Saturday, July 12, 2014


Shame. How can one condone or excuse Israel’s iron-fisted occupation and the merciless war that occupation begets against an oppressed people?

Never mind worn out arguments and accusations that flare up during every new outburst of violence and brutality. The root cause is the occupation: the continuing aggression and expansion of settlements, military rule over a subjugated native population, a system of de facto apartheid. As for the facts of the current horrific episode, an article in the Jewish Daily Forward shreds any credibility that the Netanyahu government may still hope to claim.

Most of the world sees what’s happening through the historic context of conflict between oppressor and oppressed, conquest and colonization vs. resistance. This does not condone brutality or terror against civilian populations from whatever source. Nor does it express favor for particular religious doctrines or ethnic and nationalist loyalties.

American Jews are divided. So are Americans in general. Despite sharply one-sided US policy and media bias, a shift is clearly taking place. I would guess that a majority of the public, Jews included, is disturbed, if not appalled, by the onslaught on Gaza.

There are logical consequences to the Israeli government’s insistence on military might to sustain the occupation and destroy resistance. One consequence is to inflame racism among Israeli youth, where cries of  “kill the Arabs” and vigilante acts of brutality are rising. Another consequence is that many, hopefully most, Jews are beginning to ask: “How can Jews do to others what anti-Semitism has inflicted on Jewish people over the ages?”

Still, the Jewish Federation calls for “solidarity” with Israel under the slogan “Stop the Sirens.” It sponsors a fund to move Israeli children to areas of safety — nothing about the children of Gaza. Aside from values of humanity and equality, where is sanity and the sense of history? Occupying and colonial powers always provoke resistance, sometimes brutal and sometimes even self-destructive. The more the master power resorts to massive bombings, demolition of homes, “reprisal” punishment of whole populations, the more certain is a future of resistance and undying hatred.  Only the racist extremists have an "answer" for that: extermination or expulsion of the Palestinians — a "solution" as impossible as it is inhuman.

The only real hope for Israelis as well as Palestinians is to end the occupation. Meanwhile, the need is for a ceasefire, no further escalation. Netanyahu’s invasion into Gaza can only bring catastrophe to aggressor and victim alike.

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