I posted a comment to this op-ed in The Guardian, entitled
by Moustafa Bayoumi, a student of Edward Said.
Bayoumi is "an award-winning writer, and associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York" according to his bio at the paper.
I received this reply in less than an hour and a half:-
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This was my comment:
This assertion raises some problems: "the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands will turn 50 years old."
a) can we understand that the writer rejects the normative Arab position that actually all of Israel is occupying "Palestinian land", as when in 1964, three years before the Six Days War, the Palestine Liberation Organisation was founded? Or as in the Hamas Charter that all of "Palestine: is waqf territory?
b) If they are Palestinian lands, does that mean that Jews cannot reside on these lands if they have bought them, either pre-1948 or post -1967?
c) were those lands "Palestinian" even before the country was first termed "Palestine" by the Romans? and before, were they not Judean lands?
d) did Arabs occupy those lands in 638 CE?
e) when Jordan occupied them during 1949-1967, who was oppressing the Arabs then? Why was there no BDS movement or the like?
f) just as an aside, what is the difference, in the sense of nationality identity, between an Arab in Israel, in Judea & Samaria, aka the 'West Bank' and the Arab in Jordan (besides the fact that the Hashemite family only arrive in Jordan in November 1920 from Saudi Arabia)?
Okay, I am flummoxed and nonplussed.
I think the writer needs to clarify for his audience anything he writes. I think what he writes is legitimate for criticism. Indeed, the whole topic of "occupation" hinges on whether we know what he really means and if any diplomatic move will end the conflict. If we can't assure our mutual understanding of the core issues, what use is arguing over how to solve them?
In 2014, Bayoumi was quoted as saying at a guest lecture at Colgate that there was a
need to reset the terms of the dialogue at an institutional level and to find “solutions that guarantee individual and communal rights to all and find justice for all Israelis and Palestinians, including those Palestinians who are the ancestors of those displaced in 1948.”So, indeed, my points (a) and (c) are quite on-topic.
If I had commented on this section of his:
In fact, there are 2,898,927 Palestinians living in the West Bank, 1,850,559 in the Gaza Strip, 1,471,201 in Israel,
by writing that (a) his number for "West Bank" Arab residents is close to a million off or that (b) if there are "Palestinians" in Israel then at least my point 'f' is quite on topic would that comment be allowed?
Or if I had commented on this section
According to the New York Times, there are now more than 350,000 settlers living in the West Bank and another 300,000 living in East Jerusalem,
by pointing out that (a) that quote if one-and-one-half year's old and that (b) the numbers are wrong [there are 460,000 Jews residing in Judea and Samaria and 210,000 in Jerusalem's post-1967 neighborhoods] would that be off-topic as well?
If I would have commented on this bit:
In fact, slim majorities of both Palestinians and Israelis still support a two-state solutionby pointing out that a poll in March, a half-year earlier had 69% Palestinian Arab support and that his poll had but 51% in favor which is quite a dramatic drop and does not augur well, would that have been off=topic?
If his details are wrong or questionable or fudged or plain misrepresentations, how can his conclusions be "on-topic"?
Or, to phrase it differently, why is The Guardian so zealous in its censorship?