مؤرخ أمريكي نعوم شومسكي يكشف عن الهدف الحقيقي لواشنطن في أوكرانيا

2022-08-20

وقال شومسكي إن واشنطن تريد أن تمنع موسكو من إمكانية تسوية الأزمة الأوكرانية بطريقة دبلوماسية، الأمر الذي يمكن أن يزيد حدة التوتر في العالم إلى أقصى حد ممكن، مذكرا أن هذا القرار اتخذه الناتو أثناء قمته في قاعدة رامشتاين الجوية في ألمانيا.

وأوضح: “في تلك القمة وافق الحلف، بما في ذلك أوروبا، على الموقف الرسمي للولايات المتحدة الذي ينص على أنه من الضروري تحقيق إضعاف روسيا لأكبر حد ممكن، لكي لا يكون بإمكانها القيام بالمزيد من الأعمال الواسعة النطاق. وإذا فكرنا في ذلك بشكل جيد فيعني ذلك أنه من الضروري إضعاف روسيا بشكل أكثر مما عملته اتفاقية فيرسال لعام 1919 بألمانيا. إنها تحتاج إلى تقويض قوة روسيا إلى حد لن يسمح لها بإجراء مفاوضات والقيام بعمل دبلوماسي”.

كما عبر الباحث عن خيبة أمله من استعداد الدول الأوروبية للخضوع لقرارات البيت الأبيض لتجنب وصفها بـ “الخائن” للقيم الغربية. وأضاف: “تدعم أوروبا وجهة النظر هذه. كان الأمريكيون دائما يتمسكون بهذه السياسة، غير أن ألمانيا وفرنسا كانتا تجريان العملية الدبلوماسية البديلة، لكن في هذه القمة وافقتا على الموقف الأمريكي”.

وعبر شومسكي عن اعتقاده بأن الموقف الأوروبي من الأزمة الأوكرانية ليس عادلا، مذكرا بأسالوب أمريكا لفرض نظامها في العراق وسوريا وليبيا، وكيفية عرض ما يحدث في أوكرانيا في وسائل الإعلام الدولية. وتابع: “أهتم جدا بمتابعة ما تكتبه وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية التي تصف التطورات الأوكرانية بأنها نزاع “غير مبرر”. وهذا هو الوضع الوحيد الذي من الممكن فيه استخدام هذا المصطلح… وهو يشير إلى وجود فهم أن ما يحدث تمت إثارته بالفعل. لذلك بالذات يجب تكرار هذه العبارة دائما. ولا يستخدمها أحد عندما يدور الحديث عن النزاعات الأخرى”.

هذا ووصف شومسكي رغبة واشنطن القديمة لجذب أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو رغم احتجاجات موسكو المستمرة والتحذيرات من جانب الساسة الأمريكيين ذوي الخبرة، وصفها بأنها استفزاز.

وتابع: “كانت روسيا قد أفهمت منذ 30 عاما، أي قبل سنوات طويلة قبل بوتين، بأن ضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو، وهو حلف عسكري عدائي، سيعني عبورا للخط، وأن أي زعيم روسي لن يوافق على ذلك، لا غورباتشوف ولا يلتسين ولا بوتين. وفهم عدد من الساسة الأمريكيين الكبار ذلك، وبينهم جورج كينان وهنري كيسنجر وجيك ميدلوك ورئيس وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأمريكية ويليام بيرنز. وفهم ذلك موجود منذ وقت بعيد. ومنذ التسعينيات من القرن الماضي يحاولون تحذير المسوؤلين الأمريكيين من أن محاولات ضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو ستكون تهورا واستفزازا”.

المصدر: نوفوستي

CHOMSKY ON ISRAELI APARTHEID, CELEBRITY ACTIVISTS, BDS AND THE ONE-STATE SOLUTION

Chomsky believes that calling Israeli policies towards Palestinians “apartheid” is actually a “gift to Israel”, at least, if by apartheid one refers to the South-African style apartheid.

JULY 5TH, 2022

RAMZY BAROUD

This is, according to the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci, the ‘interregnum’- the rare and seismic moment in history when great transitions occur, when empires collapse and others rise, and when new conflicts and struggles ensue.

The Gramscian ‘interregnum, however, is not a smooth transition, for these profound changes often embody a ‘crisis,’ which “consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”.

“In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear,” the anti-fascist intellectual wrote in his famous “Prison Notebooks”.

Even before the Russia-Ukraine war and the subsequent deepening of the Russia-NATO crisis, the world was clearly experiencing an interregnum of sorts – the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the global recession, the rising inequality, the destabilization of the Middle East, the ‘Arab Spring’, the refugee crisis, the new ‘scramble for Africa’, the US attempt at weakening China, the US’ own political instability, the war on democracy and decline of the American empire ..

Recent events, however, have finally given these earth-shattering changes greater clarity, with Russia making its move against NATO expansion, and with China and other rising economies – BRICS nations – refusing to toe the American line.

To reflect on all of these changes, and more, we spoke with the world’s ‘most cited’ and respected intellectual, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.

The main objective of our interview was to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the Palestinian struggle during this ongoing ‘interregnum’. Chomsky shared with us his views about the war in Ukraine and its actual root causes.

The interview, however, largely focused on Palestine, Chomsky’s views of the language, the tactics and solutions affiliated with the Palestinian struggle and the Palestinian discourse. Below are some of Chomsky’s thoughts on these issues, taken from a longer conversation that can be viewed here.

CHOMSKY ON ISRAELI APARTHEID

Chomsky believes that calling Israeli policies towards Palestinians “apartheid” is actually a “gift to Israel”, at least, if by apartheid one refers to the South-African style apartheid.

“I have held for a long time that the Occupied Territories are much worse than South Africa. South Africa needed its black population, it relied on them,” Chomsky said, adding: “The black population was 85% of the population. It was the workforce; the country couldn’t function without that population and, as a result, they tried to make their situation more or less tolerable to the international community. (…) They were hoping for international recognition, which they didn’t get.”

So, if the Bantustans were, in Chomsky’s opinion, “more or less livable,” the same “is not true for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Israel just wants to get rid of the people, doesn’t want them. And its policies for the last 50 years, with not much variation, have been just somehow making life unlivable, so you will go somewhere else.”

These repressive policies apply in the entirety of the Palestinian territory: “In Gaza, (they) just destroy them,” Chomsky said. “There’s over two million people now living in hideous conditions, barely survivable. International law organizations say that they are not likely to even be able to survive in a couple of years. (…) In the Occupied Territories, in the West Bank, atrocities (take place) every day.”

Chomsky also thinks that Israel, unlike South Africa, is not seeking the international community’s approval. “The brazenness of Israeli actions is pretty striking. They do what they want, knowing the United States will support them. Well, this is much worse than what happened in South Africa; it’s not an effort to somehow accommodate the Palestinian population as a suppressed workforce, it’s just to get rid of them.”

CHOMSKY ON THE NEW PALESTINIAN UNITY

The events of May 2021 and the popular unity among Palestinians are “a very positive change”, in Chomsky’s opinion. “For one thing, what has severely impeded the Palestinian struggle is the conflict between Hamas and the PLO. If it’s not resolved, it’s a great gift to Israel.”

Palestinians also managed to overcome the territorial fragmentation, according to Chomsky: “Also, the split between the legal boundaries” separating Israel from “the expanded area of greater Palestine” was always a hindrance to Palestinian unity. That is now being overcome, as the Palestinian struggle “is turning into the same struggle. Palestinians are all in it together.”

“B’tselem and Human Rights Watch’s description of the whole region as a region of apartheid – though I don’t entirely agree with it for the reasons I mentioned, because I think it’s not harsh enough – nevertheless, it is a step towards recognizing that there is something crucially in common between all this area.”

“So, I think this is a positive step. It is wise and promising for Palestinians to recognize ‘we’re all in it together’, and that includes the diaspora communities. Yes, it’s a common struggle,” Chomsky concluded.

CHOMSKY ON ONE STATE, TWO STATES

Though support for a one state has grown exponentially in recent years, to the extent that a recent public opinion poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC), concluded that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank now supports the one-state solution, Chomsky warns against discussions that don’t prioritize the more urgent conversation of Tel Aviv’s colonial quest for a “greater Israel.”

“We should not be deluded into thinking that events are developing towards a one-state outcome or towards a confederation, as it’s now being discussed by some of the Israeli left. It’s not moving in that direction, that’s not even an option for now. Israel will never accept it as long as it has the option of greater Israel. And, furthermore, there is no support for it in the international community, none. Not even the African states.”

“The two-states, well, we can talk about it but you have to recognize that we have to struggle against the ongoing live option of a greater Israel.” Indeed, according to Chomsky, “much of the discussion of this topic seems to me misplaced.”

“It is mostly a debate between two states and one state that eliminates the most important option, the live option, the one that’s being pursued, namely greater Israel. Establishing a greater Israel, where Israel takes over whatever it wants in the West Bank, crushes Gaza, and annexes – illegally – the Syrian Golan Heights .., just takes what it wants, avoids the Palestinian population concentrations, so, it doesn’t incorporate them. They don’t want the Palestinians because of what is called the democratic Jewish state, the pretense of a democratic Jewish state in which the state is the sovereign state of the Jewish people. So, my state, but not the state of some Palestinian villager.”

Chomsky continues, “To maintain that pretense, you have to keep a large Jewish majority, then you can somehow pretend it’s not repressive. But so the policy is a greater Israel, in which you won’t have any demographic problem. The main concentrations of Palestinians are excluded in other areas, they are basically being expelled.”

CHOMSKY ON BDS, INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

We also asked Chomsky about the growing solidarity with Palestinians on the international stage, on social media, and the support for the Palestinian struggle among many public personalities and celebrities.

“I don’t think mainstream celebrities mean that much. What matters is what is happening among the general population in the United States. In Israel, unfortunately, the population is moving to the right. It is one of the few countries I know, maybe the only one, where younger people are more reactionary than older ones.”

“The United States is going in the opposite direction,” Chomsky continued, as “young people are more critical of Israel, more and more supportive of Palestinian rights.”

Regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Chomsky acknowledged the significant role played by the global grassroots movement, though he noted that BDS “has a mixed record”. The movement should become “more flexible (and) more thoughtful about the effects of actions”, Chomsky noted.

“The groundwork is there,” Chomsky concluded. “It is necessary to think carefully about how to carry it forward.”

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

‘Rationality is Not Permitted’: Chomsky on Russia, Ukraine and the Price of Media Censorship

June 23, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

One of the reasons that Russian media has been completely blocked in the West, along with the unprecedented control and censorship over the Ukraine war narrative, is the fact that western governments simply do not want their public to know that the world is vastly changing.

Ignorance might be bliss, arguably in some situations, but not in this case. Here, ignorance can be catastrophic as western audiences are denied access to information about a critical situation that is affecting them in profound ways and will most certainly impact the world’s geopolitics for generations to come.

The growing inflation, an imminent global recession, a festering refugee crisis, a deepening food shortage crisis and much more are the kinds of challenges that require open and transparent discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, the NATO-Russia rivalry and the responsibility of the West in the ongoing war.

To discuss these issues, along with the missing context of the Russia-Ukraine war, we spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky, believed to be the greatest living intellectual of our time.

Chomsky told us that it “should be clear that the (Russian) invasion of Ukraine has no (moral) justification.” He compared it to the US invasion of Iraq, seeing it as an example of “supreme international crime.” With this moral question settled, Chomsky believes that the main ‘background’ of this war, a factor that is missing in mainstream media coverage, is “NATO expansion”.

“This is not just my opinion,” said Chomsky, “it is the opinion of every high-level US official in the diplomatic services who has any familiarity with Russia and Eastern Europe. This goes back to George Kennan and, in the 1990s, Reagan’s ambassador Jack Matlock, including the current director of the CIA; in fact, just everybody who knows anything has been warning Washington that it is reckless and provocative to ignore Russia’s very clear and explicit red lines. That goes way before (Vladimir) Putin, it has nothing to do with him; (Mikhail) Gorbachev, all said the same thing. Ukraine and Georgia cannot join NATO, this is the geostrategic heartland of Russia.”

Though various US administrations acknowledged and, to some extent, respected the Russian red lines, the Bill Clinton Administration did not. According to Chomsky, “George H. W. Bush … made an explicit promise to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond East Germany, perfectly explicit. You can look up the documents. It’s very clear. Bush lived up to it. But when Clinton came along, he started violating it. And he gave reasons. He explained that he had to do it for domestic political reasons. He had to get the Polish vote, the ethnic vote. So, he would let the so-called Visegrad countries into NATO. Russia accepted it, didn’t like it but accepted it.”

“The second George Bush,” Chomsky argued, “just threw the door wide open. In fact, even invited Ukraine to join over, despite the objections of everyone in the top diplomatic service, apart from his own little clique, Cheney, Rumsfeld (among others). But France and Germany vetoed it.”

However, that was hardly the end of the discussion. Ukraine’s NATO membership remained on the agenda because of intense pressures from Washington.

“Starting in 2014, after the Maidan uprising, the United States began openly, not secretly, moving to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command, sending heavy armaments and joining military exercises, military training and it was not a secret. They boasted about it,” Chomsky said.

What is interesting is that current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “was elected on a peace platform, to implement what was called Minsk Two, some kind of autonomy for the eastern region. He tried to implement it. He was warned by right-wing militias that if he persisted, they’d kill him. Well, he didn’t get any support from the United States. If the United States had supported him, he could have continued, we might have avoided all of this. The United States was committed to the integration of Ukraine within NATO.”

The Joe Biden Administration carried on with the policy of NATO expansion. “Just before the invasion,” said Chomsky, “Biden … produced a joint statement … calling for expanding these efforts of integration. That’s part of what was called an ‘enhanced program’ leading to the mission of NATO. In November, it was moved forward to a charter, signed by the Secretary of State.”

Soon after the war, “the United States Department acknowledged that they had not taken Russian security concerns into consideration in any discussions with Russia. The question of NATO, they would not discuss. Well, all of that is provocation. Not a justification but a provocation and it’s quite interesting that in American discourse, it is almost obligatory to refer to the invasion as the ‘unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’. Look it up on Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of hits.”

Chomsky continued, “Of course, it was provoked. Otherwise, they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion. By now, censorship in the United States has reached such a level beyond anything in my lifetime. Such a level that you are not permitted to read the Russian position. Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. Except, selected things. So, if Putin makes a speech to Russians with all kinds of outlandish claims about Peter the Great and so on, then, you see it on the front pages. If the Russians make an offer for a negotiation, you can’t find it. That’s suppressed. You’re not allowed to know what they are saying. I have never seen a level of censorship like this.”

