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Western fatigue and the Gaza crisis.

Neil Berry

The latest maniacal rampage of Israel in Gaza has unfolded not just against the background of the abortive US-led peace talks but also of an egregious outpouring of Zionist self-congratulation.

As the "Arab Spring" gave way to baleful developments across much of the Middle East, Zionist commentators indulged in an orgy of gloating. Their barely disguised racist message to the West was: "Now you see what our neighbors are really like. How did anybody ever imagine that solving the Palestine-Israel conflict was the key to bringing peace and stability to the wider region?"

Some critics of the Jewish state have always maintained that to see the Arab world plunged in internecine conflict was the cherished goal of the Zionist establishment. Their belief is that Zionist ideologues in Tel Aviv and Washington lobbied hard for the 2003 invasion of Iraq with precisely this objective in mind. However this may be, the current disarray of the Middle East is plainly not altogether displeasing to the sort of smug, myopic Zionists who boast that Israel is the "villa in the jungle."

If western media reaction to the current Gaza offensive has been muted, it is partly because this self-serving Zionist narrative chimes with public fatigue, a prevailing reluctance to think about foreign affairs. Certainly there is a growing western conviction following the debacles of the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq that the problems of the Arab and Muslim worlds defy understanding, let alone solution. At the same time, the news media are palpably struggling to muster the resources to cover a geopolitical scene seething with crisis to an extent not seen in many decades.

Concerning Gaza, you could be forgiven for thinking that the London-based media have been only too ready to reflect the present isolationist mood -- thereby also gratifying Zionist sentiment. On the weekend of 12 July 2014, with Palestinian casualties escalating rapidly, the front page of the Guardian newspaper was devoid of any reference to Gaza -- though of course there was coverage inside. Meanwhile, BBC news bulletins were leading with former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey's endorsement of "assisted dying." Whether terminally ill Britons should enjoy the right to die was apparently more newsworthy than the plight of Gazan children who were being robbed of the right to live.

Even when the Palestine-Israel conflict is discussed on the BBC, it is often in terms as stale as they are discredited. In a radio discussion with the American diplomat, Dennis Ross, the veteran BBC broadcaster, John Humphrys, remarked that everybody acknowledges that in the end there is no alternative to a "two state solution." Humphrys spoke as if unaware that even among inveterate supporters of the "two state solution" there are now grave doubts, thanks to endless illegal settlement building by Israel in the West Bank, as to its viability. Where Palestine is at issue, the Israel-friendly BBC nowadays appears a lobotomized organization.

Though the BBC may be more culpable than most, the mainstream media in the UK and US operate as though the debate about Palestine-Israel raging in alternative Anglophone media is not happening. Last week, in an online polemic, the American Jewish peace activist and writer, Jeff Halper, made a compelling case that Israel's agenda in Gaza is to communicate to all its inhabitants, not just Hamas, the stark message: "Submit, leave, or die." His verdict was echoed by the heroically heretical Israeli columnist Gideon Levy. It is indefensible that these distinguished commentators -- whose opinions are informed by years of observation and reflection -- are shunned by leading print and broadcast media.

The cynical Zionist calculation is perhaps that so long as such voices seldom reach the wider public they are effectively irrelevant. Increasingly, politically engaged persons resort to new online forums of debate, while millions more, jaded about the Middle East though they may be, behold the latest grisly images from Gaza and form their own views about the legitimacy of Israel's actions.

Forever smearing those who are "de-legitimizing" Israel, Zionists fail to notice how their vaunted "villa in the jungle" is de-legitimizing itself.


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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Jul 21, 2014
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