There are many myths about how Mahatma Gandhi achieved Indian independence almost by his own exertions. Rarely mentioned is his acceptance of communal electorates in 1931, which led as night followed day to the bloody partition of India. Or his alliance with the cotton manufacturers against the workers of Bombay. But one thing is for certain.
The non-violent tactics of Ghandi could not have worked in Israel.
As Ezra Nawi’s example testifies, Gandhi would have been gaoled without trial for years, if that is he wasn't shot dead for not being Jewish and daring to resist. Because in Zionist terms, all resistance is a form of terrorism. All attempts at non-violent resistance to Israeli actions have been met with demonisation and massive violence. The International Solidarity Movement, which is pledged to non-violence, is a good example of this. They too have been branded as ‘terrorists’ on the basis of guilt-by-association. The boats which have sought to break the blockade of Gaza have been violently attacked. When Israel condemns ‘terrorism’ we should bear in mind that non-violent resistance to Zionism is always met by extreme violence, hence why the Palestinians have been forced to emulate their example.
Ezra Nawi's Sentencing Hearing
Ezra Nawi's sentencing hearing took place yesterday (Sunday), and Jewish Voice for Peace was there with over 20,000 of your signatures. The judge will render her sentence on September 21st, 2009.
At the hearing, Emily Schaeffer testified on behalf of JVP, and on behalf of all the people who had signed letters in support of Ezra. She explained that over 20,000 people from around the world knew Ezra, supported him, and demanded that he not be jailed for his courageous nonviolent defense of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region-under constant attack by settlers, the Israeli army and police.
When crossed-examined, she was asked if "tikkun olam" described the events about which the hearing was taking place.
She answered: "Absolutely."
The prosecutor objected to the filing of the signatures. Thanks to Emily's testimony on behalf of JVP, and thanks to the insistence of Ezra's attorney, Leah Tzemel, the long list of names attesting to Ezra's support were accepted by the judge.
In fact, the Jerusalem Post reported on this case in an article with the following title:
20,000 sign petition asking Jerusalem court not to put peace activist Ezra Nawi in jail
To date, the video detailing the events leading to his arrest has been watched over 37,000 times. Ezra Nawi's sole crime was trying to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region. Ironically, Judge Ziskind verdict punishes Nawi for "disturbing the peace:" The peace of the bulldozer and the home demolitions.
After the soldiers demolished the home, a handcuffed Ezra is seen telling the laughing soldiers:
"Yes, I was also a soldier, but I didn't demolish houses. There's a big difference. The only thing that will be left here is hatred. Only hatred will be left here. Very funny, soldier? That the kids will be sleeping outside, is that funny?"
No wonder The Nation called him "Israel's Man of Conscience." Haaretz compared his nonviolent resistance to that of the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ezra's case is part of a larger pattern of harassment targeting nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. Palestinian nonviolent activists fare considerably worse than him. We recall the recent arrests of Palestinian nonviolent activists in the town of Bil'in. Eighteen Palestinian activists remain in military prison today, together with the two leaders of the the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements: Mohammed al-Khatib and Adib Abu Rahma. They sit in military jails without bail-or are offered bail only under condition that they cease their nonviolent demonstrations. Others, such as Bassem Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Rahma, have paid for their nonviolent protests with their lives. Last April, he was killed in Bilin by a high velocity tear gas fired directly at him at close distance.