Resisting Genocide

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network released the following statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day:

How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow!…
She weeps sore into the night, and her tears are on her cheeks:
among all who loved her she has none to comfort her.

(Book of Lamentations)

Last week, after murdering 1400 people – of whom 400 were children – after bombing hospitals and mosques, schools, universities and humanitarian supplies, and tens of thousand of homes, Israel declared a cease-fire. A shameful parade of European leaders immediately went to Jerusalem to embrace the mass murderers and to pledge their support for the continuing siege of Gaza.

The primary purpose of this massacre was to break the spirit of the Palestinian people until they surrender and accept their fate as lesser human beings. As former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon said in 2002, “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.” European leaders support this goal, as did previous U.S. administrations, as do the ruling elites of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi-Arabia, despite the fury of their peoples. We wait to see if the freshly inaugurated Obama Administration will break with sixty long years of attack on the Palestinian people armed and financed by the U.S. and Europe.

We grieve with the people of Gaza. We see the faces of the children, of the women and the men; we hear their voices. We also hear the silence of the leaders of Western countries, intermittently broken by evasive platitudes. And we are reminded of the time when the world turned a blind eye while our forebears, our families, were slaughtered.

100,000 Palestinians were made homeless in Gaza this month. Most of them became refugees in 1948 when they were expelled at gunpoint from their towns and villages. Now they are homeless again, even in their land of exile, and at risk of being driven out from Palestine altogether.

Yet on January 27, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the leaders of the U.S. and Europe will be joined in honoring the memory of our dead. Even as we seek to remember and to honor the immensity of that loss, we struggle to find words to convey the hypocrisy of these ceremonies, in which those who are silent today pay homage to the victims of yesterday’s silence.

The radical Jewish writer Walter Benjamin, who died while fleeing the Nazis, wrote, “not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious.” The Third Reich was defeated, and yet, “the enemy has not ceased to be victorious.” Racism, mass murder, and genocide continue to be accepted tools of statecraft. Even our dead are not safe. They have been called up, disturbed, dredged from their mass graves and forced to testify against their fellow human beings in pain, to confess a hatred that was alien to them and to offer themselves up as justification for a new cycle of suffering in Palestine. Their ghosts have been enlisted to help displace fellow Jews from Arab homelands, and to bequeath to them that same alien hatred, conscripting those of us descending from Arab lands to become enemies of our own memory and past.

The Jewish British MP Gerald Kaufman spoke in anguish while the massacres in Gaza were taking place: “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.” We share and echo that refusal. Let not the memory of Jews murdered by the Nazi regime serve as cover for the attempted destruction of the Palestinian people!

Although the guns are relatively silent, this genocidal assault on the Palestinian people isn’t over. The siege, the lack of food and fresh water, the disease-threatening broken sewage system, and economic collapse and humanitarian crisis persist in Gaza with the full support of the U.S., Europe and the Egyptian government. As the siege of Gaza continues, so does the slow ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the home demolitions, the building of the apartheid wall, the settlement build-up, the economic devastation of the towns and villages strangled by checkpoints, the assault on Palestinian neighborhoods in Jaffa, Akka, Lydda, the Galilee and the Negev, the mass imprisonment of Palestinians (over 11,000), and all the large and small ways by which Israel is seeking to crush the spirit and erase the presence of the Palestinian people in their homeland.

Faced with the threat of annihilation in Europe, Jews resisted. From ghettos to concentration camps and within countries under occupation, Jews led resistance to the Nazi regime. Today, from the ghetto of Gaza to the Bantustans of the West Bank and from the neighborhoods of Jaffa and Akka to cities across the globe, Palestinians resist Israel’s attempt to destroy them as a people. On January 27th, honoring the memory of our dead is for us inseparable from honoring more than sixty years of Palestinian survival and resistance. Only when the Palestinian people regain their freedom will the dead rest safely. Then we will all celebrate another victory for life.

3 thoughts on “Resisting Genocide”

  1. Dear President:
    Please save the Palestinian people..form terrorists like HAMAS and from manipulativer organizations whose real agenda has little to do with the Palestinians,and everythingto do with Jew hate shrouded in the demonization of the only democracy in the Middle East..that is DEMOCRACY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS!

