Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gleen Greenberg on Liberals supporting Gaza Massacre

I've been a fan of Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald for more than a year and in the past I've criticized him because, like so many others he seemed to be avoiding the question of the power of the Lobby to ensure that Democrats get behind Bush's "War on Terror" because it was directed at Arabs and Muslims.

So it's been a welcome relief to find that he's taken such a strong line against the ongoing horror in Gaza and the more than 40 year Israeli occupation. If anyone but Jews were massacring a defenseless population the good liberals that Greenwald cites in the first paragraph below would be very clear about who was the aggressor and who was the victim.


Here are three paragraphs from Glenn Greenwald's Sunday Jan. 4, 2009, offering:
Orwell, blinding tribalism, selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza

I can't express how many emails I've received in the last week from people identifying themselves as "liberals" (and, overwhelmingly, American Jews); telling me that they agree with my views in almost all areas other than Israel; and then self-righteously insisting that I imagine what it's like to live in Southern Israel with incoming rocket fire from Hamas, as though that will change my views on the Israel/Gaza war. Obviously, it's not difficult to imagine the understandable rage that Israelis feel when learning of another attack on Israeli civilians, in exactly the way that American rage over the 9/11 attacks was understandable. But just as that American anger didn't justify anything and everything that followed, the fact that there are indefensible attacks on Israeli civilians doesn't render the (far more lethal) attacks on Gaza either wise or just -- as numerous Jewish residents of Sderot themselves are courageously arguing in opposing the Israeli attack.

More to the point: for those who insist that others put themselves in the position of a resident of Sderot -- as though that will, by itself, prove the justifiability of the Israeli attack -- the idea literally never occurs to them that they ought to imagine what it's like to live under foreign occupation for 4 decades (and, despite the 2005 "withdrawal from Gaza," Israel continues to occupy and expand its settlements on Palestinian land and to control and severely restrict many key aspects of Gazan life). No thought is given to what it is like, what emotions it generates, what horrible acts start to appear justifiable, when you have a hostile foreign army control your borders and airspace and internal affairs for 40 years, one which builds walls around you, imposes the most intensely humiliating conditions on your daily life, blockades your land so that you're barred from exiting and prevented from accessing basic nutrition and medical needs for your children to the point where a substantial portion of the underage population suffers from stunted growth.

So extreme is their emotional identification with one side (Israel) that it literally never occurs to them to give any thought to any of that, to imagine what it's like to live in those circumstances. Nor does this thought occur to them:

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