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CNN: Blaming the Palestinian Victim

As Palestinians continue to struggle under the heavy, deadly hand of U.S.-sponsored Israeli oppression, the world’s governments mainly ignore them. This is business as usual for most governments, including U.S. officials, many of whom are ‘PEP’ – Progressive Except for Palestine.

March 30 is Land Day in Palestine, a day commemorated annually to mark events first held in 1976, in response to a major land theft announced by Israel. This year, tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators camped and marched on the Palestinian side of the Palestine – Israel border, once again demanding the basic human rights that the world community has refused them. In response, Israeli snipers killed at least 18 unarmed Palestinians.

On April 1, CNN’s loftily titled ‘International Diplomatic Editor’, Nic Robertson, offered his pearls of wisdom on this situation. He wasted no time in both showing his ignorance of the current events, and his desire to blame the victim.

We will look at just a few quotations from his ill-informed editorial. We will start with the title of the article.

“The Timing of the Gaza Protest is No Coincidence.”

Is there anyone who is familiar with the situation in Palestine who thought it was a coincidence? The organizers were clear from the start: the demonstration would start on Land Day and continue to May 15, the day of the Nakba, or catastrophe, when, on that date in 1948, three-quarters of a million Palestinians were displaced from their homes, with no voice in the matter, no choice and no recompense. Does Robertson not know that this current protest was to be a major event, planned carefully to hopefully draw international attention to the plight of the Palestinians? Or did he, in his oh-so-insightful way, see that those crafty Palestinians were up to something, hidden from view but obvious to his particular brand of cleverness?

In this bizarre article. Roberson recognized that the scheduled end of the protest coincides with the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, something which the Palestinians and the vast majority of the world oppose. Said he, again demonstrating that particular intelligence that is clear throughout his article: “Given that Palestinians oppose this move, the timing of the protest is not likely a coincidence.” Right.

“Like so many battles of yesteryear, both sides arrive to this current field of conflict carrying a weight of historic grievances, armed with today’s political imperatives.”

Let’s look for a moment at some of these ‘historic grievances’. Palestinians were driven from their homes so the United Nations could establish the state of Israel.  Hundreds of ancient Palestinians villages were bulldozed, leaving not a trace. Sacred shrines and cemeteries received the same fate. Since that time, using the advanced weaponry that the U.S. provides to Israel, thousands of additional Palestinian men, women and children have been killed, arrested, illegally jailed, displaced, beaten, abused and disregarded by Israeli law. This is ongoing to this day.

On the other hand, Israel must contend with Palestinians throwing stones at its occupying soldiers, and occasionally even slapping one of them. Yes, as Robertson said, there are grievances on both sides.

“Israeli officials are convinced Hamas is challenging the status quo of Gaza’s limits and is ready to throw down civilian lives to achieve it.”

Yes, the murders of at least 18 unarmed Palestinians by Israeli snipers, and the injury to at least 700 more, injured with live ammunition, is all Palestine’s fault!

“In public statements before the confrontation, Israeli officials said an attack on the border fence is an attack on Israel’s sovereignty and pulled no punches on what a response could look like.”

Robertson neglects a few pertinent facts here, so we will inform him. The vast majority of the protesters were hundreds of yards away from the fence, ON PALESTINIAN LAND. Yet many were shot by Israeli snipers. To read Robertson’s words, one would think that hundreds or even thousands of Palestinians stormed the fence. Yes, a few dozen did approach the fence, but at all times they remained on Palestinian land. And, as mentioned earlier, some of the pesky Palestinians actually threw stones at the ‘brave’ Israeli snipers, who were heavily armed and outfitted against them. All this was happening while Israeli drones dropped tear gas on unarmed and defenseless Palestinians on their own land.

“To make their message clear, the Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic website posted a video of a young man being shot in the leg; it was accompanied by the caption: ‘This is what will happen to you if you try to get close to our border.’”

Robertson sees no problem with Palestinians being threatened for committing the ‘crime’ of being ‘close’ to the Israeli border. He did not choose to comment on that at all.

“It is hard to ignore the calculation on Hamas’s part that some of their protesters would get killed.”

Was this Hamas’ ‘calculation’, or an expectation, based on Hamas’, and the world’s, knowledge of the savagery of Israel? Robertson, like most U.S. government officials, seems to see Palestinians demanding equal rights from their apartheid oppressor as something that is ‘calculated’ by a scheming ‘terror’ organization.

In 2014, Robertson met with Khaled Meshaal Hamas’ political leader. In the current article, he says this: “He told me that Hamas does not seek international sympathy through its own victims. Today, that notion is increasingly questioned amid criticism that the group is once again sacrificing civilians for political gain.”

Once again, he is blaming the victim. The government of Gaza is right to encourage its citizens to peacefully demonstrate for their rights. The government of Israel is in violation of international law by shooting them and tear-gassing them. Yet it is the Palestinians in whom Robertson sees culpability.

It has been some time since this writer has seen such a blatantly one-sided, biased article about Palestinian’s struggles on a ‘mainstream’ news site. Generally, although Israel is usually seen as defending its ‘national security’, there is usually some bone thrown to Palestinian aspirations for peace, freedom and human rights. But CNN’s ‘International Diplomatic Editor’ was content to find fault only with the Palestinians, a people who have been brutally oppressed by Israel for decades.

Thankfully, Robertson is in the minority, although it is far more than a shame that he is given a national audience. The unspeakable injustices committed against the Palestinians seem to not only continue, but also increase, as more of the world stands up to Israel. Eventually, however, justice will prevail; it’s tragic that so many innocent Palestinians must suffer and die before that occurs.

Originally published by Counterpunch.

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Filed under Apartheid, BDS, Gaza, Human Rights, Israel, Militarism, Palestine, Political Musings, Uncategorized

CNN as Propaganda

With a variety of news sites, real and artificial, at his disposal, this writer always takes a few minutes out of his day to glance at CNN. He rushes to assure the reader that this is not to obtain news; CNN is in the entertainment and propaganda business. It is not a genuine news reporting outlet.

But, knowing that CNN is a popular program that many people mistake for news, this writer wants to know what these multitudinous lemmings are being fed, and what they are told to think, and to care about.

Last week, he was once again astounded by ‘news’ as presented by CNN. The article was one expressing shock and dismay about a recent ‘tweet’ by the incompetent egomaniac currently ensconced in the White House. United States President Donald Trump taunted the North Korean government, basically saying ‘my nuclear arsenal is bigger than yours’, sounding more like a schoolyard bully than a world leader.

CNN’s analysts, needless to say, were outraged, as any thinking person should be. But there were other comments slyly inserted that are the focus of this writer’s concern. We will look at them in some detail.

  • “The tweet was remarkable not just for its content but for the fact it was generated by a President, the holder of the office that for decades has been the effective guarantor of a US-enforced 70-year era of global peace.”

On what planet, one must ask, has this 70-year era of global peace existed? Certain not earth, since that alleged guarantor of peace has been at war for at least 223 years of its 242 year existence. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the U.S. has been the effective guarantor of a 70-year era of global warfare?

Do these CNN so-called analysts spend all their time in some ivory tower, unaware that the U.S., in the last 70 years, has bombed at least 33 countries? How on earth do they define ‘peace’?

  • The tweet “…illustrates how he (Trump) has turned the United States from being a bulwark of stability and sobriety in the international system into an agent of disruption and unpredictability in his own volatile image.”

According to the learned analysts at CNN, the U.S. has been a ‘bulwark of stability and sobriety.’ Careening off from one disastrous military misadventure to another; destabilizing democratically-elected governments either because they lean too far to the left, of they challenge Apartheid Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East, appears, to CNN analysts, as stable and sober behavior. Ignoring the millions of people who march to prevent ill-advised wars, such as was done prior to the invasion of Iraq, represents, according to CNN analysts, ‘stability and sobriety’. Acting as a dishonest broker between Israel and Palestine, all the while favoring Israeli interests and disdaining international law and the human rights aspirations of the occupied Palestinians, somehow qualifies the U.S. to be referred to as a ‘bulwark of stability and sobriety’.

These two quotations were the most astounding in the article, but there were others worthy of note. We will review just one.

  • “Trump’s fraught day is also likely to raise new questions about his temperament and capacity to fulfill the profound responsibilities of his position….” You think? Are there really any new questions that can be raised about his temperament? Chief of Staff John Kelly stated that he had never been spoken to, in thirty-five years of government employment (he called it service, but he’s a career military man, so ‘service’ is a misnomer), as Trump speaks to him. Trump remains obsessed about crowd sizes, and still talks about the margin of his election victory, claiming still that he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes due to voter fraud, evidence of which exists nowhere.

As far as his ‘capacity to fulfill the profound responsibilities of his position’, he proved more than once during the campaign, and countless times since then, that few people with less ability have ever been nominated by a major party. He appeals to the basest instincts of the most ignorant members of the population, and was only elected because the Democrats fixed the nomination process for one of the most polarizing candidates in recent history.

So, dear reader, these are the lessons to be learned by that august site, CNN: The world has been at peace since World War II; please don’t talk to veterans, war widows, orphans or parents who lost loved ones during the less-than-peaceful periods of the Korean War, Vietnam War, or during conflicts in Haiti, Grenada, Yemen, Syria, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, Libya, or any of the dozens of other times the U.S. has attacked another nation. And despite all that, and violence in the streets, political assassinations, torture of political prisoners and support for the most brutal and repressive of regimes (see: Israel; Saudi Arabia), the U.S. is a ‘bulwark of stability and sobriety.’

CNN and Trump are not fans of each other, but CNN certainly serves as an effective cheerleader for the violent, oppressive and corrupt U.S. government. But ‘news’ reporting (read: government propaganda) transcends any one president. The powers behind the throne, the people who grow ever richer due to arms sales, who wish to order the world to their twisted way of thinking, firmly maintaining their positions of the 1% as separate, distinct and far removed from the 99%, care little about who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at any given time. The names change, but the policies, with cosmetic differences, remain the same.

That Trump may be more dangerous than his predecessors is an open question; the CNN article sited herein mentions that other presidents have considered using nuclear weapons, which only shows their lack of knowledge and morality. Such weapons should not exist, let alone be even considered for use. The global disaster of even a ‘limited’ nuclear war (if such a thing is even possible), should motivate every world leader to destroy their nuclear arsenal.

But no, that is not to be the case, when madmen such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu all have such weapons. If one of them decides to push the button, civilization as we know it will end, with the very real possibility that all life on earth will be extinguished. Propaganda pieces from CNN do not help to avoid this potential disaster.

 

 

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