Children’s Entertainers only support Armed Struggle after the Revolution is won

The famous and excellent children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukia’s website has two “songs for peace” available for free download. One is “Salaam Shalom, Side by Side“, a liberal zionist song for peaceful co-existence between Palestinian and Israeli children. Personally, I find the song perverse because in the very act of calling for peaceful co-existence between Palestinian and Israeli children already in Palestine, he ignores the fact that when the song was written, in 2002, the Palestinians were fighting to return to their homeland and for the return of the refugees, which includes refugee children. Palestinian children who are refugees, especially those in Lebanon, live very difficult lives under very difficult conditions, and talking about peace between Palestinian and Israeli children without taking a stance on the larger conflict is a positive way of excluding them, and re-enforcing the liberal zionist idea that the conflict between Israel and Palestine involves only those people living in Palestine today. So, for Raffi, support for Palestinian children does not include support of the armed struggle to liberate Palestine and return the refugees, including refugee children, to Palestine to live “side by side” with the Jews already living there – (how do we so easily forget that co-existence between the Palestinians and Jewish migrants in Palestine has been the Palestinian position since 1970?)

However, right next to “Side by Side”, we find a song for Nelson Mandela called “Turn this World Around”. I’ve written before on Nelson Mandela’s role in the ANC and his longstanding support for armed struggle against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. But because the revolution in South Africa had already been succesful, and happened at least superficially as a result of non-violent resistance, Mandela is a safe figure to support – despite only being removed from the US terrorist watch list in 2008. The ANC fought for the same kind of rights the PLO has been fighting for since the 60s – the right of the indigenous people to live free in their homeland, and to have equal rights with the colonizers and to prosecute the colonizers who committed egregious crimes against them.

It’s possible to imagine an alternate history – a history where the PLO won a long time ago, perhaps in ’82, perhaps in the 70’s, most likely with the aid of Arab nations and in a history where America’s support for Israel was much weaker and public relations campaigns had not successfully associated anti-zionism with racism. In this alternate history we can imagine how the PLO would have achieved the historical status of revolutionaries on the side of justice and freedom, even in common media, and we can imagine how “Zionism” would be universally condemned and scholars the world over would connect Zionism with Naziism and we would understand much better the way the oppressed can easily become new oppressors if they don’t fight on the side of universal freedom.

In that world, Raffi would have a song for the PLO and for Nelson Mandela, because children’s entertainers only support armed struggles after the Revolutionaries have won.


7 thoughts on “Children’s Entertainers only support Armed Struggle after the Revolution is won

  1. Children who grew up in Israel in 2002 knew Palestinians. They had the opportunity to form relationships of friendship and view each other as common inhabitants of the same country. But that was rapidly becoming the last year that was true, because in 2002 the Palestinians in the West Bank achieved some measure of success with armed struggle. They actually managed to harm the Israeli economy and kill enough people to change the political culture.

    And because of that armed struggle no one sings Liberal Zionists peace songs. Children who were 5 in 2004 instead of 2002 are now teens who don’t know any Palestinians. They have no human connection to the enemy behind the wall at all. I’m not sure how this is better.


    I have no trouble imagining how the PLO “won”. 1973 the Syrians do just a little bit better than they had and the Russian supply ships were closer. The Israelis pilots don’t figure out the tactics of hitting from the rear and using napalm. So when Syria invades they have most of the tank columns. Israel nukes them killing a few hundred thousand of their own people. Russia counter attacks nuking the Israeli army since Russians were killed in large numbers and a few million Israelis die. Israel, which is just developing long range bombing capacity decides they can’t risk a counter strike and surrender.

    The Palestinians in Lebanon get their homeland back and 500k Jews who survived the nuclear attack are offered dhimmitude. Most leave and the 20k or so live in “peace”, which is to say miserable grinding poverty and hopeless for generations. Judaism having lost the temple yet again proves that either Yahweh is a false God or that Jesus is the risen savior and Jews were wrong to reject him. The religion withers.

