12. Are You Normalizing?

• On “Normalization”

PACBI. “Israel’s Exceptionalism: Normalizing the
,”  October 31, 2011. Republished
by +972, December 22, 2011.

PACBI. "Palestinian youth united against normalization
with Israel
,” BDSMovement.net,  April 30, 2010.
["Economic, political, cultural and institutional
normalization legitimize Israel’s oppression of the
Palestinian people by giving the appearance of normalcy
to the relationship between oppressor and oppressed.
This relationship is hardly one between equals as Israel
continues to violate our inalienable rights, steal our land,
and prevent refugees from our right of return in
contravention of international law and numerous
UN resolutions.”]

PACBI. "Palestinians Call on EU to Halt
Normalization Programs and End Complicity
With Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights
and International Law
,” BDSMovemnnt.net,
October 3, 2018. ["The EU continued support
for the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime
makes it a partner in crime, despite its
occasional empty declarations calling for the
achievement of a just peace that respects the
rules of international law and the principles of
human rights. Therefore, we call on the EU to
stop all aspects of its complicity with Israel’s
occupation and apartheid. We also call on it to
stop all similar normalization projects aimed at
perpetuating this occupation regime, at a time
when the European people are calling for holding
it accountable and imposing sanctions on it. Such
a call is similar to those imposed on the apartheid
regime in South Africa in the past, and on some
countries nowadays, for their violations of
human rights.”]

Abunimah, Ali. “Boycott committee: Palestinian
“Rawabi” tycoon Bashar Masri “must end all
normalization activities with Israel
,” Electronic
Intifada, September 10, 2012.

Abunimah, Ali. “Boycott Israel’s “Muslim Leadership Initiative,”
Palestinian civil society urges
,” Electronic Intifada, January 26,
2015. ["The largest Palestinian civil society coalition has called
for a boycott of the Muslim Leadership Initiative and other projects
that bring international delegations to Palestine “in a manner that
is complicit with Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and
apartheid.” The Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) said
in a statement today that the Muslim Leadership Initiative “is part
of a broader spectrum of political tours” that are “designed to
normalize and build acceptance to Israeli policies of oppression
against Palestinians.”]

Abunimah, Ali. "Israeli fake peace group One Voice
reveals its anti-Palestinian bigotry in Facebook
,” Electronic Intifada,” January 16, 2013.
["A 2010 analysis by PACBI, the Palestinian
campaign for the academic and cultural boycott
of Israel, found that One Voice engages
in “normalization” of Israeli occupation and
that: 'While paying lip service to “ending the
occupation,” the overriding imperative is to
serve Israel’s basic interest in remaining an
partheid state while promoting a form of a
Palestinian state in order to secure that
end’….Update 16 January: Chicago-area
students reject work with One Voice….OneVoice
gives Israel’s violent occupation and colonialism
a more pleasant face by framing the “conflict” as
symmetrical without explaining the power
imbalance between Israel and the Palestinian
people. Israel is the military occupier and
Palestinians are occupied. Presenting both
sides as equals is both dishonest and harmful,
and it creates the illusion that the colonizer
and the colonized are equally responsible
parties in this “conflict”….We support the 2010
statement against normalization issued by
Palestinian youth organizations
commemoration of the anniversary of the
Nakba. The appeal mentioned OneVoice as
one of the organizations that “specifically target
Palestinian youth to engage them in dialogue
[sic] with Israelis without recognizing the inalienable
rights of Palestinians, or aiming to end Israel’s
occupation, colonization, and apartheid.” The
statement reflects young Palestinian voices on the
ground who are experiencing Israel’s policies
firsthand. To them, your organization serves to
normalize oppression and injustice.]

Abunimah, Ali. “Protesters disrupt Israeli-Palestinian
“normalization” meeting in Ramallah
,” January 9, 2014.
["One definition that might apply is included in the guidelines
of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural
Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which states: Cultural events and
projects involving Palestinians and/or Arabs and Israelis that
promote “balance” between the “two sides” in presenting their
respective narratives, as if on par, or are otherwise based on
the false premise that the colonizers and the colonized, the
oppressors and the oppressed, are equally responsible for the
“conflict,” are intentionally deceptive, intellectually dishonest
and morally reprehensible. Such events and projects, often
seeking to encourage dialogue or “reconciliation between the
two sides” without addressing the requirements of justice,
promote the normalization of oppression and injustice. All
such events and projects that bring Palestinians and/or Arabs
and Israelis together, unless the Israeli side is explicitly
supportive of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people
and unless the project/event is framed within the explicit
context of joint opposition to occupation and other forms
of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, are strong candidates
for boycott.”]

