04 Nov 2017 | The Danger of Neutrality | Anna Baltzer | TEDxOcala
USCPR Director of Organizing and Advocacy, Anna Baltzer, explains in this TEDx talk how neutrality is a dangerous trap — and an illusion. Taking a side, not impartiality, is what really helps resolve conflicts.
NUSAYBA HAMMAD, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
If you’re like me, you’re following the headlines from Palestine closely. For the fifth week (and millionth time), Palestinians are marching against all odds to demand their rights, including their Right of Return to their homes just a few miles away.
Israel has responded to the Great Return March with extreme brutality, killing and injuring scores of Palestinians for having the audacity to exercise their right to protest.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Unfortunately, not in the media, where we’re seeing headlines talk about “clashes” and “Gaza violence,” drawing a false symmetry between oppressor and oppressed, between state repression and a freedom struggle. We hear things like “there is violence on both sides” and “it’s complicated.”
Palestinians and our allies have been saying this for years: there’s nothing balanced about rocks, slingshots, and flags facing high-powered sniper rifles whose bullets leave exit wounds the size of a fist and “pulverize” internal organs.
Nobody should be neutral about that.
But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve gotten into with people – including well-meaning progressives! – who want to draw false equivalencies and claim those challenging Israeli aggression are being too “one-sided.”
Instead of walking away or debating, my response lately has been to share this TEDx talk, “The Danger of Neutrality, by my colleague, Anna Baltzer. In it, she articulates beautifully why it’s so important to take a side.
Anna’s talk illustrates perfectly why attempts at impartiality are a dead end, leaving the scales tipped in favor of those with power. From the abolitionist movement to ending Jim Crow, change happened because people took sides. She also makes the case that your own liberation depends on taking a side, no matter who you are.
So next time you’re trying to have a conversation about Palestine and you get hit with “you’re being too one-sided,” send the person this video. And just maybe, it’ll get us closer to the day that we never hear have to hear that phrase again.