Who hammered Barney Frank into reversing himself last night on Hardball? (Audio here).
A day after announcing that Gaza’s deprivation by Israel makes him ashamed as a Jew, Frank defended Israel’s condemning Gazans to survival-rations amid ruins. The flip-flop would have been tragic–except that in the process he unwittingly promoted a world-wide Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions of Israel. Frank achieved this coup using the very best evidence–Israel’s own actions–comparing Israel’s siege with U.S. action against South African apartheid.
Frank admitted that, "Blockades hurt people," but he justified the infernal Israeli siege of Gaza by reminiscing about "when we were fighting apartheid in South Africa, [we were] told by Ronald Reagan, who vetoed the sanctions bill, you know you’re hurting people." Frank eulogized his own past heroism:
"And we over-rode Reagan’s veto to impose tough sanctions…and the Reaganites said to us, ‘You’re hurting the poor black people of South Africa.’ But Nelson Mandela later stood in the Capitol of the United States and said, ‘Thank you for doing that, because you need to put pressure on.’"
Both Frank and Chris Matthews are evidently so uninformed that they haven’t heard Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu declare that Israel’s Occupation of Palestine is much worse than South African Apartheid. Perhaps Mandela and Tutu will hear, and demand airtime to correct Frank’s misrepresentations.
After Frank repeated his mock-sympathetic admission, "The blockade hurts the people of Gaza," he deludes: "By the way it was an EGYPTIAN-Israeli blockade, and the Egyptians, for their own reasons of self-preservation were doing this." Charging Barney Frank with outright deception sounds harsh, but how can he not know that the U.S. government pays Egypt (second only to Israel in US aid) to cage Gazans by closing its crossing and blocking the tunnels, which have been the only pipeline preventing starvation?
Frank asserts that no blockade torments "in the West Bank; [but] it happens in Gaza, because a terrorist group opposed to Israel’s existence took PHYSICAL CONTROL–"
Matthews played the religio-ethnic card: "When you let Israel be judged by the Europeans, you’re not letting them be judged by a panel of their PEERS. It does seem a totally prejudicial situation." Oh, yes, and the Irish who fought British Occupation over 800 years were only terrorists, too? Frank criticizes Turkey, "who should not have let themselves be used by Hamas," then adds, "The Turks can’t blame this [slaughter at sea and discord with the US government] on the fact that they’ve already been out of ‘sync’ with us on Iranian sanctions."
A totalitarian edict. This so-called "Democratic representative" could be evicted for that line from any liberal party–which unfortunately does not now include the Democrats, except Kucinich, Winograd, McKinney.
Frank compares the opprobrium heaped on Israel to the supposed pass given North Korea. But Secretary Hillary Clinton has unequivocally condemned North Korea, whereas she and Obama have equivocated shamefully on Israel’s misdeeds–even to the point of ignoring a murdered American citizen.
Israel wanted to divide and conquer the people of Palestine, and it has now done so. Every U.S. defender of Israel–and therefore its expansion–fends off pressure for peace and shrinking Israel to permanent 1967 borders, by shedding crocodile tears about Palestinian divisions, which, they say, makes "a solution" hopelessly complex. Frank claims that Hamas is on the US "terrorist list for good reason." And "a blockade that lets some shipments in" leads irrevocably to "gunrunning." "Given that," he adds, turning his ire to Turkey, "I think it was irresponsible of the pro-Hamas people who organized this set of ships to do that," for "they had to understand the potential for violence."
Hmm: we must ask, what did you, Congress, Matthews, or MSNBC do about the humanitarian catastrophe before the flotilla brought new eyes? If Netanyahu and Co had not kidnapped and killed on the ships to prove their manhood–sorry, deterrence–the corporate journos would still hide the truth.
Frank spreads his errors to defense of combat-force against U.S. and other civilians: "That does not mean that everything the Israelis did was right, but when military people are in a situation where they had to use force, which they had to do here, not everything will be done well." He then gloops the schmaItz onto Israeli courts: "I do agree that it would be in Israel’s interest to have an independent inquiry," for the "Israeli justice system has a very good record of holding the Israeli government to account."
Frank blunders anew with a third comparison, "if Hamas were in Canada, America would have a tougher blockade than Israel had." Yes, and if Canada were grabbing all 50 states and imprisoning us in gulags, America "would have a tougher" retaliation than Hamas–not mere Qassam rockets. As always, Israel protectors confuse the protagonists.
Matthews celebrates Frank’s wisdom: "I hate it when I completely agree with somebody, but I do. And there’s only one thing to add," he smirks, what’s with "the smart people in Europe? Don’t they know, don’t they see the [IDF-doctored] movies we see? –The Israeli IDF guys getting beaten up on that ship? Don’t they see it?"
Matthews framed the discussion by headlining the show with Netanyahu’s propaganda portrayed as truth. But Andrea Mitchell immediately informed Matthews that no one can believe Netanyahu–especially his falsehoods about the acceptability of life in Gaza, for his assurances conflict with the devastation that NBC reporters had just discovered, a "great humanitarian crisis." Even about that IDF video, Mitchell disputed Netanyahu’s assertions, "our own experts looked at it [IDF video] and said you can’t really tell from the edited tape IDF videos who was responsible…. There is no real proof as to what happened," and Matthews even agreed. How can he so brazenly contradict himself only minutes later?
Matthews’s credulity proves one point. Obtuse establishment-types pretend to yearn for the Palestinian Gandhi, while ignoring the thousands of peaceful resisters Israel holds without charge. The real question is: where’s the American blockbuster of the Palestinian Gandhi–the tearjerker with Ben Kingsley and Martin Sheen–transforming the courage of all who protested Empire into a "no-brainer"? Even that easy "hero-villain" formula would be welcome.