My first substantive encounter with the oppressive Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories came several years ago at an event held in the local Dutch Reformed Church here in Brooklyn, New York. Till then, what I knew about Israeli policies and actions in the West Bank and in Gaza had relied heavily on mainstream media reports. But the event that night featured two speakers, both Israelis, one an 18-year-old about to be drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces, the other a middle-aged American who had lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Israel. The younger man intended to refuse service in the Israeli army and expected to receive a jail sentence in consequence. The older man had already served time in the reserves. The church was mostly full, the pews largely filled with people sympathetic to the Palestinian plight. But a substantial contingent critical of what the speakers had been saying later turned up in the rear of the church and made themselves heard. One woman was especially vocal, shouting “cal-UM-ny! cal-UM-ny!” in an attempt to drown out the speaker. A lone policeman assigned to the event restored order….
My latest piece for Eclectica.
“I recently read there are plaques, brass plates, embedded in the sidewalks of Berlin, that contain the names of people who were removed from those addresses and taken to Nazi concentration camps. This got me to wondering what our own cities would look like if we commemorated in a similar fashion the human beings America has systematically killed or enslaved….” (read more)
It’s about the way we not only fail to acknowledge our own, American genocides but how we use our immigrants as facilitators for our denial.
Let me know what you think.