May 142018
 

… and still counting.

The emperor and his henchmen seem determined to unleash a new world war. I am not, for the moment, referring to the latest insults against Iran (though the gods above know there is reason to). I am asking myself: Where does he want all the Palestinians to go? Does he expect Palestinians whose homes on the west bank get demolished by occupant settlers and those who get evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem to go quietly?  And where should they go? Or does it seem ok to just continue killing them?

Meanwhile, it has come to my attention that people are hearing two very different versions of the Palestine story. Two stories, in fact. You might think they were about two very different issues. In one of the stories there is no mention of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 adopted on December 11, 1948, which reads:

…that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

There are also a lot of other pretty important details that are left out of the story told in the US and Israel. Obviously, in the heat of the day, people will exaggerate, will be tempted to distort facts, and listeners will innocently repeat the fallacies they hear, so misconceptions are bound to get spread to a large public.

But in this, as in a number of other issues, there is more afoot than what can be explained as overly enthusiastic storytelling: One side is deliberately and systematically doctoring the story, and I am not only  referring to hawkish Israelis, but to the born-again Christians that make up much of the Zionist Lobby in the US. To many fundamentalist Christians, the “Holy Land” appears to mean as much as to fundamentalist Jews; for them human Law, not to mention international law, appears not to apply to the Holy Land. It must at all costs be saved from the “infidels”. (Nevermind that many Palestinians are Christian, too.)

I am not sufficiently well informed about the sway of born-again Christians in the US, but I understand that they were largely to blame for the rise to presidency of the remarkably ignorant and incompetent George W. Bush. To manage such a feat they must have very great power, I reason.

The fact that Israeli hawkish politicians spread all kinds of untruths about the “enemy” is understandable. So would leading politicians of any country at war. What is interesting, though, is that the majority of the Israeli public want peace. So they must be told that the enemy is a serious threat to national security. Because the hawks do not, repeat – not – want peace. They want more land.

The majority of the Palestinians also want peace, but not at any cost. Yet, the Palestinian and the Israeli authorities are not, as you see, eagerly negotiating peace, and we are told that the Palestinians are to blame for this. Yet there have been serious efforts in the past, and if Israel had not had the undivided support of the US, there would probably have been a peace accord.

This is where the Zionist Lobby comes in. The Lobby has sway on US foreign policy. The US has sway over NATO, and NATO defines my country’s foreign policy.

Any peace agreement would have to be on Israel’s terms, you see, and Israel wants the West Bank (preferably without Palestinians in it). The US supports Israel, in all conceivable shapes and forms, not least financially, and a large part of the world cannot afford to challenge the US on this score, or for that matter on any other score, as we have seen since the mad hatter came to power. The outcome of a peace agreement on Israel’s terms would, for Palestine, be nill, the end.

Nill. We are not talking about compromise here. We are talking about extermination. Extermination of Palestine. I suspect that Palestinians living on the West Bank would be given the option of leaving (they would certainly not be welcomes as refugees to Europe) or of becoming second degree citizens of Israel, without the same rights as Jews.

This is the story as I understand it: The options are pretty bleak for Palestinians and Israel would go down in history as being guilty of genocide.

Today I stumbled across a site that seemed interesting. I am, after all accusing the US of enabling Israel to continue occupying neighbouring territories and ultimately of genocide. The site is not updated anymore, but exploring its innumerable pages, I found much historically interesting material. I have not explored it at length, so I cannot vouch for it, but I found its Mission Statement attactive. http://ifamericaknew.org/about_us/

 

 

Dec 062017
 

The website of El Pais had an unusual headline this morning, one that seemed to suggest an alliance between the Pope and Iran: “El Papa e Irán se unen al intento de evitar que Trump lleve la Embajada a Jerusalén“. Later in the day, El País changed the headline, but the fact remains that Iran and the Pope agree on one score, at least.

This is a memorable day. Not only did the Pope and Iran appear to join forces, if only for a brief moment, but Finland is celebrating the centenary of its independence, and Trump ended, presumably once and for all, any US pretence of being an honest broker in the affairs of the Middle East. Trump’s announcement today, when he declared that henceforward the US embassy in Israel will be in Jerusalem, paved the way for a great leap in terms of Russian and Chinese hegemony, something you may or may not welcome.

For my part I doubt there is less injustice and poverty in Russia and China than in the US. Moreover, much as I criticise the US, this much must be said for the country: I am absolutely sure that it treats political opponents far more leniently than Russia and China.

However, outside the country, the record of disastrous US interventions all over the world knows no parallel. I put to you that accumulated US crimes against humanity, or complicity in such crimes, outnumber even those of WWII Germany.

Moreover, there is every indication that human impact on the climate will see dramatic consequences within a very short space of time. The US has turned its back on the Paris accord, whereas China seems determined to make a tremendous effort to help save the climate, and that may perhaps be worth more than political freedom. We shall see. All indicators appear to suggest that saving the climate may be worth considerable sacrifice.

Back to Jerusalem: The speech held today by the Emperor could have been written by one of Netanyahu’s script writers. It was not so much about America and American interests as about Israel, which it lauded at length as a successful democracy.

Now I assume that what is usually implied when we speak of “democracies” is not merely the right to drop a piece of paper in a ballot box. I have never been to Israel, so I must ask: Is Israel a democracy?

In Israel, are all permanent residents, regardless of race, gender or religion,

  • equal in every way before the law?
  • equally allowed to purchase and keep property and to keep inherited property?
  • equally entitled to education, health care, employment and social services?
  • equally entitled to the protection of the courts and law enforcement?

If the answer to all of these question is “yes”, well, then Israel has made, unbeknownst to me, a very good start and merely faces the challenge of upholding the law. There are some other industrialised  countries that also find this difficult, most notably the USA, where blacks need to remind the public that “black lives matter”. Racism is not theoretically condoned in the USA, so I suspect that discrimination of blacks is also a consequence of a political  system that systematically favours the wealthy and chastises the poor.

But if the answer to any of these questions is “no”, the country is not a democracy, but something rather more systemically antediluvian, governed by rules that are alien to the industrialised world, though still, perhaps common in some primitive societies.

If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, I repeat, Israel is pursuing a path that is alien to the common good, I’m afraid,  one that is similar to and as ignoble as that of systemic anti-Semitism.