This week brings another round of one-sided battles between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. I think many Americans are like my 10-year-old self, thinking of Israel as an innocent democracy surrounded by implacable enemies. And no doubt 1973 saw the very existence of Israel threatened. But now it’s Israel as the region’s Goliath, backed by the military and financial might of the United States. The blank check of support that the U.S. gives to Israel emboldens the Israeli state to take the harshest measures against the peoples of Gaza. I read articles that say the Biden administration has to intervene and broker a peace, but how is this possible when the U.S. is so clearly on the side of Israel? Palestinian voices just aren’t heard in the mainstream media here; even alternative media sites tread carefully, knowing the power of Israeli lobbies and fearing the stigma of being labeled anti-Semitic.
I understand the trauma of the Jewish people. For several years I taught a course on the Holocaust, after attending a seminar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. Of course, the Jewish people have a right to exist. But so too do the Palestinians, who have legitimate grievances of their land being stolen, among other crimes.
Fear, hatred, aggression, and more and more bombs are not going to bring peace. That’s one thing I do know.
When I was a kid, I was a big admirer of Israel. I saw Israel as being surrounded by implacable enemies bent on its destruction. Israel was the plucky underdog, David against Goliath, with Goliath being Arab countries like Egypt and Syria, having militaries trained and equipped by the Soviet Union, sworn enemy of the U.S. during the Cold War (or so my ten-year-old mind saw it). I recall keeping a scrapbook of articles on the Yom Kippur War of 1973. I cheered the Israeli “blitzkrieg” (What an odd term for a daring Jewish armored attack!) that crossed the Suez Canal and isolated the Egyptian Third Army, as well as the Israeli riposte on the Golan Heights against Syria.
That was 1973. Forty-one years later, Israel is engaged in yet another assault on Gaza and the Palestinians. Compared to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Palestinian militants…
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