Terry Milewski is a CBC journalist who makes it a practice to speak truth to power. At times, that practice has landed him in trouble, but so far, he’s survived. After all, journalists are supposed to speak truth to power, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
But not, it seems, when it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its military assault on Gaza. Mainstream Canadian journalists tend to avoid the word “occupation” and Milewski is no exception.
Yesterday, as guest host of the CBC Radio program The House, Milewski interviewed Michael Bell, former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Egypt and Jordan. The interview was framed around the notion that no long-term solution to the violence in Gaza is possible. Bell asserted that Hamas “depends on these disturbances to empower their base” while Milewski suggested that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is justified.
“What about the core demands of Hamas for a permanent settlement?” Milewski asked adding, “They want the blockade lifted and the seaport opened and simultaneously they remain committed to eradicating the state of Israel and to killing Jews. So this surely is going to be seen by the Israelis as a complete non-starter, as an opportunity for an open door for Hamas to re-arm and buy more rockets and more tunnels.”
Bell responded that while the demand for more open borders is legitimate, “Israel faces an enemy, if you like, whose ultimate goal is not just the flow of goods and services and what have you into Gaza, but whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the state of Israel, the Jewish state.”
Neither man seemed aware of the obvious. That Israel is steadily destroying Palestine. As Noam Chomsky writes:
Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.
For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.
For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.
To be sure, Michael Bell and Terry Milewski are not alone among Canada’s political elites in ignoring military occupation as the root cause of the conflict. Nor are they alone in justifying Israel’s war on Palestinians.
The ruling Conservatives vigorously defend Israel’s slaughter in Gaza while the New Democrats and Liberals talk about “Israel’s right to defend itself.” Only the Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, has pointed out that Israel’s invasion of Gaza violates international law.
Maybe the CBC show that bills itself as “Canada’s most popular political affairs program” will find the courage to interview Elizabeth May.