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Anyone else notice a colossal decoupling of old left and new right? Former adversaries allied against COVID have fallen foul to the oldest trick in the book – divide and rule.
On one side, erstwhile defenders of freedom joined forces with establishment mouthpieces in their condemnation of Palestine and endorsement of Netanyahu’s promise to raze Gaza to the ground.
The last time we saw an ideological rift of this magnitude was at the onset of COVID-19. What fresh hell awaits the people of Gaza is anyone’s guess. For the rest of the world, It feels like a shot across the bows of world war.
What remains conspicuously absent from most talking points is background, history, context, and nuance. It’s as if the weekend’s events existe entirely in a vacuum, mRNA immunised against decades of occupation, apartheid, besiegement, and displacement.
I am not for one minute defending the horrific scenes coming out of Israel yesterday. Civilians being brutalised and murdered is indefensible. I would question, however, the veracity of some of these images, and why in one day, we have seen more from Isreal than 20 months of war in Ukraine. As one astute commenter observed:
Images like this are very disturbing, eliciting powerful emotions. Innocent people have undoubtedly been killed, just as thousands of innocent Palestinians have been killed for decades. We know nothing about these images. Manipulating emotion is a powerful propaganda technique. https://t.co/VWXDEtPDQK
— InThisTogether (@_InThisTogether) October 7, 2023
In the spirit of a well-deserved reality check, it’s important to remember that social media was flooded with a deluge of propaganda eliciting similar powerful emotions on the precipice of the first lockdowns.
As I remarked in this article last year: “COVID largely happened on social media where our social networks were weaponised as echo chambers of the fear-narrative. It wasn’t so much a pandemic, but the social contagion experiment playing out in real time.”
In similar terms, the weekend’s events represent a new watershed in the power of social media to evoke powerful emotions with graphic imagery that in some cases have transformed people’s perceptions and driven a wedge between former allied communities – all in the space of 24 hours. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to remember the information war of the past few years and the weapons of propaganda and PSYOPs used to divide and indoctrinate.
Let’s also remember that social media played a crucial role in the Arab Spring. Many consider this an example of U.S. backed Black Op’s, with many activist groups sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation funded by the Department of State and USAID.
If the lessons of the past few decades are anything to go by, painting Palestinians as the bad guys and Israel as the victims, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
What’s for certain is that retaliation from Israel will result in genocide and human rights atrocities in orders of magnitude greater than the hundreds of Israeli fatalities.
Even Jordan Peterson of ‘just get the damned vaccine’ fame, encouraged Netanyahu to “give ‘em hell”, like many others, in spectacular ignorance of the context, nuance and background to these events.
Namely, that the Gaza Strip is the world’s largest open-air prison at 25 miles long and 5 miles wide. With 2 million inhabitants, half of whom are children, it’s one of the most densely populated places on earth. What Israel euphemistically calls a border is a heavily fortified and patrolled barbed wire fence, akin to the prison wall separating Guantanamo Bay from Southwest Cuba.
Even the most cursory look at the reporting of fatalities and injuries from the region since 2008 paints a very different picture to the idea these events were unprovoked.
According to the United Nations, for every Israeli murdered, twenty one Palestinians are slain; for every Israeli injured, there’s twenty four Palestinians casualties. It’s not so much an uneven playing field as it is a story of David and Goliath. At one end of the battlefield, you have one of the most militarised states on earth, on the other a bunch of goat-herders-come terrorists (or freedom fighters), depending on which side of the fence you’re on.
For those rallying around the self-defence card, even Wikipedia places the number of civilian to combatant deaths during, for example, the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict at almost 3:1.
Others with inimitable experience reporting on these events for decades suggest that the number of Palestinians killed and maimed, day after day, goes largely unreported.
War is an abomination, granted. The killing of civilians, indefensible. The brutal scenes out of Israel this weekend, reprehensible. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s context and nuance as to why these events happen. The same folks emphatically defending Ukraine’s right to defend itself against Russia, will not grant Palestinians similar concessions against their occupiers.
What many talking heads fail to acknowledge is that Israeli settlements are built on stolen land very often confiscated violently by an apartheid state leaving a trail of dead, maimed and displaced Palestinians in its wake. It could be argued by Palestinians personally affiliated by this conflict that Israeli civilian settlers are in fact colonisers with as much blood on their hands as the IDF and Mossad.
Until you have boots on the ground breathing in the gunpowder drenched putrid air from both sides of Israel’s contested and militarised boundary line, then you don’t really have a point of view, you have content curated by the very interests benefitting from your ignorance.
And irrespective of the degrading scenes we witnessed on Saturday, the degradation goes both ways: see this.
An important point of reference to how the Israeli army controls every vector of Palestinian life in the occupied territories is this interview with former Israeli soldier Ori Givati.
Givati is involved with an organisation called Breaking the Silence that raises awareness of the dire consequences of prolonged military occupation.
The Israeli government may have just declared war, with the western establishment supporting its permissibility, but others closer to the occupation, including The Jewish Voice for Peace believe that the war on Palestine has been in full swing for 75-years:
“Israeli apartheid and occupation – and United States complicity in that oppression – are the source of all this violence. Reality is shaped by when you start the clock.
