The Israeli bastion of fear

The prefix anti- has become tarnished — no longer the signal of vital dissent. To be anti-war is to be dismissed as belonging to an ineffectual movement that paraded its political impotence until the marching lost all conviction and withered away. To be anti-American or anti-Israel is to be condemned as an enemy of civilization. To be an anti-Zionist is to be cast as someone with no regard for the rights of the Jewish people. And meanwhile, behind all these variants of opposition lurks the most dangerous negation of all: anti-Semitism.

You say no and we say yes. Who can escape seeing the appeal of being on the side of yes — even when it’s far from clear what this yes is supposed to affirm?

In a speech Chris Hedges delivered in New York City last Thursday at a fundraiser for sponsoring a U.S. boat to break the blockade of Gaza, he made a point worth heavily underlining when it comes to defining the oppositional antonyms that we use to define the issue of Palestine. This is not a struggle between yes and no.

Addressing secret informants in the room who were undoubtedly there gathering intelligence for the Israeli government, Hedges said:

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you.

This indeed is the most telling marker — not one that distinguishes those who are for or against but one that separates the fearful and the fearless.

To stand up in the name of justice is to align oneself with something bigger than ones own interests. The fearful cling to the things they are in jeopardy of losing. They defend an inequity that is inherently unstable. Their resistance is against balance and against a natural order. It is they who are most loudly saying “no” — even while calling it “peace.” Their resistance is through opposition to inevitable change.

The challenge to the fearful is this: you say you want to protect yourself from danger, yet you have allowed fear to become your closest companion. Do you not see that fear itself poses a greater threat to life than all the perils you name? Think less about how you can feel safe and you might discover how you can become less afraid.

* * *

Chris Hedges:

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.

I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive … you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

And so tonight, a night when some seek to name names and others seek to hide names, let me do some naming. Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. “Closures” mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities—including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments—and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. “Disputed land” means land stolen from the Palestinians. “Clashes” mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. “Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank” mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. “Targeted assassinations” mean extrajudicial murder. “Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts” mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation. “The peace process” means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.

Read Hedges’ whole speech.

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12 thoughts on “The Israeli bastion of fear

  1. omop

    Israel and its dwarf neighbors courtesy of US taxpayers or America’s version of Ireland and North Ireland several centuries earlier.

    Americans crawling closer and closer to whatever they never wanted to be. Makes one cry.

  2. David

    The saddest thing is the evident revelling of too many Americans and Israelis in their manifest, but not destined role as bully-boys.When heavily-armed military, licensed to kill, are depicted as victims of people defending themselves with staves and perhaps knives (allegedly) as on the flotilla boat, one cannot just laugh, and one has cried too often.The greatest culprits are the hasbarists and their spineless comrades in the Western media generally. A recent posting with the quote from Melville ( war is a matter for boys, etc) says it pretty well all. Yet earlier generations of Americans , British etc knew the other side of war, its hideous inhumanity. The advent of professional armies in our countries has led to remarkably successful propaganda to make militarism the flavour of the month. this month, next month etc.The very mentality that most of our fathers/ grandfathers were fighting against.

  3. Christopher Hoare

    The word ‘peace’ coming from the mouths of governments in Washington and Jerusalem is reduced to an obscenity by their actions. Our hearts are with those who suffer the oppression and with those who take great risks to oppose them.

    Zhi bde. (it’s Tibetan)

  4. DE Teodoru

    Cris Hodges, a real mensch, tells us the obvious: that the hands of the killer who massacres the parents shake because he realizes, as he kills the parents, that the children will grow up NOT so helpless and unable to fight. But it doesn’t end there for the killer recalls that the Jews he spit on as “parasites in the goyim world” whom he calls cowards because they chose hopelessly to assimilate rather than leave their roots in the Diaspora, never intending to produce psychotic killers like IDF Commandos or Mossad butchers. The Zionazis, as I often said here, are EastEuros who were rightly fed up with how they were treated so they moved to Palestine only to wrongly treat the Palestinians as they were treated in EastEurope, if not worse. I say “worse” because 75% of World Jewry chooses to stay in goyum-land rather than go to Jew-land because they like it more in goyum-land. Indeed, many in Jew-land get fed up and move to goy-land in far greater numbers than Diasporics who move to Jew-land from goy-land. Why? Because a Jew can be a Jew in goy-land and in Jew-land he can’t….he can only be a Zionazi aping the Nazis that massacred his EastEuro parents. Israel is a vicious corrupt racist state now. Anyone who has any doubt I invite to study the history of the Mideast’s Mizrahi Jews at the hands of the Ashkenazi’s, the Zionists (most of whom deem their “Jewishness” as race not religion for they are atheists). To get the Mizrahis to leave the Arab lands the Ashkenazis engaged in sabotage deliberately and suggestive “proof” was strewn about so that the Mizrahis would be blamed and victimized by popular rage in their homelands. In other words, the Ashkenazi’s sought to create an Arab Krystalnacht so the Mizrahis would have no place to stay and would have to go to Israel. And then, once in Israel, the sterile Ashkenazis stole the children of the Mizrahis, lying to the desperate parents that their children were lost, so Ashkenazis could them as their own. And now, to stop the hemorrhage of Jews– who leave Israel to live by the Jewish Ethic in Diaspora as normal Jews– and to try to achieve Sharon’s deadline of 2020 when all Jews must move to Israel, they are trying to create an American Krystalnacht that will stampede in fear all Diaspora Jews to the Zionist’s “promised land” in order to populate “Greater Israel,” the Jew-land with Jews.

