Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Israel and Zionism: I just don't get it

House Minority Leader and champion noontime tippler John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently jumped on a remark by Senator Barack Obama, claiming Obama had insulted the state of Israel. Here's what Obama said:
But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that ... I want to solve the problem... -Barack Obama, May 12, 2008 in an interview with The Atlantic.
Boehner called out the remark as a criticism of Israel, which he termed a "critical American ally and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East." You can read Jake Tapper's analysis of the exchange here. But let's leave aside Boehner's pathetic and desperate attempt to besmirch Obama and examine a different question: Why is United States foreign policy so blatantly biased in favor of Israel?

The bias, of course, is undeniable. Since Israel was founded in 1947, the United States has provided $91 billion in direct aid, most of it for military expenditures, dwarfing aid to any other country in the world. Israeli spies have penetrated the highest levels of the US government. Israel is in violation of over 50 UN resolutions.

Israel continues to build Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories in defiance of all international law, and over the feeble objections of the United States. Israel unilaterally invaded Lebanon in 1982 and again in 2006. In both cases, civilian areas were indiscriminately bombed.

An illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank
So, again, the question is this: Why? Why does the United States allow this rogue nation to insult, ignore, and abuse? Support for Israel is bipartisan, at least at the highest levels of American government: every president from Truman to Junior has been unflagging in his support. The transparent hypocrisy of this support was never more clearly illustrated than when Junior referred to suspected war criminal (and Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon, the "Butcher of Beirut," as a "man of peace."

Here's another tidbit from Obama's interview:
"...the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience." -ibidem
I don't understand. What is "fundamentally just" about the idea of a secure Jewish state? Especially when it comes at the expense of a guiltless, impoverished Palestinian people. Barack Obama may be our last, best choice for president, but in this, he shows very little imagination.

Of course, even more telling is Boehner's response to Obama's statements. One can only imagine Boehner, well into his third martini, directing some eager beaver staffer to pore through the Atlantic interview to "shee 'f he said anuhthin' we kin use." Anything less than absolute support for Israel is, for some reason, verboten and deemed as lethal to one's political career.

Israeli justice
To me, to my way of thinking, and, I have to believe to that of the majority of the American public, Israeli misbehavior, brutality, and arrogance wears very thin. I don't believe that public support for Israel is nearly as unqualified as it is with the various power-brokers in Washington.

Israeli policy toward the Palestinians is brutal, demeaning, and carries a whiff of the very treatment to which Jews were subjected during... well, you can finish that thought yourself. So I ask again: why?

Does this scene remind you of anything?


Shus li said...

Boehner needs to be smacked in the face every time he emotes.

I've been thinking a lot about Israel's transgression since watching a video of a Palestinian child yesterday (that video will appear on my blog soon). Israel is committing genocide on the Palestine people, and the U.S. is funding Israel to do so.

Of course U.S. considers Israel an ally - Israel is the mirror image of U.S. brutality and aggression. I remember the U.S. allowing the bombing of civilians in Lebanon in 2006; Isreal was given a two-week time frame to stop. Cluster bombs (supplied by the U.S.) were dropped on Lebanon for little kids to pick up. And not much of a stir in mainstream media about the whole thing.

This is the kind of thing that goes along with the existence of nation-states, no matter how "democratic" they proclaim themselves to be

Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.

Ridwan said...

Great post Dade. I have been travelling and I am catching up on posts so I am a little late here.

What Israel is doing is not like apartheid, it's worse.

I worry that under Hillary and Obama it will be business as usual.

Peace to you.