On October 7, 2023, the news flashed from the Gazan border and occupied Palestine. As information continues to unfold, we see and hear reports of killings, the capturing of individuals, and the stories of the last time an Israeli mother kissed her child. It pulls at the heartstrings, and it should. All the violence is senseless and will never lead to peace with justice. I grieve and mourn all the deaths. But I must emphasize that I mourn and grieve the deaths among Palestinians as much as among the Israelis. The perception of the importance of one life over another however is an indictment of our sense of morality and ethics. One life is not more important than another life.
However, the corporate media has never covered the taking of a Palestinian young life with the same outrage and passion over the taking of a young Israeli life. When has corporate media ever been as outraged over the invasion of Palestinian homes and villages by Israeli settlers who have rampaged under the protection of the IDF, and often setting on fire homes and killing Palestinians? There is tremendous blame for the ongoing violence and bloodshed that rests squarely at the feet of the corporate and so-called mainline media sources.
Statements came almost instantaneously from governments, the President of the United States included, voicing unconditional and unquestioned support for Israel. The news characterized this current crisis as “Israel’s 9-11”, and Israel being a victim of “unprovoked attacks,” as if this attack from Hamas occurred in a vacuum, and 75 years of Israeli occupation and provocation attempting to systematically eradicate the Palestinian people and rewrite the history of the region can be erased. Reporters framed their stories with the usual biased terms of “terrorists” and “militants” while offering an out-of-context narrative of innocent Israeli and civilian populations. The narratives used by corporate media follow the same tract where Hamas and the grievances of Palestinians are vilified while Israel is sanctified. It is the same old story, the same cliches, and the same blind eye that is turned towards the effects of 75 years of Zionist settler colonialism, Palestinian dehumanization, and the pogroms of genocide that have been carried out against the Palestinian people. The corporate media drones on with the same stories, the same cliches, and the same platitudes and excuses that relieve Israel of historical accountability and blames Palestinians for daring to resist their oppression.
The blame rests with organizations and Zionist groups that have manipulated tax-exempt laws to fund ethnic cleansing initiatives. According to New York State Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani, some $60 million annually is being sent from New York charities. Mamdani describes the scenario in this way, “Israeli settlement organizations…use that funding to continue the history of expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians in the occupied territories…” Groups like the Central Fund of Israel (CFI) disperses donations to various settler organizations, including the Israel Land Fund, which expel Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers, according to Mamdani. Another U.S. group, Friends of Ir David, funds Elad, an Israeli settler organization that is responsible for the forced removal of Palestinians as it seeks to “Judaize” occupied East Jerusalem. There are scores of such groups across the country skirting tax-exempt laws to fund the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians. There is much blame to go around.
There are the opportunistic campaigns of groups like the Anti-Defamation League that have used claims of antisemitism as a destructive political tool that equates any critical analysis of Israeli policies into an act of Jewish hatred. Antisemitism exists, but to criticize a government, a political regime, a racist, nationalistic agenda, and/or policies is not antisemitic but legitimate political discourse. This ploy by the ADL has cheapened the seriousness of antisemitism.
Many justice-caring people have been bullied into silence out of fear of being labeled antisemitic. This coerced silence in the world community in the face of glaring injustices and oppression allows injustice and oppression to continue unquestioned, unabated, and malignant in its growth.
There are people who desperately beg to see both sides of this volatile situation, not wanting to stand in one place or another. However, by shirking their responsibility to humanity has helped further the destructive behavior of Israel and its acts of ethnic cleansing. This group’s feigned objectivity is as much to blame as anyone for this exploding powder keg.
Also, every Israeli who stood out and marched against Netanyahu and his ultra-racist right-wing coalition’s initiatives to weaken the judiciary in Israel and didn’t connect it to Israel’s war on Palestinians is to blame. They marched, rallied, and spoke out against Netanyahu’s move towards fascist authoritarianism in relationship to Israeli civil society but did not equate the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands with fascist authoritarianism. They are to blame for failing to open the discussion and protest wide enough to include and demand a resolution for Palestinian grievances.
There is much blame to go around, and one of my pet peeves is the Christian churches that have unthinkingly and unconsciously bought into a theological narrative that God promised the land to the Jews. With this perspective, these churches have excused every injustice imposed by Israel against Palestinians and, in fact, have turned a blind eye towards the oppression. The church has even remained silent as theologically rigid Zionists have desecrated Christian and Muslim holy sites. As a world community, we should know by now that when legitimate discourse and truth-seeking is thwarted, frustrations and anger ferment until they explode in the only ways that silenced voices are allowed and can be heard.
Right now, as the Israeli military moves armored vehicles to the Gaza border, and missiles strike, and jets bomb civilian populations, where are the voices that say STOP! Where are the cameras? Where are the news clips that communicate the horrors of the bombardment of Gaza with the killing of children, women, and men to the world?
Where are the voices that understand the shame of their blame?
Where are the voices who decide it is time to change the narrative and that things must be done differently?
Where are the voices that call for an accounting of history in a new narrative, where that history is not only the European holocaust but also the Palestinian Nakba?
Where are the voices that are courageous enough to amplify Palestinian grievances, allow Palestinian voices to speak for themselves, and decide their own destiny?
Where are the people, the governments, and the organizations bold enough to advocate for a just peace by building a peace table where every segment of Palestinian society is at that table, and not just those that the West and Israel can tolerate?
Where is the world?
Will the world remain silent to Palestinian oppression and genocide as it did during World War II in Europe, or will we stand up and speak out for Palestinian rights and justice?
Disclaimer: Who is to blame BY REV. GRAYLAN SCOTT HAGLER - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view