When did Israel become the enemy,
All my life, growing up in Jersey, the subject of Israel was froth with contradictions, as was the subject of anything Jewish.
We were not allowed to mention the war or speak of the holocaust. It was too painful for my Grandmother who we were not allowed to call Bubby either – Granny was good, Bubby was bad. My mother never said the holocaust was too painful for her to talk about. My mother said it was better for the kids at school – who we were to call Christians, not goys – should know we were German, not Jewish. My mother was 13 when she had escaped on the “last children’s boat to leave Germany”. My mother was 15 when she was reunited with surviving family members in England as they fled to the U.S. My mother was 23 when she converted to Christianity with the advent of her first born.
Israel – the land of milk & honey; the pride of Jews who made the desert bloom! Jews who worked so hard, who sacrificed & toiled, who took land that defeated generations of man, plants, and animals & fashioned beauty & sustenance; who created home.
Israel, the shame of Europe and the Americas – the nations that refused dazed and dirty skeletons that somehow escaped the ominous fate of most of their relatives and peers, who were able to flee, who were eventually stuffed into a tiny colonized country that England was willing to ‘give up’. Israel, the dumping ground for Jews that were expelled from most Arab nations, who in the late 1940’s, aligned this once with their Christian neighbors as they mostly rid their lands of Jewish settlements – even in the West Bank.
Israel – the light, the hope, the joy of a devastated people, a people who survived the largest genocide of the 20th century – barring the 9 million murdered in that part of Africa Belgium conquered earlier at the turn of the century. People who not only didn’t care that this desert land was mostly arid, hostile, barren, but who also were returning to an ancient place of their ancestral birth from centuries ago or as late as 1880’s when they once again fled English conquerors.
But did survivors care about the Arab people who were living in Israel? All people living in Palestine under English rule were considered Palestinian – Jews, Arabs, Europeans alike. But I would imagine it was the poor Arabs who were displaced. I also would imagine Jews, recently surviving horrors themselves, cared at least as much as Americans today care about the people who formerly lived in the house they buy or rent, especially when they move into poorer areas.
When did we cease viewing Israel as our problem, our World War II participants’ & victims’ problem, those particular folks & the rest of the world’s attempt at restitution for a horrific slaughter perpetrated & tolerated in the name of arian brotherhood?
When did Israel cease becoming a terribly flawed & feeble gesture of recompense, of making amends, of easing the shame, guilt, horrid burden on those World War II participants who still had a consciousness? How easy did Israel slide from the solution of WWII to the problem of the victims of WWII?
When did we cease caring about that group of human beings whose numbers were cut by 6 million during many of our lifetimes? When did we become so judgmental, such experts on deciding how quickly and in which way a people should recover from genocide? So quickly & judgmentally that we can label those people hitlers?
But we are famous as a nation to minimize genocide & maximize our expectations for folks to put their collective experiences as the victims of genocide out of our site, let alone our resources.
How clear it is to me – especially after our recent masterful manipulation of Iraq into civil war – that this was the intent of the world powers in the first place, way back in the mid-forties when both Jews and Arabs were such a headache to the Western boys. What better way to solve both problems then to set up a situation where killing each other should fester & explode – leaving western hands appearing so lily white.
And here we are, almost 60 years & many, many, many deaths & destructions later, here we U.S. citizen activists are playing right into those hands – so our hands remain so lily white as well?
Surely we see more clearly & yet, we have not only jumped in consistently on the side of the people we perceive as having the browner skins, but we have even jumped in on the side that says either you are on the side of Israel or you are on the side of Palestinians.
We also use the same paradigm, that of the ruthless western conqueror & the corresponding methods of exploitation, genocide, domination and then attempt to fit Israel into that paradigm.
The closest scenario I can think of is if a group of indigenous folks were able to escape genocide centuries ago from this land and disperse around the world; then decades or centuries later, several countries unite to once again kill these people. When this war finally ends, those indigenous folks who survive return to this country & are ‘given’ an isolated reservation in North Dakota, where their distant relatives still struggle. Then war breaks out between the two groups on the reservation (never mind the fact that oil is discovered under reservation soil).
Would peace activists choose one side over the other? No we would be on the side of peace & conflict resolution.
So how then has a conflict that originally was set-up to explode from the beginning how has it come to be that we have chosen sides of governments & militaries, and not the side of peace and conflict resolution?
But the most devastating fact about the conflict in Israel & Lebanon, is that we in the U.S. get to gloss over & avoid what our very own military is doing and directly for us and for our American life-style TODAY in Iraq and Afghanistan.
· 3,700 more troops were sent into Baghdad this week.
· The week fighting escalated in Israel & Lebanon, the Italian documentary was released informing us that our military is using horrific ‘modern’ experimental weapons of mass destruction on the Iraq population
· U.S. headlines report that Civil War has broken out in Iraq, thereby disenabling our troop withdrawal – of course, these same headlines a few years ago was U.S. troops were unable to leave in order to prevent Civil War in Iraq.
· Maybe 4 U.S. soldiers die EVERY day in Iraq, maybe 100-200 civilians – who is counting?
All of the participants in the Middle East and anywhere in the world using violence and murder to solve their problems are WRONG; HORRIFIC; and need to be stopped. Whether one life is taken or 20 or 20,000 – it is ALL wrong.
We must put an end to the taking of human life – especially in our name & the name of our life-style.