Akko from the Sea
Akko from the Sea

Wonderful article by Avnery entitled “Is Akko Burning?”, with the usual insight. Only thing I would add to understanding the tragedy in Akko, as well as racial situations in America, is that intentionally or unintentionally, racism is always bred when an underprivileged wing of the dominant race or religious group, like the poor ethnic Jewish groups in Acre, or the poorer ethnic groups in America’s poor sections, always become the ‘front lines’ of the race war of a country, against some group that they can see as beneath even them. I have seen this in the ‘religious’ conflict in Belfast as well. Poor against poor, grievance against grievance. Cynically, the Mayor and others have pitted Jews who are bitter about Gaza, or about their financial condition, against the Arabs in Akko. Cynically, there are indeed Islamists and Arab politicians who have done the same, everyone using grievances, financial instability and disappointments to get votes through anger and hatred.

Once again, it is hatred and fear that are the enemy not people. The election in the United States, the most powerful and richest nation on earth, is still boiling down in its waning days to the choice between the politics of hatred and fear versus the politics of hope, reason, and good will. We do not know which will win. Both are powerful human drivers.

It takes the will of every one of us to overcome the politics of fear and hatred. Every one of us in every country. There is not a peacemaker in Israel and Palestine who should not spend just one day in Acre in the coming year to bind its wounds, to link its citizens in new ways. There should be a virtual community linked on Facebook and Mepeace of citizens of Acre as a testimony to our will to overcome the politics of fear and hatred with the politics of reason, hope and love. I will go when I come back.

Above all is what my friend Arik Kabillio has recommended. If there were a single member of Knesset who represented Acre instead of representing ethnic parties, if Israel switched to a system where each Member of Parliament represented a district rather than an ideology or racial group, we could be in a completely different place. It is time for Israel to truly become a representative democracy where one representative must respond to the complaints and needs of his town or district, and ALL its diverse citizens, if he/she wants to be re-elected. So we have here a need for hope and reason to overcome fear and hatred, a need to eliminate the structures of politics that currently encourage the worst in political/racial manipulation, and a need for a new structure that will begin to reflect a better democracy for all its citizens.

© Marc Gopin