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January 04, 2009

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Thanks for this piece, Terry. I am increasingly despondent about the tendency of Americans to ignore their own government's crimes against humanity, including the unqualified support for Israeli genocidal acts (I am a Jew, and I do not use the term "genocide" lightly).

Enjoying his luxurious Hawaiian holiday with his family in a $9 million beach-front vacation home, Obama has "no comment" on the carnage in Gaza. And let's be clear: Obama has consistently rejected the insistence of peace activists like Jewish Voice for Peace that the U.S. make aid to Israel contingent on the Israeli government following international and human rights law. (For those who believe that this is a recent "change", I recommend a review of Obama's position on the equally criminal assault on Lebanon two years ago, when he and his Oregon compatriots not only supported the slaughter, but refused to call for a cease-fire.)

Meanwhile, Israeli officials in Jerusalem have expressed satisfaction at a U.S. veto of a draft U.N. Security Council resolution, put together by Libya, which outlined a proposed ceasefire.

As Chomsky frequently points out, the leaders of nation states should be seen as akin to Mafia chieftans. Bush may be Fredo, but Obama is no better than Michael.

Terry, your post is, as usual, one-sided, completely ignoring the Hamas actions that provoked the Israeli response.

Brief history. Israel withdrew all -- repeat all -- of its settlements from Gaza in 2005. In 2007, Hamas seized control of Gaza and began firing rockets into Israel, deliberately targeting civilian populations (the definition of terrorism.)For a while there was a truce, but then Hamas resumed firing rockets into Israel. Over the last month or so, Israel repeatedly warned Hamas that if it did not stop the rocket attacks, Israel would respond. Hamas didn't. Israel did.

I'm not in any way trying to absolve Israel of its past and current behavior -- e.g., the settlements on the West Bank and its treatment of its Arab population -- that has certainly been a big part of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides. But to ignore the immediate reasons for the current Israeli offensive is intellectually dishonest.

Hamas' rocket attacks are a red herring. In fact (as I'll point out in a follow-up post) during the truce, UN human rights envoy Richard Falk reports that the increase in rocket fire only occurred AFTER Israel attacked Palestinian "militants" in Gaza on November 4.

Falk was there. Here's the piece he wrote for the HuffPo.

The bottom line for me is that Israel is not interested in any sort of peace agreement that would force it to dismantle its illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Furthermore, the attack on Gaza will settle nothing. It will most certainly increase Arab anger at both Israel and the United States. And it will increase terrorism throughout the Middle East.

Terry-
You are absolutely right about the calling the rocket attacks a red herring. Weeks before this brutal assault the Israelis were saber-rattling. The death tolls on either side tell the story.
Their were protests agains the Israeli actions in major cities all over the mid-East today from Beirut to Rabat to Istanbul.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_mideast_israel_palestinians

Terry and Anne are correct. For those whose "knowledge" of Israel/Palestine is based on Britneystream media lies, I recommend reading something to the left of Obama's mentor, Joe Lieberman. Start with Top 5 Lies About Israel’s Assault on Gaza.

Then read the analysis of someone like Joseph Massad, Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abunimah, Norman Finkelstein or Noam Chomsky, who have spent much of their lives detailing the crimes committed against Arabs by U.S.-Israel, at great cost to themselves. For accurate daily information, check out electronicintifada.net, endtheoccupation.org, and jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

The context for this latest massacre, which zionists and those who give them unqualified support want to dismiss, is that Israel was a terrorist state from the moment of its conception. Gaza is the world's largest outdoor prison, in which slow genocide is the norm. Hamas, which has more legitimacy than our own government (since it was elected), has been far more conciliatory than its Israeli counterpart or Israel's imperial master.

The claim that this is "complicated" and thus beyond the ken of ordinary people is similar to the claims that Obama's choices for policy positions are "pragmatic". The obvious truth is that there is one war in the Middle East, and it is a war for control over the remaining oil supply. If there were no oil there to control, the U.S. attitude toward Israel would be the same as it was toward the Jews of Europe during the war against fascism, and there would be no U.S. troops there.

Ironically, U.S. Middle East policy is anti-Semitic in the broadest possible sense: we slaughter and torture the Arabs, and we blame the Jews for it. We are Americans, and it is therefore our primary duty to stop our own crimes against humanity, regardless of what we do to change Israeli behavior. We must end our economic, military and political support for the right-wing ideologues who dominate Israeli politics.

Regardless of the side to which you assign blame for the Israeli-Hamas war, let us all agree that the killing of innocents, even as "collateral damage" during war, is wrong. Even though Israel says it does not deliberately target civilians, its bombardment of Hamas homes, resulting in many civilian deaths, must be condemned. And I hereby do so.

Of course, neither side would ever, under any circumstances, advocate the deliberate targeting of civilians, especially children, let alone call such actions legitimate.

Or would they?

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar went on Hamas TV yesterday and said "The Zionists have legimitized the killing of their children by killing our children."

Until I hear a condemnation of such statements from the Hamas apologists in this space, your one-sided criticism of Israel has no moral legitimacy.

In your previous comment, you claim "that the increase in rocket fire only occurred AFTER Israel attacked Palestinian 'militants' in Gaza on November 4." What you fail to point out is that the militants had first attacked Israeli soldiers who were trying to destroy a border tunnel built by those very militants for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.

Look, if you want to criticize Israel for the disproportional nature of its response and even for its border blockade, I'll join you. But bear in mind that the Hamas charter calls for the the destruction of the State of Israel, to be replaced with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Do you support Hamas' objectives? If so, please come clean. If not, I'm still waiting for even a smidgeon of even-handedness in your continuing one-sided take on the Hamas-Israeli conflict.

Craig once again shows a contempt for information other than the right-of-center propaganda sources that he prefers, e.g.:

"Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

"Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

"Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response by militants to the Israeli attacks.

"Israel's actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population." (Top 5 Lies About Israel’s Assault on Gaza.

And this is the "liberal" side of DP politics; both sides are wrong, and therefore, it's too complicated to take a side. No doubt a similar argument was mounted by the psychopathic, racist European settlers when they slaughtered the American Indians - You can't fault the invaders because the indigenous people were violent too.

Arundhati Roy (Listening To Grasshoppers- Genocide, Denial And Celebration):

"The poor, the so-called poor, have only one choice: to resist or to succumb...

"They have watched the great Gandhian people's movements being reduced and humiliated, floundering in the quagmire of court cases, hunger strikes and counter-hunger strikes. Perhaps these many million Constraining Ghosts of the Past wonder what advice Gandhi would have given the Indians of the Americas, the slaves of Africa, the Tasmanians, the Herero, the Hottentots, the Armenians, the Jews of Germany, the Muslims of Gujarat. Perhaps they wonder how they can go on hunger strike when they're already starving. How they can boycott foreign goods when they have no money to buy any goods. How they can refuse to pay taxes when they have no earnings...

"People who have taken to arms have done so with full knowledge of what the consequences of that decision will be. They have done so knowing that they are on their own. They know that the new laws of the land criminalise the poor and conflate resistance with terrorism...

"They know that appeals to conscience, liberal morality and sympathetic press coverage will not help them now. They know no international marches, no globalised dissent, no famous writers will be around when the bullets fly...

"Are they Idealists fighting for a Better World? Well... anything is better than annihilation...

"Yes. The idea of extermination is in the air. And people believe that faced with extermination, they have the right to fight back. By any means necessary."

I support the Palestinian struggle for justice. I have never supported the tactics of Hamas, nor do I approve of its charter.

Unfortunately, the two --Hamas and the Palestinian struggle-- have become inextricably linked. My only point is that Zionism --the "charter" of the Jewish state of Israel-- has given rise to militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. What good does it do the start preaching some sort of moral equivalency between the government of Israel and the groups that take up arms to counter Israeli oppression of the Palestinians?

Hamas is no real threat to the existence of the state of Israel. Many Israelis understand that. In fact, so does their militant government. But without the "threat", Israel would have to confront the reality of having to make real concessions regarding Palestinian territory.

That's something it's unwilling to do.

I'll put up a couple of "worth reading" articles on my next post to help clarify my position.

Should read "TO start preaching... ."

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