Israeli writer Gideon Levy says it’s impossible to demand solidarity with the fate of Israeli victims when Israel continues to kill, wound and arrest innocents as a matter of routine
Note by Stop the War Coalition This article was written before the discovery ot the bodies of the three Israeli students. Their deaths are no less tragic than the thousands of Palestinian deaths, including five in the past week, due to the endless occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of its people. The only difference is in the mainstream media coverage, for which every Israeli death is top of the news agenda, in contrast to Palestinian deaths which in most cases will not be reported at all.
What a cruel world: Three yeshiva students were kidnapped, and the world isn’t interested; three mothers are crying out, and the world doesn’t answer. Is it all because the entire world is against us; it’s anti-Semitic and hates Israel? The Anti-Defamation League is already preparing a report.
But the truth is, that’s just the way things are: When you openly thumb your nose at the world for years on end, eventually, it thumbs its nose back.
The three mothers went all the way to Geneva. One of them went abroad for the first time in her life to go to the United Nations Human Rights Council. But the world, and the council, went on their merry ways.
It’s the irony of fate: About two years ago, Israel officially suspended cooperation with that council; together with the Marshall Islands, Palau and the US, it opposed the council’s very establishment. But now, in its distress and the mothers’ distress, it has turned to the council, which is indeed hostile to Israel and spends more time on it than on any other country. Suddenly, Israel needs the world. It even needs the UN, which all of a sudden isn’t the worthless body Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion once termed it.
It takes considerable effrontery to demand that the world interests itself in the fate of three abducted Israelis, and considerable chutzpah to be disappointed by the fact that it has kept silent. Granted, Israel tried to move heaven and earth, and its ambassador/propagandist at the UN gave a moving speech in an effort to scrape up a few more public diplomacy points against Hamas. But once it was paying attention already, that bizarre world was more interested in the campaign of collective punishment imposed on thousands of West Bank residents after the kidnapping.
That’s the way things are with the world-that’s-entirely-against-us: It’s more interested in the half-century-old occupation; it’s more upset over the fate of three million Palestinians than the fate of three Israelis. The world has no lack of kidnapping victims, but none of them ever got the attention received by kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. With the three current kidnap victims, however, Israel no longer had a chance. Over the last two weeks, which I spent in Sweden, I didn’t run across a single mention of the abduction in the media. Not one.
That’s what rotten fruit looks like. The world has no reason be more interested in the fate of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaar than it is in the fate of their age mate Mohammed Dudin, a boy of 15 who was killed by live fire from Israeli soldiers in Dura last Friday.
It has no reason to be especially moved by the haunting words of Rachel Fraenkel, who related that her Naftali is a good boy who loves to play guitar and soccer, when Mohammed was also a good boy, who helped his father build their house during his school vacations and sold sweets to help support his family. Rachel wants to hug Naftali? Jihad, Mohammed’s bereaved father, also wants to hug his son. Incidentally, nobody brought him to Geneva. He remained alone with his mourning, at the wretched house whose construction hasn’t yet been finished, and perhaps never will be.
The world is a mess, as they say. In Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and even Ukraine, the situation is far crueler. Yet the complete lack of interest in the kidnapped Israelis doesn’t stem from that alone. It’s impossible to demand sympathy from the world when Israel ignores the world’s decisions; it’s impossible to demand action when Israel is perpetuating the occupation; and it’s impossible to demand solidarity with the fate of Israeli victims when that same victimized Israel continues to kill, wound and arrest innocents as a matter of routine.
Now Israel is discovering that it’s no longer the center of attention as it always was before, and that the fate of its kidnapping victims no longer stops the world in its tracks, not even in the United States.
The world is sick of Israel and its insanities. Unfortunately, the world has also lost interest in what happens here. When Israel was a more just country, the world identified with its victims. It continued to do so even when Israel became less just.
But now, when Israeli rejectionism is hitting new heights and its oppression of the Palestinians is returning to what it was during the very worst periods, the world has started getting tired of it all. Even the kidnapped Nigerian girls interest it more.