(From my January 31, 2011 Blog post)
I am not surprised to hear that U.S. government officials will support the protests and democracy in Tunisia but not those in Egypt. They must support the dictatorial regime of Mubarak because he is supposedly a friend to, or at least not totally hostile toward, Israel. The U.S. government needs as many “friends” leading the Arab countries as possible, no matter how repressive they are. But these protests and demonstrations, or outright revolutions if that is what they are, are forcing the subject of Israel out in the open once again.
Unfortunately, any questioning of the actions of Israel’s government is met with hostility because the subject of Israel is about as third rail as anything can be.
It is indeed unfortunate that the neocons and their followers see what’s going on as a “jihadist” revolution brought upon by the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that these uprisings are occurring spontaneously, not by the direction of any religion-based organization, but by the initiation of a people’s wanting to be free, which is their God-given right as human beings. And much of the protests are amongst the youths of Egypt, which can be compared (at least in spirit) to the youthful following that Ron Paul has earned here in America for his reasoned anti-violence, anti-State-authoritarianism views.
The Arab people are standing up for their right to be free, and those in America who want to deny them that, whether out of anti-Muslim paranoia or blind loyalty toward Israel or whatever, need to adhere to their constant claims of believing in the principles of the Founding Fathers.
And, as Robert Wenzel noted, newly sworn-in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s calling for ending all U.S. foreign aid — including to Israel — is being criticized. For some reason, you just can’t touch Israel. Helen Thomas also noted the third rail status of Israel, claiming that if you criticize Israel in any way, you are labeled an “anti-Semite” or just “anti-Jewish.” Now, Thomas is not anti-Jewish — she merely asserted the truth that the Israeli government’s occupation of the Land of Israel is just that: an occupation. But Glenn Beck last week along with his radio cohorts certainly wasted no time in bashing the 90-year-old Ms. Thomas, making fun of her voice and manner of speech and imitating her with a “Wicked Witch of the West” inflection. This is how even talk show hosts can be so loyal to the Israel Lobby.
Now, the “Israel Lobby” is not any singular organization with some particular leader in charge. The “Israel Lobby” mainly refers to a category of unconnected groups, organizations, lobbyists and fund-raisers for Israel. There’s no “Zionist conspiracy.” But one of the most powerful groups involved is AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It is also perhaps the most “controversial,” to say the least. (Just Google “AIPAC espionage,” for example.)
As corrupt as the organization may be, it apparently is very powerful, as congressmen and senators in DC bow and get on their knees and grovel before AIPAC’s lobbyists to make sure the bucks continue to flow into their campaign war chests.
That’s the bottom line in Washington: making sure they have plenty of cash to fund their next reelection campaigns, or campaigns for higher public office. That is what democracy and compulsory government are all about. Elections and reelections and the expansion of compulsory government and the State’s monopoly power over the lives of others. (Certainly not freedom and prosperity — if that were the case, they would have done away with compulsory government long ago.)
And in the case of Israel, I will reiterate what I’ve written here in this space several times already. As Murray Rothbard has noted, the occupation of the Land of Israel or Palestine by the force and dictates of Western governments turning what had been an Arab majority in the later 19th Century to a Jewish majority by the mid-20th Century, was nothing more than a conquest, a conquest and seizure of territory to be ruled with an iron fist.
However, there was never any logic in placing oppressed Jews or Jews in general in this territory, only emotion, only adherence to a mystical view of Biblical scriptures, and nothing more, and that’s the truth. (Ooooo, you can’t point these things out, you can’t tell the truth about the reason for the current state of Israel and all the violence and bloodshed that’s to do with Biblical mysticism of “Jews as the chosen people” or you’ll be labeled “anti-Semite.” Oh well.) And it is actually the Christian Zionists, such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, and not as much the Jewish ones, who are more teary-eyed in their mysticism. Combine this Biblical mysticism with the mysticism so many people have of the State, and you’re just asking for trouble.
But please someone tell me, where is the logic in placing the world’s Jews in this tiny territory, completely surrounded by millions of Muslims and Arabs (and Persians, etc.)? Is that a “safe haven” for Jews? Only people living in a total fantasy world (or high on drugs) would think so.
Unfortunately, there are intensely hostile feelings toward Israel shared by populations of the surrounding states. There is valid reason for such hostility, hatred and rage, given the aggressions and government expansions committed by the Israeli rulers in the past several decades, and given Israel’s treatment of Palestinians there, particularly what they are doing to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. As Haaretz’s Gideon Levy noted,
The Egyptian regime became an ally of the Israeli occupation. The joint siege of Gaza is irrefutable proof of that. The Egyptian people didn’t like it. They never liked the peace agreement with Israel, in which Israel committed itself to “respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” but never kept its word. Instead, the people of Egypt got the scenes of Operation Cast Lead.
First you have a blockade, in which Gaza’s Palestinians are physically prevented from leaving the area, not even permitted to leave to get medical treatment. The Palestinians are literally locked in the Gaza region — it is literally an open-air prison. If a government were treating their Jewish population this way, the whole world would be at their throats.
But most people don’t even know about these things because of the American news media’s complicity in the Israeli and American governments’ propaganda campaign. “But they are ghastly terrorists, after all, those Palestinians,” the defenders of the blockade cry, as they categorize all Palestinians based on the perhaps 1% amongst them who are part of their ruling regime, the terrorist organization Hamas. The Archie Bunker anti-Arab bigots and ignoramuses are out there in droves.
It gets worse. Part of the blockade is the Israeli government’s deliberately preventing construction materials to be brought in to Gaza to repair the water and sewer treatment facilities damaged during the 2008-2009 war between Israel’s military and Hamas.
This blockade has been forcing the 1 million+ people of the Gaza Strip to have to use untreated water. It is exactly how the U.S. government deliberately damaged the Iraqi electricity, water and sewage treatment infrastructures in the 1991 war started by the U.S. government against Iraq, followed by the sanctions that prevented repair to that infrastructure throughout the 1990s, that led to extremely high cancer and child mortality rates and hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocents throughout Iraq. This is what having compulsory centralized government such as the U.S. government has wrought.
And that leads me to the curiously extreme similarities between the U.S. government’s intentionally destroying Iraqi water and sewer treatment facilities in 1991 followed by sanctions, and the Israeli government’s destruction of the Gaza Strip’s water and sewage treatment facilities. I have to speculate the very real possibility that the Israeli government themselves intentionally damaged the Gaza infrastructure followed by the blockade (having learned from the U.S. government’s actions and sanctions and their results during the ’90s).
Now, I’m not accusing the Israeli government of intentionally damaging the Gaza infrastructure, but given their blockade and preventing the damaged water and sewer treatment facilities from being repaired now after two years reinforces my speculating on that.
But we can’t question Israel’s “legitimacy,” in their founding that was based not on voluntary associations and contracts but the force of governmental mandates and seizures, and we can’t question Israel’s moral authority or lack thereof regardless of decades of aggression, violence and expansion. And we can’t question Israel’s receiving handouts from the U.S. government of wealth forcibly confiscated from American workers and producers.
As a Jew, I am ashamed of Israel’s human rights abuses and of those who defend them, in the name of anything Jewish.
Eric Margolis: The Mideast Burns
Robert Fisk: Egypt: Death Throes of a Dictatorship
Philip Weiss: Why is America so afraid?