Palestine? Over-the-Rhine? What’s the Difference?

Oppression of poor people in one part of the world often bears a remarkable similarity to oppression of poor people in other parts of the world. That’s the insightful conclusion that Nancy Paraskevopoulos reached after touring Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Viewing the settlements, she thought something seemed familiar: Why, yes, the settlements reminded her of 3CDC, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. Paraskevopoulos wrote her account for the University of Cincinnati’s News Record, an article headlined, “Expansion Abroad Similar to 3CDC.”

Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine are a complex issue, but even its ally, the United States, agrees that they are an impediment to the peace process. Less complicated is 3CDC’s plan to throw out more low-income residents to make room for upscale developments. Here is what Paraskevopoulos had to say:

“The first (settlement) we saw was Nof Zion, which reminded me of gentrified townhouses in my city’s neighborhood, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine. The settlement, built by and advertised to wealthy Jewish internationals, illustrates a clear view of Jerusalem, the City of David and Mount Zion. Similarly, prefabricated communities in Over-the- Rhine are built by and advertised to wealthy, white suburbanites. Cincinnati Center City Development Corp.’s projects here, the ones with 3CDC signs out front, like Nof Zion, boast of development, historical significance and security.

“More importantly, they both lack even simple recognition of the communities they are overtaking and ousting. A block away from the aforementioned Over-the-Rhine complex is a predominantly black ghetto. The valley across which residents of Nof Zion might view important cultural and religious sites houses a Palestinian community, which Nof Zion cuts off from other Palestinian communities in the West Bank. As my ICAHD representative put it, these development industries “manipulate the view to create this myopia.” You see what you want to.”