Monday, July 14, 2014

They Say He's A Smart Guy


Chris Hedges writes that there is a deep irony to what is currently happening in Gaza. It mirrors what happened to European Jews eighty years ago:

Raul Hilberg in his monumental work “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,” Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank.

“The process of destruction [of the European Jews] unfolded in a definite pattern,” Hilberg wrote. “It did not, however, proceed from a basic plan. No bureaucrat in 1933 could have predicted what kind of measures would be taken in 1938, nor was it possible in 1938 to foretell the configuration of the undertaking in 1942. The destructive process was a step-by-step operation, and the administrator could seldom see more than one step ahead.”

There is no halocaust. One hopes that history has taught us something. Nevertheless, it is a patten which is repeated over and over again:

The Palestinians in Gaza live in conditions that now replicate those first imposed on Jews by the Nazis in the ghettos set up throughout Eastern Europe. Palestinians cannot enter or leave Gaza. They are chronically short of food—the World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 percent of children in Gaza and the West Bank under 2 years old have iron deficiency anemia and reports that malnutrition and stunting in children under 5 are “not improving” and could actually be worsening. Palestinians often lack clean water. They are crammed into unsanitary hovels. They do not have access to basic medical care. They are stateless and lack passports or travel documents. There is massive unemployment. They are daily dehumanized in racist diatribes by their occupiers as criminals, terrorists and mortal enemies of the Jewish people.

No one seems to have brought these parallels to the attention of Stephen Harper -- or perhaps he has chosen to ignore them. For the prime minister there is always one side to any issue. Economics is about supply, not demand. The world is populated by "Us" and "Them."  Israeli policy is always right, never wrong.

And they say he's a smart guy.


Edstock said...

Reminds me of the Warsaw Ghetto. Sad.

Owen Gray said...

It truly is sad, Ed. History repeats itself.

Askingtherightquestions said...

Owen, hats off for covering Chris Hedges latest post on the Isreali-Palestine "conflict", especially in the face of the comments by Harper and Baird that make me ashamed to be a Canadian. I also hope your readers will view the interviews of Sher Hever by Paul Jay of Real News Network (linked at Creekside by Allison!!) for further background on the current state of this disaster. Surely history has taught us NOT to repeat the follies of our ancestors -yet here we watch continued oppression of a people and wonder how "terrorism" in response could happen!!?? Of course both sides have explaining to do, but am I alone in believing that Mr. Baird and Mr. Harper have an even greater task in explaining to Canadians the reasons for their UNCRITICAL support of the Netanyahu regime.

Anonymous said...

Canadians/Americans of Jewish descent should have been the loudest in condemning the treatment of these Palestinians, having been aware of the sufferings of their parents/ grandparents during the Holocaust.

And of course, instead of voting for Harper, these Jewish Canadians should also have been the first to condemn Harper's policies of supporting Israel, right or wrong, apparently to benefit his own political fortunes. Especially when Harper had been publicly supporting the Kiev government and its supporters some of whom were Nazi collaborators and sympathizers.

Instead, it would appear that too many Jewish Canadians, either by being silent or otherwise, are hypocritically supporting Harper and Netanyahu while reminding the world of the Holocaust. Sad.

Owen Gray said...

They have a lot pf explaining to do, Asking. But don't wait for an explanation. They don't explain. They pontificate.

Owen Gray said...

It truly is sad, Anon. There's a lot of uncritical thinking going on.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm with Ed. Warsaw Ghetto. Israel admits to having 'inadvertently' tapped the ground water reserves beneath Gaza. The removal triggered the influx of sea water that has rendered much of Gaza's limited supply brackish. It's just a matter of time now.

In that region, water has become a powerful weapon and a trigger for outright violence. The Israelis are terrified at the prospect of the West Bank Palestinians ever regaining control of their aquifer which Netanyahu is on record as claiming as critical to Israel's survival.

Scotian said...

The single biggest problem with trying to make this argument has been the all too successful move by Israel boosters to equate the State of Israel with being a Jew, and therefore any criticism of Israeli State policy is inherently anti-semetic hate mongering by those who are not Israelis (and even that is not always protection enough), especially in North America. To dare compare what the Israeli government has been doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to what happened to them in Europe is according to such voices the blackest of calumnies, the ugliest of Jew bashing, and how dare one. Yet the sad reality is that we are watching something the world said "never again" to after WWII revealed the death camps to all being done by those descended from those who were the victims of said camps.

I've stopped trying to have any intelligent conversation online about this because it gets nowhere, which was I know the point of the attack method used to brand all anti-Israeli government criticism as racist against Jews. I only have the strength/health to bash my head in against so many brick walls at one time, and I've decided to focus mine on our domestic side. That said though, I will once in a while offer support to something like this because I can't stay totally silent about it, not having actually cared about history, not having been raised by those who saw those horrors in 1945. As this post so correctly notes, the atrocities of the Nazis did not spring full blown from the outset, they came step by step with few if any at the start having any idea of where it would end up, and what I have watched happen over the last few decades in the ME between the Israelis and Palestinians has carried some truly ugly echoes of that past.

When I look at what I see there, I see on a State level the same pattern/cycle of abuse we have seen in multi-generational abuse families, where the one abused when small and weak became a serious abuser once they had the power/position to do so. Never Again for the Jews is not a free license for them to do whatever they wish, it does not permit them to do unto others what was done unto them, yet they have as State policy acted in exactly that manner, and so many of their partisans have done all they can here and elsewhere to silence any voices that try to make this point or indeed any serious criticism of this aspect of Israeli policy.

Harper is such a smart guy, he knows where the Israeli lobby is and he is fine pandering to them like no prior PM ever has. We used to strive to find the middle road between the two sides because we saw the injustices involved for all, these days though not so much. Yet one more way in which Harper has dishonoured and disgraced Canada and our honoured war dead in the end in my view.

That is about all I have to say on the subject, as I said, I've mostly withdrawn from this issue because of fatigue from the attack dogs and I lack the health/strength to keep up with them while also trying to maintain my focus on our domestic nightmare, Harper.

Owen Gray said...

Harper uses the charge of anti-Semitism as a wedge, Scotian.

It's one of many he employs. Mike Pearson would be appalled.

Owen Gray said...

As you've pointed out before, Mound, water can me more valuable than oil -- and, in the future, armies could be fighting over water reserves, not oil reserves.

Anonymous said...

I always find Chris Hedges one of the most enlightened modern day thinkers out there. I would certainly pitt his intellect against Baird and Harper any day. Having said that, if speaking out against Israeli apartheid makes us anti semite in Harpers words, does their stance make them pro Nazi?

Owen Gray said...

They got to where they are by calling other people names, Anon.

Only children resort to the language you hear on a playground.

the salamander said...

.. with the abject failures of Harper, Ray Novak, John Baird et al in representing the views and concerns of rational Canadians.. it falls to Indy Media to correctly reflect to Canadians just what is unfolding in Gaza and Israel.

The malignancy of The Harper Party as it begins to unravel, rot, fulminate.. preach and screech, obstruct justice, force omnibus bills, ransack environment, sellout, pontificate.. is simply stunning..

Who knew, we could elect such complete asses, failures, megalomaniacs, liars, partisans, evangelical pimps, entitled louts and greedy jackals..

Who knew we would or could tolerate them ...
much less listen to or believe or trust them?

Owen Gray said...

It really is amazing that we gave the keys to the Peaceable Kingdom over to these war mongers, salamander.

We are better than that. The first step to reclaiming the kingdom is to acknowledge our mistake.

Anonymous said...

The plight of the Palies is due to their own choice and that of their fellow Arab Muslims.

No compassion. Israel should reduce Gazah to rubble and deport all survivors to Yarmouk.

Canada is built on STOLEN NATIVE SOIL.Calling it Canada, Quebec or Ontario will not change the facts.

The Anglo has committed genocide against the natives several times. Because they enjoy it !

Anonymous said...

The Canadian Anglos descend from murderers, rapists, killers and liars. They killed and raped thousands of natives but are too cowardly to confront their loathsome past.

Johnny Paleswine

Owen Gray said...

That's a sweeping generalization, Johnny. Anglos are just as capable of depravity as anyone. But you can't paint all of them with the same brush.

Owen Gray said...

It's exactly that kind of thinking that keeps this madness going, Anon.