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Protests in Israel against Gaza Attacks

December 30, 2008

We are all aware of the terrible toll of unarmed civilian casualties caused by the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) air strike on Gaza a few days ago. It demonstrates yet again the willingness of those who currently hold power in Israeli to sabotage the chances of a lasting and durable peace with the Palestinian people. There is no other way to describe these air strikes other than as acts of gross state terrorism. Bombing unarmed civilians from the skies, including children is not a solution or an answer to terrorism. It is terrorism.

Of course, Hamas, (which controls the West Bank, and whose origins lie in the cultivation by Israel of an ‘Islamist Opposition’ within the Palestinian ranks in the eighties and earlier ) with its own obduracy has contributed to the ‘blowback’ that holds the peace process in Israel-Palestine hostage to a never ending cycle of competitive retribution.

Militant Zionists, Fundamentalist Islamists and inflexible Palestinian Nationalists have a joint vested interest in the perpetuation of conflict in a manner that should come as no surprise to those familiar with the faultlines  and destinies of identity-based conflicts in South Asia.

There are  of course, a few stray voices in the Indian ‘blogosphere’ who are already calling for ‘India to Emulate Israel’. Some of them, such as this one, come from Dr. S. Subramaniam, IPS (Retd.)

He says there:

..A country which did not have a geographical existence before 1948 is continuing to show the way on how to respond to terrorism…They strike at the terrorist bases wherever they are, ignoring standard international conventions and borders…India has to reassess its policy options and think of non traditional measures for tackling this menace.In this, we have a lot to learn from both Israel and USA.

Dr. Subramaniam  has had the distinction of being the former DG of NSG (National Security Guards) CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and Founder of SPG (Special Protection Group). So he is not exactly an audolescent Hindutva shadow warrior on testosterone who admires a bit of Israeli state muscle flexing (and there are lots of those). He is a former senior ranking officer who has held posts of great responsibility in the security establishment in India. I sincerely hope that his views represent the opinions of an isolated fringe that has no current influence in the corridors of power.

However, especially at times like this, it becomes important to complicate the picture. Just as  few Indians  and Pakistanis (or so I hope) other than some hyperventilating television anchors and isolated armchair warriors within and without the military-intelligence complexes in India and Pakistan have been recently rooting for war, so too, there is a substantial component within the spectrum of Israeli public opinion and civil society that is outraged (and justly so) by the IDF’s disproportionate and lethal show of force in Gaza.

And just as many of those in India and Pakistan who are committed to combatting war hysteria and the hardening of postures have been condemned as ‘traitors’ by their jingoist peers. So too, many in Israel today are willing to stand up and be called ‘traitors’ because they condemn events like the attacks on Gaza. I think this kind of  action that runs the risk of being called ‘treason’ are worthy of being honoured. Right now, I am rooting for all  those who are being called, or run the risk of being called ‘traitors’  for opposing militarist options in India, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine by their respective ‘uber-patriotic’ peers.

Please find below, two links to reports and reflections on protests, in Israel, by Israeli people, against the Israeli state’s assault on Gaza. May their tribe increase. Characteristically, these have been reported far less in the international media in comparison to the protests across the Arab and Islamic world.

1. Hundreds of activists in Tel Aviv protest IAF strike in Gaza
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Correspondent

2. Onslaught on Gaza – protest on Day 1, in Tel-Aviv
Report by Adam Keller for The Other Israel, December-2008–January-2009 issue

(Apologies for Cross Posting from the Reader-List.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Aman permalink
    January 4, 2009 5:08 AM

    Apologies for X posting on the Readerlist

    Dear All,

    An addition to the roster of un(der)reported protests.

    In case this doesnt make it to the press,just attended a massive protest rally outside the Israeli consulate at 42nd Street in New York. The crowds stretched for almost 8 blocks all the way up to 50th Street. The organisers- Al Awda New York – claimed an attendance of nearly 20,000 – which did seem to be a bit excessive – but it certainly was a rather large and noisy crowd.

    There are protests planned for the coming weeks – a calendar of protests can be found at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1773

    The tone of the protest was largely around pressuring the American administration to use its leverage with the Israeli state to end the attack – even as Israel announced plans of sending in tanks, armoured vehicles and troops. Other reports on a variety of news channel suggest that the Israeli Navy has also moved in.

    While the speakers – as at most rallies – had their own specific stands on the invasion, the culpability of the US, and the nature of the state of Israel; the main organisers made it a point to announce that they were not anti-semitic in any way, but were against a certain form of Zionism as manifested in the actions of the Israeli administration.

    The weather, by the way, was terrible.
    best
    a.

  2. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    January 6, 2009 6:57 AM

    And here are anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews protesting the massacres in Gaza. The protest was organized by Neturei Karta International (Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism).
    The continuous conflation of anti-semitism and anti-zionism in the Western media and academy is responsible for the near-invisibility of voices such as these.

