Monday, June 7, 2010

Israel: Bringing Antisemitism Back?

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So unless you're living under a rock right now, you've probably heard of the recent Israeli attack and seizure of the Flotilla ship which resulted in 9 deaths. And if you're like the majority of the world, you were as outraged and offended as the rest of us. An aid ship carrying humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza attempted to cross a sea-blockade instated by Israel to deliver these goods. Before they even reached the blockade, the IDF met the ship in international waters and overthrew the vessel. However, they did not succeed without a struggle ensuing, and many activists fought the unlawful takeover, attacking soldiers with knives and lead pipes, resulting in the mortalities. Now Israel is wiping their tears with blood-soaked handkerchiefs claiming to be the everlasting victim in the decades-long dispute with Palestine that has turned most of the world and the UN against them. Amidst claims of justification, cries of antisemitism, and concern for their own safety, Israel has gone from the Golden Child everyone sympathized with to the Red-Headed Stepchild no one likes.

The dispute began over Israel being recognized as a state and land divisions the Palestinians didn't agree upon, including some very holy grounds deeply significant to both religions. Backed by the US, Israel steadily gained strength and political power, as the state of Palestine faded into oblivion, not even recognized as an independent country today (but for the purposes of this blog, we will consider it rightfully as such). Bombings and militant attacks from both sides intensified hostility, but the Palestinians were fighting a losing battle. Israel, in an attempt to weaken and ultimately purge the region of Palestinians, has constructed an illegal apartheid wall, dividing the region and separating families from one another, children from schools, adults from jobs, people from medical facilities, etc. The Israeli Defense Forces also continue to surge into restricted territories, illegally seizing Arab and Muslim settlements, bullying, terrorizing, arresting, and even killing individuals who stand in their way, people who are only fighting for their right to exist on the small part of earth they have left. Would it be inappropriate of me to draw parallels between modern day Israel and past Germany, with a concrete divider not unlike the Berlin Wall and a militant movement of ethnic cleansing not unlike the Nazi Party? It would? Okay, we won't do that then. But just in case the thought had crossed your mind, it crossed ours too.

Now, on top of bombings, the great regional divide, and irate IDFs running about, Israel's newly instated Gaza Blockade (created just three years ago) has been devised to limit, if not fully stop crucial supplies from getting to the Palestinians, on the grounds of security, and concerns that weapons will reach the hostile region. A list of the banned products includes carpentry tools such as iron, steel, or cement, livestock such as horses, goats, and donkeys, food items such as fruits, vegetables, chocolates, nuts, jam, and coffee, and even frivolous items such as A4 paper, laptops, and musical instruments. While some strange concoction of iron, steel, and cement could create some crude weaponry, if Palestinians are versed in constructing catapults or Trojan Bunnies (Run Away!), and I could see how they might try to drive the IDF back with a poor rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D major, but what is the point of keeping out foods and livestock? These are livelihoods, animals help with transportation, with farming, they're a source of food, these foods obviously provide nourishment to a country that is currently starving and poor. And what better way to destroy a people than to take their sustenance? There is no other value of this extreme deprivation, no other purpose, there is no real threat to Israel in chocolates and apples.

The UN stepped in long ago, demanding the surge into illegal territories stop and the apartheid wall be destroyed, but Israel has long since ignored their restrictions and has continued it's draconian rule of the land without reprimand. Though a recent announcement declaring Israel's intention to remain in and move forward into illegal settlements has forced the US to question it's relationship with the Jewish state, the US government has not taken an official stance against them following the Flotilla raid, and it's unknown if we ever will.

After a significantly delayed response to WWII which resulted in the slaughter of 6 million Jews, the US, acting in what I believe to be a guilty conscience, practically granted Israel a free pass to do what they like. In order to compensate them for the heinous crimes of the Holocaust, we have supported them without fail and without question. But the Jews of Israel are not the Jews of Europe. One cannot be compensated for bloodshed with more bloodshed, and Israel is not making anymore friends with their despicable tactics.

Many have openly criticized Israel for the blockade, to which they responded that the world is simply reviving antisemitism and discriminating against them. While the disdain flowing their way is not motivated purely by religious purposes, can it morph into such? Can antisemitism make a comeback? Sadly, the actions of Israel are leading towards what could be the resurgence of antisemitism, only this time it would be almost justifiable. A war mongering state feeding on the helpless, starving them out, keeping them in what Queen Rania called an "open air prison". And, sadly still, they are dragging other Jews with them. Many Jews across the globe are speaking out against Israel's actions upon Palestine, citing the misalignment between Israeli policy and the Jewish religion. If people begin to connect the actions of Israel with the Jewish faith, as many have done with terrorists and the Islamic faith, antisemitism will run rampant again across the world, and a reborn hate will thrive.

Not helping the Israeli cause is a satirical video that was not only created by Jews as a mockery of the Flotilla Raid, but circulated by the Israeli Government itself. The video shows Israeli individuals who parodied American and Middle Eastern activists on the boat singing a re-written rendition of Michael Jackson's famous "We Are the World", renamed "We Con the World". A poor comedic attempt at best, given the timing and the events that inspired the video, it is nothing more than a sickening display of disregard and disrespect to the individuals who were killed and captured on that day, and the Gazans who suffered from the loss of supplies. The Israeli Government apologized for releasing the video, but an official stated the video reflected what most Israelis felt about the incident. If this is all the compassion they have to offer, they're going to be royally screwed in the long run. Follow the link below to watch the video:

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