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Disconnecting the Dots on Israel-Palestine: Is Apartheid Only A Crime When Committed Against Blacks?

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 13:45 — Bruce A. Dixon
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Disconnecting the Dots on Israel-Palestine: Is Apartheid Only A Crime When Committed Against Blacks?

Most of the world supported the struggle of African Americans against Jim Crow during the Freedom Movement. Most of the progressive black leadership in this country spoke out against the apartheid regime, advocating boycotts, divestment, sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Where are they today on apartheid Israel?

On Tuesday, November 20, Chicago congressman Danny K. Davis addressed a rally, apparently supporting the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza. I wasn't there and did not hear his remarks. I'm sure he didn't say “Israeli apartheid is fine with me, and so are the blockades and bombings of Gaza.” Doubtless he deployed the standard bipartisan phrases about Israel's “right to defend itself”, though no such right is accorded Palestinians, and found a way to use the word “peace” in a couple of sentences.

Congressman Davis is no fool. He's well aware of the massive asymmetry of practiced violence and the means to do violence in Israel-Palestine. He knows the Israelis possess US made F-16s and a vast array of American-made and licensed weapons. He voted to give much of it to them. Congressman Davis knows they have attack helicopters, hundreds of tanks, prisons and torture chambers filled to bursting, and nuclear weapons aimed at many capitals in the region, while the Hamas “missiles” are little more than unguided flying garbage cans. Davis knows there are laws disallowing marriages between Israeli Jews and Arabs, and that many roads in Israel-Palestine are for Israeli Jews only, while Palestinians are forced to drive or walk rutted, boulder-strewn paths blocked arbitrary Israeli checkpoints every few kilometers in every direction. He knows that retired archbishop Desmond Tutu is among the South Africans who have pronounced Israel's version of apartheid as more thorough, more brutal and more systematic than what they saw in their home country back in the day.

Congressman Davis is, like many other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a smart, well-informed public official, and none of this is new news to him.

Davis was around and politically active in the 1980s, when boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning the evil South African regime was a front burner issue. As a west side Chicago alderman, he talked up and tried to introduce legislation that would do just that. I recall hearing him talk about it a few times. We had a paramount moral obligation, he would say, to act in solidarity with Africans struggling against oppression and racial injustice in the motherland. After all, a quarter century earlier support of our own people's cause around the world was a vital factor in convincing the US elite to dump Jim Crow. One could have heard those same sentiments from much of the black political class of that time, many of whom are still in office today. But today, neither Congressman Davis or any of his peers have anything to say about boycotting, divesting from, or sanctioning Israel and the corporations who do business there. What happened?

The obvious question now, is why the leaders of black America's political class cannot see and denounce the aggressive militarism, the brutal occupation, and the one-sided violence of Israeli apartheid, and side with its victims, the way they did thirty years ago in South Africa, and the way the rest of the world did in our own case fifty years ago. Is it the rivers of cash which have transformed the landscape of black politics since the late 1990s? Is it the black political class's blind subservience to their First Black President, also well acquainted with the facts of Israeli occupation and apartheid, and thoroughly committed to maintaining and justifying the massive imbalance in violence and the means to perpetrate it?

Whatever its root cause, the current support of the black political class for Israel's maintenance of a colonial settler state constitutes a massive, hypocritical hole in their collective souls. Most of the world backed our own struggle against Jim Crow, and we congratulated ourselves for contributing to the downfall of the old regime in South Africa. And now, when our turn comes round again, when the United States is the only government capable of restraining the vicious Israeli onslaught, just by the threat of its disapproval, its non-renewal of loan guarantees or weapons giveways or military contracts ---- we are silent.

For African Americans, our hypocrisy goes deeper and further than our leaders. It filters all the way down to ordinary people whose attachment to their First Black President is so uncritical that they decouple their FBP from any responsibility for his policies. Many Obama supporters say they oppose Israeli aggression and wring their hands wishing the president they voted for and hustled others into voting for would do something different. In the eyes of the rest of the world, as Margaret Kimberley points out, they are as guilty of abetting Israeli atrocities as the rabid partisans of AIPAC.

What would Congressman Davis --- what would an ordinary black American who voted for Barack Obama, an American who never once even dreamed of threatening to withdraw her support over his support for the brutal Israeli regime tell a child in Gaza today? It's a question that luckily, most will never have to answer. That's a good thing. Because they don't have any good answers.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached at:bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com

Obama’s Mideast Policy Burns

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. believes it can manipulate jihadi fighters in a holy war against the West’s enemies in the Muslim world. However, “Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza threatens to unravel the Salafist-Qatari-Saudi-NATO axis, for one simple and irreducible reason: there is no place for the racist settler state in this post-Arab Spring equation.”

