Palestinians mourn dead relatives in Gaza

Relatives of the Palestinians killed as result of Israeli attacks on Rafah's Brazil neighborhood mourn as the dead bodies brought to the Kuwait hospital as Israel's air, land and sea attacks continue on the Gaza Strip on May 13, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza.

(Photo by Hani Alshaer/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Genocide in Gaza Is Real—We Can See It With Our Own Eyes

If you truly wish to see an end to the bloodshed in Palestine, summon the courage to shout from the rooftop the truth about this genocide.

In the aftermath of Hamas militants' vicious attack in Israel last fall, anyone who wished could access video from Gaza, in real time, and watch avalanche after avalanche of American-made bombs, launched by Israel, killing hundreds of Palestinian citizens at a clip. More recently, one could live stream the opening salvo of what Israeli leaders hope will be the final phase of their operation to erase Palestine once and for all through a siege of Rafah and its already famine-weakened occupants.

Those nightmarish spectacles are disturbingly reminiscent of the massive U.S.-led, aerial assaults of Baghdad that kicked off the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War, respectively. Both were also televised around the globe. The 2003 broadcast, which came replete with a breathless "pre-game" show, may still be the most grotesque, slickly-produced prime-time-special ever aired. You could almost hear the cheers from fans of the "winning" side.

A bookend to this madness has been playing out on college campuses across America this spring, where students—many of them Jews of conscience—protesting against their U.S. government's subsidizing of mass murder in Palestine have been vilified by the mainstream press, much to the delight of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a disheartening percentage of both Israeli Jews and their diaspora, as well as a swath of jingoistic (and/or racist) Americans. Thousands of anti-genocide undergrads have been arrested, often heavy handedly; expelled from school; or both. Others have been savagely beaten by so-called counter-protesters—sometimes in full view of police. The small contingent of America's elected officials who've lent their voice to the students' cause have been roundly denounced by their peers. Some have faced death threats.

How does one account for the current celebrations of a growing body count of innocents and the accompanying rage directed toward people trying to end the bloodbath in Palestine? Here's a partial list: religious mythology, Zionism, the weaponization of anti-semitism, prejudice, a bastardized version of patriotism, politics, greed, self-interest, lack of accurate information, disinformation, and willful ignorance.

Those factors have been callously woven together. What follows is a summary, beginning with religion.

I was raised Catholic, but long ago aligned myself with the teachings of Buddhism and Jainism. Happenstance is the only explanation for why half my friends, colleagues, and family members are Jewish. Over the years, I've participated in dozens of their holiday gatherings, including sacred Passover dinners known as seders. For the uninitiated, seders are centered around the Biblical story of the Jews' arduous escape from slavery en route to their God-given destiny: their miraculous arrival at an (allegedly) available plot of desert land, on which they would make their home. During those reflective evenings, solidarity with all who've been subjected to oppression is expressed. Conspicuous by their absence, the words Palestine or Palestinians were never uttered.

While researching this piece, faithful attendees of those seders with whom I spoke not only confirmed my observation, they also stated that no such references were made during any seder they'd ever been to, dating back to their childhood. The formal establishment of Israel, which began with the impossibly hypocritical and violent evacuation of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948, was also neither mentioned nor taught.

How survivors and descendants of centuries-long oppression culminating in the Holocaust could choose ethnic-cleansing as a means of establishing their self-declared homeland, implement apartheid to sustain it, then top it off with genocide to solidify it—all while refusing to acknowledge, let alone condemn, any part of this hideous sequence—is beyond the scope of my understanding. So much for the credo "Never Again."

Another layer of religious influence, and one which is woefully underreported, is the tenacious backing of Israel by ardent Evangelicals, who fervently believe the shortest path to the long-awaited Second Coming is Armageddon. The best way to hasten the fulfillment of their doomsday prophecy, they surmise, is to foment an Israeli-Arab cataclysm.

One might reasonably expect that the persistence of antisemitism in the U.S. would diminish the nation's support for Israel. It might, if those with hearts already stained by prejudice didn't harbor an exponentially greater level of animosity toward people of color. Mix in the post 9/11 rise of anti-Arab/Muslim sentiment—lit anew by a certain ex-President—and the glorification of America's military, and you have the perfect elixir to recruit a "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"-chanting militia hellbent on making life miserable for protesters asking for peace.

America's politicians, of course, play an important role in this perversion. Many still believe that, when it comes to choosing sides between the Israelis and the Palestinians, their grasp on power is largely contingent upon placating the former's special-interest groups. So, much like their shotgun marriage to the National Rifle Association, the bulk of them make nice with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Nothing, however, has misshapen public perception more than the mainstream media. And there's no better example of this than its collusion to suppress the most accurate analysis to date of Israel's criminal acts—Francesca Albanese's report to the UN Human Rights Council, appropriately titled: Anatomy of a Genocide.

Stunningly comprehensive, the paper prepared by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories details Israel's decades-long, systematic destruction of Palestine. Among her painstakingly researched findings is that during the past seven months, Israel has committed at least three of the the five elements of genocide: (1) killing members of the group; (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; and (3) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. Keep in mind, a party need only perform one of these unspeakable acts to be found guilty of the worst crime imaginable.

Given that Palestinian women and children make up the vast number of casualties, and that incessant attacks by Israel have effectively left survivors without medical care or adequate nutrition, a determination that Israel has violated a fourth element of the Convention—imposing measures intended to prevent births in the group—may also be forthcoming.

To the surprise of no one, conventional news outlets are financially incentivized to maintain cozy relationships with people in high places, satisfy corporate advertisers, and, when it comes to viewers/listeners, appeal to the lowest common denominator. So bastions of speaking truth to power they will never be. Rather, they'll continue to present whatever false narratives suit them best, which, in this case, looks something like this:

"The carnage in the Middle East is nothing more than a War between Israel and Hamas."

"They're not anti-genocide activists, they're Pro-Palestinian demonstrators (i.e., code for terrorist sympathizers)."

"Americans are more concerned with the disruption or cancellation of college graduation ceremonies than they are a mounting death toll half-a-world away."

Just to be clear, the news and information outlets constantly shoveling disinformation your way aren't only the ones resting on what some perceive to be the lower and mid-level tiers. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times have also been taking you for a ride in this life and death matter by dramatically skewing their coverage in favor of Israel.

If you're as mortified by all of this as I am, there are some things within your control. First, while trying to make sense of the world, always, always, always employ your critical thinking skills—especially when consuming content from the mainstream media. Next, if you don't already do so on a regular basis, make it a practice to avail yourself of information researched and delivered by independent news sources. Compare notes. It won't be long before you discover an array of reliably credible entities who unfailingly come down on the side of nonviolence, equity, justice for all, and journalistic integrity. Support them.

More immediately, if you truly wish to see an end to the bloodshed in Palestine, summon the courage to shout from the rooftop the truth about this genocide. Failure to do so is akin to engraving your name alongside those of the genocidaires on every American-made bomb that is launched and bullet that is fired.

The choice—one with which you will forever live—is yours.

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