Who’s the Real ‘Savage’?

Islamophobes, including some involved in the ugly protests over an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, are now taking their case against the “savage” to billboards, urging greater U.S. support for Israel. But this message is designed to justify ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

On Aug. 1, I posted a piece entitled History on a Billboard,  reporting on the placement, in the northern suburbs of New York City, of informational billboards with  maps of Palestine showing the steady growth of Israeli confiscated territory and the corresponding shrinkage of territory available to the indigenous Palestinians.

It also told the observer that “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the UN as Refugees.” Although Zionists labeled the billboard as “anti-Semitic,” it was nothing of the kind. It was wholly informational, and completely accurate.

Pamela Geller and her billboard message.

As it turns out that informational effort is now part of a growing number of ads, signs and messages which collectively make up what I call the “billboard wars.” From San Francisco to Washington D.C. and New York City, both Zionists and pro-Palestinian groups have launched competing billboard efforts. This is going on mostly in publicly owned spaces because Zionist pressure often results in private billboard companies refusing to display pro-Palestinian messages.

Now, depending on how you want to read the message of the latest Zionist effort, this billboard-wars battleground has widened beyond the issue of Palestine to encompass a worldwide clash between the “civilized” and the “savage.” It is to be noted that this was the sort of language used by imperial colonizers, including the U.S. in its conquest of the American Indians, to favorably compare the colonizers to the indigenous populations they oppressed.

There is a Zionist group calling itself “American Freedom Defense Initiative” (AFDI) led by the infamous American Islamophobe Pamela Geller. This organization has produced a sign that reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Geller and AFDI aimed at placing this message on buses, subways and in other public venues but initially had difficulty because most transportation agencies saw it as discriminatory and provocative.  However, AFDI went to court and a federal judge found that their sign was an act of “free speech” protected by the First Amendment.

Therefore, in late September, those people of New York City who ride the buses and subways found Pamela Gelller’s message in their faces. Most, of course, will pay it little mind. Yet, we should not ignore it. It is part of a propaganda effort with potentially damaging consequences.

Analyzing the Message

First, the AFDI and Geller juxtapose Israel on the one side and Jihadists on the other. My experience with over a thousand college students since 9/11 is that, for Americans, the term Jihadists means Al-Qaeda operatives. Most Americans do not associate this term with Palestinians.

And, believe it or not, while those associated with Al Qaeda have badmouthed Israel, they have yet to make war on that country. So, what are these Zionists talking about? Well, they are probably trying to broaden out the definition of a Jihadist to include not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. That would be consistent with their Islamaphobe worldview.

In addition, they are saying that Israel represents “the civilized man” who has declared war on the same enemy that has made war on the United States. By asking Americans to “support Israel,” they are reinforcing the notion that the U.S. and Israel are allies.

Second, is the AFDI correct in telling us that Israel is the “civilized man?” Only in their own ahistorical fantasy. If you care to live in a world driven by the facts then Israel is rendered “the savage.” There is a lot of evidence for this.

On Oct. 10, the Harvard researcher Sara Roy gave a devastating critique of what Israel, backed up by the United States, has done in the Gaza Strip. Gaza, with its population approaching two million Palestinians, is now the most densely populated place on earth.  It is also the world’s most crowded open-air prison.

The Israeli blockade, illegal under international law, has slowly but surely destroyed the water supply, the sewage systems, the economic structure as a whole. The Israelis will tell you that Hamas, which governs Gaza, wants to destroy Israel. But that is only wishful thinking on the part of Hamas for they haven’t the ability to destroy anything.

Israel, on the other hand, wishes to destroy the Palestinian people and they do have that capacity. In Gaza, as well as the West Bank, they are slowly doing so. This is genocide in slow motion.

Sara Roy is an extremely knowledgeable American Jewish academic, but there are plenty of other sources, some of them Israeli, that will back up and expand on her critique. Here are a few of them:

— B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights

— Rabbis For Human Rights

— Palestine Center for Human Rights

— Jewish Voices for Peace

Looking at the websites of these organizations reveals a litany of  ongoing  barbaric policies and actions perpetrated upon mostly unarmed Palestinians who have nothing at all to do with Jihadists. Indeed, to act as Israel does in this regard is to qualify a good number of its citizens (though not all) as savages. So to be true to the facts AFDI’s sign should really read as follows,

“In any war between savage one (Israel) and savage two (Al Qaeda), AFDI urges Americans to support savage number one. This is so even though Israel is not fighting Jihadists but rather genocidally destroying Palestinians.” That would be historically accurate, although it would put the situation in a distinctly different light than does Ms Geller’s propaganda.

