Friday, January 09, 2009

Historical Stupidity

A letter to Senator Bingaman...

RE: Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Dear Senator,

On New Year’s Eve, I wrote you a letter with some thoughts about the middle-eastern conflict. Having read the resolution passed by the United States Senate yesterday, I must write once more. I do not know how you voted on this yourself, but it passed easily in the Senate and a similar resolution will surely pass the House, and thus Congress will endorse, uncritically, Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Sir, it is of course true that Israel not only has a right, but an obligation to defend her people against terrorist attacks. It is not my intention to preach pacifism for Israel while others visit violence and terror on her. Yet I feel that uncritically supporting our friend in her own aggression, and profiting from the arms used in her war, puts the United States and Israel on precarious moral ground.

700 dead on one side in eleven days, and on the other only 10 or 11. This is not a war, this is a massacre. The stated mission is to eliminate Hamas, yet who is dying? These are innocent people who have been living under an occupation longer than my own lifetime, whose livelihoods and whose children suffer from a blockade, whose infrastructure has been targeted by bombs in the name of eliminating Hamas, who now are collectively massacred. This is not a war. Any war has civilian casualties, of course, but in Gaza civilians are the target.

Even as this fawning resolution was being drafted, the International Red Cross was trying to get medicine and food supplies in to the suffering innocents, and found themselves in harm’s way. Israel, which allowed them in and knew their coordinates, continued its barrage all the same, endangering humanitarian workers they knew were there. To call this irresponsible is an understatement. Now the Red Cross has pulled out its aid.

What we know about the situation there is bad enough. There is much we do not know, because Israel is not allowing journalists in, despite an order by her own Supreme Court.

Indeed, Israel has an obligation to defend herself against rocket attacks and other violence, and let no one question that. Does this mean, however, that we must approve any action Israel takes? Must we, as we did with this non-binding resolution, behave like cheerleaders at the scene of a lopsided massacre? Do we not understand that this is an escalation of a conflict which only exposes Israel’s people to more violence and terror? I am appalled not only by this resolution’s bloodlust but its historical stupidity.

Please assure me this did not have your vote. Thank you for your consideration.

1 comment:

Algernon said...

I received a reply to this letter on January 20. It was a brief form letter, thanking me for expressing my views, with no answer to my question: how did he vote on this?