Gaza: Attention, une indignation peut en cacher une autre ! (Where danger grows, grows also that which saves: Are Israel’s enemies losing ground in the PR war?)

https://i1.wp.com/cdn2.spectator.co.uk/wp-content/blogs.dir/11/files/2014/07/Howard1.jpgMais là où le péché a abondé, la grâce a surabondé. Paul (Romains 5: 20)
Aux lieux du péril aussi croit ce qui sauve. Hölderlin
Tous les efforts de la violence ne peuvent affaiblir la vérité, et ne servent qu’à la relever davantage. Toutes les lumières de la vérité ne peuvent rien pour arrêter la violence, et ne font que l’irriter encore plus. Pascal
La « guerre postmoderniste » (…) va (…) à l’encontre des règles habituelles de la guerre, celle que l’on mène pour vaincre son ennemi. Je ne fais pas référence ici à l’élément politique ou militaire. Quoique… Mais aux médias israéliens, c’est à dire à une dimension capitale en temps de guerre : la maitrise de l’information envoyée à l’ennemi et à la population du pays.  (…) En effet, le politologue ou le sociologue ne peut être que stupéfait de ce qu’il voit sur les écrans israéliens. Tout d’abord la « spectacularisation » télévisée des événements guerriers, essentiellement ceux du front intérieur. C’est comme si une guerre « en temps réel » se déroulait sous les yeux de spectateurs d’un conflit qui serait extérieur à ses propres acteurs. Dès qu’une roquette tombe, la caméra nous transporte sur le lieu de la frappe, où que ce soit dans le pays, et les chaînes passent et repassent cent fois la chute du missile et son explosion presque toujours réussie grâce à la batterie « dôme de fer » (kipat barzel), la vedette de cette guerre. On y ajoute des interviews à chaud des victimes touchées par ces frappes. Le téléspectateur se retrouve ainsi, dans son fauteuil (quand il n’a pas couru aux abris), sur tous les champs du pays sous les tirs. Le terme d’ »hystérie » revient souvent dans la bouche des journalistes pour qualifier l’état du public, ce que pourtant les reportages à Tel Aviv, supposée le maillon faible, démentent. Psychologues, spécialistes des traumatismes, éducateurs se succèdent pour conseiller sur la façon de gérer le stress. La télévision offre ainsi à l’ennemi un kaléïdoscope en temps réél du moral de la population qu’il cible, un bon mesureur pour déterminer la pression et le rythme des opérations qu’il mène à son encontre. De ce point de vue, la menace du Hamas, samedi soir, annonçant un tir sur Tel Aviv pour 21 heures, a pris une ampleur considérable du fait de son grossissement irresponsable par les journalistes. Le spectacle de désarroi et d’angoisse auquel elle a donné lieu est une victoire pour l’ennemi. Le passage en boucle des frappes, même évincées par le dôme de fer, a, plus généralement, de quoi angoisser et décourager les téléspectateurs eux mêmes, même si l’information fait partager à chacun d’eux les tirs de missile que leur région peut subir. Une succession infinie de débats télévisés font entendre les réflexions, les hésitations, les arguments des hommes politiques israéliens en rapport avec l’action militaire. (…) Autre fait unique dans les annales de l’histoire de la guerre : pendant les attaques, les journalistes appellent des habitants de Gaza pour leur demander comment ils vivent la chose, quelles sont leurs émotions, leurs pensées, etc.(…) Mais il y a plus, sur le plan de l’ouverture à l’adversaire. L’invitation sur les plateaux de télévision d’officiels de l’Autorité palestinienne ou de députés arabes israéliens (qui sont plus proches d’elle que de l’Etat d’Israël et qui, lorsqu’ils ont le micro, vitupèrent sur « leur » pays en guerre), au même rang qu’experts et hommes politiques israéliens ne peut qu’approfondir le trouble du téléspectateur israélien quand on sait que l’Autorité palestinienne rameute le monde entier contre Israël, en ces jours mêmes, qu’elle accuse de pratiquer un génocide à Gaza, mais aussi de façon permanente, en étant le cerveau de la compagne planétaire de boycott d’Israël. (…) Traduction sur le plan militaire de cet état de faits : l’Etat d’Israël continue à livrer des vivres et de l’essence à Gaza -2- , et, qui plus est, par le passage de Kerem Shalom où un immense tunnel a été découvert au début de l’opération, creusé pour envahir la région afin d’y faire le maximum de morts et de rapts. En somme, Israël donne au Hamas et à la population qui l’a porté au pouvoir et qui ne s’est pas rebellée contre lui, la possibilité physique de continuer à pouvoir circuler, envoyer leurs missiles et se nourrir. L’ennemi, qui ne prend pas de gants pour détruire « les Juifs », l’interprète nécessairement comme un aveu de faiblesse et de soumission d’Israël. Autre dispositif marquant, qu’on ne trouve dans aucune autre armée du monde. Avant un bombardement, l’armée appelle, par téléphone ou SMS, les habitants du théâtre d’opération à quitter les lieux. Est-ce pour cette raison que cette armée d’un genre inédit est accusée dans toute la planète de génocide ? (…) J’ai aussi entendu un commentateur – mais il faut vérifier – dire que chaque frappe israélienne devait d’abord être autorisée par un spécialiste juridique et la cible documentée comme pouvant légalement être frappée (cache d’armes, institutions militaires, etc). Dans le langage militaire, il y a en effet une « banque de cibles », c’est à dire de lieux stratégiques dévoilés par les services secrets que l’aviation israélienne vise systématiquement, de façon « chrirurgicale », et pas à l’aveuglette afin qu’il y ait le moins de victimes civiles. Rapport Goldstone oblige ! ajoute le commentateur. (…) Cet ensemble d’éléments n’est pas un entassement circonstanciel de comportements et de discours. J’y trouve une rationalité qui est celle de l’idéologie qui domine aujourd’hui dans les pays démocratiques : le postmodernisme. Sa cible essentielle est, au recto, l’Etat-nation démocratique, l’identité nationale, la souveraineté du sujet collectif, avec pour verso la célébration de tout ce qui est extérieur à l’Occident et à la démocratie. C’est une utopie de la « démocratie » qui est l’ennemie du régime démocratique. Dans le monde illusoire que cette idéologie construit, la « communauté internationale », le « Tribunal international » doivent se substituer aux Etats. Et, d’ailleurs, il n’y aurait plus d’Etats mais des individus, des « citoyens du monde », de sorte qu’il n’y aurait plus de « guerres » mais des « différends », plus d’armées mais à la rigueur des « polices », plus de responsabilité mais des co-responsabilités, plus de coupable mais une culpabilité partagée, il n’y a plus de réalité mais des récits sur la réalité, etc. Les droits de l’homme, ou leur usage instrumentalisé, l’emportent alors sur les droits du citoyen, le pouvoir judiciaire s’impose au pouvoir politique, la loi n’est plus l’œuvre du peuple mais l’invention des juges, etc. C’est cette même idéologie qui, dans le monde et notamment en Europe, ouvre grandes les portes à l’islamisme. Shlomo Trigano
Avant, j’étais beaucoup plus critique à l’égard d’Israël et je croyais qu’il y avait une solution à deux états assez simple. Parce que je croyais que les Arabes étaient de bonne foi. J’aimerais toujours le croire mais les faits me montrent que je serais un imbécile de le croire. Car j’ai vu que chaque concession faite par Israël ne reçoit en réponse que toujours plus d’exigences et de prétextes pour ne pas négocier. Ils auraient pu avoir la paix dix fois s’ils avaient voulu. Mais ils ne veulent pas la paix, ils veulent la victoire et ne seront pas satisfaits tant qu’Israël ne sera pas rayé de la carte. Un membre du Comité central de l’OLP l’a dit récemment à la télévision récemment, ajoutant qu’ils doivent garder ça pour eux car ils tiennent un autre discours au reste du monde. (…) Malgré ce que vous dit l’Agence de relations publiques palestinienne (cad les médias occidentaux) ce n’est pas une question de territoire et ça n’a absolument rien à voir avec la justice ou les droits de l’homme parce que les sociétés arabes ne connaissent pas la signification de ces mots. C’est une question de haine contre les Juifs, commandée par le Coran, prêchée dans les mosquées et enseignée aux enfants dans les pays arabes jour après jour et qui empoisonne génération après génération. les Arabes ne détestent pas les Juifs à cause d’Israël, ils détestent Israël à cause des Juifs. La situation en Cisjordanie et à Gaza existe parce qu’il y a 45 ans plusieurs pays arabes ont attaqué Israël délibérément, avec un avantage numérique écrasant, parce que c’était un Etat juif. Si ça n’avait pas été un Etat juif, ils ne l’auraient pas attaqué, ils l’ont attaqué avec l’intention de l’effacer de la carte et de commettre un génocide mais ils ont échoué parce que les juifs avaient plus de sang dans les veines que les Arabes pensaient. Et qui pourraient s’en étonner après tout ce par quoi ils sont passés dans l’indifférence du reste du monde ? Beaucoup, de Juifs auraient pu échapper aux nazis s’ils avaient eu un endroit où se réfugier mais les autres pays ne voulaient pas d’eux. Le Moufti de Jérusalem à l’époque était un ami d’Hitler et, en bon musulman, il approuvait la Solution finale et avait des plans pour mettre en oeuvre son propre holocauste au Moyen-Orient après la victoire des Nazis. Aussi qui pourrait reprocher aujourd’hui aux Israéliens de se défendre, en sachant très bien qu’ils ont à faire à des gens à qui ils ne peuvent pas faire confiance et en sachant que ces gens les haïssent au point de vouloir les exterminer comme peuple. N’importe qui d’autre dans la même situation se comporterait de la même manière. Je sais que c’est ce que je ferais et je ne suis pas près de m’en excuser. Israël est entouré d’ennemis et a plus intérêt à la paix que n’importe qui d’autre et c’est pour ça qu’il continue à faire des concessions. mais ce n’est pas l’intérêt des leaders palestiniens. La paix, c’est dernière chose qu’ils veulent. Ils ont besoin de maintenir la situation en ébullition, de maintenir leur peuple en colère dans le ressentiment et la haine des Juifs. La paix gâcherait tout parce qu’ils ne seront pas contents tant qu’Israël ne sera pas effacé de la carte et les Juifs jetés à la mer. Il faut que le monde arrête de faire comme si la question palestinienne était une question de justice et de droits de l’homme. Il faut qu’il ait le courage moral d’appeler les choses par leur nom et de mettre un point d’arrêt à cette comédie, cette danse sans fin autour d’une table de négociation qui n’existe pas. Il nous faut rendre aux Arabes le grand service de leur dire la vérité qu’ils ont si cruellement besoin d’entendre que leur haine est la cause de leur misère, qu’ils en sont devenus prisonniers, elle en est arrivée à définir leur véritable identité. Et tant qu’ils n’auront pas trouvé un moyen de libérer leurs coeurs de cette souillure, ils y resteront enchainés et ni eux ni leurs enfants ne seront jamais libres. Printemps arabe ou pas. (…) Combien de générations habitées par la haine pensez-vous qu’il faudra encore sacrifier ? Pat Condell
Will the BBC accept that Hamas wants to kill lots of Jews? Rod Liddle
The Israelis are powerful. The Palestinians are weak. The Israelis are the bullies. The Palestinians are the victims. And, understandably, we don’t like that narrative. We don’t like those harrowing images of more broken bodies being dug out of more shattered buildings. Of the distraught mothers and fathers mourning their dead sons and daughters. Mothers and fathers who are, in the main, Palestinian. (…) People may not like the current Israeli assault on Gaza. They may be appalled by it. Perhaps they are right to be appalled by it. But please, let’s not pretend we don’t understand it. The threat of annihilation is not an historical abstraction to the people of Israel. It was the reason for the formation of that state. It was why they were forced to defend that state from invasion in 1948 and 1967 and 1973. It’s why they have been forced to defend it from terror attacks large and small every day since. So yes, Israel is strong. And yes, perhaps that strength is sometimes used unwisely and disproportionately. But that’s because the Jews of Israel learnt in the most barbaric way imaginable that the price of being too strong is not as high as the price of being too weak. Israel has its planes and its tanks and its guns and its shelters and its Iron Dome defence system. And the Palestinians have only their rockets – 130 fired at Israel on Sunday alone – and their suicide vests. But do we honestly expect Israel to apologise for that? Apologise for the fact that Hamas are not as good at killing Jews as they’d like to be? We may feel more comfortable tutting and shaking our heads and saying “isn’t it terrible about those three teenage boys?” But in Israel they don’t just tut. Not any more. The images of what is happening in Gaza may sear our consciences. But when the Jews of Israel say “never again”, they mean it. Dan Hodges
