Regardless of what you may think of me, my opinions, or the people I speak of below, Israel is destroying itself. Based on a proposition so tenuous that it must be built with care and compassion from below, the dream that some Zionists had after the holocaust of a “new” state cut from the desert is gone. Rather, Israel has chosen to a military occupation of the homes of others for the last 30 years, kept them quiet by force and crafted a definition of citizenship which excludes all but new settlers to the land. Back in the good old days (in the history of the United States, for instance) famine, disease and the occasional massacre would have solved this problem in many fewer years. Modern press, human rights, and people being actually held to ideals they profess has so far prevented this, and more importantly will prevent this from happening quietly.
And so, as in the United States destruction of native peoples, Israel has become a genocidal state. I use that term without hyperbole and with much sadness. The recent press controversy of IDF graduation classes printing t-shirts with targets superimposed on pregnant Palestinian women which read “one shot two kills” or lined up on silhouettes of children with “jokes” about birth control are not simply tasteless or cruel. That no one complained before now in this citizen army points to a culture which, not for the first time, is seen wishing to exterminate an entire people who oppose them. How far Israelis have come from those Capra photos of stalwart young camp survivors building a new nation with arms still tattooed with serial numbers. Mythology or not, one image of itself as a defender of right — conveniently ignoring their Arab neighbors — has been replaced with a self image for the Jewish state that sees the murder of children in the womb as a solution to their definitional problems.
That is genocide. It would be merely alarmingly distasteful, but for the reality: the “facts on the ground” that elements of the Israeli state have been creating for decades. A slow motion removal of Palestinians by whatever means necessary. On which would take as much valuable land of even the 1967 occupation zone in slow, measured, deliberate, and inexorable steps. Couple this with the terrorism demonstrated recently at Hebron, where the stated purpose was to punish whole communities so badly that they would flee. Add on to this the revelations from members of the Israeli armed forces themselves of a culture of deliberate targeting of civilians for murder and their homes for exemplary destruction in the attacks on a caged Gaza this year. What other conclusion can I draw? Only the willfully blind will not see it.
But no matter what I say, Israel seems in no mood to heed the warning of its own citizens who have urged it rethink this occupation which destroys them from the inside even as it forges a Palestinian nationalism that will go to any length to survive. In fact — with the help of the United States — the project of draining the Palestinian lakes until the only fish left die flopping in the mud: this project remains. I fear that even should the world turn on this Israel’s leaders now, even should the United States do so, we are too far gone. Israel has defined itself as a nation bent on the removal of the Palestinians from their land: they may live, but they cannot be Palestinians. This is a project of the removal of a nation, and that is genocide.
So ignore the words of people like me. But should I and others shut up, your project remains, and that project, which cannot succeed in this era, that project will destroy Israel. What will replace it? As Israel has decided that it will accept the view of others, we outsiders can only pray for a land of all peoples living in harmony. Stranger things been built in that land.
- Testimonies on IDF misconduct in Gaza keep rolling in http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072811.html
- Israeli troops describe vandalism, humiliation and unnecessary deaths in Gaza campaign http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/world/Israeli-troops-describe-vandalism-humiliation.5096586.jp
- IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072830.html
- Israeli warplanes carry sonic booms over Gaza http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/22/content_11052867.htm
- Israeli troops violated medical ethics-rights group http://www.reuters.com/article/middleeastCrisis/idUSLN277646
- Under attack: how medics died trying to help Gaza’s casualties http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/23/gaza-war-crimes-medics
- Palestinian brothers: Israel used us as human shields in Gaza war http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/23/gaza-human-shields-claim
- Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/23/gaza-war-crimes-drones
- Israeli war crimes allegations: what the law says http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/24/israel-war-crime-allegations-law
- Israeli soldiers used boy as shield, U.N. claims http://jta.org/news/article/2009/03/23/1003922/report-israeli-soldiers-used-human-shields
- INTERVIEW-General links Israeli tactics to Gaza civilian toll http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLN608229
- UN accuses Israeli troops of Gaza human rights abuses http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5962905.ece
- The white flags of Gaza http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/jerusalem/2009/01/the-white-flags-of-gaza.html
Post script: While my point above was that the national self image of the Israeli “project” has become one which demands the destruction of the Palestinian people, and is thus doomed, other current events in Israeli politics are damning as well. The rise of the secular far right in Israel is as dangerous to Jews as non Jews: perhaps more so. While I don’t believe those involved in the large Zionist project, as oppressive as it is, are fascists in any real ideological sense, the far right in Israel is. Let’s be clear: the Libermann’s and other far right politicians in Israel are ideologically identical to the NDP in Germany or the FN in France. They are militarist, blood and soil nationalists who demand an ethnic cleansing of their state as a way to purify it, and integrate people together in a single body under a single direction which will put the interests of “nation” above those of the market, classes, internal communities, or the outside world. They are fascists. That this is allowed in Israel is a sad statement of how far they have sunk.
Two recent events encapsulate the future we will see with such people in government: A Palestinian cultural festival marking the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, was broken up by police, who barged into a children’s parade and ended a soccer tournament.
Israel bans Arab culture day in Jerusalem
Israel ‘breaks up’ Arab events
Nearby, Israeli troops shut down the press conference of parents of an American protester previously shot in the head at a peaceful protest on the West Bank
Meanwhile, an Israeli far right party which has previously called for the expulsion of all Arab citizens of Israel was allowed to march through an Arab community, protected by police.
Honestly, can even Zionists not see that this is has spun horribly out of control?