Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Month: December, 2008

To Olmert and Company

How many nanoseconds did it take your hasbara specialists to transform the “Gaza Massacre” into a heroic tale of self-defense against the Hamas terrorists?

How many percentage points will this operation in Gaza gain your side in the up-coming election?

This week how many pairs of terrified Palestinian eyes do you think looked upon the substantial results—outside the morgues, on the streets, in the hospitals—of the opening salvos from the IDF?

This week how many of your Jewish citizens will have good night’s sleep, as they feel more secure due to your bold and lucid leadership?

How many individual pieces of shrapnel do you estimate your F-16s and Apache gunships have skillfully generated since the 2005 disengagement from Gaza? Read the rest of this entry »

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On Reciprocity and Responsibility

My friend Laura Weis (who is currently working in Indonesia) sent me the following excerpts from a piece by Glenn Greenwald. A while back, an Israeli friend of mine asked me, “Why should you care about the Palestinians?” I think she was implying that as an American, if I should be concerned about an occupation, it should be the US’s one in Iraq. Of course, it’s not either/or. See below (Thanks, Laura!)

On Obama’s July comment:

“Can’t the exact same mentality be deployed to justify everything Hamas has done and is doing, to wit: “if a foreign power were brutally occupying my country for four decades — or blockading my country and denying my children medical needs and nutrition and the ability even to exit — I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing”? But the last thing that our political class ever extends is reciprocal, two-sided analysis to this dispute.”

And on the consensus view in the US political landscape:

“It would be nice if U.S. citizens weren’t connected to and responsible for every Israeli military action, so that we really could and should take the attitude that what the Israeli Government does — or what is done to it — is not our responsibility. That’s how it should be.

“Instead, since we fund a huge bulk of it and supply the weapons used for much of it and use our veto power at the U.N. to enable all of it, we are connected to it — intimately — and bear responsibility for all of Israel’s various wars, including the current overwhelming assault on Gaza, as much as Israelis themselves. Blind support for whatever they do — the consensus view in American political life in both parties — is therefore a total abdication of our responsibility.”

Candor

Israeli Arnon Soffer: “We will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire ten in response….when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

–Ruthie Blum, “It’s the Demography, Stupid.” Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2004.

 

Palestinian Children dead

Three Palestinian boys, who were killed in an Israeli missile strike, during their funeral in the Rafah refugee camp. The attacks brought the death toll in Gaza to more than 300, according to Palestinian medical officials. Photo: Khalil Hamra/Associated Press

Dear Layla

Do you
Remember
The days
Of Bert Sacks?
Robert Fisk?
Fadi Kiblawi?

Change You Can Audaciously Put Your Hope In

From today’s New York Times, on Israel and Gaza…

In the campaign, Mr. Obama made statements that sounded similar to those issued by the Bush administration on Saturday.

“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Mr. Obama said in July. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

An Israeli Poet

The following poem by Israeli  Aharon Shabtai is translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole. It appears in his aptly entitled collection from New Directions, J’Accuse.

“War”

I, too, have declared war:
You’ll need to divert part of the force
deployed to wipe out the Arabs —
to drive them out of their homes
and expropriate their land —
and set it against me.
You’ve got tanks and planes,
and soldiers by the battalion;
you’ve got the rams’ horns in your hands
with which to rouse the masses;
you’ve got men to interrogate and torture;
you’ve got cells for detention.
I have only this heart
with which I give shelter
to an Arab child.
Aim your weapon at it:
even if you blow it apart
it will always,
always mock you.