Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's part of America's ideology to pretend that it doesn't have any ideology.

by William Blum

Oh, a woman nominated to be a Supreme Court justice. A woman whose parents are from Puerto Rico. A Latina! A Latina Supreme Court justice! Oh, hooray for America!

Who cares? Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court justice. He's black. He's as hopelessly reactionary as they come. No one should give a damn that Sonia Sotomayor is a woman with a Latin American background. All that counts is her politics. Her ideology. Her positions on important social and political issues. Yes, I know, we're talking about the Law, the Majesty of the Law, judges who are scholars, impartial scholars, who study the fine points and the history of a law, experts on the Constitution of the United States, not swayed by today's partisan squabbles but take the long view, looking at precedent, considering what precedent may be set for the future.

Don't believe it. That may be true in the infrequent Supreme Court case where no ideological question at all is raised. Otherwise the judges are all biased human beings, appointed by a biased president, confirmed by biased members of the Senate.

Patrick Martin recently observed on the World Socialist Web Site: "For the past 12 years ... under two Democratic presidents and one Republican, the post of US Secretary of State has been occupied by, in succession, a white woman, a black man, a black woman, and a white woman."10 And they all loved the empire. When the empire called for it, they bombed, invaded, and killed; they overthrew, occupied, tortured, and lied; and swore allegiance to Israel and the corporations.

And now we have a black president. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Stokely Carmichael he's not. His policies and his appointments have all fallen in that area that runs from ever so slightly to the left of center to clear conservative and imperialist on the right. He's more loath to being identified as, or collaborating with, progressives than with right-wingers. Team Obama sees the left as an eccentric old aunt who keeps showing up at family functions, making everyone uncomfortable and wishing she'd just go away.

America, and the world, have to grow up. Forget color. Forget ethnicity. Forget gender. Forget sexual orientation. Forget even the class the person comes from. Look at the class they serve. And understand that the person wouldn't be in the position they are, or be nominated for the position, if there was any serious question about their loyalty to the capitalist ethic or American world domination.

It also matters not whether the president is comically inarticulate or whether he speaks in complete grammatical sentences. Keep your eye on the policies.


To the numerous fans of Barack Obama, on the left, in the middle, on the right, and to the apolitical Obamaniacs, my advice is to read "Being There" by Jerzy Kosinski, or see the film version of the same name starring Peter Sellers.

Also read "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen.

"Men go mad in herds, but only come to their senses one by one." — Charles Mackay, 19th century Scottish journalist


  1. Washington Post, May 26, 2009 book review
  2. Washington Post, May 15, 2009
  3. Associated Press, December 12, 2006
  4. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  5. Does Google Censor Cuba?
  6. White House Press Office, April 19, 2009
  7. Cuban Political Prisoners ... in the United States
  8. Washington Post, June 3, 2009.
  9. "There Are Already 355 Terrorists in American Prisons", Slate Magazine, May 29, 2009
  10. "The fundamental social division is class, not race or gender", World Socialist Web Site, May 28, 2009

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Changeman!


In January 2006 I was invited to attend a book fair in Cuba, where one of my books, newly translated into Spanish, was being presented. All my expenses were to be paid by the Cuban government and I was very much looking forward to the visit. Only one problem — the government of the United States would not give me permission to go. My application to travel to Cuba had also been rejected in 1998 by the Clinton administration. (On that occasion I went anyhow and was extremely lucky to avoid being caught by the American Travel Police on the way back and being fined thousands of dollars.) I mention this because Obama supporters would have us believe — as they themselves believe — that their Changeman has been busy making lots of important changes, Cuba being only one example. But I still don't have the legal right to travel to Cuba.

The only real change made by the Obama administration in regard to Cuba is that Cuban-Americans with family on the island can travel there and send remittances without restrictions. The April 13 White House announcement listed several other provisions concerning telecommunications companies, but what this will actually mean in practice, if anything, is unknown, particularly as it affects Cuba's access to the Internet. American anti-Castroites have long blamed Cuban's deficient Internet access on the proverbial "communist suppression", when the technical availability and prohibitive cost were to a large extent in the hands of American corporations. Microsoft, for example, bars Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service.4 And Google has long blocked Cuban access to many of its features.5 Venezuela and Cuba have been working on an underwater cable system that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos.

