By Lillian Rosengarten
It was a dark day last September 2010 when our little boat Irene was towed away from our destination. Our dream to reach the shores of Gaza only a few hours away had been high jacked by armed ships of the Israeli Defense Navy. Stern faces in full military regalia with guns pointed surrounded our Catamaran. There were only a few of us on board, four passengers all Jews including our captain and two Israeli soldiers of conscience who were members of Combatants For Peace. As they came aboard with their tasers and guns in hand, I tried to imagine what it would be like if Jews and Palestinians lived as brothers and sisters in dignity, if there were no house of hate. How could the IDF have tasered our soldier of conscience?
It was a dark day prior to my forced deportation at the immigration detention center. No one smiled. “You cannot return for 10 years? The officer said. “You know I am a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany” I retorted. His response, “can you prove that you are Jewish?” I was taken by surprise. Surely this is some form of insanity. Should I have asked him to take a sample of my “Jewish blood” or would he have flinched if I could have shown him a tattoo on my arm that read “pure Jew?”
I am haunted by what Israel has become, a pariah supported by the US, complicit to this day, blind to the unspeakable. Why is the US afraid to speak out against Israel’s gross abuses, land theft and the creation of an apartheid state? A no fly zone over Gaza would be preferable to an air war of oil rich Libya. Where is the debate? Where is the outrage? Why did the US military not protect the people in Gaza during the atrocities of operation Cast Lead? How has it come to this twisted moral righteousness, myth of superiority that feeds such venues for hate?
Occupation, walls, demonizing Muslims, Palestinians and Israelis, victims and victimizers create generations of hate in an endless circle of hell.
Israel! You should have been a true democracy where Arab, Palestinians, Christians and Jews could live without fear. Democracy cannot exist where people suffer under siege in deplorable conditions, where land is stolen. Israel, there is darkness in your house of hate and it disturbs me deeply for I am Jewish and I am not proud of you. I feel deep shame because I identify with all victims of racial hated. It is this that propels me to speak out. We can never forget the victims, whoever they are:
To all the forgotten ones left to rot
I eat my power to take away hate
I beg you before it’s too late
Bury the hate in a sea of wild flowers. (LR)
Gideon Levy writes: (Haaretz, March 24,2011)
“Imagine a different Israel in the eyes of the world. There is no B’Tselem, no Breaking the Silence, no Anarchists Against the Fence, no Gush Shalom.There is no New Israel Fund and no small band of radical and dissenting intellectuals and journalists. Imagine a different Israel, which silences and crushes every such voice. Imagine how it would look to the world. The little sympathy Israel still receives it owes to these groups. The campaign of de-legitimization against them, the real one and the one we invent, we owe to Avigdor Lieberman and Israel Beiteinu, to Benjamin Netanyahu and the flood of anti-democratic laws of his people and to the unbridled Israel Defense Forces and to the settlers who know no boundaries. One day of Operation Cast Lead did Israel more damage than all the critical articles taken together; the fatal attack on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara dragged down Israel’s image more than all the anti-Israeli lectures taken together; the “Nakba Law” stank more than all the petitions.”
Nakba Law deepens apartheid for it is a racist and discriminatory piece of legislature voted for by 15 Knesset members and against by 8 members. This law stifles freedom of expression and will punish those who contradict the character of the Israeli state as “Jewish and Democratic.” It targets all manner of freedom of expression and dissent within Israeli society.
Dark days in the house of hate.
– Lillian Rosengarten, a refugee from Nazi Germany is a Buddhist practitioner, poet, writer and a pacifist. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact her at: email@example.com.