An Open Letter to Gal Gadot

Dear Ms. Gadot,

I read your recent tweet about the violence occurring between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

I am sure it was well intended and you were genuinely astonished by the backlash from supporters of Palestine.

Ms Gadot, your country is not at war. Your country is kicking people out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah to maximize Israeli control of East Jerusalem, and aroused anger in Gaza. I agree, Hamas, should not be firing rockets into Israel. They could land anywhere. They are crude devices with no guidance systems, and could hit a school, a synagogue, or a hospital. So, what Hamas is doing is politically absurd and immoral—and a war crime.

But we must bear in mind that Israel occupies Gaza. Yes, the Israeli military withdrew from the territory in 2005, but has ever since controlled it from the outside: the airspace, the coastline, the cell grid, the electricity. The situation in Gaza is dire.  Curiously, your heart doesn’t break for the two million people who spend much of the time in the dark because there is little electricity and have a hard time finding drinkable water. Because your country controls what goes in and what goes out of the tiny coastal enclave, it has a stranglehold on Gaza’s economy. Unemployment there is north of 50 percent.

This is the fifth major beating that Israel has doled out to Gaza. It rained death and destruction there in 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014. Over the course of those operations—Summer Rains, Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, Protective Edge—Israel claimed the lives of over 4,000 Gazans. Does your heart break for them? That’s just the dead, Ms. Gadot. That’s not the bereaved, the injured, and the displaced. Those numbers are much, much bigger.

And then every time Israel carries out attacks on these occupied people, the American president—Obama, Biden—pitifully says that Israel has a right to defend itself. Yes, Israel does have a right to defend itself, but not against a territory it illegally occupies. Do you understand that, Ms. Gadot? It would be like a rapist complaining that his face is getting scratched up and he has a right to defend himself. In the abstract, he does have a right to defend himself, but not in that situation. He cannot say, “I’ll quit assaulting her when she quits scratching my face.” Would anyone agree with this logic?

Ms. Gadot, I am confident it is quite beautiful where you live. There is no raw sewage running through the streets. I am certain there are no rolling blackouts; that there is plenty of electricity. There are probably no sonic booms by fighter jets causing psychological damage to the children in your neighborhood. If you live by water, the fishermen are likely allowed to go out as far as they want and don’t get shot at. I’m guessing that when a public sewage pump needs repair, your neighbors do not need to fix it, and do not get shot at by snipers when they attempt to do so (as I was in Rafah in 2002).

You see, your well intended tweet actually served to change the subject. If you had any integrity at all, you might have mentioned some of this. How can you not know what your country is doing? Many Israelis don’t. When I have been in Israel, they talk about the West Bank and Gaza like they’re on the other side of the moon. And you did two years IDF service. Did you not take note of what you were participating in? Were you asleep for those two years?

Some celebrities have had the courage to speak against Israeli brutality. Musicians Annie Lennox and Roger Waters, producer Brian Eno, actors Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, and Mark Ruffalo, street artist Banksy, activist Bianca Jagger have all stood up and voiced concern for what is being done to the Palestinians. Even Paris Hilton has made an effort. You have taken the low road and joined the dubious ranks of Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Scarlett Johansson.

Your heart-felt statement was the product of ignorance and was the kind of peace-and-love drivel that ignores the real issues and ends up supporting crimes. (You couldn’t even type the word P-A-L-E-S-T-I-N-E, you just reference “Our neighbors.”) And you can do this from the lap of luxury. A poor showing indeed. You are truly a wonder, woman.

Best regards,

Gregory Harms