The varieties of compassion and national grief.
We are told by those who know, that we must have compassion for the suffering of others, and indeed we do. The whole world must know by now of the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Sheikh Yassin was head of the Hamas, a blameless "militant" spiritual leader, cut down mercilessly by the evil and greedy Zionists, while he was engaged in the worthwhile pursuit of planning to send more evil Jews to meet Allah. Everyone mourns the tragic death of the blameless Rachel Corrie, who came to Gaza to defend Palestinian weapons smuggling tunnels against the heartless IDF. Who can forget little Muhamed Al-Dura, who was certainly killed by someone in front of the artful cameras of French television?
Every Palestinian child, and every politically correct and compassionate advocate, knows the names of all the Zionist massacres that ever took place, and of several that did not, and the numbers of countless victims, real and imaginary. Who does not know of Deir Yassin? What Counterpunch reader will not be able to tell you that in Jenin, the Zionists murdered 500 innocent Palestinians? No matter that actually 56 Palestinian Arabs died in Jenin. No matter that most of them were armed guerillas (or terrorists or "militants" if you like). No matter that these guerillas and their friends were responsible for murdering over a hundred Israelis in the previous month. Mohammed abu Nimr, a Palestinian who professes peace, explained that the Israelis murdered 500 Palestinians in Jenin, while the Palestinians were only engaged in nonviolent actions. Nobody remembers the names of those murdered Israelis except their relatives and friends. Mohamed Abu Nimr is going to bury the fact of their death as well.
You know who Muhamed Al Dura was. Probably you heard of Rachel Corrie. Do you know Amil Almalich? Michael Ben-Sa'adon? Israel Samolia? They were killed by a suicide bomber in Eilat just now. In a month, who will remember their names? Who will remember that they died? It was another "nonviolent action" of the Palestinians. If Israel decides one day, that it must take up arms to stop suicide bombing, won't the usual people write about another 500 imaginary Palestinian victims, and entirely ignore the real Israeli victims?
In the pages of Los Angeles Times, the 500 imaginary victims of the imaginary Jenin massacre were compared by a warped Jewish writer to the very real Jewish victims of the Nazi SS in the Warsaw Ghetto. It is not permissible for Jews to discuss the Holocaust in the context of the death of Jews, as that is part of the "Holocaust Industry," but it is perfectly fashionable to expound upon the imaginary Holocaust of the Palestinian Arabs. Without a shred of proof, the hysterical proponents of misguided compassion insist that the evil Zionists are perpetrating genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. The facts don't matter to these disciples of Jose Saramago, of Ilan Pappe and other fiction writers. What matters is emotion.
The required emotion is hatred for Israel and Zionists. Compassion for imaginary victims is one byproduct, outrage at the imaginary crimes of the Zionists is another. Never mind that almost all the Palestinian Arabs are still very much alive, except for the ones who blow themselves up in our cities and become "martyrs." No less a person than Spanish Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago, likewise compared the imaginary victims of Jenin to victims of the Holocaust. It is fitting, since Senor Saramago is a writer of fictional novels.
In past years, the Palestinian Authority, in order to educate its people to accept peace with their Israeli neighbors no doubt, staged a yearly Nakba ceremony, to commemorate the disaster that overcame the Palestinian Arabs in 1948, when their leaders induced them to try to exercise their sovereign right to annihilate the Jewish people. The effort failed, and the perpetrators suffered. While we Israelis mark our days of mourning with a minute of silence, Palestinian commemorations seem to require gunfire and rioting. True pluralists must appreciate the varieties of grief. The Palestinians made the commemoration of this event into an organized expression of constant grief and of hate for the Jews. None of us are not allowed to forget the Nakba in writing, in art exhibits and in demonstrations. A genuine Nakba industry sprang up, with people bused to demonstrations, carrying signs of their native towns, keys of their houses. The Nakba must be remembered. Only the causes of the Nakba, like the cause of the Israeli "massacre" in Jenin, must never be examined too closely.
When did Israelis, expelled from the old city of Jerusalem and from Hebron in 1936 and 1948, ever demonstrate with keys to their houses? When did the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands demonstrate with keys to their houses?
Palestinian grief is a public affair. It demands compassion. It is politically correct to have compassion for Palestinian Arabs and to describe their suffering in the minutest detail.
