+972 Magazine » Ami Kaufman http://972mag.com Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:07:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 Top 10 reasons Israel should be going to early elections http://972mag.com/top-10-reasons-israel-should-be-going-to-elections-but-isnt/99514/ http://972mag.com/top-10-reasons-israel-should-be-going-to-elections-but-isnt/99514/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:25:16 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=99514 From bombs dropped on innocent children in Gaza to the increasing gap between rich and poor, there are many good reasons why the current government needs to go.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid (Photo: IsraeliinUSA/CC BY 2.0, Activestills.org)

Benjamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid (Photo: IsraeliinUSA/CC BY 2.0, Activestills.org)

1. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government went on an unnecessary adventure in Gaza killing 500 innocent children only a few months ago.

2. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government failed in making any progress toward ending the occupation of millions of Palestinians, while continually denying them the basic right to determine their own future.

3. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government breeds hatred of anyone who is not Jewish.

4. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government is interested in remaining a democracy for Jews and a Jewish state for Arabs.

5. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government harmed its standing in the international community with every day that has passed, particularly with Avigdor Liberman as foreign minister.

6. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government has brought relations with the U.S. to a low never seen in its history.

7. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government failed in lowering the cost of living.

8. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government only made efforts to survive another day, rather than lead.

9. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government keeps taking care of tycoons, not narrowing the gaps between rich and poor.

10. Israel is going to early elections, but not because this government wants to pour billions more shekels into the defense establishment rather than into health, education and welfare.

Israel is going to early elections for one reason, and one reason only: because Sheldon Adelson said so.

Israelis deserve more from their leaders
Welcome to Netanyahu’s ‘resolution’ to the conflict

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‘Nation-state law’ may end Arab grip on Jewish-Israeli society [satire] http://972mag.com/nation-state-law-may-end-arab-grip-on-jewish-israeli-society-satire/99248/ http://972mag.com/nation-state-law-may-end-arab-grip-on-jewish-israeli-society-satire/99248/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:18:58 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=99248 Public and private sector Arab leaders in Israel fear the new basic law could threaten their long-standing economic, cultural and political dominance in the Jewish state. (Satire)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

The Jewish Nation-State law, a new bill that the Netanyahu government is pushing through the Knesset could bring about the end to their political domination over Jews in Israeli society since the state was founded in 1948, Arab leaders are warning.

Mohamed el-Rasmi from Sakhnin told +972: “We’re really worried. We’ve been dominating Israeli politics since 1948. What now? We won’t have any more Arab ministers? No Arab minister of defense? Of treasury? Of education? The thought alone makes me shudder. If we have no representation in government, we’ll basically be second-class citizens!”

Over the past few days, +972 Magazine spoke to various leaders in both the public and private Arab sectors about the new bill and its consequences. There seems to be a wide consensus that the outcome could be quite grave.

Hamdan Younis, a businessman from Taibeh, said he fears for his livelihood. “It’s always been the Younis’ and 11 other Arab families making money off of the land’s resources. The water, the phosphates, the gas in the Mediterranean. We’ve been screwing the 99 percent over for decades – why does it have to stop now? Why? Because we own the media? Is that it?!”

“What will happen to all the Arab cities in planning?” asked Mustafa Mahmid, who owns a large construction company in Tira. “New Arab towns have popped up like mushrooms after the rain until now – where does this leave me? Will they stop approving new towns? You know what this will mean, don’t you. We’ll have to live basically on top of each other, with sewage running in the streets! When’s the last time you saw an Arab town like that!?” he added, enraged.

Fadi Jabarin, minister of education, believes the law could have an astounding effect on the Israeli school curriculum. “I am afraid that if this bill turns into law, Israelis will stop learning about the Nakba. They might even stop learning about Arabs at all. What will they learn about then? The Holocaust? Bar Kochva? Bialik? After all these years Israelis have been studying and quoting Mahmoud Darwish, wouldn’t that be a shame?” said Jabarin.

