have a Privileged even to have a voice to have Some kind of platform and if I'm not you Know defining myself if I'm not talking And representing myself then other People will Define me and their their Definitions of the Palestinian people Across the few past decades have not Been coined or generous to the Palestinian people that's one thing the Other thing is I believe in the United States as a as a front for change Um I believe we have a lot more leverage Here than we do back home Um again I believe in in Someone said the other day I can't I Can't remember their name but someone Said no stone unturned I believe in in Fighting on all fronts but here really I Can go I can go protest in front of the Israeli Embassy without getting shot Um there's a lot there's a lot of work To be to be done here there's a lot of People Um waking up I would even argue that a Reckoning is coming Um in the American public and more and More American people are concerned where Their tax money is going or concerned

What their politicians are invested in More and more American people are saying Not on our dime are saying not uh you Know Not not not today not not here and Also there's many Palestinians in the Diaspora uh here in the United States And Europe Who uh benefit and could benefit from Political education and in in the English language because of diaspora Across history the Palestinian investor Has been affected in the 70s and the 80s Any You know and I'm hoping ever since 2021 There has been a Resurgence of the power And influence of the Palestinian Diaspora To ask another silly question since you Mentioned the United States I don't know If you follow the politics in the United States but uh do you have a preference Of presidential candidates in the 2024 Election Or is that do you follow I do follow Where each candidate stands under Different policies I do I think Everybody in the world should be able to Vote for American elections actually I Do follow because of the influence yes Yes yeah Um I don't have a preference uh whatsoever I don't you know I saw Cornell West on

CNN I don't think you know I don't know if he's Gonna Go Far with His campaign Cornelius is running with The green party and I don't think he's Going to achieve much success but I saw Him on CNN Um berating Anderson Cooper and I Enjoyed that very much wouldn't mind Seeing that on my screen Regularly regularly but okay don't Really have an opinion about you know Euro Rifka a book of poetry how did that Come about maybe you can Tell the story of of that book coming to Be You know I signed the book when I had a Lot a lot less visibility Um in the world so when I didn't think Thousands and thousands and thousands People would be reading it I decided to Include many poems which I wrote when I Was young Um because it's a it's a long it's a Long it's a long journey this book Um it's it starts in Jerusalem it goes To Atlanta it goes back to Jerusalem and Then it ends in New York And the river is the name of my Grandmother and it's it's it's an Arabic Name a Hebrew name and it means to Accompany someone And I I wanted to write about Displacement In a way that was beyond what we read

About in English Poetry has a medium I don't know if I Have much faith in it anymore To be honest maybe like I'm turned off By it um and I'll revisit it again in a Few years But at the time of writing this book Poetry as a medium it Really was A source of Hope and inspiration for me So my mother was a was a poet and she Would You know her and my dad would play this Game in the morning she would read her Poems to him and he would guess which Lines Would be red penciled by the Israeli Military censor because she would submit Her poems to the local newspaper Newspaper and you know the military Sensor has to go over it And you know she would get her poems Back with a bunch of words erased and They would laugh about it was very much Part of my my upbringing and you know as A Palestinian when you're excluded from Mainstream spaces including media and Journalism poetry tends to be a place Where you can say what you want to say Without repercussions and I say that I Realize that our greatest Writer I was thinking if any literally Had his car bombed exploded because of His ratings and you know recently during

Tattur a poet with Palestinian poet with An Israeli citizenship was imprisoned For a few months for publishing a poem On Facebook in which he said resist my People resist So even that is not necessarily true But anyway it just felt like I could It's a place where I could talk and Express uh large ideas in a simplistic Way And you know the best example I could Give you is one of my favorite poets uh When when the Israeli authorities Decided to do the land the land law Which classified Um I believe 93 of Historic Palestine is Israeli owned State-owned forgive me and then when When they also did the absentee property Law which allows uh the Israeli Governments take over homes that were Depopulated from the Palestinian owners He wrote a poem called God as a refugee It's a kind of a sarcastic sardonic poem In which he goes you know God has become A refugee sir so confiscate even the Carpet of the mosque and sell the church Because it's his property and seller Orphans because their father is absent And do whatever you want blow it's like It's a sarcastic poem that was in Reaction to these laws that translated To the everyday Palestinian to the Farmers to the landowners what these