Le Canada rejette les critiques injustifiées formulées par la Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme, Mme Navi Pillay, concernant la réponse d’Israël aux attaques à la roquette en provenance de Gaza. Les commentaires de Mme Pillay prenant pour cible Israël ne sont pas utiles et ne brossent pas un portait exact de la situation. Il ne peut y avoir aucune équivalence morale entre le Hamas, une organisation terroriste qui fait preuve d’un mépris flagrant pour la vie humaine, et l’obligation d’une démocratie libérale comme l’État d’Israël à défendre son peuple contre des attaques lâches et aveugles. Le Canada déplore la mort et la souffrance d’innocents civils à Gaza. Le Hamas et ses alliés, qui ont déclenché la crise et qui continuent de l’alimenter, en sont les seuls responsables. Les Forces de défenses israéliennes ont pris des mesures extraordinaires pour réduire le nombre de pertes civiles, et ce, dans des conditions très difficiles. Israël mérite d’être félicité, et non critiqué, pour les efforts qu’il déploie face à un ennemi qui est clairement déterminé à mettre en danger la vie de civils des deux côtés, pour servir ses propres fins. Le Canada exhorte le Hamas et les autres groupes militants à mettre fin aux attaques à la roquette contre Israël ainsi qu’à la violence continue qui met en péril la vie d’innocents Israéliens et Palestiniens. La voie sur laquelle se sont engagés le Hamas et ses alliés ne mène pas à la paix. John Baird (ministre canadien des affaires étrangères)
Why are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.) (…) Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. (…) Of course, Western double standards on Israel have been around for a while now. (…) But during this latest Israeli assault on Gaza, we haven’t only seen these double standards come back into play – we have also witnessed anti-Israel sentiment becoming more visceral, more emotional, more unhinged and even more prejudiced than it has ever been, to such an extent that, sadly, it is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins. (…) Such is the visceral nature of current anti-Israel sentiment that not only is the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism becoming harder to see – so is the line between fact and fiction. As the BBC has reported, the wildly popular hashtag #GazaUnderAttack, which has been used nearly 500,000 times over the past eight days to share shocking photographs of the impact of Israel’s assault on Gaza, is extremely unreliable. Some of the photos being tweeted (and then retweeted by thousands of other people) are actually from Gaza in 2009. Others show dead bodies from conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Yet all are posted with comments such as, ‘Look at Israel’s inhumanity’. It seems the aim here is not to get to the truth of what is happening in Gaza but simply to rage, to yell, to scream, to weep about what Israel is doing (or not doing, as the case may be), and the more publicly you weep, the better, for it allows people to see how sensitive you are to Israeli barbarism. It’s about unleashing some visceral emotion, which means such petty things as accuracy and facts count for little: the expression of the emotion is all that matters, and any old photo of a dead child from somewhere in the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – will suffice as a prop for one’s public emotionalism. (…) Today, rage with Israel is not actually a considered political position. It is not a thought-through take on a conflict zone in the Middle East and how that conflict zone might relate to realpolitik or global shifts in power. Rather, it has become an outlet for the expression of a general feeling of fury and exhaustion with everything – with Western society, modernity, nationalism, militarism, humanity. Israel has been turned into a conduit for the expression of Western self-loathing, Western colonial guilt, Western self-doubt. It has been elevated into the most explicit expression of what are now considered to be the outdated Western values of militaristic self-preservation and progressive nationhood, and it is railed against and beaten down for embodying those values. It is held responsible, not simply for repressing the Palestinian desire for statehood, but for continuing to pursue virtues that we sensible folk in the rest of the West have apparently outgrown and for consequently being the source of war and terrorism not only in the Middle East but pretty much everywhere. A poll of Europeans discovered that most now consider Israel to be the key source of global instability. This is where we can see what the new anti-Zionism shares in common with the old anti-Semitism: both are about finding one thing in the world, whether it’s a wicked state or a warped people, against which the rest of us might rage and pin the blame for every political problem on Earth. Brendan O’Neill
There is something different about the reaction to the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. The level of anger, the amount of hate, the fury being directed against Israel by protesters seems more unhinged, more ferocious, and, one is tempted to say, more disproportionate than ever before. But perhaps as a result something else is happening. One senses that a growing number of commentators and observers are seeing Israel’s detractors with new eyes. Both Hamas and its apologists are coming under real criticism unlike during either of the previous Gaza conflicts. (…) What has made these events all the more outrageous is the utter disconnect between the levels of rage and the actual events that anti-Israel campaigners purport to be so enraged by. Not only did Hamas force this conflict with an unprovoked barrage of rockets targeting Israeli civilians, and not only has Hamas ignored all efforts for a ceasefire, but the casualty figures in Gaza are still dramatically lower than during the first Israel-Gaza war in 2009 and they are also far lower than in all comparable conflicts. It should be clear to any honest observer that despite Hamas’s use of human shields, Israel is going to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilians wherever possible. Hamas on the other hand is indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilians with a large and highly sophisticated arsenal supplied by Iran. Seventy percent of Israel’s population is within reach of Hamas’s long range Fajr-5 missiles and the terror group is equipped with anti-tank mortars and even unmanned drones. (…) Yet behavior this extreme can’t go unnoticed indefinitely. It has long been suggested, and not without justification, that the media bears a great deal of responsibility for provoking much of these anti-Israel sentiments. The British media has been particularly notorious in the past and indeed during this latest round of hostilities much of the reporting has been just as misleading. However, alongside this dishonest reporting there has been a growing chorus of voices speaking in opposition to the prevailing anti-Israel sentiment. (…) None of this is to suggest that some grand awakening has taken place. The New York Times and Guardian aren’t changing tune. But as the campaign against Israel becomes ever more extreme and violent, there is a chance for the fair-minded to see things anew. Tom Wilson

Attention: une indignation peut en cacher une autre !

Alors qu’avec l’étrange logique guerrière dans laquelle nous entraine des acteurs non-étatiques aussi perfides que le Hamas …

Et les succès du système anti-missile israélien, se creuse l’écart entre les pertes israéliennes et gazaouites …

Et qu’en conséquence dans les rédactions comme dans la rue occidentales, l’indignation et hystérie collective anti-Israël atteint des sommets …

Pendant qu’avec probablement l’annonce de son imminente destruction par l’armée israélienne, l’ONU découvre des roquettes cachées dans l’une de ses écoles …

Comment, avec Commentary, n’être pas atterré par tant de partialité?

Mais comment en même temps ne pas être un tout petit peu rasséréné de voir …

Un encore petit mais croissant groupe de journalistes et commentateurs (principalement anglo-saxons mais qui commencent à être repris à l’occasion par la presse française) voire d’hommes d’Etat notamment canadiens  …

Qui non seulement semblent avoir enfin compris le grand mensonge palestinien

Mais n’ont plus peur de le crier haut et fort ?

Are Israel’s Enemies Losing Ground in the PR War?

Tom Wilson

Commentary

07.16.2014

There is something different about the reaction to the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. The level of anger, the amount of hate, the fury being directed against Israel by protesters seems more unhinged, more ferocious, and, one is tempted to say, more disproportionate than ever before. But perhaps as a result something else is happening. One senses that a growing number of commentators and observers are seeing Israel’s detractors with new eyes. Both Hamas and its apologists are coming under real criticism unlike during either of the previous Gaza conflicts. It is possible that those who demonize Israel are beginning to expose themselves for what they are and with that comes the possibility of that movement becoming increasingly consigned to the fringes.The backlash against Israel has been almost incomprehensible. Those attending a pro-Israel demonstration in Los Angeles were violently set upon by armed Palestinian supporters leading to a police officer firing his gun in an apparent effort to regain control over the situation. In Boston a pro-Israel activist was attacked by a woman screaming “Jewish go to hell!” In London a mob gathered outside the Israeli embassy, brandishing placards proclaiming a “Palestinian Holocaust” to be underway and accusing Israel’s prime minister of being “Hitler’s clone.” By the following morning a Jewish family home in that city was daubed with swastikas and days later a Jewish lady was randomly assaulted by demonstrators. Similarly, violent protests erupted in several German cities and in Antwerp the crowd openly chanted “slaughter the Jews.” But the most shocking scenes took place in Paris, where one synagogue was firebombed, while another came under siege from an angry mob that trapped Jewish worshipers inside the building for several hours.

