I made my first trip to Israel 34 years ago. I was 16 years old (do the math yourselves), wearing rose colored glasses and knowing exactly what life was about. While there I learned much, quite a lot of it at odds with what I had learned in Sunday School. Among other things, I learned that there was an Israeli peace movement, and one of it’s most powerful voices was that of Shulamit Aloni. I have been a fan of Ms. Aloni’s ever since. She recently had a piece in the Israeli publication Ynet regarding apartheid in Israel. She writes,
“The US Jewish Establishment’s onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies.”
and relates this telling episode,
“On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order – this is a Jews-only road”, he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?””
She goes on to observe,
“Jimmy Carter does not need me to defend his reputation that has been sullied by Israelophile community officials. The trouble is that their love of Israel distorts their judgment and blinds them from seeing what’s in front of them. Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us. We should remember that we too used very violent terror against foreign rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of victims of terror is quite long and extensive.
We do limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not only rob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge-driven frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million civilians. Let them “sit in the darkness” and “starve”.”
Ms. Aloni is one of many wise and wonderful women in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories working to end the cycle of violence. We would be making great strides towards peace in this region if we were to heed her words.
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