Friday, December 21, 2018

Blind Injustice

Trump said,

            If you want to know how effective walls are, just ask Israel.
And boy, oh boy is he right. Israel survives by walls. One huge wall snaking down through Palestinian West Bank, separating doctors and patients from their hospitals, children and teachers from their schools and farmers from their fields. The problem with walls is always what happens to the people on the other side of the wall, the people we don’t see.

In the West Bank, it means having their water stolen, olive trees up-rooted, their children imprisoned and frequently tortured and because it all takes place behind the wall, who is to object? Certainly not Benjamin Netanyahu or Donald Trump.

Albert Einstein said:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.[i]

Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in a situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Why is this so devastating?

Palestinians in the West Bank face – on a regular basis – violence meted out by both soldiers and settlers, long waits at checkpoints, travel restrictions, home demolitions, theft of natural resources, unfair economic practices, arbitrary detention and arrest, long prison sentences, and countless other forms of humiliation.[ii]

Even worse is Gaza, with sewage running through the streets, electricity cut off for twenty hour a day, water too contaminated to drink and the ever-present threat of bombs from fighter jets, tanks and off shore gun boats, anything Israel can do to make life in Gaza more miserable. And of course, it’s all done behind the wall, so who is to know?

I do not hold Trump responsible for creating the misery in Palestine, but I do hold him responsible for not caring and for not doing anything to bring injustice to an end, especially when it is on the other side of the wall and out of sight.  

Yet, that is precisely what Trump wants for us, the U.S.  Build a wall against Mexico. To hell with the unfortunates on the other side of the wall.  Keep ‘em out of sight and who cares?

Well, to Trump’s chagrin, many people feel that we have a responsibility to care and to hold our elected officials accountable. We owe it to one another to not let injustice be swept under the rug. 

Thomas Are
December 21, 2018

[i] Richard Hardigan, The Other Side of the Wall, Cune Press, Seattle, 2018, p. 12.
[ii] Richard Hardigan, The Other Side of the Wall, Cune Press, Seattle, 2018, p. 10.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Speaking Out

Robert Reich said

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”[1] 

Although Reich was writing about the Civil Rights movement in the U. S., I immediately thought of the people of Gaza 

Is there any thinking person in America who has not heard of Gaza and the cruelty our government supports there to the tune of $3.1 billion a year? Then are we not the good people who are silent?  Of course, that raises the question, if we are really good people, how can we remain silent.  My friend says, “Well, it just doesn’t affect me. Why should I get involved?”

Why? Because we are involved. Our government and our tax monies go to supporting the oppression and we will levy a price on anyone who challenges our “right” to do so.

The headline reads:

CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill in wake of Remarks Criticizing Israel and Calling for a “free Palestine.”[2]

As soon as Hill spoke to the UN supporting the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, he was cast as antisemitic and fired.

Cornel West, Harvard professor, philosopher, author, critic and civil rights activist, writes:

No one gets closer to peace by silencing voices critical of a lethal status quo. We need a candid debate about the grim catastrophe unfolding in Israel.[3]

I have never had much respect for CNN and probable never will as long as Wolfe Blitzer is their star, But I do have hopes in the millions of Jews around the world who out of self-respect are not guided by fear but speak out in expressing their time-honored faith in a vision of peace and justice for all.

Thomas Are
December 12, 2018              

[1]Robert B. Reich, The Common Good Are we not the good people who are silent? Good, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2018, p 38.
[2] Eli Rosenberg, CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill in wake of remarks criticizing Israel and calling for a “free Palestine”, November 29, 2018.
[3] Cornel West, Why did CNN fire a pro-Palestinian Commentator?   Dec. 4, 2018.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


From Truman to Trump, we have never had an American president to speak with integrity when calling for peace in the Middle East.

What was it?  Eleven minutes? And Truman was falling all over himself to be the first national president to “recognize” the new state of Israel.  Never mind the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who had their homes, freedom and livelihood taken from them by force. Truman celebrated “peace” in Israel.

Even a child will shout, “It’s not fair,” when forced to accept tranquility without regard to justice. When Donald Trump casually announced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, totally ignoring the historic, emotional and religious claims of Jerusalem as their national capital, even children will respond, “It’s not fair.”

