– Cecil Rhodes, “founder” of Rhodesia
Early in 2002, I wrote
“Is it, I wonder, that we in the West have compassion for the Israelis but none for the Palestinians because we see Israelis as being 'like us' or to be more forthright, as white, European people, with the 'values' of the so-called civilised world?
“When will we speak out for the rights of an entire country and culture that has been forced into its own Diaspora through the actions and policies of a country that commits such heinous crimes using as an excuse, its own past suffering?
“Haunted by the nightmare of our history, we in the West it seems, are now incapable of escaping the demons we have unleashed on the world in the name of power, money, and the 'divine right' to rule and which subjugates all of us to its will and threatens to destroy all that we have achieved through our struggle for emancipation.”
Without doubt, the Israeli propaganda machine has been a resounding 'success' in that it has been able to instil in many of us such feelings of guilt about the Holocaust that few dare even mention the word Jew without surrounding it with a plethora of qualifications lest anyone think that it contains even a hint of 'anti-Semitism'. Perhaps the most successful aspect of this avalanche of propaganda on the part of the settler state of Israel has been the conflating of Israeli with Jew. Through this, the state of Israel has been able to enlist the support of even secular, allegedly progressive Jews in probably the most successful and sustained propaganda campaign in history.
We forget (and have been made to forget) that the Holocaust consumed millions of Roma, Slavs, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled, trade unionists, communists and anti-fascists (including many tens of thousands of Germans who were also made to 'disappear' in the Western media lest we actually made a connection between the German people and ourselves). Indeed, the Israeli state has managed with the active collaboration of the West, to appropriate the slaughter of WWII as its own. Lest anyone doubt this, consider the endless stream of documentaries and personal accounts in print, on the radio and television, of the experience of Jews under Nazism, to the exclusion of all others who were exterminated, no wonder that we think it was only the Jews who suffered. To challenge this view of history is to invite condemnation by an army of 'professional' Jews who can be called upon to heap scorn on 'anti-Semites' (or, in my case and that of others of Jewish ancestry, use the convenient label of 'self-hating Jew').
Even more insidious has been the total airbrushing out of the public discourse of the fanatical, racist and fundamentalist policies of Israel. Compare the treatment of the Taliban or of Muslim 'fundamentalists' with that of the fanatical Zionists whose views make one's flesh crawl.
“It is forbidden to have pity on them. We must give them missiles with relish, annihilate them. Evil ones, damnable ones.”
The words of a Muslim' fundamentalist'? No, these are the words of Israeli Rabbi Ovadia Yosef talking about the Arabs (Ha'aretz April 12, 2001).
Were an Arab or Muslim to utter the following words expect cries of outrage from an army of 'civilised' people
“”[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
But these are the words of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech to the Knesset, (quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, 'Begin and the “Beasts,'' New Statesman, June 25,1982). And with the endless use of the word 'terrorist' by the Israelis and their partners in crime, consider the following
“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
How then, have the propagandists of and for Israel managed to pull off this Janus act? Consider the following
“We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters.”
How like the Apartheid regime's description of Black South Africans as destined to be no more than “hewers of wood, carriers of water” when justifying its Bantu 'education' policy. Coincidence? For underpinning the justification of the Israeli theft of Palestinian land and culture is a European 'sensibility' that views the rest of the world (that is, the non-white world) as inferior and hence not subject to 'our' rules of conduct or for that matter, behaviour.
“The state… must see the sword as the main if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may know it MUST invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation and revenge… And above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.”
In 1979 following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran led not by 'Muslim fundamentalists' but a broad coalition of progressive forces and assisted by the refusal of the armed forces to suppress the popular uprising, the US press mounted a campaign of vilification against the anti-Shah forces, claiming that they were the enemies of 'religious freedom' eg 'godless communists' but literally within twenty-four hours of the takeover by the Ayatollah and the hostage-taking, the press went through a 180 degree reversal and a couple of days later, a bus driver in New Jersey who had the stereotypical look of an Iranian was attacked and beaten by a mob of 'outraged citizens'.
This process is so obvious, so blatant that one would assume that it would be seen for what it is, the crude manipulation of peoples' fears and prejudices. And so it is, but what powers it and what keeps it going?
It is only by exploiting the feelings of both guilt and superiority of the European that Israel manages to carry off its campaign, for it's all very well to talk of the effectiveness of its public relations/propaganda campaign but without there being a reservoir of 'kindred spirit', the result of generations of colonial-imperial rule, the self-same reservoir of racism would kick in, to be aimed at the 'Jewish banking conspiracy' or whatever. There is, if you like a racial 'pecking order', a 'skinocracy' that the ruling elites can tap into, replacing at will, one 'inferior' group with another as and when the circumstances warrant.
A survey published this week on the fears and prejudices of whites in Britain puts 'Gypsies' and 'Asylum Seekers' at the top of the list . According to the report, “Two-thirds of whites say they are biased against minorities”. The report also shows that gays, lesbians and the disabled also figure high in the list. The most negative reaction was against 'asylum seekers' and predictably this is the section of our society that has been most visibly targeted by the right-wing, racist press.
But the process goes much deeper than the gutter press and its exploitation of a segment of society's insecurities and fears, for without the institutional support through for example anti-immigration laws that endorse these views, there would be no state-sponsored culture within which such prejudices could thrive. The gutter press is merely the visible wave of a sea that the state has us all swimming in.
Can it be an accident that the wholesale opposition to the invasion of Iraq was met by the state with a hysterical campaign that sought to link Saddam Hussein with 'terrorism'? And consider that the Blair government has chosen to make the 'threat of terrorism' the central plank of next year's election campaign just as Bush did.
And now, with the assault on Fallujah, we see the reality of the 'liberation' of Iraq as being identical to the assault on the Palestinians even to the use of identical tactics. No wonder that the occupiers have gone to such lengths to hide their crimes from our gaze just as the Israelis do in occupied Palestine.
Over one hundred years ago, Cecil Rhodes enslaved Southern Africa using tactics not so dissimilar from those used today, that of extermination, terror and subjection. Underpinning the entire enterprise today is of course another, hidden agenda, one that hasn't altered since the days of Cecil Rhodes, except that Rhodes had no compunction in 'telling it like it is', that of the economic imperative that drives the entire disgusting enterprise, for without an enemy upon whom we can be persuaded to fixate and upon whom we can be made to transfer our fears and insecurities there can be no justification for the slaughter we visit on the innocent and on those who resist.
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