Sunday, March 13, 2016

My letter to the Guardian RE Mira Awad's enlightening and courageous column "Palestinian Israelis are often dismissed. Yet our voice is key to peace"

When I represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 together with the Jewish-Israeli singer Noa, the pressure from my Palestinian compatriots to withdraw was overwhelming.’ Mira Awad, right, and Noa Photograph: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images
RE Palestinian Israelis are often dismissed. Yet our voice is key to peace

Dear Sir,

I was delighted to read Mira Awad's enlightening and courageous column "Palestinian Israelis are often dismissed. Yet our voice is key to peace"... and it was wonderful to be able to hear her exquisite award winning voice singing Bahlawan.  It is indeed time to recognize  and appreciate "the acrobats"... and the many magnificently talented hard working people and good role models who practice and perfect peace as they make the most of their gifts and opportunities.

born into an Arab family in Israel (who currently teaches at the University of Maryland ) in a recent Washington Post column "How Israel’s Jewishness is overtaking its democracy"
explains the importance of Arab-Jewish relations within Israel- and the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  He points out that the "loss of hope for a two-state solution, and the rise of social media that has displayed extremist attitudes that used to be limited to private space. In the era of Facebook and Twitter, Arab and Jewish citizens post attitudes that deeply offend the other: An Arab expresses joy at death of Israeli soldiers killed by Palestinians, while a Jew posts a sign reading “death to Arabs.” Hardly the stuff of co-existence. Leave it to opportunist politicians, extremists and incitement to do the rest."

Echo chamber thinking empowered by the internet and the entertainment driven nature of many news reports and forwards pushes many misguided people away from seeing the big picture, and away from understanding the importance of basics such true respect for universal human rights and Golden Rule thinking. 

Music might be, but ethics and the rule of fair and just laws are not based on popularity polls: Ethics (and fair and just laws ) are a consensus of what generations of humankind's best and brightest have concluded is most likely right and what is most likely wrong.  The test of time is the only way to know what works and what doesn't work.  We know from the Nazi Holocaust that discrimination and bigotry can quickly grow monstrously evil and cruel. 

We also know from Monty Python's Flying Circus that "No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition!" It is easy to look back at witch hunts and condemn the participants, but at the time things weren't quite so clear. 

Anne Selden Annab

The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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