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Only grassroots pressure will end Israel’s impunity for a massacre

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Nobody defends Israel better than the United States of America. When Israel massacres, the USA has its back before and after.

On Friday, Israeli forces massacred Palestinian protesters in Gaza. But Palestinian blood is very cheap in Israel.

“If there was any concern, it was because soldiers couldn’t celebrate the [Passover] Seder”, wrote Gideon Levy in Haaretz, in his piece titled “The Israel Massacre Forces”. He continues:

By nightfall the body count had reached at least 15, all of them by live fire, with more than 750 wounded. Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it.

But Israel has already said that it will not investigate. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says those soldiers ”deserve a medal“.

Trump’s ”peace envoy”, Jason Greenblatt, already tried to secure the PR in advance. Ahead of the march, he tweeted:

Hamas is encouraging a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border. Hamas should focus on desperately needed improvements to the lives of Palestinians in Gaza instead of inciting violence against Israel that only increases hardship & undermines chances for peace.

After the massacre, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was interviewed by the religious-nationalist settler outlet Israel National News. Asked “what happened in the border between Israel and Gaza”, Friedman said:

“Look, I think people have the right to protest peacefully, but unfortunately what I’ve seen is something very different than peaceful protests – very dangerous activity, rushing the border, throwing Molotov cocktails, burning tires, putting women and children on the front lines. That’s obviously much more serious than peaceful protests, and I think it’s not in the interest of the Palestinians for that to continue”.

Israel and its apologists are desperately trying to mask this war-crime as a ‘response’ (although Gideon Levy sarcastically says that “you can’t even call it a war crime because there was no war there”). A day before the protests, Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem warned:

“Ahead of the Palestinian demonstrations planned to start tomorrow (Friday) in Gaza, Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to respond with lethal force. Completely ignoring the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and Israel’s responsibility for it, they are couching the planned protest in terms of a security risk, framing the demonstrators as terrorists and referring to Gaza as a “combat zone”. Fragments of information reported by the media indicate that: soldiers will be ordered to shoot anyone coming within 300 meters of the fence; snipers will fire at anyone touching it; live fire will be used also in circumstances which are non-life-threatening. In other words: shoot-to-kill unarmed Palestinians taking part in these demonstrations.”

We have seen this shoot-to-kill policy unfold: Palestinians shot while running, praying and walking. As Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights observed, sometimes “the Israelis were so far away you can’t even see them hiding behind their sniper scopes”.

So was all this really just a response to “terrorism” and “violence”? No – it was a predictable outcome:

“These are the predictable outcomes of a manifestly illegal command: Israeli soldiers shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters”,

said Amit Gilutz, a spokesman for B’Tselem (quoted by The Washington Post).

“What is predictable, too, is that no one — from the snipers on the ground to top officials whose policies have turned Gaza into a giant prison — is likely to be ever held accountable”, he added.

US officials are now trying to not only secure Israel’s PR, but also its legal immunity. On Saturday, the US “sheriff”, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, again kicked her high heels, blocking a draft UN Security Council statement which called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the violence.

The Palestinians were once again left with no agency, and could only use their voices to condemn not only the murders, but the international complicity:

“We condemn Israel’s brutal murder of 16 unarmed Palestinian protestors in Gaza yesterday, as well as the injury of around 1,700 Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory in protests marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day and affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees”,

wrote PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi in an official statement.

She continued:

“The Israeli army used unbridled violence, unleashing more than 100 snipers and firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the protestors before the very eyes of the entire international community. Yet, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning the egregious violations that occurred at the hands of Israel. It is even more troubling that the United States and the United Kingdom blocked the statement. Such a counterproductive stance can render them complicit in Israel’s military occupation and in its persistent violations and violence. Neither one has displayed the moral or political courage to hold Israel to account and to curb its illegal behavior”.

And is there any hope from Israeli activism? About 250 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv to “stop the next war”. But is there a war, or is there a massacre? Is this about accountability, or about ‘preventing escalation’? It is hard to define the protest agenda here, as many of the organizations and parties represented were ‘liberal-Zionist’ – such as Peace Now, and Meretz, calling on Israel to “stop the shooting”.

At the same time, the Israeli mainstream left is not condemnatory at all – the left Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay had “no doubt” that “our soldiers did everything to reduce the number of casualties”. Looking a bit further right, Centrist leader Yair Lapid was even “proud” of the soldiers.

Thus, all this suggests that Israel will not be brought to account – not by internal forces, and not by external ones from the international community, and not at this time.

Once again, what is left for us to do, is to apply grassroots pressure to change this paradigm of impunity. Make no mistake about it – we are speaking of war crimes. Of course, Israel will consider such pressure to be a “moral outrage”, as it continues to suffocate Palestine. It will call even completely unarmed, civil society protests such as boycotts, a “strategic threat”, and its apologists will call such protests “terrorism”.

