Still angry over Gaza


by Sunny
30th January, 2009 at 4:29 pm    

There’s no doubt Middle East politics have inflamed passions on this blog and more generally elsewhere. And as a result we generally steered clear of the topic to concentrate on other issues. Furthermore, I was generally more predisposed to Israel’s position than that of Hamas and the other organisations in the area.

But something has clicked in my head since the invasion of Gaza started. It wasn’t just the sheer amount of lies and obfuscation coming out of the Israeli government. It wasn’t just the amount of rubbish in support of Israel’s position that was being written on other blogs that also annoyed me. It was also the realisation that the story being told about this issue itself is so far out of touch with reality that it requires participation on some scale. That discussion should be for the well-being of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. But it should also point out that most of those who claim they want peace are lying to others as well as themselves. They’re not. They’re just batting for their own side while sitting around with the smug feeling that they’re doing it for peace and human rights. Rubbish.

So yes, there will be lots more coverage of Gaza on here, along with other issues, because I think the space in British politics to talk about the issue is too damn narrow, and too dominated by highly emotional people on both sides who think the next (Muslim or Jewish) holocaust is just around the corner.


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  1. halima — on 30th January, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

    Sunny

    I think you’re spot on and well said. I think emotive arguments from both sides actually serves to derail this important issue – and by getting personal, angry and upsetting each other, both sides are actually keeping the debate off track – and whether or not this is the intention ( it might be for some) we should be smarter than this.

  2. Anas — on 30th January, 2009 at 5:34 pm  

    I attended the sit in at Nottingham uni today during which Alan Simpson MP gave a really stirring speech about how the Israelis had made Gaza completely unliveable for the Gazans and that the recent bombings were part of a decades long policy whose eventual outcome would likely be the ethnic cleansing of the region.

    I’m planning to attend the sit in over the next few days as well and to participate in a protest at BBC Nottingham on Monday. To everyone who feels frustrated and angry over what is happening to the Gazans don’t just sit fuming at your PC getting tangled up in pointless online debates, get involved in some action, or protest, write to your MP, write letters to newspapers, donate money to the DEC, take part in fundraisers. The only way change will happen is if we raise enough awareness in the public arena regarding the brutality and horror of what is being done by the Israeli state to the men, women and children of Gaza.

  3. Anas — on 30th January, 2009 at 5:41 pm  

    And it doesn’t matter if you consider yourself generally pro-Israeli or not. If you think what’s happening now and what the people of Gaza have been subjected to for a long time now is inhuman and barbaric, if your conscience is bothering you, then trust me not speaking up now out of a misplaced belief that loyalty to Israel entails uncritical support in public whatever happens — especially when it’s committing such horrors — won’t do Israel any favours in the long run either.

  4. justforfun — on 30th January, 2009 at 6:13 pm  

    “So yes, there will be lots more coverage of Gaza on here, along with other issues, because I think the space in British politics to talk about the issue is too damn narrow,

    What does the above mean – that PP is a not narrow , like British politics? Or do you mean people can say things here they can’t say in British politics?

    justforfun

  5. Imran Khan — on 30th January, 2009 at 6:23 pm  

    Sunny – this story is breaking today which is very relevant to the issue at hand:

    Israel ‘hides settlements data’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7861076.stm

    Also Bananabrain’s assertion that Israel has a free and open press – well the reports publication has been blocked by the Government though it is now out.

    This report clearly shows that the Israeli Government now and past Governments have lied about what they are doing and backs up what the Palestinians have said and this illustrates their frustration that Israel isn’t negotiating peace but creating facts of the ground to avoid that.

    Additional reporting is here:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060043.html

    No doubt people will try and cover this up but the reality is that the international community and the general Israeli public has been lied to as well as the Jewish Diaspora.

    It is a sad fact that many people believe the Israeli line on many issues and too often they are found to have misled.

    This is no way to achieve peace and basically is ruinignt he lives of Palestinians and this is tuern leads to militancy when they see their land as stolen from them and Israel then hide this information and Israel’s Supporters in the west argue they are under attack for stealing land illegally and in violation of International Law as well as domestic law.

