Do Palestinian Children Cry Differently Than Israeli Children?By David Shavin
Nov. 8—“There is a limit to the tyrant’s power.”—Friedrich Schiller
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time.”—Abraham Lincoln
There is a certainly deep abiding optimism in these sayings; however, in some dark, bleak periods of human events—as in the current daily, grinding, relentless mass murder of women, children and the elderly in Gaza—it would appear they are just fine sayings, not really applicable to real life.
Over the last month, over 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza died from Israel’s military campaign, more than 7,500 of them women, children and the elderly. It is tough to claim that those are Hamas warriors. As the world watches in horror, the actual proportion of deaths amongst Gaza’s women, children and elderly has climbed from 67% to now greater than 73%. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t yielded to embarrassment or any normal sense of humanity. The UN states that, on average, 160 Gazan children die this way every day now. If Gaza’s population were as big as the U.S. population, that would be the U.S. equivalent of 23,000 children a day. In a way, it is as if the whole world gets addicted to watching “snuff” films.
Yesterday, the majority of the House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an American of Palestinian heritage, for raising the issue of Israel’s mass killings of Gaza’s civilians, the illegality of “collective guilt”—but really, for intruding upon the fantasy life of jaded politicians. Tlaib, in an “Alice in Wonderland” House session yesterday, didn’t bend: “I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human beings just like anyone else…. The cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me. What I don’t understand is why the cries of Palestinians sound different to you all. We cannot lose our shared humanity…. I will not be silenced and I will not let you distort my words. Trying to bully or censor me won’t work.”
Today, over 100 staffers and officials from Capitol Hill walked off their jobs to hold a public vigil for the over 10,000 Palestinian and over 1,300 Israeli deaths of the last month. They explained that they handle all the calls from the American population, but their bosses won’t listen. They have no recourse but to publicly call out their bosses, and demand a ceasefire. Evidently they also wonder about the hearing of their bosses—and they themselves apparently find that they do hear Palestinian and Israeli children to cry in much the same way. Those who don’t believe there is such a thing as a “shared humanity” are simply racists.
So, why is it that you can not fool all the people all the time? It turns out that, were such to happen, there would be no world (and you wouldn’t be around to do such a thing). Enough people really do have to connect to reality often enough for societies to survive. Tyrants who must breed subservience end up with a population incapable of surviving. And it turns out that the universe requires mankind’s moral choice to find its mission in being fruitful and multiplying and having dominion over nature.
The U.S. Congress can be broken free from its “snuff film” addiction, and it is key to the U.S. laying down the law to the serial criminal offender Benjamin Netanyahu. There should be no letup in the mobilization for a ceasefire, but the key is that the universe requires mankind to turn deserts into green, fertile oases. Failure to hear how the universe cries has left Jews and Palestinians to fight over scraps of desert. Our shared humanity can do better.