Fear truly is the mind-killer. It has a way, when intentionally stoked and directed at some enemy, of killing a lot of people as well. In Israel, the
Jewish graffiti on a Palestinian home
bombardment and invasion of Gaza over the summer demonstrates what can happen when a populace is fed a consistent diet of fear, no matter how safe the society is and how meager the threat to them is. A similar dynamic could be taking hold in the United States, as the specter of the Islamic State becoming strong enough to threaten the US is being pushed harder and harder all the time, despitehow unrealistic it is.
One of the more powerful lies that feeds public panic about IS is that the global Muslim community is silent about them, whether out of fear, or sympathy. With a billion Muslims worldwide, this combines with widespread Islamophobia to raise the specter of a fierce and huge Muslim army to install a global caliphate, complete with beheadings of enemies and infidels, and the subjugation of all to a reactionary form of Islam. Of course, it’s a phony image, and few subscribe to such an extreme illusion, for now. But the accusation of silence from the Muslim world about IS sticks, despite a tidal wave of Muslim condemnation of the group, and that feeds an ominous fire. Read more at Souciant.
Posted in Islamophobia, Jewish Community | Tagged Avigdor Lieberman, Ayelet Shaked, Benjamin Netanyahu, David Duke, Dresden, Edmund Burke, Gaza, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ISIS, Islam, Islamic State, Islamophobia, Israel, Judaism, Rabbi Shlomo Lewis, United States | Leave a Comment »
During the summertime war in Gaza, the two most progressive members of the US Senate stirred up controversy among their backers with expressions of uncritical support for Israel. At a town hall meeting, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the lone Senate independent, responded to a questioner that Israel had “overreacted” with its 52-day bombardment and ground incursion, but then proceeded to justify Israel’s actions with the usual pro-Israel talking points about “missiles fired from populated areas” and “sophisticated tunnels.” An audience member began to shout objections, to which Sanders said, “Shut up.”
Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts, went further in her defense of Israel at a meeting with constituents on Cape Cod. She said it was right for the United States to send $225 million in aid to Israel, a “democracy controlled by the rule of law,” as the bombing continued. She ventured no criticism at all of the extensive damage to civilian lives and livelihoods in Gaza. When another constituent suggested that future US aid be conditioned on Israel halting settlement construction in the West Bank, Warren replied, “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.” Read more at the Middle East Research and Information Project
Posted in Uncategorized, United States, US-Israel Lobby | Tagged AIPAC, Barack Obama, BDS, Bernie Sanders, Black September, campaign financing, Chuck Hagel, Code Pink, Cold War, Cory Booker, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Egypt, Elizabeth Warren, Gaza, Gaza Under Attack, George W. Bush, Golda Meir, Harry S. Truman, Henry Kissinger, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Criminal Court, Israel Lobby, Israel Nuclear weapons, Israeli nuclear program, Jewish Voice for Peace, John Foster Dulles, John Mearsheimer, Jordan, Kurds, Lyndon B. Johnson, Nasser, national security council, Noam Chomsky, Occupation, Phantom Jets, Richard Nixon, Settlements, Sheldon Adelson, Soviet Union, Stephen Walt, Syria, United Nations, US Aid to Israel, US Foreign Policy, US geo-strategy, US National interests, West Bank, Yitzhak Rabin, Zionism | Leave a Comment »
When I started getting serious about action on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the associated US foreign policy, I found it imperative to convince people that the Oslo Accords were doomed to fail. There were the obvious critiques of the accords: the lack of any sort of human rights framework, the absence of consequences for failing to abide by conditions or fulfill agreed upon commitments, and the formal recognition of Israel without any mention whatsoever of a potential Palestinian state. But I saw an even bigger obstacle.
Conventional wisdom has it that Jerusalem is the most difficult stumbling block. But I have always maintained that it is the Palestinian refugees that were the most serious obstacle to a negotiated solution. Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Refugees | Tagged 1948, Aaron David Miller, Anti-Zionist, apartheid, Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question, Dennis Ross, Gaza, Hamas, International Crisis Group, Islamic Waqf, Jerusalem, Jim Crow, John Kerry, Mahmoud Abbas, Native Americans, Netanyahu, New Historians, Obama, Old City, Oslo Accords, Palestine Liberation Organization, Palestine Papers, Palestinian Refugees, Palestinian Statehood, Right of Return, Rwanda, slavery, South Africa, Temple Mount, Yasir Arafat, Yugoslavia, Zionism | Leave a Comment »
I was not surprised that my recent article which, in part, discussed Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that Israel committed genocide in Gaza caused some controversy and discussion. Indeed, I was gratified by it.
