Now, if Mr. Naiman had explained to us that watching this movie helps the Palestinians because it strengthens the peaceful moderates among them at the expense of the extremists, I would be okay with his reasoning. But that is only part of the reason.
"Today, Palestinians and Israelis are using nonviolent resistance to try to defeat the occupation in several villages in the West Bank. But these efforts are much less effective than they could be because they receive very little attention in the US. In particular, when the Israeli occupation authorities repress these efforts, it generates no comment in the US media or by the US government. This gives the Israeli occupation authorities a freer hand for repression. And when Palestinians and Israelis see that repression of nonviolent protest generates no U.S. response, that weakens the political case for nonviolent action."This actually expounds on the problems with Pandelas pretty well. Mr. Naiman admits that this nonviolent "resistance" is only to the occupation and not to the forces who are against peace. What he doesn't mention (intentionally or otherwise) is that not so far away from the non-violent Palestinians are very violent Palestinians who will use the opportunities generated by the non-violent ones to commit their violent actions. And that is why the non-violent "resistance" of people like Morrar is not being effective: Because it does not address the actual cause of the occupation.
Mr. Naiman does not appear to acknowledge this, because he believes that the reason why the nonviolence isn't working is because not enough attention is paid by the USA. But if you read the review of the film, Israel was convinced to make the changes not by America but by their own people. Historically America demanding that Israel make changes that put Israelis at risk has been very difficult, which is why it doesn't usually happen. I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Naiman is less interested in getting America to make "the right decision" regarding situations like Budrus or if he simply wants the American people to turn against Israel and force it into vulnerability.
Click below for a more detailed look at the article.
Mr. Naiman begins by talking about the movie and the problem with the US not paying attention to a small story in a faraway place, but then he really blows it by attempting to make a comparison with the Free Gaza flotilla:
"But this vicious circle can be broken. The main political purpose of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was to call world attention to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. When the Israeli military attacked the flotilla, it was a world-historical event. The flotilla generated press attention to the blockade, but more is true: the renewed press attention to the blockade established context that resulted in increased press coverage of the blockade that made little or no reference to the flotilla. Once the story of the blockade was out, a journalist could write a follow-up story about the blockade that stood a good chance of being printed."So again, we have Israel "attacking" the flotilla when it has now become clear to anyone who is paying the slightest bit of attention that it was the flotilla participants who attacked the Israeli soldiers. This is exactly why peaceful aid convoys didn't get the attention that they wanted: Because they weren't violent. And in fact by making this comparison Naiman undermines his own point. The flotilla was violent (no matter how much he wants to deny it). That violence got them the attention that they wanted. Therefore, the people who want to use violence are strengthened and those who did not are weakened.
Mr. Naiman had the chance to do something good here. He could have made the point that the "activists" on the flotilla brought attention to their cause by being violent but they should not have done so, because that is the wrong way to support the Palestinians. Instead, people should go and see the movie because it supports the people who are truly nonviolent and that is the right way to help the Palestinians. But instead he lies to try and cover up the truth about the flotilla in an effort to score PR points, and in doing so damages not only his point but his credibility.
I'm going to conclude with his conclusion. Here's the first half:
"Furthermore, you'll gain a new superpower: the ability to effortlessly kill these lies on contact. Everyone knows that if someone claims that all Jews are greedy, all you have to do is to produce one example of a Jew who is not greedy and you vanquish their claim."An interesting example there, Mr. Naiman. Anyway, this again does not work because no one who really thinks that all Jews are greedy (or any other stereotype of that kind) is going to simply be convinced by one example. Or convinced by any amount of facts either. We all know that racists and bigots are ignorant, but they aren't stupid. The response would be something along the lines of: "He's lying, he really is greedy and is tricking us," or "he's not a real Jew," or "the exception that proves the rule." Or you don't even need all of that: All a racist needs to say is that greed tends to be a character trait among Jews in general, but that there are a few who are good ones. Sort of like Stephen Walt.
"After you see this movie, if someone says: "Palestinians support violence," you'll be able to say: "in Budrus, Palestinians used nonviolence." If someone says: "Israelis support the occupation," you'll be able to say: "in Budrus, Israelis helped defeat the occupation." If someone says, "Palestinians and Israelis will always be at war," you'll be able to say, "in Budrus, Palestinians and Israelis cooperated to defeat the confiscation of Palestinian land.""Notice how even his "lies" that can be "busted" are slanted toward the Palestinians and against Israel. I would personally be much more impressed if he would be able to say that in Budrus Palestinians and Israelis were able to make peace between the two nations. But I guess that can't be done, so we'll settle for "defeating the occupation."
The ugly truth is that in a great many polls the Palestinians have been shown to favor violence over nonviolence and continuing "resistance" against Israel until it is gone. The Pandela problem comes back once again: No one (especially Israel) cannot simply ignore 8/10ths of the Palestinians even if 2/10ths of them are committed to non violence no matter what. And it is fundamentally dishonest of Mr. Naiman to try to convince us that they don't exist or that they don't matter. How did Hamas come into power for goodness sake?
And that is exactly why the attitudes of the American people haven't changed regarding the Palestinians and Israel. Because every time the Palestinians take a step forward, they take two steps back. Films like Budrus do show the truth, that there is a minority of Palestinians who are nonviolent when it comes to keeping their property out of the hands of Israel. Of course, they won't take the same risks when it comes to standing up to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO. But all you need to see is another shooting attack applauded by thousands of Palestinians and that goodwill is gone. I know that the anti-Zionists will turn away when confronted with the truth about the majority of the Palestinians. But they cannot rely on all of America doing the same.