TERRORisms: Israel’s Colonialist Dialogue Comes to the Oslo National Theatre

TERRORisms inaugural conference  in Oslo 2013
TERRORisms inaugural conference in Oslo 2013

There’s drama stirring in the Oslo National Theatre, but not the kind most cultural institutions expect. Under the auspiciousness of The Union of Theaters of Europe, the Oslo National Theatre has committed to a two-year project titled “TERRORisms”:

From 2013 to 2015, theatres from Oslo, Stuttgart, Belgrade, Tel Aviv, London and Reims will get closer to their TERRORisms. They will elaborate different points of view, exploring different aspects likely to determine fundamentally our societies… dealing with the issue of terrorism and its appropriation by artists.

I’ve just come back from Oslo, and to be honest, Norwegians- as individuals and as a society- didn’t strike me to be particularly “determined fundamentally” by “their” “terrorisms”. Admittedly, I’m not an expert on European contemporary art, but it doesn’t seem to me like there’s a lot of  artistic appropriation of terrorism being done in the European cultural sphere, and the notion is rather- let’s just say- foreign.

The Union of Theaters of Europe: The New Propaganda Front for Israel’s TERRORisms

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Welcome to Israel 2012

Welcome to Palestine 2012 is already a huge success. Israel has already set up a welcoming committee, the only way a military regime meeting opposition knows how: As in last year’s Fly-in, hundreds of border patrol personnel and police officers will await the delegation. Detention facilities are already ready for 1500 children, women and men, expected to arrive in Ben Gurion Airport. But why tell when I can show? Here’s your typical, run of the mill article on Channel 1:

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Drawing the Line: Palestinian BDS Picket Line Realigns the Entire Zionist Establishment

Israel Needs You!When oppression is successful, the oppressor gains control over his victim’s borders, erases them, and redraws them according to his whims. The victim’s narrative no longer exists, and as such, just telling their own story is an act of liberation. When Palestinians chose Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a form of telling their story (not just a form of action), they changed a continual paradigm of abuse which made their story insignificant, and were finally able to cut the cycle of abuse and silence. No longer do Palestinians need to react to Israel’s Hasbara line. They have reclaimed their narrative, and now the state of Israel is forced to react in accordance to it.

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JPost editor David Horovitz embarrasses himself

On Friday, editor of The Jerusalem Post David Horovitz published a comment piece under the title, ‘Guess what: Our enemies lie‘. Discussing the recent Nakba and Naksa protests, the emphasis of the op-ed was that the IDF “continues to pay a high price for its incomprehensible refusal to counter, in real time, the relentless distortion of unfolding events and, especially, the falsehoods about death tolls”.

Horovitz eventually gets round to expanding on his allegation of “the false reporting of death tolls”, and he starts by citing the example of Jenin in 2002, when, in his words, the IDF “was despicably accused by the Palestinian leadership, in numerous international media outlets, of killing hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Palestinians”.

He goes on:

The ultimately confirmed figures indicated some 55 armed Palestinian and 23 IDF fatalities in Jenin, but by the time those numbers emerged Israel had been besmirched worldwide as an indiscriminate mass killer, its name blackened even by some of its erstwhile supporters.

Now if you’re going to write an article on false death tolls, you had better make sure you get your own facts right. Unfortunately for Horovitz, he didn’t.

In their report on events in Jenin, Human Rights Watch documented that “at least twenty-two of those confirmed dead were civilians, including children, physically disabled, and elderly people”. Moreover, “many of the civilian deaths” amounted to “unlawful or willful killings by the IDF” – and some “amounted to summary executions”.

An early assessment by Physicians for Human Rights, using hospital figures of 45 dead, noted that “children under the age of 15 years, women and men over the age of 50 years accounted for nearly 38% of all fatalities.” Amnesty International also recorded “unlawful killings” by the IDF in Jenin.

But for Horovitz, the “ultimately confirmed figure” was “55 armed Palestinians”. As with so much propaganda by Israel’s apologists, this latest complaint about ‘false death tolls’ turns out to be a case of projection.

HotDocs and CoPro: Entertaining Palestinian Voices

CoPro and HotDocs

Since the second that I’ve realized that the only political action left for people who wish to see Palestinian rights realized is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, it’s been immediately clear that the Palestinian produce and services, and culture and narrative would have to be simultaneously promoted. This would prove to be tricky after 60 years of ongoing ethnic cleansing and simultaneous economic buildup. The systems that have formed in Israel for the benefit of the Palestinian population have often artificially separated the “social” from the “political” and created institutions that are unable and unwilling to truly improve Palestinian lives. Without political analysis, we are left with institutions that’s sole purpose is to serve as a fig leaf, depicting Israel as a state which promotes Palestinian social care and voices, when in fact, all they do is pat themselves on the back for boxing the Palestinian population into a perpetual state of dependence and forced gratitude.

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In their own words

On the excellent ‘Promised Land’ blog, Noam Sheizaf draws attention to an IDF slideshow which lists “the principles of Israeli policy” towards the Gaza Strip, particularly with regards to restrictions on freedom of movement. One objective is listed as “separating/differentiating Judea and Samaria [West Bank] from Gaza”. Sheizaf notes that this “is the first time an Israeli official document publicly declares that the current policy objective is to create two separate political entities in the Palestinian territories”.

This is an example of how Zionist lobby spin can often be challenged using the words of Israeli officials. Last month, Netanyahu’s testimony before the Turkel Commission included the admission that, in the words of Gaza Gateway, “Israel’s decisions on what to allow or prohibit into Gaza were based not on concern for the welfare of the population in Gaza but rather about Israel’s image in the international media”. So much for ‘security’.

Then just a week ago, the same Commission heard testimony from Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, who said that “Israel declared economic warfare against the Gaza Strip and prevented the entry of goods – including certain kinds of food and other civilian items – that posed no security threat, with the goal of disrupting civilian life in the Gaza Strip”.

Finally, remember that in a 2007 legal case, the Israeli government’s State Attorney’s Office argued [PDF] that “harming the economy itself is a legitimate means of warfare and a relevant consideration even when deciding on allowing in relief consignments”.

Brand Israel: I Hear the Congo Has Some Lovely Views

Gaza Views

Israel’s (fishy) acceptance into the OECD isn’t really a surprise, when you look into this Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development:

It defines itself as a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy… [Wikipedia]

“Democracy” and “market economy” (aka “capitalism”) have long been Israel’s reiterated mantras, in an attempt to cosy up to other “developed” countries of the world, that use the same phrasing in order to back up their military or economic exploitation of “less developed” people within and without. In fact, this seems to be a very natural coupling.

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