Tearing into the execrable John Pilger (an Aussie, I regret to say), O’Neill goes on to observe that while there was a dearth of anti-Israel placards in Tahrir Square,
‘on the pro-Egypt demonstration in London on Saturday [I assume he means the one sponsored by Amnesty International – see the video below], there was a sea of Palestine placards. "Free Palestine", they said, and "End the Israeli occupation". The speakers had trouble getting the audience excited about events in Egypt, having to say on more than one occasion: "Come on London, you can shout louder than that!" Yet every mention of the word Palestine induced a kind of Pavlovian excitability among the attendees. They cheered when the P-word was uttered, chanting: "Free, free Palestine!"
This reveals [continues O'Neill] something important about the Palestine issue. In recent years it has moved from the realm of Arab radicalism, where Egyptians and other peoples frequently demanded the creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead become almost the exclusive property of Western middle-class radicals, such as Pilger.
Emptied of its nationalist vigour and militancy, the Palestine problem, it seems, is now of little immediate interest to protesting Arabs and is instead the ultimate cause célèbre for Western liberal campaigners who like nothing more than having a victimised people they can coo over.
The power and allure of Palestine in Western radical circles is extraordinary. Palestine is the only issue they get excited about. But there is nothing progressive in their pro-Palestine fervour. It is not driven by future-oriented demands for economic development in a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank or Gaza. Instead it is driven by a view of Palestinians as the ultimate victims, the hapless and pathetic children of the new world order, who need kindly, wizened Westerners to protect them from Big Bad Israel.....
For these historically ignorant campaigners, Israelis are the New Nazis and Gaza is the new Warsaw Ghetto. As the title of a recent talk in London put it: "A New Hitler for a New Age? The Rise of Israeli Terror."
Palestinian pitiers have no time to think about the inconvenient fact that Hamas is an intolerant political entity that has no time for gay rights or women's equality. Instead, everything gets reduced to a Narnia-style story of wicked witches v happy fauns, because this is ultimately about providing vacuous-feeling Westerners with some much-needed momentum in their lives, not about untangling a messy political reality.
It's very revealing that Palestine has become less important for Arabs and of the utmost symbolic importance for Western radicals at exactly the same time. With the Palestinian people somewhat deflated, the Palestine issue can become perfect political fodder for the victim-oriented, fancy-dress radicals of the modern West.’Read all of Brendan O’Neill’s article here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/palestine-an-obsession-of-radical-west-not-arabs/story-e6frg6zo-1226006572220