 Azzam, Zeina. “Israel as Oppressor, Palestine
as Oppressed: The ‘normalization’ of what is
not normal
,” Mondoweiss, June 14, 2016.

Bazian, Dr. Hatem. "‘Interfaith’ Under
Occupation is Normalization, Not
,” American Muslims for
Palestine [AMP], December 9, 2016.

Beckroe, Genevieve. "Undivided we
stand across the separation wall:
Palestinian Youth Together for Change
Acting in Faith [American Friends
Service Committee blog], March 9, 2016.

Chamseddine, Roqayah. "The Hidden
Normalization: The Muslim Leadership
Initiative’s Zionist Trip
,” Al-Akhbar,
January 30, 2015.

Eid, Haidar. “BDS and normalization:
a Palestinian perspective — Opposing the
normalization of Israeli occupation does
not make the Boycott Divestment and
Sanctions movement exclusive; it is an
essential political commitment for
justice in Palestine
,” Alternative News,
July 28, 2016.

Eid, Haidar. "‘Normalize That!’:
Occupation, Colonization and Apartheid
Palestine Chronicle, January 27, 2017.

Giacaman, Faris. "Can we talk? The Middle East “peace industry,”
Electronic Intifada, August 20, 2009, ["If one had suggested to
the oppressed South Africans living in bantustans to try and
understand the other point of view (i.e. the point of view of
South African white supremacists), people would have laughed
at such a ridiculous notion. Similarly, during the Indian struggle
for emancipation from British colonial rule, Mahatma Gandhi
would not have been venerated as a fighter for justice had he
renounced satyagraha — “holding firmly to the truth,” his term
for his nonviolent resistance movement — and instead advocated
for dialogue with the occupying British colonialists in order to
understand their side of the story.”]

Handmaker, Jeff. "Why do charities want
to “normalize” Israeli apartheid
?” Electronic
Intifada, July 5, 2013.

Heÿn, Hans Maria, and Bastian Schroeder. “An End to the Status Quo?
A Contribution to the Normalization and Anti-normalization Discourse
in Palestinian Society
,” KAS International Reports, May, 2015.

Kassis, Rifat Odeh. “What does ‘normalisation’ mean in the Palestine-Israel
conflict? / Levelling the Scales by force: Thoughts on Normalization
Kairos Southern Africa, February, 2011.

Keilani, Tanya and Ethan Heitner. “Nothing Normal About It: A Comic About
Dialogue, Normalization, and the Israel-Palestine Conflict on Campus
EndTheOccupation.org, April 28, 2010. Also see: Tanya Keilani, “How a comic
book healed the wounds of normalization
,” Mondoweiss, December 14, 2011.

Khoudari, Hind. "Why should Palestinians talk to their oppressors?”
Electronic Intifada, April 27, 2020. ["Normalization seeks to deepen
connections with Israelis without holding them accountable for the
crimes – historic and ongoing – committed against the
Palestinian people."]

Kuttab, Daoud. “Is Normalization Possible
Before Israel Ends the Occupation?

Al-Monitor, August 9, 2013.

Mattar, Haggai. "Alternative peace initiative
comes under fire for ‘normalization,’
+972, June 4, 2015.

Merryman-Lotze, Mike. "When Dialogue Stands in the Way of Peace,”
Friends Journal, March 1, 2018. ["The general push against
people‐to‐people and dialogue programs is most often framed as
being a push against what have become known as “normalization”
initiatives. Within Palestine, normalization is generally defined as any
project; initiative; or activity in Palestine, Israel, or internationally that
aims to bring together Palestinians and Israelis without addressing
structural and power inequalities and/or without having its goal be
opposition and resistance to the Israeli occupation. To understand
the concerns that exist regarding normalization initiatives, it is
important to understand the post‐Oslo history of these initiatives.”]

Nassar, Tamara. "The intimidation and rewards of normalizing
with Israel,
” The Electronic Intifada, December 15, 2020. [“The
United States has brokered four normalization agreements between
Israel and Arab states in recent months and marketed them as
peace treaties.”]

Nassar, Tamara. "Israel to massively
expand settlements after
UAE normalization
,” Electronic
Intifada, October 9, 2020.

Nassar, Tamara. "Ramadan shows promote normalization with Israel,”
Electronic Intifada, May 4, 2020. ["Palestinians are calling for a
boycott of the TV network MBC for broadcasting two television
series carrying messages promoting normalization with Israel.
Umm Haroun and Exit 7 are being broadcast by the Saudi-owned
channel during Ramadan.”]

