How else should a people defend itself when provoked?

Time and again I hear this question, a question consistently asked by pro-Israel policy apologists. Hamas is bad. They fire rockets into Israel. What are we supposed to do? The answer, apparently, is to engage in a decidedly one-sided battle, killing indiscriminately, with the mightiest armed force in the region. Shelters are bombed, because Hamas uses human shields. Children die, because Hamas uses human shields. We just need to look back to Golda Meir to learn that there never was a Palestine, and that Israel will never forgive the Arabs for forcing Israelis to kill Arab sons.

I’ve maintained in the face of that onslaught that if the search for the right answer to an ongoing horror ends with the indiscriminate killing of children, then someone isn’t looking hard enough. Can it be that there’s only one voice in Israel, and that only that voice matters? I think not. Here’s a tip of the iceberg that’s willing to look harder, and they’re Israeli. Clearly options actually do exist, offered up by people who are there and face as much risk as any other Israeli, if not more, since opposition Israelis must also deal with hatred internally. I reiterate, especially when options are proposed, that any answer ending in dead children is far too hasty.

The ill-will felt towards the Israeli left could be gaged well among the group of right-wing protesters that the police corralled in a separate part of the plaza. They continually shouted “Death to the leftists” and expressed hope that “a rocket from Gaza” would kill them.

So back to the question, what’s a people to do when they have been provoked? Take a moment to read Noam Chomsky’s succinct breakdown of the breakdown and then tell me who has been provoking whom. Then insist that the US abide by its own laws:

For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. U.S. law requires that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively.

 

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