An Israeli speaks out against the crimes of her government
BY Zoya KlebanovaI am ashamed to be an Israeli. There, I said it. And yes, I know better than most that there are many good and kind people in Israel. But what is happening right now in Gaza in the name of those good people CANNOT be tolerated, because it goes against everything humane and decent.
Yes, there are deaths on the Israeli side as well, but despite the heartbreak and tragedy experienced by the families of the victims, it's important to understand that the amount of pain and suffering experienced by the Palestinians is infinitely greater, and it's the responsibility of all of us to speak out against it!
We forgot the lessons of the past, and because of that, because of our lack of responsibility, ignorance and inaction, we allowed psychopathic leaders and their twisted ideologies to take hold of our own perception of reality. But if we could just stop for a moment and think, we would clearly see that this situation is not about "who fired first" and "how many rockets" (although, research shows that Israel was the aggressor in most past cases, including this one), but about the basics, like human decency, conscience, and not having blood on one's hands after our government ("oops, again") is murdering children and calling it 'self-defense'.
And that's the bottom line, that I, as an Israeli, even if I didn't pull the trigger, will still have blood on my hands if I see what is happening and stay silent.
Now, saying the above isn't easy at all, especially when people I love in Israel are currently experiencing all the horrors that come with living in a war situation. I will also be criticized, and I understand that expressing my real views on a matter may have certain social repercussions, and being accused of not caring about your people is only one of them. For example, as one of my long-term friends recently told me: So I feel that's it's essential to not only take a stand and do what is right, but also to clarify several of the misconceptions that have been poisoning the Israeli mind, and which are the result of decades-long programming and lies that led to the erosion of fundamental human values like compassion and conscience. The unfortunate truth is that Israeli policies are harming first of all its own population, and may be about the total devastation of the country and mass loss of lives.
For the past two days I have been in constant contact with my mother over Skype. She told me about several rockets falling, and how she and her neighbors had to leave their homes (she lives toward the south, but is considered to be in the center of the country). Until now, rockets fired from Gaza have never reached that far. She also told me how frightened she is, that she feels like a trapped rat, that there are causalities and damage to property and that the situation is serious and feels like war. And, according to the officials and Israeli Home Front Command (equivalent to Homeland Security), this will continue for 7 weeks or more. She also told me how painful it was to see her neighbor's children, who looked so confused and scared, and how living under mortal threat causes one to evaluate one's life and priorities.
Now, it's important to note that I am not diminishing in any way the tragic situation that Israelis find themselves in. It is scary, difficult and intolerable, and no one, no matter what nationality, should go through such experiences. Heck, I could easily be in Israel right now to experience it all myself. It should also be mentioned that, once upon a time, my views weren't that different from the views of an average Israeli, and that despite opening my eyes to the true nature of the conflict, except on several occasions, I still didn't go out of my way to do something about it.
Getting back to the issue at hand, there appear to be several problems here, and they have to do with either the ignorance or unwillingness to deal with the reality of the situation, and also with the lack of compassion toward others.
Let's begin with the misconception that Israelis did not steal anybody's land and actually owned it first and foremost. There are several interpretations of what exactly happened, but most of Israelis agree with the one where they were legally given the land by the UN in 1947 (not to mention the religious claim on the Holy Land, that it was promised to the Jews by God, and thus belongs to them). Part of that consensus interpretation is that the local Palestinian population was offered to stay, but instead chose to flee and leave their homes.
Well, as always when it comes to so-called 'historical facts', it depends on what sources inform the 'consensus view'. It doesn't take much research into the matter to realise that the UN didn't even have the legal power to take the land from one people and deliver it to another. Reading the actual text of the Resolution 181 shows that it did not partition Palestine or offer any legal basis for doing so. "It merely recommended that the partition plan be implemented and requested the Security Council to take up the matter from there. It called upon the inhabitants of Palestine to accept the plan, but they were certainly under no obligation to do so."
Notice that the land wasn't empty, and there were already legal inhabitants occupying it. As for the Palestinians choosing to leave of their own accord, one should read The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. Here is a talk by the same author:
And an independent documentary by another Israeli who opened his eyes, which includes commentary from Pappe:
It seems that Zionists were determined to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, while using any means possible, including disregarding people's lives - even those of their own kind. Ben Gurion, Israel's first head of state, declared outright to the "Labor" Zionists on December 7th, 1938: Also, Another fundamental misconception has to do with the balance of powers, so to speak. Israelis believe that US has influence over Israeli politics, and that the Arab lobby is very strong in the US and Europe, and that this contributes to the 'bleeding heart' sentiments and pro-Palestinian attitudes of many Europeans. The truth is, the Israeli lobby in the US exercises enormous influence over US foreign policy, to the point where presidential candidates try to out-compete each other with expressions of love and loyalty toward the Zionist state. There is practically no aspect of US politics that isn't influenced by Israel and Israeli interests.
