WSW: A Jewish Man's Journey To Solidarity With Palestinian People

Apr 2, 2018

A Palestinian protester hurls stones towards Israeli border police officers during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Credit Nasser Shiyoukhi / The Associated Press

Richard Cohen admits that being firmly Jewish, but not supporting Zionism sounds strange. But the former BBC journalist says the best way for him to express his Jewish identity is by being in solidarity with the Palestinian people.


Cohen who now writes often about Israel and Palestine for the Blog Writing from the Edge, will speak in Kalamazoo Sunday April 8th at 6:30p.m. at Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church. His address is sponsored by Kairos West Michigan.

Cohen says Jewish people have a history of being discriminated against harshly and violently for 2000 years. He says because of that history, he sides with people who suffer from prejudice. Cohen says Jewish people should stand with Palestinian people who are now the subject of oppression.

President Trump’s announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has only made matters worse, according to Cohen. He says that makes it even more difficult to reach a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

Being in solidarity with Palestinians doesn’t mean excusing poor behavior, according to Cohen. He says he is not a fan of Hamas. But Cohen says one people, the Palestinians, have been colonized and occupied. He says an international approach is needed to reach a two state solution. Cohen says the United States and United Kingdom have to be tougher on Israel regarding the occupation and growth of the settlements.

Prince William is scheduled to visit Israel and Palestine later this year. Cohen says the visit, which comes after years or rejected invitations to the British royal family, needs to be understood through Brexit. Coehn says Britain is looking for new trading partners when they leave the European Union. Cohen says in additional to serving as a trade ambassador, Prince William should see why Palestinians can’t improve their economic situation. Cohen says the Prince should also visit Gaza and see the devastation that’s been caused and inflicted on ordinary people.