Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

We must believe there is a future for peace

Profile photo of Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib.

In the boundless digital landscape where opinions collide and merge, I discovered a nuanced beacon of thought from Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib as our positions diverge—I, a Zionist, and he, not—we find common ground in our hope for a reconciled future. His words resonate not with absolute conviction but with the language of possibility.

Displaying his Twitter profile in this blog proves to those who doubt humanity’s potential for dialogue that there are always individuals on the other side willing to engage. We do not have to walk the entire path to peace alone; if we venture halfway, we will find others like Ahmed coming from the opposite direction.

Here, I share Ahmed Fouad Al Khatib’s unedited thoughts, a reflection of our shared desire for understanding and humanity:

What about Zionism? Most Palestinians believe that their traumatic lived experience is the direct result of Zionism & the Zionist project. My grandparents were pushed out of their homes in 1948, and I very much carry a generational trauma from their displacement. However, so many Palestinians & their allies still don’t truly grasp the vast diversity of Zionism as an ideology & what it means to various Jewish & Israeli audiences. Zionists are not monolithic and come in political, religious, social, and national orientations and tendencies. It’s hard to capture the nuances and intricacies of this topic in brief words on Twitter, but my main thoughts are:

1. The idea that the pro-Palestine cause can only be advanced by aligning with “anti-Zionist” Jews is inaccurate and outright wrong and detrimental. Zionists are an inevitable part of the solution.

2. A Zionist doesn’t by default mean “anti-Palestinian” or anti-just peace & coexistence with Palestinians. I understand why so many would think otherwise, but we need a different framework for working with Zionists and their beliefs to move forward and build a different future.

3. So many of the early Zionists were very left-leaning, pro-coexistence people who wanted to live side-by-side with the indigenous Palestinian population. And yes, many were militant from the get-go or became militant after skirmishes and clashes with Palestinian revolutionaries (right or wrong, but that’s what happened). The idea here is that Zionism is a diverse movement that was not just a bunch of angry or hateful European Jews who were seeking the displacement of Palestinians. There were also numerous Arab Jews who adopted Zionist ideologies because they, too (like many Muslims in the Middle East/ consider the Caliphates & their conquests), longed for a safe place that could unify them with their brethren.

4. Because of the thousands of years of diaspora & oppression, Zionism became an appealing ideology to so many Jews who were longing for a sense of belonging and the right to self-determination. I understand why so many Palestinians feel it’s unfair for Jewish self-determination & liberation to come at their expense. But it’s important to understand this point to grasp why Zionism became a dominant theme within mainstream Judaism.

5. A free and prosperous Palestinian state will not come about from the “eradication” of Zionism, and the ideology is here to stay. Before you attack me as a “Zionist apologist,” please understand that my motivation is for us to find a way to move forward & affect the trajectory of this horrendous and bloody conflict.

6. It is not inherently antisemitic to criticize Zionism, which is a multi-faceted ideology that should not be immune to critique & scrutiny. However, and especially in recent times, anti-Zionism critiques can often veer over to antisemitic tropes, stereotypes, and classically hateful sentiments that cross the line from anti-Israel/anti-Zionist activism to antisemitism. This has been especially disturbing to observe since the horrendous events of October 7th.

The Palestinian people have legitimate grievances that are worthy of a just resolution. The occupation of the West Bank cannot go on forever if Israel is to have a secure future as a Jewish state. The despicable calls for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza’s population by high-ranking Israeli officials are immoral, terrible, and problematic and must be confronted.

Nevertheless, reductionist, simplistic slogans and rhetoric that pins all the ills, problems, issues, and current challenges experienced by Palestinians on Zionists and Zionism will neither advance the Palestinian cause nor will they help in understanding and working with Israelis and Jews for whom Israel means so much. Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are going anywhere – I’m not a Zionist. Still, I know that for peace to have any chance of succeeding, I have to work with Zionists and stop the endless cycle of demonization and dehumanization.

In sharing this, I reach out to those who believe dialogue is futile to reconsider. There is always someone to talk to; there are always voices of reason on both sides. Acknowledging this is the first step towards peace—a step we must take, for our shared humanity demands it, and our future depends on it. Let us all, then, in our words and deeds, commit to the pursuit of this peace, for it is in our hands to shape the days to come.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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