Fading into the Mist
by Sheila Samples
If you keep on excusing, you eventually give your blessing to the slave camp, to cowardly force, to organized executioners, to the cynicism of great political monsters; you finally hand over your brothers~~Albert Camus
There is no subject more restricted nor more controlled in the United States than a critical discussion of Israel. Balanced argument is ignored while each word is parsed -- and condemned. It's strange that we are free to rant and rave and point out the war crimes of our own administration -- of all other administrations throughout the world -- but not those of Israel. The few who dare to question the damage Israel has wrought throughout the Middle East for decades are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic," and are in danger of losing their friends, jobs, their reputations and, if they persist, their country -- for America has zero tolerance for those who recognize Israel's brutality.
Why is this? Are not crimes against humanity just that, regardless of who is committing them? For example, when one-and-a-half million human beings are imprisoned like caged animals, with no food, electricity, medical care, clean water, and then are exterminated like so many insects -- cut to pieces, burned to a crisp with illegal weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions -- is that not a crime against humanity? Are the men, women and children trapped behind the walls of Gaza with nowhere to run -- nowhere to hide -- not human?
Kill Them All
If you've been listening to the Israeli leadership for the past 60 years, the last 10 years -- the last year -- you know very well that Palestinians are many things, but not human. In 1982, former Likud leader and prime minister Menahim Begin said Palestinians "are beasts walking on two legs." The next year, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces Raphael Eitan gloated, "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." And, in 1988, Yitzhak Shamir, a Likudnik elected Prime Minister twice, told the settlers taking over the Palestinian land, "The Palestinians will be crushed like grasshoppers...heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
But it was our own Evangelical, oxy-moronic (sic) Judeo-Christian (sic) cloven-hoofed Pat Robertson, who chats often with God who gave us the real lowdown on Israel's "moral" savagery. Robertson explained God's rationale to his 700 Club members in May 1985...
"The wars of extermination have given a lot of people trouble unless they know what was going on. The people in the land of Palestine were very wicked. They were given over to idolatry; they sacrificed their children; they had all kinds of abominable sex practices; they were having sex, apparently, with animals; they were having sex men with men, and women with women; they were committing adultery, fornication; they were worshipping idols, offering their children up; and they were forsaking God.
"God told the Israelites to kill them all -- men, women and children, to destroy them. And that seems to be a terrible thing to do. Is it? Or isn't it? Well, let us assume there were 2,000 of them, or 10,000 of them living in the land, or whatever number there was of them. I don't have the exact number. Pick a number. God said, 'Kill them all.' . . . the abomination was there like a contagion. God saw that there was no cure for it. It wasn't going to change; their hearts weren't going to change; and all they would do is cause trouble for the Israelites, and pull the Israelites away from God, and prevent the truth of God from reaching the Earth. So, God, in love, took away a small number that he might not have to take away a large number."
Beasts. Insects. Victims of a relentless, methodical genocide that grinds away, day after day, year after year, with no analysis, no reflection, no questions -- subsidized with US equipment, US political support, US taxpayers' money. How easily we have not only excused, but given our blessing to Israel's crimes -- handed over our brothers -- from the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty using US-financed French aircraft leaving 34 dead and 174 injured American sailors, to massacres using US-furnished weapons in Jenin, Rafah, Sabara, Shatila, Lebanon, and repeatedly in Gaza.
How silently we stood on March 16, 2003 when an Israeli soldier in a US Caterpillar bulldozer crushed to death 23-year-old Rachel Corrie -- shot and seriously wounded 26-year-old Brian Avery on April 5, 2003 -- and, on April 11, 2003, shot and killed 21-year-old Tom Hurndall while he was attempting to save three terrified Palestine children who were being shot at as they played.
Israel's grotesque 22-day foray into Gaza earlier this year shocked the world with its savagery -- with one notable exception -- the United States. Perhaps that's because, according to the Australian Herald, one week before the invasion, the US shipped 989 containers of munitions, including white phosphorous, to Israel. Three months earlier, Congress approved a $77 million sale to Israel of 1,000 Boeing Corp. GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs which arrived just in time to wreck havoc on the Gaza infrastructure.
Despite the layers upon layers of justification Israel cites, there is only one reason it continues its heinous extermination of the Palestinian people -- because it can. Because the United States supports such atrocity. Because the United States finances, arms and equips Israel, and -- more important -- protects it from having to account for any of its crimes. So, who's to blame here? From whose hands does the blood of Palestinian men, women and children run? Israel or the United States? Who are the monsters?