Not only that. It is not going to work. In spite of what Trump and Netanyahu wish, Palestinians are not going to just disappear. Even with the more than three billion dollars a year the U.S. sends to Israel to enforce the repression of Palestinian rights, international law and human conscience is caught in a bind facing the unlawful occupation and oppression of another people.

Let us be honest, at least with ourselves. The United States has never been an “honest broker” when it comes to Israel. From Truman to Trump, we have acted more like Israel’s defense attorney while ignoring the endless building of more and more settlement in the West Bank and Israel’s repeated bombardment of Gaza, including the destruction of sewage treatment plants, rendering what little water they have undrinkable.

In the meantime, Israeli snipers are firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed demonstrators at the border, having already killed hundreds and wounded thousands.

What sickens me the most is that from Truman to Trump, every American president has chosen to ignore this blatant injustice and the American news media has chosen to look the other way.

Thomas Are
November 27, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Living on Killing

That’s not just some kind of game board slogan, it’s the daily policy and practice of the state of Israel.

Trump keeps suggesting that he wants peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but offers no plan that has a chance of working, precisely because Israel has no interest in peace. What Israel wants is Palestinian land for its settlements… and water. Why settle for peace when Palestinians can be controlled by targeted assassination, home demolitions, road blocks, check points, settler violence and the blockade of Gaza.

All Israel has to do, according to Amon Sofer of Haifer University, is to treat Palestinians like animals.

Seal the territory off from the outside world and shoot anyone who tries to break out. 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. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day, every day.[1]

Surely one would hope that was just the rantings of one fanatic and not to be taken seriously.

On Monday, May 14, in Gaza, Israeli snipers shot and killed 60 Palestinians, including 6 children – and injured almost 3,000 others amid scenes of smoke, fire, teargas, dust, agony and blood.

These are the children and grandchildren of those who were driven from their homes during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 to make room for the new State of Israel.  Their only crime was not being Jews.[2]

No matter how you look at it, with the blind backing of the U.S., Israel wins. With one very important exception. Israel is losing the support of young American Jews

Jared Kushner does not represent the majority of young American Jews. The New York Jewish Week reported a survey of 4000 Modern Orthodox Jews:

One of the study’s most concerning findings, experts say, is a decrease in emotional connection and active support of Israel…while 71 percent of those 55 and older actively support the Jewish state, less than half – 43 percent – of Jews 18 to 34 do the same.[3]

Robert Herbst, civil rights lawyer and political activist, affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace said,

Today, I am ashamed to be Israeli. – young Jewish snipers deliberately shooting down unarmed Gazans gathered in protest at the border fence that helps keep them confined in the largest open-air prison in the world, killing 18 and wounding more than 1,000 is an unspeakable, unlawful outrage.[4]        

Since Herbsy wrote those words on April 4, 2018, the number of casualties has greatly risen. To date, Israel snipers have killed 214 and wounded over 18,000.[5]

Thomas Are
November 15, 2018

[1]. Kill and kill and Kill, By Saree Makdisi, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July,2018. P. 8.
[2] Kill and kill and Kill, By Saree Makdisi, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July,2018. P. 8.
[3] Support for Israel is tumbling – even among young Orthodox Jews,, 10/1/ 2017.

[4] Robert Herbst, Jewish state, Jewish values, Jewish Shame,  Mondoweiss. April 4, 2018
[5] Google: Gaza protest: All the Latest Updates, Palestinian News/ Al Jezeera.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Garbage, In and Out

“Garbage in – garbage out”, not only applies to computers, it is equally true of people.

            Palestinians are like crocodiles, - Ehud Barak

            Palestinians are beasts walking on two legs – Menachem Begin

There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t  exist.  We can forgive them for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. - Golda Meir

The way to deal with Palestinians is to beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so badly, until it is unbearable. – Bibi Netanyahu

Palestinians are beasts, they are not human. A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile - Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan

When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle. – Rafael Eltin

We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population. – Yisrael Koenig  

One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail. – Rabbi Yaacov Perrin

One hair on the head of an Israeli soldier is more precious than the entire Gazan population. – MK Moshe Feiglin[i]

I find myself asking, how can any people expect to survive when they depend upon such garbage to keep themselves pumped up?

At the same time, I have some Jewish friends who laugh at such garbage. They take very seriously their Jewish values. They work to free the oppressed, care for the unfortunate and speak out on justice issues.  They would never consider themselves extraordinary, but I would.

