Contrary to what many furriners think, the United States is full of anti-Americans, self-hating Yanks, people who feel guilty for being born comparatively wealthy and privileged, and who think the US government is an amoral front for a small group of powerful oligarchs. Examples: Michael Moore, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, 90% of university professors, and all the rest of that lot. Not to mention half the people who vote for the Democratic party.
Israel is also full of self-hating Israelis, people who really think that the Israeli state is a colonialist repressive racist regime. La Vanguardia interviewed one of them on Thursday; her name is Nurit Peled-Elnahan, and somehow she received the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought a few years back. (Most prizewinners were fairly good choices; this seems to be an unusual mistake.) She is in town because the Catalan Generalitat's Office for the Promotion of Peace and Human Rights (pompous, no?) is footing the bill.
I am not going to criticize Ms. Peled-Elnahan as a person; in fact, she has my greatest sympathy. Her swing to the radical fringe seems to have occurred after her 13-year-old daughter was killed in a Palestinian suicide bombing in 1997. She was clearly unhinged by the murder, as anyone else would be, and she's taking out her rage on the government of her own country (and on the United States), rather than on the people who actually killed her daughter.
Check out some of these quotes:
In Israel children are taught a xenophobic doctrine against Arabs. They are told that Arabs are like Nazis, and no textbook says that Jews and Muslims lived in harmony for 2000 years. The Holocaust has become a political tool.
The powerful propagate fear and ignorance because war, exploitation, and occupations are very good business.
Jewish Greater Israel is afraid of the Muslim uterus, which its ministers call a demographic threat. The US and Great Britain pollute their citizens with blind fear of Muslims, who are seen as a mass producer of terrorists.
Interviewer: Read this headline [from La Vanguardia]: "Al Qaeda wants to cleanse North Africa of the French and Spanish."
N P-E: It's all part of the political propaganda to justify what the United States is doing in Iraq, and Israel in Palestine. Al Qaeda is an answer to the chronic exploitation of the Third World.
Interviewer: Your daughter was murdered in a Palestinian suicide bombing.
N P-E: All the children that die in that area are victims of the Israeli occupation. Every two days a Palestinian child dies at the hands of Israeli soldiers, we're talking about 400 a year, and nobody, nobody has been tried or punished for one single murder. Therefore we can say, in an absurdist manner, that at least the Palestinian murderers have the decency to kill themselves...The State of Israel is pushing the Palestinians toward different kinds of death, and what I wonder is: How is it possible that the majority of Palestinians do not become human bombs?
The American media report on Israeli deaths 500% more than Palestinian deaths. Tell me what the Americans are doing in Iraq and in Afghanistan with the support of Europe, but what is the headline? A terrorist group is threatening us.
Interviewer: Remember the attacks in New York, Madrid, and London.
N P-E: They don't come out of nowhere; they are reactions. If you analyze suicide bombings in Israel one by one, you will see that a day or two before something horrible happened and this is the reaction, but they present it to us in a different way, and those who suffer are not the criminals, who always escape, but the innocents. We call some criminal actions war, and others terror.
Wow. She's justifying terrorism, and it wasn't a slip of the tongue or a misinterpretation, because she repeats it.
What I want to know is: How does someone who justifies the New York, Madrid, and London bombings, not to mention Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel, get invited to Barcelona, presumably with expenses and a fee paid by the Catalan taxpayers, by the Catalan government's Office for the Promotion of Peace and Human Rights? Especially when apology for terrorism is actually against the law in Spain? And how could someone who supports suicide bombers have been awarded the Sakharov Prize? Andrei Sakharov must be really pissed off up there in freethinkers' heaven.