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Israel: State of denial

Originally published: The Bullet on May 15, 2024 by Judy Haiven (more by The Bullet) (Posted May 17, 2024)

The lies. The packs of lies—deliberate, filthy, and deadly. And they keep going. As if the world owes Israel and its “most moral army in the world” something—after it massacred more than 35,000 Palestinians in six months.

Israel and Jews who support Israel, plus the powerful pro-Israel lobby in our country and in the U.S. (and that includes millions of Christian Zionists) will not admit to any of the following:

  • Bombing to rubble or imploding all 12 universities in Gaza; killing 90 professors,
  • Destroying all 370 schools in Gaza, including the UN schools,
  • Killing 4300 students, 230 teachers,
  • Leaving women, children, babies, and men to be treated on the blood-soaked floors of the parts of Gaza’s hospitals still standing,
  • Stopping virtually all medications from entering Gaza, including antibiotics, painkillers, and sedatives so operations such as the 1,000 plus amputations or “clean ups” after the amputations are performed without anaesthetic,
  • Carrying out 400 plus attacks on healthcare facilities and staff—all war crimes,
  • Killing more than 496 healthcare workers, wounding 1500 and detaining more than 390,
  • Torturing healthcare workers, especially doctors,
  • Burying hundreds of Palestinians (some shot at close range, some with hands tied behind their backs) in mass graves near hospitals. The International Red Cross (IRC) is deeply concerned over reports of multiple mass graves found at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City,
  • Torturing Palestinians by forcing them to sit upright, bound and blindfolded in diapers for hours and days at a time. CNN reports:
    – “According to three Israeli whistleblowers who worked at the Sde Teiman desert camp, which holds Palestinians detained during Israel’s invasion of Gaza. All spoke out at risk of legal repercussions and reprisals from groups supportive of Israel’s hardline policies in Gaza. They paint a picture of a facility where doctors sometimes amputated prisoners’ limbs due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing; of medical procedures sometimes performed by underqualified medics earning it a reputation for being ‘a paradise for interns’; and where the air is filled with the smell of neglected wounds left to rot.”
  • Killing more than 24,000 women and children. Happy Mother’s Day. Every hour, at least two mothers are killed in Gaza.

Instead of acknowledging these crimes, the problem for the pro-Israel lobby is to silence students on university campuses who support a ceasefire.

Is Criticism of Israel Worse than it Killing 35,000?

The students and their friends set up encampments to expose what Israel has done and continues to do. The students and their allies demand an end to universities’ connections to Israeli research centres, cultural exhibits, and sports exchanges, and an end to the special treatment Israeli academics receive from almost all research universities in Canada. The students are demanding their universities divest from Israeli-linked investments. For this, the students are tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, attacked by police, roughed up, and arrested.

The students and their friends set up encampments which are peaceful. They denounce the murders and destruction of Gaza. Many of those at encampments across the U.S., and in Toronto and Montreal are Jews themselves, fed up with being lied to by Jewish authorities—Jews of a generation who want to vanquish the Palestinians.

Remember the Vietnam war era protesters’ expression, “Don’t trust anyone over 30”? Well, if as some say, 40 is the new 30, don’t trust anyone over 40.

Canadian pollsters say that 45% of Canadians age 18-35 support the encampments, while 66% of those over 55 think they should be dismantled. How much clearer could that be?

When we hear the encampment people’s refrain “The whole world is watching,” it’s true.

Friday and Saturday, we watched as the cops in Edmonton and Calgary utterly destroyed peaceful encampments, beat up protesters, smashed tents and equipment, and sent at least one young person to hospital. For what?

We have to listen to the elites and those in authority characterise the students as antisemitic. There is zero evidence of that. At least one law professor has noted about the police in Calgary and Edmonton,

It looks to me like they’ve engaged in kind of a mass violation of protesters’ constitutional rights.

The Media—Stenographers to Power

And the Canadian media plays right along. Blithely, they go along, “stenographers to power,” as Amy Goodman (host of broadcast Democracy Now!) famously said—despite the fact that more than 97 Palestinian journalists have lost their lives thanks to Israeli snipers (remember Shireen Abu Akleh?) and missiles. The media here has all but ignored the fact that most of the 97 dead Palestinians journalists have been deliberately targeted and killed by Israel. Only when there’s a police attack—or a bid for an injunction to shut down the encampment—do Canada’s finest reporters wade into the encampments. I’ve rarely heard one interview—just a sound byte here and there—highlighting why the students are there. Why are the students willing to give up their studies, their apartments, their jobs—and be in the line of fire of the police for a cause that others call intractable and “too complicated.”

Does Perceived Antisemitism Justify Genocide?

Jews are forever telling me (also a Jew) “the situation is too complicated.” They are consumed with worrying about antisemitism in Canada: I would like to meet one Jew who in the last 20 years has been deprived of a career, a job, an opportunity, a law practice, a medical practice, or a political seat in this country because of being a Jew. Yet just mention the word antisemitism and that spills over to accepting genocide in Gaza—as a way to fight antisemitism here!

That’s absolute nonsense. As U.S. former secretary of labour, Robert Reich, who is Jewish, recently wrote,

Once we start conflating antisemitism with protests against mass brutality, such as the slaughter in Gaza, we invite blindness to injustices in which America is complicit.

I’d say Canada is complicit as well.

Judy Haiven is a retired management professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS. She is a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

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