Scarcely a week after the "war" on Gaza began, the jubilation in both houses of Congress was palatable. Members elbowed each other out of the way to co-sponsor and vote for resolutions condemning Hamas for forcing Israel to maim and kill its Gaza population. Resolutions were submitted and passed by voice vote on Jan. 8. The Senate Resolution had 34 co-sponsors; the House Resolution chalked up 116. The votes and the blame were shamefully one-sided, with Hamas being blamed for both the war and the death of its own citizens. Israel did not receive a single rebuke; was praised throughout -- ironically, for facilitating "humanitarian aid to Gaza with hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian assistance and numerous ambulances entering the Gaza Strip since the war began."
Three days later, investigative journalist Max Blumenthal covered a 10,000-strong rally in New York City. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) whipped the crowd into a frenzy, shouting about the morality of Israel text-messaging Palestinians to "vacate their homes because there were weapons in them..." Schumer, giddy with pride, his fist waving in the air, cried -- "What other country would do that!"
According to Blumenthal, the rally was pulsating with hate. He said... "Right in front of the stage, a man held a banner reading, “Islam Is A Death Cult.” Rally attendees described the people of Gaza to me as a “cancer,” called for Israel to “wipe them all out,” insisting, “They are forcing us to kill their children in order to defend our own children.” A young woman told me, “Those who die are suffering God’s wrath.” “They are not distinguishing between civilians and military, so why should we?” said a member of the group of messianic Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch group that flocked to the rally.
"No one I spoke to could seem to find any circumstance in which they would begin to question Israel’s war. No number of civilian deaths, no displays of extreme suffering -- nothing could deter their enthusiasm for attacking one of the most vulnerable populations in the world with the world’s most advanced weaponry. There are no limits, no matter what Israel does, no matter how it does it."
As I watched those caught up in the shockingly racist excitement of that rally, I could not help but wonder what these people -- what US politicians -- would do if the children being blown to bits, the homes bombed and bulldozed, the families mutilated, the livelihoods destroyed -- were theirs. And, I also am forced to wonder -- is the inability to hold back tears at the sight of so much inhumane lust for blood anti-Semitic -- even anti-American?
Blame the Jews?
Perhaps I am the wrong person to address this issue. I was raised, for the most part, in the wilds of New Mexico by parents completely devoid of racism, bigotry or hate. Those ugly ideologies weren't just ignored -- they didn't exist. This may sound naive, but I never met a Jew until I was married, my husband was in the Army and stationed at Fort Monmouth in Long Branch, New Jersey. We rented a bedroom "apartment" from the Brodskys, a Jewish family -- wonderful, joyous, good-natured people who welcomed us into their midst as if they had been waiting for us all their lives. For me, for years, the Brodskys personified all Jews.
So, when I look to the Middle East and see human beings abused, without food or adequate health care, their infrastructure destroyed, their children slaughtered for sport, it is difficult for me to believe such barbaric savagery is being committed, or even condoned, by Jews who are aware of what is happening. American Jews, Jews in Israel, Jews around the world are vigorously opposed to such treatment. Far more Jews than non-Jews in this country speak out about Israel's relentless execution of Palestinians. They protest, engage in "die-ins," hold 24-hour vigils with signs heralding their dissent. They scream to heaven -- but their voices are silenced and the media steadfastly refuses to cover their views.
There was no mention of the rally in New York City in support of Gaza on the same day as the Schumer Screamer; no mention of IDF soldiers who refused to serve because of the violence against innocent Palestinians; no mention of the 700 Israeli citizens arrested in the first two weeks for protesting the assault; and no mention of a Jan 8 meeting of prominent Canadians who spoke out against the war on Gaza.
Toronto psychotherapist Judith Weisman, a Jew who is a member of Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for a Just Peace, the Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation of Palestine, and a founding member of Not In Our Name, said, "Zionism is the scourge of the Jewish people. It is Zionism that has created all of this."
Weisman, herself a former "committed Zionist," said, "it took many years for the scales to literally fall off of my eyes and for me to see what Israel has wrought among the Palestinians." Weisman says she is frightened at the influence Israel now has around the world, and the "power that Israel and the United States are using to control so much of what is happening around the world."
It's not that nobody is listening, it's that -- for those hog-tied to the US media -- there's nothing to hear but silence, propaganda and lies. Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz that fully a third of those killed were children. Levy said...
"The public's shocking indifference to these figures is incomprehensible. A thousand propagandists and apologists cannot excuse this criminal killing. One can blame Hamas for the death of children, but no reasonable person in the world will buy these ludicrous, flawed propagandistic goods in light of the pictures and statistics coming from Gaza."
No matter. We here in the United States have moved on. We have given our blessing to the great political monsters. It is as George Orwell wrote in his prescient 1984...
"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.