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Traumatic Cycles

So much trauma inflicted in one place. The violence and terror inflicted both by Hamas and the Israeli government since October 7th has killed over 1400 Israelis and 2600 Palestinians – overwhelming citizens on both sides. An unimaginable tragedy before one even considers the hundreds of Israeli hostages, thousands of injured Palestinians, and millions terrorized and horrified by the wanton violence and cruelty seen on social media. Trauma spreads far beyond those immediately affected by the war on the ground, with long-lasting consequences.


Nothing can excuse Hamas’ violence, nor the collective punishment of Palestinians living in Gaza by Netanyahu’s right-wing government in response. Both the precipitating attack by Hamas and the Israeli government’s response come from the same poisoned seed: punishing a whole people for its government’s actions. It was the same logic used by Osama Bin Laden to orchestrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.


America’s response under Bush and Cheney to that attack, declaring a war on terror and “Radical Islamic Terrorists,” has been shown definitively to be the wrong one. We invaded two countries, waged wars killing hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of civilians. We wasted trillions in treasure and spent much of our global good will in the process. Did 20 years of war and strife buy America peace and security? No. Terrorists and extremists still run Afghanistan and plague Iraq, and the American people live under greater scrutiny and fear than ever. Once the war machine starts, only the defense contractors are better off in the end


Israel is at a similar crossroads. Its people have been grievously wounded by a barbaric attack, and Netanyahu’s right-wing government is gearing up for a ground invasion of Gaza after a punishing aerial bombardment of the region. They are, perhaps, poised to make the same mistakes as America, squandering lives, treasure, and the reputation of not just Israel but all Jews globally. What’s more, the war threatens to spill over into the proverbial powder keg that is the Middle East, potentially spiraling out of control into a larger, regional conflict. It’s in times like these when the drums of war are beating that it’s most important for us, however, to sue for peace. We must practice radical empathy and humanize the other side of the conflict.


When polled, the American people seem to agree. An overwhelming majority, express at least some sympathy and support for both the people of Israel (96%) and Palestine (87%). The Biden administration, apparently sensing this mood, has changed its tack, and begun calling for restraint behind the scenes as well. The path to peace won’t be easy, however, now that blood has been spilled, tensions are high and the military industrial complex has been awakened. American defense contractors made billions from the misery and deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and would doubtlessly love making more billions from an Israel-Hamas conflict. With their deep pockets and few morals, it will take more than just political organizing to slow the accelerating war machine. We need to use economic organizing to build a movement powerful enough to stand up to these warmongers and finally fight for a peaceful and equitable settlement with Palestine. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity as we work together to stop the cycle of trauma and grow peace instead!#DSOT#UPM


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