gaza building
If you've ever taken a lifesaving course, you know there's a real possibility that a drowning person will drag you under and you'll both die. It's a lesson that should be kept in mind when discussing America's relationship with Israel. (adapted from)@LarryBoorstein
On Monday, Israel intensified its airstrikes on Rafah, bombing more than 50 sites in the heart of the city. Video footage on Twitter showed plumes of smoke rising from the makeshift encampments and residential buildings where more than 1.4 million refugees are presently huddled in the most densely populated place on earth. Israel's air campaign was accompanied by a sizable ground-offensive that deployed tanks and armored vehicles to the southern border where Israeli troops quickly seized the Rafah Crossing without resistance.

The sudden uptick in violence has triggered widespread panic among the Palestinians many of who have already gathered their families and belongings onto carts and buses and fled northward to safety. The opening assault on the civilian enclave is reminiscent of earlier attacks on Gaza City and Khan Younis both of which followed a similar pattern. The launching of random bombings is designed to amplify feelings of terror within the population while the humanitarian blockade tightens the stranglehold on critical food and medical supplies. The objective here is not to kill as many Palestinians as possible, but to force them into sprawling tent cities where they will languish amid the rubble until the international community finds a way to spirit them out of the country. For Israel, the endgame has always been ethnic cleansing, a comprehensive erasure of the native population. The ground invasion of Rafah represents the final phase of that maniacal strategy. This is from an article at the World Socialist Web Site:
The assault on Rafah comes despite the acceptance by Hamas Monday of a proposal for a temporary cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of hostages. But after spending weeks attempting to blame the Palestinians for the ongoing war, Israeli officials flatly rejected the proposal....

In response to the murderous Israeli onslaught, multiple US officials reiterated their unlimited support for Israel. "We have always made clear that we are committed to Israel's defense," said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel on Monday. "That commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad." US reiterates "ironclad" support to Israel as Netanyahu launches assault on Rafah, World Socialist Web Site
The cynical and misleading phrase "Israel's right to defend itself" has become synonymous with the premeditated mass-murder of civilians. Most people have never seen anything as horrific as Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza which explains why college campuses across the United States have become hotbeds of political activism almost overnight. America's students now serve as the nation's conscience by opposing a flagrantly-immoral onslaught that deliberately targets defenseless women and children.

Not surprisingly, Israel has yet to produce any hard evidence that their 7 month-long bloodbath has killed even one Hamas militant. Instead, we are expected to believe the unverified claims of IDF spokesmen who have proven themselves to be thoroughly unreliable time and time again. For all we know, the Hamas death figures are completely fabricated like the "40 beheaded babies" or the numerous fictitious rape allegations. All of these elaborate hoaxes have turned out to be part of a twisted, public relations campaign aimed at building support for Israel's relentless butchery.

In fact, there is no reason to believe that Israel's operation has anything to do with Hamas at all. Hamas is merely a pretext for corralling the Palestinians and driving them out of Gaza. That's the real goal.

But while surveys show that a large majority of the global population opposes Israel's demented crusade, that is not the case in Israel. A recent article by Philip Giraldi stated that "92% of Israelis fully support the slaughter of the Palestinians by Netanyahu and his psychopaths." Author Norman Finkelstein has largely corroborated Giraldi's findings but provided more detail in a recent interview on You Tube. Here's what he said:
"It's not just the Israeli state. If you look at the Israeli society... overwhelmingly supports the genocidal war in Gaza. It's about 95% of the Jewish Israelis who support the war. ... I have to admit, I was astonished when I read the numbers... As of January, only 3.2 percent of Jewish Israelis believe the IDF is using too much firepower in Gaza. Can you believe those numbers? As of January, when the case had already reached the ICJ on the question of genocide, only 3.2 percent of Jewish Israelis believed the IDF was using too much firepower in Gaza. So, when people blame Netanyahu for the insanity ...that is a misrepresentation of the facts.... The whole population agrees with what Netanyahu is doing. (Finkelstein also reports that 60% of Jewish Israelis oppose even providing Palestinians with humanitarian aid.) Norman Finkelstein on Israel Palestine, YouTube 55:10 min

In a 2-minute video on Rumble, Finkelstein provided even more interesting datapoints which help to illustrate the monstrous character of the current Israeli rampage. Not surprisingly, his remarks were scrubbed from You Tube but presented instead on a smaller "free speech" platform called Rumble. Here's part of what he said:
I have very little sympathy for what has become of that state. It's a satanic state.... If you look at every metric: Intensity of bombing; Payload of bombs; Imprecision of bombs; Destruction of civilian infrastructure; Ratio of civilians to combatants killed; Ratio of women and children to total numbers killed. By every metric,... what Israel is doing in Gaza is in a class all of its own. ...They are killing people in a concentration camp. They are killing people in a concentration camp. They can't go anywhere. They can't flee. Norman Finkelstein on the Satanic state of Israel, Rumble

