Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sometimes you post pictures of Gaza on your blog. Not of the zones devastated by Israeli bombing, or of the children with missing limbs or white phosphorous burns. You post pictures of market stands full of candy bars and other yummy things, or of schoolchildren learning to use brand-new computers.
If Gazans can eat candy or use computers, then the so-called Israeli blockade can’t be that bad, can it? The world is lying and the measure doesn’t essentially affect the Gazans’ lives. Or so you argue.
Certainly, candy and computers are luxuries not everyone can afford. So are symphony orchestras. Therefore, the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto led luxurious lives! See:
A poster for a concert by the Jewish Symphony Orchestra in the Warsaw Ghetto on August 2nd, 1941
The Nazis can’t have been that bad inasmuch as they allowed the Jews not only to own musical instruments, but also to play them in public concerts, for which they were even permitted to print posters, using paper, a scarce commodity in wartime. True, they were not allowed to play Jewish music, but that didn’t detract much from their pleasure.
The Jewish contribution to symphonic music is almost negligible, but even if whe take into account the works of composers of other religions with Jewish ancestries, the restriction still allowed them to enjoy an enormous amount of pieces. Anyone who can attend classical music performances, even if Christians of Jewish background like Mendelssohn and Mahler are left out, is almost as privileged as, well, someone who can put his fingers on a computer keyboard.
No. I’m not comparing Israel to the Nazis. I’m comparing you to a Holocaust denier, and I think it’s an apt comparison. For you nitpick Gaza images that might convey normalcy as though they represented the whole Gazan reality. Or you point to the export of strawberries and flowers as though the external sales of any item but those two were not strictly forbidden. Very much like Holocaust deniers cite the countless Holocaust myths, canards and hoaxes to “prove” that the claim that six million Jews were exterminated is itself a lie.
Israel has banned imports of livestock for nine months at a time, and of footwear for three straight years. Neither cows nor shoes can be used to make bombs. The blockade of Gaza is collective punishment at its worst, targetting young children, elderly persons and disabled individuals for the sole reason of being Gazans.
The fact that certain forms of punishment that could be implemented are not doesn’t cancel the cruelty of those measures, viciously designed to cause pain, that do get put into effect by Israel.

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