There is something particularly pernicious about the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza. The indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian men, women, children and babies is as inhumane as in the two previous mass killings and atrocities. Only this time it was carried out under a renewed vigour and defiance of all international norms and a barrage of propaganda that much of the media has seemed keen to lap up to try to justify the unjustifiable, the blatant immorality of the intransigent aggressor devouring the victims as mere fodder.
Despite the clear scale of war crimes and wanton destruction being screened around the world, the images of such ruthless and gruesome suffering do not appear to be enough to compel much of the international community to condemn let alone to intervene to prevent the killings. It has also failed to influence the coverage and in particularly the BBC from being a virtual mouthpiece for the savage and brutal nature of the Israeli Defence Forces. It has been accompanied by such blanket emotive terminology describing the entire population in Gaza as terrorists, implying that more than 2,000 slaughtered so far, mostly elderly, women, children and babies brought it upon themselves and deserved to be indiscriminately massacred.
Even The Guardian newspaper published a full page advert contradictorily describing the mass killings as “a battle of civilisation versus barbarism” the reverse way around. Suffice to say, it was produced by ‘This World: The Values Network’ a Zionist organisation claiming to promote ‘Jewish values’. The advert was rejected by The Times paper which refused to run it even an amended version. The paper was attacked by pro-Israeli supporters as being anti-Israel. The Times, which is owned by News Corporation, did not give any reason for the refusal. However, other News Corporation newspapers in the US, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, Published the advert. Although The Guardian insisted that publishing it “does not equate to support or endorsement for the views expressed,” it was rightfully condemned by more than 100,000 people in the UK.
The response by the majority of British politicians has been no better, with most even refusing to condemn the barbarity and the callousness of the Israeli regime. The resignation of Foreign Office Minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, over what she called her fellow Conservatives’ “morally indefensible” position on Gaza failed to alter the scurrilous pro-Israel stance take by the Government. Prime Minister, David Cameron, simply said that he “regretted” that she had not discussed her decision to quit with him before announcing it before again insisting that Israel has “the right to defend itself.” Chancellor George Osborne called her resignation “disappointing and frankly unnecessary”.
As Professor Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group said after the previous Israeli atrocities in Gaza in 2011, context is everything. “Images of suffering do not now in themselves affect how audiences see the validity of actions in war. People see the images as tragic, but judgments as to who is right and wrong are now firmly in the hands of the spin doctors.” Israel’s public relations victory, he said, should shame broadcasters. The university’s analysis has repeatedly shown that reporting was dominated by Israeli accounts. It also revealed that many journalists, especially from the BBC, had spoken of the intense pressures they are under that limit criticism of Israel but were unable to raise the issue in public because they were not allowed to.
The depth of the bias is demonstrated by British Muslim athletes being barred from displaying support for Gazans and a Muslim boy band singer being inundated with Israeli death threats, while an Israeli rabbi is uncensored for saying it is okay to kill Palestinian civilians, for President of New York Rabbis to suggest that Israel has a right to kill anyone who voted for Hamas and for Israeli soldiers to cheer with delight as missiles hit Palestinian houses in Gaza.
Those politicians, especially if they are Muslim, who speak out against the Israeli atrocities and demand boycott of Israeli goods, are targeted by the media, other politicians and British Jewish leadership. Birmingham Ladywood Labour MP, Shabana Mahmood, has been campaigning for boycotting goods from illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories. She is also campaigning for the enforcement of guidelines by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tackling the mislabeling of goods from illegal Israeli settlements. These goods are labelled as Israeli products misleading the public.
Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in the West Bank are illegal under international law and opposed by the European Union and the UK Government. However, the UK Government, including the Labour Party, and the EU allow goods from these illegal settlements to enter British markets. So all that Mahmood is doing is opposing something that is illegal under international law and misleading labelling of the goods from illegal Israeli settlements. It is brave of Mahmood, a Labour frontbencher, to defy her Party on human rights issues.
Interfaith, multi-faith, Christian-Muslim and Jewish-Muslim organisations were strangely silent at the atrocities being committed by Israel. None condemned the killings of the innocent women, children, babies and the elderly nor the wanton destruction of their homes, civilian infrastructures and mosques. Interfaith organisations in the UK are there to placate the Muslim communities when major conflicts in which mainly Muslim civilians are the victims. When Israeli civilians are killed by Palestinians, these interfaith groups rightly condemn the atrocities. It is no wonder that the majority of British Muslims do not take the interfaith organisations seriously.
The question is when will the world stand up to Israel and stop it carrying out massacres and atrocities with impunity. The answer is never. Western political and religious leaders, do not believe the life of Palestinians and Muslims is worth even close to that of an Israeli life. Human Rights seem to be reserved for the Judeo-Christian world and people.