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Murdochs imaginary war

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By Stuart Littlewood

(source: Palestine Chronicle)

In his recent pep-talk to the Anti-Defamation League, media magnate Rupert Murdoch complains about “an ongoing war against the Jews.” He seems desperate to divert attention from the mounting resentment around the world towards Israel. But his threadbare argument collapses straight away because no distinction is made between criminal Israelis and Jews generally. The one remains carefully hidden behind the other. And the anti-Semitism label tends to get pinned on anyone and everyone in European society, “from its most élite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes”, who speaks against or as much as frowns at the racist regime.

The after-dinner audience he was addressing no doubt lapped it up, but unfortunately for Mr. Murdoch people are better informed nowadays. I doubt if the wider audience buys it. What they find unacceptable is Israel’s lawlessness and unrestrained killing. The much-hyped religious dimension is only relevant insofar as the perpetrators hide behind religion’s skirts and misinterpret religious texts to whitewash their crimes. What also undermines Mr. Murdoch’s case is the fact that not all Jews support the state of Israel or approve the dispossession and removal of its indigenous (Arab) population. An increasing number, to their credit, actively campaign against it. And not all of Israel’s supporters are Jewish. They include battalions of Christian Zionists.

It is not surprising that the “Jewish state” has come under strong criticism. Any state, with or without tribal or religious underpinnings, would be roundly condemned if it misbehaved in the same way. As for the speech, Mr. Murdoch kicks off by telling the ADL: “You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.” If only that were true. As their website and mission statement show, the ADL are preoccupied with supporting Israel. They are not interested in combating Israeli hate groups or defending the security of (let’s say) the Palestinians.

He continues:

“My own perspective is simple: We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews… Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by de-legitimizing it .. . In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.” Israel has already made itself a pariah by its hateful attitude, disregard for international law and defiance of UN resolutions. A question mark hangs over its own legitimacy while it attempts to isolate and de-legitimise the democratically elected government of neighbouring Palestine, whose remaining lands it covets and illegally occupies or blockades. “Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement withIsrael.”

Disagreeing with Israel is anti-Semitic? We laughed at the Germans for having no sense of humour. Must we now laugh at the Israelis? Israel’s unwillingness to accept criticism is part of its undoing. Rejecting out of hand the Goldstone Report in relation to war crimes against the Gazans only magnifies the regime’s arrogance. Are deniers of Goldstone any better than deniers of the Holocaust? “For me, this ongoing war is afairly obvious fact of life. Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spellout the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel.” Armies of terrorists? Every day? Really?

The principle of homeland defence, of course, applies equally to Arabs. The high-tech terror they face is real and bristles with state-of-the-art weaponry. It is a hundred times worse than any terror faced by Israeli citizens. Check the death and destruction statistics. In case Mr. Murdoch hadn’t noticed, Israel itself is widely regarded as aterror state frequently resorting, as it does, to assassinations and extra-judicial executions, abductions and torture, massacres and starvation sieges, air-strikes, armed incursions, the use of prohibited weapons on civilians and massive violations of human rights? It must be galling for the regime’s well-wishers to see how perfectly Israel fits the terrorist definition used by the US to blacklist and squelch countries that get in its way.

Talking of maps, I hear the Israelis have already deleted Palestine (andPalestinian place-names) from theirs. And it’s well known that they demolished and obliterated hundreds of Palestinian villages after putting the inhabitants to flight. “Israel becomes increasingly ostracised, while Iran – a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel’s destruction – pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and without apparent fear of rebuke.” No fear of rebuke for Israel either. It is the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Given its 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheadsand its freaky leadership, Israel poses a serious threat to its neighbours and far beyond. Moreover, it hasn’t signed the Biological andToxin Weapons Convention and hasn’t ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty or the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Can Mr. Murdoch, by any chance, show proof of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme? And since Israel has spoken of nuking Iran, what is the pointof claiming Iran wishes Israel’s destruction? “Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself andIsrael.”

Now you’re making sense, Mr. Murdoch…“My view is the opposite. Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities more certain.”

Now you’re not. Hostilities have been going on for years.

The latest panic in Western capitals over the “undetectable” printer cartridge bombs is a powerful warning that countries aligning themselveswith the US-Israel axis are asking for trouble. Ordinary westerners aretired of being put in harm’s way by America’s coziness with Israel and by Britain’s sniffing around both of them like a bitch in heat. Disengagement is what most people around here have long wanted. “Far from making things better for the Palestinian people, sour relations between the United States and Israel guarantees that ordinary Palestinians will continue to suffer.” Does this mean Israel would turn the screws on the helpless just for spite?

“The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure.” Peace will only come when EVERYONE feels secure. It is not a one-way street. As Mr Murdoch surely knows, Hamas have said they will accept Israel within itsinternationally-recognised 1967 borders, which is the same position adopted by the United Nations. This, the most obvious avenue to peace, is studiously ignored by Israel.

“Right now we have war. There are many people waging this war. Some blowup cafes. Some fire rockets into civilian areas… Some are fighting the soft war, through international boycotts and resolutions condemning Israel.” And some wage war on women and children and even target unarmedfishermen. Some also commit acts of piracy and murder on the high seas against volunteers bringing humanitarian aid.

That’s war. And it’s dirty war, waged by Israel. But boycotting Israeli goods and tourism is not war. It’s exercising one’s freedom of choice. It’s registering one’s disgust. Israel’s tourism minister was this week doing the same thing, urging that “Turkey must be totally boycotted as atourism destination”.

Face the Truth, Ask Forgiveness

If Mr. Murdoch, with all his persuasive powers, cannot put up a convincing defence of Israel, nobody can. He shows here that anyone attempting it is on a hiding to nothing. The root of the problem is the fundamental evil of the Zionist Project and the fanatics in the US, Britain and elsewhere who backed it and still fan the flames. I recommend to Mr. Murdoch the Jerusalem Declaration of 2006 by the Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, who daily have to operate amidst the disruption and devastation inflicted by Israel on Palestinian life. Theyreject Christian Zionist doctrines as “a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation”, and they reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders with the governments ofIsrael and the United States that impose pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.

Christian Zionism supports these policies and “advances racial exclusivity and perpetual war”. The Declaration calls on everyone to “liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation”. Perhaps Mr. Murdoch is not yet ready for that kind of liberation. For the time being he talks up a “war against the Jews” when it is merely the flashpoint where propaganda lies finally collide with the sickening truth about Israel. It’s a slow motion train-crash that’s been waiting to happen.

So I haven’t given up on Mr. Murdoch just yet. However you regard him he’s a remarkable man. Who knows – in the end he may decide there is no honour in Israel’s rogue schemes and it would be more sensible for the regime to stop the lies, face the truth, atone for its crimes, hand backwhat has been stolen, conform to international law, charter rules and normal codes of conduct, and respect neighbours’ rights. That’s the way forward.

And it should not forget to ask forgiveness from God, from the US taxpayer and from those in the wider Jewish community who have winced with shame. Seeking a pardon from the Holy Land’s Arab communities – Muslim and Christian – for treating them so abominably for 60-odd years would be a hard road to take but is the only way to achieve reconciliation and ultimately find contentment.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to Visit: