‘Israel’s 9/11’

This is a terrible echo of the approach by the U.S. government after Sept. 11, which from the outset conferred advance absolution on itself for any and all of its future crimes against humanity, writes Norman Solomon.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan briefing reporters on Oct. 8, 2023. (UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)

By Norman Solomon
Inter Press Service

When Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations spoke outside the Security Council on Sunday, he said: “This is Israel’s 9/11. This is Israel’s 9/11.” Meanwhile, in a PBS NewsHour interview, Israel’s ambassador to the United States said: “This is, as someone said, our 9/11.”

While the phrase might seem logical, “Israel’s 9/11” is already being used as a huge propaganda weapon by Israel’s government — now engaged in massive war crimes against civilians in Gaza, after the mass murder of Israelis by Hamas last weekend.

On the surface, an analogy between the atrocities just suffered by Israelis and what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, might seem to justify calls for unequivocal solidarity with Israel. But horrific actions are in process from an Israeli government that has long maintained a system of apartheid while crushing basic human rights of Palestinian people.

What is very sinister about trumpeting “Israel’s 9/11” is what happened after America’s 9/11. Wearing the shroud of victim, the United States proceeded to use the horrible tragedy suffered inside its own borders as a license to kill vast numbers of people in the name of retaliation, righteousness and, of course, the “war on terror.”

Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Michael Herzog at USAID in January. (USAID, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

It’s a playbook that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is currently adapting and implementing with a vengeance. Now underway, Israel’s collective punishment of 2.3 million people in Gaza is an intensification of what Israel has been doing to Palestinians for decades. 

But Israel’s extremism, more than ever touting itself as a matter of self-defense, is at new racist depths of willingness to treat human beings as suitable for extermination.

On Monday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described Palestinians as “beastly people” and said: “We are fighting animals and are acting accordingly.”

Gallant with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Tel Aviv in March. (DoD, Alexander Kubitza)

Indiscriminate bombing is now happening along with a cutoff of food, water, electricity and fuel. Noting that “even before the latest restrictions, residents of Gaza already faced widespread food insecurity, restrictions on movement and water shortages,” the BBC reported that a U.N. official said people in Gaza “were ‘terrified’ by the current situation and worried for their safety — as well as that of their children and families.”

This is a terrible echo from the post-9/11 approach of the U.S. government, which from the outset after Sept. 11, 2001, conferred advance absolution on itself for any and all of its future crimes against humanity.

Collective Punishment 

In the name of fighting terrorism, the United States inflicted collective punishment on huge numbers of people who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The Costs of War project at Brown University calculates more than 400,000 direct civilian deaths “in the violence of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.”

Early in the “war on terror,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had fashioned a template to provide approval for virtually any killing by the U.S. military. “We did not start this war,” he said at a news briefing in December 2001, two months into the Afghanistan war.

“So, understand, responsibility for every single casualty in this war, whether they’re innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rests at the feet of the al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

Rumsfeld was showered with acclaim from the U.S. media establishment, while he not only insisted that the U.S. government had no responsibility for the deaths caused by its armed forces; he also attested to the American military’s notable decency. 

President George W. Bush delivering remarks in front of the damaged Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 12, 2001. Karen Hughes, counselor to the president, on left, Rumsfeld on Bush’s right. (U.S. National Archives)

“The targeting capabilities, and the care that goes into targeting, to see that the precise targets are struck, and that other targets are not struck, is as impressive as anything anyone could see,” Rumsfeld said. He lauded “the care that goes into it, the humanity that goes into it.”

Even before its current high-tech attack on Gaza, Israel had amassed a long track record of killing civilians there, while denying it every step of the way. For instance, the United Nations found that during Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” assault, 1,462 Palestinian civilians died, including 495 children.

People made homeless by Israeli crimes in Gaza, Jan. 23, 2009. (Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

There’s no reason to doubt that the civilian death toll from the present Israeli military actions in Gaza will soon climb far above the number of people killed by the Hamas assault days ago. As in the aftermath of 9/11, official claims to be only fighting terrorism will continue to serve as PR smokescreens for a government terrorizing and inflicting mass carnage on Palestinians. 

