This is a poem I started writing about the middle of last year, but I set it aside. Recently, with all the events in the Middle East, I got it back out and finished it.
Warning: graphic language
- For those Americans who may never have heard, and probably there are many, the USS Liberty was a United States naval vessel bombed by Israel in 1967. The attack, which took place in the Mediterranean off the coast of Egypt, killed 34 American servicemen and left 174 wounded. On March 16, 2003, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie was run over by an Israeli bulldozer as she nonviolently resisted the demolition of a Palestinian home.
- “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,” Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said not long after Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliament in democratic elections in 2006. At that time, Israel imposed economic sanctions, which in turn were followed by a full blockade of the Gaza Strip beginning in June of 2007. The territory has been under blockade ever since.
- When asked how he felt about bombing a Gaza apartment building full of civilians, the answer given by Dan Halutz, former chief of staff of the Israel military, was, “I would have felt a slight shudder of the wings.”
- Uzi Landau is an Israeli politician and ardent backer of the settler movement who wants Palestinians to change their educational curriculum so that school children will be given a more agreeable picture of the past 62 years of Israeli occupation. Landau is a member of Yisrael Beiteinu, the political party headed by Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Leiberman, which advocates “transfer” of Palestinians. Israel found itself on the receiving end of international criticism in February, 2009, following news reports it was blocking shipments of pasta from entering Gaza.
- The infamous five dancing Israelis comprise part of a sizeable body of evidence suggesting Israeli involvement in 911. That someone had advance knowledge of 911 is strongly indicated by insider trading in put options on Wall Street just days prior to the attack.
- “Snow White and the Madness of Truth” was the name of a work of art exhibited in Stockholm in 2004. Charging that it was anti-Semitic, the Israeli ambassador to Sweden vandalized the display, which consisted of a small white boat floating in a pool of blood-colored water. Mounted on the boat was a portrait of Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat, a 29-year-old Palestinian lawyer who, after witnessing members of her family murdered by the Israeli military in June of 2003, became one of the first Palestinian female suicide bombers.
- Jewish extremists in the West Bank chanted “We killed Jesus and we’ll kill you too” as they attacked and bloodied a 19-year-old Palestine Solidarity activist in 2006.
- The reference to Rahm Emanuel is a play on words. In Semitic languages one of the meanings of the word “rahm” is “womb.”
- Rosemary’s Baby was a 1968 horror film directed by Roman Polanski and based upon the novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The tale relates the story of a young mother who gives birth to a son ostensibly fathered by Satan.
- The Katha Upanishad is an Indian allegory relating the story of a teenage boy who meets death, whereupon the latter subsequently becomes the boy’s teacher.
- A shochet is an individual who performs the ritual slaughter of animals as prescribed by Jewish dietary laws.
- Rafael Eitan, former Israeli military chief of staff, once epitomized Palestinians as “drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Eitan, who was chief of staff at the time of the Sabra-Shatila massacre in 1982, died in 2004 at the port of Ashdod when “a freak wave swept him away in mid-conversation on his mobile phone.”
- Chillul Hashem is a Hebrew term meaning “desecration of God’s name.”
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian