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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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February 28, 2010

The assassination of Mahmoud al- Mabhouh (a senior Hamas official in Dubai) apparently by electrocution and smothering with a pillow by an alleged Mossad hit squad at the Al-Bustan Rotana hotel in Dubai is now at the centre of a white-hot diplomatic row between Israel, Britain and Australia. Israel has come under mounting international pressure after Dubai police published details of 26 suspects and said that 12 British, six Irish, four French, one German and three Australian passports were used to help carry out the assassination.

Israel has refused to confirm or deny its involvement but has described Mabhouh as playing a key role supplying Iranian rockets and money to Hamas. Israeli officials say they believe protests from Britain and other countries are for public consumption only, and that the current crisis will soon pass in the the "civilized" world that is engaged still in a "war on terror."

An example of Israel advocacy in the form of apologism is the op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald by Sarah Honig, a columnist and senior editorial writer for The Jerusalem Post. This piece from the Israeli Right advocates politically motivated torture/assassination by a nation state whilst condemning terrorist acts such as suicide bombings, and Israel using extreme force as the preferred form of self-defence.

The "reasoning " is bizarre. Honig says:

The only reason for Israel's fellow democracies to harp on the purported insult to their hallowed papers is to curry favour with the terror-sponsors and bask in the warm ambience of the Israel-bashing fraternity. This presumably accords them some temporary anti-aggression insurance.The illusion may be sweet, but weren't Australians targeted in the Bali atrocity without an Israeli link? If anything, we are in the same boat rather than on opposing sides. It behoves Western democracies not to lose sight of the fact there are instances in which ends do justify means.

It is true that Israel and the Palestinians are in a state of perpetual war and it is only the intensity of the conflict that varies; that Israel sees Hamas – which controls the Gaza Strip – as a dangerous enemy that is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state; and that an end to the Jewish state is often demanded in the name of Palestinian nationalism.

But what evidence does Honig have for her claim that Australia curries favour with terror sponsors? Secondly, what has Bali got to do with Hamas and Israel? Honig adds:

Overlooking the crime and focusing on technical, legalistic niceties attests to a skewed moral compass, indeed, to outright moral impoverishment. It signals to Israelis that their blood is cheaper than passport-paper. It signals acceptance by the West of lopsided Arab logic whereby Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews, and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways, while the Jews' attempts to deflect such blows are evil and deserving of punishment.

Honig's assumption appears to be that ­criticism from any quarter of Israeli actions includes an implicit questioning of the legitimacy of the Jewish state. This rightwing Israeli-nationalist political rhetoric functions to ensure that dissent is marginalised and any criticism from abroad robustly shouted down.

Israel has fought two major wars – in Lebanon and Gaza – with American support which killed more than 2,500 Lebanese and Palestinians and about 170 Israelis. Most Israelis thought the wars were justified acts of self-defence. However, particularly after Gaza, the international community began to disagree. The current right-wing coalition government's response is to play on a sense long shared by many Israelis that they are embattled, misunderstood and find themselves in an increasingly unsympathetic world.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:07 PM | | Comments (7)


Why are such executions only justified when undertaken by "western democracies" It seems odd that only those nations are above the law.

Oh and I'm sooo fekkin tired of Israel using the victim card to justify it's actions.

The current Netanyahu government is all about colonizing more of the West Bank and preventing the rise of a Palestinian state. This Israeli government is becoming increasingly isolated

The Israeli Opposition Leader, Tzipi Livni, has applauded the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai on the grounds that Mabhouh was a terrorist and deserved to be eliminated.

In an op-ed in The Age Amin Saikal comments that:

In the case of Israel specifically, it has historically never shied away from targeting those it has regarded as either acting violently against it or violently threatening it. In this, it has never made a distinction between those perpetrating violence for the sake of violence and those who have sought to defend themselves against Israel or to free themselves from Israel's territorial-strategic expansion and physical subjugation.

This policy, conducted in the name of self-defence, has received persistent and uncritical backing from Israel's international supporters, including Australia.

Israel knows it is losing the PR war globally, and rubbish like 'focusing on technical, legalistic niceties attests to a skewed moral compass' doesn't help. Murder and identity theft are not ok for anyone else, but Israel seems to think it's entitled to an exemption from the rules that apply to others, including terrorists. Some commentators have been using the term 'rogue state', which is a bad development for a country so reliant on external suppot.

Like Mars said, the victim thing has been done to death. Reading comments around the place on this though, nobody expects Israel to be held to account.

Until Israel is recognized as an apartheid state the better. Why can they get away with racism when we punished South Africa for the same thing?
Time for some boycott action i believe.

Bizarre is correct. In the USA, the right wing patriotism test includes blind unquestioning support for Israel no matter what ... even if Israel's actions are demonstrably against the interests of the USA.

It's a funny old world.