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Jewbonics has posted a new item, ‘Global shifts in the wake of the Mavi Marmara massacre’.

The Mavi Marmara massacre set off changes in opinion or sentiment throughout the world, detonating revolt throughout the world, which gave policymakers both pretext and impulse to lighten the blockade, as well as crystallizing and contributing to mounting sentiment against the siege of Gaza, the occupation,
and Zionism more generally. A couple points follow. The first is that in an emerging multi-polar world, Palestinians and those in solidarity with them can appeal to emerging regional powers—Turkey, Brazil, to some extent Venezuela—to be their champions. Much policy does emanate from the United States and Europe, but the currency on the world stage is not “superpower-ism” but power, and there is power in other locations besides the West.

The second is that the blockade, and the occupation, and Zionism more generally, depend on the complicity of surrounding states, and so compliance or passivity on the part of the populations of those states. This is a wedge for Palestinians.

I will develop these points, but first, let me set the stage with some
statistics. They may not be surprising. In a recent poll, eighty five percent (85%) of the Israeli Jewish respondents indicated that Israel either did not use enough force (39%) or used the right amount of force (46%) during the attack. Only eight percent (8%) felt the Israelis used too much force.

These numbers basically parallel the percentages of Israeli Jews who supported the winter massacre—there is near-unanimity on violence in Israeli Jewish society. David Pollock writing at Foreign Policy comments, The survey also found extremely high levels of intensity among respondents, a fact that makes it particularly difficult for the Israeli government to move
against the tide of public opinion. In my 30 years of professionally analyzing Israeli and Arab polls, I have rarely seen such a passionate response from those surveyed.

For example, among the very large majorities who said Israel should do whatever it takes to block Iranian or Turkish vessels from reaching Gaza, extraordinarily high percentages said they feel “strongly” about the issue: 68 percent for Turkish boats, and an even higher proportion, 78 percent, regarding Iranian blockade-runners.

Even in the second-most-indoctrinated society in the world, the US, practically saturated with hasbara, support for the Israeli action was not nearly so high, and the only reliable information we have is from 3-4 days after the massacre, when the Israeli narrative was still the overweeningly dominant one in the US
press. I suspect support decreased in the subsequent weeks, and furthermore, even that poll, which asked misleading questions, found sharp differences between Republican and Democratic voters.

There are widening divergences of both tactics and principles between the US and Israel, especially regarding the excesses of Israeli violence. We should seek to exploit those divergences, while recognizing the limits of the American peace movement.

In other countries, public opinion is far more strongly in favor of Palestine. In South America, the reaction has been extremely powerful. The South American regional organization, UNASUR, announced that it “energetically rejects the intervention of Israeli forces,” in the context of a larger statement calling
the siege of Gaza intolerable. Other US allied states such as Peru and Chile attacked Israeli policy.

Peru “condemn[ed]” the “violent intervention” and Chile
“deplor[ed]” the “violent reaction of the Israeli forces.” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a strong ally of the Palestinian people, “energetically” condemned
the “brutal massacre committed by the State of Israel.” This much was predictable.

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