This Week with David Rovics
This Week with David Rovics
What the Israeli Ambassador Said + "Hasbara Trolls" VIDEO

What the Israeli Ambassador Said + "Hasbara Trolls" VIDEO

Today's offering is an analysis of the recent speech of the Israeli ambassador at the UN Security Council meeting a few days ago, perfectly paired with a great new video from Chet.

Chet Gardiner made an excellent video to go along with the song, complete with actual quotes from actual trolls taken from my Facebook Page.

What the Israeli Ambassador Said

When the most tepid possible Security Council resolution was passed because the US finally didn't veto it, the Israeli ambassador to the UN was invited to speak, along with the representative of Palestine.  All of those speaking in support of the Palestinians facing genocide made good sense and stuck to the facts.  

The Israeli ambassador, on the other hand, spun a web of lies that represent a master class in the Hasbara Troll narrative (that has been flooding my Facebook page for the past 6 weeks or so in particular).  

I was listening to Al-Jazeera on the day, as I often am.  Al-Jazeera treats Security Council meetings as if they matter, and interrupts their regular programming to cover them, which is why I even knew they were meeting at the time.  When the genocidal maniac from Israel spewed his bile, I had to transcribe it.  

What follows is his speech after the Security Council's resolution passed (in italics), and my analysis of the narrative behind the lies that he is trying to establish as current or historical reality, with the immense assistance of the almost completely servile western corporate, state, or "public" media, and the politicians from the west who parrot the narrative and take it for granted that it's true, or at least that it's an honest version of someone's effort to get to the bottom of things, rather than just an organized campaign of disinformation.

He begins:

At the outset I want to express my deepest condolences to the Russian people and to the families of all the victims of the heinous terror attack on Friday.  Terror must always be condemned in the harshest terms.

Here he sets the stage, beginning with his central theme, defining and condemning "terror" in the harshest ways possible, in order to justify the genocide of an entire population.

It is certainly difficult to understand what would drive anyone to sacrifice their own lives or liberty by massacring 137 people at a concert, in Moscow -- or in Manchester, Paris, or anywhere else.  Condemning such actions as heinous and all that is perfectly reasonable.

But for the ambassador's purposes, it's very important to establish what terror is and that it must be condemned in the harshest terms first in order to make it clear that acts carried out by a state actor can't be called "terror," and are always presumed to be in self-defense against "terror."  Those perpetrating the terror must always be condemned in the harshest terms because doing anything else might risk opening the window of mutual understanding or successful communication.  We can't ever risk that.  Therefore, if anyone suggests that when people are massacred on a regular basis, those being massacred might massacre others in return, it must be understood immediately that these people are justifying the unjustifiable, and are sympathetic with "terror," and every awful thing "terror" has ever done.

The ambassador continues:

The Security Council was justifiably very quick to condemn Friday's terror attack in Russia.  Just as it waited no time to condemn the terror attack in Iran against a police station back in December.  Yet still, to this day, the Council refuses to condemn the most widespread and barbaric massacre suffered by the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

He develops his narrative.  Terror must always be condemned in the harshest terms, and here are examples where it has been thusly condemned.  But, he claims, not in the case of southern Israel, despite what he says was the extreme barbarity of the events of October 7th.

Every member state of the United Nations would at least claim to be against terrorist attacks, and generally denounces them publicly.  Nations like Israel and the US also have long histories of helping form and support terrorist networks, while denouncing them in public.

In the United Nations, factors that complicate the idea of condemning Hamas in this instance include reality, history, and international law.  The people of Gaza have been condemned to lives bereft of clean water or sufficient food and other necessities for so many years, drones flying overhead constantly, punctuated by regular bombing campaigns.  Under international law, occupied people have a right to resist occupation.  One of the ambassador's ideological missions is to eliminate any distinction between occupied people resisting occupation and any other form of apparently random violence.

The ambassador expands on the theme:

At least 137 people were murdered at Crocus City concert hall in Russia on Friday by radical jihadists.  And yes, almost 6 months ago nearly 400 people were murdered at the Nova music festival in Israel by the radical jihadists of Hamas.  Why does the Security Council discriminate between Russians murdered at the concert and Israelis murdered at the music festival?  

