Ocasio-Cortez cries genocide in Gaza. Hyperbole will not end Israel-Gaza war

Last week (Friday, March 22) Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Israel of “an ongoing Genocide” in Gaza and called for the U.S. to stop supplying arms to Israel. To his credit, CNN reporter Jake Tapper questioned her use of the word Genocide in his interview of her. A highly intelligent women, Ocasio-Cortez defended her accusation by pointing out how innocent Palestinians are facing famine and injuries, adding that while Israel is entitled to go after Hamas the Palestinians should not suffer.

But isn’t that always the conundrum? That the innocent and powerless suffer the most in war? Isn’t that why any war should be avoided? Isn’t that why Hamas should answer Israel’s call to release the remaining hostages (dead or alive)? That last action could end the war immediately—yet instead Hamas continues to fight the IDF, to surround themselves with the hostages and Palestinian citizens. This last action proves the long-standing lie that the terrorists care about the Palestinian cause and/or the average Gaza citizen.

I am no fan of Bibi Netanyahu and his right-wing fanatic government. I also agree with what is now a commonly acknowledged fact that Netanyahu wants to continue the war to stay in power, and cares less about Israel or the Palestinians than himself. Nevertheless, when I hear cries of Genocide against Jews “methinks thou doth protest too much”. This is especially true when Ocasio-Cortez refuses to lay any blame at the feet of Hamas. Of course, as a member of The Squad she is known to stand with the other extreme leftist congresswomen in the group and their clear concern with people of color—often to the detriment of others.

However, as someone who has taught the Holocaust, interviewed Survivors for over 20 years, and written on the Holocaust and other identified genocides, I take great exception to Ocasio-Cortez’ cries of Genocide. It is important to point out that one member of The Squad is a Palestinian-American. However, just as many Israelis show sorrow and empathy with the non-combatant Palestinians in Gaza; is it too much to ask members of The Squad to enlarge their sympathies to include victims of October 7th?

As several Holocaust scholars have often stated, there is no hierarchy when it comes to genocides, extreme violence, and personal pain of the victims. There can be no gradation to the suffering in pogroms and wars. While I can feel deep pain over the October 7th Pogrom, that does not limit me to also experience distress over the extreme displacement of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the too-many deaths of women and children. That is the ultimately true tragedy of the Gaza-Israel War. BOTH Israelis and Palestinians have been longtime pawns in the Middle East power plays of major countries.

At various times since 1948, Middle Eastern countries have taken turns at using one or both groups to their own advantage—and resulting in a worsening of conditions for both groups, with the Palestinians getting the worse of it. Although, let us now forget the extremely high price Israel paid in lost lives on the battlefield fighting various wars. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have most recently made peace with Israel. So today the new agitators include Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran (until very recently this list included Saudi Arabia). I also fear that Russia and Putin have a secret hand in this new group as well. Iran and Qatar are major funders of the militant supposedly pro-Palestinian anti-Israel terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah. No real news to most people by now.

But if the Gaza-Israel War has exposed the selfishness and narcissism of Bibi Netanyahu and the lie that he and his right-wing cabinet cares about ALL Israelis and Jews. Make no mistake that the war has also exposed the constant lies of terrorists and their backers that their anti-Zionism and antagonism against Israel is borne out of concern for the Palestinians. Since 1948, Palestinians have lived in poor conditions in both Gaza and the West Bank with most Arab countries refusing to accept any more of them.

In fact, it is important to remind those ignorant of Middle East history (and there are too many of them), that the Palestinians could have had their own nation back in 1948 with the proposed Partition of Israel—and with Palestinians getting a larger chunk of the land than the Jewish settlers. Thanks to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Nassar of Egypt, they were talked out of accepting the Partition and told that The Arab League forces would “drive the Jews to the Sea”. Seventy-five years later, the Palestinians continue to choose their leaders poorly and follow false promises by their fellow Arab brothers.

Another truth is that terrorists are only good at one thing—causing terror and chaos, breaking down order and the establishment. It is the reason given by most political observers that Arafat could not bring himself to agree with the Clinton Administration Peace Accords and efforts for an agreement between the PLO and Israel. The Palestinians needed a Leader who could build a new Palestinian nation—and not a fighter (albeit a good one) who only knew how to break down the status quo and not how to build a new nation or accept compromise. To this day, many observers believe that Israel was going to give away too much to achieve peace.

It is very interesting to note that in 1948, the new nation of Israel consisted of a large amount of Holocaust survivors who were traumatized by Nazi treatment of Europe’s Jews. Yet somehow this new nation filled with people who had lost their possessions, families, and dignity managed to build a brand new nation-state, and agriculturally tame a land that was largely desert with enemies at the border. My question is this—if a group of traumatized Holocaust Survivors who lost everyone and everything in their lives that mattered, and Israelis that came earlier following the terrible Pogroms of Russia, can manage to slowly recover their dignity and create a nation of their own, than why can’t Palestinians similarly traumatized and neglected also regain their own dignity and build their own country after following false Arab Gods for over 75 years. Please feel free to answer this last question—if you actually have an answer.

About the Author
Madelon Rosen-Solomon is a journalist and writer with deep roots in the American Jewish Community. She holds a MA in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from Kean University, MS from Fordham University in English Education, BA from SUNY Purchase in Literature/American History (double major), and BA from CUNY Lehman College in Journalism/Theatre (double major). She is a member of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center in Westchester CountRy, where she served for 15 years on the Educators Planning Committee. Ms. Rosen-Solomon is a ASNE Journalism Fellow from Kent State. She was most recently a high school English and History teacher. Before turning to education, Ms. Rosen-Solomon had a career in public relations where she worked for several top-ten Manhattan PR firms before running her own PR Consultancy. She has represented a number of Jewish and Israeli performing artists and other accounts in the Jewish World including The Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre. As a Broadway theatrical publicist for almost 15 years, she was trained by David Merrick’s former press agent Max Eisen. Madelon has been a journalist on staff and freelance for several New York Metro area newspapers and magazines. An active member of Women of Reform Judaism and Temple Israel of Northern Westchester Sisterhood, Madelon writes about The Holocaust and Human Rights, Women/Gender Issues in Judaism, and the Intersection of Politics and Judaism. She is currently working on a book about Trauma and Holocaust Survivors.
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