    Can anyone possible defend such despicable actions?

  6. Anas — on 30th January, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

    Did anyone hear Charlie Faulkner’s absurd comments on Question Time last night? His argument was, if you show the suffering of the people of Gaza in the context of an appeal asking for humanitarian aid, it will turn people against Israel, and the BBC must maintain its impartiality; and echoing Michael Gove the other psychopath on the panel he argued that the BBC’s impartiality (which was manifestly evident in its Gaza decision) was by far the greatest asset it possessed in today’s world of war and dissension.

    Well, showing any kind of footage of Israel’s recent bloodbath in Gaza will turn people against Israel, so how far should the BBC go to preserve its cherished impartiality given Faulkner’s arugment? Why report the news if the facts, given a proper airing will turn the public against Israel? Wouldn’t it be better to alter the facts themselves to be more impartial, by a showing a greater parity in the conflict, making it more symmetric? Maybe add a few more Israeli casualties, subtract a few hundred Palestinian casualties.

  7. persephone — on 30th January, 2009 at 6:42 pm  

    Since there is much talk about this heres a link to the BBC framework criteria on impartiality & diversity of opinion

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/edguide/impariality/

  8. Sunny — on 30th January, 2009 at 6:47 pm  

    Hliam – and by getting personal, angry and upsetting each other, both sides are actually keeping the debate off track

    You put it better than I could.

    JFF; Or do you mean people can say things here they can’t say in British politics?

    I mean the general discourse on the issue has too much rubbish on both sides, which means it always ends up being a narrow discussion where its all about condemning groups rather than taking a broader view…

  9. Imran Khan — on 30th January, 2009 at 7:06 pm  

    BTW despite Dave T’s poor claims that brown people were attacking Jews to which I replied stating that the CST hadn’t made such linkages, further evidence is provided here:

    http://www.jewishtelegraph.co.uk/man_3.html

    Sir Richard Leese (Leader of Manchester City Council told the Jewish Telegraph:
    “Sir Richard, who visited Israel in September, condemned the spate of antisemitic graffiti, such as swastikas, that has been daubed on synagogues in Manchester.

    He said: “We have liaised with the councils in Bury and Salford, as well as Greater Manchester Police, to make sure any offensive graffiti is removed immediately.

    “I suspect that the swastikas have come from the Far-Right – they will always have an excuse to stir up hostilities.”"

    So again this shows that Community Leaders and Community Organisations within the UK Jewish Community are not saying the same things as the more vocal members of their community and sensibly are telling it as it is.

    The full article is well worth a read.

  10. Leon — on 30th January, 2009 at 7:27 pm  

    Good post mate, much needed and timely (given we’re experiencing a breather in heated exchange at the moment)…

  11. Refresh — on 31st January, 2009 at 12:15 am  

    Excellent post Sunny. Looks like its going to get a lost worse. Here is what a close ally had to say:

    ‘Turkish PM greeted by cheers after Israel debate clash
    Recep Tayyip Erdogan argued with Israeli president over Gaza offensive, before storming out’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/30/turkish-prime-minister-cheered-davos-row-gaza

    ‘Peres had earlier made an impassioned defence of Israeli actions in Gaza, asking Erdogan: “What would you do if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?” Erdogan responded by saying: “President Peres, you are older than me and your voice is very loud. The reason for you raising your voice is the psychology of guilt … I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches.” ‘

    Lets hope the lies are halted in their tracks. Gaza is the last straw.

  12. Cabalamat — on 31st January, 2009 at 12:17 am  

    @3 Anas: not speaking up now out of a misplaced belief that loyalty to Israel entails uncritical support in public whatever happens won’t do Israel any favours in the long run either.

    I agree. Unfortunately many supporters of Israel feel they have to be uncritical supporters of Israel, a position which is morally and intellectually indefensible.

    Uncritical supporters of Israel are stupid and wrong, just as the “We are all Hamas now” crowd are. Both groups are doing nothing to help the situation.

