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.