The Hatikvah is the national anthem of Israel. It means “The Hope.” These are the English lyrics:

As long as deep in the heart,

The soul of a Jew yearns,

And forward to the East

To Zion, an eye looks

Our hope will not be lost,

The hope of two thousand years,

To be a free nation in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem

To be a free nation, in our land.

And yet, the Israeli government has turned Gaza into another Warsaw Ghetto. I’m not pro-Palestine by any stretch of the imagination, but what is being done in my name (and as an American Jew with the right of return, the action in Gaza IS being done in my name) is just wrong. It’s wrong, not on a humanitarian level, but on a human level. It is wrong to deny medical supplies. It is wrong to withhold food supplies. It is wrong to bomb schools. It is wrong. It is wrong to use the schools, as Hamas does, as a shield against possible military action, but (and here is where I become totally inarticulate) it is a compound wrong to ignore that a school or a hospital is ultimately a civilian target. Chris Hedges, over at Truthdig, says this far more eloquently than I.

And when you have turned a community into a walled and isolated ghetto, it is wrong to imagine that the civilians will not take arms against the oppressor. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I can’t support Israel’s actions. But this is not, for lack of a better word, very yiddishkeit. This whole war goes against everything my rabbis ever taught me about what makes a Jew a Jew. Love of life. Love of education. Taking care of the sick, the poor, the old. Defending the rights and liberties of everyone, even those who would kill us.

There is an editorial from the Haaretz , which sums up my horror better than I can. I give you the first two paragraphs, but the link above will take you to the whole thing.

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape’s topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe’s diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place.

Regardless of whether this story is legend or true, Israel is now failing its own blood pipeline test. As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

Finally, I see in the morning news that the Israeli government says that the Gaza action will be complete in time for Obama’s inauguration. I saw that floated as a theory last week, that this push was Israel’s response to the end of the Bush administration, wherein this kind of war crime was acceptable. That the Gaza action would be over by January 21, because an Obama administration is still an unknown. I laughed when I read that, thinking that it was just typical conspiracy, tin-foil hat thinking, even if it was being posted in the mainstream media. And then, today’s headline.

I’m ashamed.


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/19 at 09:02 AM in As I See It

(1) Comments
#1. Posted by RJ Flamingo on January 19, 2009

I can’t say that I’m entirely with you on this one, but my full response is probably far too long to write here. So I posted it on my blog. I needed a topic anyway…

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