But this is just what Israel does. Israel has a long record of massacres, and it wants to get away with as much as it can, by toning it down and framing it as a “response to terror”. Those who protest against it are framed as “terrorist supporters”, and the state applies state-terrorism in order to counter them. It is easy to be daunted by this massive onslaught on human rights. Yet the fight against it must continue. And we must remember, that it is mostly the Palestinians who are paying the price of this with their lives. We, who are privileged enough to still be able to protest peacefully without being massacred, must assert our privilege in solidarity with the oppressed.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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16 Responses

  1. MHughes976 on April 3, 2018, 11:08 am

    One technique in arguing a really weak case is to say nothing until the other side has said everything it can think of and then, hoping to find a moment when people are getting to think that they have heard enough, announce with many voices that we should get over it and move on and that the familiar old talking points have been true all along. Perhaps people get weary of being asked to feel outrage and are ready to be sent back to their political slumbers. I think we will start hearing from the usual apologists when they think that point has been reached. Let’s hope they get their timing wrong.

  2. JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 3:27 pm

    RE: Fragments of information reported by the media indicate that: soldiers will be ordered to shoot anyone coming within 300 meters of the fence; snipers will fire at anyone touching it; live fire will be used also in circumstances which are non-life-threatening. In other words: shoot-to-kill unarmed Palestinians taking part in these demonstrations.” ~ B’Tselem

    MY COMMENT: To borrow from David Byrne, “Same as it ever was… same as it ever was!”

    SEE: “Netanyahu: Stupid Like a Fox?”, By Uri Avnery,, 06/13/11

    (EXCERPT) . . . Last week, there was a repeat performance. The Palestinians all around Israel have declared June 5 “Naksa” Day, to commemorate the “Setback” of 1967, when Israel spectacularly defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, reinforced by elements from the Iraqi and Saudi armies.

    This time, the Israeli army was prepared. The fence was reinforced and an anti-tank ditch dug in front of it. When the demonstrators tried to reach the fence—again near Majdal Shams—they were shot by sharpshooters. Some 22 were killed, and many dozens were wounded. The Palestinians report that people trying to rescue the wounded and retrieve the dead were also shot and killed.
    No doubt this was a deliberate tactic decided upon in advance by the army command after the Naqba Day fiasco and approved by Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. As was said quite openly, the Palestinians had to be taught a lesson they would not forget, so as to drive any idea of an unarmed mass action out of their minds.

    It is frighteningly reminiscent of events 10 years ago. After the first Intifada, in which stone-throwing youngsters and children won a moral victory that led to the Oslo agreement, our army conducted exercises in anticipation of a second Intifada. This broke out after the political disaster of Camp David, and the army was ready.

    The new Intifada started with mass demonstrations of unarmed Palestinians. They were met by specially trained sharpshooters. Next to each sharpshooter stood an officer who pointed out the individuals who were to be shot because they looked like ringleaders: “The guy in the red shirt… Now the boy with the blue trousers…”

    The unarmed uprising broke down and was replaced by suicide bombers, roadside bombs, and other “terrorist” acts. With those our army was on familiar ground.

    I suspect very much that we are witnessing much the same thing once more. Again, specially trained sharpshooters are at work, directed by officers…

    SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 3:33 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

      (EXCERPT) . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings. A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.

      This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground.

      All in all, during the second intifada 4546 Palestinians were killed, of whom 882 were children, as against 1044 Israelis, 716 of them civilians, including 124 children…


    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 3:39 pm

      ■ GRAPHIC

    • Ian Berman on April 4, 2018, 12:16 am

      Thank you for posting this J. Lewis. Excellent insight

  3. JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 4:08 pm

    RE: On Saturday, the US “sheriff”, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, again kicked her high heels, blocking a draft UN Security Council statement which called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the violence. ~ Jonathan Ofir

    MY COMMENT (you should know what’s coming by now!):
    That’d be our very own “Gun Crazy” Pistol Packin’ Mama, Nikki Haley from the Great Southern State Of South Carolina. The state that ignited the Civil War!
    I hate her, because . . .
    . . . she’s turning me into her one-trick pony!

    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 6:35 pm

      ◙ Wilkerson: Trump a ‘Diplomatic Fiasco’ at the UN | Published Sep 18, 2017
      Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, talks about Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly and explains why Ambassador Nikki Haley’s remarks on the Iran nuclear deal scare him.

      • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 6:52 pm

        Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
        Published on Mar 4, 2018

  4. JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 4:34 pm


    Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~

    [EXCERPTS] Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury (or narcissistic scar) is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; narcissistic wound and narcissistic blow are further, almost interchangeable terms.[1] The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972.

