The Betrayal of the Peace Camp
The Betrayal of the Peace Camp
To Achinoam Nini
Abstract and Keywords
In this chapter, the author reprints his reply to Achinoam Nini, an Israeli singer who wrote an open letter to the inhabitants of Gaza (published on Ynet on January 6, 2009) claiming that the Israeli attack on the region was meant to liberate the Palestinians from the dictatorship of Hamas and is therefore an act of love. Nini was referring to the Israeli military strike on Gaza (known as operation “Cast Lead”) that began on December 27, 2008, and lasted for three weeks, killing almost 1,500 Palestinians and causing vast damage in the Gaza strip. In his letter, the author asserts that “the betrayal of the peace camp, at this of all times, exceeds the damage caused by the right a thousand fold.” He condemns the Israeli Occupation as the only one responsible for the poverty, sickness, and horror in Gaza and urges Nini to “help your brothers and sisters in Palestine rid themselves of the occupation”.
The Israeli military strike on Gaza (known as operation “Cast Lead”) began on December 27, 2008, and lasted for three weeks, claiming the lives of almost fifteen hundred Palestinians and causing vast damage in the Gaza strip. During this war Achinoam Nini, an Israeli singer, wrote an open letter to the inhabitants of Gaza (published on Ynet on January 6, 2009) in which she claimed the Israeli attack was meant to liberate the Palestinians from the dictatorship of Hamas and is therefore an act of love.
I chose to answer you, Achinoam Nini, and not the entire raging right, because I believe that the betrayal of the peace camp, at this of all times, exceeds the damage caused by the right a thousand fold. The ease with which the peace camp gives itself over to the roars of war hinders the creation of a meaningful movement that could put up a true resistance to the Occupation.
You roll your eyes, use your loving words in the service of your conquering people, and call upon the Palestinians to surrender in a tender voice. You bestow upon Israel the role of liberator. Upon Israel—which, for over sixty years, has been occupying and humiliating them. “I know where your heart is! It is just where mine is, (p.119) with my children, with the earth, with the heavens, with music, with HOPE!!” you write; but, Achinoam, we took their land and imprisoned them in the ghetto called Gaza.
We have covered their skies with fighter jets, soaring like the angels from hell and scattering random death. What hope are you talking about? We destroyed any chance for moderation and mutual life the moment we plundered their land while sitting with them at the negotiation table. We may have spoken of peace, but we were robbing them blind. They wanted the land given to them by international law, and we spoke in the name of Jehovah.
Who are the secular people of Gaza supposed to turn to, when we trample on international law and when the rest of the enlightened world ignores their cry? When enlightenment fails and moderation is seen as a weakness, religious fanaticism gives a sense of empowerment. Maybe, if you think about the mental situation of the people under siege in Masada, you could get a better sense of what’s happening in Gaza.
The secular people in Gaza find it hard to speak against Hamas when their ghetto is being bombarded day and night. You would probably say that “we would not need to shell them if they held their fire,” but they fire because they are fighting for more than the right to live in the prison called Gaza. They are fighting for the right to live as free citizens in an independent country—just as we do.
“I know that deep in your hearts YOU WISH for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease, and misery,” you write. But Hamas is not the monster, my dear Achinoam. It is the monster’s son.
The Israeli Occupation is the monster. It and only it is responsible for the poverty and the sickness and the horror. We were so frightened of their secular leadership, which undermined our fantasy of the Land of Israel, that we chose to fund and support Hamas, hoping that by a policy of divide and conquer we could go on with the Occupation forever; but, when the tables were turned, you choose to blame the effect instead of the cause.
You write, “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their (p.120) hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes.” It is the same as if your Palestinian sister were to write: “Let us hope that Hamas does the job for you and rids you of the Jewish right.”
So maybe, instead of ordering around a people whose every glimmer of hope we have surgically eliminated, you could help your brothers and sisters in Palestine rid themselves of the occupation, oppression, and arrogant colonialism inflicted by your country. Only then can you urge them to fight democratically and return Palestine to the mental state it was in before we pushed it into the corner of the wall that we built.
And if your brethren in Palestine choose Hamas, you have to respect their choice, just as the world’s nations respected Israel when it chose the murderous (Ariel) Sharon. Hamas is theirs to fight, just like you fought him. That is what democracy is about. Only then can you and your brethren in both Palestine and Israel share—as equals—the joy of the land, the sky, and the music; only then can we fight for equality together, for every man and woman living in our holy land. Amen.
Published on Ynet, January 8, 2009.