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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/27/14

Israel And The Whirlwind

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Amid the angry responses, spin and war propaganda infesting the media today over the new Israeli/Palestinian nasty little war, sane arguments, objective reasoning and historical facts have all been lost. Replaced by soft biased "interviews" on both sides of the conflict by reporters tightly censored and controlled by international and national news networks, the first casualty of this new round of fighting is the truth. As usual, Israeli and United States leaders have, without fail, railed against what they say is the reason for Israel's actions -- its right to exist and its right to defend itself.

These talking points are now largely meaningless in a war where one side pummels the other, like shooting fish in a barrel, and has the access to the international media. While the other has home-made rockets, stones and a few rifles. Yet, this new war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has gone horribly wrong for Israel. For the first time its losing the propaganda war as thousands of people are protesting its actions, the UN Human Rights Commission has opened an investigation against Israel for alleged war crimes, while its supporters and apologists that have synchronized their statements, policies and actions with Israel's to the extent that its now becoming an international laughing stock.

You see facts are very persistent and pesky things. US politicians routinely support "Israel's right to exist" but conveniently leave out the last three words of that sentence "as a Jewish state." And that's because it is these three words that can prove problematic for the so-called "right of Israel to exist." There is a 20% non-Jewish Israeli population living in Israel right now. These are Arab Israelis who were born there. So the problem is that "as a Jewish state" would Israel automatically disqualify 20% of a discriminated and stereotyped population since that would not be a "Jewish state?"

Any and all criticism of Israel and its police actions against its internal minority that exist under about 20 laws that are similar in nature to those Black people in the United States lived under during the dark days of segregation and Jim Crowism is met with the charge of anti-Semitism. And if anyone challenges Israel's "right to exist" on historical and factual grounds runs the risk of being labeled an anti-Semite and being accused of denying Jews the fundamental human rights that other people enjoy. Then the issue of the Holocaust is thrown in for good measure to garner an emotional, victim-shame response.

But, see, Nazi Germany's actions and its launching of a brutal and vicious event called the Holocaust is not any of my fault or that of the Palestinians. So to hang that guilt-trip around our collective necks is just plain stupid. But it works, because countries and people instinctively respond to any mention of the Holocaust by conjuring up images of emaciated bodies, gas chambers, and forced labor.

Hitler's aggressive ethnic cleansing program of Europe's Jews was and is an act of unparalleled genocide. That's a fact. But today, that action that decent people the world over condemns unequivocally, is used to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. And, as the slaughter drags on the Israeli Prime Minister, leading Congressional and United States Administration figures, and their enablers continue to tout Israeli's "right to exist" and "to defend itself."

Lost in this conversation is any mention of Palestinian rights or even its right to exist "as a Palestinian state." We hear instead the vapid and asinine jabbering about "a two state solution." But here's the unmitigated gall and hypocrisy in the flawed reasoning about "Israel's rights." Sixty-four Years ago by an act, a decision if you will, of the then League of Nations the nation of Israel was created. The league simple picked an area of the world, unilaterally redrew some lines without conferring or taking into account the rights of people already living there, and called this new geographic area, Israel. Prior to that act, Jews were living in various nations across the world.

The nation of Palestine was carved up and designated "the land of Israel." The right of return, today enshrined in Israeli law, today applies to ALL Jews living in any part of the world. Incidentally, that right of return has been denied Palestinian refugees -- about 2 million of them -- still living in camps in Jordan. This "right of return" has been opposed and blocked by Israel and is one of the sticking points in any negotiation or discussion of the so-called "two state solution."

So here we have it; a group of foreigners and outsiders, born in other nations of the world, appropriated land and an existing nation for themselves, and today bases this rank injustice on some spurious sacred right to exist. They have even gone further by turning what amounted to a land grab by imbuing it with the weight of religious dogma and authenticity. "God's chosen people" - as if God had a choice in choosing the people that He allegedly made -- became the Jews -- not to confused with Israelis. Then they made the land where the state of Israel now sits as "the Land Promised to Jews" - as if God was an ardent real estate broker on the Jews' behalf.

But since this new land occupied by what is a colonial-settler class buttressed by a heavily armed and equipped army, the natural consequence of population displacement by the new arrivals inexorably leads to ethnic cleansing of the kind we see in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict of 2014. In this scenario the demonization of each other assumes disproportionate levels. Hamas is called "a terrorist" group, meaning that any and all punitive measures, including military ones, are justified.

Any counter argument or opposition to the skewered notion of Israeli "self-defense" is shouted down as anti-Semitism since the national and international narrative about Israel is rigid, narrow and uncompromising -- supporters, like the United States and England -- must adhere unquestioningly and firmly to the notion that anyone who dares to objectively discuss or hold a dissenting view of Israel and its role in Palestine questions "Israel's right to exist." This narrative therefore seeks to ensure that the Jewish claim to Palestinian land is legitimate and out of the realm of discussion about a failed modern colonial-settler experiment.

So political leaders in Washington, London and Paris attempt to come up with binding truces and peace initiatives without involving or speaking to a section of the Palestinian people because its legitimately elected government and its political party has been designated a terrorist organization. Therefore, by extension, ALL of the people of Gaza have been supporting terrorism and subject to collective punishment of the sort that Israel is currently meting out. The world will not weep for murdered Palestinian children because they would have grown up to be terrorists anywhere; Israel has therefore "mowed the grass" a euphemism for ethnic cleansing and did the world a favor in doing so.

So who is the problem? Is it Palestinians or Israelis?

The League of Nations made an incredibly ill-conceived decision and its new incarnation, the United Nations, is a mouthy paper tiger that Israel gets to ignore without any sanctions because of the biased role that the United States plays in vetoing ANYTHING that seeks to call Israel to account for its actions. Never has a supposed superpower been at the beck and call of such a small petulant nation whose temper tantrums cause so much division, loss of life, and embarrassment. Israel remains one of the very last colonial powers in the world when such socio-economic and political constructs have been discredited, abandoned and put on the garbage heap of history.

But the facts and the truth are simple, very simple. Israel is the occupying power, the oppressor that controls life, death, and development in the Gaza Strip. In other countries where civil strife has occurred civilian refugees can flee to safer areas. Gazans have no such luxury, they are crammed into one of the densest populated areas on earth. Israel controls who goes in and who gets out. Is this therefore an Israeli/Palestinian conflict? I submit that its not because that would suggest some kind of balancing of the power construct that determine a conflict. In this situation Palestinians are the occupied and the oppressed and as such any negotiation will be on Israel's terms. That's why they build settlements when they want, bomb and bulldoze Palestinian homes at will, open and close the border, and let what they want in on whim and fancy.

Does this strike you as a basis for genuine negotiations and for diplomatic peace initiatives that are led by a superpower that has sided with, pledged fealty and loyalty to one of the nations in the conflict -- the occupier and oppressor -- while designating the other as terrorists and insisting that they recognize "Israel's right to exist?" Both the United States and Israel, no matter the public face, understand that if Israel does not change course the weight and moral compass of history will render them both as having failed in this 64 year flawed experiment.

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