Isramerica: apartheid or survival
It’s interesting to watch the extent the American government is willing to go in order to remain strapped to Israel even as Netanyahu and Co. plummet off a cliff. America’s leadership is so eager to not only sabotage its own empire, but also its “friend’s” home, that it has committed the very altruistic act of purchasing the straps that will keep the countries hopelessly bound together as they both fall to their certain deaths.
These binds are costly — $30 billion dollars over the next decade in defense aid for Israel — even as the US endures mass unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, and recently experienced a fatiguing brawl in the spirit of securing some kind of affordable healthcare even as Israel enjoys universal coverage.
Israel’s army is an extension of the US army, and the two countries usually stand in stark, unified contrast to the rest of the world’s vote. A typical United Nations vote calling for a two-state solution based on the right of return and compensation for the Palestinians looks like this: 164 nations in favor, 7 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) and 4 absentions.
Israel, United States, Palau. It’s like the three musketeers if Dumas ended his novel with the IDF mowing down civilians bringing wheelchairs and medicine to Palestinians.
I mean, holy shit. If you asked me the limit of the United States’s willingness to go to bat for Israel over crazy authoritarian behavior, I would probably have said, “Well, there’s no way they would defend the IDF storming an aid ship — like heavily armed pirates — using European legislators and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire as target practice.”
Yet, here we are. I must say, this is by far the most tepid response I’ve ever seen from the Conservatives and AIPAC when it comes to defending the heinous crimes committed by Israel on a daily basis. The most spirited hate mail I received today concerned some Israel propaganda videos allegedly showing civilians aboard the Flotilla fighting the invading IDF soldiers. The nerve! Anyone who doesn’t allow a Israeli soldier to plant a bullet between their eyes is clearly a raging anti-Semite.
The international condemnation of the Flotilla massacre is extremely encouraging. Ten thousand protesters marched in Turkey to oppose the slaughter, and Turkey’s prime minister referred to Flotilla as “state terrorism” on the part of Israel. International protests erupted across the globe, and this time, the loudest defender of Israel’s action is…Israel.
Israel defended its actions, saying its soldiers were ambushed with knives and metal bars — as well as handguns wrested from the commandos — during the late-night raid, which occurred about 40 miles off Israel’s coast.
Clearly, the Flotilla civilians were heavily armed…which is why no IDF soldier lost their life, but they did manage to slaughter nine civilians (the conservative estimate,) while wounding dozens more.
This event is a microcosm of Israel’s larger apartheid and suppression. In 2008, Israel killed 1,400 Palestinian civilians. Thirteen Israeli soldiers died, and three of those were from friendly fire. This is the kind of disproportionate bloodbath that occurs in Gaza, and the days of Israel being able to throw up its hands and cry, “We’re just defending ourselves!” are over.
President Obama has been remarkably quiet about all this. I know earlier he was busy worrying about if his barbecue would be rained out, while Netanyahu quietly cancelled his trip to the U.S. The perpetual buddy cop flick that is “Isramerica” tends to cool it every few months when Israel systematically murders some Palestinians and the world screams for justice.
When the White House was finally forced to say something — anything — about the carnage, they sacrificed the nearest suit with an official title to the press corps, press secretary Bill Burton, who issued a statement in Chicago, where U.S. President Barack Obama is spending the Memorial Day holiday with his family.
Burton said the United States “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained” in the Israeli raid. He added the administration is currently “working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.”
What the White House may be trying to “understand” is the evolution of the Isramerica relationship. Nowhere is it written that the US must forever act as Israel’s accomplice.
It’s true that, for many years, the Jewish state was a helpful ally to the United States because of its advantageous geopolitical situation in the Middle East.
Yet, now it’s clear that this “special relationship” is doing far more harm than good, which is why the U.S. must now defend grossly hypocritical policies on an almost daily basis.
For example, the US has strongly condemned Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy even though it’s the world’s worst kept secret that Israel has nuclear weapons — lots of ’em. And to those who say Israel can be trusted with nukes: Israel is the one who just slaughtered civilians aboard an aid vessel, commits war crimes, shelled the UN, and displays the positively sociopathic quality of starving an entire population (65% under the age of 18) as its leaders claim the blockade is nothing more than putting the “Palestinians on a diet.”
Imagine if Iran treated any people in this fashion. Imagine if Iran stormed an aid ship, shot up civilians, and paraded around, pounding its chest in the aftermath.
The hypocrisy is now too blant for the world — even the famously isolated United States — to ignore any longer. Don’t get me wrong, AIPAC will recover and start screeching that we’re all a bunch of Jew haters tomorrow, but this blowback did definitely stun them. The world instantaneously reacted in an emotional hysteria — the way human beings with beating hearts should react when confronted with gross injustice.
The internet is a huge, huge blow to propaganda machines like AIPAC. They can’t control the message, and so the video of Flotilla, and the subsequent protests (including this photo of a 21-year-old American activist, who lost an eye after being shot in the face with a tear gas canister by Israeli forces) reached an international audience without AIPAC having a chance to “handle” and “shape” the narrative. The message reached the people, raw and uncensored.