The Two Sides of Gradualism

Women seeking equal pay and egalitarian say, LBGT people aspiring to full acceptance, men of color yearning for balanced judicial treatment do not care much for gradualism, they desire revolution. The surge in popularity of candidates outside the mainstream of US politics during this election cycle, hints at a groundswell of discontent among the masses that may translate into imminent change .

The world it seems has grown impatient with the evolutionary process. Technology and easily accessible information have made us into animals routinely seeking instant gratification. Think about it, not too long ago we had to read maps to navigate roads, hail cabs on the street, buy airline tickets from a travel agent, go to stores to buy things, wait until evening to get our news and so on. Today, we complain if a page doesn’t load on our hand held device in milliseconds.

Technology and the instant and constant access to information has made us efficient but are we better off? From the point of view of social justice and equality we arguably are. The LBGT community, the Black Lives Matter movement, Ukrainian pro-West protesters and other social movements have been able to parlay technological advancements into change or at least putting their issues front and center and effecting dialogue.

On the flip side, it allows lies, misinformation, false claims; revisionism and vilification equal airtime with the truth. It sidelines nuanced facts and histories that have been the subject of dialogue and negotiations for generations. Case in point, the Palestinians. Looking around the world, seeing rapid change, understanding all too well the value of optics, knowing well that facts are meaningless in the face of constant misinformation they have advanced their cause gaining more sympathy not condemnation, in the face of brutal knifings, shootings and vehicular homicides perpetrated by their people in the name of freedom. This is just the latest round in their quest to wait the Jews out.

I am not unsympathetic to their aspirations nor do I accept blindly any longer the Zionist narrative as taught to me in my childhood, these people have a claim, they have rights. But how can I not be absolutely mortified by Palestinian brutality, incitement, self-destructive denial and failure to recognize that some other nation (we Jews) have an equally valid, historical claim to the same real estate? They want prompt recompense for their assertions, free of gradation with not even a nod to opposing views. Jews from their view need to just disappear or give up any claim to their ancestral homeland – because, let’s be real here, they refuse to concede any part of their own narrative.

Palestinians want to be treated like an oppressed minority seeking equal rights, yet do little to advance their cause other than incite their people and perpetrate violence. While Israel has not done nearly enough to give Palestinians confidence in their peaceful intentions, Palestinians have done little to assure Israelis they want a resolution that includes an end to all conflict. In fact they concede the opposite, that only through conflict will they obtain their objective of their own country.

Hindsight teaches us that gradualism is not always the perfect path to change. I don’t want to go back to a time of separate water fountains, gays stuck in closets or women stuck in the home. Those changes only came about because the oppressed wrestled away power from the grip of those holding them back. The power structure offered gradual change and practicality at the time dictated small victories to achieve the ultimate goal. But looking back we always ask ourselves what took us so long? What were we thinking? Why didn’t we just see it for what it was when it was happening?

If the Palestinians want do away with the myth of gradualism, if they want revolution, if they want their own land, if they want peace and self-determination they will have to pluck power away from their own violence inciting leaders before they can turn their ire on Israel. Israel is an imperfect but willing partner. Israel has proven time and again a willingness to make concessions. That is the fact – no matter how many lies and false claims the Palestinians make. Israel and the Jews are not going anywhere. Not because of Palestinian knives, or rockets or Iranian bombs. The sooner they get that the sooner we have peace.

About the Author
Joel Moskowitz is a businessman and writer who lives in New York City. His blog, The Ranting Heeb can be read at