The next gross misconception is that Palestinians don't have the same emotional substratum as Israelis or other human beings. This misconception contributes to the belief that Palestinians don't really suffer, that they fake their angst and tears in front of the camera, especially when it comes to the death of small children. That they are masters of deception and express exaggerated emotions in order to gain sympathy from others. For example, another thing my mother shared with me concerned a video snippet she saw on Israeli TV. It was a video taken by a night camera that showed Palestinians carrying someone who was killed in the attack. According to her, it was an example of their deception, because this "dead person" was able to somehow fall and then get up, or move parts of his body.
Well, I don't want to say "talk about projecting!" but this is a classic case of seeing only what you want to see. There is an old Hebrew expression, Berosh haganav boer hakova, or 'the hat burns on the thief's head'. In other words, dishonest people think that everyone is a crook. That is not to say that all Palestinians are entirely innocent. They, undoubtedly, also have their share of psychopaths who use situations to their advantage. But we must not forget Mossad's famous motto: "by deception thou shalt wage war" and Hasbara - the Israeli Foreign Office's favorite method of waging information warfare. So let's be honest here and agree that Israelis are very much familiar with lies and deception, and using any means possible to further their aim.
The bottom line is that such dehumanization (read this article to learn more on the concept and its connection to the racial bias) makes it easier to go on with one's life and feel good about it, while knowing that just several kilometers away someone is being blown to pieces.
I want to hear an Israeli honestly say that he or she never heard a fellow Israeli saying that "Palestinians are like cockroaches or bugs" and "if one child dies, it's no grave matter to the mother because she can always breed more." They are "all future terrorists" anyway, right? More so, it gives rise to various despicable phenomena, such as "extreme tourism", where West Bank shooting ranges welcome kids and teach them to "eliminate terrorists". Another version of extreme tourism that actually happens these days in Israel is to prepare food and drinks, drive to the area near Gaza, set up the table, and watch rockets fly. Hey, who needs to watch the new James Bond movie when you can watch the action live up close and personal!
So this extreme emotional disconnect and feelings of superiority (disguised as feelings of victim-hood) are the reasons why it's easy to feel fear and pain when it comes to "one's own kind", and forget that Palestinians experience the same fear and panic, and feelings of being trapped like a rat, on a daily basis. "Oh, but they had it coming", many Israelis would say. "They chose Hamas and thus refused peace, so it means that Israel has the right to defend itself, no matter how harsh the response. Palestinians are the ones who send rockets and suicide bombers and have nothing but hate toward Israelis simply because of their warmongering nature. They can't help themselves, therefore they have to be eliminated for ourgreater good, we, their morally superior neighbors."
The problem with such beliefs is that they are based on nothing but lies. The truth is much more sinister than most Israelis realize, because the authorities to whom they have given power to protect them from harm are the very ones who are busy using those citizens to further their pathological agenda. Read the following articles to learn only a fraction about the depth of their crimes:
The Myth of the Palestinian Suicide Bomber
The Hidden Hand Behind the "Hamas-Fatah Clashes"
Hamas is a Creation of Mossad
Gaza residents: IDF troops posing as Hamas men
But as it always goes with such matters, no amount of facts or data will convince someone who chooses to close their mind and thus continue to justify horrendous crimes. Israel sees itself as a democratic and enlightened country, but displays of ugly and barbaric behavior are common there, especially during hard times. Israelis love saying how during a crisis, solidarity and mutual help become a common thing, how everyone tries to help and do their best to ease each other's pain. And these are, no doubt, commendable qualities, but if they are extended only toward representatives of a specific race or nationality, and others can be eliminated if needed or "if they leave no choice", then such nationalistic egotism is the same symptom of pathology that was displayed by ... yes, Nazi Germany. These are strong words for Israelis to hear, but then, we are dealing with a situation where there is no time left to beat around the bush.
Israelis, while justifying their silence in the face of atrocities, have another argument they love to fall back on: that it's easy to speak out for Palestinians when you're not living in the country. They invite the 'accusers' to spend a year or two in Israel and experience for themselves the constant stress and fear. The thing is, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who has been paying attention will have heard about the recent mass demonstrations in Israel that have exposed deep social and economic problems. There is so much rot in the Zionist state, and on so many levels, it's a wonder the insane Zionist project is still standing. That's what happens when the country is ruled by psychopaths, whose only means of keeping the project going is to spill more blood, preferably the blood of 'those untermenschen over there', while ramping up the jingoistic, militaristic and murderous fervor in an effort to drown out people's protests, rally them round a common cause, and make them forget their troubles.
But not everything is lost. Not yet anyway. There are people of conscience in Israel, people who refuse to participate in its crimes. These people are often ostracized and have to deal with enormous negative and hateful repercussions, yet they have the courage to speak the truth.
Unfortunately, they are a minority, although I am sure that more people would join them if they knew that their government doesn't give a damn about them. It's a crucial time for Israel because more and more countries around the world are growing inpatient with its bullshit. Since psychopaths lack insight, Netanyahu and his kind fail to recognize that they are digging a hole for themselves. The time may soon come when they will have to pay a price for their crimes against humanity. But how many people, Israeli, Palestinian or other, will have to die before that happens? It's time to wake up and do what is right: to refuse to participate in murder. Stop the attack on Gaza!