Organizers of the Bethlehem Walk said Tuesday they have decided to cancel the event following strong protests and threats from Palestinian activists, who objected to the participation of Israelis.Just as a thought experiment, would the "activists" have objected if the Israelis who walked were Muslims or Christians?
The event was supposed to take place on October 5 in Bethlehem.
Israelis, Palestinians and members of other nations and religions from around the world were supposed to walk quietly in Bethlehem to promote “change and acknowledge basic common grounds and sow the seeds of understanding and acceptance.”
The organizers said in their invitation that “walking in mindfulness is a quiet walk full of respect for the here and now. It is an experience that helps us to develop calm, balance and confidence when faced with the challenges of reality.”
However, the planned event drew strong condemnations from Palestinian youth activists in Bethlehem, who expressed outrage over the participation of Israelis.
The activists called for cancelling the event under the pretext that it was a form of “normalization” with Israel. They also threatened to prevent Israelis from “desecrating our holy city and sites.”
The organizers said they decided to cancel the event “out of respect for the feeling of all those who were outraged by the march.”
One of the Palestinian organizers, who asked not to be identified, said his group “had no intention to spark violence and outrage.”
Here is the organizers' response:
"We, the organizers of the walk, deeply honor and hear clearly the responses of all of you who have been challenged by the walk. Our purpose is not to perpetuate anger nor violence, and not to undermine any view, but to seek to deeply listen to all voices and hear their concerns and needs with the hope of reaching a common ground that makes all of us stand strong in facing and ending all forms of oppression and violence and create a future where true peace, justice, and equality is lived and honored for all and by all.See how tolerant they are? They "honor" even the bigots among them!
Therefore, honoring the concerns of each and everyone of you, the walk will not take place at this time as originally planned. We acknowledge the disappointment of our supporters and affirm our faith in the possibility of peace in our troubled land, and our determination to persevere together to that end. We ask you to remain in contact with us, spread the word, and join us in this vision no matter where you are and no matter how you do it."
They are creating an alternate event for tomorrow:
As we move a step forward in creating a new consciousness for real peace, acknowledging the deep work needed by all of us, Israelis are invited to join together on Friday, October 5, for mindful walking and listening circles, at the Spiritual Center in Neve-Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. We will start at 1000 and end at 1400. Please bring a hat, drink and food.It appears that the only place that peace activists can actually demonstrate tolerance is in that hateful apartheid state of Israel, not in beautiful liberal "Palestine."