I went to the rally at Pioneer Square today with questions in my mind.
Who would actually support the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict?
Who in their right mind would support the targeting of hospitals, ambulances, and UN outposts?
Who would stand up and affirm the right of a well-funded and well-armed nation to knowingly participate in the mass slaughter of innocent Lebonese people. Of their children?
Lots of people, that's who.
I counted at least 400-500 supporters present at the Israel solidarity rally today at noon. Many were waving Israeli flags, wearing the Israel logo on their heads or holding up signs demanding support for Israel. There was a sense of overwhelming support for the Jewish nation amongst those present, and the crowd was fairly diverse. To be fair, there were a few counterdemonstrators holding up signs with pictures of blown-up people on them with slogans like "End ALL Terrorism" and such, but they were far outnumbered by Team Israel, to the extent that a few pro-Israel men felt comfortable physically harrassing and intimidating one pro-civilian sign-carrying womyn (the cops were notified but of course did nothing).
It's unfortunate that so many people can get it so wrong. Yes, it sucks that Hezbollah is firing rockets into Israel. Yes, it sucks that there was a skirmish on the border that left a few dead and two Israeli troops captured. But what about the fact that Israel's immediate response to that was to begin bombing civilians? Doesn't that suck, too? What about the fact that they still continue to bomb civilians today, and have now upgraded their atrocities to targeting UN installations?
It's clear that Israel's intention in this bombing campaign is to decrease support for Hezbollah by making life miserable for Lebanese people. Sort of like a teacher punishing an entire classroom for something one anonymous student did in the hopes that some kid will be like "fuck this" and tell her who did it. Only this isn't a classroom, and killing civilians isn't justifiable by any means. Not to mention the fact that Israel, whose hands are covered in blood, shouldn't have shit to say when it comes to teaching anyone unless it's how to kill.
There was a lot of talk by the pro-Israelis today about "uprooting terrorism," but when one group targets civilians for attack in an attempt to influence a populace, that's pretty much the definition of terrorism, and that's exactly what Israel is doing. Getting them to own up to it is another matter. They also said today that "Israel has a right to defend itself." Sure, but from armed combatants, not helpless children and hospital workers. Finally, it was mentioned today that a cease fire would be premature. This sort of cemented it for me, I mean, who in the hell would speak out against a cease fire in any conflict? Someone who puts politics ahead of human life, that's who. There were quite a few people today who seemed upset and even disgusted by the pictures of missile victims on the counterdemonstrators' signage. If they are so upset over the images, one wonders why they seem so intent on supporting the war crimes that the images depict.
A pro-civilian said today that there can be no communication in this conflict without a cease fire. I would like to take that a step further and say that there can be no end to terrorism in sight when nations such as Israel continue to use it as a tactic. If Israel truly wants safety and security, they need to act in good faith with their neighbors and refrain from ruining the lives of millions of people in order to carry out their policies. Let them be the example of the peace for which they so disingenuously claim to advocate, and let us hold them to that expectation and refuse to stand with them when they butcher their neighbors.