Independent Media Center, Israel

Nonviolence isn't about being passive
author: Gilad

Yourish Shalom,

Before i begin i would like to state that i read a bit through your blog. from the different parts that i've read it appears that you're a thinking individual, so i hope my words can come through. furthermore, i greatly appreciate the "blogathon" initiative (to donate money to buy an ambulance). that is truely a great way to help israel, even if our priorities might be different.

Now to my bit of critique. In your article you stated the the ISM is lying when it says its nonviolent, while it is actually "using force" and destruction.

I am not an ISM member, and have no intention in adovcating their actions. in fact, i differ from them on some instences just as much from some of the things you said in your blog.

That being said, I am also a pacifist, and the issue of nonviolent action -- specificly in cases where violcence occurs -- is close to my heart. Being and Israeli, and a Jerusalemite at that, means that i have to deal with such situations as a matter of mundane occurances.

And back to the topic. You said that the (attempt at) destruction of the "security fence"/"apartheid wall" cannot be ascribed as "nonviolence". The way i see it, you believe that because action held on monday involved the use of force it cannot be "nonviolent".

There are several flaws with that logic, and i'd like to state a few. To begin with, pacifism (and nonviolence as a method) aren't about being passive. non-violence isn't non-action. the essence of nonviolence is in actuality actively seeking the points of conflict, and solving them. That being said, it must be said also that there cannot be an action that doesn't involve any force whatsoever. Sleeping, perhaps, but that is that is as far away from a nonviolent action as murder.

Nonviolence is about the appreciation of human life superior moral value and virtue. The act held by the ISM monday was just about that. the "gate" they attempted to destroy pervented the movement and very livelihood of people on both sides of the fence. the word "gate" being in parenthasees because altough it is structured as gate, and being promised to be open, it is closed, locked and behind barbed wire at all times.

What the paragraph above basicly means is that there is inherent violence based withing the fence itself. The force the IDF used to disperse the protestors doesn't show or reflect any "violence" held by them. It just comes to show exactly what they were protesting against. I have been to numerous peaceful marches (that is, involving just walking. as peaceful as the walk to the supermarket - just in a place of conflict) which have been attacked brutaly by the IDF.

To sum this up, nonviolence isn't about being passive. it is about solving a conflict w/out harming or even endangering humans. even though sabotage (as is the case with the fence) probably isn't the bestest of nonviolent methods, and certainly not a perferable one -- it doesn't stand in contrast to the basic principles. so even if i were to choose a different approach to solve the problem (one which perferably uses "less force and more talk"), i don't think the action on monday is in contrast with the ISMs nonviolence policy.

I hope this wasn't too long, or too much of a bore. Have a nice day.

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