|By: Gideon Spiro|
3 March 2011 (English translation 7 March)
Gaddafi and Israel
As these lines are being written, the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has not yet been decided. As in the case of Mubarak, most of the experts, especially the official ones, were wrong in their assessments. Whereas in Mubarak’s case their initial assessment was that his regime was stable and in no danger, their assessment of Gaddafi was that his fate was sealed. Maybe that will happen in the end, but meanwhile the man is alive and kicking and showing no signs of giving up.
Right-wing politicians in Israel, in the regime and outside it, as well as their emissaries in the media, been quick to preach morality to the West about its hypocrisy. As they see it, “democratic Israel” is being condemned for violating human rights, while the rulers of the West continue to do business with Gaddafi’s Libya, which is slaughtering its own people.
Undoubtedly there is a lot of hypocrisy in the world, and not only the Western world, when it comes to relations with dictatorial regimes. At 10 o’clock the leaders of the USA, France, Germany and Britain can harshly criticize the Iranian regime for human rights violations, then at 12 o’clock embrace members of the Saudi royal family, which is guilty of no less serious human rights violations.
The State of Israel is a member in good standing of the hypocrites’ club, and is the last one who has the right to accuse others. Israel has had and continues to maintain friendly relations with the worst of the oppressive regimes. Israel exported arms to the fascist regimes in Argentina and Chile that were led by generals’ dictatorships. It was the same with the mass murderer generals Idi Amin of Uganda and Joseph Mobutu of Congo. Not only did Israel export arms to them but also trained the elite forces units of those same dictatorships, whose role was to preserve the corrupt and murderous regimes of the tyrants.
General Sharon was a friend of General Mobutu. Israel maintained intimate relations with Apartheid South Africa in order to develop nuclear weapons. Israeli weapons are being used in many conflicts in the world today. Israel is one of the biggest death exporters in the world – about 7 billion dollars’ worth. Officers of the Israeli army travel to Auschwitz in official delegations, and after retiring from the army many of them become death-merchants who help tyrannical regimes. No lessons are learned because human rights are not a product that is in demand in today’s Israel.
Gaddafi, who came to power in a military coup in 1969, is the Dean of the Arab dictators. But at least one dictatorship in the region has even more seniority than his, and that is the Israeli dictatorship over the Palestinian people, which started two years before Gaddafi’s revolution. The two dictatorships share a number of features in common. They both enjoyed billions in aid from the Western world. And there are other shared characteristics that always exist in dictatorships, such as mass arrests, torture chambers, the killing of civilians and more.
This time the international community has not been silent and has acted. The Security Council has imposed sanctions against Libya. The United Nations Human Rights Council has suspended Libya. The International Criminal Court has begun to investigate Gaddafi, his sons, army commanders and others on the suspicion that war crimes and genocide have been committed. American warships are moving towards Libya and the NATO alliance is considering imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. If those measures had been imposed against the Israeli dictatorship, the Occupation and the apartheid regime and the entire illegal settlement enterprise would have belonged to the past by now.
Why has that not happened? Because of the hypocrisy of the West, which acts entirely in Israel’s favour.
One midnight in July 2002 Gaza was terrified by a one-ton bomb the Israeli air force dropped on a densely-populated residential neighbourhood. The purpose of the bomb was to liquidate/kill/murder (everyone will chose their own favourite term) Salah Shehade, who was one of the commanders of the military wing of Hamas, and whom Israel held responsible for a chain of terrorist acts for which Israel sentenced him to death. In addition to Shehade, his wife and his daughter, another 13 people were killed and 150 were wounded, most of them women and children. What does a pilot feel when he drops a bomb that causes such mass slaughter? “A light jolt on the wing” – those pearls came from the lips of the air force commander at the time, and later the Chief-of-Staff, Dan Halutz.
The Yesh Gvul movement considered the bombing to be a war crime and sought to have all who had a part in that criminal act put on trial. Since nothing was done the movement filed an appeal to the High Court of Justice in September 2003 to have those all civilian and military personnel who had been involved in authorizing and executing the action put on trial.
The High Court has a disgusting tradition according to which, whenever an appeal is filed related to Israel’s war crimes, it is stuck a drawer somewhere to dry up. Maybe the dog will die, maybe the nobleman. (along the lines of the story of a Jew who promised a Polish nobleman that he would teach his dog to sing, and kept putting it off in the hope that the nobleman or the dog would die. Either way he would be excused from fulfilling his promise)
But neither the dog nor the nobleman died, and after 4 years, in 2007, the judges rejected the appeal, at the same time proposing that the State set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the matter. The Commission that was set up was composed of members of the judicial and security establishments, three “formers” – a High Court judge (Tova Strasberg-Cohen), an army general (Yitzhak Eitan) and a senior operative of the Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet (Yitzhak Dar). In short, a fox was assigned to guard the henhouse.
