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Sderot Cinema – Israelis Cheer as Military Kill Palestinians in Gaza

April 10, 2018

One of seven Jewish youth arrested at Chuck Schumer’s office, protesting the Senator’s silence on the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

From a statement of IfNotNow, New York, organization of Jewish Youth opposing the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories:

“The decision of the IDF to shoot protesters in prayer, running away, or waving a flag is not just clearly a violation of international law: it is a moral crisis. Nonetheless, leaders in the political and Jewish communities have been largely silent. In particular, as the Democratic Senate Minority Leader and a major figure in the American Jewish community, the silence of Senator Schumer has been deafening. To condemn the shooting of unarmed protesters is neither bold nor brave: it is the bare minimum we should expect from any moral leader.”

Historical Flashback:

Just before the French 1830 invasion and colonization of Algeria, advertisements of the coming military assault and conquest of Algeria appeared in the French press.  For different fees depending on the quality of the lodging, food and drink, anyone willing to pay the price could buy a place on a tourist ship to watch the invasion, sip champagne and cheer on the troops as they slaughtered Algerians. Thousands did, with a lack of human sympathy and strong dose of racism that would characterize the next 132 years of French occupation in Algeria.

The scene was mentioned in a 2013  article in British newspaper, The Guardian:

The French invaded Algeria in 1830. This was the first colonisation of an Arab country since the days of the Crusades and it came as a great shock to the Arab nation. This first battle for Algiers was a staged affair. Pleasure ships sailed from Marseille to watch the bombardment and the beach landings. The Arab corpses that lay strewn in the streets and along the coastline were no more than incidental colour to the Parisian spectator watching the slaughter through opera glasses from the deck of his cruise ship

And now there is Gaza, 2018.

It’s quite a photo.

In it, young Israeli adults are seen smiling and waving at the cameras as they sit on an observation tower in Nahal Oz, outside the fenced-off Gaza strip. They are casually watching a massacre – as if at a sports event – watching Israeli’s snipers wound and kill Palestinians who have come to the barrier for a second Friday to protest the deplorable living conditions in the outdoor concentration camp that has become Gaza. The photo, shared by Nir Dvori a reporter at Israeli Channel 2 television news, appeared on Friday. 

Elsewhere along the barrier, as reported in the NY Times, in another photo taken by Danish photographer Allan Sorensen, Israeli civilians brought chairs to a nearby hilltop outside the town of Sderot cheering the Israeli snipers on. Whenever an Israeli rocket or sniper fire hits a Palestinian target, cheers would erupt from these spectators “as if they were watching the World Cup “at a café by the seashore.” photo, taken by a Danish photographer who referred to the scene as “Sderot cinema.”

When is it that people – in this case a considerable percentage of Israeli people and their more zealous supporters in the USA and elsewhere – cross the line to so dehumanize the Palestinian people whom they have been systematically oppressing for decades? When does it get to the point where their adversaries cease to be human and thus, once considered outside the boundaries of the species, are subject to such wanton, inexcusable, reprehensible violence?

When is it that people – in this case a considerable percentage of Israeli people and their more zealous supporters in the USA and elsewhere – cross the line to so dehumanize the Palestinian people whom they have been systematically oppressing for decades? When does it get to the point where their adversaries cease to be human and thus, once considered outside the boundaries of the species, are subject to such wanton, inexcusable, reprehensible violence?

Nor is any of this new – neither the obscenity of watching people take pleasure in the massacre of fellow humans, nor the way that the mainstream media in the United States has portrayed the slaughter with deceptive terms like “conflict,” “confrontation.” What confrontation when one side is unarmed peaceful demonstrators and the other possesses – and is using – one of the world’s deadliest military arsenals? Add to this the silence on the massacre from mainstream Jewish groups (ADL, Rabbincal Council of America – even the more liberal J-Street) which is deafening.

The scene is unfortunately familiar. It has happened repeatedly when Israel has turned its guns and explosive power against Gaza.

As the Times article noted:

“Similar scenes, of Israeli spectators gathered on the high ground above Gaza to view the destruction below, were documented in a Times of London article and a video report from Denmark’s TV2 during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.”

Then in 2014…as reported in Daily Sabah, a Turkish news source:

Some Israelis in the border town of Sderot were spotted drinking, cheering and posing for selfies or recording videos with their smartphones while black plumes of smoke rose from behind them across the border, with each bomb the Palestinian death toll mounting.

In the second in this series of protests, on Friday, April 6, 2018, nearly another 500 Palestinians were injured, 33 seriously, by live fire and rubber bullets on Friday in the second mass border protest in a week, and many more suffered from tear gas inhalation.

These two Palestinian demonstrations on two consecutive Fridays will continue until May 15, the day that marks the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba” or catastrophe which marks the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians, many of whom were forced into the Gaza Strip at that time. Demonstrators are demanding an end to the Gaza Siege and calling for Israel to respect their right of return to their towns and villages in historic Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade, a siege as cruel and inhumane as any now in its 11th year, in and of itself a war crime by international law. Gaza is an open air prison. United Nations reports (and some coming from Israel) describe the situation in Gaza as one “where people are caged into conditions that are literally unlivable.

Having lost all hope that their Arab brothers and sisters might come to their aid, the organizers of the Land Day demonstration hoped to arouse the sympathies of the world beyond the Middle East, that the international community might respond to the Israeli repression by setting in motion some kind of peace conference – in which Washington would play no role – that would force the Israelis to the negotiating table. At least until now, excepting a few protests (Ireland, South Africa) that international support has not materialized. In fact, the Trump Administration, rather than criticizing Israel for this one-sided slaughter of Palestinian protesters, issued a statement attacking the Palestinians for their peaceful demonstration. A classic example of blaming the victim, it is in line with similar statements of past administrations.

Still pressure is mounting both on Israel and the Trump Administration. By way of example, recently seven youths, members of the Jewish group,  IfNotNow, were arrested after a sit in at the office of U.S. Senator from N.Y. Chuck Schumer. Schumer, a long time supporter of the Netanyahu government, along with most of the U.S. Congress has been silent regarding the current Gaza Massacre. Not a word of concern for the situation of the Palestinians and the usual drivel of Israel’s right to self-defense (when it is Israel that is the aggressor).

The group’s name “IfNotNow” comes from one of Judaism’s more famous quotes from the ancient philosopher, scholar, Hillel, whose life spanned the period just prior to and after the birth of Jesus Christ: “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” The so-called “golden rule,” – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – the essence of human solidarity – is also attributed to him. It’s exact translation is: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

In their statement, IfNotNow, noted that “The decision of the IDF to shoot protesters in prayer, running away, or waving a flag is not just clearly a violation of international law: it is a moral crisis. Nonetheless, leaders in the political and Jewish communities have been largely silent. In particular, as the Democratic Senate Minority Leader and a major figure in the American Jewish community, the silence of Senator Schumer has been deafening. To condemn the shooting of unarmed protesters is neither bold nor brave: it is the bare minimum we should expect from any moral leader.”

2016 - 11 - 30 - If Not Now, When - 8

IfNotNow – Denver, demonstrating in November, 2016, the silence of Denver’s mainstream Jewish Community concerning the rising wave of anti-semitism that exploded after Donald Trump won the presidency.

 

Postscript (April 20, 2018). As of yesterday, 33 Gaza Palestinians have been killed, 4300 wounded altogether in three peaceful demonstrations at the Gaza barricade by the Israeli military. Another one is planned for today. Very little media in the U.S.A. about it. Typical, but indefensible journalism.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Conklin permalink
    April 10, 2018 6:39 am

    Thanks so much Rob for summarizing the reaction to the events in Palestine. I have long been upset by the Palestinians responding to Israel by shooting firecrackers into Tel Aviv. The Israelis then bomb gaza into a junkyard and claim they have a right to defend themselves. The Palestinians certainly have a right to shoot firecrackers at the psychopathic occupiers but they are creating the fodder for the continued fable of the poor white european who is being terrorized by a bunch of brown ungodly people. Years ago, after the Civil War, white people would come to lynchings of black people; the whites were dressed in their Sunday Best and they enjoyed a festive occasion. They even took body parts for souvenirs.

    It looks like the European Occupiers are our progeny. At the very least we are paying the bill for their disgusting behavior. The last time that Israel bombed Gaza, Israel killed at least 500 children. If innocents have to die, less would probably be killed if the Palestinians marched all their children to the wall and let the world watch the Israelis laugh as their brave moral soldiers blew the heads off of innocent children. That might wake up the world faster than a bunch of Fourth of July Rockets landing in Tel Aviv or than by real Occupier bombs destroying the infrastructure of the Gaza Prison and murdering its inmates because they are not part of the master race.

  2. ERNESTO MIGOYA permalink
    April 12, 2018 6:26 pm

    The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues while the world remains silent. Blame the Brits for allowing the Jewish immigrants to steal the Palestinians lands while killing and torturing. The British stood around doing nothing to protect the Palestinians and now they do nothing again.

    Did Jews not learn anything from Hitlers holocaust?

    Shame on the fascist Israelí’s.

    And where is the Pope on this issue?

    I pray for Palestine and hope things get better.

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