Steven Katsineris: Apologists For Israel

Steven Katsineris with a piece he wrote back in 2011 and which featured in Green Left Weekly on 3 April 2011. In it he takes the right wing media commentators to task for their deliberate creation of a skewed context in through which they seek to legitimise Israeli terror. Steven Katsineris is an Australian free-lance writer of articles on Palestine, Cyprus and the rest of the Middle East region, political prisoners and human rights, environmental and social issues. He has been actively involved in the Palestine solidarity movement for over forty years. Steven lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.

Every time Israel carries out another terrible atrocity, rightwing commentators reply by writing long articles (or rehash old ones) criticizing leftists and other caring people concerned about the ongoing injustice in Palestine. For instance, there have been a number of examples of this in the Australian newspapers since the deadly Gaza flotilla attacks. These writers claim the left is selectively attacking Israel and ignoring or remaining silent about other issues and not protesting against brutal massacres and repressive regimes in other parts of the world.

I’ve read these sort of pathetic articles before many times and I find these assertions to be morally repugnant and deeply offensive. But, I’ve never bothered replying to these ridiculous assertions before. I’ve decided I should say something though, as I’m tired of hearing this deceptive stuff and thought there could be good, well-meaning people who might be swayed by these sham augments.

These types of opinion articles are just a way to distract attention from Israel’s immoral behaviour and to try to discredit the left. And a devious means to defend Israel by promoting the idea that compared to other places Israel’s really not that bad, so go protest somewhere else and leave Israel alone. They claim Israel just makes mistakes, but it is not alone. The fact is Israel has a sordid history of dispossessing and exiling much of the Palestinan people from their homeland, by use of organised terrorism and massacres. Israel continues to occupy and oppress those still in Israel and refuses to allow the refugees to return to their homes and land. Israel deserves harsh criticism, not because it makes mistakes, but because Israel is a state built on the suppression of an entire people. The Israeli system is deliberately designed to obliterate a nation (Palestine), destroy a people’s culture, history and way of life and crush their legitimate resistance. Israel does not make mere mistakes; it practices routine methods of cruel subjugation that denies the Palestinians political, religious and national and human rights. Think Apartheid era South Africa.

Anyone who reads the left and progressive press in Australia and elsewhere will see they are full of articles attacking the repressive regimes in Burma, China, Iran, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and other places and supporting opposition demonstrations by dissidents. This has included good coverage of the protests held in Australia.

On a personal level I have been actively involved with the Palestinian solidarity movement in Australia and overseas for over 40 years. But during that time I have also been a member of many other organizations that supported people struggling against oppression and occupation in Cyprus, East Timor, West Papua, Ireland, Burma, Iran, Turkey, Kurdistan, Chile, South Africa and Eritrea among others. Over the years I have also attended protests, written letters, signed petitions and spoken out about other places where people are suffering and defying dictatorial regimes, such as in China, Sudan, Iran, Sri Lanka, etc and supported their just struggles. The fact is there are many other people like me who support the Palestinians, but are also actively campaigning against human rights abuses, wars and other issues in various countries around the world.

Another thing to state on this is that these writers are paid a lot of money by the mainstream media to make up provocative, opinion stories to harm the reputation of protestors who express indignation on the Palestine tragedy and other important issues. I find it grossly offensive that they callously use the misery of other people suffering in different conflicts in their efforts to cover the morally wrong actions of Israel.

What these commentators are really saying to those people who care about injustice in the world, is be concerned and upset about the rest of the world’s troubles, but forget about the Palestinians. Israel is an exception and beyond reproach. In doing so they are defending the indefensible, because according to them, no matter what Israel does, Israel is blameless. These commentators are the ones being hypocritical by their selective compassion. They are in reality apologists for Israel by ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and excusing gross Israeli crimes.

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