This is an important question, one that goes well beyond the rhetorical issue and one that I did not delve nearly as deeply into as I probably should have in my piece. Richard Falk’s article in The Nation has now done that job for me. I don’t always agree with Falk, but in this case, I think he and the Tribunal got it exactly right. I see this even though I get the sense from this piece that the Tribunal, and possibly Falk as well, believe in their hearts that genocide was committed in Gaza, while I do not.
One point bears some stress. Falk points out that genocide is regarded as “the crime of crimes.” Some of the debate over the use of this word to describe not only the Gaza horror of 2014 but the occupation more broadly has centered on the legal definition of genocide. I maintain that Israel’s crimes do not reach that level. But beyond the legal semantic question is the very important colloquial understanding of that word.
When people hear “genocide” they think of the Nazis, Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge and the Armenians. These were all incidents where huge numbers and huge percentages of particular populations were exterminated. As Falk points out, the legal definition actually holds a higher standard, where intent to annihilate a particular group must be proven. But colloquially, the understanding most people have of genocide plainly doesn’t fit Gaza. That’s the biggest reason I disagree with the use of that word.
But there was also a demonstrably “genocidal atmosphere” in Israel over the summer, whether it be tweens proudly stating that killing Arabs is a good thing, to plans put forth by Knesset members to empty Gaza of Arabs to statements by another MK that all Palestinians are legitimate targets. That makes the accusation worth investigating. So does the fact that the attack happened in the context of an ongoing blockade of Gaza which left Gazans nowhere to flee to, either outside their borders or within the sardine-can-like Strip.
When the Tribunal did so, they came to this conclusion, as described by Falk: “Despite these factors, there were legal doubts as to the crime itself. The political and military leaders of Israel never explicitly endorsed the pursuit of genocidal goals, and they purported to seek a ceasefire during the military campaign. The tribunal convincingly documented the government’s goal of intensifying the regime of collective punishment, but there was no clear official expression of intent to commit genocide. The presence of genocidal behavior and language, even if used in government circles, is not by itself sufficient to conclude that Protective Edge, despite its enormity, amounted to the commission of the crime of genocide.”
I think that’s right. You make your own decision, but I strongly urge us all to hold the accusation of “genocide” to the highest standard, because there is nothing worse.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Ayelet Shaked, Gaza, Gaza Under Attack, Genocide, international law, Moshe Feiglin, Operation Prote, Richard Falk, Russell Tribunal on Palestine | 1 Comment »
The photo here, linked to the Ha’aretz article from which it comes, makes it as clear as you could want just how threatening the new settlement, Givat Hamatos is. It doesn’t threaten “peace”; it doesn’t “call into question Israel’s commitment to peace.” Few have any illusions anymore that Israel has any interest in peace.
What it does is to expand Israel’s presence into Jerusalem. That will bury the old formula for Jerusalem (according to the Clinton Parameters, Jerusalem would be divided according to the formula “what is Jewish is Israel’s, what is Arab is Palestine’s). That may not be a very big deal. But it extends Israel’s grip on the eastern part of the city and, as you can see fro the map, future settlements can easily be placed in strategic positions to surround Arab villages…much as settlements do in the rest of the West Bank.
The US reaction is completely shameful. It’s worse than the usual kowtowing or tongue-clucking. In this case, the US reaction makes it clear that the Obama Administration knows full well just how damaging Givat Hamatos is, and STILL will not do a thing to stop it, but will continue to obstruct other parties (chiefly the UNSC but also the EU) from acting.
Posted in Jerusalem, Settlements | Tagged East Jerusalem, Givat Hamatos, Israel, Palestine, Settlements, United States | Leave a Comment »
Reaction to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly today was swift and sharp. One of the most incisive
Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN general Assembly, 9/26/14
Israeli columnists, Chemi Shalev of Ha’aretz, broke it down very well. He considered Abbas’ speech to be a welcome gift to the Israeli right. And I agree with him. But that’s not really the point.
Abbas has often used the UN podium as a way to be more direct and combative than he usually is regarding Israel, de-emphasizing the “partner for peace” charade and instead being more of an advocate for and leader of the Palestinian cause. But this time, he really turned up the heat. His reference to the attack on Gaza as “genocide” was calculated to play very well in Ramallah and Gaza City, and he willingly sacrificed the rest of the world’s approval. Continue Reading »
Posted in Israel, Palestine, Peace Plans, United Nations | Tagged 1967, Arab Peace Initiative, Armenian Genocide, Benjamin Netanyahu, Center for Constitutional Rights, Chemi Shalev, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, CPPCG, David Ben-Gurion, Fatah, Gaza, Gaza Under Attack, Genocide, Ha'aretz, Hamas, Holocaust, Intent To Destroy, Labor Party, Mahmoud Abbas, Meretz, Michael Ratner, Native Americans, Oslo Accords, Oslo Peace Process, Palestinian Nationalism, Rwanda, UN General Assembly, Yitzhak Rabin, Zehava Gal-On | 7 Comments »
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