The multifarious US economic embargo, which causes unending hardship and expense for the Cuban people, remains in place. Here is Changeman in a recent press conference:

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. You've heard from a lot of Latin America leaders here who want the U.S. to lift the embargo against Cuba. You've said that you think it's an important leverage to not lift it. But in 2004, you did support lifting the embargo. You said, it's failed to provide the source of raising standards of living, it's squeezed the innocent, and it's time for us to acknowledge that this particular policy has failed. I'm wondering, what made you change your mind about the embargo?

The President: Well, 2004, that seems just eons ago. What was I doing in 2004?

Reporter: Running for Senate.

The President: Is it while — I was running for Senate. There you go.6

Yes, there you go; you shouldn't confuse campaign rhetoric with the real world and the real Changeman.

The case of the Cuban Five is another chance for Changeman to come to the rescue. This outrageous perversion of justice whereby Cubans were sent to the United States to try to learn of further terrorist attacks in Cuba planned by anti-Castroites in Florida and were themselves arrested by the FBI on information partly supplied to the US by the Cuban government as their contribution to the War On Terrorism.7

The Cuban Five have been in US prisons for more than 10 years. Around June 15 the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on whether or not they will hear the appeal of the Five. The Clinton administration arrested them. The Bush administration continued the awful, mindless, crimeless persecution for eight more years. But now comes the Changeman administration. Hooray! Oh, in late May, the Changeman administration filed a brief urging the Court to deny the Five a hearing, and on June 2, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an Organization of American States meeting: "I want to emphasize the United States under President Obama is taking a completely new approach to our policy toward Cuba."8

Another opportunity for Changeman to come to the rescue also involves Cuba — closing the Guantanamo prison. But our hero is once again displaying a woeful lack of political courage and imagination. If there's good evidence that certain detainees are a danger to anyone, then try them in US civilian courts with full rights, a decent defense team, and excluding secret evidence and coerced confessions. If they're found guilty — and with an American jury sitting in judgment of "terrorists", this, in almost all cases, would be the verdict — then imprison them in one of America's maximum security prisons, which already houses about 355 men labeled as "terrorists".9 The new ones will not be any more of a danger in prison than the ones already there.

However, if they're found innocent, then declare them free men. It would be much easier then to find a country to accept them, including the United States. Until now, the world has been told repeatedly by Washington that these men are "the worst of the worst". Small wonder that no country or community wants them near. But if they've been tried and acquitted, this situation should change markedly.

So Mr. Obama, we're waiting for you to step into a phone booth.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

He can be reached at:

  1. Associated Press, June 2, 2009
  2. Does Google Censor Cuba?
  3. White House Press Office, April 19, 2009
  4. Cuban Political Prisoners ... in the United States
  5. Washington Post, June 3, 2009.
  6. "There Are Already 355 Terrorists in American Prisons", Slate Magazine, May 29, 2009

The Politics of Paranoia - The Great, International, Truly Demonic Iran Threat

The Politics of Paranoia

The Great, International, Truly Demonic Iran Threat


The United States is "facing a nuclear threat in Iran" — article in Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, May 26

"the growing missile threat from North Korea and Iran" — article in the Washington Post and other major newspapers, May 26

"Iran's threat transcends religion. Regardless of sectarian bent, Muslim communities need to oppose the attempts by Iran ... to extend Shia extremism and influence throughout the world." — op-ed article in Boston Globe, May 27

"A Festering Evil. Doing nothing is not an option in handling the threat from Iran" — headline in Investor's Business Daily, May 27, 2009

This is a very small sample from American newspapers covering but two days.

"Fifty-one percent of Israelis support an immediate Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites" — BBC, May 24

After taking office, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not allow Holocaust-deniers [Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] to carry out another holocaust." — Haaretz (Israel), May 14, 2009

Like clinical paranoia, "the threat from Iran" is impervious to correction by rational argument.

Two new novels have just appeared, from major American publishers, thrillers based on Iran having a nuclear weapon and the dangers one can imagine that that portends — "Banquo's Ghosts" by Rich Lowry & Keith Korman, and "The Increment" by David Ignatius. "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Let's bomb Iran," declares a CIA official in the latter book. The other book derides the very idea of "dialogue" with Iran while implicitly viewing torture as acceptable.1

On May 12, in New York City, a debate was held on the proposition that "Diplomacy With Iran Is Going Nowhere" (English translation: "Should we bomb Iran?"). Arguing in the affirmative, were Liz Cheney, former State Department official (and daughter of a certain unindicted war criminal) and Dan Senor, formerly the top spokesman for Washington's Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. Their "opponents" were R. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state, and Kenneth Pollack, former National Security Council official and CIA analyst and author of "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq", a book that, unsurprisingly, did not have too long a shelf life.2

