Normally I like to wake up in the morning, read a whole bunch of blogs and newspapers, connect them all together in my head, and then try to write about them. Today, however, I was pretty blown away by the blog of Glenn Greenwald, who I read almost every day and almost always agree with, but today he took it above and beyond what he normally writes. Due to this, I would just like to write a blog that goes over Greenwald’s blog; I’ll try to be as original as I can, but I’ll probably just end up copying everything he says.
I’d like to start things off with a quote that Greenwald posted, by Michael Goldfarb:
The fight against Islamic radicals always seems to come around to whether or not they can, in fact, be deterred, because it’s not clear that they are rational, at least not like us. But to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause. Perhaps it will make the leadership of Hamas rethink the wisdom of sparking an open confrontation with Israel under the current conditions.
The Palestinians, especially the people who join Hamas, are not human beings. If they are human beings, they are not quite as evolved as the people in Israel and the Western World; they are savages. The mindset of Goldfarb (and – from what I have seen the past couple weeks – the majority of the supporters of Israel’s occupation) is that since Palestinians are not people, we cannot talk to them as people- the only thing they understand is dropping bombs on their families and friends. This has worked so well over the past few years in getting rid of terrorism- we didn’t hear of many terrorists in Iraq until we went in there and started dropping bombs. Afghanistan had a small problem, until we went in there and starting killing innocents. Israel has been taking the land of and killing the families of Palestinians for sixty years, and the amount of Palestinians signing up for suicide bombings has not decreased in the slightest because of killing random people. To publicly state that the way to defeat terrorists is to kill arbitrary innocent civilians is beyond my ability to understand. How do people become so cold that they do not blink an eye – shit, they even cheer – when innocent people are killed en masse so that other people can feel a little bit safer? (Although, talking to people who have lived in Israel makes this point seem untrue; they seem to be the most fearful people involved).
Greenwald has been writing about the Israel/Palestine situation with consistency in the year and a half that I have been reading his blog, but – like most people – more so in the past couple weeks. He says:
I can’t express how many emails I’ve received in the last week from people identifying themselves as “liberals” (and, overwhelmingly, American Jews); telling me that they agree with my views in almost all areas other than Israel; and then self-righteously insisting that I imagine what it’s like to live in Southern Israel with incoming rocket fire from Hamas, as though that will change my views on the Israel/Gaza war.
I’m sure I don’t receive as many emails as Greenwald (judging by the fact that he receives more comments in a week than I get hits in a month) but the disagreeing ones that I do receive often say the same thing. I lived 4 miles outside of New York City on 9/11; I saw the towers fall, I smelled the burning in the air, I have a neighbor who died, I have friends who still aren’t the same, I lived in great fear for months afterwards. However, there is not any part of me who wants to kill entire families of people with the same color skin as the people who committed the inexcusable acts. There is not one cell in my brain that thinks – even if I accepted war as necessary and civilian deaths as a part of war – that doing this would end terrorism and make us safer. I’m sure if I were to live in Israel – or even visit – I would be afraid and I would see the need to work out some kind of agreement where murders stop on both sides. However, I’m just as sure that if any of the people spouting this nonsense were to live on the Gaza strip for a week they may see the other side. This is something I have been saying for years now (if any of the war supporters spent time getting to know the people of Iraq – seeing their faces, knowing their fears and dreams – it would be a lot harder to support the killing of them), but no one has listened. If one of the people emailing Greenwald or myself would agree to spend time living on the Gaza Strip, I would be willing to live in Israel, but I highly doubt that is going to happen.
There are many more sections of Greenwald’s blog that I would like to dive into with more depth, but I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll just focus on one more part:
Those who giddily support not just civilian deaths in Gaza but every actual and proposed attack on Arab/Muslim countries — from the war in Iraq to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to the proposed attacks on Iran and Syria and even continued escalation in Afghanistan — are able to do so because they don’t really see the Muslims they want to kill as being fully human
This is something else that I have been trying to get people to understand since I have been writing this blog- we are all human. Such a simple statement, and yet how many people – especially among those who make important decisions – really, truly grasp it? Israelis are living, breathing human beings who should have the right to live any way they want as long as they are not hurting anyone else. They should not have to live in fear of getting blown up on a bus or of their house getting hit by a rocket. Each Israeli who has been killed by the violence of a Palestinian has left waves of suffering- parents, siblings, children, friends, co-workers, neighbors… This is very easy to see and all the people who disagree with what I have been posting will not argue with this- Israelis are human beings who deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, when things are switched around, when I say that the brown people are human beings who do not deserve to die for no reason, who also leave waves of grief, who also bleed and breathe and eat, it suddenly becomes very hard for Zionists to understand. I will not quit, I will continue to post blogs, I will continue to share as many articles as I can, I will continue to organize, I will continue to host any debate that people feel like having.