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John Pilger on Israel's Gaza Rampage: It's Not Just War

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An Interview With John Pilger


Dennis Bernstein:  Noted Documentary Filmmaker, John Pilger,  is somebody who knows a great deal about  the Gaza Strip, and about the extreme conditions Palestinians there have been forced to endure under a Brutal Israeli Occupation. Pilger has actually made two films about it with the same name, twenty-five years apart: "Palestine is Still the Issue."  Pilger, a London based Australian journalist, is a widely respected, Emmy award winning documentarian. His articles regularly appear world-wide in newspapers such as the Guardian of London, the Independent, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times.

JP:  Thank you Dennis.

DB:  You know a great deal about the situation.  You've made not one film, Palestine is the Issue, but two.  Let me get your initial response to we're continuing to hear reports of massive bombing and injury, and death to civilian life, to children.  

JP:  Well, the first thing is the...we should be disgusted. That is a normal, human response, to this. And the second is that we ought not to be surprised, but we should understand this has nothing to do with Hamas, or rockets. It is an ongoing assault on the Palestinian people. And especially the people of Gaza, which began a very long time ago and the plan is to effectively get rid of them as an entity.  And I'm not exaggerating, it's often difficult to reach back to the history in times like this, but it's very important that we contextualize it.

The infamous Plan D that was executed in the late 1940s just before Israel came into being was to expel the population of Palestine; to get rid of them. And 369 villages were attacked, the people thrown out, the record is there. Historical record is very clear, Israeli historians, Benny Morris through, have documented this, the Hebrew archives have thrown it up.

The sum of it is that we see a form of genocide underway in Palestine. And this is the later stage. And what your listeners should be in no doubt about is that although Israelis are doing the bombing, it's really the United States that is really pushing the buttons. Because it's only Israelis who are flying the American planes. Those are American planes supplied for this very exercise, and if you look at the response of President Obama you understand that this is, in effect, an American/Israeli assault on a people who live in effectively an open prison.

The United Nations special reporter, Richard Falk, has likened their situation to the Warsaw Ghetto. When in Warsaw and Poland the Jewish Ghetto there rose up against the Nazis, who were crushed. These days fascism is not a word easily used, nor should it be. But we have as close to a fascist state in Israel, and those historic parallels that Falk draws, actually to be correct. So we're seeing an historical process at work here, and it is up to the rest of the world to recognize that, and do something about it.

DB: John, you've, as I mentioned in the introduction made not one film but two films with almost the same name, about twenty-five years apart.  And that's Palestine is the Issue...why did you...

JP:  Palestine is Still the Issue...

DB:  And tell us about what that means, and why you did two films and what it means that they could almost have the same name twenty-five years apart.

JP:  Well, the first film was in the late seventies and the second film was in about 2003. When I came, I'd been reporting the middle east and Palestine for quite a considerable time and when I came to make the second documentary what struck me, looking at the first documentary years before that nothing had changed that the title still applied, Palestine is Still the Issue.

It is the single issue in the middle east, because it is an issue of the most fundamental justice. It is, as I just explained, it is an issue of people fighting for their lives, literally, against an enemy that is an anachronism. Israel is...as the world was decolonizing, that is, the old empires were shedding their colonies. That's not to say a new empire wasn't arising, the U.S. empire. But the old colonies were being given at least a normal independence.

Against this historical tide, a new colony rose, and that's Israel. It's an utter anachronism. It is not in any way, in any sense, at peace with its region. It's at war with its region. In fact, its raison d'etre is war with its region. If it were to come to peace with its region then almost its reason for existing would stop. And this centers on the oppression and expulsion of Palestinians. The theft of their land, the theft of their resources, these are all facts. They're not opinions, they're facts. And they have been on the historical record for a long time. To almost everybody in the middle east, even in some of the more odious regimes, governed by some of the more odious regimes such as in the gulf, ordinary people regard Palestine as still the issue.

This center of turmoil and war, and a flashpoint, a permanent flashpoint in the world, would lose that volatile and very dangerous status when the Palestinians were given the fundamental justice to which they have a right. And it's Israel and the United States backed by Europe, but basically Israel and the United States that stands in that way. And that's why to ordinary people in the streets from Tehran to Cairo, and Damascus to Beirut, Palestine is still the issue.  And it should be the issue in Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and London and wherever.

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Dennis J Bernstein is the host and executive producer of Flashpoints, a daily news magazine broadcast on Pacifica Radio. He is (more...)
 
