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

Israel becomes more isolated « Previous | |Next »
June 5, 2010

Despite the process of delegitimization of Israel that is happening, I've pretty much given up on the peace process in the Middle East as the Israeli siege of Gaza becomes the hot-button issue in the Muslim world.

The Israeli propaganda machine, official and private, has been running full throttle in the last few days justifying the assault on the Mavi Marmara ferry that was part of the aid convoy to Gaza. The slaughter of civilians is justified as a military necessity or somehow the fault of the other side. Opponents are demonised as bloodthirsty terrorists or terrorist-lovers (meaning: anyone who opposes Israeli policy). An alternative account from those on board.

RowsonMIsraelcommandos.jpg Martin Rowson

This Israeli propaganda--is there any other word for it?---which is recycled by the Australian Israeli lobby has failed to prevent the focus of global attention on the blockade of the Gaza strip. Israel is determined to maintain control of Gaza even if the consequences of the commando-raid--- in which nine of the on-board activists were killed and thirty wounded - results in the fracturing of the relationship between Turkey and Israel.

Turkish-Israeli relations have been deteriorating since the IDF’s assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009; Turkey’s relationships with Iran and Syria have improved concomitantly.

In his Israel: the Alternative essay in the New York Review of Books (2003) Tony Judt argued that modern Zionism was manifestation of 19th-century ethnic nationalism, which he judged increasingly inappropriate to the post-modern, globalized world of the 21st century. Israel was increasingly an "anachronism," and he suggested that a brighter future lay in replacing Zionism's ethno-religious exclusiveness with a more inclusive liberal democracy. In other words, Israel should evolve into a multi-ethnic liberal democracy instead of remaining an explicitly "Jewish state."

The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European “enclave” in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state”—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

Israel has become even more of a Jewish state since 2010 as the embrace of Zionism's ethno-religious exclusiveness becomes ever tighter as Israel increasingly and clearly moving to the right---eg., the Israeli Foreign Minister's (Avigdor Lieberman) crusade to humiliate, disenfranchise, and perhaps even eventually expel Arab Israelis. and the Prime Ministers (Benjamin Netanyahu) deep-seated hostility to a Palestinian state.

The US is still Israel's friend, in that it is reflexively supporting Israel against near-universal international criticism over the blockade of Gaza and its attack on the aid convoy. However, if Obama is to rebuild relations with the world's Muslim communities post Bush, then he needs to address the ongoing blockade of Gaza and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:03 PM | | Comments (22)


William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, makes the following statement following the peaceful interception of the Rachel Corrie:

"I am glad that the interception of the Rachel Corrie has been resolved peacefully. As I set out in the House of Commons last week, we want to see a full, credible, impartial and independent investigation into the events surrounding last week's interception of the Gaza flotilla, which resulted in the tragic deaths of nine people. We continue to stress to the Israeli government the importance of an investigation that ensures accountability and commands the confidence of the international community, and includes international participation.

"We urgently need to see unfettered access to Gaza to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza and to enable the reconstruction of homes, livelihoods and trade. That is why we continue to press the Government of Israel to lift Gaza's closure. I am also discussing these issues urgently with our international partners - including during my visits to European capitals in the next few days."

NOTE WELL the words: " .. an independent investigation that includes international participation"

The world needs to know, and quickly, why nine unarmed civilians were shot at point blank range by armed troops who had illegal boarded a ship in international waters.

It's hard to see how Israel can be anything other than its current self, considering the current government was democratically elected, presumably by voters who wanted what they now have.

You could say the same for Gaza, although we've probably seen the last gesture at democratic elections there for quite some time.

Andrew Elder linked to this:

Israel has sunk into despair and given up trying to be part of the world. Gaza is certainly in despair, and the West Bank has also learned there's no point objecting to Israeli actions.

Unfortunately Israel has confiscated some of the most important material for the investigation, namely the films, audio and photos taken by the passengers [and] journalists on board and the Mavi Marmara’s security cameras. Since yesterday, Israel has been editing these films and using them for its own PR campaign.

Many passengers have now confirmed that they were fired on even before the commandos had boots on the deck. Presumably it is this suppressive fire that killed or wounded some passengers and which provoked an angry reaction and an attack on the commandos."

I can't help but make the connection: Israel was established in 1948.... the same year that Apartheid became official policy in South Africa.

I don't think anyone could imagine the world standing by and allowing the Apartheid system continue into 2010. Yet the Israeli govt policy is considered untouchable.

Why is that?

Two things comeout of it, firstly the sheer sang froid of Israeli boosters in the face of th crime and secondly the complete capitulation to the zionist lobby by media and western politicians.
When you think at what Israel costs America and the West, you really wonder at the hold Zionism has, not only on Jewish chauvinism, but centres of power and influence in the West.

The speed and supineness with which most of the US government and media have cheerfully broadcast the Israeli propaganda as objective truth have been startling. For example, how anyone with an ounce of sense can describe a pathetic collection of kitchen knives and power tools as weapons proving the evil intent of the Turks - and do it with a straight face - is beyond me; yet the picture of the 'weapon' collection has been published countless times as if it obviously proves what the Israelis say it does. Plus of course the deranged logic of "How could the people we just shot be innocent if they bothered to bring bulletproof vests?"

Even the Israelis were too embarrassed to keep up the crap about the flotilla having links to al Qaeda for more than a day or so, but expect that outright fabrication to be given the status of concrete fact in WingnutWorld from this day forth. Some of the wingnut blogs are beside themselves with triumphalism at 'disproving' Liberal lies, and then proceed to cite their evidence, which turns out to be a press release from some Israeli government agency or other. Cos it's not like they would have any reason to lie or anything.

In true Orwellian fashion, we have now apparently always been at war with Turkey.

Leon Wieseltier's article in The New Republic reads like a critique from the Jewish community:

It is hard not to conclude from this Israeli action, and also from other Israeli actions in recent years, that the Israeli leadership simply does not care any longer about what anybody thinks. It does not seem to care about what even the United States—its only real friend, even in the choppy era of Obama—thinks. This is not defiance, it is despair. The Israeli leadership seems to have given up any expectation of fairness and sympathy from the world. It is behaving as if it believes, in the manner of the most perilous Jewish pessimism, that the whole world hates the Jews, and that is all there is to it.

I think that is a plausible interpretation. The propaganda is extreme--eg.,the Free Gaza Movement poses threat to Jewish state --- and the Israeli spokespeople are not even trying to persuade public opinion in the west, given the different accounts now coming from the various activists. It's just a wall of noise from the Israel spin machine.

the Israeli peace movement has collapsed and the vacuum has given the Israeli Right the opportunity to capture the government and use its resources to intensively colonize Palestinian land. That is the Israel of today.

I neglected to mention another piece of idiocy: cement is not allowed through the blockade because the Gazans use it to make concrete bunkers to hide from the Israeli military; the flotilla had cement in the cargo; ergo the attack on the flotilla was self-defence. This kind of drivel is being spewed out in vast quantities in the USA with very little critical evaluation.

The Irish Goverment is not too happy that the Israeli Navy again commandeered the Rachel Corrie, an unarmed, peaceful ship, in international waters. The Rachel Corrie, which is flagged as an Irish vessel, was making a bid to take wheel chairs to the blockaded people of Gaza, an Occupied Territory of which Israel controls the borders, air and sea.

International bodies estimate that only 25% of needed humanitarian supplies are getting into Gaza past the Israeli blockade.

Glenn Greenwald details how the Israeli army managed the US mass media and shaped their narrative in the US.

As Juan Cole points out Israel has gradually become one of the last colonial regimes in the world, and they are acting the way the French did in Algeria or the British did in 1950s Kenya before decolonization.

Are we forgetting who the victim is here? Hint.... it's Israel, of course!

According to Rannie Amiri at Counterpunch

Israel can easily wither “international isolation” to the degree the U.S. protects it from meaningful sanction. Israel actually covets isolation; it permits it to operate in “nothing to lose” mode. Expropriation of Palestinian land accelerates and reckless behavior goes unchecked.

What Israel wants is to keep the territories it occupied in 1967; privilege Jews over non-Jews within Israel; and deny Palestinian refugees their right of return.Any peace settlement must accept these preconditions as absolutes.

...IRAN actually covets isolation; it permits it to operate in “nothing to lose” mode...


hahahahaha! Ya gotta love the twist and turns. Who-the-hell WANTS to make sense of this stuff? Probably best to just sit back and enjoy the lunacy.

Except that there's a lot of innocent people suffering....

Sanctions baby. Sanctions!

Boycott the bastards!

An Israeli spoof video mocking activists aboard the Gaza flotilla

If Israel does not care what anyone thinks, why do they produce the propaganda Ken refers to? Or is it too much to ask for logic in all this?

my best attempt at explaining your paradox is this:

Israel sees itself as fighting a war against a ruthless foe willing to sacrifice its own people to score propaganda points.

Part of that war is the attempt by Israel's enemies to delegitimise Israel---making Israel a pariah state in the international community. In a war you do not persuade or negotiate--you set out to destroy your enemy before they kill you. Hamas has to be eliminated as a political as well as a military force.

The aim of propaganda is to demonise the enemy as evil doers (Hamas as terrorists and the peace flotilla as pro-Hamas activists) so as to justify their destruction.

Here's one account of the official thinking in Israel by Ilan Pappé in The Independent. He says that Israel is determined to impose its own kind of peace and that does not include a two state solution:

The forced peace is not negotiable as far as the Israeli political elite is concerned, and it offers the Palestinians a limited control and sovereignty in the Gaza Strip and in parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians are asked to give up their struggle for self-determination and liberation in return for the establishment of three small Bantustans under tight Israeli control and supervision.The official thinking in Israel, therefore, is that Hamas is a formidable obstacle for the imposition of such a peace. And thus the declared strategy is straightforward: starving and strangulating into submission the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the densest space in the world.

The blockade imposed in 2006 is supposed to lead the Gazans to replace the current Palestinian government with one which would accept Israel's dictate

So Israel could do with some decent market research and a more nuanced PR campaign.

Lyn, your comment reminds me a comment someone made the other day regarding the "Melian Dialogue", the story of the lead up collective punishment inflicted on the island of Melos by a power-corrupted Athens, in it's wars with Sparta that eventually brought it undone.
From a distance, Gaza looks a little like Melos and I wonder if the time may come after all, when Israelm or at least its violence, may have its fall after all.