This is what "debate" on US foreign policy looks like in America in the first decade of the 21st century AD — four quintessential establishment figures. If such a "debate" had been held in the Soviet Union during the Cold War ("Detente With The United States Is Going Nowhere"), the American mainstream media would unanimously have had a jolly time making fun of it. The sponsor of the New York debate was the conservative Rosenkranz Foundation, but if a liberal (as opposed to a progressive or radical leftist) organization had been the sponsor, while there probably would have been a bit more of an ideological gap between the chosen pairs of speakers, it's unlikely that any of the present-day myths concerning Iran would have been seriously challenged by either side. These myths include the following, all of which I've dealt with before in this report but inasmuch as they are repeated on a regular basis in the media and by administration representatives, I think that readers need to be reminded of the counter arguments.

  • Iran has no right to nuclear weapons: Yet, there is no international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not. Iran has every reason to feel threatened. In any event, the US intelligence community's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of December 2007, "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities", makes a point of saying in bold type and italics: “This NIE does not assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons.” The report goes on to state: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program ."
  • Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier: I have yet to read of Ahmadinejad saying simply, clearly, unambiguously, and unequivocally that he thinks that what we know as the Holocaust never happened. He has instead commented about the peculiarity and injustice of a Holocaust which took place in Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price for a German crime? he asks. And he has questioned the figure of six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany, as have many other people of all political stripes.
  • Ahmadinejad has called for violence against Israel: His 2005 remark re "wiping Israel off the map", besides being a very questionable translation, has been seriously misinterpreted, as evidenced by the fact that the following year he declared: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.”3 Obviously, he was not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place peacefully.
  • Iran has no right to provide arms to Hamas and Hezbollah: However, the United States, we are assured, has every right to do the same for Israel and Egypt.
  • The fact that Obama says he's willing to "talk" to some of the "enemies" like Iran more than the Bush administration did sounds good: But one doesn't have to be too cynical to believe that it will not amount to more than a public relations gimmick. It's only change of policy that counts. Why doesn't Obama just state that he would not attack Iran unless Iran first attacked the US or Israel or anyone else? Besides, the Bush administration met with Iran on several occasions.

The following should also be kept in mind: The Washington Post, March 5, 2009, reported: "A senior Israeli official in Washington" has asserted that "Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation." This was the very last sentence in the article and, according to an extensive Nexis search, did not appear in any other English-language media in the world.

In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion "Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel." She "also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears." This appeared in, October 25, 2007 (print edition October 26), but not in any US media or in any other English-language world media except the BBC citing the Iranian Mehr English-language news agency, October 27.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

He can be reached at:


1. Washington Post, May 26, 2009 book review.
2. Washington Post, May 15, 2009.
3. Associated Press, December 12, 2006.

Gilad Atzmon - God Blessed America

By Gilad Atzmon

I am very lucky to be in America this week, to watch a place being transformed, to smell the refreshing scent of restored liberty, to glance at the euphoric rise of hope. When I visited America two years ago it was a different place. There was fear in the air, the country was terrorized by its own lethal retribution. The gigantic American flags that were waving from every corner had a rather threatening impact on me. And now somehow, seeing exactly the same flags evokes sympathy and trust in me.

Three days ago, at 5 am, still in my London home, while waiting for the airport cab service, I caught Justin Webb’s BBC interview with President Obama. I will be honest and say, as much as I wanted to love Obama like the rest of humanity, I was very suspicious of the man. I remembered him rushing to appease AIPAC within minutes after he secured his Democratic Party nomination. We all knew about his first appointee Emmanuel Rahm, we obviously learned quickly who Rahm was and what he was affiliated with. In case we failed to see it, we had Rahm’s father to remind us

And yet, at 5 am, waiting for the driver to knock on my front door, I was blown away by President Obama. I wasn’t prepared for it and I simply couldn’t believe my ears. When asked about Iran’s nuclear project, this is was what President Obama had to say, “What I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing nuclear arms in the region.”

