Coby Schoffman

Palestinians – let’s join forces

Original Artwork - Doreen Schoffman (@dordoreendesign) (used with permission)

To my Palestinian brothers and sisters in the diaspora, I know you are hurting just like me. Acknowledging our shared pain during this dark moment in history is something we are not doing enough of. We should be protesting side by side for the same thing, and I know that you know that’s true. We both don’t want to see childless mothers and motherless children. We both don’t want to see hate polluting the feeds of our phones and the quads of our campuses. We both don’t want our shared future to be bound by pain and PTSD instead of peace.

Maybe I’m naïve, in fact, I know I am, but I think most of us know what humanity is, and understand when movements and messages drift into waters where common sense and logic have sunk to the dark depths of the undiscoverable sea floor. I’m throwing out a ring buoy and attempting to deploy a life raft where logic and shared understanding can find safety and refuge. I know thousands, if not millions would ditch the scary seabed for something safe, sane, and practical if it were acceptable in their respective circles.

Let’s create a new circle.

From the comforts of the diaspora, we should be able to understand several things related to the current conflict. For starters, we can acknowledge that the protest movements have amplified misguided messages that have poured gasoline on the fires of hatred. Secondly, we can accept that the leaders of our people in our homelands have failed us. Third, we know there will be nothing that even resembles a cease fire until the hostages are returned. Finally, we should understand that there has been no greater moment in history where we can combine forces and push the powers that be towards a two-state solution, once and for all.

Let’s advocate for the same things, together.

Here are some declarations many of us can get behind: 1) the Israeli hostages should be released; 2) we denounce terrorism in all its forms; 3) Hamas terrorists should unilaterally surrender and put down their arms in the interest of preventing any further bloodshed of innocent civilians; 4) the Jewish terrorists of the hilltop youth should be arrested and held accountable for their criminality; 5) antisemitism and Islamophobia are deplorable in all forms; 6) face fact, both Israelis and Palestinians aren’t going anywhere; 7) our leaders back home perpetuating racist and shameful rhetoric should be banned from politics; 8) there should be two states for two peoples.

Let’s shift the paradigm.

Folks in your camp, just like mine, are wildly misinformed. Stuck in their social media echo chambers, and lacking newspaper subscriptions, many struggle to hold nuance and real understanding. Both sides believe they are marching in defense of humanity. Both sides don’t believe the death counts of the other. Both sides accuse the other of promoting propaganda. Both sides feel like their histories are unvalidated by the other. Both sides feel their cause is the just one. We can and should enlighten our people, and subsequently the world, by joining forces and pushing the same, simple, unifying messages, which condemn extremism and push for practical peace.

Let’s protect each other.

There is no real reason why we can’t come together here in the diaspora. It’s legal, it’s practical, and it may be the last real opportunity to push for lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Imagine a rally of hundreds of thousands of folks with Palestinian and Israeli flags, marching side by side, advocating for a shared, peaceful future, free of extremism, racism and bigotry. This is not outside the realm of possibility. We can collectively lead our people towards a just and prosperous future.

Let’s lead our peoples to peace.

About the Author
Coby Schoffman is a San Francisco-based serial social entrepreneur and Founder of The Nation Foundation. Schoffman received a MSc in Transnational Security from New York University and has a demonstrated history of working to craft complex, community-driven solutions in high conflict zones. The views in his columns are his own, and do not reflect those of any organization.
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