Monday, 20 July 2015

Peddling 'peace' and selling the aggressor state - Friends of Israel do street propaganda

It's a measure of Israel's increasing concern over its pariah status in the world that Zionist campaign groups are now delivering street-based propaganda. 

Glasgow Friends of Israel is one such organisation now engaged in a desperate charm offensive.

They proclaim, on their banners and in their literature, to be 'pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace'. Only one of these has the mark of truth.

As with their cynical display of Palestinian flags around the main flag of Israel, the key deception of this group is that it professes to be 'caring', 'giving' and 'receptive' towards Palestinians, while actually willing their continued subjugation and masquerading behind 'the peace process'. 

Beneath the Glasgow Friends of Israel message lies not a concern for Palestinian advancement, but a rearguard determination to protect Israel. It's a Zionist-first agenda, asserting the 'urgent need' for Palestinian 'compromise', while extolling the 'higher need' for Israel's continued existence, 'security' and control.  

The title 'Glasgow Friends of Israel' should be enough to signify the group's true allegiance and purpose. But just in case of any doubt, consider what their overall 'concern' for Palestinians actually amounts to.      

They refuse to accept as truth the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 (as forensically documented by eminent Jewish historian Ilan Pappe in his landmark book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine).

They never use the word Nakba, or refer to it as the defining historical trauma of Palestinians.

They don't recognise the primary Palestinian right of return, as defined by UN Resolution 194 (Article 11) and continually reaffirmed by the General Assembly.

They don't mention that Israel, through the Jewish National Fund, destroyed and covered-over more than 500 Palestinian villages and entire landscapes to erase any evidence of the Nakba murder and expulsion.

They don't consider Israel's West Bank settlements and annexation of East Jerusalem illegal (as stated in UN Resolution 242), colonial and part of a relentless Zionist expansionism.

They don't recognise the illegality of the apartheid wall (as stated by the International Court of Justice ruling in 1994), or its principal purpose as a blatant land-grab.

They don't believe that Gaza is under a state of illegal and inhuman imprisonment, insisting only on the 'benign motives' of Israel's 2005 'settler withdrawal'. They won't acknowledge that Israel has continued to perpetrate mass war crimes against Gaza, wilfully repeating the media-assisted fiction that it has been 'responding' to Hamas, rather than inflicting deliberate terror on Palestinians and civil infrastructure at large.

They shun the truth that Palestinians elected Hamas in free and fair elections. While denouncing Hamas as 'terrorists', intent on 'annihilating' Israel, there's no attempt to explore Hamas's much more complex elements, how it was originally sponsored by Israel, Hamas's efforts to forge diplomatic links and secure a long-term truce, its consistent engagement on 'two states', the Western-backed coup plan against it, or Israel's orchestrations over Hamas as the pretext for its 2014 massacre of Gaza. Whatever one's feelings towards Hamas, nothing educational or constructive is gained from the reductionist propaganda peddled by Friends of Israel. 

They won't call Israel's killing of peace activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, and the hijacking of other aid convoys to Gaza, international crimes.

They never refer to Israel's mass murder as 'terrorism', 'state terrorism' or 'annihilation'.  Their literature says: 'The Palestinians deserve better' than Hamas, but not, apparently, 'better than Israel's 60-year-plus oppression'. They don't cite Likud's (2006) Constitution which emphatically rejects Palestinian statehood.

There's no enquiry as to why armed resistance, relatively limited as it is, compared with Israel's mass military might, occurs. Nor is it ever conducted by 'Palestinians', always Hamas, the 'main enemy', forever 'manipulating' the Palestinian population. 

Their deceptive focus is on easy-to-denounce symptoms, rather than primary causes. History is ignored, Palestinian suffering erased. History 'begins' with the last Hamas rocket. Any idea that the path to peaceful resolution can only come through truthful acknowledgement of Zionism's founding crime can never be contemplated. Israel's theft, expulsion and ongoing murder must be rationalised as 'defensive survival'.     

They don't even view Palestinians in any respectful sense as a definitive people, treating them, rather, as a 'problem' to be 'managed', like other parts of the 'external Arab threat'. Palestinians have no agency, their rights, culture and aspirations subsumed by Israel's 'facts on the ground'. In their contorted, qualified call for a 'two state solution', Palestinians are an entity to be controlled, with 'concessions' granted according to Israel's prior interests and handed-down to them on Israel's terms.   

