William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California.
The will to change requires fortitude, a firmness of mind to endure pain, conviction in belief that stands against self-interest, and commitment to act regardless of consequences. To stand against the will of those with power and resources, those determined to force their ideology on a government appointed by the people, necessitates confrontation of intellect and will. It is ultimately a battle of individual rights against forces committed to destruction of those rights.
In a Democracy, the people give their consent to their representatives to act on their behalf believing in the integrity of their elected officials to act in their best interest. When those officials become the lackeys of a foreign government, subservient to its will, they become by consent traitors to their own. This is the conundrum that confronts the citizens of the United States of America as their Congress, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, acts, not on behalf of their constituents, but on behalf of the Zionist government of Israel and their representatives in AIPAC.
Consider the most recent act of our Congress in their AIPAC promoted Resolution (HR951) focused on Israel’s invasion against Gaza, a resolution that supported systematic savagery and destruction of a defenseless population, locked behind walls of a Jewish prison, unable to leave to seek shelter, unable to defend themselves since they have no army, no navy, no air force -- at the mercy of a merciless military that is second to none on the planet as it inflicted its devastating slaughter on the innocent, mothers and children abandoned to the pathological sickness of a people willing and able to inflict their might on the defenseless residents of Gaza. The people of the world watched this carnage on You Tube; apparently our representatives did not. No human with a soul or conscience could witness this horror without revulsion against the perpetrators and compassion for the victims. Not only did our good Christian and Jewish Congress vote to murder 346 children and another 1000 Palestinians, they blamed the incarcerated victims for the illegal invasion, noting in passing that the innocent Jewish victims had a right to defend themselves although no one in Israel or Palestine or the United Nations can say for sure where Israel is or what borders it is defending.
Even The American Conservative’s Glenn Greenwald reacted to this blatant demonstration of fawning to Israel in a column headed “When Israel Acts, Congress applauds. No debate required.”
In most of the world, the Israeli attack on Gaza is viewed as an intensely controversial act and, more commonly, an excessive, unjustifiable, and brutal assault on a trapped civilian population. But not in the United States—at least not among America’s political and opinion-making elite. Here one finds a bipartisan consensus as simplistic as it is unquestioned: Israel’s bombing campaign and invasion of Gaza are right and just, and it is the duty of the U.S. to support these actions unequivocally.
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Such unquestioned loyalty to a state that prevented the Red Cross, for an entire week, from rescuing children, huddled against their dead mothers, emaciated, alone, emotionally distraught, a state that blocked ambulances from reaching them, a state devoid of natural sympathies, a state these same legislators laud as having values identical to America’s, perhaps more truthfully, values decidedly like their own, merciless in the face of atrocities of this kind executed by those they crawl before - their owners - in obsequious adulation like slaves of old. “The world recoiled in horror,” Greenwald observes, “Angry street demonstrations erupted in Europe, and condemnations of Israel from the UN and Red Cross were unusually strident.” Five of our Congress objected, five. They alone represented the voice of the American people. “Last July, a poll from the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes found that 71% of Americans want the U.S. Government not to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (Greenwald).
Jeff Gates in “The New Heretics” makes this pointed commentary: “That attack, planned for more than a year, was scheduled between Christmas and the presidential inaugural. Within 48 hours of ending its assault, Israel had dispatched an army of bloggers to counter anti-Zionist websites. By early February, the Anti-Defamation League was bemoaning a ‘pandemic of anti-Semitism’ as the massacre fueled outrage worldwide. By early March, Israeli policy was being described as a threat to international peace and security, a violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a form of apartheid. By associating the US with such behavior, this special relationship fueled anti-American hatred, fanned the flames of radicalization and set the stage for more terrorism.” Thus does our Congress provide for the security of its citizens.
How can the American people wrest control of their Congress, a veritable U.S. Knesset in our Capital, from the Zionist forces that have hijacked it, putting America in absolute danger from a state touted as a friend, but one that is the primary cause of America’s damnation around the globe? We thought, or the majority thought, that they had accomplished this end when they elected Barack Obama president. Indeed, the election of a man that traces his heritage to the institution of slavery would suggest that he above all contenders could stand against the forces of tyranny. As representative man, he stands alone, unshackled from the “man,” obligated to no one, committed to equity for all, a man of continents not a country. But the omens are not good.
I commented on this fact in a “Letter to Michelle” and “Obama’s Third War” when his silence on the actions of the Israeli state prior to the inauguration reverberated loudly across the globe. To say, much less, do nothing while the Congress supported the dropping of white phosphorous on civilians, the locking of civilians in their apartments while the IDF took safe refuge at windows and on rooftops, the ultimate use of humans as shields, the targeted bombing of schools, hospitals, universities and UN storage depots seemed an unconscionable betrayal of the values he espoused during the campaign. Yet one had to take refuge in the practical politics that without AIPAC’s blessing and the support of the Zionist Israeli government, he could not be elected president; practicality overrides principle. So his silence against the illegal invasion of Gaza and the virtual unanimous support of the U.S. Congress for it must be listed as items one and two on a growing list of non-actions that favor Israel’s agenda whether it supports America’s or not. Add to this our anointed president’s silence about the shipment of 3000 tons of munitions sent to resupply the IDF as it unleashed its supply of American weapons on the people of Gaza, a shipment not allowed to leave from a Greek port lest the people of Greece revolt against a complicit government that might by its act give credibility to the slaughter.
