FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Apathy or Genocide for Gaza?

Does this war make me look fat?” That’s the question on Rachel Weinstein’s mind according to her August 3, 2014 blog for The Times of Israel. Al-Jazeera stopped naming deaths of Palestinians and Israelis after July 24th, “given the volume and speed at which casualties were reported by Gaza health authorities.” Three fatal Israeli military strikes have damaged or nearly damaged UN schools while killing numerous Palestinian civilians seeking refuge. The families of 64 IDF soldiers mourn their lost loved ones. Yet, Rachel Weinstein is worried about whether or not she and her friends are eating too much chocolate. The struggle is real, as they say. If Weinstein is a dipstick for Israeli political involvement, this is very, very bad for peace.

But, it gets worse. Weinstein may represent the apathetic nature of Israel’s citizens, but on the opposite end of the involved-in-politics spectrum sits Yochanan Gordon’s question: When is genocide permissible? Gordon’s August 1, 2014 blog post for The Times of Israel, “When Genocide is Permissible,” subsequently (and thankfully) deleted by The Times, but not before those inevitable screen grabs, outlines the prerequisites for approved genocide of the Palestinian people. Outrage ensued on the international front, and Gordon issued an apology: “I never intended to call to harm any people although my words may have conveyed that message.”  Sure, because genocide just happens. Without words or warning. Like an earthquake.

So on the one hand we have mainstream published Weinsteins who are worried about whether or not they should go “war shopping,” as she calls it when warning sirens in Israel cause citizens to increase food purchases. On the other hand we have mainstream published Gordons who give Israeli as well as Hamas officials all the textual ammunition they need to continue killing civilians without interference under the pretense of “existential threat.” It’s no wonder the dominant global conflict management spectrum is limited to bomb or do nothing.

Dear Israeli citizens: It’s not either/or. There are other options for ending this violence and building sustainable peace – and you’re in charge. If you find the Weinsteins annoying and the Gordons disgusting, it is your moral obligation to drown out these genocidal and apathetic voices with your own and restrain your government’s use of force.

Listen to people like Gershon Baskin, Co-Chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information and peace advisor, who offer reasoned discourse amidst the bloodshed. In his July 23, 2014 editorial for the Jerusalem Post, he writes, “Israel can bring down Hamas by force and even kill all of its leaders, but the next generation of leaders will fill the void very quickly and they will be even more full of hate and rage than their predecessors.” This is simple enough: There is no snake’s head. There are only starfish arms.

Dear Palestinian citizens: You’re also in charge. Don’t ever let Hamas or the Palestinian Authority forget it. When the elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled – until the grass rises up and wraps around their legs and pulls them down. Here Baskin get’s it right again. The only way Hamas can be truly defeated, he argues, is when “the Palestinian people themselves decide to get rid of them.”

Dear Israeli and Palestinian citizens: You can count on one another.  Pull the reigns back on those who would do violence in your name with your voices, your wallets and your refusal to cooperate with or justify violence. Join the more than 56,000 people on social media who have said, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” Seek out Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilders, such as the Parents Circle-Families Forum, bringing together more than 600 Palestinian and Israeli families for peace and reconciliation. If you’ve regrettably participated in the violence at some point, there’s also space for you – join Combatants for Peace, a movement for Israeli and Palestinian fighters who choose to see one another with their eyes, not their scopes.

Your governments do not speak for you. Your few Weinsteins and Gordons do not speak for you.  Bombs and bullets can never speak for you – they can only silence. Together, your demands for peace and reconciliation are more powerful than any hellfire missile and more defensive than any iron dome.

Dear American citizens: Don’t think we get to just sit here and do nothing (or bomb) either. Our government sends millions of dollars per day to Israel’s military to pay for this bloody party. While Weinstein is war shopping, so is Israel – with our tax dollars, to the tune of billions per year. We can make Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding efforts far easier and more effective when we force an end to our government’s gunrunning.

Yes, there are, unfortunately, some Weinsteins and Gordons. But there are so many more voices of reason for peace. We don’t need a “humanitarian pause.” We need actual humanitarians – everyday citizens who work together, rise up and shout “Enough!” to the gunrunning, bloodshed, enmification and apathy. We can end the violence for good and build peace forever – but we have to work together to control those fat, grey leathery legs of war.

Erin Niemela (@erinniemela), PeaceVoice Editor and PeaceVoiceTV Channel Manager, is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University. 

More articles by:

Erin Niemela is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University and Editor for PeaceVoice.

February 20, 2019
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail