“In every cry of every man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.” ~ (From “London” by William Blake)
Have you heard the absurd slogan of the Zionists, “Israel has the right to defend itself?” Since when does the offender, the aggressor, defend, when all they have done over the decades is to offend?
Noam Chomsky —Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT — is internationally recognized as one of the most astute analysts of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and Middle East politics in general. None other than Chomsky himself objects to Israel’s notion of self-defense, in its attacks on Hamas for firing rockets into Israel. In all likelihood, Israel was waiting for this opportunity and on the pretext of the Hamas attack it “retaliates” in devilish disproportion and daring abandon of all rules of military engagement. Their excuses, lies, and justifications can no longer deceive the awakened public, but seem only to mollify their own deluded selves. When they say they are fighting a monster, they forget that they are the worse monster for having created it. When they call their victims beasts, they do not see how they are a thousand-fold more bestial. They are predators in their barbarism and brutality.
While we watch, every few minutes, a baby, a child is killed or orphaned! While the criminals enjoy their impunity, wilfully targeting hospitals, mosques, churches, schools, refugee camps, and even ambulances carrying patients, the World looks helplessly on? How can this be? No doubt, a heaving groundswell of opposition to the atrocities is vociferous in all corners of the globe, but, sadly, to no avail! On the contrary, those who have the integrity and humanity to support the Palestinian cause are derided, those who call out their lies are cancelled and there is zero tolerance on the part of Zionist zealots to any kind of dissent from their dehumanizing ideology. People who were seen as champions are immediately demoted when they sympathise with the true victims, the Palestinians. Greta Thunberg, the climate activist, for example, was met by severe criticism from Israeli military spokesman when she opposed the genocide in Gaza. Israel also slammed Elon Musk for offering connectivity to aid workers in Gaza when Communications were totally blocked out following indiscriminate bombardment of the strip. No one is spared. Even the Secretary-General of the UNO, António Guterres, in his balanced and truthful statement observed that October 7th did not materialize in a vacuum and was given two options by the Israeli contingent: “Apologize or resign!” Their arrogance enables them even to preach morality to the offending UN S-G! While they look at themselves as above and beyond the law, they wield the law as an additional weapon to crush everyone else. Now we know for sure, if we did not know before, why George Orwell chose the “more equal” faction in Animal Farm characterized by self-righteousness, greed and entitlement, to be the two-legged PIGS!
The killing has to stop instantly and the mechanism for immediate ceasefire must be set in motion. Saving the remaining lives by supplying basic ameneties such as water, food, medicine, and electricity is of utmost importance. If gates are closed by the Oppressor to prevent aid from reaching the suffering people, there has to be coercion to overcome such barriers. What is the use or the meaning of so many laws and world organizations if they are so effete and impotent to do what is urgent and right, when the terror State of Israel impudently dictates terms to the world? How can we let criminals decide life-and-death matters which make the difference, literally, between life and death for the innocent prisoners of Gaza?
The resignation of Craig Mokhiber, Director of the NY Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, comes as no surprise in such a context. He denounces Israel’s “textbook genocide” and laments how the UN “is failing to address the unfolding events in the occupied territories” and asserts that all member states must align themselves to International Humanitarian Law. While many senators and others in authority have plucked up courage to stand up for Palestine, while filmstars and sportstars have voiced their staunch support for the oppressed, not to mention the fearless stance taken by journalists and activists, from different parts of the world, another noteworthy person to leave is Josh Paul, the State Department official, who recently resigned in protest of US arms transfers to Israel. He states in his letter of resignation that,
“[w]e cannot be both against occupation, and for it. We cannot be both for freedom, and against it. And we cannot be for a better world, while contributing to one that is materially worse.” This dichotomy brings out the duplicity and ambiguity of US policy in the matter.
It is an obligation upon each of us to educate ourselves to the best of our ability on the current crisis and its roots reaching far back into millennia of history. To avoid the pitfalls of this challenging task, we must align ourselves to the truth and seek authentic sources written by people who have carried out extensive research on matters pertaining to the conflict. Unless we make an effort to learn the untold narrative, the calculated and manipulative Zionist propaganda will both divert and misguide us. For instance, while extreme outrage was expressed for the fabricated news that Hamas beheaded forty babies, uttered by no less than the US president himself without verification, the actual killing of nearly four thousand children – which is a hundredfold of the formerly alleged number – in Gaza by Israeli bombing, is justified by flimsy and unconvincing excuses. When Israeli lives are lost they are “killed” or “beheaded” but when Gazan lives are lost they are said to have “died.” Such word play, of which this is an extremely light example, is part of the racist rhetoric which is second nature to the Zionists. One cannot forget the falsehood upon which the nation was built: “A land without a people, for a people without a land.” This myth of the invader rendered the native inhabitants of Palestinian Arabs invisible from the outset and facilitated their remorseless and qualmless expulsion.