This didn’t leave much room for interpretation, Obama simply said ‘YES to nuclear energy, No to nuclear bomb.’ I, on my part, actually believe that an Iranian nuclear bomb is the necessary way forwards. It will deter and restrain the Israeli leadership that had been proving time after time that Israel is merciless and murderous beyond comparison. However, approving Iran’s legitimate right for nuclear energy was indeed the right move. It left the BBC interviewer in a state of confusion, he was probably as surprised as I was, he wasn’t sure whether Obama really meant what he said. He repeatedly challenged the President asking whether Iran could have the “right to reprocess energy?” Once again President Obama didn’t leave any room for doubt. “We need,” he said, “to reinvigorate a much broader agenda for nuclear nonproliferation - including the United States and Russia drawing down our stockpiles in very significant ways, to the extent that Iran feels that they are treated differently than anybody else. That makes them embattled.” Obama’s message was lucid and transparent. It was also an ethical and universal one. We are about to restore the belief in humanity and brotherhood. President Obama was there to remind us that the United State of America was founded upon the ideal that all are created equal. And this obviously applies to Iranians and Muslims (not just Jews and Christian Zionists).

Watching a world leader talking sense, thinking ethically and expressing himself eloquently is indeed a rare, refreshing event these days. After years of repulsive world hegemony invaded by Zionised Neocon war mongering a la Bush and Blair. After years of Western leaders dancing to Israeli cacophony composed and orchestrated by different types of repulsive Wolfowitzes, listening to Obama’s extended humanist cadenza was indeed music to my ears.

With Obama’s shift in my mind, I was looking forward to my trip to America. In spite of the credit crunch inflicted on America by the enemy within, there is a scent of cheerfulness in the air. As much as Bush and Blair failed to liberate the Iraqi people, the Americans have managed after all, to liberate themselves. They left the keys to the White House in the possession of a man, who at least verbally, is inspired by humanism and tolerance. They have elected an inspiring man of incredible intellectual esteem.

I am now in America for a week. I am meeting hundreds of Palestinians and solidarity activists. I can definitely detect a level of genuine optimism, something I couldn’t even remotely feel two years ago. America is expressing some real fatigue of its Ziocon invaders. Not only have the Ziocons failed to achieve anything. It made Americans accomplices in a colossal crime, the Iraqi Holocaust that until now has cost more than 1,300,000 civilian lives. It bought America some fierce enemies all over the world and if this is not enough, the financial meltdown is there to make sure that each American will pay in the coming decades a heavy personal price for both Wolfowitz’s wars and Greenspan’s speculative capitalistic financial models.

Being a lucky sod, I was here in America yesterday when President Obama delivered his landmark Cairo speech to the Muslim world. It is rather obvious that Obama and his team were doing their homework. It seems as if they manage to grasp what Islam stands for and what Jihad means in particular. Obama’s speech is immaculately structured to address the Islamic meaning of Jihad. By doing so, Obama assures America’s enemies that respect for Islam, to Allah and Muslims is indeed restored.

Unlike his shameless predecessor, who for some reason was sure that Islam and Fascism were one word, Obama and his team realise that Islam is actually all about Salam i.e., peace. ‘Armed jihad is temporary in that it ends when the enemy ceases its aggression.’ Obama grasped also that Korea tells its followers to ‘move quickly to establish peace once the enemy seeks peace.’ Obama comprehended that America had been defeated in Iraq. He realises that in Islam, ‘showing compassion to the enemy that has been defeated or in seeking peace is considered superior to achieving victory.’

Bearing it all in mind, Obama was ready for his Cairo platform. Launching his speech greeting the Islamic world with assalaamu alaykum he prepared the ground for an outstanding speech. “I am here to talk to you face to face. It is peace I am searching.” Unlike the previous Zionised puppet, the current American president understands the notion of mutuality and respect.

“You and us,” he told his billion and a half Muslim listeners, “share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

This is very interesting indeed, considering the fact that these are the exact qualities that the previous administration was lacking. Instead of justice and progress it was reactionary bigotry. Instead of tolerance and dignity it was overwhelmingly supremacist, chauvinist and Ziocentric.

Obama is brave enough to admit that in spite of 9/11 being an ‘enormous trauma’, “it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course.” Besides the fact that Obama confesses here that mistakes had been made, he also hints that actually the Bush administration and its Ziocon ideologists were in essentially Non American by nature for failing to understand the Americans ‘Ideals’. For many years we speak about the elementary de-Zionification of Israel. Surprisingly enough, the de-Zionification of America seems to be more likely.

It is clear that Obama is not yet ready to depart from his dedicated fundraisers. He still seems to be committed to the Zionist phantasmic narrative. In spite of the fact that Obama did not use the word ‘terror’ even once in his speech, he still seems to be committed to the Israeli cause and the ‘Israeli right to exist’ at the expense of others. “America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.” Actually, I myself believe that it can be easily denied. In fact there is no rational reason for the Palestinians to be penalised for crimes committed against Jews by Europeans.

