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Terrorism and Propaganda
Friday, 28 September 2007 11:24
Terrorism and Propaganda
by Dr. Paul Balles

Avigdor Lieberman, a West Bank settler from Russia, has advocated killing the leaders of the Palestinian group Hamas and reducing the number of Arabs who are Israeli citizens. He spouts genocidal advice like, "The leadership of Hamas needs to go to heaven" and "At 8am we'll bomb all the commercial centers... at noon we'll bomb their gas stations... at two we'll bomb their banks... ”. In 2003, Ha'aretz reported that Lieberman called for the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.

However heinous Lieberman’s stance, he is not considered a terrorist.  As Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, he speaks for the state; and according to the US Government, a state cannot be guilty of terrorism.

If a state like Israel commits what would otherwise be considered a terrorist act, they're only considered guilty of human rights violations, but not terrorism. If the Palestinians — not considered a state — commit the same acts they're dubbed terrorists.

Thus, in the recent war in Lebanon, the Israeli bombardment of hundreds of sites and the destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure, along with the accompanying carnage of civilians, was considered only a violation of human rights. Yet the Lebanese felt terrorized throughout.}

However, Hezbollah, despite its membership in the Lebanese Parliament, has been labelled a terrorist organization.  Similarly, the US lists Hamas as a terrorist organisation even though they represented an elected majority in the Palestinian Parliament.

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Brian Whitaker, writing in The Guardian, even before 9/11 had it right:
"Terrorism is violence committed by those we disapprove of."
Perhaps the best simple definition of terrorism comes from Professor Ivo Welch of Brown University, who defined it as, "The deliberate targeting of non-combatants." 

Examples of Terrorism under this definition include:
  • Al Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Centre.
  • The suicide bombings in the Netanya Park Hotel during a Passover dinner in 2002.
  • The November 2003 synagogue bombings in Istanbul.
  • The July 2002 shooting of a Palestinian girl during a rampage by Israeli settlers.
  • The Sabra and Shatilla camp massacres of Palestinians in 1982.
  • Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the carpet bombing of German cities during World War II.
  • Baruch Goldstein's 1994 attack with an assault rifle on unarmed worshippers in the Dome of the Rock.
Examples that are not terrorism:
  • Al Qaeda’s attack against the Pentagon.
  • Attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
  • ETA's and the IRA's bombings of military installations.
  • The assassination of the Israeli minister, Ze'Evi. (I consider Ze'Evi to have been a combatant, which one could admittedly debate.)
  • Accidental civilian casualties in a war operation.
  • Collateral civilian deaths in war, if not the primary reason and if all reasonable efforts have been made to avoid them.
  • Suicide bombings against Israeli troops in the West Bank.
Recently, many references by US congressmen have pegged Iran as a terrorist nation.  The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, has stated that Iran, "the world's chief terrorist state will soon possess the greatest weapon of terrorism ever created."

The neocons in the US have mesmerised the public with “terror”, “terrorism”, “world terrorism”, “global terrorism” repeatedly in a persistent propaganda campaign.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Adolph Hitler said that propaganda "must limit itself to a few themes and repeat them incessantly"

George W. Bush said, “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

The so-called “war on terrorism” has been the focus of officials in the US 24/7 since 9/11.  As one historian has said, “All political life is based on the myth of terrorism.”
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