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Dehumanizing Whole Groups Of People Can Lead To Genocide And Genocide-Complacency

We Must Do What We Can To Make The Slaughter In Gaza End

When I was a child, the source of the most unconditional love was my grandmother. I was her first grandchild and she spoiled me no end. Her family migrated to the U.S. from Germany when she was an infant. She wasn’t an educated woman and she spouted some pretty truisms when I was growing up. One was that Jews were smarter than anyone else. Nor was she the only one who said that. We lived in a Jewish part of Brooklyn and it was generally accepted— among the Jews— that Jews were superior to the few Italians and Irish people in the area, let alone Blacks. There were no Black kids in my elementary school and I can recall just one in my high school. But I did know Italian kids and it became clear to me when I was still very young that this whole superiority thing, which started in the Bible, was bullshit. (Deuteronomy 7:6— “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” And that’s just one; there are many, like Exodus 19:5-6 “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”) 

I think I was 8 or 9 when I tried explaining to my grandmother that this stuff was written by men who were working to affirm the identity of the Jewish people and their sense of purpose during periods of exile, persecution and hardship— like slavery in Egypt, captivity in Babylonia and Persia and the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans— so the they could serve as sources of comfort and hope, while keeping a unique national identity alive.

Anyway, this theological concept of chosenness in Judaism, emphasizing the special relationship between God and the Jewish people, is commonly misunderstood or misinterpreted by people like my grandmother to imply superiority over other peoples. However, within Jewish tradition, rather than conveying a sense of superiority, it’s supposed to emphasize the responsibilities and obligations that come with being chosen by God, being called on to uphold ethical principles, pursue justice and, literally, serve as a light to the nations, rather than to dominate or look down upon others. My grandfather, who wasn’t terribly interested in religion, taught me that while Judaism affirms the special relationship between God and the Jewish people, it also encourages humility and self-reflection and upholds universal values that apply to all humanity, emphasizing the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, regardless of religious affiliation or background. Concepts like tikkun olam (repairing the world) and the pursuit of justice reflect a commitment to improving the welfare of all people, not just Jews.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that right from the first day, among the leaders of the opposition to Netanyahu’s genocidal war in Gaza have been Jews. The dehumanization of Palestinians— you probably saw the disgusting video of Tennessee Republican Congressman Andy Ogles calling for Palestinian extermination— is not a uniquely Jewish thing; it’s a right-wing thing. Trump’s camp is preparing to run ads thanking Biden for siding with Israel in Dearborn, Hamtramck, Bloomfield Hills, Troy and other Michigan cities with big Arab-American populations… while Trump uncharacteristically keeps his mouth shut on the war, beyond the standard bullshit that if he was president there never would have been a war. 

A team of NY Times reporters wrote that “Trump has offered no substantive criticisms of Biden’s response to the Hamas invasion and Israel’s retaliation in Gaza. Instead, he has pinned the blame for the entire crisis on Biden’s ‘weakness,’ in the same way he often does when violence or tragedy occurs. ‘You would have never had the problem that you just had, the horrible problem where Israel— Oct. 7, where Israel was so horribly attacked,’ the former president told a crowd in Rock Hill, S.C., on Feb. 23, before switching to more practiced attack lines against Biden.”

[T]he Democratic Party is tearing itself apart over the Israel-Hamas conflict. Biden confronted a protest vote in Tuesday’s Michigan primary aimed at pressuring him to alter his approach toward the conflict. And a New York Times/Siena College poll from December found broad voter disapproval over his handling of the conflict. Among voters between 18 and 29 years old— a demographic crucial to Democrats’ electoral success in recent years— nearly three-quarters of voters disliked Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.
Trump has enthusiastically consumed news about young progressives turning against Mr. Biden over Israel. And his campaign and its allies plan to exploit that division to their advantage.
…Trump’s initial instinct in the days immediately following the greatest single-day loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust was to use Israel’s national trauma to settle a personal score with Netanyahu.
On Oct. 11, Trump publicly attributed the Hamas invasion to Netanyahu’s lack of preparation, praised the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as “very smart,” and piled on another even more gratuitous attack: claiming Netanyahu had “let us down” during the Trump presidency by declining to participate in the January 2020 strike that killed the Iranian general Qassim Suleimani.
What happened next, behind the scenes, seems to have left a lasting impression on Trump. Close Trump advisers and allies described his public castigation of Netanyahu as an unintended act of political self-harm— even if many privately shared some frustrations with the Israeli leader— and privately urged him to issue a statement making clear his support for Netanyahu and for Israel’s right to defend itself, according to two people with direct knowledge of the outreach who insisted on anonymity to describe it.
…[T]he initial criticism of Netanyahu aggravated concerns among a broad network of Jewish groups and others on the pro-Israel right that Trump’s personal grievances and transactional politics could make him a less reliable partner for Israel in a second term than he was in his first.
The worry is that he may allow his animus toward Netanyahu to color his approach to the relationship, and that he may still court favor with antisemites like the rapper Kanye West or the white supremacist Nick Fuentes, whom he hosted at Mar-a-Lago in late 2022.

The Wall Street Journal had a poll of its own yesterday and reported that sympathy for Palestinians is growing in the U.S. “42% of voters in the survey said Israel has gone too far in pursuing Hamas. A smaller share, 19%, said Israel hasn’t gone far enough, and 24% said Israel’s response to Hamas has been about right. The war has created significant challenges for President Biden both in domestic politics and in diplomacy. Some senior aides to the president have become increasingly worried that his support for Israel’s war effort will cost him votes in November. The new poll found that 60% of voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war, 8 points more than in December, with 31% approving of Biden’s actions. Rather than backing Biden, more than 100,000 people voted “uncommitted” in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary last week, many in protest of the president’s Israel policy… In a noteworthy development, an age gap in views of Israel seems to be narrowing, with older Democrats matching younger Democrats in their wariness of Israel’s actions. Some 40% of Democrats under age 40 said the U.S. was doing too much to help the Israeli people, compared with 33% of Democrats ages 40 and older— a 7-point difference. In December, that gap had been 24 points. Among Democrats ages 40 and older, 71% said Israel had gone too far in responding to Hamas, essentially identical to the share of Democrats under age 40. Views of the war differ sharply by political party. Some 16% of Republicans say Israel has gone too far in responding to Hamas, compared with the 70% of Democrats.”

In terms of Democratic congressional candidates, this is what we’re getting from progressives, while less progressive Democrats sound like Republicans. Consider helping candidates like Cheyenne here.


1 Comment

Mar 06

Dehumanizing-complacency also leads to genocide and genocide-complacency.

Face it... when evil is acting out, good must stand up with force... or it's just more complacency.

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