Deserving only unequivocal condemnation, Hamas’ killing and abduction of civilians set the stage for Israel’s slaughter of civilians now underway in Gaza.

Absent from The New York Times home page Monday night and relegated to page 9 of the newspaper’s print edition on Tuesday, a grisly news story began this way:

“Israeli airstrikes pounded Gaza on Monday, flattening mosques over the heads of worshipers, wiping away a busy marketplace full of shoppers and killing entire families, witnesses and authorities in Gaza said.

Five Israeli airstrikes ripped through the marketplace in the Jabaliya refugee camp, reducing it to rubble and killing dozens, the authorities said. Other strikes hit four mosques in the Shati refugee camp and killed people worshiping inside, they said. Witnesses said boys had been playing soccer outside one of the mosques when it was struck.”

Norman Solomon is national director of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of many books including War Made Easy. His latest book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, was published in summer 2023 by The New Press.

Views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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47 comments for “‘Israel’s 9/11’

  1. October 15, 2023 at 00:08

    Israel’s License to Kill: Genocidal Campaign has Been Unleashed in Gaza (shoots down several Israeli Gaza attack propaganda themes): hXXps://www.palestinechronicle.com/israels-license-to-kill-genocidal-campaign-has-been-unleashed-in-gaza/

  2. October 14, 2023 at 10:53

    Far from being “Israel’s 911” (its use as a justification for mass murder aside) it is far more reminiscent of the Nat Turner rebellion, though we were a better country then in that we did not rally to defend and fund the slavocracy.

  3. October 13, 2023 at 09:25

    Report: Biden LIED About Seeing Images of ‘Beheaded’ Israeli Babies: hXXps://www.zerohedge.com/news/2023-10-12/report-biden-lied-about-seeing-images-beheaded-israeli-babies

  4. October 13, 2023 at 09:08

    There is no proof Palestinian fighters ‘beheaded’ babies. The only source is a radical settler, hXXps://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/there-is-no-proof-palestinian-fighters-beheaded-babies-the-only-source-is-a-radical-settler/?ml_recipient=101861042100897296&ml_link=101861037585729107

  5. October 12, 2023 at 23:52

    Israel. We only have a modern Israel because of the Holocaust, till then the Jews had virtually abandoned the land. Now look at what they have been doing, and are doing to get it back. It is a modern hell for those who have been there for many, many generations

  6. Dan A Goldstein
    October 12, 2023 at 22:36

    Good God. One doesn’t have to be a fan of Hamas or approve of the attack on the Rave in the desert to find the Israeli War Minister’s descriptions of Hamas fighters – and really, by extension, all Palestinians – as “human animals” cringe-worthy.

    OPerceiving that Israel’s “ground offensives” into Gaza – both past and imminent – bear an eerie similarity to the Nazi assault on the Warsaw Ghetto doesn’t make one anti-Jewish. Israel’s depriving Gaza of food, water, medicine, fuel is utterly inhuman, genocidal, unspeakable… and, for what it’s worth, criminal. The vicious Israeli bombardment of crowded civilian areas, even employing the dreaded White Phosphorus ammunition, killing and maiming and burning hundreds of children, far too many fatally… This is a colossal WAR CRIME.

    One can only hope the opprobrium heaped upon the Israeli military by the international community for its savage and sadistic actions, will limit the carnage. Probably a vain hope indeed.

  7. CaseyG
    October 12, 2023 at 22:30

    I agree Gene Laratonda:

    Yes, 9/11 in America—But probably forgotten…In New Jersey, a woman sees a van pull up and men getting out and they began filming. And what were they filming? The nightmare of America’s 9/11.
    Yes most peculiar those Jewish men who needed to film the explosions and fires. The woman witness did call the authorities—–and did anything happen to them ? NO—they were finally freed to return to their homeland—-of Israel

    • Guy St Hilaire
      October 13, 2023 at 11:57

      Plus the fact that they were high fiving according to the lady that witnessed it .

