Monday, June 13, 2016

Justin, Meet Edmund

When I think of Israel's headlong plunge into fascism and our government's indifference (or worse) to it, I can't help but think of Edmund Burke's classic warning:

All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Only never let it be said that this prime minister is guilty of the sin of doing nothing. No, he and our government have joined the effort to censure those who campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel for its half-century long oppression of the Palestinians and the theft of the Palestinian homeland.

Jeez, remember how we got our knickers in a bunch over the supposed remarks by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that called for Israel to be wiped off the map? Oh my lord, there were going to be sanctions. Israel demanded the US attack Iran. What a mess. (BTW, read this account from the Washington Post that clarifies what was actually said and what was meant - it's not what you've been led to believe)

Anyway, we got up on our hind legs in righteous indignation. We were not going to sit by and tolerate these threats (or supposed threats). Iran was going to be taught a lesson.

Of course the supposed threat was laughable. Iran has no nuclear weapons although they were interested in perhaps building a few. That seems to have been part of the Sunni v. Shiite tensions. Israel, by contrast, has dozens of nukes and the ability to deliver them, pretty much at will. Hard to imagine the Ayatollahs wanted to see Iran turned to glass.

So the Iranian threat was empty rhetoric at worst. Ahmadinejad (no longer in power) was no Avigdor Lieberman, currently the second most powerful man in the Israeli government.  That rabid rightwinger did threaten another country, Egypt, with genocide. He proposed destroying Egypt's Aswan dam and sweeping the Egyptians into the sea. He's now the defence minister which also gives him responsibility for keeping Israel's boot on the Palestinian's neck. Bet you he hates that job.

Then there's Netanyahu's agriculture minister, Uri Ariel, who thinks it would be agriculturally wise to for Israel to now annex Area C of the Palestinian West Bank. Area C may not sound like much but it's 60 per cent of the West Bank.

The proposal triggered a storm of protest (none from Ottawa, of course) when word got out that Ariel was calling for the expulsion of 300,000 Palestinians. Nothing of the sort, he says.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Ariel clarified that the minister was misquoted on the issue of Palestinians in Area C: Rather than saying that he wants to remove a few thousand Arabs from Area C, he said that only a few thousand Arabs live there, and their numbers are not high enough to prevent an Israeli annexation of the area.

We have to aspire to the annexation of Area C. These are areas where there are no Arabs at all, except a few thousand who don’t constitute a significant numerical factor,” Ariel said.

Ariel also said the Israeli right is unconcerned over recent peace overtures by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since they will eventually come to nothing. Nonetheless, Ariel, who opposes Palestinian statehood, carped that by invoking a desire for a two-state solution, Netanyahu is fueling the notion held by many Israelis that the creation of a Palestinian state is inevitable.

Gee, that sounds like ethnic cleansing. Good men nothing.

Of course those numerically irrelevant Palestinians have it easy compared to their brethren in the prison camp known as Gaza. They've got an epidemic of skin problems caused by drinking their own contaminated water. Here's an updated account on the state of suffering of these besieged Palestinians.

The 1.8 million Gazans are the victims of the Israeli strategy of Dahiyeh, the calculated destruction, in flagrant violation of the laws of war and human rights, of essential civilian infrastructure - water, sewer and electrical utilities, hospitals, schools and such. The Israelis perfected the technique in the Beirut suburb from which it gets its name and they practiced it on Gaza three times. (It's also the template our other ally, the Saudis, are using against the Houthi civilians in Yemen).

Good men nothing.

The Trudeau government would rather censure the B/D/S movement than do anything about the evolution of this fascist state of Israel. Our government is onside with this. We just can't pretend any more. We can't look the other way forever. Netanyahu promised in the elections in March last year that there'll never be a Palestinian state while he's prime minister.  There's one thing, maybe the only thing, on which Netanyahu's words have to be taken at face value.

What we're witnessing is incremental ethnic cleansing. When Gaza becomes completely uninhabitable the population will either have to die or be relocated, perhaps to Jordan. As Israel continues to swallow up the West Bank there'll be no viable homeland there for Palestinians either.

With governments such as that we have now and the one we just sent packing, we, all of us, are complicit in this. 

I was mistaken about Edmund Burke. He was talking about evil triumphing when "good" men do nothing. We're running short of good men these days.

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