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Satan peered out from underneath his dark hooded c... by Ned Lud on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:01:29 AM
Don't you mean God? Specifically the God of Abraha... by Mrt Baggins on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:09:35 AM
meant only to stick your thumb in the eye of peopl... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 5:15:03 PM
But  we here have our  nuts:)On the othe... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 5:25:09 PM
Hope you and yours had a Good Thanksgiving.... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:14:02 PM
click hereI wrote this  long ago  but ..... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:03:46 PM
Thank you. And welcome to the land of Free Men.... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:20:34 PM
Hell, they are already blind and stupid, anyone wh... by maheanuu on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:48:33 PM
Fool if there was a God you're a microbe who think... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 1:22:32 AM
It's my experience those who wear a Viet nam Vet h... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 1:28:10 AM
I think israel secretly covets the seaside land of... by Bill Johnson on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:17:51 AM
Egypt has had plenty of opportunity to annex Gaze.... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 4:27:52 PM
To challenge a man! Good for you! This is not the ... by Kim Cassidy on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:56:59 PM
Usually this level of contempt for me is received ... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:46:43 PM
Women actually date you? At what price?... by David Weaver on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:03:45 AM
Actually I'm a happy person, which explains why I'... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:49:25 AM
Or see a  psyciatrist or maybe take a few cou... by maheanuu on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 12:06:35 AM
" They have been condemned to play the part of a f... by David Weaver on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:01:03 AM
Why is it those displaced persons from 1948 and on... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:06:53 PM
You are an egotistical idiot that says things so s... by Kim Cassidy on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:07:29 AM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:51:41 AM
There are several gas and oil fields in the Medite... by Jim Miles on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:07:57 PM
reply to Mrt Baggins:   Up is down, down is... by Ned Lud on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:42:47 AM
We are all now Palestinians and Native Americans, ... by Steven G. Erickson on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 1:03:44 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:11:03 AM
The Word Genocide is being wrongly used on these p... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 4:18:13 PM
Heeeeeeheeeeehaaaahaaaa... by Kim Cassidy on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:02:18 PM
therefore the dilution of the word Genocide. It is... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:21:34 PM
That you are in ANY position to "take umbrage" abo... by Kim Cassidy on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:26:15 AM
You're missing the Charge that overuse, because of... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:45:32 AM
Try "ethnic cleansing"... by Jim Miles on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:04:59 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:30:11 PM
Try "ethnic cleansing"... by Jim Miles on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:05:29 PM
I agree.Genocide is trying to eradicate a group of... by BFalcon on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:09:48 PM
Genocide is trying to eradicate a group of people ... by Sister Begonia on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:44:44 PM
You mean like "Holocaust" or "anti-semitic"?... by Sister Begonia on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:42:41 PM
 Words of advise Dude Its better to remain s... by Matthew Jacobs on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:17:48 PM
 Perhaps it is this .... if we should over th... by Theresa Paulfranz on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 5:37:13 PM
What's going on, and the price we will pay by allo... by Kim Cassidy on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:14:47 PM
manipulation on a grad scale is done to the US cit... by Theresa Paulfranz on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:31:53 PM
For TRYING to get the word out about WHY we must s... by Kim Cassidy on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:36:51 PM
I'm very glad that John Pilger identifies the real... by E. J. N. on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:15:51 PM
I open up my veins. Many of these post are such a ... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 12:48:52 AM
The truth is often denied by those it exposes.Jesu... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 5:12:38 PM
Interesting word TRUTH... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 6:28:36 PM
Folks, it   would be prudent  ... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:53:13 AM
Read my post again Snake pit is . The Snake ... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 9:14:48 PM
Matthew, in your original reply to me you said: "I... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 12:51:08 PM
I'm only responsible for what I say, yes sometimes... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:35:49 PM
An iconoclast is one who criticizes outmoded tradi... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:49:06 PM
And I am bias toward the survival of Israel becaus... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 6:59:32 PM
because Palestinian /Arab society treats women lik... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:07:49 AM
do not have an oppression of women as a part of&nb... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 12:24:11 PM
Mark you demand some unachievable level of Perfect... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 1:00:56 PM
I personally do not see much in the issue of women... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 1:09:53 PM
But perhaps can be excused for being that haunted ... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 3:22:36 PM
click here... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 3:30:21 PM
It's great you you advocate for the rights of wome... by E. J. N. on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 4:55:29 PM
Just read Jerusalem Countdown, by James Hagee, one... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 1:28:42 PM
although I doubt  those folks are really that... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 2:27:05 PM
You Imply Jerry Falwell's position was purchased b... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 9:55:06 PM
Try to understand what I said, and don't misrep... by E. J. N. on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 9:03:37 PM
What then did you imply?What did I misunderstand?W... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:51:23 PM
Just read my comments again, only this time with a... by E. J. N. on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 3:21:06 PM
Smile life is good, your in the Land of the Free M... by Matthew Jacobs on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 1:20:00 AM
You can't say that again.  It's not just.&nbs... by Sister Begonia on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 8:39:46 PM
When the ODIOUS 'King bibi' turns to the matrician... by remo on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:05:19 PM
... by intotheabyss on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 6:48:03 AM
If enough nations of the world break off diplomati... by Nelson Betancourt on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 11:29:33 AM
This is the wrong site to bring up Souls. Don't yo... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 1:58:54 AM
atheism  in its  normal form  is by... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 8:54:36 AM
Reread my comment this time put on your Sarcasm Fi... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 3:44:02 PM
Why do you care what others believe. Really????? ... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 2:16:35 AM
Jews take their rights as incipient occupants of P... by Bob Hurt on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:52:39 PM
The Palestinians have a homeland, and have had it... by Bob Hurt on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:54:30 PM
I have intensely practical reasons for these view... by Bob Hurt on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:55:07 PM
I happen to be an engineer and and a Jew. I do not... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Nov 24, 2012 at 2:41:23 PM
are inherently smarter then their Arab brothers. T... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:18:01 PM
click here... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 10:28:44 PM
Why do you care what others believe. Really????? A... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 1:45:57 AM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:06:06 PM
As I recall, Palestine lands were divided up to ma... by judith woodard on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 9:20:10 AM
have it wrong. After WW1 the Ottoman Empire was br... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 4:00:38 PM
Dear John Pilger, you are wonderful.  Strange... by Ken Daves on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 at 11:55:00 PM
The US supports endless wars for Israel, it all st... by Lorring II on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 9:33:35 AM
we have added a 911 Truther to the conversation&nb... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 1:08:04 PM
In the same way that the planned deployment of Pat... by Fern Henley on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 3:29:23 PM