FROM BROOKLINE TO JERUSALEM
  RE-EVALUATING a ZIONIST PAST
  Dennis Fox
ISSUE NO. 1
  
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Tuesday—January 4, 2005—4:55 pm
CONFERENCING II

...It’s been a whirlwind. I sit at the conference and listen to chatter around me in Hebrew and Arabic and English, sometimes with Palestinians switching back and forth between all three, and I watch young Palestinians and young Israelis meet and talk and laugh and fall into deep conversation, just like young people everywhere when they’re not diverted by hatred and humiliation and fear and other drags on their humanity. El-Serraj talked about how too many Israelis conceive of Palestinians only as terrorists or peasants; he recalled one asking in surprise how he had learned English. Don’t Israelis know that Palestinians have embraced higher education with a vengeance, preparing for a future they still believe in? That they often spend hours getting to class, sometimes risking attack by soldiers or arbitrary arrest? That sometimes they can’t afford to pay their university enough to provide heat in the chilly winter?

On yesterday’s FFIPP tour to the nearby Separation Wall, some Israelis said they’d never seen it before. Israelis generally aren’t allowed in the Occupied Territories, so, like the Gaza student said, there’s no way to see things first-hand, except by soldiers, whose perspective isn’t exactly open-minded. It’s not just students from Gaza who have a lot to learn first-hand, as one Israeli student noted: It was only after he served in the army and went abroad to school that he met Palestinians as equals and realized the falsity of everything he had been taught. Now a Refusenik, he will no longer serve in the Occupied Territories.

The struggle continues.
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DENNIS FOX is emeritus associate professor of legal studies and psychology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and now living near Boston, he writes a regular column on local issues for the Brookline TAB. His essays have appeared in Salon, Tikkun, Counter- Punch, Z, The Boston Globe, Progressive Populist, Radical Teacher, Social Anarchism, and Education Week. His academic work, which primarily critiques mainstream psychology’s role in maintaining an unjust legal, political, and socioeconomic status quo, has appeared in American Psychologist, Law and Human Behavior, Journal of Community Psychology, New Ideas in Psychology, Legal Studies Forum, and Teaching of Psychology. Fox co-founded RadPsyNet: The Radical Psychology Network (radpsynet.org) and co-edited “Critical Psychology: An Introduction” (1997). He is now writing a political memoir of his Zionist past and post-Zionist conclusions.