What has made these events all the more outrageous is the utter disconnect between the levels of rage and the actual events that anti-Israel campaigners purport to be so enraged by. Not only did Hamas force this conflict with an unprovoked barrage of rockets targeting Israeli civilians, and not only has Hamas ignored all efforts for a ceasefire, but the casualty figures in Gaza are still dramatically lower than during the first Israel-Gaza war in 2009 and they are also far lower than in all comparable conflicts. It should be clear to any honest observer that despite Hamas’s use of human shields, Israel is going to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilians wherever possible. Hamas on the other hand is indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilians with a large and highly sophisticated arsenal supplied by Iran. Seventy percent of Israel’s population is within reach of Hamas’s long range Fajr-5 missiles and the terror group is equipped with anti-tank mortars and even unmanned drones.
What is all the more galling is that onlookers who never seemed visibly troubled by far more horrendous conflicts in the region, and who would never have turned out to protest the casualty figures of their own governments’ military interventions, have obsessively condemned Israel at every turn. And the rhetoric from those doing the condemning has become wildly visceral, with the most appalling comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany, coupled with the equally sickening #HitlerWasRight hashtag.

Yet behavior this extreme can’t go unnoticed indefinitely. It has long been suggested, and not without justification, that the media bears a great deal of responsibility for provoking much of these anti-Israel sentiments. The British media has been particularly notorious in the past and indeed during this latest round of hostilities much of the reporting has been just as misleading. However, alongside this dishonest reporting there has been a growing chorus of voices speaking in opposition to the prevailing anti-Israel sentiment.

At the Telegraph, in response to the latest frenzy of Israel bashing, several writers have spoken-up, with a particularly strong piece by Dan Hodges reminding readers that history demonstrates why Israel cannot afford weakness. At the Spectator Rod Liddle authored a post bluntly titled “Will the BBC Accept that Hamas Wants to Kill Lots of Jews?” And Hugo Rifkind, also of the Spectator, went with “If Britain Was Being Shelled, as Israel Now is, How Would We Respond?” Even the left-leaning Independent ran a piece asking why no one cares about Palestinians starved by Assad. But perhaps the most blistering attack on the anti-Israel crowed came from Brendon O’Neil with his outspoken editorial: “There’s Something Very Ugly in This Rage Against Israel: the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism gets thinner every day.”
The point is that–despite how hostile the British media has typically been to Israel–if these writers can come to see the campaign against Israel for what it is, then ultimately any reasonable person, confronted with the reality of this phenomenon, should be capable of seeing the inherent bigotry of this hateful movement. And a similar shift could well emerge at the diplomatic level too. The way in which the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird recently slammed the UN human rights commissioner for her disingenuous words against Israel’s military operation, or the fact that Australia’s Ambassador Dave Sharma took to twitter to highlight the reality of Hamas rockets, is all a far cry from the atmosphere in 2009.

None of this is to suggest that some grand awakening has taken place. The New York Times and Guardian aren’t changing tune. But as the campaign against Israel becomes ever more extreme and violent, there is a chance for the fair-minded to see things anew.

https://twitter.com/AusAmbIsrael

There’s something very ugly in this rage against Israel

The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism gets thinner every day.
Brendan O’Neill

spiked

15 July 2014

Why are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.)

Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. Parisians who have generally given a Gallic shrug as French troops have basically retaken Francophone Africa, stamping their boots everywhere from the Central African Republic to Mali to Cote d’Ivoire over the past two years, turned out in their thousands at the weekend to condemn Israeli imperialism and barbarism. Americans who didn’t create much fuss last month when the Obama administration announced the resumption of its drone attacks in Pakistan gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to yell about Israeli murder. (Incredibly, they did this just a day after a US drone attack, the 375th such attack in 10 years, killed at least six people in Pakistan. But hey, Obama-led militarism isn’t as bad as Israeli militarism, and dead Pakistanis, unlike dead Palestinians, don’t deserve to have their photos, names and ages published by the concerned liberals of Twitter.) Meanwhile, hundreds of very angry Brits gathered at the Israeli Embassy in London, bringing traffic to a standstill, clambering on to buses, yelling about murder and savagery, in furious, colourful scenes that were notable by their absence three years ago when Britain sent planes to pummel Libya.

Such are the double standards over Israel, so casually entrenched is the idea that Israeli militarism is more bloody and insane than any other kind of militarism, that many Western liberals now call on their own rulers to condemn or even impose sanctions against Israel. That is, they want the invaders and destroyers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere to rap Israel’s knuckles for bombing Gaza. It’s like asking a great white shark to tell off a seal for eating a fish. America must ‘rein in Israel’, we are told. ‘The international community should intervene to restrain Israel’s army’, says a columnist for the Guardian, and by ‘international community’ he means ‘a meeting of the UN Security Council’ – the Security Council whose permanent members are the US, UK and France, who have done so much to destabilise and devastate vast swathes of the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade; Russia, whose recent military interventions in Georgia and Chechnya suggest it is hardly a devotee of world peace; and China, which might not invade other countries but is pretty adept at brutally suppressing internal dissent. On what planet could nations whose warmongering makes the current assault on Gaza look like a tea party in comparison seriously be asked to ‘rein in’ Israel? On a planet on which Israel is seen as different, as worse than all others, as more criminal and rogue-like than any other state.

The double standards were perfectly summed up last week in the response to an Israeli writer who said in the UK Independent that Israel’s attack on Gaza and its ‘genocidal rhetoric’ made her want to burn her Israeli passport. She got a virtual pat on the back from virtually every British activist and commentator who thinks of him or herself as decent. She was hailed as brave. Her article was shared online thousands of times. This was ‘common sense from one Jew’, people tweeted. No one stopped to wonder if maybe they should have burned their British passports after Yugoslavia in 1999, or Afghanistan in 2001, or Iraq in 2003, where often more civilians were killed in one day than have been killed by Israel over the past week. Why should Israel’s bombing of Gaza induce such shame in Israeli citizens (or Jews, as some prefer) that burning their passports is seen as a perfectly sensible and even laudable course of action whereas it’s perfectly okay to continue bounding about the world on a British passport despite the mayhem unleashed by our military forces over the past decade? Because Israel is different; it’s worse; it’s more criminal.

Of course, Western double standards on Israel have been around for a while now. They can be seen not only in the fact that Israeli militarism makes people get out of bed and get angry in a way that no other form of militarism does, but also in the ugly boycotting of everything Israeli, whether it’s academics or apples, in a way that the people or products of other militaristic or authoritarian regimes are never treated. But during this latest Israeli assault on Gaza, we haven’t only seen these double standards come back into play – we have also witnessed anti-Israel sentiment becoming more visceral, more emotional, more unhinged and even more prejudiced than it has ever been, to such an extent that, sadly, it is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins.

So in the latest rage against Israel, it isn’t only the Israeli state or military that have come in for some loud flak from so-called radicals – so have the Israeli people, and even the Jews. In Paris on Sunday, what started as a protest against Israel ended with violent assaults on two synagogues. In one, worshippers had to barricade themselves inside as anti-Israel activists tried to break their way in using bats and planks of wood, some of them chanting ‘Death to Jews!’. Some have tried to depict such racist behaviour as a one-off, a case of immigrants in France losing control. But on that big demo at the Israeli Embassy in London last week some attendees held placards saying ‘Zionist Media Cover Up Palestinian Holocaust’, a clear reference to the familiar anti-Semitic trope about Jews controlling the media. On an anti-Israel protest in the Netherlands some Muslim participants waved the black ISIS flag and chanted: ‘Jews, the army of Muhammad is returning.’

In the virtual world, too, the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has become blurrier during this latest Gaza conflict. When a Danish journalist published a photo of what he claimed to be a group of Israelis in Sderot eating popcorn while watching Israeli missiles rain on Gaza, it became a focal point of fury with Israelis – every newspaper published the pic and Amnesty tweeted about it – and it generated the expression of some foul views. Israelis (not Israel in this case) are ‘disgraceful’, ‘murderous, racist’, ‘inhuman scum’, ‘pigs’, etc, said angry tweeters. It wasn’t long before actual bona fide anti-Semites were getting in on this rage against Israeli people, with one racist magazine publishing the Sderot picture under the headline ‘Rat-Faced Israeli Jews Cheer and Applaud Airstrikes on Gaza Strip’. The speed with which what purported to be an anti-war sentiment aimed at Israel became a warped fury with Israeli people, and the ease with which demonstrations against Israeli militarism became slurs against or physical attacks on Jews, suggests there is something extremely unwieldy about fashionable anti-Israel sentiment, something that allows it to slip, sometimes quite thoughtlessly, from being a seemingly typical anti-war cry to being something much uglier, prejudiced and ancient in nature.

Such is the visceral nature of current anti-Israel sentiment that not only is the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism becoming harder to see – so is the line between fact and fiction. As the BBC has reported, the wildly popular hashtag #GazaUnderAttack, which has been used nearly 500,000 times over the past eight days to share shocking photographs of the impact of Israel’s assault on Gaza, is extremely unreliable. Some of the photos being tweeted (and then retweeted by thousands of other people) are actually from Gaza in 2009. Others show dead bodies from conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Yet all are posted with comments such as, ‘Look at Israel’s inhumanity’. It seems the aim here is not to get to the truth of what is happening in Gaza but simply to rage, to yell, to scream, to weep about what Israel is doing (or not doing, as the case may be), and the more publicly you weep, the better, for it allows people to see how sensitive you are to Israeli barbarism. It’s about unleashing some visceral emotion, which means such petty things as accuracy and facts count for little: the expression of the emotion is all that matters, and any old photo of a dead child from somewhere in the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – will suffice as a prop for one’s public emotionalism.