Other leaders expressed concern for the more basic and symbolic. Interior Minister Mahmoud Majadli said he fears of an inevitable change to the nation’s symbols. “What now? Will they take the crescent off the national flag? It looks so nice next to the Star of David. And what about the national anthem? Are you actually telling me that from now on the national anthem will only be about Jews? No mention of us? How can I sing that? I love singing our anthem, and I’ve been told I have a really nice voice.”

(This article is satire.)

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Roger Cohen thinks Israelis and Palestinians just need to get along http://972mag.com/is-the-nyts-roger-cohen-deliberately-misleading-his-readers/99062/ http://972mag.com/is-the-nyts-roger-cohen-deliberately-misleading-his-readers/99062/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:42:38 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=99062 How a popular columnist fools readers into a false understanding of the situation in Israel/Palestine.

Oh man, is he smooth.

There is a reason Roger Cohen is a columnist in The Grey Lady: he is a fabulous writer. He is also extremely convincing, and his op-ed from yesterday, “Two Ideas of Israel-Palestine,” is no exception. It reads so well that I am sure he basically had most readers eating out of the palm of his hand.

And if that’s the case, boy, did they fall for it.

Because what Roger Cohen did yesterday is spoon-feed his readers one of the core principles of Liberal Zionism, without which they basically have nothing to say in their political arguments in living rooms all over the world, from Ramat Aviv to Brooklyn. And that core principle goes like this: the blame rests equally on both sides.

The “beauty” of this op-ed, focusing on the roots of the conflict, lies in its simplistic three-part structure. If you haven’t read the piece yet, you should – because the way it is built is crucial to understanding Cohen’s mindset.

I won’t deal much with the opening graph, mostly because Cohen himself is too lazy to put recent events into context. All he does is state that “the facts” – that Palestinians killed Jews in a synagogue during the recent wave of violence. Way to go for giving your readers a good picture about what’s going on Jerusalem, Cohen!

But the real gem is the second part of his piece, which include two long paragraphs in which Cohen attempts to bring up every argument possible from each side’s story. Both are equal in length, making the reader think that these are simply two parallel lines that will never meet. They’re just too entrenched in their own narratives. Everybody’s right.

The worst is his last paragraph:

Two children, one Israeli and one Palestinian, asked me if it is possible to have two ideas in your head at the same time. Not in the Middle East, I said. But it is important to try, because this is where you both have to live.

The sheer arrogance of telling us that “you guys just better get along already ‘cause you’re stuck with each other,” especially from one living in a country who has enabled the occupation of millions for almost 50 years, is shameful and enraging.

I’ve got news for you, Roger Cohen, this isn’t some kind of Cold War between two nuclear powers. This is a rich, armed-to-the-teeth colonial regime that has been stepping on the neck of an oppressed people for 47 years. That’s the narrative. That’s the story.

Your nice maneuver of putting two “narratives” opposite each other was indeed a sleek writing move. But I don’t fall for that stance any more.

No one should.

‘New York Times’ on Jerusalem violence: What occupation?
‘The New York Times’ investigates a Palestinian hobby
When ‘The New York Times’ embeds its reporters with the IDF

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Netanyahu government’s true colors are shining through http://972mag.com/netanyahu-governments-true-colors-are-shining-through/98585/ http://972mag.com/netanyahu-governments-true-colors-are-shining-through/98585/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:26:21 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=98585 Even as the flames spread from Jerusalem into the West Bank and back over the Green Line, Israeli leaders are showing no restraint in their statements and actions. It feels like they just don’t care anymore.

Arab youth clash with Israeli riot police in Kafr Kanna, Israel, November 8, 2014. The protests took place after an Arab man from the village was shot and killed by Israeli policemen. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Arab youth clash with Israeli riot police in Kafr Kanna, Israel, November 8, 2014. The protests took place after an Arab man from the village was shot and killed by Israeli policemen. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

These are tough, disgusting times in Israel/Palestine. The flames in Jerusalem, which were ignited well before the recent war in Gaza, seem to be climbing higher every day, spreading to the West Bank and inside the Green Line as well.