    Narcissistic injury occurs when a narcissist feels that their hidden, “true self” has been revealed. This may be the case when the narcissist experiences a “fall from grace”, such as when their hidden behaviors or motivations are revealed, or when their importance is brought into question. Narcissistic injury is a cause of distress and can lead to dysregulation of behaviors as in narcissistic rage.

    Narcissistic rage occurs on a continuum, which may range from instances of aloofness and expressions of mild irritation or annoyance to serious outbursts, including violent attacks and murder.[2] Narcissistic rage reactions are not limited to personality disorders and may be also seen in catatonic, paranoid delusion and depressive episodes.[2] It has also been suggested that narcissists have two layers of rage. The first layer of rage can be thought of as a constant anger (towards someone else), with the second layer being a self-aimed wrath.[3] . . .

    • Kohut and self psychology
    Heinz Kohut explored a wide range of rage experiences in his seminal article “Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage” (1972).[17] He considered narcissistic rage as one major form among many, contrasting it especially with mature aggression.[18] Because the very structure of the self itself is weakened in the narcissist, their rage cannot flower into real assertiveness;[19] and they are left instead prone to oversensitivity to perceived or imagined narcissistic injuries resulting in narcissistic rage.[20]

    For Kohut, narcissistic rage is related to narcissists’ need for total control of their environment, including “the need for revenge, for righting a wrong, for undoing a hurt by whatever means”.[21] It is an attempt by the narcissist to turn from a passive sense of victimization to an active role in giving pain to others [The Marquis de Israel ~ J.L.D.], while at the same time attempting to rebuild their own (actually false) sense of self-worth. It may also involve self-protection and preservation, with rage serving to restore a sense of safety and power by destroying that which had threatened the narcissist.[21]

    Alternatively, according to Kohut, rages can be seen as a result of the shame at being faced with failure.[22] Narcissistic rage is the uncontrollable and unexpected anger that results from a narcissistic injury – a threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or worth. Rage comes in many forms, but all pertain to the same important thing: revenge. Narcissistic rages are based on fear and will endure even after the threat is gone.[23]

    To the narcissist, the rage is directed towards the person that they feel has slighted them; to other people, the rage is incoherent and unjust. This rage impairs their cognition, therefore impairing their judgment. During the rage they are prone to shouting, fact distortion and making groundless accusations.[24] In his book The Analysis of the Self, Kohut explains that expressions caused by a sense of things not going the expected way blossom into rages, and narcissists may even search for conflict to find a way to alleviate pain or suffering.[25]

    • Perfectionism
    Narcissists are often pseudo-perfectionists and create situations in which they are the center of attention [e.g., “The Most Moral Army in the World”, “A Light Unto the Nations”, etc. – J.L.D.] [citation needed] The narcissist’s attempts at being seen as perfect are necessary for their grandiose self-image. If a perceived state of perfection is not reached, it can lead to guilt, shame, anger or anxiety because the subject believes that they will lose the admiration and love from other people if they are imperfect.[26]

    Behind such perfectionism, self psychology would see earlier traumatic injuries to the grandiose self.[27] . . .

    • Cultural references
    The lead character of Citizen Kane has been considered as exhibiting narcissistic rage.[30]

    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 5:02 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE:
      Narcissistic Rage and the Failure of Empathy: ‘Citizen Kane’
      By Joseph Burgoin in Shame/Narcissism · Social Behavior
      January 11, 2012

      A number of visitors to this site took issue with my earlier post and video about The Social Network — they felt that the fictional Mark Zuckerberg actually suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome instead of narcissistic personality disorder. In my view, those two labels from the DSM-IV actually represent two artificially distinct entities; they share a number of features and in truth exist along a spectrum. In this post, instead of trying to demonstrate the features of any particular label, I’d like to discuss two psychological traits that show up in a number of apparently distinct diagnostic entities, and I’ll use the main character from that classic film, Citizen Kane, to demonstrate them. The first of these features — a lack of empathy — is a diagnostic criterion of both narcissistic personality disorder and various disorders that feature autism symptoms. The second, narcissistic rage, features in both borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.

      So … Charles Foster Kane, heir to a Colorado mining fortune — he grows up as the ward of a wealthy financier and when he comes of age, he decides to run a newspaper because it would be “fun”. His paper crusades on behalf of the underprivileged and Charlie views himself as their champion, using his generosity toward “the poor” as a kind of narcissistic feed. Charlie exemplifies the kind of narcissism you often see in people who make displays of their compassion and altruism, where the person wants to feel good about himself rather than having true empathy for others.

      In a similar vein, when Charlie falls in love, he chooses a woman who reflects well upon him and feeds his own idealized self-image [much like Israel’s special relationship with the U.S. ~ J.L.D.]. Emily Norton is the niece of a president and an important socialite. Charlie adores her … that is, until her perfect admiration for him begins to wane. In a brilliant montage of scenes over the breakfast table, we see their mutual idealization slowly transform into alienation and contempt.