Having made the evident connection between the massacre in Crocus concert hall and the ghetto uprising in southern Israel, he asks why the double-standard.  His comparison between one "radical jihadist" group and another is, on the one hand, a lot like saying Spanish Inquisition and the nation of Mexico are both run by Catholics.  On the other hand, the comparison is interesting because both Islamic State and Hamas have origins that have a whole lot to do with undercover military and intelligence agency campaigns as well as very overt ones conducted by Israel and the United States.  Neither group would exist in the first place without US imperialism on the one hand, or Zionism on the other.

But the differences between these events are also abundantly clear.  Hamas, for example, took hostages in order to trade them for the thousands of Palestinians (including many children) being held hostage in Israeli prisons, indefinitely without trial (though the trial would be extremely unfair if there were to be one).  The arsonists in Moscow did not take hostages, they just killed everyone in sight.  The Gaza uprising targeted soldiers, which made up almost half of the Israelis killed during the battle, in which hundreds of Palestinian fighters also were killed.

The ambassador continues, with an effort to rewrite history to make it more convenient for the occupiers:

Civilians, no matter where they live, deserve to enjoy music in safety and security.  And the Security Council should have the moral clarity to condemn such acts of terror equally, without discrimination.  Sadly, today as well this council refused to condemn the October 7th massacre.  This is a disgrace.  It was the Hamas massacre that started this war.  I repeat -- it was the Hamas massacre that started this war.

The notion that Hamas started this war is just as ridiculous as saying that the Jewish Combat Organization started the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that resulted in the deaths of several dozen German soldiers, along with 60,000 Polish Jews, mostly burned alive as the Nazis methodically destroyed every building in the ghetto.  If it were true that Hamas started the war, then Gaza would not have been occupied, sanctioned, besieged, and bombed since 2006.  If it were true that Hamas started the war, the population of Gaza would not be made up primarily of descendants from refugees who fled prior, successful Israeli efforts to steal their land (without acknowledgement or compensation).

Now the ambassador goes for the jugular, as it were:

Nearly 6 months have passed and the Security Council still has not condemned the child-murdering rapists that began this war.  The resolution just voted upon makes it seem as if the war started by itself!  Well let me set the record straight:  Israel did not start this war, nor did Israel want this war.

Israel did not start this ghetto uprising, as he established earlier.  And furthermore, although almost half of the Israelis killed were soldiers, apparently during the constant fighting around southern Israel on October 7th, the Palestinians had time to commit all kinds of sadistic acts towards women and children while they were losing battle after battle against a far superior armed force, the Israeli military.  Except that the evidence for any of these acts doesn't seem to exist -- every time the Israelis purport to have evidence, it turns out to be yet another Israeli lie.  

It's a very important lie, though, clearly, as can be seen not only from the rhetoric of just about every Israeli pundit and politician, but also from the rhetoric of their internet trolls, who focus the majority of their attacks on the notion that the Palestinians all deserve to be killed because they committed such depraved acts.

It's also a very important lie because it seeks to help mask the fact that Israel is well-documented to have intentionally committed all the sorts of crimes Hamas is accused of without evidence, including rape, executing and massacring defenseless people in schools, apartment buildings, in hospitals, and in the streets, including tremendous numbers of children.  And even more horrific -- intentionally starving millions of people and depriving them of water, shelter, and medical care.

He goes on:

Israel disengaged, and we withdrew from Gaza 18 years ago.  We wanted a ceasefire and coexistence.  You can repeat here slogans and purport to know for the Palestinians what the Palestinians seek.  But this won't make it the truth or the reality.  The Palestinian representative here is lying through his teeth when he says his people want to live side-by-side with Israel.

Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza in order to turn Gaza into a walled ghetto, which is what they did immediately after they destroyed and abandoned their settlements, leaving almost nothing of use remaining.  The people of Gaza have never had autonomy, control of their borders, control of a seaport or an airport, or the opportunity for any kind of voluntary coexistence with their occupier-"neighbors."

The device the ambassador uses when he talks about Palestinians living "side-by-side with Israel" is intentionally deceptive, because he knows full well that what there is fundamental disagreement with is around the definition of "Israel" -- for example, where are the borders of Israel?  Do they include the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?  All of both, or only parts?  Does Israel control the borders of its "neighbors"?