How has this happened? How has opposing Israeli militarism gone from being one facet of a broader anti-imperialist position, as it was in the 1980s, to being the main, and sometimes only, focus of those who claim to be anti-war? Why does being opposed to Israel so often and so casually tip over into expressions of disgust with the Israeli people and with the Jews more broadly? It’s because, today, rage with Israel is not actually a considered political position. It is not a thought-through take on a conflict zone in the Middle East and how that conflict zone might relate to realpolitik or global shifts in power. Rather, it has become an outlet for the expression of a general feeling of fury and exhaustion with everything – with Western society, modernity, nationalism, militarism, humanity. Israel has been turned into a conduit for the expression of Western self-loathing, Western colonial guilt, Western self-doubt. It has been elevated into the most explicit expression of what are now considered to be the outdated Western values of militaristic self-preservation and progressive nationhood, and it is railed against and beaten down for embodying those values. It is held responsible, not simply for repressing the Palestinian desire for statehood, but for continuing to pursue virtues that we sensible folk in the rest of the West have apparently outgrown and for consequently being the source of war and terrorism not only in the Middle East but pretty much everywhere. A poll of Europeans discovered that most now consider Israel to be the key source of global instability.

This is where we can see what the new anti-Zionism shares in common with the old anti-Semitism: both are about finding one thing in the world, whether it’s a wicked state or a warped people, against which the rest of us might rage and pin the blame for every political problem on Earth.

Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked.

Will the BBC accept that Hamas wants to kill lots of Jews?
Rod Liddle

15 July 2014

A fairly typically partisan report on the Israel and Palestine crisis last night on the BBC ten O Clock News. The focus was entirely on the killed or injured Palestinians, referred to exclusively as ‘civilians’; the point was made, at the top of the report, that Hamas had killed nobody. Yes, but only because Hamas is utterly useless: it clearly WANTS to kill lots of people, which is why, on a daily basis, it bungs over the rockets – indiscriminately – in an
attempt to do so. The rockets which precipitated this crisis. We are enjoined to have sympathy for the Palestinians and treat the Israelis with odium because the former are murderous and incompetent and the latter murderous and adept. It is an infantile sensibility.

Yes, Israel is strong, and the Palestinians are not. Israel knows the price of weakness

Dan Hodges

The Spectator

July 14th, 2014

There was a brief moment when the narrative shifted. It took the kidnapping and murder of three teenage boys – Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah – to do it, but for a day or so after their bound bodies were removed from a field just north of Hebron, Israel ceased to be the oppressor and became the victim. David Cameron described their killing as an « appalling and inexcusable act of terror ». Many people agreed.

But the natural order has been restored. The brutal murder, apparently in revenge, of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The retaliatory air strikes on Hamas that have claimed an additional 172 Palestinian lives, and seen 17,000 others claim refuge from the United Nations. Israel is once again filling the role of aggressor.

“Israel’s reaction has been vicious and misdirected,” writes Yasmin Alibhai Brown in the Independent.

“The human reaction to the daily bloodshed in Gaza fills anyone who glimpses it with shock and despair,” says the Guardian. “Even those who accept that Israel has a right to defend itself from incoming Hamas rockets can be appalled by the sight of a house razed by a double air strike that left, on one estimate, 22 dead and 45 injured.”

Even the BBC’s veteran Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen frames the conflict in the following way: “Both sides claim the right of self-defence. As ever, however, Israel is killing many more than Hamas. That is not because of any lack of intent on the side of Hamas and the other militant groups in Gaza. It is because the Israeli state is massively more powerful, and spends millions on civil defence.”

The Israelis are powerful. The Palestinians are weak. The Israelis are the bullies. The Palestinians are the victims.

And, understandably, we don’t like that narrative. We don’t like those harrowing images of more broken bodies being dug out of more shattered buildings. Of the distraught mothers and fathers mourning their dead sons and daughters. Mothers and fathers who are, in the main, Palestinian.

But there is a narrative we are comfortable with. Or one that if it doesn’t bring comfort, at least brings clarity.

The Independent articulated it with a piece by Richard Ferrer in January this year. The article, which carried the headline “Holocaust Memorial Day is as much about the future as the past,” was illustrated with a photograph of an elderly lady in a striped top standing at the gates of Auschwitz. She looked frail. Holocaust Memorial day was, Ferrer wrote, “here to remind the next generation to say never again, and to keep saying never again until we finally get the message.”

The Guardian ran its own commemoration, which included the story of a man called Freddie Knoller. “On arrival, [at the death camp] he was given a uniform and had the number 157108 tattooed on his left arm. As his head was being shaved, he heard, for the first time, about old people and women being taken to Birkenau to be gassed and cremated.”

This is the narrative we prefer. The frail Jew in a striped shirt. The Jew who has his head shaved, and a tattoo stamped on his arm. The Jew as victim.

But it’s not a narrative they’re prepared to tolerate in Israel. Not in 2014.

In its editorial on the current Israeli military offensive the Guardian asked “Are there not some acts which, even in the name of self-defence, exact too high a price?” The author should go back and read their own paper’s article on Freddie Knoller. It will give them the answer.

