The Definition of


In light of some of the comments I have received concerning the use of the term ‘pro-Palestinian’, I would like to clarify the following:

Pro-Palestinian does not mean anti-Israel

Pro-Palestinian does not mean advocating terrorism

Pro-Palestinian does not mean supporting “the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Israeli civilians by the most gruesome and inhuman means that are being employed by the Palestinians and their backers and supporters” – quote a ‘memo’ addressed to this journalist.

Pro-Palestinian does not mean suicide bombings.

Consider Adam Shapiro, 30, of New York, director of Seeds of Peace, the international organization known for promoting peace between cultures through various outreach programs. Shapiro received international attention when he joined Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah compound, defying the Israeli siege last month. It was reported that Shapiro had breakfast with Arafat and tried to persuade the IDF to let ambulances through to treat the wounded and dying. Shapiro even pleaded with the world to force the Israelis to halt their “atrocities against innocent Palestinian children”.

Noah Shapiro, Adam’s brother and spokesperson since the Shapiro family received death threats, outlined it clearly: “But in no uncertain terms does that sympathy toward Palestinian children mean that we support suicide bombings.”

Adam and Noah Shapiro are both Jews. Consequently, the definition of the term becomes clear:

Pro-Palestinian means that the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people must be protected, preserved, and promoted.

Pro-Palestinian means that the Palestinians deserve a national status of their own.

Pro-Palestinian means that the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories must end.

Pro-Palestinian means that the military roadblocks which humiliate and impoverish the Palestinian people must be removed.

Pro-Palestinian means that the internationally condemned Israeli settlements must be removed.

Pro-Palestinian means a return to the Oslo, Wye River, and Taba treaties.

Pro-Palestinian means holding free and democratic elections in a free and independent Palestine.

Pro-Palestinian means a halt to the maiming and indiscriminate shooting of Palestinian civilians; according to Israeli Human Rights group B’Tslem, 66,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the past 21 months – 60 percent of them under the age of 15.

I would like to know how a legal, peaceful demonstration protesting war in general and calling on the international community to recognize and protect Palestinian human rights could be construed as a demonstration condoning and promoting suicide bombings. This is nonsensical, naive prattle.

I would also like to understand how one could interpret CAIR’s statement (that organizations are calling for the suspension of the California Highway Patrol for improper conduct) to mean support for suicide bombings. This is blind arrogance.

None of the demonstrators in San Francisco called for suicide bombings. None called for killing of Israelis, civilian, military, or otherwise. None called for war. None called for aggression. They called on a halt to violent Israeli practices in the occupied territories.

CAIR has taken great lengths to condemn acts of violence on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

An overwhelming majority of Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims absolutely condemn suicide bombings as flying in the face of Islamic principles.

When Sophia Ibrahim, the young girl arrested at the demonstration, was asked what she was demonstrating for, she said “for the children of Palestine”.

Suicide bombings indeed.

Enough overweening petulance.

Firas Al-Atraqchi is a Muslim Canadian journalist living on the Pacific Coast.

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