Enshrined in the Israeli narrative is the “terrorist” designation of its enemies. For most ordinary people “terrorist” is a highly emotive label and when it’s prefixed with “Islamist,” it evokes images of hooded, anti-Western extremists lopping off heads or planting bombs in five-star hotels to fulfill the demands of a warped ideology masquerading as religion.
For Israel, the ‘war on terror’ has been a gift to its propaganda merchants. After all, what reasonable person can blame a country under ‘terrorist attack’ for extending its power to protect its citizens from crazed evildoers? Sadly, public perception isn’t generally nuanced enough to take account of a crucial fundamental: Israel is the occupier and the Palestinians its victims.
Conversely, genuine resistance groups struggling against the yoke of occupation have been hobbled by George W. Bush’s black-and-white rhetoric, as they have been tarred with the same brush as Al Qaida and its franchises. Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband slammed the ‘war on terror’ during a recent visit to Mumbai, calling it a “misleading and mistaken” doctrine inviting “invidious comparisons” between diverse organisations.