It Ain’t Vigilantism

From his US prison cell Stanley Cohen shares his thoughts on the strong role hatred plays in Israeli political culture. Stanley Cohen is an imprisoned political activist and criminal defence attorney. He blogs @ Caged But Undaunted.

Organized Hate

With predictable excuse, Zionists everywhere including Israeli political, religious and government leaders have once again raced to distance themselves from the most recent deadly expression of settler hatred ~ this time it was the fire bombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank in which an 18 month old child burned to death while committing the terrorist act of dreaming. His more “fortunate” parents and 4 year old brother were left in critical condition with third degree burns over most of their bodies, charred not just by the flame of the Molotov cocktails, but the hatred that is Israel.

In the hours following this latest savage attack, Israelis and Jewish supporters worldwide raced to distance themselves from what is very much the criminal norm of the settler movement that they have empowered not just in the West Bank, but everywhere within the Zionist community- a community where blind obedience to a state built upon genocide, apartheid, collective punishment and ethnic cleansing represents the express will of most Israelis today. To suggest that such policies occur without the manifest support of a racist state and it’s people is to close your eyes to an unbroken official state policy to target and extinguish the human and civil rights of all Palestinians these past seven decades.

Almost immediately after the fire bombing, across the airways could be heard the denunciations from the same Israeli and Zionist leaders that have initiated and applauded attacks against Palestinian men, women and children for 67 years in a land that they have stolen, against a people they have murdered and a religion that they have vilified, beginning well before the staged UN vote of 1948 that brought the stamp of international terror to the peaceful land of Palestine, long before the West began to understand just how ugly that term could be.

Make no mistake about it, to describe this particular infanticide as but a despicable act by so-called “vigilantes” is to layer yet another round of alibis to defend the indefensible. After all, this act was not the product of a small group of rabid settlers. It was not an isolated act driven by aberrant behavior. It was not a spontaneous outburst by deranged Israelis. And it was not a predictable result of any “provocation” on the part of Palestinians who foolishly believe that they can still freely breathe their own air in their own nation. The days of blaming the all too convenient few, the vigilantes, for the disease that has long since infected the many, is a time tested and failed experiment at preventing the truth from breaking through the thick, dark haze of Zionist propaganda. Those days are gone, at least among those who possess a commitment to the ring of truth and the shine of justice.

Despite the professed rationale for the Zionist land grab in Palestine as a necessary, but unfortunate precursor to a just democratic state for all, Israel, as an enlightened experiment, failed long ago. Indeed, from its earliest beginning, it never passed the smell test- at least not to a million or more Palestinians who overnight became stateless refugees fleeing their burning homeland in the wake of Zionist atrocities that ranged from the murder of many thousands, to the rape of hundreds, to the destruction of as many villages and orchards that had peacefully dotted the Palestinian landscape for time immemorial. From the very first day, Zionists have never balked at the use of rank terrorism to spread their deadly criminal reach. The most recent settler attack– one of hundreds this year alone– is but a continuation of the same government practices in which defenseless civilians lose their lives, homes and land as so much the cost of being Palestinian and little else.

Indeed, one cannot walk down the pathway of the Zionist history in Palestine without encountering yet another of its brazen atrocities. While the massacre at Deir Yassin, the destruction of Jenin, and the slaughter of many thousands of civilians in Gaza, are but a few of the numerous deadly attacks now well known to the outside world, every day in countless ways Palestinians are victimized in their own land by repeated acts of institutional discrimination and brutality carried out under a long illegal occupation.

Today, all Israelis are very much complicit in a society driven by hatred; one fueled by religious and cultural superiority with notions of racial supremacy unknown since the 1930’s when yellow stars of David were very much the precursor to the pass card and travel system imposed today upon all Palestinians who live within the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. The hatred that is Israel is by no means aberrant or isolated.

