Summary: Just as the West’s endemic antisemitism has infected other nations in the Middle East (or exacerbated it), Israel acts out the West’s standard imperialist scripts on the Palestinians. Take the natives’ land, oppress them, and their violent reaction justifies repeating the cycle. In Israel today, as in the many previous times in Western history, it’s done with righteousness. and indiscriminate violence.
“The Most Dangerous Moment in Gaza“, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 1 August 2014 — “What happens if this conflict comes off the rails?” Excerpt:
There is near-unanimity in Israel already that Hamas represents an unbearable threat. Add in the perfidy of a raid conducted after a ceasefire went into effect and near-unanimity becomes total unanimity. The most interesting article I’ve read in the past 24 hours is an interview with the Israeli novelist Amos Oz, the father of his country’s peace-and-compromise movement, who opened the interview with Deutsche Welle in this manner:
Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?
Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!
Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?
With these two questions I pass the interview to you.
The point is, if Amos Oz, a severe critic of his country’s policies toward the Palestinians, sounds no different on the subject of the Hamas threat than the right-most ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet, then there will be a national consensus that it is not enough to manage the Hamas rocket-and-tunnel threat, but that it must be eliminated if at all possible.
This is the typical madness of imperialism. Let’s look at from different perspectives.
First, consider Oz’s question. If I shoot my neighbor it is simple self-defense. But that’s not an analogy with Gaza, which require that I use heavy weapons to destroy his entire apartment building — or the entire city block. By Oz’s analogy, I’d be guilty of mass murder. How odd that neither Oz or Goldberg see this.
Second, consider how Israel’s actions since the Six Day War resemble the typical Western imperial script. As in America’s dealings with the Native Americans. We steal their land and oppress them. When they strike back violently, we reply back in kind with righteous fury a hundred-fold, indiscriminately attacking men, women, and children. Their barbarism justifies the theft of still more land, and so another cycle. We — and Israel — get both the land and belief in our rectitude.
And so the AP reports children in Israel chanting “There’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left in Gaza.” An op-ed at The Times of Israel website writes “When Genocide is Permissible” (see Gawker for the story).
Update, another advocacy of genocide: “1 Samuel 15:18“, op-ed by Irwin E. Blank (bio here), at The Times of Israel, 1 August 2014. Note the “clarification” he wrote later, denying the plain sense of his text.
Update about Facebook post by Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset:
- “Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’“, Daily Mail, 4 August 2014
- “Knesset member: Retake Gaza, put civilians in ‘tent camps’“, Times of Israel, 4 August 2014 — “Moshe Feiglin says Gazans should be given ‘generous’ incentives to relocate after all fighters and ‘their supporters’ killed”
- “Israel-Gaza conflict: Right-wing Israeli politician calls for Gazans to be ’concentrated in camps’ – and then all resistance ‘exterminated’“, The Independent, 5 August 2014
Israel tries the old ways. However successful today, I doubt it will end well for them.
Humans are a rationalizing animal. Everyone tells his story in a way that justifies his actions. Only empathy and justice can bring peace, with justice brought by force applied by the world community. Obviously we’re far from that world. And none can see the way to it.
And the tears flow on forever
Southward in silent ranks
They flow to the Jordan River
And overrun the banks.
— Heinrich Heine’s Rabbi of Bacharach (1840)
For More Information
The artwork “We steal your stuff” is by Posterchild, from DeviantART, posted with his open authorization.
(a) Interesting recent articles about Israel:
- “How Hamas Won: Israel’s Tactical Success and Strategic Failure“, Ariel Ilan Roth, Foreign Affairs, 20 July 2014
- “Wounded Knee 1890 – Gaza 2014. Manifest Destiny in the United States and Israel“, by WP at Sic Semper Tyrannis, 24 July 2014
- “Stop the rockets, but lift the siege“, The Economist, 26 July 2014 — “Any ceasefire will be temporary unless Israel starts negotiating seriously with the Palestinians”
- “Israel’s fears are real, but this Gaza war is utterly self-defeating“, Jonathan Freedland, op-ed in the Guardian, 26 July 2014 — “Palestinians and Israelis are saddled with leaders who with every move make their people less, not more, secure.”
- Essential history of Gaza, background to the fighting: “Israel mows the lawn“, Mouin Rabbani (senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies), NY Review of Books, 31 July 2013
“Palestine: The Hatred and the Hope“, David Shulman (Prof Humanistic Studies, U of Jerusalem ), NY Review of Books, 2 August 2014 — “Since the Gaza war began, an unprecedented wave of blood lust and racist violence has raged within Israel. Yet there are also hopeful developments in the pro-peace demonstrations.”
- “Hamas’s Chances“, Nathan Thrall (senior analyst, International Crisis Group), London Review of Books, 21 August 2014 — Clear, incisive analysis of the origin and possible outcome of the current conflict in Gaza.
(b) Posts on the FM site about Israel:
- The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
- Are Israel’s leaders insane? Jeffrey Goldberg thinks so., 15 August 2010
- We can only watch as the nation of Israel slowly commits suicide, 30 November 2011
- Israel leads America on a march to war. A march to folly., 16 February 2012
- Preparing for the Evacuation of Israel, 6 March 2012
- Israel becomes its enemy, 20 November 2012
- Why Israel didn’t win in Gaza, 6 December 2012
- Important: The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2014