Thursday, July 20, 2006

Racism and Israel

Racism is the grease on the hub of the wheels of commerce. Its lubrication eases rotation to advance in preferred direction of societies' dominant groups in quests of further enriching members' lives while degrading those rolled over. It is the precondition for existence of Israel from conception in 1919, realization in 40's, and as it now fuels actions by offering to Israel and guilt laden racist supporting nations a thinly veiled justification for horrors created.

Racism has existed world around ever since some in societies found it sufficient excuse for striving to enjoy better lives at expense of others. It is certainly no stranger to those of any European nation that either engaged in or watched plundering of Asian and African societies. It is no surprise that William Shakesphere treated it in matter of fact manner or that it shows in common paintings of a Swedish appearing Jesus.

Then we have the USA, born of, torn of, and yet suffering aftermaths of the commerce of slavery while claiming "Land of the Free". Racism was the essential genocidal defining of its territory. It generates the begrudging non welcome that each wave of immigrant peoples grants to the next. It defines the difference in its attitudes toward and relations between it and northern and southern neighbors. It determines who is elected to which office, what laws are passed, and which are enforced. As in some other nations, there is nothing that happens in that country not influenced by racism.

Even the word "racism" itself is code used to hide underlying nature of events. It is not a legitimate noting of biological divergence. There is no scientific basis for the concept of human races anymore than there is to so classify differences between spotted and chestnut horses. Its non biological basis developed and was promoted as moral justification for slavery, genocide, colonialism, and imperialism in order to square with otherwise trumpeted and contrary social beliefs usually encoded in religions. Its falsity serves rulers well as an effective divide and conquer strategy. Fools and charlatans buy into, use it, and live by it.

Though visible skin coloration differences are easily noted racist benchmarks, they are not the only determinants. Jewish people, whatever that means, whether used in reference to religious adherence, common ethnic heritage, or residents of the state of Israel, tend to hoist a banner noting racist victimization. There are nods of agreement given to that cry by those who aid, supply, protect, and cover for Israel but always in shamed fear of recognizing its obverse, that the victims are also perpetrators.

An old man's memory retains childhood comments heard among US neighbors in late 1930's, "A new family moved in on the next block but - they are Jewish", spoken in sense of disgust and need to do something about it. Cartoonists vied for laughs by drawing oversized stereotypical noses. "Jewed" was a common expression for being cheated.

There was no secret in the US or Europe of Hitler's racist justified gift to accepting German people in the extermination holocaust of Jews, Gypsies, communists, anti-war and political activists, and any other grouping that might have caused a dream to be realized as nightmare. It wasn't just in Germany that the holocaust saw root. Non Jewish European anti-nazi resistance fighters refused to aid parallel Jewish counterparts. The scourge was cheered in Germany and considered elsewhere in tense of "So what, we don't like them either".

Then came the end of WWII. Those who feigned standing tall above it all perceived a need to appear to do something in remedy of a racist travesty which so clearly contradicted worn social and political litanies. Their solution waited in racist agreements accorded to racist Zionists at the end of the previous WWI, that named "The War To End All Wars".

Aside from looking away at the slaughtering of zionist guerilla warfare which brought about changing British colonialism to Israeli domination, the western world's acquiesence to the take over was characterized by racist attitudes --- Now, we don't like Jews but Mid-Easterners differ from us even more. Palestine seems fitting. Skins there tend to darker complexion, people there pray funny, and hasn't that area always been a subjugation playground?

You know you have the right god when it hates the same people you do. So a racist one chanting "homeland" appeared from the ashes of a racist holocaust. Somehow that translated to justify and bring about another racist war with no plausible end against people on even lower rungs of the racist ladder.

So much for my take on the generalized was leading to the is. Now read some example specifics of the is. The article below appeared today in NNN, the Non-aligned Nation News.

An NNN-BERNAMA Special Report by Ramzy Baroud

KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 (NNN-Bernama) -- Racism is "the belief that one racial group is inferior to another and the practices of the dominant group to maintain the inferior position of the dominated group. Often defined as a combination of power, prejudice and discrimination."

