We will probably never really know if, as Israel’s Prime Minister claimed, Iran and Syria orchestrated the Nakba demonstrations which led to the deaths of at least 12 Palestinians over the weekend. Accusations and counter-accusations will fill the media for a few days and then life will carry on as abnormal as it does in Israel and the territories it has occupied since 1967. There is clearly going to be no outcry from Israel’s friends in the West about abuses of human rights and democratic freedoms of the kind we have seen in response to the killing of demonstrators in other parts of the Middle East. Nor are we likely to see an ICC warrant for the arrest of Israeli leaders on war crimes charges, even though the independent evidence is at least as strong as that against Gaddafi who now faces such charges. Israel, as usual, is allowed to get away with murder.
Benjamin Netanyahu, of course, knows this full well, which is why he can continue to make statements which illustrate that Zionists have a completely different worldview: Israelis, he said after Sunday’s shootings, “are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty.” Media reports follow suit, each describing the clashes taking place “on Israel’s borders”. This is all fantasy, because Israel has never declared what its borders are and has taken every opportunity since 1948 to push the extent of the territory under its control ever further outwards. The Golan Heights, where Palestinians exiled in Syria crossed rather ineffective (thank goodness) minefields at the weekend, are in fact the occupied Syrian Golan Heights; the border that was breached was not and if justice prevails never should be “Israel’s border”. The Zionist state may have control of the area but the demonstration last weekend was not a breach of its “sovereignty” as Netanyahu claimed.
Such realities do not deter Zionists and the well-oiled pro-Israel lobby from purveying distortions of the truth as “facts” in their hasbara (propaganda). This well-funded campaign which answers to the Israeli Foreign Ministry focuses its current efforts to “de-legitimise” those who would “de-legitimise” the state of Israel. Hence, the pressure on Amnesty International to close its doors to a MEMO-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) event looking at if and how the media assists Israel in its hasbara. Zionists are experts at ignoring the issues and shooting the messengers instead, but even when they do set out to purvey their own version of reality, they twist the facts to suit their agenda. Few dare to ask if Israel actually ever had any legitimacy in the first place, but should a state founded on terrorism and ethnic cleansing ever be accorded any legitimacy by democratic states?
Convinced of Israel’s right to do what it likes to the Palestinians if they have the gall to resist the occupation and settlement of their land such propagandists peddle lies and half-truths to brush away criticism of the state’s actions. Hence, the massive wall being built across the occupied West Bank is described rather benignly as the “separation wall”; even “separation fence”, as if 8m high concrete blocks with gun emplacements and watchtowers could ever constitute a “fence” in any normal person’s mind. It is, almost exclusively, being built on Palestinian land; it encircles major Palestinian population centres and somehow – purely for the purposes of “separation”, you understand – manages to put the West Bank’s major water sources on the Israeli side; surprise, surprise. If this monstrosity is really about keeping two peoples apart, why was it not built on the old Green Line, the armistice line between Israel and the West Bank? The answer is simple: the intention was never separation alone, but annexation of as much of the West Bank as possible. While the Palestinian Authority has been kept talking for the past 20 post-Oslo years in the quest for a Palestinian state, the Israelis have been working to ensure that if such a state ever comes into existence it will be a fraction of the size envisaged when the “peace negotiations” began.
That is the nature of Zionism, a pernicious ideology which is both racist and unjust, an ideology backed by governments across the Western world due to the power and influence of the pro-Israel lobby; that influence ensures that Netanyahu can talk about Israel’s “borders and sovereignty” without fear of any dissenting voice emanating from Berlin, London or Washington.
On the contrary, an Editorial in the Washington Post bemoans the lack of any “concessions” by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as if the Al Jazeera Palestine Papers leaks hadn’t revealed the extent to which Palestinian negotiators had been willing to concede on major issues such as the right of return for refugees. The principle is simple: keep repeating a lie often and loud enough and the world will come to believe it. The whole “peace process” has been one long concession by the Palestinians: is there any other example of illegal activity – such as Israeli settlements by a state anywhere in the world that Western governments have allowed the cessation of which to be subject to negotiations? The very fact that the Palestinians actually agreed to sit in the same room as the occupying power while the occupation is ongoing and as brutal as ever is itself a massive concession that no other people have been asked to make. The Post’s editorial is one good reason of many why the MEMO-PSC event on the media and its bias is both essential and the target of the Israel lobby’s ire.
The concept behind all of this is “exceptionalism”, a euphemism for “we will do whatever we want, to whomsoever we want and whenever we want, in order to dominate and serve our own narrow, selfish interests, and if it means throwing the baby out with the bath water and riding roughshod over the principles which we claim to uphold, so be it”. Exceptionalism is demanded by the Americans and the Israelis in the delivery of their policies. Moreover, evidence suggests that if push ever came to shove, even the US would play second fiddle to the Zionist state; a cursory glance at US foreign policy and its favouring of Israel to no apparent benefit for the people of the United States illustrates this point. The EU is also guilty of this hypocritical approach to foreign relations.
The world can expect little of US presidents or European prime ministers by way of justice for the oppressed of the world, especially if they are Palestinians. Obama and his cohorts in European capitals are in thrall to other interests, despite their grand pronouncements about democracy and human rights. If the latter conflict with their national interests, or those of Israel, they are discarded or ignored, in clear breach of their treaty obligations under the UN charter. The hypocrisy of these politicians is so obvious that it would be funny if it wasn’t so serious, and the fact that Israel is a nuclear-armed state means that Zionism’s warped version of reality backed by Obama et al is a very serious matter indeed. Israel and its supporters have lost touch with reality and they are prepared to lie through their back teeth to push the Zionist agenda. How long are we in the West going to be complicit in perverting the course of justice with our silence?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.