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The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks

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Brian Eno

Brian Eno

Have you noticed how much more advanced the British discourse is on the conflict than ours? Over here Erin Burnett can be justly regarded as a leader for giving the Israeli ambassador a gobsmacked look when he justifies firing a missile at a school; but she’s not going to come right out and condemn him. Dwight Howard has to remove his #FreePalestine tweet, then apologize. Our political culture is too enmeshed with Israel for that to pass: Wolf Blitzer is lauding Shimon Peres as a man of peace and assuring viewers that Israel is dealing with its extremism problem, when it’s not, and Anne Appelbaum of the Washington Post is making a distinction between Gaza and Palestine, when there isn’t one.

But across the pond, wow! Here are a few dispatches from Britain, showing how much ahead of us British cultural figures are. The last two items are getting the most attention: Brian Eno’s inspired letter to American friends wondering what’s wrong with us for supporting a “ragingly racist theocracy?” (good question!) and Russell Brand in a sleeveless t-shirt sneering about Sean Hannity’s view of Palestinians and saying that definitions of terrorism are more about power than morality.

First, here’s the Guardian’s front page from yesterday. Pretty straightforward. You might see this on an American website, but on newsprint, no way.

July 31 Guardian Front page

July 31 Guardian Front page

Then there’s Laurie Penny, a writer in her twenties for the New Statesman, saying that Jews have to repudiate the slaughter in Gaza and say, Not in my name.

Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world marched to express their disgust at Israel’s air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip, and among them were swathes of Jews and Israelis. This is one of the few situations in which it makes a difference to stand up and say: not in our name. Not now, not ever again. Being Jewish, or having Jewish roots, doesn’t make you responsible for what is happening in Gaza, but it does mean that your dissent carries that much more weight. Not more weight than the grieving relatives of the families butchered in Shejaiya, but the kind of weight that hangs heavy on the heart, and that comes with the small but palpable risk of upsetting your family.

So here it is. I think my ancestors who were persecuted, tormented and exiled down the centuries for being Jews would be horrified to see what is being done in their name today. Maybe it’s crass to put words in the mouths of your dead relatives, but right-wing hawks have been putting their opinions in the mouths of my dead relatives for weeks, so I think I’m entitled to a say, too.

Because in the end, it is about blood. Not blood as metonym or metaphor, but the actual stuff, wet on the faces of screaming children in Gaza. It’s about blood, and how much more of it will have to be shed before Israel finally feels “safe”, and how long the international community will stand by. The moral basis for Israel’s persecution of the Palestinian people is eroding fast. It is not anti-Semitic to say “not in my name”.

This has gotten a ton of attention. Brian Eno, the English musician and composer, sent out an anguished letter about How can America be supporting “this horrible one-sided colonialist war?” — can it really be the power of AIPAC? — and acknowledged that by raising these questions he was breaking a rule. Presumably the rule that it’s anti-Semitic for non-Jews to criticize Israel. David Byrne posted the letter at his website, under the title “Gaza and the loss of civilization.” Byrne also published a response to Eno from a friend named Peter Schwartz that is all but unreadable. (“Given the opportunity, the Arabs would drive the Jews into the sea and that was true from day one. There was no way back from war once a religious state was declared.”)

Here’s Eno’s letter, fabulous: 

Dear All of You:

I sense I’m breaking an unspoken rule with this letter, but I can’t keep quiet any more.

Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, flechette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was 4 years old.

I suddenly found myself thinking that it could have been one of my kids in that bag, and that thought upset me more than anything has for a long time.

Then I read that the UN had said that Israel might be guilty of war crimes in Gaza, and they wanted to launch a commission into that. America won’t sign up to it.

What is going on in America? I know from my own experience how slanted your news is, and how little you get to hear about the other side of this story. But – for Christ’s sake! – it’s not that hard to find out. Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don’t get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that’s the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don’t think that’s the reason… but I have no idea what it could be.

The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. You, my close American friends, symbolise those things for me. But which America is backing this horrible one-sided colonialist war? I can’t work it out: I know you’re not the only people like you, so how come all those voices aren’t heard or registered? How come it isn’t your spirit that most of the world now thinks of when it hears the word ‘America’? How bad does it look when the one country which more than any other grounds its identity in notions of Liberty and Democracy then goes and puts its money exactly where its mouth isn’t and supports a ragingly racist theocracy?

