what will you tell God when you stand before Him?

TELL IT LIKE IT IS: For the past few decades, a rule-of-thumb for the never-ending “con­flict” be­tween these peo­ples has been for every one (1) Is­raeli killed, ap­prox­i­mately one-hundred (100) Pales­tinians are killed. For the past few years, the ratio has been even higher, about 115/1. What fol­lows is an abridged and edited ver­sion of a newsletter is­sued by Alan El­sner, Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for J Street (”the Po­lit­ical Home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans”):

“For the first time in two months, the skies above Is­rael and Gaza are quiet, and Is­raelis and Pales­tinians are fi­nally be­gin­ning to get back to at least some sem­blance of nor­malcy. Tuesday’s cease-fire was a wel­come de­vel­op­ment, and we hope very much that it proves durable.

But there is no ques­tion that this truce came at a ter­rible cost: 72 Is­raelis and more than 2,000 Pales­tinians are dead—including over 500 chil­dren. Much of Gaza sus­tained damage, eco­nomic ac­tivity in southern Is­rael was par­a­lyzed, and the real damage done to both peo­ples may be im­pos­sible to measure.

 

How will we pre­vent other states from iso­lating Is­rael or sup­porting Pales­tinian ef­forts in in­ter­na­tional bodies if Is­rael is not seen as com­mitted to peace?

 

As the smoke clears, we are con­fronted with dif­fi­cult ques­tions. What was all of this for? Are Is­raelis safer as a re­sult of Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge? What can we do to make sure this summer doesn’t re­peat itself?

In the spirit of Is­raeli democ­racy, we are posing these ques­tions di­rectly to Prime Min­ister Ne­tanyahu and urging him to ac­count for his government’s de­ci­sions during this war and for his gov­ern­ment’s vi­sion of how to move forward.

We also posted ques­tions for Hamas, though we aren’t holding our breath waiting on their re­sponse. This crisis has made clear that there are no win­ners in these mil­i­tary escalations—only losers.”

 

Will you tell God: photo of Netanyahu giving Nazi-like salute.

Of course, I se­lected this photo of Ne­tanyahu pre­cisely be­cause it looks like he is giving the Nazi “Heil, Hitler!” salute to the camera!

A salute to the J Street organization

So, first: Bravo to Mr. El­sner and J Street! The ten ques­tions that they have posed Ne­tanyahu (should we start re­fer­ring to him as the “butcher of the Middle East”?, be­cause Saddam cer­tainly didn’t get away with any­thing re­motely like this) are penetrating.

Back to the 115 Pales­tinians killed for every 1 Is­raeli: of course, these are hor­rible fig­ures, painting a por­trait of Is­rael that should shame them into re­thinking their en­tire ap­proach to this ad­mit­tedly con­fusing affair.

But look at the num­bers above: 2,000/72, meaning that every time Hamas or a re­lated group kills a single Is­raeli, Is­rael re­tal­i­ates by offing nearly 300 Palestinians.

 

How will Is­rael re­main de­mo­c­ratic and Jewish if it at­tempts to govern the mil­lions of Pales­tinian Arabs who live in the West Bank?

 

A second, per­haps even more hor­ren­dous way to read these num­bers is that for every adult Is­raeli mur­dered, sev­enty (70) Pales­tinian chil­dren are murdered.

This is NOT a con­flict. And it is most cer­tainly NOT a war (as one side doesn’t even have a real gov­ern­ment let alone an army).

One of the more mean­ingful slo­gans of the Six­ties was “Tell it like it is.” This is a MASSACRE, and whose side you are on is irrelevant.

Under the heading of “Prime Min­ister Ne­tanyahu, It’s Time For An­swers” you can read the ten ques­tions and sign a pe­ti­tion asking the PM to ad­dress them. I thought the best ques­tion was ninth on the list:

“How will Is­rael re­main de­mo­c­ratic and Jewish if it at­tempts to govern the mil­lions of Pales­tinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it is un­willing to de­lin­eate a border, end the oc­cu­pa­tions and allow for Pales­tinian sov­er­eignty, se­cu­rity, and dig­nity? How will we pre­vent other states from iso­lating Is­rael or sup­porting Pales­tinian ef­forts in in­ter­na­tional bodies if Is­rael is not seen as com­mitted to peace?” 

The pe­ti­tion form on the J Street page al­lows you to add your own com­ments. In it I wrote, “An eleventh ques­tion for the Prime Min­ister might be, ‘What will you tell God when you stand be­fore Him?’ ”

Fi­nally, aware that the In­ternet is a place where ac­cu­sa­tions such as ‘anti-Semite’ are tossed about with fla­grant dis­re­gard for meaning or ac­cu­racy, I want to state that I have ALWAYS sup­ported Is­rael and its place in the world and its need to de­fend itself—since I was old enough to begin to grasp global pol­i­tics and mil­i­tarism in high school in the 1960s.

But sup­porting Is­rael and the Is­raeli people no more means that I have to sup­port the poli­cies of the Israeli/Netanyahu gov­ern­ment than I have to sup­port those of my own country, the United States of America, and the many rep­re­hen­sible poli­cies of the Obama administration …

 

Will you tell God: anti-Netanyahu cartoon by Gerald Scarfe.

This car­toon by Gerald Scarfe is ti­tled “Is­raeli Elec­tions” and “Will Ce­menting Peace Con­tinue?” Scarfe is one of our ex­tra­or­di­nary ed­i­to­rial car­toon­ists who is known to mil­lions who pay no at­ten­tion to the news­paper through his il­lus­tra­tions for Pink Floyd’s album THE WALL.

 

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