Thomas Are
October 3, 2018

[i] All of these quotes come from Delinda C. Henley, Leaders Who dehumanize Cross the Threshold. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2018, p. 33-34.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The High Cost of Israel

Our political leaders keep telling us that we just don’t have the money to fund health care for all Americans, provide college level education for our brightest young students or repair our crumbling infrastructure. We just don’t have the money you understand.

But, we borrow billions of dollars on which we will pay interest, to give to Israel, who in turn “loans” it back to the U.S. on which we pay interest.  No wonder Israel, with a population of less than the state of New Jersey, is among the world’s most affluent nations.

Got an extra $115 billion dollars? That’s what the U.S. has “given” to Israel since 1948. That’s about 3 billion a year, or 8.5 million every day.

But Oh, some will say, the U.S. gives $400 million to the Palestinian Authority, which is true. But most of it is used to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by Israel.

In addition to cash handouts, there are hidden and indirect cost for our blind support of Israel such as the Arab oil boycott of 1973, imposed in protest of our taking Israel’s side against the Arab attempt to reclaim of territory lost to Israel in 1973.

More difficult to tabulate is the hidden cost of getting involved with Israel in a “war” with Iraq.

Iraq was no threat to the U.S.  We engaged ourselves in that war strictly on behalf of Israel which has cost us not only the respect of the world’s leaders, but the lives of 4,000 U.S. service men and women.  According to economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes, the cost to the U.S. for the Iraq war is now over $3 trillion dollars.[i] 

Critics point out how much brighter our future would be if we had invested these billions or trillions in veteran rehabilitation and care, education, social security, housing, environmental clean-up and prevention, roads, bridges, health care, and scientific and health research.[ii]

Well, some say, “That’s all water over the dam.” Nothing can be done about it now. Except, the same crowd that rushed us into war with Iraq are now trying to push us into a war with Iran.

It’s crazy. In the first place, Iran offers no threat to America. In the second place, Iran is much stronger then Iraq was. And if we do not want another 9/11, why provoke a nation that has no grip with us?

Let Israel fight its own wars for its own interest.  But for goodness sake, let us not get suckered into fighting another war on Israel’s behalf.

So now we are back to the question of why America continues to pour money into a state that commits daily human rights violations, defies US strategic interest, provokes rage and resentment among billions of people, competes with and crowds out US interest using technology subsidized by US taxpayers, and sells America’s military secrets to its enemies.[iii]

Beats me. Fear of AIPAC is my first guess.

Thomas Are
August 27, 2018

[i] The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans, The New observer on, May 8, 2013.
[ii] The New Observer, The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans, The New observer on, May 8, 2013
[iii] The New Observer, The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans, The New observer on, May 8, 2013

Monday, August 20, 2018

How Long Will Israel Last

How long? Not long. I used to think one of its neighboring states would get enough of Israel’s bullying and invade with force significant to cause a down-fall. I no longer think that will happen, for two reasons.

One – any criticism, charge or attack on Israel brings the mighty America into play. The U.S. has demonstrated total and blind support for Israel for 70 years and there are no signs among our political leaders that any change is forthcoming.

But, there is a more logical reason that no power is going to invade Israel. It will be unnecessary. Israel is crumbling from inside in ways that even the U.S. cannot control.  There are at least eight factions grappling for power.[1]

Ashkenazi elites, mostly from Europe are on top, at least right now. Their power stems from the fact that they control the military. Israel has fought more than a dozen wars with its neighbors since 1948.  Most would not call the 2014 bombardment of  the mostly unarmed people of Gaza a “war.” It was more like a massacre.

As victories go, this was a dubious one. More than 2,100 Palestinians had been killed during seven weeks of fighting, and even Israeli officials admitted that a majority of them were civilians. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed, 25 per cent of the strip’s population was displaced, and basic infrastructure was shattered. Aid agencies estimated that it will take decades to repair the damage.[2]

Ashkenazis definitely oppose establishing a constitution which might impose limits on its power or insist on equal treatment for all.

Drueze, accounting for about 2% of Israel’s population,   are a unique religious and ethnic group incorporating elements of Islam, Hinduism and Greek philosophy. They fight in the Israeli army with respect and distinction.  But complain that as soon as they take off the uniform, they are treated as second class citizens again. And this was before Israel declared its democracy is for “Jews only.”

Settlers struggle with a different set of feelings. In spite of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s ban on moving civilians into occupied territories they live in the middle of another people’s home lands. Thus, they constantly assert their “right” to be there precisely because they know no such right exist. They cope with this feeling of guilt which hangs on just below the surface by constantly treating Palestinians as a sub-human race, not deserving basic human rights. Their record of strong handed violence is astonishing. Guilt finds mysterious ways to express itself.

Ultra Orthodox are frowned upon by the majority of Israelis who see them as backward, uneducated draft dodgers.  They contribute nothing while living on government stipends. All they do is study and interpret biblical text, proclaiming that working on the sabbath is the worst possible sin. When David Ben-Gurion granted them special exemption from military service, there were only about 400 claiming this privilege. Today, they make up about 12 percent of Israel’s 9 million citizens. Needless to say, there is little love lost between Benjamin Netanyahu and this small but troublesome minority in its midst.

Non-Jewish citizens  add to this mix. Most are angry over the discrimination experienced every day. Carlstrom writes:

Half a century after the occupation, there remains a vast disparity between east and west. Among East Jerusalem residents, 75 percent live below the poverty line, and one third of children do not complete a full twelve years of school…Basic services are scarce, from health care to sewage to post offices. One refugee camp had no running water for three months.[3]

How does Israel justify such abuse? By claiming that GOD wanted Jews to have this land, not them.

Add to this mix, about a million Russian immigrants with their special interest, 130,000 Falasha from Ethiopia and the entire Palestinian nation in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is standing on very shaky ground. It survives by not having a constitution. All it can see now is that “might makes right”. But, for how long?  How long can Ashkenazi control all these factions by might (the army) alone?  How long? Not long.

Thomas Are
August 20, 2018

[1] - Most of this information I gleaned from a book, Gregg Carlstrom,  How Long Will Israel Survive, the Threat from Within. (Oxford University Press, 2017) Great book, only he takes 260 pages to make his case. I try to do it in one.
[2] Carlstrom,  page 59.
[3] Carlstrom, page 40.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Birthright Walkouts

For decades, Israel has sponsored “Birthright” trips to show young Jews the glories of the Jewish state. It has been a popular program salted by easy “hook ups” with young sexy Israeli soldiers, both male and female.  Participants are even provided with “An Unofficial guide to Sex on Birthright Israel,” complete with information as to which brand of condoms are safest. Most Birthright trips are joined by young Israeli soldiers who surmise that the possibility of uncomplicated sex with their choice of dozens of exotic foreigners, thousands of miles away from Daddy, is too much of an opportunity to let slip by. So, the Unofficial Guide to Sex on Birthright Israel says, “If you just want to have sex with an Israeli soldier, then by all means go for it.”[i]

Yet, in spite of the erotic pull, some Birthright kids are walking out.  

Philip Weiss reports:

Yesterday two more Birthright tours of Israel were struck by walkouts in Jerusalem. Two from one group, six from another group – making 13 in all to stage these walkouts.[ii]

The fact that each year the Israeli army arrest about 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, most of them subjected to physical violence and interrogation, without parents or lawyer, grates against the Jewish values of more and more Birthright kids.

And then there is Gaza. The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers since the beginning of the protest on March 30th is over 135 with more than 15,000 injured. Over 2,530 of the injured are children, 1,160 are women.[iii] B’Selem, the Israeli human rights group, condemns the shooting of unarmed demonstrators across the fence as “crimes.” Some are saying that the American Jewish love affair with Israel is over.”[iv] Younger Jews have heard too much about the forced displacement of 700,000 indigenous people and Israel’s continued abuse of their human rights to simply buy into the Zionist narratives proclaimed by their parents and grandparents. Younger Jews, both in Israel and America are asking what it means to have Jewish values in the 21st century. And when Birthright tours refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the wall, checkpoints and the blockade of Gaza, some choose to express their Jewish values by walking out.

Thomas Are
July 25, 2018

[i] Wendy in furs, The Unofficial Guide to Sex on Birthright Israel, Jewlicious THE Jewish Blog, February 12, 2011.
[ii] Philip Weiss, Eight more Jews Walk out on Birthright; saying Tour has no Place for Palestinians., July 16, 2018
[iii] These numbers are too readily available to limit their source to any one website. Just Google.
[iv] Israel just Lost American Jews,, April 5, 2018

Monday, July 2, 2018

Jewish Heritage

It seems that the children of the Rabbis are more Jewish than their dads. The younger Jews, especially in America, place more value on their morality than do their parents. They are supporting their Jewish heritage above a blind commitment to the State of Israel.

A poll recently conducted by the Pew Research Center indicated that:

Each U.S. generation is less sympathetic toward Israel than its predecessor. There is no guarantee that the strong pro-Israel consensus that has long been a bipartisan feature of U.S. politics will endure forever.[1]

Younger Jews are offended when Israeli soldiers, firing from behind barricades, shoot, maim and kill unarmed Palestinian protestors living in inhumane condition created by Israel’s multi-decade siege in Gaza. They have:

Learned too much about the forced displacement, and on-going discrimination against an indigenous people to accept that Zionism was, and still is, an innocent project of Jewish liberation… They have questioned the myths and narratives accepted by their parents, while their own understanding of what it should mean to “be Jewish,” in the 21st century feels offended by what they see happening in a country that claims to exist and act in their interest.[2]

The creation and conditions in Gaza have triggered a reaction in the conscience of many younger Jews, especially in America. When Israel continues to bombard Gaza, blockade its water,    electricity and medical supplies, many younger Jews of conscience are saying, “the leaders in Israel may be Jews, but they are certainly not Jewish.”[3]

Jared Kushner does not represent the younger Jews of America.  The New York Jewish Week conducted a survey:

One of the study’s most concerning findings is a decrease in emotional and active support of Israel. While 87 percent of those 55 and older report feeling emotionally connected to Israel, 65 percent of those 18 to 34 feel the same way. And while 71 percent of those 55 and older actively support the Jewish State, less than half – 43 percent – of Jews 18 to 34 do the same.[4]

As of this posting, IDF snipers have shot and killed 133 unarmed protestors and wounded more than 13,000. In dozens of ways, including the declaration that Israel’s democracy applies to Jews only, Israel has demonstrated that the only lives that matter are Jewish lives.

May God strengthen and bless those younger Jews who put the glorious heritage of their faith above the idolatrous worship of the state of Israel.

Thomas Are
July 2, 2018

[1] Robert M. Dann, Israel Among the Nations.  Foreign Affairs, July/August 2016
[2] Jews must Ditch Zionism, Now. April 8, 2018
[3] Older Jews are Officially terrified of Young Jew’s Views of Israel. March 27, 2018
[4], Support for Israel is Tumbling – even among Young Orthodox Jews.  November 1, 2017

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Zionist Bigotry

It has been said, Pride goeth before a fall, meaning, “People who act overconfident or too arrogant are likely to fall.”  Oh, I remember where that quote comes from. It’s in the Jewish Bible, God’s word to his chosen people. (Proverbs 16:18) 

As Israel celebrates 70 years of stateism, it has become a nation of racism, arrogance and bigotry. Bradley Burston, writing in Haaretz, a leading newspaper in Israel, says:

It hurts me to write what I’m about to. But it also hurts me to have to live in this place today. This is Zionism as racism…As a public servant, as an Orthodox rabbi, as a settler, you’re free to say anything, as long as it’s anti-Arab, anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti- Palestinian anti-Nazi, anti-North American…For sheer, unadulterated Zionist bigotry and hatred…no one can touch Benyamin Netanyahu [i]

It’s amazing. Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron issued a religious edict saying:

A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail. He also asserts that Arabs could be used for medical experiments.

Ovadia Yosef, a former Sephardi chief rabbi said:

“The sole purpose off non-Jews is to serve Jews.”

This declaration was endorsed by 250 Jewish religious figures.[ii]  

Again, Allan Brownfeld writes:

Israel repeatedly refers to itself as a “Jewish state,” but its current direction represents a rejection of Jewish moral and ethical values. Slowly, more and more American Jews, who believed Israel shared their values are coming to the realization that it does not.

I used to think of Israel as a century state, meaning that it would survive for about 100 years. Israel seems to thrive on creating enemies and I thought, one of these days, one of them is going to stomp in and crush it.

No more. I now think if Israel makes it ten more years it will be a miracle. Not because some “enemy” will invade but because it will implode from within. Israel has no foundation other than its illusions about itself, such as: Of all the people on earth, we are God’s chosen. Jews are smarter and more valuable than other people. Actually, Israel has little self-control, no constitution and recognizes no borders. It has one true friend in the world, the United States, and that could easily change as more and more young Jews reject the actions and arrogance of Israel.

