Monday, September 6, 2010

as black and white as it gets

There is an organization called Nefesh B'Nefesh, that, according to Wikipedia is
"an organization that encourages immigration by Jewish people to Israel from North America and the United Kingdom. The organization was founded in 2002 by Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart, and works in cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government."
This makes sense because it is a goal of Israel to bring in as many Jews to become citizens as possible in order to keep a Jewish majority for the Jewish state.

The problem is that at the same time (and for the last 43 years), Israel has also had a program to populate Palestinian land, not just Israel, with Jews. There couldn't be any greater contrast between the winners in this and the losers, hence the title of this post.

For Israel, it would be perfectly acceptable for a former American, say, to move to Israel and then to a settlement...a settlement that, from the arrival of the first bulldozer, evicted Palestinians who lived on that land, a settlement that is not part of Israel.

Let's take a look at some pictures.

Here is a happy group sponsored by Nefesh B'Nefesh, from their website, just arrived on a chartered El Al flight. The caption says they plan to join the IDF (the Israeli army). It looks like a very happy bunch. They haven't lived in Israel yet but they are welcome to do so.

Such happiness is not misplaced. Peruse the Nefesh B'Nefesh website and you will get the feel of a very well funded organization. Look at the many services they offer to young and old. Happiness jumps from the screen.

Now let's take a look at some Palestinians in the occupied territories. They don't look happy or prosperous. Here are women and children waiting at an Israeli checkpoint (Shu'afat) in East Jerusalem. They are not welcome, though they live there. Actually, they are welcome to leave. (B'Tselem photo)

Here's another Nefesh B'Nefesh group arriving and joyful. Notice the elderly woman near the middle holding the flag of Israel.

Now look at an elderly Palestinian, just refused entry to Jerusalem by IDF troops. He is welcome to walk back to wherever he came from...and keep walking out of his land as well. If he chooses not to, a future eviction from his home for settlement expansion might help him along. No Palestinian knows what the next day will bring. (B'Tselem photo)

I could provide dozens of similar comparisons but I think you get the idea. Foreigners are brought in to live and to help (if they join the IDF as Israeli citizens are expected to do) evict natives from their own land.

  • Israel controls all access to the occupied territories and Gaza
  • Israel does not allow any Palestinian immigration (coming in)
  • Israeli citizens have full civil rights, even in settlements outside Israel
  • Palestinians have Israeli military justice wherever they live (except a token number of Palestinian Israelis)
  • Israeli citizens may travel freely on modern roads
  • Palestinians must stop at checkpoints and use assigned roads, un-improved, often dirt.
  • Israelis are encouraged with incentives by the government to move to settlements on Palestinian land
  • Palestinians may not enter settlements, though they are built on Palestinian land.
This is only a short list, there is much much more that makes Palestinians not just second-class citizens but no citizens at all - on their own, rapidly shrinking, land.

Keep in mind, this doesn't appear to trouble the newcomers in the least. Many of them are Americans and I wonder if they know even the little about the Palestinian plight that I have just told you. Try entering "Palestinian" in the search box of the Nefesh B'Nefesh website. It returns nothing.

You, as an American, are supporting outrageous injustice. If you are reading my posts, you should be getting the gist of how truly awful this situation is, a terrible stain on the reputation of the United States that is blatant to the world.

We say we are sorry about the Indians.
We say we are sorry about the Japanese-American internment.
We say we are sorry about our terrible record regarding African-Americans

But we finance Israel, arm it, and do nothing to stop the settlement project!

I want nothing to do with it, but our government has decided to ignore the many like me who want change now and panders to the Israel lobby. If you think Nefesh B'Nefesh looks well funded, imagine the kind of money going to Congress.

Will you join me, us, in the drive for change?

1 comment:

  1. All you say is true. Why, then, do not Israeli citizens see things this way, or at least a large proportion, likely a plurality if not majority. Why did most white American Southerners, no matter their status, not see the effects of segregation? And are the two cases really similar?

    My point in making this comment is that I feel we must understand why the Israeli populace reacts to its government's actions as it does. Or, for that matter, why a plurality, again likely a majority, of Americans will not hear you.

    We are fighting ourselves, the core of civilization's evolution; well, not the whole core, but much of it. How to do that effectively? I do not know.