Monday, May 31, 2010

The reason for the slaughter of the Free Gaza activists

The Israeli government and media has been vilifying the Free Gaza movement in a rabid build-up for weeks, but who would have anticipated this bloody culmination? Who would have expected this act of high seas piracy? Israeli claims that they were fired at, or even attacked with "knives" and "other cold weapons" when they illegally boarded the flotilla, before going on to stalk the sleeping and the innocent can surely be dismissed as vulgar propaganda. From the people who gave us the fastest re-definition of the term 'civilian' of any belligerent state in recent history, such talk is emetic. The idea that there was a "fight", any kind of meaningful combat, between unarmed peace activists and trained killers is just absurd. But let's note a few things. For a start, it is Israel's official contention that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that their murderous blockade has no severe consequences for the people of Gaza, even at the same time as their official spokespersons speak of Gaza explicitly in the language of genocide. This after the Goldstone report and a mountain of evidence compiled by relief agencies and NGOs documenting the effects of Israel's blockade. It is, of course, absurd and despicable, but it should remind us what kind of state we're dealing with, what kind of logical somersaults it is capable of performing while maintaing perfect equanimity.

Now recall that for weeks the Israeli state has been declaring that the aid flotilla constitutes a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty, though Israel has no sovereign right to police the borders of Gaza. They claimed that the convoy was bringing assistance to terrorists, and warned that it was being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. They claim that such aid vessels help keep Hamas in power and Gilad Shalit (who he?) locked up. They claim that the convoy, rather than the blockade itself, constitutes a violation of international law. Israel's ability to exhale falsehoods and absurdities seamlessly, poker-faced, and then to suddenly and without missing a beat alter its story when it becomes clear that not even its loyalist drones are gullible enough to believe it, is not unique but it has a unique pedigree. For the Israeli state is singular in its self-righteousness. This is built in to official doctrine and practise, entrenched in its forms of governmentality. It is always the victim, no matter what it's doing today - whether slaughtering refugees in Sabra and Shatilla, or murdering sleeping families in Dahiya, from Nakba to Cast Lead - it is always on the precipice of being exterminated by a new wave of Arab Nazis. Given this, any effort to undermine its 'defensive' actions is an attack not only on its expansive notions of sovereignty, but on the 'Jewish state'.

By the logic of Israel, any abridgment of its right to murder Palestinians constitutes an act of antisemitism, an existential attack on the Jewish people, whom they represent by proxy. Its job, then, is to do whatever it deems fit in discouraging and punishing said 'antisemites' while aggressively retailing whatever they do to an increasingly hostile world which, at any rate, they insist is driven by exterminationist antisemitism anyway. If the two ends - the violent preservation of Israeli supremacy in the Middle East, and the global PR - increasingly come into conflict, this is only because of a 'new antisemitism', not because of anything Israel actually does.

In other words, by the twisted logic of Zionism: Israel can impose a blockade on Gaza that systematically starves civilians, leaves them to die without medicine, destroys their sewage and power systems, leaves them utterly dependent on international aid delivery which it imposes the most grotesque restrictions on; then it can demonise and assault an aid flotilla intended to break the blockade, fire on the residents, murder people in their sleep, the better to deter anyone from attempting to violate its supremacy in Palestine again; then it can manufacture whatever story it requires to force a hostile world to accept its actions, muddy the waters, juggle narratives, befuddle and confuse people, following up one bit of legerdemain with yet another and another, etc; and it can do all this while remaining the perpetual victim (remember Sderot!), while doing nothing more than defending itself, defending its famed "right to exist", and by proxy the right of the Jewish people to exist. That, the logic of Zionism upon which the Israeli state is founded, alone explains the insane combination of thuggishness, deceit, secrecy and sanctimony that has always characterised Israel's conduct.

Meanwhile, the British government is rapidly moving to fulfil its promise to make it possible for Israeli war criminals to visit the UK without being disturbed by Inspector Knacker.