Today I received an email from UC Berkeley's Students for Justice in Palestine through my department list calling on students to join a "die in" on Sproul Plaza in protest of "israeli government atrocity" [sic]. The email went on to claim that
the daunting words of israeli deputiy defense minister matan vilnai areThis is a blatant and unacceptable lie. First, the organizers seem to have missed the fact that IDF operations in Gaza effectively ended on Sunday. Second, to say that "hundreds" of innocent civilians are being "gunned down" is a willful distortion of the facts. The SJP has become a mouthpiece for the likes of Khaled Meshal, it appears. It reminds me of the hysterical emails about "massacres" and "holocaust" that were circulated following the IDF incursion into Hebron as part of Operation Defensive Shield in spring 2002. Most of the dead then were armed fighters not civilians.
coming true, as a holocaust is bloodying the mediterranean sea under OUR
WATCH. Hundreds of innocent civilians are being gunned down and bombed in
their homes and cities, and we can not sit back and let this happen.
The "daunting" words attributed to Vilnai are also a distortion. On Friday, the Guardian reported that
An Israeli minister today warned of increasingly bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a "holocaust".But Vilnai actually said the following:
ככל שירי הקסאם גובר ומאריך טווחים, הפלסטינים מביאים על עצמם שואה יותר גדולהWhen people mean "the Holocaust," in Israel, the word "shoah" is preceded by a definite article - "ha-shoah." Of course, even "shoah" by itself is a strong word - but it means destruction or disaster, which is what Vilnai intended. This is quite clear from the context of the word, as it is followed by the modifier "even greater." In any case, to call what happened in Gaza this past weekend, as the SJP did, a "holocaust" in the sense of a genocide claiming the lives of millions of people is disgusting.
As long as the qassam firing increases and lengthens in distance, the Palestinians bring even greater destruction [shoah] upon themselves.
What's so galling is that this email claims that Israel's goal is to commit a genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. There is no context for the IDF operation; it is only part of an eternal campaign of oppression. Never mind the hundreds of rockets that have rained on Israeli cities - with the deliberate intent to kill Israeli civilians.
How long will people keep up the moral obfuscation by which military operations pursuing armed fighters, who hide out in civilian areas, are equated with deliberate efforts to murder families sitting in their homes?