I’ve been thinking about images of dead babies. In November 2012 I wrote a piece called War Porn.
“At the first sign of trouble, simply whip out an image, verbal, visual or subliminal, of a Palestinian baby, and you’ve won your own little war.” I said that then, and now I have to say it again.
Cast your mind back to Question Time, November 2012. Operation Pillar of Cloud/Defense. Owen Jones was on the panel, and the Israel question came up. He delivered a lengthy unchallenged and uninterrupted rant devoted to castigating Israel, firstly for the disproportionate number of Palestinian casualties (not enough Israelis) and in particular for the murder of one particular small child whose corpse had been paraded through the streets, filmed and photographed with his distraught father. These images had been plastered everywhere, over and over again, to illustrate Israel’s brutality.
When it was subsequently discovered that the child’s death was almost certainly due to a ‘shortfall’ incident, a Palestinian own goal so to speak, nobody in the media made nearly as much of a hullabaloo, or any kind of hullabaloo at all. The image is still used in certain circles, like the ‘iconic’ Al Durah image, to symbolise Israel’s malevolence.
Of course dead babies are proof that war is a nasty business. So why aren’t the Palestinians and Israel-bashers everywhere begging Hamas to accept a ceasefire? Why aren’t the press putting that to their spokespersons?
It’s shameful that people are so lazy, so ignorant and so ready, willing and able to use the casualty count as a substitute for properly evaluating Hamas’s conduct, let alone its raison d'être.
Brendan O’Neil addressed that topic. He thinks people are getting a frisson of satisfaction from parading gruesome images of ‘dead babies’. “This photo made me weep. Aren’t I good?”
Now Owen Jones has written an article in the Guardian entitled: “How the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier.”
He’s discovered the psychology of “othering” and quoting Friedrich Engels. Did you know that occupations corrupt the occupier? Corrupted occupiers have to “other” the enemy, and dehumanise them so that they can fully enjoy their enemy's defeat without those annoying pangs of conscience.
“To regard the lives of those your country is subjugating as being equal to your own would make even one death intolerable. If you think their children are much like your own, you would be unlikely to believe any military operation that kills dozens had a justification; you would demand an alternative strategy, however difficult it might at first appear.”
That was Professor Jones’s analysis of the dehumanisation process. He’s benevolently psychoanalysing the poor Israelis who can’t help being corrupted by occupying Gaza (which they don’t) because they themselves have been traumatised by the holocaust, and their victimhood has made them do:
“a mental process that blames the Palestinian deaths on Palestinians themselves.”
Ain’t that a shame. All of that bollocks to justify his opening salvo. Yes, it’s the Sderot Cinema. You know, those bloodthirsty whoops and cheers as the corrupt Jews watched the Arabs being blown to smithereens. (or maybe not)
Owen Jones is too smart for his own good. In defining the Israeli Jews’ ‘corruption’ he’s inadvertently described his own. He doesn’t see this of course because he’s too clever. The cosy consensus ( the antisemitic Guardian, the left-leaning/Muslim coalition and the BBC who have officially decided that most of the dead in Gaza are “civilians”) are in a sense the occupiers, and his demonisation of the Israelis is a fine example of “othering”.