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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

September 2009: Yom Kippur, Gazassins and 9/11



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Hyam Ayash

Hyam Ayash | Killed by the IDF On July 3, 2009 in the Deir al-Balah Refugee Camp


1. On a less than Useful Introduction

Last week I was invited to a coffee by a pastor. He claimed he would make a useful introduction and I had good reasons to believe his claim. Instead, after the coffee was placed on the table between us, he pulled out an outdated copy of Haaretz, an even older Zionist propaganda Israeli book, and began a crazy tirade.

2. Not again!

I was beginning to forget the bizarre event when a good friend sent me an email with a link to an interesting article in Haaretz.

Both events seemed to be – each one for a different reason – related to my recent critique of that Israeli newspaper. “Good!” I say to myself, “the article was taken seriously!”

After enjoying the fruits of my work for a second or two, I took a second look at the article link sent to me and found it was time to take seriously a smartly disguised Phariseo-Zionist propaganda piece.

3. On a Repentant Israel

Every year – before Yom Kippur – many articles in the Israeli media address issues related to the Repentance Day. Following the Gaza Crimes early this year, the Gazassins had plenty to be repentant for and the article sent to me dealt with that.

The article, named Disgrace in The Hague, was published in Haaretz by Gideon Levy on September 17, 2009.

At first, I was impressed, the article last statement was:

“On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Israel, deservedly, is becoming an outcast and detested country. We must not forget it for a minute.”

Such a perceptive Israeli journalist deserved more attention. I began reading from the beginning:

“The Teflon cloak Israel has wrapped around itself since Operation Cast Lead has been ripped off, once and for all, and now the difficult questions must be faced. It has become superfluous to ask whether war crimes were committed in Gaza, because authoritative and clear-cut answers have already been given. So the follow-up question has to be addressed: Who's to blame? If war crimes were committed in Gaza, it follows that there are war criminals at large among us. They must be held accountable and punished. This is the harsh conclusion to be drawn from the detailed United Nations report.”

Bravo! Then he continues:

“For almost a year, Israel has been trying to argue that the blood spilled in Gaza was merely water. One report followed the other, with horrifyingly identical results: siege, white phosphorous, harm of innocent civilians, infrastructure destroyed - war crimes in each and every report. Now, after the publication of the most important and damning report of all, compiled by the commission led by Judge Richard Goldstone, Israel's attempts to discredit them look ludicrous, and the empty bluster of its spokespersons sound pathetic.”

I always claim that instead of answering the claims against it, Israel and its organizations make “ad hominem” attacks. The tradition is Pharisaic in origin; Jesus was its best known victim. Mr. Levy agrees:

“So far they have focused on the messengers, not their messages: the researcher for Human Rights Watch collects Nazi memorabilia, Breaking the Silence is a business and Amnesty International is anti-Semitic. All cheap propaganda. This time, though, the messenger is propaganda-proof.”

He defends them, and then:

“Cast Lead was an unrestrained assault on a besieged, totally unprotected civilian population which showed almost no signs of resistance during this operation. It should have raised an immediate furor in Israel. It was a Sabra and Chatila, this time carried out by us. But there was a storm of protest in this country following Sabra and Chatila, whereas after Cast Lead mere citations were dished out.”

He left me speechless. Could such a text be published in Haaretz? How come Mr. Levy is still alive?

But then, I became worried when he claimed:

“Perhaps next time we set out to wage another vain and miserable war, we will take into account not only the number of fatalities we are likely to sustain, but also the heavy political damage such wars cause.”

And continues with:

“It should have been enough just to look at the horrendous disparity in casualties - 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli - to shake the whole of Israeli society.”

Oops! The problem was only political. The damage was to Israel’s image.

On July 3, 2009, a 17-year-old girl named Hyam Ayash from the Deir al-Balah Refugee Camp in Gaza was assassinated by the Israeli army. I want to say to Mr. Levy that the life of Hyam was worth a whole world. That’s a well known Israeli phrase used in relation to the Holocaust victims and killed IDF soldiers.

I want to say Mr. Levy that the same holds for Aisha Adnan Al-Bahsh and all other victims of Israel.

The Palestinian/Israeli victims ratio is irrelevant.

Well, almost irrelevant.

4. On a Surprising Coincidence

This attempt to reduce misery into a ratio rang an alarm. A few years before this article was published, I was following the Israeli media publications in the aftermath of 9/11. An article published in Yedihot Aharonot – the most popular Israeli newspaper – claimed that if taking in account the population differences (i.e. their ratio) then Israel had suffered relatively more terror victims than the US. The implied subtext was: “It wasn’t so bad, they should get over it.” Again the same insensibility towards human life.

Israel couldn’t deny any of these events. Thus, it adopted a subtle propaganda campaign, attempting to “rationalize” the events by transforming them into “ratios” that allow sanitizing the perceived image. The US citizens didn’t suffer much since the ratio of the victims to the total population is lower than ours. The Palestinians suffering is worrying because their ratio of victims is larger than ours. The actual pain of the victims and the irreversible damage is irrelevant.

In Israel, everything is relative, including morality, which seems – when compared to any other value – to have an infinitesimally small ratio.

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