By Lasha Darkmoon
A few months ago I wrote a poem called Dead Children of Palestine and sent it off to various literary journals which had previously been pleased to accept my work. I sat back and waited for the rejection slips to pour in — and pour in soon they did at an alarming rate, many of them accompanied by unsolicited comments hardly designed to boost my self-esteem. One of them, from an editor bearing the name Silverstein — no relation to the canny speculator who made such a killing out of 9/11 — was particularly intemperate. “Don’t send me any more of your sick, inflammatory poems,” he raved. “Anti-Semitic cunts like you belong in a fucking loony bin.”
My crime? I had just submitted to various poetry editors, as an experiment, a few anti-Zionist poems about human rights atrocities in the Holy Land, with particular reference to the murder and maiming of Palestinian children. I was appalled to learn that many of these otherwise well-educated literati appeared to think that it was the Palestinians who were now in illegal occupation of Israeli land, contrary to UN Resolutions; in fact, that the Arabs had stolen Israel from the Jews, rather than the Jews Palestine from the Arabs. These evil Arabs were now intent on acquiring a Greater Palestine with the help of nuclear weapons secretly supplied by Iran! Such mindblowing ignorance left me stupefied.
It occurred to me to send one of these sick “inflammatory” poems of mine to a number of anti-Zionist websites. At the same time, I thought it would be a good idea to supply a cluster of closely related quotations which would provide context for the poem and give it verisimilitude. This would be a poem preceded by no fewer than twenty epigraphs — definitely a record for any poem! Feel free to mock my poem as the work of an inferior mind, but please pay attention to the highly significant quotations which give the poem its truth and sincerity. The quotations, some of them edited for brevity, are pretty sickening.
1. The study [by Israeli doctoral student and clinical psychologist Nufar Yishai-Karin] . . . included interviews with 18 soldiers and three officers who served with her in two armored infantry units. She knew most of them from her military service. She interviewed each of them personally in his home for a few hours and recorded the interviews; she still has the tapes. Her prior acquaintance with the soldiers led them to trust her implicitly, and they opened up fully, readily telling her about crimes they themselves had committed: murder and killing, BREAKING THE BONES OF LITTLE CHILDREN, inflicting humiliation, destroying property, stealing . . . The article describes the brutalization of some of the soldiers . . . Among the brutalized group was the impulsive type of soldier, who used the opportunity to let off steam, sometimes enthusiastically. Testimony: “I went out on my first patrol . . . Others on the patrol were just shooting like crazies . . . I also started shooting like all the others . . . Look, I WON’T TELL YOU IT WASN’T COOL . . . suddenly you are responsible for what you are doing. You take the gun. You shoot. You do what you want.”
(‘Parallel Lives’ , Dalia Karpel, article in Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/909589.html).
2. We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. WE WILL FOREVER DESTROY because we want a world of our own.
(Maurice Samuel, Zionist author, ‘You Gentiles’, p. 155).
3. One of the study’s most shocking findings is that the soldiers enjoyed the intoxication of power no less than the kick they got from the violence. “At one point or another of their service, the majority of the interviewees enjoyed violence,” Yishai-Karin observes in her thesis, “They enjoyed the violence because it broke the routine and they liked the destruction and the chaos. They also enjoyed the feeling of power and the sense of danger.” Testimony: “When there is chaos, I like it. That’s when I enjoy it. It’s like a drug. If I don’t go into Rafah, and if there isn’t some kind of riot once in some week, I GO NUTS.” Another soldier: “The most important thing is that it removes the burden of the law from you. You are the law. You are the one who decides . . . the moment you leave the place that is called Eretz Yisrael and go through the Erez checkpoint into the Gaza Strip, YOU ARE THE LAW. YOU ARE GOD.”
(Dalia Karpel, op. cit.).
4. There is a huge gap between us Jews and our enemies not just in morality, sanctity of life, and conscience . . . they do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.
(Moshe Katsav, former Israeli President, Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001).
5. The callousness of some of the soldiers produced extreme indifference to the Arabs’ suffering . . . There were some tough soldiers who developed an ideology holding that even minor events necessitated a brutal response. “With women I have no problem,” one soldier said. A woman threw a clog at me and I kicked her here [pointing to crotch area]. I broke everything there. She can’t have children. Next time she won’t throw clogs at me. When one of them [a woman] spat at me, I GAVE HER A RIFLE BUTT IN THE FACE. SHE DOESN’T HAVE WHAT TO SPIT WITH ANY MORE.”
(Dalia Karpel, op. cit.).
6. One million Arabs are NOT WORTH A JEWISH FINGERNAIL.
(Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, quoted in New York Times, February 28, 1994).
7. Some junior commanders encouraged the brutality and even endorsed it. “After two months in Rafah a new commanding officer arrived … So we do a first patrol with him. It’s 6 A.M., Rafah is under curfew, there isn’t so much as a dog in the streets. Only a little boy of four playing in the sand. He is building a castle in his yard. He [the officer] suddenly starts running and we all run with him . . . He grabbed the boy. I am a degenerate if I am not telling you the truth: HE BROKE HIS HAND AT THE WRIST . . . BROKE HIS LEG . . . AND STARTED TO STOMP ON HIS STOMACH . . . We are all there, jaws dropping, looking at him in shock . . . The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are ALREADY STARTING TO DO THE SAME THING.”
(Dalia Karpel, op.cit.).
