Updated 11:09 pm EDT, April 23, 2024

Published 09:29 pm EDT, April 22, 2024

A Manual to Justify the Unjustifiable

By Virginia Mayer

The complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy through my personal reflections and family connections.

By Virginia Mayer

Updated 11:09 pm EDT, April 23, 2024

Published 09:29 pm EDT, April 22, 2024

Since the brutal terrorist attack against the civilian population of Israel at the hands of Hamas on October 7, 2023 -during the Supernova music festival, in the south of the country, near Re’im- as time passes and as the harrowing attacks in Gaza continue, the Israeli state has been unveiling the chilling results of its investigations into the details of the sinister attack.

According to Al Jazeera, out of the 3,500 people who attended the event, at least 260 died when dozens of Hamas fighters opened fire on them. The revelation also shows that sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war against both women and men. The details of these attacks are chilling -even for someone who consumes terror, gore, and real crime like myself- but I do not consider it necessary to repeat them. For what purpose?

The Sinister Details

In what is, for me, a clear attempt to justify what are now 29,514 dead and 69,616 wounded in the Gaza Strip (figures published on February 23rd of this year by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which represents the opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), the state of Israel continues to reveal -in an already repetitive manner- what happened on October 7th. And I can’t help but think, OK, but what’s new? Did something else happen, worse than what we already know? The answer is NO.

However, it stands to reason that the consuming public of social networks (largely immensely stupid and ignorant) will harbor more hatred as they receive more information about what happened in Israel. This hatred has been distorting events to the extent that most people are unaware of whom or why they hate.

Infiltrating Palestinian Society

On February 12th, 2024, the United Nations reported that out of the 28,340 deaths to date, 70% are women and children. The State of Israel attributes these deaths by arguing that Hamas has infiltrated Palestinian society, permeating it completely in such a way that it is not possible to differentiate between terrorists and the civilian population.

Furthermore, Mia Schem -one of the women abducted during the music festival- who was released on November 30th after 54 days of captivity, told The Times of Israel: “I experienced hell. There are no innocent civilians in Gaza.” Schem added that she experienced severe hunger while being held in a family’s house, and the children in the house would approach her with sweets that they wouldn’t share to provoke her and leave her even hungrier.

In that line of thought, doesn’t it make sense that a large part of the world opinion justifies the attacks in the Gaza Strip? It does, absolutely. Especially considering that -as I just stated- the majority of people expressing opinions on social media are more brutish and ignorant than a stone.

What do I Care?

And why should all of this matter to me? My paternal family always knew that we were of Jewish origin. We knew that the mother of my German grandfather -Helmut Mayer Pitsch- was Jewish and therefore he was too. However, since he married Matilde, a Catholic Uruguayan who did not convert to Judaism, their children (my father and uncles) were not considered Jewish.

Nevertheless, it would have been expected that my grandfather shared his German-Jewish customs, but he never did. He never spoke to his family in German, although his strong accent when speaking Spanish made it evident. The only thing eaten in his German home was marzipan in Easter eggs. Nothing more.

Helmut was ashamed and filled with fear that it would be known he was Jewish. At that time, Uruguay -like Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay- was a place where both Jews and Nazis hid. Today we believe that my grandfather was hiding, and the pain that causes me is difficult to describe.

When You Aren’t What You Thought You Were

A few years ago, we learned that my grandfather Helmut’s father was also Jewish. This is something he always hid while he was alive, making him seem 50% less Jewish than he already was. We also learned his parents and him were indeed hiding in Uruguay. His only brother -a symphony orchestra conductor- was saved by Hitler and sent to Vienna, Austria, just like many other classical musicians. WE also found out our last name is not Mayer.

We still don’t know what the original last name was. And this fact feels heavy. It feels dense to know that we are not what we thought and that this is due to fear, to terror. The systematic extermination of Jews carried out by the regime of Nazi Germany freezes my bones and leaves me speechless.

My immediate family was saved, but everyone else wasn’t. All the “Mayers” and the Pitsches were exterminated in Auschwitz. Everyone. Absolutely everyone. Only my grandfather Helmut, his brother Thomas, and their parents survived. No one else. No one else!

Call a Spade a Spade

From this life story, you could assume I justify the attacks of the State of Israel in the Gaza Strip. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The immense sadness that my paternal family’s past brings me hasn’t made me blind. I can understand that what Netanyahu is doing in Palestine is an inexcusable and atrocious genocide. There is no other definition but that.

And I need to make something clear. Supporting the Palestinian population being systematically exterminated by the State of Israel is not anti-Semitism. It is not. Being against the genocide committed by Netanyahu in the Gaza Strip means you can observe and analyze with humanity. With the heart, the mind… And common sense, damn it!

Justifying the Unjustifiable

It’s very easy to hate. And it’s even easier to hate without arguments. Much easier. This is because it takes careful observation and being well-informed. Understanding what a reliable source is and which one isn’t, and having empathy plus common sense. That is much more difficult. And is, however, exactly what’s needed.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, that happened in Israel on October 7th justifies the genocide being carried out in the Gaza Strip. You can’t justify what the state of Israel is doing under Benjamin Netanyahu’s command. You just can’t.

More from

Culture

By Virginia Mayer

Culture

By Virginia Mayer

Culture

By Pomy Hailu

Culture

By Ibtissam El Azami

Sponsored Content