Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hypocrisy, half-truths, and lies

Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask
Robert Fisk, The Independent: And I write the following without the slightest doubt: we'll hear all these scandalous fabrications again. We'll have the Hamas-to-blame lie -- heaven knows, there is enough to blame them for without adding this crime -- and we may well have the bodies-from-the-cemetery lie and we'll almost certainly have the Hamas-was-in-the-UN-school lie and we will definitely have the anti-Semitism lie. And our leaders will huff and puff and remind the world that Hamas originally broke the ceasefire. It didn't. Israel broke it, first on 4 November when its bombardment killed six Palestinians in Gaza and again on 17 November when another bombardment killed four more Palestinians... And of course, when an Arab bestirs himself with unrestrained fury and takes out his incendiary, blind anger on the West, we will say it has nothing to do with us. Why do they hate us, we will ask? But let us not say we do not know the answer.

Juan Cole, Informed Comment: The Israeli propaganda blitz around their attack on Gaza has been greeted with uncharacteristic skepticism by the American public and even by some of the mainstream US press... Is it because we have been intensively exposed for the past 8 years to precisely this sort of mental manipulation by Bush-Cheney and their stable of Neoconservatives?

Let's take some of the basic techniques of propaganda practiced by Bush and compare them to those deployed by the Israeli leadership... 1) Deny it all. 2) Pretend that your main concern is for your own victims. 3) Demonizing the opponent, ad hominem arguments. 4) Repetition of simple slogans until they become accepted as true. 5) Use of half-truths. Then there are other techniques such as 6) appeal to fear and 7) appeal to prejudice. Apologists for the attack on Gaza depict Gazans as murderous, jihadi, homophobic, sharia-wielding fanatics, in a word, Muslims, and therefore of course their lives don't matter. Sound familiar? 

Of course, the Neoconservatives had borrowed a lot of their techniques from the Jabotinsky/Likud tradition of revisionist Zionism, so what goes around comes around.

Johann Hari, The Independent: The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 -- in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon's senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: 'The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians... This whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.' ...

Ordinary Palestinians were horrified by this, and by the corruption of their own Fatah leaders, so they voted for Hamas... Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders... The Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population... It is hypocritical for the Israeli government to claim now to speak out for the safety of civilians when it has been terrorizing civilians as a matter of state policy...

According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, 'told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce.'... Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet -- high with election fever and eager to appear tough -- rejected these terms. The core of the situation has been starkly laid out by Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad... Hamas militants 'are ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state in the temporary borders of 1967... [But] Israel for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas.'...

The Israeli government wants peace, but only one imposed on its own terms, based on the acceptance of defeat by the Palestinians... The Israelis can keep the slabs of the West Bank on 'their' side of the wall, the largest settlements and control of the water supply... It means a divided Palestine, with responsibility for Gaza hived off to Egypt, and the broken-up West Bank standing alone. Negotiations threaten this vision... But an imposed peace will be no peace at all... Israel will have to talk to the people it is blockading and bombing, and compromise with them.