Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Netanyahu Plays the Vuvuzela

by RANNIE AMIRI

Assuming you haven’t left planet Earth in the past two weeks, you know the 2010 World Cup is well underway in host nation South Africa. Even the uninterested have heard the unmistakable “buzz” emanating from its stadiums, as if a massive swarm of bees had descended.

The vuvuzela, or African horn, is the source of the reverberating sound and blowing it is the proud tradition of South African football fans. Although it may be causing consternation among players (and hearing loss among spectators), FIFA has dismissed calls to ban it. Indeed, the raucous chorus of vuvuzelas has been the hallmark of this year’s World Cup and—respectively putting South African sporting sensitivities aside—one of its great distractions.

To that end, blowing their own proverbial vuvuzela has been the hallmark of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Take, for example, the allegation that passengers aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla were al-Qaeda terrorists (one of many pretexts used to justify the May 31 assault). It was a patently ridiculous assertion, of course, yet an integral one in the very calculated, concocted narrative.

Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal has systematically exposed this and other lies promulgated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) following the raid. After being questioned by Blumenthal and colleague, the Israeli Army admitted there was “no evidence” that al-Qaeda members were on board or had any links to the convey. As a result, the IDF retracted the claim and changed their press release. Those “al-Qaeda mercenaries” suddenly became persons “without identification papers.”

The activists were also portrayed as “anti-Semites” after an audio clip released allegedly had them telling an intercepting Israeli vessel to “go back to Auschwitz.”

As you might have guessed, the IDF doctored the recording. They were forced to issue a “clarification” once the sham was uncovered.

This type of subterfuge was nevertheless successful in shifting the spotlight away from the flotilla’s humanitarian mission and why it had set sail for Gaza.

Netanyahu is no stranger to such obfuscatory practices. Demands to lift or at least “ease” the Gaza blockade after the deadly attack on Mavi Marmara caused his cabinet to announce they planned to do so. Or not—depending on what language you read the news.

As the subheadline of the Haaretz report stated: “Prime Minister’s office issues two statements, one in English announcing plan to ease blockade, one in Hebrew omitting to mention the decision.”

The conversation has since moved on to the type of list Israel is expected to produce regarding the flow of goods into Gaza. Will it be one of restricted items? Or permitted items? Will it finally include heretofore banned materials like cement, steel, metal pipes and spare parts?

This is all background noise.

Netanyahu and Israeli prime ministers past have succeeded in making Gaza the region’s crippled step-child. One-and-a-half years after the December 2008 invasion, more than 80 percent of the enclave’s 1.5 million residents remain dependent on food aid. Debate centered on the degree of adequate sanitation, nutrition, health care, clean water or what should or should not be allowed in deflects attention away from Israel’s quiet, ongoing expropriation of Palestinian land.

This intentional and endless dithering over whether Gazans should be permitted to have pencils for instance, insidiously abets the annexation process.

Framing the discussion around the flotilla’s activists instead of their mission or how many bags of cement will be allowed into Gaza, is deliberately meant to preoccupy the international community so they ignore matters of far greater consequence: occupation, collective punishment, the demolition of homes and establishing a contiguous, viable, independent Palestinian state.

Don’t let the vuvuzelas blaringly blown by the Israeli government distract you from recognizing Palestine’s real issues.

RANNIE AMIRI is an independent Middle East commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on Middle East affairs.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]