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The rush of blood

January 11, 2009

A friend of Phyllis Chesler explains why Israel’s cumbersome PR machine cannot hope to compete with the scenes of dead and dying children:

Unfortunately, I don’t think that I have much to offer that would “humanize” what Israel is experiencing, because there is nothing that compares to the morbid orgasmic effect of dead children and babies’ corpses. In terms of what the 900,000 hostage-citizens of Israel’s south (”south” makes it seem remote; with the expanding radius of Hamas missiles, “the south” is a half-hour drive from my door), there is not much to say, either.

There is nothing that spectacular about a government doing pretty much what it is supposed to do–namely, prepare the groundwork for the rockets, equip shelters, build protective structures, put an entire branch of the army, the Home Front Command, in charge of a comprehensive infrastructure of resources and personnel that provides information, hot lines, supplies, essential services, and most of all, makes sure that all public spaces and vulnerable areas are evacuated when the alarms sound.

I mean, what’s the emotional thrill of seeing a kindergarten with a hole blown through its ceiling, or a crater in a soccer field after it’s been evacuated and is now empty, when you could look at panic stricken civilians running through, (or buried under), blown apart, dilapidated, unenforced structures without a shred of a notion of where to go. No place to run to–because the game plan was to leave them exposed and vulnerable, wedged deliberately between the rocket launchers and terror masterminds and the Israeli attacks.

Not only that: the seething hatred from Palestinian masses and fanatic fervor, (along with the self-righteousness in demonstrations around the world), bring such a high voltage rush that everything else is bland in comparison. That includes the unassuming nobility of young warriors who march into harm’s way to try to stop the rockets, knowing that nothing can quell the hatred.

I knew the time would come when my children and their contemporaries would be the soldiers behind the headlines, and that time has come. My daughter gets “shipped off” to the Sderot area tomorrow to join her fellow, rather, sister, soldiers assigned to shelters, underground community centers and elsewhere, keeping kids and grownups busy, alleviating anxiety and stifling her own. Her classmates and buddies are in infantry units God knows where inside Gaza and in naval gunboats off the coast. Nothing dramatic about those kids hanging out with my daughter in my living room who are nervous and scared, yet focused and determined. No photo-op.

Similar, but rather more pointed insights from Jeff Goldberg at The Atlantic on the world’s pornographic fascination with the spectacle of dead Palestinian babies:

One more thing, speaking of pornography — we’ve all seen endless pictures of dead Palestinian children now. It’s a terrible, ghastly, horrible thing, the deaths of children, and for the parents it doesn’t matter if they were killed by accident or by mistake. But ask yourselves this: Why are these pictures so omnipresent? I’ll tell you why, again from firsthand, and repeated, experience: Hamas (and the Aksa Brigades, and Islamic Jihad, the whole bunch) prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play. Once, in Khan Younis, I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble — and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I’ve seen in my life. And it’s typical of Hamas. If reporters would probe deeper, they’d learn the awful truth of Hamas. But Palestinian moral failings are not of great interest to many people.

It’s not we who support the current IDF operations in Gaza who get a rush from the blood of children. It is Hamas and PIJ, their willing tools in the media, and the army of Israel-haters who use – even gorge on – every image to feed their frenzy.

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