06 Jan 2005 05:30 GMT
Listening and reading mainstream US media outlets creates the illusion that
the "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians revolves around
"curbing the violence" and Palestinian "reforms." Devoid of any
self-reflection, the pundits ignore realities on the ground and distort
history in ways that try to deceive the US public to continue the massive
military and economic aid to Israel at the expense of US public interests
(in addition to its devastating impact on Israelis and Palestinians).
Peace is lost in the so called peace process.
There is a well orchestrtated and meticulous media campaign intended to
deceive the US public into continuing funding of Israeli apartheid and
ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinians. This is referred to in Hebrew
as Hasbara. Hasbara makes sure few learn the true history of Israeli
leaders and how they sabotaged every International initiative that could
have brought peace with some semblance of justice. Hasbara makes sure few
know that the price of fulfilment of the dreams of Zionism was that
two-thirds of the nine million native Palestinains are now refugees or
displaced people. Hasbara suppresses the history of the programs to drive
them out and keep them out while obfuscating reality with lies about who
drove them out, why they are not being allowed to return, and why
International law can be ignored in this case. Hasbara makes sure few know
that Zionist leaders collaborated, funded, aided and abetted some of the
worst regimes in human history
from African despots to South American junta totalitarian leaders (see also
Lenni Brenner's "51 documents: history of the Nazi-Zionist Collaboration").
Hasbara makes sure few know about such scandals as the Lavon Affair (Israeli
agents planting bombs at US interests and blaming them on Egyptians), the
scandalous efforts to get Jews scared to leave Iraq and other countries, and
the Zionist movements success in breaking the boycott on Nazi Germany.
Hasbara makes sure few know about Israel's violations of the UN charter and
countless UN resolutions. Hasbara makes sure few know that Israeli laws
discriminate based on religion (for example, giving a "right of
citizenship" to any Jew including converts coming from any part of the world
while denying citizenship to non-Jews who are native Palestinians driven out
to make space for Jewish colonials/settlers). Hasbara makes sure few know
about Israel's role in getting the US into Iraq (just read the neo-con
literature of 1997 such as the writing of the Zionist Richard Perle).
Hasbara makes sure few know that Amnesty International criticized the Oslo
peace process for ignoring human
rights (including rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands).
And Hasbara makes sure few know that the latest "road map to peace" (in a
long string of such documents) is 2221 words but lacks four key ones: human
rights, International law.
Occasionally cracks appear in this Hasbara campaign. Dov Weisglass is Ariel
Sharon’s senior adviser and one of the initiators of Sharon’s much talked
about disengagement plan that entails proposed evacuation of some minor
settlements; this was called by the Bush administration
as a great gesture of peace. In an interview with Ha’aretz, Weisglass was
quoted as stating that: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the
freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you
prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you
prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.
Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that
it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda”
(Ha’aretz, 6 October 2004).
Today Hasbara is in full steam to smear the victims as terrorists and smear
refugees who simply want to return to their homes and lands as evil people
who want to "destroy Israel." Where else in the world one find arguments
against return of refugees based on changing the religious (in this case
"Jewish") character of the state.
Reconciliation/coexistance in the Land of Canaan (Israel/Palestine) is not
only possible but is beneficial to all concerned. But reconciliation cannot
begin when the original and ongoing injustice
done to the native inhabitants is hidden. The Hasbara campaign to villify
the victims must be challenged. A truth and reconciliation commission was
possible in South Africa after the dismantlement of the apartheid system
after intense international pressure of boycotts and
divestments. Similar boycotts and divestments from Israel and companies
that do business in Israel has already started and is spreading rapidly on
campuses, in civic groups, and in churches. It
will be a bit more difficult than in South Africa because Israeli apologists
have garnered vast resources for Hasbara. And while the US government did
support Apartheid South Africa for many years, it was never at the level
this government supports neoApartheid Israel (now nearly $5 billion annually
in direct and indirect aid). The truth ofcourse is hard to conceal (and we
now have the internet to spread it). Like in other such situations the
freedom given by the truth leads to grassroot action for justice and hence
lights the way to peace.