July 2, 2011

FIRST YOU HAVE TO DEHUMANIZE THEM:

Israel has become a society of force and violence: What will Israelis think about when they are spoon-fed scary stories about the flotilla, if not about the use of force? Those activists want to kill IDF soldiers? We'll arise and kill them first.
(Gideon Levy, 6/30/11, Ha'aretz)

Yes, the situation in Gaza has improved in recent months, in part because of the previous flotilla. But no, Gaza is still not free - far from it. It has no outlet to the sea or air, there are no exports, and its inhabitants are still partially imprisoned. Israelis who freak out if Ben-Gurion International Airport shuts down for two hours should be able to understand what life without a port is like. Gaza is entitled to its freedom, and those aboard the flotilla are entitled to take action in an effort to achieve this. Israel should be allowing them to demonstrate.

But look at how Israel is reacting. The flotilla was described immediately, by everyone, as a security threat; its activists were classified as enemies, and there was no doubt cast on the ridiculous assumptions that defense officials are making and the press has lapped up eagerly. We haven't heard the last of the campaign to demonize the previous flotilla, in which Turkish citizens were killed for no reason, yet the new campaign has already begun. It has all the buzzwords: danger, chemical substances, hand-to-hand combat, Muslims, Turks, Arabs, terrorists and maybe some suicide bombers. Blood and fire and pillars of smoke!

The unavoidable conclusion is that there is only one way to act against the passengers aboard the flotilla: by force, and only by force, as with every security threat. This is a recurring pattern: first demonization, then legitimization (to act violently ). Remember the tall tales about sophisticated Iranian weaponry coming through arms-smuggling tunnels in Gaza, or those about how the Strip was booby-trapped? Then Operation Cast Lead came along and the soldiers hardly encountered anything like that.

The attitude toward the flotilla is a continuation of the same behavior. The campaign of scare tactics and demonization is what contributes to the violent rhetoric that is taking over the entire public discourse.


Posted by at July 2, 2011 7:50 AM
  

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