Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview with Marian Gordon of CCDS About Her Recent Visit to Palestine

Recently, Marian Gordon, a member of CCDS from California participated in a tour of Palestine and agreed to share her observations and experiences with our readers. Conducting our interview via telephone, this is what transpired.

Q: What is your background?

A: I was reared as a secular Jew by working class, Communist parents. I was a red diaper baby, born in Philadelphia. My first, independent political activity growing up was to collect signatures against desegregation in the South. I later went south to Mississippi and participated in Freedom Summer. What I saw in happening in Palestine very much reminded me of what was happening in Mississippi during the 1960s.

Q: What is your profession?

A: I am a speech pathologist by trade.

Q: When were you in Palestine?

A: From September 22nd to October 7th of 2012.

Q: Who organized the tour? Were you apart of the group that took Alice Walker and Medea Benjamin?

A: No, this tour wasn’t apart of that group, though Alice Walker endorsed our tour. My tour was organized by the Freedom Bus Tour and the Freedom Theatre of the Jenean Refugee Camp in Palestine. My group comprised of about thirty people- a plurality of them U.S. citizens, but also a large delegation of Swedes-actors with the Swedish National Theatre which is greatly supportive of the theatre troupe in Jenean. In our group there were also people from France, other places across Europe, and Australia. Our ages ranged from 20 to 80 with lots of young people traveling with us.

Q: How long have you been involved with Palestinian issues? What propelled you to go on this trip?

A: I’ve been involved with Palestinian issues since September 22nd, 2012. As a Jewish activist all my life and knowing what the role of the U.S. and Israel in Palestine are, I felt compelled to do more about this issue. I felt especially compelled to participate in the boycott movement.

Q: What did you see over there?

A: A people who are educated and who must fight for their basic rights. They are occupied. I saw awareness of their personal and political problems everywhere-in militant villagers, in older people, on college campuses.

Q: Do you agree with Alice Walker’s assessment that what is going on in Palestine is very similar to the Jim Crow of the 1960s in the US?

A: Yes. I went to Mississippi and frequently witnessed Jim Crow. For Palestinians in Israel, it is very Jim Crow. For people in the West Bank and Gaza, they are occupied.