This page has been silent for most of 2023. In part, this has been due to work on a sizable project. In larger part, though, our silence reflects a stunned reaction to the ever-growing cascade of dire news around the world. What to say? Where to even begin?
Now, however, with 2024 on the horizon, it’s time to speak out again. We could address Trump’s possible (likely?) return to the White House next year … the world’s pathetic efforts to combat climate change … the hopeless situation of gun violence in America. Instead, we’ll focus on the most conspicuous bit of bad news on our screens at the moment: the incredibly disproportionate and criminal violence Israel continues to inflict on civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Yes, Hamas did commit atrocities against Israeli citizens on October 7. Horrendous atrocities. There’s no argument there. The argument is against the scale of Israel’s response. As always, far more Palestinians have died than Israelis, thanks in part to America’s long-term, continuing military support. And the Palestinians who have died are overwhelmingly civilians (many of them children), not Oct. 7 attackers. When called out on this, Israelis have pointed to America’s own disproportionate sins, namely Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We should specify that we do not believe our anti-Zionist stance is antisemitic, though Israel and right-wing U.S. supporters would claim that it is. Rather, our condemnation of Israel’s long-term behavior, and its atrocious behavior right now, is a straightforward matter of observation. In addition to the vast destruction and the indiscriminate killing Israel is currently perpetrating, officials in that country’s government have been outspoken in calling for the blood of the “human animals” they are murdering in Gaza. Within the far-right Israeli government, there is not even a pretense of concern over civilian deaths.
Both Amnesty International and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), two groups noted for trying to stop violence and bloodshed around the globe, are calling for an immediate ceasefire. That is but a minimal first step. It’s a contemptible shame that Western governments, including our own, lack the courage to support even that.
By the way, Amnesty International also notes, correctly, that Israel operates an apartheid state, and has done so for decades.
If any of the above resonates with you, write to your government officials. Do something to counter the blind, pro-Israel support dominating our government. Say something! Donate to Amnesty and MSF. And if you want to push Israel harder, consider supporting BDS. (Note that this last step may entail personal risk at some point.)