hip hop music

January 12, 2008

Evolution of an Outlook

The first time I saw the Palestinian hip-hop group D.A.M. was in 2005, when they did their first gig in New York.

A lot has changed since then for this Jewish-American hip-hop writer. Now that D.A.M. released their first album (which I reviewed in the Washington Post), apparently the change shows.

I went to the West Bank in 2006, and saw some things that I needed to see — the Deheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, Israeli settler terror in Hebron, the streets of Ramallah, and of course, the Wall, the Wall everywhere. It was a sobering counterpoint to my trip to Israel proper the year before, something that I wrote about in my-yet-to-be-published-Masters-Project-because-I’m-neglecting-everything-else-in-my-life-but-this-book

In it, I described my outlook in the years prior to the West Bank trip...

"My politics aligned with standard “liberal Zionism.” I supported a two-state solution and believed that the failure of the peace process lay not with “us” — reasonable Israelis and Jewish-Americans — but with “them” — the unreasonable Yasser Arafat and Palestinian militants, who had been offered 95 percent of what they wanted, yet still resorted to violence."

After the trip, I summarized my transformation this way:

"If Israel is a democracy, I conclude, it is the democracy of Jim Crow. And if being a Zionist means supporting that, then I am most certainly not a Zionist."

In other words: If I am a staunch multi-culturalist while in America — meaning that I believe in creating a plural society where people of different ethnicities co-exist on an even playing field — then I must be a multi-culturalist everywhere, and Israel/Palestine can be no exception. Whether that means a one-state or a two-state solution is up for discussion — and frankly, at this point, neither one seems possible despite what our Hypocrite-in-Chief says. (Remember when he slammed Clinton in 2000 for getting too tied up in the peace process? NOW look who wants to leave a legacy.)

All I know is that you can’t solve one refugee problem by creating another one. It was true in 1948, and it’s still true now.

--Dan Charnas

Posted by dcharnas at January 12, 2008 10:03 AM

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