He continues:

By the way, as you probably know, he [the Palestinian ambassador] does not represent Hamas, he does not represent the Gazans, they did not choose him to speak for them.  His leader, President Abbas, refuses to even condemn the massacre, and he continues to pay terrorists.

The idea of condemning something in this case is a lot like the idea of "living side by side."  What are we actually talking about?  What are we condemning?  What do we mean by "Israel" or how do we define our borders?  These questions are completely essential -- and entirely ignored by Israeli leaders and their western supporters.

The notion that the Palestinian Authority continues to "pay terrorists" is a reference to paying those who administer the infrastructure and society in Gaza.  He then expands on this notion:

After Israel withdrew from Gaza, the Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization.  They elected a terror organization.  Hamas converted every inch of Gaza into a terror war machine, right under the UN's nose -- maybe with the help of some of the UN's agencies, like UNWRA.  And Hamas initiated ceaseless attacks on Israeli civilians throughout the past 18 years.  Thousands and thousands of indiscriminate rockets and missiles at civilians.

The opposite of this narrative gets much closer to reality.  The notion that Hamas's rockets have ever been anything other than a response to Israeli occupation and strangulation of their little strip of land is ridiculous, laughable, and repeated in the western press as if the notion had any basis of truth.  The notion that the main UN agency responsible for the survival of the people of Gaza is a terrorist group of some kind, or that most people involved with running Gaza are involved with armed resistance, are obvious lies -- but obvious lies that are regurgitated regularly in the western press as if they had any relevance to reality.

He continues:

Today, Hamas is the most popular movement among Palestinians.  And according to every poll, the vast majority of Palestinians support Hamas's massacre on October 7th, not only in Gaza but also in Judea and Samaria.  This is the reality you should face and you should address.

In other words, the UN Security Council should address the "reality" that people living under a savagely brutal occupation involving constant home demolitions, torture of arbitrarily arrested people held for decades in prison, regular pogroms committed against Palestinian communities, etc., would support armed resistance against such a regime.

Colleagues, while the resolution fails to condemn Hamas, it does state something that should have been the driving moral force.  This resolution denounces the taking of hostages, recalling that it is in violation of international law.  Taking innocent civilians hostage is a war crime, and there is no arguing that this is what Hamas has committed.  

The ambassador then moves on to the most oft-repeated theme of the Hasbara Trolls, the Israeli politicians and pro-war activists, and the subservient western press:  taking hostages is a violation of international law, and the hostages should be freed unconditionally.

The reality is, Israel holds far more hostages than are being held in Gaza, it's just that they are referred to as "prisoners."  Historically, one of the few ways Palestinians have been successful in freeing significant numbers of Palestinian prisoners has not been through the Israeli military courts, but by taking Israeli soldiers hostage, and then doing a hostage-exchange, which the Israeli authorities are refusing to do, preferring instead to bomb and starve their own hostages to death.

He further expands on the hostages theme:

The release of the hostages should have been the #1 priority.  When it comes to bringing the hostages home, the Security Council must not settle for words alone, but take action -- real action.  It is unfathomable that when it comes to releasing the hostages, we still only see inaction.  Not a single step has been taken by the council aside from symbolic words.  Yet, when it comes to the situation in Gaza, the council rushed to take action.  You appointed a special coordinator and established a monitoring mechanism.  The council visited Rafah to see the aid shipments firsthand.  And the Secretary General has already visited Rafah Crossing twice.

Negotiations for hostage and prisoner exchanges have been going on for months, but because Israel doesn't want to do such an exchange, there hasn't been one.  The ambassador's effort here is to obfuscate this basic reality, an effort at obfuscation that has been exercised daily by western media and political leaders.

The notion that because UN agencies and the Secretary-General are taking Israel's genocide seriously, this shows bias is nothing more than a cruel joke.  If the UN were really taking this genocide seriously, many people imagine it might take actual action, rather than having press conferences in Egypt.

He expands further:

Why do our hostages not receive concrete action?  What have you done to advance their release?  Colleagues, following this council's adoption of UNSCR 2712 and 2720 which both call for the release of all hostages, Hamas did not stop to even contemplate for even one moment.  It should be very clear that as long as Hamas refuses to release the hostages through diplomatic channels, there is no other way to secure their return other than through a military operation.

