1. lack of proportion or equality
2. an instance of disparity or inequality


1. to cause to become exaggerated or unequal

English Collins Dictionary – English Definition & Thesaurus

It is with a heavy heart that I once again feel compelled to write about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Heavy because as I lay fingers to keyboard, The New York Times is reporting: After a meeting with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli Army was “continuing to hit Hamas hard and is ready to expand the operation into Gaza.”

Heavy because my gut tells me that if Israel does invade Gaza, we are going to see a mass of civilians—women and children included, of course–defined as “collateral damage.” We’ve been here before.

In no way do I condone the missiles Hamas has been firing. I believe it’s legitimate for Israel to stop them, no matter who fired the first shot. My sadness has to do with how the Israeli government is choosing to stop them.

Newspapers have reported about the “pinpoint” bombing that killed a high ranking Hamas official, and even with this “pinpoint” strike, there were a couple of dozen Palestinian civilian casualties as well as three Israeli deaths. The last Israeli invasion of Gaza “left thirteen Israelis and more than one thousand Palestinians dead, hundreds among them civilians” (THE BOSTON GLOBE 11/17/12). Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?

My heart is heavy because comparing the body counts underscores my political opinions. I believe the ongoing disproportionate amount of deaths between Palestinians and Israelis leaves little room for Israeli apologists.

This disproportion is not new. In April 2011 I wrote a post calling for a regime change in Israel (http://zacharykleinonline.com/2011/04/ second entry down) I listed the following facts:

Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 124 Israeli children have been killed. The number of Palestinian children killed during the same time period–1,452.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 1,084 Israeli adults have been killed. The number of Palestinian adults during the same period–6,430.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 9,226 Israelis have been injured. The number of Palestinians injured during the same period–45,041.
The current number of Israeli political prisoners or detainees is 1. The current number of Palestinian political prisoners or detainees is 5,935.
Since 1967 the number of Israeli homes that have been demolished for settlement reasons is 0.
Since 1967 the number of Palestinian homes demolished for settlement reasons—24,813.
Of the 40 towns in Israel with the highest unemployment rates, 36 are Arab towns.
According to the Central Bank of Israel statistics for 2003, salary averages for Arab workers in Israel (emphasis mine) were 29 percent lower than for Jewish workers.
U.S. government aid to Israel in 2009 was 8.2 million dollars of military aid per day.
U.S. government aid to Palestinians in 2009–0 dollars.
(These numbers and their primary sources can be found at http://www.ifamericansknew.org.)

That was then and perhaps the numbers are somewhat different now. However changed they might be, the disproportion will not if or when Israel invades Gaza again. This disproportion cannot be seen as defense regardless of Palestinian missile attacks. This is offense and the notion that the best defense is offense crumples in the face of dead and maimed children.

A whole lot of people have raked me for my ongoing support of the Palestinian people. Been called an anti-Semitic Jew (was also called a “self-loathing” Jew after my third Matt Jacob Novel No Saving Grace), one-sided, and blind to the acts of terror committed by Palestinians. The problem with all that is I’m not anti-Semitic or even one-sided. And I’m certainly not blind or silent about any acts of terror whatever the justification–real or imagined.

What I am is terribly, terribly sad. It rips my insides to watch a people to whom I belong, who were savaged into near extinction during World War Two, slowly but surely dehumanize another people. It tears me up to watch Israel become an apartheid state. It breaks my heart to even imagine how close Israel is creeping toward committing genocide. These are not the feelings of an anti-Semitic Jew; they are the emotions of someone watching his people change from the oppressed to the oppressor.

I used to believe in a two-state solution. Believed that had the 1967 boundaries been accepted along with internationalization of Jerusalem, peace would have been possible. I believed that had Israel legitimately dealt with Fatah or the PLO that preceded them, Hamas wouldn’t have had steady legs to stand on.

Now I believe it’s too, too late. The disproportion too, too great. Which is why my heart is heavy today for the Palestinian people, the ugly transformation that’s grabbed hold of Israel, and mostly for those who have died and those who will. Disproportionally.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

20 thoughts on “DISPROPORTION

  1. Well thought out Zach, and you’re so right, there’s a heavy sadness with this unfolding story. But good to give Maya the last word…hope?

  2. None so blind as those who will not see. None so deaf as those who will not hear and none so dumb and those who will not speak? How does this square?
    Public relations, propaganda and agitprop?

