In America, most flag waving, apple pie eating Christians are familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath. This story has all the attributes of the underdog coming out on top that Americans love to lap up with their New York Times and morning cup of joe. Alas, the government of Israel knows all too well how Americans love their mythologies…from the one about the noble settlers (murdering conquerors) who had a bountiful feast with the savage Indians (rightful land dwellers) at Plymouth Rock to the African American POTUS who represents the culmination of the civil rights era and not the cynical, co-opting of it. For most of my naive, apolitical life, I passively bought the story hook, line, and sinker about how Israel represents poor, little David standing up to the Philistine Goliath’s who would do them no little harm. In the Bible, when the two face off in the Valley of Elah, Goliath (giant) has on the full armor and shield of the warrior while David (little boy) has a shepherd’s staff and slingshot. We all know how the story ends and, unfortunately, so do the psyops specialists employed by certain, savvy governments to “win the hearts and minds” of the people. In the latest episode of The Real World Tel Aviv, the audience finds out that Israel, with the explicit acquiescence of the U.S. government, has perfected the art of stage managing the discourse by taking on the coveted role of the perpetual victim, who is only acting in self-defense against the ruthless barbarians at the gates. There is one major flaw in this recycled tale which is the reason why any public school teacher will tell you that context is a prerequisite to comprehension. In order to unwind the yarn this fabrication is spun from, we have to concede that when God created the coin on the sixth day he made two sides to it. This is undoubtedly why he needed a nap on the seventh day. The flip side of this coin known as the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” reveals a story so heartbreaking and tragic that it gives lie to the falsehood that Americans love to root for the underdog. The reality is that many Americans enjoy the perks and privileges that life affords them by having the biggest guns and baddest bombs on the global block and few countries have benefitted more from this splintered personality than the state of Israel.
Like many other myths in my life, I once bought into the script spoonfed to me that featured Israel as a beacon of democracy surrounded by a supporting cast of hummus-loving infidels. The main reason for this ignorance was my willingness to allow others to tell me what their version of the truth was rather than search for it myself. This left me an easy mark for the powers that be rewriting history to dictate the conversations in my head on the rare occasions when even I thought about political events within the framework of my flat earth worldview. While more than 1,000 airstrikes, supplemented by American made drones, have pounded Gaza, the narrative stays the same that Israel is acting in self-defense. Hmm, let’s see…Israel is a thermonuclear nation defending itself against a population that has to bring their supplies in through tunnels from Egypt and is not allowed to receive humanitarian aid or export goods to build their economy? The Palestinian fighter firing rockets from his shoulder is the equivalent of bringing a Swiss army knife to a gunfight. In what world is this argument even feasible from “respected” thinkers? But…but…the Palestinians strap bombs to their chests and blow up innocent civilians. Well, dear readers, again context is indispensable for comprehension. It’s a common tactic in wars of attrition to create the conditions economically, politically and psychologically, in which one side oppresses the other side to the point where tension and resentment build like a pot of boiling water to the point where violence seems like the only option. This is exactly what the oppressor wants as it then gives them the previously absent moral justification for the use of force to deal with the matter. When someone reads about a suicide bomber killing people in a crowded bus the reflexive reaction is that the victims have a right to defend themselves by any means necessary. Again, that two sides to every coin adage pops up its annoying head to remind us that the people of Gaza are the ones crowded into an out of sight out of mind concentration camp under conditions that are reminiscent of apartheid South Africa or the segregation-era American South. Maybe the U.N. should just finally start calling Gaza and the West Bank reservations so at least they can build some casinos there.
The recent military actions in Gaza were precipitated by the killing by Israeli soldiers of a 13 year-old Palestinian boy playing soccer. This war of terror™ will not be televised by the Main Street media because they are too busy reporting on generals gone wild. What carefully measured reporting there is coming forth from the corporate controlled media has focused on the rocket attacks raining down on innocent Israeli civilians. The cognitive dissonance required to think that rockets fired from the clavicle are analagous to the shocking and awesome arsenal possessed by the Israeli military, much of it financed by tens of millions of George Washingtons every year from American taxpayers, that includes heavy artillery, armored tanks, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, battleships, submarines, ballistic missiles, and F-16 fighter jets illuminates the national case of Stockholm syndrome that too many of my countrymen suffer from. As long as we identify to a greater degree with our captors, it prevents us from relating to our fellow captives whose subjugation is typically less complete than our own. At least, most Palestinians have no illusions that the government of Israel is working towards their best interests and not their destruction. While we argue over partisan politics in America, the ruling class behind the curtains are planning to import real austerity, aka the fiscal cliff, in full force to American citizens after taking it for a years long test drive in the Eurozone. It’s humbling to realize how much bloggers and independent journalists like Arthur Silber, Chris Floyd, and Linh Dinh, among others, have helped to change my thinking about my government. Meanwhile, as the story in Gaza continues to unfold, hopefully the real life boys (and girls) with stones will find support and solidarity from the global community in their struggle to overcome the giant in their midst and may November 29th be their independence day. Peace and prayers to the people of Gaza and to the Israeli citizens caught in the crossfire.