For the sake of honesty and fairness, these types of Pro-Israel talking points need to stop
Since the latest quarrel broke out in the Gaza Strip, we’ve been hearing the same old Pro-Israel talking points coming out of our corporate media and our national leaders. Whether you live in the US, Canada or Great Britain, you can be sure to overhear the same tired rhetoric that we’ve been hearing for years.
While some of the information might be true, you can’t help but call bullshit on certain things that don’t hold any water. They are often simple phrases people use to shelter Israel in a positive light or something that advances their credibility to carry out terrible policies.
Israel has a right to defend itself
We’ve all heard this one. The Conservative Party of Canada and both parties in the US use it so often, you’d think it’s a verbal tick they can’t get rid of. While it is a true statement, it leads to the misconception that Israel is never the aggressor. This time around in particular.
The fact is, we all have a right to defend ourselves. It’s in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it is in the constitution of most developed nations. What makes Israel so special? More importantly, why do they have a right to defend themselves while Palestinians do not?
You can say that launching rockets into Israel isn’t self-defense, fair enough. However, I would say that completely leveling entire neighborhoods and civilians with shells and missiles isn’t self-defense either. Whether it’s self-defense or aggression, both sides can claim the higher and lower ground.
Protesting Israeli policies equates Antisemitism
This is the biggest load of nonsense, one I’ve written about in the past after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested just that. If it were remotely true, my Jewish blood would prevent me from writing articles such as this.
I don’t support the Ayatollah in Iran or his policies, that doesn’t make me anti-Islam. I don’t support the American drone program, but it doesn’t make me the anti-Christ. Criticizing Israel’s policies is not insulting to my Jewish relatives because they aren’t Israeli, they’re Canadian. To tie religion to a country is pure absurdity.
Palestine does not recognize Israel’s right to exist
This talking point is only half true and doesn’t tell the whole story. Groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad certainly don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, but they don’t represent the whole of the Palestinian people.
It’s hard to find accurate poll numbers given how quickly they change, but from what I’ve seen, 50-70% of Palestinians would recognize Israel as part of a peace deal. To say Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to exist is disingenuous at best.
Let’s flip the question and find out how many Israelis want to see Palestine a country. This question is equally difficult because it depends largely upon the conditions, but the answer is roughly the same, between 60-70%.
It’s also important to note that the current government in Israel does not support a Palestinian State. Netanyahu has said so as recently as early July. What we have is two governing parties not recognizing each other.
Hamas forces Israel to kill Palestinians
Netanyahu has claimed now and in the past that Hamas compels Israel to attack them and kill civilians. As if to say Israel doesn’t have the freedom of choice when waging war. He essentially places the blame on Hamas when Palestinian civilians get killed, thereby negating any sense of responsibility.
To be fair, Hamas does use some extremely questionable tactics. Whenever Palestinian civilians get killed, Hamas is blamed almost without exception for using human shields. If that were true 100% of the time, how come there are four civilian deaths out of every five (the wounded are even more lopsided.)
No one forces Israel to fire on children playing on a beach, to shell a hospital repeatedly, to bomb a UN shelter or kill a family of 18. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world. When you target Gaza, you target civilians.
The Palestinian Territories are not occupied
I’m starting to hear this argument more and more, even from people who claim they aren’t Zionists. If you look at the borders in 1967 and what they are today, there is no denying the majority of the West Bank is occupied along with a small section of Gaza.
They aren’t necessarily occupied by soldiers everywhere, but to Palestinians, there is no difference between Israeli soldiers walking around and Israeli settlements.
Gaza has been blockaded by land, see and air for seven years, which is arguably worse than occupation. Those tunnels that Israel is so keen on destroying may be used to smuggle weapons, but they are also used to smuggle in everyday supplies to what is essentially a huge prison.
For the sake of honesty and fairness, these types of Pro-Israel talking points need to stop. For one, they are not fooling everyone anymore. The more our leaders and media stick to this rhetoric, the more they will be ridiculed and taken less seriously.