Far more involved and loaded terminology is in use to motivate and propagate the agenda of genocide. When the Israeli Prime Minister addressed the nation recently, he borrowed a weighty expression from the Old Testament to imply that it is a religious requirement to exterminate the Palestinians. “Amelek,” presently also called the Amelkites, is the word he chose to describe the Palestinians with. However, no historical or genealogical link between the two exists. The Amelek were a cursed people decreed to be wiped out for their betrayal of the Israelites. The insinuation, though not very subtle, in the remark works on the illogical assumption that the present-day people of Palestine are treacherous and it is a duty to kill them all. A scholar points out that the biblical context mentions men, women, and children in the intended massacre. The PM went on to encourage the soldiers to perform this “sacred killing” and elevated them to a pedestal of heroism in line with the legendary warrior and successor of Moses, Joshua bin Nun. It is then deliberate, and NOT accidental, that they repeatedly bomb civilian targets on the pretext that Hamas is using them as a human shield. As an activist rightly asked, even if a human shield is involved how can you justify bombing them knowing they greatly outnumber the “real” target. Besides, it is beyond comprehension what heroism and bravery have to do with fighting unarmed people and children! The frightening part is that they do not even need an excuse if what drives them is the religious fanaticism that the PM was advocating unabashedly. What the world sees as unjustified collective punishment of the Gazans translates to a “noble and necessary” ethnic cleansing for the perpetuation of the Zionist State.
Returning now to the earlier mention of how to become aware of the perils of Palestine, out of the numerous voices and opinions heard, it would be of great benefit to learn from those who have first-hand experience of life in the region. Noam Chomsky, already mentioned above, is an indispensable and indisputable authority in this discussion, and his views are essential as he states that, “Israel [is] the leading issue of my life since early childhood. I started talking publicly about the criminal nature of Israel’s actions in 1969…” He further observes that, “[t]he Gaza horror story is … one of the worst of contemporary crimes, shrouded in a dense network of deceit and apologetics for atrocities.” From personal experience he recalls,
“the harsh, brutal repression … in the occupied territories now for over 50 years, increasing in violence and repression … There are almost daily cases of one or another kind of violence, intimidation, repression … IDF [Israel Defense Forces] watching, sometimes participating. …, it’s shocking to see.”
Another source of voluminous research, presenting a learned and impartial grappling with facts is found in the writings of Ilan Pappé, a New Historian of Israel and Director of European Center of Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. He has published fifteen books on the Middle East and on the Palestine Question. In his article titled, “Why Israel wants to erase context and history in the war on Gaza,” written two days ago, he asserts that “[t]he dehistoricisation of what is happening helps Israel pursue genocidal policies in Gaza.” In other words, the Zionists opt to disregard five to seven decades of oppression, repression, and suffocation of Palestine and pretend to be unaware of their own culpability; instead, they make out that the retaliation of Hamas is both unprovoked and the sole trigger of violence, whereas, the consequent IDF carnage of Palestinians is self-defence. Pappé provides historical context to the present crisis and traces developments in the 19th century ideology of the rebirth of the Jewish nation; he moves on to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which solidified the dream of a Jewish State. He continues,
“[a]nother historical context relevant to the present crisis is the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine that included the forceful expulsion of Palestinians into the Gaza Strip from villages on whose ruins some of the Israeli settlements attacked on October 7 were built. These uprooted Palestinians were part of the 750,000 Palestinians who lost their homes and became refugees.”
This article, coming from an Israeli who had to leave his position as senior lecturer, at the Middle Eastern History Department and the Political Science Department of the University of Haifa, owing to the revealing research he produced undermining the Zionist cause which brought hostile reactions from his countrymen, enlightens us to a great degree on the subject and is a must-read for all of us even though we may not be able to study his fifteen books!
