Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wearing Blinders for Israel

When I drove a taxi part-time while an art student in Milwaukee I learned that a prestigious club barred people of color and Jewish persons. That was kind of shocking to a naïve kid from Michigan's rural upper peninsula, especially since many of my pickups at that club were judges, lawyers, CEOs etc; the naïve kid expecting people of that status to be enlightened. Women were also excluded except in the company of members. So things have changed in the ruling class. From a blatant and crude anti-semitism to a blatant and crude pro-Israeli foreign policy. It has become unthinkable to criticize Israel in mainstream circles. Just ask Jimmy Carter who was promptly attacked by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and vilified by the press generally when he published his book, Peace or Apartheid, that laid out with, apparently dangerous, clarity, the land-grab and human rights injustice going on in a state the U.S. lavishes with annual and mucho bushels of money.

How is it that in only a generation the powers that be have reversed their bigotry? Some suggest that the Israeli lobby, like the NRA, is so organized and well financed that no politician dare take positions that provoke it (see www.IfAmericansKnew.org for an elaboration of this POV). There undoubtedly is some truth in that but Noam Chomsky claims that if you examine the record, whenever a U.S. position clashes with an Israeli position the U.S. position easily trumps. If true, that would mean Israeli policies toward Palestinian land seizures and human rights violations are shared by U.S. planners or at least tolerated so long as they don't interfere with U.S. objectives. So what could these objectives be?

Chomsky, again, has described Israel as a U.S. aircraft carrier. U.S. aircraft carriers are positioned to defend U.S. interests (translation: U.S. corporate interests) and in the middle-east the obvious “interest” is oil. But don't get the idea that corporations are in love with oil, no, they are in love with what oil brings in, money. Just thought I'd clarify that. During the so-called Cold War U.S. foreign policy was aimed at preventing the spread of Godless Communism (translation: any alternative to capitalism). With the dissolution of the Godless hoard U.S. policy has now shifted to... ah, at first, the threat to our way of life represented by evil drug lords but this “enemy” was makeshift and pretty unconvincing though its “failure” had the side effect (maybe the point actually) of keeping the unhappy inhabitants of poverty-adled neighborhoods from organizing around their mutual interests. It took 911 for Reagan's candidate, terrorism, to replace the lost Godless enemy (translation: any alternative to capitalism) for which no budgetary sacrifice is too great, so threatening is it to the survival of “our way of life” (translation: elite rule).

So whether U.S. policy blindly supports Israel due to monolithic lobbyists or New Order Imperialists, there is a story about Israel's creation and evolution, and occupation, that you'll have to travel far from the mainstream to hear. Over in obscure corners of the global newstand, the low-circulation rags not owned by Rubert Murdock et al., you will hear this contrasting story (which relies heavily in fact on a flyer from IfAmericansKnew.org, information which comports generally with other trustworthy sources):

In the late 1800s a radical movement called Zionism began moving Jews into Palestine with the dream of eventually colonizing it. As their numbers increased, especially with anti-semitic and fascist regimes coming into power in Germany, Italy and Spain, and Zionist intent became clear to the inhabitants, tension and violence resulted.

In 1947 the United Nations intervened, granting 55% of the land for a Jewish state despite only 30% of the population by that time being Jewish, owning only 7% of the land. Contrary to mythology, Israeli forces outnumbered Palestinian and Arab combatants and Arab armies intervened only after some thirty Zionist massacres. By war's end Israel occupied 78% of Palestine.

In 1967 Israel conquered still more land in the Six-Day War, taking the Gaza Strip and West Bank. I remember excitedly watching TV coverage of this skirmish which glorified the Israelis and fell head over heels in love with the highly sophisticated Israeli PR machine. Arab and Palestinian representatives allowed on the U.S. media seemed Hollywood-cast villains with their broken English and three-day beards.

International law forbids the taking of territory by force so that these lands were and are illegally occupied. Parts of Egypt were later returned but gains in Syria remain occupied to this day. During the Six-Day War Israel attacked a U.S. ship killing and injuring over 200, obviously an act of war, officially confirmed by a high-level commission chaired by Admiral Thomas Moorer. Our patriotic-when-it-pleases-power media failed to carry this report and the Johnson Administration played down the whole incident, something not likely to happen had an Arab power been the perpetrator.

The Palestinian Intifada of 2000 resulted, according to the folks at IfAmericansKnew.org, from two primary conditions:

the original population of what is now Israel was 96% Muslim and Christian. Those who fled the terror are prohibited from return and those who stayed are subject to systematic discrimination, obviously necessary to maintain an ethnically preferential state.

Israel's military occupation and confiscation of land that, according to the Oslo peace accords, is set aside for a Palestinian state, necessitates a brutal occupation and continuous human rights violation. The Israeli so-called security wall, contrary to statements by U.S. officials like Hillary Clinton, has little to do with security and everything to do with walling off and confiscating Palestinian land. The wall is not on Israel's borders but rather cuts into Palestine, sealing off the best land and water and illegally settling it. The aircraft carrier has so far been correct in its operant assumption that the U.S. will not concern itself with her choice, referencing President Carter's book, of Apartheid over Peace. The attached graphic makes this clearer than all the words I've used in this article.


  1. I guess Iran will settle this. Great to see you blogging.


  2. I got an email copied below with my response: tf

    I really appreciate you sharing your antisemetic and biased views with the artnews mailing list. It's always amusing to meet a bigoted artist, like those who created art for Hitler, Stalin, et al. shalom, Gary


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