The most important aspect of our policy must be our ever-present, manifest desire to institute complete equality for the Arab citizens living in our midst … The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people. … What saddens me is less the fact that the Jews are not smart enough to understand this, but rather, that they are not just smart enough to want it.
— Albert Einstein
In a recently published photo, Ivanka Trump in off-white couture gestures toward the new US embassy like a game show model introducing the latest appliance up for grabs. Her lovely smile and radiant persona rise from the street, spreading their grace over the city and coming down in gossamer waves over all the folks otherwise occupied and unable to attend the party. While Ivanka and her husband, and all the King’s men and women celebrate the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with flattery, bombast, and straight-faced paeans to human rights, the blood of the dead and dying, the blood of martyrs, the blood of those willing to die for the right to live on their own land is covering the land of Palestine, covering the hands of the “heroic” Israeli gunners following orders the way Gina Haspel was following orders when she facilitated the torture of captive men; the way German soldiers and officers were following orders when they rounded up and massacred Jews and other “undesirables”; the way Phalangist killers, under the approving eyes of the Israeli military, shot, raped, bludgeoned to death Palestinian men, women, and children in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla.
The blood of our dead and dying brothers and sisters in Palestine covers the tiny hands of Donald Trump and his bloody-minded pal Benjamin Netanyahu. It washes over the Israeli Cabinet and the US Congress and all those sycophants in the mainstream media who see “clashes” where the world, with clear vision, sees “massacres,” and who write about “protecting Israeli security” instead of telling the truth about Israeli crimes against humanity. In an emergency meeting of the Security Council, Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, condemned Hamas for provoking the people of Gaza to launch a protracted protest against their Israeli benefactors. Israel, she intoned, has shown remarkable restraint in their effort to prevent hordes of Palestinians from crossing the militarized zone between the state of God’s kingdom on Earth and the Bantustan of Gaza, where a twelve-year-old blockade enforced by Israel has left the people with little hope for the future and nothing but suffering to show for the present.
After delivering her typically judicious comments, the ever-insightful Ambassador Haley, with perfect timing, walked out of the meeting before having to listen to her counterpart, a representative of the Palestinian people. No doubt his views on the premeditated murder of protesters by Israeli snipers may have been somewhat at odds with Ambassador Haley’s. Given the substance of her prior remarks to the Security Council and her rather abrupt departure, it is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the honorable Ms. Haley does not lose any sleep over the killing of over 60 people and the wounding of thousands more, some of whom may have been armed with nothing more lethal than tennis rackets and stones. In all likelihood, she would not be caught dead shedding a single tear for the victims of Israel’s “protective measures.” Nor should one expect to see the good ambassador standing by the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem and weeping for yet another tragic episode in the 70-year struggle by Palestinians to assure a national identity within protected, internationally recognized borders.
If one could somehow eavesdrop on Ambassador Haley’s innermost thoughts, what she chose to leave unspoken during her recent address might very well resonate with Ann Coulter, darling of neo-fascists around the world and courageous voice of all those for whom compassion, empathy, kindness and other such building blocks of civilization are as meaningless as road signs to deer and moose. Following news of Monday’s massacre, Coulter tweeted, “Can we do that?” Her link to an article on Israel’s violent response to Palestinian demonstrators suggests that she believes the way to deal with migrants attempting to cross the Mexican-US border is to shoot them on sight.
Confronting America’s role in the violence and poverty pushing people toward the border and the possibility of a better life is not on Coulter’s agenda. Nor is it on Trump’s. He now refers to immigrants as “animals,” not people. Of course, Trump’s heartless depiction of desperately poor families seeking sanctuary and relief from suffering applies equally well to the words and mindset of Ann Coulter, Nikki Haley, and their ilk, and is clearly reflected in Israel’s unforgivable treatment of the captive residents of Gaza. In 2007, after Hamas won parliamentary elections in Gaza and expelled members of Fatah, its rival political party, Israel (with help from Egypt) imposed a near-total land, air, and sea blockade on Gaza, a narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean and Israel, and the home of roughly 2 million people.
Because of the blockade (whose effects have been worsened by short-sighted policies of some Palestinian officials), poverty and unemployment have become rampant. As writer Tareq Baconi reminds us, “Today some 80 percent of Gaza’s population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Conditions have become so extreme that the United Nations has stated that by 2020 the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable.” Is it any wonder then that the people of Gaza have simply had enough and are demanding what any oppressed people would want for themselves and future generations: No more imprisonment within their own territory, no more checkpoints, no more destruction of ancient olive groves, no more home demolitions, no more denial of basic human rights, no more restrictions of electricity, no more theft of clean water, no more treatment of Palestinians as caged “animals” whom it is permitted to shoot on sight, should any of them attempt to break free of their prison and join the Great March for Return.