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Ben Gurion University

Ben Gurion University - Lev Grinberg (Dept of Sociology), the guy who claims that targeting terrorist leaders is "symbolic genocide", claims the Hamas are the real Maccabis fighting the evil empire:

http://www.aminnetwork.org/articles.php?t=ENews&id=2775

Black January

By: Lev Grinberg
21 January 2009

The official name of the fighting in Gaza will probably remain ‘Operation Cast Lead’, rather than ‘War on Hamas’ or ‘The Gaza War’. This was not a real war against an army, nor was it an operation whose scale has gone out of control, like 'Operation Peace of the Galilee' (the Lebanon War of 1982), or 'Operation Spider Webs' (the second Lebanon War, 2006). This was a limited operation primarily aimed at killing armed Palestinians, taking prisoners, and destroying weapon systems and infrastructures, as was the main purpose of 'Operation Litani' in Southern Lebanon (1978) and 'Operation Defense Wall' in the cities of the West Bank (2002).

I admit that I find the name 'Cast Lead' in bad taste because of its allusion to Hanukah and the Maccabees who fought against a mighty conqueror. If indeed there is a struggle here of the weak against an occupying empire, it is the struggle of Hamas against Israel, not the other way around. Our self-image as the weak victim is utterly surreal and trapped in the mythology of the Jews as the ultimate victims, regardless of reality.

Instead of 'Cast Lead', I propose to remember the violent events which took place this month as Black January. January 2009 has been black for the Palestinians, but also for Israelis. For the Palestinians it is clear why – because of the bloodshed and the destruction, the internal division, the helplessness, the disappointment with the Arab world and the loss of all hope. The name Black January creates a Palestinian continuum connoting Black September (1970), when the Jordanians massacred Palestinians and persecuted their organizations, backed by Israel, who blocked their escape route to the West Bank. Now Israel got Egypt’s help in blocking the escape route.

But it was a black month for Israelis as well. The black flag of illegality (which flew over the Kafr Qasim massacre) hangs over Israel’s actions in Gaza, because clearly illegal commands were given, which would inevitably and undoubtedly lead to the killing of innocent civilians. January was black because of the Israeli television and radio broadcasts, which turned into the ‘Mood Corps’, reciting the announcements of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit without asking questions, doubting or checking the facts. They have willingly accepted the ban on knowing what is happening in Gaza, unlike the printed press which did ask questions, reported and published criticisms, even as it did ignore most of the demonstrations which took place daily to protest the war.

January was black because of the abrasive, aggressive and racist tones in Israeli discourse, in the streets and in the Knesset, which voted to prevent the ‘Arab’ parties from participating in the coming elections. I believe every Israeli has heard some shocking expressions of total disregard for Palestinian lives and the calls for their indiscriminate killing, fighters and civilians alike. It is as if the minister of history wished to show the Jews that the moral deterioration of Germany in the 1930s could afflict any people, if the historical circumstances, their political leadership and the mass media led them there.

January was black also because of the international support for Israel’s actions. Not just the Bush administration, but also the heads of European and Arab states have embraced the deception that Israel has ‘disengaged from Gaza’ in 2005; as if Israel was no longer the occupying power controlling the Palestinians in the sea, air and ground; as if the Gaza Strip was anything but a giant open-air prison. The firing of missiles by the prisoners in protest against their starvation was interpreted as aggression, while their oppression by their jailers was interpreted as self-defense.

January was pitch-black for both Israelis and Palestinians, and for the future of the relationship between us. Israelis and Palestinians need a common language, common names and words which would enable us to imagine a common future. And it seems to me that Black January could be accepted by both, if not as the official name, at least as a common memory, just as we have adopted the words Intifada, Hudna and Tahadia. Maybe if we can agree that it was indeed our Black January, we could perhaps begin to paint our future in less dark colors.

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