Lillian Rosengarten (above)
Silence in the face of apartheid is unbearable.
We can no longer remain silent nor turn our backs and pretend ignorance to a gruesome occupation of stolen land, the cruelest collective punishment in the open-air sewer prison where Palestinians once lived in peace. The situation has deteriorated as we observe Jewish settlers who spew their hate with such revulsion and racism on Palestinian families, it makes my stomach turn. The United States and Europe (by example, I insist) remain silent, thus complicit, not daring to criticize the holier than thou state of Israel for fear of being called anti-Semite.
True anti-Semites rage on but they are not the human rights activists who have the courage to oppose apartheid and brutality, dissenters who challenge the cruel illegal occupation, who speak out against outrageous destruction of a people unwanted and dehumanized for the sake of the “Democratic Jewish State.” All lies in the face of a deep pathology, a state that demonizes resistance to what is meant to remain hidden. No longer is this possible for the fate of Israel as a viable democracy rests in the acknowledgement that occupation and fear-mongering lead only to death and destruction. The activists are heroes who have no attachment to anti-Semitism nor the vile accusation of wishing for the destruction of Israel. This is sheer paranoia and manipulation. It is urgent to examine in depth to what length Netanyahu’s government will continue to escalate in order to fulfill the fantasy of a Jewish State. There is no possibility to achieve this out of the ashes of Palestinian’s held hostage and subjected to the most brutal uprooting and forced ghetto-ization under an amoral Israeli army that has been taught to hate.
Consider how the mere suggestion of a potential Islamic State for Egypt (where church and state are also fused) sends shudders through Americans and Europeans who are taught to fear Islam as a new form of Nazi-ism. In a closed society information is skewed and dissent is stifled. We become witness to manipulations of the general population based on lies and fear. Is this not a virulent form of domestic terrorism that that uses Islamophobia as a tool to scare people into silence, to trample debate, to destroy freedom of speech, loathe dissent and to label any resistance to Israel’s crimes as “unpatriotic” or worse yet an “anti-Semite” who wishes only for the destruction of Israel. Israel’s crimes of apartheid have created a cancer, an obsession built on lies?
I cannot imagine how one justifies the human rights atrocities (carefully kept out of the US news reporting and always skewed in favor of the Israelis without mentioning the occupation,) committed in the name of creating a Jewish state. For those who continue to deny the horrors perpetrated, who have refused to see, who have turned their backs, it is time to drop the masks, the psychopathic pretense that Israel is only “defending “ itself against destruction. From what I observe and have witnessed personally both in an Israeli prison, deportation and from my trip to Gaza, it is the government of Israel, the occupation, violence, ethnic cleansing and brutalization of the Palestinian peoples that puts Israel at risk for continuous slaughter. Israel must face the reality that the land belongs just as rightfully to Palestinians. For this possibility to realize its self there needs to be a separation of church and state where reason can overcome the insane claim that there are no Palestinians nor is there Palestinian land that will be returned.
How can it continue, denial by American Jews who blindly support Israel as victims that must defend themselves? How can Zionism in its present form also be a liberal democracy? Zionism has taken the form of a powerful nationalistic, ideologically based way of life. Its pathology is evident in the occupation and all the despair it brings to Palestinians who yearn for dignity and freedom. It is also evident in intolerance of dissent and dialogue aimed to expose the intractable hard line of the Netanyahu government. Anti-Semitism has been distorted and relegated to the dissenters as a means to cover up the lies and crimes. I cringe to observe young Israeli soldiers and the powerful IDF as they attack Palestinians women, children, grandparents, activists calling for freedom, as if they had no beating hearts but were vermin to be stepped on. Yes! It is gruesome to observe this vile form of racism and it must be easier for some to forgive the Israelis and condemn the Palestinians.
I cannot end without mention of Gunter Grass pleading for nuclear sanity and the acknowledgment of Israel as a nuclear power. This poet seeks to break the complicit silence, to break through the lies. Can he never be forgiven for his mistake when in his youth he was briefly drawn into the nationalistic fervor in another time? Can he never redeem himself, for he has given the world such powerful antiwar writings including the great “Tin Drum?” We must look at how we condemn. It is easier to condemn the old poet Günter than occupation that exists under the nose of its deniers.
This piece first appeared on Palestine Chronicle. Lillian Rosengarten, refugee from Nazi Germany writes about paths to peace for Israelis and Palestinians to live in harmony without fear and with dignity. [email protected]