Last Friday’s DemocracyNow! was a real barn burner, in my humble opinion. The fireworks began with the day’s headlines, the pertinent bit being right at the top:

Israeli Minister Threatens Gaza “Holocaust”

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, at least eighteen Palestinians have been killed in continued Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Thursday’s Palestinian toll includes four young boys, killed by bombs as they were playing soccer. The youngest was eight years old. Another Palestinian child was killed along with two adult civilians. Palestinian officials say at least nine Palestinian militants also died. At least thirty-one Palestinians, including nine children, have died in the past two days of Israeli attacks. Israel says it’s responding to Palestinian rocket fire, with forty-five rockets launched from Gaza on Thursday. One Israeli was killed this week in the town of Sderot, the thirteenth Israeli killed by Palestinian rockets in the last seven years. A seventeen-year-old girl was lightly injured Thursday when Palestinian rockets struck the Israeli town of Ashkelon. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is warning of a full-scale Israeli invasion of Gaza. In what could be a first for an Israeli official, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai has threatened a “holocaust” in Gaza if rocket fire continues. Vilnai said, “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust, because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” An opinion poll taken this week shows 64 percent of Israelis favor a ceasefire with Hamas, the highest majority to date. Hamas has made several proposals for a truce, but the Israeli government has rejected its overtures. (gratuitously layered emphasis all mine)

Has the situation in Palestine sunk so far? Has the Zionist experiment gone so cockeyed that one of its leaders has the gall (or the lack of ironic sense) to make us go “oh, snap!” in such a fashion? For a moment, please allow me to humor myself by demonstrating why the italicized highlight is so egregious. I’ll assume you already know why an Israeli military official using the word “holocaust” to describe violence used against other human beings is a bit offside. When Matan Vilnai says that the sort of broadly applied, lethally multiplicative ‘retaliatory’ collective punishment that Israel uses against the Palestinians (when a more focused ‘liquidation’ just doesn’t have enough oomph) is going to be brought on by the Palestinians themselves, Vilnai is engaging in the sort of hypocritical justification that is usually seen from deniers and apologists of the European Holocaust (I have heard this sentiment uttered more than once by some of my more politically benighted colleagues).

Of course, Vilnai’s approach is not surprising at this point. The right wing of Israel (who seem to be determining Israeli foreign policy, much as our own right wing determines ours) seems content to pursue victory without justice. They have a policy of genocide by indirect means. Where their setting of Palestinians against each other has failed (by alternately backing Hamas or Fatah, depending on which was more convenient at the time), they have depended on the daily provocations of checkpoints, raids, kidnappings, and other summary and arbitrary methods of debasing the Palestinians. They have continued the expansion of illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and use this expansion (a provocation in itself) to justify the humiliation and degradation of the aforementioned ‘security’ measures. When the combination of the daily apartheid grind and some particularly obnoxious Israeli action spurs the Palestinians into retaliation, the Israelis respond in turn with a stunningly inhumane act of collective punishment such as the latest incursion into Gaza. As usual, the U.S. corporate media will amplify the Israeli claims of “self-defense” and play up the Palestinian “provocation.” Little to no mention will be made of the context, which is that Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, and that the entire occupation has long since devolved into an ongoing atrocity.

The other bit from Friday’s DemocracyNow! comes from the main report (which I urge you to read/watch in its entirety). In response to a report by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes about the true, staggering cost of the Iraq War (so far!), White House mouthpiece Tony Fratto had this to say (thus earning for himself the label of this post):

People like Joe Stiglitz lack the courage to consider the cost of doing nothing and the cost of failure. One can’t even begin to put a price tag on the cost to this nation of the attacks of 9/11.

Hey, asshole! Those of us with brains are still aware that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. There were plenty of reasonable and constructive ways to address what happened on 9/11. Invading and occupying Iraq wasn’t one of them. By the way, Tony, how’s that workin’ out for ya?

I could go on, but it is Sunday evening and I have better things to do than sit around pointing out the obvious.

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