Israelis and their supporters in the US celebrated the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem even as the Israeli armed forces killed dozens of unarmed protestors in Gaza. Jeremy Scahill writes about what happened and Norman Finkelstein’s new book about the harrowing conditions in Gaza.
ISRAEL HAS ONCE again conducted a premeditated, full-scale massacre in broad daylight, in front of the cameras of the world. Once again, it took place in Gaza.
On May 14, Israeli snipers and other forces gunned down more than 60 Palestinians, and wounded thousands of others, including civilians, journalists, and paramedics. “You try nonlethal means and they don’t work,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “So you’re left with bad choices. It’s a bad deal. You know, you try and you go for below the knee, and sometimes it doesn’t work, and unfortunately these things are avoidable.”
It appears that the only way not to be killed, according to Netanyahu, is to meekly accept imprisonment inside the prison of Gaza. Among those killed by Israeli forces was an 8-month-old infant. Her name was Laila al-Ghandour. They also killed at least seven other children and a man in a wheelchair, and that man had lost his legs after they had to be amputated following an earlier Israeli attack.
Israel has made it clear that it believes that it has the right to systematically murder Palestinians for the crime of continuing to exist. There is no defense for what Israel has done. None.
But that has not of course stopped the propaganda machinery of Israel and its apologists from rushing to the defense of the IDF actions, even to the extent of describing it as restrained and blaming all the violence on the protestors. The US ambassador to the UN played as usual what seems like its main role, protecting Israel from any repercussions for the atrocities it commits.
On Tuesday, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley brought plenty of blame to pass around at the Security Council for the deaths of unarmed Palestinians. She blamed Iran. She blamed Hamas. She blamed the Palestinians who protested. But Nikki Haley placed no blame on Israel. “This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake — Hamas is pleased with the results,” she said. “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
After Nikki Haley blamed the Palestinians for murdering themselves with Israeli snipers, she wouldn’t even listen to the Palestinian delegation at the U.N. She walked out when they began speaking.
It was fitting that this latest Israeli massacre in Gaza took place as the United States celebrated its official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. It was fitting that President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were celebrating and enjoying fine dining and partying with Israeli war criminals and religious American zealots while Palestinians were being murdered.
You have to leave it to The Onion to use satire to capture the cruelty of the Israeli government’s actions and its rationalizations.
IDF Soldier Recounts Harrowing, Heroic War Story Of Killing 8-Month-Old Child
JERUSALEM—Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters. “It was a heart-pounding experience—there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away. “I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor.
While The Onion is generally progressive, the severity of this particular piece of satire has aroused comment.
For the left, which is often frustrated by the pro-Israel tone of mainstream media coverage of the region, The Onion’s stance feels like a small win. “The Onion’s scathing, relentless mockery of Israeli propaganda reflects a radical shift in US political discourse,” journalist Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept explained in an email. “Even as recently as ten years ago, it was only a small fringe willing to denounce Israeli aggression, militarism and increasing devotion to apartheid.”
Some on the left take these jokes very seriously: “While media critics have blasted U.S. media for using their reporting to whitewash and otherwise sanitize by deflection and word choice what human rights groups say are Israeli war crimes,” Jon Queally wrote on Common Dreams, “The Onion‘s approach goes to the heart of the issue by obliterating the logic that unarmed protesters demanding an end to their own subjugation should be met with deadly force or somehow deserve to be killed.”
“The internet, and social media in particular, has made it impossible for Israel to maintain its stranglehold over information,” Greenwald told me. “Israeli propaganda has collapsed, and its mask has fallen.” In his view, “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu single-handedly destroying support for Israel as a bipartisan policy by openly aligning with the Republicans against Obama” was one of the biggest political mistakes of the last several decades.
As a result, Greenwald said, there is now a space “to talk about Israel as what it really is rather than the fairy tales we were forced for so long to recite. The Onion has rested comfortably in that space with its Israel satire.”
Of course, satire by itself is not enough. But it is a start.