Most Americans have supported Israel over the years as, “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But what kind of democracy is it when Israel’s Jewish leadership declares that it is not a nation for all its citizens but rather, its democracy is for “Jews only?” It is pure Zionist bigotry.

Thomas Are
June 26, 2018

[i] Allan C. Brownfeld, Israel at 70: An Alarming Growth of Racism and Intolerance. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  June 2018, p. 40.
[ii] Also from Allan C. Brownfeld, Israel at 70: An Alarming Growth of Racism and Intolerance. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,  June 2018, p. 40.

Monday, June 18, 2018


There is much to be admired about Nikki Haley, but her blind excusing of Israel is not one of them. It seems that in her mind, Israel, no matter what it does, is innocent and deserving to be given a pass. Israel can do no wrong. If anybody says otherwise, she will not listen.

Last month at the United Nations Security Council meeting, she described Israel’s forces at the Gaza border. ”No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”  When the Palestinian Ambassador tried to explain some context to her remarks, that the conflict at the border is a one sided massacre which has already killed hundreds of  Palestinians and wounded thousands more, including women and children, Nikki Haley got up and walked out. So much for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Just forget it.

Another story that Haley refuses to remember is that of Arnon Sofer of Haifa University’s advise to 
Ariel Sharon in 2004:

Withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break put. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it is going to be a human catastrophe.” Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today… So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day, every day.”[i]

The facts that Haley currently refuses to hear include a report that on one day, May 14th:

The Israeli army shot and killed 60 Palestinians in Gaza – including 6 children – and injured 3,000 others amid scenes of smoke, fire, teargas, dust, agony and blood.[ii]

The “brave soldiers operating with restraint” to whom she refers are of course snipers hiding behind barricades shooting unarmed civilians from a safe distance of 1,000 yards or more.

No problem for Nikki Haley. If Israel does it, and it seems harsh, just forget it.

Some wise soul has pointed out:

Erase memory and you wash away the blood from the perpetrator’s hands, you undo the done deed, make it disappear from history. Erase memories of atrocities and you tempt future perpetrators with immunity.[iii]

Nikki Haley is supposed to be our U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. To use one of Donald Trump’s favorite words, it is “unfair.” Actually, we have no ambassador to the U.N.  Israel has two.

Thomas Are
June 18, 2018

1 and 2 - Saree Makdisi, Kill and Kill and Kill,  Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2018, p. 8

[iii] Miraslov Volf, cited in Justin Schwegel, The Greenhouse Propaganda – How Gazan History is Being Rewritten to dehumanize Palestinians., August 10. 2014

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Last Week in Gaza

Last week, May 15th  is said to be the bloodiest day of the recent demonstrations in Gaza. Israel killed almost 50 unarmed Palestinians.

While Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu were celebrating the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, just a few miles away, Palestinians were living in concentration camp like conditions. United Nations Human Rights Council leader Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described the living conditions in Gaza as being:

Caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; de-humanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason to protest.[i]

Of course, Israel calls them “terrorists,” which provides an excuse to humiliate, and ignore their basic human needs.  Human Rights Watch tried to motivate the Israeli government into acting more responsibly by criticizing its brutal policies.  Instead of hearing the concerns of Human Right Watch, Israel kicked them out of the country.  Problem controlled.

What Israel cannot control are the demonstrations on the Gaza border. It tries to by shooting into the crowds of people. It would be comical if it were not so tragic. The IDF, the “most moral army on the globe” crouched behind earth berms firing into crowds of unarmed protestors across a fence, killing, at last count, 115 Palestinians and injured 13,190, since March 30th.  These numbers include 13 children killed and 2,096 injured, and over a thousand women wounded.[ii]

Why do Palestinians in Gaza continue to risk their lives to protest?  Why? Because:

Gaza is a prison, Gaza is a concentration camp, Gaza has been blockaded for a decade, Gaza’s occupation is a perennial crime against humanity, but most of all Gaza is a target. Gaza is a target because it suits the Israelis to have two million captive Palestinian men, women, and children (half of them are children) to despise, starve, deny medical supplies, reduce to inescapable and unlivable conditions, kill, and then brand as “terrorists” for not surrendering and disappearing from the face of the earth 70 years ago.[iii]

So, they demonstrate at the border, hoping someone will notice.

