Reality and its Enemies – An Analysis (28 May 2017) by Lawrence Davidson

tothepointanalyses

 Part I – Reality

There is an ongoing reality that is destroying hundreds of thousands of lives in the Middle East. And though most Americans are ignorant of the fact, and many of those who should be in the know would deny it, the suffering flows directly from decisions taken by Washington over the last 27 years. Some of the facts of the matter have just been presented by the first Global Conflict Medicine Congress held at the American University of Beirut (AUB) earlier this month (11-14 May 2017). It has drawn attention to two dire consequences of the war policies Americans have carried on in the region: cancer-causing munition matierial and drug-resistant bacteria.

— Cancer-causing munition material: Materials such as tungsten and mercury are found in the casing of penetrating bombs used in the first and second Gulf wars. These have had long-term effects on survivors, especially those who have been wounded by these munitions. Iraqi-trained and Harvard-educated Dr. Omar Dewachi, a medical anthropologist at AUB fears that “the base line of cancers [appearing in those exposed to these materials] has become very aggressive. … When a young woman of 30, with no family history of cancer, has two different primary cancers – in the breast and in the oesophagus – you have to ask what is happening.” To this can be added that doctors are now “overwhelmed by the sheer number of [war] wounded patients in the Middle East.”

— Drug-resistant bacteria: According to Glasgow-trained Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at AUB Medical Center, drug resistance was not a problem during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988. However, after the fiasco of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, things began to change. In the period after 1990, Iraq suffered under a vicious sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations at U.S. insistence. During the next 12 years “Iraqis were allowed to use only three antibiotics” and bacterial resistance quickly evolved. Those resistant bacteria spread throughout the region, particularly after the American invasion of the country in 2003. Today, according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres analysis, “multidrug resistant [MDR] bacteria now accounts for most war wound infections across the Middle East, yet most medical facilities in the region do not even have the laboratory capacity to diagnose MDR, leading to significant delays and clinical mismanagement of festering wounds.”

Insofar as these developments go, it is not that there aren’t contributing factors stemming from local causes such as factual fighting. However, the major triggers for these horrors were set in motion in Washington. As far as I know, no American holding a senior official post has ever accepted any responsibility for this ongoing suffering.

 

Part II – Hiding Reality

As the cancers and untreatable infections grow in number in the Middle East, there is here in the United States a distressing effort to rehabilitate George W. Bush – the American president whose decisions and policies contributed mightily to this ongoing disaster. It is this Bush who launched the unjustified 2003 invasion of Iraq and thereby – to use the words of the Arab League – “opened the gates of hell.” His rehabilitation effort began in ernest in April 2013, and coincided with the opening of his presidential library. In an interview given at that time, Bush set the stage for his second coming with an act of self-exoneration. He said he remained “comfortable with the decision making process” that led to the invasion of Iraq – the one that saw him fudging the intelligence when it did not tell him what he wanted to hear – and so also “comfortable” with the ultimate determination to launch the invasion. “There’s no need to defend myself. I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

The frivolous assertion that “history will judge” is often used by people of suspect character. “History” stands for a vague future time. Its alleged inevitable coming allows the protagonist to fantasize about achieving personal glory unchallenged by present, usually significant, ethical concerns.

Those seeking George W. Bush’s rehabilitation now like to contrast him to Donald Trump. One imagines they thereby hope to present him as a “moderate” Republican. They claim that Bush was and is really a very smart and analytical fellow rather than the simpleton most of us suspect him to be. In other words, despite launching an unnecessary and subsequently catastrophic war, he was never as ignorant and dangerous as Trump. He and his supporters also depict him as a great defender of a free press, again in contrast to Donald Trump. However, when he was president, Bush described the media as an aider and abettor of the nation’s enemies. This certainly can be read as a position that parallels Trump’s description of the media as the “enemy of the American people.”

But all of this is part of a public relations campaign and speaks to the power of reputation remodeling – the creation of a facade that hides reality. In order to do this you have to “control the evidence” – in this case by ignoring it. In this endeavor George W. Bush and his boosters have the cooperation of much of the mainstream media. No sweat here: the press has done this before. Except for the odd editorial the mainstream media also contributed to Richard Nixon’s rehabilitation back in the mid 1980s. These sorts of sleights-of-hand are only possible against the background of pervasive public ignorance.

 

Part III – Closed Information Environments

Local happenings are open to relatively close investigation. We usually have a more or less accurate understanding of the local context in which events play out, and this allows for the possibility of making a critical judgment. As we move further away, both in space and time, information becomes less reliable, if for no other reason than it comes to us through the auspices of others who may or may not know what they are talking about. As a society, we have little or no knowledge of the context for foreign events, and thus it is easy for those reporting on them to apply filters according to any number of criteria. What we are left with is news that is customized – stories designed to fit preexisting political or ideological biases. In this way millions upon millions of minds are restricted to closed information environments on subjects which often touch on, among other important topics, war and its consequences.

So what is likely to be more influential with the locally oriented American public: George W. Bush’s rehabilitated image reported on repeatedly in the nation’s mainstream media, or the foreign-based, horror-strewn consequences of his deeds reported upon infrequently?

This dilemma is not uniquely American, nor is it original to our time. However, its dangerous consequences are a very good argument against the ubiquitous ignorance that allows political criminals to be rehabilitated even as their crimes condemn others to continuing suffering. If reputation remodelers can do this for George W. Bush, then there is little doubt that someday it will be done for Donald Trump. Life, so full of suffering, is also full of such absurdities.

Getting Past The Issue Of Being Jewish – An Analysis

by Lawrence Davidson

(12 March 2015)

Part I – Is Being Jewish the Real Issue?

 

On 5 March 2015 the New York Times (NYT) carried a front page story about a second-year student at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) named Rachel Beyda. Ms. Beyda, who is Jewish, was seeking appointment as a member on the university’s Judicial Board – a student committee that considers judicial questions in reference to the activities of student government.

 

As the story goes, Ms. Beyda’s application was originally rejected because a majority of the board felt that her association with organizations such as Hillel, a group that uncritically supports Israel’s apartheid-style culture and maintains anti-democratic rules and procedures of its own, would represent a conflict of interest and result in possible bias on her part. Given the tension on many campuses, including UCLA, between those who support and oppose Israeli policies and behavior – tensions which occasionally result in student organizations being disciplined – it was not an unreasonable assumption. Unfortunately, the student board members who questioned Ms. Beyda’s affiliations made it appear that their concerns flowed from her religion and ethnicity.

 

Then “at the prodding of a faculty adviser … who pointed out that belonging to Jewish organizations was not a conflict of interest, the students [on the board] revisited the issue and unanimously put her [Beyda] on the board.”

 

Of course, the story does not end there. According to the NYT, the episode has “set off an anguished discussion of how Jews are treated” and served to “spotlight what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews on many campuses in the country, often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel.”

 

The Los Angeles-area Zionists have had a field day blowing the incident out of all proportions. For instance, Rabbi Aaron Lerner, “the incoming executive director of the Hillel chapter at U.C.L.A.” told the NYT, “we don’t like to wave the flag of anti-Semitism, but this is different. This is bigotry. This is discriminating against someone because of their identity.” At least on one point Lerner is wrong. Hillel does “wave the flag of anti-Semitism.” After all, Hillel maintains that “Israel is a core element of Jewish life and the gateway to Jewish identity.” The organization follows the Zionist line that those who strongly oppose Israel, oppose the Jews and Judaism per se.

 

Lerner’s charge of “bigotry” is harder to evaluate without seeing the recorded video of the board meeting (which has been removed from YouTube.) However, in a letter to the campus newspaper, the students who originally voted against Ms. Beyda apologized for the tack they had taken in their questioning of her.

 

The NYT goes on to air the opinions of Rabbi John L. Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, who called the board incident “insidious”; Avinoam Baral, the president of student council, who said the board was unfairly suggesting Beyda might have “divided loyalties”; and Natalie Charney, student president of the UCLA chapter of Hillel who complained that this was all the result of an “overall climate of targeting Israel” that has led to the “targeting of Jewish students.” Well, no one can accuse the New York Times of putting forth a balanced interpretation of events.

 

Part II – What is the Real Issue?

