In this report, Joel Northam explores the question: What happens when you condense 500 years of conquest and colonial expansion into 65 years, possess the latest high tech weaponry, sprinkle a little bit of imperialist patronage of the United States to the tune of 30 billion dollars a year in military aid, possess a vast nuclear arsenal, and gift wrap it all in a nationalist ideology that would make every fascist dictatorial regime in history proud?
President Barack Obama is set to arrive in Israel next week- and has set the bar for peace about as low as it can get, saying that he won’t be carrying in a grand peace plan for the middle east when he arrives. So, the Obama visit is a low expectations game of international charades that, depending on how cynical your point of view, is either a solidification of allies before world war three ensues or a simply friends helping each other tread water in the sea of status quo that – in the powder keg of the middle east, is as untenable as David Hasselhoff’s sobriety.
It is hard to imagine lower expectations for a presidential visit to Isreal. But our Nobel Peace prize winning Drone in chief could be, in the words of Thomas Freidman, ” the first sitting American president to visit Israel as a tourist.”
An even more cynical view was taken in a New York Times piece by Professor Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University that harshly criticizes Obama’s policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Toward the end of his first term, Mr. Obama essentially abandoned his already modest peacemaking agenda in exchange for a lull in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign for war with Iran. Palestine was again sacrificed, this time to bribe a belligerent Israel for temporary good behavior.
Obama will stand in front of the cameras in Israel and say the “Two-State Model” for Israel and Palestine is the only acceptable model for cohabitation and yet still pledge unyielding loyalty to our friend- the Apartheid occupier of state that is Israel. Friends should not let other friends colonize and brutally suppress and entire people, but perhaps the USA fears being the pot calling the kettle black if we dare get serious about the Imperial reach of Isreal.
If Obama were to live up the honor bestowed upon him by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, a group who – like US foreign policy- now seems to strike preemptively- he would not simply make his trip to Isreal a tourist trip with little or no consequence- he would say in ways public and private something along the lines of the following: Hey Bibi: Imagine a Free Palestinian people, and now make it happen- reverse your settlement drive in the west bank, Military might does not make a moral right- end the occupations now. A great mind and a deft politician of the likes we like to pretend Obama is, was or could be may even find a way to leverage this bold move of ending the Israeli occupations for a lasting peace with Iran.
What is that, I hear you saying, a nuclear-armed Iran would be catastrophic for the region and world peace? Perhaps- but putting aside the hubris of the only country in the world to ever get all Hiroshima and Nagasaki up in this joint on legislating the military morality of when where and who can swing their nuclear tipped disco sticks in the air like they just don’t care- the fact is that the claim that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability has as much merit, and is being pushed by the same fabricators and interpreters of so called intelligence as the “Iraq HAS Weapons of Mass Destruction” lie.
Setting aside the statistically significant portion of those who would defend Israel’s Rumsfeldian named “Pillar of Defense” who think that the Old Testament is a real estate deed, those attempting to answer the question of whether Israel should be considered a terrorist state fall into roughly 3 categories:
1. Those who support Israel’s right to um, “defend” itself.
2. Those who think Israel should vacate their occupations and settlements and allow Palestinians the right to self-determination
3. Those who just think that violence is all so awful and it should just all go away.
A central premise of US media coverage of the Israeli attack on Gaza — beyond the claim that Israel is justifiably ‘defending itself’ — is that this is some endless conflict between two foreign entitles, and Americans can simply sit by helplessly and lament the tragedy of it all. The reality is precisely the opposite: Israeli aggression is possible only because of direct, affirmative, unstinting US diplomatic, financial and military support for Israel and everything it does.
Should you swim against the main stream and sympathize with the people in Gaza, Gilad Sharon, the son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, wants you to consider this:
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.
One must tip their cap to the sophisticated rhetorical device Sharon employees in equating the way forward for Isreal with the grandest and most dramatic expression of US foreign policy. How can flattening Gaza be wrong, if Hiroshima and Nagasaki were so right? Flattening Gaza could even be viewed as humane, the way one kills a horse with a broken leg, by the portion of the world’s population that already accepts as matter of fact and morally justified the slow asphyxiation imposed on the 1.6 million Palestinians by Israel.
In the new global landscape, as in Israel’s occupied territories and the United States’ own imperial projects in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, massacres of thousands of defenseless innocents are labeled wars. Resistance is called a provocation, terrorism or a crime against humanity. The rule of law, as well as respect for the most basic civil liberties and the right of self-determination, is a public relations fiction used to placate the consciences of those who live in the zones of privilege.
What is happening in Gaza is not a war. You can call it apartheid, genocide, and you could certainly, and correctly in my book, call Israel, as they defy International law and almost 100 UN security resolutions calling for them to withdraw from occupied land — a terrorist state.
You could, and perhaps you should, go further in labeling the United States as not only as the Alpha terrorist state herself, but as a sponsor of the state terrorism of Israel for supplying military arms, aid, and a philosophy of Imperialism that gives birth to a double speak turning offense into defense quicker than the Israeli defense forces turn Palestinian children into corpses.
A decade ago, in the run up to the war w. Iraq, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in New York and cities all across the country and the world … and war happened anyway.
But was before occupy.
Our creativity, our new way of thinking about protesting, and our crowdsourcing of ideas that make us collectively so much greater than the individual sum of our parts came into being.
If a new world is in fact possible, if we are in fact Unstoppable, we need to leverage our might and bring into being a new type of protest campaign that staves off a war with Iran; that in fact, reverses the homicidal bull in a geopolitical china shop that is US foreign policy altogether and replaces it with a world that places human needs – here and elsewhere above corporate greed.
MyFDL is the community site of progressive political blog Firedoglake. Anyone can participate by writing a diary, commenting on others’ diaries, or joining groups to find other people in your area. Content posted to MyFDL is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to Firedoglake.