I was in Israel last year with Mary. Her sister works for UNWRA in Jerusalem. Showing us round were a Palestinian – Shadi, who is her sister’s husband and a professional guide – and Oren Jacobovitch, an Israeli Jew, an ex-major from the IDF who left the service under a cloud for refusing to beat up Palestinians. Between the two of them we got to see some harrowing things – Palestinian houses hemmed in by wire mesh and boards to prevent settlers throwing shit and piss and used sanitary towels at the inhabitants; Palestinian kids on their way to school being beaten by Israeli kids with baseball bats to parental applause and laughter; a whole village evicted and living in caves while three settler families moved onto their land; an Israeli settlement on top of a hill diverting its sewage directly down onto Palestinian farmland below; The Wall; the checkpoints… and all the endless daily humiliations. I kept thinking, “Do Americans really condone this? Do they really think this is OK? Or do they just not know about it?”.

As for the Peace Process: Israel wants the Process but not the Peace. While ‘the process’ is going on the settlers continue grabbing land and building their settlements… and then when the Palestinians finally erupt with their pathetic fireworks they get hammered and shredded with state-of-the-art missiles and depleted uranium shells because Israel ‘has a right to defend itself’ ( whereas Palestine clearly doesn’t). And the settler militias are always happy to lend a fist or rip up someone’s olive grove while the army looks the other way. By the way, most of them are not ethnic Israelis – they’re ‘right of return’ Jews from Russia and Ukraine and Moravia and South Africa and Brooklyn who came to Israel recently with the notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that ‘Arab’ equates with ‘vermin’ – straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It’s like sending money to the Klan.

But beyond this, what really troubles me is the bigger picture. Like it or not, in the eyes of most of the world, America represents ‘The West’. So it is The West that is seen as supporting this war, despite all our high-handed talk about morality and democracy. I fear that all the civilisational achievements of The Enlightenment and Western Culture are being discredited – to the great glee of the mad Mullahs – by this flagrant hypocrisy. The war has no moral justification that I can see – but it doesn’t even have any pragmatic value either. It doesn’t make Kissingerian ‘Realpolitik’ sense; it just makes us look bad.

I’m sorry to burden you all with this. I know you’re busy and in varying degrees allergic to politics, but this is beyond politics. It’s us squandering the civilisational capital that we’ve built over generations. None of the questions in this letter are rhetorical: I really don’t get it and I wish that I did.


Finally, a lot of folks were angered when Sean Hannity of Fox News berated Yousef Munayyer, demanding that he condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization, not letting him finish a sentence.

Well the English actor/comedian Russell Brand did a riff on Hannity, below, that’s getting tons of traffic. There’s a lot of wit here amid the satire. Brand says that defining terrorism usually comes down to who has more power in dispensing violence, and says that Hannity practiced terrorism on his show, intimidating Munayyer and bullying him.

And Brand has fully absorbed the Palestinian narrative, wants to talk history. Their land was taken away from them, that’s the context, they have no power. And as for Hannity’s assertion that Hamas uses children as human shields: “That’s dehumanization. These children are children of people like us.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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37 Responses

  1. just on August 1, 2014, 10:28 am

    Roger Waters…Brian Eno…Russell Brand…George Galloway

    You’re right, Phil. But some Brits are not so hip– Blair (and heaps of other folks) being numero uno.

  2. annie on August 1, 2014, 10:55 am

    everyone should read this. and speaking of brits, did everyone see the photos of those protests in london? weekend after weekend. omg.

    • ivri on August 1, 2014, 3:43 pm

      Yes, but which side does the British government support in this conflict? (and the French, German,….)
      Indeed, to what extent is Hamas supported in the Arab world itself? (Its past main backer there, Syria, practically neutralized)

      • Walid on August 1, 2014, 3:59 pm

        It’s supported by the State of Qatar that has a sovereign fund of $170 billion for a national population of 275,000 Qataris. With friends like Qatar, Hamas doesn’t need anyone else.

      • ivri on August 1, 2014, 5:00 pm

        @ Walid
        Yes, but here is the rub: if so few people have so much money then in this world they need a powerful patron. And, indeed, they have one, which is….the US (and also partly Saudi-Arabia). Well, then, there is so much you can play before, if they get truly angry, they put you on notice! I think Qatar is almost there….

