Bombing at Rafah, Gaza (
by Steve Timmer
Nov 1, 2023, 4:30 PM

America is united — in overkill — when it comes to Palestine

A November 1st op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Ahmed Tharwat.

Ahmed Tharwat is a person of long acquaintance of mine. Ahmed is a thoughtful Arab Muslim commentator in the Twin Cities. I’ve been struggling to write some things about Palestine for quite a while; Ahmed says them here better than I would have. So, please read his commentary. I have provided a gift link to get everybody past the paywall, if they encounter it. I will quote Ahmed just a little.

Since Hamas militants’ surprise attack on Israel Oct. 7, the media, political leaders, pundits and major corporations have adopted the Zionist narrative, ignoring the suffering of Palestinians, demonizing them, describing Palestinians who resist occupation and the stealing of their lands as animals, barbarians and Nazis.

How do ordinary people commit monstrous acts? Most of the Germans who took part in the extermination of millions of Jews in the Holocaust were ordinary people, law-abiding citizens, explained sociologist Zygmunt Bauman in his book, “Modernity and the Holocaust.” Now, we have thousands of ordinary Israelis — teachers, lifeguards, mechanics, accountants, fathers and mothers — committing monstrous acts in Gaza. The children of the Holocaust are committing one.

It’s one of the truly horrific aspects of this. Jews suffered horribly in the Holocaust, including in the Warsaw ghetto, but Jews cleared 750,000 Arab Palestinians out of their homes, killing many in the process, and herded them into a ghetto a scant three years after World War II ended. The Palestinians call this the Nakba, or the catastrophe. You can read a little about the Nakba here.

Ahmed observes, and news reports confirm, that children are principal victims of the destruction rained down by Israel on a helpless civilian population. Israel has bombed a refugee camp in Jabalia for the last two days. These are monstrous war crimes, entirely disproportionate to the harm inflicted by Hamas in its own war crimes.

It’s far beyond even the Old Testament’s eye for an eye.

Americans not only justify atrocities committed by the Israelis against the Palestinian people but encourage and participate in the genocide. The Israelis have been following the American template of extermination of Indigenous people, those who challenge its racist narrative.

Not all Americans, but a chillingly large percentage of us do. I read somewhere — can’t find it now — that an IDF general defended Israel’s tactics based on the destruction visited on Dresden and Hiroshima.

Here’s a photo of my father, taken at the Buchenwald death camp in April of 1945. He was part of the Sixth Armored Division that, along with some Rangers, liberated the camp. Dad spoke Dutch, so he stayed at Buchenwald for several weeks to help with all the displaced persons. The little Dutch girl in the photo was an orphan of the camp, one of the rescued, and my father befriended her.

George Timmer with Jewish orphan girl at Buchenwald, April 1945

There are a lot of children in Gaza, just like this little girl, in need of rescue now. But apparently, we aren’t going to do it. We’re going to do the opposite. Tony Blinken joins a cheer leading session for the United States in Israel (USA! USA! USA!); Hilary Clinton says, ‘Hell, no ceasefire,’ and the United States sends two carrier groups to the Mediterranean and billions to Israel for armaments, while President Biden sends virtual thoughts and prayers to Gaza.

The administration may not have the last laugh, though. Reports are that Palestinian and Arab support for Biden in Michigan has collapsed, well, evaporated, perhaps costing him the state, an important swing state in 2024, and that Biden is “hemorrhaging” young voters. Full-throated support of Israel may prove both a moral and political failure.

Update 11/2: The first step in resolving the Palestine issue is recognizing that the Palestinians have a beef, because they do. And unless Israel comes to grips with that, or unless they kill every Palestinian (a genuine possibility), Israel will be trapped in an endless cycle of terrorism and its citizens terrified.

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