Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Gatekeeper: The Case of Uri Avnery

The internet is awash with propaganda.

I think we all know, actually, that the internet is awash with propaganda, and those of us with two brain cells to rub together have more or less got to the point where we can easily identify propaganda. And most propaganda is pretty crude, so crude that it’s either preaching to the converted or – as in the case of Supreme Warmonger Barack Hussein Obama’s constant, endless stream of lies – no longer gives a damn whether it’s got anything to do with facts or not.

But there’s another kind of propaganda which is old, and insidious, and very, very effective, if you only know what to look out for.

I’m talking about the gatekeepers.

Now, to understand what I mean by this term, let’s go over the standard form of propaganda. I couldn’t do better than repeat, say, the standard Hasbara line on Palestinians, for instance: “Palestine never existed. It was a made-up country. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the land it occupies was given it by divine decree. When it bombs and massacres the (nonexistent) Palestinians in Gaza, it’s only exercising its right to self defence.”

I think I’ve more or less presented the usual Zionist line of propaganda, haven’t I?

Of course, this type of lying is not just an insult to the reader’s intelligence, it’s not conducive to gaining new converts to one’s side. All it does is attempt to stonewall criticism, and not successfully at that. In order to achieve real propaganda success, you need to be much cleverer than that.

That’s where the gatekeepers come in.

This is what the gatekeeper does: instead of presenting his side as the embodiment of light and truth, which can do no wrong, he readily admits faults and mistakes. In fact, he stridently joins in criticism of his side, and indeed exposes “embarrassing facts” which one would otherwise probably not get to know. But in all this barrage of criticism, it’s easy to miss the two most important things he does:

First, all the criticism is directed into safe channels, away from anything that really matters. For instance, a gatekeeper can call his king a drunkard and womaniser who cheats at cards and takes a cut of all government contracts. All of this will probably be perfectly valid and correct criticism, but he will carefully omit the fact that the same king is getting ready to tax the poorest of the poor, invade a neighbouring country, enslave the population, and sell off all the resources to his cronies.

Secondly, he will carefully and insidiously promote the agenda while allegedly opposing it. For example, in the instance I just mentioned, he’ll go on at length exposing the king’s philandering and cheating. But when it comes to taxing the poor, he’ll say how the government lacks funds owing to the fact that the nobility hoards its money, and the slums are horrible, not fit for humans to inhabit. So in order to turn them into places humans can inhabit, finances have to be arranged somehow, and for that – since the poor can’t be left to live in such squalor, it would be inhuman – they should be allowed to contribute for their own betterment. And as for the neighbouring country, it’s ruled by a cruel tyrant who abuses his people, and a better regime there would mean strong bonds of friendship between the two peoples. So while an imperialist invasion of that nation would be unthinkable, a humanitarian war would make things so much better that it’s not only thinkable, it’s the only reasonable thing to do.

I’m now going to provide for you the perfect example of a gatekeeper, and show you how the technique works.

Those of us who are familiar with the affairs of the Zionist entity will probably have come across the name of the "peace activist" Uri Avnery. Now well over ninety years of age, Avnery (born Helmut Ostermann) is one of the very few original Zionists still alive, and was a self-confessed Irgun member – one of those who, in his own words, hid  weapons in synagogues and hospitals[1], committed terrorist acts, and was responsible for forcing the Palestinians from their homes.

[Image Source]

At first sight, in fact, Avnery is a great source of information about the Zionist entity, one of those sources who can be readily cited to demolish the Hasbara hordes. From his writing, one can learn, for example, that the Founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, actually despised the Jews and held views which were frankly anti-Semitic[2]. One can also learn from his writings that the Zionist enterprise was always totally racist in origin, and that the aim was to set up a “villa in the jungle”, a “wall of civilisation against Asiatic barbarism”[3]; that Binyamin Netanyahu is a corrupt demagogue overcompensating for a cold childhood family atmosphere with a domineering father[4,5]; and that the current state of Israel is a racist[6] theocracy[7]  married to militarism[2,8]. All quite true, and all excellent antiHasbara ammunition, and at first sight one could be forgiven for imagining that Avnery was one of the good guys.

