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Journalist Peter Maass writes, “I’m Jewish, and I’ve covered wars. I know war crimes when I see them.”

Peter Maass is a journalist whose work includes covering the war in Bosnia in the early 1990s—which included massacres and mass rapes carried out by the Serbian majority against the minority Muslim Bosnians after the breakup of Yugoslavia—and the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. In an April 9 opinion piece in the Washington Post, Maass writes powerfully against the genocidal war being carried out today by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza, bringing his own experience witnessing past war crimes to bear: “When Israel bombs and shoots civilians, blocks food aid, attacks hospitals, and cuts off water supplies, I remember the same outrages in Bosnia.”

Image of a page of the Washington Post, with article by Peter Maass


Maass recalls seeing a civilian wounded by Serbian sniper fire in Bosnia trying to crawl to safety. He says he was thinking of that incident “as I watched an agonizing video from Gaza not long ago. The video shows a grandmother, Hala Khreis, trying to leave a neighborhood that Israeli forces are surrounding. Walking tentatively, she holds the hand of her grandson, who is 5 years old and carries a white flag. Suddenly, a shot rings out and she crumples to the ground dead. Sniper rifles have high-powered scopes — the shooters can see who they are shooting.”

Israel Palestinians Image ID : 24095484437658 Members of the Abu Draz family hold the bodies of their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, at their house in Rafah, southern Gaza, Thursday, April 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)


Members of the Abu Draz family hold the bodies of their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, at their house in Rafah, southern Gaza, April 4, 2024.    Photo: AP/Fatima Shbair

Maass also brings in his own family history. His ancestors include those who donated large amounts of funds to the Zionist project of Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the founding of the state of Israel. As he notes, many Jews in America “feel connected to Israel’s creation.” But he asks a crucial, urgent question: “What’s a Jew to do now?” And he answers: “Everyone makes their own choices, but my experience of war crimes taught me that being Jewish means standing against any nation that commits war crimes. Any.

Maass points out rightly that Israel’s actions in Gaza qualify as genocide under international legal standards—and that “The victims of genocide — which Jews were in the Holocaust — are not gifted with the right to perpetrate one.” As he notes, among the protest movement against Israel’s war on Gaza are Jews who declare “Not in Our Name.” Maass describes how walking by a recent protest outside top Democrat Chuck Schumer’s house in Brooklyn, he saw “a woman wearing a kaffiyeh around her waist, who held a piece of cardboard with a handwritten message: ‘Jewish Nurse Against Occupation.’ She was protesting not just the killing of civilians but the decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territory, which is the underlying problem.”

And very importantly, Maass writes that because of the U.S. role in this genocidal war, there is an imperative for not just Jews but all people in the U.S. to speak out in opposition: “The U.S. government is Israel’s principal supporter, by virtue of the bombs and other weapons that continue to be provided to the extremist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We are all implicated.”

Read the article by Peter Maass in the Post here.

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From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

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