Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney in Jerusalem

Rabbi Brant Rosen has an excellent blog, Shalom Rav, where he presents his courageous views that all is not right with Israel. As with all first rate blogs, the comments are moderated and well worth reading. In a recent post, he received a comment that mentioned Mitt Romney's "spectacular" appearance in Israel to which I replied at length. I reproduce both here.

Commenter Steve says:
Most American Jews feel a great affinity towards Israel.  They vehemently disagree with Rabbi Rosen’s position that Israel should be voted away.

American Jews believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are Iran backed terrorist groups and that the PA is run by crack pot thieves.  And, now that Syria is in turmoil and the Sinai border is no longer quiet, any kind of land for peace is to risky and dangerous and would be considered insane.

Under the current circumstance the smart thing to do is to make sure a single Israeli State is solidified on the ground so that there is not a chance that Israel could be voted away.   This State of course included the annexation of Judea &  Sameria.  There most likely will be an unarmed Palestinian enclave in Judea and Sameria.

My guess is also that Barak Obama announces the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  I think he will do this to try to one up Mitt Romney after Romney’s spectacular performance in Israel.
I responded

Steve:   Romney in Israel is indeed a spectacle, good in that it shows blatant pandering that makes no attempt to conceal itself. See the Haaretz article by Barak Ravid titled “In Jerusalem Speech, it was Romney’s Voice but Netanyahu’s Words”. Add a fund raiser closed to the press. What did Romney say to that audience that we Americans should not hear? How would it be possible for him to go any further than what he has said in public? That our supine president is lustily attacked as not complaint enough and an enemy of Israel is absolutely frightening to this American. There is no contact with reality.

That many American Jews feel an affinity for Israel is no reason by itself for America to support Israel in whatever it does, nor is it relevant that Israelis are fearful of their armed opponents. There are many countries that have supporters in the US and whose residents fear their neighbors. And what of it?

It is one thing to have a domestic lobby calling all the shots (pun intended), silencing all Congressional debate, such as is the case with the NRA. It is quite another for a tiny state on the other side of the world to do so. The behavior of the Congress, particularly the House, as a troupe of trained seals for Israel would be hilarious if it were not so terrifying. As Romney speaks, some in Congress are busy trying to get a resolution supporting the ludicrous Levy report.

Romney’s remarks in Jerusalem say that Israel is in charge of US foreign policy regarding the Jewish State, that Israel should feel free to do as it wishes with no limitations, whether it be starting a war with Iran, considering the capital Jerusalem, but most of all in continuing the ethnic cleansing which doesn’t even bear mentioning by Romney because it would upset those who can exert power and influence in American politics. If it can be ignored on the beaches of Tel Aviv, it can be ignored in the States.

I know of no example in history where such a tiny political entity as Israel has had the power of such a titan as the US on call. Vietnam has 10 times the population and 16 times the area of Israel, yet LBJ could call Vietnam “a piddling piss-ant country” From where does Israel come from that it dictates to the United States?

Liberty and justice for all has no meaning when Israel scoffs at the rights of the Palestinians but is unconditionally supported in a way that even a state of the union could never hope to expect from the federal government.

My fervent hope is that Americans will see and hear the Romney “spectacular” and be revolted by what it says about how a foreign power can leverage domestic support. Romney stands out as the very embodiment of the 1% that runs the U.S. at the expense of the 99% that are supposed to have a say. Romney’s words in Israel announce to the world convincingly what has long been suspected: U.S. democracy is a facade that can be manipulated by the few at the expense of the many.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kobi Richter's trenchant Israel attack analysis

Today the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an interview with Israeli Air Force veteran Kobi Richter who perfectly analyzes the folly of a pre-emptive attack by Israel on Iran. Here are Richter's points against an attack.

1) An attack will, if anything, only delay the debut of an Iranian nuclear bomb. “The choice is not between their bomb and us bombing them,” Richter replies. “The choice is between an Iranian bomb with no Israeli strike at date X, or an Iranian bomb after an Israeli strike at date X + 3.

2) An attack will cement Iranian determination to proceed with developing a nuclear bomb for it will be proven that it needs it to deter Israeli attack. Iran will not want a single bomb but many to offset the current Israeli nuclear advantage (just as was the case with the US/USSR faceoff). "“So the end result will be that, precisely because we attack Iran, the danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb falling in Gush Dan sooner or later will have gone up dramatically"

3) The economic cost to Israel of building a defense against nuclear attack will be affordable.

4) Israel, after attacking Iran, will be seen as a loose cannon, an unpredictable actor that will lash out at any and all under the second holocaust mentality. The world "will stop viewing us as a sane and enlightened nation whose survival it is morally committed to forever defend...Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt − which today are our covert and undeclared allies in the struggle against Iran, will not be able to ignore the brutal action carried out by the ‘infidels.’ Like it or not, they will be pushed into Islamic solidarity with Iran, against us."

The interviewer then says to Richter, "basically you’re saying that nuclearization is coming. Iran will go nuclear and the Middle East will go nuclear. What absolutely mustn’t happen is for this nuclearization to occur in wake of an Israeli attack. All the Israeli attack will do is make the nuclear Middle East a lot more dangerous for Israel than it would have been without it."

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Richter replies. “Posing the question as bomb versus bombing is misleading. The choice is between nuclearization that can be contained and nuclearization that cannot be contained. Following an Israeli strike, the nuclear Middle East will be unstable. Israel will not be able to handle it. And since it will also become a detested pariah state, it will not enjoy Western support, its economy will be burdened with an impossible defense budget and it will have great trouble sustaining this situation for long. The chances of its surviving the coming decades will be dramatically reduced.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Israel - born in confiscations

Adalah, "The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel", states that only 3 to 3.5% of the land within Israel (not the occupied territories taken in 1967) is owned by Arabs today, whereas in 1948, 48% of the same land was held by Arabs. Adalah has come out with an interactive map showing how land was appropriated by Israel in the early years of that state; two Israeli laws making it possible.

The Absentees' Property Law of 1950 confiscated all the land owned, possessed or used by the Arab refugees.

The Land Acquisition Law of 1953 confiscated 1.2 to 1.3 million dunams (a dunam is 1/4 acre) taken from 349 towns and villages.

The interactive map breaks down the area into districts which, when clicked, will expand to show the towns and villages affected. Take a look.

"The Story of Israel", which I put in quotes to indicate it is propaganda that Israel wishes the world to believe and which most Americans have swallowed whole, would have us think that the land was largely empty and undeveloped, waiting for Zionists to take up residence and ownership to the detriment of no one. The actual history tells us that the land was taken by any and all means and is still being taken from the indigenous people who live on it. Whether it is Israel "proper" or "within the Green Line" or in the "Occupied Territories" the process is essentially the same - theft - the only difference being when it was done and the specific tactics used to achieve it.

One vividly documented example is available at my posting on Canada Park. I strongly urge you to view the 1991 Canadian Broadcasting Company video there or directly on Google Video.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

South African and Israeli apartheid compared

As you know, comments on internet sites are often worthless, particularly if there is no moderator. But they can be very illuminating. The site Mondoweiss usually has worthwhile comment threads from thoughtful people that serve to expand upon the articles from which they are inspired.

Below is a comment from Mondoweiss reader Krauss who makes distinctions between what the whites of South Africa were about in the days of apartheid in that country and what the Israelis are about today in Palestine...

The Afrikaaners knew that they could never expel the blacks because there would be no labor, no economy and ultimately no state.

Therefore the goal was always (to suppress) them, (while) appeasing them sufficiently to quell the most obvious reasons for rebellion.

This is also why they created the bantustans, because giving local chiefs the illusion of power and letting them squabble over small patches of land allows people to get greedy and think of themselves first and foremost.
Still, all this required the building of hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. The apartheid system actually invested in the black, native population... True, the investments were kept at a minimum but it was nonetheless far more than Israel does.

Israel doesn’t try to improve life at all. It actively brutalizes the native population, steals their farms, their water, kills their cattle, lets the settlers run wild and plague and torment the farmers while the IDF soldiers watch (or even join in, laughing).

This is a slow-motion ethnic cleansing which is different from apartheid South Africa. That’s why the freedom fighters who fought apartheid have said time and again that what is happening in Palestine is worse than what went on in South Africa, as bad as it was.

Apartheid is the most vaguely proximate term available but it even it does not capture the full brutality of the Jewish state towards it’s non-Jewish population in the West Bank.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the holocaust mentality on display

Those in power, who daily oppress and try to expel as many Palestinians as they can, appeal to the world’s sympathy by claiming that those who who have no power want to throw them out. It confirms that Israel doesn’t exist in the real world.

The flag of Israel and the uniforms worn by the IDF should all have a flame icon to stand for the holocaust, because a major idea in the state and its supporters since WWII has been that it is impossible for Jews to be oppressors by virtue of the fact that they were so terribly oppressed. No other oppression can compare, no other oppression deserves the name. Jews have a unique right conferred by way of a colossal wrong.

But it’s pure delusion, as is all nationalism. When those who hold the delusion voice appeals based on it, the absurdity comes through loud and clear. Why did so many Slavs have to die a few decades ago? Because Germany needed living room, wasn’t it obvious? To the Germans it was.

Here is the mindset on display by Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine in a debate with Ali Abunimah on Democracy Now...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Palestinian Authority beats up Palestinians

You may hear from time to time about demands from Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to stop US funds from going to the Palestinian Authority. Her latest effort to do so was ignored by the U.S. State Department.

While this might seem like a positive thing, keeping money going to a downtrodden group, the PA is far from representative of the Palestinians and, in fact, is mainly a police force tasked with keeping down Palestinian dissent - holding a lid on any demonstrations that might displease the Israelis and the Americans who provide money. Currently, the PA is cracking down on those many Palestinians who realize the so-called Peace Process is dead and wish everyone to stop pretending that it isn't.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the mistreatment of Palestinians by the PA, written by Eoin O'Ceallaigh, who participated in the demonstrations described...

On Saturday, 30 June, approximately 1,000 people gathered in al-Manara square in Ramallah to protest the Palestinian Authority’s invitation to Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s deputy prime minister and an indicted war criminal, and demanding an end to negotiations with Israel.

The protest was swiftly and violently repressed by plain-clothed mukhabarat (secret police) thugs, with PA police coordination. The repression took the form of mukhabarat and police beating people with batons and metal chains, sexually assaulting and spitting in the face of female protestors, kidnapping and beating several people, including journalists, in police stations. Many were treated in the hospital for their injuries.
The following day there was another large protest in al-Manara Square. This time the target of anger was not only the PA’s commitment to “negotiations” with Israel, which have benefited nobody other than the colonizing power, but now the PA “security” forces who had violently beaten and humiliated people the day before.

As the march arrived outside the taxi station on al-Irsal street, the police again attacked the demonstration, this time with far more violence than the previous day. There were scenes of chaos as police thugs tore into the crowd, lashing out at anyone within range, beating people on the heads with EU-supplied batons. Mukhabarat again dragged protesters from the crowd, where at least one person was taken to a police station and beaten, before being released for treatment at the hospital...