The recent events also seem to be bringing out some of Israeli leaders’ true color. Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Israeli public security minister (something equivalent to a police minister), had some very harsh words after the last attack by a Palestinian who ran over a group of Border Police and pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing two and wounding others. After a police officer killed the attacker on the scene, Aharonovich said that, “the sentence for any any terrorist who harms civilians is to be killed.” He added that all such events should end that way. To hell with the rule of law, right guys?

But who would have thought that the police would heed their boss’ call so soon? On Saturday evening cops shot 22-year-old Khir Hamdan from Kafr Kanna (well inside Green Line) in the back after he attacked a police van with a knife. No taser, no shooting towards the legs. Just a bullet in the chest as he was running away. To make things worse, instead of calling an ambulance they dragged him into the van like he was a sack of potatoes, while still alive. I’m pretty sure I saw that scene on a Sopranos episode; I just can’t remember which season.

Obviously, the killing heated things up. As would be expected of a wise leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thought this might be a good time to try and calm things down — to be the responsible adult. Oh sorry, scrap that! Instead, just like his public security minister, Netanyahu poured some more gas on this bonfire, showed his true colors as well and just hours later announced he “will instruct the interior minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.” Or, in other words, “I don’t have anything to say about shooting Hamdan in the back and you Arabs better calm down before I frickin’ lose it.”

Then comes a Facebook post from Naftali Bennet, leader of The Jewish Home and the Economy Minister:

Notice how Bennet calls Hamdan a “crazed Arab terrorist.” Not a suspect in a violent crime who should be arrested and tried in court like any other criminal suspect. No, Bennet is a minister in the “only democracy in the Middle East” that claims every other day that Arabs in Israel are equal citizens. That is, except for when they commit crimes. Then, they’re crazed terrorists. Who should be shot. In the back. While running away. From a group of armed cops in a van. With a only a knife. (This should come as no surprise, of course. Bennett has never hid his feelings on the topic.)

But for me, the best part of this feces storm came on Sunday when the government voted to support a bill extending Israeli law to West Bank settlements without formally annexing the area. For those of you who still don’t see Israel’s policies in the West Bank as apartheid, it might become a little easier for you if this bill becomes a law. It’s a nice, big step in that direction.

Looking at all these statements and actions, it feels like they just don’t care anymore. They’re really going ahead with it; they actually want this to happen. Their true colors are coming out. They’re no longer hiding.

And if I may be honest for just a moment (did you expect anything else?), I’m actually quite satisfied with this rather rapid deterioration toward a full-fledged apartheid state. There’s simply something too painful in watching it unfold so slowly, like pulling off a Band-Aid way too carefully instead of just getting it over with in one quick pull.

Seriously, why condemn every settlement expansion, every undemocratic law, every racist comment from a politician? The only thing these condemnations do is slow things down and delay the inevitable. It only keeps things in some sort of gray area that allows the rest of the world to keep debating if Israel is an apartheid state or isn’t. Why not let things worsen quicker so the world understands sooner and will be left with no choice but to finally act?

How police lied about the deadly shooting of Khir Hamdan
Israeli government votes to support annexing West Bank settlements
PHOTOS: Protests in northern Israel after police kill Arab man

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After ‘chickenshit’ remark, FBI finds traces of ‘truth serum’ in West Wing [satire] http://972mag.com/after-chickenshit-remark-fbi-finds-traces-of-truth-serum-in-west-wing/98201/ http://972mag.com/after-chickenshit-remark-fbi-finds-traces-of-truth-serum-in-west-wing/98201/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:51:53 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=98201 The FBI has found traces of sodium thiopental in several areas in the White House, causing staff to stop holding back their true feelings on Israel. 

