Can We Afford to Look Away?
By Nidal Sakr
(MAF – 12/31/08) In only three days, over 2000 Palestinians were killed or injured in one of Israel’s deadliest assaults. The indiscriminate attacks targeted government buildings, police stations, mosques, hospitals, schools, civilian homes, infrastructure, and economic installations. The bombing also spread to a neighboring country with which Israel has a peace treaty. Israel has pledged to widen, extend, and further its assault.
Israeli officials, in their usual delusion, claim to commit their war crimes in a “morally superior” fashion in reference to deliberately bombing hospitals, schools, and little girls escaping the bombing on their family’s donkey cart.
Official American response so far has been one that is typical of the shoe-stricken, politically-inadequate, morally-deficient, but all-incompetent US administration of blaming the dead and the injured.
Israel’s attacks have stirred outrage and anger across nations worldwide, including within borders of the Israeli occupying state. In keeping up with its tradition, Israel has become subject of condemnation by world governments, international organizations and people the world over.
Once again, Israel’s transgression, and in one strike, managed to wipe out all the good will towards America that culminated in the wake of our last presidential election, and brought wrath upon Americans from every corner of the globe. Good will is what we desperately need to mend our broken America, and fit back into the world community after being outcasts for almost a decade.
Although Israeli war crimes are neither entirely unexpected nor unprecedented, they do place the US and much of the world at a crossroads, and are detrimental to our own lives and well being in the US and elsewhere. Undoubtedly, the unfolding catastrophe signals the biggest immediate challenge to the upcoming US administration, and the most serious distraction from solving the monumental problems at home.
However, the upcoming administration will no longer be able to continue ignoring the question of Israel, its relevance and involvement in our own domestic problems, and its central role in global instability, and political and intellectual circles can no longer afford to ignore the very question of Israel.
Aside from being a noble Abrahamic faith, political Judaism remains one of identity in crisis. Associating Judaism with Israel has been no more problematic than to Jews themselves. Israel’s legality and legitimacy remains challenged in every aspect, and the frivolous Israeli claim as Jewish state has been fundamentally troubling to the Jewish community first and foremost.
Hardly any of us can personally testify to what occurred during World War II at the hands of the Nazis and the despicable crimes of the Holocaust and its often-controversial accounts. However, we all witnessed and continue to witness the Israeli genocide firsthand. If we take all accounts of the Holocaust atrocities at face value, what we have seen from Israel since before its inception by far exceeds any of the Holocaust accounts we heard of.
Just as the world condemned all those involved and responsible in Nazi crimes as unfit in the world human community, undoubtedly the world conscious has for some time considered those involved in Israeli crimes as such. While enforcement of world condemnation of Nazis has been carried out, enforcement of the world rejection of Israeli crimes remains to take place, perhaps sooner than many would expect.
Although US/Israel alliance has been a constant stain in American policy, the political sanity of such a relation is evidently more dismissible today than ever before. While most Americans are worried about their jobs, incomes, homes, and food on their tables, it is virtually impossible to ignore how such hardships are particularly relevant to US/Israeli relation, and Israel’s influence on US. After all, recent US wars are all wars waged on behalf of Israel. It remains beyond dispute the fact that Israel played the primary role in dragging US to catastrophic global war.
The recently uncovered complex fraud and pansy scams to US investors and the massive capital transfers to Israel that accompanied US financial meltdown point directly to Israel’s burden on American tax payers. Add to it the $25 billion or so of military and economic aid which Israel has been receiving from the US every year. Americans can no longer afford the huge toll US aid to Israel is taking on the interest and well being of every American.
After all, why should every Israeli receive $5,000 every year from our hard earned dollars, particularly when many of us are having a hard time feeding our own families?
The Need for New Outlook:
Among American political circles, Israel’s loyalty and credibility has been proven anything but reliable. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter handed Israel its biggest accomplishment in the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt. The treaty has in some aspects neutralized the depth of Muslim and worldwide resentment to the existence of Israel. Yet, when he reported on his sightings of Israel’s illegal apartheid practices against Palestinians, Carter himself became subject of Israeli defamation and character assassination.
When Jewish intellectuals John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt scholarly demonstrated the threat of Israeli lobby to US interest, they were both forced out of their faculty positions at Harvard and University of Chicago.
When Connecticut voters rejected Joe Lieberman, Israel’s key lobbyist to drag US into catastrophic Iraq war, Lieberman had no problem changing his political skin to run for Republican and right-wing voters. Lieberman went on to campaign on behalf of the losing Republican presidential candidate, and shamelessly insisted on keeping chairmanship of the senate committee on homeland security. Irreprehensible but true in the mingled US/Israeli logic, the same “Hawking for Israel” guy who has been at the lead of compromising US national interest and homeland security and throwing our kids to die in needless unjustified wars is the very one who is heading the committee responsible for your safety and mine. Nowhere in the world is a legislator allowed to act on behalf of a foreign nation's interest, except in the US where Lieberman takes US Senate as if it were Israeli Knesset.
Further, it has been evident in all scholarly work on viability of the Israeli society that such a society is inherently defunct and unsustainable except through a unifying war agenda, much like the culture which Bush administration cultivated to rally public opinion in support of war. At a time of interconnectivity and world interdependence, peaceful world coexistence simply has no place for an entity that continuously poses a threat to itself, its neighbors and allies, and to the rest of the world community.
In spring of 2002, when Israeli Prime Minister Sharon provoked the second Palestinian Intifada by violating Muslim’s holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, much of the world erupted in condemnation and rioting against the senseless provocation. Condemnation was against both Israel and the US for continuing to provide the cover for Israeli crimes.
The Iraqi shoes hurled at Bush during his intended Iraqi victory lap was an unparalleled expression of the world opinion of Bush and his administration. Ironically, the now-shredded Iraqi shoes unseated the American eagle as a symbol for freedom.
In the midst of the turmoil of the 2002 Israel transgression, representatives of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths in Palestine all endorsed a document by a Jewish Rabbi titled: “Because We Are Jews,” as basis for any viable and peaceful coexistence between the three communities in the historical land of Palestine. As evidenced by the overwhelmingly Jewish response to the document, the solution may very well be the Jewish answer to the Israeli-Jewish moral dilemma, approved by Muslims and Christians alike.
While expectedly many pro-Israelis may dismiss the document, a truly golden opportunity for peace, I contend that such a document may very well be much more than what Israelis can dream to bargain for in merely a few years to come.
For now, Israel will go on with its brand-name state terrorism, with the backing of an all-failing US administration. The only democratically-elected regime in the Middle East will collect its fragmented bodies from Gaza tree branches and rooftops to strike back as a duly proper response. We can only hope that inevitable resolution of an identity that has been marred by none but turmoil and trouble gives way to a peaceful existence.