  8. bobzz
    October 12, 2023 at 21:56

    “We are fighting animals and are acting accordingly.”

    We don’t treat animals like this.

    • Valerie
      October 13, 2023 at 12:53

      Oh yes we do treat animals like this. Ever been to a slaughter house/factory farm? Or watched a PETA video? You might change your idea about the way we treat animals.

  9. K. Balasubramanian
    October 12, 2023 at 20:53

    Every day has been Palestine’s 9-11.

  10. Greg Grant
    October 12, 2023 at 20:36

    That people can be so easily and universally rallied to take one side in a contentious issue is mortifying.
    As terrifying as anything in history. We are not enlightened people, we are backwards, gullible, medieval blind worshipers of ourselves, with a total lack of self-awareness.
    The most dangerous thing on the planet is that kind of self-righteousness.
    It allows people to do basically anything and the only justification they need is that they cannot possibly be the bad guys.
    Sit back and watch the good people of America cheerleading genocide.

    • J Anthony
      October 13, 2023 at 08:01

      No. We must not tolerate it. Those of us who know better must speak up and act out. The US gov/oligarchy can hardly sink any lower. We have to do something, anything

    • Arch Stanton
      October 13, 2023 at 08:42

      So very true. Mankind has utterly failed his species and its planet. Any enlightenment we had has been completely dimmed.

      Also, get ready for repeats of holocaust related films like Schindlers List on our tv screens any day soon.
      That’ll reinforce the victimhood that Zionists have play on to allow them to commit their own Holocaust on brown skinned people. This out and our racism makes me sick.

    • Daedalus
      October 14, 2023 at 16:39

      Totally agree. We swim in a sea of propaganda and go where the flow takes us.

  11. Vincent Amato
    October 12, 2023 at 19:44

    I fear I have already lost a Jewish friend because, in spite of my decrying the horrible fate of Israeli innocents, my sympathies with the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have not been altered. There are those who argue that at a time like this, it is best for those who disagree to maintain silence. That might be a lot easier to do, if the defenders of Israel’s policies did not use the massacre as an opportunity go all in maintaining that Israeli and U.S. policy toward the Palestinians bear no responsibility for the continuation of violence, revisited each time with greater fervor, creating even more of a desire for revenge among survivors, a desire mostly born out of grief over their own losses. In today’s New York Times, Michelle Goldberg, in an article titled “The Massacre in Israel and the Need for a Decent Left,” (A header which crassly telegraphs her biases in advance), writes about “keyboard radicals have condoned war crimes,” “the indifference to human suffering,” “the depravity of the edgelord anti-imperialists,” and that
    “the distinction between civilians and combatants must be respected.” As I wrote in response to her article, this is not journalism, it is propaganda, a trait she shares with many if not most Times staff or “opinion” writers. To continue to make efforts to protect and advocate for justice for the Palestinians–all anticipated quibbling aside–does not automatically mean that one condones war crimes or is indifferent to human suffering, or is depraved, or cannot distinguish between innocents and combatants.

    • J Anthony
      October 13, 2023 at 08:04

      Yes they will be attempting to pull these bait-and-switch deflections from this point on, and we must speak and act against the propaganda, as it’s only going to get worse from here.

  12. October 12, 2023 at 19:38

    There is NO imaginable way that ANY semblance of peace and harmony is achievable – in the ME – or elsewhere – before the total economic, political and social implosion of USA is a fait accompli!

    This is a stone cold fact.

    • Valerie
      October 13, 2023 at 13:07

      That can be applied to capitalism too Eric.

  13. Lois Gagnon
    October 12, 2023 at 18:58

    The US, its vassals and Israel are a blight on the planet. They try to convince the gullible it’s the other way around. It doesn’t take a genius to see it. It only takes keeping your critical faculties in tact under the onslaught of corporate propaganda. I would hope by now, most would have figured it out. Perhaps too many can’t be bothered until it’s their life on the line.

