You know, sometimes it seems these days all I ever do in these columns is rant angrily about terrible suffering and misery. So I thought I'd try and change it up this week and talk about Gaza.
There appears to be plenty of right-wingers out there willing to defend Israel's horrific carnage. They say the “Palestinians had it coming”, because homemade, unguided rockets fired from Gaza is absolutely without question justification for relentless, precision air strikes from one of the world's most powerful militaries destroying homes, schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure in an already devastated territory whose population has no way of escaping the hellfire raining down on them that has killed hundreds of children.
Of course it is. Absolutely. Don't let any facts get in your way. Like the fact that Hamas has frequently maintained ceasefires, even in the face of Israeli attacks and has offered Israel a permanent truce. Or that, as the governing force in what is essentially an open air prison entirely economically dependent on humanitarian aid and the few goods Israel allows in, with no air force, navy or standing army, Hamas has no bargaining chip aside from rockets with which to negotiate an end, not just to Israel's military carnage but its crippling siege too.
That illegal siege has been widely condemned by the United Nations and human rights groups. Gaza has no serious capacity to recover from the frequent rounds of destruction wrought on it by Israel as long as the siege is maintained.
It is a crime against humanity, and yet, apparently, if you demand an end to a crime against humanity against the people you govern then that makes you responsible for even worse crimes against humanity.
Israel might as well stand on the Gazan border, wearing an ill-fitting suit while leaning back, picking its teeth and saying: “Well, tsk tsk tsk, seems someone is a little unhappy with us. How about that Luigi? Seems they don't like our little blockade!
“Well it would be a shame if we had to … escalate … our little conflict, now wouldn't it? Oops, seems we bombed another hospital... so sorry!”
Generally, those who back Israel's carnage do so with the sort of twisted logic used by Thane Rosenbaum in a July 21 Wall Street Journal op-ed, who said “you forfeit your right to be called civilians” by electing Hamas, as Palestinians did in 2006.
Or the up-and-coming hero of the Israeli right, Israeli right, Jewish Home Party deputy Ayelet Shaked, who called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers, because “otherwise, more little snakes will be raised”.
But a mainstream US gay rights magazine tried to give backing Israel's slaughter a progressive spin. The Advocate ran a July 9 op-ed by James Duke Mason urging gay people all around the world to “stand in solidarity” with Israel.
Why? Because “Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has stood up for human rights, particularly those of women and gays, time and time again …”
Yes. Israel stands up for human rights. That’s what the hundreds of UN resolutions related to Israel are all about, congratulating it for its sterling human rights work.
That this guy could actually write this a full two days into Israel’s murderous rampage, when dozens of Palestinian children lay dead, shows how much of an alternate reality defenders of Israel truly live in.
When Duke Mason invokes gay rights as a reason to back Israel, you have to wonder if he truly believes there are no gay people in Gaza. Does he really think Israel is not, right now, killing gay Palestinians?
Or maybe, seeing as Israel does have a very technologically advanced military thanks to the billions in military aid Duke Mason's government gives it each year, and given its great stance of gay rights, Israel's missiles are actually equipped with state of the art “gaydars” and therefore only blow straight Palestinians into pieces.
If so, this must be the worst way conceivable to come out. Forget a high-rating interview with Parky, imagine surviving an Israeli air strike on your home, standing among the rubble and dead family members, saying: “Well ... this is awkward … So there's something I've been meaning to tell you all ...”
Duke Mason urges support for Israel because it is “so principled in its convictions … while surrounded by countries such as Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death”.
OK, but bombing Gaza seems a strange way to support the struggle for gay liberation in Iran. Perhaps he organises marches in the US where they chant: “What do we want? Freedom for Iranian gays! When do we want it? Now! How are we gonna get it? Blowing up Gaza babies! HOW ARE WE GONNA GET IT? KILLING PALESTINIAN KIDDIES!”
The ugly truth is that those who promote Israel's supposed support for human rights probably struggle to conceive of Palestinians having such rights because they struggles to conceive of Palestinians as being human.