This is how the British Library defines racism on its website. The above definition hardly deviates from the essence of almost all definitions of the ominous concept.

And, indeed, the concept is being fully utilised with Israel's onslaught against the Palestinians, and the international community and media's mild, if not accommodating response to the onslaught.

The capture of Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, is an act of self-defence. According to international law and the Geneva Conventions, he can be considered a prisoner of war.

But not according to CNN, Fox News and BBC, which presents the soldier as a victim, who was "kidnapped" by Palestinian "militants" who are "affiliated" with the Hamas Government.

By not challenging the Israeli narrative in any meaningful way, the uncritical media has become a tool in the hands of Israel's war strategists and their eternal concoctions.

Consider this example. An Israeli military commander tells a BBC correspondent dispatched to the border area between Israel and Gaza that Israel intends on opening the border for "as long as it takes" to offset the humanitarian crisis developing in Gaza.

The Israeli Army representative in a barefaced lie declares that the border has always been open despite the perpetual Palestinian threat on the state of Israel. The BBC correspondent thanks him and signs off.

Is it possible that the BBC is unaware of the fact that Gaza has been under a strict military siege since Hamas' democratic advent to power through the January 2006 elections?

Could it be that the Western media has missed the dozens of shocking reports that have warned that the Israeli siege -- which began months before the capture of Shalit -- was soon to create chaos and panic among the already malnourished Palestinians in Gaza? Did they all miss statements by top Israeli officials vowing to carry on with the siege until the outset of Hamas?

Some reporters misrepresent facts out of ignorance not by design. But if that indeed was the case, then how can one excuse the fact that the same media that coined the term "kidnapping" to describe the action of the Palestinian fighters who captured Shalit refused to use the same association to describe the kidnapping of most of the elected Palestinian Cabinet, mostly academics with no connection to any militant wing?

Israel's military spokesman insisted that they are "all terrorists" and Israel "like any democratic" country has the right to protect itself against terrorists.

If that was true, why did Israel refrain from kidnapping them until Palestinian fighters embarrassed the Israeli Army and captured their first prisoner of war in a long time? Is "rounding up" Palestinian ministers and scores of legislators the same as having a soldier captured in what has been for long a one-sided Israeli war?

If you are an avid viewer of Fox News or a reader of the New York Times, then Israel is yet to exceed its legitimate legal boundaries: that of a democracy opting to defend its citizens.

But only racism can lead to such rationale. Only a racist media portrays the capture of a soldier whose army units have besieged Gazans for years, denying them food and medicine, as a violation of all that is holy.

Only a racist media presents the kidnapping of 9,000 Palestinians, now in Israeli jails, as a just outcome of Israel's routine arrests of Palestinian terrorists or potential terrorists.

Only racism can play down the Israeli destruction of Gaza's infrastructure, which is justified without question, for such actions are necessary to impede the militants' efforts.

And yet, Israel is praised for its "generous" act of allowing some food to be transferred to Gazans, who ironically have gone hungry because of the Israeli-spearheaded international campaign to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas.

Only racism can completely remove from the current discourse the murder of dozens of Palestinian civilians at the hands of the Israeli Army (90 civilians in seven weeks) as the reason that led to the Palestinian raid on the Israeli Army post and the capture of Shalit, and instead depict the current escalation as if it was entirely the work of the Palestinians, with Israel's slate still clean.

Indeed, Israel's slate will continue to be clean as long as racism and inequality are the concepts according to which this conflict is explained. Israel has the right to do all the above actions without hesitation because Israel is not Palestine, and the lives and well-being of the residents of Israel, at least some of them, cannot be equated with Palestinians. Turn the tables for a moment and you'll understand how repellent such racism is.

Inequality has always been at the heart of this conflict, the late professor Edward Said used to say. Racism is at the heart of inequality, I must add.

The media can be ignorant, biased and self-serving, indeed, but it can also be utterly racist.


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