An Open Letter From Your Israel/Palestine Envoy
Issue #
183
Remi Kanazi
Special Envoy to
Palestine and Israel

Israel is an apartheid state
but you know this
bulldozing homes, displacing the indigenous
expanding settlements, checkpoints, and colonizer roads
controlling imports, exports, the air, the sea, and “buffer zones”
firing at fisherman, gunning down children
shelling ambulances and buildings filled with journalists
this is what emboldened occupiers do with our protection

you are the commander and chief weapons supplier
veto inside and outside of the U.N.
the billion-dollar best friend
continuing a corrupted legacy
laid out by presidents who came before you

what oppressors learn from history is to repeat it
build upon its cruelty
we don’t need to transport ourselves
back to your days in Chicago
play recordings of Reverend Wright
unearth support before political consciousness
was bought out by corporate dollars
consumer-friendly campaign slogans
drawn up in PR-presentable packaging

white phosphorus tore at Palestinian flesh
as you waited for inauguration
schools, mosques, and water wells were shelled
as your mouth was blockaded
transitioning from silent actor
to active participant

the road to Palestinian rights
is not through the White House
it never has been
no advice will change your mind
no appeal will bring back a heartbeat
to your conscience
you are a mirage Democrats
keep crawling back to
there is no quick fix
no replacement for
grassroots mass movement

the way forward is clear
heeding the call of Palestinian civil society
boycott, divestment, and sanctions

from Dublin to Cape Town
global people of conscience
rising up to cut corporate complicity
HP, Motorola, Sodastream
Aroma, Ahava, and GE
U.S. and Israeli companies
profiting off of suffering

this letter is not a coin
in the wishing well
or a final plea
before I resign
Palestinians will be free
that is an inevitability

when you are old and gray
and looking back on your presidency
many of us will remember where you stood
and we will sleep well knowing
that even as the hope and change candidate
reinforced an indigenous people’s suffering
the world knew better
fists knocked down walls
resistance wrote the pages of history
and the shackles of Israeli oppression
remain relics in a museum
abhorring the principles you stood for


Remi Kanazi is a poet, writer, and activist. He is author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine and the editor of Poets For Palestine. He is on the organizing committee for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.