by Karla Schultz
This letter is in response to the multiple rejections of the word resistance when used to support the Palestinian movement against occupation, whereas other groups have used resistance to proudly define their history.
I came to learn that the Palestinian Flag raising event here in West Orange was canceled by the Mayor and was also denounced by certain groups, partly for the language of the event entitled “Palestinian Joy is Resistance”.
Next, at the Jan 17th town meeting, a letter was read, which was then reprinted in Tapinto. This was prior to a vote on equating certain speech with anti-semitism. Read by a Town Council member it stated, “Maybe now you can see why the Jewish community was upset when the original flier read ‘Palestinian Joy is Resistance.’ One definition of resistance is the refusal to accept or comply with something…Palestinian Joy is Resistance is interpreted by the Jewish people as the refusal to accept the state of Israel or the Jewish people. As with other derogatory terms that have been deemed unacceptable, resistance needs to be one of them.”
The UN upholds the Palestinian right to struggle “by all available means, including armed struggle.”
This includes Palestinians that not only live in Gaza, but also in the West Bank. In the West Bank, Israel governs with military rule which punishes Palestinians who exercise basic “western values” of civil rights.
Collectively, Palestinians are justified in their anger against oppression, as much as slaves who revolted. As justified as the many forms Jewish resistance took during the Holocaust. Before we criminalize all Palestinian resistance as terrorism, remember, even Mandela was on the US Terrorist Watch List and spent over 27 years in prison for opposing apartheid.
It is erroneous to equate all support for the Palestinian cause with support for Hamas. This stereotyping preys on people’s fears and encourages racism and violence toward Palestinians, and other Muslims and Arabs. It is upsetting to be associated with terrorism or antisemitism by officials in this town and be called a slew of other names for supporting people who have been ethnically cleansed for 75 years. West Orange shouldn’t be one-sided in this.
I personally don’t believe Hamas represents revolution for all Palestinians, but, how many Palestinian and Jewish lives are worth this military occupation? To demand a ceasefire is not anti-semitic. This censorship detracts from the larger policies of anti-semitism and Islamophobia.
-The US has sent more than 91 billion in military aid to Ukraine,where the far-right has been renaming streets and monuments for Nazi collaborators (from the Forward). As of Jan 2024, outlets such as CNN and ABC have reported that arms worth $1 billion have gone missing. We can only surmise in whose hands they have landed.
-Netanyahu has used the language of holy war to justify the killing of Palestinians: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them…put to death men and women, children and infants…”
From Gaza, to Israeli refusniks, to those who are arrested and lose their jobs, we are here because of them. We all have in common our histories of resistance and it’s the price our ancestors paid so it would not happen. Never again, means not to anyone, West Orange.