Thursday, November 23, 2023

Issues Raised

There are misconceptions in both Cornel West's tweet and Rashida Tlaib's statement to fellow US Representatives, though here Tlaib is lacking the nastiness of West while including an ironic remark. At 3:24, the congresswoman states

I am grateful to the people in the streets, in the peace movement with countless Jewish-Americans standing up and saying "not in our name." We will continue to call for a ceasefire, Mr. Chair, for the immediate delivery of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza for the release of all hostages and those arbitrarily detained, for every American to come home.

They are not Jewish-Americans  but American Jews, just as Tlaib is both a Palestinian-American (national descent) and a Muslim (religious affiliation). However, that is a mistake while though extremely significant, is now commonly made, intentionally or unintentionally.

The war, initiated by Hamas, conducted by Israel and supported by the USA, is not "in our name." It is not being waged for the benefit of American Jews, living in the relative comfort and safety of a nation which is not in daily fear of being attacked and eventually eliminated.  It's difficult to avoid the suspicion that many of these same demonstrators at other moments have bemoaned "white privilege," yet themselves are unaware of the privilege they themselves possess while Jews in Israel have no such assurance. Assuming the war is being conducted for them reflects an unpleasant sense of entitlement. They can speak no more for Israeli Jews than they can for Israeli Muslims.

Aside from Tlaib calling for a ceasefire, which would be tantamount to a surrender by Israel, she otherwise is ironically advocating for action more favorable to Israel (and less to Hamas) than the pause in fighting set to go into effect at midnight at the confluence of Thursday and Friday.  She advocated "the release of all hostages," which by contrast seems unambiguous. She proposed "the immediate delivery of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza," which is directly or indirectly part of the agreement, inasmuch as

Qatar said the deal would include "the entry of a larger number of humanitarian convoys and relief aid, including fuel designated for humanitarian needs."

Senior Hamas official Taher al-Nunu said at least 200-300 aid trucks would enter as part of the truce, including eight carrying fuel and gas.

Tlaib proposed also the release of "those arbitrarily detained," by which she meant all Palestinians in detention in Israel jails, or some of those detained, or something entirely different. By contrast, the deal would proceed in two phases in which

In a first step, 50 hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners are set to be released during the four-day pause in fighting.

If successful, a second phase could see 150 more Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for another 50 hostages during an extended truce, the Israeli government said.

While hostages are moved, Israeli reconnaissance of Gaza would be put on temporary hold, Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said.

The latter aspect will be of some strategic disadvantage to Israel, though it's a provision Tlaib (and most people) would not have contemplated.

But 150 Palestinians in return for 50 non-Palestinians?  This was not as disproportionate as when more than 1.000 detained Palestinian suspected criminal offenders were exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a deal possibly beneficial if Shalit goes on to make a discovery equal to that of say, fire, electricity, or the automobile. 

That was absurd and bound to come back and haunt the nation of Israel, as it now has. It was both misconception and irony when (at 2:40) Tlaib stated

Speaking up to save lives, Mr. Chairman, no matter the faith, no matter the ethnicity, should not be controversial in this chamber. The cries of Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me. Why- what I don't understand- is why the cries of Palestinians sound different to you all.

The congresswoman still has not condemned Hamas for the slaughter of Israelis on October 7, a conscious omission for which she has received considerable criticism. However, her claim that "the cries of Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me" has gone unnoticed.

Whatever equivalence  Tlaib draws between Palestinian children and Israeli children (and it's highly questionable that she does), the issue here is not Israeli children and Palestinian children, but Israeli children and Gazan children. Moreover, without the world noticing, Hamas has indirectly acknowledged that it does not rate Palestinian children, even the youth of the Gazan territory it controls, very highly.

No longer is it 1,000 to 1. However, it's still 3 to 1. Israel is sufficiently dedicated to human life that it is willing to give up three individuals to free one, notwithstanding the peril to its medium- and long- term security. For Hamas, Palestinian life so lacks value that three Palestinian lives are equal to one Israeli life.. A Palestinian life is worth only one-third of an Israeli life: that is not my calculation; it is the calculation of Hamas.

Tlaib's speech, though misinformed and misleading, presumably was delivered as someone who wants things to work out in the end and is committed to a cause,  albeit that Israel can go fly a kite. Cornel West, however, gratuitously attacks AIPAC, accuses Israel of purposely directing "carnage' against innocents, and condemns Israel for genocide it does not practice. And in light of his presidential run, the outcome he's pining for is the election of Donald Trump. 

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