Feeding the Monster: Washington’s Spinelessness Enables Israeli Brutality
I have just spent a couple of days in New York City. Returning to Virginia on Wednesday morning, I had a somewhat strange experience. I cleared through my emails before leaving the hotel and also read through a number of the featured news articles. One, in particular, caught my eye. It described how the Democratic Party primary in Queens New York had returned a startling result. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won over mainstream incumbent Joe Crowley, signaling that not everyone in the Democratic Party is buying into the Clinton model of good governance by big donors and powerful interest groups. Many want change and even a radical departure from the political game whereby media savvy pressure groups and narrow constituencies are pandered to to create a governing majority.
One paragraph in particular in the article I read was highly suggestive, the claim that Ocasio-Cortez had been strongly opposed to the Israelis’ routine slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, which has by now become of such little import that it is not even reported any more in the U.S. media. She is also allegedly a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS), which pressures Israel to end its theft and occupation of Palestinian land. The article expressed some surprise that anyone in New York City would dare to say anything unpleasant about Israel and still expect to get elected.
“No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore. I think I was primarily compelled [to speak out] on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers’ strikes. The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me.”
Five hours later, when I arrived home in Virginia I went to pull up the article I had read in the morning to possibly use it in a piece of my own and was somewhat surprised to discover that the bit about Israel had been excised from the text. It was clearly yet another example of how the media self-censors when there is anything negative to say about Israel and it underlines the significance of the emergence of recent international media reporting in The Guardian and elsewhere regarding how Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson largely dictates U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. That means that the conspiracy of silence over Israel’s manipulation of the United States government is beginning to break down and journalists have become bold enough to challenge what occurs when pro-Israel Jews obtain real power over the political process. Adelson, for what it’s worth, wants war with Iran and has even suggested detonating a nuclear device on its soil to “send a message.”
I personally would have liked to see Ocasio-Cortez go farther, a lot farther. Israel is a place where conventional morality has been replaced by a theocratically and culturally driven sense of entitlement which has meant that anything goes when it comes to the treatment of inferior Christian and Muslim Arabs. It also means that the United States is being played for a patsy by people who believe themselves to be superior in every way to Americans.
The question of the relationship with Israel comes at a time when everyone in America, so it seems, is concerned about children being separated from their parents who have illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States. The concern is legitimate given the coarse and sometimes violent justifications coming out of the White House, but it’s a funny thing that Israeli abuse and even killing of Arab children is not met with the same opprobrium. When a Jewish fanatic/Israel settler kills Palestinian children and is protected by his government in so doing, where is the outrage in the U.S. media? Settlers and soldiers kill Palestinians, young and old, with impunity and are almost never punished. They destroy their orchards and livestock to eliminate their livelihoods to drive them out. They bulldoze their homes and villages. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency does none of that and is yet subject to nonstop abuse in the mainstream media, so what about Israel?
A recent story illustrates just how horrible the Israelis can be without any pushback whatsoever coming from Washington objecting to their behavior. As the United States is the only force that can in any way compel Israel to come to its senses and chooses not to do so, that makes U.S. policymakers and by extension the American people complicit in Israel’s crimes.
The particularly horrible recent account that I am referring to describes how fanatical Jewish settlers burned alive a Palestinian family on the West Bank, including a baby, and then celebrated the deaths while taunting the victims’ surviving family when they subsequently appeared in court. The story was covered in Israel and Europe but insofar as I could determine did not appear in any detail in the U.S. mainstream media.
Israeli Jewish settlers carried out their shameful deed outside a court in the city of Lod, chanting “’Ali was burned, where is Ali? There is no Ali. Ali is burned. On the fire. Ali is on the grill!” referring to the 18-month old baby Ali Dawabsheh, who was burnt alive in 2015 by Jewish settlers hurling Molotov cocktails into a house in the West Bank town of Duma. Ali’s mother Riham and father Saad also died of their burns and were included in the chanting “Where is Ali? Where is Riham? Where is Saad? It’s too bad Ahmed didn’t burn as well.” Five year-old Ahmed, who alone survived the attack with severe burns, will have scars for the rest of his life.
The settlers were taunting Ali’s grandfather Hussein Dawabsheh, who accompanied Ahmed, at a preliminary hearing where the court indicted a man who confessed to the murders and a minor who acted as an accomplice. A video of the chanting shows Israeli policemen standing by and doing nothing. The court appearance also revealed that there have been another Molotov cocktail attack by settlers on another Dawabsheh family house in May that may have been an attempt to silence testimony relating to the first attack. Fortunately, the family managed to escape.
And by all accounts this outrage was not the first incident in which the burning of the Palestinian baby was celebrated. A December 15th wedding video showed settlers engaged in an uproarious party that featured dances with Molotov cocktails and waving knives and guns. A photo of baby Ali was on display and was repeatedly stabbed. A year later, 13 people from what became known as the “murder wedding” were indicted for incitement to terrorism, but as of today no one has actually been punished. Israelis who kill Arabs are rarely indicted or tried. If it is a soldier or policeman that is involved, which occurs all too often, the penalty is frequently either nothing at all a slap on the wrist. Indeed, the snipers who fired on Gazans recently were actually ordered to shoot the unarmed civilians and directed to take out anyone who appeared to be a “leader,” which included medical personnel.
The Trump Administration could, of course, stop the Israeli brutality if it chooses to do so, but it does not think Benjamin Netanyahu’s crimes against humanity are on the agenda. Nor did Clinton, Bush and Obama dare to confront the power of Israel’s lobby, though Obama tried a little pushback in a feeble way.
Someone in Washington should be asking why the United States should be fighting unnecessary wars and becoming an international pariah defending a country and people that believe they are “chosen” by God? One can only hope that the shift in perceptions on the Middle East by liberal Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez has some legs and will lead to some real change in U.S. foreign policy. To succeed the liberal Democrats will need to push against some formidable obstacles within their own party, most notably the Clinton wing and people like Senator Chuck Schumer, Minority leader in the Senate, who describes himself as Israel’s “shomer” or defender in the Upper House. Perhaps someone on the New York Times editorial board should publicly suggest to Schumer that he go and run for office in Israel since he seems to prefer it to the country that has made him rich and powerful. But of course, the Times and all the other mainstream media, which is responsible for what we are not allowed to know about Israel and its American mouthpieces, will never entertain that suggestion or anything like it.