Gaza? Where’s that? Have you heard about it recently? It doesn’t figure on the list of important matters for consideration by the world’s presidents and prime ministers. It has vanished from the media. Most people couldn’t care less about a generation of Palestinians who are subjected to viciously inflicted privation by an imperialist nation that has lost touch with humanity.
Most countries, most human beings, with predictable exceptions, condemned Israel for indulging in frenzied savagery during its blitzkrieg on Gaza last December and January. There is no doubt that many of its actions were criminal. For example, there are well-documented instances of use of white phosphorus artillery shells against civilians. Poison gas, in other words – if a bit more hi-tech than the venomous vapors that exterminated so many millions of innocent Jewish men, women and children in Nazi concentration camps.
But Israel, propped up as a strutting jackbooted puppet on the global stage by the well-muscled fingers of Washington and some other capitals whose endorsement of violence seems boundless, can get away, quite literally, with murder. Innocent men, women and children can be exterminated by armed forces that have no reason to fear justice or even criticism from the world’s juridical system.
A highly respected international jurist, Mr Richard Goldstone (a South African Jew), produced a report for the UN about Israel’s attempted genocide and Hamas atrocities and was impartial and objective about assessing facts and apportioning responsibility, as would be expected of such a distinguished judge.
His terms of reference were “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”
He investigated thoroughly (although the Israelis refused to cooperate in any way) and reported fairly. His finding was that Palestinian terror groups were culpable of atrocities, as were Israeli armed forces, and for the latter ruling he was promptly attacked by Israel, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Financial Times.
And by President Barack Obama.
The Obama administration pronounced the report to be “flawed,” without giving any indication of what the flaws might be. Mr Goldstone, courteous and balanced as ever – if a trifle taken aback at such a reaction – observed gently that “I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are . . . I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are . . . Of course I’m concerned and would like to engage with the Obama administration, at least informally.”
Fat chance of that happening, unless Mr Obama is prepared to risk the wrath of Israel.
But Mr Obama, like his predecessors, isn’t in favor of anything that is critical of Israel. He wants a second presidential term, after all, and must not offend the rich and dominant Israel Lobby. And his country’s legislators, who are equally beholden to that Lobby and have to follow the Tel Aviv line, “overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning a report by a United Nations fact-finding panel that criticized Israel as part of an assessment of the conflict in Gaza in 2008 between Israel and Hamas.” They voted against the report by 344 to 36, thereby showing, like the White House, their contempt for impartial analysis, the UN, the eminent Justice Goldstone, international law, and almost everything that remains civilized in this horrible world. (And you wonder how many of them read the report before voting.)
Hundreds of legislators in the US and Britain have sold their souls to Israel and will support Tel Aviv in any circumstances.
Britain’s governing Labor Party is right behind Israel, and it is recorded that “The Labor Friends of Israel (LFI), ‘a Westminster based lobby group working within the British Labor Party to promote the State of Israel’ fostered close ties with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined the society upon his premiership.”
After his catastrophic decade as prime minister, Blair, a squalid, greedy and unprincipled man, and a proven liar, was appointed “Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU,” as which he achieved precisely nothing. The selection of Blair as a representative to the Middle East was absurd. Nobody could imagine for an instant that his activities would be regarded as impartial – unlike Mr Goldstone – but this didn’t matter, because he had the seal of Israeli approval.
Just as in the US, Israel knows no political borders in Britain, whose present prime minister, an uninspiring and petulant dullard called Brown, declared that :
“it is one of the great privileges I have to be able to address the Labour Friends of Israel, to be able to thank you for everything that you do to promote the cause of justice . . . I count myself not only a friend of Israel but someone who wants to support the future of Israel.”
“The cause of justice”?
As Judge Goldstone recorded, Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” by intentionally killing civilians during its Gaza blitzkrieg.
But Britain’s prime minister imagines that Israel’s slaughter of over 300 children will “promote the cause of justice.”
And the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party was equally toadying in June when he told the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) fundraising dinner at the Dorchester Hotel that he supported Israel unequivocally, “Not simply because of my party’s unstinting support for Israel through the decades, but also because it’s something I feel very deep inside of me.”
What drivel. This little man, whose name escapes me, has jumped on the Israeli bandwagon because it means money. 80 per cent of Conservative legislators are members of the CFI, and subsidies for political campaigns from Israel-supporting business organizations are discreetly disguised and happily grasped.
There is hardly a word of criticism of Israel by politicians in the US and the UK, and it’s not at all surprising that this is so, because so many of them couldn’t exist without cash from the Israel Lobby, passed on in one way or another. All the lavish expenses-paid holiday trips to the land of “the cause of justice” are simply confirmation that legislators are out to get whatever they can for free.
And Peace Prize-winning Mr Obama, of whom so many of us had high hopes of even-handedness, has a Secretary of State who told the Israel Lobby “It is wonderful being here with all of you among so many friends and I feel like this is a giant family reunion . . . and I feel like I am among family . . . I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security . . . God bless Israel . . .”
With servile, bootlicking friends like these, Israel can continue to defy UN Security Council resolutions, it can build scores of illegal settlements on land stolen from Palestinians, it can condemn the people of Gaza – and especially countless thousands of children – to indefinite and hideous hardship. The state of Israel exists in a wicked and vicious parallel world, bolstered by smug and sleazy western politicians.
Ten years ago Justice Goldstone declared that “bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust.”
Indeed it does.
But when so many politicians and so much of the media in the US and Britain are intent on supporting Zion and ignoring Israel’s repulsive human rights violations, you wonder if the lessons of the Holocaust are perhaps a bit one-sided. The people of Gaza are suffering from the effects of an illegal and malevolent Israeli blockade. Its people are enduring horrible privation. The crimes against them go unpunished.
And nobody cares. For it would be very difficult to admit that war crimes have been committed by people who come to your giant family reunions, promoting “the cause of justice.”
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY’s book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, is to be published in the US by Skyhorse next month. His website is www.beecluff.com.