UPDATE: As soon as I posted a link to my Facebook account, its algorithm flagged the image to the left as content too graphic for its readers to see (see censored post to the right). This algorithm censorship is repulsive.
As the conflict in Jerusalem spreads to Gaza, where Israel has just murdered 9 Palestinian children (24 dead in all) in air attacks, the time has come for the world to stop expressing “concern” and calling for “calm on both sides,” and do something. Something real. Something that matters.
The only thing that matters and the only leverage the US has is its shamefully gross $38-billion 10-year aid package, a sweet-heart deal offered by Obama to buy off Netanyahu’s opposition to the JCPOA deal (it didn’t work). The Biden administration must immediately suspend all forms of US aid to Israel until Israel withdraws all of its Border Police thugs from Haram al-Sharif and ceases all evictions of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem.
Of course, it will not do so. The US mission to the UN even refused to permit a Security Council resolution condemning the violence against Palestinians from coming to a vote. Read this and weep:
Fourteen of the 15 Security Council members backed the updated draft of the statement, but it failed to move forward after the US mission asked for more time to deliberate the matter, adding that such a step might not be useful at this time, two diplomats present told The Times of Israel.
In response to a query on the matter, a spokesperson for the US mission said, “The United States is engaging constructively to ensure any action by the Security Council is helpful in deescalating tensions.”
Secretary is State Antony Blinken offered this typically milquetoast statement:
“All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down.”
But just in case Biden was tempted to actually do something serious, Israel warned him to butt out:
Israeli officials said [national security advisor] Ben Shabbat told Sullivan during the phone call that Israel believes the Biden administration and the rest of the international community should stay out of the crisis in Jerusalem and avoid pressing Israel.
Ben Shabbat told Sullivan that “international intervention is a reward to the Palestinian rioters and those who back them who were seeking international pressure on Israel,” according to an Israeli official briefed on the call.
But there is no reason that progressive members of Congress cannot begin to make such a demand. Bernie Sanders, for example, stop sounding like a typical liberal Zionist and let your freak flag fly. We all know you’re with us and that you’re couching your language in terms that won’t offend liberal Zionists. Now is the times to shun former restraint and tell it like it is. Before Gaza goes up in flames. Before fires rage inside the Al Aqsa mosque and worshippers lie dead in its sacred halls.
The best progressives could manage till now was a vague demand that US aid be conditioned on Israel not being permitted to use it for settlements. Rep. Betty McCollum is sponsoring a bill calling for conditioning aid on the release of hundreds of Palestinian children held in Israeli jails in violation of international law. That’s all well and good. But we need much more.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: time to redeem your shameful word salad response to the New York JCRC leader during a Zoom discussion. Time to stand up for Palestine as it comes under the most dangerous and damaging attack in years. There are others: Marc Pocan, Ro Khanna, Ayanna Presley, Cori Bush, Pramila Jayapal. Have the courage of your progressive convictions. Now is the time.
To give you a taste of Israeli sentiment amidst today’s air strikes which killed 9 children among the 24 who died:
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) May 10, 2021
This is a video of Judeo-Nazis “celebrating” on Jerusalem Day before the Western Wall. They are singing a song that incites genocide. It is a quotation from Samson, after his eyes have been plucked out and just before he uses his last ounce of strength to topple the pillars of the Philistine [stand-in for Palestinians in settler terror lingo] temple:
“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
This song was also sung at a wedding following the murder of the Dawabsheh family by an arson attack perpetrated by settler terrorists. Guests at the terror wedding held high a picture of one of the dead children and made stabbing gestures at the image with rifles. It was a lovely site to behold.
They remind me of the settlers in Zion Square in 1995 baying for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s blood. In this case, they’re baying for Palestinian blood. If you are a Diaspora Jew you must be revolted at this Nuremburg-like frenzy. The burning building in the background above the Wall reminds me of the burning torches at the Charlottesville rally. Can you really call these people Jews? Does their religion resemble anything you would call Jewish?
One of Yediot Achronot’s veteran reporters, Attila Somfalvi tweeted this: “There is nothing now constraining us from eradicating a Gaza neighborhood.” As soon as tweeps noticed it, he removed this promotion of genocide. I asked Yediot whether this represented the newspaper’s views and, if not, what it would do to separate it from them. No response yet.
Another one of Israel’s most noted center-right columnists, Ben Caspit tweeted in response to another newspaper editor, who noted it was time to dust off IDF operational plans for attacking Gaza (h/t David Sheen):
מציע פחות מדרגות ושמות מתחלפים, יותר מעשים. למשל, להוריד הלילה שכונת גורדי שחקים בתופאח. עם התראה, כמובן.
— Ben Caspit בן כספית (@BenCaspit) May 10, 2021
“I suggest less [operational plan] steps and changing [plan] names. More deeds. For example, tonight taking down the highrises in the Tuffah neighborhood [of Gaza]. With prior warning, of course!”
Unlike Somfalvi, Caspit has left his genocidal tweet-cheer on his timeline for all to see. Nor are these two “journalists” among the more extreme of Israeli media. They aren’t equivalent to Breitbart or Newsmax, not outliers. They’re as mainstream as you come. Which is why these sentiments are all the more disturbing. Most Israelis would cheer these sentiments on. Genocide, shmenocide. Who cares. They’re destroying our country and we can’t permit it. End of story.
It is a shame there is no ICC equivalent for journalists. They have a huge impact on reader sentiment. Indeed, in Rwanda the genocide was incited by radio broadcasters. Journalists have an obligation to refrain from promoting genocide–at the very least. If they are not disciplined for it, they deserve to be put in the dock at The Hague.
So if you are Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. This is what you’re dealing with: an entire country which has become subsumed in genocide and apartheid. Gone is the time for half-measures. Gone is the time for both-sidesism. Stop this madness. Stop this massacre. Do it now. Suspend aid to Israel: NOW!
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.