  13. douglas clark — on 31st January, 2009 at 3:39 am  

    Sunny,

    Good post.

    I hope you can open out the debate.

    It needs it. I find this a difficult issue, mainly because I see the humanitarian case as foremost. And that doesn’t get you many chums, neither it does.

    Nor here, not anywhere.

    Perhaps I had higher hopes than most of the prospects of this site as a way of creating that centre ground, talking across boundaries even. Perhaps I’ve blown it. But I really do think it had / has that potential, it is a heck of a frustrating position to be in, in the middle.

    I think Cabalmat makes a very good point at 12.

    Anyway, to the extent it is possible, I’d hope that this remains an evidence based site, which has been one of it’s strengths.

    And I’m still angry over Gaza too.

  14. foliage — on 31st January, 2009 at 7:31 am  

    Whew! Exactly what we need – more coverage of israel and palestine on the internet. I was at my wits end searching for content from authors claiming to be objective, it’s just so rare.

    Meanwhile, on some terrible little island somewhere else, some brown people are fighting. A few hundred thousand civilians are trapped between two lying, obfuscating warring factions, but I don’t need to hear any more about them. No Muslims or Jews are involved, so my outrage is understandably muted. Frankly, there’s just too much space in the British political discourse for conversations about Sri Lanka.

  15. Abe Bird — on 31st January, 2009 at 10:26 am  

    Bad post Sunny, you clear the Hamas from its evil and blame the Israelis for the failure of the Hamas terrorists to act as humans. 8 years of racketeering Leeds…. sorry, Sderot and the surroundings gave Israel harmful of reasons to attack Hamas as needed. See no reason why responsible government won’t protects her civilians from continues terror and death oppressed on her.

    I hope that you will give proportional room for all the other atrocities in the world where Muslims kill Muslims and non Muslims alike in millions! That will put the Israeli-Arab conflict in Palestine in good proportions
    Hamas Charter
    http://middleeast.about.com/od/palestinepalestinians/a/me080106b.htm
    http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/483/521.html

    Keep Britain safe infront of the rising Islamism !!!!

  16. Anas — on 31st January, 2009 at 11:58 am  

    Foliage it’s a question of the role the British government, our elected representatives, are playing as regards the carnage in Gaza, therefore of our moral responsibility as British citizens.

  17. Anas — on 31st January, 2009 at 12:33 pm  
  18. comrade — on 31st January, 2009 at 5:36 pm  

    Foliage it’s a question of the role the British government, our elected representatives, are playing as regards the carnage in Gaza, therefore of our moral responsibility as British citizens.

    Particulary now, as our elected government is sending warships to the waters of Gaza to enforce the blockade an act of war on the Palestinians people.

    Sunny, I made a request for a debate on the creation of Israel, I strongly beleive to understand the present we must know the past.

  19. douglas clark — on 31st January, 2009 at 6:07 pm  

    comrade,

    Somebody seems to be spinning this story. I have no idea which spin is correct.

    The Daily Mirror:

    Royal Navy ships could be used to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, it was revealed yesterday.

    Foreign Secretary David Miliband has faced growing Labour calls to help the Palestinians. He has pledged to look at using the Royal Navy to escort aid ships as part of a relief effort.

    The conflict was started partly because of a long-term blockade of the strip of land on the Mediterranean. The ruling Hamas organisation has demanded that Israel allows in ships as part of a long-term ceasefire.

    Ex-cabinet minister Frank Dobson, who is leading the call to use the Navy, said: “We would restore the Royal Navy to its ancient task of ensuring the freedom of the seas and breaking blockades.”

    The BBC:

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown has offered British naval resources to help monitor events in the Gaza conflict and stop weapons being smuggled in.

    He wants to help ensure protection and monitoring of the crossings into Gaza.

    Both these stories are about 10 days old. Have you any newer stuff?

  20. comrade — on 31st January, 2009 at 8:56 pm  

    Foliage it’s a question of the role the British government, our elected representatives, are playing as regards the carnage in Gaza, therefore of our moral responsibility as British citizens.

    Douglas,
    I was responding in context to the above comments. As for reasons to send the Royal Navy, I am quite clear it’s not to break the blockade but to stop the flow of weapons to the Palestian resistant. The French has also offered the same.

  21. comrade — on 31st January, 2009 at 9:44 pm  

    Rumfold
    Both these stories are about 10 days old. Have you any newer stuff?

    An Israelis Army General was in the UK and was going to address a gathering of Pro-Israilis/freinds in Birmingham this week. When the Pro-Palestinains discovered this, a complaint was made to the police and local politicians. Subsequently the General has left the county. This was mentioned by one of the speakers during protest outside the BBC in Birmingham today.

  22. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 1st February, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    I have been thinking about some of the questions that have been asked over the last months, and feel anyone who is truly neutral in this conflict will need to remain detached from events and really learn to chose their words carefully.
    Is violent resistance justifiable?
    I know everyone hates comparisons with history as analogies but they should serve as examples for learning.
    The real question maybe is – is violent resistance productive? As there can be ways to justify anything but it still won’t make it right. So resistance works in 2 ways … before/ during the invasion or only when you have a sure chance for victory through revolution .
    No matter what if you chose to fight people will die and war itself is a humanitarian crisis.
    I can not be convinced hamas is fighting for independence … they may be controlled and many other words …… but oppressed? Considering all the effort the entire world has put in to helping them I am not sure how they have been oppressed. There are a million “palestians” living inside Israel … at the moment it all narrows down to Gaza which does not = Palestine.
    Does Hamas have the right to defend themselves?
    If they wish to remain “oppressed” they do.
    But another question is for how long? and what exactly are they defending? This is a war that has been going on for at least 50 years, what happens in a war where sympathy prevents an end? Cause we feel bad for the side that is defeated. Did you know after the American civil war ended ..the “north” occupied the “south” in a very oppressive way… how would things be today had the entire world watched play by play ….took pity on the southerners and reacted the way they do to hamas in gaza? They just wanted a “state” of their own too … and they LOST! Who cares about their cause now?
    With the entire world fighting for independence from something real or just the right to call themselves by a different name…. I half expect the south now to stage a revolution too and actually receive support.
    but back on topic ….It’s almost like the thing Hamas are actually resisting at this point is the very thing they pretend to ask for, which is the formation of a Palestinian state. Why do they view people working towards that or against them (hamas) as siding with Israel? I don’t even know what that means.
    Everyone is a victim in this from the very beginning to now.

  23. marvin — on 1st February, 2009 at 5:59 pm  

    Ehud Olmert has promised a disproportionate response to rocket fire.

    So what will the militants decide to do?

    “[Hamas] have taken risks with the blood of Palestinians, with their fate, and dreams and aspirations for an independent Palestinian state” – Mahmoud Abbas.

    So when the house of a terrorist rocket launcher is destroyed, killing the civilians he hides behind, who do we blame?

    There need not be any more bloodshed. Stop firing the f**** rockets. And something needs to be done about Iran’s attempt to control the Middle East by funding, arming and training the various militias.

  24. Refresh — on 1st February, 2009 at 6:20 pm  

    Marvin, can I ask why you see yourself so closely allied to Israel? You’ve said elsewhere that you visit on occasions, but have no ‘spiritual links’.

    This is what Maureen Lipman had to say about proportion in Israeli actions in Lebanon 2006:

    “What has proportion got to do with it though … it’s not about proportion is it. I mean human life is not cheap to the Israelis and human life on the other side is quite cheap actually because they strap bombs to people and send them to blow themselves up.” — Maureen Lippman, 23/7/06, BBC TV ‘The Week in Politics’

    What would you like have done vis-a-vis Iran? I am quite aware of Israel’s push to have Iraq invaded as a part of reshaping the middle east.

    What should a reshaped middle east look like?

  25. marvin — on 2nd February, 2009 at 9:13 am  

    I am allied to Israel as I am allied to any pluralist democracy under violent attack from it’s neighbours. I have never been there.

    Iran will I am am pretty certain have its nuclear installations destroyed due to its intentions with Israel. Attacking Iran is preferable to Iran having the nuclear bomb. It’s continued interference in other countries by arming training and funding various militias. I am unsure of how this can be halted. Certainly severe sanctions should be applied…

    Any anger over Sri Lanka yet?

    Calls for war crimes investigations?

    Overcrowded hospitals have been repeatedly shelled, many dead children.

    One text message from a United Nations worker in the hospital said: “Women and kids wards shelled. God, no words. Still counting the dead bodies.”

    OK, do we have any slogans for the demonstrations yet?

  26. marvin — on 2nd February, 2009 at 9:13 am  

    I am allied to Israel as I am allied to any pluralist democracy under violent attack from it’s neighbours. I have never been there.

    Iran will I am am pretty certain have its nuclear installations destroyed due to its intentions with Israel. Attacking Iran is preferable to Iran having the nuclear bomb. It’s continued interference in other countries by arming training and funding various militias. I am unsure of how this can be halted. Certainly severe sanctions should be applied…

    Any anger over Sri Lanka yet?

    Calls for war crimes investigations?

    Overcrowded hospitals have been repeatedly shelled, many dead children.

    One text message from a United Nations worker in the hospital said: “Women and kids wards shelled. God, no words. Still counting the dead bodies.”

    OK, do we have any slogans for the demonstrations yet?

  27. douglas clark — on 2nd February, 2009 at 9:29 am  

    Marvin,

    Why are you so allied to Israel exactly? I cannot understand the idea that Jewish UK citizens should feel the way you do. It is, as near as dammit, being a Millwall supporter, singing, “We are Millwall and we don’t care.”

    There is no reasonable intellectual life in apologising for killing is there?

  28. marvin — on 2nd February, 2009 at 2:25 pm  

    I aint Jewish. Good lord. This has been a constant theme at PP – anyone who disagrees with the PP orthodoxy must be Jewish.

    There is no reasonable intellectual life in apologising for killing is there?

    Think about the statement douglas. You haven’t really thought that through have you? Killing is sometimes necessary to save lives. Killing the Nazis was necessary. They had to go, they would not do so willingly. Every sensible person accepts this, unless they are a hardcore pacifist or a quaker. In which case one hopes you don’t punched in the face too often.

    I wonder how many people here would think it for the overall good if Bush was killed in 2002? Quite a few I suspect.

  29. Sunny — on 2nd February, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

    Any anger over Sri Lanka yet?

    Who are you supporting Marvin, the LTTE or the Sri Lankan govt?

  30. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 2nd February, 2009 at 4:03 pm  

    There is no reasonable intellectual life in apologising for killing is there?

    Why then do so many who wish to be considered intellectuals do just that? but from one side only. How many times have we seen even 9/11 justified? and how come any view from the other side is condemned as support for killing? What is the reasoning behind leaving out pieces of the puzzle for no other reason than they just don’t create the image you want to see …. or show?
    Hamas is labeled freedom fighters – but no mention of the killing and terrorizing done by them to their own people! Including the methods of Hamas TV! And we are not allowed to say they not only use but encourage children as martyrs fire rockets from vineyards build shelters under hospitals …. etc ….
    or what they did to gain control of gaza in the first place or the terms of the charter they drew up for themselves. We are to see them as the elected party but not to associate the citizens as hamas supporters. And never ever ask why the now find themselves in the “oppresed” state they are in, from all side including the coastline and Egyptian border.
    Israel though is state sponsored terrorism with no regard for human life who wish to commit genocide against Palestinians … baby killing Zionists!
    with not one word of all the work that has been done in an attempt to make peace … to move forward in any way or even to realize many of the jews who now find themselves citizens of Israel did not do so by choice .

    It seems from one side all bad is forgotten in an apology …. and from the other all good is erased … for what reason I don’t know.
    I come from the quaker state … I don’t want to kill anyone …but what would I do if people wanted to not only kill me but everyone from Pennsylvania? Of course I would try to talk to them …but when it goes beyond that to include political and religious fueling backed with 50 years of blind hate and lack of information?

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