The “Values” Of Those Denying a Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

One of the first things I read in my inbox this morning was a missive from David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel, about the Gaza flotilla raid, in which he claimed, “there is no food shortage in Gaza.” In other words, any attempt to bring relief there must have been based on a bogus claim that Gazans are deprived of anything by the Israeli blockade.

As Peter Beinart wrote this morning in the Daily Beast, “the guilt lies with the Israeli leaders who oversee the Gaza embargo, and with Israel’s American supporters, who have averted their eyes. Yesterday’s events are the most dramatic example yet of why the epidemic of not watching must end.”

What’s more, via Beinart:

In reality, the embargo has a broader and more sinister purpose: to impoverish the people of Gaza, and thus turn them against Hamas. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported, the Israeli officials in charge of the embargo adhere to what they call a policy of “no prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.” In other words, the embargo must be tight enough to keep the people of Gaza miserable, but not so tight that they starve.

And Gershom Gorenberg notes at the American Prospect that the blockade “has encouraged smuggling, and has caused suffering, and amplified foreign criticism of Israel. The flotilla was a missed chance for a long-need review of Israel’s policies toward Hamas since the pullout from Gaza in 2005.”

The right could hardly with a straight face accuse either Beinart or Gorenberg of being part of the dreaded left-wing, Israel-is-always-wrong set. But the right has an even more insidious talking point now, one that Brog is not alone in disseminating: there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, therefore the entire event must have been sparked by an Israel-hating lie, and therefore the IDF was justified in whatever it did.

Newt Gingrich (via Laura Rozen): “There was no humanitarian crisis; this was a deliberate political effort on the part of people who want to try to undermine the survival of Israel.” And Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren have both denied that there is either a humanitarian crisis or a shortage of medicine in Gaza.

They’re not just averting their eyes, as Beinart put it. They are deliberately misrepresenting what’s going on, with the likes of Gingrich showing the world what he means when he talks about the “Judeo-Christian” values he claims America was founded on.