In 1986 the Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli Government passed a law making Holocaust denial a criminal offence. Any objective person would tell you the amount of evidence that exists in different forms makes anyone who would dare deny the attempted extermination of the Jewish people seem as crazy as those who perpetrated the Holocaust.
Any objective person paying attention to reporters such as Channel 4's Jon Snow over the past few weeks as Israel has butchered over 1000 men, women and children would tell you that Israel has embarked on a campaign of brutality and mass murder against a population ill equipped to defend itself.
Just as here in the north we continually hear the phrase 'anti-peace process' or of the people who 'don't want peace.' Phrases which are rotated and regurgitated on a regular basis and used when people question those in authority or dare voice an opinion that differs to the states position.
How is it a difference of opinion can often be construed as opposition to something in it's entirety? Human rights activists speaking out against injustice in the North of Ireland have been all too often branded dissidents or dissident supporters. Similar or more dangerous accusations have been levelled against reputable and recognised journalists and academics.
So is it that all opinions are welcome but only some count or is it a case of when you're opinion is wanted you will be told what it is and how and when to express it?
Recently the BBC has come under the spotlight for their reporting bias on the situation in Gaza. In one instance the BBC interviewed a Pro-Israeli commentator yet neglected to mention the commentators political affiliation, this lack of neutrality breached the BBC's own impartiality guidelines. This is the same BBC which is renowned for their reporting in line with United Nations and / or state position. Even today protesters in Bristol have taken over the garden of the local BBC headquarters in protest at the lack of impartiality demonstrated by the BBC.
I once read a statement that read “the press would have you believing that the oppressor is the oppressed" which is very poignant when you consider how elements of the press portrayed the innocent victims of Bloody Sunday in 1972 as gunmen and bombers. The same media outlets that now tell us that Israel is under attack and any other amount of lies and propaganda the spin doctors want published.
I noted recently with the press coverage on the death of Gerry Conlon that with the exception of a few journalists the press conveniently omitted to mention Gerry's work on the case of the Craigavon two. Whilst on the subject of the Craigavon two I would take the opportunity to question why our so called civic leaders and moral guardians remain silent on the issue so silent in fact some are currently residing in the 'where are they now file.'
These are some of the same civic leaders and moral guardians who seem quite prepared to overlook what is clearly a miscarriage of justice on their own doorstep whilst appearing at ease cosying up to apologists of the Israeli murder machine and the leaders of the governments who fuel and fund the Israeli murder machine.
(right)Derry SDLP Mayor Brenda Stevenson & SDLP Cllr Gerry Diver pictured (above) with Steven Jaffe, Co-Chair N.I. friends of Israel.
(right) Peace Activist Rachel Corrie lies fatally injured after being crushed by an Israeli stormtrooper at the wheel of an armoured caterpillar bulldozer.
For those unaware of the Craigavon two I can sum their situation up in a few words having read the court judgement on-line. Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton are serving lengthy prison sentences for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll on the word of what appears to be a short sighted Walter Mitty and on the strength of circumstantial and 'conveniently' MISSING evidence. This case bears all the hallmarks of political expediency in that a conviction has been sought, case closed, as was witnessed in the cases of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six. I believe every effort must be made in the absence of Gerry Conlon to continue his work in highlighting this issue.
This year on August 10th activists from Ireland and beyond will unite in Belfast to march against the continuing use of internment, of course the state, it's media and certain political parties will tell you internment no longer exists, that is unless one of their party members or supporters is subject to arrest and detention. The reality is people are being held for long periods of time without trial with some cases being thrown out in court and others before they reach court. If there is a case to be answered then the accused should have the opportunity to do so within a reasonable time frame and in the presence of a competent legal authority as opposed to the continued use of the Diplock non-jury court. So much for an era “in which justice will be done and seen to be done and measures compatible with a normal and peaceful society” as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
The world is a smaller place, through social media and other channels we have the chance to see more truth than the corporate mainstream thought policed media will ever present to us, the question is will you do anything about it? The smallest gesture can make the biggest difference and never underestimate the power that ordinary people have.
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