But that’s only at first sight. A little deeper reading of Avnery, and one discovers these interesting nuggets:

One of Avnery’s repeated demands is that the Palestinians be given a state of their own. Good, right? Only if you ignore the subtext, which is his equally repeated mantra that the Palestinians be given a state of their own because peoples of different ethnicities cannot possibly coexist in the same nation. No, I’m not making this up – he really said that, over and over. I’m sure this will come as news to multiethnic nations across the planet, from India to Indonesia, from Nigeria to China, from South Africa to Surinam. And in the establishment of this two-state solution, he advocates the exchange of territories between the two sides, so that Zionist settlements in most of the West Bank would be left in “Israel” while the Palestinian state would be compensated by parts of “Israeli” territory.

As I said in an article I wrote about the two-state solution[9] :

If these settlements are not withdrawn back into the Zionist entity, they will remain a permanent knife in the heart of the Palestinian state. They already occupy the best water sources, the best arable land, and sit astride natural communication routes...(i)t would also turn the Palestinian state into a Bantustan, with no way to sustain itself economically, with its people entirely dependent on handouts from abroad and remittances from those who migrate to work in the Zionist Entity and to Jordan. In other words, it will be a gigantic labour camp, no more... giving the Palestinians a separate state will only embolden the Zionist ultra-right who want the Arabs cleansed from the Holy Land of Eretz Israel. They have a country of their own, these people will argue – why should they be allowed to remain in the homeland, breathing Jewish air?

Can anyone explain exactly how Avnery’s stance, in its actual effects, varies from that of the right wing religious-military establishment he allegedly opposes with all his heart and soul? Either way, you get a Zionistan purged of its Arab population, and in possession of all the best parts of the territory of the former Palestine, don’t you?

Avnery isn’t actually particularly subtle about his enduring commitment to the Zionist project. His fear is that a unitary state would no longer be a Zionist one because, of course, the Jewish part of the population – whether religious or otherwise – would be a minority in a sea of Arab-speakers. That would be the end of Zionistan, and Avnery is committed to preventing that.

To this end he is perfectly able to bend his energies to fighting the illegal West Bank settlements[10,11], whose products he supports boycotting (but not, let’s be clear about this, the products of the so-called state of Israel itself). The settlements, to his line of thinking, are a massive, huge, enormous liability – they focus unwelcome attention to the continuing racist fascist imperialism of Zionistan, and thereby make it more likely that there will be at some point action against all the Zionist entity – not just against the settlements. So, from his gatekeeper PoV, it’s much safer to direct criticism to the settlements, not the core “homeland”.

That extends to Gaza as well, where – though he allows that the (evil) settlers were responsible for the chain of events that triggered the war:

The war itself is an act of terror. Neither side has a strategy other than terrorizing (sic) the civilian population of the other side.  The Palestinian fighting organizations (sic) in Gaza try to impose their will by launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages, hoping that this will break the morale of the population and compel it to end the blockade that turns the Gaza Strip into an "open-air prison".[12]

So it’s not the (simple and provable) fact that HAMAS and other Palestinian resistance factions were fighting Zionist bombing, which started first, after years of enduring continuous blockade and aggression  without retaliation[13]. They were trying to “break the morale” of the (Zionist) population as part of an “act of terror”.

Not that his efforts are confined to the domestic scene and the settlements. Internationally, Avnery’s stance is extremely interesting – so much so that if there was any doubt about his gatekeeping, his own pronouncements dispel them like the morning mist.