Regarding his views of the possible future scenarios, Chomsky said that “the war will end, either through diplomacy or not. That’s just logic. Well, if diplomacy has a meaning, it means both sides can tolerate it. They don’t like it, but they can tolerate it. They don’t get anything they want, they get something. That’s diplomacy. If you reject diplomacy, you are saying: ‘Let the war go on with all of its horrors, with all the destruction of Ukraine, and let’s let it go on until we get what we want.’”

By ‘we’, Chomsky was referring to Washington, which simply wants to “harm Russia so severely that it will never be able to undertake actions like this again. Well, what does that mean? It’s impossible to achieve. So, it means, let’s continue the war until Ukraine is devastated. That’s US policy.”

Most of this is not obvious to western audiences simply because rational voices are “not allowed to talk” and because “rationality is not permitted. This is a level of hysteria that I have never seen, even during the Second World War, which I am old enough to remember very well.”

While an alternative understanding of the devastating war in Ukraine is disallowed, the West continues to offer no serious answers or achievable goals, leaving Ukraine devastated and the root causes of the problem in place. “That’s US policy”, indeed.

(The interview with Noam Chomsky was conducted jointly with Italian journalist, Romana Rubeo)

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

WATCH: Full Palestine Chronicle Interview with Professor Noam Chomsky

June 17, 2022

Palestine Chronicle editors Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo hosted IMT Professor and world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky. (Photo: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Palestine Chronicle editors Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo hosted a special guest on Thursday, June 16, IMT Professor and world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky.

The wide-ranging interview examined numerous topics. Though the focus of the discussion was Palestine, the Palestinian struggle was discussed within a global geopolitical context, including the war in Ukraine and US foreign policy. 

Regarding Palestine, Chomsky answered questions pertaining to the one-state solution, the BDS movement, Israeli apartheid and Palestinian resistance. 

Below is the full interview with Professor Chomsky.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

CHRIS HEDGES: NO WAY OUT BUT WAR

MAY 23RD, 2022

By Chris Hedges

Source

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the US GDP of $ 24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $ 813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

Democrat or Republican. It does not matter. War is the raison d’état of the state. Extravagant military expenditures are justified in the name of “national security.” The nearly $40 billion allocated for Ukraine, most of it going into the hands of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, is only the beginning. Military strategists, who say the war will be long and protracted, are talking about infusions of $4 or $5 billion in military aid a month to Ukraine. We face existential threats. But these do not count. The proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in fiscal year 2023 is $10.675 billion. The proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $11.881 billion. Ukraine alone gets more than double that amount. Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.

There were three restraints to the avarice and bloodlust of the permanent war economy that no longer exist. The first was the old liberal wing of the Democratic Party, led by politicians such as Senator George McGovern, Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Senator J. William Fulbright, who wrote The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. The self-identified progressives, a pitiful minority, in Congress today, from Barbara Lee, who was the single vote in the House and the Senate opposing a broad, open-ended authorization allowing the president to wage war in Afghanistan or anywhere else, to Ilhan Omar now dutifully line up to fund the latest proxy war. The second restraint was an independent media and academia, including journalists such as I.F Stone and Neil Sheehan along with scholars such as Seymour Melman, author of The Permanent War Economy and Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War. Third, and perhaps most important, was an organized anti-war movement, led by religious leaders such as Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. and Phil and Dan Berrigan as well as groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They understood that unchecked militarism was a fatal disease.

None of these opposition forces, which did not reverse the permanent war economy but curbed its excesses, now exist. The two ruling parties have been bought by corporations, especially military contractors. The press is anemic and obsequious to the war industry. Propagandists for permanent war, largely from right-wing think tanks lavishly funded by the war industry, along with former military and intelligence officials, are exclusively quoted or interviewed as military experts. NBC’s “Meet the Press” aired a segment May 13 where officials from Center for a New American Security (CNAS) simulated what a war with China over Taiwan might look like. The co-founder of CNAS, Michèle Flournoy, who appeared in the “Meet the Press” war games segment and was considered by Biden to run the Pentagon, wrote in 2020 in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. needs to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

The handful of anti-militarists and critics of empire from the left, such as Noam Chomsky, and the right, such as Ron Paul, have been declared persona non grata by a compliant media. The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics. Liberals are cheerleading the war in Ukraine. At least the inception of the war with Iraq saw them join significant street protests. Ukraine is embraced as the latest crusade for freedom and democracy against the new Hitler. There is little hope, I fear, of rolling back or restraining the disasters being orchestrated on a national and global level.  The neoconservatives and liberal interventionists chant in unison for war. Biden has appointed these war mongers, whose attitude to nuclear war is terrifyingly cavalier, to run the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and the State Department.

Since all we do is war, all proposed solutions are military. This military adventurism accelerates the decline, as the defeat in Vietnam and the squandering of $8 trillion in the futile wars in the Middle East illustrate. War and sanctions, it is believed, will cripple Russia, rich in gas and natural resources. War, or the threat of war, will curb the growing economic and military clout of China.

These are demented and dangerous fantasies, perpetrated by a ruling class that has severed itself from reality. No longer able to salvage their own society and economy, they seek to destroy those of their global competitors, especially Russia and China. Once the militarists cripple Russia, the plan goes, they will focus military aggression on the Indo-Pacific, dominating what Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, referring to the Pacific, called “the American Sea.”

You cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The U.S., whose growth rate has fallen to below 2 percent, while China’s growth rate is 8.1 percent, has turned to military aggression to bolster its sagging economy. If the U.S. can sever Russian gas supplies to Europe, it will force Europeans to buy from the United States. U.S. firms, at the same time, would be happy to replace the Chinese Communist Party, even if they must do it through the threat of war, to open unfettered access to Chinese markets. War, if it did break out with China, would devastate the Chinese, American, and global economies, destroying free trade between countries as in World War I. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Washington is desperately trying to build military and economic alliances to ward off a rising China, whose economy is expected by 2028 to overtake that of the United States, according to the UK’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The White House has said Biden’s current visit to Asia is about sending a “powerful message” to Beijing and others about what the world could look like if democracies “stand together to shape the rules of the road.” The Biden administration has invited South Korea and Japan to attend the NATO summit in Madrid.

But fewer and fewer nations, even among European allies, are willing to be dominated by the United States. Washington’s veneer of democracy and supposed respect for human rights and civil liberties is so badly tarnished as to be irrecoverable. Its economic decline, with China’s manufacturing 70 percent higher than that of the U.S., is irreversible. War is a desperate Hail Mary, one employed by dying empires throughout history with catastrophic consequences. “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable,” Thucydides noted in the History of the Peloponnesian War.

A key component to the sustenance of the permanent war state was the creation of the All-Volunteer Force. Without conscripts, the burden of fighting wars falls to the poor, the working class, and military families. This All-Volunteer Force allows the children of the middle class, who led the Vietnam anti-war movement, to avoid service. It protects the military from internal revolts, carried out by troops during the Vietnam War, which jeopardized the cohesion of the armed forces.

The All-Volunteer Force, by limiting the pool of available troops, also makes the global ambitions of the militarists impossible. Desperate to maintain or increase troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military instituted the stop-loss policy that arbitrarily extended active-duty contracts. Its slang term was the backdoor draft. The effort to bolster the number of troops by hiring private military contractors, as well, had a negligible effect. Increased troop levels would not have won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the tiny percentage of those willing to serve in the military (only 7 percent of the U.S. population are veterans) is an unacknowledged Achilles heel for the militarists.

“As a consequence, the problem of too much war and too few soldiers eludes serious scrutiny,” writes historian and retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich in After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed. “Expectations of technology bridging that gap provide an excuse to avoid asking the most fundamental questions: Does the United States possess the military wherewithal to oblige adversaries to endorse its claim of being history’s indispensable nation? And if the answer is no, as the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest, wouldn’t it make sense for Washington to temper its ambitions accordingly?”

This question, as Bacevich points out, is “anathema.” The military strategists work from the supposition that the coming wars won’t look anything like past wars. They invest in imaginary theories of future wars that ignore the lessons of the past, ensuring more fiascos.

The political class is as self-deluded as the generals. It refuses to accept the emergence of a multi-polar world and the palpable decline of American power. It speaks in the outdated language of American exceptionalism and triumphalism, believing it has the right to impose its will as the leader of the “free world.” In his 1992 Defense Planning Guidance memorandum, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued that the U.S. must ensure no rival superpower again arises. The U.S. should project its military strength to dominate a unipolar world in perpetuity. On February 19, 1998, on NBC’s “Today Show”, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the Democratic version of this doctrine of unipolarity. “If we have to use force it is because we are Americans; we are the indispensable nation,” she said. “We stand tall, and we see further than other countries into the future.”

This demented vision of unrivaled U.S. global supremacy, not to mention unrivaled goodness and virtue, blinds the establishment Republicans and Democrats. The military strikes they casually used to assert the doctrine of unipolarity, especially in the Middle East, swiftly spawned jihadist terror and prolonged warfare. None of them saw it coming until the hijacked jets slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers. That they cling to this absurd hallucination is the triumph of hope over experience.

There is a deep loathing among the public for these elitist Ivy League architects of American imperialism. Imperialism was tolerated when it was able to project power abroad and produce rising living standards at home. It was tolerated when it restrained itself to covert interventions in countries such as Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia. It went off the rails in Vietnam. The military defeats that followed accompanied a steady decline in living standards, wage stagnation, a crumbling infrastructure and eventually a series of economic policies and trade deals, orchestrated by the same ruling class, which deindustrialized and impoverished the country.

The establishment oligarchs, now united in the Democratic Party, distrust Donald Trump. He commits the heresy of questioning the sanctity of the American empire. Trump derided the invasion of Iraq as a “big, fat mistake.” He promised “to keep us out of endless war.” Trump was repeatedly questioned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Putin was “a killer,” one interviewer told him. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump retorted. “You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump dared to speak a truth that was to be forever unspoken, the militarists had sold out the American people.

Noam Chomsky took some heat for pointing out, correctly, that Trump is the “one statesman” who has laid out a “sensible” proposition to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The proposed solution included “facilitating negotiations instead of undermining them and moving toward establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe…in which there are no military alliances but just mutual accommodation.”

Trump is too unfocused and mercurial to offer serious policy solutions. He did set a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he also ratcheted up the economic war against Venezuela and reinstituted crushing sanctions against Cuba and Iran, which the Obama administration had ended. He increased the military budget. He apparently flirted with carrying out a missile strike on Mexico to “destroy the drug labs.” But he acknowledges a distaste for imperial mismanagement that resonates with the public, one that has every right to loath the smug mandarins that plunge us into one war after another. Trump lies like he breathes. But so do they.

The 57 Republicans who refused to support the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, along with many of the 19 bills that included an earlier $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine, come out of the kooky conspiratorial world of Trump. They, like Trump, repeat this heresy. They too are attacked and censored. But the longer Biden and the ruling class continue to pour resources into war at our expense, the more these proto fascists, already set to wipe out Democratic gains in the House and the Senate this fall, will be ascendant. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during the debate on the aid package to Ukraine, which most members were not given time to closely examine, said: “$40 billion dollars but there’s no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

“An unknown amount of money to the CIA and Ukraine supplemental bill but there’s no formula for American babies,” she added. “Stop funding regime change and money laundering scams. A US politician covers up their crimes in countries like Ukraine.”

Democrat Jamie Raskin immediately attacked Greene for parroting the propaganda of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Greene, like Trump, spoke a truth that resonates with a beleaguered public. The opposition to permanent war should have come from the tiny progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which unfortunately sold out to the craven Democratic Party leadership to save their political careers. Greene is demented, but Raskin and the Democrats peddle their own brand of lunacy. We are going to pay a very steep price for this burlesque.

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

17 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Atilio A. Boron 

How long will Washington’s double discourse last?

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

Israeli government troops assassinated Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, one of the leading figures of Al Jazeera TV network. Yet, Washington and the Western media and governments remain silent in complicity against this unspeakable crime, not only for the murder itself but also for the vicious attack on freedom of the press. Can you imagine how these governments and their dependent press would have reacted if this crime had been committed against a Venezuelan-American journalist in Venezuela? This news would have been the cover of all the newspapers in the West and the subject of all the radio and television programs, denouncing the brutality of the Maduro “regime”. But, since the crime was committed by the Israelis, what prevails is silence and concealment of the information. Again, the damn double standard of the empire!

Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead while covering an Israeli army incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian colleague of the murdered journalist, Ali Samudi, was also attacked by Zionist bullets and was shot in the back, fortunately not causing fatal injuries. The “Israel” Defense Force confirmed that it carried out an operation Wednesday morning in the Jenin refugee camp, but denied that they have shot at journalists present at the scene. However, Israeli army sources assured that there was an exchange of fire on the ground and Defense Minister Benny Gantz himself told the foreign press at night that the army “was not sure how the journalist died. Maybe it was a Palestinian who shot her, the shot could also have come from our side, we are investigating,” Gantz said. Nevertheless, one of the photographers from the French news agency AFP said that Israeli forces were firing in the area and that he saw the body of the Al Jazeera reporter on the ground. In addition, he said that there were no armed Palestinians in the area.

Al Jazeera called on the international community to hold “Israel” responsible for the “intentional” death of the journalist. “In a flagrant murder that violates international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces cold-bloodedly murdered the Al Jazeera correspondent in the Palestinian territories,” the channel said. Qatari Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said on Twitter that the correspondent was shot “in the face” and called the act “Israeli state terrorism.” For its part, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the autonomous Palestinian government based in the West Bank, described the journalist’s death as an “execution” and as part of the Israeli effort to hide the “truth” of its occupation of the West Bank. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that these protests will find an echo in the Western press, completely controlled by US imperialism and its European lackeys.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assured that his country wanted to join an “investigation into the sad death of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh” and stressed that “journalists must be protected in conflict zones”, for which “Tel Aviv” has “the responsibility to get to the truth.” The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for the facts to be investigated by “both parties” in a transparent manner. In a completely hollow speech the diplomatic stressed that the “absolute priority” of the United States is “the protection of American citizens and journalists”, something blatantly false. Beautiful words, devoid of any substance because the United States and Western countries have been endorsing the genocidal policies of the state of “Israel” since 1948, and there is nothing to suggest that this policy will be changed in the near future, especially in the context of the Ukrainian war.

For its part, Amnesty International (AI) pointed out that the “increase in unlawful killings” in recent times is one more example of the need to put an end to “Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians.” In an unusually harsh public statement, the organization denounced what could be “extrajudicial executions” against Palestinians. It also said that “the murder” of the journalist “is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which “Israel” locks up Palestinians. “Israel” is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. How many more must die before the international community acts to hold “Israel” accountable?” questioned AI’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Saleh Higazi. This statement is in line with a recent declaration by Noam Chomsky, who accused the Israeli government of practicing genocidal policies in Gaza, the largest open-air prison in the world according to his words. The sad culmination of this policy followed by the neo-Nazi government of “Israel” was the scandalous repression that occurred during the funeral of Abu Akleh, which offends the most basic canons of human rights. However, despite these brutal transgressions and “Israel”‘s escalation of repression in recent weeks -in which at least 31 people were killed- the American government continues to monolithically support the slaughterers of the Palestinian people.

How long will Washington’s double discourse last? How is it that Biden, who claims to be recognized as a champion of human rights, supports a regime like the Israeli one that, since its foundation, has systematically violated the human, social and economic rights of the Palestinians stealing their land, destroying their houses and condemning them to a trickle-down genocide?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Norman Finkelstein : Russia has the historical right to invade Ukraine (updated with transcript)

May 15, 2022

The Debrief with Briahna Joy Gray, April 8, 2022.

Source: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/norman-finkelstein-on-ideology-in-the-classroom-and-ukraine-the-debrief-with-briahna-joy-gray/

Transcript:

Question: How much of a similarity maybe do you see between the kind of… the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the way some people handle some of the reactionary and right-wing elements in the Palestinian defense and opposition, versus how some of the left is talking about the Ukraine defense and the Azov battalions… Do you think there’s a comparison? And I’ll just leave the question at that. Thanks.

Norman Finkelstein: Well I have to ask Briahna’s permission to go in a digression…

Briahna: Absolutely.

Norman Finkelstein : Okay. On the question of the Ukraine, the thing that’s troubled me about the public conversation of the Ukraine or hysteria —it’s not even a conversation, it’s hysteria about the Ukraine— is the following: those who are not totally immersed in the mainstream propaganda, some of the people you’ve had on your program and people who are not especially of the left, they have no particular left-wing allegiance, like John Mearsheimer at University of Chicago, or before he passed away Stephen F. Cohen who predicted that if you keep up with this NATO expansion in the Ukraine, there’s going to be a war. He said that in Democracy Now in 2014, and he was right. And other people, Professor Chomsky. I would include in that group several others, and they’ll all say the following thing:

Number one, the Russians were promised that there would be no NATO expansion to the East, that was the quid pro quo for the reunification of Germany after the decomposition of the Soviet Union. The Russians were promised that but the West went ahead. We’re talking about the 1990s: the promises were given, but the West then went ahead and started to expand NATO once, as John Mearsheimer likes to put it there was the first tranche, then the second tranche of expansion… Then NATO starts expanding in Georgia and in the Ukraine. The Soviet Union says it’s a red line.

To stop this, the Soviet Union offers a perfectly reasonable resolution: just neutralize Ukraine like we neutralized Austria after World War II, neither aligned with an Eastern bloc nor aligned with a Western bloc. That seemed to me perfectly reasonable. And the people I mentioned, Mearsheimer, Cohen passed away since but Professor Chomsky and a number of others, they’ll all agree on the reasonableness of Putin’s demands.

And then the reasonableness of those demands, those demands have to, as Briahna says in her paper and as she said this evening, they have to always be seen in context. So what’s the context? The context is the Soviet Union, the former Russia, it lost… the estimates are about 30 million people during World War II. The United States which, if you watch American movies, you would think the US won World War II, it lost about two hundred thousand people. The UK was the second candidate for winning World War II, they lost about four hundred thousand people. The Soviet Union lost 30 million people. Even those who didn’t take courses in the hard sciences can reckon the difference between several hundred thousand and thirty million. Now that’s not an ancient memory for the Russians. If you… I remember Stephen F. Cohen saying “when I grew up in little America —he was from Kentucky— we used to celebrate…” I forgot what was called here Victory Day, V-something, he said “but you know now as adults we don’t celebrate that anymore in the United States, Victory in World War II”, he said, but Russia, he said, they still celebrate V-Day, they still celebrate it. I live in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. A large part is Russian Jews, a large part is Russian Jews. You go out in May, you go out on the V-Day, and you can see that Russians up to 80 and 90 year olds, they’re wearing medals, they’re medals from World War II. That memory is alive.

And now there’s this Ukraine, where Nazis are playing an outsized role. I’m not saying they’re a majority, but in the political and military life, they play an outsized —disproportionate let’s call it— role. This Ukraine where Nazis are playing an outsized role, are aligned with a formidable military bloc called NATO, NATO keeps advancing and advancing and advancing, closing on Russia, trying to suffocate it… And beginning around 2016, under Trump, begins to arm the Ukraine, pouring in weapons, engaging in military exercises with NATO, behaving very provocatively. And then the Foreign Minister Lavrov finally says we’ve reached the boiling point.

Now everything I just told you, Professor Chomsky, John Mearsheimer and others will acknowledge it. The mainstream press won’t even acknowledge that but people who call themselves just, legitimately call themselves dissidents, although Mearsheimer wouldn’t call himself a dissident, he just calls himself a realist. Nice guy, I consider him a friend, I like him. They’ll acknowledge all that. But then they say the invasion was criminal. Criminal invasion, criminal, criminal, criminal. And my question which I’ve constantly been putting in correspondence is a very simple one: if you agree that for 20 years—more than 20 years, more than two decades—, Russia has tried to engage in diplomacy; if you agree that the Russian demand to neutralize Ukraine —not occupy it, not determine its government, its form of economy, just neutralize it like Austria after World War II—, if you agree that was a legitimate demand; if you agree that the West was expanding and expanding NATO; if you agree that Ukraine de facto had become a member of NATO, weapons pouring in, engaging in military exercises in NATO; and if you agree… You know, Russia lost 30 million people during World War II because of the Nazi invasion, so there’s a legitimate concern by Russia with all of these —if you excuse my language— Nazis floating around in the Ukraine, then the simple question is: What was Russia to do?

I’m not saying I agree with the invasion, I’m not saying it went right, but I think one thing: the invasion showed… you know what the one thing the invasion showed, Briahna, was that Russia is kind of weak militarily, which is why all the more they may have been fearful of a NATO-backed Ukraine filled with Nazis, and probably at some point positioning nuclear missiles on its border. And I think 30 million, 30 million people… Listen to this: I think 30 million people is 30 million arguments in favor of Russia. Now I’m not going to say, because I’m not a general and I’m not a diplomat, so I’m not going… I’m not a military strategist so I’m not going to say it was the wisest thing to do. I’m not going to say it was the most prudent thing to do. But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it. And I’m not taking that back. They had the right to do it. They had if I can call it the historic right to do it. 30 million people (killed during WW2), and now you’re starting again, you’re starting again. No, no, you know I can’t go for it, I can’t go for those who acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments made by Putin but then call the invasion criminal. I don’t see that.

Now you could say the way they executed it may have had criminal elements. However I don’t know… Well, you went to Harvard Law School, I don’t know if you studied the laws of war, but the laws of war make a very big distinction between ‘jus ad bellum’ and ‘jus in bello’, namely whether the launching of the war was legitimate or whether it was an act of aggression versus the way you conduct the war, ‘jus in bello’. Maybe the conduct, targeting of civilians and so forth, that probably violates the laws of war, but that’s a separate issue under law from “did they have the right to attack”. I think they did. I’m not going to back off from that.

You know, these are for me… even at my age, these are acts of deference to the suffering of my parents. My parents felt a very deep love for the Russian people, because they felt the Russian people understood war. They understood what my parents went through [in the Warsaw Ghetto & Auschwitz] during World War II, so there was a very deep affection… My father even, at the end of his life, he learned fluent Russian because neighborhood is all Russian. And you know, Polish to Russian is not a huge leap but also he liked the Russian people. So in my family growing up, the worst curse (insult)… there were two curses, two curses: curse number one was “parasite”. You have to work. My parents had a very… they had a work ethic. Believe me, I could have lived without the idea of pleasure, it didn’t exist in my house: you had to work. And the second word, the second curse, the second epithet was “traitor”. A traitor. And I know my parents would regard me as a traitor if I denounced what the Russians were doing now. How they’re doing it, as they say, probably there are violations and maybe egregious violations of the laws of war, we’ll have to wait to see the evidence, but their right to protect their homeland from this relentless juggernaut, this relentless pressing on their throats, when there was such an easy way to resolve it…

You know, if you read War and peace, and I suspect you did because you’re quite a gifted writer, obviously you were a reader…

Briahna: I confess, there was a copy on my shelf that I have started many times, but I haven’t… I’ve never finished it.

Norman Finkelstein: I’m surprised… In any case, War and peace is about the invasion of Russia, the war of 1812, and Tolstoy, the centerpiece of War and peace is the great battle of Borodino, and he describes it in this kind of terrifying detail. In the battle of Borodino, 25 000 Russians were killed, or maybe it was all together 25 000, I can’t remember, I think was 25 000 Russians were killed. Why do I mention it? So for Russians the seminal event of the 19th century was the war of 1812 and the invasion of Russia. For the 20th century, it’s World War II, and just in the battle of Leningrad, just Leningrad, not Saint-Petersburg, just Leningrad, a million Russians were killed. There was cannibalism! This is serious, World War II for the Russians. And you want me to just forget about that? That’s just a trivial fact? A trivial fact? No! Now you’ll ask yourself: in all the coverage that you’ve heard about your Russian attack on Ukraine, all the coverage you’ve read and listened to, how many times have you heard that 30 million Russians were killed during World War II? How many times?

Briahna Very infrequently. It’s never stated in this context.

Norman Finkelstein: Absolutely. And Stephen F. Cohen… You know, he was my Professor at Princeton and for a while he was my advisor. He… I didn’t know him well and at the end we had a falling down over my whole dissertation catastrophe, debacle, but Cohen had a genuine affection for the Russian people. He did. He loved the Russians. He loved the Russian people. And so when he begins his presentation… There is a Youtube of him debating the former US Ambassador, Mc Faul I think, Michael Mc Faul. How does he begin? He begins with how Russians remember the V-day. You know, that’s the starting point for me, it’s a starting point.

http://www.twitter.com/caitoz/status/1525620613980643328

Now you might say well, doesn’t your whole argument then justify what Israel does because of what happened to Jews during World War II? It’s an interesting question because the most moving, the most moving speech in support of the founding of the State of Israel, by far the most moving speech, you know who it was given by at the UN? It was given by the Soviet foreign minister Gromyko. And he said it was another act of generosity. Remember I mentioned to you earlier the boy’s act of generosity where he looks past what Trichka says about Black people, and as a student I thought it was a very generous act. So now the Russians lost 30 million people in World War II, but Gromyko says the suffering of the Jews, it was different, it was horrible. Here is a Russian saying that. And he said if a binational State is not possible, they earned their right to a State. So I say I applied the same standard. Now the way Israel carried out its right to establish a State by expelling the indigenous population, appropriating their land and creating havoc and misery for generation after generation, decade after decade, no I’m not going there. But yes I do believe… in recent correspondence with some friends I use the expression “I think Russia has the historic right to protect itself”, not by violating somebody else’s right to self-determination but neutralization, I think that’s legitimate.

Briahna: So I want to ask you this because you know it wouldn’t be right for me to put this question to Ro Khanna and not put this question to you. You are speaking so compellingly about the kind of moral valences of who’s entitled to feeling insecure as a nation, who’s entitled because of the historical cost it has paid to defend itself and to defend whatever you want to call it, you know, democracy in fascism, all of these kinds of words, has paid in terms of the number of human lives and kind of an unmatched price, and I think that’s…

Norman Finkelstein: The Chinese lost about 26 million to the Japanese, so it was close.

Briahna: It’s close but still… And yet when I was talking to Ro Khanna and he was saying well, ultimately he’s arguing on the other side that America is 100% right, Russia’s 100% wrong and this is a just war regardless of the substance. I would push him on this idea, of even if you believe it to be just kind of morally, the act I’m going to have to as a leftist is pushback against the idea that the preemptiveness of the war is okay, and that war is a solution. It is something that we should be tacitly or implicitly condoning. And I wonder what you make of that question.

Norman Finkelstein: Look, Briahna, not to flatter you but you always ask the right questions, and that’s why I was careful in what I said. You referred to the pre-emptiveness. Russia tried for 22 years. That’s giving a lot of time to diplomacy! 22 years is a lot of time!

And the question is: at what point, at what point does Russia get to act? When there are nuclear-tipped missiles on its border? Is that when it gets to act? I don’t agree with that. I think of course you have to give maximum time to see if diplomacy is going to work, absolutely…

Briahna: And then you start fighting? And then you send in troops? Because Norm, this is the… whether or not you believe…

Norman Finkelstein: I’m very happy, I’m very happy to take to heart your question. And that leads me again with the same question that I returned to you and I’ve returned to all of my correspondents over the past six weeks. If it’s clear that all the negotiations are in bad faith, if it’s clear that Ukraine had become de facto a member of NATO, what was Russia supposed to do? You say “don’t send in troops”. Fine. I come from a family that was completely anti-war. My mother used to say “better a hundred years of evolution than one year of revolution”. She had enough of war. I have no problem with your recoiling at the process. But what I’m saying is what was Russia supposed to do?

Briahna: What I’m asking is how you distinguish between your feelings that this is a moral war, this is a justified act, fine, and someone like Ro Khanna’s belief that US intervention, continued support of NATO, Western powers, sending weapons into Ukraine, arming the Azov battalion, is as he puts it a just war. The fact that you are both making these arguments, regardless… I’m not making an equivalent between the value of your arguments but obviously Ro Khanna thinks what he thinks and my point to him was you using vague terms like “just war” is exactly what’s allowed the kind of jingoistic parade to lead us into so many other incursions. So how principally do you distinguish? I understand your feeling and I understand the historical citations and the loss of life that leads you to the conclusions that you’ve been led to, but someone on the other side will say the same thing, someone else said “Well Marshall well this is how many Ukrainians have suffered and this is…”

Norman Finkelstein: But you’re canceling, if I may use that word, you’re canceling the context. You see I began my whole discussion with you, not with the position of Biden or the position of lunatics like Judy Woodruff, you know, and PBS. I said my quarrel is with people on the left who agree with all of my context but then make the leap and say it’s a criminal invasion. And I say to Professor Meirsheimer, Professor Chomsky and many others who acknowledge everything I just said, I say then what was… if you agree with everything I said, what was Putin supposed to do? I don’t see what he was supposed to do. I’m lost. It’s an impasse. I don’t see what…

Briahna: You were making a reference earlier to laws of war and rules before, i don’t know about it, I’ve never studied the laws of war, but it does seem to me that a line is drawn between… and I know that people are going to say something can be constructively war and you know. But in terms of an actual invasion and boots on the ground or missile strikes or things like that, the thing that Russia has to do even if it disadvantages them strategically in some ways is to wait until the other person hits first.

