Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Siege Of Gaza Has Become A Moral Blockade Of Israel
Israel is merely one subject out of several that the political - or the apolitical - complaining is busy with.
By Yitzhak Laor
Israel is indeed connected to the centers of power in the world. The predictions of a tsunami at present seem to be exaggerated, but nevertheless, before the victory ball, it is worth remembering - the Israeli occupation is the longest military occupation of modern times. The subjects of the occupation in its two forms - the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - live under a brutal regime that few other occupations allowed themselves, without any law - the blockade and the morbidity rate among children, the roadblocks and the arbitrariness of the soldiers, breaking in to people's homes (imagine your children being awakened at night by the shouting of armed men, breaking down doors and blinding them with flashlights; imagine living without any protection ), the prolonged occupation, a disaster for us and for the Palestinians - because Israel enjoys the support of the West.
The settlements have turned the occupation into something insolvable, at least in the next few decades, so that the occupation will not merely raise another generation of Israeli troopers, egged on by the rabbis of the rabble, but also a third and fourth generation of Palestinians without another kind of life.
The fact that the Gaza Strip has become an international symbol of cruelty is yet further proof of the stupidity of our leaders. Operation Cast Lead and the blockade of Gaza - both of them with broad national consensus - have turned Gaza into a symbol that no longer needs coordination on the part of the Palestinians. Israeli democracy appears as it actually is: In the name of the majority (six million Jews ) it is permitted to do to the minority (five million, in Israel and the territories ) almost anything.
The national minority in Israel has the right to vote but it does not have television of its own ; it has health insurance but also heavy unemployment and infant mortality rates that are much higher than among the Jews (8.3 compared with 3.7 for every 1000 births ). Tel Aviv, which sells itself to the world as a liberal city, is the only metropolis in the West that does not have a Muslim population. Its "coolness" is racist - the 20 percent minority does not appear at all in the life of the city. And it is advisable for propagandists not to point to Jaffa as proof of diversity - Jaffa with its yuppie immigration is a perfect example of apartheid carried out by "secular" and "liberal" Tel Aviv.
Official propaganda, too, will not help. The more pressure Israel brings to bear on centers in the West - countries and media giants - the more the wave against it grows, because the hatred of the occupation and of Israeli racism springs from the knowledge that what Israel does is funded by the West, gets assistance from the West, and from connections with the focuses of power - as a living memorial to colonialism. There is nothing better than the way in which the Greeks thwarted the Gaza aid flotilla's departure to reinforce this. It was not just Greece that thwarted it.
The coalitions that are being organized against Israel in the West include members of the left. There are also many others and not all of them are humanistic. They are not always Jew-lovers. These coalitions will continue to grow as long as the western political community presents itself as "helpless" in the face of Israeli obduracy. Of course it is not helpless, and when it has actual interests, it is capable of behaving in typically western barbaric fashion, as it is doing now in Libya and in Iraq.
The loathing of Israel fits in with the growing anti-establishment wrath, within the context of politics where there is no difference between the parties. The protests in Greece are an example of lack of faith of this kind, which does not spring from the Israeli occupation but from the powerlessness of the masses to influence what is taking place in their countries - economics and war.
Israel is merely one subject out of several that the political - or the apolitical - complaining is busy with. Very few people join flotillas, but many more participate in sending them and even more internalize their oppression. The complaining and mumbling is part of a burgeoning anti-establishment consensus. The record of what is always known as "the hypocritical politicians" has been joined by the hypocritical attitude toward Israeli cruelty.
It is not surprising therefore that the blockade of Gaza is getting tighter in the form of a moral blockade of Israel. Slowly but surely, in a world filled with injustice and war crimes and racism toward minorities and migrants, Israel has learned, during decades of stupidity, how to become the symbol of injustice and these crimes. We are no longer the embodiment of progress, as we were trumpeted as being for a long time, but the exact opposite. And this is truly just the beginning.
This commentary was published in the Israeli daily HAARETZ on 05/07/2011