8. The Palestinians are BEASTS WALKING ON TWO LEGS.
(Israeli President Menahim Begin, speech quoted in the New Statesman, 25 June 1982).
9. The Jews ordered us to line up against the wall started shooting. All were killed: my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts and some of their children. Halim Eid saw a man shoot a bullet into the neck of my [pregnant] sister. THEN HE CUT HER STOMACH OPEN WITH A BUTCHER’S KNIFE.
(Fahimi Zidan, a Palestinian child survivor of the infamous Deir Yassin massacre of 1948).
10. It was decided and carried out: they washed her, cut her hair, RAPED HER AND KILLED HER.
(David Ben-Gurion, 1949).
11. There is no doubt that many SEXUAL ATROCITIES were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young school girls were raped and later slaughtered. Many infants were also butchered and killed. I also saw one old woman who had been severely beaten about the head with rifle butts.
(Richard Catling, British army officer, recalling the Deir Yassin massacre).
12. “We have to do everything to MAKE THE PALESTINIANS SO MISERABLE that they will leave.”
(Rafael Eitan, Israeli general and politician, 1980).
13. Amid disemboweled furniture I found some bodies. The “cleaning up” had been done with machine-guns, hand grenades, and finished off with knives. I turned over the bodies, and found a little girl mutilated by a hand grenade. Everywhere it was the same horrible sight . . . this gang was admirably disciplined and only acted under orders . . . The gang were young men and women, armed to the teeth with cutlasses in their hands, most of them still blood-stained. A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL WITH CRIMINAL EYES SHOWED ME HERS [severed head], DRIPPING WITH BLOOD. SHE DISPLAYED IT LIKE TROPHY.
(Jacques de Reynier, representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross).
14. ISRAEL MUST BE LIKE A MAD DOG, too dangerous to bother.
(Moshe Dayan, Israeli general, date unknown; but quoted approvingly in 2003 by Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld who made matters worse by issuing this veiled threat invoking the Samson Option: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that THIS WILL HAPPEN, before Israel goes under.”)
15. Whoever [i.e. Arab at checkpoint] does not act nicely gets beaten. We have clubs for that. Sometimes I might just not like his face. And then he gets one too. JUST A WAY OF PASSING THE TIME.
(Israeli policewoman, quoted in Haaretz, 16 January 2004).
16. We have to KILL ALL THE PALESTINIANS unless they are resigned to live here as SLAVES.
(Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee to re-elect Shlomo Lahat, mayor of Tel-Aviv, 1983).
17. I ran toward them and PUNCHED THE ARAB RIGHT IN THE FACE, never before did I do such a thing, he collapsed on the road. I dragged him over behind the jeep, pushed him in. We sat in the back seat. Our Arab lay down there and just wept quietly to himself. He bled and made a puddle of blood and saliva, which angered and disgusted me, so I grabbed him by the hair and twisted his head to the side. He cried out loud. He didn’t stop crying and someone said his hands hurt from the handcuffs. One of the soldiers approached him and punched him in the stomach. THE ARAB SUFFERED FROM PAIN AND GRUNTED, WE ALL GIGGLED, IT WAS FUNNY. I KICKED HIM REAL HARD on the bottom and he whirled inside, just as I planned. They shouted that I am crazy and laughed – AND I FELT GREAT.
(Liran Ron-Forer, December 2003. http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/palestinians.html?q=palestinians.html)
18. The Talmud states that two contrary types of souls exist. A NON-JEWISH SOUL COMES FROM THE SATANIC SPHERES, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness. Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism said, “The difference between a Jewish soul and the souls of non-Jews . . . is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and THE SOULS OF CATTLE.”
(Israel Shahak, Israeli academic, 1999).
19. We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel. Force is all they understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours . . . When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to SCURRY AROUND LIKE DRUGGED COCKROACHES IN A BOTTLE.
(Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of IDF, New York Times, 14 April 1983).
20. THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS PALESTINIANS. THEY NEVER EXISTED.
(Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, June 15, 1969).
And here, finally, is my poem. It has been set to music vaguely reminiscent of CF Alexander’s celebrated 1848 hymn There is a Green Hill Far Away.
DEAD CHILDREN OF PALESTINE
In memory of Rachel Corrie
Once through a green field drifting
In the doldrums of the day
Watching ravens peck out lambs’ eyes
In their cruel, gloating way:
I remembered, I remembered
How those rifle-butting swine
Break the bones of little children
In the fields of Palestine.
How the snipers on the rooftops,
Armed with Uzis, standing tall,
Splash the blood of Arab children
On the weeping classroom walls.
How the settlers spit on Christians
In the land where Jesus died—
And how those who do the spitting
Have the world upon their side.
How they bulldoze people’s houses
Till the roofs crash on their heads
And the women wail in anguish
With their babies in their beds.
How the wolfish killers wander
Through a vale of endless tears
Shooting children in their faces
While the world stands by and cheers.
How the bright-eyed Rachel Corries
Lie in cemeteries dead
While the birds of prey grow fatter—
And the world just turns its head.
Christ, come back and save these children—
Put an end to all their pain!
Put an end to evil Zion!
Palestine, come back again!
The hymn to whose haunting melody these words have been set, There is a Green Hill Far Away, was the last piece of music to be heard on the Titanic as the great ship went down. I pray for the day when the evil ship Zion, a piratical and predatory vessel if ever there was one, meets a similar fate.