Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Hate Crimes and War Crimes

July 30, 2006

Friday’s shooting at a Seattle Jewish center was particularly disheartening to me and shook my interfaith optimism… Deep down, I can’t help but wonder if this type of attack is actually demonstrating how violence around the world can come to affect us here at home.

I was elated to read that Seattle law enforcement is treating the shooting as a hate crime, based on the shooter’s comments to the 911 operator and the victims. The whole thing is reminiscent of the anti-Muslim and anti-Indian harassment and crimes (and even murder) that occurred across the country after 9/11. This isn’t just a Jewish issue – all of us from all faiths should step forward to condemn this type of attack because it is wrong, and the next hateful attack could be on any one of us.

I only hope that publicity about this horrible crime will change the minds of those on the right (and some on the left) who are opposed to hate crime legislation. We need to reinvigorate the debate about why it’s important to treat crimes targeting certain racial, ethnic, or religious groups differently (and more harshly) than other crimes. Punishing hate crimes preserves America’s ideals as a pluralistic and tolerant society that welcomes people of all backgrounds.

Today’s tragic attacks by Israel in Qana, Lebanon cost the lives of at least 56 innocent civilians, including 34 children. It is past the time for President Bush and Secretary Rice to intervene and force a cease-fire. All I saw on Meet the Press this morning were excuses, excuses, and more excuses on all sides. These innocent children were being shoved back and forth – “It’s Israel’s fault,” or “It’s Hezbollah’s fault,” or “human shields,” or “disproportionate response,” or “It’s tragic, but…”

None of this matters – they were children, they were hiding because their families couldn’t get them out of the city… and did I mention that they were children? It does not matter what nationality they were or whose fault it was, it’s time we stop the violence and bring all parties to the table. Israel’s actions today are disproportionate and against international human rights standards.  Granted, Hezbollah can be called guilty of the same.  We as Americans should use our clout for peace, stop the slaughtering of innocents, and stop Israel from radicalizing another generation of young Muslims through its disproportionate use of force against civilians, this time in Lebanon.

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Kid Oakland on Middle East violence

July 28, 2006

I have been struggling with how to respond to Seth’s comments about Lebanon and all the news since then.  I’ve come up with nothing good so far.  I did find Kid Oakland‘s powerful essay on all the Middle East violence, and it really articulates how I’ve been feeling.  For now, this passage (and the whole blog entry here) will have to do; hopefully there will be more later:

[T]he net sum of the actions in Gaza and Lebanon and Iraq send one clear message to the world as a whole. The United States, Great Britain and Israel in acting out military strikes that coldly inflict “collective punishment” on civilians in the Middle East do not value the lives of those civilians. That is the message we send to the world.

The Syrian government is such a bitch

July 15, 2006

Way to go, Syria. First you financially and militarily support Hezbollah. Then you encourage them to get all uppity, which then causes them to invade Israel, capture a couple soldiers, and kill a few more. This enrages the Israelis, who are not known for their sense of humor and chilled-out-itude about such things. They go over-the-top bonkers. Then they take it out on all of Lebanon, fucking up the country because they won’t disarm Hezbollah (which they don’t have the will/desire/strength to do). Then, while your neighbor is getting its ass kicked because of someone else’s actions, you offer to help pay to rebuild.

In summary, Syria stokes the flames in someone else’s house, gives plenty of gasoline, and then once the house is burning, offers to chip in for the damage, while still giving more gas. Seems sorta hypocritical.

My advice (see Sara, I can give my opinion even when I’ll be ignored by who I’m talking to and still feel good about it): Israel: stop attacking Beirut and killing tons of civillians and fucking up infrastructure doesn’t convince Lebanon that Hezbollah sucks, they already know that. Syria: stop backing Hezbollah and causing devastation in other countries. Lebanon: duck and cover. Hezbollah: fuck off, you’re a terrible house guest.

Even though I joke a bit, my heart goes out to the families of those killed on all sides.

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