What About Israel’s “Right to Defend Itself”?

December 9, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The following transcript is excerpted from an interview with Revolution correspondent Alan Goodman on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio, November 23, 2012.

Slate: It’s horrendous when you actually investigate what’s going on here. One of the things I was looking at in terms of the media coverage—there’s been a slew of things. If they show something from the people in Gaza, and what they’re suffering under, they have shown—at least the LA Times, a few other papers that I’ve seen have bent over backwards to present sort of, “Well, it’s sort of an equal situation,” and they’ll show Israelis like, getting out of their vans and hiding behind the van and rockets coming in, and they always make it appear to be this sort of equal, equal thing: They’re both to blame, they’re both suffering, it’s equal suffering. It calls into question, one, the nature of the media coverage, and also the question of complicity, in particular with a lot of the media in the U.S.

Goodman: Well, I think that’s true, but we’ve got a short show, or a short segment, so let’s get to the heart of things. I think, you know, underlying a lot of this, and this paralyzes even a lot of good people. For example, take our friends at Democracy Now! I’ve been watching Amy Goodman’s coverage of this situation. She had a defender of Zionism on a couple nights ago, and she continually challenged him, correctly so, on the incredible disproportionality of death. I mean Israel is reporting five deaths, but nothing even in the ballpark of the kind of widespread terror, death and suffering that’s been inflicted on the Palestinian people.

But the defender of Zionism kept coming back to, well, look, you know, Israel has a right to defend itself. And until people deconstruct, demystify and refute the whole underlying premise behind this, good people are going to be way too paralyzed.

Theft of Palestinian Land - 1947 to PresentThere’s two salient facts that people need to understand. One is: Israel was and is literally built on the blood, bones, land and homes of Palestinian people stolen through terrorist ethnic cleansing. To talk about Israel’s right to defend itself no more corresponds to the actual terms of things than if someone went into your house, drove you out, shot up the house, killed a couple of your family members and sprayed machine gun fire around the place and as you were running out yelled, “I do have a right to defend myself, don’t I?”

This is what happened. This stuff’s documented. I really want to encourage your listeners to go to revcom.us/israel for a special issue of Revolution on Israel that documents this in a lot of detail, drawing on Zionist sources in many cases.

So that’s one thing. And the second thing is that Israel’s role in the world is as an enforcer of capitalism and imperialism. What does Israel supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa, or playing a key role in the massacre of 200,000 indigenous Guatemalan peasants in the 1980s have to do with defending yourselves?

So these are facts—and yes, we are going up against an enforced narrative. It’s not just the LA Times that’s got that perspective. CNN, and unfortunately again, too many people who are correctly appalled by what Israel is doing to the Palestinians—we all need to get out of that framework that the media and Obama and all of them are imposing on us that no one can question Israel’s quote-unquote “right to defend itself.”

Listen to the full interview with Alan Goodman talking about Israel's Murderous Assault on the People in Gaza... And the Need to Oppose These Crimes NOW on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK (11-23-12)
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