January 4, 2009 – 4:26 am

Stuff one and half million people in a ghetto, deprive them of basic necessities, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly and Israel acts surprised when the people in Gaza turn hostile. Reflections by musician Brian Eno.

It’s a tragedy that the Israelis - a people who must understand better than almost anybody the horrors of oppression - are now acting as oppressors. As the great Jewish writer Primo Levi once remarked “Everybody has their Jews, and for the Israelis it’s the Palestinians”. By creating a middle Eastern version of the Warsaw ghetto they are recapitulating their own history as though they’ve forgotten it.

And by trying to paint an equivalence between the Palestinians - with their homemade rockets and stone-throwing teenagers - and themselves - with one of the most sophisticated military machines in the world - they sacrifice all credibility.

The Israelis are a gifted and resourceful people who fully deserve the right to live in peace, but who seem intent on squandering every chance to allow that to happen. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this conflict serves the political and economic purposes of Israel so well that they have every interest in maintaining it.

The great Jewish writer Primo Levi once remarked “Everybody has their Jews, and for the Israelis it’s the Palestinians”.

While there is fighting they can continue to build illegal settlements. While there is fighting they continue to receive huge quantities of military aid from the United States. And while there is fighting they can avoid looking candidly at themselves and the ruthlessness into which they are descending.

Gaza is now an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly… and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment?

Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now ‘under attack’ you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn’t possibly reach an accommodation.

And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

Note: Brian Eno is a musician and music producer. The above article was posted at

  1. 4 Responses to “STEALING GAZA”

  2. Gaza being compared to Warsaw, is like comparing a sewer to Hell. Did Warsaw come about by it’s own citizens crafting? Did Warsaw have a free open seaboard, along with it’s bounty of fish & grandure? Did Warsaw have a border with a friendly country, such as Egypt? Did the “occupants” of Warsaw hurl thosands of deadly rockets into Berlin? Do the “prisoners” of Gaza eat their own excriment for lack of nourishment? Really, whoever would write such disgusting trash & read it & believe it’s a worthy argument, must be of bird-like mentality. I’ll tell you what, take a walk, sometime, in a sewer & then compare that to Hell, when you croak.

    By Timmy on Jan 5, 2009

  3. Thank you for this small but important comment.

    When neighbours all around me began greeting the new year with their crackers and rockets I couldn’t help imagining what happened at the same time in Gaza, much louder, much more harmful, devastating, hurting, killing, so much more violently. And I had to cry a tear for Palestine, and certainly also for Israel.

    Greetings from Germoney, Tom

    By Tom on Jan 5, 2009

  4. “Timmy” is busy squawking about bird brains, whilst everyday people die. Shame on him. Shame on us.

    The US are the cause and the EU complicit in this daily slaughter and degradation of a people.

    Brian Eno is not just a great musician but an astute politician commentator.

    By Pigface on Jan 5, 2009

  5. Historically, both Jews and Palestinians lived in the Area. I’d like to see an end to the fighting, but exactly what should Israel do when their innocent civilians are being shelled/rocketed? Seems to me that there are innocents on the Israeli side as well…

    By Kevin on Jan 17, 2009

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