Like most people I’m tired of watching the people of Gaza being blown into pieces by Israel as they try to wipe out the threat of Hamas by killing hundreds of innocent men, women and children while decimating their homes and businesses. It’s the sort of humanitarian disaster which a lot of younger people won’t be used to seeing played out nightly on the TV news, but if you’re a nit older you’ll have seen this sort of thing all too often before.
There’s an ongoing blame game between Israel and Hamas over who started this latest outbreak first, with Israel claiming Hamas did when they apparently kidnapped and then murdered three Israeli teenagers, but according to the BBC’s Jon Donnison, it was a lone cell operating outside of Hamas leadership who committed the murders. This is course doesn’t matter to Israel’s government who had the excuse to pile in and destroy Gaza under the pretense of destroying Hamas as Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu decided to fan the flames of the extremists within Israel who see Arabs as subhuman. This excellent article from Vice should be essential reading for those wanting a bit of insight as to what exactly is going on in parts of Israel, yet there’s plenty of antiwar Israelis who are shocked with what their government are doing to Gaza and the people of Palestine.
There has to as well be a distinction between Hamas and the people of Gaza. The leader of Hamas can sit safely in Damascus as the men, women and children of Gaza die and suffer for his cause, and lets not forget that without Israel’s Iron Dome missile protection system, the civilian body count would be vastly larger than it is right now. None of this at all excuses what Israel is doing which is killing innocents to decimate a people to a point where they’re seen as no threat. This isn’t Total War from both sides. Only from Isreal.
Yet some of the criticism thrown at antiwar protesters do have a painful ring of truth about them. The Israel/Palestine conflict is used by those of the left and right for their own needs, yet there’s people on the right who are clearly Islamophobic just as there’s some on the left who are clearly anti semitic. What is harder to deal with is the accusation that people are latching onto this conflict while deliberately ignoring other horrendous conflicts, especially in parts of Africa where tens of thousands have been killed. While this is a tactic by apologists of Israel’s actions, there is a point that some on the left do have weak spots regarding certain wars and that indeed there’s people looking for wars which fit their own confirmation bias. Whenever I hear someone talk about Palestine and they start with the word ‘The Jews’, I tend to start feeling the hairs on the back of my neck going up as I know most of the time as I know the conversation is going to descend into the sort of shite you see with the #Hitlerwasright hashtag which is infecting Twitter.
There is an element of people supporting Palestine and attacking Israel who are deeply anti Semitic, anti American, and blinded by this to a degree they’re just as bad as those on the other side of the coin who hate Arabs or Muslims, and yes, there should be more from a number of antiwar protesters about those conflicts which don’t match their own bias.
However if anything good is coming out of this it’s how many who support Palestine are dissociating themselves from these elements and making clear that a person supporting Palestine is not an anti Semite and that attacks on Israel is limited to attacking their Zionist government, not the fact it’s a mainly Jewish state.
The thing is that it’s impossible to see the reports from the likes of the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen or Channel 4’s Jon Snow who published an astonishing bit of commentary on Youtube after his return from seeing the devastation in Gaza that cuts through all the bullshit.
What’s going on in Gaza is an avoidable humanitarian crisis that like many other such wars, we’ve sat back and let it develop til it’s at a point where too many people have been killed, though one person is too much. Israel have no interest in peace and Hamas are not helping the Palestinian people. The situation is intolerable yet most of our governments refuse to do anything about it and all the time Israel reduce more of Gaza to rubble while killing men, women and children, but it’s the targeting of the weak, the sick and children that is so abhorrent here. There’s also the targeting of UN staff to include in all the various things Israel have done since starting this attack.
Of course Hamas would have killed many, many more people themselves had Israel not had their Iron Dome, but the point is here that Israel is well defended so it knows the threat from Hamas is relatively small, but this is a chance for them to crush Gaza once and for all. This should scare all of us into protesting against the inhumanity being shown towards fellow humans in Gaza.
As for what we can do in our own small ways well, not buying any Israeli products is a start. Look at the barcode of any product and if it starts 729, then it was made in Israel. Don’t buy it. A boycott is the very least we can do.
Until then we have to sit and wait for our leaders to do something.Remember though that you don’t have to sit back and do nothing, don’t buy Israeli products, go on marches and protest and if anyone does spout fascist or anti Semitic shite, put them right, after you’ve told them to fuck off of course. We should stand by the people of Gaza and all the others in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and all the other places where innocents are being killed and protest all war. Enough really is enough.