  14. wildthange
    October 12, 2023 at 18:40

    It is very simple 9/11 in the US is a 911 emergency call which calls into question just how coincidental any thing is after think tanks were wishing for a Pearl Harbor like events as well as the original Pearl Harbor event itself and the power of wishing that wells up for strategic purposes. Borrowing our emergency call may be similar. The call to roll up all sorts of wishes into one convenient wish fulfilling event.

  15. Mary Ann Byrne
    October 12, 2023 at 18:20

    Thank you Norman Solomon for your article 9/11. I have been listening to the news stations up and down my iPad today and finally saw your article that I realized I’d been looking for all day. No mention of mosques being bombed anywhere today! I’m an American and I understand and believe what you are saying. I’m heartbroken beyond words, but thank you for the truth.

  16. Luke
    October 12, 2023 at 17:56

    Israel has officially formed a ‘unity government’. Netanyahu and the opposition in the street are now united.
    This means its official.

    There is no Partner for Peace in Israel.

  17. izzy
    October 12, 2023 at 17:51

    One point in the comparison not mentioned here is the still-lingering suspicion that 9/11 was a false flag operation, engineered as an excuse for all that followed. The term “limited hangout” comes to mind.

    • Guy St Hilaire
      October 13, 2023 at 12:14

      For anyone that has made any research on the subject of 9/11 with an open mind there is no longer any lingering suspicion .Check out Richard Gage ” Architects & Engineers ” for starters although I suspect that you know all about this. After bldg.seven came down without having been hit by any aircraft ,(if aircrafts had anything to do with this event I am not convinced ,) and blamed on fires ,there was no longer any doubt in my mind,thereafter .I don’t know of any other bldg. built with steel and cement ,having come down in it’s own footprint, happened anywhere else in the world .

      • Valerie
        October 13, 2023 at 13:00

        “I don’t know of any other bldg. built with steel and cement ,having come down in it’s own footprint, happened anywhere else in the world .”

        Well only by controlled demolition. And i actually witnessed one.

      • Observer
        October 14, 2023 at 11:38

        Indeed! The “9/11” comparisons have to evoke the thought that it wasn’t planned and perpetrated by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, or even the Saudi patsies, but by people a lot closer to home …. but not to worry, Bibi, none of your supporters at home or abroad are likely to go there.

  18. Winston Memory
    October 12, 2023 at 17:33

    IIRC, after America’s 9-11, there was dancing in the streets. Groups of people celebrating that America was going to join what was then Israel’s already on-going religious war against islam.

    Today, I’m listening to the Grateful Dead. But that’s not terribly unusual. I like the versions with Donna singing with them, mid-70’s. “This is an invitation across the nation, A chance for folks to meet, There’ll be swinging, swaying, music swingin’ …”

    BTW, this is getting tough. We already need to differentiate between America’s 9-11 and Chile’s 9-11. Can’t just say 9-11. Now we also need to differentiate from Israel’s 9-11, even though its really 10-7. I hope the Pope doesn’t change the calendar again to make it so. 10-4 Good Buddy.

  19. Anon
    October 12, 2023 at 17:26

    Having uncredited (M) tribal blood, this commenter has pretty much refrained from exercising that privilege (egregious Israeli apartheid aside.)
    Overall, believe USWOT innocents casualty figures as repeated by Mr. Solomon could easily be far greater by three to five times multiple, with child percentages perhaps double!
    (Also impressed by CN reader’s quick response)

  20. mary-lou
    October 12, 2023 at 17:23

    anyone’s ‘9/11 moment’ is nothing more than an excuse for cruel, violent mass retaliation. is this the best that 2023 years of monotheism can do?

  21. October 12, 2023 at 17:00

    5 Minutes after the real 9-11, Israel attacked Gaza and the West Bank. At the time “Hitler”
    Netanyahu said that 9-11 ” was a Good Day for Israel ? 3,000 Office Workers Killed: That was a “Good Day for Israel”.