    And there will be many songs about this great victory.

      1. OK then you give me an example scenario for what a successful armed struggle would have looked like, that takes into account Israeli counter strategies. You are saying ’82 in the post. OK so map out the Israeli defeat in 1982 that leads them to accept living in the state you envision.

      2. If Israel had become increasingly isolated, with fewer and fewer allies, and at the same time the PLO had kept its promise to attract support from Jews and demonstrate to Jews that the Palestinian movement had more to offer them than Israel and Zionism, Israel could have been forced to enter into a dialogue with the PLO in which the power balance was not unlike the power balance between white south africa and the ANC. If that had happened, we would see Arafat today with the same kind of reference that leaders of the armed struggle in South Africa are given today.

  2. RE January 13, 2013 at 3:05 am comment.

    Your two things:
    a) Jews change their mind and start preferring the PLO to Israel.
    b) Israel has political problems abraod.

    neither one is arms being successful. What you are describing is a successful idealogical / political movement. Arms do nothing to achieve those goals, and likely undermine them. Israel is a democracy if Jews decided they wanted to live in a non-zionist Palestinian state they can just vote for Balad on Jan 22nd, and they would be on their way in no time to a binational state. There is no need for military force to get Israel to do what Jews want.


    The point of asking for a scenario involving a successful armed struggle is I’m very unclear what you mean by armed struggle and what role you see arms playing. The purpose of armies are to kill people and break things. An armed struggle is mostly killing enough people and breaking enough stuff that a political change is induced.

    So I’m looking for political parts only in so far as they are induced through arms. That means no magical changes in heart, just a change in political opinion induced by armed struggle. Since you seem to be attributing to armed struggle the ability to substantially change opinions rather than to make minor shifts in how societies weigh costs vs. benefits. There are examples like Reagan through the use of armed struggle (huge anti-civilian terror) changed El Salvidore’s civilian population opinions about communism. But there aren’t many examples like that.

    1. Well, “Jews change their mind and start preferring the PLO” is connected with armed struggle, because the PLO call out to Jews in the early 70s was an encouragement for them to come to the camps and fight with the PLO against the zionists. Armed struggle as far as I can see only has positive political impacts on those who carry it out, and even then the benefits are limited and offset by costs like the social idealization of violence. I need to learn more about the ANC’s struggle, you’ve said a lot about it – can you offer some sources?

      1. encouragement for them to come to the camps and fight with the PLO against the zionists.

        For an individual Jewish Israeli that’s fine. I’m not sure what positive effects are, having done medical work with veterans the effects of killing people seems pretty horrible on the people involved But even if it were the case that it would do good stuff individually it doesn’t matter.

        Collectively though the Zionists are the Israeli Jews and the Israeli Jews are the Zionists. There is no reason for large numbers of Israeli Jews to enter into an armed struggle against the “zionists” they can just vote. What they are asking for doesn’t make any sense. It would be like asking the people of Chicago to enter into armed struggle to free the population of the Windy City from American domination. Talking about asking the Jews to fight the Zionists is just using synonyms to express nonsense.

        A war is over when through the use of violence, that is killing and breaking things not political change, the enemy no longer wishes to resist an objective. When the PLO talks about armed struggle the goal would be to kill enough Jews and destroy enough of the economy, so as to render the Israelis unwilling / unable to resist the collapse of their society. There is no humane version of that. Wishing for PLO victory in an armed struggle is wishing for the annihilation of millions of human beings and many tens of billions of dollars of property damage. Lesser objectives might be achievable more cheaply, for example how Hezbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon. But when you start talking the core purpose for which Israel exist, to provide a Jewish state, a goal that the people of Israel are enthusiastic and deeply dedicated to, armed struggle means violence on a World War II scale not a minor anti-colonial terrorism.

        The ANC’s armed struggle did not have nearly as lofty a goal. That’s not a minor difference.

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