• Israeli politicians have staged this "bloodbath" in order to bolster their chances in the February elections• as the world's fourth-largest arms exporter, Israel is using Gaza as a "field for experimenting [sic] their military equipment"• the ground incursion was “first step of full re-occupation”• Israel's government "seems not to consider Palestinians equal human beings," for "Israel is conducting this terrible war not on[sic] Hamas, but on Palestinian children"• therefore, "it's like Warsaw Ghetto" [sic]
"The Jewish religion says you cannot fix your car on Saturday--but you can kill people."
We can discern several potent and consistent principles of historical-political distortion:
1) Establish a monocausal, unilinear narrative that elides or deliberately misconstrues historical complexities:
• Eqbal lecture (2003; from the account of a sympathetic attendee and activist):
[The lecture] opened with [. . . ] a brief history of Israel’s 56 year-long land grab which started with a 1947 proposal for 55% of the Palestinian territory, that soon expanded to 78%.
And if Ariel Sharon has his way with an annexed Palestine, Israel will own 91% or more of the original territory with Palestinians living on less than 9% of what had once been Palestine, Barghouthi began.
• CNN (2009):
the Gaza operation is “first step of full re-occupation” because Israelis practice “apartheid” and “now conduct one war after another.”In this view, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians was not a tragic struggle between two just causes (as both early Zionists and modern Israeli peace activists have described it—rare is the public Arab voice that sees two just causes rather than only one [1, 2]), and instead, just the consistent and persistent story of Zionist expansionism. Makes things much simpler, after all.
As noted earlier--and is usually the case—it is nowhere explained that the shrinking amount of Palestinian territory might have something to do with Palestinian and other Arab errors of omission and commission: (1) first and foremost, their rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Resolution that would have established a (much larger) Palestinian state living alongside a Jewish one. (2) Jordan’s belated and foolish decision to enter the 1967 War—although that front had been quiet—thereby losing East Jerusalem and the West Bank (territories that it it annexed in 1950--a step that only Britain and Pakistan formally recognized).
2) Decontextuaize your other facts, the better to persuade the uninformed:
• Eqbal lecture (2003):
since “the 29th of September 2000 . . . there were 2,654 Palestinians killed”
• CNN (2009):
the Israeli government “seems not to consider Palestinians equal human beings” because “Israel is conducting this terrible war not on Hamas but on Palestinian children.”In the first case, the narrative conveniently neglects to mention that the figure represents combatant as well as civilian deaths--because the date represents the start of the armed Palestinian Second Intifada.
In the second case, even if one accepts Barghouti’s insistence that Israel rather than Hamas began the current conflict, and acknowledges a toll on civilians that legitimately raises concern, one must flatly reject the notion of deliberate targeting of civilians by the IDF as a canard and a calumny. It is ironic that his charge again inadvertently echoes the Hamas Covenant: "In their Nazi treatment, the Jews made no exception for women or children."
3) Use false and inflammatory analogies in order to generate sympathy for your cause and make that for the opponent unacceptable (helpful hint: if at all possible, involving Nazis—because they’re really bad):
• Eqbal lecture (2003).
“This Apartheid Wall is twice as high as the Berlin Wall and three times as long,” he said ticking off the reasons why it has nothing to do with security but rather land theft. “It makes the Berlin Wall look like a toy in comparison.”Size isn't everything. I was not aware that the moral character of a wall--or fence (that's actually what this one is in most places)--was determined by its height and length. The Great Wall of China, after all, is twice as tall (on average) and nearly 60 times as long as the Berlin Wall--and had everything "to do with security."
Still, some reference to the old pre-Bretton Woods, Nazi "gold standard of evil" is de rigueur, as well:
And if Ariel Sharon has his way . . . the 3.6 million Palestinians will be imprisoned in ghettos, reminiscent of but larger than those in Warsaw prior to Germany’s attempt at a Final Solution.And in case that is too subtle (what's a Final Solution?), (1) throw in a reference to popular culture (which is where most of us learn our history) and (2) make your analogy even more explicit:
Barghouthi reminded the audience of the ghetto in the movie, The Pianist. “The Palestinians are the victims of the victims,” he said. “There is a myth that Israel is the victim and Palestine the aggressor."
• CNN (2009):
“it’s like Warsaw Ghetto” [sic]
It’s a shame, really: As a physician, Barghouti has seen the casualties of conflict first-hand. He admits that Hamas should not fire rockets into Israel, and I would like to believe him when he says that he regards all loss of life as regrettable. It is a shame, then, that by so egregiously and repeatedly distorting history, he fans the flames of bigotry and generates more heat than light. Words have consequences, and the repeated use of the Nazi analogy by supposedly responsible and respectable figures such as Barghouti only feeds the hatred and inspires the violent acts of those who do not even pay lip service to the ideal of empathy for the other in a tragic conflict. Does he want to take responsibility for those consequences?
It is a shame. For shame.