One of the speakers at the Enough! launch rally lat night was Sharif Omar, a Palestinian farmer. He told the familiar tale of repression, of how the stringent permit laws and officious permit-issuing authorities prevent his sons from gaining free access to his own farm; of how a man of his sixty years needs help to till the soil to its full yield; and of how he cannot find enough farm workers despite massive unemployment in the Occupied Territories. The labour market, corralled like cattle behind a security Ã¢â‚¬ËœfenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, three feet thick.
Listening to all this, the first thought that occurred to me was not the metaphor of animals in cages, the dehumanising of the Palestinians. Rather, it occurred to me that the restrictions described by Mr Omar would be scorned by free-market capitalists and libertarians alike, were they imposed in any other country. Why the silence on Palestine from the Libertarian Right? Or (and this is entirely possible, indeed probable) have I just been reading the wrong blogs?
I guess many people feel uneasy at sympathising with the Palestinian cause because of the distaste they feel for those already a part of the campaign: the despised Left. This is a mistake in their thought process, of course. Imprisoning hundreds of thousands of people in a walled ghetto, or imposing a religion on a populated region by force: The gross immorality of these acts is not mitigated by an ad hominem objection to those who already oppose the occupation.