From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel’s Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed

By Juan Cole

You always wonder where John Kerry the anti-Vietnam War activist went, who compared the US campaigns in Southeast Asia to the predations of the Mongols. It turns out he is still in there somewhere, just not allowed to appear before the cameras. But in a ‘hot-mic’ moment on Fox on Sunday, Kerry appeared to reference the Israeli massacre at al-Shuja`iya in Gaza by Israeli planes and/or artillery, which left 60 dead & 200 wounded. Kerry called sardonically “a hell of a pinpoint operation.” His reference is to Israeli propagandists who keep saying that Israel’s airstrikes in densely populated Gaza are “precision strikes” when very obviously they are massive and indiscriminate, having killed over 500 as of Sunday night, over 70% of them noncombatants, including women and children. Although Hamas, the combatants, are fair game, the noncombatants are not. Israel doesn’t get off the hook by saying Hamas uses human shields. First, most of those people Israel killed were not being used as human shields. Second, international law forbids military commanders to strike if it seems likely they will kill a lot of innocents.

Newsy Politics: “Fox’s Hot Mic Catches Kerry Remark On Israel-Gaza Conflict”

Kerry’s exasperation with Israeli brutality is shared around the world, though, as with Kerry, most public figures won’t express it in the open.

But some politicians and celebrities are daring to speak out.

British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg accused Israel of a “deliberately disproportionate” response to Hamas. That would would be a war crime if true.

Channel 4’s Jon Snow asked an Israeli spokesman all those same questions everyone else would like to, including why in the world Israel is bombing hospitals and old people’s homes and whether there is something wrong with their equipment or whether they have simply decided to commit war crimes if that is what it takes. Compare Snow’s actual journalism with any anchor on US network news and it is American journalism that stands shamed.

Some resorted to the tactic of tweeting “Free Palestine” and then deleting the tweet, claiming it was all a misunderstanding. This was the path chosen by Rihanna and Dwight Howard.

Rihanna is from Barbados and has Third-Worldist sympathies, occasionally deploying Arabesque imagery in her music videos.

But the award for bravery under fire must go to Selena Gomez, who posted this to her Instagram and Twitter accounts:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 3.55.32 AM

She has declined to delete the message, and it has garnered 500,000 retweets. She did say this:

But of course when you say “Pray for Gaza,” you have chosen sides, since the Israeli right wing is fighting this war in part to crush Gaza further.

Gomez’s hashtag on this post was #wearethenextgeneration and I think she got that one absolutely correct. The Millennials are a new generation with their own perspective on world affairs. They’re less interested in organized religion than their elders. In the US, they are substantially less Northern European in their heritage and tastes (this is also true in France e.g.) The Millennials have only seen the 2006, 2008-9, 2012, and the current wars, in which Israel is the superpower and its opponents lack tanks, artillery or planes. Palestinians in such an encounter look like the underdogs, not a powerful threat. I don’t think the Israeli leadership has the slightest conception of how the tide is turning against them over their colonial policies and tactics.

31 Responses

  1. Israel has a demographic problem around he world. A large majority of the people that have any sympathy for Israel are (naturally) dying off. As the US and European “boomers” die off, they will be replaced by humans that view WW2, the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel as ancient history. All this next generation has lived with is constant Israeli war and they are long ago tired of it. As the older generation dies off, Israel will be dealing with people that will view Israel as a inhumane aggressor and will simply ignore the old slur of “antisemitism.” As more and more people publicly defy Israel, the “antisemitism” slur will become worthless and Israel will not be able to shut down discussion like they have in the past. As more discussion takes place, Israel will look worse and worse..

    The coming generations are NOT going to tolerate Israel, causing Israel to have a very bad future.

    • We might all hope that your prognosis for a better future proves to be true, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Shakespeare had Hamlet say, “Frailty, thy name is woman.” It would have been more accurate if he had said, “Frailty, thy name is humankind.” As long as the mainstream media are owned by supporters of Israel’s right wing, there is little cause for optimism for future prospects.

    • I agree.

      As you say, for young people WWll is ancient history and what was one a sure-fire way to silence an opponent – the ‘anti-semite’ slur – will evoke no more than a shrug of the shoulders. Plus, as the power of the established West fades, and countries like Brazil and China come to the fore, Israel will no longer have such influence in the corridors of global power. This change will take years, even decades, but it’s already happening.