Nassar, Tamara and Ali Abunimah. "How Nas Daily whitewashes
Israel’s crimes
,” Electronic Intifada, December 21, 2020. ["But in
addition to echoing the propaganda of Israel’s far-right
government – notwithstanding his claim that he “hates” it – Yassin
is also happy to support undemocratic Arab monarchs as long as
they are allied with Israel and presumably as long as they are
paying him.”]

Nasser-Khury, Omar Joseph. "Let’s Not Tatreez: Normalisation
in the Age of Neoliberal Depoliticisation
, CounterPunch, August
28, 2020. ["Normalisation work and collaborations with Israeli
establishments, not private individuals, undermine and endanger
the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination.
Normalisation falsely presents the issue of colonialism and
oppression as one of cultural misunderstanding wherein both
the oppressive Israeli coloniser and the dispossessed indigenous
Palestinian are seen as equals who simply misunderstand one
another. It conveniently ignores and masks the severe imbalance
of power and historical and current context of our life as a
colonised people. Not only is this deceitful, it is insidious and
fundamentally complicit in entrenching injustice and obscuring
the root cause of our struggle against racist colonial domination.
Normalisation is a trap – one that exploits the weak and keeps
them reliant on the original dynamic of domination which vilifies,
dehumanises, and shames them for refusing to take part in it on
the false grounds of blind misunderstanding and bigotry. Such
that if you are unwilling to engage in a normalisation dialogue,
however skewed against you, you are subsequently framed as
the undeserving and victim blamed for your own refusal.”]

National Coalition. “National coalition to protest
normalization with Israel during deal signing at
White House
. Activists say normalization deals
with Israel which are not about peace but about
furthering Israel’s systems of occupation and
apartheid.,” Mondoweiss, September 15, 2020.

One Democratic State Group. "One Voice in Gaza:
normalization at its best!
,” [available on
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
website], December 5, 2012.

Palestinian BDS National Committee. "The BDS
Movement’s Anti-Normalization Guidelines
. Due to rising demand for a better
understanding of the anti-normalization guidelines
among non-Arabic speakers in recent years,
we present the most important points below in
English,” October 30, 2022. 

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of
Israel [PACBI]. "Debating BDS: On Normalization and Partial Boycotts,”
April 1, 2012. ["For a Palestinian-Israeli relationship not to be a form
of normalization two basic conditions must be met: (1) the Israeli side
must support full and comprehensive rights for all Palestinians in
accordance with international law, and (2) the relationship itself must
involve a form of resistance to Israel’s occupation and violations of
international law. Israelis who support our comprehensive rights
under international law and struggle with Palestinians against the wall,
checkpoints, and other forms of apartheid are our partners.
Relationships with them do not constitute normalization. Activities
such as those of "Seeds of Peace" [6], "One Voice" [7], and other such
organizations, however, are clear examples of normalization, regardless
of what those involved in the projects claim. They deceptively portray
Palestinians and Israelis as if they were on the same footing, without
any clear-cut position on ending Israeli’s multi-tiered system
of oppression. As a leading Palestinian youth activist put it, the
only normal relationship between those from the oppressor
community and those from the oppressed community is co-resistance,
not co-existence [8]. Co-existence can only happen (ethically speaking)
after the end of oppression, when both sides can enjoy equal rights.”]

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI].
"International delegations and visitors must not normalize
with Israel
,” Electronic Intifada, April 16, 2007. ["At a time
when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining
ground in response to the escalation of Israel’s colonial and
racist policies, we respectfully urge conscientious academics,
artists and intellectuals from around the world, including those
who visit the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), to refrain
from visiting Israel to participate in any event or encounter
that is not explicitly dedicated to ending Israel’s illegal occupation
and other forms of oppression. Regardless of intentions, such
visits only contribute to the prolongation of injustice by
normalizing and thereby legitimizing it, and inadvertently
support Israel’s efforts to appear as a “normal” participant
in the “civilized” world of science, scholarship and art while
at the same time practicing a pernicious form of apartheid
against Palestinians.”]

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott
of Israel [PACBI]. "Israel’s Exceptionalism: Normalizing the
,” October 31, 2011. ["A key principle that
underlines the term normalization is that it is entirely
based on political, rather than racial, considerations
and is therefore in perfect harmony with the BDS
movement’s rejection of all forms of racism and racial
discrimination.  Countering normalization is a means
to resist oppression, its mechanisms and structures.
As such, it is categorically unrelated to or conditioned
upon the identity of the oppressor….The Palestinian
Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of
Israel (PACBI) has defined normalization specifically
in a Palestinian and Arab context “as the participation
in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or
internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to
bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis
(people or institutions) without placing as its goal
resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation
and all forms of discrimination and oppression
against the Palestinian people.” [2]  This is the
definition endorsed by the BDS National
Committee (BNC).”]

