We’re coming up on the 60th Anniversary of the Nakba and the Founding of Israel. It being an election season play particular attention (or don’t if you prefer to keep your lunch) to the politicians lining up to sing the Hatikva, appropriately played after the US Anthem. Even in the fawning and tears of empathy for poor little Israel’s plight hierarchy must be observed. Nothing, except possibly the sight of Bono, pisses me off more than hypocrisy and duplicity on Palestine. I have fallen off my chair on 17 different occasions as my screaming rage at NPR coverage of Palestine chokes me and leaves me writhing on the ground gasping for air. I ought to sue. And what of the utterly dreary liberal Israeli mouthpiece Mark Regev? I think the English term is “right git”, but I could be wrong.
As a sign of fidelity to the Zionist cause and their openness to the generosity of Zionist campaign contributors a committee has been set up by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations with the rather bland name of the National Committee for Israel 60th to give politicians a forum to prove their Israeli bona fides. And to make sure that no one’s claim a deep love of Israel can be judged any deeper or shallower than the other, and frankly as part of an ongoing imperialist campaign against Iran, The Big Three are all invited….and with equal billing! Oh such harmony!
They may disagree on how many thousands of troops to keep in Iraq, but let their be no mistake, at least at election time, the US political establishment is of one mind as to the state of Israel; it’s role as the most vital bastion of imperial power in the Middle East is unquestioned.
Clinton, Obama and McCain all get the post of Vice Chairman of the Committee that also includes the Senior Bush and the other Clinton. If that is not enough, every single living Secretary of State will serve on the Committee that will plan “celebrations” for the State of Israel’s founding around the United States. No doubt these events will also be used as forums, especially by Republicans but don’t count Clinton and Obama out, to whip up the rhetoric against Iran. All the candidates will use Iran as a bete noir in the campaign, but the reality behind much of the threats shouldn’t be taken lightly. Another war in the Middle East seems a real possibility, and on a certain time scale, an inevitability.
They ought to show up to the party; they paid for it. Or rather we paid for it. Lot’s of US companies made fortunes out of the “aid” to Israel which was simply funneled back into many American speculators and companies like Caterpillar. Nearly unique among imperial clients though, Israel has been allowed to keep a substantial portion of that money in their own economy. This is one of the major reasons for Israel’s high living standard. The party’s paid for to the tune of 101,190.8 million dollars from 1947 to 2007. The figure is from the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. The real number is certainly larger and will probably never be known.
That’s about $23,000 a head for each of the 4.4 million recognized Palestinian refugees that Israel’s existence has scattered into the bleak and impoverished refugee camps throughout the Middle East where they are both reviled as a radicalizing force and used as pawns in the power games of Hashemites and more modern elites.
The cost per dead as a result of the continuous war against the Palestinians as well as all of the ancillary ones is unknowable and how could you dare put a price on it. No, there is nothing to celebrate in Israel’s 60 years of aggression, hubris, racism and terror.
I will be in the streets demonstrating for Palestinian self-determination those days the elites will be denying it and urge others to as well. There are demonstrations, teach-ins and other actions around the country to mark the catastrophe. Dearborn, with its huge Arab population along with Detroit generally, often sees very large demonstrations and events. I expect the conflict to heat up significantly in the Middle East over the coming months. The plight of the Palestinians is as grave, if not graver, than at any time.
We can’t use anniversaries to mourn, but need them to organize to act today. A campaign needs to be built that is unapologetically and vocally pro-Palestinian. The campaigns against the brutal US backed regimes of the 1980’s Central America and the South African divestment campaigns point to the possibilities of organizing. Al-Adwa is to have a conference in California the weekend of May 16th optimistically subtitled “Time to Return”. Check some of the activist sites on my links for other actions coming up in support of Palestine in the coming weeks.
As far the candidates; how could any candidate who supports Israel’s policies warrant even the slightest support from one who claims human rights as a principle, let alone support for democracy and self-determination? Nader and McKinney seem to be downright revolutionary by their support of Palestinian rights these days. This May 14th I am shouting “Freedom for Palestine!”. The task is to create a movement that can contribute to that aim instead of just wishing for it, no matter how passionately.
In a remarkable speech, one of his very last, Edward Said places the Palestinian struggle in the context of the common struggle for human dignity and more precisely as the vanguard movement against empire. Listen while you surf, make dinner, watch the baby or have a moment to hear all of Said’s intellectual brilliance, outraged humanism and acute observations. On Dignity and Solidarity