We cannot continue to say, âBut what were we to do?â Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (30 April, 1995), âThe [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitlerâs youth.â David Ben Gurion said, âLet us not ignore the truth among ourselvesâ¦ politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.. .The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their countryâ¦â. Quest for justice By Judith Stone I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine . It was the right thing to do. Iâve heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. Iâve visited the memorials in Washington , DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and Iâve cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking. Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitlerâs holocaust. These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity. âNever againâ as a motto, rings hollow when it means ânever again to us alone.â My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers. Golda Meir even assured us that there âis no Palestinian problemâ. We know now this picture wasnât as it was painted. Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims. In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere seven per cent of the population and owned three per cent of the land. Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a momentâs notice. Bulldozers levelled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world. Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a levelled parking lot. Under this parking lot is whatâs left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously. This particular burial marker reads: âPublic Parkingâ. Iâve talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasnât lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to Israel , I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these âtemporaryâ camps to go home. Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted. Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist. Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (30 April, 1995), âThe [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitlerâs youth.â We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labour and back wages in Europe . Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned? The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, âLet us not ignore the truth among ourselvesâ¦ politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.. .The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their countryâ¦â. Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people. Its cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated as though they never existed. And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of God. We must recognise that Israel âs existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realised through the use of force while supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile. In Hertzlâs âThe Jewish Stateâ the father of Zionism said: âWe must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.â I guess I agree with Ehud Barak ( 3 June 199 when he said, âIf I were a Palestinian, Iâd also join a terror group.â Iâd go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, Iâd hurtle a boulder. Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-dâs restitution of the holy land to itâs rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldnât come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people. We cannot continue to say, âBut what were we to do?â Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.