I wanted to give my readers some opportunities to express their disgust with Israel’s massive and disproportionate assault on Gaza. J Street has begun a petition campaign calling for the U.S. government to intervene and stop the violence. Their statement reads in part:
At this moment of extreme crisis, J Street wants to demonstrate that, among those who care about Israel and its security, there is a constituency for sanity and moderation. There are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide and who know that closing it requires strong American engagement and leadership.
Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing “right” in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing “right” in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.
And there is nothing to be gained from debating which injustice is greater or came first. What’s needed now is immediate action to stop the violence before it spirals out of control.
The United States, the Quartet, and the world community must not wait – as they did in the Israel-Lebanon crisis of 2006 – for weeks to pass and hundreds or thousands more to die before intervening. There needs to be an urgent end to the new hostilities that brings a complete end to military operations, including an end to the rocket fire out of Gaza, and that allows food, fuel and other civilian necessities into Gaza.
…Following a renegotiated ceasefire, we urge the incoming Obama administration to lead an early and serious effort to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.
Jewish Voice for Peace is also coordinating opposition to the Gaza violence. Their statement provides e mail addresses and links to make your views known to U.S. government officials:
JVP is working now to develop a multi-faceted and long-term response to the attacks on and strangulation of Gaza. We will let you know soon how you can be a part of this. But in this moment, especially for those of you who live in the United States:
1. The US Campaign to End the Occupation has a list of street actions taking place around the US now.
2. Contact the US White House to protest the attack and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to email@example.com.
3. Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575
4. Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121
5. Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor.
Some of my readers have commented that some of these statements don’t go far enough in stating Israeli complicity and that they blame Hamas as if it is an equal culprit in the violence. I want to make clear that my own position is slightly different than J Street’s. But the key point for me is that Jewish progressives need a voice that can effectively protest at the highest political levels of our government. As far as I’m concerned, J Street can do that which is why I support their work.
There is also room for other Jewish organizational responses and I will circulate those as well as I find them. That is why I’ve also included JVP here.
One Israeli group which deserves criticism for its position on the violence is Meretz. Chaim Oron made this statement which I find tortuous and hopelessly morally and politically compromised:
I would like also to point out that at this point in time, we are obligated to act with caution. Things that appear to us as obvious, are not understood the same way by many people – and not only by the general public, but also among our most loyal supporters and friends — left wingers and human rights supporters, and those who are stuck in their homes as missile attacks continue. When we make a public statement, we must think if [sic] these people, as well as of our obligation to oppose a military escalation when it is unnecessary and is harming innocent people on both sides.
In conclusion, below is the official statement of the New Movement-Meretz Party on this subject:
“At this stage, following the IDF’s action in the Gaza strip, Israel’s primary interest should now be to renew the ceasefire agreement as quickly as possible. The safety of Israeli citizens who live in the vicinity of Gaza and the safety of the kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, demand maximum caution when considering a further large scale operation, particularly a ground invasion, which means sinking in the Gazan mud, in comparison to which, the Lebanese mud is shallow.”
M.K. Haim Oron (Jumas),
Chairman, The New Movement-Meretz Party
I resent the implication that a truly principled opposition to the Gaza invasion would mean ignoring or disrespecting the suffering of Sderot. In fact, the restoration of a ceasefire that bound Israel to ending its siege of Gaza and bound Hamas to restore calm would show the ultimate respect to Sderot because it would end its suffering. Oron’s statement shows how hopelessly muddled the Israeli left has become.
It is times like these that test a Zionist’s soul. And Meretz is found wanting as it was during the Lebanon invasion. Unfortunately, we have no principled Israeli left opposition except Hadash, whose overall agenda some find problematic. It is a sad time for many more reasons than one.
John Dickerson says
MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD AT “THE PROGRESSIVE”:
Bush Winks at Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza, While Obama and Clinton Are Silent
By Matthew Rothschild, December 27, 2008 @ progressive.org
Israel recklessly bombed Gaza on Saturday, killing at least 205 Palestinians and wounding at least 350 more, according to Palestinian health officials.
This wholly disproportionate response to Hamas’s immoral but largely ineffective rocket attacks on Israel is guaranteed to further enflame the Middle East.
Not lost on anyone there will be the Bush Administration’s winking at Israel’s attacks.
White Houses spokesman Gordon Johndroe laid all the blame on Hamas……….
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.progressive.org/mag/wx122708.html
Orde Wingate says
WTF is that rotten place called world your business, anyway? Have you prevented the last big shoah? The whole world has been very busy doing nothing as European jews were murdered systematically and in cold blood by the nazis and their helpers. HaNazistan has declared war on Israel by sending thousands of indiscriminate rockets on Sderot, now Israel is kicking some HamAsses.
Kindness to the cruel is cruelty to the kind, you hypocrites.
It seems to me that, with the situation now further escalated by this latest descent into yet more violence and death, options for any peaceful ending here are becoming increasingly thin on the ground. That’s not to imply they were all that numerous in the first place.
With only a few weeks to go before a new US president takes over, this may not be the most propitious time for petitions and the like to have much immediate result. Whether they will have a result at all remains to be seen. Mr. Obama’s chances of finding an expeditious way out of this morass are hardly improved by what’s happened now. Although he does start with something of a clean slate, his scope for rapid action remains limited, its initial impact compounded by factors too diverse and volatile to address significantly in the short term.
However, he (and we) will need to find that way out. And soon. Otherwise, the situation can only deteriorate still further. So, while registering our protest on how things stand at the moment, it might be in all our interests to include a few pointers toward whatever solutions would seem best suited to the task.
No troop movements, no massive outlay in personnel or material, no soldier or civilian lives put in danger, no casualties other than that of a few brain cells. Talk, protests and petitions are all very well but, in the end, it’s only something like this that gets us anywhere near to the heart of the matter.
In essence, this can provide a whole New Deal for the new year approaching; perhaps also for many new years to come.
The IDF’s next target should be J Street-a foe of equal proportions.
I heard on the radio this morning that Olmert quoted Obama in the Knesset. That when Obama was in Jordan during the campaign, he said, “If someone was firing rockets at my house where my girls were sleeping, I would do anything to protect them.”
Thus giving the green light to Israel to “do anything”.
Ellen that’s ridiculous. It shows sympathy but gives no such green light.
Why do Israelis insist that they are always counter-acting to Palestinian terror?
Israel is a much bigger terrorist is kills far more civilians. This is all on top of the Occupation itself as a daily aspect of Palestinian life.
The level of Jewish narcissism is DISGUSTING. Get over yourselves. The world does not revolve around Jews. The Palestinians are people just like you.
Why is it ridiculous? If a bunch of Mexicans decided they wanted to take back California, since it was “stolen” from them (like Israel was “stolen”), and started firing rockets from Tijuana into San Diego, and killing Americans, how many HOURS..not days or weeks, would it take for us to blast the hell out of them? Would we allow Snoqualmie indians to start shelling Seattle?
The only thing that the Arab world seems to respect is massive, overwhelming force. Or, as they should have learned from the Intifada…”don’t bring rocks to a tank fight”
Israeli Citizen says
Hamas hide behind civilians, so there were civilian casualties. About 85% of the dead are Hamas soldiers.
Please stop supporting terror against Jews in Israel
Perhaps the slaughter is meant to derail any future US policy from being remotely fare to Palestinians. Shedding Palestinain blood after months and months of seige will produce at minimum rocket attacks we’ve seen. As long as Isreali public see themselves as having more rights than their Palestinain counterparts and American jews seek more destruction of Palestinians through their power apparatus in US, the imbalance will grow. When this mountain erupts, it will burn the good and bad Isrealis together and quick. History will repeat itself. Look at falling US power everywhere. There is nothing for ever except God. Be kind to your fellow man. Good luck!
As an outsider and not Israeli or Arab I am disgusted with the excessive use of force by Israel. Every 1-2 years we have the same story. Israelis should know that the wheel will turn and things will change. By killing and bombing the only thing you do is to norture terrorism. And this will make the life of your children and grandchildren more difficult than ever. You need peace and for peace you need friends. With your actions you create enemies. Look around you. Even non-Arab countries have turned against you. Turkey, Cyprus, Greece… all your neighbours are sick and tired of your bombings and killings. If you need friends then talk peace and BE HONEST! Else you will always have war, problems, fear and enemies…
Richard Silverstein says
@Proteus: What a bunch of nattering racist nonsense. The U.S. essentially wiped out Indian resistance so it’s unlikely there’ll be any shells falling on Seattle anytime soon. Fortunately, the world will not let Israel do to Gaza what the U.S. did to its Native American population in the 19th century.
The U.S. also fought a war with Mexico & essentially stole a large portion of Mexican territory and annexed it to the U.S. THere might be a suitable historical analogy in there somewhere.
Richard Silverstein says
@Ezra: Thank you for the voice of Jewish fascism. Don’t settle arguments by the power of rhetoric or persuasion. Settle it by force of arms. Good one, Ezra.
Richard Silverstein says
@Orde Wingate: Thanks for the racist Jewish rant and for showing the true colors of the extreme pro-Israel right wing.
Golda Meir was quoted as saying that if the Arabs lose at a war they will always have a place to reconvene and attack again
“The Muslims can fight and lose, then come back and fight again. But Israel can only lose once.”
I think there is a real sense of disillusion with Israel at this point in time. I’ll never deny the hope to create an Israeli state, I am however now forced into a state of hopelessness as I see what’s happening in a place that could be seen as a land of rescue for those hoping for the best. Idealism is tarnished once again. Israel is a hinge of hope to many people. Now this hope is reversed to killing of innocent kids, mixed in with groups of people who are so lost in hope that they revert to aggressiveness. Treat someone like an animal and they become just that. Palestinians are so hopeless right now. Let’s expect the world to react and not stay immune to this blatant aggression.
If the world remains immune to this and accept Israel’s untouchable image, then we are doomed for more aggressiveness, terrorism. The rhetoric of the last administration has left us really boggled. Now with a new element coming in we hope that the world can reorganize it’s ideas to the eloquence and hope of a new leader. I’m really hoping for the best within the next presidency.
People are critical. They’ve seen Obama cooperate with powerful lobby groups. The current situation will reconvene our efforts and collective energies to a new citizenship. A world citizenship. A world where we can maybe be responsible collectively for the actions of SITUATIONISTS. We all know that Israel is going through a dilemma with it’s current leaders. Leaders are now always looking to the past to review their actions, rethink their policy. The new power struggle has to come from the lower levels. THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FLOOR, IN THE Real World!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck your Vanity, your life in Dubai, your excessive greed! Vanity is detrimental to HUMANITY