  2. Dear President:

    Help unplug Ahmad Yaqeen’s head from his arse. For his obstructed view prevents him from realizing that the more than 1300 dead HUMANS in Gaza also had RIGHTS — above all to life — denied them by the said DEMOCRACY.


  3. Great democracy – 50% of the people ruled by Israel denied full democratic rights. About 40% unable to even move freely. 11,000 political prisoners. But I’ve just been sent this, which is a good response to ‘Ahmad”s inanity:

    We are all Palestinians
    An appeal by Ariella Azoulay, translated by Tal Haran from Hebrew to English.

    To any and all who – in South Africa – would have
    joined the blacks in their struggle

    Had we been whites in South Africa,
    we would be outraged by the massive killing of black citizens,
    the brutal devastation of their habitat.
    Many Jewish citizens would probably have denounced the regime
    and called to overthrow it,
    some would have joined the blacks to create a united front against the ruling power.

    We would have said ‘We are all blacks’
    Now is the time to say ‘We are all Palestinians’.

    Had we been whites in South Africa,
    we would probably have opposed the apartheid regime
    that divides the country and constructs separations and ghettos for other ethnicities.

    We would probably have come out, called for boycott,
    risked our lives to prevent the killing of whoever’s blood
    was free to be shed on grounds of ethnic origin.
    We would have joined the struggle
    against a regime that abandons
    its subjects.

    Why does this not happen here?
    Because a campaign is being fought against us citizens, too
    It is called propaganda.
    It sounds like an old fashioned cliché,
    remnants of old movies,
    of other times, of wicked regimes.
    In our age of internet and multi-media channels
    the idea of ‘propaganda’ is hardly taken seriously.

    Anachronistic as it might sound
    we are living under a regime
    that invests huge resources in propaganda,
    in recruiting us daily to collaborate with acts of state
    that, had we heard of their likes elsewhere, else-when,
    we would wonder, shocked: ‘How could this possibly be?”

    This regime operates simultaneously,
    targeting Arabs with its sophisticated, state-of-the-art weaponry
    and targeting us, its privileged citizens, with an ancient weapon, no less sophisticated.
    This weapon – so embarrassing – is propaganda.
    Most of us know it
    Others know it too.
    Nevertheless, time and again we make the same mistake to assume
    that this very knowledge might protect us from propaganda,
    keep it external.
    But propaganda is everywhere.
    Everyone lends a hand, sending long-Johns to soldiers,
    offering discounts to pilots.
    To constantly brace oneself against such propaganda is just not enough.
    It is not enough to engage in endless deconstruction of information,
    for which we don’t always have the time.

    Distance is needed from the places where such information is produced.
    Nowhere around us is there such distance.
    That is the nature of propaganda,
    we have nowhere to hide:
    Across the street lives the pilot who dropped a bomb,
    down the street lives the journalist who did not publish
    the horror stories and the voices of protest,
    the neighbor’s son is editing the army invasion of Gaza,
    around the corner lives the girl-soldier who
    operates the latest model of detect-and-shoot
    To resist propaganda, more than steady effort is needed.

    We citizens of the State of Israel have willingly become the hostages of propaganda.
    In normal times, and especially in times called “war” by the Israeli government,
    a mere few of us bother to surf non-Israeli news websites or check foreign television
    channels, find different images – not in abundance, either, for the army prevents
    direct reporting from within Gaza,
    and only Ramatan news agency,
    from the heart of this darkness, transmits images
    to other media worldwide.
    But a chance meeting on the street
    is a flash reminder that only few have seen these images or read that information
    (beside the handful of friends to whom we email-forwarded our booty
    and anyway we saw them at yesterday’s demo
    and will see them again at the rally tomorrow).

    All the others, people across the political spectrum,
    are reading and saying other things.
    They denounce the “murderous Hamas”,
    muttering an occasional comment on Israel’s exaggerated use of force.
    The pilot, too, whose hands are now stained with civilian blood,
    (on other days he is a law student at the university),
    said to a Haaretz reporter: “Look, first of all it’s bad that people are hurt.”
    and even added:
    “The way I see it, Hamas is using the civilian population”.
    Criticism is voiced even inside the army,
    but the pilot, the army spokesperson, the girl-soldier from detect-and-shoot
    and all the hostages of the information they produce
    speak of a ‘no choice’ campaign.

    now that the war is over
    they are trying to mobilize us once again
    to keep silent,
    not mention names,
    not incriminate “our commanders” who fought for us at the front.
    Attorney General Mazuz,
    Army Attorney General Mandelblit
    and Chief of Staff Ashkenazi
    are protecting their subordinates.
    The censor will implement,
    the press will obey,
    and we will forget
    that we agreed to conceal information
    which even our leaders openly described
    as incriminating for those whom they sent to war.

    Even if we did not voice our consent,
    the regime acts as if we have,
    and thus we, too, are condoning
    the regime’s actions against our Palestinian neighbors, co-governed,
    and this has become self-evident.

    For sixty years
    expulsion, devastation, killing have been allowed
    and all around us people parrot the regime,
    blaming the Palestinians for their own suffering –
    “They brought this upon themselves,
    they elected the Hamas, they shoot, they are murderous”.
    The weapons-tunnels,
    the ammunition boats
    making their way to the “Strip”,
    all are cited as justification and proof.

    Justification, and proof that there is no one to talk to
    and claim yet again that Israel turned every stone on the road to peace
    as if it is not Israel that forfeited every single peace proposal,
    as if it is not Israel that uselessly and resolutely adheres to the Occupation
    and offer no solution
    except to suspend all solutions
    and hold the Palestinians subject to its grip,
    subjects whose any attempt to resist
    forces us to show them who’s the real bully around here.

    The dispute between those who pursue information
    and those nourished solely by Israeli television and press,
    accepting the regime’s dictate that Israeli and foreign reporters
    cover only the suffering of the people of Sderot and the south –
    this dispute is a lost one.
    They do not read the same information,
    nor see the same images,
    nor interpret them the same way.

    Whoever does not make the effort to overcome this propaganda campaign
    carried out by Israel’s political, media and military leadership,
    (a huge success, let it be said),
    whoever does not refuse to serve patriotism unconditionally
    and enlist in the propaganda campaign that markets evil disguised as victory,
    whoever does not insist on seeking alternative information channels –
    might think that Gaza is inhabited only by terrorists
    or a people blindly following its leaders.

    Without posing as generals and speaking their language
    (after all it is not the only language, even if dominant since 1948),
    and without assuming that reading shared information will produce unanimity
    against the offensive in Gaza,
    how, in the 21st
    can citizens
    possibly perceive their state as democratic
    while they possess no credible, accessible and reliable information
    on the killing of 1300 human beings and the wounding of thousands more in Gaza?

    Why, elsewhere,
    when citizens’ contract with their state
    became one-sided and they were forced to blindly condone
    horrors perpetrated in their name,
    why was it obvious to many of them, and to the world at large,
    that theirs was an evil regime,
    whereas here
    all the horrors perpetrated by the regime since 1948 to this day
    are perceived as local events?
    Is this regime not dark,
    the source of all evil,
    from which we citizens should liberate ourselves?

    We cringe to admit it,
    but we have no precise information about deeds done in our name,
    nor of that which has been done in our name in the past,
    nor do we demand such information now.
    If we saw the whole picture we may not have ventured out the door
    for sheer shame.

    One might insist that this is not the whole picture,
    that Israel maintains freedom of speech,
    “freedom of opinion” can be found in the press – after all, Amira Hass and Gideon
    Levy are still writing publicly.
    But what is freedom of opinion
    without freedom of information?
    Some will insist and mention that
    Ynet did write about some refuser,
    another site posted a horror story of the unjustified targeting of children,
    the media aren’t all that monolithic,
    everything is out there.
    Yes, perhaps. But not the basic things –
    What channel,
    what newspaper
    featured Palestinians whose lives have been devastated?
    Who heard their voices?
    Who heard the refugees whose lives
    have been devastated once and then again and again?
    Who heard them telling how this time,
    unlike 1948, they have nowhere to run to when bombs
    are dropped on them with inconceivable force?

    If the newspaper itself cannot obtain information
    and is required to censure its material
    and report only from the restricted spot the army allots journalists
    and is prevented from publicizing images coming in
    from the Palestinian news agency Ramatan,
    prevented from opening an investigation
    of that which is beyond reasonable doubt a war crime –
    why does the newspaper not call it quits?
    Why does it not issue a blacked-out first page
    featuring only a statement that it can no longer do its duty?
    Perhaps it would thus help remind its readers
    in almost every line they do read
    what sources of information the writers can access,
    and what that place is, hollowly christened “press hill”,
    where nothing but smoke can be seen billowing,
    and to which (Israeli) families travel to show the kids
    Gaza being bombed.