Since his inauguration he has allowed his Secretary of State to go to Israel with admonishments about the continued development of settlements (colonial enclaves in reality) and the necessity of opening the gates surrounding Gaza for humanitarian purposes; laudable actions until the limitations of what was meant became evident. This bait and switch was complemented by the $900,000,000 million in aid to Gaza, a carrot made possible if the democratically elected Hamas would reconcile itself to being a servant to the PLO’s Israeli poodle, Mahmoud Abbas, recognize the state of Israel although no one yet knows where that state resides and without suggesting that Israel might want to recognize the State of Palestine, and that the Palestinians, that had just lost 1330 of its people to the Israeli blitz and thousands wounded and maimed while Israel lost 9 that it did not shoot itself, must abjure violence against Israel though Israel remains free to inflict whatever violence it desires on Palestine. One must ask if this deceit is intentional or if Bush left instructions on how an American President must behave toward its master.
But there’s more. Obama filled his appointments, most especially those that concentrate on the mid-east and Israel with Clinton era retreads that attempted to foist the illusion of the Oslo agreement as a just and equitable solution to the crisis in Palestine. It provided Israel with 76% of Palestine leaving the indigenous population with 24%. Such a deal. Then, with gall dripping from their lips, they blamed Arafat for failing to accept Israel’s magnanimous offer of 95% of the remaining area; that’s 95% of the remaining 24%, a generous 14% that Israel had not annexed or stolen outright of the lands of Palestine. Why rehire the men who failed? Isn’t that a lot like giving million dollar bonuses to the CEO’s of AIG for failing? Lincoln did not fight the Civil War in expectation that he would return the plantations to the slave owners so they could continue the exploitation of the slaves. That seems to be the mentality that governs in Israel.
And there’s more. But the sun shone briefly on this item. Charles Freeman came on the scene as an appointment to oversee mid-east intelligence, a voice of reason in a room of partisans. But the clouds gathered swiftly, blown in by Steve Rosen, the Israeli AIPAC employee, charged with spying on the United States, who called AIPAC’s sheep to bleat throughout the land the horror of appointing a person that questioned the actions of Israel to a position of such stature, oblivious it would appear to the irony of a spy leading the charge for the country he works for, i.e. Israel. Without Freeman, an apt name one might observe, there can be no free discussion about Israel and its colonial apartheid dealings with the people of Palestine, the people who lost their freedom 60 years ago.
And, finally, a potpourri of items not meant to be inclusive but indicative. Helen Thomas asked a simple question at the new President’s first press conference. What country or countries have nuclear weapons in the mid-East. Our president avoided the question much as he would by deflecting a straightforward shot at the basket by passing the ball to another and so did not have to prove himself by shooting the ball. Helen undeterred, pointed out that he had not answered the question; he did not acknowledge her. Why avoid what the world knows? Why not, if he must avoid a direct answer, suggest that every country in the mid-East, including Israel, should sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement. But no, an American President cannot answer for himself without getting permission from his handlers.
Two items to close this unfortunate litany of omissions. The Obama administration has decided, despite the economic crisis American taxpayers are footing for his stimulus package, to continue to send Israel the 30 billion promised by Bush as additional military support over and above the yearly allotment of 3 billion that has cost the American taxpayer since 1967 upwards of 134 billion depending on how thorough the analysis of the budgets is in accounting for our largesse. Given the numbers of those in his administration that have dual citizenship with Israel and those that have served in the Clinton administration and have shown their allegiance to Israel, the voices speaking on Israel’s behalf are deafening indeed. Would that such voices might speak on behalf of the American taxpayer.
I return now to the opening paragraph of this essay as I note the final item in our grievances against the new President. “The will to change requires fortitude, a firmness of mind to endure pain, conviction in belief that stands against self-interest, and commitment to act regardless of consequences.”
We took this man at his word, that he wanted change, that he would guide America in new directions, away from the amoral behavior of the Bush administration, away from the chosen elite that have run the nation into the economic toilet, and toward a new vision where the security of all is put first and equity for all is the hallmark of America once again. Now, with absolutely unfathomable logic, this man has determined that the United States must boycott the 2009 World Conference against Racism. Why? Because Israel is threatened with being relabeled an apartheid nation, a racist nation as it has demonstrated a total disregard for the multiple resolutions issued by the United Nations for its abuse of the conventions enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it is has signed.
A man that wills to effect change would not boycott what he must face; that is the coward’s way. This man knows what apartheid means; he understands what discrimination is; he has felt the blows of the white dominant elite; he can see the consequences of Israel’s policies that allow for stealing of land, for bulldozing of homes, for preventing food stuffs, medicine, fuel, water, the necessities of life to enter Gaza; he knows of their annexing of the aquifers from the Palestinians; he has heard of the plight of the people of Ramallah; he has read about the massacres in Jenin and Rafah; he realizes in his heart of hearts that what Israel has done to the people of Palestine is abominable, beyond the pale of human righteousness, inexcusable by any humane measure, unendurable if put in a position where change could be effected. “To stand against the will of those with power and resources, those determined to force their ideology on a government appointed by the people, necessitates confrontation of intellect and will. It is ultimately a battle of individual rights against forces committed to destruction of those rights.” This President must, on behalf of the rights of the American people, confront the Zionist ideology that governs our Congress and the government of Israel, knowing that he alone can force this issue into the open, force the government of Israel to choose friendship with the United States as it reconfirms the ideals on which it was founded - equity, integrity, equal and individual rights protected by law - or choose to remain defiant against the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and remain an isolated, alienated nation, a rogue state floundering in a sea of animosity.
Fortitude, conviction and commitment necessitate principled action not quibbling servility, a determination of selflessness on behalf of country not self-interest to avoid pain, and recognition that what is done correctly is done forever. Change is indeed constant, but meaningful change is deliberate.
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