We all have a sense of our own. If our mother or child is hurt in some way, it affects us more than the same happening elsewhere. This extends into shaping communities: be they based on nationality, language, race, politics, religion or culture more broadly, identifying with a subset of humanity needs no explanation. We all get it.
But across the fault line between Jews and Arabs over the state of Israel, two alliances are looking increasingly ridiculous from the outside – that of Muslim solidarity with the Palestinians, and Anglo-American solidarity with the Jews.
As per the stream of news flowing from the major networks, the current round of violence began when three settler teenagers were abducted and killed whilst hitch hiking in the occupied West Bank.
Leaving aside the telling ‘Why?’, (i.e. of ‘Day One’ being marked with an Israeli death), the focus on the essential human-ness of the deceased Jews, and the visceral loss and pain of their family and friends, is most instructive. Here’s Channel 4 news, sharing with us that ‘…Gilad, 16, was a movie buff and amateur pastry chef, whilst Eyal was a good cook, who loved his sport, too…’
The idea that a slain Arab would be considered in terms broader than ‘+1’ on some dead Wog count is, frankly, laughable – and therein lies the rub. Indeed, Western media has consistently driven home two, inter-related themes: the Jew as an eternal and uncomplicated victim, and the Palestinian as an eternal and uncomplicated villain. Here’s the New York Times from 2nd July 2014, distilling these essential ingredients on one page:
The BBC, too, have fallen over themselves to downplay the massive disparity in military might and scale of loss, between the two sides. On the 10th July, after a night of bombing which led to 50+ Palestinian deaths and 0 Israeli deaths, the BBC chose a collage of four pictures to capture the state of play: one of the four was of Jihadis and zero were of bombed Gazans:
Later in the week, BBC radio ran the headline '...Palestinian officials say at least 192 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes over the past week, whilst Israel says more than 1,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza.'
192...1000... One presumes a headline stating 192 Palestinian deaths and 0 Israeli deaths, would simply have been unacceptable. Who could blame the casual listener for concluding that Israel was under existential threat? And yet, to give some perspective, 28 Israelis have been killed by Gazan rocket fire since 2001, whereas in 2013 alone, there were 303 traffic fatalities in Israel. So much for the existential threat…
Furthermore, what has *not* been reported by the mainstream media, is just as telling. Whilst we are all familiar with pictures portraying the indoctrination of Palestinian kids, images showing the degree of hatred of Israelis for Palestinians, have, poignantly, not been widely picked up:
To be sure, the 2nd photo is of an Israeli girl signing a missile destined for Gaza, and the 3rd is of Israelis eating popcorn as they watch the 'show' of bombs falling.
All this begs the glaringly obvious question – ‘Why?’ Why is Israel’s account credited with a blank cheque of Anglo-American support, no matter what?
A similar question can be asked of the Muslim Ummah – Why the tsunami of rage over Palestine, when barely a ripple registers on violent death being meted out in far greater numbers, by Jihadis? Muslims the world over have taken to the streets and marched in protest over Gaza, but where is the same outpouring over, say, Boko Haram’s insurgency which, in the first half of 2014 alone, led to over 2000 civilian deaths across 95 separate attacks?
ISIS are, at the time of writing, busy expunging Iraq of its millennia-old Christian community. Yes, there has been some response, but nothing like the same global outcry, as over Gaza. Thus whilst Muslims are rallying under the banner of Human Rights, it is largely the Jewish context that is heating up emotion.
This anti-Imperial (rather than pro-Human Rights) stance becomes more obvious, when considering the case of Pakistan. Since 2004, the war between the Pakistan army and various Jihadi factions has cost nearly 50,000 civilian lives and displaced up to 3.5m people. According to the Pakistan Ministry of Finance-issued Economic Survey 2010–11, "Pakistan has never witnessed such a devastating social and economic upheaval in its industry, even after dismemberment of the country by a direct war with India in 1971." And yet, Pakistanis get more inflamed over an American drone strike inflicting ‘collateral damage’.
And in probably the best example ever of small-penis complex, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saw fit to side-step the myriad problems at home and assume the delusional role of Global Muslim Champion, (one which presumably excludes the Muslims he is killing at home, in Balochistan and FATA).
In Pakistan today, there are madrassa ‘graduates’ who await their reward of 72 virgins to fuck till eternity, and all for blowing up a police station, hotel or disco. One hopes that whilst basic education is, admittedly, not as macho as saving Palestine, perhaps some of Mr Sharif’s concern – and the Ummah’s energy and rage - could be invested in that..?
Since the July 2014 Israeli land incursion into Gaza, much international sympathy has flowed towards the Palestinians. They would do well to use this goodwill, and not wed their future to the black flag of the Jihadis. For whilst the Ummah remains unmoved unless blood is spilt by Americans or Jews, their rage becomes easy to dismiss; and they can offer no traction. Similarly, unless Anglo-Americans stop prostrating themselves before Israel, their claim to hold the moral high ground, to be on the side of ‘right and not might’, is beyond risible.