A response to Jonah ben Avraham’s “Support Palestinians when they fight…”, by Dan La Botz and Stephen R. Shalom – 24 November 2023

From Tempest magazine, by Dan La Botz and Stephen R. Shalom

In the midst of Israel’s horrific slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, it would seem ill-timed to engage in debate with other members of the pro-Palestinian Left. But when a writer chooses to denounce as “pro-settler” those who uphold the fundamental Left position against killing innocent civilians, a response is required. And when a leftist dismisses the humanity of Israeli civilians as the “suffering of the Israeli settlers,” it is important to point out how this does a tremendous disservice to both the Left and the Palestinian cause.

The recent article in Tempest titled “Support Palestinians when they fight: Not just when they die” by Jonah ben Avraham praises Hamas’ October 7 attack: “In the images of fences toppling and resistance spreading—particularly throughout the Arab world—we saw a glimpse of new possibilities.” This is our vision of a new world? Slaughtered civilians? How does he believe this attack came about: “Last month, inmates of the Zionist state’s de facto concentration camp in the Gaza Strip executed a desperate, yet powerfully courageous, escape.” Yes, Israel had turned Gaza into a concentration camp. But no one “escaped.” These were not enslaved people breaking their chains and fleeing north. The planners of this action could not have failed to anticipate the horrendous and criminal Israeli retaliation that is currently slaughtering the people of Gaza. Sometimes desperate people spontaneously explode. But October 7 was not spontaneous. It was the carefully planned action of a rightwing, religious fundamentalist organization.