Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good guys

I have been urged to "say something positive" in this blog. Not so easy, when the lot of the Palestinians is becoming more desperate, day by day, and Israel continues its slide into fascism - as Gideon Levy observes, "Israel of 2009 is a spoiled country, arrogant and condescending, convinced that it deserves everything and that it has the power to make a fool of America and the world."

If one can say something positive about Israeli society it is this: there is a brave core of Israelis who speak out against the policies and actions of the state, who see the current course of events as being disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians alike, whose moral decency will not allow them to stay silent. Many of them put their bodies on the line in defence of justice and truth.

There are the Shministim, school leavers who face jail rather than serve in the army of occupation. Other young and idealistic Jews - some, but not all, from Anarchists Against Walls - stand beside the villagers of Bil'in and Ni'ilin week after week, protesting the theft of village land. Members of the human rights groups, Peace Now and B'Tselem, are tireless in their efforts to document human rights abuses. The women of Machsom Watch stand at checkpoints, monitoring the behaviour of Occupation Force troops. Ex-soldiers from Breaking the Silence reveal the abuses taking place in the West Bank. Jeff Halper's ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) opposes and resists Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes. And then there are the Rabbis for Human Rights, ordained rabbis and students, whose consciences will not allow them to stand by while abuses of Palestinian human rights take place.

There are others, of course, individuals of good character who speak out and stand up against the occupation. Unfortunately, they are a tiny minority in a country which is rapidly losing its soul.