"What's the context?" A legitimate question, but one which often allows for a restatement of what one already thinks reinforced by a cherry-picked historical narrative.
See, for example Ben Wedeman's article on CNN which traces violent incidents to last year but fails to mention the 58 Palestinians killed in the West Bank that year. Meanwhile, Stand With Us have posted a photograph of an Arab stabbing a Jewish journalist in 1947, the implication being, "It's not the Occupation, it's anti-Semitism - and the methods are hauntingly similar".
Context of course always has context. More important is evidence of decisive changes in the relationship between parties in a conflict. There are many such examples, but I wonder if the most decisive could be the 'Afula/al-Fula Affair of 1909-1910. The first Zionist Aliyah had met barely any resistance at all from Arab Palestinians, well used to religious and sectarian diversity, but at al-Fula, a new European Zionist landlord displaced the Arab peasantry from the land and installed European Jewish resident labour. This highlighted how vulnerable Ottoman land reforms of the 19th Century had made rural Arab peasants to transfers of ownership that, from the perspective of those who dwelt in it, seemed arbitrary. There was no legal recognition of their right to "their land", the land in which their families were invested, and from which their ancestors drew livelihood and meaning. Instead, land became real estate: as in al-Fula an absentee landlord in Beirut could sell to the highest bidder, and with European anti-Semitism fuelling Zionism, this would inevitably be a European Zionist.
During the Second Aliyah, then, resistance to Zionism began to harness a pre-existing energy and solidarity, perhaps even a national solidarity, that had resisted Egyptian conscription in 1834 and had latterly represented shared interests to the often disinterested Ottomans. However the displacement made possible by the Ottoman’s legal disconnection of labourer from land and effected by the systematic intensity of European Zionist immigration was more decisive, more violent and more permanent, than that of Muhammad Ali's conscription.
It is arguably therefore the century-old experience of displacement, and impotence in the face of apparently arbitrary power, that provides the historical thread to anti-Zionist resistance. The context is displacement. The symbols attached to this resistance, and the methods used, borrow from a million sources: nationalism, postcolonial discourse, active nonviolence and, occasionally, grubby anti-Semitism.
The justice of the cause, however, remains intact.
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