“You don’t need to be Palestinian, Arab or Muslim to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and denounce the Israeli occupation.” This is in response to what US President, Joe Biden, said one day that a person does not need to be Jewish in order to be a Zionist and loyal to Israel. Moreover, pro-Palestinian demonstrations in many Western countries have shown that a significant number of Jews are not necessarily Zionists and supporters of Israel.
These demonstrations also took place in response to most Western countries supporting the barbaric policies of the Occupying State, in a contradiction that showed the decline of the values that they are proud of and the extent of the hypocrisy of their positions compared to various international conflicts, most notably Russia’s war on Ukraine. These demonstrations also highlighted very clearly a new generation of young people in Western countries who no longer rely on the assumptions they were raised on regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor on what their successive governments have always done in terms of always and automatically standing with every Israeli attack, nor on what their media has and continues to present in terms of deception and hypocrisy through repeated templates of blind bias against everything that is Arab and Muslim.
What has made the youth in the West, both female and male, take to the streets wearing the keffiyeh and carrying Palestinian flags and banners denouncing Israeli crimes in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, the United States, Spain, Britain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and other countries? What made them rebel against the past compliance with the Israeli narrative of the conflict, in general, as a whole and in the current narrative of the aggression against Gaza? What made these young people, some of whom started this type of movement on university and college campuses and some civil society organisations, decide to take to the streets this time? What made them not only do that, but also be very active on social media, posting content showing the horror of what is happening in Gaza, especially against children and women, and engaging in heated discussions with supporters of Israel to refute their stories? What made them increasingly alienated from their media, which they accused of being dishonest in reporting the events in Gaza, which made the level of trust in it continue to decline, as opinion polls in the US, for example, showed?
The answer to all of this is that this generation of young people in Western countries is no longer captive to the sole narrative that was imposed by the official establishment through its media, education, politicians and most of its parties. Rather, they have become free to soar in the open information space, researching and digging into the history of the conflict, to gradually discover the true story of the last direct colonial occupation that still exists in the world today. This would not have lasted this long and continued if it were not for the Western colonial powers standing with it, including the US, the UK and all their allies. Even countries that had their own vision and distinct and largely fair positions in the past, such as de Gaulle’s France and socialist Italy, no longer differ today, as they have completely aligned themselves with the Americans.
What draws attention, and also admiration, is that a good number of this youth is Jewish, and they were to find the courage, the necessary moral integrity and the noble human sense to break away from the fossilised view of Arabs and Palestinians and reconsider everything they grew up with in terms of adopting the Zionist colonial narrative. They then disregarded everything they knew after opening their eyes to the historical facts that had been deliberately hidden from them, allowing them to finally see the complete picture, far from the propaganda that they had been bombarded with for decades.
These young Jews, many of them females, did not content themselves with changing their own views and convictions and continuing on their path, but rather began making videos and posting them on social media to encourage their peers to follow suit in this bold assessment, which they did not want to be personal, but rather sought to make it a growing and influential youth movement.
This Western youth movement, with its Christians and Jews, not counting the Arab and Muslim youth who grew up in various Western countries and whose loyalty to Palestine was further established and strengthened with the latest events, or whose loyalty was dusted off to show how deeply rooted the issue is in the conscience of all Arabs, is a force worthy of monitoring and paying attention to. This is because it will gradually pose a pressure force that will be taken into consideration, not only in creating a type of awareness among part of public opinion where they are located, but also in its later transformation, little by little, into an electoral force capable of changing many of the current official Western policies.
This active, pressing and promising Western youth movement, international public opinion was able, a few decades ago, to become aware of the ugliness of the apartheid regime in South Africa and end it. What if it was armed, in the Palestinian case this time, more than before with the weapons of knowledge, media and communication technologies? There is nothing stronger than the truth in destroying propaganda and lies.
This article appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 1 November 2023
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.