I not only remember the compilation songs to raise money for starving Africans, “We Are The World“ and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?“, from the mid-80s, but even attended one of the Live Aid concerts in support of the campaign, in Philadelphia.
Though the cause (helping to feed starving children) would fail to move only those with the hardest of hearts, what was notable in retrospect is how the songs, concerts and accompanying publicity focused solely on helping the African victims of hunger in Ethiopia (around one million people died during the country’s 1984–1985 famine) and didn’t delve into the politics – despite the fact that the Marxist Ethiopian government’s policy of enforced ‘resettlement’ programs, utilized as part of its counter-insurgency campaign, was one of the major causes of the starvation.
My guess is that there was a conscious decision not to wade into politics in order to protect the purely humanitarian intent of the endeavor.
Today’s efforts to aid Palestinians, whether by NGOs, professional activists, or journalist activists at the Guardian, are not only unconstrained by such considerations, but something approaching the opposite is true: The pro-Palestinian cause is almost entirely monopolized by those possessing an unmistakable desire to demonize the Jewish state.
Harriet Sherwood’s latest blog post, Palestine campaign song generates controversy ahead of release, notes the latest row over a new compilation song and video, called “Freedom for Palestine”, and focuses on the rock band Coldplay’s participation in the project, as well as the subsequent removal of the song from the band’s Facebook page following complaints that the video violated Facebook’s’ user terms of service.
While the post is classic Guardian, and classic Sherwood (conjuring a conservative villain for the story by highlighting Glenn Beck’s criticism of the video) what’s much more instructive about the song and video itself is that it serves as a perfect example of how Palestinians become an abstraction totally divorced from any moral agency which would complicate the simple story of their immutable victimhood and Israeli villainy.
The intent of the song and video isn’t to “aid” Palestinians – as the song says nothing about how a fan could assist Palestinians in need of aid – but to demonize and delegitimize Israel. It conjures a caricature of a malevolent Goliath oppressing innocent Palestinians – reinforcing the steady drip of such delegitimization efforts that has become one of the defining ideological passions of the Guardian left.
The song doesn’t burden itself with such inconvenient realities as the oppressive treatment of Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries, Hamas’ despotic rule of their Palestinian population, nor the culture of violence and terrorism which has long characterized the Palestinian cause. (Also, the song refers to 6 million Palestinian refugees – a very suggestive number, and one, it should be noted, which is contradicted by the accepted number of 4.8 million)
The song speaks of Israeli “crimes against humanity”, “prison camps”, and even levels the ugly charge of “racial segregation” – all in service of imputing Israeli malice in the context of a feel-good charity endeavor. Hatred with a hip, progressive veneer.
The video flashes between scenes of the studio recording of the song, video of Israel’s security fence, the Palestinian territories, along with animation meant to illustrate Israeli villainy.
Here are a few screen shots:
Here, the IDF is shown presumably targeting Palestinian civilians with tank fire. (An interesting moral inversion in the context of Hamas’s use of an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus in April.)
Here we’re treated to the sight of inhumane Israelis who appear to be denying entry to a Palestinian mother and her sick child:
Not only is the Israeli soldier unmoved by the mother’s pleas regarding her sick child, but the soldier is then seen striking the woman. (Notice both the expression on the face of the soldier striking the innocent woman, as well as the additional faceless Israelis behind him):
Sherwood may breezily mock Beck’s characterization of the song as evil propaganda, but – whatever one’s thoughts about the hyperbolic American pundit – the video’s crude portrayal of cruel, sadistic Israelis inflicting harm on helpless Palestinians serves as nothing more than malicious agitprop against Israel.
And, there’s nothing even remotely cool, fashionable, or hip about the vicious hate which is continually directed towards the Jewish state.
- Harriet Sherwood story in Guardian quotes Richard Falk in accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing (cifwatch.com)
- Jim Bollan (Scottish BDS Advocate) anti-Israel Emails of the Day (cifwatch.com)
- L’Affair Sherwood just got more interesting (Guardian reporter engages in possibly illegal phone recording) (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian “East Jerusalem” series features quote characterizing Israeli Jews as a “swarm of ants” (cifwatch.com)
- CiF post by Shimon Peres elicits enormous volume of viscous anti-Israel hatred by Guardian readers (cifwatch.com)
- HRW’s Ken Roth responds to Goldstone’s retraction; Assures Guardian readers its still safe to demonize Israel: Let the hate begin (cifwatch.com)
- Nakba Day protesters spew hate outside Israeli embassy in London (cifwatch.com)