Will Jews be Blamed for Gaza?January 15th, 2009

If all Gazans are to be held accountable for a small army of rocket-launching fighters, might not all Jews also be held accountable for the retribution meted out to Gazans by the Jewish state?

There are towns in Israel that are so close to the city-sized strip of Mediterranean coast known as Gaza that they are within range of conventional weapons of war. In response to a blockade by sea, land and air imposed by Israel, Gazan soldiers have been assembling at the border to lob rockets on the neighboring Israeli towns. These soldiers, many of whose families were evicted from these very same towns, don’t have guided missiles or airplanes, and their bullets and artillery don’t have the range to reach populated areas, and so they fire rockets, which make a lot of noise but seldom harm anyone.

Israel, unwilling to interrupt its blockade–extended a few months ago to keep out news reporters–and unable to tolerate the rockets, is now killing Gazans, with the expectation that the rockets will stop if enough Gazans are killed. Since Gaza is smaller than New York City and contains over a million people, it’s impossible to confine the killing to the neighborhoods where the rockets originate. Because news reporters are forbidden to enter, the death toll is a matter of rumor, but pictures tell us that hundreds of the dead are children.

Despite the blatant pro-Israel bias of America’s embedded mass media, there are indications that the devastation of Gaza is pushing public opinion away from Israel and, necessarily, toward a critical view of Jews. Open criticism of the Jewish religion is still rare, but public opinion can turn on a dime, and if the Western world equates Jewry with oppression and brutality, the results could be catastrophic. The status of Arab-Americans after 9/11 stands as an object lesson. Jewish opponents of Israel’s war policy seem to sense this, but their voices are faint alongside the din of war.

The sad truth is that many non-Jews are aching to believe that God’s chosen people, steeped in eye-for-eye-tooth-for-tooth doctrine, earned the world’s contempt in the first half of the 20th Century. Seemingly liberal-minded Americans and Europeans are pointing to the holocaust in Gaza as evidence in mitigation of Germany’s crimes against humanity. Each time Israel drops a bomb on a neighborhood, each time the world sees little Arab coffins lined up for burial, that sentiment gains a little more traction.