Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American author and advocate for peace in the Middle East, said, "There's nothing Jewish about what Israel is doing," during a recent visit to Charlotte. You can watch her say it again here:
So, why is Anna Baltzer concerned about what's going on in Israel and Palestine and what it means to be Jewish? Because she considers what's going on in Israel blocking relief aid and occupying more of Palestine with military force wrong, and she's doing her best to educate us in the West about what she says is really happening in the West Bank.
Why should we care? For starters, Anna says, it's not kosher to sit by and watch injustice occur. But, for those who need more convincing, she wants you to know that if you are a taxpayer in the United States, you are helping to finance Israel's colonization of Palestine.
Here's a report on her recent visit to the Q.C.:
The news feed Americans are on doesn't give us the whole story, according to Baltzer.
For example, did you know that Israelis and Palestinians aren't allowed to travel the same roads? While Israelis enjoy new roads, Muslims and Christian Palestinians are forced to travel older, often unusable roads that are riddled with check points and blockades which often make it impossible to drive. And contrary to what you may suspect, those check points and blockades aren't on the West Bank's border. No, they're often well within it.
On any given day, Baltzer says, it could take up to eight hours to travel 15 to 20 miles or, roughly, the distance from Uptown Charlotte to Monroe.
What we see on the news are bombs going off in a marketplace. You would think, then, that Israelies would do anything they could to stay out of the West Bank, Baltzer said.
That's not the case, however. If you are a Jew living anywhere in the world, Baltzer said, Israel will pay you $20,000 to $25,000 to move to the West Bank. That's because, she said, the country is working to establish a colony, not peace.
"If you want to protect your citizenry," she asked the crowd, "would you pay them thousands and thousands to be surrounded by the enemy?"
In fact, Baltzer likens the Israeli's military occupation of the West Bank with apartheid in South Africa or the colonization of America, which included the slaughter and removal of numerous Native Americans tribes.
What's happening, she said, is religious segregation. There is a wall being erected not on the border of the West Bank, but zig-zagging throughout the region that's twice the height of the Berlin wall. "Why does there need to be a wall between Palestinian towns?," Baltzer asked the crowd.
Something else you may not realize: American taxpayers help fund Israel's military occupation, contrary to the dictates of international law. Our tax dollars flow into Israel at the rate of around $10 million per day, said Baltzer. North Carolina, alone, has contributed more than $800 million, she said.
"If you are a taxpayer," she said, "you are involved."
That's why she encourages Americans to educate themselves on the issue. From there, she encourages people to write to their local newspapers and their elected officials to let them know what they think about what Baltzer calls "perpetual discrimination against Christians and Muslims."
Ask yourself: Why are North Carolina taxpayers financing Israel's military occupation of Palestine? Now, ask your elected officials.
Further reading: Why Israel is Isolated The Daily Beast