Hedges: ‘The arc of the moral universe is thundering down upon Israel’

Israel/Palestine
on 29 Comments

Chris Hedges today posted his speech the other night on the Gaza boat fundraiser, at truthdig. Beautiful. Read it. Excerpt:


I would like to remind them [the Israeli government] that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive … you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    August 10, 2010, 4:59 am

    You will break bread, Chris (maybe). Will Hamas?

    “It is we who stand in the light.” A little fanatic vanity in that statement?

    The light of seeking to improve the state of Gazans is critical, undeniable morally. If the primary form of that freedom ends up primarily as the enhancement of Hamas’ and factions’ ability to aggress on Israeli civilians, is that light in fact?

    How are you WORKING to ensure that the flotilla movement remains a genuinely non-violent movement? Or, are the militants using the “nice” as cover? (Same as “nice” liberal Zionists are accused of providing cover for the Israeli right.)

    How is it different?

    • Richard Witty
      August 10, 2010, 5:23 am

      If you read the full article, Hedges does suggest compassion, more than compassion for Israelis (and not just the vanity compassion of “we wish you to heal – er- adopt our view”)

      I so wish that Phil would emphasize those statements of humane dissent, rather than emphasizing ONLY the dissent.

      I use the metaphor of a car careening down a hill. (There is a long, thin, dangerous hill near my home where I ride a bike frequently.) You can tell the difference between the cars that are ONLY trying to get somewhere (willing to push bicycles into the brush) and cars that actually are concerned about the others on the road (willing to slow down until there is a mutually safe path).

      • Citizen
        August 10, 2010, 8:16 am

        I think the Palestinians can really appreciate your metaphor, Dick Witty.
        Guess which cars they paint with an Israeli flag.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 10, 2010, 8:42 am

        “I think the Palestinians can really appreciate your metaphor, Dick Witty.”

        Maybe Witty ignores that at the very minute I’m typing this, tens if not hundreds of Abu Ghraibs are operating in Israel…

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:34 am

        Most democratic Palestinians know that they will be neighbors with Israel and/or Israelis, and do appreciate the metaphor of retaining liveable relations.

        Most chicken-hawk fanatics know only rhetoric. (By chicken-hawk fanatics, I mean those that only describe the basis of their militancy, rather than the basis of their humanity.)

        Its certainly on both sides.

      • eljay
        August 10, 2010, 8:17 am

        I use the metaphor of a car careening down a hill. … You can tell the difference between the cars that are ONLY trying to get somewhere (willing to push bicycles into the brush) and cars that actually are concerned about the others on the road (willing to slow down until there is a mutually safe path).

        Presumably dissent is the car, and Israel is the cyclist. How benign. In reality, dissent is the car trying to share the road, and Israel is the massive semi swervering across all lanes, swiping other vehicles into the ditch. And you still expect the car to be nice to the big, brutish semi.

    • Citizen
      August 10, 2010, 8:12 am

      RE: “It is we who stand in the light.” A little fanatic vanity in that statement?

      CF: “The light to the World.” Anyone ever hear that one?

    • Psychopathic god
      August 10, 2010, 8:40 am

      you are amazing richard witty. you demand that israel be forgiven.

      where is your humble statement of apology, of seeking forgiveness? did that thought ever even occur to you?

      was the thought of israel actually acting like a civilized entity and seeking forgiveness so repugnant to you that you were compelled to distract from the power of Chris Hedges’ Jeremiad and prattle on about your bicycling adventures?

      amazing, simply amazing.

    • Chaos4700
      August 10, 2010, 8:53 am

      How are you WORKING to ensure that the flotilla movement remains a genuinely non-violent movement?

      So Israel really is faultless in your eyes, huh? A nineteen year old American was killed by YOUR people, your friends, your family (and you self-identify with them of your own accord, Witty, unlike sane anti-Zionist Jews) and you’re really going to label that nineteen year old humanitarian volunteer as a militant.

      And for what? For daring to feed starving children?

      [over the top lines censored by webmaster]

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:38 am

        Chaos.
        Your language betrays you. Israel is nowhere near faultless. It has many historical and current inhumane themes, policies, practices, that require reform assertively.

        The distinction is between a fault and the urging for its elimination.

        I applaud the 19 year old volunteer. I would hope that I would do similarly (though wary that the friend might be a bomber, as has happened – there was a Palestinian film that contained that as a theme once. I forgot the title, anyone else know it?)

  2. Citizen
    August 10, 2010, 8:21 am

    Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.” I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never gave much thought what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. See now I’m thinkin’, maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9 Milimeter here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. Now I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd.”

