11.16.12 Cut off Israel, now!
I really wish I had posted this before the latest hostilities between Israel and Hamas. I have indeed had this one in my head since a couple of weeks ago. Now, I will look mean because Israel is once again painting itself as a hapless victim with no choice but to inflict massive pain on its enemies. And, to be fair, if I were living in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, I wouldn’t care right now who is right and wrong, historically — I would simply want my state to protect me.
But, let’s take a step back. Jews were victims for thousands of years, culminating in the Holocaust. Israel was in extremely dangerous circumstances, mostly not of its own making, through the 1970s or early 1980s. But once Israel began appropriating land that did not belong to it and populating it with civilians who had no business being there (and in defiance of international law), it became — on balance — the perpetrator, not the victim. That balance has become more and more out of whack in the years since. Even during the Oslo peace process, Israel kept stealing land and populating it with civilians. In the last decade, Israelis have elected one after another hard right wing government. It seems that there is no left remaining in that country. When the masses choose bigotry and violence, there is no more valid claim to victimhood.
This is not to say the Palestinians (or the Arab states, in general) have been all good. Hardly. Mostly, I think they and the Israelis deserve each other.
I have long believed that the US should have been reducing aid to Israel year by year, as long as that country kept up its insidious aggression. I think all aid should have been cut off by the turn of the century.
What has happened in the past year, brings a new urgency to this call. Just as Israel has been clamoring for a disastrous war with Iran, they have also begun meddling in our internal affairs. That’s right: your and my tax dollars have been underwriting Bibi Netanyahu’s blatant alliance with Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney, and significant portions of the GOP to drive Barack Obama from office.
This is beyond the pale.
Right-wing Jewish Americans (many of whom are avowed neocons) and their buddies among Christian fundamentalists who believe that Israeli instigated war will bring back Jesus, have been claiming for decades that Israel is a crucial, strategic ally: a bulwark in the Middle East. During the Cold War, there may have been a wee bit of truth to that, since every international conflict was related to the epic struggle between the US and the Soviets.
The fall of the Soviet Union begs the question: strategic bulwark against what? The answer? A bulwark against the enmity the US faces as a result of its alliance with Israel. That is, the US needs Israel as an ally because Israel is the US’s ally.
This country cannot be an honest broker in the Middle East, as long as it underwrites everything that Israel does, not only in taxpayer dollars, but also in UN votes and diplomacy.
The time has come to shed ourselves of this albatross. Not only would this save us a boatload of cash and enhance our diplomatic standing in the world, it is also the morally correct thing to do.
Except where there is an overwhelming justification, the US should not be associating itself with right-wing hegemonic states.Further, Israeli misbehavior is not in Israel’s own interest. Israel has nearly extinguished any possibility of a two-state solution, as it stumbles along an inevitable path toward outright fascism and apartheid. A giant splash of cold water from an erstwhile blind ally (the US) might force Israel back from its self-created brink and towards a sustainable future. If throwing that cold water on Israeli aggression is not the morally correct thing to do, I don’t know what is.
©2012 Keith Berner