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Thursday, 3 June 2010

from the mouth of the people, not the mouthpieces of the military

From Harsha Walla on the Mondoweiss blog.
As international outrage spreads at the Israeli elite commando attack on an unarmed humanitarian convey in the middle of the night on international waters, Israel is desperately trying to rebrand the incident as one of self-defence. It is nothing new for Israel, and other aggressing powers, to smear their victims as perpetrators. Afterall, unjustifiable murder is too jarring to stomach.

Yet, Amnesty International released a statement about Israel’s excessive use of force, further stating that Israel’s version of events begs credibility. Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu proclaimed the actions of Israel as “completely inexcusable”. According to Craig Murray, specialist on maritime law, “To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal.”

Deported activists tell a horrifying story of the use of electric shock, live ammunition, smoke bombs, gas canisters, beatings, and seizure of all evidence on cameras. Greek activist Michalis Grigoropoulos said, "They took us hostage, pointing guns at our heads…There was absolutely nothing we could do." A Turkish woman, with her 1 year old baby, recalls “The ship turned into a lake of blood.”
Read more. (My emphasis).
Do read more. There is far more to know, and the Norman Goldmans, and New York Times of the world will not tell you. Go to Mondoweiss. Go to Jews for Peace. Go to the Israeli papers themselves. Go to Amnesty International. Go to United Nations. Go to Glenn Greenwald. Don't listen to Hilary and the left wing media whitewash it either with excuses or silence. The right wing will of course also just drown out any protests with hyperbole, but what chills me is that the left wing, the traditional school of thought which stands up for the underdog remains absolutely muzzled on this issue. Not everyone, of course, but many of the ones who could influence things a whole lot more remain eerily quiet on this issue. So, who gets informed? Nobody. There are many fine Palestinian sites, too, but go to whichever site or sites you are most comfortable with. There are any number in my blog roll.

The heading of the article from Mondoweiss is: Israel’s spin won’t work this time. But it will. At least in the U.S. and in Australia among the general public. Within America, the popular left-wing radio announcers, such as Norman Goldman are defending Israeli's actions in international waters. Yet the Somali pirates are dennounced for their acts of piracy. I don't know Mr. Goldman's position on the pirates. However, in this case, I don't see how you can defend commandos boarding an unarmed vessel in international waters under the cover of the night. An aid vessel. And shooting 9 people. Dead (an additional six missing).

Within Australia, the news is presenting and buying the same old line that "Israel has the right to defend itself", even when it is not being attacked. I trust Desmond Tutu over Murdoch. I know that the aid flotillas that approach Israeli waters, and which have been boarded in the past are not peopled with terrorists. I know that a former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire were on one of the boats that the Israelis boarded intercepted last year, and I know she was also on another boat that was intercepted very close to, if not during, the outbreak of the war on Gaza (in international waters). I admire these people. I don't view them as liars. Why do they keep trying to break the siege on Gaza if everything is fine within this tiny occupied part of Palestine? And remember to ask yourself, occupied by whom? I wonder why the soldiers did not fire on the boat that the ex U.S. representative was on. Maybe this time, as the boat was Turkish, they felt that international opinion would be in their favour rather than against? Then again, the United States has never got terribly upset when its own people have been hurt by the Israelis as shown by its lack of action, or concern when any of the protesters who have gone to participate in the peaceful demonstrations against the apartheid wall in the West Bank is injured or killed.

Why are these actions called piracy when anyone else in the world does them? Murder, mayhem and so on. Yet, when the Israelis commit them it is all of a sudden self-defense. Hillary Clinton speaks of wanting the Israelis to probe themselves, and everyone knows where that always ends. Not with transparency. Even if the United Nations probed the event, findings would be ignored, and the writers would be vilified, such as happened to the United Nations report written by Richard Goldstone investigating the war on Gaza. He is Jewish, by the way. I think he is a humanist. I don't think he is anti-semitic. He has been branded as such, though.

Why is this group of people, this rogue state, allowed to flaunt the human rights of everyone? Allowed to put the world in a great and grave danger through ongoing aggression and such strong influence on American foreign policy? I am glad that Erdogan is sticking up to them. Of course, he probably will not last long, more is the pity. But the world must be questioning. The punter on the street. No matter how much our politicians whitewash it. No matter how much the media nullifies it. The thinking humanist must be pulling back and saying, "Now, hold on a minute."

For anyone more interested in working towards peace and alleviating suffering, the non-violent Global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement may be the movement for you. Endorsed by Naomi Klein. This is the form of protest that the Palestinians themselves have asked be adopted, and some film-makers, such as Ken Loach, have adhered to the call by pulling his movies out of some film festivals that have had Israeli governmental involvement. Others, such as Naomi Klein, the Church of England and various unions and colleges, have also risen to the occasion. It worked in South Africa. Hopefully it can ultimately work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, because our governments, who support Israel, both diplomatically and with finance, will not do anything until they absolutely feel they have no other choice, as happened in South Africa. And you won't hear about the ongoing human rights abuses in the popular left-wing media, and definitely not in the right.

If you ever had an inkling that things were not quite right, well now might be the time to inform yourselves, because these are our people committing these atrocities, too. The Australians, the Americans who have immigrated to Israel. Why let another country of immigrants do precisely what we did to our own indigenous populations? Maybe because, everything remains exactly the same in the world, and any of the advances that seem to have been made since World War Two are obviously only advances applicable to people from the west, or sympathetic to the west. And even then, a country may be sympathetic to western ideas, or ideas we say we value such as democracy, but it is of no concern to us if it is not prudent to us to honour those ideals. When that happens, we usually support a siege or assassinate the leader and install a dictator. Anyway. We live a very good life, and many people do not, and something can be done about it. Do not believe that it can't.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr