For God sake it isn’t anti-semitism
I had close friends round for dinner yesterday. We had just eaten. Relaxing on the sofa. Sipping our drinks/soft drinks. We had fully discussed homosexuality, Islam, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, marriages between cousins, foreign policies, criminality. When I thought we had exhausted ourselves on topics to discuss we end up with Israel-Palestine on the agenda.
Everyone agreed with the plight of the Palestinian people, but few were willing to acknowledge the role played by former and present Israeli governments and Western foreign policies perpetuating the suffering of an oppressed people. Why was this I wondered.
It wasn’t until we brought the electing of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, that I realised that people were equating that with Palestinians being indirectly responsible for the suicide bombings in Israel. “Killing scores of civilians to just kill 3 Israeli soldiers is not helping the situation (…) Palestinians have to show their willingness to cooperate (…) they should have accepted the Oslo accord” said my close friend.
“Mmmm… so imagine someone invades your home. Oppresses you. Makes your children suffer. Jails and tortures the men and boys in the house. Who should we ask to be reasonable, cooperative? The oppressed or the oppressors?” I replied.
In any hostage situation it is of utmost importance to prevent loss of innocent life. Palestinians they are not seen as hostages in their own country. They are not seen as innocent civilians, but a people who are unwilling to accept the state of Israel and using violent means to resist. The question then arises: is it not human to feel bitterness, anger at a government which has systematically displaced you, uprooted your livelihood, used blockades to starve you, humiliate you at check points, killed someone you know through air attacks and bulldozed your home?
The psychology, the trauma of the Palestinians and their reasons for electing Hamas in the previous elections goes hand in hand. Unfortunately only Hamas has been able to understand the suffering of the Palestinian. They have opened schools, medical centers and activity centers for children. Of course they have also recruited suicide bombers and young men who are exasperated by their situation. Is it not easier to blow oneself up than to continue the suffering they are probably thinking. They are worth more dead than alive since they are unable to provide for their families except as human bombs – Hamas offers a monthly income to each family whose son sacrifices his life for the Palestinian cause.
We are not talking about people living safely tucked under their Ikea bedsheets tapping away on their keyboards or having the freedom to come and go without persecution, who have elected in a radical organisation. We are talking about generations of traumatised individuals. Yes yes the Israelis were also once victims, but thank God there will never again be the slaughter of Jews in the world.
Because Israel receives several billions in aid from the US and their powerful Friends of Israel, not to mention the few hundred nukes Israel possess to threaten it’s neighbors and secure it’s position.
Is this anti-semitism someone asked. “For God sake it isn’t anti-semitism to criticise Israels role in the suppression, oppression and ethnic cleansing of a people. It is a issue of human rights – reducing criticism of Israel to anti-semitism is preventing a debate and an eventual boycott”.