 

There is certainly something upsetting about this incident. It might very well be that the recent acrimonious struggle that resulted in the UCLA student government endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel set the scene for a less than sensitive approach to Ms. Beyda’s application to the Judicial Board. Nonetheless, the incident and its repercussions tell us that those who oppose Israeli behavior have to be careful not to fall into the Zionist trap of assuming, or even inferring, that Israel is identical with the Jewish people and that individual Jews cannot do other than support the Zionist state. This is simply not true.

 

It seems to me that the mistake the board members made was to focus on Ms. Beyda’s membership in “Jewish” organizations. We can infer that from the faculty adviser’s intervention as described above. If those objecting to her application had thought the issue through, they would have realized that the real problem is not membership in organizations that are Jewish, but rather membership in organizations that support institutional racism and oppression. Focusing on the latter points allows one to get past the issue of being Jewish. After all, there should be a problem if an applicant belonged to any such organization, be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, communist, or even pseudo-democratic.

 

In the United States we may be approaching a tipping point in the struggle against Zionist racism and Israeli oppression. As such it is extremely important that those involved in this struggle express their feelings in a way that clearly maintains a separation between what is objected to and Jews generally. The struggle is against racism, discrimination, oppression, occupation and illegal colonization because they are evils no matter who perpetrates them. The Israeli case has to be prioritized because Israel and its Zionist allies have bought and bullied our own government and political parties in a corrupting manner.

 

Expressed in this way, anyone who applied for the UCLA Judicial Board, regardless of religion or ethnicity, might properly be asked about their attitude toward such issues.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The Peace Process Hustle – An Analysis

7 November 2014

by Lawrence Davidson
Part I – Intractable Process
An intractable process, one that never seems to resolve itself, is either no process at all or a fraudulent one contrived to hide an ulterior motive. The so-called Israeli-Palestinian (at one time the Israeli-Arab) “peace process,” now in its sixth decade (counting from 1948) or fourth decade (counting from 1967) is, and probably always has been, just such a fraud.
One might object and say that the Oslo Accords (1993) were part of this process and they were not fraudulent. In my opinion that is a doubtful assumption. The talks were carried on in secret by officials who, at least on the Israeli side, never had an equitable peace in mind. Their goal was a political modification of the occupied territories that would free Israel from its legal obligations as occupiers of Palestinian territory and facilitate the pacification of the Palestinians and their resistance organizations. The Israeli side seemed to have believed that negotiating the return of Yasser Arafat and Fatah to the West Bank would provide them a partner in this process – not a peace process, but a pacification process.


It did not take long for the Palestinians to see through this gambit, and relations with the Israelis soon returned to the tense and sometimes violent status quo ante.

It was only after Arafat’s suspicious death in 2004 that the Israelis finally got a Palestinian “leader,” in the person of Mahmoud Abbas, who would cooperate with them in this process of pacification. Organized resistance then became the pursuit of those in Gaza who persist in calling the “peace process” a fraud. They are correct.

 
Part II – “Detached from Reality”

The present Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and some of his ministers have, of late, hinted at the truth. Netanyahu recently told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that criticism of his government’s expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem (which are illegal under international law), whether it comes from the U.S. government or Jewish groups such as J Street and Peace Now, are “words detached from reality” and “foster false statements [of hope] from the Palestinians,” therefore delaying the coming of “peace.”

 Likewise, Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, has accused Palestinian “president” Abbas, the very man who helps Israel pacify the West Bank population, of “promoting hatred of Jews.” 

Why?

Because Abbas has complained at the United Nations and other world forums of Israel’s unwillingness to bring the “peace process” to a conclusion that he and his Palestine National Council could accept. Abbas, who lost the last Palestinian free election (held in 2006) to Hamas, but with U.S. and Israeli support has usurped the office of Palestinian president, is actually a nearly perfect “peace partner” for the Israelis. The amount of compromise he asks for from the Israeli side in exchange for coming to terms is embarrassingly minimal. However, Netanyahu’s government refuses the Palestinians any compromise at all because, for these Zionists, the “peace process” is a facade whose only value lies in its very fraudulence. Its only value is as a cover for the process of territorial absorption.
Thus, it is probably justified to conclude that a good number of Israelis (and certainly a vast majority of their leadership) are not interested in peace, and probably have never been, unless you define peace as total Palestinian surrender. More accurately, they are interested in expansion and control of all of Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. After six decades of a “peace process” going nowhere, anyone who does not understand this is deluding themselves.


Part III – Self-Delusion

Just who are those deluding themselves? Many of them are diaspora Jews who are, whether they understand it or not, caught in a contradiction: they are at once committed to Zionism’s ideological goal of a secure Jewish state in Palestine, but nonetheless are, at this moment of maximum Israeli power, calling for ideological compromise. Some of these people are members of Zionist groups in the U.S. such as Peace Now and J Street. Both organizations want continuing peace negotiations with the Palestinians looking toward achieving some variation of the two-state solution. J Street is apparently upset with Netanyahu’s determination to continue the colonization process “in every part of Judea and Samaria” (the West Bank) as well as East Jerusalem because to do so “erects one obstacle to peace after another.”
Unfortunately, the history of official Zionist behavior is on the side of Netanyahu. All the evidence indicates that Zionism and its leaders have been committed to the conquest of all of historic Palestine at least since 1918. In that year Chaim Weizmann submitted a map of the proposed Jewish national home to the Peace Conference that settled matters after World War I. It represented a maximalist program that has been incrementally realized first in 1948 and then 1967. Nowhere in the Zionist program has there ever been room for voluntary retreat. That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu describes those who criticize his colonization efforts as “detached from reality.”

 
Part IV – Conclusion
Netanyahu and his ilk, however, tend to ignore the fact that there are multiple realities operating here. Certainly, one should not forget the Palestinian reality, particularly that of Gaza, and Israeli culpability in its creation and maintenance. On the Zionist side there now exists at least two realities. One is certainly that of Prime Minister Netanyahu – the reality of the Zionist ideologue with Israeli power backing it up. But then there is the other Zionist reality – that of Israel’s increasing isolation, not only diplomatic and cultural, but also, over time, economic. The latter reality scares many diaspora Jews to the point where they are willing to compromise maximalist ideological goals.
The Zionists in power are as yet impervious to this fear. However, if the reality of economic and cultural isolation ever overtakes that of Israeli power, then the number of compromisers will rapidly grow, and the zealots such as Netanyahu will find themselves alone in a Masada-like fortress of their own making.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The New York Times Declares the Peace Process Futile

 (27 April 2014)

Part I

 

In 1988 Yasser Arafat declared independence for Palestine based upon the notion of two states living in peace in historic Palestine. The border between those two states was to be set roughly at the armistice line established at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinian state’s capital was to be located in East Jerusalem.

 

That was 26 years ago. Then on14 April 2014, the editorial board of the New York Times (NYT) decided that Arafat was correct and the “principles” that “must undergird a two-state solution” are those he had proposed. Of course the board did so without ever referencing the great Palestinian leader.

 

Not only does the NYT declare the pre-1967 border and a shared capital at Jerusalem necessary and valid, but it calls on the U.S. government to do the same: “It is time for the administration to lay down the principles … should the Israelis and the Palestinians ever decide to make peace.”

 

Part II

 

Before anyone gets too excited over this seeming miracle on Eighth Avenue (where the paper is headquartered), it should be noted that the NYT editorial board made this pronouncement at a point when its fulfillment was impossible. And the editorial board knew this was the case. “The pointless arguing over who brought the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the brink of collapse is in full swing. The United States is still working to salvage the negotiations, but there is scant sign

of serious purpose. … President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should move on and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine.”

 

Having reached this point in the editorial board’s text one starts to suspect that the board is being disingenuous. First of all, why is it “pointless” to discuss the reason these talks are collapsing? Secretary of State Kerry’s explanation (the famous “poof” heard around the world), made before Congress, lays blame right where it has always belonged – with Israeli acts of sabotage of those very principles the NYT now espouses. Why does the NYT say that stating this increasingly obvious fact is “pointless”?

 

It is also interesting that the editorial board suggests in what direction the subject should be changed – toward the “major international challenge” of Ukraine. I am not sure the board thought this suggestion through. After all, what is the core Western complaint about happenings in Ukraine? It is the Russian land grab in the Crimea as well as the alleged threat of more such moves in eastern Ukraine. Yet just how different is Russian behavior in this regard from that of Israel in the West Bank and Golan Heights? Obviously the NYT editors do not think it is “pointless” to to discuss land grabs when the Russians do it. It is only pointless when the Israelis do it.

 

The editorial board also surrounds its declaration of principles with an archaic effort to present Israel and the Palestinians as equally at fault. It is not only the Israelis who have decided against making peace, it is both the “Israelis and Palestinians.” It is not just “the obstinacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” that is a problem. That “obstinacy” has to be coupled with “resistance from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.” It is not just Israel which is unwilling to “move on to core issues,” it is “the two sides” that are unwilling. This insistence on dualism is an illusion hiding the fact that the two sides are not at all equal and, with the exception of the red-herring issue of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, ninety-nine percent of the obstinacy and all the resistance has been on one side – the Israeli side.

 

Part III

 

The NYT editorial board has the same problem as the Obama administration: they both know the truth but are unwilling to do something about it. They both know the problem is that the Israeli government is not interested in genuine peace (actually, has never been interested in it). Israel is only interested in continuing its conquest of Palestinian land. And thanks to the West, most particularly the United States, Israel has the military wherewithal to ignore not only the Palestinian protests but also those of the rest of the world.

 

Both the U.S. government and the U.S. “newspaper of record” refuse to act on their knowledge of Israel’s history of sabotage and call for punitive action against a nation that is hurting U.S. national interests in an important part of the world. Their main concern is to avoid a confrontation with Zionist lobbyists and NYT advertisers whose devotion to Israel is wholly uncritical. This appears to still be the most favored position even though standing firm over negotiations with Iran has proved the Zionists are not omnipotent.

 

It’s that old two steps forward, one step backward shuffle: heading in the right direction while ensuring we never reach the proper destination.

Israel’s catalogue of savagery

Lawrence Davidson views Israel’s litany of savage behaviour, from the ethnic cleansing that started in earnest in 1948 and is ongoing to the starvation war waged on Gaza and numerous acts of wanton, petty cruelty.

Savagery ongoing

In my article “America’s billboard wars: Zionists vs. the truth, I noted that a Zionist organization run by the Islamophobe Pamela Geller is posting messages on buses and subways calling for support for Israel. The messages claim that Israel represents the “civilized man” in a struggle against jihadist “savagery”. I questioned Israel’s qualifications for civilized status in the earlier piece, but am drawn back to the subject by the almost daily revelations of the Zionist state’s questionable behaviour. It is not that the jihadist cannot be a savage at times; it is that the Israeli government seems quite incapable of being civilized. For instance:

Ethnic cleansing

On 16 October 2012 the Israeli organization Yazkern hosted dozens of veterans of Israel’s 1948 “War of Independence” for a look at what that struggle really entailed. The veterans testified to what can only be called a conscious effort at ethnic cleansing – the systematic destruction of entire Palestinian villages and numerous massacres. A documentary film by Israeli-Russian journalist Lia Tarachansky, dealing with this same subject, the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe, is nearing completion. It too has the testimony of Israeli soldiers of the 1948 war. These latest revelations lend credence to the claims of Israel’s “new historians”, such as Ilan Pappe, who have written books based on evidence gleamed from government archives showing that, even before the outbreak of hostilities leading to the creation of the state of Israel, the Zionist authorities planned to ethnically cleanse as much of Palestine as possible of non-Jews. The aim of Yazkern’s effort at truth-telling is to break through the sanitized “mainstream nationalistic narrative” of 1948 and the accompanying denial of any legitimate Palestinian counter-narrative.”

OK. The Israelis were savages in 1948 and only a small minority will admit it. What about after “the War of Independence”? As it turns out the ethnic cleansing never stopped. Conveniently, the long-standing denial that it ever started has helped to hide the fact of its ongoing nature. Yet just this week we received the news that Defence Minister Ehud Barak has given the order to demolish eight Palestinian villages with some 1,500 residents in the south Hebron hills. The excuse offered by Barack is that the land is needed for military training exercises. According to the “new historians”, this is a standard Israeli government cover for ethnic cleansing. Sure, for a couple of years the Israeli army will use the land that held the demolished villages. Then, almost inevitably, the area becomes the site of a new Israeli Jewish settlement.

Starvation

On 20 October 2012 Al-Jazeera reported on Israeli documents showing that between 2008 and 2010 the Israeli army allowed food supplies into the Gaza Strip based on a daily calorie count that held the basic diet of a million and half people to a point just short of malnutrition. According to the Israeli human rights organization Gisha, “the official goal of the policy was to wage economic warfare which would paralyze Gaza’s economy and, according to the Defence Ministry, create pressure on the Hamas government”. Actually, this bit of savagery predates 2008. Back in 2006 Dov Weissglass, then an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, stated that “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”. Of course, precedents for this can be found in the treatment of European Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. One assumes that Mr Weissglass was aware of this.

However, just as with the barbarism practiced in the “War of Independence”, in this case too there is a well practised capacity for national denial. According to Gideon Levy writing in Haaretz, “the country has plenty of ways … of burying skeletons deep in the closet so that Israelis shouldn’t be overly disturbed”. The military authors of the document that turned Weissglass’s hideous “idea” into savage practice, operated in “a country afflicted with blindness”. So, the present Israeli government does not have to worry about public unease over the fact that it is slowly but surely destroying the Gaza sewage system and rendering its water supply undrinkable.

Wanton cruelty

Then there are the petty acts of cruelty that can be considered tell-tale signs of savagery. For instance, the fact that Israeli customs officials held back the exam sheets for the October 2012 College Board tests bound for the West Bank graduating high school seniors. AMIDEAST, the organization that serves as the testing agency for the Palestinian territories, had made sure the Israeli authorities had the tests in their hands weeks in advance. Nonetheless, in an apparent act of petty vindictiveness, the customs officials held on to them until AMIDEAST had to cancel the exam. One observer has asked the question: “What has the SAT [tests] have to do with Israeli security?” Well, it might be that, in the mind of a savage customs official, the more college-bound Palestinians from the occupied territories, the more articulate witnesses to Israeli oppression. On the Gaza side of the equation, the US was forced to cancel a small scholarship programme for Gaza college students because the Israelis refused to let the students leave their open air prison, even if only to go to a West Bank school.

For anyone who might want to follow the grim procession of Israeli oppressive and barbaric acts on a day to day basis, I recommend the web site “Today in Palestine“, provided by the International Middle East Centre.

Challenge and denial

In the face of this persistent savage behaviour on the part of Israel, that country’s public support has finally begun to slip in the United States. Most recently, 15 prominent church leaders, representing major Christian denominations, wrote an open letter to Congress calling for

an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the US Foreign Assistance Act and the US Arms Export Control Act which respectively prohibit assistance to any country that engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations….We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.

So far, the Congress has turned a deaf-ear to this request, but the Zionist reaction was loud and clear. Leading the way in this effort was the head of the misnamed “Anti-Defamation League” (ADL), Abraham Foxman. Charging the Christian leaders with a “blatant lack of sensitivity” (one might ask just how sensitive one is supposed to be to an oppressor?) Foxman decided to punish the offending clergy by refusing to engage in ongoing “interfaith dialogue”. The Zionist reaction to being called out for their own savage behaviour is a classic example of denial.

Conclusion

Having “big brains” is a two edge sword for human beings. It means we can think all manner of creative thoughts and even exercise some self-control over our own inappropriate impulses if we care to try. However, it also means that we can be manipulated into thinking that we need not try – that we are the victims even as we are oppressing others and that any criticism of our actions is just another example of our victimization. Israeli culture, and indeed the culture of Zionism generally, is one ongoing project of self-manipulation to achieve just such a state of mind. And, to a great extent, it has succeeded. A recent poll taken in Israel shows that “a majority of the [Israeli Jewish] public wants the state to discriminate against Palestinians … revealing a deeply rooted racism in Israeli society”.

The Zionists are not the only experts in denial. The United States, Israel’s chief ally, has always been good at this gambit as well. After the 9/11 attacks any consideration of the possibility that United States foreign policy in the Middle East might have helped motivate the terrorism was anathema, and it still is over a decade later. Instead of taking a hard look at our own behaviour we are simply expanding our capacity to kill outright anyone who would challenge our policies in a violent fashion. Our answer is targeted killings by drones or otherwise – a bit of savagery we learned from the Israelis.

Machiavelli, who can always be relied upon to see the darker side of things, once said:

Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.

But yet, is it really inevitable?

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

‘US will try to preserve low-grade instability in Syria’

Press TV


March 16 2012

The secretary-general of the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah has called on the Syrians to start political dialogue to resolve their differences.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned that any other course of action would result in more bloodshed.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces.

Damascus blames ‘outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups’ for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Lawrence Davidson, a professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, to get more on the issue.

The video offers the opinions of two additional guests: Omar Nashabi from Al Akhbar, a daily Arabic language newspaper published in the Lebanese capital Beirut, and Jiwad Rashad from Syrian Social Club.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview:

Press TV: What the Syrian government has done so far in terms of the constitution, in terms of the reforms, is much more than what for example Yemen has done under this joint US-Persian Gulf Arab countries mainly Saudi Arabia and we can include some of the other countries from the Persian Gulf area also. But Syria is accused of doing nothing and when it comes to the efforts by President Bashar al-Assad and his government, why this contradiction?

Davidson: I think it is a political positioning, if you will. There is no inherent contradiction. The government in Syria has in fact set forth a program of reform. Now that has been done under pressure but it has been done and I think that a certain amount of pressure will have to be maintained on the government to make sure that there is a modicum of follow-through on this.

But that pressure cannot be in the form of a civil war and that is really what these outside agitators, if you will, and their supporters really want. The United States, the Saudis, what they want is regime change and clearly in the case of Syria, the only way you are going to get regime change is by a very bloody and destructive civil war and so it is [de facto] that is what they are trying to do.

That is why they are smuggling the weapons; that is why they are enticing Syrian soldiers to desert and that is why these Saudis are pouring in the money. Now that seems to me that strategy has resulted in the pressure that is factionalizing the opposition and so there probably are a lot of Syrians who had started out in the opposition and demonstrated in the streets, etc. would say OK, let’s take the government out of its words, so to speak, and see where these proposed reforms go.

And I think that they are wise decision under the circumstances because the alternative is pretty bad. However, I do not think that we should kid ourselves. If there is going to be serious follow-through on these reforms, people are going to have to periodically take to the streets in a non-violent fashion but in a relatively massive fashion to make sure the government knows they are still there.

Press TV: We saw in the hundreds and thousands today Syrians poured out; Kofi Annan tomorrow will be making his revelations to the UN. What do you think? Is this the point where some of the Arab countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with the US and its allies have realized their approach has not worked, of course given the fact that Russia and China have stood firmly against them?

Davidson: I am not sure if that is the case. I think they have realized that they cannot promote outright civil war and get their regime change, but I think that they are perfectly willing to maintain a low-grade unstabilizing kind of profits. So I do not think that the smuggling of the weapons and the funding of an armed opposition, I do not think that is going to go away; I do not think it is going to go away even if everybody else is satisfied with the reforms of the government.

So my feeling is that you are going to have this sort of insidious, periodic outburst of violence, car bombing, the whole nine yards, I think that is going to go on for a while yet because a certain modicum of the instability particularly in a place like Syria are distracting the government say from its confrontation with Israel, making nervous the Iranians. I think that that kind of low-grade instability is something that the US will try to maintain.

MSK/HN

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For both Humanity and Palestine: One front: Occupy the Lobby…Kill the Beast

Nature of the Beast

In Case you missed it: The Helen Thomas’ Resolution by Gilad Atzmon

Two Front International Struggle For Palestine

by Lawrence Davidson

 
Part I – Two International Fronts
In January 2011, I wrote an analysis in support of a one-state solution to the on-going Israeli-Palestinian struggle. It is the Israelis themselves who have made the one-state solution the only practicable approach, because their incessant and illegal colonization of the West Bank has simply eliminated all possibility of a viable and truly independent Palestinian state. Israeli behavior has not changed in the past year and so I still stand by the position.

That being said, it is important to point out that even a one-state solution capable of bringing justice to the Palestinians, and in doing so, saving the Jews from the folly of Zionism, will not be possible without worldwide intervention. What is necessary is a struggle on two international fronts:

  • A) A strong growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel and
  • B) Growing popular pressure in the United States that forces a change in foreign policy toward Israel.

Without achieving both of these goals the fate of both Palestinians and Jews looks very bleak indeed.

Part II – Israel Will Try To Prevent A Civil Rights Struggle.
The necessity of this two-front international approach was reinforced for me upon reading a speech given by Noam Chomsky in Beirut in May of 2010. When commenting on a one-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he made the following points:

  1. For the indefinite future, “Israel will continue doing exactly what [its] doing….[taking] the water resources, the valuable land…the Jordan Valley…and send[ing] corridors through the remaining regions to break them up into separated cantons…”
  2. In the process the Israeli government will make sure that “very few Palestinians [are] incorporated in the valuable areas that Israel will take over” and they will do so in order to preclude “any civil rights struggle.”
  3. he Israelis can do this as long as the United States supports them. Chomsky calls this the “mafia principle.” He notes that in the case of South Africa, the apartheid state was able to hold out against an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign as long as the United States did not participate in it. And the primary reason the US gave for not doing so was that the leading resistance organization fighting apartheid, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress, was a “notorious” terrorist organization.
  4. However, international anti-apartheid sentiment did help push Washington to finally cease its support South Africa and then apartheid collapsed. Chomsky concludes: “When the godfather [that is, the U.S.] changes his policy, things change….I think this could happen with Israel. If the United States changes policy and decides to join the world[‘s growing opposition to Israeli behavior], Israel will have no option but to go along.”

Chomsky’s analysis is a bit too reductionist for me. That is, he tends to bring everything down to positions taken by the U.S. government. But there is no denying that changing U.S. policy is one of two necessary international parts to any solution. And, he makes a seminal point when he tells us that the Israeli government has no intention of incorporating the mass of West Bank Palestinians (to say nothing of the Gazans) into the Jewish state.

Part III – Avoiding A Civil Rights Struggle Through “Transfer”

Indeed, Israeli strategy necessitates allowing a fake “Palestinian state” in the form of West Bank Bantustans, and then deporting their Arab Israeli citizens into those enclaves. No Arabs in Israel, no civil rights struggle.

An interesting piece of news that speaks to this possibility appeared on January 31, 2012. According to Associated Press reports, the Israeli Interior Ministry plans to deport thousands of Southern Sudanese refugees. Why so? Because, according to a ministry spokeswoman, “since the Southern Sudanese have an independent state, they will no longer be given protected status in Israel.” The first step will be to offer them “voluntary deportation and around $1300″ in ‘thanks for leaving’ money. After that, forced deportation and no money, will be the policy.

As the American Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah notes, “Israeli leaders have already hinted that they could use the same type of logic to justify removal of Palestinian citizens of Israel if a nominally independent Palestinian state is established on scrapes of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

This is known as a policy of “transfer” in Zionist parlance and it has been discussed at least since the time of Theodor Herzl. In recent years it has been suggested by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (now head of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset) and the present Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as well as a slew of other Israeli politicians. Abunimah’s conclusion is that a “two-state solution would be more likely to lead to further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians than to peace.”

Part IV – Conclusion

So what do we have here? On the one hand, Noam Chomsky points to the very real possibility that the Israelis will not allow a one state solution that creates the conditions for an internal struggle for civil and political equality. And, on the other hand, Ali Abunimah points to the very real possibility that any two state solution will lead to forced deportation of Palestinians into Bantustans.

Is there a way out of this? Well if the South African experience is to be a guide it is this: The sine qua non of any solution is the collapse of Israel’s ethno/religious, that is Zionist, ideology of governance. Just as the racist apartheid form of governance had to be changed for there to be a resolution of the South African struggle, so the Israeli Zionist form of governance has to be changed for there to be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.

And, I think that Chomsky is right when he says the Israelis have no intention of allowing such a change in governance to come about through an internal civil rights struggle. Therefore, the pressure for the necessary transformation will have to come from outside. It will have to come in the form a two-front movement: one front building the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and the second front concentrating on making support of Israel a national scandal in the U.S. and therefore a domestic voting issue.

While there are a few good organizations in the U.S. (such as the U.S. Campaign To End The Occupation and Jewish Voices for Peace) involved in building this second front, I think that the effort has not been given enough attention by Americans involved in supporting the Palestinian cause. It is time this changed for, as Noam Chomsky suggests, there will be no just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle unless Israeli treatment of the Palestinians becomes a strong enough cause to impact U.S. policy.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

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