As most everyone who follows the news is aware, on May 31 the Israeli Defense Forces attacked a humanitarian aid ship headed for Gaza, killing at least nine people. The world was in uproar over this attack, and Israel's global propaganda machine went into high gear to control the damage. The gullible and deluded will believe them. Of course the Palestinian side also ramped up the propaganda to take advantage of the situation that the Israelis so stupidly handed them. Don't believe everything they say either.
Israel will tell you that it acted is self-defense to stop war materials from getting into the hands of Hamas in Gaza. The Palestinians will tell you that it was just humanitarian supplies being delivered to help relieve the suffering caused by Israel's blockade of Gaza. Of course it was about none of this.
The Israelis probably knew about every piece that was on the ships, either that or their top notch intelligence network has failed. And, the ships and passengers were inspected by authorities before they were allowed to sail. It is unlikely that any genuine war materials would have been allowed. The operative word being genuine as many of the items that Israel has blocked are only war materials in some fantasy, things like cookies, soft drinks and canned fruit.
What the whole thing was about was challenging the Israeli blockade of Gaza and provoking an incident to make Israel look bad. The Israelis fell for it like a salmon grabbing a hoochie and the international show was on the road.
Israel maintains a propaganda and lobbying network around the world through groups like B'nai B'rith and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are always on guard to defend Israel, no matter what it does, and to spin history to suit the needs of the Israeli state.
The weight of these agents of Israel is felt in Canada, woe betide anyone who might think that human rights are more important than the policies of Israel. Ask Member of Parliament Libby Davis who recently said that Israel's occupation of Palestine began in 1948 and was the longest occupation in the world. Immediate and considerable pressure was brought to bear for her resignation.
Holding such an opinion, even if it is supported by the facts, gets one labelled as an anti-semite, as one who does not recognize Israel's right to exist, or in the latest jargon, one who delegitimizes Israel. The Israeli propaganda machine finds it much safer to attack motives and character than to examine the reality of the issues.
The reality is that one can be legitimately opposed to the actions of the state of Israel without either being anti-Jewish or denying the right of Israel to exist. In fact there are a lot of Jewish people around the world, and a lot of Israelis who are opposed to the actions of the state of Israel while supporting its existence.
At its conception Israel's right to exist was challenged. It proved that right conclusively by defeating the armies of those who challenged it. The creation of Israel may be an historic mistake by modern standards of conduct, but it is a fact and after more than 60 years more harm would be done by undoing it than by finding a just accommodation with it.
By pre-modern standards it has every right, just like Canada, the United States and every country that came into existence on the backs of indigenous peoples who were shoved aside or exterminated. In fact, displacing, assimilating or exterminating populations has been the course of human history from the beginning. Israel is no different than anyone else.
Unlike the old world, however, if the things that were fought for in World War II, and put into charters and conventions thereafter, mean anything, the people who have been terrorized and displaced by Israel deserve justice just as much as Israel deserves to survive. They do not deserve what is happening to them.
Jerry West is the publisher, editor and janitor for The Record, an independent, progressive regional publication for Nootka Sound and Canada's West Coast.
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