That pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole thing. Black folks are often called the cousins of the Jewish people and many, many books have been written about the complex histories intertwining our two diasporas.

So it’s in the spirit of a family discussion that I just have to say something. It’s like watching your favorite uncle drunkenly, angrily stomp another, smaller guy to death. It’s a touchy subject where many, including me, fear to tread. All of the talk about Israel’s having a right to defend herself and to exist is something I, of course, agree upon under general principle. Who doesn’t these days except wild-eyed extremists?

However, when one side has lost over 900 people, one-third of whom are children and the other side has lost 13 people? I’m sorry but that just doesn’t look much like self-defense, prima facie. That looks like punitive bullying & retribution. I ain’t the only one asking WHASSUP? From HuffPo via AlterNet:

But while Israel’s PR machine cranked its Mighty Wurlitzer to full blast, drowning out all opposing voices with its droning sound, a surprisingly substantial portion of the American public decided to dance to its own tune. According to a December 31 Rasmussen poll (so far the only measure of US opinion on the Gaza assault), while Americans remained overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, they were split almost evenly on the question of whether Israel should attack Gaza — 44% in favor of the assault and 41% against it. The internals are even more remarkable.

While Republicans supported the assault on Gaza by a large margin, a predictable finding, only 31% of Democrats did. Members of the Democratic base thus stood in sharp contrast to most of their elected representatives (freshman Rep. Donna Edwards is a notable exception), who backed the latest Israeli assault in lockstep, and seem to support Israel no matter what it does. The rift between the progressive base and the party played out on Barack Obama’s site, which was deluged in recent days with demands for a statement condemning Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Killing kids? Shooting at ambulance drivers? Bombing entire apartment buildings because a Hamas official might live there? Shelling the UN headquarters in Gaza presumably because they’ve been less than cheerleading this effort and oh, destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees in the process ? Not cool.

Even inside Israel, there’s questions being asked. Above, peep a video of young Israelis who are refuseniks — they have decided not to participate in the crushing of Palestine and some have even gone to jail to protest their own government’s brutality. A new generation with clear eyes and flipcams is emerging.

Ghetto-izing the Palestinians into a socio-economic system reminiscent of South African apartheid and in which Palestinians stay poor, powerless and as unthreatening as possible isn’t the answer. A relationship based on hatred, fear & suspicion is not the answer. I’m not excusing Hamas – their actions have only exacerbated the situation and have been largely counter-productive, heaping misery on the people they promised to uplift and protect.

Israel has long been the US’ top recipient of foreign aid and received something like $2.4 billion in 2008. Since 1979 and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israel has annually received up to $3 billion in aid. There was a time when the fledgling country needed that kind of money. When our support was a vital and important lifeline. But Israel is prosperous now and all growns up. Big and bad enough to bomb the UN, apparently.

You know, who’s actually, like, totally broke right now? Yeah, us — the U.S. I can think of some places we could spend at least some of the chedda we’ve been handing Israel. Like, how about health care for uninsured kids or increased benefits for their unemployed parents? How about increased salaries for our under-paid teachers or money to fix our broke-down roads and bridges?

I could go on. I’m just saying that it sickens me to think that somehow my hard-earned tax pennies (they ain’t really dollars per se) helped to kill a bunch of kids in Gaza far away today. It’s time for moral & political leadership (paging Barack Obama) to call a spade a spade and right from wrong, no matter our relationship with the perpetrator. That’s how family does.

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