I had to turn around from typing on this keyboard and look at the CNN story on the television behind me.
Earlier, the Israeli ambassador had used this example: Say it was one of your cities, like New York; would you do nothing if Hamas or whoever dropped bombs on New York?
I'd heard other Zionist use this example before. That's not what turned me physically around. It was the CNN hostess's response that did.
But New York, she said, isn't occupied.
It was the blond who wears the big trendy glasses. I can't recall her name. Ashley...something. Oh, let me look it up. I'll be right back....
I'm back. Not Ash
but Ashleigh and her last name is Banfield. I just Googled it. I'd seen her before. I had no reason she'd pose a real question.
But there it was. The very history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israelis are occupying their land. If New York were occupied, I think we can rest assured this country wouldn't roll over and play deceased.
I've said this before, in earlier pieces about Bibi the war criminal, but allow me to delve once more, if only to sum it up. A major problem with the state we now call "Israel" is that it was born in colonization, when it was common for European or white or whiter types to take over the relatively darker people's land. No, this conflict does not date back to 2,000 years ago, certainly not continuously. The UN made Israel a state officially in 1948, the year I was born. In order to make it a one dominant religion state, as requested by the new inhabitants, thousands of the indigenous folks, Muslims primarily, were run off land on which their ancestors lived for many, many years. That's what that whole right to return issue is about. A lot of Palestinians were forcibly run off by groups like the Stern Gang. The British newspapers called such groups "terrorists."
I've not found a person who denies that Jewish people have had it hard. Even before Hitler and his noxious chambers, they were thrown out of several European countries, the actions constituting a kind of white on white (at least the latter day Jewish people) assault. Jews insisted on their own nation. (I, as an unrepentant Pan-Africanist, understand.) I would have voted for Germany, or land in some other European country that mistreated them, but they were given what had been Arab land. There was some writing in the official UN document that indicated that the two peoples were to live as equals in neighboring states, but we know how that turned out. No one denies this history. When Zionists are pushed about their unfairness toward the Palestinians, note the justification for their actions: They're morally superior to the Palestinians, or Arabs---often Muslims themselves-- over all. At least we're a democracy, they'll say---ignoring that that very democracy reserves the right for group punishment if one of the group acts up, which actually is against international law. It is tantamount to this country attacking black people because Jamal stuck up a bank. (Or maybe that does happen here.) The more brutally honest Zionist will send you to the Holy Books: God chose them for that land. Imagine Arabs using the same reasoning to run them out. Frankly, I'm sure that happens in an Arab land or two, but we call that land what it is: intolerable of others.
Black people, we have a choice to make.
I like Obama, indeed voted for him; he certainly could do more with things like addressing black unemployment---- hell, if only to mention it or at least make a big stink about the gratuitously spiteful opposition to lessening the numbers---but I like his programs like health care and aid for students. I also know this. He is a politician, one I certainly prefer over plutocrats like Romney and Trump or their enablers like Gingrich. But Obama's not a hero. Just about everyone in his direct bubble will not deal with the Middle East problem comprehensively (although I don't know if I see him jumping in the way of justice either).
It's true. We have a special relationship with Jews in this country, at least more so that with other whites. The Jews were on the frontline of the civil rights movement. Some literally died for us, and in a sense, we owe them. "The Jewish people are my favorite white people," I've said before. I know. That sounds awkward as hell. But you know what I mean. By the way, they still are. Truthfully, several of them seem to like us more than they do non-Jewish white people. We're not what they call a card-carrying "MOT," Member of the Tribe, but we ain't Ron Paul either. I figure that's why so many of them vote for the same people blacks here do. They know many of these anti-black whites are from a line that not that long ago lumped them in there with us too. They remember Leo Frank.
Actually, I don't know many Arabs. And truth be told, their history with us hasn't always been that great. Years ago, a former student from Lebanon was bemoaning the absence of black African support in Arab or Muslim struggles. That observation set off a student from Ethiopia: "You didn't speak up for us, with all the troubles we've had." Actually, the Arabs brought their nefarious actions to Africa before the Europeans did. In more recent history, some could be counted on to slaughter Africans looking for justice in places like the Sudan.
King was right, you know. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We know injustice, are the veritable experts on being mistreated by others. We know what it is to be singled out not to hire or to be granted a loan or to be allowed residence or to be beat to a pulp on a humbug.
Israel's current Gaza invasion resumes where it left off a few years ago---mostly killing civilians like women and children and with Bibi, once again, relishing every moment of his thuggery. I can't look at the images of the wanton killings, the sophisticated weaponry against the comparatively poorly armed, knowing also that our very tax dollars are underwriting the massacres. That means, whether we want it or not, we're culpable.
There's also the practical issue of blowback. We move in the same spaces of those they've angered and I don't see the targeted making exceptions to any plans for retaliation. No, I'm not saying that you knee-jerkly retreat from struggle for fear of retaliation, but wouldn't it be better if what we're forced to respond to has no legitimate grounds for grievance?
So what am I asking us to do? Speak out, I suppose. Hey, stop occupying those people's land! Leave! Leave aside also for now your bogarting beginnings; maybe there's some shit you can't change especially after years of allowing it to fester (talk about something we also know); at least make it two states now, allowing them to also defend the space they occupy.
Maybe we as blacks will have more effect using our partners-in-struggle card. I don't see that impacting the Zionists in Israel much (although there are several anti-Zionist Israelis who speak as I do), but maybe we can affect the Jewish people here. Then maybe they can persuade the homegrown hardliners---and, perhaps more important, our criminally abetting government.
The bottom line is that humans are suffering and we, playing crazy along with the American media and the rest of them, are not saying or doing anything.
I'm asking a lot of us. I'm asking people with Lord knows their own set of unique problems in their passage through this wilderness to consider the travails of fellow travelers miles and miles away. I'm asking them to use their special relationship to fighting-injustice-card.
No, it won't be easy.
Then again, little that's worthwhile is.
Everybody wants to get to heaven. It's that darn hump of red tape you've got to get over to get there.