How Palestinians became the baby seals of the Western human rights lobby


By Jonathan Hoffman
June 28, 2011
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http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100092728/how-palestini...

This new interview with American author Alice Walker gives a brilliant insight into what motivates trendy pro-Palestinian sentiment in the West today. Notice how effortlessly she flits between talking about Palestinians in Gaza and chickens in factory farms. In one breath she talks about the “cruel and inhuman” treatment meted out to Palestinians, who are “frazzled and suffering everyday”. And in the next she talks about chickens that are “raised under horrible, torturous conditions”, and the fact that people who tuck into chicken dinners don’t realise that they are eating “something precious, beautiful, rare”.

Palestinians and chickens – these seem to be the two big moral concerns haunting Ms Walker’s head. She sees their predicament as comparable: just as Palestinians are caged in Gaza, so chickens are caged in factory farms. And just as we “must help those suffering in Gaza”, so we must “change the way chickens are thought about and raised”. Ms Walker is certainly doing her bit. Next week she will be on the latest Gaza-bound flotilla, named “The Audacity of Hope”, which will deliver letters from concerned American citizens to Palestinians, which is of course just what Palestinians need. And she spends the rest of her time meditating with animals, in particular chickens, as a way of rediscovering “the peace we once shared with the other animals on the planet”.

She might sound barking, but actually Ms Walker’s lumping together of Palestinians and chickens reveals much about the cocktail of pity and paternalism that drives influential Westerners’ pro-Palestinian lobbying today. They increasingly see Palestinians, not as a group of people capable of exercising the same democratic and political rights as the rest of us, but as wide-eyed and pathetic victims who must be saved from Evil Israel by the better-minded, better-educated activists of the West. Palestinians have been turned into the playthings of Western do-gooders, loveable victims deserving of pity and sad, tear-stained letters from Alice Walker and friends. In short, they’ve been reduced to the level of chickens: sad little creatures whom caring Westerners can coo over and stroke and maybe take home and put in the garden for their friends to marvel over. This is not solidarity – it is a public display of pity, designed primarily to advertise the superior moral sensitivities of anti-Israel Westerners than to do anything practical to assist Palestinians.

You know, if I were a Palestinian in Gaza, I wouldn’t only throw stones across the border at Israeli troops. I’d also hurl them at “The Audacity of Hope” flotilla when it turns up next week, with its cargo of insulting letters from achingly right-on Americans who have moved on from crying over baby seals to crying over poor Palestinians.

COMMENTS

Joe Millis

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 09:23

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Using your analogy - or the analogy with which you appear to agree - you must be in clubbing these "baby seals" to death.


Joe Millis

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 09:23

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Using your analogy - or the analogy with which you appear to agree - you must be in favour of clubbing these "baby seals" to death.


Joe Millis

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 09:27

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Just to clarify, the flotilla is a stupid, knee-jerk gimmick. Israel's and its spokesperson's response, though, is equally as stupid and the "hasbarah" machine has even resorted to lying. I'm shocked, shocked.
http://972mag.com/israel%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cpinkwash%E2%80%9D-endangers-...


Harvey

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 11:46

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Out of interest , will the "flotilla humanitarians " be carrying a few letters of support for gilad shalit to give to Hamas . If not why not . If as I suspect their humanitarian gestures do not extend to shalit or indeed the families of the thousands of Israelis murdered and injured by Hamas and their associates during the intifada,then by my reckoning they are not humanitarians but political activists who are determined on israels eventual dismantlement .
Maybe you can prove me wrong and provide links to where Walker condemns the murder of Israelis . After all she is an enlightened caring woman of conscience (her daughter might not agree with that assertion though).
Now off you go to find those non existent links .


StevenKalka

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 14:56

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While the "hasbarah" machine tactic is debateable, it's not totally crazy. It's an attempt to show the flotilla organizers for who the are. I don't think it would have changed many minds even if "hasbarah" weren't exposed.

Alice Walker overlooks an obvious difference between caged chickens and Palestinians. Caged chickens have no choice in their condition, Palestinians do. Is this rocket science? Is this so esoteric, it's beyond Alice Walker's capacity to fathom? What a vacuous individual.


JonOtway

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 16:31

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My only disappointment is that the ship will only carry letters. I was kinda hoping they have a bunch of lentils too. I guess Israel banned them cuz Hamas are extremely adept at the construction of lentil bombs.


suzanna

Wed, 06/29/2011 - 16:32

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'They increasingly see Palestinians, not as a group of people capable of exercising the same democratic and political rights as the rest of us'.

But Jonathan, they did exercise their democratic right. They voted, democratically for Hamas to represent them in Gaza. And look at the reaction from Israel. A siege followed by an all out assault followed by medieval living conditions. Because they exercised their democratic vote.

And before you go on to mention the 'charter' don't bother because I can come back at you with dozens of quotes from prominent Israelis - from Netanyahu's son to Ben Gurion - who have, on record, advocated exterminist and racist policies against Palestinians.


suzanna

Wed, 06/29/2011 - 16:37

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Alice Walker overlooks an obvious difference between caged chickens and Palestinians. Caged chickens have no choice in their condition, Palestinians do.

What choice do they have? The 'moderate' Palestinians in the West Bank offered everything to Israel during years of negotiations for just a tiny part of historic Palestine. The response from Israel? More walls, more killing and detention, more illegal settlements.

The Palestinians are asking that the UN recognises the pre 1967 borders - roughly 22% of British Mandate Palestine. The response from Israel? Increased killings and illegal settlements, more house demolitions, more detention of unarmed protestors and threats to invade the West Bank.


Watchful Iris (not verified)

Wed, 06/29/2011 - 17:02

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The Palestinians are asking that the UN recognises the pre 1967 borders - roughly 22% of British Mandate Palestine. The response from Israel? Increased killings and illegal settlements, more house demolitions, more detention of unarmed protestors and threats to invade the West Bank.

Um, Susanna, don't forget the rocks.

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