Saturday, March 28, 2009

While we're on the topic of the holocaust in Gaza

The group Human Rights Watch is the latest organization to conclude that Israel was bombing Gaza's civilians with white phosphorus. The evidence against Israel with regard to usage of white phosphorus in heavily civilian-populated areas really shouldn't be "news" at this point, but it bears repeating. The phrase "powdered Mengele" seems quite apt given its devastating effects on those who have the misfortune to come into contact with it.

The stories of those suffering burns caused by white phosphorus are indeed painful to read. In fact my reaction to the stories of human suffering in Gaza as a consequence of the Israeli deployment of white phosphorus bombs is one that I wish more Americans would try on for size:
It bears repeating: any chemical that can burn or melt the flesh off of living human beings should not be used on those human beings. It equally bears repeating that leaders of any government who use such weapons or who support those governments who use such weapons have either lost their moral compass or never had a moral compass to begin with. When the Holocaust happened, those who perpetrated it came to be viewed as monsters; although I would not quite go that far (to cut to the chase, I'm just a bit too familiar with research that grew out of Milgram's infamous obedience experiments to easily make internal attributions of antisocial behaviors), it certainly seems noncontroversial to label their actions and their consequences as monstrous. What Israel is doing is monstrous. That our leaders in the US support the Israeli government and continue to provide the funding that enables its government to continue to perpetrate a war of genocide against the Palestinians is monstrous. Period.
The Israeli government's intentions have been quite transparent for some time. If one comes away with the impression that the Israeli government and its military (IDF) intend to exterminate the indigenous Palestinian population, then one is actually awake. Again, the stories of shooting at civilians, vandalizing Palestinian homes with messages such as "Death to the Arabs," "Long Live the Jewish People," and profanities aimed at Gaza and Hamas are again hardly new at this point. In an earlier era, vandalism of a victimized group's homes with messages such as "Death to the Jews," and "Long Live the German People" would have sparked outrage, and understandably so. Who will speak for the Palestinians? Where is the outrage?

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