The damage-control – make that cover-up – of Israel’s latest massacre of Gaza, this time at sea, (everywhere absurdly being called a « raid »), began as soon as the reporting started. On day one, reports of as many as 19 dead were circulating; the NY Times later downgraded it to “at least nine”, and by today only the deportation of the hundreds arrested is being reported, as if to say, “hey, we’re letting them all go, stop complaining!”
A new disgrace, a new atrocity, same old rhetoric from Israel – but this time, criticism is raining down with new force from all over the world. It’s as if some governments have just woken up to the fact that it is Israel which has spawned some of the fiercest terrorist attacks, (and inspiring terrorist recruiting propaganda) over the last decades, always coming back to their shameful, inhuman treatment of Palestinians, always aided and abetted by the U.S. and its other “allies”. The apartheid that has existed, virtually without challenge, is now being seen as just cause to bring the fanatical factions running the country to book, and a call for Israel to abide by accepted standards of international law has been echoed in unexpected halls of justice.
Turkey, not a little ironically, is now in a position to call out an even worse offender against human rights and decency. Egypt has declared Israel to have lost all credibility. Diaspora Jews everywhere, as well as many within the country, are calling for a change in the barbaric practices against a weak and disenfranchised people, who have been repeatedly attacked with overwhelming force, imploring leaders to engage a constructive, forward-looking policy on the road to a two-state solution, which is the only way to bring peace and restore the dignity of the long-abused Palestinian people.
Everyone who, like me, has lived in Israel, or even those who have paid attention to what news they could get, ignoring the deafening propaganda of Israel’s right (and center), has known for decades that the treatment of Palestinians has been outrageous and untenable. What is different now is the amount of outside coverage, the new voices, with their cell-phone videos and photos, that show it was yet another massacre. No sooner did reporters attempt to get a story, when Israel denied access to the eye-witnesses that would challenge and refute their party-line as to what happened. But even though the spin-machine has been working overtime, like the BP oil gushing uncontrolled into the Gulf, the sickening details are emerging and staining the waters black. Op-Idiot Thomas Friedman claims to be torn between two lovers (Turkey and Israel), but in more rational corners there is no question of loyalties: Israel cannot remain a lawless, violent aggressor in the region which most needs a serious direction toward justice and peace.
It has been many, many years since Israel faced any kind of serious threat from Palestinians, but if they are threatened now by other Arab and Muslim nations, it is in large part down to their duplicitous behavior over treaties (they always break them), and their berserker-approach in reacting to minor threats.
For the first time in ages people are realizing that when your back is to the wall, the “nothing to lose” view is what has driven men, women and children to strap on suicide bombs, that a policy of backing generations of people to the wall is what has given rise to these fearful tactics as the only attainable form of resistance. It goes without saying that Israel should have been the first to refrain from Gestapo-like methods of intimidation, and ghettoizing in order to create a sense of helplessness and desperation. But the bitterest comparisons are finally being spoken of out loud, the criticism that should have ended this horrific state of affairs is only now emerging with accepted legitimacy from other places than liberal journals or academic institutions. The days of shouting « anti-Semitism » at every critic, and allowing Israel to claim its own offensive attacks are justified self-defense, are rightly over. The only thing lacking now is for Israel to hear the message and change its self-defeating and world-threatening policies. And for the U.S. to do the same.
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