U.S. President Barack Obama laughing aboard Air Force One (Pete Souza/White House Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama laughing aboard Air Force One (Pete Souza/White House Photo)

Just 24 hours after a senior administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit,” FBI agents found traces of sodium thiopental, also known as the “truth serum,” in several areas of the White House. The findings could explain the remarks given to Jeffrey Goldberg in his Atlantic interview.

According to FBI agent Dana Mulder, traces of the liquid were found “in the Oval Office as well. We’re still conducting some tests, but it looks like there’s been some tampering in the kitchen, too.”

“If the serum was put in food given to other staff,” Mulder added, “it could explain why we’re seeing other West Wing officials saying what they really think about Israel and the peace process.” Indeed, over the past day various officials have been especially candid about the Jewish State, its policies and its leaders.

One staff member told +972 Magazine what he had been hearing over the past day: “It’s all coming out. It’s as if people are actually stating facts about Israel and forgetting all about AIPAC. No fear!”

Media outlets across the world have been quoting various officials over the past 48 hours, all of them with very strong words for Israel. One administration official was recently quoted saying: “They keep Arabs off buses and expect us not to call it apartheid? Fuck that!”

Agent Mulder told +972 that the effects of sodium thiopental usually wear off in a few hours, but it seems that the dosage used in the White House was high and that the effects could linger for another day or two. “We’re expecting some officials to still come out with other facts they don’t say because of politics, such as ‘the two-state solution is dead’ and ‘what happened in Gaza this summer was a massacre, no other way to put it,’” Mulder added. “That’s why we started the investigation to begin with. There’s just no way any administration official would be able to bluntly speak the truth like this to media without being under the influence.”

While in the White House helping cover the story, a +972 Magazine intern said: “I just passed a guy in the hall here who said ‘One-state solution? It’s been one state for 47 fucking years already!’ and then quickly covered his mouth and ran to the bathroom, hoping not to be seen or heard, muttering ‘shit fuck fuck shit I did not just say that.’”

+972 also spoke to the president’s secretary outside the Oval Office, who overheard President Obama telling his aides: “I would have used harsher words than ‘chickenshit’. And one of them rhymes with ‘mothersucker’. Anyway, I don’t give a damn anymore. Let the BDS’ers take over. This whole peace process shit is so 80′s. Now, where’d I put that pack of cigarettes? Oh shit… Do NOT tell Michelle I just said that.”

When Israel grabs land, the U.S. grabs a thesaurus [satire]
Scores of Israelis injured in ‘Showing Empathy’ challenge [satire]

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New Israeli theme park celebrates wonders of occupation (satire) http://972mag.com/new-israeli-theme-park-celebrates-wonders-of-occupation-satire/97457/ http://972mag.com/new-israeli-theme-park-celebrates-wonders-of-occupation-satire/97457/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:05:45 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=97457 A new amusement park outside Tel Aviv celebrates the world of occupation, taking visitors through the wonders of apartheid and oppression, still ongoing just minutes away from the park.

Shurat Hadin ad

Shurat Hadin ad

After the huge success of his Mission to Israel tours (as seen in the ad above), where thousands of American Jews over the years tour the borders of Israel, meet Mossad agents, talk to Palestinian collaborators and walk the Hamas terrorist trail, Israeli entrepreneur Eli Soneh-Aravim has taken it up one level and opened the ultimate theme park for the American Zionist: OccupiedLand.

“The idea is for people to really feel how it is to oppress someone and not just fund and enable it for decades from abroad,” says Soneh-Aravim to +972. “The visitor becomes an apartheid activist for a day – it’s a feeling they’ll never forget,” he added.

The park map given at the entrance gives some information about the rides available to visitors:

It’s a Small Strip – Sing along to the classic tune “It’s a Small Strip After All” while on a delightful musical boat tour hosted by the children of Gaza. From a bombed dock, climb aboard a cozy boat and set sail along a 10-minute journey through mostly rubble, devastation and amputees.

Terrorists of the Tunnels – Probably one of the most beloved rides in OccupiedLand since it opened, ride through an open APC while surrounded by bloodthirsty Hamas terrorists. Escape through the maze of tunnels – but beware: there may be surprises around each corner! Careful not to bump into any goats being smuggled from Egypt!

The IDF Revenge – Dubbed the “scariest ride in the world”, riders on this mechanism are put in a red circle on the ground on their backs, as an F-16 flies over and drops 2 one-tonne bombs on them. Not for the faint of heart.

The Bibi Pendulum – Subjecting riders to various levels of angular momentum, this ride takes you all the way up to the sky high (and barely visible) two state solution and just seconds later swings violently towards an announcement on new settlements in the West Bank. Guaranteed to make your stomach churn!

Peace Process Carousel – Kids will love this classic. Sit on top of famous U.S. secretaries of state and Middle East envoys throughout the years and just keep going in circles! Forever! (Caution, this ride goes on for at least 20 years).

Skunk Express – Set in authentic West Bank surroundings, this little kiddie ride lets toddlers spray filthy water on anything that moves or dares to think they have the right to protest for civil rights. Great way to educate kids for the future!

The Settlement Log Ride – Just like a real settlement, this log ride has more fresh water in it than all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank – combined!

Apartheid Cars – Not your regular bumper cars: In OccupiedLand they’re for Jews only, and there’s a separate line with real live Palestinians who never get on! They just stand there! Looking at you!

The AIPAC Tea Party – Sit down on any one of these blue and white colored tea cups, then spin the center disks with pictures of Congressman and give it a whirl to make your U.S. politician spin a little faster! You control everything! (Ride is suitable for any Jew – from Liberal Zionists to Kahanists.)

Checkpoint Choo-Choo – Get on this train that stops every 4 seconds at a checkpoint for 5 hours. Your kids will never stop crying! (Expectant mothers are allowed to ride and give birth on train during the wait).

Tear Gas Terror – Just like your favorite sitting duck stall at the fair, shoot American made tear gas canisters straight at protesting Palestinians. A direct hit gets you impunity and an authentic “cleared by IDF internal investigation” certificate.

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When Israel grabs land, the U.S. grabs a thesaurus [satire] http://972mag.com/when-israel-grabs-land-the-u-s-grabs-a-thesaurus-satire/96233/ http://972mag.com/when-israel-grabs-land-the-u-s-grabs-a-thesaurus-satire/96233/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:13:41 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=96233 The U.S. State Department spokesperson and her deputy are finding it difficult to  continue condemning Israeli plans to build more settlements in the West Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Finer, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, and State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki. (State Dept. Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Finer, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, and State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki. (State Dept. Photo)

Marie Harf, Deputy State Department Spokesperson: Hi Jen.

Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson: Hi Marie, sup?

Harf: Not much. Hey, did you see Obama’s suit?

Psaki: I know, right?? What’s UP with THAT?

Harf: I literally spilled my vente pumpkin spice latte.

Psaki: I know, right?? Anyway, sup?

Harf: So, the Israelis announced they’re gonna do this huge land appropriation.

Psaki: Fuck. Not again.

Harf: I know, right??

Psaki: So listen, type me up something along the lines of “We condemn in the strongest terms, the –”

Harf: — sorry, we can’t use “condemn”.

Psaki: Why not?

Harf: Used it before.

Psaki: Oh. OK. So, let’s do “decry”.

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: We did “decry”?

Harf: Yup. Just before the Biden visit, remember?

Psaki: OK, OK. How about “denounce”?

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: “Deplore”?

Harf: Sorry.

Psaki: Wait, how many times have they done this?

Harf: Do you really want me to answer that?

Psaki: No, no… I don’t. OK, “bemoan”?

Harf: Nah.

Psaki: We’ve used “bemoan”? What kind of press secretary would use that? Jesus.

Harf: I know, right??

Psaki: “Lament”?

Harf: Not sure, but I just shiver at the thought of what Matt Lee might say about that.

Psaki: Yuck.

Harf: I know. Yuck. Matt Lee. Blechhh…

Psaki: “Disapprove”?