After 4 years, the committee has given its conclusions to the Prime Minister, and – what a “surprise” – nobody is guilty. Dozens were killed and wounded, including many children who were completely innocent of any crime, and nobody bears any responsibility. The committee adopted the laundered language of the military and calls the innocent victims “uninvolved” (Heb. bilti me’oravim. The one-year-old baby who was killed was “uninvolved”.
The commission finds that the action was justified, and the result was “unexpected”, because of “lack of intelligence”. In other words, the commission has exposed the ISA, military intelligence and the air force as be a bunch of idiots, possessed of a below-borderline mental capacity, who did not anticipate that the detonation of a one-ton bomb in a densely-populated area would cause numerous civilian casualties. Not only that, but the commission also found that the planners of the operation had exhibited sensitivity to human life. Straight out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Suddenly we can boycott
The chief designer of the Dior fashion house, John Galliano, has been accused of making racist and anti-Semitic statements while apparently drunk in a Paris bar. More than a little sewage poured out of his mouth, and among other things he said that he loved Hitler. Galliano is a giant in the world of fashion, who dresses the wives of many of the world’s aristocrats and financiers.
Since the statement was also filmed, it ripped a like a tornado from one end of the world to the other. Not an hour had passed before Jews from Israel and the rest of the world – of high rank and simple people – demanded that the Dior fashion house be boycotted.
Boycott? Every day we hear from Israel that we must not boycott, that boycotting is no solution, and suddenly it’s OK to boycott?
Not only OK, but sometimes even necessary. It turns out that the threats of a boycott of the famous fashion house were very effective, and after a day or so the CEO of the fashion house announced that Galliano had been dismissed. Plain and simple. The lesson was clear: racists and racism are to be boycotted. And what is correct for the Dior fashion house is also correct for the racist State of Israel. A comprehensive boycott of Israel will bring about desirable results with nearly the same speed as it did in the case of Dior.
This week settlers decided to stage a “day of rage”. Why? Because the Occupied Territories police demolished two structures in an outpost that the Occupation administration had defined as illegal, and because – they allege – the police used plastic bullets against them (the police claim that they were paintballs). According to the settlers it is forbidden to shoot Jews. Shooting Arabs, of course, is permitted. When those heroes are in a rage they vent it on Palestinians, burn houses and cars, smash all Palestinian property they come across, and sometimes murder people on the basis of the racist principle that the weak and defenceless should be hit hard. The Occupation army long ago forgot that according to international law it is required to defend the occupied population.
Let no one be misled by the settlers’ “rage”; the Netanyahu government has not suddenly turned into an enemy of the settlers. The action was intended to placate the Americans along the lines of “let’s pretend” – they demolished two structures in an outpost but continue to build hundreds of houses in “legal” settlements. For on the issue of legality, Israel has created a bubble for itself, cut off from international law and human rights conventions. The distinction between legal and illegal settlements is an invention from Israel’s racist production house. There is no such animal as a legal settlement. All the settlements are illegal by virtue of the prohibition, anchored in international conventions, against transferring the population of an occupying state to territory it occupies. All the settlements are party to the robbery of the lands of the Palestinians and the apartheid regime that prevails in the occupied territories.
The journalist Ben Dror Yemini, who has a column in the Maariv daily newspaper, every week conducts a McCarthyite campaign of incitement in his newspaper against people of the Left and human rights organizations which he defines as anti-Zionist – the Israeli equivalent of the “anti-Americanism” of Senator Joseph McCarthy of infamous memory from the 1950s. The only sin of the people of the Left and human rights organizations is their resolute, consistent and unequivocal opposition to the crimes and injustices of the Occupation.
Ben Dror Yemini does make a distinction between the Hilltop Youths,  whom he calls “Jewish Jihad” and the overwhelming majority of the hundreds of thousands of settlers, who according to him are decent citizens – “neither thieves nor racists” as he puts it. The settlers of Ofra, for example, which is a veteran settlement inhabited by established settlers each one of whom lives in their own villa, built in part on the private lands of Palestinians, are not Jihadists according to Ben Dror Yemini, but decent people, neither racists nor thieves.
As the military administration created the fiction of the legal and illegal settlements, Ben Dror Yemini continues along the same lines and divides the settlers between decent and indecent, racists and non-racists. But there are no decent settlers and there are no settlers who are not racist. By virtue of their living in the Occupied Territories, they are party to an indecent and racist act, even if in their private lives they listen to classical music, obey the traffic laws and do not beat their children.
The settlement enterprise is an expression of the Jewish Jihad, and the out-of-control and violent Hilltop Youths are the legitimate children of the first settlers who today sit on the rich lands of the established settlements. I am dwelling on Ben Dror Yemini because he is a writer in a high-circulation newspaper and expresses with precision the distortion of norms that has taken place in Israel since the beginning of the Occupation in 1967.
It is not to be understood from this that before June 1967 everything was pleasant, nice, moral and untroubled; but the Occupation represents a quantum leap in the realm of evil.
1. Young extremist settlers who often behave violently, and who got their name from their habit of establishing settlement outposts on the tops of hills in the West Bank.
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent