At Truthdig, Chris Hedges pulls no punches in his new article on AIPAC, “AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent.” It’s rare for me to read an article this intense, well-crafted and alligned with what I’ve come to understand.
What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the world’s poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control.
Hedges has written a long and intense article that address many of my most pressing concerns about the dicection in which the United States has been going. Note, especially, this description of nationalism (by Danilo Kis) set forth in Hedges’ article:
“The nationalist is by definition an ignoramus,” the Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš wrote. “Nationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, that’s to say national, that’s to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hell—it’s other people (other nations, another tribe). They don’t even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own images—as nationalists.”
As Chris Hedges so eloquently points out, we are a very sick society here in the U.S., and it’s time to start changing things in big ways and small ways. Here’s a small way that could become a big way if we tap into the power of crowd sourcing. We need to speak out about these injustices, even in polite company–especially in polite company. I sometimes gently remind people of the travesty of the cancerous military-industrial complex that is running America, and when I do, most people looked at me like I am being inappropriate. So what that we burn $2B/week in Afghanistan? Let’s talk about the professional sports or something happier. Hedges’ writing reminds me that I can’t think of anything happier than wresting control of the treasure from the ultra-nationalist warmongers and turning control of this country back to those who would seek sustainable health and meaningful information for the People. So that’s my take-away. It’s time to speak up more–to name the elephant in the room. This incessant spying, lying, censorship and warmongering are not consistent with a nation that supposedly treasures liberty.
The Israelis don’t trust other people to describe what really happened. Therefore, they seized the evidence. Amy Goodman reports:
Who frames the narrative? After the Israeli military raided the Gaza aid flotilla and killed nine of the activists onboard, they detained almost everyone else—700 activists and journalists—hauled them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, and kept them largely out of communication with family, press and lawyers for days. The Israeli government confiscated every recording and communication device it could find, devices containing almost all the recorded evidence of the raid. The Israelis selected, edited, released footage they wanted the world to see.
Here’s more, including discussion by Paul McGeough, chief correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald and Kate Geraghty, photographer with the Sydney Morning Herald:
KATE GERAGHTY: Yes. I was photographing, standing right next to Paul. And I was looking over the side of the boat, as the commando came—an Israeli commando came up towards us. So I was photographing and basically got hit on the arm just above my elbow, which knocked me about a meter, about a meter and a half. And then, I was immediately sick. And then the commando came toward me and—
AMY GOODMAN: Sick, you mean—you mean you were throwing up?
KATE GERAGHTY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then a commando wrestled my camera off me. And they had guns, so, you know, we just said basically, as Paul mentioned, that we’re Australian journalists, we’re with the Sydney Morning Herald. And that didn’t make any difference.
[More . . . ]
How much sway does Israel and its AIPAC lobbyists have over Congress? More than you’d ever believe:
Aipac has persuaded more than three-quarters of the members of the US House of Representatives to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel and urging the US to “reinforce” its relationship with the Jewish state.
I like the new law passed by Israel regarding organ donation. If you want to receive one, you’d better be willing to give one up, as explained by the AP:
Israel is launching a potentially trailblazing experiment in organ donation: Sign a donor card, and you and your family move up in line for a transplant if one is needed.The new law is the first of its kind in the world . . .
Israel is one of the countries most fervently criticizing Iran in Iran’s quest for nuclear research (see here and here). Al Jazeera English notes, however, that Israel hasn’t even signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Israeli lobby is at it again, according to a recent article by the U.K. Guardian. If you are against Israel’s illegal settlements on the land of Palestinians, you must supposedly be for ethnic cleansing of Jews:
The Israel Project, with an advisory board that includes 20 members of Congress from both parties, issued the confidential document to its supporters at about the time Obama came to power in January.
The report, marked as “not for distribution or publication” but since widely disseminated outside of the organisation, says that those who back the removal of the settlements should be told they are supporting ethnic cleansing and antisemitism. The guide offers what it describes as “the best settlement argument”.
Not coincidentally, there is a growing movement among British unions for the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel for its treatment of Palestinians and its failure to work toward peace.
Just maybe, attitudes of Americans are changing regarding Israeli policy regarding the Palestinian people. A debate has begun to surface in Congress, small but significant. Consider this excerpt from this Truthout article byIra Chernus:
“The fact that there is any debate at all on this issue in Congress marks a sea change in Washington.” . . .
“What the hell do they want from me?” Netanyahu reportedly complained after his talk with Obama. In the weeks and months ahead, we can expect a growing chorus in the US Congress to echo the changing views of American Jews and answer: We want you to heed the president’s call to stop settlement construction completely, comply with international law, and open the door to serious negotiations with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution. Every time that answer is heard publicly, it widens the crack in AIPAC’s wall and brings us closer to the day when that wall, inevitably, crumbles.
In a U.K. Guardian article entitled, “The Paradox of Israel’s Pursuit of Might,” long-time admirer of Israel Max Hastings writes of his disillusionment regarding Israel’s ambitions:
I was a correspondent there in October 1973, during the Yom Kippur war. It was an extraordinarily moving spectacle, to behold the people of Israel rallying to meet what they perceived as a threat to their national survival. One morning I stood on the Golan Heights and watched Israeli tanks duelling with the Syrians, amid pillars of smoke and flame . . .
For someone like me, who enjoyed a love affair with Israel 40 years ago, it is heart-breaking to see the story come to such a pass. It is because so many of us so much want to see Israel prosper in security and peace that we share a sense of tragedy that 61 years after the state was born amid such lofty ideals, it should be led by such a man as Bibi Netanyahu, committed to policies which can yield nothing honourable or lasting.