What are we to make of this? After all, Americans are constantly being told that Israelis are just like them, and that we share the same western values and western beliefs. So, why the vast discrepancy? Why, for example, do 75% of Democrats now oppose Israel's action in Gaza (Majority in U.S. Now Disapprove of Israeli Action in Gaza, Gallup) while an overwhelming majority of Israelis think the bloodletting should continue? And why do we constantly hear Israeli political leaders and senior-level bureaucrats denigrating Palestinians in the most vitriolic and hateful language? And, finally, why do we see a myriad of videos on social media of Israelis celebrating the destruction of Palestinian hospitals, universities and mosques, or blocking food trucks headed for Gaza, or gleefully mugging for a camera while mistreating the prisoners in their care? How do we explain this phenomenon? What twisted ideology has poisoned the minds of these people that they would treat others with such egregious inhumanity? (Check out this video of joyous Israelis celebrating the invasion of Rafah.)

Scenes like this (in the video) are bound to make ordinary people scratch their heads and wonder why the Israelis are so happy that their army is being used to crush a civilian population. What glory is there in that?

None at all. Many people are equally baffled when they hear Israeli politicians spew their loathing for Palestinians while making the case that women and children deserve the same punishment as Hamas. Where does that wellspring of hatred come from? And why would anyone in their right-mind want to block humanitarian aid trucks from delivering food to starving women and children? How sick is that?

How do people get this way? What sort of social environment produces people who celebrate sadistic acts of brutality and cruelty?

Author Lawrence Davidson helps to answer these questions by showing how the transplanting of mainly European Jews to Palestine created "cultural and 'racial' incubators for an 'us (superior) vs. them (inferior)'" which is fairly common among settler populations. Here's more:
The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and (as such) had acquired the West's cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.....This sense of superiority would play an important role when a deal (the Balfour Declaration) (in which), the British would... help create a "Jewish national home" in Palestine... other European colonies, where large numbers of Europeans resided, the era following World War II saw their eventual evacuation as power shifted over to the natives....Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, this process of de-colonization never occurred.....

Soon thereafter, the Zionists began executing a prepared plan to conquer the "Holy Land" and chase away or subjugate the native population. And what of that imperial point of view which saw the European as superior and the native as inferior? This became institutionalized in the practices of the new Israeli state....

That made Israel one of the very few ... self-identified "Western" nation states to continue to implement old-style imperial policies: they discriminated against the Palestinian population in every way imaginable, pushed them into enclosed areas of concentration and sought to control their lives in great detail.

If one wants to know what this meant for the evolving character of Israel's citizenry who now would live out the colonial drama as an imperial power in their own right, one might take a look at a book by Sven Lindqvist entitled Exterminate All The Brutes (New Press 1996). This work convincingly shows that lording it over often resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings....

The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labeled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of "Others."

And, from the Zionist standpoint, this entire process has worked remarkably well. Today all but a handful of Israeli Jews dislike and fear the people they conquered and displaced. They wish they would go away. And, when their resistance gets just a bit too much to bear, they are now quite willing to see them put out of the way.....

Now that apartheid South Africa is no more, the Israelis are the last surviving heirs to that dreadful heritage. Origins of Israel's Anti-Arab Racism, Consortium News
Repeat: "...lording over... resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings...."

Does that sum up the Palestinian experience for the last 75 years?

It does.

And have those "genocidal yearnings" matured into a full-blown genocide transforming all of historic Palestine into a free-fire zone in which the wholesale slaughter of civilians is applauded as a struggle against Hamas?

Yes, again.

It's worth noting, that the views of other analysts are not entirely in synch with Davidson's. For example, here's how author Ron Unz responded when he was asked if he thought 'racism played a role in the way the Palestinians are treated (by Israel)?
As I discussed in a long 2018 article, the word "racism" is far too mild a term to describe the attitude of traditional Orthodox Judaism towards all non-Jews. Drawing upon the seminal work of Israeli Prof. Israel Shahak, I highlighted some important facts:

... unfortunately, there is also a far darker side, primarily involving the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, with the highly derogatory term goyim frequently used to describe the latter. To put it bluntly, Jews have divine souls and goyim do not, being merely beasts in the shape of men. Indeed, the primary reason for the existence of non-Jews is to serve as the slaves of Jews, with some very high-ranking rabbis occasionally stating this well-known fact......

Jewish lives have infinite value, and non-Jewish ones none at all, which has obvious policy implications....

My encounter a decade ago with Shahak's candid description of the true doctrines of traditional Judaism was certainly one of the most world-altering revelations of my entire life. But as I gradually digested the full implications, all sorts of puzzles and disconnected facts suddenly became much more clear....

For example, my history books had always disapprovingly mentioned Germany's Max Nordau and Italy's Cesare Lombroso as two of the founding figures of European racism and eugenics theories, but it was only very recently that I discovered that Nordau had also been the joint founder with Theodor Herzl of the world Zionist movement, while his major racialist treatise Degeneration, was dedicated to Lombroso, his Jewish mentor...

Obviously the Talmud is hardly regular reading among ordinary Jews these days...But it is important to keep in mind that until just a few generations ago, almost all European Jews were deeply Orthodox,... Highly distinctive cultural patterns and social attitudes can easily seep into a considerably wider population, especially one that remains ignorant of the origin of those sentiments, a condition enhancing their unrecognized influence. A religion based upon the principle of "Love Thy Neighbor" may or may not be workable in practice, but a religion based upon "Hate Thy Neighbor" might have long-term cultural ripple effects that extend far beyond the direct community of the deeply pious. If nearly all Jews for a thousand or two thousand years were taught to feel a seething hatred toward all non-Jews and also developed an enormous infrastructure of cultural dishonesty to mask that attitude, it is difficult to believe that such an unfortunate history has had absolutely no consequences for our present-day world, or that of the relatively recent past. The Jewish Roots of the Gaza Rampage, Ron Unz, The Unz Review
IMO, both of these answers help to explain Israel's unusual penchant for cruel and sadistic behavior.

Whether that behavior is an expression of a colonial-settler mindset that sees the occupier as inherently superior to the native people or a religious doctrine that denigrates outsiders as "merely beasts in the shape of men"; the outcome is the same. In both cases, the aggressive behavior of one group is justified in terms of his basic superiority to the other. This is the type of Nietzschean logic that allows a nation to pound an entire civilian population into dust and then try to dignify it as a 'war between equals.' What a joke. As Finkelstein says, "They are killing people in a concentration camp." Gaza is not a gladiatorial cage-match, it's the moral equivalent of a firing squad.

We also must ask ourselves why Netanyahu is pressing ahead with the Rafah operation when it has clearly exacerbated Israel's growing isolation and strained relations between Tel Aviv and Washington. The reason is, quite simply, that the plan to expel the Arab population from Palestine precedes the creation of the Jewish state by nearly 50 years. In other words, the plan to forcefully eradicate the indigenous people from their historic homeland dates back to the beginnings of Zionism itself more than a century ago. As "Zionist zealot Yosef Weitz said in 1940 - eight years before the founding of the state of Israel:
"It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples ... If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us .... The only solution is a Land...without Arabs. There is no room here for compromises... There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries ... Not one village must be left, not one tribe... There is no other solution." Israel's Architect of Ethnic Cleansing, Stefan Moore, Consortium News
Here's some additional background from Moore's column:
In 1932, when Weitz joined the Jewish National Fund, there were only 91,000 Jews in Palestine (roughly 10 percent of the population) who owned a mere 2 percent of the land.... Changing that demographic reality called for a radical two-pronged solution first, to convince the British Mandate in Palestine to allow more Jewish migration and, simultaneously, develop an efficient program to expel indigenous Palestinians."....

Thanks to Weitz's obsessive commitment to the mass expulsion of Palestinians he became known as the "architect of transfer" — a euphemism for ethnic cleansing... that would reach its apotheosis in the Nakba of 1948....

"There is no room for us with our neighbours. . . . . the only way is to cut and eradicate them [the Palestinian Arabs] from the roots...

Speaking in 1938, David Ben-Gurion ...announced in a 1938 speech:

"After we become a strong force...we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine...The state will have to preserve order - not by preaching but with machine guns."....

Plan D, it was the final Masterplan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine:

"The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be used to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers; setting fire to homes, properties, and goods; expelling residents; demolishing homes; and, finally, planting mines in the rubble to prevent the expelled inhabitants from returning..."

When it was over, more than half of Palestine's indigenous population, over 750,000 people, had been uprooted; 531 villages had been destroyed... and an estimated 10-15,000 Palestinians were dead....

....Meanwhile, the racist language used by Israel's leaders to justify the mass eradication of Palestinians remains unchanged: "We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly," spits Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant; "This is a battle, not only of Israel against these barbarians," intones Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "it is a battle of civilization against barbarism." And "There are no Palestinians, because there isn't a Palestinian people," declares Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

"It is tempting to dismiss the revival of transfer ... as the wild ravings of right-wing extremists," writes Nur-eldeen Masalha. "Such a dismissal is dangerous, however, and it is well to be reminded that the concept of transfer lies at the very heart of mainstream Zionism. Israel's Architect of Ethnic Cleansing, Stefan Moore, Consortium News
A careful reading of Moore's article should convince readers that the current furor over October 7th is merely a smokescreen that's being used to conceal the real motive for the war, which is Israel's determination to control all the land between the River to the Sea in order to establish a demographically viable Jewish state with a clear Jewish majority. That is the primary objective of the Zionist project and it has been for more than a century. The last remaining obstacle to achieving that goal is the nearly two million Palestinians who would rather die than abandon their homeland.

We wish them success.