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Nov-24-2012 00:45printcomments

I am a Muslim but Not a Palestinian

I stand with Palestine. But I denounce with equal conviction any rhetoric or agenda which seeks to demonize, subjugate or remove Jews from the region.

I am a Muslim

(BALI, Indonesia) - I am a Muslim but not a Palestinian. Others are Palestinian but not Muslim. Still more again are neither Muslim nor Palestinian but nevertheless conscientiously support the Palestinian cause. Then of course there are people who are both Muslim and Palestinian but are more swept along by the political currents that wash over them as they try to live their day to day lives, than actively involved in trying to influence those currents. I say nothing here about those vehemently opposed to the cause.

Some people bring more knowledge than others to bear when forming their views. Some bring more humanity and wisdom to bear than others. So what exactly is the Palestinian cause? If you ask 10 people, you are likely to get 10 different answers. Some will say it is the righteous destruction of Israel and establishing the State of Palestine in its stead. Others will say it is the fight to realize the legitimate right of Palestinians to live in peace and security in a Nation-State of their own, while remaining silent about or even accepting the existence of Israel. Still others again will say the cause is about the right of all people to dignity and certain inalienable human rights. Then, of course, there are those who see the Palestinian cause as part of a larger cause which aims to establish an Islamic Palestinian State and eventually a new Islamic Caliphate. For some, the Palestinian cause is an end in itself and for others it is a means to a yet further end. For every different conception of what the cause is, there are many differing, even opposing views on the proper strategy and tactics for advancing the cause.

The best minds of several generations have tried with conviction to create a solution without improving the lives of Palestinians. That my own opinions do not matter, I am under no illusions. But I feel obliged to say that unless the myriad “types” of people who join together in support of the Palestinian cause can find a way to voice their support and acknowledge the contribution of others with whom they may at times disagree . . . unless a solution can be advanced without demonizing any peoples or individuals based on race, religion or ethnicity, then there will be no solution. For my part, as a Muslim and a person of conscience, I stand with Palestine. But I denounce with equal conviction any rhetoric or agenda which seeks to demonize, subjugate or remove Jews from the region.  Opposition to Islamaphobia and the oppression of Islamic peoples, if it is to remain legitimate and succeed without contaminating that which it seeks to defend, must avoid sectarianism and "Islamically-grounded counter-racism."

Of the 193 member states of the United Nations, 131 (67.9%) have recognised the State of Palestine as of November 2012. Their total population is over 5.5 billion people, equalling 80 percent of the world's population. Despite this overwhelming support for Palestine, there can never be a solution until the United States and the European Community recognize the legitimate right of Palestinians to live in peace and security within a state of their own, without first requiring of them that Israel’s right to exist within its current boundaries is accepted. Those who support the cause must understand that the Atlantic world will never deliver to Palestinians the homeland, dignity and security they are so righteously entitled to as long as the legitimacy of the Palestinian position is undermined by any apparent commitment to ridding all lands embraced by the Palestine Mandate of Jews. Similarly, there can never be a solution as long as Israel continues to enjoy the unqualified financial and military support of America and a full exemption from the consequences of violating international law.

For my part, I commend the position now taken by Iceland which recognizes without qualification the right of Palestine to exist as a state within the pre-1967 borders, including all of East Jerusalem but not the Western Wall of the Second Temple. If the world will not yet accede to the right of Palestinians to self determination within a recognized state of their own, then as an interim measure at the very least the UN or the 131 countries which already recognize Palestine should make what remains of Palestinian territory a Protectorate with full autonomy devolving to the people of Palestine. Let any further aggression against Palestinians or their remaining territory be considered an act of aggression against the world!

Until Palestinian security and self-determination becomes a reality, I have nothing to say about Israel’s corresponding rights as a state. I am sorry if this offends anybody who takes a different view. I am open to being educated about any error in my position.

* Barry Grossman is a graduate of University of Calgary (B Comm 1984) and Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB 1987). After completing articles at the Toronto Law Firm Goodman & Carr, he joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne and subsequently lectured in law at Monash University in Australia. After working as a litigation consultant to the Australian law firm Freehill, Hollingdale & Page, he moved to Indonesia where he has lived for many years and operates several businesses.

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