UK rhetoric shows that retaliation is of greater concern than genocide

Since 7 October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been including Iran in his rhetoric of violence, disseminating the image of poor, beleaguered Israel battling all alone in a hostile region. This image is entirely fake. Israel is an aggressive, expansionist settler-colonial state.

Israel has turned Gaza into a mass grave over the past six months; it continues to commit genocide openly and proudly with only occasional calls for restraint from the international community; it has carried out air strikes in Lebanon and Syria; and it has attacked Iran’s Consulate in Syria killing seven military advisors. Iran’s retaliation for this latest act of aggression by Israel saw it fire ballistic and cruise missiles towards the occupation state. Western narratives would have us believe that Israel is the victim in all of this, and has the right to defend itself against Iran, but it shouldn’t escalate tensions.

Which means that whatever the occupation state decides, it is already being allowed to act with impunity.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron’s interview on Sky News was an example of how swiftly diplomacy has shifted completely to dance to Israel’s tune. Cameron described Iran’s response as “an almost total failure and they’ve revealed to the world that they are the malign influence in the region.” Such a caricature is not reality, of course, and all Cameron did was paint the usual lethal image of Iran to bring the discourse back to 7 October and Israel’s alleged right to self-defence. According to Cameron, 7 October is “where all of this begins”. Not with the Zionist colonial ideology that found support from former colonial powers and the UN; not with 76 years of military occupation of Palestine; not with the oppression of the Palestinian people; not with the ethnic cleansing and the ongoing Nakba; and not with those in the international community who have been complicit from the start of Israel’s “slow genocide”.

Britain would take “very strong action”, warned Cameron, if a UK consulate was attacked, and yet Iran is condemned for its “massive attack” in response to the Israeli air strike on its consulate in Damascus. The Iranian retaliation was much bigger than people expected, so Cameron felt the need to list what Iran fired into Israel: 101 ballistic missiles, 36 cruise missiles and 185 “suicide” drones. Has he, I wonder, also counted and listed the munitions that Israel has dropped on the largely civilian population of Gaza? Has he provided details in media interviews of the Israeli munitions and weapons used, the death toll and the injured, tortured, detained, starving and disappeared Palestinians?

Cameron’s intentional failure to mention the Israeli genocide count worked only for the purpose of demonising Iran for doing what any other country, especially Western countries, would have done. All viewers were left with was, “Countries have a right to respond when they feel they’ve suffered an aggression, of course they do, but look at the scale of that response. Had those weapons not been shot down, there could have been thousands of casualties, including civilian casualties.”

How about looking at the scale of Israel’s genocide when it is reaping what it sows with its colonial presence on Palestinian territory? Palestinians not only have the right to defend themselves, but they also have the right to anti-colonial resistance, “including armed struggle”. However, the UN and Western powers have effectively eliminated both rights to transform Palestinians into a suffering nation just to allow Israel to continue existing as a colonial entity. Look at the scale of Israel’s violence since 1948. Look at the scale of Zionist colonial violence since the first colonial settlements in Palestine. Look at the statistics that state the unprecedented and incomparable level of damage Israel has inflicted on Gaza, while Israeli settlers continue their violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank with almost complete impunity. Iran responded to an attack on its consulate. Palestinians have the right to retaliate against Israeli colonial violence. And Cameron is just one more example of a political diplomat who needs to shut up because his pro-Israel bias is embarrassing, making him and the government he represents open to allegations of complicity in Israeli crimes.

UK rhetoric shows that retaliation is of greater concern than genocide

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