May 4, 2008
The Three Stooges and Israel
McCain criticises Carter’s meeting with Hamas, calling it ‘a grave and dangerous mistake for an American leader.’ (Photo: Reuters)
By Stuart Littlewood
I don’t know about you, but Hillary Rodham Clinton scares the pants off me.
“I want the Iranians to know that if I am president, we will attack Iran,” she ranted when asked what she’d do if Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel. Not only that, she’ll “totally obliterate them”… 70 million people.
Jeepers… what kind of lunatic would drag us all into World War 3 to defend a lawless, racist regime like Israel?
I see the Council on Foreign Relations helps keep tabs on the stooge-for-Israel inclinations of each presidential candidate, so how’s Hillary doing? “Clinton co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006,” says the CFR. “She also sponsored a Senate resolution in 2007 calling for the immediate and unconditional release of soldiers of Israel held captive by Hamas and Hezbollah.”
Was she concerned about the 9,000 Palestinians, including women and children, abducted from their homes and held in Israeli jails? Apparently not.
Since taking office in 2000, Clinton has regularly supported military and financial aid packages to Israel. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) she spouted the now-compulsory mantra: Hamas should not be recognised “until it renounces violence and terror and recognises Israel’s right to exist.”
She supports Israel’s ‘security wall’ and its declared purpose of preventing terrorist attacks. Does she support the wall’s undeclared purpose – which has nothing to do with security – and the way it bites deep into Palestinian territory?
Barack Obama has said the United States must isolate Hamas. He also co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and called on the Palestinian leadership to “recognise Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region”. OK, why don’t America and Israel get serious about implementing the dozens of UN resolutions on the subject? He doesn’t say.
He called Carter’s meeting with Hamas leaders “a bad idea”, so what’s his pledge to talk with US adversaries without preconditions worth? If elected, Obama will insist on fully funding military assistance to Israel. Does this mean paying them even more billions of US tax dollars so that they can fire even more high-tech munitions at Gaza, vaporize more women and kids and knock out more infrastructure that Britain and the EU paid for?
John Sidney McCain the Third says he’s “proudly pro-Israel” and argues that there can be no peace process “until the Palestinians recognise Israel, forswear forever the use of violence, recognise their previous agreements…” Has he asked Israel to do the same? No.
He criticises Carter’s meeting with Hamas, calling it “a grave and dangerous mistake for an American leader”. And he wants the United States to continue providing Israel with whatever military equipment and technology it needs. If elected McCain would “work to further isolate the enemies of Israel”. Surely his time would be better spent worrying about why half the world hates the US.
McCain even thinks Israel’s military action in Lebanon in 2006 was justified. He’s willing to use military force against Iran if it acquires a nuclear weapon and poses a “real threat” to Israel. Well, we know from past experience what “real threats” boil down to. And guess what: he too co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.
What is this Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act they all so desperately wanted? It doesn’t make nice reading. The idea is to heap misery on any Palestinian government in which Hamas has a hand, ignoring the fact that the resistance movement is democratically elected and shows no sign of running away. The Act demands everything from the Palestinians and nothing from Israel, which can do no wrong in Washington’s eyes but, as everyone outside America knows, is the biggest terror organisation and law-breaker in the region.
Palestinians are perfectly entitled to put up armed resistance against illegal military occupation. Nevertheless the US requires them to end their struggle, get on their knees and publicly kiss their tormentors’ ass. They must re-commit to the Road Map and the two-state solution even though the ‘irreversible facts on the ground’ Israel is hurrying to establish and the impoverished, fragmented leftovers of land the Palestinians will be left with (less than 20% of what was originally theirs) are not a recipe for peace.
The plan is plainly to support Israel’s lust for prime land and strategic resources and end all hope of Palestinian viability and self-determination.
So the three main presidential candidates are singing off the same hymn-sheet and running neck-and-neck for the job of Stooge-in-Chief. Whichever finally makes it into the White House can count on us Brits being equally well prepped, thanks to the Israel lobby’s energetic string-pulling on this side of the Atlantic too.
Israel’s prime minister Olmert says AIPAC is “the greatest supporter and friend that we have in the whole world”. It is certainly busy, claiming that “through more than 2,000 meetings with members of Congress… AIPAC activists help pass more than 100 pro-Israel legislative initiatives a year… procuring nearly $3 billion in aid critical to Israel’s security.” Lobbyists meet every member of Congress and cover every hearing on Capitol Hill that touches on the US-Israel relationship.
Ariel Sharon is famously quoted as saying: “We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” (1) Had he been available for comment today he’d probably be saying the same about the UK where AIPAC’s little brother, Friends of Israel, has succeeded in embedding itself deep inside British politics and at the heart of government. Its stated aim is to promote Israel’s interests in Parliament and sway policy.
Conservative Friends of Israel, for example, claims 80 percent of Conservative MPs and provides a programme of weekly briefings, events with speakers, and delegations to Israel. It also operates a ‘Fast Track’ for parliamentary candidates fighting target marginals at the next election.
According to senior Conservatives Israel is “a force for good in the world… In the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together”.
Are they mad? We’re talking here about a ruthless ethnocracy with racist policies, an apartheid agenda, advanced skills in state-terrorism and contempt for the UN Charter and international law.
Nevertheless MPs of all parties, and ministers, are basking in Israel’s hospitality, absorbing the propaganda and allowing themselves to be persuaded to push the interest of this foreign military power sometimes at the expense of our own. Such conduct is at odds with the second of the Seven Principles of Public Life, namely Integrity – “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”
Efforts are being made to have the influence of the Israel lobby investigated, but the people’s watchdog – the Committee on Standards in Public Life – is itself infiltrated and refuses to act.
This week former Serb officers went on trial at The Hague for ethnic cleansing. They face life sentences for murder, persecution, forced deportations and inhuman acts during the 1991-95 Balkan wars. Many people feel it’s time Israelis faced charges for similar crimes during the 60 years of occupation and catastrophe they have inflicted on the Holy Land. The list includes
• collective punishment
• targeted assassinations
• house demolitions
• wholesale slaughter
• use of indiscriminate and prohibited weapons against civilians
• land theft
• engineering humanitarian disasters
• creating medical and public health crises
• the wanton destruction of key infrastructure and public & private property
• restrictions on movement and trade
• illegal detention
• suppression of education
• denial of basic human rights
• denial of the right of refugees to return
• illegal settlements
• violation of every convention and code of conduct.
Speaking of the Holy Land, are the three stooges aware that Christian communities under Israeli occupation are being oppressed and crushed along with their Muslim neighbours?
It was heartening to read in The Guardian this week a letter signed by more than 100 prominent Jews saying they cannot celebrate the 60th birthday of a state “founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land… and that even now engages in ethnic cleansing.” They’ll celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
So there you have it. Hillary/Barack/John the Third, you would do well to steer a different course in the Arab-Israel conflict. Quit stooging, kick AIPAC into touch, back off and re-think US foreign policy.
How much support do you think you’d get for annihilating 70 million Iranians?
-Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.