Despite the corporate media’s efforts to play up Israeli fears of rockets from Gaza that very rarely kill anyone and make zero impact on Israel’s military might, US public opinion, is not remotely as lopsided in favor of Israel as the 100-0 Senate vote.
Israel’s military exploits during its war of aggression in 1967 – in which it seized the West Bank and Gaza – proved in spectacular fashion how useful it could be to the USA (and a clique of governments that tend to discretely profit from US foreign policy). That usefulness, and considerable legalized corruption in the USA’s political process, explains the sickening spectacle of the US Senate voting 100-0 in favor of total support for Israel’s latest acts of barbarism (which as I write this has taken almost 1800 Palestinian lives).
That US Senate resolution also clarifies what really motivates Israel’s latest bombing of Gaza. The resolution demands “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas.” As Norman Finkelstein explained on Democracy Now “Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict, which the unity government was, at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction.”
Israel has no right to use force – regardless of its “proportion” – on Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian land and has the right to defend itself by dismantling its settlements in the West Bank and ending its economic strangulation of Gaza. Similarly, an armed robber who breaks into a house has the right to flee, to stop his crime, not to demand impunity from his victims as he carries it out.
In 2010, documents were uncovered that revealed Israeli officials making calculations of dietary needs to fine tune the siege on Gaza. They didn’t want the humanitarian disaster to become too big a public relations headache. If the situation were reversed, no means of self defense by Israelis would be condemned – and certainly not a pitifully ineffective one like firing rockets that kill about 2 people per year.
Israel also has no “right to exist” as a “Jewish state” any more than South Africa had the “right to exist” as an apartheid state. Israel has the same rights as any other government. Impunity for land theft, ethnic cleansing and war crimes is not one of those rights.
None of these remarks would be the least bit controversial if Israel were not singled out for extravagant levels of political, financial and military support from the USA and other rich countries.
As Tariq Ali noted recetly, long before the USA became a superpower, the UK believed in supporting a settler state like Israel in the Middle East. Ali cited what the UK Prime Minster wrote in 1907:
“…a foreign body should be planted in the heart of this nation to prevent the convergence of its wings in such a way that it could exhaust its powers in never-ending wars. It could also serve as a springboard for the West to gain its coveted objects”
That was before the discovery of massive oil reserves. No need to say what the “coveted objects” have been ever since.
The never ending “peace process” the media prattles on about is really an Israeli theft process. Israel absorbs the Palestinian land it finds desirable, and works to ensure that what remains can never form a viable Palestinian state. Keeping Palestinians weak has long been Israel’s strategy for carrying off its heist. There are now about a half million Israeli settlers (and counting) illegally living in the West Bank. There is also an extensive grid of checkpoints and “settlers only” roads that impose a devastating burden on Palestinians. The settlements always made a joke of Israeli propaganda about its “security concerns”. Israel’s priorities have always been ethnic cleansing and theft. In 1948, Israel expelled 700,000 Palestinians from Israel and stole their property. The inhabitants of Gaza are primarily those refugees and their descendants (also classified as refugees by the UN).
Despite the corporate media’s efforts to play up Israeli fears of rockets from Gaza that very rarely kill anyone and make zero impact on Israel’s military might, US public opinion, is not remotely as lopsided in favor of Israel as the 100-0 Senate vote. Fifty one percent of the US public views Israel in a “mainly positive” way (the highest among 25 countries polled), and 32 percent view Israel “mainly negatively”.
In Canada, where only 25% view Israel positively and 57% view it negatively, the Harper government still pays no real price for a stance that sometimes goes even further in its “support for Israel” than the USA. The main opposition parties in Canada simply offer less enthusiastic support for Israel’s crimes as Andrew Mitrovica discusses here.
Israel has the western elite consensus on its side, and that, not public opinion, is what matters most. The elite consensus drives the media’s efforts to keep public revulsion with Israel from reaching a level where it actually could end the West’s support. The UK Guardian editors for example, about as liberal as corporate media editors get, wrote about Gaza at length without demanding that their government terminate its support for Israel. The editors even peddled the lie of the “Hamas coup of 2007”. In 2007, Hamas defeated attempts (backed by Israel and its western benefactors) to overturn by force the results of Gaza’s 2006 election which Hamas won. In the Guardian’s Orwellian version of events, defeating a coup attempt is coup.
Propaganda has its limits, as does the reach of the corporate media. The savagery and arrogance of the Israeli government has put cracks in the edifice of lies that has been constructed around it. Decades of grassroots activism in the West has also weakened the edifice. More is required to make it crumble and finally end the West’s lavish support for Israel’s crimes.
*Joe Emersberger can be reached at joeemersberger AT gmail DOT com.