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(53,978 posts)
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 02:53 AM Dec 2023

Anne Frank House page defining antisemitism [View all]

from Anne Frank House:

Holding Jews individually or collectively responsible for Israel’s policies and actions is also a form of antisemitism. No one is personally responsible for the deeds of their compatriots or fellow believers, or for governmental policies

"Collective guilt" is a bigoted, hate-justifying practice that takes many forms. When you hold people of a group responsible for the crimes of some of the members of that group, you're dehumanizing that group. It is the foundation of racism, bigotry, hate. It's the first step toward genocide. It's the start of the journey that can lead to genocide, or at least the killing of people for belonging to that group.

When you rationalize the killing of Palestinian families because the Hamas terrorists are using them as human shields, it's dehumanizing them, both in the rhetorical and the physical sense. It is holding them to account for the crimes of Hamas because they are Palestinians. There are, sadly, even Israelis and supporters of Israel who argue that Palestinians aren't really "a people" per se. I've started hearing this a lot from people in support of Israel's policies of isolating the Gaza Strip and settling in the West Bank.

A typical example of this is this editorial from the Jerusalem Post: "Debunking the claim that “Palestinians” are the indigenous people of Israel"
Everybody agrees that the current affluence of Israel, its modern infrastructure and economy were developed by the Jews. The Palestinian Arab narrative is that as the ancient, indigenous people of Palestine they feel dispossessed and they deserve to take over Israel’s riches. Jewish claims to their heritage in the land of Israel are supported by abundant archaeological artifacts and historical records.
Meanwhile, there are no records to support the Palestinian narrative. In history, art and literature there is no trace at all of any Muslim people referred to by anybody as “Palestinians.”

If you're an American, this type of argument might have a familiar ring to it. It's the same sort of argument that defenders of Manifest Destiny use to rationalize the stripping of American Indians of possession of North America and consigning them to a few reservations. The notion that Palestinians "feel they deserve to take over Israel’s riches" almost perfectly reflects the hysterical arguments against recognizing Indian heritage and grievances with hyperbole like "what are we supposed to do, hand the whole country over them?"

Such argument dehumanize everyone: Americans as well as American Indians; Palestinians as well as Israelis. Here's the human truth: history is replete with conquest. Conquest confers rights to possession. Americans' ancestors conquered American Indians in the past. American Indians groups fought over and conquered lands from one another for generations before European conquerors showed up. Israelis conquered Palestine, just like Palestinian ancestors conquered the land from the hodgepodge of Jews and Christians and pagans who dwelled in the Holy Land. Most Christian groups in the area spun off from the Jews there and the two factions fought over control under the Eastern Roman Empire which had spun off from the Western Roman Empire after it conquered the lands of Israel and Judah, which had spun off from each other after conquering the Promised Land from the Philistine and Canaanites whom they'd spun off from.

Of course all sides take the lazy way out and claim that God promised them their lands in the past. But the scripture that I think best explains the muddle is more recent:
"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
. ― William Faulkner

As long as the past is ever present in Israel and Palestine, and I say this with a loving and hopeful heart, those bastards are doomed to just go on killing each other.

Trying to solve the academic and irrelevant question of who is indigenous to the land, who the land "originally" belonged to, who deserves to be there, is a pointless endeavor taken upon by people who will never produce peace. Peace comes from hard work and compromise and only lasts if it's underwritten by justice. It doesn't come from historically slanted arguments and it doesn't come from bombing families who happen to live in buildings in the vicinity of terrorist rat tunnels. The current crisis brought to you by hate, from the barbaric hunting down and deliberate slaughter of Israeli families and international tourists to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, and running back of relentless tit-for-tat grievances that will certainly self-perpetuate into the future, is a Gordian knot. It will not be and cannot be untangled. I say this as a near 30 year veteran history teacher: the past is useless to consider in Israel and Palestine.

If we are to be human and act humanely toward other humans, we have to make like Alexander and just cut through the knot. There is only one solution and it is a two-state arrangement. Hamas ought to be rooted out, but the IDF's current approach, the government of Israel's current approach is horrific and unjustifiable even by the barbaric slaughter of October 7. They're just tit-for-tatting one another. It's only going to continue until they reject the past and consider only moving toward the future.
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