Azmi Bishara and Muslims Worldwide Say No to Attacks on Non-Combatants
by John Spritzler
June 6, 2007
What follows are some
excerpts from Azmi Bishara's writings, and some results of opinion polls of
Americans and Muslims, on the question of violence against non-combatants.
Any organization trying to gain public support for opposition to Israel must take into account what the public thinks about this question. The Zionists shrewdly make their #1 propaganda theme the lie that the conflict is simple. On one side, they say, are those who believe in killing Jewish Israeli non-combatants, and on the other side is Israel, doing what is necessary to defend Jews, even if that requires what would otherwise seem to be harsh and draconian measures, like a brutal occupation. The Zionists ask the American public to take the morally just side in this conflict, and they do everything they can to make sure people see us as being on the wrong side.
Azmi Bishara speaks out on this issue because he doesn't want the Zionists to succeed. Here is what he says.
"Israel knows that if military confrontation became the rule this would threaten the unity of Israeli society. As long as civilians are at risk, Israelis can tell themselves they are being attacked because they are Jews and that they have no choice but to defend themselves, or that war is an imperative. But attacks against soldiers are attacks mounted directly against the occupation and the armed forces that embody the occupation. States can choose their policies, unlike people on a bus or in a restaurant. Soldiers who are killed are not said to have been murdered, like civilians who happen to have been in the wrong restaurant or on the wrong bus at the wrong time, but rather to have "died in the line of duty". The Zionist establishment is also acutely sensitive to the fact that the army, security and the military myth are fundamental to the credibility and prestige of Zionism as a historic solution. No doubt, too, selecting military targets would also alter the image of the resister. He would become a formidable adversary who plans his strategies and tactics in order to accomplish a certain agenda, instead of just a mad suicide bomber driven by dreams of martyrdom or personal revenge into blowing himself up in a marketplace so as to take the greatest number of civilian casualties. The Zionist establishment does not want anything to shake this carefully constructed and marketed image of Palestinian otherness, because otherwise the Palestinian fighter would become a legitimate party in a comprehensible struggle for liberation."
Here, for example, is a typical photograph of Iraqi insurgents, obviously civilians, and its caption below, like the thousands that Americans have been inundated with since the 2003 invasion of Iraq:
[ photo is at http://www.chinadaily.net/english/doc/2004-06/24/xin_46060124214881126871.jpg]
The caption reads: "Armed Iraqi insurgents chant pro-resistance slogans after clashing with U.S. forces in the western city of Falluja June 24, 2004. Rebels bent on disrupting a handover to Iraqi rule bloodied five cities Thursday with coordinated assaults on local security forces in which about 75 people, including three U.S. soldiers, were killed. [Reuters]"
A civilian is a person who wears civilian clothes, not a military uniform, and who is not a member of a nation's formal military forces. Some civilians are non-combatants, and some are not. Americans, far more than people living in countries not at war with an insurgency, would be keenly aware of this distinction.
Had the opinion poll question posed to Americans used the word "non-combatants" instead of "civilians" I think about as many Americans as Iranians or Indonesians or Pakistanis would have responded that "attacks intentionally aimed at non-combatants" are "Never justified," in other words the vast majority.
That is why, if we want to build a mass, popular movement and actually win, we need to let the public know that on this fundamental moral question, it is we, the anti-Zionists, who agree with them, and it is the Zionists who disagree with them, not simply because the Israeli government militarily attacks Palestinian and other non-Jewish non-combatants, but because the objective of Zionism, itself, is a violent ethnic cleansing attack on non-combatants.
We need the public to know that the choice is between supporting equality or supporting racism, not between opposing or supporting the killing of non-combatants, as the Zionists try to make the public believe. We should tell the public that, yes, we do disagree with the actions of some Palestinians, but that doesn't at all take away from the fact that Zionist ethnic cleansing is the root of the conflict and must be abolished, just as slavery in the United States had to be abolished regardless of the fact that some slaves wrongly killed some innocent white children.
John Spritzler is the author of
The People As Enemy: The
Leaders' Hidden Agenda In World War II, and a Research Scientist at the
Harvard School of Public Health.
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