    In South Africa apartheid was at least exposed, overt,
    whereas here it happens in detention camps
    not only beyond our field of vision
    but also outside the central body of the law
    (just as slavery regulations, the “Black Code”,
    were kept outside the law of states that nurtured slavery).
    The Palestinians who are ruled alongside ourselves
    are exposed to various evil regulations
    imposed in the Occupied Territories ad hoc
    by senior officers and subordinates, soldiers.
    They are inaccessible – neither to those ruled according to them
    nor, certainly, to ourselves, democracy’s citizens,
    so that we remain unfamiliar with their injustice
    and especially, so that it would not desecrate
    the hallowed body of “our” law,
    us – citizens of a democracy.

    Slowly the Palestinians disappear from our lives
    (walls, closures, workers from Thailand, silent transfer out of the mixed-cities).
    The exploitation, brutality and oppression they suffer
    are becoming less and less visible to us.

    At the end of a workday,
    when citizens still wish to know something about life in Gaza
    they can get their VOD items carefully selected by the army spokesperson,
    or check out the army channel on youtube:
    “Paratroopers charge a mosque”, “a medley of sea, air and ground missions”, a missile
    deflected so as not to hit the “uninvolved”.
    These citizens do not see the destruction of Gaza
    as a habitat of living people just like them.
    They see the “elimination of terrorist infrastructure”,
    courtesy of the army spokesperson.

    The press does not feature objectors who refused to join this offensive on Gaza
    The media silence the arrest of Jewish participants in non-violent demonstrations.
    It does report the arrest of Arab demonstrators, thus
    reframing the Arab as a maker of “troubles” or “law-breaker”
    and re-emphasizing yet again the insoluble, national nature of “the conflict”.
    The media impose total veto on joint demonstrations of Jews and Arabs,
    for fear of cracking the fortified separation between Jews and Arabs which they
    for fear of suggesting that the rivalry of populations is not “fated”.

    Cracks in the separation
    will suddenly reveal a different picture.
    Subjects would step up together against the regime
    that has made their lives impossible.

    That is the only threat we hold over this regime:
    Jews who would refuse to position themselves against Arabs
    (both inside the ‘green line’ and outside it).
    Jews who will perceive Arabs
    (both inside the ‘green line’ and outside it)
    as fellow citizens..

    If we were in South Africa, some would join the blacks.
    But here, how can we join the Arabs when the regime acts to separate us
    with its concrete wall, its divisive television and VOD,
    withdrawn information and massive mobilization
    of the mass-media?

    This separation regime is commonly seen
    as concerned only with Arabs,
    a regime that sets Arabs apart.
    How can a separation regime set only Arabs apart?
    Any separation has two sides
    A separation regime separates these from those
    and thus, our separation regime sets us apart as well.
    It remains only to ask – apart from what?

    It separates us from the possibility
    granted even the worst of peoples or nations,
    to turn a page in our own history,
    to change our ethos, language, horizon,
    to stop persecuting the Arabs,
    to stop thinking we deserve what they do not,
    and to choose to share a feasible life
    with the people with whom our parents brought us here to live.

    This regime forces us to collaborate
    with deeds of which we are not a part and do not want to be done in our name.
    It forces us to be separated from those with whom we were fated to live.

    Until we manage to gather enough working hands and axes to smash the wall,
    and protest together with the Arabs against this regime,
    we can merge – bodily.
    We can wear keffiyehs around our necks,
    thus declaring that we are not representatives of this regime,
    that we cannot be relied upon,
    that if we happen upon incriminating information
    about the army’s actions in Gaza
    we will not hesitate to hand it over to whoever asks for it,
    that we shall seek ways to make this regime understand
    that it cannot rely on us
    to be its collaborators.

    We shall not agree to be its (mis)guided missiles
    and the bearers of its lies.

    In order to act in our name,
    the ruling power should have our consent,
    the consent of Jews who mix with Arabs, Arabs who mix with Jews.

    Until then we wish to be set apart
    from the deeds of this rule.
    Until then, facing Gaza, remembering Gaza,
    we are all Palestinians.

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