Does any of this strike any reasonable-minded observer as being in any sense 'pro-Palestinian'?

Much of the literature being distributed by Glasgow Friends of Israel and similar groups is supplied by Stand With Us, a right-wing, US-based 'advocacy' organisation with deep political ties to Israel and the wider pro-Israel lobby. Founded by wealthy benefactor Roz Rothstein, Stand With Us has been engaged in multiple Israel-protecting campaigns, from funding HelpUsWin, an online defence of the mass-murderous Operation Cast Lead, to defending Caterpillar, whose bulldozers Israel use as weapons of death and destruction. With a $4 million annual budget, it is particularly active around academic campuses and in targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In a key collaboration with the Israeli state, Stand With Us have been tasked with helping to "run 'interactive media war rooms' manned by students who will be trained to disseminate Israeli hasbara on social media platforms".

Again, how 'pro-Palestinian' are these kind of actions and affiliations? 

What Israel is doing, in it's relentless occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in its brutal siege of Gaza and in its apartheid treatment of Palestinians living inside Israel, amounts to an historic crime against humanity.

There are no 'two conflicting sides' here. There's an Occupied and an Occupier, an oppressed and an oppressor, an imprisoned and an imprisoner. Herein lies the moral choice. You can't be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. 

If you're a Friend of Israel, you're extending a hand of protective friendship to a serial aggressor, a brutal enforcer, an apartheid state. That nullifies any real regard for Palestinians.

Desmond Tutu has famously said: 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'

Tutu and other veteran figures in the struggle against apartheid have called the treatment of Palestinians by Israel "worse" and "more terrifying" than that of South Africa. They have also reiterated their support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a necessary measure to overcome Israeli apartheid. Many more notable observers agree that Israel is an apartheid state. Such people are ignored or dismissed by groups like Glasgow Friends of Israel as having no credible view on the Palestinian issue. This is the level of their 'enlightened engagement' and quest for 'peace'.

Stuck in 'liberal-Zionist' paradigms, and subject to lifetimes of 'homeland-serving' indoctrination, many such Friends find it impossible to escape the Israel-first mindset. Yet, the truth of Palestinian suffering and injustice remains plainly obvious. The devious intention of campaigns like Glasgow Friends of Israel is to blur the lines, to create the impression of an 'intractable conflict', and, all too typically, to blame Hamas for the Palestinians' 'self-inflicted' plight.

With the reality of Israel's illegal occupation, war crimes and apartheid society becoming ever-more apparent, this kind of duplicitous 'two-sides' narrative provides Israel with welcome breathing space, respite propaganda which allows it to continue expanding its settlements, bomb Gaza and stifle Palestinian-Arab civil rights.

With ongoing aid and support from the US and its other international sponsors, Israel is being allowed to maintain its wicked aggressions while claiming that it's still looking to 'advance the peace process'.

But, as any sane observer can see, there is no 'peace process'. Nor is there any likelihood of Israel relinquishing its settlements, or giving up its claim to being a Jewish only state, rather than a democratic state for all. 

In negating to say any of this, and in failing to indict Israel and its backers as the principal obstacle to any real peace process, bodies like Glasgow Friends of Israel play a key, complicit part in that aggression, in prolonging the suffering of Palestinians, in thwarting any true path to a just and lasting solution.

In hiding behind the 'peace veil', protecting Israel and affecting to tell Palestinians what's 'good for them', this group represent the very worst form of Zionist duplicity and humanitarian evasion. Their deceit and distortions should be duly exposed. 


BeautifulSakura said...

Thank you for this... i shall be keeping Close attention to this..and paying them a visit.

Judy Welemisnky said...

It's a measure of the SPSC's increasing concern over its exposure in the world as only being anti Israel that they are now venting so much venom on a Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace group. They revile the Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace statement that for there to be true peace, Israelis and Palestinians need to promote each other's welfare.
It's a people first agenda aiming to combat intimidation, hatred, violence and delegitimisation and to bring Jews, Christians, Muslims and others together in pursuit of peace. SPSC refuse to accept as truth the ethnic cleansing of Jews throughout the Middle East or that the Palestinian Nakba resulted from five Arab nations attacking the new state of Israel in 1948. And they really choke on the fact that the Palestinians who chose to stay are now full citizens of the State of Israel and have grown in number to 1.5 million - twice the number who fled in 1948.
These Israeli Palestinians are part of Israel's success story - as attested by so many doing so well. They would rather give credibility to terrorist groups like Hamas, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad or the terror praising corrupt Palestinian Authority than express any concern for the welfare of Israelis. The reality is that many Palestinians now privately recognise that their future is much safer with Israel around and increasingly there are Palestinians like Christy and Mudar Zahran who are willing to say so publicly.
In hiding behind the pretence of being Pro Palestinian, the SPSC have just got a racist agenda of trying to destroy Israel. If they really cared for Palestinians then they would put some energy into helping the Palestinians in Syria or protesting the bad treatment of Palestinians in places like Kuwait and their second class treatment in Jordan. And they would speak out against the violation of minority group rights by various Palestinian Muslim groups who have ethnically cleansed Christians from Bethlehem, who attack gay people and violate women's rights. Not to mention the militarisation of children and their lethal use in digging tunnels. I could go on but I will do you a favour and stop here.

John Hilley said...

Re: Judy Welemisnky comments.

How easy and yet deeply deceitful of Glasgow Friends of Israel to proclaim a desire for peace. Real peace is a fine aim, but it can never come without true justice. And, in its shameless apologetics for Israel's relentless occupation and aggression, true justice is a concept this 'people first' group have no interest in promoting.

How coy to say that 'Israelis and Palestinians need to promote each other's welfare', while turning a blind-eye to Israel's brutality in Gaza, its ruthless cantonisation of the West Bank and its subjugation of Arabs inside Israel.

How wilfully these comments ignore the true, dark aims of the Nakba terror, as Ilan Pappe relates in his penetrating account of the ethnic cleansing.

As the writer Alan Hart also recounts of a key date in that campaign, 10 March 1948:

On that day in 1948, two months before Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence in defiance of the will of the organized international community as it then was at the UN, Zionism’s in-Palestine political and military leaders met in Tel Aviv to formally adopt PLAN DALET, the blueprint with operational military orders for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. They did not and never would refer to the crime they authorised as ethnic cleansing. Their euphemism for it was “transfer”.

GFI talk of 'bringing peoples together', but can't even bring themselves to confront the terrible formative truth of Palestinian suffering, a circumvention which informs every utterance they make in maintaining the illusion of Israel as a 'defensive' and 'benign' state.

And the claim that Israel's Arab population are treated as equal citizens, and 'part of Israel's success story', really does tell readers all they need to know about GFI's false and pretentious agenda.

The independent journalist Jonathan Cook, resident in Nazareth, has written many fine articles and books on every aspect of the Palestine-Israel issue. Extremely valuable among them are his dispatches on the apartheid treatment of Israel's Arab 'citizens'.

In one probing piece, The Transfer of Israeli Arabs, Cook notes:

A political campaign by the minority for equality - urging Israel's reform from a Jewish state to a "state for all its citizens" - is officially classified as "subversion". Israeli Politicians - from the right and the left - share a common view, often expressed or implied, that Palestinian citizens can never truly belong to a Jewish state. Instead, they are described variously as a "fifth column", "Trojan horse" and "demographic time bomb".

Other deeply-informative pieces by Cook on the denial of civil, political and economic rights for Israel's Arabs include:

Israel’s Arab citizens fight for a roof over their heads:

Academic freedom? Not for Arabs in Israel:

Israeli Arabs 'racially profiled':

These comments end with the spurious, but familiar, claim that other countries, rather than Israel, are primarily to blame for Palestinian suffering. Such are the contortions of GFI in affecting to express 'concern' for Palestinian people.

After reading such profoundly ignorant claims, humanitarian evasions and crass generalisations about Arab societies, there's very little hope that the writer might reflect truthfully on the disastrous militarisation of Israel as a violence-addicted state and society.

(Note: this is an independent blog, unconnected to the SPSC.)

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