Fallujah and Forgetting

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The front page picture in today’s New York Times is heart wrenching.  It depicts two dead Gazan children, killed by Israeli rockets.  What kind of person could fail to be moved by this horrific sight?

Do you remember Fallujah?  Probably not.  It took place ten years ago, during the Iraq War.  American forces bombed the city of Fallujah from the skies for weeks, and then sent in ground troops.  It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war.  However, what we did there, particularly during the weeks of heavy bombing, will never be fully known.  During the Iraq War, the  Administration heavily censored and worked to control the news, and a compliant media was all too happy to play along, in the name of keeping their “access”.  Want good guests on the Sunday shows?  Don’t ask too many questions.  Want to get the invite to the White House Press Party so you can disco dance with Karl Rove?  Don’t ask too many questions.    As the late Rabbi David Forman, a combat veteran of the 1982 Lebanon War told us in 2004 in a speech at Temple Emanu-El-“You have been deliberately sheltered by your government from the actions that you took in Iraq.  Those of us who live in the Middle East know exactly what you did”.

Which brings me back to the picture on the front page of the Times.  Hamas gives reporters full access to the carnage on the ground, because they want to emphasize the casualties caused by the Israelis.  The fact that Israel pleaded with Hamas not to escalate the conflict, that Netanyahu had to fight right wing ministers in his own government to behave in a restrained manner, that Hamas intentionally places its citizens in jeopardy, that Hamas has fired over a thousand rockets into Israel deliberately targeting civilians, all this pales in comparison to the accepted narrative that Israel is responding brutally in Gaza.

In this particular instance, I have given up caring what ‘the world” thinks.  I have been under Hamas rocket fire, and its not fun.  All I ask is that Americans who point fingers should always remember that when you point your finger at another person, four fingers are pointing at yourself. 

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