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A Message for Non-Jewish Friends on the Israel-Palestine Violence over Sheikh Jarrah

Published: in Jewish News by .

Plenty of diaspora Jews are taking the fall for this

The post A Message for Non-Jewish Friends on the Israel-Palestine Violence over Sheikh Jarrah appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Imagine, wherever you live, there exists just beyond the border to your province an armed group of militants called H. Every so often, H gets upset because your nation’s government (which you may not have even voted for and may sorely want out of the picture) has built a couple of houses on some land beyond your nation’s opposite border where some folks culturally related to H live. In response, H starts shooting rockets all over the southern half of your nation.

Now, luckily, your nation has some helpful tech that can usually block these rockets. But they keep coming. Following a barrage of more than 4,000 rockets over the course of a week and deployment of explosive drone technology to evade your defense tech, your nation’s military goes after H militants, using intelligence to track the fighters to their hiding spots, which typically include (hopefully) empty schools, hospitals and PR houses. However, because these spots are commonly civilian, your nation’s army issues a one-hour warning before exploding the building in question.

When shrapnel from the explosion injures or tragically kills civilians, it is unarguably wrong. H realizes this, and so they house their weapons and fighters in these locations, knowing that, to the outside world, it will appear as though your nation invades their territory for no reason. Why? Because often, international news headlines and sometimes even entire articles don’t tend to mention H—instead making it appear as though your nation struck first.

Obviously, territorial encroachment is always difficult on those affected, even in the case of legal evictions. That said, H rarely attacks due only to territory encroachment. Commonly, they await the next opportunity to launch unprovoked attacks, sending innocents running through the streets to hide all night in bomb shelters. It’s a squabble between two governments that ropes in civilians on both sides.

It’s a squabble between two governments that ropes in civilians on both sides.

H clearly stands for Hamas, the entity in charge of the Gaza Strip that not only fires unprovoked on Israeli civilians but also uses much of its foreign aid to construct terror tunnels for further siege. Furthermore, when their rockets miss Israel, it’s typically because they misfire and instead endanger resident Gazans.

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Hamas’s charter does not recognize any Jewish entity in the region that is now Palestine/Israel, including Israel proper. Their goal to “Free Palestine” calls to free Palestine of Jews under the guise of ousting Zionists. This means that all Jews not wishing to live in an Islamic state will be essentially cleansed from the region, including Jews whose families have been living there for centuries.

If you’re still with me, we move now to the ever-loaded topic of Zionism. By definition, Zionism just means a secure homeland in the region that comprises historical Judea. That does not mean Jews in this land cannot live alongside Palestinian Arabs, nor does that proposed homeland even have to include the West Bank or disputed Jerusalem territory. Indeed, Israel forcibly evicted all Jewish residents from the Gaza Strip back in 2005, showing that, in the face of pushback from neighboring Arab nations and multiple rejected peace deals following the British Mandate jumping ship to let us all battle it out, Zionism didn’t even have to include that land either. Therefore, the blanket statement circulating these days—that at its core, Zionism equals racism—doesn’t hold up perfectly. Not when such an entity can feasibly exist as any other nation, including as a home to many diverse peoples.

Okay, let’s take a breath. To clarify, unilateral settlements as well as air raids can cause significant destruction. An alternative might be solo sniper ground warfare to target militants with more discrimination in order to avoid civilian casualties. What’s more, we can all hope for a more progressive center-left administration to replace Likud in the Knesset this year, a goal of which would be enhanced Palestinian rights in Gaza and the Disputed Territories.

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So, if you have read this far, once more, please do continue to mourn the innocents killed in this conflict. At the end of the day, no matter who shot first, people are still people. But please try to consider that, unlike any conflicts in the U.S. for the past two centuries and most in Europe for nearly the past century, humans on both sides of the Palestine/Israel war recognize and face the frequent threat of bomb sirens that come from a war on home turf.

But please try to consider that, unlike any conflicts in the U.S. for the past two centuries and most in Europe for nearly the past century, humans on both sides of the Palestine/Israel war recognize and face the frequent threat of bomb sirens that come from a war on home turf.

The main reason this nuance matters to diaspora Jews is that regardless of plenty of Jews worldwide having no connection to Israel, the number of attacks against Jews around the globe has dramatically surged since the latest Palestine/Israel violence spike began. The running narrative of Jews as oppressors has even reached tech giants, with one high-profile employee claiming that Jews have an insatiable appetite for war—not Israel, Jews—in a blog statement that wasn’t called into question until 14 years after its release.

Many of us are starting to worry, because while those living in Diaspora have next to no say in Israeli politics, plenty of diaspora Jews are taking the fall for this. It is, quite frankly, frightening. So, believe us when we say that you can decry the loss of innocent Palestinian lives, and at the same time, allow us to express fear over the mounting narrative that ties our very identity to violence and the next great conspiracy.

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Sarah Katz is an author, UC Berkeley alumna in Middle Eastern Studies, and cyber security analyst. 

The post A Message for Non-Jewish Friends on the Israel-Palestine Violence over Sheikh Jarrah appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/337608/a-message-for-non-jewish-friends-on-the-israel-palestine-violence-over-sheikh-jarrah/

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