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: “Regret”?

Harf: Ha, you’re funny.

Psaki: “Oppose”.

Harf: Nah, don’t forget AIPAC.

Psaki: Fuck!

Harf: I know, ri–

Psaki: –Shut up, Marie!

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Israeli right-wing politician: ‘Annex territories, grant Palestinians citizenship’ http://972mag.com/israeli-right-wing-politician-annex-territories-grant-palestinians-citizenship/96102/ http://972mag.com/israeli-right-wing-politician-annex-territories-grant-palestinians-citizenship/96102/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:45:32 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=96102 Israeli right-wing politician and former IDF general Efi Eitam has made remarks that few would have expected to hear from him.

Effi Eitam (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Effi Eitam (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Former IDF general and politician Efi Eitam is known for his extreme right-wing views and sharp tongue. From calling Arabs a “ticking bomb” to a “cancer,” Eitam has never shown much warmth for his neighbors.

Which is why it was surprising to read reports from the national religious website Srugim, quoting Eitam as saying the following remarks in a panel held last night to commemorate Berl Katznelson:

The State of Israel should annex Judea and Samaria and grant full citizenship to all Palestinians. Demography is not a numerical predestination, it is an expression of the joie de vivre of the nation. When a nation is happy, its number of children grows, that’s why I’m not scared of demography. Whoever can’t live with Arabs is not a partner of mine.

I trust the Arab public in Israel, it has proved itself. I have no fear of a bi-national state, the solution is not B-class citizens nor high fences. It is a simple and humane solution, Palestinians must be granted full rights and should vote for the Knesset. Whoever truly wants peace, should agree to accept more Arab citizens to his state, and whoever is part of the State of Israel whose borders need to be between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for many reasons, needs to be a citizen with full rights and obligations.

Now, I’m not that naive to believe everything coming out of Eitam’s mouth. The bi-national state he talks about is probably not exactly what we think it is. But since there are more and more voices on the right talking about one state, it’s important to listen, find the nuances, and try to understand where these people really stand.

Is the right going through a major shift in ideology – or is this a different way of reaching the same target? My money’s on the latter, but… never say never?

What is the Israeli Right’s one-state vision?
Bennet’s response to Palestinian UN bid: Annexation
Palestinians repopulate Jordan Valley village, in protest of looming annexation

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Scores of Israelis injured in ‘Showing Empathy’ challenge [satire] http://972mag.com/scores-of-israelis-injured-in-showing-empathy-challenge-satire/95948/ http://972mag.com/scores-of-israelis-injured-in-showing-empathy-challenge-satire/95948/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:28:02 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=95948 Dozens of Israelis have shared videos of themselves attempting to show empathy for Palestinian dead as part of the latest craze on social media, only to need medical service themselves.

When Alex from Ramat Gan posted his video challenging Israelis to say “It’s horrible to see Gazan children die” – but without saying the word “but” afterwards – he never thought the attempt to gap bridges would cause so much pain and injury.

“I saw the ALS challenge being so successful, I thought I could do something similar in this field. I just wanted to put something out there to show that we Israelis actually do give a damn, so I started the SE – Showing Empathy – challenge,” Alex told +972, “but I didn’t know it was going to be so hard for people.”

As of yesterday, over 200 Israelis have been rushed to hospital with various tongue injuries after attempting the challenge.

Rivka, from Petah Tikva, told +972: “I twied not to fay fa word ‘but’ like Alex did in his wideo, but fen my tongue got all tangled up and I had to caw fa pawamedics.”

Some injuries weren’t all tongue related. David from Tel Aviv said that “I really tried not to say it, but when I got to the word ‘die’ I felt this uncontrollable urge to say something more. I put my hands over my mouth, but it wasn’t working, I could feel the ‘but’ coming out, so I tried to turn off the camera before it happened and tripped over my sofa.” David has three fractured ribs and a sprained ankle and is still recovering in hospital.

