Friday, May 9, 2008

Marketing Ethnic Cleansing: Israel Parties Like It's 1948 on its 60th Birthday

This article is too good to be true - alternet sees through the smoke and mirrors. The title here is your link to one great article on the con job that is Israel, American-style - sans Palestine. The latter is effectively hidden behind a wall of silence, written in the word "terrorism" - a term originally invented by Israelis to obfuscate the issues of Palestinian nationality and counter with a term that criminalizes any resistance to the occupation.

Imagine, this 60th Anniversary "Celebration", on the twin anniversary of the Nakba, the expelling of thousands of Palestinians from their homes to make room for the Zionist dream, and the beginning of a war without end, that has destabilized the middle east and the Muslim world for generations. About the Jews having the right to a homeland after the horrors of the Holocaust, there's a powerful public sentiment in their behalf. About taking that homeland by force from people living already on the land in question - well, not so easy to accept. About what to do now.... requires mind, discipline, and a sense of fairness. Who has that?

Meanwhile,In economic terms, you could say that Israel Independence Day has
"market dominance." When most people think of Israel Independence Day -if they
contemplate it at all- they think of it in terms of Israel's national narrative.
But in spite of all the festivities, Israel Independence Day may
be losing some of its market share. Unable to market the brand to at least two
demographics (Muslim and Arab Americans) and losing market share to a generation transformed by a deeper understanding of military occupation (whether in
Palestine, Iraq or Tibet), a quality of desperation seems to underlie the latest
efforts to sell the holiday.
While advocates of Israel Independence Day still market the holiday to the country as a whole, they're increasingly turning to niche markets like health & wellness and adventure travel to achieve their main objective: market saturation.
But is it working?
But the edifice of legend is cracking. M.J. Rosenberg, director of the
Israel Policy Forum, recently wrote about the reluctance of young Jewish
Americans to embrace the Israel of lore, saying in a newsletter that "The
Internet generation is not into tired organizational talking points which mix
facts and myths in equal measure." Rosenberg argues that, "you can't defend the
occupation and sell Israel at the same time."
For those trying to sell Israel
to the public, opinion polls show that, while Americans tend to sympathize more
with Israelis, most people believe that Israelis and Palestinians share the
blame for their conflict -along with the United States. A BBC World Service Poll
released in early April describes the American public as "nearly evenly divided"
in their opinions on Israel. This doesn't jibe with a narrative that casts
Israelis as innocent transplants who got stuck in a bad neighborhood, but are
thriving just the same.
There is a new ethos now: If you feel for one side, you should feel for the
other. Those who subscribe to this view condemn all violence. They put the needs
of the people, Israelis and Palestinians, before everything else. You could call
them the People-First Movement.
The advocates of this movement, many of whom are American Jews and Israelis, believe that the official Israeli story has to be outsold by a new narrative. This means, first, acknowledging all that happened in 1948, including al nakba: the organized killings of Palestinians, the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages, and the expulsion of over seven hundred thousand Palestinians from their land. And it means looking at the US-backed occupation, and the fact that all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank live under the reach of Israeli military power.
The most striking thing about this movement is how grassroots it is.
In the IPF newsletter cited earlier, Rosenberg describes this trend within
the Jewish community: "They are losing the campus battle big time....I'm talking
about young opinion leaders who are turned off by the occupation and identify
Israel with settlers there and neoconservatives like Feith, Perle, and
Krauthammer here. They hate the paranoid style in which all dissent from the
status quo is deemed anti-Israel or anti-Semitic and, generally, have no use for
the mindless emotionalism and ethnic sentimentality that characterize so much of
the organized pro-Israel community. As third or fourth generation Americans,
they cannot be won over with scare tactics about the Holocaust or Ahmedinejad."
Omar Baddar, who works with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation,
explains that "Activism had died down in the 1990s due to the misconception that
the 'peace process' was working and could achieve something. Once that fell
through, and it became obvious that Israel was choosing illegal territorial
expansion over peace with the Palestinians, people felt the need to get active
on the issue again." Baddar believes the movement is growing because it engages
supporters "democratically and on many different levels." The anniversary of Al
Nakba on May 15 provides a focal point.
On April 24, The Washington Post reported on the Bush Administration's
"secret" agreement with Israel to support settlement expansion in the West Bank.
But it's no secret that, even since the Annapolis talks in November, the Israeli
government has authorized a surge of settlement construction in the West Bank
and East Jerusalem. And it's no secret that the US backs virtually all of
Israel's policies: its settlements and separation wall, its occupation and
siege; policies that have strangled the Palestinian people and resulted in many
lost lives on both sides.
But the peace movement is growing, and it's drawing support from people
across the country who think that two safe and viable nations will best serve
the Israeli and Palestinian people. Now that would truly be something to

How likely is this to succeed? It depends on the courage of the grassroots. What'll you have - war with fake peace, or real peace with less hype? The choice is yours.

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