Tuesday 6th Jan 2009
Some recent history in Gaza:
For 18 months my people in Gaza have been under siege, incarcerated inside the world's biggest prison, sealed off from land, air and sea, caged and starved, denied even medication for our sick. After the slow death policy came the bombardment. In this most densely populated of places, nothing has been spared Israel's warplanes, from government buildings to homes, mosques, hospitals, schools and markets. More than 540 have been killed and thousands permanently maimed. A third are women and children. Whole families have been massacred, some while they slept. Khalid Mishal, The Guardian.
Good luck finding any reference to the history of all this in the press. A definition of Zionism? How about "A small but vicious bully hiding behind the legs of the oil oligarchs and state terrorism"?1 No one is made any safer by this process (except perhaps the West's supply of oil):
Twenty years ago, the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Yehoshaphat Harkabi, also a leading Arabist, made a point that still holds true. "To offer an honourable solution to the Palestinians respecting their right to self-determination: that is the solution of the problem of terrorism," he said.
Chomsky, Interventions, 2007
What do the former head of the American Jewish Congress, this Israeli army veteran, and this Jewish history professor all have in common? They all think Israel is telling us a pack of lies that much of the US and UK media are repeating verbatim, including the BBC :-(.
What made the Gaza attacks launched on 27 December different from the main wars fought by Israel over the years was that the weapons and tactics used devastated an essentially defenceless civilian population. The one-sidedness of the encounter was so stark, as signalled by the relative casualties on both sides (more than 100 to 1...), that most commentators refrained from attaching the label "war"... Critics described the attacks as a "massacre". Le Monde.
- A note to Zionists: when I joined the Anti-Nazi League in 1980 it didn't cross my mind that I would one day be accused of anti-semitism for critising the Israeli state and its political philosophy. This has to rank as one of the weakest arguments ever to have made its sorry way onto the political stage. Zionism had some honourable roots, of course, and the early ideals of the Kibbutz movement were often socialist — but you can't build paradise on top of Palestinian hell. And it isn't racist to say so. There are of course plenty of Jewish people who agree with this position, see http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/ for one good starting point, or http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/about/1177150070.