The end of the billboard wars is not yet in sight. AFDI’s message is aimed at an American audience and thus can also be read as an attempt to promote Islamophobia just before a presidential election.

To counter the racist aspect of this message, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has placed 16-foot signs in the metro stations of Washington D.C. that are designed to “promote mutual understanding and challenge hate.” Their signs quote from the Quran: “show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.”

The unfortunate thing is that, in these sorts of confrontations, Geller and her ilk have the odds on their side. This is because all the peace seekers are ultimately at the mercy of the violent and hateful extremists on both sides. However, in the U.S. the media will only tell you about the Jihadists.

Therefore, all it takes is one Al-Qaeda attack on an American target to send the CAIR message into oblivion. On the other hand, the Israeli government and its settler allies can act out the Zionist version of ethnic cleansing daily and the American public will rarely, if ever, hear about it.

The truth is there are fewer civilized men and women than we like to believe. The ones in power, regardless of the nation-state, only rarely behave in civilized ways. The bulk of the citizens either give support to or are indifferent toward their leader’s actions. The small remainder, who are indeed candidates for the category of civilized people, are left to struggle against a strong and consistent counter-current.  This is nowhere more true than in the state of Israel.

Such then, for all of us, is the heart of darkness. 

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

16 comments for “Who’s the Real ‘Savage’?

  1. Otto Schiff
    October 25, 2012 at 23:27

    Judging by his outlook, I am convinced that Rehmat has a Jewish grandmother.

  2. Otto Schiff
    October 23, 2012 at 16:40

    I am astonished to read all this one sided garbage here.
    It remincs me of the ravings of Joseph Goebbels.

  3. October 20, 2012 at 21:13

    The Palestinians know better than most of the Muslim Word the art of persuasion. Muslims have as much right to try to ban the hate movie as anyone seeing a dead loved one turned into porn smut or Washington or Jewish Christian founders likewise smeared. Or caricature of an Indian tepee, or stupid lazy “N”s. The problem is there is no well reasoned Op-Eds saying so. There will be less violence if people learn other ways of complaining rather than as loud or as threatening as possible.

    I suspect finding the real culprits would link back to the October Surprise and conceivable some secrets concerning 9/11


  4. A. G. Phillbin
    October 20, 2012 at 00:57

    And what has any of this idiotic spew got to do with anything discussed in the article. Oh, wait, let me guess — they both involve muzzies! Thank you, Big Brother, for educating me with your Two Minutes Hate! Well done!

  5. A. G. Phillbin
    October 20, 2012 at 00:46

    Is “goose stepper” your word for anyone who disagrees with you?

  6. borat
    October 19, 2012 at 17:56

    The antisemitic wackos are in full bloom

  7. John Doe
    October 19, 2012 at 12:20

    A person is not an “Islamaphobe” because they oppose Muslims who wish to impose their religion on others, as is their clear and stated goal. I am not a “Christian-phobe” simply because I opposed George Bush and the Religious Right’s effort to impose their religion on me in America and supercede the U.S. Constitution and the separation of church and state.


  8. Obbop
    October 19, 2012 at 11:25

    Proof that the USA is too involved in other country’s affairs.

    Let the corporate entities maintain their own wealth flow channels… keep the USA political systems and people out of the elite’s foreign involvements.

    If only the many pro this and anti that folks would spread their propaganda and attempts to garner influence in OTHER countries… leave the USA out of the “equation.”

  9. Saturday's child
    October 19, 2012 at 06:36

    Geller is a sick person desperately trying to make others sick.
    Throwing conspiracy theories at the problem will solve nothing, and will result in looking stupid. The best way to approach the Israel “problem” is to point out over and over again how much American money goes to support Israel and how the Israeli leaders take that money, ask for more, and act like petulant children. It would also be helpful to point out (to evangelical Christians in particular) how Israeli spies have stolen classified American documents, have Jewish Zionists placed throughout American Government, the news media, entertainment, and financial sector.
    The crazy zionists,like Geller, have done an excellent job stacking the deck in their favor while claiming to be victims.I believe their game will soon backfire. When the average American realizes that America is sending their children to be sacrificed for Israel, and when they realize policy regarding Iseael is literally bankrupting America there will be hell to pay.
    Nobody in their right mind wants a global nuclear war to protect Israel.That is what will come if calmer heads don’t prevail.

  10. Augustbrhm
    October 19, 2012 at 06:00

    The zionist have made america a sick nation.

  11. bobbiemac
    October 19, 2012 at 00:41

    Who the “goose steppers” are is open to question.

  12. John
    October 18, 2012 at 20:50

    I have never seen any hard evedence for Israel having taken part in 911. I do, however, feel certain that the evidence proves Israeli intelligence knew of the plot and thus abetted the crime. I wonder if either Bush or Cheney was ever told.
    Borat is very insensitive to other people and humanity as a whole. I ask him, do two wrongs make a right (Anti-semitism and a brutal Occupation).
    I think he has a hard job putting himself in the other persons shoes. The treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories and Gaza is brutal and against international law. Considering the large numbers of Muslims in the world, and most live peacfully within other cultures, the antics perpetrated on Palestinians is sure to inflame and radicalize a few. After all, in creating Israel and in reaction to anti-semitism there were numerous Jewish terrorist atrocities against European politicians besides Palestinians.
    Does Borat accept the settlers terrorizing Palestinian farmers, the burning of their crops and olive trees inorder to drive them off the land legally held, the painting of anti-Christian slogans on Palestinian Christian Churches to name a few. It’s behaviour akin to fascism and is growing in intensity.
    Most Palestinians want peace and equity, just as many Jews do. All power to them.

    • Aaron
      October 19, 2012 at 09:00

      American, Canadian and European supporters of Israeli occupation like Pam Geller and Co. mostly hold hateful propaganda against Arabs and Muslims, and even attempt to maintain the idea that Palestinians do not exist as a people, but that’s not the situation among the wide majority of Israelis themselves, except maybe for a couple of segments of religious fundamentalist lunatics over there. It’s not surprising.

  13. Hillary
    October 18, 2012 at 19:09

    Israel Seeks War on Iran to keep Lid on 9/11.

    Unfortunately for Netanyahu and Zionism,US National Security Director Dr. Sabrosky isn’t the only insider leaking the truth about 9/11. Hundreds of military and intelligence people have come forward.


    The two biggest recent leaks are revelations by CIA asset Susan Lindauer that the CIA had detailed foreknowledge of 9/11 and attributed the controlled demolitions of the three NYC skyscrapers to “those goddamned Israelis”; and the assertion by Gwenyth Todd, who worked beside Richard Clarke on the National Security Council, that Clarke (who was publicly fired from an earlier job for being an Israeli spy) is the top suspect as hands-on controller of 9/11 from the US end. Yes, you heard that right: Richard Clarke’s colleague on the National Security Counsel, Gwenyth Todd, suspects Clarke of masterminding and running the 9/11 attacks.

    • George Archers
      October 19, 2012 at 09:51

      you missed the most important comment from Susan Lindauer CIA operative -she said that weeks before Sept 11 2001 (bombings),her CIA supervisor warned her to stay away from WTC 1 and 2 towers because they are in the process of being installed with THERMO NUCLEAR bombs. Read it in her book. She was arrested and jailed for 5 years =5 years house arrest.
      Some dinks believe that there is little evidence Israel had the job done–Nonsense. two Israel MOSAD agents dressed as arabs and full van loaded with explosives at Washington bridge–not enough? They were released shortly. But! their van had a picture painted with a plane hitting the towers. Our allies?

      • A. G. Phillbin
        October 20, 2012 at 00:51

        And if you believe that garbage, I own a bridge spanning Manhattan and Brooklyn. Would you like to buy it? you could rake in millions collecting tolls! What kind of idiot believes anyone who makes a claim that two office buildings in lower Manhattan were being installed with thermonuclear bombs? Only an ignorant cretin would buy a claim like that, or listen to anyone who makes such a claim. Such an installation would serve no purpose.

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