By Dahlia Wasfi
December 31, 2008 "Information Clearinghouse" -- --Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic. But I’m not talking about World War II, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, or Ashkenazi Jews. What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the last 60 years. By definition, a holocaust is a mass slaughter of people or a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life, especially through fire. There isn’t a more accurate description of the hell that US-armed and –funded Israeli Occupation Forces are unleashing on the people of Gaza at this moment. Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.
If you think I’m being grandiose, let us look at the words of Matan Vilnai, Israel’s Deputy Defense [sic] Minister, from February of this year: "The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” In Hebrew, “shoah” refers to the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940's. But massive airstrikes are not self-defense if you are the aggressor. That goes for the whole stupid so-called “War on Terror,” in which not a single one of its victims had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001. That goes for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; that goes for Israel in Palestine.
And that goes for Germany in Poland. In 1940, the Germans began massing Polish Jews into ghettoes prior to their deportation to extermination camps. The largest one was the Warsaw Ghetto, where an uprising—a Jewish insurgency—began in 1943. Today, Gaza is essentially a large ghetto, with a population of around 1.5 million living on about 139 square miles. Israel controls Gaza’s land border, airspace, water, maritime access, and the flow of goods including food and medical supplies. Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the people of Gaza, slowly starving them to death, slowly killing them by denial of medical care amidst intermittent gunship airstrikes. These crimes against humanity are, of course, in violation of the Geneva Conventions—international law established after World War II in the spirit of “never again.” Unlike in Warsaw, Gaza is not the staging area for the extermination camps; Gaza IS the extermination camp.
Qassam rockets fired from Gaza as retaliation for Israeli F-16 airstrikes are the equivalent of the Molotov cocktails used by the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. Like the small arms of the Polish Jews, they are no match for the sophisticated weaponry of the invading army. This is why the death toll is so high for the people on the ground in Gaza, and minimal for Israelis. The mainstream media is depicting this as an “all-out war,” as it depicts the illegal occupation of Iraq. But in both cases, you have a starving, essentially unarmed people being assaulted with F-15s/F-16s, cruise missiles, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, tanks, and artillery. This is not war; this is mass murder; this is genocide. And it is American military, financial, and political support that makes this bloodletting possible.
From North America to Germany to Cambodia to Rwanda to Palestine to Iraq, mass murder is wrong. When Americans are looking for whom to blame, we cannot blame the victims. Yes, there are many players involved and many governments turning a blind eye to genocide, but don’t we brag about how much better we are than that? Shouldn’t we stop being complicit in these supreme crimes against humanity? All we have to do is abide by our own laws, which include all signed international treaties and agreements. We must end our illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop funding and providing armaments for the illegal occupation and stealth of Palestinian land. In the words of Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American college student who was murdered in Rafah by the Israeli Occupation Forces on March 16, 2003:
“…Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world…So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.”
Let us heed her brave wisdom, and end illegal occupation. If we fail to act, then the next time someone flies airplanes into American buildings, let us not ask ignorantly, “Why do they hate us?”
Dahlia Wasfi was born in the United States in 1971 to an American Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Dr. Wasfi speaks out in support of immediate, unconditional withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and the need to end the occupation “from the Nile to the Euphrates.” Her website is www.liberatethis.com .