Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Flotilla anger - hypocritical, anti-semitic hysteria?

Let's at least hear the end of claims that "this stuff never gets in the media 'cause the jooos own the media'"?

I don't know much about the episode - but does anyone right now? One might think so, judging by the frenzy of anti-semitism this has thrown up. But is it anti-semitism? The coverage isn't necessarily anti-semitic, of course, but anti-semitism is flourishing through the coverage. For one thing, the coverage and the attendant sense of crisis is deep for where else but Israel/Palestine would such a matter cause such concern? Certainly it doesn't cause such concern when comparative events happen in Turkey/Kurdistan or Sri Lanka/Tamil conflicts. That's a fact. Part of the attention can be justified on strategic reasons ie by recognising Israel is of strategic geopolitical concern, true, but this is something anti-semitism doesn't care to admit. And surely part of the extent of coverage, attention and sense of crisis can be described as an expression of effective anti-semitism - it's exceptionalism about Israel - therefore anti-semitic.

I've watched news of Turkey's recent attacks on Kurds in Iraq and seen nothing about it at WhatReallyHappened, let alone pages of condemnations and cries for UN intervention, histories of Turkish atrocities, racism, failings of their religion, etc etc etc. We get this outburst of condemnation at every Israeli military/police action but there's not a peep about it when it happens in Turkey/Iraq. It makes such a marked contrast too - the massive coverage of the deaths of 9 Turks at the hands of Israeli forces enforcing a military blockade versus the deaths of 20 Kurds from Turkish bombing raids the week before. And what would happen to people who wanted to take supplies to the Kurds that the Turks were bombing? Or Tibetans? Or Chechens? [seemingly nobody much wants to bother taking aid there, anyway?] And so why are these 9 Turks apparently so important and valuable that their deaths matter so much more than those Kurds whom the Turks had killed in bombing raids only a week before? Of course the flotilla deaths are regrettable, but what about the Kurds killed by Turkey the week before? Or the 8000 children dying every day from easily preventable disease? One needn't have to be a boot-stomping Nazi to engage in what is effectively anti-semitism.

There follows a very interesting Kurdish view I found on this - about the flotilla fiasco and the outrage it has produced, and what it looks like from a Kurdish point of view to see Turkey condemning Israel as it does. This Kurdish point of view reflects something of my own, and goes some way to expressing what I feel when I see Rivero and others using Turkey's Erdogan to condemn Israel's state policies. It's somewhat stiltingly written, but it's comprehensible:
Turkey regrets the death of civilians in flotilla raid? - By Baqi Barzani

Following raid on Gaza-bound international flotilla by Israeli naval commandos, Turkish officials and some major Islamic organizations were prompt to strongly condemn Israel for violating international laws. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan impugned Israeli for lack of interest in resuming peace initiatives and holding no respect for the loss of human lives, in particular civilians.

Whenever Israel attempts to counteract to an external threat in self-defense, Turkey seeks to turn it into an international fiasco and manipulate it to its perk. Today, in Ankara and other major cities in Turkey, thousands of Turks took advantage of the flotilla crisis and used it as a pretext to pour into streets. They chanted anti-western slogans and burned Israel flag in protest to the raid. Anti-Semitism and prejudice, threats and attacks against innocents Jews, Christians and Kurdish ethnic citizens is soaring to unprecedented level. None of which is feasible without prior green light from the state.

Erdogan's Islamist-leaning AK Party has no tendency to get involved in mediating in Israeli-Palestine standoff. The recent skewed censure of Israeli raid by Turkey resembles more to private spite and sounds retaliatory. In spite of receiving hundreds of millions of US tax-payers dollars in military and economic aid, Turkey has forged strong alliance with organizations hostile to the United States and states recognized as sponsors of terrorism. To the United States and its European allies, it is intolerable. Defense, diplomatic, military and economic ties between Ankara and the rest world are going downhill to an irreversible level.

Most ironically, Turkish government expressed sorrow about the death of human lives which can either be construed as a shift of strategy in Turkish foreign policy or unparalleled, unheard-of sympathy for humanity.

Till now, Turkey continues to commit the most gross human rights violations against its own Kurdish masses. On a daily basis, hundreds of Kurdish women and children die of hunger, disease and poverty in South East Turkey. Whatever has been able to influence Turkey to alter its mind and commiserate with the death of civilians sounds a bit astounding! Apparently, the immaterial loss of thousands of Kurdish civilians in Turkey does not have a bearing but when it comes to few Turks, it matters a big deal. The Gaza blockade seems more pivotal than the rapidly devastating economic state in southeast (Kurdistan) and internal growing political turmoil inside Turkey. Frail to resolve its long-standing Kurdish dilemma, how does the global community have expectations from a state like Turkey in being able to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine and other regional nations? Turkey should first resolve its own internal disputes it is coping with before trying to mediate between other parties.

Sadly, the international community has expressed reservation toward the continuing suppression of 25 million Kurds by Turkey; while they portray the Israeli inadvertent storming of a trivial flotilla more momentous than the massacres being carried out by Turkish navy, air force and ground forces in sync in the Kurdish-peopled areas.

Turkish senior military officers should be prosecuted for carrying out such war crimes against defenseless Kurdish civilians.

Hopefully, in near future the countless death of innocent Kurdish civilians in southeast Turkey (Kurdistan) will also draw a modicum of attention by global media and international philanthropist community and organizations such as United Nation will convene an emergency meeting to discuss and address the Kurdish dilemma in the worsening Turkey.
I've written previously about this dual-standard on Turkey, especially with regard to Israel here, here, and here. On that last link, about N Korea's apparent sinking of a S Korean ship - Rivero calls for calm, seeks negotiation, calls for diplomacy etc. Quite a contrast to his attitude on Israel over the flotilla episode?

It's notable too that Turkey is even a similarly significant recipient of US aid and Turkey is a major American/NATO ally, just as Israel is. Yet we don't see pages of conspiracist twaddle saying Turkey runs America, that the American aid Turkey receives might be better spent feeding working americans rather than killing autonomy-seeking Palestinians....errr Kurds. etc etc etc. Similarly, Sibel Edmonds features prominently in 911 Troof and its anti-semitism - even though Edmonds actually implicates Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey's aggression seemingly far exceeds that of Israel and Turkey even occupies a similar political position as Israel vis a vis USA. But over Turkey's militarism there is near total silence, whilst Israel's every military move is condemned on page after page (of what becomes nauseating exceptionalism to my mind.)

The context (conflict) is sad and depressing, but it's nevertheless humorous to watch these "America-first!" non-interventionists scream for the international community to "DO SOMETHING!!" Someone call for the UN! -- shout the anti-NWO, anti-'globalist', anti-UN, anti-one-world-government patriots......pathetic.

Here's Chomsky writing in Manufacturing Consent about Turkey:
”In 1984, the Turkish government launched a major war in the Southeast against the Kurdish population. And that continued. In fact it's still continuing. [Ed note: 45,000 deaths is the usual figure given. Some give the figure as high as 300,000 since 1984! By contrast fatalities from I/P conflict range from 50000 upwards to 250,000 - but across a span of 60 years. One might never imagine this was the case if one judged by the relative amounts of coverage and attendant 'outrage'.]

If we look at US military aid to Turkey-which is usually a pretty good index of policy-Turkey was of course a strategic ally so it always had a fairly high level of military aid. But the aid shot up in 1984, at the time that the counterinsurgency war began. This had nothing to do with Cold War, transparently. It was because of the counterinsurgency war. The aid remained high, peaking through the 1990s as the atrocities increased. The peak year was 1997. In fact in the single year 1997, US military aid to Turkey was greater than in the entire period of 1950 to 1983 when there were allegedly Cold War issues. The end result was pretty awesome: tens of thousands of people killed, two to three million refugees, massive ethnic cleansing with some 3500 villages destroyed-about seven times Kosovo under NATO bombing, and there's nobody bombing in this case, except for the Turkish air forces using planes that Clinton sent to them with the certain knowledge that that's how they would be used.”

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