Miko Peled, born in Jerusalem, author of The General’s Son, is another devoted activist, “considered by many to be one of the clearest voices calling for justice in Palestine.” His disillusionment with the ideals of his country, after having served in the Israeli military, led him to a broader and braver outlook on the tensions afflicting the two nations. His writings, speeches, campaigns and interviews all advocate peace and justice for the people of both Israel and Palestine. Listening to the confessions of former IDF soldiers or those in higher ranks of the forces makes us realize their inner conflict when they are commanded to inflict pain and injustice on Palestinians as their daily routine. Scott Ritter, former UN Marine Corps Intelligence Officer and UN weapon inspector, exposes the hypocrisy of the EU and USA. He cites their scathing attack on Russia when it imposed a blockade, which is missing in their silent collusion with Israel when it does the same against Palestine. He also refers to your being labelled anti-Semitic the moment you dare to criticise Israel. A Christian Pastor, though, was able to deconstruct the myth of anti-Semitism by pointing out that Semitism derives from language and not from ethnicity and that, therefore, it is baseless to use the word as it is used/abused now to mean anti-Jewish. What is more, Arabic is Semitic, he claims, and from the fact that Palestinians are Arabs, he concludes that the argument that anti-Semitism has anything to do with hating Jews is dismantled altogether!
It is also advisable to learn the stance adopted towards this issue by great men such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Mahatma Gandhi (whom I quoted in my previous article.) Leaders who have recently made statements on Palestine include, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Former President of Malaysia; the grandson of Nelson Mandela; Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa; the Foreign Relations Minister of South Africa; Luis Arce, the President of Bolivia; those in political positions in countries including the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, etc., Dr. Mahathir Mohamed unequivocally stamps Israel as the terrorist and Bolivia and its neighbours have severed diplomatic ties with Israel. South Africa plans to recall all its diplomats from Tel Aviv as a sign of their serious concern. Bolivia, took the initiative in this regard and is proud to announce that its decision “is consistent with [her] pacifist policy.” The upright notion certainly resonates with Bolivia, named after its founding father Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, who not only fought against colonialism but stood up for the abolishment of slavery in the quest for an egalitarian society. King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan have both expressed their views. The king warned Israel that enforced displacement of Palestinians from their homeland is a war crime and the queen objected to the double standards of the pro-Israeli powers. South African Foreign Relations Minister Naledi Pandor in her outspoken critique, says,
“We’ve had repeated calls…from UN member states for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories to the 1967 borders. These decisions have been ignored and instead we have witnessed the burgeoning expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, growing oppression of the Palestinian people, gross violation of their human rights, and the Gaza strip being turned into an open air prison, regularly denied water, electricity, and fuel….for 16 years Gaza has been under siege with its people struggling to survive the ongoing land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel.”
The ever-tightening grip of the tyrant in the last sixteen years is worth noting here as it brings into focus the actual underlying triggers precipitating the recent outburst of violence on the part of the downtrodden. The Arab countries have been issuing stern statements condemning the Israeli military’s killing of civilians while Iran-backed fighters of Lebanon and Yemen have begun firing Israeli targets. There is a worldwide boycott of Israeli products by consumers while Iran has called for an oil embargo on Israel. In many cities, including Colombo today, crowds protesting against Israel throng the streets calling for an immediate ceasefire. At an individual level, too, people have made an impact. Julius Malema, an MP of South Africa, for instance, has made a characteristically fiery speech against Israel. A calmer, but well-informed speaker worth listening to is Shahid King Bolsen, US activist and journalist (allegedly suspected of miscreance) who will provide you with a load of information and new ways of approaching the subject. While many charities operate to fund the needs of Palestinians, destitute in their own country, we admire the generosity of Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur who said “It’s very tough seeing children, babies dying every day” and announced she would donate part of her WTA Finals prize money to help war-struck Palestinians!
This war is not going to be a case of “veni, vidi, vici” to any of the contenders and it is appalling to imagine what is in store. The death toll is rising every minute and the helplessness and suffering of the victims is beyond description. However, it is our earnest hope that the global call for a ceasefire will soon take effect, making way for meaningful peace talks. Chomsky, inspite of his despairing portrayal of Palestine, believes that change is still possible. He reminds us that “without US Aid, Israel wouldn’t be killing Palestinians en masse” and that US policy has to change for any substantial development to come about in Palestine. Tareq Al-Suwaidan, a well-known Kuwaiti author and academic based in the US, who was named as one of the most influential people in 2022, trains youth in leadership roles. In an interview on the current conflict, he ends on a positive note that through a correct approach and guidance we can still pave the way to peace.
Let us heed the admonishment, ‘And declare, “The truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Indeed, falsehood is bound to vanish.”’ (The Holy Qur’an, chapter 17, The children of Israel: verse 81.)