Bureaucratic complicated laws meant to Them what they meant to their land and What it meant how what what effect Are these laws going to have on these People's lands and that I think is the Role of poetry that I try to to achieve So poetry ultimately Prizes The Power of Words And So It the Medium the power of the media of poetry Transfers nicely to the any medium that Celebrates words so even I mean just writing novels uh tweeting Yeah you're also working on a new book A memoir what's the title uh what can You say about it Memoir is bizarre because you know I'm So Young so it's not really my Memoir But it's rather the Memoir a member of The neighborhood which I grew up the Title the tentative title is a million States and one and it's so not to how Many different realities and universes Exist in this tiny one country Um and it's you know it's it's kind of It's kind of a documentation of the two Waves of exposure of expulsion in 2009 And 2020 and 2021 and the kind of behind The scenes of The Campaign that took Place the Diplomatic and media campaign And Grassroots campaign that took place To save our homes and it's also an Exploration of other uh Communities that are threatened with With the expulsion and other communities

Who are resisting in their own way be it In beta and nabulous or South herban Hills in in masafiriotto or in silhouan Or um in the club all these communities That are dealing with different forms of Expulsion and you know the emphasis that I'm trying to achieve with this book is Dignity Um I want to write a book About uh you know my My experiences that is like super that Is super dignified that kind of kicks Its Feet up on the table and says what it Wants unabashedly because you know We are told not only are we going to be Victimized but we are going to be polite In our suffering and I want to reject That completely and I want to lean into The humor of the past few years of my Life because I think that's really what The world needs and what I need to be Writing a few questions here but one of Them is about humor uh in rivka you Wrote my mother has always said the most Tragic of disasters is those that cause Laughter What do you think she meant by that Yeah it's I don't know if I mean it's my Mom that's my mom saying but I don't Know if it's like probably a proverb That I first heard from my mom but it's Uh Tech like uh The most evil of atrocity is what makes

You laugh And it can be you know it's open for Interpretation Um you should be you should be aware of One one school of thought would say you Should be a weary of the things that Make you laugh but another school of Thought is Would say this is a commentary on like Our natural reactions to tragedies right In like 2012 2011 something like this we Have like a protest And Um after the protest all of the women of The neighborhood were sitting down under The the Fig Tree of our neighborhood Which they always do and you know A bunch of soldiers maybe 40 soldiers Started marching down this the street And everybody dispersed and hidden their Homes but my aunt who has now passed Away my aunt refused to go home she Wanted to to gather her teacups because She really cared about her teacups Um so I was begging her to go inside and She refused she was getting her tea cup So a soldier A soldier you know uh Grabbed me and squeezed me between his Baton and an electricity pole and it was Very excruciatingly painful and Traumatizing for me as a child but it Was It's also like a funny memory in in a

Way despite the pain despite the The trauma that came with it it was it's There's still something funny about it The absurdity of it yeah and it's like It's dignifying to find humor in these Kinds of things it makes you realize you Are not so weak you are not so powerless Another thing is you know my same on too Is like super obsessed with cleanliness Would Um you know insist on not going To sleep before washing the dishes and I Would always sit there and say what You're just gonna like you're gonna give Them the house clean like you can leave It dirty so they have to clean it up and These little things although like Incredibly you know absurd and Um telling of a harrowing reality that Our family and many in the neighborhood Were living are also the coping Um Mechanisms that we were using to to deal With our everyday Uh reality And so much in the public framing of Palestinians be it in media and novels And diplomacy and so on and so forth Is that of the powerless victim is that Of the person who only weeps you know Like Israeli propagandists for example Um will like show pictures on Twitter of Like a a house in Russia and they'll be Like look this house has Windows like

They're talking about their BC's but They have a nice they have a balcony on Their house what are they talking about Like you know or like they'll show a Video of a supermarket like how come They're talking about a blockade when They have a supermarket and blah blah as Though you know the ceiling has been so Lowered that we can't even afford Joy Anymore or you know a little supermarket In the neighborhood So as a poet as a writer I've written a Book of poetry now working a new book What can you say About your process of crafting words I Think people listening to this can can Hear that there's a poetry the way you Speak in English So Somebody that cares about The craftsmanship of words in both English and Arabic what can you say About your process Uh it's a lot more neat than like this Conversation it's like I am obsessed With with sentences and it takes me a Long time to like Finish a piece of writing I'm I I'm a Perfectionist do you edit a lot I edit All the time and I like can't move on From one sentence until it's perfect but I will say my other writer friends here In New York do not face Is how

Easily disrupted my writing is by other News Any all picture stories in my editor About something for example and then as I'm writing it 20 minutes and some kid was shot and Killed by the Israeli military so you Have to say something about it and then 30 minutes later as I'm writing it There's news about a home demolition in Silhouette and there is this Relentless Um onslaught of news that prevents us And depresses of the ability to analyze To frame to think to conceptualize to You know to write beyond the current Affairs were stuck in this in the Relentlessness of the occupation That a lot of the time I worry that the The things I'm writing are always in Reaction to a crime that took place to a A bombing that took place and so on and So forth and I think that's Unfortunately true for so many Palestinian writers so You know I would say isolation and like stepping Away from the news is very important Um to do but I don't do it So okay so the the struggled to find the Time that the Timeless message in it is Uh an ongoing struggle for you I mean There is there is the the Timeless you Know it's not even timelessness it's Timeless I think what what you're right

Is always timely because the occupation Is ongoing but the struggle is you know Moving beyond the news and tackling more Nuances Um because my in Arabic I can in Arabic I can philosophy as I can talk about Violence then I can talk about my Complicated relationship with violence Or like my complicated I can complicate And nuance and give things Nuance but in English people still do not believe we Are under occupation even though it is An internationally recognized fact that Is broadcasted 24 7 to the world's most Watched screens so we're stuck in like a Practice of providing facts and figure As in actually this happened and and This person did this and and according To international law and blah blah blah So we're stuck in this because the basic Truths about our own existence are Denied that we don't even have the Luxury of you know Evolving or rating Beyond it or at least Evolving my writing Beyond it and this Is what I'm trying to do with this Notebook It does fascinating that in English You're uh your brain is more inclined to Be To go towards activism or as in Arabic You have the luxury to be more a Philosopher I wouldn't say activism I Would say journalism like just uh just

Making sure you know like disrupting the Flow of the sentence to insert a Statistic or insert a Historical fact that should be employed Yeah and should be a household name but It's not Um you know I can't just say that Akbar I have to Say the nakaba the 1948 total near total Destruction of fasting Society at the Hands of Zionist militias that leader Formed the Israeli military that now Terrorizes us today and there's like and There's like three tier legal system Blah blah you I can just say knock about You have to give all of these Explanations And that's that's heartbreaking and People ought to do better people are Ought to you know do better this is not It's not it's not what my uh literature Should be limited to it's not what Anybody's literature should be going to Do it's the job of It's the job of you know news reporters To reward the news but a lot of the time They use looted language they use Passive voice they offer skate facts And it's on the shoulders of us The heavy carrying would you say the Depressing in in the United States Does a good or poor job of covering Israel and Palestine terrible job Horrible job what's up they don't do

Their job whatsoever what are the Biggest failings not mentioning that a Town is occupied when you're reporting About an occupied Town not mentioning That a settlement is illegal or a Settler is illegally present you know Palestinian Village when you're Reporting on them only quoting Um Israeli officials and only quoting Israeli Protestants and police officers And framing your entire analysis with Israeli officials and only interviewing Palestinians when they have Um been brutalized and victimized Physically yeah those are some of the Issues there's there is plenty and then Like saying things you know like is Israel will Um Israel will bomb a hospital in Gaza And the Press will say like Hamas run Hospital and this negative association With Hamas will remove any sympathy from The reader towards the victims of this Hospital bombing Um a lot of things that a lot of a lot Of them are Sinister I have many friends Many journalists friends and I've seen Many journalists online speak about Their experiences when talking about Palestine the censorship that goes on Into it Um and you have many journalist friends Some at the New York Times some

Um They used to be at Washington Post who Tell me the kinds of battles they had to Do they had to go through with their Editors to let them even utter the word Palestine And not even on in like news pieces like Pieces about Let's say a Palestinian artist or a Palestinian Chef or whatever you know There's lots of there's there's a lot That happens behind the scene that is Not reported on Um because when it comes to Palestine The the rules and the laws of Journalism Are bendable you know passive voice is King emitting facts is acceptable Anything Goes So you personally just psychologically What would have been The lowest points in your life The darkest points A recent study came out and said that 52 Percent of Palestinians have depression I would argue that the number is much Much higher I think it would be absurd Um for someone to live under the Conditions we live under and not Contemplate Many things many things not just suicide But many many many things and if and if People were to put themselves in our Shoes for just one day they would Understand