People may not like the current Israeli assault on Gaza. They may be appalled by it. Perhaps they are right to be appalled by it.

But please, let’s not pretend we don’t understand it. The threat of annihilation is not an historical abstraction to the people of Israel. It was the reason for the formation of that state. It was why they were forced to defend that state from invasion in 1948 and 1967 and 1973. It’s why they have been forced to defend it from terror attacks large and small every day since.

So yes, Israel is strong. And yes, perhaps that strength is sometimes used unwisely and disproportionately. But that’s because the Jews of Israel learnt in the most barbaric way imaginable that the price of being too strong is not as high as the price of being too weak.

Israel has its planes and its tanks and its guns and its shelters and its Iron Dome defence system. And the Palestinians have only their rockets – 130 fired at Israel on Sunday alone – and their suicide vests. But do we honestly expect Israel to apologise for that? Apologise for the fact that Hamas are not as good at killing Jews as they’d like to be?

We may feel more comfortable tutting and shaking our heads and saying “isn’t it terrible about those three teenage boys?” But in Israel they don’t just tut. Not any more.

The images of what is happening in Gaza may sear our consciences. But when the Jews of Israel say “never again”, they mean it.

If Britain was being shelled, as Israel is being now, how would we respond?
Hugo Rifkind

The Spectator
Palestinian men search through the rubble of buildings following an Israeli air strike, that killed 18 people of the same family in Gaza City, on July 13, 2014. Image: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

Palestinian men search through the rubble of buildings following an Israeli air strike, that killed 18 people of the same family in Gaza City, on July 13, 2014. Image: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

Glaring, the ennui over Israel. The way we drag our eyes to the page, and sigh, and want to read something else. Sympathy is hard. Even anger is hard. It’s just… bleurgh.

Israel drifting away. Never mind whose fault it is; that’s a whole other point. But it’s happening. It’s off. No longer does it exist in the popular imagination as our sort of place. Once, I suppose, foes and friends alike regarded it as a North Atlantic nation, but elsewhere. Then a western European one, then, briefly, a southern European one. When was it, do you think, that Israel stopped being regarded as fundamentally a bit like Spain? Early 1990s? Then they shot Yitzhak Rabin, and Oslo didn’t happen, and it set off, perhaps via a sort of listless Greek interim, towards the Orientalish bafflingness of somewhere like Turkey.

Query the timescale, by all means. Maybe I was just slow to notice. The first time Israel gave me a true pang of intellectual foreignness was only about five years ago, and it had nothing to do with Palestinians at all. We’re on tricky ground judging Israel on how it treats Palestinians, I always think, because we don’t have Palestinians, and it’s a wildly moot point how we’d treat them if we did. For me, though, it came in a gilded Tel Aviv restaurant, and out of a conversation with a young Israeli politician. He was polished and quite big-haired, resplendent in a shiny tie, and part of that newish Knesset breed for whom politics doesn’t start and end with the IDF.

I don’t name him here, because I don’t remember his name, but we were discussing the problem of Israel’s ultra-orthodox. They’re poor, there are lots of them, they don’t do military service, and they aren’t terribly fond of anybody else. Dirty, said my interlocutor, or words to that effect. Parasites, maniacs, lunatics, leeches, scum. And I was quite taken aback. No ambitious western politician, I thought, would talk like that about anybody. Doubtless some would think it, but ours is at the very least a world in which such things would never be said. This was another world altogether.

I make no moral case here. I make no comparison between Israeli actions, Palestinian actions, Egyptian actions, Iranian actions, Russian actions, or the actions of anybody else. If I did, obviously, Israel would come out well. It’s definitely a democracy, after all, and while the rule of law might not always quite hold, it’s definitely there, in every conversation, demanding that it damn well ought to. Like I said, from the comfort of over here we can’t possibly know how we’d cope with rockets, kidnappings and neighbours preaching annihilation. Pretty badly, I suspect.

The point is, we don’t cope and they do. And you can’t be at war for more than half a century and not be shaped by it. You can’t be harried, critiqued, loathed, disowned, fêted by madmen, disowned again, censured, boycotted, indulged, slammed, cajoled and all the rest without it having an effect. So when the voices of the liberal West — which Israel cares about, whatever it says, because Israel remains at heart a liberal nation — calls this a country of butchers, murders and baby-killers, what do you think it does? Does it make Israelis desirous of avoiding such condemnation in the future? Or does it leave them slightly thinking that if they are to be equated with the true monsters of the world whatever they do, they might as well deserve it? Ask yourself, what would it do to you?

I do not much like what Israel has become, and I like less what it often looks like becoming. Or, if the comparisons are now obligatory, and I fear they are, then let us just say that I like it far more than Syria, China, Zimbabwe and plenty of other countries, but less than I do north London. In any sane analysis, nonetheless, it’s still a place far more like the latter, and all the more remarkable for that. Long may we remember it. And long may they remember it, too.

This is an extract from Hugo Rifkind’s column in the week’s Spectator.

21 commentaires pour Gaza: Attention, une indignation peut en cacher une autre ! (Where danger grows, grows also that which saves: Are Israel’s enemies losing ground in the PR war?)

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