Monday, November 21, 2016

Blurring The Truth

On Shabbat, when I read Laura Ben-David's article about the Arab-Jewish photography course she had taken recently, It Takes Two Villages, it reminded me of my experiences in the almost six years I had worked with Arabs in Yafiz-Rami Levy, Sha'ar Binyamin,  "Don't Take My Picture! THEY'll Kill Me."

In the simplistic Leftist mindset, we are all the same, and we just need to get to know each other for peace to happen.

Some Leftist group thought up a plan to teach photography to the women of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, Jews and Arabs. Ben-David decided to participate and describes her experience in an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

I don't know what skills she learned, but the political lesson was identical to what the Arab worker had told me a few years ago. If she, or anyone else, publicizes photos of the Arabs, there will be big trouble for the Arab women who had participated.

Laura Ben-David

Laura Ben-David

Laura Ben-David
Ben-David learned what is pretty obvious to many of us:
I was starting to get really excited about my upcoming article. I figured I wouldn’t have to write much at all, as the photos would say all that was needed. I mentioned this to one of the Arab women who looked at me like I was insane.
What she said next devastated me: I had no permission to publish any of my photos of those women at all.
I was dumbfounded. Why take all of these photos if I was going to do nothing but bury them in a folder on my computer? What were we expected to do with these photos if not use them in the way I had planned? Then I thought beyond my personal disappointment: What in the world was the point of the class if we could not share the experience with our people? All of our people. My people would, at most, look at me with disdain. But many would see the possibilities.
And it might make people think… What about the Arab women? Couldn’t they see this? Why would they want to waste such an amazing opportunity? I pushed the issue and what I discovered was most tragic of all: they were genuinely afraid – some even for their very lives – should anyone in their communities find out.
It was ironic: the Jews were afraid to attend the course for fear of getting hurt there; the Arabs were afraid to attend the course for fear of getting hurt at home.
Arab society is patriarchal and violent. Good intentions and tolerance are seen as weaknesses. There will not be a grass-roots peace movement to change their society. Not only do the Arabs who work with Jews in business like Rami Levy always have to look over their backs to make sure their neighbors aren't going to attack, but even Arab customers can suffer repercussions. And this only gets worse when Israeli government officials talk "peace" and "Palestinian sic State," because if they are totally under Arab rule, the violence against the more peaceful and tolerant in Arab society, villages, cities and clans will only increase.

There can only be true peace under full Israeli rule and sovereignty. 


Shiloh said...

What's funny, I speak to quite a few Muslim Arabs in the Rova, you don't know how many times that I have been asked by them, "Where is the Jewish messiah, we need help!". I have spoken to some who live in a particularly radical Arab enclave and they want change, they want to live a normal life but they fear for their own lives if they dare speak out about anything. It seems so many know the world is broken and want us to change the course of history.

Batya said...

Thanks, I have no doubt.

Keli Ata said...

I agree with everything in the article and it's bat not ben

Batya said...

Which aticle?