Monday, January 12, 2009

Antisemitism and Israel

There have been fears that the assault in Gaza by Israel would increase antisemetism in the world, and sadly I suspect this to be the case. I have seen comments on Arabic and Persian and Israeli news websites I would call racist. This is a problem because one thing is a given - both Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to live together somehow and the legacy of hate will cost when this happens. You can see a snapshot of this in this video;

One solder when asked what they are doing in Gaza responds 'purifying' which has lots of nasty connotations and a young Palestinian boy tries to stop his sister crying as their mum dies so as not to show the soldiers their hurt. (Mind you, who am I to comment on this, I have no ideas what it feels like to have your mum bleeding to death in front of you...this video is hard to watch and makes you angry at the injustice of it all.)

One thing is key here though; criticising Israel (the state of) is not the same thing as criticising all Jews or all Israelis. Criticising Zionism (as a political construct) is not the same thing as criticising the Jewish people. These distinctions need to be made clear in any articles/protests - so that it is clear that it is the actions of the Israeli state that is the target our our anger. Not only that but it is importnat to realise the Israeli people are not a single mass of a single mind, many of them disagree with the actions of the government - an important point as I would not like to be identified with Britain's disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are some examples of Israeli dissent;

Anarchists Against the Wall block and Airbase

500 Sderot (where most of Hamas's crappy missiles end up) Residents Sign Petition to Stop Israeli Bombing

Peace group GushShalom continue to organise and protest against the killing

Jews call on IDF soldiers to stop war crimes

Tel Aviv rally decries Gaza assault

Some more links of interest...

Why street protest is of no use - what we need to do is undermine the right-wing Israeli lobbyy.

Mark Steele:

The gap between the might of Israel's F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters, and the Palestinians' catapulty thing is so ridiculous that to try and portray the situation as between two equal sides requires the imagination of a children's story writer. The reporter on News at Ten said the rockets "may be ineffective, but they ARE symbolic." So they might not have weapons but they have got symbolism, the canny brutes. It's no wonder the Israeli Air Force had to demolish a few housing estates, otherwise Hamas might have tried to mock Israel through a performance of expressive dance.


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