  3. eljay
    August 10, 2010, 8:24 am

    >> Jules: “But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd.”
    Brett: “What?”
    Jules: “Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you … ”

    Amen. :-)

  4. moonkoon
    August 10, 2010, 8:27 am

    … we will forgive … you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children …

    I’m sure even Richard has no quibble with these sentiments. Finally, common ground. :-)

    It sounds so much better than the alternatives: the draining drive of hatred, or the enervating numbness of indifference.
    I’ll take one. How much? :-)

  5. Psychopathic god
    August 10, 2010, 9:01 am

    I recall when Ann Lewis was in the Clinton administration, she made a statement, once, that Jews strive to live by the injunction of Micah,

    <i?"He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

    I embraced her in spirit and was grateful that she was present to bring that influence on the administration of the US.

    When George Bush said in a campaign speech that the US should maintain “a humble foreign policy,” I thought he understood something important about how a great and strong nation should conduct itself in the world. In my Catholic high school, nothing was more important than football, but even our football games carried a moral lesson: “Be humble in victory, gracious in defeat.” Ann Lewis and George Bush seemed to reflect that deeply learned lesson.
    Neither had the opportunity to carry it out in real time.

    And that is why we are where we are today.

  6. hophmi
    August 10, 2010, 11:52 am

    That’s Chris Hedges – sanctimonious and deatched from reality. And that’s Phil Weiss, quoting what he wants to hear, and leaving out the parts that are less supportive of his position.

    Hey Hedges! We have a lot more love in our hearts than you do. And when there’s a peace agreement, we’ll be sure to forgive you and your fellow travelers for your distortions, your selective, antisemitic boycotts, and your naivete. Hope the power of love is not too much for you. Hope you can find it in your heart to bless our children and save them from suicide and rocket attacks.

    • Chaos4700
      August 10, 2010, 7:49 pm

      Screw it. I’m reporting you for comment policy violation. This post is nothing but slander and ad hominem and its typical fare from you.

      • hophmi
        August 10, 2010, 8:44 pm

        ROFLMAO.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 11, 2010, 4:24 am

        “This post is nothing but slander and ad hominem and its typical fare from you.”

        I agree..That was a textbook zionist slander technique..notice also the anti-Semitic charge..Tfooh..

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:39 am

        “This post is nothing but slander ”

        Chaos, are you really holding slander as the basis of whether a post should be seen?

      • Richard Witty
        August 11, 2010, 4:41 am

        I thought Hophmi’s post was appropriately sarcastic. I don’t believe that Hedges understands the challenge and responsibility that he faces over people and forces that he has no control, but has now assumed some responsibility.

        Appealing to our better nature is critical. The urge for compassion is critical. He should be applauded for that, including the compassion stated for Israelis and his advocacy for non-violence (I hope).

      • hophmi
        August 12, 2010, 3:24 pm

        Still ROFLMAO.

  7. Tuyzentfloot
    August 11, 2010, 4:12 am

    I really dislike these ‘arc’ metaphors. It’s a word for art critics :)

  8. Leper Colonialist
    August 11, 2010, 11:48 am

    Wonderful thought, and wish that they were actually so.

    Alas, the sad truth is a parphrase of Hillaire [?] Belloc :

    whatever happens
    Israel has got,
    the USA in it’s hip pocket
    andthe Arabs do not!

  9. KenDavis
    August 11, 2010, 11:53 am

    Leper Colonialist whatever happens
    The Arabs have got,
    Europe in it’s hip pocket
    and Israel does not!

    Look at the power of the oil lobby.
    They can free the mass murderer of Pan Am 103.

    • Leper Colonialist
      August 11, 2010, 1:10 pm

      Yeah, having Europe in one’s hip pocket is like owning Baltic Avenue in “Monopoly” while your opponent owns Boardwalk, Park Place, the two utilities and all 4 railroads, and acts as the banker.

      Look at it this way – due to America, no Israeli mass murder ever imagines that s/he will be brought before the bar of justice, ever. No matter how much collateral damage is inflicted, white poshperous exploded, piracy on the high seas committed, ethnic cleansing accomplished, protesters machine-gunned, old ladies clubbed with rifle butts, olive groves uprooted, houses demolished, etc…

      Yeah, it must be a bitch to be israeli, and quite the day atthe beach to be a Palestinian.

      • Leper Colonialist
        August 11, 2010, 1:41 pm

        Oh, i almost forgot : US intelligence ships attacked, American peace protesters crushed under armored bulldozers.

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