    • tree on August 1, 2014, 4:31 pm

      I’ve just found the 7 point corollary to Gabriel Ash’s 4 steps to defending Israel. This is from a letter to the Wales Western Mail by Adam Johannes, Cardiff Secretary, Stop the War Coalition:

      A quick guide to Israel’s PR methods:

      1. We haven’t heard reports of deaths, will check into it;

      2. The people were killed, but by faulty Palestinian rocket/bomb;

      3.OK we killed them, but they were terrorists;

      4. OK they were civilians, but they were being used as human shields;

      5. OK there were no fighters in the area, so it was our mistake. But we kill civilians by accident, they do it on purpose;

      6. OK we kill far more civilians than they do, but look at how terrible other countries are!

      7. Why are you still talking about Israel? Are you some kind of anti-semite?

      Test this against the next interview you hear or watch.

      Tweeted here with the addendum to add “8. When Genocide is Permissable…”

      • just on August 1, 2014, 4:48 pm

        9. We will conduct a full investigation.

        10. We always admit it immediately when we make a mistake.

        11. We never target civilians

        12. We are heartbroken by the loss of Palestinian lives

        (to be continued)

      • Mooser on August 1, 2014, 7:10 pm

        See! I told you my “five steps” were hardly original.

      • just on August 1, 2014, 7:55 pm

        that you did!

      • ivri on August 2, 2014, 6:27 am

        The only problem with this sarcasm is the FACTS:
        1. The tunnels ARE in residential areas.
        2. The shooting IS from densely populated areas.
        3. The tunnels DO go into Israeli territory and ARE used for terror acts.
        4. Missiles ARE shot, almost exclusively, at civilian targets.

  3. piotr on August 1, 2014, 10:57 am

    “The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. ”

    Perhaps it is hip to say that. In fact, there is a strong mean spirited streak in USA which is less visible if you talk with “compationate, broadminded” etc. friends, but very clear if you hear what people say in radio talk shows, write in comments and, most importantly, what politicians say and do for the sake of popularity.

    I would start with insanely punitive justice system that is skewed along the class lines. On top of long sentences, very sketchy ethic on the side of police and prosecutors there is inhumane prison regime, treating smallest infractions with solitary confinement, tolerating high incidence of rape, including rape by prison guards, denial of health care and so on. The usual reaction of the public is “they are not innocent”. Driving people to insanity or rape is OK if they are “not innocent”. “Next time he/she will think twice.”

    Then there is famous “generosity of the American people”. No type of “government waste” enrages citizens more than spending to help fellow citizens (unless the spending is identical to what a particular voter would like to receive).

    Then there is killing of the citizens. One aspect is death penalty. The reactions to botched execution in Arizona: “Why they did not simply shoot him”? In UK there are worries about police lethally shooting people, which happens on the average once a year. The stats in USA for January 2013 are more than 40. America is a violent society where people, law breakers and law defenders alike, think in violent terms. And no one is more blood thirsty than think-tankers who chide effeminate “elites” for the lack of connection with the national psyche.

    In those terms, Israel is the ideal for our conservatives and centrists: democratic and bloodthirsty, with admirable national solidarity that can be reliably invoked to divert the attention from troublesome topics like jobs, rents, wages, prices and so on. While effeminate Europeans are not as easily diverted, less deferential to authority, and thus less prone trust when told “sadly, killing, maiming and driving homeless all those people is necessary.”

  4. Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 11:05 am

    Let’s face it the Europeans including the Brits are way ahead of us, not only in the latest fashions.

    Perhaps the poison that had affected our Congress, think tanks, and even the WH, spread by Israeli lobbies, have not affected their entire nation yet. I hope they are able to withstand those toxic fumes, or else they will be controlled just like us.

  5. Bumblebye on August 1, 2014, 11:21 am

    Two pieces from Craig Murray yesterday castigate some of those Brits who rally to/support Israel’s cause:

    “But surely the British Ambassador to Israel has spoken out in public about the terrible carnage in Gaza?

    He most certainly has. Gould has reflected the massive indignation of the British people by stating that:

    “This was a conflict triggered by Hamas raining down on Israel hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities. Israel has a right and even an obligation to defend it citizens.”

    Gould paid a pro-Israeli propaganda visit to Sderot, the Israeli chosen destination for media reports about Hamas rocket attacks, and the place where Israelis hold parties to watch people being blown apart in Gaza. Gould spoke of having to take his own family into the bomb shelter in Tel Aviv when sirens sounded from Hamas attacks.”

    “It is a matter of shame to me that my University has honoured a woman whose primary political activity is as a promoter of genocide.

    Baroness Cox’s support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is persistent and consistent. She is the deputy head of the Presidium of the Jerusalem Summit, an organisation which states that:

    “The establishment of a Palestinian state must be removed from the political agenda”

    The Jerusalem Summit calls for the deportation of all Palestinians from Gaza.

    This is not an accidental association of Baroness Cox. She also is a key member of the Israeli Institute of Strategic Studies, which also calls prominently for the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from Gaza:

    “The only durable solution requires dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region.” “

  6. American on August 1, 2014, 11:24 am

    Europeans have a whole lot longer history and experience with Zionism and their ‘Jew gua Nation’ cult then America and Americans do.
    America will learn.
    Hopefully before its too late for America, Palestine and the Jew gua individuals.
    I an not that optimistic though that will happen in time.
    The leadership of the US lives on Planet Orwell…black is white, wrong is right.

  7. American on August 1, 2014, 11:30 am

    Just dem and repub games…but I still say it would be easier to split the conseratives from Israel then it would be to split the dems from Israel.

    Senate blocks aid to Israel

    ‘Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack,’ Reid says. | AP Photo

    By BURGESS EVERETT | 7/31/14 8:46 PM EDT

    In the end, the Senate couldn’t even agree to deliver emergency aid to one of the United States’ closest allies.

    A last-ditch effort to deliver aid to Israel during its war with Hamas died on the Senate floor, as Republicans blocked the proposal over concerns that it would increase the debt.

    After Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ $2.7 billion border aid package, which also included $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and $615 million to fight Western wildfires, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to split off the Israel and wildfire money as a standalone bill, hoping to put aside the dispute over border funding and appeal to Republicans’ deep ties to Israel.

    “We’ve all watched as the tiny state of Israel, who is with us on everything, they have had in the last three weeks 3,000 rockets filed into their country,” Reid said. “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked for $225 million in emergency funding so that Israel’s arsenal as it relates to the Iron Dome could be replenished. It’s clear that is an emergency, and we should be able to agree on that.”

    It didn’t work.

    Even though GOP leaders had vowed to pass an Israel aid bill in recent days, Republicans rejected Reid’s request. First Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected to Reid’s request for a straight emergency cash infusion for firefighting and Israel. Then Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an alternative that would deliver money to Israel and the West and offer commensurate spending cuts to international organizations like the United Nations; Reid blocked that.

    “Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack. If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know anything that is,” Reid said.

    “I want to fund Israel,” replied Coburn. “I also want to make sure our children have a future.”

    (Also on POLITICO: Scarborough explains Israel remarks)

    The stumble on delivering $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which is used to shoot down rockets aimed at Israel, infuriated GOP hawks who’d been pushing Reid to break the Israel funding from the border bill.

    “It’s an important moment for the Senate and the House to show support for Israel. All I can say that if you don’t see the need to come to Israel’s aid now, and the message that it would send now, it would be a big mistake,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Any person who thinks that the Iron Dome is unnecessary needs to go to the floor and tell us why, why we don’t need to help Israel right now. They’re asking for our help, they’re our best friend in the region, one of our best friends in the world. “
    Follow @politico

    • just on August 1, 2014, 11:45 am

      Great news for all the wrong reasons, but thank you.

    • CloakAndDagger on August 1, 2014, 12:40 pm

      @ American

      “Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack. If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know anything that is,” Reid said.

      What utter nonsense! Far from being our number one ally, Israel is no ally at all. We have no treaties with them, and can’t as long as they don’t declare their borders.

      Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Any person who thinks that the Iron Dome is unnecessary needs to go to the floor and tell us why.”

      Me! Me! Pick me! I can tell you why!

      Disregarding the fact this has nothing to do with the safety and security of the US, Iron Dome doesn’t work. To date, there is no evidence of even a single rocket having been intercepted by their vaunted Iron Dome. The reported explosions on impact are from The interceptor missiles self destructing. And, by the way, we paid for it from my tax dollars, while ignoring the needs at home!

    • Ron Edwards on August 1, 2014, 12:57 pm

      Really, Reid? “… who is with us on everything” …?

      Name one thing.

    • just on August 1, 2014, 2:09 pm

      New bad news:

      “The US Senate unanimously passed legislation on Friday to provide $225m for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, Reuters reports:

      An earlier version of the funding plan had failed on Thursday when Senate Republicans blocked a broader spending bill that was largely intended to provide money to handle the current immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

      But lawmakers reached an agreement overnight to pass the missile funding measure.

