Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post #81 - Do It for the Children

Israel...Palestine...Iran...America -- how can any individual citizen of any country, looking through a glass darkly, as we do, cling to an allegiance that trumps all others? I give the last word in this section to an Israeli mother whose daughter was killed by a suicide bomber. Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhnan is a lecturer in language education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In September 1997, her daughter Samarder was killed. She and her family are members of the Palestinian and Israeli Bereaved Families for Peace. These are excerpts from a speech she gave at Connecticut College in New London, in September 2006:

Benjamin Netanyahu with children
"I would like to dedicate these words to all the Palestinian boys and girls, and to all the Lebanese boys and girls, and to all the Iraqi boys and girls who have been massacred by mind-infected Israeli and American soldier boys, and who have recently joined my own little girl in the underground kingdom of dead children, which is growing under our feet as I speak. I would like to tell them not to worry: 'You will be well received there, children, and no one will hurt you just because you wandered off on your way to school or because you wore a scarf on your head or because you lived in a certain place. Rest in peace, everyone is equally worthy in your new world. This is the world where Israeli children dwell side by side with Palestinian children…All of you dead children were deceived, because your death has achieved nothing at all and the world goes on living as if your blood had never been shed. Because the leaders of the world keep playing their murderous games, using you as their dice and our grief as fuel for their killing machines. Because children are abstract entities for generals and grief is a political tool…'

Israeli children
"...what are the means by which good Israeli children are turned into murdering monsters? …In the so-called Western enlightened world everyone [blames] Islam for suicide bombing and terror...And yet, Ultra Orthodox Jewish children who have never left Brooklyn know that to kill Arabs is a 'mitzvah' (holy commandment) for they are “vilde hayeths” (wild beasts)…Neither Judaism nor Islam nor any religion for that matter are the cause for murder and terror. Racist education is.

"The western world today is infected with fear of Islam...Great France of liberte, egalite and fraternite is scared of little head-scarved girls…Palestinian refugees living under occupation, they are defined in Israeli history schoolbooks as a “problem to be solved.” Not long ago the Jews were a problem to be solved.

Arrest of a Palestinian boy
"It is a terribly hard task for people who were educated in Israel or in the USA or in any other “western” “democratic” country, to admit we were raised on false racist values. On heterophobia. The only thing that can enhance such a change of spirit is the constant image of the mutilated small bodies of the victims of these values.

"We must all ask our children’s forgiveness for not being more alert, for not fighting hard enough to keep our promises for a better world, for not refusing the evil viruses before and for letting them be the victims of the horrible, mental infection we are all suffering from…"

Palestinian boy
The state that had its genesis in genocide, in 2007 shut the door on refugees from the mass killings of Darfur or other asylum-seekers, without hearings to determine the risks they may face, despite more than half the members of Israel's knesset petitioning that they be permitted to stay. Parliamentarian Dov Khenin, of the Hadash party called it, "an inhumane act that violates international law." Many of my Jewish friends fear that the "soul" of Judaism is being damaged in the pursuit of security. Others see no alternative to what Israel has been doing. May G-d provide new paths to peace.

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