Norman Finkelstein: I don’t agree with that. I would say, as in any case, you have to demonstrate its last resort, and therefore you do have to demonstrate…

Briahna: How do you do that? Because that’s the question, how do you make sure that this is not just the same kind of…

Norman Finkelstein: I’m going to give you a historical analogy, probably the details which you’re unfamiliar with, but just allow me to just sketch it out. So in 1967, Israel launches a war, it occupies the West Bank, Gaza, Syrian Golan heights, and then it occupies this huge area, the Egyptian Sinai. And after the 67 war, about three years later, when Anwar Sadat comes into power, he says “I’m willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel but they have to return the territory they acquired during the 67 war”, because that’s the law : under international law, it’s inadmissible to acquire territory by war. Israel acquired the territory during the june 67 war, so these territories belong to Egypt. Israel says no, we’re not leaving the Sinai. Sadat says “Look, I’m offering you a peace treaty, I’m offering you peace, just return what’s not yours, the Egyptian Sinai”. Israel says no. Then Israel starts creating facts in the ground in the Sinai, it starts building settlements, those same settlements you’re familiar with in the West Bank. And then it announces in 1972 it’s going to rebuild what’s called the old jewish city of Carmel. Egypt says you’re not going to do that. You’re crossing a red line. Egypt says if you don’t stop this we’re going to attack, we’re going to attack. Everybody ignores Egypt because Arabs don’t know how to fight wars. The Arabs were nicknamed after 67, the term of abuse for an Arab was they were “monkeys”, they called them monkeys. They don’t know how to fight wars. Okay? And then come october 1973. Guess what: Sadat attacks. And the Israelis were so shocked they thought the whole thing was over, they called it… Moshe Dayan who was the Defense minister at the time, or the Foreign minister I can’t remember which, I think Defense minister at the time, he says… he made this panicky phone call, he said it’s the end of the third temple. This is it, we’re finished. Well it wasn’t the end of the third temple but it was a significant, heavy loss to Israel, they lost between two and three thousand soldiers, which is the largest number except for the war in 1948.

Now here’s the point: the point is no country in the world, none, including the United States, no country in the world condemned Sadat for aggression, none. And you know, for Israel it was a close call, or it seemed to be. In retrospect it turned out not to me, but it seemed to be a close call. Nobody condemned Egypt. Why? One, its demand was legitimate. Return the Sinai, it’s not yours, it’s our territory. Number two: Sadat tried negotiations for six years. And number three, as hard as he tried to negotiate, Israelis kept provoking and provoking and provoking until they announced rebuilding the old jewish city of Carmel. And Sadat says it’s over and then plans with Syria the attack which happens, what’s called the Yom Kippur war, the october war in 1973.

So now fast forward to Putin: the man was reasonable (neutralize Ukraine), negotiates over 20 years to fighting over this NATO expansion in the East, and then they start provoking them even more, they start pouring weapons into the Ukraine, they start carrying on joint military exercises between Ukraine and NATO. And then all of these swarmy Nazis start to surface. No I’m not saying Nazis control the government but they play an outsized role in the government, in the military. And I don’t see what’s the difference between what Putin did and what Sadat did. I don’t see the difference. I think it was the same thing, and nobody condemns Sadat for aggression. No one.

Briahna: But I’m asking I think a different question. I’m really not interested in litigating any given case mostly because I don’t know what the hell any of these things are about, so like I don’t really… I’m not going to say whether this war is just, that’s for other people to determine. What I do know is that everyone is making that argument on all kinds of sides, including people I know I don’t disagree with. And so many wars have been started with the argument that it is a just war for x, y and z reasons, and it’s okay to act despite there not having been a direct act of aggression against the allegedly aggrieved party. And so all I’m asking is to give some thought to how one would articulate a standard that can’t be so easily abused.

Norman Finkelstein: You know, Rihanna, I agree, it’s like once you grow up in life, you discover that life is very little about principles: it’s mostly about judgment. Principles get you not very far. I remember I got this lesson from Professor Chomsky, as he always puts it in his very lucid, simple terms. He said to me once: “Norman, we all know it’s wrong to lie, but if a rapist knocks in your door and asks “Is your daughter in the bedroom”, there’s a clash of principles there obviously. And so at the end of the day, what is required is not the application of an abstract principle but the faculty of judgment. When principles clash, you have to exercise judgment. You then have to look at particulars, the specifics.

Briahna: Excuse me, I appreciate that, which is probably why, you know, this is the limit, this is the limit of it for me and I’ll… I’m happy to take more questions from people who I’m sure know much more about the particulars. Although your last statement about, you know, principles versus judgment, and you know, the rapist at your door, does make me, it does make me tempted to ask you about what you think about the slap. […]

[If you want to know what Norman Finkelstein thinks about Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars, and other more serious issues, check the full podcast].

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship. You can also follow us on Twitter.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…”

Academic David Miller Speaks Out Following Firing & Israel Lobby Smear Campaign

October 08th, 2021

David Miller Watchdog Feature photo

By Lowkey

Source

Ironically, Miller’s book, “Bad News for Labour: Anti-Semitism, the Party and Public Belief,” detailed how bogus charges of anti-Semitism were weaponized against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in order to defame and destroy him.

Instead of simply stopping its human rights abuses, the Israeli government has built an extensive and sophisticated public relations network across the West in order to protect itself from criticism.

Today, Lowkey speaks to one of the latest victims of that smear campaign, Professor David Miller. A prominent critic of the state of Israel’s policies, Miller was recently sacked from his position as Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, after a pressure campaign involving Zionist student groups and even members of parliament, who accused him of “inciting hatred against Jewish students.”

Miller, a graduate of the University of Glasgow Media Group, was appointed to his position at Bristol University in 2018. He also held positions at the University of Strathclyde from 2004 until 2011 and the University of Bath from 2011 until 2018.

Miller is the creator of the websites SpinWatch and Powerbase, both of which are dedicated to revealing networks of influence and power in Western society. Much of his academic work revolved around Islamophobia in the post-9/11 era. Miller maintained that Zionist organizations were one source of anti-Muslim bigotry, an accusation that put him on a collision course with those groups.

The final blow came late last month, as the university, under enormous external pressure, sacked Miller, citing his comments that certain Jewish students were being used as “pawns of Israel.”

Miller’s case has drawn considerable attention from those who see it as a harbinger of things to come. An open letter to Bristol University defending him as an “eminent scholar” was signed by hundreds of academics and public intellectuals — including prominent Jewish public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Norman Finkelstein and Illan Pappe, who described him as a trailblazer “exposing the role that powerful actors and well-resourced, co-ordinated networks play in manipulating and stage-managing public debates, including on racism.”

Miller described the disciplinary procedure as “a shambolic process that seems to have been vetted by external actors,” adding that, “Israel’s assets in the U.K. have been emboldened by the university collaborating with them to shut down teaching about Islamophobia. The University of Bristol is no longer safe for Muslim, Arab or Palestinian students.”

Miller is far from the first academic to be targeted in such a manner, and it is unlikely that he will be the last. Ironically, Miller’s book, “Bad News for Labour: Anti-Semitism, the Party and Public Belief,” detailed how bogus charges of anti-Semitism were weaponized against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in order to defame and destroy him. Just such an occurrence appears to have happened in his case as well.

For all the talk of cancel culture, it is highly unlikely that Miller’s case will be taken up by the usual suspects who pontificate about the increasingly stifling atmosphere on university campuses.

Join us as Lowkey and Miller discuss his work, his dismissal, and the network of power Israel has built in the West.

The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination under “Israel’s” Colonial Occupation

Visual search query image

July 29, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Afreen Rizvi

From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation.

Visual search query image

This article explores Palestine’s right to self-determination under “Israel’s” illegal occupation. This paper seeks to demonstrate that since the Balfour Declaration that was issued by the British Government in 1917, there have been politically driven strategies deployed to gradually liquidate the Palestinian people. The indigenous people of Palestine have been faced with systematic persecution, apartheid policies and brutal occupation; as such, it is submitted that the Palestinian people must be able to exercise their right to self-determination. I will begin with a discussion on self-determination as a right before outlining the historical background of the “Israel”-Palestine issue, and the political allyship of each entity apart. 

Self-Determination in International Law

The principle of self-determination, as it is understood today, evolved from a principle to a right, triggering much debate over the years. It denotes the legal right to peoples to decide their own destiny in the context of international order.[1]There are two aspects to self-determination: internal and external. Internal self-determination is the right of the people to govern themselves without any other interference, this includes the independence to freely choose their own political, economic and social system.[2] External self-determination on the other hand is the right for peoples to determine their own status politically – this allows the establishment of an independent state. After the First World War, and specifically after his famous “Fourteen Points” speech, US President Woodrow Wilson declared that, “Peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self-determination’ is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”[3] The right of self-determination was introduced to the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960, and subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 in the same year. Additionally, the UN Charter stated that one of the purposes of the United Nations was “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”[4] Upon adopting the Declaration of Decolonisation, the UN underlined the necessity of ending colonialism and through this declared, inter alia, that the right to self-determination was not limited. 

It is important to note that the right of self-determination has been cited extensively by the UN assembly, Security Council, and is enshrined in various treaties as well as in decisions made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The following excerpt from the aforementioned declaration was subsequently introduced in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) providing a detailed legal definition of self-determination, and this definition is used in various international and national treaties and documents.[5]

“All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.” 

It is widely accepted that the right of self-determination is applicable to “peoples” in colonial territories, as well as others who do not fall in the category of being colonised or oppressed, the only difference is they have to exercise their rights internally. The right of self-determination is no longer limited to the conventional colonial independence scenarios, such that various ethnic and cultural groups of people within different states effectively rely on the right of self-determination in order to declare their independence.[6] A common argument often presented against the right of self-determination is that the principle of territorial integrity in relation to states is challenged by the principle of self-determination – as it is the will of the people that fundamentally leads to the legitimacy of a state. This indicates that people are not only free to choose their state but also their territorial boundaries. However, in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the United Nations and International Court of Justice demonstrated that there is no contradiction between territorial integrity and the right of self-determination.[7] In that context, it is necessary to add that Koskenneimi argued that “It is doubtful whether the statement of principle was intended to be taken literally… its revolutionary potential was tempered by the Final Acts strong emphasis on territorial integrity.”[8]

In the context of Palestinian self-determination, I submit that “Israel” is a colonial entity that has occupied Palestinian territory; thus, the Palestinian people must be able to exercise this right. It is imperative to note that under international law, only groups categorized as “peoples” have the right to self-determination. The interpretation of “peoples”, however, continues to cause confusion. For example, one may question do all “peoples” need to share one ethnicity or location? If so, where would be the place that gathers people who are a part of multi-ethnic states? With regard to Palestinians, “Israel” has already officially accepted the existence of the “Palestinian peoples” in the Camp David Accords signed with Egypt in the year 1978.[9]

Moreover, it is argued that the right of self-determination can heavily disrupt the essence of peace, such that political communities may resort to force if their demands are not met.[10] Violence was also exhibited in the case of Nigeria after the British authorities recognized three main groups, Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba. These groups were legally recognized after seeking independence. These minority groups were effectively excluded from the political sphere and the impact of this devolution caused further ethnic divide and political strife[11]. It is claimed that the violence that erupted between 1965-1967 with Nigerians and Biafrans signified that exercising the right of self-determination leads to political and ethnic turmoil.[12] 

In response to this argument, it is contended that despite self-determination struggles usually portrayed as violent and brutal measures, people should still have the freedom to exercise this fundamental right. It is important to understand that colonial settlers aggressively battled to preserve their right of conquest as their own right to self-determination. Till present day, “Israel” has committed war crimes, most notably in Gaza. From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation, thus the argument that self-determination leads to violence and brutality does not hold much weight in this context considering it is no different to the measures taken by colonising entities.[13] Further to this, in the past, the UN has failed to sustain peace even with states that exercised their right to self-determination, as noticed with the case of Cyprus.[14] Conflicts among states exist irrespective of self-determination, therefore the premise of this argument is incorrect. It may be more suitable to look beyond the UN paradigm if we ought to find lasting solutions to such conflicts.

The Palestine-Israel Conflict

In order to better understand the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is necessary to present the issue within the historical framework of decolonisation struggles. Historically, the world has witnessed decolonisation struggles beginning with violence as a result of a people being denied independence and liberation by the colonising entity. The Palestinian struggle against the Zionist ethnonationalist entity has lasted since the 20th century; the story of Palestine is on political independence, liberation, and putting an end to the apartheid Israeli regime. Whilst Zionists argue that “Israel” has a historic right to Palestinian land, it is imperative to note that had it not been for the involvement of European imperial powers, most notably Britain, there would have not been any creation of “Israel”. In November 1917, Britain the de facto ruler of Palestine, issued the Balfour Declaration. The eighty-word statement by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. 

In 1922, five years after the Balfour Declaration, the “League of Nations” approved the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of a “Jewish homeland.” The decision of the mandate did not consider the will of the Palestinian people or their fundamental rights. Between 1939 and 1949, there were a series of mass protests that took place against Jewish immigration to Palestine as well as armed Zionist groups launching attacks against the indigenous people of Palestine[15]. It is necessary to note that in 1947, the UN adopted Resolution 181, a partition plan for Palestine which was subsequently rejected by the Palestinians. The UN General Assemblies plan was to partition Palestine between the native Palestinians and the Jewish colonial settlers. Throughout 1948-1949, the Palestinians were attacked by Zionist forces. Villages and hotels were bombed near Haifa demonstrating early signs of ethnic cleansing. In April 1948, one month before the State of “Israel” was created, Zionist forces massacred over 100 250 Palestinians in the city of Deir Yassin[16] which is in close proximity to Jerusalem. In December of 1948[17], the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which allowed the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This is a brief explanation of how the state of “Israel” came into existence. In 1974, Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian Political leader stated:

“The [UN] General Assembly partitioned what it had no right to divide – an indivisible homeland.”

“Israel” consistently and tactically made use of Occupation Law to further acquire Palestinian land whilst simultaneously arbitrarily arresting and targeting Palestinian people through the use of apartheid policies. It is argued that “Israel” has used UNSC Resolution 242 to justify and legitimate these actions through “political framework shaped by U.S intervention”[18] as mentioned by Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and Palestinian activist. Erakat claims that the Occupation Law failing to regulate Palestinian territories effectively, is a result of a political, not a legal contest. It is asserted that “Israel’s” argument that the Palestinian territories are simply under their administration, would hold no weight were it not for the political powers involved in the region. 