      To become law, the funding plan must still pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Barack Obama. Given U.S. lawmakers traditionally strong support for Israel, it is not expected to encounter significant resistance in the House.”

  8. NumanAbdalWahid on August 1, 2014, 11:33 am

    Some British coverage has been exceptional. But for anyone that follows British dissent this is all within acceptable boundaries. As can be easily attested, Brits are good at expressing moral outrage at other nation’s crimes but rarely their own. For example, in the 1960’s British students were quick to emulate Americans who were demonstrating against the Vietnamese invasion but they had nothing to say about British government’s own counter-insurgency wars in North Yemen, Oman and South Yemen during the same period. Same again in Kenya and Malaya – there was hardly a squeak. To return to Palestine, Britain laid the foundations for the colonisation of Palestine between 1917-1948, yet this is lost on most British commentators. I could go on but you get my gist.

  9. Taxi on August 1, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Yeah I’d say the Brits are “better”:

    Here’s The Young Turks roundtable on Russel Brand versus Fox News:

    • RoHa on August 1, 2014, 10:08 pm

      I’m not a fan of Brand, but there is no doubting his intellect and perspicacity, and his commitment to putting conscience before career.

      I bet the offers from Hollywood have dried up.

  10. anthonybellchambers on August 1, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Blitzer lauding Peres as a man of peace! You ARE joshing? Shimon Peres is the former minister who not only instigated the illegal settlement program in the Occupied Territories but also offered nuclear weapons to the hated apartheid regime in South Africa to be used to subjugate Nelson Mandela’s ANC. Peres was also instrumental in deceiving JFK as to Israel’s real intention regarding the Dimona nuclear weapons facility. Man of peace!!! Grrrr

    • philweiss on August 1, 2014, 3:47 pm

      It’s not a direct quote. He treated him as an august statesman and believer in the holy grail, the two state solution

    • Taxi on August 1, 2014, 4:06 pm


      You forgot to include ‘Operation Grapes of Wrath’ – Peres own blood orgy in the Lebanon in 1996:

      You will note that israel’s exact current criminal approach to Gaza, “Incremental genocide”, as Ilan Pappé calls it, was being tested out by Peres on the Lebanese people and their Resistance group back in the day:

      It is exactly because israel is never held to account by the international community that its crimes against humanity just get larger and larger and more extreme with time.

      I pray to the god of the f*cking skies that this time round when the dust settles, israel is meted out a deserved punishment, a potent punishment that would surely rehabilitate its criminality. It’s doable – look at Germany.

      Except Germany’s army had to first be smashed and its major cities turned to smoking rubble before rehab could even begin.

      • anthonybellchambers on August 2, 2014, 1:27 am


        In this case it is not an army but a lobby that has to be taken apart – if only for the retention of democracy and to validate the huge loss of American and allied lives in the terrible wars of the last hundred years.
        Next week I go again to visit the Normandy beaches and the American military cemetery in France. I cannot imagine what those lying there would have thought about an America, in 2014, in which the presidency is run by an unelected lobby. They would find it unbelievable that that is the democracy and freedom for which they died.

  11. DICKERSON3870 on August 1, 2014, 1:53 pm

    RE: “It’s about blood, and how much more of it will have to be shed before Israel finally feels ‘safe'” ~ Laurie Pennie

    MY COMMENT: I don’t think it is unreasonable consider the possibility that Israel will never feel “safe”*, which means that as to the amount of blood to be shed, the sky’s the limit (especially as long as the codependent U.S. acts as Israel’s enabler). Frankly, if Israel were ever somehow able to feel “safe”, then it would no longer really be Israel** (at least, not the congenitally insecure Israel we have come to know). As to Israel’s primary enabler, the codependent U.S., it also will probably never feel “safe”. Ditto for the rest of the nation-states. And the globe’s multinational corporations. And . . .

    SEE: Is Israel a “Jewish Nation”? Is the US an “American Nation”?, by Ira Chernus,, 1/31/14

    [EXCERPT] . . . All countries define themselves, Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador, told Rudoren. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.” But, Khoury added, “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts. … Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”
    “For them to feel secure” — There’s the heart of the matter, as Americans should easily understand. Israeli Jews, like white Americans, have always known that their claim to the land they call their own is dubious.
    Ever since the first Europeans arrived in what would become the United States, they have paraded an endless array of papers, all claiming to be treaties signed by native peoples ceding their lands to the conquerors. “You see, we have a right to this land,” the whites proudly proclaimed. Never mind that most of the treaties were either coerced, signed by native peoples who did not understand them, or outright fraudulent. They gave at least the appearance of legal right.
    Israel has a somewhat stronger case with UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947, providing for “independent Arab and Jewish States” in Palestine. But the right of the Jews to have their own state in Palestine has still remained a matter of contention (pardon the understatement) ever since.
    Why did so many white Americans find it so important to be able to waive those pieces of paper “proving” their “legal right” to the land? Why do a sizeable majority of Israeli Jews favor the demand that Palestinians acknowledge Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”? Obviously, both peoples are insecure about their right to their land. If they can get the former inhabitants to relinquish their rights, it gives the appearance, at least, that the vanquished concede to the victors a moral right to the land they have taken. . .


    ** SEE – “Itamar Murders: How the Israeli Narrative of Victimization Is Fed”, By Ira Chernus, Truthout,
    30 April 2011

    [EXCERPTS] How painful it must have been for Motti Fogel to get up and speak at his brother Udi’s funeral. Udi, his wife and three of his children were all buried that day. All were killed by intruders while they slept at home in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian village of Awarta on the West Bank.
    However difficult it was, Fogel forced himself to eulogize his brother because he had something so important to say: “This funeral has to be a private affair. A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are not a national event. Your horrible death mustn’t make your life into a tool.”
    But Fogel must have known that his warning was in vain, that his brother and the whole slain family had already become a tool – a political tool. All he had to do was look across the gravesite and see Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s right-wing vice premier and minister of strategic affairs. Such a high-ranking official doesn’t show up at some ordinary citizens’ funeral unless there is political hay to be made.
    In case there was any doubt, Yaalon erased it as soon as it was his turn to speak. “This murder reminds everyone that the struggle and conflict is … a struggle for our existence,” he proclaimed. “We cannot continue speaking about security while the essence is neglected – the essence which is Israel’s right to its land” – which includes, he had no need to explain, the entire West Bank. “In this difficult hour, we must rise from the rubble and do the most natural thing – continue building and developing Israel.”
    Indeed, on the very same day, other Israeli cabinet ministers were proclaiming that the government’s response to the murder – approving several hundred new housing units on the West Bank – was not nearly enough. “We must build in Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samarea,” Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias insisted. “At least a thousand new homes for each person murdered,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai demanded.
    To most Israeli Jews, the logic was clear; it was the logic of war: They killed our people. We must strike back. . .
    The pressure on the Israeli army to find someone to blame was immense. A reign of terror was imposed on the village of Awarta from the day the murder occurred, with some 300 people being arrested in the investigation. It’s not hard to imagine that the Israelis would trump up false charges. The Jerusalem Post even reported claims that the teens confessed under torture.
    But you won’t find that in the US media, not even in the nation’s most respected newspaper. Kershner did report that “about 35 residents of Awarta remain in Israeli detention” even after the case was supposedly solved, and that the mayor of Awarta has “many doubts about this Israeli story” and demanded an independent investigation. But she did not follow up his claims.
    Two weeks earlier, when she reported on the draconian investigation – “The army has repeatedly raided the village, searching homes, forcing doors and breaking furniture, residents said. Hundreds have been arrested” – she depicted the murder as a clearly political act, another battle in an ongoing war. Her lead: “In the rolling hills of the northern West Bank, Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements exist in a geographical intimacy that belies decades of mutual hostility, suspicion and fear. Here neighbors are also enemies, and the brutal killing of five members of the Fogel family in the settlement of Itamar three weeks ago has done nothing but harden that division.”
    . . . The US government will never give up its pro-Israel bias and take an even-handed approach to the conflict until the public understands that the myth of Israel’s insecurity has no basis in fact. Despite isolated attacks like the one at Itamar – which may not have been politically motivated at all – it’s the Palestinians, enduring the ceaseless cruelties of military occupation, whose lives and livelihoods are constantly most at risk.


  12. Chespirito on August 1, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Yes, that response to Eno by Peter Schwartz was quite unreadable–thank you for confirming my sanity, one of the reasons I turn to Mondoweiss.

