I wrote last week that I am grateful for the Palestinian non-violence movement. (I still am.)
But what I wrote feels somewhat incomplete. Non-violence tends not to be popular, or easy. It is also not a one-way street.
I think it’s often the only decent choice, and often the only option that might lead to a future with equality, justice, and peace, as opposed to just inspiring more hatred and killing, but it is often a lot to ask of people. If you’re asking it of others, you should probably first be asking it of yourself.
It’s not necessarily an easy place to stand.
Non-violence is staring the aftermath of a bombing in the face, and not wishing what you see on your enemies. Non-violence is recognizing that the anger you feel is only a mask, and underneath it is sadness. Non-violence is refusing to be enemies.
Non-violence is remembering, even when rockets are coming toward you in Beer Sheva, that you do not want missiles and bombs directed at your neighbors in Gaza, who are not so different from you, and opposing those missiles and bombs.
It means supporting Al-Arakib, and Sheikh Jarrakh, and Bil’in, whose residents have been peacefully protesting the expropriation of their homes and land.
It includes Israel’s conscientious objectors, from the founders of Yesh Gvul during the 1982 Lebanon war, to Natan Blanc, who has been in jail for over 100 days and counting for refusal to serve, because he is not willing to take part in maintaining Israel’s indefinite military occupation of the west bank.
No one said non-violent protest wouldn’t make you uncomfortable. The BDS movement is squarely in line with principles of non-violence, and whether you agree or disagree with its goals, it should be respected as such. There is a tendency to refer to BDS as “economic terrorism” and “cultural terrorism” which mostly just reminds me that I’m happy that people are expressing their views by not buying Ahava skincare products, as opposed to through actual terrorism.
Nb: That last link is pretty much what you’re expecting. It’s ok not to actually read it; having been present for its aftermath, I barely could.