Saturday, December 7, 2013

Betrayed By His Own State

I believe the doctor was sincere.  Last month, Nancy Snyderman interviewed one of the sixty doctors and nurses who traveled from Israel to the Philippines to help treat typhoon victims. As the sick and injured came in with dehydration, respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, and fever, she asked a doctor why he would do such a thing.

“It’s a sense of helping your brothers whoever and wherever they are. It doesn’t matter your age, your color….”

Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor on the Brian Williams news hour, said that she was in “Awe” of Israel’s medics. The doctor said, “You give what you can and then you go.” Williams added, “They did it in Haiti and now they are in the Philippines.”[1]

As he spoke, I thought to myself; that dedicated doctor did not have to travel half way around the world to help his injured and sick brothers.  Just ten miles away in Israeli occupied Palestine, thousands of men, women and children desperately need medical care. But, there are no TV programs showing Israeli doctors and nurses aiding them because the “typhoon” that has hit the West Bank and Gaza is of Israel’s making.  It amazes me that Israel gets a pat on the back for helping victims of nature and almost total silence on the pain and misery caused by Israel right next door.

While Israel soaked up the admiration and applause for its humanitarian work in the Philippines, a 14 year old girl died in an ambulance detained at an Israeli checkpoint while trying to get to a hospital in Bethlehem. She was a Palestinian, therefore not included in the “sense of helping your brothers whoever they are.”[2]

Again, I think the doctor was sincere.  He represents the best of his Jewish faith as  spelled out by the Hebrew prophets. I can only imagine what was going through his mind and heart, perhaps; “Hear the word of the Lord … wash yourselves; make yourself clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-17). Or even a simple, “For the Lord is a God of justice.(Isaiah 30:18).

There are a few more texts that could easily have influenced the doctor and his team:

Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of  the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not  to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;
… ? (Isaiah 58:6-7).

Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, And do no wrong to the alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (Jeremiah 22:3).

For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrong . (Isaiah 61:8). The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed… He does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Psalm 9:9, 12).

For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. (Psalm 72: 12-14)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4).

I believe the medical team flying to the Philippines knew these texts well. At least they were putting them into practice.

On the other hand, the state claiming their loyalty shows little allegiance to their own Jewish scriptures. From the beginning, Israel has been addicted to violence:

On April 9, 1948, in the struggle to rid the land of Arabs, the Stern Gang, headed by Yitzhak Shamir, and the Irgun, headed by Menacham Begin, both future Prime Ministers of Israel, conducted the massacre of an Arab village called Deir Yassin. Arabs say 250 were killed. Israel claims it was only 100.  The commander of the Haganah, Zvi  Ankori, described what happened:

I saw cut-off genitalia and woman’s crushed stomachs…It was direct murder. Soldiers shot everyone they saw, including women and children. Parents begged commanders to stop the slaughter, to please stop shooting.[3]

These acts of violence were designed to frighten Arabs into fleeing for their lives. Begin himself boasted:

Out of our evil, came good. This Arab propaganda spread a legend of terror among Arabs who were seized with panic at the mention of Irgun soldiers… Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel. Kolonia villege was evacuated overnight… Beth-Isla was also evacuated.[4]

Sixty-five years later, little has changed. In spite of anything the Bible has to say, Israel’s regime has been a history of bloodshed and violence, not a violence of necessity, but a violence of aggression.

An Israeli chief rabbi of the Shas Party proclaims, “It is forbidden to be merciful to Arabs.” Not to be out-Zioned, Eli Yishai, Israel’s internal minister proclaimed, “You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable”[5] Arnon Sofer, the so called Arab counter, spelled out the implications of the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, “When 2.5 million people live in closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe… The pressure at the border will be awful. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day … If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist.”[6]

It is amazing. Netanyahu, in a letter to the president of the Philippines, wrote “On behalf of the government and people of Israel, I extend heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives … I hope Israel’s assistance will help alleviate the suffering.”  This is the same Netanyahu who bombarded Gaza in December and January '08 and ’09, killing more than 1400 unarmed men, women and children and destroying thousands of public buildings and private homes. This same Netanyahu sent night raiders to storm a humanitarian ship bringing medicine and supplies to his victims of Gaza, killing nine unarmed volunteers in international waters.

Not only has Netanyahu betrayed these sixty doctors and nurses, he has betrayed Judaism and put Jews around the world in a dilemma.

I remember Marc Ellis saying something like:  “In the early fourth century, you Christians were faced with a choice.  You could uphold the morality and compassion of your faith or you could choose the power and privilege of the state.” He went on to say, “You made the wrong choice and you haven’t gotten over it yet.”  Then fighting tears, he went of to say, “We Jews are exactly in the same spot today. We can choose the morals and compassion of our faith, or we can choose the power and privilege offered by the state.  We are also making the wrong choice.” 

                                                                                    Thomas Are
                                                                                    December 8, 2013

[1] NBC News with Brian Williams,  November 15, 2013
[2] Jerusalem, Ma’an News, 11/29/2013.
[3] Cited in Lenni Brenner, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revelution From Jabotinsky to Shamir, (London, Zad Books, Ltd. 1984). P.97. Quoted by Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Santa Barbara,California; Veritas Press, 1988). P. 33.
[4] David K. Shipler, Arab and Jew, (Penguin Books, New York. 1968). P.40.
[5] Max Blumenthal, Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. (Nation Books, New York, 2013) p.18.
[6] Ibid.,  p. 91.

No comments:

Post a Comment