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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail