Sunday, January 16
It's Simply Violence
(City design/planning and transportation readers, please pardon the multiple political-type postings...)
Today's Israeli/Palestinian protest/fight in Berkeley looked rather ugly from what I saw on TV tonight. The Jerusalem Connection International, a.k.a. Christians for Israel, brought to MLK Park a bus that had been bombed a year ago in Jerusalem. The point, according to the group's website describing the display, was to show how terror can "brutally destroy lives of peaceful citizens." One attendee interviewed by KTVU said this:
"I oppose terrorism," she said. "Although I believe the Palestinians deserve a state, I don't agree with their means to achieve it. I don't think you should strap bombs on kids and send them out to kill other kids."
Sadly, that last sentence can be used to describe young Israeli military enlistees and Palestinian bombers alike. What made the display so terribly incomplete was that, while two sides are committing violence against each other, and neither side can call itself merely a victim, this organization puts the blame for Israel's unrest squarely on Palestinian militants.
At the same time, the group pigeonholes these domestic terrorists with al Qaeda-type international terrorism and advocates a level of warfare that would surely kill far more innocents than the Israelis the group mourns. Like too many (but certainly not all) supporters of Israel, the Christians for Israel organization makes an exception in its denunciation of brutality to humanity: violence by the military of Israel or one of its allies is OK.
This is what made the bus display (reappearing tomorrow at SF's Civic Center) so problematic--that it contended the main problem in Israel is the killings of Israelis, when really violence against all is the problem. The gutted bus should have reminded visitors of the difficulties that all residents of the region must face, but instead it was displayed in remembrance only of innocent Israelis and not of equally innocent Palestinians.
Have a great Martin Luther King Day.