Oranges and lemons

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Tuesday 31 Jan 2023


Here comes the jailer once again and the whole world took notice.

Son of Rabbi Benzion Mileikowsky of Warsaw, Poland, is serving as prime minister of Israel. Within one month of his election 32 Palestinians have been killed, but the world took no notice.

Back at the helm of the Likud Party, the hardline, extremist, religious party of Israel, for an unprecedented sixth time, Benjamin Netanyahu let his party know that he means business.

Any insurgence by the oppressed Palestinian natives is to be met with extremely brutal punishment. For one Israeli death, five Palestinians are killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Yet what do they expect from an oppressed, occupied, desperate people fighting for their independence, sovereignty, dignity, not for two years or two decades, with no more than sticks and stones, but for over six decades, having been forcibly and illegally displaced from hearth and home while the world stood still. For decades, the whole of the Arab world united with the people of Palestine. They fought, struggled, sacrificed, lost; accepted the status quo, but to no avail and patience runs out when the support of the powerful is non-existent.

How different is that from the struggle of the Ukrainian people against their Russian invaders.

The difference is that they stand alone, no military or financial or even moral aid from the US, UK, EU, that are hurrying and scurrying to send Leopard tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft and thousands of other top-of-the-line weapons to fight back the Russian invasion.

We have every sympathy for any people fighting for freedom and independence, but our quarrel is with the discrimination between the different approaches, based on racial or strategic interests.

Ukraine is rich with oil and gas which has not been forthcoming due to the war, causing an energy crisis, driving prices of all commodities sky high, thus the end of this conflict is imperative.

Could there be other reasons behind the enthusiasm in exorbitant financial expenditure in aid by the US? The US spending in Ukraine has reached over $50 billion. How many mouths would that feed in the US itself?

Could it be that Ukraine was so generous to Hunter Biden, placing him on the board of Burisma, a major oil company that paid him close to a $1 million monthly for doing nothing? Or again, there is the possibility that because Russia is the aggressor, it must be stopped.

Whatever the reason, it seems that it is a question of “Oranges and Lemons”. Rwanda had little to offer the US and its allies, so genocide was overlooked. Palestine has no oil or other strategic interest, their nationalists are branded as terrorists, therefore persecution, oppression, bondage, servitude, murder is overlooked.

Israel is supposedly the only friend to the US in the region, the only democracy. Untrue. There is no democracy in Israel except for the Jews, most especially the Ashkenazi Jews hailing from Eastern Europe. Sephardic Jews from Spain, the Middle East, and the Levant occupy a lower tier. They probably have a darker skin.

Bias towards Israel, its establishment after WWII, even at the high cost of dissecting another nation, may be understood, but persecution enslavement, grabbing of land and property, refusing right of return to original natives, while allowing it for Jews of other nations is not understood.

Would it not have been more natural for a people that has suffered immeasurably under Nazi rule, to be more compassionate and understanding to another people suffering under similar circumstances? Was there no lesson learned from the holocaust?

History is indeed a feeble master.

Consider the US and all the foreign wars it has been involved in. Since WWII it has engaged in five wars of other countries and has lost them all, except for the Gulf War (1991) where oil again was at stake. Does it not learn from its defeat in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and now, the Ukraine-Russia war. Is there a war the US does not like?

In its entire history there have only been 16 years when the country was not at war.

Has it been divinely ordained to spread its values, its own principles of democracy  —“its liberty and justice for all”, even if it is the wrong fit? They have been proven wrong again and again.

Where is that democracy in Israel, Cuba, Rwanda, Venezuela, Kosovo, etc, etc?

The world is weary of the most powerful country in the world imposing is views, its military, its style of democracy on other countries. Is there no order of thinking?

What have they gained from their humiliating defeat, running away from aggression with their tails wrapped between their legs? They are still reeling from their shameful escape from Afghanistan, yet here they are again heading deeper and deeper in Ukraine.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that the US will stand by Ukraine till the end. What end? End of war, with Ukraine the victor? Russia? Peace treaty?

An irrational act only requires rope enough to hang itself.

Politics is not our business. Humanity is.

It is necessary to keep the past alive, at least in our memories, as we do with music, literature, art, in order to inspire generations with man’s worthy accomplishments.

So should we be with our failings, genocides, invasions and wars.

History has lost its reverence.

Man has lost his dignity.

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all lessons that history has to teach.”

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)


* A version of this article appears in print in the 2 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Search Keywords:
Short link: