We reproduce below articles by Gideon Levy and Ilan Pappe who are representative of the hundreds of thousands of Jews in the world who hate the fact that the Nazi Holocaust ended up driving so many Jews into feeling that they could not be safe except in an ethnically-cleansed environment, thereby leading them to the same Nazi barbarism directed against innocent Palestinian Arabs inhabiting the land imperialism was keen to allocate to them as a ‘Jewish homeland’.
Israel Can’t Imprison Two Million Gazans Without Paying a Cruel Price
Under Israeli blockade since 2007, Gaza is the world’s largest open air prison. While major Western media outlets are painting Israel as the victim of a surprise attack, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy argues that Israel’s ruthless imprisonment of 2 million Palestinians is to blame for the present violence.
Gideon Levy12 October 2023
This op-ed, originally published by Ha’aretz on 9 October 2023, is reproduced with thanks.
Behind all this lies Israeli arrogance; the idea that we can do whatever we like, that we’ll never pay the price and be punished for it. We’ll carry on undisturbed.
We’ll arrest, kill, harass, dispossess and protect the settlers busy with their pogroms. We’ll visit Joseph’s Tomb, Othniel’s Tomb and Joshua’s Altar in the Palestinian territories, and of course the Temple Mount – over 5,000 Jews on Sukkot alone.
We’ll fire at innocent people, take out people’s eyes and smash their faces, expel, confiscate, rob, grab people from their beds, carry out ethnic cleansing and of course continue with the unbelievable siege of the Gaza Strip, and everything will be all right.
We’ll build a terrifying obstacle around Gaza – the underground wall alone cost 3 billion shekels ($765 million) – and we’ll be safe. We’ll rely on the geniuses of the army’s 8200 cyber-intelligence unit and on the Shin Bet security service agents who know everything. They’ll warn us in time.
We’ll transfer half an army from the Gaza border to the Hawara border in the West Bank, only to protect far-right lawmaker Zvi Sukkot and the settlers. And everything will be all right, both in Hawara and at the Erez crossing into Gaza.
It turns out that even the world’s most sophisticated and expensive obstacle can be breached with a smoky old bulldozer when the motivation is great. This arrogant barrier can be crossed by bicycle and moped despite the billions poured into it and all the famous experts and fat-cat contractors.
We thought we’d continue to go down to Gaza, scatter a few crumbs in the form of tens of thousands of Israeli work permits – always contingent on good behavior – and still keep them in prison. We’ll make peace with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinians will be forgotten until they’re erased, as quite a few Israelis would like.
We’ll keep holding thousands of Palestinian prisoners, sometimes without trial, most of them political prisoners. And we won’t agree to discuss their release even after they’ve been in prison for decades.
We’ll tell them that only by force will their prisoners see freedom. We thought we would arrogantly keep rejecting any attempt at a diplomatic solution, only because we don’t want to deal with all that, and everything would continue that way forever.
Once again it was proved that this isn’t how it is. A few hundred armed Palestinians breached the barrier and invaded Israel in a way no Israeli imagined was possible. A few hundred people proved that it’s impossible to imprison 2 million people forever without paying a cruel price.
Just as the smoky old Palestinian bulldozer tore through the world’s smartest barrier Saturday, it tore away at Israel’s arrogance and complacency. And that’s also how it tore away at the idea that it’s enough to occasionally attack Gaza with suicide drones – and sell them to half the world – to maintain security.
On Saturday, Israel saw pictures it has never seen before. Palestinian vehicles patrolling its cities, bike riders entering through the Gaza gates. These pictures tear away at that arrogance. The Gaza Palestinians have decided they’re willing to pay any price for a moment of freedom. Is there any hope in that? No. Will Israel learn its lesson? No.
On Saturday they were already talking about wiping out entire neighborhoods in Gaza, about occupying the Strip and punishing Gaza “as it has never been punished before.” But Israel hasn’t stopped punishing Gaza since 1948, not for a moment.
After 75 years of abuse, the worse possible scenario awaits it once again. The threats of “flattening Gaza” prove only one thing: We haven’t learned a thing. The arrogance is here to stay, even though Israel is paying a high price once again.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears very great responsibility for what happened, and he must pay the price, but it didn’t start with him and it won’t end after he goes. We now have to cry bitterly for the Israeli victims, but we should also cry for Gaza.
Gaza, most of whose residents are refugees created by Israel. Gaza, which has never known a single day of freedom.
My Israeli Friends: This is Why I Support Palestinians – ILAN PAPPE
Reproduced from The Palestine Chronicle of 10 October 2023, with thanks
It is not always easy to stick to your moral compass, but if it does point north – towards decolonization and liberation – then it will most likely guide you through the fog of poisonous propaganda.
It is challenging to maintain one’s moral compass when the society you belong to – leaders and media alike – takes the moral high ground and expects you to share with them the same righteous fury with which they reacted to the events of last Saturday, October 7.
There is only one way to resist the temptation to join in: if you understood, at one point in your life – even as a Jewish citizen of Israel – the settler colonial nature of Zionism, and were horrified by its policies against the indigenous people of Palestine.
If you have had that realization, then you will not waver, even if the poisonous messages depict Palestinians as animals, or ‘human animals.’ These same people insist on describing what took place last Saturday [7 October] as a ‘Holocaust’, thus abusing the memory of a great tragedy. These sentiments are being conveyed, day and night by both Israeli media and politicians.
It is this moral compass that led me, and others in our society, to stand by the Palestinian people in every way possible; and that enables us, at the same time, to admire the courage of the Palestinian fighters who took over a dozen military bases, overcoming the strongest army in the Middle East.
Also, people like me cannot avoid but raise questions about the moral or strategic value of some of the actions that accompanied this operation.
Because we always supported the decolonization of Palestine, we knew that the longer Israeli oppression continued, the less likely the liberation struggle would be “sterile” – as it has been the case in every just struggle for liberation in the past, anywhere in the world.
This does not mean we should not keep an eye on the big picture, not even for a minute. The picture is that of a colonized people fighting for survival, at a time when its oppressors had elected a government, which is hellbent on accelerating the destruction, in fact the elimination of the Palestinian people – or even their very claim to peoplehood.
Hamas had to act, and quickly so.
It is hard to voice these counter arguments because Western media and politicians went along with the Israeli discourse, and the narrative, however problematic it was.
I wonder how many of those who decided to don the Parliament House in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris with the colors of the Israeli flag truly understand how this seemingly symbolic gesture is received in Israel.
Even liberal Zionists, with a modicum of decency, read this act as a total absolution of all the crimes Israelis have committed against the Palestinian people since 1948; and therefore, as a carte blanche to continue with the genocide that Israel is now perpetrating against the people of Gaza.
Fortunately, there were also different reactions to the events which unfolded in the last few days.
As in the past, large sections of civil societies in the West are not easily fooled by this hypocrisy, already at full display in the case of Ukraine.
Many people know that since June 1967, one million Palestinians have been imprisoned at least once in their lives. And with imprisonment, come abuse, torture and permanent detention without trial.
These very people also know about the horrific reality Israel had created in the Gaza Strip when it sealed the region, imposing a hermetic siege, starting in 2007, accompanied by the relentless killing of children in the occupied West Bank. This violence is not a new phenomenon, as it has been the permanent face of Zionism since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Because of that very civil society, my dear Israeli friends, your government and media will ultimately be proven wrong, as they will not be able to claim the role of victims, receive unconditional support, and get away with their crimes.
Eventually, the big picture will emerge, despite the inherently biased Western media.
The big question, however, is this: will you, my Israeli friends, be able to clearly see this same big picture as well? Despite years of indoctrination and social engineering?
And no less important, will you be able to learn the other important lesson – one that can be gleaned from recent events – that sheer force alone cannot find the balance between a just regime on the one hand and an immoral political project on the other?
But there is an alternative. In fact, there has always been one:
A de-zionised, liberated and democratic Palestine from the river to the sea; a Palestine that will welcome back the refugees and build a society that does not discriminate on the basis of culture, religion or ethnicity.
This new state would labor to rectify, as much as possible, the past evils, in terms of economic inequality, the stealing of property and the denial of rights. This could herald a new dawn for the whole Middle East.
It is not always easy to stick to your moral compass, but if it does point north – towards decolonization and liberation – then it will most likely guide you through the fog of poisonous propaganda, hypocritical policies and the inhumanity, often perpetrated in the name of ‘our common Western values’.
– Ilan Pappé is a professor at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, The Modern Middle East, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Ten Myths about Israel. Pappé is described as one of Israel’s ‘New Historians’ who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have been rewriting the history of Israel’s creation in 1948. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.
JVP: “We shut down Grand Central station to demand a ceasefire”
We’re watching a genocide unfold in real time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children. That’s more than the annual number of children killed in conflicts across the globe since 2019.
As the Israeli military plunged Gaza into darkness on Friday [27 October]— cutting off all internet access and cell service in the besieged enclave — thousands of Jews and allies held a historic sit-in that shut down New York City’s iconic Grand Central Station to say, “Ceasefire now.” “Let Gaza live.” Banners covered the train schedules, reading “Never again for anyone” and “Palestinians should be free.”
Thousands chanted, 500 participated in civil disobedience, and over 350 people were arrested, including rabbis, elected officials, elders, and celebrities. This sit-in, which was organized by JVP, was the largest act of civil disobedience in New York City since the Iraq War.
After police shut down all train lines and entrances, thousands more rallied outside beneath slogans projected onto buildings: “Mourn the dead and fight for the living” and “Ceasefire Now.”
The unprecedented demonstration generated wall-to-wall mainstream coverage in the U.S. and around the world, including the top article of the New York Times, making it clear: The whole world is watching. As the Israeli military relentlessly bombed Gaza, and images of thousands of protesters shutting down Grand Central station flooded social media, #CeasefireNow became the number one trending topic on Twitter.
There can be no business as usual while our tax dollars are used to fund a genocide in Palestine. From congressional offices, to the halls of the Capitol, to the center of New York City, we will do everything in our power to demand an end to US support for genocide and apartheid.