‘A few years ago I used McCarthy tactics against a professor who criticized Israel. Now I’m going on the Gaza Freedom March’
(Mondoweiss) -- By JGlatzer
...A few years ago I had a professor say that Israel made Gaza into “the biggest open-air prison in the world”. I had no idea what or where Gaza was, but he criticized Israel. I loudly protested, calling him: anti-Israel, Anti-American, and an Anti-Semite. When I later told my friend how offended I was, I claimed the professor blamed the Jews for all the problems in the world.
This was part of my experience being a knee-jerk, uncritical defender of Israel. Nobody taught me McCarthyism specifically; labeling any defense of Palestinian human rights as anti-Israel came naturally to me. It’s truly what I thought being Jewish–I’m half–was about.
My world was shaken by a book I read called The Israel Lobby. I learned details of Israeli actions I had never even heard of before. I always rationalized the deaths of Palestinian civilians by saying Israel had to defend itself from terrorism. It was just too bad: if the Palestinians didn’t like having their civilians killed, they should stop being terrorists. In the book I learned about “home demolitions”. Israel has demolished over 24,000 Palestinian homes since 1967, making these families homeless. What possible justification could there be for this kind of cruelty? I couldn’t think of any.
I wondered how this could be possible, and why no one did anything about it. I wondered how the facts of what’s going on in the Middle East could be so different from what I’ve seen in the American media my entire life. Finding out that my Orange County Right-Wing Republican fetishized ideal of Israel wasn’t what I thought it was was truly earth-shattering for me. I couldn’t believe Israel wasn’t actually the defender of democracy in the Middle East as I was raised to believe.
At first I never even knew anyone else who felt the way I did. So, here I was a half Jewish critic of Israel living in Valley Village walking past the ultra orthodox every day. Where did I fit in? Throughout my years at LA Valley College all I ran into was clichéd misrepresentative slogans about how wonderful everything Israel did was.
I never dared speak out, because I was afraid of being called an anti-Semite and being smeared. Then Israel’s massacre of Gaza in December 2008 happened. I couldn’t believe after their daily suffering and imprisonment, Israel was now bombing the entire population. White phosphorous melting the faces off children, just because they were guilty of attending a UN school. Civilians waving white flags were shot; the UN warehouse of food aid for the victims was bombed and exploded by Israel.
The story of Palestinian-American Astrophysicist Suleiman Baraka will live with me forever. He was working with NASA at Virginia Tech when he found out his eleven-year-old son Ibrahim was critically wounded in the attack. On January 5th Ibrahim died.
Tragically, he wasn’t the only child killed by Israel’s attack. According to the Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, 320 Palestinian children died. These images and stories would haunt me forever. It convinced me I had to do something. Hearing about the innocent children killed, like Ibrahim, made me not care anymore about what anyone would say...CONT'D...LINK
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