    U.S. aid to Israel is far greater than $8 million per day. The dollars would be meaningless without the unconditional support and cover provided for Israel’s actions in our media and government. That disproportion marginalizes everything else. It also reflects problems we have in all that we do.

    To admit we’ve been wrong about Israel is like admitting we’ve been wrong, in our approach, about most things for decades. That squares with what we’re experiencing, Without admission and recognition progress isn’t likely.

    • Bill: ” The dollars would be meaningless without the unconditional support and cover provided for Israel’s actions in our media and government.” Man, this is right on, shall we say, target. And all too often the mainstream Jewish groups make sure this happens whether they have to lie or not. At least there are some groups like Jewish Voice For Peace that does really good work about the Palestinian struggle.

  3. Hi Zach,
    You are right on all counts.
    I believe that as long as Presidents like Barack Obama say, as he did today, “We stand 100% behind Israel,” and brainwashed Americans believe this is justified, there is no hope for the Palestinian people.

    At last check the deaths of Palestinian men, woman & children was 30 X higher than the Israeli side. As it always is.

    • Jed–My statistics are probably out of date. And other people have said what I did much more eloquently. But I had to say something because the Palestinian struggle is representative to the max of all oppressed people.

  4. So, my learned cousin, wherein lies the answer? I’ve thought about it at length. and I pretty much feel as you do. How to go against your own people and at the same time condone what they do.To oversimplify, it’s like rooting against the Y anks cause they bought too much talent. They’re my TEAM–like Israel. I just don’t know any more, and thinking about it wears me out. They’ll have to solve this one on their own.As long as there are 2 people left on each side, you’re going to have war.

    • Hank–Not so learned. And I wish I had an answer. I thought I did up until the last invasion of Gaza–and I belong to Jewish Voice For Peace which organizes around disinvestment but I’m beginning to think that demographics is all that’s left. One place of disagreement. I think the majority of both Israelis (when they are calm) and Palestinians would much rather have peace than this brutality. The older I get the more pacifist I become.

  5. Hey, Z. There are two popular explanations for the disproportion,that I have heard frequently.

    1. One Israeli life is worth 50 Arabs. (Corporations are people – Palestinians are not.)
    2. Arabs are stupid. You need to punish them really severely to get them to learn their lesson.

    Why does America play along? Like everything else in American politics, this is a money issue. The Israel lobby (neo-cons and their friends) is all over K Street, and is one of the major lobby groups that buy votes and control our politicians. A win-win for corporate America, as Israel also helps us control our oil interests over there.

  6. Back during first invasion of Lebanon I argued that the evil of deed would or could be justified. Z took strong opposing position. History proved Z correct time and time again. Now israeli’s are in terrible box in which they fantasize they can bomb and murder their way to peace. Z was right that this never works. Israelis do not seem to be able to stop making same mistakes. Me thinks this is definition of insanity and self deluding self defeating conduct. I find it hard to imagine how things can go anywhere but bad to worse

  7. If only the Palestinian leadership would mourn for its children.
    The underlying fact so easily overlooked is that the Leadership of the Palestinian people, those in Gaza and the West Bank, did/do not want a peace… at least not on any basis that would be reasonable to ALL concerned. In truth, it is much too financially rewarding for the leadership, especially in Gaza, to take the progressive steps to alter the status quo of their citizens. Egged on and financed by Iran and others, the Palestinian leadership has kept its people as pawns.

    • Marty–As you know, we don’t see eye to eye on this one. And while I don’t agree with “Egged on and financed by Iran and others, the Palestinian leadership has kept its people as pawns,” you could certainly say the same about the United States and Israel.

  8. Bravo brother – hard words, said in sadness but clearly. A couple of thoughts.

    Your line about “…to watch a people to whom I belong…” stopped me – I know what you mean, and for a non-jew I am faced with asking myself the question, “which of these groups is not made up of my brothers and sisters” – and the answer is obvious.

    second, we should never retreat from asking sharp questions just because we can’t supply simple answers ourselves. It’s right – our job – to say NO this is wrong, stop it right now” – and the next part is not “and here’s what you should do instead” but rather “try harder – you can do better – this is not who we are as humans”.

    • TD: “It’s right – our job – to say NO this is wrong, stop it right now” – and the next part is not “and here’s what you should do instead” but rather “try harder – you can do better – this is not who we are as humans.”

      This sentence pretty much sums it up. And is, in no small measure why I love you. Thanks.

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