Wednesday, September 22, 2010

destruction of facts on the ground

I have watched many videos from Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is apparent that Israelis do not consider the Palestinians as equals. This is backed up by the story of a friend, an Irish-American who, while visiting Jerusalem, noticed a female member of the IDF give a gratuitous shove to an elderly Palestinian woman who had passed in front of the soldier.

Shocked at this casual abuse, my friend turned to her fellow tourists and said "did you see that?" They had, but showed little interest. My friend was outraged and followed the soldier to ask her why she had shoved the old woman aside. The soldier answered, "she's just an Arab". Slaveholders in the American Old South would understand.

Israel has been in existence for over 60 years, plenty of time for the indoctrination of several generations. In Israeli schools a national mythology is taught, a story thoroughly refuted by Shlomo Sand as related in a previous post. But mythology, if placed in the head and reinforced, is taken as fact - the very reason that education is so important to nationalism. The principle fact imparted to young Israelis by the national mythology is that they are the only legitimate possessors of the land and the Palestinians are implants to be removed.

This explains much Israeli behavior that, to those of us outside the area, appears antithetical to Judaism. The thing to remember is that Zionism is not Judaism and Israel is a Zionist project. This is why many Jews are at least as appalled by what is being done to the Palestinians by Israelis as I am.

With this deeply implanted contempt of the Palestinians as a theme, consider the outrageous act of cultural destruction that is the demolition of the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem. Could anything be more insulting to a people than to destroy a shrine to their dead? Could anything more powerfully indicate the worthlessness of one people to another than bringing in earth-movers to uproot and dump human remains as so much trash?

But that's not all. To be erected on the same site is the "Simon Wiesenthal Center for Human Dignity and Museum of Tolerance". The word for the situation is Orwellian. From Wikipedia - boldface mine

"Orwellian" describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments.
Can't believe it? Read the report on the destruction and don't miss the video included. There is a simple fact sheet and, should you feel inclined to object, a petition against the destruction of the cemetery that you can sign here.

For how little this means to the Jerusalem Post, see this article about the project in that newspaper. The destruction of the cemetery merits a single sentence in passing. It's the kind of ho-hum treatment (at best) Palestinians have learned to expect. A reader of the article could easily miss the cemetery mention entirely.

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