My whole life, to a certain age, I believed “Israelis good, Palestinians bad.” That’s because that’s all I heard when I was growing up, either from my parents or from TV or from newspapers or from adults or from wherever. It was the meta-narrative: Israelis good, Palestinians bad. In 1967, when I was eleven, Israel’s smashing victory in the Six Day War was a wonder to behold and a cause for celebration. The plucky little guys had won, and won resoundingly. Take that, you stupid camel jockeys!
I knew of the Holocaust, of course, and was repulsed by it. Who wouldn’t be? I asked the standard question: How could something like that happen? How could an entire population stand by and watch as a megalomaniacal leadership ratcheted up the lunacy daily, until rights had been stripped, property stolen and myriads murdered?
I couldn’t fathom it. Until, that is, the Bush/Cheney junta systematically used 9/11 to shred what little remained of the Constitution and sent the U.S. crashing fool-speed ahead down the path of neo-fascism. Then, fathoming commenced. But I digress.
Or do I?
Through no fault of the U.S. media or my formal education, I came to learn about Israel and its “special relationship” with the U.S. In dribs and drabs, I learned about Zionism. Over time, I learned about neoconservatives. (Often redundant.) I learned about AIPAC and the (not so) great influence these all have had on American foreign and domestic policies. I learned that what Israel’s champions decided was best for Israel was often not best for Americans.
I learned this was just tough shit.
I learned about the Balfour Declaration, the Stern Gang, Irgun, the King David Hotel bombing, Deir Yassin, Nakba, the USS Liberty, Mossad, Sabra and Shatilla, “A Clean Break,” the bulldozing of olive groves and homes, white phosphorus, torture, collective punishment, humiliation, assault, murder, annexation, settlements, Rachel Corrie…
I learned that a favorite activity of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is to smear feces (theirs) all over, well, everything inside Palestinian buildings they’ve overrun. This is apparently great fun.
I’m not so hot on Israel anymore.
So what changed my view? Why, Israel, of course. Or rather, the actions of its government and military. It seems fairly clear: Israel takes the approximately four billion U.S. taxpayer dollars it’s given annually to subjugate an entire population, while its “leaders” provide evermore risible justifications (as well as a stiff-as-you-please collective middle finger) to anyone who dares question their chosen nation’s God-given right to imprison, brutalize and kill as many people as necessary so it can take their shit. (Maybe that’s why they leave so much in return.)
But perhaps I’m being unfair. After all, what other nation possessing 150 nuclear warheads and one of the best-equipped (we can safely leave out “well-trained”) armies on the planet wouldn’t feel threatened by a boatload of peace activists in international waters bringing food, medicine and clothing to an impoverished ghetto?
Poor Israel. Their troops were only defending themselves, you know. Against dangerous people (terrorist sympathizers!; cue theme to The Hate Boat) with clubs and sticks who, amazingly, took offense at being assaulted by armed troops dropping from helicopters in the middle of the night.
I know what you’re thinking: “Armed? But the Israelis were only carrying paint guns!” And how do we know this? Because Israel says so. Hear what one brave wounded IDF goon, sorry, soldier, tells ABC News:
“I was armed with a paint gun and had no other weapons. It was a civilian paintball gun that any 12-year-old can play with. We didn’t come for war, we just came to tell please stop, move the vessel back.”
I believe him. Don’t you? Because (repeat after me): Israelis good, Palestinians bad. And, being the good guys, Israelis would never lie.
The Israelis were defending themselves? The activists provoked the attack? The good and well-meaning soldiers, with the highest reluctance of course, were forced to execute, I mean, shoot people because they’d incomprehensibly been set upon while slithering down ropes bearing children’s toys? (Which, shazam!, turned into lethal weapons, just like magic.) Hmm. Perhaps we should see what the law (yes, that pesky thing) says about Israel’s actions. (Not that that would matter much — or at all — to Israel.)
According to Jewish Peace News, Linda Brayer is “a human rights lawyer who specializes in the laws of war and international law in representing Palestinians and who lives in Haifa.” She writes:
The attack took place in international waters against ships flying under national flags of countries with which Israel is not at war, namely Turkey, Greece and the United States.…
Since no state of war existed at the time, the attack on these vessels constitutes an act of war against those governments under whose flags the vessels were sailing.…
Because this attack was carried out in international waters, the status of the relationship between Hamas, or any other Palestinian body, and the state of Israel is of no relevance whatsoever. Likewise, neither the blockade of Gaza nor Israel’s claims and legal interpretations regarding it has any bearing on its acts of aggression in international waters.…
It is irrelevant what Israeli ministers, generals, admirals, or soldiers thought or intended. The test is in what they did. What they did was engage in acts of war using weapons of war in international waters against vessels that are protected not only in peacetime but also in times of war. Israel has therefore committed both crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity.…
Every single act carried out by the Israeli military forces in international waters on May 31, 2010, are unqualifiedly and absolutely violations of international law.
Too bad Brayer’s so wishy-washy. But I think, with effort, we can infer her meaning:
Israel fucked up. Big-time.
To Israel, I say: the world is on to you. Even kept-in-the-dark and brainwashed Americans are beginning to see you for what you are: A cowardly, soulless bully who’s so busy crying “Anti-Semitism!” (no, sorry, dears; it’s simply pro-justice) that not an atom of reason can slip into your tone-deaf collective consciousness. Here’s my fantasy: The U.S. snaps the purse shut on you and unequivocally condemns your unconscionable, homicidal actions. I realize Sarah Plain has a better shot at saying something comprehensible before this occurs, but it’s a nice dream.
‘Cause here’s the deal: Enough is enough. Enough lies, enough excuses, enough murder, enough destruction, enough occupation, enough apartheid, enough brutality, enough faux victimhood, enough state terror, enough of the U.S. kissing Israel’s ass…
That’s right. Enough shit.
P.S. Long-time reporter Helen Thomas has resigned over her recent videotaped comments (part of which were “Tell [Israel] to get the hell out of Palestine”), remarks that the Obama administration was lightning-fast to condemn as “offensive and reprehensible.”
A White House condemnation of Israel’s murder of nine peace activists is yet to be detected.