Israel – always the victim(by Sherri Muzher)

[EN only]

boikot“”” Israel has successfully portrayed itself as the victim with the duty to defend its people, but the reality is that everyone has the right to defend its people and to live in security. These are not luxuries to be enjoyed by Israelis alone in the Middle East.

The Israelis insist that the latest violence began when Hamas “ended” a six-month truce. Was there a truce? During this six-month truce, the International Middle East Media Centre (a collaboration of international and Palestinian journalists) reported that the Israeli army killed 23 Palestinians, wounded 62, and kidnapped 38 residents in the Gaza Strip.

Truce? What truce?

In terms of the daily life of Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has been blocking medical supplies, food and fuel on regular basis for the past two years. Prior to the latest attacks, many had died from treatable diseases due to the blocking of medical supplies.

A Reuters article (December 30, 2008), citing research from Save the Children (UK), noted that 70 per cent of Palestinian children already had vitamin A deficiency and almost half of the children under two were anaemic due to the border blockade. Early last year, a Toronto Star article (February 11, 2008 ) featured Palestinians from Gaza who were driving on cooking oil due to fuel shipments being blocked.

What would Israel’s response be if the situation were in reverse?

Sadly, our media have not covered these tactics. Instead, they have generally chosen to publicise the Israeli spin of victimhood.

Israel. Always the victim.

Even with the Israeli army’s revelation in a January 4, 2009, Haaretz article that it overestimated Gaza’s rocket severity, Israel won’t give up its victimhood card. The bombing continues, as does the self-righteousness that comes with it.

Perhaps Israeli historian Ilan Pappe put it best in his recent article, “Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza.” He wrote: “The self-righteousness is a powerful act of self-denial and justification. It explains why the Israeli Jewish society would not be moved by words of wisdom, logical persuasion or diplomatic dialogue.”

Israel. Always the victim.

Though we live in the 21st century, it seems that maybe the Western world (specifically the US) has been caught in a time warp. There are those who actually think that they can atone for the World War II crimes by giving Israel the green light to commit more crimes against humanity. But ignoring Israel’s food, medicine and fuel embargo, and the killing of Palestinians actually dishonours the memories of those who were murdered during World War II.

Just because there are no ovens or gassings in the current conflict does not mean that it is less of a genocide or holocaust. And when Israel intentionally blocks humanitarian goods and aims to make life so miserable that Palestinians will want to leave, all the while dehumanising them, Israel is committing genocide.

Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide does not make exceptions for motive.

In other words, using Hamas as an excuse is unacceptable. The convention discusses “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts”.

It is what it is, and whitewashing it doesn’t change the reality, regardless of the Israeli spin.

In recent days, the interactive forums on the Internet have been filled with pro-Israel posts referring to Palestinians as vermin who should be exterminated. These Hitleresque statements, of course, are said within the context of self-righteousness and victimhood.

At some point, I have to believe that even those who have abused this card will tire of it. Someday.

For now, the words of respected journalist and media reform advocate, Bill Moyers, come to mind: “Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent at the same time that it enhances the power of the state and the privileged interests that the state protects.”

We need to think about that as our corporate media become more of mouthpieces for the government and less interested in hard reporting and truth telling.

Israel, ALWAYS the victim? Not even close.  “””

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