Monday, November 26, 2012

Palestine, Birth 2012 and more

The latest military upheaval in Gaza has reawakened a passion in me—my indignation at Israel’s continued oppression of Palestinians— and, worse, my government literally aiding this brutality by sending weapons to Israel. Of course, Israel’s action is called “defense” while retaliation by Gazans is called “terrorism.”
My recent writing on this bias in our government and media was published in the St. Cloud Times on Saturday. I argued that American media don’t give the Palestinian side and I gave some facts leading up to Israel killing Ahmad al-Jabari.

Israel wins the propaganda war by playing the victim surrounded by hostile forces, thus cleverly blaming the real victims, the Palestinians. In this way it justifies its brutality and humiliation of Palestinians, which our biased media do not report to Americans. 
The Times included my wish that Hamas would stop trying to win justice by military means and move to non-violent protests, but it did not include my reference to the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, which awakened the conscience of Americans. Such an awakening is needed if justice is to come to the Middle East, and we all know that there can be no peace without justice.

Besides writing, I pass on many articles that come my way. Seeking background for those who do not follow the dire conditions in Palestine—Gaza’s children are malnourished and stunted—I found this written in 2011, before the latest explosion, and showing the U.N.perspective. It explains that humanitarian relief is welcome but a long term solution must stop Israel from undermining any progress toward economic independence for Palestinians.
Unemployment (at 30%, and 43% for under-30s), manufacturing and agricultural decline (despite a recent upturn), large-scale revenue losses, "dire" humanitarian conditions, worsening socioeconomic indicators—all these issues and more are linked explicitly and repeatedly to the political situation.
More cheerful news emerges from another passion of mine, the shift in global consciousness that we are living through right now. The evidence that we are is presented in this analysis by retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. I passed it on to my personal email lists of politically interested. “It is really excellent,” responded my friend Sondra. “His historical framing of shifting attitudes is like looking through a microscope that is a little out of adjustment, a little fuzzy, and bringing it into really sharp focus.”
I appreciate Spong’s sharp critique of religion’s role in “the birth pangs of this new consciousness.” He understands that, “No new consciousness is raised without rampant anger from those being displaced.”

Finally, I recommend the incomparable S. Joan Chittister speaking about women oppressed. I love her for her eloquent expressions of outrage and her forthright criticism of religious oppression.
I do not stay silent and take as my reward the responses I get to letters in National Catholic Reporter, pieces in the Times, and my posts here. Thank you.


Mother & Yitzhak Rabin     November 4, 2015

My mother died 20 years ago on November 1. I remember being at the funeral home when I heard the news that Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated by Israeli right-wingers who wanted to stop his peace efforts with Palestinians.
My sister wondered why I groaned a little at the news. It seemed odd to me too that Rabin’s death hit me worse than Mother’s. But my concern was justified. Mother died at the age of 94 and had sunk into dementia. The sad part about her death I’m writing in my memoir.

I expected Rabin’s death would have fearful consequences for the Middle East and thus for the U.S. I was right. I will not guess what the official relationship of the 2 sides would be today—whether Palestinians would be free of Israeli occupiers—but I am sure relations would be better if peace had not been delivered that decisive blow. It fueled opposition to the Oslo accords, the closest Palestinians ever came to getting justice, although not their own state.

After that, Israel and the U.S. hardened their attitude toward Palestinians. It is exasperating that land grabs by Israelis, daily humiliations suffered by Palestinians, and brutalities committed by Israeli soldiers get little press in our country, but every time Palestinians retaliate with ineffectual rockets or whatever, it gets media attention. Israeli deaths and injuries—almost minimal in comparison with Palestinian casualties—draw media attention but not those suffered by Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s pretended interest in peace is treated as if it were authentic. His cooperation with Israeli settlers in their relentless land grabs does not seem to interest the American press. And don't get me started on politicians of both parties in the U.S. getting slapped down if they dared to tell the truth. They quickly back off.
I have to stop writing about this now because the injustice disturbs me too much. Please visit this site for the facts. 

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