Another patient in the bed next to David was recovering from reconstruction surgery to her tongue after biting so hard on it in an attempt to avoid saying “but,” she cut the vital organ in two.

Today Alex is asking people not to attempt taking the challenge. “So far I’m the only one who’s succeeded. I just don’t want people to hurt themselves anymore. Enough is enough. Children are dying, but it’s just not worth it. Oh shit. Did I just say that? Can you take that out?”

‘Living with political depression in Tel Aviv is harder than dying in Gaza’
Even Israel’s top satire show thinks ‘apartheid’ is the word

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Not even a ‘bump on the wing’ these days when killing Palestinians http://972mag.com/not-even-a-bump-on-the-wing-these-days-when-killing-palestinians/95778/ http://972mag.com/not-even-a-bump-on-the-wing-these-days-when-killing-palestinians/95778/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:06:36 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=95778 No one in Israel really talks about the killing of innocent Palestinians anymore. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

On Tuesday, the IDF attempted to kill Mohammed Deif, the military leader of Hamas in Gaza, by dropping five one-tonne bombs on a home. As these lines are written it is not yet clear whether Deif was killed. What can be said with certainty, however, is that his wife and eight-month-old son definitely were.

Deif has been on Israel’s wanted list for years. On Tuesday night it saw a chance, and despite the fact that it knew of other innocent civilians in the building, it went after him. The decision was made.

And as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, this is not the first time.

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

But no one in Israel really talks about these things anymore. I say this because I remember a time when we used to. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

I was reminded of this recently after watching a short documentary made by military analyst Yoav Limor for Israel’s Channel  2, called “The Human Shield.” If you understand Hebrew I highly recommend watching it, for it gives deep insight into the chilling justifications and rationalizations Israelis make for killing innocent people.

One poignant segment is that of human rights attorney Michael Sfard, who compares what is happening in Gaza today to what happened in 2002 when Israel killed then-Hamas military chief Salah Shehadeh. Sfard points out that there was a debate about the morality of killing Shehadeh, who died together with 14 innocent people that day, many of them children.

I’ve been writing for years about what this country is turning into before my eyes. The total lack of empathy for suffering on the other side is a result of deeply ingrained racism. In my eyes the Israeli response, or shall I say the lack of it, to the recent massacres in Gaza is the epitome of the unraveling of Israeli society over the past decade.

The Hebrew Wikipedia entry on the assassination of Shehadeh in 2002 states that the killing “gained criticism among left wingers in Israel.”

That wasn’t the only thing that happened back then. There were threats of taking pilots, officers and politicians to The Hague for war crimes. It also prompted the famous “Pilots Letter,” in which IDF pilots refused to take part in targeted killings. And there was even an inquiry panel that was formed, only to obviously point out that all was OK.

But probably the most memorable reaction to the assassination was that of then-Israeli Air Force Chief Dan Halutz (who later became Chief of Staff). When asked what he felt when he dropped a bomb on civilians, this is what he had to say:

No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.

That was 2002. A one-tonne bomb, on one building.

Fast forward to July-August 2014. The IDF is dropping hundreds of one-tonne bombs over Gaza, but nobody is talking about it.

The Shejaiya neighborhood, wiped out like Dresden.

It’s a given. It just happens.

There’s no debate. No second thoughts.

Take a look at the picture below. Based on data from B’Tselem, it shows members of families killed in their homes in 59 incidents of bombing or shelling. In these incidents, 458 people were killed, including 108 women under the age of 60, 214 minors and 18 people over the age of 60.


B’Tselem figures for Palestinian families bombed at home, Gaza, July-August 2014 (initial figures)

Twelve years ago when we murdered innocent people, there were some people who were bothered by it. They raised their voices. They did something. It made it into the media. There was a debate.

There was more than a “bump in the wing.”

But now?

Now Israelis couldn’t care less.

Read aloud the names of the Abu Jame’ family, then tell me this isn’t a war crime
When ‘not in my name’ is all you have in the face of a massacre
Don’t cry for me: A letter from a little girl in Gaza

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