Monday, 19 November 2012

The moral equivalence has to stop

Click on the image to open a larger version.

That a picture tells a story better than words is the sort of cliché beloved of songwriters, but with the picture published here, the cliché becomes reality.

And all the moral equivalence in the world will not change the fact of what this graphic illustrates.

What is going on in the Gaza today is not ‘defence’.

It is the continuation of policies that have been being enacted for a long time, and of an ideology that is older yet, and any response to it is a direct consequence of that ideology being put into action.

Here are detailed statistics on deaths of Palestinians and Israelis killed by both sides, from the year 2000 to September of this year. If you want to know just who is the aggressor, they make revealing reading.

These statistics are taken from B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories that, according to its own website, “was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists and Knesset members.

“It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.”

The moral equivalence and the fear of being accused of anti-semitism (with all that that means for Europeans in particular) have, in effect, helped to enable what the maps shown above reveal.

It enables US President Barack Obama to state that Israel has a right to "defend" itself, as though this is what is happening.

It allows UK foreign secretary William Hague to claim that it is all the fault of Hamas – in essence, making the central 'crime' of the Palestinian people their refusal to be simply cowed and murdered and driven off their land.

As though, when more moderate Palestinian leaders are humilated in attempts to negotiate meaningfully and some of the people turn to less moderate voices, it is rocket science that rockets would be the response?

And if we do nothing else, and if we are feeling impotent as we see pictures of death and devastation, and as we hear Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, say that the aim of this new campaign (which comes only shortly before elections in Israel) is to bomb Gaza “back to the Middle Ages”, then we must at least stop the hand-wringing moral equivalence and be quite open that this is an act of Israeli aggression, following on decades of Israeli aggression, which is based on a desire to eradicate or force out all Palestinians, and to absorb all the remaining Palestinian territories into a Ersatz Israel.

A few links in addition to those included above.

Independent Jewish Voices is also interesting.

Rather differently, Zaytoun offers a different sort of solidarity, selling Palestinian products, including some very good olive oil.

For more in-depth history, Ralph Schoenman’s The Hidden History of Zionism, from 1988, is worth reading, and can be accessed here.

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