Thursday, 27 August 2009

Obama, Netanyahu, Brown, the BBC: posturing is still the issue

America and Israel are ready to announce wide sanctions and other punishing measures against Iran. All part of the imminent 'peace breakthrough' soon to be declared by Obama. So much for the hand of peace and understanding towards Iran and the wider Arab world proclaimed in Obama's Cairo speech.

In 'return' for a "temporary and partial" freezing of settlement construction, Washington will turn the screw on Tehran, helping to thwart its 'nuclear ambitions' and further isolate the 'mullah pariahs'. The actual crime of occupation and ethnic cleansing has been approvingly sidelined by Obama to make way for the invented threat against nuclear-laden Israel. It's like the placating tyrant father indulging his monster bully son.

Netanyahu's 'concession' over settlement building - another permitted distraction from the main issue of settlement withdrawal - will not, of course, apply to Jerusalem, which, he insists, remains the undivided Jewish capital. Obama and his Western acolytes have, again, readily accepted this playground aggression, indifferent, it seems, to the illegal settlements, land thefts, forced evictions and other gross violations across Occupied East Jerusalem.

What realistic version of a two state solution, one may wonder, can come from a 'peace process' which precludes even discussion of Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel and other key obstacles to a contiguous Palestinian West Bank?

The answer is, as ever, prosaically simple: there is no meaningful peace process, no Israeli intention to give up its stolen gains, no prospect of any serious two state arrangement. We continue, rather, with the dual facade of Western peace pushers and Israeli peace partners. It's the same old diplomatic hypocrisy and pretend cooperation.

It's also the same servile media presentation of the sham. Thus, the BBC, Guardian and other safe liberal media have been slavishly repeating the Washington-Tel Aviv line on Iran. While Jeremy Bowen ponders the case for "crippling sanctions" against Iran, the real case for international boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel goes unmentioned. Real crimes of mass murder and defiance of international law by a favoured state, it seems, cannot be met with such measures, while 'existential threats' from Iran and other disfavoured states can.

Netanyahu's visit to Downing Street, in an effort to prioritise the 'Iranian menace', has, likewise, been dutifully reported as part of the great Western peace initiative. Again, critical discussion of Brown's supportive meeting with the key exponent of Israel's apartheid policies seems almost an absurdity to the BBC and its media peers.

Instead, there's supplication to the standard narrative: that the US/West and Israel are working hard to restart the peace process, while the Palestinians sit unproductively on the margins showing little initiative or consideration of Israel's 'Iran priority'. It's another classic example of how editors and journalists accept, work with and promote the agenda-setting requirements of power.

As the combined political and media chorus against Tehran intensifies, you will search or listen in vain for any BBC correspondent saying, as John Pilger consistently has, that Palestine is still the issue.


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