Not all Jews agree with Israel’s Gaza action

My following article is published in today’s Brisbane Courier Mail:

When one of the most powerful militaries in the world unleashes on the most densely populated area in the world, collateral carnage is inevitable.

The… weeks into Israel’s onslaught against the Palestinians in Gaza, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Newsweek the Jewish state was “not going to show restraint”.

These were typically bellicose words from a leadership that has issued apocalyptic warnings about Hamas since it won free and fair elections in 2006.

The fact the Islamist organisation has consistently offered to negotiate a two-state solution on the 1967 borders is something much of the West has conveniently ignored, including the Australian Government.

As Israeli peace activist Reuven Kaminer wrote recently: “In the hearts and minds of the Palestinian and Arab masses, Hamas has come to represent the cause of Palestinian resistance.”

With illegal Israeli settlements expanding across the West Bank and a stifling blockade deepening against the “imprisoned” 1.5… million Gazan people, resistance is legally and morally defensible.

Israel’s war in Gaza has resulted in thousands of Palestinian dead and injured and 13 Israeli deaths. The claim, made by supporters of the war, that Israel has the right to respond to Hamas rockets in “self-defence” as recognised in the UN Charter, has been soundly rejected by some leading legal experts.

Writing in The Times in Britain last weekend, the group stated: “Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from (Hamas) attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law.” In other words, Israel is committing war crimes.

The carnage in Gaza has been heartbreaking. Despite Israel’s pointless attempt to ban international media from the blockaded strip, images and words have been flooding out through Arab satellite channels, text messages, blogs and Twitter.

The International Red Cross issued an uncharacteristically harsh statement of Israel’s refusal to allow humanitarian access to the war zone.

The Western media has been bombarded with Israeli disinformation. Take the Jewish state’s bombing of a UN school in Gaza last week that killed 40 people: An Israeli PR spokesman told The Australian newspaper that there was an initial “sense of horror, but as information filtered in that Hamas fighters had been in there, that changed”. This was a blatant lie.

Israel’s excessive force caused the massacre.

When one of the most powerful militaries in the world unleashes on the most densely populated area in the world, collateral carnage is inevitable.

Imagine the global outcry if a Palestinian had threatened the Jews with another Holocaust. Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said last year that: “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” Supporters of the current campaign are now witnessing the manifestation of this ideology.

Vilnai’s comment was just the latest example of the Jewish state’s attempt to convince the world that it is in an existential battle for its survival against an Iranian-backed proxy. In this twisted logic, overwhelming firepower is therefore justified, no matter the cost.

Friends are decreasing: “Israel is the biggest provoker of terror in the world,” Turkey’s Justice Minister said. Zvi Ba’rel, of Israeli daily Haaretz, wrote: “Who has gained so far from the situation? So far it is Hamas, which can claim to have undermined greatly Israel’s ties with Turkey, Jordan and Qatar. And it has only just begun.”

Some of America’s leading liberal Jewish bloggers opposed the war.

A new generation of Jews is increasingly sceptical of the Jewish state’s belligerence, threatening the country’s future diaspora support.

Israel has consistently failed to destroy the Palestinian spirit and refuses to end its colonial addiction to settlement expansion. The war against Gaza is simply another chapter in Israel’s futile attempt at redrawing the Middle East map.

Until the Jewish state acts like a responsible international citizen, it should be treated with appropriate sanction.

Antony Loewenstein is an author, journalist and co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices.