Eyes, with Legs

Emily Henochowicz lost an eye when an
Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister at her face.
she studies art at Cooper Union. On her blog, Emily's avatar, or
icon," as she calls it, is a small girl wearing an eye suit. A single
eye, green and playful, with legs. They shot her in the eye because
she was an eye, with legs.

There is nothing novel about shooting
witnesses. In the last decade, 11 journalists have been murdered by
Israeli forces, including Cevdet Kiliclar, a Turkish who was shot in
the head, last week, as he photographed Israeli commandos attacking
peace activists on the Freedom Flotilla. The U.S. never condemns these
crimes because it's Israel's biggest supporter, and also because
it does the same. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we bombed the office of Al Jazeera and shelled the Palestine Hotel, killing three journalists altogether, while injuring four. In 2005, U.S. troops shot at a car carrying Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, who had just been rescued by Italian agents after a 28-day hostage ordeal.

A journalist for Il Manifesto,
Sgrena had written about numerous US crimes in Iraq, such as at Abu
Ghraib and the use of white phosphorus and cluster bombs in Fallujah.
She wasn't imbedded, but a reporter with a conscience. For this, they
targeted her, though the shooting didn't kill Sgrena but Nicola
a special agent. As expected, the Pentagon absolved itself while blaming

the Italians for traveling too fast, with their head lights off.
test later proved that they were going at only 45 miles an hour, while
a photo showed that not only were their headlights on, but the car was
even lit from the inside, to allow phone calls to be made. At the moment

of the shooting, Sgrena was talking to her boyfriend. Further, they
were not traveling on a public throughway but a secured road reserved
for officials. The murdered agent, Calipari, had worked closely with
the Americans, and was even quartered with them, inside Camp Victory.

Sgrena was a left leaning journalist
rescued by a rightist government, headed by Berlusconi, a Bush ally.
Whatever their politics, Italians expected their government to intervene

to save one of their own. The ransom was rumored to be between six and
eight million Euros. When Italian soldiers were killed in Iraq, they
did not come home in the middle of the night, away from media scrutiny,
then quietly buried. Instead, each flag-draped casket was placed on
a flatbed truck and paraded through Rome.

If Henochowicz was Italian, there would
be outrage from across the political spectrum. Instead, we hear nothing
from Washington, and only a measured statement of regrets from her own
university, with no condemnation, as if this was just a mishap, and
not a crime.

On her blog, Henochowicz posted a drawing of a cake layered with activists, "obedient angry army men" and "camera people," topped by a bulldozer. So the mess, Israel's mess, has been bulldozed under, and topped with frosting. The bulldozer is also what killed Rachel Corrie, another American student activist.

It must infuriate many Israelis to see returning Jews, like Henochowicz and so many others, speaking out for Palestinians, but this is not about Jews vs. Palestinians. As a people without a homeland for two thousands years, Jews have always spoken out against discrimination, have always advocated for a level playing field for all citizens, irrespective of his origins or race. They have often railed against a race-based society, because this principle worked against them, and relegated Jews, and every other minority, to being second class, but a race-based society is exactly what Israel is.

Zionism was envisioned in the late 19th
Century. After countless pogroms and other outrages, who could
blame these dreamers? Take the Jewish situation in Russia. From 1827
to 1856, most Jewish boys were drafted at the age of 12, to be trained
militarily until 18, when they were conscripted into the Army and kept
for merely 25 years. For these reluctant patriots, life could begin at
43, if they lived that long. During the first half of the 19th century,
most Russians never saw their 35th birthday. To avoid this
kidnapping, many Jewish parents had to cripple their children

Then came the Holocaust, and Israel was
founded in 1948 in British controlled Palestine. Up to 750,000
were violently expelled, yet enough remained to make up a fifth of the
population, the same ratio that exist today. Their higher birthrate
is counterbalanced by the immigration of Jews from across the globe.

Palestinians who fled during Nakba, the
Catastrophe of 1948, cannot return to their former home, although anyone

with Jewish blood or faith can become a citizen of Israel. An Israeli
Arab cannot even marry someone from Gaza or the West Bank and bring
his spouse into Israel proper. Like much else there, this is justified
on security ground, but it's really based on race. Truly an aberration
among modern nations, Israel is an unequivocal ethnic homeland. Its
national anthem begins:

    As long as in the heart, within,

    A Jewish soul still yearns,

    And onward, towards the ends of
    the east,

    An eye still gazes toward Zion.

If my name were Aslam al-Farmawi, I don't

think I could sing that with much feeling, though I may carry an Israeli

passport. Israeli Arabs are native to that land, yet they are treated,
at best, like second class citizens, just like Jews were throughout
much of their diaspora. Like Jews, Palestinians are often massacred,
but by Jews. Many Jews had to dwell inside ghettos, with the gates
each night. These days, many Palestinians live outside walls, built
by Jews. There is one advantage to being an Israeli Arab, however. You
don't have to serve in the military. Consider that this army's main
tasks are to harass and shoot Arabs, this is not unreasonable. It's
also better, absolutely, than to be drafted for 31 years. Israel, We're
Better Than Nicholas I! Israel, Love It Or Time Travel To Czarist

During the Crusades, Christians traveling

to fight Muslims would kill Jews along the way. Both groups were
after all, thus enemies of Christendom. After Europe tried to rid
finally, of all Jews, it helped many survivors to return to the Levant,
where they could fight Muslims into eternity, or at least until the
End Time. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. It's a win-win
situation for Christianity. According to Fundamentalist Christians,
Jews reclaiming Palestine and building a new temple in Jerusalem also
cleared the way for the return of the Messiah. As we wait for Jesus
to reappear, then, these killings will go on and on, because Israel
can do no wrong.

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