Israel contempt for loss of life in Gaza

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PostSat Jan 31, 2009 2:35 pm » by Funkt33

A suffocating consensus of self-congratulationThe role played by the World Jewish Congress as cheerleader for Israel does no favours for Jews around the world ... h-freedman

Seth Freedman, Thursday 29 January 2009 11.30 GMT larger | smaller Article historyAccording to the constitution of the World Jewish Congress, the association's purpose is to "foster the unity, and represent the interests, of the Jewish people"; a weighty mantle to assume, especially given the sheer diversity of the various strands of world Jewry. Despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the WJC's 13th Plenary Assembly in Jerusalem, it was clear that the body had no chance of living up to such lofty expectations, precisely because of the make-up of the delegates and their failure to adhere to their own code of practice.

Instead of staying "politically non-partisan and represent[ing] the plurality of the Jewish people", the gathering was simply an opportunity for out-and-out posturing, from the top down. Ron Lauder, scion of the cosmetics family and WJC president, made it his mission from the off to express unambiguous support for the Israeli government, an example repeatedly followed by the rest of the delegates.

While the WJC is a fairly toothless and unrepresentative organisation, the high profile of its leadership means it has the pulling power to attract guests from the uppermost echelons of Israeli politics. Thus, in the space of eight hours, delegates were treated to live performances by the cream of Israeli politics: Shimon Peres, Bibi Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, all appearing before an adoring crowd of disciples.

The overriding message from the stage was that Israel had conducted an incredibly moral and well-behaved war in Gaza; the overwhelming response from the audience was that they agreed entirely.

It was painful to witness the way in which the various government ministers were resoundingly applauded for Cast Lead. The more I've learned about the devastation wreaked by the IDF on Gaza, the more contrite I've become about my initial support for such an attack on Hamas. However, I was in a tiny minority at the WJC, and forced to listen to delegate after delegate standing up to congratulate Peres, Barak and Isaac Herzog for their roles in the operation.

"The spokesman's English was flawless, which really helped get Israel's point of view across," kvelled one eager attendee. "We all thought your PR campaign was brilliant this time round." Perhaps, but what about the savage bombing campaign in the first place? English-speaking apologists for the mass-killing of civilians are all well and good for an Israel-right-or-wrong audience in Anglophone countries, yet not so effective with Pakistani and Indonesian viewers who don't understand English, but who comprehend entirely pictures and video of dead women and children.

Barak asserted that "he found the support on the [Israeli] street heartwarming, with people proud of the IDF … and their attempts to minimise civilian casualties," a statement cueing yet more sycophantic applause from the audience, and a delegate responding: "We are very impressed by the way you handled this terrible war."

Peres maintained that objecting voices in Britain should be ignored, asking: "Did they protest the bombing of Israelis in the 90s?" He then chose to belittle the British activists and the BBC in one fell swoop: "With respect, the world is a bit wider than [just them] – they don't criticise us in India, and the majority of the US population understands what we're doing too."

Minister Herzog also mentioned the BBC in passing, noting that their decision not to air the DEC appeal "shows that people understand that there are two sides to every story", the implication being that any money donated to destitute and suffering Gazans will, by definition, be turned into weapons by Hamas (despite DEC assurances to the contrary).

Instead of adhering to the millennia-old Jewish tradition of healthy discourse and heated debate, as witnessed in every stage of the oral law's dissemination, the new way of thinking appears to be to show a constantly united front, particularly when it comes to Israel. As one prominent delegate told me chidingly, "It's better to stay silent than to criticise Israel, especially at the moment."

The "Keep it in the family" rhetoric was nothing new, but made all the more chilling precisely because if that's the way the leadership of the WJC try to "foster the unity of the Jewish people", they're getting into a dangerous game. Not least because they are playing right into the hands of those who would paint all Jews as ardent Zionists, and all Zionists as apologists for Israel's misdemeanours.

Just as numerous Jews routinely distance themselves from Israel's actions by declaring "not in my name", they should do likewise with regard to the WJC. Because, for all the self-important cheerleading going on inside the halls of the Inbal Hotel, the WJC represents only itself and its cosy group of acolytes. Shimon Peres is not the president of the Jewish people; nor is Ron Lauder. And the more Jews speak out against the manipulative stances of both men, the better for the real interests of world Jewry – such as security, integrity and communal continuity.

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PostSat Jan 31, 2009 3:40 pm » by Funkt33

Please note that it is a small minority of jewish people who support the above concenus and many people from the jewish community are trying to highlight the wrong doings of the elite.
Many jewish peace groups are trying to create a voice of unity against violence in Gaza and across the world but the mainstream media seem to report less and less of the true voice of the people and there wishes.


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PostSat Jan 31, 2009 3:53 pm » by Towelie

Its easy to say the WJC doesnt speak for all Jews, but thats who people look to. It doesnt look like Israel will have to pay for the war crimes commited - then again thats how things go in this day and age, no goverment seems to ever have to answer for there crimes.
Kill em all and let god sort them out!

Atheism is a non-prohet organisation.

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PostSat Jan 31, 2009 5:20 pm » by Funkt33

I agree with you Towelie i just wanted to point out that not all people think this way. It is easy to point the finger at a race , religion, colour or creed. as it is easy to rubbish someone as being a racist, antisemetic or a religious bigot.

Yes they probably will get away with it once again, sad as this is. A few top U.N. officals have asked for investigations into the crimes commited but they were only quoted in backstreet journals, People are waking up to immorality of the ruling elite the wave of dissent is growing and the average man is now affected and starting to ask questions lets not call them the sheeply anymore lets embrace and educate them together.


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