Obama’s Mideast Policy Burns

“The Euro-American strategy to divert and control the Arab Spring through an armed alliance with Muslim fundamentalist fighters and their royal Arab financiers, has always contained a fatal flaw: Israel.”

As African Americans circle the wagons around Susan Rice, one of the most bellicose, bomb-at-the-drop-of-a-hat, Africa-bashing professional servants of power in Washington, America’s carefully crafted house of cards in the Middle East faces collapse.

The Euro-American strategy to divert and control the Arab Spring through an armed alliance with Muslim fundamentalist fighters and their royal Arab financiers, has always contained a fatal flaw: Israel. The Jewish State’s reflexive savagery towards Palestinians threatens to disrupt, if not destroy, the inherently unstable pact between the Great Satans of Washington, London and Paris, the Great Kleptocrats of Riyahd and Doha, and the martyrdom-seeking armies of Salafist Islam.

The unholy alliance is a retooling of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia-Pakistan axis that created the global jihadi network – including Al Qaida – at a cost of billions, in the 1980s. The immediate purpose was to humiliate the Soviets in Afghanistan. Inevitably, a “blowback” followed. Washington emerged with a new rational for the old business of imperialism: the war on terror.

To further circumvent international law and other hindrances to imperial reach, Washington devised the doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention – where Susan Rice makes her mark as madwoman, demanding blockades and air strikes against Sudan, invasion of Somalia, embargoes on little Eritrea, and regime change in Libya.

The convulsions of the Arab Spring, leading to regime change of the most unwelcome kind for the West in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of 2011, set the stage for an even closer collaboration between NATO and the monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar – and for a new and potentially cataclysmic blowback. The Euro-Americans, confronting the prospect of sudden eviction from an Arab world in flux, quickly regrouped to “get out in front” of the Arab Spring through a massive show of “humanitarian” force in Libya. However, NATO’s air armada needed foot soldiers to seize the ground in Libya, and to physically shove the knife into Muammar Gaddafi’s backside. Just as in Afghanistan three decades earlier, the Americans turned to the Salafists for fighters and to the thieving Arab royals of Saudi Arabia and Qatar for financing and political cover. Susan Rice, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was credited with convincing President Obama to join the French-initiated war to topple Gaddafi.

“It was only a matter of time before significant elements of the U.S.-empowered jihadis in Libya turned against their masters.”

It is silly to believe that Rice, or anyone other than Obama, was the pivotal person in this grand imperial maneuver. Rather, the sudden and savage assault on Libya was a collective imperial response to Europe and America’s greatest nightmare: mass revolutions in the Arab world, which would mean eviction of the West. However, Rice’s bellicosity and ambition, having thrust her into a key player position, conspired also to place her at the center of the blowback.

It was only a matter of time before significant elements of the U.S.-empowered jihadis in Libya turned against their masters. And there is no doubt that U.S. political and intelligence leaders saw it coming. When the U.S. ambassador and his entourage were under attack in Benghazi, two unarmed drones were diverted from surveillance duties over Derna, about 100 miles to the east. Derna is a center of jihadi activism, the town that accounted for the highest concentrations of Al Qaida fighters in the Iraq war. Apparently, the U.S. maintained constant surveillance of the city and its environs – and, presumably, other jihadi strongholds – all the while projecting the fiction that the U.S. had empowered the “good” (meaning, pro-American) Islamists in Libya.

Susan Rice was carrying out her official duty – to lie – when she read purported intelligence reports on CBS Face the Nation, September 16, suggesting the September 11 attacks “began spontaneously” as a protest against an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S. The explanation was consistent with the official U.S. “line” covering the entirety of the West’s post-Arab Spring offensive in the Middle East, which has since engulfed Syria. Libya’s “good” jihadis have joined Salafists from throughout the Sunni Arab world, largely bankrolled by the terrified feudal regimes in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in a holy war that Washington has no choice but to pretend it can, somehow, control to its geopolitical advantage.

The Republicans, who have no problem with Obama’s adventures in Libya and Syria – as Mitt Romney repeatedly affirmed in the third presidential debate – attempt to make partisan points from the obvious falsity of Rice’s remarks. Like Romney, Senator John McCain and other GOP warmongers are saying they could do a better job of projecting U.S. power in the region, through the application of more direct U.S. military force – an approach that would even more quickly unravel the unsustainable alliances in which the Obama administration is so deeply invested.

“The Americans and Europeans now scramble to constrain Israel, lest it enflame Arab nationalism and Islamist sensibilities beyond all manageability.”

As if the contradictions of U.S. Middle East policy were not already acute enough, the Israelis now force their putrid selves into the maelstrom. Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza threatens to unravel the Salafist-Qatari-Saudi-NATO axis, for one simple and irreducible reason: there is no place for the racist settler state in this post-Arab Spring equation. Which explains why Israel has chosen to make its presence so dramatically felt at this time – why it initiated the current crisis with its assassination of Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari, last week, setting off the Palestinian rocket barrage.

The Israelis do not see themselves at the center of Washington’s evolving strategy for continued western hegemony in the Middle East, and are forcing the issue in the usual manner: by killing Palestinians. The Americans and Europeans now scramble to constrain Israel, lest it enflame Arab nationalism and Islamist sensibilities beyond all manageability, wrecking the fragile political configurations the West has constructed since the fall of Egypt’s Mubarak, the war on Libya and the torture of Syria.

Washington understands that it cannot successfully channel a holy war against Syria’s Alawite President Assad and Shiite Iran while its “unshakeable ally,” the Jewish State, wages war on Palestinian Sunnis. It is a fatal contradiction in a region that, only two years ago, seemed to be slipping from the West’s grasp. U.S. imperialism finds itself in deep crisis in the world’s most volatile, and energy-rich, region.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Black congressman James Clyburn is deeply worried about the racial implications of Republican claims that Susan Rice is not “competent” or “qualified” to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. For Clyburn, this represents a grave problem for Black America. It is actually a perfect measure of how irrelevant the Black Misleadership Class has become to the burning issues facing mankind.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at:Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Freedom Rider: American Guilt in Gaza

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Israel is often described as a regional superpower, but the whole world knows that’s only because the Jewish State is backed to the hilt by the global superpower: the U.S. The fruits of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, “the carnage, the broken bodies, and the dead children can all be laid at America’s door.”

“In the eyes of the rest of the world, the American people become complicit in Israel’s crimes.”

Freedom Rider: American Guilt in Gaza

Ever since Israel was founded in 1947, Americans have been fed a steady diet of propaganda which tells us that we have no better friend in the world than the zionist state. As always in foreign policy issues, it isn’t clear how “we,” that is to say the average citizen, is ever better off because of machinations emanating from Washington. The truth is exactly the opposite. The average American is worse off, much worse off because of Israel’s role as the undeclared 51st American state.

In every presidential election Americans who can’t support the two major party candidates are advised to get with the program and choose “the lesser of two evils.” There is no lesser evil in American politics, not when this country has doomed itself and its people by supporting nations like Israel which use state sponsored terror against millions of human beings in order to get what they want.

Israel is once again killing people in Gaza, a reported 139 so far and most of these victims are women and children. Of course this carnage is carried out with impunity, because Israel knows that the United States will support whatever actions it takes, no matter how awful they are. While the world community may rail at Israel when it kills people in Gaza, or Lebanon or wherever else it may choose, the U.S. uses its United Nations security council veto power to keep that body from taking even the most cosmetic and useless action. In the eyes of the rest of the world, the American people become complicit in Israel’s crimes.

“Israel knows that the United States will support whatever actions it takes, no matter how awful they are.”

The reward for the countless humiliations is more disrespect. America’s “friend” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quite openly supported the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney. There was not even a pretense of diplomatic niceties or respect for the country without whom Israel wouldn’t exist. Romney traveled to Israel with one of his chief fund raisers, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to recieve Netanyahu‘s blessing. Adelson spent nearly $50 million in support of Republican candidates across the country and Romney was only the most visible. As always, rich Americans use their influence to insure that no one gets any ideas about straying outside the sanctioned lines of discourse.

The openly evil Netanyahu does not suffer subtlety gladly. Despite Obama’s constant support of Israel, he cannot get any love back from the Israelis. So Netanyahu used the aftermath of an American election to make his point that he will do whatever he wants. He wins even if he seems to lose.

Israel also has an upcoming election to be held in January 2013. Israeli elections are very dangerous for neighboring people, who bear the brunt of that nation’s viciousness whenever it is time for the Israeli public to be appeased and comforted by the sight of dead Arabs.

“Israel would not be able to act without American arms and money.”

Barack Obama has a different problem. He must appear at least somewhat diffident about slaughtering people and give the impression of being a peace maker reluctant to do battle. Of course Israel makes his efforts all the more difficult by killing people in earnest when the president traveled to Myanmar. Despite his peace prize laureate photo ops, he was forced to back Israel in its terror directed at Gaza. “There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,“ said the man who routinely sends drones to Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to carry out his kill list orders.

It isn’t clear at all how Obama or any other American president can be thought of as the lesser of two evils when he publicly gives the go ahead for slaughter. No matter how reluctant American presidents seem to be in endorsing periodic Israeli killing sprees, Israel would not be able to act without American arms and money.

The carnage, the broken bodies, and the dead children can all be laid at America’s door. The United States is the world’s only super power and the perpetrator of this crime is America’s friend. Perhaps there will be no more silly questions about why “they” hate us. It isn’t because they don’t want democracy or hate our way of life. They hate us because we keep killing their people. “They” don’t see anything lesser about our evil.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at:http://freedomrider.blogspot.com

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at:Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com

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