January 21, 2009

Intellectual labor


On December 27, the first day of the latest slaughter, planned carefully over six months, the Herrenvolk Army of Israel attacked
shortly before noon, when children were returning from school and crowds were milling in the streets of densely populated Gaza City. It took only a few minutes to kill over 225 people and wound 700, an auspicious opening to the mass slaughter of defenseless civilians trapped in a tiny cage with nowhere to flee. (Chomsky January 19, 2009)

Killing many children was a calculated decision:

Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets - especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, during the surprise assault on the enemy, all the children of the Strip would be in the streets - half just having finished the morning shift at school, the others en route to the afternoon shift. (Amira Haas, Haaretz)

While sections of the Jewish Israeli public wanted the operation to end sooner, 94% of Israeli Jews approved of that first day of slaughter. Three days later, the "great Israeli author" David Grossman gloated about this carnage in the New York Times. Referring to what is described above and more, he apostrophized to Palestinians,
Now you know how severe the retaliation can be. (NYT)
There is a difference between the Israeli left and right. The right is not shy about describing Palestinians as Untermenschen and advertising their own utter disregard for the value of Palestinian lives. Former Chief of Staff and Minister Raphael Eitan quipped that
When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry
around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.
(New York Times, 14 April 1983)
And the estimed Rabbi of Safed did the math and ruled that
If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, and if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop. ( Jerusalem Post, May 30 2007)
What is called in Israel "left", on the other hand, is the home of the philosopher-kings. There live those who can show how murder and slaughter of children is not just right and acceptable (even Thomas Friedman can do that), but the very embodiment of love and mutual respect.

Last week, Israeli novelist Yehoshua wrote to Gideon Levy that the slaughter described in the first paragraph ought to be supported out of love for Gaza's children.
if you are truly concerned about the death of our children and theirs, you would understand the present war... (Haaretz)
It takes a certain stupefying innocence to think such a revolting thought. But Yehoshua is an undergrad compared to David Grossman:
Obviously, the Palestinians cannot be let off the hook for their crimes and mistakes. That would be tantamount to belittling and condescending to them, as if they were not mature adults with minds of their own, responsible for their own decisions and failures. The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip may have been "strangulated" in many ways by Israel, but even they have other options for protesting and drawing attention to their misery than the launching of thousands of rockets against innocent citizen in Israel.

...We cannot pardon the Palestinians or treat them forgivingly, as if it were obvious that whenever they feel put upon, violence will always be their sole response, the one they embrace almost automatically. (Haaretz)
According to Grossman, Israel must slaughter Palestinians as a way of affirming their humanity. To not have killed those 225 people, almost all civilians, many children, on that first strike that Grossman not just supported but defended in the New York Times and probably got paid for his troubles by the Foreign Ministry, would have been, get this, condescending.

These are Israel's "peace camp."

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