In the lead-up to Israel’s attack on the “Free Gaza” flotilla that left at least nine dead and dozens more wounded, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon claimed that the basic supplies being brought by the more than 600 pro-Palestinian activists–medicine, wheelchairs, construction material–were simply not needed, as “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” a phrase repeated ad nauseam by Israeli press officials. The mission was not a humanitarian one, Ayalon said, but rather “a provocation intended to delegitimize Israel.”
The statement ignored, as it must, the reality on the ground. According to a spokesman for the UN relief agency in occupied Palestine, “There is a severe humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” which is to be expected when 1.5 million people are held in a de facto prison, barred from traveling to and trading with the outside world, forbidden the privilege of a functioning economy and faced with severe bombing whenever a car backfires in southern Israel.
But it’s one thing for reality and evidence to contradict state propaganda. That’s the case more often than not. How about when propaganda explicitly contradicts itself?
IDF spokesman Col. Moshe Levi–not one of Israel’s better propagandists, though I’ll concede he has a tough job–proclaimed Tuesday that Israeli soldiers had “been working non-stop for the last 24 hours examining the cargo holds of the three large cargo ships, and I can say with great assurance that none of the equipment on board is needed in Gaza. (more…)