Israel/Palestine

Selective refusal

“We refuse to remain silent on the brutal collective punishment being inflicted upon the Palestinian population…” according to the 12 signatories to a letter published by The Guardian.

Norm Geras makes the point that their refusal to remain silent on the matter of collective punishment is entirely selective. Their letter is notably silent about the collective punishment suffered daily by the people of Sderot, Israel, whose community is being targeted by Qassam rockets launched from Gaza.

But another point: Doesn’t a self-professed refusal to remain silent imply that refusers believe they are doing something brave? If so, what is even slightly brave about this letter? I’m not familiar with all the signatories, but at least some of them have been denouncing Israel for one reason or another for years with no serious consequences. For them, real courage would involve denouncing Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionists and terrorists with even half the vigor they bring to the task of condemning Israel.

For the likes of Tony Benn or Victoria Brittain, a refusal to remain silent about, say, Stop the War Coalition speaker Azzam Tamimi’s recent rant would be a true act of bravery.

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