Furthermore, it is also argued that the United States has favoured “Israel” to such an extent that the US dismisses “Israel’s” violation of international law and allows the state to carry out war crimes without facing any repercussions besides blanket statements. As a result of the Occupation Law that “Israel” takes advantage of, Palestinian territories remain occupied, Palestinian people are systematically being ethnically cleansed[19], and their fundamental rights such as the freedom of movement are infringed.

The Human Rights Watch published a report in April 2021, in which it was made very clear that for the past 54 years, Israeli authorities have transferred Jewish Israeli’s to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OTP) and “granted them a superior status under the law as compared to Palestinians living in the same territory when it comes to civil rights, access to land, and freedom to move, build, and confer residency rights to close relatives.”[20] In 1970, the General Assembly Resolution 2625 added that “Every state has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provision of the charter.” Therefore, “Israel” and the international community as a whole should not be denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination. Palestine should be able to manage its own affairs without the interference of external and colonial entities. It is important to understand that the Palestinian people have witnessed the occupation of their lands, forced expulsions to neighbouring lands, military bombardment, and erasure of their identity. As such, the struggle for independence and self-determination should be welcomed by all. 

Ali Abunimah, a policy adviser, argues that self-determination “must return to the center of the Palestinian struggle”[21]. To add, Abunimah asserts that the Palestinian right to self-determination can indeed be compatible with the coexistence of Jews. It is claimed that the United States has a long history of deciding the fate of the Palestinian people. For instance, as per the Clinton Parameters, “Israel” would get “Jewish neighbourhoods” and the Palestinians would get “Arab neighbourhoods”. In hindsight, this meant that “Israel” would be allowed to keep the land it has colonised and annexed since 1967, and the people of Palestine would be able to have what is left – which Israeli occupation forces and settlers continue to annex and occupy till today. America’s “peace process” has allowed “Israel” to aggressively maintain their illegal occupation of the Palestinian people.[22] 

Professor Noam Chomsky in his book ‘On Palestine’[23] highlights that “Israel’s” policies are directly connected to the Zionist ideology that “both aim to establish a Jewish state by taking over as much of historical Palestine as possible and leaving in it as few Palestinians as possible.” Chomsky, a Jewish historian and activist, further claims that the international community has “never condemned” the Israeli entity which led to the enormous expulsion of 750,000 people and the destruction of hundreds of villages and towns. In addition to this, Chomsky states that “ethnic cleansing has become the DNA of Israeli Jewish society.” Erasing the Palestinian land and people should be enough of a reason for the remaining people of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination. There are distinct similarities between Palestine and the apartheid in South Africa. The Israeli Knesset authorises legislation that separates, segregates, and discriminates against the Palestinians. A recent report by Human Rights Watch also backs up this claim:

“Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy.”[24]

The United States of America remains a close ally of “Israel”. The U.S provides financial and military support to “Israel” which has been used criticised by several human rights agencies as this funding is used to perpetrate human rights abuses against the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip. In the Ten-Year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and “Israel”, $38 billion has been promised to “Israel” from the U.S beginning in 2016.[25] This includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military financing and $500 million for missile defence programs. Several U.S politicians declare their support for “Israel” and do not shy away from mentioning “Israel has every right to defend itself” despite the fact that it is “Israel” that is committing heinous crimes against the Palestinian people. As mentioned by Chomsky, as a result of political power and close relationship with the U.S, “Israel” has been able to act with impunity since 1948. The U.S also has a history of blocking UN resolutions[26] against “Israel”. According to UN data, since 1972, the US has vetoed at least 53 United Nations Security Council resolutions that are critical of “Israel”[27]. 

Contrastingly, Palestine does not have such strong allies. Palestinian resistance leaders have announced receiving military and financial support from the Islamic Republic of Iran; however, I submit that as Iran is a sanctioned country, the support offered to Palestine may not be as much as the support offered by the U.S and the UK to “Israel”. The UK has consistently and repeatedly sold arms to “Israel” despite its illegal occupation of Palestine.[28]

In conclusion, the people of Palestine have every right to self-determination, and this can be understood just by investigating the crimes perpetrated by “Israel” against the Palestinians, and the systematic oppression they have faced as a people. Since 1969, the General Assembly has recognised the “inalienable rights of the people of Palestine”[29] In 1974, member states of the UN worked to restore the “Question of Palestine” on the General Assembly agenda, and as such Arab heads of states upheld the “right of the Arab Palestinian people to the return to its homeland and its right to self-determination.”[30] Some weeks later the General Assembly passed resolution 3236 which mentioned “Recognizing that the Palestinian people are entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” and (a) The right to self-determination without external interference”. It should be noted that the General Assembly condemned governments which failed to recognise the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under “colonial and foreign domination”. For the Palestinians to exercise this right, the Israeli entity must vacate from the occupied areas in order to establish an independent Palestinian state. The United Nations has again affirmed its commitment to the Palestinian right to self-determination. In November 2020, the UN General Assembly endorsed a draft resolution once again recognising “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to an independent State of Palestine.”[31] 163 states voted in favour of this resolution, whilst 5 states voted against this, namely: “Israel”, The United States of America, Micronesia, Nauru, and the Marshal Islands. Tomis Kapitan eloquently argues that legitimate residents of Palestine include all Palestinians irrespective of where they are located in Palestine, including Palestinian refugees outside of the country. He states that “expulsion does not remove ones right of residency… Palestinians also retain residency rights in those territories from which they were expelled.”[32] Kapitan asserts that the Palestinian people, as a collective, have the “entitlement to being self-determining in that region [historic Palestine]… not qua Palestinians, but qua legitimate residents. The force used against them has not erased the fact that they are, and are recognized as being; a legitimate unit entitled to participate in their own self-determination.”[33]

Whilst some may argue that the Palestinian right to self-determination is an anti-Semitic stance, it should be duly noted that a Palestinian state would include Jews, Muslims and Christians. It is in fact the Zionist entity that remains anti-Semitic by expulsing and rejecting Jewish natives from enjoying their rights in Occupied Palestine. It should be remembered that the Palestinian right to self-determination is legal and in accordance with international law. For the state of Palestine to be completely independent, colonial settlers will have to return to the European countries they entered from and respect international law. To end, a group of academics including Palestinians and Israelis issued a One State Declaration in 2007, inspired by the South African Freedom Charter and declared: “The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status; Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities.[34]

sources

[1]https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/self_determination_(international_law)#:~:text=Self%2Ddetermination%20denotes%20the%20legal,destiny%20in%20the%20international%20order.&text=For%20instance%2C%20self%2Ddetermination%20is,right%20of%20%E2%80%9Call%20peoples.%E2%80%9D

[2] Salvatore Senese, ‘External and Internal Self-Determination’ [1989] 16(1) Social Justice <https://www.jstor.org/stable/29766439?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents&gt; accessed 9 May 2021.
[3] Wilson, War Aims of Germany and Austria (1918).
[4] UN Charter, Art 1 (2).
[5] https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

[6] Quane, Helen. 1998. “The United Nations and the Evolving Right to Self-Determination.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 47(3): 537–572.

[7] Johan D. Van der Vyer, ‘Self-Determination of the Peoples of Quebec under International Law’ [2012] 10(1) Journal of Transnational Law & Policy 38
[8] Martti Koskenniemi, ‘National Self-Determination Today: Problems of Legal Theory and Practice’ [1994] 43(2) The International and Comparative Law Quarterly <https://www.jstor.org/stable/761238&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.
[9] J Massad, ‘Against Self-Determination’ [2018] 9(2) Humanity 161-191
[10] M Evangelista, ‘Paradoxes of Violence and Self-determination’ [2015] 14(5) Formerly Global Review of Ethnopolitics <https://doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2015.1051811&gt; accessed 3 May 2021.
[11] B Ibhawoh, ‘Testing the Atlantic Charter: linking anticolonialism, self-determination and Universal Human Rights’ [2014] 18(7) International Journal of Human Rights 1-19

[12] Beardsley, Kevin, David E. Cunningham, and Peter B. White. 2015. “Resolving Civil Wars before They Start: The UN Security Council and Conflict Prevention in Self-Determination Disputes.” British Journal of Political Science 47(3): 675–697.
[13] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-gaza-latest-palestinian-happening-b1852170.html
[14] Tobias Nowak and Charis Van den berg, ‘Alternative Approaches to Self-Determination Applied to the Cyprus Conflict’ [2020] 15(5) Transboundary Legal Studies <https://research.rug.nl/nl/publications/alternative-approaches-to-self-determination-applied-to-the-cypru&gt; accessed 7 May 2021.
[15] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-role-of-jewish-defense-organizations-in-palestine-1903-1948
[16] M Hogan, ‘The 1948 Massacre at Deir Yassin Revisited’ [2001] 63(2) The Historian <https://www.jstor.org/stable/24450239&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.

[17] https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/palestineremix/timeline_main.html
[18] Noura Erakat, ‘Taking the Land without the People: The 1967 Story as Told by the Law’ [2017] 47(1) Journal of Palestine Studies 18-38 
[19] Lucy Garbett, ‘I live in Sheikh Jarrah for Palestinians, this is not a ‘real estate dispute’’ (The Guardian, 17 May 2021) <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/17/palestinians-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-city-identity&gt; accessed 17 May 2021.
[20] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[21]Ali Abunimah, ‘Reclaiming Self-Determination’ ( Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, 21 May) <https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/reclaiming-self-determination/&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.[22]https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/us-role-peace-process-perspective
[23]Noam Chomsky, On Palestine (Penguin Books 2015)

[24] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[25] https://il.usembassy.gov/ten-year-memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-united-states-and-israel/
[26] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/19/a-history-of-the-us-blocking-un-resolutions-against-israel
[27] https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm
[28] https://caat.org.uk/resources/countries/israel/
[29] https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-196558/
[30] United Nations
[31] https://prc.org.uk/en/news/3213/un-votes-overwhelmingly-in-support-of-palestinian-self-determination
[32] Tomis Kapitan, “Self-Determination,” in Tomis Kapitan and Raja Halwani, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Philosophical Essays on Self-Determination, Terrorism and the One-State Solution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 13-71.
[33] Ibid.
[34] “The One State Declaration,” The Electronic Intifada, 29 November 2007

Related

Some Simple Lies Out of Washington: Who Is the Terrorist and Who Is the Victim?

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 20, 2021

There is no American interest that is served by allowing Israelis to kill Palestinians, Phil Giraldi writes.

There have been few surprises coming out of the violence that has erupted in Palestine and Israel. Israel, firmly in control of much of the media in the U.S. and Western Europe has chosen to depict it in simple terms: the Palestinian “terrorist” group Hamas has attacked the Jewish state which has taken proportionate steps to defend itself. This simplistic rendition of a much more complicated series of interactions has been picked up by many of the talking heads that pass for political commentary in the United States as well as by the completely corrupted Washington politicians.

Comments expressing any sympathy for the decades long plight of the Palestinians have been as scarce as the proverbial hens’ teeth, though such sentiment is growing even in Congress as Israeli killing of civilians increases. In fact, initially I could only find five statements coming from Democrats that in any serious way regretted the suffering being inflicted on Arab civilians in Gaza, in Jerusalem and on the West Bank. One consisted of remarks by Senator Elizabeth Warren regarding the series of thefts of Palestinian homes that sparked the recent violence. She tweeted “The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.” Senator Bernie Sanders also made the case for Palestinian suffering in a hard-hitting New York Times op-ed entitled “The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for Netanyahu.” He describes the Israeli Prime Minister as having “cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism.”

There also was Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s brief rebuke to New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, who had tweeted “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.” AOC responded “Utterly shameful for Yang to try to show up to an Eid [Ramadan] event after sending out a chest-thumping statement of support for a strike killing 9 children.”

A much stronger comment came from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who is of Somalian descent, who decried her own party’s unwillingness to confront the reality of the issue. She tweeted “No mention of Sheikh Jarra. No mention of the al-Aqsa raid. No mention of the 13 innocent children killed in air strikes. No mention of the ongoing occupation of millions in an open-air prison. You aren’t prioritizing human rights. You’re siding with an oppressive occupation.” Omar was subsequently accused by no less than ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being “anti-Semitic.”

And Palestinian descendant Rashida Tlaib, in a speech delivered before Congress, included “To read the statements from President Biden and Secretary Blinken, General Austin and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all. There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families being ripped from their homes in East Jerusalem right now or home demolitions; no mention of children being detained or murdered; no recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by Israeli police against worshipers kneeling down and praying and celebrating their holiest days in one of their holiest places — no mention of Al-Aqsa, being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray.”

None of the comments had any real impact on the White House and AOC’s was particularly maladroit as Yang is running for mayor in a city with a sizable Jewish population that he was pandering to, but he has nothing whatsoever to do with U.S. foreign policy. AOC should have aimed her criticism at her own party’s leadership, which she, of course, chose not to do.

Most commentary from America’s so-called leaders was more predictably bellicose. Jen Psaki, the White House press spokesman cited the view of President “I am a Zionist” Joe Biden, reporting that “The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waiver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Jerusalem.” This produced an absurd response from even more passionately Zionist ex-President Donald Trump, who characteristically was both aggressive and overflowing with ignorance. He tweeted “When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked. Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies. America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

But it was hard to beat the one liner by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has claimed the titled of “Israel’s governor” while also having his state issue license plates bearing the slogan “Florida Stands By Israel.” How about “Florida Stands By Americans” Ron? De Santis said “Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.” Indeed, the pithy line that “Israel has a right to defend itself” has been picked up far and wide in the U.S. Whether an unarmed Palestine has the same right apparently is not a matter of concern for many Americans.

Also coming out of Florida is a similar message from Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch who is promoting the argument “Please don’t be fooled by false choices: Israel or Hamas. If I am asked to choose between a terrorist organization and our democratic ally, I will stand with Israel.” Ted is himself Jewish and represents a largely Jewish constituency.

And Ted is of course interpreting the situation to suit his own preferences. Also, like many Democratic politicians, he is listening to the top political donors, a clear majority of whom for the Democrats are reportedly Jewish. Haim Saban, an Israeli-American Hollywood producer and major donor, says “I’m a Democrat, and unfortunately there is an extreme left wing of the Democratic Party that could use some education on what’s in our American interest. On Israel there should be no argument. It’s the only democracy in the region and our staunchest ally in the region.”

Saban is, of course, reiterating a comfortable argument about supporting Israel. It is also false as Israel is neither an ally nor a democracy and its actions are completely contrary to actual U.S. interests. Objectively speaking, Palestine has been the victim of the Jewish state and not vice versa and Israel could be charged with genocide, mass murder or ethnic cleansing, whatever or however one chooses to describe it. One could go on for pages describing the human rights abuses and war crimes that the indigenous Muslim and Christian Arab inhabitants have had to endure at the hands of the Jewish Israelis over the past seventy plus years.