      Also, Israel’s just not ‘cool’ anymore. I think it was Max Blumenthal who wrote an article about some Zionist love fest back in the seventies, live on TV. That would never happen now. Israel has precisely zero soft power. All they have – in Western capitals – is money, and in the Middle East, violence. Both will only get you so far. Zionism is doomed.

  2. There was a report in today’s (7/21) Albuquerque Journal from a graduate of the University of New Mexico who was vacationing in Israel. She gives a sympathetic portrayal of Israeli suffering in Tel Aviv: spending days at the beach, dancing in nightclubs full of people, watching the World Cup from sidewalk cafes. Oh, and sometimes warning sirens sound and Israeli jets fly over, which is so scary she has to sleep with her windows closed. “Civilian life has remained relatively regular,” she notes and ends with the obligatory “I can’t help but wonder what America’s response would be if it were under attack.”

    Clearly, she has no idea of what it means to be “under attack.”

      • One would get that impression if they only read the conservative Albuquerque Journal. It favors Republican causes across the board.

    • Having your club dancing disturbed by noise is clearly far more traumatic and dangerous than being shelled by tanks and artillery or being bombed from the air and assaulted by land units, not to mention being subjected to an air-sea-land blockade and your family denied normal access to healthcare, education, employment, political rights, or security.

      • Not to be too sarcastic, but the various denials of the Palestinians include such luxuries as food and potable water. And the sufferings of the Israeli’s are real, with any number of people who may have turned an ankle scurrying for a shelter (a direct hit, like a meteorite strike, will kill you) or loosing sleep.

        Bibi was on the shows talking about “what would you do,” which is the real question. And the issue is one of proportionality, and how do you honestly address the underlying condition.

  3. You always wonder where John Kerry the anti-Vietnam War activist went, who compared the US campaigns in Southeast Asia to the predations of the Mongols. It turns out he is still in there somewhere, just not allowed to appear before the cameras.

    John Kerry’s body and mouth are obviously still around. The question is, “Where did his soul go?” Or, perhaps, “To whom did he sell his soul?”

  4. The Millennials have basically received little or no information on the Nakba and therefore are not familiar with the root cause of the conflict. The increased awareness of the Nakba through the efforts of activists and organizations throughout the world will appeal to the Millennials’ higher regard for humanity.

  5. How deeply the US is ensnared in this ineluctable danse macabre with Israel was perhaps best revealed on Real Time with Bill Maher this past Friday. He and his panel took the opportunity of the events of the past few weeks to go on a bigoted screed against Arabs and Islam. The conversation on this show spear-headed by this alleged bane of the conservative media may as well have been a meeting of AIPAC.

    What was really despicable was the ahistorical nature of the conversation, which was devoted in no small part to dumping the blame on Hamas, with no historical context (Nakba, what Nakba?), and certainly no discussion about the iron grip Israel has imposed on Gaza. I suppose if my land were appropriated, my medical services shut down, my means of livelihood unjustly removed, my entire community effectively reduced to a prison-like existence, and – the last straw – my children periodically killed in cold blood, that I’d be launching a few rockets too. What really made my blood boil was the panegyric to Israel about how industrious and “kick-ass” it was, as though it had achieved that on its own without vast amounts of assistance from the US in terms of money and weapons – not to mention manpower in its army in the form of young people who hold dual citizenship.

    But we don’t get that from Maher – instead he gets to add Islamophobe to his proudly won title of misogynist. And this is what passes for Liberal today. Gosh, I wonder why they hate us so much?

    • Maher lost me a long time ago when he said he admired Colin Powell – after Powell’s contemptible speech at the UN on February 5, 2003 and the subsequent carnage from shock and awe in Baghdad.

      • Oh, I’ve not been a fan for a long time, though his monologues are still pretty decent at the show’s opening. He really lost me a couple of weeks ago when he went on a rant against mixing weed and booze. All I could think of was the words of Ygritte in Game of Thrones: “You know nothing Jon Snow”.

    • For a truly cringe-worthy experience, Google “Maher Netanyahu” for his lap-dog interviews of Netanyahu.

    • Another example of how the veil of denial about the Nakba distorts the dialogue of the conflict in Palestine. Efforts to accelerate the enlightenment and education about the Nakba should be expanded on an ongoing basis during this period of heightened interest and awareness.

  6. This is one ‘baby boomer’ who couldn’t be more appalled by the savagery of Israel’s onslaught. I’m also Jewish, and sometime feel ashamed for my co-religionists, though I know there are fair and sympathetic ones among them. What bothers me the most is that the MSM here and the politicians actually think this all started with Hamas’ rockets, not with ‘administrative’ detentions (and killings), and a brutal siege of Gaza and the theft of Palestinian land and water, etc, etc ad nauseam. Even in Israel there’s more balance in the media and in the body politic.

  7. “Kerry’s exasperation with Israeli brutality is shared around the world, though, as with Kerry, most public figures won’t express it in the open.” -J. Cole

    Why not is the question begging to be answered.

    • Years ago, an Israeli cell phone company won the contract for Capitol Hill cell phone coverage.

      Just imagine what it uncovered. And exploited.

  8. Here’s what’s happened after the earlier gutsy NBC story.

    NBC inexplicably tried to remove the reporter who witnessed the Israeli shelling of the boys at the beach.

    Their initial excuse was it was ‘unsafe’, at the same time were sending in another unqualified reporter.

    They reversed the decision. Its unknown whether it was social media pressure or other political pressure for the earlier decision.

    This is the environment. At least it didn’t totally end on a bad note.

    link to dailykos.com

    link to mondoweiss.net

  9. Also a CNN reporter was removed when she tweeted that she was threatened by a bunch of Israeli guys who were cheering missiles on Gaza and who said they would bomb her car if she said anything wrong. She ended off calling them scum.

    link to politico.com

  10. Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid have been doing a damn good job at trying to accurately report what is going on in the conflict. Melissa Harris Perry that last three weeks has had Hillary Mann Leverett on with other guest to discuss the issue. Real efforts of sharing the facts on the ground. Today Rula Jebreal went off on MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow talking about the media’s decades long roll in inaccurately covering the conflict. Quite the truth teller. Daily Beast Eli Lake could not bring himself to tell the truth about this fact. That the MSM has been complicit with Israel’s views for decades. The situation is clearly changing. What is with Senator (voted for the Iraq war) Feinstein (she should be investigated for her families profiting from the Iraq war) lecturing Putin about “taking responsibility” and “manning up” for heavens sake. This woman is partially responsible for going along with the invasion of Iraq and she has the arrogance to bring up deaths of innocents. Aye yi yi. No one in the MSM actually showing accurate maps of the West Bank always showing it as one contiguous piece of land. Never talk about Palestinians right to protect themselves or their land.

  11. It’s terrifying watching someone self-destruct in front of you. Watching a country do it is even more horrifying.

    Israel may still be around for a good long time, but its public fall from grace has begun and there will come a time that publicly supporting Israel’s policies of annexation, collective punishment and pre-emptive warfare will become political suicide no matter how much money its supporters throw around.

    • Over the last 10000+ years, human behavior has actually been fairly consistent. That is, we repeatedly make the same mistakes, even though all of our classical literature (Art of War, Bible, Torah, Confucius, etc) clearly documents what mistakes to avoid. Humans just can not help themselves when their egos, power madness, racism and superiority complexes kick in. Once that happens, all rational thought disappears.

      Right now Israelis are in the middle of a massive paranoid delusion with no capability of rational thought. As a result, they are on a steep downward path that will ensure that Israel does not exist in 30 years.

      History says that most colonial invaders get defeated by the locals and make no mistake, the Jewish Israelis are unwelcome colonial invaders. As many people have pointed out, Israel can not kill its way to peace and prosperity because eventually the humans they are brutalizing will find a way to turn the situation around.

      If one takes a macro view of history, it is easy to see how power constantly flows from one group of humans to other groups of humans over time and no group of humans can retain power for very long. The US and Israel have some power today, but will not be able to retain it. In the case of the US, it may not suffer too much from its decrease in power, but with Israel, the loss of power will very probably lead to the end of Israel and the scattering of most of the Jewish inhabitants to other parts of the globe.

      You are correct that Israel is in the process of self destruction and I see very little possibility of any rational change of behavior. As a result, the smartest Israelis should probably leave sooner rather than later because things will just get uglier.

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