Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter
November 4, 2023
This issue: Dehumanization and humanity
Gaza, O Gaza! What else could this newsletter be about except Gaza?
A hyper-militarized state, with a 75-year track record of ethnic cleansing, extreme violence, and violating international law with total impunity, is now crossing the final red line. We are witnessing genocide. How many dead will it take before the ‘international community’ intervenes? We already know the answer. Even when the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly votes for a ceasefire – a mere ceasefire, nothing more – the killing continues without pause, because there is no ‘international community’ – the only power than counts is the United States, with a few obedient client states, like Canada, trailing in its wake.
The more the killing goes on, the more eagerly Israel’s accomplices – among them, U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and, not wanting to be left out, Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly – rush to Israel to genuflect and signal their approval of the slaughter.
Emboldened by these gestures of submission, Israel’s leaders continue to push even further, reassured that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, they won’t be permitted to do. An Israeli leader openly speaks of preparing a ‘Shoah’ for the Palestinians. Shoah is not a word that slips out accidentally when an Israeli is speaking. They know what they are saying, and they mean what they say.
Others speak of bringing about a second Nakba, even more far-reaching than the Nakba of 1947. The Palestinians, they say, are “cockroaches” and “human animals.” The use of nerve gas against a civilian population is openly discussed among Israel’s military planners; the only objection raised is that it might accidentally kill Israeli soldiers as well. Questioned about the morality of bombing defenseless civilians, they point to Allied bombing in World War II. Dresden and Hiroshima were annihilated, they say: why should Israel settle for a lower body count? There are answers to that question, but they won’t come from politicians who are busy applauding mass murder.
What is there to say, except that we need to protest against governments that don’t speak for us? When governments and media do everything they can do dehumanize Palestinians, we are called on to remember the common bond of humanity that links us to Palestinians, and to act accordingly.
The mainstream media report on world events as if history started last week. Hamas’ break-out from the Gaza ghetto in which Israel has imprisoned the people of Gaza for the last 16 years, is reported as if it was inexplicable. The daily humiliations and restrictions imposed on Palestinians by the apartheid state that has ruled their lives for decades are ignored or brushed aside, as is the intensification of settler violence in the West Bank, where almost-daily pogroms are now a reality of Palestinians’ lives.
To provide some needed context, this issue of Other Voices looks at the history of Israel’s blockade and Israeli violence against Gaza, presenting articles that appeared on the Connexions website over the past 16 years. We hope they will help to counter the historical amnesia fostered by the mainstream media.
We also feature material which is concerned, not with violence, but with the rich cultural life of the people of Gaza. “Unprovoked Narratives” is an online collection of short films assembled by the Palestine Film Institute. Watching them reminds us, if we need reminding, that the people of Gaza are full of life and imagination. Watching them today is nonetheless painful, because almost certainly some of the people we will see in these films will have been killed, or had family members killed, in the last three weeks. More will die in the weeks to come.
We are witnessing genocide. We need to act.
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Featured articles: a history of violence
A Brief History of Israel-Palestine Conflict
Norman Finkelstein speaks at a Teach-In on Gaza, Israel, and Hamas, October 17, 2023. He provides a succinct history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with a focus on the Gaza component.
Abandoned in the Cold and Dark – Gaza 2013
December 2013: Dylan Murphy writes: “The world has forgotten Gaza, its women and children. The people of Gaza are being crushed under the Israeli blockade which severely restricts essential supplies coming into the strip. The blockade is as bad as the war; it’s like a slow death for everyone in Gaza.”
Massacres and Morality – Gaza 2018
This article, written in 2018, at the time of a previous Israeli massacre in Gaza, asks “What can one say about the morality of Israeli soldiers who shoot unarmed protestors, and then are caught on camera cheering their kills? And how do we judge the civilian population of Israel, many of whom openly support and cheer their soldiers as they go about their work of killing Palestinians? And what can we say about the political leaders of other countries, Canada say, who sit down and smile and make deals with officials of the Israeli government at the very moment that the killing is going on?”
To the family of the one thousandth victim of Israel's genocidal slaughter – Gaza 2014
Ilan Pappe writes: “This is 2014 — the destruction of Gaza is well documented. This is not 1948 when Palestinians had to struggle hard to tell their story of horror; so many of the crimes Zionist committed then were hidden and never came to light, even until today. So my first and simple pledge is to record, inform and insist on the truth. But surely this is not enough. I pledge to continue the effort to boycott a state that commits such crimes.
Health care and children in crisis – Gaza 2007
Two health care providers write about the children suffering under Israeli’s endless acts of violence against the people of Gaza. The children of Gaza witness and experience traumatic violence, and the threat of violence, day after day, week after week with no end and with no place of safety. Every single day, Israeli war planes thunder overhead. Every child knows that the noise of a plane may be followed by a bomb being dropped, and that the bomb may kill them, or a member of their family. The trauma never ends.
The Connexions website features many articles and books on Palestine, Israel, and related topics. This page is a starting point for further exploration.
The Connexions subject index also provides multiple entry points for further research, under headings such as Ethnic Cleansing, Gaza, Israel, Nakba, Palestine, and War Crimes.
A series of films which celebrate the beauty of Gaza, its people, its struggle and its survival. This program was created to resist and defy those who would demonize and dehumanize the people of Gaza. The films depict the extraordinary human determination to lead ordinary meaningful lives even in conditions of extreme oppression. Find the films here.
Keywords: Palestinians - Resistance.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
By Ilan Pappe
Israeli historian Ilan Pappe says that, though the modern "communication-driven world" does not allow for large-scale crimes against humanity to be completely hidden, the crimes committed by Israel -- the dispossession of the Palestinians -- has been denied and almost completely erased from the global public memory. Pappe gives a detailed description of events in Palestine from 1948 onwards, stressing that the main goal of the Zionist movement was ethnic cleansing, and that Palestinian suffering has been totally ignored ever since 1948. The book contains a chronology of key dates, illustrations, maps, and tables to support its argument.
Keywords: Ethnic Cleansing - Nakba
The Ghetto Fights, by Marek Edelman
Marek Edelman was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, when fighters in the community revolted and attacked the Germans who had imprisoned them in the ghetto. When the uprising was crushed, Edelman was able to escape through a tunnel. In this memoir he describes the history of the uprising, and its eventual defeat. He writes: “The site where the buildings of the ghetto had once stood became a ragged heap of rubble reaching three storeys high. Those who were killed in action had done their duty to the end, to the last drop of blood that soaked into the pavements of the Warsaw ghetto. We, who did not perish, leave it up to you to keep the memory of them alive--forever.”
Keywords: Revolts - Warsaw Ghetto
Catilin Johnstone’s daily articles focus especially on exposing the establishment narrative control apparatus. She offers trenchant analysis of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, on the Russia-Ukraine war, and on the danger that the conflicts instigated and escalated by the US/NATO alliance will spiral out of control.
Find her here.
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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here.
This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.
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