If the Nobel Peace Prize can be handed to Obama, why not hand it to the Israeli Defence Force?

One of Netanyahu’s most trusted advisers thinks Israel should be awarded for its 'unimaginable restraint'

Share

Now I know that the Israeli Defence Forces are famous in song and legend. Humanitarian, courageous, self-sacrificing, restrained, willing to give their own lives for the innocents among their enemies, etc, etc.

Leon Uris’s Exodus – a racist, fictional account of the birth of Israel in which Arabs are rarely mentioned without the adjectives “dirty” and “stinking” – was one of the best pieces of Socialist-Zionist propaganda that Israel could have sought. Even Ben Gurion agreed, claiming that it was “the greatest thing ever written about Israel”, although he correctly dismissed any literary qualities this nonsense might have possessed.

But when the Israeli ambassador to the US told us (after almost 2,000 Palestinians had been slaughtered, most of them civilians) that the Israeli army should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint” in the Gaza war, I had to glance at the calendar. Was it 1 April, perhaps? Was this some kind of gargantuan joke, so obscene, so grotesquely inappropriate, that it contained some inner meaning, some kernel of truth, which I had missed?

The Nobel Prize for “unimaginable restraint”, according to Ron Dermer, should have been solemnly handed out to an army which much of the world believes guilty of war crimes.

Now of course, Ron was talking to a Washington summit of Christians United for Israel, and his audience, despite a bit of heckling, was receptive enough. After all, Christian fundamentalists in the US believe all Jews must convert to Christianity after the Battle of Armageddon, so they could certainly support a Nobel prize or two for the Israeli army’s “unimaginable” restraint.

Oddly, I find myself more in awe of the word “unimaginable” – what does this mean, for heaven’s sake? – than the “restraint” which the West always begs of Israel when it is flattening villages and cities (along with their occupants) in its various civilisational wars. Besides, if the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to Obama – presumably for public-speaking – why not hand the wretched thing to the IDF after another bloody war?

But seriously. Is Dermer, one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s most trusted advisers, simply delusional? At one point in his extraordinary address, he even referred to the RAF’s carpet-bombing of German cities in the Second World War – as if this was the template for Israel’s “restraint”. It was like the old Blair refrain that whatever mistakes we made in Iraq, we weren’t as bad as Saddam.

Well, I should hope not. But then Dermer went on: “I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.” These soldiers, according to Dermer, were being sent “into the hornet’s nest of Palestinian terror” – but WERE TRYING TO SAVE “INNOCENT” PALESTINIAN LIVES!

Is the man delusional? Well, don’t jump to this conclusion too fast. At the height of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza two weeks ago, its embassy in Dublin posted images on its official Twitter feed of the statue of Molly Malone in Dublin’s fair city – dressed in a niqab, the long black Muslim headscarf! (excuse the exclamation mark) – but this was either racist or monumentally childish. Over the image – Malone’s statue stands outside my old university, Trinity College in Dublin – were plastered in capitals the words: “ISRAEL NOW, DUBLIN NEXT.”

 

In case you think this was only for Irish consumers, another picture, addressed to Paris, depicted the Mona Lisa in a hijab and holding a missile. For Italy, the Israelis provided a picture of Michelangelo’s David with a skirt made of explosives. Denmark received a picture of the Little Mermaid holding a huge gun. “Israel is the last frontier of the free world,” was written on each.

This is surely beyond delusional. This is insane. A week earlier, the Israeli embassy in Dublin tweeted a picture of Hitler with the words “Free Palestine Now!”. These insulting tweets were taken down, but not before the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, had uttered the imperishable remark that “we are now in the middle of a war and I have other things to deal with”.

Well, you would have thought so, wouldn’t you? But alas, Modai, who has been a diplomat in London and the Holy See, was ambassador in Dublin more than two years ago when, at Christmas, his embassy’s Facebook page carried a post which said that if Mary and Jesus were alive today they would “probably end up being lynched by hostile Palestinians”. Accompanied by a picture of Jesus and Mary, the embassy’s comment read: “A thought for Christmas… If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought…”

Among the comments condemning this outrageous message was one which read: “Have you no regard for honesty whatsoever? If Jesus and Mary were alive today, they would be protesting against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, along with all the Palestinian Christians living in Bethlehem.”

The embassy later took down the Facebook post, explaining that it was made “without the consent of the administrator of the page”, and cheerfully adding: “Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!”

I personally know several Israeli diplomats, one of whom – an experienced and retired ambassador whose family champion Palestinian rights – must be appalled at this tomfoolery. So are these ambassadors delusional? On balance, I fear not. I suspect they accurately represent a truly delusional government which is shaming the State of Israel.

Canada toes Netanyahu’s odious line

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, more pro-Israeli than Netanyahu it seems, announced to his people that Canada would react to a “terrorist” in just the same way as Israel.

After the US condemned Israel for shelling a UN school sheltering 3,000 Palestinians, Harper, as my old friend Haroon Siddique wrote in the Toronto Star, “showed no compassion”. Instead, Harper announced: “We hold the terrorist organisation Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of Israel.”

It might have come from the pages of Leon Uris’s old paperback. Maybe it did, because even Canadian Liberals under Pierre Trudeau’s son, Justin, have pathetically lined up behind Harper’s Conservatives. But given the exchange rate for casualties this past month – around one Israeli for every 28 Palestinians – I suppose it is only a matter of time before someone recommends the rocket-firing and corrupt Hamas for the Nobel Peace Prize, on account of its “unimaginable restraint”.

READ MORE:
I didn’t join the Gaza march because I didn’t want to be called an anti-Semite

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Press / Mac Operator / Artworker - Digital & Litho Print

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: With year on year growth and a reputation for ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Live Virtual Training / Events

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Manager is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

FIFA awarded the World Cup to a state where slavery is actively facilitated

Aidan McQuade
 

The strange absence of women on our cultural landscape, and what I decided to do about it

Sian Norris
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003