Friday, September 01, 2006

The personal moral culpability of the Israeli people

Amira Hass writes about the see-no-evil attitude of the average Israeli.  It is difficult to avoid the comparison with the German people during the Nazi period (I’m still not using the H-word except to refer to what is going on today), but the comparison is obscene.  Germans lived during a period of almost total press censorship, and in a violent police state where even asking questions might result in death.  It is fair to say that many if not most Germans really were unaware of the details of what was going on, although it is more difficult to excuse them for being unaware that something evil was happening.  On the other hand, Israelis are completely aware of every detail of what the state of Israel is doing in their name, and their complete silence is proof of complicity.

The usual suspects will immediately jump in to claim that Israel can’t be compared to Nazi Germany.  Really?  The IDF dropped 90% of the cluster bombs that now litter Lebanon during the last 72 hours of the Israeli attack, at a time when the Israeli government knew that a ceasefire was imminent.  These bombs were thus clearly intended to be left for Lebanese civilians.  The Nazis did some awful stuff, but it is completely fair to day they did no worse than this.  Israeli misuse of cluster bombs was so notorious that the State Department actually delayed sending (or here) the latest American model of cluster bomb to Israel for fear that it would be used against civilians.  The IDF apparently – there is some question whether these bombs were delivered anyway – had to make do with the American cluster bombs it already had on hand.  Given the immense power of the Lobby, as again conclusively demonstrated in the last month, somebody in the State Department has large ones.  To turn down an Israeli request for arms is almost unheard of, the last time being as a result of Israeli misuse of cluster bombs against civilians in Lebanon in 1982.  Needless to say, the average Israeli, not to mention the average North American Jew, will simply dismiss such complaints as anti-Semitism.

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