Guardian piece: obsession with Israel has rational basis, but is dangerous

Israel/Palestine
on 81 Comments

The discourse globally is changing, we all know it. Here’s a wonderful piece by Robert Fowke in the Guardian on the new mood, on the singling out of Israel, and the dangers in doing so. I am totally with him here. I know that I single out Israel in part because of the lies, because the lobby has gotten away with this since Truman’s day, and pulled the wool over the eyes of a balanced policy, and when Walt and Mearsheimer called them on it, there were squalls of denial. This angers me as a journo and a citizen. And yet it is true that the stakes are huge here. This is why I constantly compare the conflict with the battle over slavery in this country in the 1850s, and the corruption of our political system then, and the difficulty of preventing a crisis of massive proportions. Where are the statespeople?

One reason why Israel is singled out for so much attention is because its supporters are so very vociferous, pushing their agenda at every opportunity. As a consumer of news, the speed of their responses and their sheer ubiquity inflames my interest and my antipathy. Why do they persist in trying to defend the indefensible?

Another reason for my disproportionate interest in this conflict is that I feel I have been lied to, and I feel that people are still trying to lie to me and I don’t like it. Why try to convince me that those Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara were terrorists? Whatever else they were, they patently were not that.

If the word "terrorist" is to have any meaning at all it must refer to those who attack innocent civilians. From an Israeli propaganda perspective, silence would be better than lies.

I can remember a time back in the 1960s when I accepted a view of Israel as a plucky little state full of kibutzes busily taming the desert. At that time I had scarcely heard of the Palestinians. Then I discovered the other narrative.

My purpose here is not to go into the rights or wrongs, but to point out that if Israel had been described to me from the start as the product of remorseless expropriation of some else’s land (not the full story, I know), I might well have lost interest by now.

But having been told how heroic and wonderful it was and then to find out that, at the very least, there is a different and more troubling story running in parallel, that affects me emotionally.

When I see Binyamin Netanyahu and his colleagues putting their side of some event, I do not see honest men and my emotions are the same as those I experience when I see burglars and con-men – distaste and disapproval. And yet they won’t shut up.

I am not sure where all this leads, all these millions of us from both sides picking away at this particular scab. The sheer number taking so much passionate interest is in itself dangerous. Dogs must bark before they can bite. This relatively small conflict has

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