No more free passes for Israel

Posted Jan. 09, 2009, at 5:22 p.m.

Every day I look for letters from the Maine Jewish community condemning Israel’s genocidal bombing of trapped, starving Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children. The Israelis are even bombing schools and hospitals.

Such barbarism must surely be repulsive to many in Maine’s Jewish communities, but I search in vain for a word from them.

I am so sickened by what the Israeli government has been doing since 1947 to the Palestinians, who have lived there for thousands of years, that I can scarcely bear to read or think about what’s going on now. But we must speak out when we know something is wrong, or we lose our humanity.

No more free passes for Israel.

Israel has caged in the Palestinians, cut off their food and electricity, smashed down people’s houses, killed United Nations and other aid workers, built a wall separating farmers from their land and built illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands. Now it is attacking with white phosphorus (causing terrible burns), fully armored troops, and U.S.-built bombs dropped from U.S.-supplied fighter jets.

The American government gives Israel billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars every year. I say not one penny more until they act like a civilized nation and stop killing their neighbors— the Palestinians and other Arabs with whom they share that region — who are their close relatives, after all.

Israel brags that it runs our country, especially now that Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship. Where do his loyalties lie?

If American Jews do not speak out against the slaughter of children in schools and in their beds, they are complicit in those acts. The Israeli government purports to act for world Jewry, so Jews have a special responsibility to condemn atrocities committed in their name.

And yet we wait for Maine’s Jewish community to speak out.

While not a Jew, I’m on an e-mail list for Tikkun magazine, edited by Rabbi Michael Lerner. He is also a voice for Interfaith Spiritual Progressives and has inveighed against this invasion and slaughter, www.tikkun.org.

I urge everyone to read that Web site and the Web sites (listed on the Tikkun site) of Jewish peace groups in Israel. They’re speaking out more openly than American Jews, who seem afraid to do so.

Read what these Jewish peace people are saying. Then say what you know to be true: that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is wrong, wrong, wrong, and deserves to be condemned.

Nancy Oden lives in Jonesboro. Her e-mail is cleanearth@acadia.net.

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