  3. rachna singh permalink
    January 8, 2009 12:45 AM

    I came across your website in my searches to put together a mailing list for this APPEAL

    As a concerned individual, I beseech you to help organise humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

    For the latest update on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, please go to the UN office of Humanitarian Affairs site at http://www.ochaopt.org/

    Our current government, as we all realise, has its hands tied –if it criticises Israel and US policy too much, the USA will not help regarding the Pakistan-Mumbai connection.

    In any case, since 1991, in the philosophy of realpolitik, various Indian governments have increasingly developed close military and technical exchange programmes with Israel. This appears to have severely hampered the GOI’s ability to speak-up.

    However, there is no reason for ordinary Indians to sit back and watch the latest massacre of Palestinian civilians.

    Some ideas as to what can be done:

    • Developing a signature campaign across schools, colleges, universities that could then be taken to ordinary people in the streets

    • Expressions of protests on blogs and chat sites

    • Organisation of lectures where knowledgeable teachers and students can inform the rest, of the facts of history regarding Palestinians.

    For students in doubt or, those unaware of the modern history of the Palestinian people, key United Nations reports on the Question of Palestine are well worth a read as they speak of plain facts, maps and resolutions. These may be accessed at http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ngo/history.html

    • Organize fund raising campaigns on campus/in communities for medical assistance for the civilians of Gaza that may be routed to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    If a lot of people join in, even five rupees will add up.

    Surely, a thinking population as big as ours, can come up with help.

    I would appreciate feed-back on this appeal, and any suggestions for creating a resonant Indian voice for the people of Gaza.

    I sincerely request you to spread the word in campuses through the country, and pressure any friends in the media to talk and write more about the issue.

    Please add your name to the mailing list I am trying to create, and provide names of a few friends so that the list of ‘those concerned’ grows longer at the end of this message.

    With hope,

    –rachna singh (alumni JNU, 1981)

  4. mirit permalink
    January 10, 2009 6:58 PM

    All the world is talking of how we are like hitlar‼ you don’t live here so you don’t know what we suffer ever since we have our country‼
    Every day people die if it is on the bus to school or on their way to work..
    Its very easy for all the world to talk when they haven’t lost their children or parents in one grad or kasam‼ Come to Israel and see how many people are dying. We are not like the palastinian that show pictures of dead children‼ We have honor for the dead-do you think that were not losing children in our side??? Well, we are‼ If all of you lived in our reality you’d understand the need to survive in front of those Murderers‼ in cold blade Now for the first time we are trying to defend ourselves like every country in our situation would do! All of you maybe don’t know that for all those year, every day, they shutting grads and kasamim to our home while we give them water, electricity and all the supply they need, and we set quit while they were killing our children and destroy our homes‼! Who are you to judge us??? Did you ever been in our place??? No‼ so set quit while we are doing a job for all the world and kill all the hamas‼! Sign the youtube and watch this video – this is our side, I think for you to judge us you all need first to see our side too…These video is very hard to watch and we never present this on the media like the falastinian because we are human‼!

    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=5zTfRrNUSwM

    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=mGgJuyTl5H4

  5. January 10, 2009 10:29 PM

    oh yes… israelis are so scared of kassam/grad rockets that they sip pepsi while watching slaughter.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/59013.html

    please spare me your apologetics.

  6. iman permalink
    January 11, 2009 2:28 AM

    yes mirit, you are right. the world shouldn’t think you are hitler, rather people like you are villains of their own right.

    i have met many israelis, who are fortunate enough to realise that canon balls are not food, explosions are not electricity and blood is not water. pity you have a different discourse on the meaning of “helping” the palestanian people.

    but i will still accept you as a fellow human. i will call you human because you share the same pain as me when we see our children die, our homes destructed. people who kill the innocent are evil. but you are partially blind sista. your eyes open to atrocities only on your side of the barbed wire. have you ever tried to look beyond to the other side?

    you with the world’s most sophisticated military, you with the backing of the world’s most powerful nations, you who can stop the U.N from providing aid, you who can stop media access to what you call the ‘dishonourable’ people of palestine, you who have seiged gaza and taken over its lands in Several wars before (and not in defence, mind you), call it foul play when you are “judged” in a free political space?

    i don’t know whether to cry or laugh. you are exasperating stains to humanity – not israel as a whole, but people like you who defend this mindlessness of their governments. what you will call “palestenian terrorism” will not end with your state sponsored terrorism. channel the energy of your useless agitation to some fruitful thinking and action (and by that i do not mean by sending your friendly soldiers to gun down people in the neighbouring area).

    we don’t need videos. this is not a war of images. come back to reality, there are rivers of blood flowing. we have to stop that, not be concerned about the direction from which it flows. period.

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