It has often been said that one cannot fully understand one’s own position until having taken on an alternative. Or, as a question, “How can we appreciate the micro and macro implications and reaches of our perspectives unless we also can explain and even defend polar points of view?” In the exercise that follows, I am asking for Zionists to attempt to think like a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories. Take on the perspective of one who considers Palestine a homeland and Israel a non-democratic oppressor.
At the risk of stating too much in favor of one position, I am refraining from describing a Palestinian perspective. Naturally, there are many micro perspectives within a broader ideology. And, this is very important; this is an exercise, an attempt to take on a perspective that is very new to many readers. I ask for sincerity not perfection in the posts.
Be prepared for me (and possibly others) to offer soft criticism of your post. Feelings run high in these matters, and many do not realize the sociological and humanitarian implications of a given perspective. Yet, if you dignify yourself to attempt this exercise with appropriateness, you will receive an appropriate response. I will erase inappropriate replies.
As thought fodder, I will quote a combination of two passages by the Jewish linguist and political analyst Chomsky. In these passages he presents the Israeli-Zionist perspective in a nutshell. Consider his approach a model. One does not need to justify every point—just give a paragraph or two.
Israelis may content that one cannot balance the simple desire to live in peace in the state established by decision of the United Nations against the demands of those who resort to violence and terror and who threaten the very existence of Israeli society (11).
The Zionist case relies on the aspirations of a people who suffered two millennia of exile and savage persecution culminating in the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history, on the natural belief that a normal human existence will be possible only in a national home in the land to which they had never lost their ties, and on the extraordinary creativity and courage of those who made the desert bloom (46).
Chomsky, Noam. Middle east illusions. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group: Maryland, 2003.