Sunday, January 11, 2009

rainbows under the water or an inventory of inhumanity?

After witnessing Israeli atrocities inflicted on Lebanon in 2006 and the continuing Israeli atrocities perpetrated upon the Palestinian people living in Gaza, Sara Roy, a professor at Harvard University, wrote (2007) a very thoughtful plea to her fellow Jews. Her eloquent, articulate, intelligent AND compassionate analysis is worth reading in its entirety. Here are a few selections for thought:

“The Holocaust stands not as a lesson but as an internal act of purification where tribal attachment rather than ethical responsibility is demanded and used to define collective action. Perhaps this was an inevitable outcome of Jewish nationalism, of applying holiness to politics, but whatever its source, it has weakened us terribly and cost us greatly.”

“We are powerful but not strong. Our power is our weakness, not our strength, because it is used to instill fear rather than trust, and because of that, it will one day destroy us if we do not change.”

“We are content in our room and seek no exit. In our room, compassion and conscience are dismissed as weakness, where pinpoint surgical strikes constitute restraint and civility and momentary ceasefires, acts of humanity and kindness. "Leave your home, we are going to destroy it." Several minutes later another home in Gaza, another history, is taken, crushed. The warning, though, is not for them but for us-it makes us good and clean. What better illustration of our morality: when a call to leave one's home minutes before it is bombed is considered a humane gesture.”

“Why is it so difficult, even impossible to incorporate Palestinians and other Arab peoples into the Jewish understanding of history? Why is there so little perceived need to question our own narrative (for want of a better word) and the one we have given others, preferring instead to cherish beliefs and sentiments that remain impenetrable? Why is it virtually mandatory among Jewish intellectuals to oppose racism, repression and injustice almost anywhere in the world and unacceptable -- indeed, for some, an act of heresy -- to oppose it when Israel is the oppressor, choosing concealment over exposure?”

“* "[A]ccording to Jewish law," announced the Yesha Rabbinical Council, "during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents of the enemy'."”

“Many of us, perhaps most, have declared that all Palestinians and Lebanese are the enemy, threatening our -- Israel and the Jewish people's -- existence. Everyone we kill and every house we demolish is therefore a military target, legitimate and deserving.”

“Jews do not feel shame over what they have created: an inventory of inhumanity. Rather we remain oddly appeased, even calmed by the desolation. Our detachment allows us to bear such excess (and commit it), to sit in Jewish cafes while Palestinian mothers are murdered in front of their children in Gaza. I can now better understand how horror occurs-how people, not evil themselves, can allow evil to happen. We salve our wounds with our incapacity for remorse, which will be our undoing.”

1 comment:

Merche Pallarés said...

These articles are real eye-openers. Very, very interesting. I will translate them (slowly though, because I'm quite busy at the time) and will publish them in my blog. Thank you for your wonderful information. Love n' hugs, M.