Israel has even declared itself legally a Jewish state with inferior rights for the 20% of the population that technically are Israeli citizens but consisting nearly all of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Those Palestinians who are not citizens are under Israeli imposed martial law on the West Bank and have no rights whatsoever, including the right to life. Israeli soldiers who shoot to kill unarmed Arab civilians, including children, are almost never punished and some of them are actually celebrated as heroes.

Noam Chomsky describes the situation from the Arab point of view: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.” It is now generally conceded that Israel is an apartheid state, with the Arabs remaining in historic Palestine living in what is virtually an open-air prison. In return the unarmed Palestinians have occasionally struck back in so far as they could, leading to an Israeli response consisting of overwhelming military force using “industrial” state of the art weapons versus home-made rockets to produce the disproportionate slaughter such as is occurring right now.

What is particularly disturbing about the U.S. government response to what is taking place in Gaza is the lack of any actual American interest that is served by allowing Israelis to kill Palestinians. Quite the contrary, as Washington will be rightly blamed by nearly everyone for enabling Israeli behavior. Equally disturbing is the tissue of lies and deliberate misstatements used to obscure the reality and justify the positions that are being taken. Is there any wonder why so many Americans no longer feel that they can either trust or believe what is coming out of the mouths of Washington politicians and its associated mainstream media?

Group Unveils OPCW Cover-up in Douma Chemical Attack

Group Unveils OPCW Cover-up in Douma Chemical Attack

By Staff, Agencies

The Courage Foundation group dedicated to defending whistleblowers stressed that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] “sidestepped” concerns about its controversial investigation into the 2018 alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, accusing the body of accepting “unsubstantiated or possibly manipulated” findings.

In a statement, the Courage Foundation highlighted instances in which OPCW inspectors involved with the probe identified major procedural and scientific irregularities.

The group said that former OPCW director general Jose Bustani had recently been prevented by key members of the Security Council from participating in a hearing on the Syrian dossier.

Recently, the group added, a draft letter falsely alleged to have been sent by the OPCW director general to one of the dissenting inspectors was leaked to an open source investigation website in an apparent attempt to smear the ex-OPCW scientist.

The “OPCW management now stands accused of accepting unsubstantiated or possibly manipulated findings with the most serious geopolitical and security implications. Calls by some members of the Executive Council of the OPCW to allow all inspectors to be heard were blocked,” the Courage Foundation said.

“To date, unfortunately, the OPCW senior management has failed to adequately respond to the allegations against it and, despite making statements to the contrary, we understand has never properly allowed the views or concerns of the members of the investigation team to be heard or even met with most of them. It has, instead, side-stepped the issue by launching an investigation into a leaked document related to the Douma case and by publicly condemning its most experienced inspectors for speaking out.”

The statement was signed by almost 30 public figures, including renowned American scholar and political activist Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as well as multiple scientists, including four former OPCW inspectors.

On April 7, 2018, an alleged chemical attack hit Douma near the Syrian capital, Damascus. Western countries were quick to blame it on the Syrian government.

The OPCW’s final report on the incident, published in March 2019, all but confirmed justification for the Western act of aggression.

However, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released several batches of documents suggesting that the OPCW may have intentionally doctored its findings, notably avoiding revelations which may point to terrorists having been behind the purported gas attack.

“The issue at hand threatens to severely damage the reputation and credibility of the OPCW and undermine its vital role in the pursuit of international peace and security. It is simply not tenable for a scientific organization such as the OPCW to refuse to respond openly to the criticisms and concerns of its own scientists whilst being associated with attempts to discredit and smear those scientists,” the pro-whistleblower group said.

It also called on the OPCW director general “to find the courage to address the problems within his organization relating to this investigation.”

“We believe that the interests of the OPCW are best served by the Director General providing a transparent and neutral forum in which the concerns of all the investigators can be heard as well as ensuring that a fully objective and scientific investigation is completed,” the Courage Foundation noted.

Related Videos

Apartheid from the Sea to the River

By Jeremy Salt

Source

BTselem apartheid Israel Palestine Latuff 46b11

B’Tselem’s description of Israel an apartheid state is valuable because B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, is saying it.  Otherwise, the reaction should be of course it is. B’Tselem applies the word to all of Palestine and not just the remaining territories seized in 1967.  Again, of course it should.  Structural discrimination against the Palestinians is built into every level of government except elections,  which allows Israel repeatedly to tell the world that it is the only democracy in the Middle East, as if the ballot box is the only measure of democracy, blurring the reality unless people take a close look.

Israel and the policy of apartheid were born in the same year, 1948,  Israel as a colonial-settler declared unilaterally over occupied Palestine on May 15 and apartheid as the election-winning policy of South Africa’s National Party on May 26. On December 9 the same year, the UN General Assemby adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  

The convention describes genocide as acts intended to destroy “in whole or part” a national,  ethnical, racial or religious group.   There is no other way to describe Israel’s intentions in 1948.  Hundreds of Palestinian villages were razed and about 800,000 people driven out of their native land to make way for European settlers.   As for why they had to go there are two reasons:   they were not Jews,  and they were living in a land the zionists wanted to turn into a Jewish state.   

The occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 and the military, economic and pseudo-legal weapons used to suffocate the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem ever since are no more than an extension of what began in 1948.

B’tselem’s declaration revives the debate over whether zionism is a ‘racist’ ideology.  For the victims of racism in other colonized countries,  of course it is. Only in the imperial ‘west,’ with its own long history of racism, occupation and massacre, could the question even arise. 

In fact, racism has been in zionism’s DNA ever since Herzl talked of “spiriting” the Palestians out of their land to make way for a Jewish state.   How to get rid of them was the central consideration of the Zionist planners who followed him.

Everything evil committed against the Palestinians since 1948 speaks to the historical racism of the zionist enterprise.  You don’t treat people with the brutality that has accompanied the zionist march through history if you think they have the same rights as you do. Your soldiers, police and settlers do not kill or massacre people if they think they have the same right to life as they do.

Your state doesn’t create different laws and different rights if it thinks all people should have the same rights and live under the same laws. The state does not give a false right of return to Jews wherever they live and deny the genuine right of return of Palestinians. The state does not declare that the state is the state of the Jewish people and not the state of  its citizens,  Jewish or not.  

On November 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 3379,  describing zionism “as a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The word ‘race’ has no basis in science but everyone knows what it means in practice:   discrimination against specific groups on the basis of religion, ethnicity or skin color.  The Israeli ambassador,  Chaim Herzog,  was so enraged when the resolution was passed (72-35 with 32 abstentions) that he tore up his printout.

The passage of this resolution led to an immediate counter-attack by Israel, supported by the US and other governments.   As always, the bludgeon used was anti-semitism, with the US, from behind the scenes, prodding governments that had voted for the resolution to change their minds.  The tactics worked. On December 16,1991, the General Assembly revoked the resolution in resolution 46/86, passed 111-25 with 13 abstentions and 15 absentees.

Daniel Moynihan, the US ambassador at the UN and a zionist diehard, commented before 3379 was revoked that the UN “is about to make anti-semitism international law.” Of course, the resolution had nothing to do with anti-semitism but was born of the growing need to expose the ideology of a state which even by then had wrought massive destruction in the Middle East.

On the basis of  the commitments it had made to respect UN principles,   Israel was accepted as a UN member (Resolution 273, May 11, 1949), the General Assembly having resolved  that Israel “is a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the charter and is able and willing to carry  out those obligations.”  The next day it signed a protocol accepting resolution 194 (III) of 1948, setting out the basic rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return to their homeland, and the preservation of their property.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Even at the time Israel was not “peace loving”: in hindsight the phrase is grotesque.  Neither did Israel have any intention of abiding by the commitments it had made to the Palestinians whom it had ethnically cleansed.  They would never be allowed to return. 

As for their property,  Israel was asked to suspend its ‘’Emergency Applications on Absentee Property’’ until a final peace settlement could be reached.  It responded that the so-called “custodian of absentee property” was acting only as a trustee for the owners,  “whose property is being administered in their interests.” 

This was a blatant lie. The “absentee property” was already being distributed among settlers old and new. It included village and town houses and a mass of agricultural land which had Chaim Weizmann, the state’s first president, in absolute raptures.  So much of it, and all of it acquired at absolutely no cost:

“ … about five million dunums of land [1.235 million acres] at least which could be taken under the plough almost at once,  but we have not yet got the people. In the district between Ramleh and Latrun there are about two milion dunums of the best land in Palestine for which, if we had to buy it, we would have to pay at least LP [Palestine pounds] per dunum and as you know, one could never buy land between Ramleh and Latrun. Now it is all free, overgrown with weeds and it is very doubtful whether the Arabs will ever come back to work it. Eveybody seems to think they have gone for good.”

This master dissembler knew perfectly well that Israel had no intention of allowing  ‘the Arabs’ back,  and as for a land “overgrown with weeds,” it was fertile and intensively worked by Palestinian farmers.

Everything the owners of “absentee property” had left behind was destroyed or stolen, down to furniture and small household items. The houses left standing were handed over to settlers,  senior zionist figures taking some of the best for themselves. 

An additional category was added to the list of absentees. These were the “present absentees” who fled from one part of Palestine to another during the fighting.   They were not allowed back to their original place of residence and their property was stolen too.

The lies told by Israel to secure UN membership were followed by the serial violations of Palestinian rights and international law along the spectrum of human rights which have continued to the present day. 

This being the case,  the rules of the club should surely prevail.  Anyone who joins a club and refuses to abide by the rules is usually warned once, warned twice,  suspended on the third offence and then thrown out if it still ignores the conditions of membership.  

Israel was admitted to the club on the basis of a false application.  It then refused to obey the rules, not once, twice or thrice but thousands of times but is still allowed to remain a member. 

Without the protection of the US, the UN General Assembly almost certainly would have voted for suspension of Israel decades ago and then ejection if it still refused to comply.   Thanks to the US, however, not only does  Israel remain a member but it is never punished for its crimes.

Noam Chomsky has described Israeli apartheid as “much worse” than South African apartheid. On the basis of the number of people who have died as a result of Israel’s racist policies, there is actually no comparison.

Under an apartheid government,  South African police, soldiers and white settlers beat, tortured and killed Africans.  Israeli police, soldiers and settlers do the same to Palestinians but whereas the worst state massacres in apartheid South Africa were Sharpeville (March 21, 1960), when police killed 69 people and wounded 180 others demonstrating against the pass laws,  and Soweto (June 16, 1976),  when at least 176 students (estimates are as high as 700) demonstrating against having to learn Afrikaans were killed,  the victims of Israel’s massacres run into the tens of thousands. 

This state of affairs will continue as long as the “international community” refuses to punish Israel for violation of the laws it has passed to protect human rights and preserve global peace.  Such punishment would be imposed through suspension from the UN and the suspension by governments of diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, but as long as it does not have to pay for its crimes and its contempt for international law it will see no reason to change.   As long as it refuses to change, it will remain a threat to Middle Eastern regional and global peace.

Noam Chomsky – Why Does the U.S. Support Israel?

Chomsky on General Soleimani’s Killing: ‘It’s as if Iran Decided to Murder Mike Pompeo’

October 23, 2020 – 18:44

American polymath Noam Chomsky said the assassination of top Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani has shown that the US is a “rogue state” that has no regard for international law.

“The murder of Soleimnai… is an extraordinarily dangerous act. Nothing like that happened during the Second World War or during the Cold War,” Chomsky said in an interview on Wednesday.

“It’s as if Iran had decided to murder (US Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo and a major general along with him at Mexico City International Airport. We take that pretty serious and that is what the murder of Soleimani was,” he added.

“Incidentally, it is praised here which is pretty astonishing; it shows how extreme the internal assumption is, that the United States is a rouge state, which has nothing to do with international law or obligations,” Chomsky said.

The American professor further highlighted the US’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying Trump’s actions on Iran increases Washington-Tehran tensions.

The pullout, he said, was a “violation of international law” as the agreement was authorized by the United Nations Security Council, he added, referring to UNSC Resolution 2231, Press TV reported.

US President Donald Trump ordered a fatal drone strike on General Soleimani’s vehicle upon his arrival in Baghdad International Airport on January 3 at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), as well as eight other Iranian and Iraqi people.

The two commanders were highly popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

RELATED NEWS

Russia and the next Presidential election in the USA

Source

Intro: not a pretty picture

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: in this article, I will assume that there will be a US Presidential election in the Fall. Right now, it appears to be likely that this election will take place (there appear to be no legal way to cancel or delay it), but this is by no means certain (see here for a machine translated and very interesting article by one Russian analyst, who predicts a diarchy after the election). Right now, the state of the US society is both extremely worried (and for good reason) and potentially explosive. It is impossible to predict what a well-executed false flag attack could do to the US. There is also the possibility of either a natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, etc.) or even an unnatural one (considering the condition of the US infrastructure, this is almost inevitable) which could precipitate some kind of state of emergency or martial law to “protect” the people. Finally, though at this point in time I don’t see this as very likely, there is always the possibility of a coup of some kind, maybe a “government of national unity” with the participation of both parties which, as Noam Chomsky correctly points out, are basically only two factions of what could be called the Business Party. There might come a point when they decide to drop this pretense too (just look at how many other pretenses the US ruling elites have dropped in the last decade or so).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to explain that all governments can be placed on a continuum ranging from, on one end, “states whose power is based on their authority” to, on the other end, “states whose authority is based on their power“. In the real world, most states are somewhere between these two extremes. But it is quite obvious that the US polity currently has gone very far down the “states whose authority is based on their power” path and to speak of any kind of “moral authority” of US politicians is really a joke. The (probable) upcoming “choice” between Donald “grab them by the pussy” Trump and Joe “creepy uncle” Biden will make this joke even more laughable.

Right now, the most powerful force in the US political system must be the financial sector. And, of course, there are many other powerful interest groups (MIC, Israel Lobby, the CIA and the ridiculously bloated Intel community, Big Pharma, the US Gulag, the corporate media, Oil, etc.) who all combine their efforts (just like a vector does in mathematics) to produce a “resulting vector” which we call “US policies”. That is in theory. In practice, you have several competing “policies” vying for power and influence, both on the domestic and on international front. Often these policies are mutually exclusive.

Last, but certainly not least, the level of corruption in the US is at least as bad as, say, in the Ukraine or in Liberia, but rather than being on the street and petty cash level, the corruption in the US is counted in billions of dollars.

All in all, not a pretty sight (see here for a good analysis of the decline of US power).