Israeli grief must be handled differently however. In the past, Jews were weak. It was not fitting to mourn for Jews, because that was after all, the fate of Jews. No sense getting upset over the deaths of a few more unfortunate Jews in Kishinev or Ukraine or wherever, is there? But now the Jews in Israel are no longer victims. Now it is not fitting to mourn for Jews because we are strong. We are therefore, "the oppressors." Jews don't get compassion.
All you folks who know about Rachel Corrie and Mohamed al-Dura, here are pictures of evil Zionist colonialist imperialist racist oppressors killed by "militants" of the Palestinian "resistance." Can you identify even one of them?
See http://www.zionism-israel.com/vic/123_israeli_kids_killed.htm to find the names of these Zionist victims and many others. They are our honored dead.
Very probably you heard of Deir Yassin. Every Palestinian knows this place, where berserk Jewish underground fighters apparently killed about 100 civilians. Have you heard of the Lamed Heh? Don't be ashamed. A poll showed that 50% of Israelis never heard of the Lamed Heh either. The Lamed Heh were thirty five young men of the Haganah, sent to bring supplies on foot to Gush Etzion in January of 1948. The story told of them, is that they were seen by an Arab shepherd on the way, and though they knew he might inform on them and call out an ambush, they would not kill him. True or not, this story was repeated to every Israeli child, not as a warning of the cruelty of the enemy, but as an example of the moral values of Israeli fighters.
The facts that are known for certain: they were ambushed at dawn and murdered. They were never given a chance to surrender of course. Their mutilated bodies were photographed by a British soldier, who left his film in a Jerusalem shop to be developed. He never came to pick it up. About 50 years later, the film was discovered by chance. It was decided that the pictures were too gruesome to be shown to the public. It is not politically correct, from the anti-Zionist point of view, to have compassion for Jews. >From the Zionist point of view, It is demoralizing to show casualties.
It is not politically correct either to mention that massacre outside Gush Etzion or the one that took place in May in Gush Etzion, where a large number of soldiers (Jewish of course) who had surrendered were mowed down. It is not politically correct either, to mention the (Jewish of course) civilians were murdered in Hebron or Jerusalem in 1929 or 1936.
This young man below is Danny Mas. He was the leader of the Lamed Heh. He probably died because he would not kill an Arab shepherd.
That is our fault. The fault of Israelis and Jews. Jews never liked to dwell on unpleasant things. In Jewish history, time was allowed to obliterate catastrophes. We always wanted to believe that the previous expulsion, the previous pogrom was the last one in history. Now we are safe. Those things always happened in the bad old country. Here in this new place, we are safe. This country after all, is not like Czarist Russia or medieval Poland or medieval Spain, is it? Nothing bad can happen to Jews here. This country is modern, moderate, democratic and progressive Weimar Germany.
In Israel, or Palestine, news of Arab atrocities was hushed up. We, the evil "Israel Lobby" don't want that news to get out. Palestine was, and Israel is, supposed to be a safe haven for the Jews. If we told people that Jews die here, they would say that Zionism is a failure. And indeed, when the fiction writers of Counterpunch and the Nation mention Israeli casualties, they invariably explain that these casualties are "proof" of the failure of Zionism.
So how can we come to terms with Gush Etzion, with the death of the Lamed Heh, with the deaths of over a hundred children in the recent Palestinian "nonviolent actions," with the deaths of three people in Eilat in the most recent suicide bombing? How are these Jewish deaths different from all those others, in the other countries, that we don't want to think about?
They are different. Imagine if there had been an IDF in 1942, and Israeli paratroopers could have rescued the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, killing their Nazi guards. No doubt the Jose Saramagos and Mohammed Abu Nimrs of the world would explain that the Jews committed a massacre in Warsaw, while the Germans had performed only nonviolent actions. No doubt a Naomi Klein would explain that Jews ought to have compassion, and that the Israelis had made her ashamed to be a Jew. But it would still be worth it, no?
Please don't have compassion for Danny Mas and the Lamed Heh, or for the sisters and wives of these victims or for the parents of those poor dead children. They don't want your compassion or your pity. These people deserve your respect and love. They made their sacrifice so that we Jews could be a free people in our own land. If you are Jewish, even if you are a writer of anti-Zionist fantasies in the Los Angeles Times, they died so that you could be free too.
That is how we must come to terms with Gush Etzion.
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