Um Where all of the raids and all the Resistance is coming from Um it's not an easy life So where do you find the strength I'm I'm surrounded by good people and I'm I I'm starting to make with people and I Don't even think of it as a strength I Think that this is my obligation it just Feels like the thing I have to do it's Not I don't need inspiration I don't Need strength I don't need It's it's just my obligation it's just There is a great travesty taking place In the world Um And I and few others Have been put in a place where we're Able to talk about it to a few more People and it's just my obligation I Have to do it what gives you hope about The future of Palestine what gives me Hope about what the future of Boston is Taking a look at history and Understanding the across history there Has not been an injustice that lingered Um endlessly you know everything comes On to an end it's not necessarily There's not necessarily like a perfect Resolution for everything But nothing nothing Continues and it's and it's in the form That it started in and the occupation And colonialism and Palestine and

Zionism all of these things are not at All sustainable whatsoever Um so taking a look at history you know A lot of a lot of what I'm saying um Today and what I have said in your Podcast many people would have would be You know Pro clutching hearing me say What I say but I always try to remind Myself of that during Jim Crow during Slavery during the Holocaust Um During the occupation of Algeria during Any point of colonialism In the African continent Um People did not possess the moral Clarity They possessed today when they talk About these things and all of these Things were contested and controversial And in many many cases legal and today They are deplorable condemnable and People say never again and they don't Remember them so that's what gives me Hope is believing in the you know And believing in the inevitability of Justice What do you love most about Palestine What are like maybe little things that You remember from your childhood from Your life there in each Jerusalem and Elsewhere they you just brings a smile To your face I think this is the unabashedness uh Uh of Palestinians

Um where people who are told And were at some point were told by the Large majority of the world that we Should shrink ourselves that we should Be ashamed of who we are that we are Monsters that we are terrorists that we Are blah blah And Palestinian people don't really give A you know they're continuing to Live as they do they continue to resist They continue to write they continue to To do to do all that they do and they Love them the most and they love our Ability to laugh more than anything else Uh one thing is that's under Misunderstood in America in American Culture about Palestinian culture or Just Western culture in there is like Martyrdom culture A lot of the time people Um will will you know broadcast images Of Palestinian women cheering when their Sons have been killed By um The Israeli forces and they'll say you Know these people glorify death and These people are eager to like have sex With 70 virgins in heaven and so on and So forth but that's not the case the Whole idea of the occupation when they Are killing our children the whole idea Is that they are trying to break our Spirits so these mothers whose hearts Are broken who are anguished who are you

Know so So in so much pain when they are Cheering they are not they are not Celebrating they're not seeing they are They are letting the occupier know that You have not broken my spirit I have not Yet been defeated and I think that is Beautiful it's the same thing with our Prison culture you know Palestinians are Fascinating in the sense that Palestinians go to prison and they study And they come out with degrees they can Part they can find ways to participate In Civil Society Um they can even smuggle you know sperm From prison to give a life outside of it Because they understand in their Philosophy of Prisons they understand That these structures these buildings Were built to break your spirits so what Do you do you allow you don't allow it To break your spirits you're resisted You you continue to to hold on to life You continue to hold on to your love of Life you continue to hold on to your Love of freedom and you'll come out of Prison and you're celebrated by your Community And the prison has not broken your Spirit so all of these Structures and systems that is the Designist movement has put into place Via the shoot to kill policies or the Prisons or the demolishing our homes

That were meant to kill our spirits They don't you you demolish the home in In Jerusalem and the people say don't Worry we'll we'll build another and you Demolishing will build another that's What I admire most about the Palestinian People it's this resilience and you know People love to say resilience but I Think it's stubbornness I think we're Such a stubborn people and I think That's that's great Well uh Muhammad thank you for being a Man who exemplifies this unbreakable Spirit uh thank you for the words You've written the words you've spoken And thank you for talking today this is An honor and this is uh thank you for Educating me thank you so much Thanks for listening to this Conversation with Muhammad alcard to Support this podcast please check out Our sponsors in the description and now Let me leave you with some words from Nelson Mandela It always seems impossible until It's done Thank you for listening and hope to see You next time

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