    So, I ask, is he who would provoke Krystalnach– the one whose Jew-state would never have been had there been no Holocaust– not scared of being found out and abandoned by all the World’s moral Jews, Jews for whom Judaism is, first and foremost, a religion serving the Will of God through the Jewish Ethic? I tell you that the Zionazi is indeed afraid. If not, why does he carry multiple passports, just in case, in the back-pocket opposite the one in which he carries extra clips of ammo for his Uzi? He carries extra Diasporic passport because he has seen in Lebanon and Gaza that the Nekba can be no more. Arabs will not be slaughtered running…in the back. They take the bullets in the front, competing for the honor of dying to avenge their dead. The Zionazis only kill to keep their, at US tax payer’s expense, fancy condos in Jerusalem and their phony money totally backed up by the US dollar. They are the hasbara spewing racists who for so long assumed that the goyim and dumb and the Arabs are cowards—but the goyim are no longer dumb and the Arabs no longer cowards, so what to do? Now the Zionazis don’t know what to say, for hasbara is all they ever knew and it scares no one, convinces no one, anymore. Honest searching for common ground is not in the program of these exterminators modeled after the Nazis. What, they wonder, will we do when so many people are ready to die providing evidence of our criminality and so many– especially Diasopra Jews– are disgusted with our murderous fetus image on an American $ placenta? Finally, our behavior makes our benefactors turn their backs and close their wallets. We can’t fight Arabs hand to hand; we’re used to shooting them in the back as they flee. Without American cluster bombs, helicopters, jet bombers and rapid fire weapons we are helpless. We never believed our own “super-mensch New Jew” hasbrara so who will save us now?

    They indeed are afraid for that’s their Holocaust psychosis into which they drove themselves when it brought the guilt and the gilt. And telling “Eurabia” that Israel’s nuclear tipped missiles are pointed at Europe to avenge the old Holocaust and the new one if Israel is overrun scares no one, for Europe needs use only one missile to end the tiny threat. So the killer who killed in fear starts to wonder if copying the Nazis is really possible when your motivation is fear. After all, as criminal as they were, the Germans stood and died hopelessly slowing down the Russian advance. They were disciplined to the end. The next time Israel attacks Lebanon it may find it hard to retreat back to its “safe” zone. So what to do?

    Be brave, real Jewish mensch, and count on the Jewish Ethic to pull you through to a fair peace instead of a Holocaust. But you can’t do that when you’re afraid, killing in fear….when you are damned afraid because of what you did….So change courageously…and you’ll stop being afraid for peace trumps even revenge– a lesson the Zionazis never learned.

  5. Barney.

    Chris said — “The word ‘peace’ coming from the mouths of governments in Washington and Jerusalem is reduced to an obscenity by their actions. Our hearts are with those who suffer the oppression and with those who take great risks to oppose them. ”

    Well said.

    I wonder what it must have been like to wake up as a German or Austrian from the late 30’s onwards, and to realise that ‘your side’, ‘your’ people ( EG the National Socialists and totalitarians of the time ) — were actually the ones causing trouble, and that you were stuck on the war mongers side — by birth and by being caught up in the ‘stream of history’ you were ‘one of them’.

    But actually now I know how that must have felt, because we Americans, British, and their allies are waking up every day knowing that our own leaders are the ones causing hatred and bloodshed and conspiracy and inhumanity worldwide; indeed ‘our side’ are the totalitarians of our day.

    What to do?

  6. omop

    In sequence.

    1. Israel created as a “Jewish” state.

    2. Israelis maintain their power of “non-Jews” [arabs]

    3. Israelis [mostly all Jews claim that the dwarfs around them [ mostly in Gaza, West Bank and other occupied territories] are out to destroy them.

    4. Isreal considered to be the 4th or 5th nuclear empowered state.

    5. The following is attributed to a Polish farmer’s view of his Jewish neighbor: “The Jew will shed many a tear while habitually slapping his non-Jewish neighbor’s face”.

    Come to think of it who has more rights to be in Afghanistan, a Taliban or a guy from Poland, Germany, England or the US?

  7. Sora Ryu

    Victims who become aggressors while still seeing themselves as victims are sometimes more vicious than the aggressors who victimized them in the first place. This is not anti-anything, but merely the sad truth.

  8. Mason

    @Sora Ryu:

    The phenomenon is known as “destructive entitlement”. An expat Israeli named Avigail Abarbanel describes the concept very well in her blog. I encourage any reader to take a look at her writings to gain an “insider view” of Israel.

    BTW this reminds me of a problem they face in Japan; as you may know in the Tokugawa era a caste system was instituted with butchers and tanners at the very bottom, the “untouchables” of Japan — known as ‘burakumin’. Read the following for the connection:,8599,104138,00.html

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