Israel’s war against non-violence

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Today, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak, praising the Shayetet 13 commandos who slaughtered at least nine humanitarian activists on board the Mavi Marmara, said:

“…we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak…”

A year ago President Obama declared in Cairo:

Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end.

But if the violence is being committed by Israelis then it is all too evident that this particular world leader lacks the courage and moral conviction to speak out.

When the slaves of Zionism are called on to break out of their chains, instead, their own fear of political and financial retribution guarantees that they will maintain their silence.

Obama is not only incapable of condemning Israeli violence; he cannot even acknowledge its existence!

When unarmed and non-violent Americans are the victims — whether killed, maimed or abused by Israeli soldiers — the government of the nation that proudly describes itself as the most powerful nation on earth has nothing to say in defense of its own citizens.

If it wasn’t being used to justify murder, this headline in the Washington Post would be laughably absurd:

Israel says Free Gaza Movement poses threat to Jewish state

The report says:

Once viewed only as a political nuisance by Israel’s government, the group behind the Gaza aid flotilla has grown since its inception four years ago into a broad international movement that now includes Islamist organizations that Israeli intelligence agencies say pose a security threat to the Jewish state.

The Free Gaza Movement’s evolution is among Israel’s chief reasons for conducting Monday morning’s raid on a ship carrying medicine, construction materials, school paper and parts for Gaza’s defunct water treatment plant. The movement once drew its support almost entirely from activists and donors in Australia, Britain and the United States. But the ship that Israeli forces stormed Monday morning was operated by a Turkish charity that Israeli intelligence agencies and others contend has connections to radical Islamist groups.

Radical Islamist groups — the hobgoblins of the Israeli psyche have also enfeebled the judgement of most Americans. Raise the specter of such a threat and the rational mind freezes.

This is the psychology of cowardice, where fear becomes omnipresent.

Those thus enslaved, cloak their own weakness with fables about the demons they hope to destroy. But their deceit is transparent. This is heroism merely self-declared, visible to no one else.

Arrogance and cowardice are the two faces of the fear of fear. Israel’s might is the mask behind which it conceals its own lack of courage — its terror of looking weak.

Hours after Israeli commandos were out slaying sea monsters, an Israeli soldier in the West Bank faced the threat of an unarmed American 21-year old.

Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas canister fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. She is a talented young artist who will now only be able to follow her passion with one eye — the other was removed in surgery yesterday.

Does the soldier who shot her believe Israel is now safer?

When a state blinds or even kills individuals whose “crime” is their willingness to stand up in defense of justice, what is it that national security is securing?

As Robert Fisk duly noted yesterday:

[I]t is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives. Why is this? Why didn’t we hear courageous words from [Britain’s prime minister and deputy prime minister] Messrs Cameron and Clegg yesterday [after the flotilla massacre]?

For it is a fact, is it not, that had Europeans (and yes, the Turks are Europeans, are they not?) been gunned down by any other Middle Eastern army (which the Israeli army is, is it not?) there would have been waves of outrage.

And what does this say about Israel? Isn’t Turkey a close ally of Israel? Is this what the Turks can expect? Now Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world is saying this is a massacre – and Israel doesn’t seem to care.

But then Israel didn’t care when London and Canberra expelled Israeli diplomats after British and Australian passports were forged and then provided to the assassins of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It didn’t care when it announced new Jewish settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem while Joe Biden, the Vice-President of its erstwhile ally, the United States, was in town. Why should Israel care now?
How did we get to this point? Maybe because we all grew used to seeing the Israelis kill Arabs, maybe the Israelis grew used to killing Arabs. Now they kill Turks. Or Europeans. Something has changed in the Middle East these past 24 hours – and the Israelis (given their extraordinarily stupid political response to the slaughter) don’t seem to have grasped what has happened. The world is tired of these outrages. Only the politicians are silent.

This is cross-posted at Woodward’s site, War in Context.

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