Monday, November 27, 2017

Israel's Right to Defend Itself

Activist/author Anna Baltzer writes:

There is nothing defensive about denying Palestinians water.  There is nothing defensive about preventing people from having materials to build their homes.

Avreham Shalom, from Israel’s Shin Bet (secret service) acknowledged:

We must once and for all admit there is another side…that it is suffering, and that we are behaving disgracefully - this entire behavior is the results of the occupation.[i]

Back in 1937, David Ben-Gurion stated the Zionist agenda. “We must expel the Arabs and take their places. In 1938, he stated, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.”  As recently as 1998, Ariel Sharon stated: “There is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”[ii]

And Philip Giraldi points out:

Over the past 50 years, an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel at one time or another, fully 40 percent of the adult male population.[iii]

These are not defensive actions. Expelling 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 might be called ethnic cleansing, but it could hardly be considered defensive. The robber who breaks into his neighbor’s house is not defending. Withholding medical supplies to an injured neighbor is not defending. Denying him, and his children, clean water, cutting off electricity and aggressively destroying homes, schools and hospitals is not defending.

Trump’s sending Jered Kushner to Israel to work out a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is a joke because Israel does not want peace. It wants freedom to steal more land and water until Israel has it all. If it takes demolishing homes, assassinating Palestinian leaders, road blocks and building an apartheid wall, and worst of all, bombing the unarmed people of Gaza. They simply declare it an act of self-defense and there is nothing in Israel’s moral code to object.

Even Israel’s army, known for its aggression and cruelty is called Israel’s Defense Force.

Yet, with all this clearly in Israel’s repertory, our US media and politicians speak of nothing but “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Thomas Are
November 27,2017

[i] Penny Rosenwasser, Hope and Practice, Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite our Fears, (June Jordan Literary Estate Trust, 2013) p.171.
[ii] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June, 2017, p.7.
iii Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June, 2017, p.12.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Shared Values

I am waiting for it to come up on Jeopardy. The answer is, “a nation run by barbaric beggars.” The question, “What is Israel?”

How much is it now? Netanyahu begs, “Give us $3.8  billion a year, and we won’t ask for any more,” unless Israel wants to fight another war, then it will be, ”Who knows?” And to keep the American tax-payer from rioting, we are told over and over again about our “shared values.”

Yet, Who values Israel’s program of occupation, the imprisonment of children, extrajudicial executions., the demolition of homes, and the stealing of land and water from a weaker people? Who supports an apartheid wall as in the West Bank and the deliberate starving of millions of people as in Gaza?  Unfortunately, we Americans do.

Jeff Halper tells it like it is:

This occupation is not perceived as an Israeli occupation. It’s perceived as an American-Israeli occupation. It is clear that Israel couldn’t maintain this occupation for a month without the political and military support that the United States offers.[i]

I condemn Israel for its brutal betrayal of human life. But I am an American which means that I also have my hand in that dish. Israel lives on my tax money and I object too little and too seldom. I ask myself, how can I enjoy my swimming pool when my neighbor, just over the wall, turns on his faucet and nothing…no water.

I am disturbed that so few Americans are disturbed by the gross injustice we blindly support.  One thing for sure. It’s not because we have shared values. I will never accept that.

Ilan Pappe points out how wrong it all is:

The official decision to colonize was a grave violation of international law. The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to affect the existing order in the occupied territory as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the people it finds there. Another vital obligation, decreed in Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, states: The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.[ii]

Of course, these guidelines were written for a nation seeking to be guided by moral values and with a desire to be considered civilized. Thus, it was not written with Israel in mind… or the U.S. One can’t claim moral values and be silent on Palestine.

Thomas Are
November 20, 2017

[i] Tom Hayes, Challenges and Changes in 25 Years Working on Israel-Palestine Issues, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2017, p.44.
[ii] Ilan Pappe, The Biggest Prison on Earth, (Oneworld Publications, London, 2017) p. 133.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Good for Iran

Yet again, we see on the evening news a flash reporting of Iranian students taking over the U.S. embassy and yet again it is totally void of context. Nothing about the Shah’s  billion plus dollar birthday bash he threw for himself while the average Iranian struggled to put food on the table. Not a word about the 70 students shot to death by the SAVAK for demonstrating against the Shah’s opulent life-style, nor the attack forty days later when funeral services became anti-Shah demonstration when the SAVAK killed an estimated 900 students.[1]  Yet, it was then that Jimmy Carter, and I love Jimmy Carter, embraced the Shah and pledged undying support for the Shah and his regime. Carter’s commitment to supporting the Shah as an ally and allowing him refuge in  the United States, exploded into the student’s take-over of our embassy in Tehran.

I don’t hold up Iran as the perfect society, but at the same time, I am distressed that our president rattles his saber toward them.

In over 200 years, Iran has attacked nobody. Even in 1982 when Saddam Hussein attack Iran using poison gas, Iran did not retaliate saying that in doing so, innocent people would die. In the same mind, Iran has ruled out the use of nuclear weapons. When the USS Vincines shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 280 innocent people, there was no retaliation.

In their view, nuclear weapons are forbidden by God and violate Islamic morality.

Also, Flint and Hillary Mann Laverett, whose job with the CIA was to keep an eye on Iran, explain that when translating the words of Amadinajad from the Farsi, he did not say anything about driving all the Jews into the sea. What he said was that “this Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem must disappear from the page of time.”[2] That is a moral judgement, with which I agree, not a physical threat.

We should also keep in mind that Iran is home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, outside of Israel, and no one forces them to stay. Jews there feel secure and happy. Why else would they turn down Israel’s offer of money to bribe them into moving to Israel? Morsedegh, a 50 year old hospital surgeon says:

The fact is, Iran is a place where Jews feel secure and we are happy to be here. We are proud to be Iranians. I know this does not follow the Zionist script, but this is the reality.[3]  

It’s true, all over Iran one can see signs saying, “death to America.” But you can also hear taxi drivers saying, “death to traffic, or death to teen age drivers. In America, we would say, “Damn this traffic, or damn teen age drivers.” The cab driver in Iran is not literally wishing for the destruction of America any more than our drivers wish for all our young people to literally be killed and go straight to hell.

I wish we could tone down the rhetoric. Why, yet again, jump into a needless war that nobody wins? Why? Benjamin Netanyahu tries to sell Israel as the most feared bully in the neighborhood but, Iran is not buying. Good for Iran.

Thomas Are
November 14, 2017

[1] Check  out Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, (Alfred A. Knoff, 2000) p. 304-306.
[2] Flynt and Hillary Leverett, Going to Tehran, (Metropolitan Books, New York, 2013) p. 19
[3] Kim Sengupta, Iran’s Jews on Life inside Israel’s “enemy state”: We feel secure and Happy. The March 16, 2016.