The idea that freeing hostages requires a military operation is once again turning reality on its head, and once again an upside-down world regularly reported as something other than completely fabricated, by western press and politicians.  Rather than not even contemplating it for a moment, Hamas representatives have been in constant negotiations for months in Qatar and Russia and elsewhere, talking about a hostage-prisoner exchange and other relevant issues.

Israel's "military operation" in Gaza has killed unknown numbers of Israeli hostages -- including three that were shot while shirtless, raising white flags, shouting in Hebrew, and trying to get rescued by Israeli troops nearby.

He expands further:

On the one hand, the resolution says that taking civilian hostages is in violation of international law.  Yet, on the other hand, despite the fact that you know Hamas won't listen to your calls and release the hostages, you demand a ceasefire.  Take a moment and think about this moral contradiction.

The obvious contradiction with regards to a hostage release and a ceasefire is the notion that it's even physically possible or remotely safe to release hostages while the entirety of the Gaza Strip is covered by armed drones and being constantly bombed.

He goes on:

Your demand for a ceasefire, without conditioning it on the release of the hostages, not only is not helpful, but it undermines the efforts to secure their release.  It is harmful to these efforts, because it gives Hamas terrorists the hope to get a ceasefire without releasing the hostages.  All members of the council -- all members -- should have voted against this shameful resolution.

The idea here is to make sure it's clear that the only lives that matter are Israeli lives, and Palestinian lives are irrelevant.  Why would there be any reason to call for a ceasefire, if Hamas hasn't unilaterally released all of their captives first?  Just because millions of Palestinians are being bombed and starved?  Not only are Palestinian lives irrelevant in the ambassador's analysis, but all of the people of Gaza are responsible for the fate that has befallen them.

The ambassador continues, with a theatrical flourish:

Mr. President, where are these council's actions?  Why don't you designate Hamas as a terrorist organization?  Even if there are council members here who would prevent this due to their political alliances with Hamas's leadership, where are the moral efforts to advance such a designation?

I wish to suggest an alternate text, that should have been adopted by the council if it wasn't so biased against Israel:

"The Security Council strongly condemns and deplores all abuses of human rights, and where applicable, violations of international humanitarian law by the terrorist group.  Including those involving violence against civilian populations, notably women and children, kidnapping, killing, hostage-taking, pillaging, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, recruitment of children, and destruction of civilian property.  The Security Council demands that the terrorist group immediately and unequivocally cease all hostilities and all abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, and disarm and demobilize.  The Security Council demands the immediate and unconditional release of all those abducted who remain in captivity.  The Security Council recognizes that some of such acts may amount to crimes against humanity."

Colleagues, I did not draft this text.  You know who did?  This council.  This is the resolution adopted by the council 10 years ago when Boko Haram kidnapped the school girls in Nigeria. 

One of the outrages of quoting the Security Council's condemnation of Boko Haram's actions is that they describe so many aspects of what Israeli forces are doing daily in Gaza, verifiably -- hostage-taking, pillaging, rape, sexual violence, torture, destruction of everything in sight -- and so much more, including mass forced famine and disease.  But as was made clear in the resolution, they were not condemning any governments for such actions, but only a nonstate actor -- which is why the US didn't veto it.

The ambassador concludes:

So I ask you again, why can this council call on Boko Haram to lay down their arms, but the same cannot be demanded of the murderous Hamas terrorists?  Is the life of [an Israeli baby] worth less than the life of a Nigerian child?  Sadly, it's for the same reason why you can condemn terror attacks in Russia or Iran but not in Israel.  For this council, Israeli blood is cheap.  This is a travesty, and I am disgusted.

His closing remark referencing Israeli babies is especially galling, given that it was evidently the Israeli military's scorched-earth policy in retaking southern Israeli towns that resulted in the deaths of Israeli babies and other Israelis, along with Palestinian fighters.  Meanwhile, Israeli policies are intentionally and directly causing the deaths of babies across the Gaza Strip, in many well-documented cases already.

My conclusion, in four words:  the ambassador is lying.

Northeastern US tour on now!

This Week with David Rovics
This Week with David Rovics
If I do an interview, whether as the interviewer or interviewee, or a livestream event, new song, audio essay or various other things, it’ll often go out as a podcast here.