Thomas Are
May 29, 2018

[i] Bob Livingston, Editor, The Bob Livingston Letter,
[ii] article: Health Ministry: Israeli Army Killed 112 Palestinians, Injured 13,190 Since March 30th.  May 21.
[iii] William Boardman, Israeli Snipers Kill Unarmed, Defenseless People: Isn’t that Murder?  Reader Supported News, May 21, 2018.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hamas Responsible

The headline said, “Hamas is Responsible for Gaza’s Hardship.” [i]

After I picked myself up from the floor, (Ignorance, especially when it is chosen and announced with pride), always overwhelms me.

Hamas responsible?  It was not Hamas that drove out more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, both Muslim and Christian, taking their homes and livelihoods. Many of them wound up as penniless refugees in Gaza. Israel did that.

And it was not Hamas that murdered Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations special envoy who mediated a “truce” not to Israel’s liking. Israel did that, too. And it was not Hamas that pulled off a sneak attack in 1967 against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the U.S in attacking the USS Liberty, an unarmed reconnaissance ship, killing 34 American sailors. And it was not Hamas that drove nearly two million Palestinians into the Gaza with limited access to water, food and medical supplies. Israel did that.

Hamas did not bombard Gaza to smithereens in December 2008-09, and again in 2012, and again in 2014, destroying homes, sanitation plants, hospitals and infrastructure.

And it is not Hamas who is shooting into unarmed crowds of Israeli soldiers. Since March 30, when the people locked up in Gaza started demonstrating against their occupation and abuse, sixty Palestinians have been killed and over 2,700 wounded by Israeli fire. Not one Israeli soldier has received a so much as scratch in this so called “conflict.”

When I was a child, my mother asked, “Who broke the window?”  I answered, “Billy did.”  I threw a rock at his head and he ducked.  If that makes sense to you, then I guess you can say, Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s hardship.

Thomas Are
May 15, 2018

[i] Letters to the editor, Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, Sunday, May 13, 2018.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Narcissistic Nation

Much has been written lately by psychiatrist and mental health professionals about the “narcissistic mind-set.”  Defined as:[i]

            One – It is all about me.
            Two – Other people don’t matter because they are not me.
            Three – Regulations and laws are irrelevant because they restrict my being me.

Most of it has been applied to the actions of Donald Trump. And I certainly see the rationale for this concern. However, I wonder if there should not also be a concern for a “Narcissistic Nation,” namely Israel?

            One – It is all about Israel

                        From the bombing of the King David Hotel to massacre in Shebra and Shatilla refugee camps, to the air strikes on neighboring countries, US politicians, media, and the religious right, all give Israel a pass on atrocities. Even an attack on the USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors, avoids accountability. The American attitude seems to be, if it’s Israel, no questions allowed, no public debate. If it’s Israel, it is sanctioned, (blessed) in the sense of approved, not punished.

Two – Other people don’t count.

In keeping with the narcissistic mindset, other nations and people don’t count. Just think of Gaza. Two million people crowded into an “open-air prison,” deprived of clean water, food, medicine, electricity and meaningful work to do. But, to Israel, they are not Jews, so what’s the problem?  Even the non-Jewish Arabs of Israel are treated as second class citizens in their own country. They are not Jews.
            Three – No restrictions on Israel recognized.

                        It is phrased as Israel’s “right to defend itself.”  But in reality, it is a cover for Israel’s violence against its neighbors. It is not by mistake that Israel has never declared its borders, nor subjected itself to a constitution. The core of Israel’s society is its military might which does not even stand on its own, but is guaranteed and financed by the US.  Israel shouts, “The world is out to get us, because we are Jewish.”

I would argue that the world condemns Israel, precisely because it is NOT Jewish. Israel’s ancient prophets, from whom Jesus got his message and mission, had much to say about caring for the poor, protecting the weak, defending the oppressed, releasing the prisoner and forgiving debts. These are the polar opposites of the “narcissistic nation” now called Israel.

Thomas Are
April 22, 2018

[i] Dr. Decker, Trump’s Brain, an FBI Profile of Donald Trump. And especially, Bandy Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 27 Psychiatrist and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.  (St. Martins Press, New York, 2017.)