November 26, 2012

"Mowing The Lawn": Callous Language Justifying Mass Murder

Rabbis condemn atrocities in Gaza


Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

When are people who fight back against a brutal occupier that steals their lands labeled as terrorists? When does an invading force attempt to justify penning an entire population of 1.5 million people into the world's largest open-air prison, blockading essential supplies to force them into submission? When has international media been so completely one-sided in their coverage that they fail to report that the killing of a 13-year old playing football was a provocation leading to predictable retaliation? When will we stop calling a one-sided conflict in which one side has overwhelming firepower a war and admit that we are seeing a people unable to defend themselves being killed like 'fish in a barrel'? When will we stop dehumanizing people, justifying mass murder with terms like "mowing the lawn"?

Why is it that each time elections approach, innocent women and children must die to show strength? Why does an occupier that claims to be democratic reject the rights of others to choose their leaders? Why does an occupier insist upon its own 'right to exist' while thwarting others claims for statehood? How do people claiming to be victims of a widely believed (though historically inaccurate) holocaust justify the continued killing of large numbers of unarmed civilians and blatant stealing of their lands? Which side claims to want peace but deliberately targets & kills the chief negotiator for a permanent truce before he is able to sign the agreement brokered by a nearby State and agreed to by both sides? Which side claims to be the victim of terrorism - but actually targets and kills thousands of civilians?

Now that the latest episode of an occupier's blood-lust has been satiated for their upcoming elections, we must ask how long will a people be kept in subjugation, denied the basic human right of defense! While a regional bully claims a divine right to kill and steal lands with impunity, a powerful protector confirms the gross inequity, its leader hilariously stating: "No country would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside", even as its own drones rain down murder and mayhem elsewhere!

As always, the truly brave souls are neither those who sit in air-conditioned cockpits raining missiles down on women and children, nor those who try to shake off their oppressors by lobbing missiles that often hit nothing more than open land - rather, the brave are those who call shame on their brethren! A few such outspoken orthodox Rabbis are featured in the first video, publicly protesting the actions of those bringing shame and disrepute on their faith, distancing themselves from misguided Zionism!

Many years ago a brave Jew counseled a companion who tried to protect him from being taken away: "Put your sword away! For, all who take the sword will be destroyed by the sword." No Galil rifle for Yeshua, in our time he would instead be carrying a bullhorn and talking peace to the gathering crowd!

Today, religious leaders of nearly all faiths are as aligned with the authorities as they were back then! As warmongers bay for blood on every side, each one asserting the righteousness of their own cause, the few peacemakers like those Rabbis and that brave Jew are jeered for refusing to 'mow the lawn'!

Israeli hardliners joke about the periodic need to decimate each new generation of Palestinian militants as “mowing the grass,” a process underway again in new bombardments of Gaza.
Children walking next to the ruins of the Civil Department of the Ministry of Interior building, which was completely destroyed in the morning, in the neighborhood of Tal el Hawa, Gaza city, November 17, 2012.
Photo Credit: Anne Paq/
In early 2010, one of Washington DC’s most prestigious think tanks was holding a seminar on the Middle East which included a discussion of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 assault on Gaza which killed about 1,300 Palestinians. When the death toll was mentioned, one expert on the panel smiled enigmatically and intoned: “It’s unfortunate, but every once in a while you have to mow the lawn.”
The remark, which likened killing hundreds of men, women and children – many of them noncombatants – with trimming the grass, was greeted with a light tittering around the room, which was filled with some of Washington’s most elite, highly educated and well-paid Middle East experts. Not a single one objected to the panelist’s black humor.
On the contrary, several analysts and experts were grinning at the reference to Israel’s strategy of mounting periodic attacks on the Palestinians to cull each new generation of militants. Such is the nonchalance of Washington’s policy-advising cognoscenti toward the ongoing and systematic genocide of Gaza’s oppressed population.
The cavalier language is symptomatic of the policymaking community’s increasingly pervasive tendency to disregard and disparage the humanity of Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks, which are often waged by Israel’s high-tech drones and U.S.-supplied F-16’s. There is also a tendency to ignore or downplay Israeli war crimes.
This dangerously sociopathic attitude is prevalent whether cloaked in a cheap joke or reflected in the failure by the State Department spokesman to condemn or even acknowledge the criminality of Israel’s latest aerial and sea-based bombardment of Palestinian civilians, at least 18 of whom have been killed in the past 48 hours. Three Israelis also have died in retaliatory rocket fire.
After the latest attacks, the State Department’s statement justified Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as Israel’s “right to defend itself” against the launching of relatively primitive rockets, mostly by radical groups, from inside Gaza. Yet, while the State Department urged both sides to avoid civilian casualties, nowhere was there mention of the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from various attacks by Israel. Apparently only one side is granted that privilege, according to the U.S. statement.
The relegation of Palestinians to a less-than-human status by Israel and the United States – especially the inhabitants of Gaza who are perpetually locked into an open-air prison and subject to an Israeli blockade – was noted by MIT professor Noam Chomsky after a visit to Gaza to attend an academic conference. In comments broadcast by “Democracy Now” on Nov. 14, Chomsky remarked:
“It’s kind of amazing … and inspiring to see people managing somehow to survive … as essentially caged animals subject to constant, random, sadistic punishment – only to humiliate them – no pretext. They [the Palestinians] would like to have dignified lives, but the standard Israeli position is that they shouldn’t raise their heads.”
Instead of a serious effort to reach a peace acceptable to both sides, Israel seems to prefer a state of endless conflict with the Palestinians. After all, the prospect of peace might require the Israeli government to treat their neighbors as equals and withdraw from territory occupied since 1967.
So, rather than making meaningful concessions, some Israeli hardliners simply promote the idea of periodically “mowing the grass,” i.e. killing the latest generation of Palestinian militants who sprout up from the injustice all around them. Perhaps that is why Israel broke an informal ceasefire on Wednesday by assassinating Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an air strike.
Jabari was killed hours after he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the ceasefire, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate talks between Israel and Hamas for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

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