It permeates the marrow of it’s state. It corrupts each of it’s institutions and informs every single act of it’s government, whether carried out in occupied Nablus or Rafah, or Tel Aviv itself. To say that most every soldier, police officer, agency, court, political and religious leader views all Palestinians as without human rights- indeed, less than human, fairly well describes a fractured society capable of excusing the most despicable of acts always carried out under the false guise of self-defense and always directed at Palestinians.

Indeed, hatred and religious superiority have infected every aspect of Israeli life from it’s politicians who win votes on the back of calls for more genocide and less justice, to its transport workers who regale in throwing Palestinians off public buses, to their hospitals and schools which refuse Palestinians necessary medical treatment or education, to isolated villages where murderous settlers, under the protective eyes of the IOF, rampage daily against Palestinian families doing nothing more than daring to go out doors in their own communities.

The hatred is not by accident. It’s promoted in Israeli schools, supported by most religious leaders and wildly ratified in Israeli media circles. It’s crafted, embraced and implemented by generation after generation of Zionists who no longer feel compelled to couch their hatred in soft tones but rather, with almost perverse pride, raise their voices with each passing election to demand that their government inflict more and more harm upon millions of defenseless human beings. The constant drumbeat of anti-Palestinian rhetoric and violence is endemic to an Israeli society which seemingly thrives on Palestinian pain and suffering but yet attempts to distance itself from individual personal responsibility for the very crimes carried out in it’s name. Was it so long ago that the defenses of “I didn’t know” or that “I was just doing my job” were soundly rejected by international law at the Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II ?

To be sure, the next time a Palestinian woman is sexually harassed at a checkpoint by a California surfer in an Israeli uniform it’s not his grope alone violating someone’s daughter, mother, sister or wife, but rather that of every Israeli. When a Palestinian father is bullied into silence in the presence of his family, lest he be disappeared at a so-called security zone, it’s not just a Russian Zionist enjoying the abuse of his brute power, but that of all Israelis for whom he speaks. When Al Aqsa is closed for prayers to all Palestinians under age 60, the barricades are controlled not by a handful of JSIL security personnel, but by millions of Israeli Jews who remain silent in the midst of systemic religious persecution of millions of Muslims who seek nothing more than to practice their faith. When an Israeli import agent born in Brooklyn stops 30 truck loads of critically needed foodstuffs from entering Gaza lest the daily caloric intake there increase from one-thousand per day per person, these are not her dietary restrictions, but those imposed by the will of the entire Zionist state. Though out of sight, out of mind, may provide some degree of comfort, the switch that dropped a three ton bomb on a civilian home murdering 90 unarmed men, women and children in Gaza was not pulled by a single pilot, but by all Israelis that acquiesced to this war crime and to the many others before and since.

Ultimately, every Israeli and their myopic supporters worldwide, are responsible for the murder of 18 month old Ali Dawabsha. If history is to be a guide, then it must be said that blood drips from the hands of all Israelis for this murder and the many others that preceded it. Under international law, wherever persons accept, indeed encourage, a culture of hatred and violence in which people are targeted on the basis of race or religion– whether called for by their leaders, or carried out by their military or next door neighbors – collective national responsibility ensues.

To distinguish the Israeli genocide of Palestinians from that of the many other dark stains upon history whether it be by the Hutu in Rwanda, the Boers in South Africa, or the Nazis of Germany on the grounds of a body count alone, is to beg the issue of the day; indeed every day in Palestine since 1948. Under international law, genocide does not require the murder of millions: it is the “deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion or race.” Can anyone reasonably deny that this legal definition first announced and applied by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to prosecute leaders of the Nazi regime for inhumane acts committed against Jews and others for acts of persecution on political, racial or religious grounds, does not find a neat fit today for the actions of Israel against Palestinians?

The match lighting the Molotov cocktails which murdered Ali Dawabsha was not ignited by two lone masked vigilantes operating of their own volition under cover of darkness, not in a country where repeated acts of widespread genocide and ethnic cleansing bring a smile to the face of millions of Zionists who shout out for more and more and more . . .

Tragically, the horrors suffered by Jews as victims of an earlier genocide have apparently been forgotten by Zionists who have since become world class victimizers themselves.

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