      Charlie never truly cared about Emily or her feelings, any more than he cares about his second wife, Susan Alexander. In the scene when he first meets Susie, he seems most concerned with the fact that she “likes” him. Later, when he tries to make her an opera star against her own wishes – again as a narcissistic feed for his grandiose view of himself — he cares nothing about her feelings and proves himself incapable of empathy. She finally attempts suicide in order to escape his relentless narcissistic drive. Charlie experiences Susan’s failure to win over the public as both personal shame and narcissistic injury; he blames “the people” rather than himself [much like Israel blames the anti-Semitic UN, E.U., world etc., never itself – J.L.D.], but he can’t empathize at all with his wife’s feelings.

      In order to bolster his narcissistic view of himself, he then builds a monument to Charles Foster Kane — Xanadu, a grandiose castle [e.g., “Dream Castle Israel” ~ J.L.D.] and the largest private home ever built in America. He fills it with treasures and art works collected over a lifetime; he and Susie live imprisoned in this castle with little human contact, a perfect symbol for the beautiful false self the narcissist often erects to disguise the shame he feels about his internal “ugliness”. Trapped inside this gilded cage, Susie is miserable. She complains with growing shrillness about her unhappiness, and the fact that Charlie never gives her anything she actually wants or needs. It’s clear that Charlie is enraged by her remarks, experiencing her very accurate criticism as a narcissistic wound. When Susie walks out on him, he explodes with narcissistic rage and destroys her room [Israel’s Samson Option? – J.L.D.]

      As an old man, Jed gives the best summation of Charlie’s character, and one of the most insightful descriptions of the narcissistic personality you’ll ever find:

      “I guess he had some private sort of greatness but he kept it to himself. He never gave himself away. He never gave anything away, he just left you a tip. He had a generous mind. I don’t suppose anybody ever had so many opinions! But he never believed in anything except Charlie Kane; he never had a conviction except Charlie Kane and his life. I suppose he died without one. Must have been pretty unpleasant.”

      Charles Foster Kane believed in nothing but himself and his self-image; he spent a lifetime craving the narcissistic feed that would give him an inner sense of meaning and value, but in the end, he died a lonely, isolated man. Such is the ultimate fate of all narcissists, because they lack the ability to feel authentic love or empathy and thereby to form meaningful relationships. Most of what they do is geared toward earning praise and adoration, and when they fail to get it, they may erupt in rage. When he dies, Charlie’s final words –Rose Bud — imply that nothing has mattered in his life since he was a small child. He developed no personal relationships of any depth; he accomplished nothing that gave him a sense of meaning or purpose, and he dies dreaming wistfully of the sled he owned as a boy.

      SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 5:49 pm


      ELUCIDATION: This was/is in the nature of a ‘thought experiment’, but hopefully a bit less grandiose.

      Thought experiment
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~

  5. Marnie on April 3, 2018, 11:47 pm

    I saw video of a counter-protest in front of the white house. There weren’t many people, it appeared that a lot of them were senior citizens. A man chanted ‘free free Palestine’ and a woman holding a sign said we are all complicit and she couldn’t have been more correct. She urged people not to pay their taxes as their tax dollars go to ‘israel’.

    Activists Condemn IDF Killing of Palestinian Protesters – YouTube
    Video for Activists Condemn IDF Killing of Palestinian Protesters▶ 3:19

  6. Paranam Kid on April 4, 2018, 4:00 am

    … the Israeli mainstream left is not condemnatory at all …
    Israel and the US are becoming ever more alike. There is no difference anymore between Israeli left & right, both are fascist, as there are no differences between belligerent Democrats & Republicans.

    • Marnie on April 4, 2018, 8:12 am

      There is no ‘left’ in israel, only a few scattered journalists and individuals. What’s the scariest to me is how young people are so brainwashed. Apparently their spines are surgically removed at birth. I think of the youth in amerikkka in the BLM movement and the march for our lives and could never see something like that happen here. These are the most non-teenagers I’ve ever seen. Not a rebellious bone in their ziobods. They must just be too fuckin ‘happy’ to give a shit.

    • CigarGod on April 4, 2018, 9:51 am

      Yes Kid,
      We veer and lurch like drunks.

  7. lonely rico on April 4, 2018, 10:44 am

    “A Special Relationship Born in Hell:
    The United States should cut all ties with war criminal Israel”
    Philip Giraldi April 3, 2018

    … the message should be clear to every American. There is no net gain for the United States in continuing the lopsided and essentially immoral relationship with the self-styled Jewish State. There is no enhancement of American national security, quite the contrary, and there remains only the sad realization that the blood of many innocent people is, to a considerable extent, on our hands. This horror must end.

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