The totally unique Israeli journalist Gideon Levy is interviewed by the Electronic Intifada and doesn’t hold back:
The Israeli media, which is a free media, free of censorship, free of governmental pressure, has been dehumanizing the Palestinians, demonizing them. Without the cooperation of the Israeli media, the occupation would not have lasted so long. It is destructive in ways I cannot even describe. It’s not Romania, it’s not Soviet Russia. It’s a free democracy, the media could play any role but it has chosen to play this role. The main thing is about the flow of information. It is so one-sided, so much propaganda and lies and ignorance.
The great man’s words in action (his latest column for Haaretz):
The Palestinians do not want peace. Indeed, they do not even agree to speak with us. While the leaders of the only country in the Middle East (well, not the only country) whose universal greeting is the word “shalom” take every opportunity to shout “let’s talk,” it is the Palestinians who are refusing the outstretched hand of peace and proving themselves stubborn in negotiations. They’re not coming. As such, let us use this space to sound a desperate call to their leaders: Let’s talk.
Let’s talk with an Israeli government that boasts of at least six ministers in its “forum of seven” of top decision-makers who say they do not believe in an agreement with you. Ehud Barak, who represents the “leftist” wing in the group, is the father of the “no partner” doctrine that crushed to smithereens the remnants of the Israeli peace camp. To his right sit Moshe Ya’alon and Avigdor Lieberman, Eli Yishai and Benny Begin, all of whom are led by Benjamin Netanyahu. None of these figures believes in an agreement with you, non-partners that you are. It is only America they wish to appease.
So come and talk to them. Sit down and talk, without preconditions, with a government that views a temporary cessation of construction in the settlements as an insufferable “edict.” Sit down and talk with those who have long ago decided that Jerusalem and the endless settlement blocs will remain under Israeli sovereignty. Come and talk just like you did with previous governments, those who appeared in photo-ops with you and then settled on your lands, proposed “far-reaching” solutions that fall short of the fair minimum from your standpoint and then kill 1,400 people in Operation Cast Lead.
Come and talk with those who have imposed a brutal siege on your Gaza Strip. Speak with those who are not ready to talk with a movement that captured a majority of votes in a democratic election. Talk with those who imprisoned your founding father in the Muqata, claiming that he is an obstacle to peace, and, after he left the scene, said his successor was “too weak” to make peace. Come and talk with those who claimed that the absence of peace is due to terrorism, and that when there is no terrorism, there is also no peace.
Speak with a society that wants not peace but “separation” from you. Come and talk with those who have jailed 11,000 of your compatriots, some of them without a trial, others of whom are political prisoners, including members of parliament. Talk with those who just recently passed the Nakba Law, the law that denies your tragedy, and the Citizenship Law, which prevents your people, and only your people, the basic right to wed. Come and talk with those who do not recognize your refugee problem and are not ready to even discuss the refugees’ return. Speak to them. Much will come of it for you.
Come and talk with leaders who declared war on the few remaining peace
activists left in their society. Talk with those who shoot demonstrators and arrest them in their homes. Come and talk with a society whose peace camp leader, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered because of his desire for peace with you. Come and talk with a prime minister who once stood at Zion Square in Jerusalem while protesters brandished doctored photographs of Rabin wearing an SS uniform and said nothing. Come and talk with a country that replaces its government at a dizzying pace, a country in which just two of its prime ministers, in the twilight of their terms in office, were ready to offer you semi-reasonable, minimal proposals before their successors disavowed those offers as if they had never existed. It is with them that you should talk.
Talk with a country that needs to enlist an entire division of soldiers just to evacuate a caravan built by land usurpers. You should believe that its leaders will be strong enough to evict tens of thousands of settlers. Talk with the heads of a society that is mired deep in complacency, one that seriously believes that its army is the most moral in the world, one that has been covering its face for years in light of the harm that army causes to you in its name. Talk with those who have never believed you to be human beings equal in stature to them. Talk with those who believe that they are the chosen people and that this land is theirs alone.
Talk with those who pave highways for use by Jews only, who systematically monitor their Arab citizens and who think that anyone who dares criticize them is anti-Semitic. Talk with those who think that the United States is ensconced in their back pocket, which thus far has proven to be accurate. Talk with them through the “fair” American mediator, the one who always tended to adopt an unfavorable position against you and even sent Jewish Zionist emissaries to serve as middlemen in talks. Just keep your fingers crossed as you hope that America is finally on the verge of an about-face.
Palestinians, opponents of peace that you are, come to the negotiating table. Come and talk peace, then watch as your presence at the table suddenly ushers in peace while the occupation is given the kiss of death.