Yet the US remains a nuclear power and still has a lot of political influence worldwide and thus this is not a country anyone can ignore. Including Russia.

A quick look at Russia

Before looking into Russian options in relation to the US, we need to take a quick look at how Russia has been faring this year. The short of it would be: not too well. The Russian economy has shrunk by about 10% and the small businesses have been devastated by the combined effects of 1) the economic policies of the Russian government and Central Bank, and 2) the devastating economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic, and 3) the full-spectrum efforts of the West, mostly by the Anglosphere, to strangle Russia economically. Politically, the “Putin regime” is still popular, but there is a sense that it is getting stale and that most Russians would prefer to see more dynamic and proactive policies aimed, not only to help the Russian mega-corporations, but also to help the regular people. Many Russians definitely have a sense that the “little guy” is being completely ignored by fat cats in power and this resentment will probably grow until and unless Putin decides to finally get rid of all the Atlantic Integrationists aka the “Washington consensus” types which are still well represented in the Russian ruling circles, including the government. So far, Putin has remained faithful to his policy of compromises and small steps, but this might change in the future as the level of frustration in the general population is likely to only grow with time.

That is not to say that the Kremlin is not trying. Several of the recent constitutional amendments adopted in a national vote had a strongly expressed “social” and “patriotic” character and they absolutely horrified the “liberal” 5th columnists who tried their best two 1) call for a boycott, and 2) denounce thousands of (almost entirely) imaginary violations of the proper voting procedures, and to 3) de-legitimize the outcome by declaring the election a “fraud”. None of that worked: the participation was high, very few actual violations were established (and those that were, had no impact on the outcome anyway) and most Russians accepted that this outcome was the result of the will of the people. Furthermore, Putin has made public the Russian strategic goals for 2030,which are heavily focused on improving the living and life conditions of average Russians (for details, see here). It is impossible to predict what will happen next, but the most likely scenario is that Russia has several, shall we say, “bumpy” years ahead, both on the domestic and on the international front.

What can Russia reasonably hope for?

This is really the key question: in the best of situations, what can Russia really hope for in the next elections? I would argue that there is really very little which Russia can hope for, if only because the russophobic hysteria started by the Democrats to defeat Trump has now apparently been completely endorsed by the Trump administration and the all the members of Congress. As for the imperial propaganda machine, it now manages to simultaneously declare that Russia tried to “steal” COVID vaccine secrets from the West AND that Russian elites were given a secret COVID vaccine this Spring. As for the US Dems, they are already announcing that the Russians are spreading “disinformation” about Biden. Talk about PRE-traumatic stress disorder (to use the phrase coined by my friend Gilad Atzmon)…

Although I have no way of knowing what is really taking place in the delusional minds of US politicians, I am strongly suspecting that the latest hysteria about “Russia stealing COV19 vaccine secrets” is probably triggered by the conclusion of the US intel community that Russia will have a vaccine ready before the US does. This is, of course, something absolutely unthinkable for US politicians who, (sort of) logically conclude that “if these Russkies got a vaccine first, they *must* have stolen it from us” or something similar (see here for a good analysis of this). And if the Chinese get there first, same response. After all, who in the US legacy media would ever even mention that Russian or Chinese researchers might be ahead of their US colleagues? Nobody, of course.

I would argue that this mantric Russia-bashing is something which will not change in the foreseeable future. For one thing, since the imperial ruling elites have clearly lost control of the situation, they really have no other option left than to blame it all on some external agent. The “terrorist threat” has lost a lot of traction over the past years, the “Muslim threat” is too politically incorrect to openly blame it all on Islam, as for the other boogeymen which US Americans like to scare themselves at night with (immigrants, drug dealers, sex offenders, “domestic terrorists”, etc.) they simply cannot be blamed for stuff like a crashing economy. But Russia, and China, can.

In fact, ever since the (self-evidently ridiculous) “Skripal case” the collective West has proven that it simply does not have the spine to say “no”, or even “maybe”, to any thesis energetically pushed forward by the AngloZionist propaganda machine. Thus no matter how self-evidently silly the imperial propaganda is, the people in the West have been conditioned (literally) to accept any nonsense as “highly likely” as long as it is proclaimed with enough gravitas by politicians and their legacy ziomedia. As for the leaders of the EU, we already know that they will endorse any idiocy coming out of Washington or London in the name of “solidarity”.

Truth be told, most Russian politicians (with the notable exception of the official Kremlin court jester, Zhirinovskii) and analysts never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend. The Kremlin was especially cautious, which leads me to believe that the Russian intelligence analysts did a very good job evaluating Trump’s psyche and they quickly figured out that he was no better than any other US politician. Right now, I know of no Russian analyst who would predict that relations between the US and Russia will improve in the foreseeable future. If anything, most are clearly saying that “guys, we better get used to this” (accusations, sanctions, accusations, sanctions, etc. etc. etc.). Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West’s hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They’ve been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of “fear” and in the sense of “hatred”).

Simply put – there is nothing which Russia can expect from the upcoming election. Nothing at all. Still, that does not mean that things are not better than 4 or 8 years ago. Let’s look at what changed.

The big difference between now and then

What did Trump’s election give to the world?

I would say four years for Russia to fully prepare for what might be coming next.

I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was “highly likely” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore).

True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways:

  1. A “general” reform of the Russian armed forces which had to be modernized by about 80%. This part of the reform is now practically complete.
  2. A specific reform to prepare the western and southern military districts for a major conventional war against the united West (as always in Russian history) which would involve the First Guards Tank Army and the Russian Airborne Forces.
  3. The development of bleeding-edge weapons systems with no equivalent in the West and which cannot be countered or defeated; these weapons have had an especially dramatic impact upon First Strike Stability and upon naval operations.

While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, “USA! USA! USA!”. Alas for them, the reality was quite different.

Russian officials, by the way, have confirmed that Russia was preparing for war. Heck, the reforms were so profound and far reaching, that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hide what they were doing (see here for details; also please see Andrei Martyanov’s excellent primer on the new Russian Navy here).

While no country is ever truly prepared for war, I would argue that by 2020 the Russians had reached their goals and that now Russia is fully prepared to handle any conflict the West might throw at her, ranging from a small border incident somewhere in Central Asia to a full-scaled war against the US/NATO in Europe.

Folks in the West are now slowly waking up to this new reality (I mentioned some of that here), but it is too late. In purely military terms, Russia has now created such a qualitative gap with the West that the still existing quantitative gap is not sufficient to guarantee a US/NATO victory. Now some western politicians are starting to seriously freak out (see this lady, for example), but most Europeans are coming to terms with two truly horrible realities:

  1. Russia is much stronger than Europe and, even much worse,
  2. Russia will never attack first (which is a major cause of frustration for western russophobes)

As for the obvious solution to this problem, having friendly relations with Russia is simply unthinkable for those who made their entire careers peddling the Soviet (and now Russian) threat to the world.

But Russia is changing, albeit maybe too slowly (at least for my taste). As I mentioned last week, a number of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have declared that the Zapad2020 military maneuvers which are supposed to take place in southern Russia and the Caucasus could be used to prepare an attack on the West (see here for a rather typical example of this nonsense). In the past, the Kremlin would only have made a public statement ridiculing this nonsense, but this time around Putin did something different. Right after he saw the reaction of these politicians, Putin ordered a major and UNSCHEDULED military readiness exercise which involved no less than 150,000 troops, 400 aircraft & 100 ships! The message here was clear:

  1. Yes, we are much more powerful than you are and
  2. No, we are not apologizing for our strength anymore

And, just to make sure that the message is clear, the Russians also tested the readiness of the Russian Airborne Forces units near the city of Riazan, see for yourself:

This response is, I think, the correct one. Frankly, nobody in the West is listening to what the Kremlin has to say, so what is the point of making more statements which in the future will be ignored equally as they have been in the past.

If anything, the slow realization that Russia is more powerful than NATO would be most helpful in gently prodding EU politicians to change their tune and return back to reality. Check out this recent video of Sarah Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the German Left and see for yourself:

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already.

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a “gay pride” one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled “Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror” shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one, have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: “the US is sinking – do you really want to go down with it?”.

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call “European suicide politics”, but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. “Forward deployment” is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for “popular diplomacy”, especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already. Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Alan Dershowitz on “Not Promoting Jewish Values”

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Dershowitz is upset by Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Karl Marx and Gilad Atzmon’s failure to promote ‘Jewish Values.’ The question that comes to mind is what exactly can we learn about Jewish values from this Harvard ‘law scholar’?

Thanks for supporting Gilad’s battle for truth and justice.

My battle for truth involves a serious commitment and some substantial expenses. I have put my career on the line, I could do with your support..

Donate

On Israel’s Plans to Annex parts of the West Bank

 BY GILAD ATZMON

dersh pilpul.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Americans may be surprised to learn from Alan Dershowitz that their constitution is far more intrusive and oppressive than what they and their forefathers have believed for generations. The law ‘scholar’ declared yesterday that “you have no (constitutional) right to not be vaccinated.”

 Watch Video: You Have NO RIGHT to NOT be Vaccinated” – Alan Dershowitz:

 One possible explanation for Dershowitz’s peculiar constitutional ‘interpretation’ is that some parts of the American constitution were actually written in Yiddish, Hebrew and Aramaic. As such, their meaning is only accessible to a small privileged segment within the American population, one that amounts to 2% or less.

 But there is a far better explanation that shines light into the ‘reasoning’ offered by Dershowitz.  

 In a spectacularly brave Huffpost article titled What Is Pilpul , And Why On Earth Should I Care About It? author David Shasha writes, “ Pilpul is the Talmudic term used to describe a rhetorical process that the (Jewish) sages used to formulate their legal decisions… It is a catch-all term that in English is translated as ‘Casuistry’.”

 The English word ‘casuistry’ is defined as: “the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions; sophistry.”

 Dershowitz, is a pilpul master. He often employs peculiar reasoning in relation to moral questions especially when it comes to his own morality and conduct.

 Shasha writes of the history of pilpul tradition that “the Ashkenazi rabbis were less concerned with promulgating the Law transmitted in the Talmud than they were with molding it to suit their own needs. Pilpul was a means to justify practices already fixed in the behaviors of the community by re-reading the Talmud to justify those practices.”

 Pilpul, as described, is not about understanding of the law and its meaning but about the deliberate miss- interpretation of the law so it fits with one’s core interests. 

 Shasha points out that “even though many contemporary Jews are not observant, pilpul continues to be deployed. Pilpul occurs any time the speaker is committed to ‘prove’ his point regardless of the evidence in front of him. The casuistic aspect of this hair-splitting leads to a labyrinthine form of argument where the speaker blows enough rhetorical smoke to make his interlocutor submit. Reason is not an issue when pilpul takes over: what counts is the establishment of a fixed, immutable point that can never truly be disputed.”

 Pilpul is basically a legalistic exercise that is removed from truthfulness, ethical thinking or even logic. What we see from Dershowitz is a dramatic pilpul-ization of the American legal culture and ethos.

 “In this context,” Shasha continues,  “the Law is not primary; it is the status of the jurist. Justice is extra-legal, thus denying social equality under the rubric of a horizontal system. Law is in the hands of the privileged rather than the mass.”

In a pretty accurate description of Dershowitz’ modus operandi Shasha writes, “Pilpul is the rhetorical means to mark as ‘true’ that which cannot ever be disputed by rational means.”

 Shasha, obviously had Dershowitz in mind when he wrote his Huffpost article. But Dershowitz is not the only one. In Shasha’s article Noam Chomsky is equally guilty of pilpulism. “The contentiousness of the Middle East conflict is intimately informed by pilpul. Whether it is Alan Dershowitz or Noam Chomsky, both of them Ashkenazim who had traditional Jewish educations, the terms of the debate are consistently framed by pilpul. What is most unfortunate about pilpul — and this is something that will be familiar to anyone who has followed the controversies involving Israel and Palestine — is that, since the rational has been removed from the process, all that is left is yelling, irrational emotionalism, and, ultimately, the threat of violence.”

I agree with Shasha. The Middle East conflict has been reduced into a pilpul battle ground between Zionists and their Anti Zionist Zionist twins.  The question for Americans is whether Pilpul, a Jewish Ashkenazi litigious practice that is removed from truthfulness, ethics and reason should interfere with American’s constitutional rights, way of living, politics, culture, spirit and vaccination policies.  

Dershowitz on the Promotion of Jewish Values (precious)

 BY GILAD ATZMON

In his desperate attempt to defame Bernie Sanders, the Harvard professor has identified the enemy within: “the worst people in terms of not promoting Jewish values.” Dershowitz was referring to Norman Finkelstein, Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky and Gilad Atzmon. I guess that most people would regard the company above as guardians of justice and humanism. Not exactly a quality that can be attributed to Dershowitz and his arch pedo-pal Jeffrey Epstein.

Sooner or later, the American people will have to figure out how did lame characters such as Dershowitz have managed to invade their Ivy League institutions…

Donate

The United States Has Produced Very Few Anti-Imperialists. Noam Chomsky Is Not Among Them.

By Stephen Gowans

Source

Noam Chomsky 15c7a

Imperialism has penetrated the fabric of our culture, and infected our imagination, more deeply than we usually think.—Martin Green. [1]

[Americans] have produced very, very few anti-imperialists. Our idiom has been empire.—William Appleman Williams. [2]

In a recent Intercept interview with the beautiful soul Mehdi Hassan, Noam Chomsky resumed his efforts to recruit the political Left into a scheme to support US imperialism.

In the interview, Chomsky spoke about his reasons for trying “to organize support for opposition to the withdrawal” of US troops from Syria. US troops ought to remain in Syria, he said, to deter a planned Turkish invasion and to prevent what he warned would be the massacre of the Kurds. Yet weeks after the Turks moved into northeastern Syria nothing on the scale of massacres had occurred.

The high-profile anarchist, former champion of international law, and one-time outspoken critic of wars of aggression, supports the uninterrupted invasion of Syria by US forces, despite the fact that the invasion is illegal and contravenes the international law to which he had so frequently sung paeans.

But the principles he once upheld appear to have been sacrificed to the higher goal of defending the anarchist-inspired YPG, the Kurdish group which had sought and received support from Washington to establish a Kurdish mini-state in Syria in return for acting as a Pentagon asset in the US war on the Arab nationalist government in Damascus. In this, the YPG recapitulated the practice of political Zionism, offering to act as muscle in the Levant in exchange for imperialist sponsorship of its own political aspirations. For Chomsky, the desired end-state—what he would like the political Left to rally in support of—is the restoration of the status-quo ante, namely, robust US support for a Kurd mini-state in Syria.

