Those of you who are worried about where the millennials will take us in the future must not have read my article about Benny Koval. In case you needed more proof that humanity is in good hands, today I present you with Tair Kaminer.
She is a 19-year-old Israeli who reported to the Israeli Army Induction Center in Tel Hashomer, where she announced that she was refusing to serve in the Israeli military. Much like Koval’s heroism, Kaminer’s heroism was met with criticism and silencing. Kaminer is facing multiple prison sentences — starting with up to 28 days in jail.
The power of one — it never gets old. They might have taught older generations a thing or two about bravery. Recently, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro affirmed that Israel is indeed a system of apartheid by saying, “Too much vigilantism goes unchecked and at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
Are we turning a corner? Not quite. As Miko Peled points out in a recent article written in the American Herald Tribune, “The fact of the matter is that in Israel at all times there are two standards of adherence to the rule of law. Israel is and always has been a racist apartheid state with exclusive rights for Jewish people. One has to wonder if the ambassador threw in that line in order to take attention from the rest of the speech in which he reiterated U.S. commitment to continue to be complicit in Israeli crimes.”
Yes, “two standards of adherence to the law.” No matter where you live, if you are from Palestinian origin that is your worldview. If you’ve ever met a Palestinian and you paid attention, you’d notice this hopeful sadness in their eyes.
I think Anthony Bourdain noticed it when he visited Gaza in his “Parts Unknown” series. In his acceptance speech for the “Voice of Courage and Conscience” award from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, he stated, “The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity.”
Humanity is so underrated. Recently, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas exchanged words over “Abbas likening the blood of Israeli killers to the blood of Palestinian martyrs.”
I am not Pro-Abbas or Pro-Hamas so save your comments. It is unfortunate that our voices are drowned out by the Israeli government simply because they do not fit their national narrative; the Zionist agenda.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), are often blamed for the atrocities that take place in the Palestinian territories. After all, they carry out the orders given to them by the generals in the army. And yes, I am sure there are those who go renegade and commit heinous acts against Palestinians because their personalities resemble those that where involved in the human indignities of Abu-Ghraib Prison.
Many former IDF soldiers have been blacklisted from Israel after speaking out about the atrocities they witnessed, who participated in acts against humanity and are now ex-soldiers “breaking the silence.”
The IDF, however, is nothing like our military. It is not voluntary. Every man and woman who is an Israeli citizen is obligated to join the IDF or they are jailed. That perversion of democracy is the government of the “Jewish State of Israel.” Israel has no sympathy for anti-war sentiment, so too bad if you happen to believe in peace and not war or life and not death. That too does not fit the Israeli narrative.
Though I’ve received criticism for my support of the Palestinian people, I might actually get shit from both sides on this one. As critical as I am of Israeli apartheid policies, I happen to be sympathetic to the poor middle class 18-year-old children (yes, children — have you met an 18-year-old lately?) who have no other option (such as coming to the United States, or paying someone off) who are required to be IDF members.
My heart breaks for their mothers and fathers. My heart breaks for them. Many former IDF soldiers have been blacklisted from Israel after speaking out about the atrocities they witnessed, who participated in acts against humanity and are now ex-soldiers “breaking the silence”, or BTS, on the truth behind Israel’s apartheid policies — characterized on their website as the “abuse toward Palestinians, looting and destruction of property.”
Although the courageous members of the BTS share their horror stories despite constant threats from Israel, the government of Israel and its supporters dismiss their stories as fictional. As a matter of fact, J.J. Goldberg described the group in The Jewish Daily Forward as a “left wing soldiers’ protest organization,” completely invalidating the purpose of the group and quite frankly the long-held Jewish tradition described by the Jewish Virtual Library; Judiasm teaches involvement and concern with the plight of fellow human beings. Every life is sacred, and we are obligated to do what we can to help others. The Torah states, “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy brother” (Lev. 19:16).”
The truth is, the IDF are just pawns in the Zionist agenda. The current regime does not care about the people of Israel, nor their soldiers and they care even less about the Palestinians and peace.
That said, what bothers me about the exchange between Abbas and Hamas is that Israelis have died for the freedom of Palestinians — they too have been martyred. I know that the public often characterizes the “martyrs” as those who blow themselves up in Western targets, but to Palestinians, “existence is resistance.” Therefore, being alive is resistance in and of itself. Upon the death of a Palestinian in the occupied territories, the deceased is referred to as a martyr — “one who is killed or suffers greatly for a cause.”
My buddy Bibi would shudder at the thought of the IDF dying for the Palestinian cause. He never accounted for humanity to stand up for Palestine. He never accounted for the “world’s most moral army” to recognize that those in the Palestinian territories are just as human as the rest of us. Why would he, when the current justice minister of Israel called for a genocide of the Palestinian people?
“They are all enemy combatants and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”Ayelet Shaked said.
Though that mother is calling for the murder of women and children, this mother is calling for empathy for all of our children who are caught in the quagmire often referred to as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
When Shaked made her statement, Israel was in the process of “Operation Protective Edge;” a 51-day attack in which 547 Palestinian children from Gaza and 299 women were murdered — some of them pregnant.
That is the genocide that is taking place in the Palestinian Territories. That is the horror that the IDF are forced to engage in today. There is nothing moral about killing pregnant women, and anyone with humanity knows that. The suicide rate of Israelis between the ages of 18 to 21 has doubled in recent years and happens to be the prime age of an IDF member.
It’s been almost two years since the last attack on the Palestinian people who have no military. It means that we are approaching the next wave of Israeli counterterrorism, known as “mowing the grass,” a concept that simplifies the inequality of Palestinian vs. Israeli lives. It will be even more important to accentuate the brave men and women of Palestine and Israel who refuse to be a tool in the Zionist agenda.
Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor, activist and Nobel Laurete, has said, “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.”
Image: Facebook. Translated text: “Refusing to serve the occupation.”