Katie Halper interviews her long-lost non-relative Jeff Halperabout why he’s sure 2011 will be the end of Israel as we know it.
I first heard of Jeff Halper at Israel-Palestine-related events, where people would ask me if I was related to him. It took me 30 seconds of Googling to realize that I’d love to be related to this Minnesotan anthropologist, activist, writer, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and founder and coordinator ofIsraeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD).
Katie Halper: What does ICAHD do?
Jeff Halper: I’ve lived in Israel now for 40-something years by now and I’ve been involved in the peace movement from the very beginning. We started the ICAHD in the middle of the 1990s, in the context of Netanyahu’s first election. Most of us knew there was no peace process anyway, but now it was really clear. Netanyahu’s election was the wake-up call. So a number of us from different organizations got together to think about how to re-engage resistance to the occupation And we went and talked to Palestinians and asked them what their priorities were. We asked them what they would like us to work on, what they’d like to work with us on. And the issue of house demolitions always came up.
So we took up that issue. It’s a powerful approach for a number of reasons. It’s very visual. The occupation can become very abstract. But here’s a family, here’s a bulldozer, this is their story. It’s something people can relate to. It’s also a very important source of solidarity with the Palestinians. And it’s a vehicle to show how the occupation works and to re-frame the conflict, which is really important. Israel has succeeded in capturing the public discussion, the discourse. The Israeli case can be put out in three seconds: it is a small Western democracy (read white), besieged by Arab Muslim terrorists. read the rest here.