Washington’s illegal military intervention has been the guarantor of the YPG’s aspirations to create a state on approximately one-third of Syrian territory. A YPG state east of the Euphrates would be an asset to the US imperialist project of expanding Washington’s already considerable influence in the Middle East. A Kurd-dominated state under the leadership of the YPG would function as what some have called a second Israel. As Domenico Losurdo put it in a 2018 interview,

In the Middle East, we have the attempted creation of a new Israel. Israel was an enclave against the Arab World, and now the US and Israel are trying to realize something similar with the Kurds. That doesn’t mean to say that the Kurds don’t have rights and that they haven’t been oppressed for a long time, but now there’s the danger of them becoming the instruments of American imperialism and Zionism. This is the danger—this the situation, unfortunately. [3]

To make the US invasion palatable to the political Left, Chomsky misrepresents the US aggression as small-scale and guided by lofty motives. “A small US contingent with the sole mission of deterring a planned Turkish invasion,” he says, ‘is not imperialism.” But the occupation is neither small, nor guided by a mission limited to deterring a planned Turkish invasion. Either Chomsky’s grasp of the file is weak, or he’s not above engaging in a spot of sophistry.

Last year, the Pentagon officially admitted to having 2,000 troops in Syria [4] but a top US general put the number higher, 4,000. [5] But even that figure was, according to the Pentagon, an “artificial construct,” [6] that is, a deliberate undercount. On top of the infantry, artillery, and forward air controllers the Pentagon officially acknowledges as deployed to Syria, there is an additional number of uncounted Special Operations personnel, as well as untallied troops assigned to classified missions and “an unspecified number of contractors” i.e., mercenaries. Additionally, combat aircrews are not included, even though US airpower is critical to the occupation. [7] There are, therefore, many more times the officially acknowledged number of US troops enforcing an occupation of parts of Syria. Last year, US invasion forces in Syria (minus aircrew located nearby) operated out of 10 bases in the country, including “a sprawling facility with a long runway, hangars, barracks and fuel depots.” [8]

In addition to US military advisers, Army Rangers, artillery, Special Operations forces, satellite-guided rockets and Apache attack helicopters [9], the United States deployed US diplomats to create government and administrative structures to supersede the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic. [10]

“The idea in US policy circles” was to create “a soft partition” of Syria between the United States and Russia along the Euphrates, “as it was among the Elbe [in Germany] at the end of the Second World War.” [11]

During the war on ISIS, US military planning called for YPG fighters under US supervision to push south along the Euphrates River to seize Syria’s oil-and gas-rich territory, [12] located within traditionally Arab territory. While the Syrian Arab Army and its allies focused on liberating cities from Islamic State, the YPG, under US direction, went “after the strategic oil and gas fields,” [13] holding these on behalf of the US government. The US president’s recent boast that “we have secured the oil” [14] was an announcement of a longstanding fait accompli.

The United States has robbed Syria of “two of the largest oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzour”, including the al-Omar oil field, Syria’s largest. [15] In 2017, the United States plundered Syria of “a gas field and plant known in Syria as the Conoco gas plant” (though its affiliation with Conoco is historical; the plant was acquired by the Syrian Gas Company in 2005.) [16] Russia observed that “the real aim” of the US forces’ (incontestably denominated) “illegal” presence in Syria has been “the seizure and retention of economic assets that only belong to the Syrian Arab Republic.” [17] The point is beyond dispute: The United States has stolen resources vital to the republic’s reconstruction, using the YPG to carry out the crime (this from a country which proclaims property rights to be humanity’s highest value.)

Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma professor who specializes in Syria, has argued that by “controlling half of Syria’s energy resources…the US [is] able to keep Syria poor and under-resourced.” [18] Bereft of its petroleum resources, and deprived of its best farmland, Syria is hard-pressed to recover from a war that has left it in ruins.

To sum up, the notion that the US occupation is small-scale is misleading. The Pentagon acknowledges that it deliberately undercounts the size of its contingent in Syria.  But even if there are as few US boots on the ground in Syria as the US military is prepared to acknowledge, that still wouldn’t make the US intervention trivial.

US boots on the ground are only one part of the occupation. Not counted are the tens of thousands of YPG fighters who operate under the supervision of US ground forces, acting as the tip of the US spear. These troops, it should be recalled, acted as muscle for hire to seize and secure farmland and oil wells in a campaign that even US officials acknowledge is illegal. [19]

Another part of the occupation—completely ignored by Chomsky—is US airpower, without which US troops and their YPG-force-multiplier would be unable to carry out their crimes of occupation and theft. US fighter jets and drones dominate the airspace over the US occupation zone. Ignoring the significant role played by the US Air Force grossly distorts the scale of the US operation.

What’s more, Chomsky’s reference to the scale of the intervention as anodyne is misdirection. It is not the size of an intervention that makes it imperialist, but its motivations and consequences.

Additionally, Chomsky completely misrepresents the aim of the US occupation. It’s mission, amply documented, is to: sabotage Damascus’s reconstruction efforts by denying access to revenue-generating territory; to provide Washington with leverage to influence the outcome of any future political settlement; and to block a land route over which military assets can easily flow from Tehran to its allies Syria and Hezbollah. [20] In other words, the goal of the occupation is to impose the US will on Syria—a textbook definition of imperialism.

The idea that it is within the realm of possibility for Washington to deploy forces to Syria with the sole mission of deterring aggression is naïveté on a grand scale, and entirely at odds with the history and mechanisms of US foreign policy. Moreover, it ignores the reality that the armed US invasion and occupation of Syrian territory is an aggression itself. If a man who has been called the principal critic of US foreign policy can genuinely hold these views, then Martin Green’s contention that “Imperialism has penetrated the fabric of our culture, and infected our imagination, more deeply than we usually think,” is surely beyond dispute.

The US occupation, then, is more substantial than Chomsky alleges; it is an aggression under international law, not to say under any reasonable definition; the claim is untenable that the sole motivation is to deter Turkish aggression; and the US project in Syria is imperialist. All the same, one could still argue that US troops should not be withdrawn because their presence protects the YPG and the foundations of the mini-state is has built. If so, one has accepted the YPG’s and political Zionism’s argument that it is legitimate to rent oneself out as the tool of an empire in order to achieve one’s own narrow aims, even if it is at the expense of the right of others to be free from domination and exploitation.

Endnotes

[1] Quoted in William Appleman William, Empire as a Way of Life, IG Publishing, 2007, p. 10.

[2] Ibid. p. 33-34.

[3] Domenico Losurdo, “Crisis in the Imperialist World Order,” Revista Opera, March 2, 2018

[4] Nancy A. Yousef, “US to remain in Syria indefinitely, Pentagon officials say, The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2017.

[5] Andrew deGrandpre, “A top US general just said 4,000 American troops are in Syria. The Pentagon says there are only 500,” The Washington Post, October 31, 2017.

[6] John Ismay, “US says 2,000 troops are in Syria, a fourfold increase,” The New York Times, December 6, 2017; Nancy A. Yousef, “US to remain in Syria indefinitely, Pentagon officials say,” The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2017.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Dion Nissenbaum, “Map said to show locations of US forces in Syria published in Turkey,” The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2017.

[9] Michael R. Gordon, “In a desperate Syrian city, a test of Trump’s policies,” The New York Times, July 1, 2017.

[10] Nancy A. Yousef, “US to send more diplomats and personnel to Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2017.

[11] Yaroslav Trofimov, “In Syria, new conflict looms as ISIS loses ground,” The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2017.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Raj Abdulrahim and Ghassan Adnan, “Syria and Iraq rob Islamic State of key territory,” The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2018.

[14] Michael R. Gordon and Gordon Lubold, “Trump weights leaving small number of troops in Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2019.

[15] Abdulrahim and Adnan, November 3, 2018.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Raja Abdulrahim and Thomas Grove, “Syria condemns US airstrike as tension rise,” The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2018.

[18] Joshua Landis, “US policy toward the Levant, Kurds and Turkey,” Syria Comment, January 15, 2018.

[19] Michael Crowley, “’Keep the oil’: Trump revives charged slogan for new Syria troop mission,” The New York Times, October 26, 2019.

[20] Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef, “US weights leaving more troops, sending battle tanks to Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2019; Gordon and Lubold, October 21, 2019.

Dershowitz on Europeans and Irrationality

May 31, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

dershpaint.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

Noam Chomsky wrote of  Dershowitz that he is a “remarkable liar” and “slanderer.” These problematic traits Chomsky noted of the former Harvard professor have proved useful. I might not have seen Dershowitz’ most recent recycled rant had he not mentioned my name and, as always, lied about me. 

In his article, Dershowitz claims that I deny that the “Holocaust is historically proved.”  Wrong! I argue that all historical narratives ought to be discussed freely and debated fearlessly. This treatment may not be applied to the Holocaust. The Holocaust has been minimised by its present status as legally protected religious dogma. If the Holocaust is the new religion, I defend my right to be agnostic.

According to Dershowitz, Atzmon “believes that Jews may well have killed Christian children to use their blood to bake Passover matzah.” If Dershowitz would just bother to actually read the work that he cites, he would learn that it wasn’t I who produced this sceptical recital of  the Jewish blood libel, it was Ariel Toaff, an Israeli professor at Bar Ilan who back in 2007 published a book titled “Blood Passover European Jews and ritual murder.”

Then Dershowitz arrives at his oft-repeated lie about me, Atzmon “thinks it’s ‘rational’ to burn down synagogues.”  I am taking this opportunity to address his insane accusation for the first time.  I would think that I shouldn’t need to inform Dershowitz that the words he ‘quotes’ have never appeared in any of my writings or my talks. I have never and would never incite violence nor have I ever been questioned, let alone charged by any law enforcement authority anywhere in the world about anything I have written or said.

Back in 2005, the Guardian published  a story about UK Jewish pressure groups that submitted a dossier of allegations of antisemitsm at the London SOAS University. The dossier included the following: “Gilad Atzmon, a pro-Palestinian activist and musician, who gave a talk to students this month, arguing: ‘I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act’.”

At the time, Zionist Jewish groups attempted to file a complaint with the police but were shown the door as they 1. failed to produce any evidence, and 2. failed to grasp that my SOAS lecture presented a philosophical study of  rationality in conflicts in general and in anti Semitism in particular. All this I explained on the pages of the Guardian a week after the paper published the original erroneous article. As I wrote at the time, the quote attributed to me was both “inaccurate and taken out of context. By no possible interpretation did I justify any form of violence against Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people.” I have never and would never incite violence nor have I ever been so much as questioned by any law enforcement authority anywhere in the world about anything I have written or said.

Funny, I would expect a professor at the Harvard Law School capable of grasping the distinction between rationality and ethics. I’ll explain. War crimes are most often also rational acts of war, however unethical. For example, dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, although likely in the running as the ultimate unethical act, was a ‘rational act’: it delivered a clear message to the Soviets and other interested parties by demonstrating the terrible destructive power of the newly born A- bomb. The stated intention behind the act was was an immediate and total surrender by the Japanese to end the war.

Writing of the contents of my actual lecture, I held my ground as I still do. I claimed that “since Israel presents itself as the ‘state of the Jewish people’, and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right.”

Dershowitz’s  inability to distinguish between the concepts of ‘ethics’ and ‘rationality’ is at the core of his simplistic argument: His writing can seem removed from either intellectual integrity or academic consistency. It seems Dershowitz does not feel a need to adhere to the Athenian intellectual ethos. He is doing just fine in Jerusalem.

Dershowitz’s article is entitled, “Why it’s not surprising to see Jew-hatred increase in Western Europe.” The answer Dershowitz  provides is certainly banal. His claim: Europeans are basically a bunch of anti-Semites who have perpetuated the “myth” that the Holocaust was “the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some [Eastern European] collaborators.”  Instead Dershowitz claims that the Holocaust  was a collective project perpetrated by “Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians, and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern.” Dershowitz, purportedly a legal ‘scholar’ fails to provide a single source for this claim.

Let’s assume charitably that Dershowitz fails to see he might be making things worse by calling a large percentage of Europeans murderers and/or Nazis and that in so doing he provokes opposition to himself and everything associated with his Zionist project.

Dershowitz must believe that opposition to Jewish politics and Zionist crimes has no cause, no rational basis. He writes, “the pervasive anti-Semitism and irrationally hateful anti-Zionism that has recently surfaced throughout western Europe toward Israel should surprise no one.”

Dershowitz is being either intentionally misleading or delusional. Apparently, he is convinced that any increase in opposition to Jews is related to Israel’s criminality. He complains that Leftists single out Israel for criticism. “Where are your demonstrations on behalf of the oppressed Tibetans, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, Kurds, or even Ukrainians?” he asks. Even the misguided professor should know that the Tibetan Lobby in Washington is not quite as powerful and influential as AIPAC. Dershowitz ought to find out how many Tory MPs are members of the “Conservative friends of Georgia.” I suppose I don’t need to add that the Syrians have yet to terrorise the British Labour Party and its leader on behalf of their leader Bashar Al-Assad.

Perhaps the opposition to Jewish pressure groups all over Europe is a reaction to some of the insanely aggressive and ugly politics openly perpetrated  by Jewish pressure groups and Israel’s lobbyists.

To accuse Labour members, for instance, of ‘irrationality’ and ‘racism’ for being upset when they learned that Shai Masot, an Israeli secret agent, was interfering with their party politics, is to deny rationality itself. Accusing the Poles, who see themselves as among the primary victims of WW2, of anti-Semitism for defying Israel’s demands for restitution verges on the absurd, especially considering the fact that Israel is a monument to a gross racist ethnic cleansing crime driven by the decision to plunder another people’s land.

After censuring ethically oriented and patriotically driven Europeans as ‘irrational’ for defying a foreign criminal country’s interference in their political affairs, Dershowitz sets the parameters for his own particular definition of objectivism. “Any objective person with an open mind, open eyes…must see the double standard being applied to the nation-state of the Jewish people. Many doing so are the grandchildren of those who lethally applied a double standard to the Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. They must be shamed into looking themselves in the mirror of morality and acknowledging their own bigotry.”

I suggest that before Dershowitz ‘shames’ Europeans for seeing Israel for what it is, the ardent Zionist caricature might have to accept that crimes committed by a state that calls itself ‘The Jewish State’ and decorates its tanks and airplanes with Jewish symbols may inflict shame on the entire Jewish people. Certainly many Jews are genuinely troubled and distressed by this fact. Before Dershowitz condemns Europeans, Dershowitz should consider performing the elementary intellectual exercise of examining his argument in a wider context: He should look into the possibility that the Jewish past is an ongoing disaster for a reason. If Dershowitz is interested in learning about rationality, looking introspectively for the logos that has made Jewish history into a chain of pogroms would be a great project for his retirement.


My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

Donate

%d bloggers like this: