I had a depressing conversation with a young man (thirties) last night.
I had just heard the report that the “kidnapped” soldier was dead and that, as I had expected, Netanyahu had lied about him right from the beginning. His purpose was to use the soldier to get President Obama to authorize more war, and, if you saw Obama’s Friday press conference, it worked like a charm.
It’s so obvious. A soldier disappeared after an ambush. There was no body but there were remains to be tested. Israel could either wait and see if the soldier is among the remains or rush to tell the world and President Obama, with no evidence, that he was “kidnapped.” It chose the later. Then, after the tests were completed, Israel quietly announced that the soldier was dead all along. Meanwhile another 200 Palestinians were killed.
This is so loathsome on so many levels, including Netanyahu’s propensity to exploit the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens to initiate the war and then the death of a young soldier, he was a kid too, to prolong it. As for the war itself, words fail. If you can look at the pictures of the dead children of Gaza and still support this war, you are hopeless.
Back to the young man I spoke to yesterday. I mentioned that at least Jews his age don’t support it. Here is what he said (in my reconstruction):
“Are you kidding? I quit Facebook rather than see people I like, friends who are often barely Jewish,putting out one hasbara argument after another. The Hamas charter. The greenhouses. They broke the truce. They could have made Gaza a Singapore. They want every Jew dead. What would you do if New Jersey fired rockets on Manhattan? All the propaganda points swallowed whole. Sorry, the kids are as bad as their parents. They know nothing. They don’t care what is happening to the people of Gaza except to say that all killing is bad but remember Sderot.”
That was the most depressing conversation I’ve had since the war began. I saw the polls showing that young Americans, in general, overwhelmingly oppose this war. Is it possible that young Jews are immune to the overall trend? .
I don’t know. But I do know this. From now on, I will never listen to those who speak of the world’s silence during the Holocaust without wondering what the speaker thought about Gaza. (Elie Wiesel, for instance, is nothing less than a cheerleader for this war although, to be fair, he has NEVER criticized any human rights violations by Israel–the glaring exception to his rule about protesting the killing of innocents.)
The world was silent about the killing of 1.5 million kids in the Holocaust. No, this is not the Holocaust and Netanyahu is not Hitler but dead kids are dead kids, unless you are morally blind.
So this is different. But there is another difference. There were no photographs of the children killed in the Holocaust. In fact, the “world” didn’t know about them until after the killing was long over.
This time the pictures are there. The little kids next to their mother’s body. The dead baby in a crib with a teddy bear. The three brothers screaming in agony because they are alone in the world. The father who lost all three children and his wife. The mother screaming in agony at the bombed hospital where her twins were killed. The 19-year old Israeli soldiers, smiling out of the front page of Ha’aretz. Their friends screaming in pain at the funerals.
All dead in a war of choice, a war that was chosen as the preferred alternative to diplomacy.
And yet we are silent.