in the middle of it

This is a months-old interview conducted by Ha'aretz on the last of Steve's days in Palestine this spring. I'm posting it here and at this time for the background it provides for the impulses which brought Steve and others back this summer. He returns to New York tomorrow, thursday, and I expect to soon post something in the way of a follow-up.

[Steve tells the reporter,] "When I went to Hebrew University in the early 1980s, I was a Zionist with Peace Now views and not very involved. The turning point for me was the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. It forced me to assimilate information I've accumulated over time and to come to conclusions ... Since then I've been working for a free Palestine."

Quester joined Jews Against the Occupation, a New York-based organization: "I feel (the Jews in New York) are really relieved to know about us. There are Jews whose stomachs turn when they hear what's going on here, but they're afraid to say so ... I feel ordinary people have a responsibility to make the world better so, I reacted to this situation by coming here."

[His colleague, Dr. Robert Lipton, describes himself.] "I am a Jewish American and feel intimately involved because of my identity. (The occupation) seems like a very obvious wrong that needs to be righted and it's in my own backyard, culturally and religiously. For the first time, at Jewish Voice [for Peace], I have felt like an insider - it's a place where I could feel comfortable with other Jews about articulating my opposition to the occupation. People often say (we are) 'self-hating Jews,' but we're actually helping Jews live here better because the occupation has distorted Israeli and Jewish American societies. It's not that I'm discounting violence toward Israel, but it doesn't happen by itself."

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Published on August 28, 2002 5:35 PM.

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