Therefore, about the vicious war waged by Obama’s cannibal headhunters against the people of Syria, Avnery had this to say in March 2012[14]:

IF I were to follow the call of my heart, I would appeal to our government to send the Israeli army into Syria, drive the Assad gang from Damascus, turn the country over to the Syrian opposition or the UN, and go home.That wouldn’t even be very difficult. Damascus is just a few dozen kilometers (sic) from the positions of the Israeli army on the Golan Heights.The Syrian army is busy fighting against their own people. If they turn around to fight against us, the insurgents would sweep into Damascus and finish the job themselves. Either way, the monster would be gone...No major forces are needed in Syria. Egyptian and Turkish troops, in combination with the Free Syrian Army, should be sufficient...Bashar is no lion. He is more like a hyena - an animal called in Yiddish “the laughing beast”.

Again, in August 2012[15]:

There seems to be a kind of leftist monsterphilia around. The same people who embraced Slobodan Milošević, Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Qaddafi now embrace Bashar al-Assad, again loudly protesting against American imperialist designs against this public benefactor…the character and actions of Bashar, following those of his father, leave nothing to doubt. He is a monster butchering his people, and must be removed as quickly as possible, preferably under UN leadership. If that is impossible, owing to the Russian and Chinese veto – why, for God’s sake?! – then the Syrian rebels must be supported as much as possible.

I’m sure the tens of thousands murdered by Obama’s “Free Syrian Army” cannibals and their jihadist headhunter comrades would appreciate Avnery’s views on that.

Of course, Avnery had no problem with the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya either – an overthrow based on the lie that he was “planning a massacre” in Benghazi. Over Libya, in fact, his gatekeeping went so overt that he actually accused the opponents of the imperialist Amerikastani, Brutish and NATO vassal aggression against that country of being “colonialists”[16]. And:

GADDAFI’S DEMISE puts an end to the debate that started months ago. There can be no doubt any more that the vast majority of the Libyan people detested Gaddafi and welcomed the NATO campaign that helped to remove him. It was an important contribution, but the actual heavy fighting was done by the ragtag people’s army. Libya liberated itself. Even in Tripoli, it was the people who put an end to the tyranny.I was sharply attacked by some well-meaning European leftists for blessing the awful monster called NATO. Now, in retrospect, it is quite obvious that the overwhelming – if not unanimous – opinion of the Libyans themselves welcomed the intervention.[3]

You won’t be surprised to know that Avnery’s silence over Libya is now no less than deafening.

Then there is Iran. To appearances, Avnery is a friend of rapprochement with Iran[17], and he has predicted many times (an argument that I agree with) that there will never be a Zionistani aggression against Iran because of the latter’s immense geographical positional advantage, being able to easily close off the Straits of Hormuz. But at the same time, Avnery increasingly celebrates the increasing de facto alliance between “Israel” and Arab countries[17].

What is this alliance all about? Allegedly, it opposes the threat posed by ISIS – the same ISIS which has never, ever, attacked either the Zionists or those Arab “allies”, but which aggressively opposes both the pro-Iran government of Iraq and the Iranian-allied government of Syria. The same “alliance” openly arms and trains Obama’s jihadist cannibal headhunters in camps in Turkey and Jordan, while the Zionists equally openly offer them sanctuary and hospital treatment in Occupied Golan[18,19]. And the same “alliance” is bombing the people of Yemen to fragments, allegedly to repulse the Houthis – the same Houthis who are the only force in Yemen who are Shia (and therefore “pro-Iran”) and who are fighting al Qaeda and ISIS[20].

And this is supposed to be a peace activist.

I could go on at further length about Avnery, but there’s a limit to how much I can tolerate the stomach-churning disgust he inspires in me. One could see this article[16] for further information.

Ironically, Avnery himself suggested once that the word “Zionism” could be used as the last refuge of a scoundrel[21]. Perhaps he would admit the irony.

But I don’t think so.


Copyright B Purkayastha 2015


  1. Bill,
    Your description of Avnery fits him very well. For a long time I had wondered about him. Some time back, cannot remember when or even where, I read another take on him that came to a similar conclusion, do not trust this guy. Yes, old Uri is quite slippery.


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