public venting assistance
the following screed comes from a friend who wishes, ambivalently, to remain semi-anonymous. for sharing his heat and light with regards to what will surely be an under-reported and under-analyzed event, i want to thank to alex, who, in his own words, doesn't want to be a brave American Jew just for questioning the absolute rectitude of the Israelis and absolute evil of the Palestinians, or a bad American or Jew for questioning the ways in which we (Americans, Israelis, Jews) respond to all of those we brand "terrorists."
here's alex's email:
Excuse me, but I need to vent for a moment, and have selected you as the
recipients. Please forgive me. Don't know if you have seen this story in
the news today, but it has rather upset me, and I think it deserves some
discussion (and denunciation):
Judge Awards $156 Million in Terror Death
A federal magistrate judge on Wednesday ordered three Islamic charities
and a man accused of raising money for the Palestinian militant group
Hamas to pay $156 million to the parents of an American teenager killed
eight years ago by terrorists in the West Bank.
(Here's another article on this.)
So, where to start? There are the obvious absurdities of the U.S. legal
system going on here (didn't the Republicans say something about
excessive damages awards?), and of our litigious society, and people's
voracious desire for someone to be punished, for some vengeance, in
response to a surely senseless death (much could be said here about our
use of money, and court decisions, as subsitutes for meaningful societal
means of dealing with death, lack of ritual, allowance for mourning,
But what truly upsets me is the arrogance, American arrogance, on
display here, and the double-standard, the unfair treatment, in U.S.
Middle East Policy. I think almost anyone should find this decision
offensive, no matter which side of the conflict one lines up on.
Why should the parents of one American boy, killed 8 years ago, be awarded
$156 million, when so many others, Israeli, Palesitinian, many other
nationalities, have died over the years? Is not this monetary award
to two American parents somewhat insulting to all the thousands of
others who have lost their lives, and received nothing like this?
From an Israeli, or pro-Israel, perspective, what about all the Israeli
citizens and soldiers? Why the American special treatment? What about
all of the other Israeli parents, who aren't so lucky as to have U.S.
citizenship (the Boim's are U.S. citizens who live in Israel, and have for
What of all of the aid-workers, journalists, activists, U.N. employees,
and other internationals who have been killed over the years of the
Moreover, what of all of the innocent Palestinian's who have died?
Should not the U.S. government, the major backer of the Israeli military,
be equally responsible in a U.S. court for financial damages to the
parents of some Palesitinian-American killed in the West Bank by stray (or
not so stray) Israeli bullets or missiles? Who is compensating the
Palestinians? And who holding the U.S. accountable for funding the
massive military operations of the Israeli government?
Then, of course, there's the whole issue of Hamas, as the major public
works and charity organization in the occupied territories, which also has
a prominent military wing. We prosecute groups for giving money to Hamas
because of their military activities, but also end up prosecuting
people for giving money to a group that provides basic services to
thousands of Palestinians who have almost no public resources, no economy,
no hope. No other aid organization is as effective, or as widespread, or
as popular in the territories as Hamas. Should we fault people for
wanting to give aid to the most effective aid organization trying to help
Palestinians? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to excuse Hamas'
terrorist activities, just to say that it's not clear-cut that the U.S.
charities involved had malicious intent to destroy the state of Israel,
wanted to support terrorist activities by giving money to Hamas. Does
everyone who gives money to the State of Israel want to fund operations in
Nablus and Rafah?
Can we sue an average citizen for paying taxes to the U.S. Govt, thereby
supporting an organization which has been directly responsible over the
years for thousands of innocent deaths, including assasinations, rocket
The precedent here is troubling, to say the least, and the whole thing
disgusting, on so many levels. The defense lawyer refused to take part in
the trail, claiming he did not have enough time to prepare a defense.
At least, this may not be over, as the family's lawyer expects the case to
make it to the Supreme Court. That could be interesting.
Anyway, this was just troubling me, I couldn't get it off my mind, so I
thought I'd share with some other smart folks and see if any of you had
different thoughts (or similar). Please pardon my venting, and rambling.
I should get a blog.
yes, alex, you should.