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Stop Debating Genocide
Israel is perpetrating genocide and ethnic cleansing. And we are called to act.
I have compiled links at the end of this newsletter. Please do everything you can.
Paradoxically, for the past week I’ve felt like I can only start writing if I begin with: what else is there to say. What can I say that has not already been said, been shouted, been cried out. In so many ways Israel’s treatment of Gaza and of Palestinians is so clear, so terrifyingly clear, a genocide and ethnic cleansing are being perpetrated. Hundreds of bombs, or more, are being dropped on a densely populated civilian area every day, with no regard for which homes, schools, or vital infrastructure are flattened and turned to rubble.
And yet we run up against the cold reality, again and again, that many people still don’t care. Many people, including some of the most powerful people on Earth like the President of the United States and most members of Congress, appear unfazed. They declare, again and again, their unwavering support for Israel. They plan to send billions of dollars. Thousands of U.S. troops have been sent to the region. One is forced to wonder if anything would cause our “leaders” to pull back. Or if the green light is permanently on, no matter what atrocities Israel commits.
Thousands of people in Gaza have already been killed, and thousands more injured. A UN school was hit by an Israeli missile, killing multiple people. A refugee camp has been turned to rubble. At least 15 hospitals in Gaza have sustained damage in the last 10 days. And yet, and yet and yet. And yet we are drawn into debating if Israel bombed one particular hospital. Even after the state releases fake evidence of their innocence, even after they edit their own tweets to remove videos that don’t corroborate their story, even after some of their propagandists gloat about hitting the hospital and then hastily delete their celebrations, we are asked to spend our time debating one of the thousands of missiles they have launched at Gaza. And we can simply refuse.
I’m not saying that the truth about the Baptist Hospital in Gaza doesn’t matter, it does. But for the central debate during an ongoing genocidal attack to focus on one bomb, one atrocity, rather than the massive ongoing atrocity that Israel openly admits to, is a distraction. Another way to say it is that even if Israel had nothing to do with attacking this particular hospital, the genocide and ethnic cleansing they are moving forward with would still be ongoing. The 14 other hospitals that have been damaged by their bombs would still exist. The hundreds of thousands displaced with no path to safety would still be displaced. The thousands of bombs dropped on residential areas would still be falling. So our focus, the world’s focus, must be to stop this heinous crime in its path.
At the moment the U.S. government is complicit. The United States cast the one and only vote against the UN Security Council resolution to call for a pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. That vote vetoed the resolution. Yesterday thousands of Jews and other allies marched to Congress to demand a ceasefire. 500 Jews were arrested. For the radical act of pushing for a ceasefire and an immediate stop to this progressing genocide. Yet just 3% of Congress supports a ceasefire resolution, meaning that our politicians apparently consider merely passing a resolution demanding that Israel and Hamas stop fighting, temporarily, to be too radical. Israel must be allowed to keep dropping bombs on Gaza. In fact, given that an “aid package” of up to $100 billion is being proposed for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and the border, and given that Biden was just in Israel reaffirming U.S. support, it appears that Israel must be assisted in continuing to drop bombs on Gaza. That is the mainstream position in DC while asking them to stop this genocide and ethnic cleansing, or even pause it, is the fringe view.
I always want to be persuasive, and I know that persuasion typically involves meeting people where they’re at. But my arms no longer feel long enough to reach across to those who refuse to even call for a ceasefire. They don’t feel long enough to reach out to those who see schools and hospitals being bombed and say “Oh there must have been terrorists in there.” Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip with “no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed” and told the world “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu called Palestinains “children of darkness” and said they abide by “the law of the jungle” in a since deleted tweet. Genocidal language, followed by genocidal actions.
So I won’t rely on persuading those who fail to look this horror in the face and acknowledge the truth. Instead I will embrace those marching in the streets, those risking arrest in Congress and at the White House, those speaking out and risking jobs and careers. This moment is too important to spend time debating people who refuse to acknowledge apartheid, refuse to acknowledge occupation, refuse to look at how Gaza is being obliterated and at how a people are being made refugees yet again. I will not debate, I will act. Millions across the world have already chanted and protested and taken direct action. Now we must throw sand in the gears, we must disrupt the war machine, and we must halt genocide and ethnic cleansing. The stakes are millions of lives and our work is clear. Solidarity with everyone who has the courage to stand in the path of the juggernaut and slow its deadly march.
If you’re able to support my writing, I’d be very grateful. Thank you - Josh
Apply pressure for a ceasefire now: https://ceasefiretoday.com/
Take action with Jewish Voice for Peace: https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/
Take action with the Palestinian Youth Movement: https://palestinianyouthmovement.com/
Take action with IfNotNow: https://www.ifnotnowmovement.org/
Support Boycots, Divestmest, and Sanctions: https://bdsmovement.net/
Please feel free to send me more links, more ways to take action and apply pressure. And please do what you can. Thank you.