Can O’Keefe lick the Palestinian campaign into shape?

Can O’Keefe lick the Palestinian campaign into shape?

Find something else to get angry about, I was telling myself.

Yes, I was all set to shunt Palestine into a mental siding because leadership is still lacking and so much time and effort is misdirected, uncoordinated and wasted.

Most importantly of all, there’s no overall strategic plan for meaningful action and communication, although individual groups are doing amazing work in their efforts to break the Gaza blockade.

Then somebody – Debbie Menon – said: "You gotta listen to this Press TV interview, it’s fantastic. Ken fills my heart with pride."

She was talking about Ken O-Keefe.

After watching his high-octane performance, which hit so many right notes, I’m beginning to think that here’s a man who could take the shambling and ineffectual Palestinian "campaign" (wrong word really) by the scruff of the neck and knock it into shape.

Some of my friends are convinced he’s a plant, or an agent provocateur. It would be hugely disappointing if that turned out to be true. In the meantime he seems to be doing Israeli gangsterdom a lot of damage.

Calling a spade a spade

In the interview he proceeded to give the Israeli government a good tongue-lashing, calling it "not only racist but crazy, insane, psychotic and capable of anything". He also flayed the European Union governments for doing 25 billion euros of trade with Israel while spouting "pretty words that have no substance at all". If the EU wanted to stop the settlement building, he said, it could end its relationship with Israel, which would "cripple the Israeli economy".

Correct. Since the EU trade agreement calls for suspension if Israel breaches its terms (which it does continuously), many others have made the same point but to no avail, which shows how corrupt the EU is.

And O’Keefe roundly condemned his own government, the US, for its 3-billion-dollar a year aid "to the richest country in the Middle East", and called for general strikes and for people to unite across the spectrum in the Palestinian cause because governments and the UN are doing nothing.

He wanted to ask the Jews of the world if Israel really represented them – was Israel synonymous with Judaism? Because if so, "you as a people are a threat to everyone and every ounce of decency and humanity that exists". He called on them to speak up and condemn the acts of racism and mass murder.

Towards the end of the interview he spoke mysteriously of a big plan he was working on, which would “shatter” the blockade of Gaza.

All this lifted the gloom somewhat. Up to that moment the New Year chatter on the BBC had been of a fresh war in the Middle East – a Cast Lead mark II.

The Palestinian “embassy … here in London is a joke. Visit its website and you’ll find little that’s useful. The last update was eight months ago… That’s how committed Fatah, the Palestinian Authority and their staff are to the Palestinian cause."

I had already come to the conclusion that the Palestinians need and deserve much more than the good wishes of people like me living comfortably in the UK. They need nothing less than a political upheaval, levered by an angry civil society worldwide, to force implementation of international law and justice. Will they get it in 2011? Fat chance, because those civil societies are not yet well enough organized or angry enough, and Palestinian leaders have zero appeal and are continually playing the fool.

Palestinian public relations ineptitude

Their embassy (actually a General Delegation) here in London is a joke. Visit its website and you’ll find little that’s useful. The last update was eight months ago – yes, it’s EIGHT MONTHS out of date. That’s how committed Fatah, the Palestinian Authority and their staff are to the Palestinian cause. Their failure to make an effort effectively sabotages the work of campaigners and activists.

How fair is that on the sick and homeless and hungry in Gaza and those under the jackboot (of Israeli storm-troopers and Fatah’s quislings) in the West Bank?

So whom should we help? The legitimate authority is Hamas, democratically elected in 2006. Fatah were sore losers and wouldn’t accept the people’s verdict. Neither would the half-baked politicians of the US, Britain and the EU – or their manipulators in Tel Aviv. Such people do not respect democracy.

Hamas is inaccessible but in serious need of a marketing makeover to transform its prospects. Let’s hope it soon takes the trouble to have its spokespeople properly trained in media skills – something Fatah never bothered to do, to the permanent detriment of the whole Palestinian nation.

Negotiations with Israel? What is there to negotiate? Focus must be on what has already been ruled under international law, humanitarian law and a whole raft of UN resolutions. Until these are implemented resistance is surely the correct route and should command worldwide backing. Besides, who authorized here-today-and-gone-tomorrow politicians such as Obama, Clinton and Blair to ignore international law for the benefit of Israeli ambition?

Media savvy volunteers

As must be painfully obvious by now, a continuing problem for the Palestinian movement outside as well as inside the occupied territories is its failure to engage with the media. The superb George Galloway pops up occasionally but that is not enough. The campaign, if it’s to become a true campaign, needs first-rate spokespeople available in an instant. Straight-talking O’Keefe is articulate and interesting enough, with just the right degree of scariness, to fascinate Western audiences. In the Press TV interview he was ably flanked by the lovely Nada Hashwi and Sameh Habeeb. I’d say Hashwi also has the power to wow the West and ought to be pushed forward much more.

Meanwhile, O’Keefe’s concept of people-power, "fully exerted and acting in unison, intelligently", sounds promising. That’s what is needed, if only the threads can be pulled together. It’s a mighty task because the battleground extends to every country in the West paralysed by Zionist infiltration. That’s most of them.

In the meantime I’m itching to know what Ken O’Keefe’s “shattering” big plan is.



Source: Redress Information & Analysis ( Material published on Redress may be republished with full attribution to Redress Information & Analysis (