Thursday, 15 October 2015

Palestinian rising depicted as crazed terrorism while Israel is on a violent rampage

One thing should be abundantly clear to any rational observer of the current violence in Palestine-Israel: when you occupy, bomb, besiege, incarcerate, terrorise and humiliate a people, they will assuredly rise in desperate, rightful resistance.

Alas, we don't have a fully rational, truth-relating media providing due context and accurate information. Across the supposed media 'spectrum', "world news remains focused on Palestinian violence instead of the underlying causality."

Consider, for example, the blatant distortion from Channel 4 News, with Jonathan Rugman depicting Palestinians as crazed assassins and Israel as the ready responder. Rather than the crushing violence Israel is imposing on Palestinians, the piece gives prominence to 'lone-wolf' attacks on Israel, crass propaganda from spin-chief Rosenfeld and a threat-fuelled speech by Netanyahu. In the West Bank, major street resistance is merely, for Rugman, "a return to a decades-old confrontation." Even the death count, "seven Israelis and twenty eight Palestinians", is prioritised by Rugman - as in most BBC reports. And this is supposed to be 'the best' of our 'challenging' media.

As reported at Electronic Intifada, we have to rely on independent media and organisations for key statistics and core causes:
At least 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers since 1 October, and more than 1,700 injured, according to Palestinian medical sources. Seven Israelis were killed during the same period.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated on Tuesday that the Israeli government “bears responsibility for the reality of the occupation.”
“Time and again the government represents the current wave of violence as an eruption of hatred that occurred apart from any background context, one that must be quelled with whatever force necessary,” B’Tselem said.
“At the same time, the government rejects out of hand any responsibility for the situation. Yet the events of recent weeks cannot be viewed in a vacuum, isolated from the reality of the ongoing, daily oppression of 4 million people, with no hope of change in sight,” the group added.
If this was Ukraine or any other Nato/Western cause célèbre, politicians and journalists would be hailing such street demonstrations as an heroic uprising. But this is Israel, the West's enduring friend, a brutal, occupying regime that Western leaders relentlessly placate, and a slavish media routinely excuse.

If our 'mainstream' (actually, corporate-establishment-extremist) media and its 'cherished' reporters were providing real context, one primary message would be coming through here loud and clear: that, contrary to its hasbara branding, Israel is the very model of a terrorist state posing as a benign democracy. 

From mass slaughter in Gaza to the colonial subjugation of the West Bank, from racist controls over East Jerusalem to systematic repression of Israel's Arabs, this is a marauding state defying every legal and humanitarian standard.

Israel has wantonly murdered thousands of Palestinians, yet it's still presented as the defensive victim. Where's the true reporting of this rising? Where's the media headlines showing Israel acting in flagrant disregard of international law?

While Israeli attackers are arrested, Palestinians are shot on the spotExtrajudicial murder is a routine act, giving impetus to a now frenzied vigilantism. As Jonathan Cook notes, in highlighting the brutal shooting of a Palestinian women at a bus station:
First, and most obviously, this woman was shot when she posed no immediate threat. The person or people who opened fire did so with no possible justification, apart from their own fears. One cannot help wondering whether the ease with which Israeli Jews shoot Palestinians, whether fellow citizens of Israel or victims of the occupation, reflects long-dominant discourses in the Israeli education system, media and politics that dehumanise “Arabs”. Second, the shooting seems to occur not because the armed people around her fear they are in danger, but because the group push themselves into a collective frenzy about the alleged knife. In this kind of atmosphere, someone is going to pull the trigger sooner or later.
Nuclear-loaded, ranked as the most militarised state on earth, and revelling in violence, it's little wonder that Israel is now a gun-wielding society, its police, as well as army, executing Palestinians at will, its leaders, like Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, urging citizens - excluding, of course, its nominal Arab ones - to arm themselves for the same dark purpose.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian citizens in al-Khalil
Occupying settlers, protected by soldiers, can torch homes, wiping out families, knowing there's no serious effort to apprehend or prosecute them. International volunteers are also being routinely attacked by zealot settlers without the slightest chance of arrest.

Punishment and retribution in Israel know no legal bounds. If a Palestinian carries out a violent act, the entire family will likely see their home demolished. Israel is now seeking to fast-track these barbaric acts.

Where's the international condemnation of Israel's monstrous conduct? Where's the sanctions? With no meaningful action, Israel continues to act with impunity.

Is this not the classic stamp of the apartheid state? As outlined in The Many Faces of Apartheid, edited by the honourable Jewish historian Ilan Pappé:
The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1973, regards apartheid as ‘a crime against humanity’ and a violation of international law. Apartheid means ‘similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa’. Such policies are criminal as they are ‘committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’.
Despite strong pressure from Israel and its friends not to use the language of apartheid about the Palestine situation, it does seem that worldwide, especially in the wake of Jimmy Carter’s clear reference to Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories as an apartheid regime, the need for such a comparison is deemed not only legitimate but even helpful.
And, as with that apartheid regime, a day of moral and political reckoning is coming for Israel. As Mandela himself said on his release from Robben Island: "South Africa will never forget the support of the state of Israel to the Apartheid regime".
It's a message the international elite and its propaganda media, which shamelessly clamoured around Mandela, might well note.
The truth of the Occupation and its wicked oppressions are plainly evident. Yet, while even liberal Zionists cannot defend the obviously indefensible, they peddle, instead, a semantics of mitigation, pitching every excuse for Israel's ruthless crimes, from the standard 'Israel responds' and 'Israel defends itself' line, to the 'two warring sides' and 'intractable conflict' trope. The US and West are, of course, commonly accepted as a relentless agent of peace.
 Dutiful journalists and hand-wringing politicians talk about 'yet another upsurge' and 'cycle of violence', without daring to speak the truth about Israel's daily aggressions and the primary cause of Palestinian responses.
Those who won't bear proper witness to Israel's glaring villainy are a complicit part of those crimes, from a feeble media and pandering politicians to the vulgarity of campaign Zionists claiming they want to 'save Palestinians' and 'promote peace' while whitewashing Israel and blaming the victims for their own suffering.

One wonders at such levels of inhuman denial, the kind of mindset that can support a brutal, rampaging state, the sort of twisted 'logic' used to approve its occupation, siege and mass killing.   

As Gideon Levy writes (with a nod from Norman Finkelstein):
There are no justified arguments left in Israel’s arsenal, the kind a decent person could accept. Even Mahatma Gandhi would understand the reasons for this outburst of Palestinian violence. Even those who recoil from violence, who see it as immoral and useless, can’t help but understand how it breaks out periodically. The question is why it doesn’t break out more often.
For Levy, Israel's rampage "could go on for many more years" because an indifferent West is "letting it run wild".

One might add, of course, that Israel has taken its cue from the proverbial parents' own marauding, murderous behaviour around the globe. And therein lies the depressing extent of the problem: the idea that a blood-soaked West, served by an inbred media, could ever be a credible corrective, willing or able to rein-in its violent progeny.

Which, alongside the Palestinian rising, leaves us with the only true moral power of rising public awareness and solidarity-based action, driven by true media rather than the posturing propaganda we're being fed. Real support for the oppressed means calling-out the crimes of their rampaging oppressors.  


CWobbles said...

Thanks for yet another excellent piece, much appreciated.

BR-in-MK said...

Very well argued, evidence-based, factual and well written piece. I'll link to Facebook. Many thanks.
-- Dr Brian Robinson, Milton Keynes, UK

John Hilley said...

Thanks, CWobbles and Brian Robinson.

Note that Jonathan Rugman has now blocked me on Twitter after asking, re his report:

.@jrug Where's the primary context here on Israel's brutal occupation and apartheid state? … …