My father had just one family member who survived after being deported to Auschwitz.
His cousin’s name was Channah and she was an Israeli and also a seeker of peace.
My cousin Channah was young and beautiful and was just 14 years old, when she arrived at Auschwitz. She survived and she bore witness.
Channah was raped and beaten by the Nazi concentration camp guards. She was given the
ironic and terrible reward of an “easy job” at the camp after that. That work was to sort through the possessions of those who had been sent to the gas chamber. Among the items which she sorted were the belongings of my grandparents, her aunt and uncle.
At the war’s end, the survivors were sent to various displaced persons camps.
Channah met the man who would become her husband and bore her first child there. After
some time, they were allowed to emigrate to what was then Palestine. They were refugees from unspeakable horror and were most definitely not “settler colonialists.” Unfortunately, this must be stated today.
Channah was an Israeli who built loving relationships with Palestinian neighbors.
In later years when the family moved closer to Tel Aviv, I was able to spend a summer with her as a teenager.
I remember sitting with her and a Palestinian woman who was her dear friend .
We sat each afternoon, in her beautiful Ramat Gan garden, drinking strong black coffee which the two friends referred to as Arab coffee. We talked always of peace.
Today, It must be said that Netanyahu does not talk of peace. His defense minister has called
the Palestinian people “animals.”
These men do not speak for me, nor for my family…And yet, the slaughter of innocents by Hamas on Oct. 7 is the personification of true evil.
The murder, rape, mutilation, and kidnapping of innocent people- women, elders, children, and babies can never be called resistance.
Hamas knew full well that the Palestinian people would suffer incalculable losses when Israel responded to their attacks.
Sadly, they do not care about their own people any more than they do Israelis.
Here in the United States, at our elite universities, we see students march, fists raised in
solidarity with Hamas. They chant “from the river to the sea…”, but who are these privileged white trust fund babies?
Many of their own families’ fortunes are derived from slavery or exploitation and the plunder of native peoples in America.
They have no skin in this game when it comes to Israel/Palestine.
I wonder where was their outrage at genocidal atrocities by the Saudi regime in Yemen? The silence was deafening as catastrophe unfolded in Sudan and Darfur.
It continues for the most part, as Iran murders its women and activists.
I believe that criticism of Israel is necessary and that war can not become an excuse for collective punishment of civilians, but Hamas must be defeated.
A serious effort at bringing about a two state solution must begin anew. This can never happen until the jihadists are replaced with real leaders.
Israeli leadership must also be replaced.
The Netanyahu government is corrupt and dangerous. I fear for all of those trapped now in Gaza, both its people and the kidnapped.
The cynical politics in the Middle East today as well as a long history of proxy wars-are relished by Neo fascists the world over.
We expect this from the extreme right, but the pain at this historical juncture, for progressive American Jews, has come from those we have considered allies on the left.
Our world is too dangerous a place for a historical oversimplification and a refusal to confront complexity.
We must continue to work to defeat White Supremacists and anti-democratic forces here at home, but the full on embrace of Islamic jihad by elements of the left is disturbing. There is far too much at stake.