For the past year, the most racist, fundamentalist, far-right government in Israeli history has ruthlessly escalated its military occupation over Palestinians in the name of Jewish supremacy with violent expulsions and home demolitions, mass killings, military raids on refugee camps, unrelenting siege, and daily humiliation. In recent weeks, Israeli forces repeatedly stormed the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem.”
With a unified media campaign attempting to promote these events as Israel’s 9/11, it’s important for right thinking folks who would ordinarily be mistrustful of corporate media consensus to validate their sources and ensure as much impartiality as possible.
A good starting point for context is former IDF soldier turned journalist and peace activist Efrat Fenigson, commenting on events live from Israel on Saturday:
“Israel has one of the most advanced and high-tech armies. How come there was zero response to the border breaches?…Something is very wrong … There’s no way that Israel did not know of what’s coming. This surprise attack seems like a planned operation on all fronts….If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say this feels like the work of the deep state”
🇮🇱 Israel-Hamas War – An Update.
Including my key insights, questions & concerns.
— Efrat Fenigson (@efenigson) October 7, 2023
These sentiments were echoed by other former IDF and special forces soldiers:
Many Israelis served in the IDF and special forces as you know.
We all have serious questions about what was going on yesterday, and very little information. We can’t really understand this while we’re still under attack, but the questions are serious and they WILL BE ASKED 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/YYWQqNeRXb
— Gal.G, Adv 🇮🇱 (@GalG____) October 8, 2023
Putting this into context, Israel has one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world with a multi-tiered missile defence system, including: David’s Sling, Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Dome, and Iron Beam.
Stretching along the entire boundary between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Israel’s $1.1bn Iron Wall fence, considered “only one of its kind in the world,” is equipped with some of the most advanced technologies and sensors, so effective that a mouse can’t get across the border without the military knowing about it. Then there’s Mossad the world’s second or third most powerful intelligence agencies with literally eyes and ears everywhere.
How Hamas managed to achieve all of this without some assistance from on-high beggars belief.
Amongst other important question being asked on Twitter concerns the number of historic buildings from New York to Miami and Prague to Baku lit up this weekend in solidarity with Israel:
@JMCDelingpole Whoever set this up managed to get official permission this morning although the government offices are closed on Saturday, then set up all the lighting equipment and power supply this afternoon?
Pull the other one. This was planned. It wasn’t organised today. pic.twitter.com/CrD4l4NTdz
— KeithAn50233675 (@an50233675) October 7, 2023
In times of world changing geopolitical events it’s important to recall the extremities which governments and other bad actors will go to in order to elicit public opinion using propaganda and disinformation.
And there’s many examples the past 48 hours, including this widely shared video of female Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hamas apparently still in possession of their cellphones.
What is particularly striking is that since Israel began to retaliate on Sunday 8th October, there appears to be a fraction of social media content showing Israeli strikes versus content shared only a day before portraying terrorist attacks by Hamas. We can therefore speculate as to which side big tech platforms such as Twitter are on, irrespective of Elon Musk’s apparent neutrality.
Much of the sentiment driving support for Israel’s unimpeded right to level Palestine comes from two particularly brutal and shameful videos. The first is the graphic footage of a bloodied and distressed female hostage unverified at this stage as civilian or soldier. The second is that of the mangled and desecrated body of a young female Instagram influencer, Shani Llouk – a German citizen and the poster child for innocence.
Harrowing and tragic as these graphic images are, we must ask ourselves – what are the chances of all the thousands of possible hostages and victims paraded graphically as trophies of the atrocities committed by Hamas, that it would be an innocent, young German woman? Not only making this an international event, but feeding much of the hatred of Hamas which in turn fuels support for unrestrained Israeli retribution, not just against Hamas but anyone deemed to be in collusion, not least of all Iran?
With respect, this single event is not dissimilar to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by forces looking to bring about World War 1.
According to Donald Trump, Hamas operations were funded by $6 billion in unfrozen assets provided to Iran by the Biden administration. Although in denial of this assertion, the Whitehouse has announced there was “no doubt that Tehran provided support for Hamas in the form of funding and arms.”
Meanwhile an unverified video has emerged online purported to be the military wing of Hamas, Izzuddin Al-Qassam Brigades, alleging that the Islamic Republic of Iran provided the weapons, money and other equipment, used to destroy Zionist fortresses. A quick glance over Izzuddin Al-Qassam Brigades official website and at the time of writing this, there’s no references to this video, making it highly suspicious.
If indeed things escalates beyond the occupied territories and Israel strikes Iran as Netanyahu has threatened on numerous occasions, there could be global repercussions, particularly amongst BRICs countries such as Russia and China who might rally in defence of Iran.
Irrespective, war is a racket and none more lucrative than the forever war that is the Israel-Palestine conflict. Western politicians’ forever pledges to broker a peace deal aside, Gaza is a soft target, with every conflict in the Middle East incredibly profitable for US arms giants, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.
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Dustin is a writer and researcher based in London who has been writing about the New Normal these past two years, particularly the ethical and legal issues around lockdowns and mandates, the history and roadmap to today’s biosecurity state, and the key players and institutions involved in the globalised takeover of our commons.
Aside from COVID-19, Dustin writes about the intelligence state, big tech surveillance, big philanthropy, the co-option of activism and human rights.