  22. Kingharvest
    October 12, 2023 at 15:47

    This is USG’s 9/11, as well, after sitting back for decades and watching this horrendous situation.

    And it is Gaza’s Shock and Awe.

    And again, USG is sitting back and doing nothing.

    Disrupt. Destroy. Depart.

  23. Goudarz
    October 12, 2023 at 15:22

    No comparison with 9/11 here. Israelis know exactly who the leaders of Hamas ARE. If the really wanted to stop this they would assassinante them ( as they have many times done, and bragged about it , recently Iranian Scientists ) ! Their target is ALL Palestiniens! They want to kill them all. USA IS ONLY A WILLING ACCOMPLICE, in this genocide

    • Luke
      October 12, 2023 at 17:50

      According to the MSM, within hours of the ‘surprise attack’, America knew exactly who was responsible, who was the leader, and which country to invade. That was all settled by the time the sunset on 9-11. Dan Rather told me so. Me, I was a wee bit surprised that they went from knowing nothing to knowing everything so quickly, but, what do I know.

      BTW, the one thing we know is that mass campaigns of assassination don’t work. In my part of the world, the Hatfields and the McCoys tried that for decades. All it does is make rivers of blood. Eventually, the blood of the assassins, as the cousins of the dead come back in a spirit of blood feud. It don’t end. The blood keeps flowing. Rivers run red. But killing never ends the killing.

      “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword .” -Matthew 26, 26:52

      Too bad the Christian Nation of America is so Old Testament.

  24. Drew Hunkins
    October 12, 2023 at 15:00

    “Deserving only unequivocal condemnation, Hamas’ killing and abduction of civilians set the stage for Israel’s slaughter of civilians now underway in Gaza.”

    Ah, no Normie. The Palestinians had absolutely no recourse whatsoever. It was either Hamas engage in this quixotic effort or 2.3 million Palestinians continue to rot in prison, and 45% of Gazans are minors!

    The peaceful Ghandian approach that some Palestinians tried over the past several years was laughably ineffective. In fact, the arrogant sadistic creepy Zionist scumbags gunned them down hundreds of them at the Gaza concentration camp fence with impunity in 2018. The Zio snipers took glee in shooting and maiming unarmed women and children.

    What else were Gazans supposed to do?

    • Luke
      October 12, 2023 at 18:14

      This is a constant American attitude, at home and abroad. Everyone must follow orders. Nobody must resist. All resistance is ‘terrorism’. Police are free to shoot, and drones are free to blast any signs of ‘terrorism’. Them’s the Rules. So say the Democrats. Workers are not free to strike without permission, protests are not allowed. If you protest “Cop City”, you get 50 bullets. Everyone must follow orders. Now! Jump when I say JUMP!

      You are only free to silently commit deaths of despair. But we discourage that because there is a labor shortage, don’t you know. We need you to work mandatory overtime. Especially at the bomb plants.

      According to Joe Biden, this is Democracy and Freedom. The Democrats agree, from AOC to Manchin. There is no opposition, which is not a surprise to a group that does not tolerate opposition.

      • J Anthony
        October 13, 2023 at 09:39

        You see Republicans objecting? I don’t. Sorry to throw that in there, but the hypocrisy of it is bipartisan.

    • Valerie
      October 12, 2023 at 19:52

      And i believe Drew, we are about to witness an annihilation of Palestinians/Gaza. The US has sent the biggest aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean to deter any involvment of Hezbollah/Iran. Plus, Qatar (for whatever reason) have been persauded to hold onto the $6 bn they are holding in their banks meant as humanitarian aid for Iran. The French are firing tear gas at pro-Palestinian supporters. So it looks like the west have it covered as far as anyone coming to the aid of Gaza and its hapless citizens.

      • Drew Hunkins
        October 14, 2023 at 14:08

        We’re witnessing in real time the most grotesque and heinous act of our lifetimes.

        Virtually all of the establishment Western press are cheering on this brutality, theft, and sadism!

        Putin said what Israhell’s doing to the Palestinians in Gaza is very similar to what the Nazis did during the siege of Leningrad.

  25. JonnyJames
    October 12, 2023 at 14:15

    “Deserving only unequivocal condemnation, Hamas’ killing and abduction of civilians set the stage for Israel’s slaughter of civilians now underway in Gaza.”

    This sentence appears to place blame on Hamas. I appreciate Mr. Solomon’s outline, but after decades of illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, exploitation of labor, humiliation, and provocations and mass murder, it is no surprise what has happened. This is not a symmetrical relationship and, in short, Israel/US/UK are the root causes of this whole mess, as other articles on CN have pointed out.

    Side note: I have noticed a few commenters still believe that DT is an alternative and somehow different than the others. The facts don’t support that. DT is one of the most pro-Israel politricksters in the US, it is well documented. John Bolton is one of the most rabidly racist, anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian (anti-human) crooks out there. Just look at Trump’s main hero and former paymaster, Sheldon Adelson ffs. The emotional, desperation of those still not willing to believe that their savior is an Israel Firster is sad and disappointing.

    • Luke
      October 12, 2023 at 18:26

      ““A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains,” Leon Trotsky wrote in 1938, are not “equals before a court of morality!”

      Today’s America would reward and praise the slave-owner as a ‘successful businessman’. This would make them money, and that’s the scoreboard for everything in America. The slave-owner might even get elected President, today. Bragging about being a Billionaire would be their appeal. In a one dollar-one vote system, it can happen.

      For the slave, we still have chains and capital punishment to deter such thoughts. In America, it is illegal to deprive another of their property, and we have large police forces and large prisons to keep that from happening. A slave who removes themselves from their chains is committing Grand Theft against their owner. America does not respect a human right to escape. That’s a part of why they don’t understand what’s occurring in Gaza.

      If you think ‘slavery’ is illegal in America, the Minimum Wage could be considered the metric of just how far America is from slavery. With inflation and zero increase of the Minimum Wage, under Joe Biden, America is quickly moving back towards slavery. Reports reveal a workforce including forced labor, both legally in prisons, and illegally, often involving migrants.

      • Carolyn Zaremba
        October 13, 2023 at 04:06

        Thank you. And thanks for posting the Trotsky quotation.

      • Rafael
        October 13, 2023 at 13:31

        Well said.

    • Luke
      October 12, 2023 at 18:58

      DT was a bit more complex than that. Initially, he wasn’t really pro-Israel. In America, that stood out a bit. ‘Hey, there might be a dog in that pen that doesn’t have rabbies’, sort of sticking out. But, it changed when he locked up the nomination. Then he made deals, especially with the late Sheldon Adelson and became very pro-Israel. Adelson was also Netanyahu’s backer, so the DT-Nutty ‘relationship’ was either having a common source for big-piles-of-money or perhaps as co-workers under the Boss. That DT would do such a thing for money is of course not a shock. Ever since he got on top of the Red Party, he’s stayed in close connection with money from that direction, unless something has changed recently.

      There was a lot of foreign influence in the 2016 Election. But, it didn’t come from Russia. It came from Israel and Saudi Arabia. While in office, DT definitely paid back his backers. Rather obviously I thought, but all the attention was pointed to Russia. (If this was a photo essay, I’d insert the photo-op with the sphere in KSA, and a picture of the US Embassy in Jerusalem )

    • Valerie
      October 12, 2023 at 19:57

      “DT is one of the most pro-Israel politricksters in the US, it is well documented.”

      Yes Jonny. The Israelis even named a train station after him.

  26. October 12, 2023 at 13:44

    Strange hearing people refer to today’s events as ‘Israel’s 9/11’ when I’ve been calling the first one that for years.

    • Guy St Hilaire
      October 13, 2023 at 12:28

      Excellent !Now that is connecting the dots .

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