Ms. Berlin, you call yourself a Palestinian activist, you claim to be someone who supports Palestinian rights and justice. But instead of constructively discussing with those in power who matter, you wasted an hour of my life on Facebook, calling me an oppressor. Ms. Berlin, it pains me to see “that someone as passionate as you will never be able to create true change because your arguments and views are so destructive”.
Ms. Berlin, I wrote to you in the hopes that we could come to an understanding, in the hopes that you were a reasonable individual. Your comparisons of Israel to ISIS, your anti-Semitic rhetoric, and so much more, I thought only to be misguided. Unfortunately, throughout your “47 years fighting for justice for the Palestinians” you have become hardened to the truth. It is people like you who take away from the Palestinian cause. And that isn’t just coming from me, that comes from Ali Abunimah, a radically anti-Israel journalist who more often than not I cannot stand to read.
After consistently following your comments on “Israel Unlimited” and “A Free Sovereign Palestine and Safe Israel”, two Facebook groups dedicated to discussing the conflict, I reached out to you in the hopes that you could be reasoned with. Instead, you stated, “I don’t care what you oppressors think…if you were truly Pro-Palestinian, you would never consider being pro-Israeli. At this point, shocked to be declared an oppressor in my support for peace, I attempted to restart a dialogue with you.
Ms. Berlin, I tried to remind you that a “just peace” requires members of all parties to be present at all negotiations. Peace cannot be achieved unilaterally; at no point in history has any country achieved any semblance of peace by unilaterally declaring itself victor in a conflict. It simply doesn’t work.
Instead of responding constructively, you stated and I quote “I’m not interested in peace with the Jews…I intend to hold the Zionist feet to the fire”. You then proceeded to assume I am a Zionist (which I am proudly), thereby stating that you are neither interested in peace or discussion with me, you simply want to burn my feet and force my decedents into refugee hood. You called me the “enemy of the Palestinians”, but the Palestinians have no greater enemy than people like you: those too blind to see, those too hardened to discuss.
When I thought you were done bashing me, you responded with even more tired rhetoric, comparing myself to an Afrikaner in South Africa or a racist white Southerner prior to the Civil War. You then stated that if I don’t believe in the right of return, the Nakba, the Palestinian narrative in its entirety, we have nothing to discuss or speak about. On the other hand, I believe we have everything to speak about; I consider you knowledgeable and I respect your experience, and yet, you refuse to engage in discussion. This confuses me greatly.
Ms. Berlin, your ad hominem attacks and washed up rhetoric are nothing more than that, disgraceful and disturbing at best. I wish you the best of luck in continuing the good fight, the fight we are all fighting, for a just peace. I can only hope and pray that someday, you open your eyes and realize that without constructive dialogue and understanding of others, you will never create change.
Sighted below is my original letter to Ms. Berlin, the letter that was responded to with charges of my oppressiveness and the fact that I am the enemy of the Palestinians:
I have consistently followed both the pages of Israel Unlimited and A Free Sovereign Palestine and Safe Israel, and I am sorry to say that I have been nothing short of disgusted by your writing. Your comparisons of Israel to ISIS are clearly anti-semitic and horrendous. Your failure to see the truth of any situation is disturbing at best and I am truly concerned with your tendency to engage in confirmation bias. Not only do you deny everything you see as untrue, but you fail to have concrete positive discussions with those opposed to you.
Nothing will change without constructive dialogue, and you have only succeeded at stifling that dialogue. I hope that you can consider this in the future.
I too, like you, believe in justice for the Palestinians though your sense of justice seems to be sickening and perverse. I implore you to consider your thoughts before you post them to Facebook. It reflects negatively on you and leads to the disintegrating of meaningful dialogue.
I hope you can heed my advice and look forward to moving forward positively, for your sake, and for the sake of the Palestinians.
Seth Greenwald, Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian activist