September 2, 2006
The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reports that
the head of Germany's Jewish community accused a minister in
Angela Merkel's German government of "anti-Semitism"
because of the minister's statement on Israel's use of cluster
bombs. Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had
asked for a United Nations probe into Israel's use of cluster
bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.
Charlotte Knobloch, president
of the Central Council of German Jews, complained about what
she terms a growing "anti-mood [sic] against Israel and
the Jews" in Germany. [Ha,aretz August 30] Merkel, who
made absolutely no criticism of Israel during the fighting,
immediately met with Knobloch to "soothe Jewish ire"
according to Deutche Welle [August 31]
The U.N. humanitarian chief
Jan Egeland revealed this week that of the estimated 100,000
unexploded cluster bombs lying in Lebanon almost all of them
were fired in the last few days of the fighting when
the terms of the ceasefire had already been set. The Guardian
(UK) reports Egleand said, "What's shocking--and I would
say to me completely immoral is that ninety per cent of the cluster
bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when
we knew there would be a resolution," he said.
It was known that in the last
days of the war the Israeli army was engaged in a desperate attempt
to have some "victory" and rushed troops here and there
in an attempt to have a photo shoot near the Litani River. What
was not known until now was the blind spite that sowed the ground
of South Lebanon with a massive number of bomblets.
Cluster bombs are delivered
by a large canister and disperse over a wide area, a sort of
lethal pi˝ata. The bomblets come in many sizes. Some
are tiny, even smaller than 2 inches in diameter. Kids are constantly
trying to kick them or pick them up with the result in the loss
an arm or leg or even death. "Every day people are maimed,
wounded and are killed by these ordnance," said Egeland.
The UN official based his estimate on the reports of the UN
Mine Action Coordination Centre which has traveled through 85%
of Lebanon. The casualty figures as of 29 August from unexploded
ordnance rose to 59 people, including 13 killed and 46 injured.
Responding to U.N. reports
of cluster bombs being found in Lebanese civilian areas the U.S.
government has begun an investigation to determine if cluster
bombs have been responsible for civilian casualties. It seems
far fetched that the Bush Administration would do anything other
than shower Israel with more money, but the Reagan administration
did ban export of cluster bombs to Israel for six years for its
misuse during its 1982 Lebanese invasion.
The Zionist Ultras have been
circling the wagons on this issue, not giving an inch. They
hysterical statement by the German Jewish leader was typical
Responding to a report by Human
Rights Watch charging Israel with war crimes in its conduct of
the war in Lebanon that was written by its director Kenneth Roth,
Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel has called Roth "loathsome."
An editorial in the New York Sun accused Roth of "de-legitimization
of Judaism" because his group condemned Israel's strategy
as "an eye for an eye." Rabbi Aryeh Spero in Human
Events Online referred to Roth as a "human rights impostor,"
and likened him to "Nazis and Communists." On Sunday,
the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed by NGO Monitor's Gerald
Steinberg titled "Ken Roth's Blood Libel." [quotes
from Kathleen Peratis, Washington Post August 30] The fact that
Kenneth Roth is Jewish and his father fled Nazi Germany makes
no difference to the Ultras. If you are do not support Israel
110% you are a Jew-hater, a renegade, a self-hater, and a holocaust
denier. Get it?
In a very competitive field
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League took the prize for the
comment showing the most utter stupidly. In attacking Human
Rights Watch he said if Hezbollah was not made to pay an "overwhelming
price" for rocket attacks "the Holocaust would be in
the works". [Peratis, Washington Post]
In a very encouraging development
hundreds of U.S. Jews are calling for strong measures to be taken
against the Israeli government including a cut off of U.S. aid
and U.N. sanctions. Over 800 have signed the statement calling
for "U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples
of the Middle East". It states "we are outraged by
the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as
U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the
United States who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the
peoples of Gaza and Lebanon". It includes the statement,
"There is no Jewish safety in a country that rehearses the
violence and persecution which Ashkenazi Jews experienced for
centuries through the annihilation of the Palestinian people
and their homeland." The signers are collecting money for
a full page in the New York Times and are just $800 away from
their goal. The petition can be found at http://www.jewishsolidarity.info/petition.php
It was after the 1982 invasion
of Lebanon that U.S. Jews in significant numbers began open and
trenchant criticisms of Israel. Chomsky's watershed "The
Fateful Triangle" was published that year. Hopefully there
will be even bigger shows of outrage this time around.
Stanley Heller is chairperson of the Middle East
Crisis Committee in Connecticut. It's website is www.TheStruggle.org
and he can be reached at mail@TheStruggle.org