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and
Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI].” Palestinian
youth united against normalization with
,” April 28, 2010. ["In commemoration
of the anniversary of the Nakba, we the
undersigned Palestinian youth …. // “Reject
the efforts of Israel and its apologists around
the world, who aim to direct our efforts at
convincing Israel of our inalienable rights
rather than resisting its oppression through
legitimate and legal means to obtain them;
especially organizations that aim to convince
us that that conflict is but a symptom of
psychological barriers that can disappear
through dialogue with the other. Such
organizations  they completely ignore the reality
which is Israel’s oppression and systematic
discrimination against the Palestinian people.
Organizations like Seeds of Peace, One Voice,
NIR School, IPCRI, Panorama, and others
specifically target Palestinian youth to engage
them in dialog with Israelis without recognizing
the inalienable rights of Palestinians, or aiming
to end Israel’s occupation, colonization, and

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and
Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI].” Palestinians
Call on EU to Halt Normalization Programs and
End Complicity With Israel’s Violations of
Palestinian Rights and International Law
October 3, 2018.

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and
Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI].”Ravenna
Festival: "Do not normalize apartheid
,” May
27, 2016. 

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall
Campaign. "Palestinian youth united against
normalization with Israel
,” April 28, 2010.

Palestine Solidarity Collective. “Normalizing
the Israeli Occupation of Palestine at Syracuse
,” Syracuse Peace Council Peace
Newsletter #845, September 2015.

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the
Academic Boycott of Israel [PSCABI].”
Paths to Peace": Normalizing Israel’s
Collective Punishment of Gaza!

January 28, 2014.

Palestinian youth against normalization.
"Palestinian Youth Unite Against
Normalization With Israel
,” International
Middle East Media Center [IMEMC],
April 28, 2010. Also see https://pyan48.wordpress.com/

Pessah, Tom. "Why Palestinian
Advocacy Groups Don’t Partner With Hillel
New Voices, July 2, 2014.

Radi, Tareq. “How students are resisting
efforts to normalize Israeli apartheid
Electronic Intifada, February 3, 2015.

Sabawi, Samah. “Colonization of the Mind: Normalize This!” Palestine Chronicle,
March 18, 2012. [Excerpt: "I found the best definition of the word normalization
on the Palestinian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott”s website:
“Normalization is the colonization of the mind, whereby the oppressed
subject comes to believe that the oppressor”s reality is the only “normal”
reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life
that must be coped with.” So projects that constitute normalization are not
about freedom, justice or liberation, but about numbing our minds to the
horror of the occupation, so we accept it as normal, as permanent, as an
unchangeable fixed reality!”]

Shehada, Muhammad. "The Arab world just handed Netanyahu its most
powerful weapon
. Arab regimes once wielded their collective strategic
leverage as gatekeepers to Israel’s Mideast integration. Now they’re
defeatists, offering Netanyahu normalization for free - but there’s
an explosive backlash brewing,” Haaretz, September 4, 2019.

Students for Justice in Palestine
- Washington University. “Pinkas,
pinkwashing and the politics of normalization
Student Life, November 17, 2016.

Sukarieh, Mayssun. "New book shows how the PA enriched
an elite and normalized occupation
,” Electronic Intifada, March
28, 2012. ["Globalized Palestine: The National Sell-Out of a
Homeland explores the rise of a new Palestinian elite that
works together with international organizations against the
will of the majority of its compatriots.”]

Uri, Renad, and Omri Evron. "Forget about dialogue groups, it’s
time to switch to co-resistance
. The ‘coexistence model’ is
outdated and misleading. Instead, a Palestinian and an Israeli
activist talk about eliminating systems of oppression from the
bottom up — together,” +972, February 12, 2019. [Excerpt:
"To combat all forms of racism in our communities, we must
aim toward systematic change, not just dialogue. Co-resistance
requires a commitment to ending the occupation, to the right of
return, as well as constantly advocating for equal rights for all.
It allows for constructive dialogue that is devoted to
collective liberation.”]

Image from “BDS 101”

Excerpt from an interview with Omar Barghouti [ei, May, 2009]

Paulo Freire

True Peace


"Yumna Patel spoke to Ramallah-based analyst Diana Buttu
about one of the biggest stories of 2020 — normalization.”

Dana El Kurd, writing in Jewish Currents [December
13, 2022]:  "De-Normalizing Israeli Normalization
at the World Cup
. At the international soccer tournament,
Qatari anti-normalization activists as well as ordinary
spectators have put Palestinian solidarity in the spotlight."


⇧ Back to top