  13. Taxi on August 1, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Lets check out what happens when our psycho media punditry get together for a spot of afternoon tea:

    God was surely taking a dump when he created them two stinkers.

  14. surewin on August 1, 2014, 4:55 pm

    “Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don’t get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that’s the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don’t think that’s the reason… but I have no idea what it could be.” – Eno

    It’s not just campaign cash from AIPAC. It’s a bundle of different things. The most powerful tool in the bundle is the raw NSA feed shared with Israel. We need to get beyond the idea that campaign cash is the answer.

  15. kma on August 1, 2014, 8:00 pm

    “Have you noticed how much more advanced the British discourse is on the conflict than ours? ”

    um, is this a trick question?
    everyone is more advanced than here, where we kiss Israel’s dick and give them more weapons AT THE SAME TIME as they shoot UN shelters.


    did you think you were the first to notice?

  16. RoHa on August 1, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Let’s not forget Gerald Kaufmann. John Prescott, Deputy PM under Blair, recently called Gaza a concentration camp.

    There has long been a solid pro-Palestine/anti-Israel element in British public life. Some of it originated from soldiers and administrators from the Mandate. They had first-hand knowledge of Zionist brutality and terrorism. And there were Ian Gilmour, Dennis Walters, Anthony Nutting, Christopher Mayhew, and other whose names slip my ageing memory. Some of them were founders of CAABU.

    But even so, the Zionist control was always strong. Thatcher decided she could only have one pro-Arab in her cabinet, and chose Gilmour over Walters. Jenny Tonge and David Ward both recently felt the lash of Zionists.

    And we know that British official policy backs Israel.

  17. NormanF on August 2, 2014, 6:13 am

    Hippier Brits?

    When they ran Palestine, during the Arab Revolt, their army used overwhelming force to crush it and they employed methods considered unthinkable today from mass detentions, expulsions, hangings, taking human shields, levying huge fines and razing entire villages suspected of harboring terrorists. Which in the end got the job done and shattered the Arab ability to resist.

    The IDF has not even used a fraction of its full power against Hamas. The British accusation that Israel is far more evil is complete hogwash.

  18. eGuard on August 2, 2014, 10:53 am

    Maybe seen from the US Britain looks good. But I’ve stopped listening to the BBC (Worlds service, Radio 4) for information about this Gaza bombing. Not a single sincere journalist appeared. Israeli talkpoints are passed through, unchallenged.

    There was a time when BBC journalism was labeled ‘exemplary’. Now that we can compare by internet, the question is: was it that good, or was it Zionist always?

  19. globalconsciousness on August 2, 2014, 9:08 pm

    This is always an issue on my mind so thanks for this post- Phillip…
    Having lived on both sides of the pond, I would agree that there is a much more informed general public and the media is in parts excellent. The BBC is unfortunately lapsing and this was underscored in a recent report indicating its pro-israel bent. Channel 4 with Jon Snow remains true to form.
    But the guardian and the independent both remain excellent in terms of print coverage, the editorials and most importantly, the comment is free section in the guardian and the wonderful letters from the british public.
    The British government under both the Tories and Labor are awful and living under bLIAR’s reign was horrendous but there are the heroes in Parliament such as Tonge and Ward. Also celebrities/public figures such as Vanessa Redgrave, Ken Loach and others do allow for some rational discourse on the plight of the Palestinians.
    There is also a tolerance culture of debate and I found I could debate with almost anyone I met but this is not the case in the US and there is usually a price to be paid if the person you dare to say to speak to is Jewish – irrationality seems to sink in so one does not dare and fear pervades…this article from Ruth Fowler is rather illustrative:

  20. miriam6 on August 2, 2014, 10:31 pm

    The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks

    Exactly so, and also a rare moment of self awareness by Weiss revealing the true extent of the narcissism inherent in the modern day fanatical anti – Israel project.

    The Israelis are foreigners who do not adhere to our Western standards of behaviour ! ( amply demonstrated by Barack O’ Drone Bombers’ love of drone strikes / the destruction of Iraq/ Libya as functioning states .. the list is endless .. as a result of Western intervention ) who must therefore be taught to be civilised – just as white missionary minded colonialists from powerful Western countries used to seek to civilise those other native foreigners in the third world

    The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks

    Again, a marvellous Freudian slip revealing how adopting a pro Palestinian and knee – jerk anti – Israeli attitude is, after all, the latest fashionable bandwagon that today’s ‘hip’ liberals wish to jump on!

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