I've been trying to write about Israel's latest slaughter of Palestinian people ever since the hideous spectacle began, without results. I post little bits of horror and disgust on Facebook, but can't sustain anything worth posting here. Because... what is there to say?
A mighty military power unleashes deadly force against a civilian population. Some people within that population have dared to use violence to resist their own oppression. Therefore the entire population must be terrorized, hundreds murdered, thousands maimed, lives destroyed.
Another great military power and a second-tier military wannabe* rush to the defense of the military power, and anyone who speaks out against it is accused of bigotry. People who normally would recoil at such warmongering are silent, or, incredibly, call the slaughter defense
It's a topsy-turvy world.
In the US, if you don't blindly support, without question, every single military action perpetrated by the government, you are accused of being unpatriotic, not "supporting the troops", even of siding with "the enemy". If you don't do the same about Israel's military actions, you are accused of being anti-Semitic.
The parallels are not surprising. What I do find astonishing is how many normally progressive American Jews fall for this bullshit. "Both sides are wrong," they whine. "Hamas used rockets." Rockets??
You see an equivalence between a hand-fired rocket and the force of the second-largest military on the planet? When black South Africans threw rocks at the riot-shielded apartheid army, did you say "both sides are wrong"?
"Israel has a right to defend itself," they say. "It cannot tolerate terrorism." I wonder, do you support retaliation for all victims of terrorism? If the Iraqi people, if the Afghan people, could somehow launch air strikes against your town
, would you shrug your shoulders and say, "Well, the US started it. Iraq has a right to defend itself."?
Or are you still hiding behind accusations of anti-Semitism? You've heard anti-Semitic statements! Oh my! Keep defending the slaughter of civilians. That will help.
I don't see or hear anti-Semitism in anti-Israeli activism. But if there is
anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from some pro-Palestinian people, can you rightly tell me that such words justify slaughter? Will you continue to support the murder of civilians, because someone has said words that offend you?
My friend David C, who used to blog here
, tells me that online comment sections have been deluged by wildly over-the-top accusations of anti-Semitism.
What is going on is just insane. Doctors without Borders had a Facebook post
that simply called for Israel to show restraint and gets flooded with angry comments accusing the organization of politicizing the tragedy. Amnesty International calls both sides to calm down on its Facebook page and again got deluged with angry comments. The reason even though it was calling out both sides? Amnesty used a photo of a Palestinian woman wailing, not an Israeli. That apparently is tantamount to anti-Semitism.That flood of commentary is not coincidental, nor indicative of public opinion: it is organized propaganda.Israel has announced it will pay university students to circulate pro-Israeli information on social media networks
, without having to identify themselves as working for the government.
The move was publicised in a statement from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, the Associated Press reported. Students will receive scholarships to "engage international audiences online" and combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel, it was alleged.
In 2012, a Palestinian-run blog reported similar arrangements between the National Union of Israeli Students and the Israeli government. Students would be paid $2,000 to post pro-Israel messages online for five hours a week.
According to Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the most recent proposition is being spearheaded by Danny Seaman, who was slammed by the media for writing anti-Muslim messages on Facebook.
Students will be organised into units at each university, with a chief co-ordinator who receives a full scholarship, three desk co-ordinators for language, graphics and research who receive lesser scholarships and students termed “activists” who will receive a “minimal scholarship”, the Independent reported.See also: "Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
" (The Independent
), and "Prime Minister's Office recruiting students
to wage online hasbara battles; PMO and national student union to create covert units at universities to engage in diplomacy via social media; unit heads to receive full scholarships" (Haaretz
). (Again, thanks to David C; I would have missed this.)
The latest war on Gaza has led me back to some old wmtc posts, and the interesting discussions that followed.
From 2013:my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 1my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 2my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 3 and final
From 2010:a simple lesson: how to tell the difference between hatred of a people and criticism of a nation's policies
* That's Canada, by the way.