However, as much as Obama seems to succumb to the Zionist narrative, he doesn’t stop himself from the necessary equation between the Jewish Holocaust and the ongoing Palestinian holocaust that is committed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people.

“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust”, says the president, but he then continues, “on the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

I think that this doesn’t leave a room for a doubt. President Obama seems to realise what is going on. He knows about the humiliation, he knows about the starvation, he knows about Israelis using WMDs against civilian population. He for the first time promises one billion and a half Muslims around the world that America will not turn its backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Whether Obama keeps his promise time will tell, however, the fact that he allows himself to juxtapose the Holocaust and Gaza proves that he is a million years ahead of most Palestinian solidarity campaigners who are reluctant to engage in this necessary equation just to avoid offending one Jew or another.

I may allow myself to advise the President that he is slightly misinformed in regards to Palestinians and their rights and aspirations. On top of ‘aspiration for dignity’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘a state of their own’, the Palestinians also have another fundamental legitimate right in their disposal, it is the right to return to their homes, villages, towns, lands, field and orchards. In short we call it ‘the right of return’.

Every Palestinian refugee holds such a legitimate right within his disposal. Not a single Palestinian leader will ever give this right away, and if this is not enough, not a single world leader has the authority to dismiss such a right. The right of return is a right that belongs exclusively to the very owner of the land, the Palestinian people themselves. It is not a political matter for anyone to give away this right collectively in the name of very many Palestinians. As one extremely clever Palestinian refugee pointed to me last night in Houston: “my land near Safad”, so he said, “is my land, and no one can negotiate its fate on my behalf. Neither a Palestinian leader nor any other world leader.” I admit, as simple as it is, I have never thought about it before. The right of return is not a political matter or subject for negotiation. Thus, it won’t be resolved politically. It is an elementary fundamental right that will be fulfilled, as long as it takes.

As much as I am inspired with Obama the intellectual, I do also realise that putting his ideology into practice may take some time. Obama should prove us that he knows how to translate his beautiful words into action. It is rather clear that Obama is reluctant to put real pressure on the Jewish state. If it were down to me, I would give the Israelis a 24-hour ultimatum to lift the closure on Gaza. Would they fail to provide, I would call home my ambassador in Tel Aviv, I would immediately stop any form of financial and military aid to Israel, I would freeze Israeli assets for being a terrorist state, I would also start a rapid deportation of Israelis from America. But as it seems, at least momentarily, I am not Obama, I am just a non-elected monarch of the Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble. President Obama, on the other hand, is the elected president of the American people, he may know what he is doing.

The president has still long way to go. And yet, President Obama has made a major step in the last few days. He is now marching America towards humanism. He reclaims the American ideology of liberty. I salute the man, I salute the great intellect, I salute the humanist. Gladly I am to admit that God blessed America. But someone better take very good care of the safety of its president. He has some fierce and relentless enemies out there. And as we know, they do not stop in red!

Gilad Atzmon (from Denver Colorado)

Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.
Email this author | All posts by Gilad Atzmon

The Democratic not-so-secret "Gay-Bomb nuclear option" on Sotomayor nomination

Although there were some initial reservations among progressives over the nomination of U.S. judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace the outgoing David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, progressives are reassured that Sotomayor, while not an activist in the mold of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, is a staunch supporter of First and Fourth Amendment rights, including the right to privacy. Sotomayor's opinions on freedom of speech cases is also earning her praise from progressives.

Although ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and his committee colleague Lindsey Graham (R-SC) originally voiced strong reservations about President Obama's choice of Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, both conservative "family values" Republicans have had to back down from their original high visibility hostility to Sotomayor.

One of the reasons for the Republicans' change in demeanor is that Democratic opposition research made it known they were ready to pounce on both senators, re-elected in 2008, for hypocrisy on their gay rights policies.

WMR learned from a very well-informed source that it is well known among gay circles in Washington that Sessions and Graham are both closeted homosexuals. Sessions is married with three children while Graham is a bachelor who has never been married.

Sessions and Graham are aware that the Democrats have at their disposal the nuclear option of dropping the "G Bomb." After seeming to agree with the "Sotomayor is a racist" remarks coming from Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, the two influential Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee changed their tune, as did Gingrich a few days after he made his remarks about Sotomayor.

Sessions reported homosexuality fits a pattern for GOP Attorneys General in the state. Sessions, who served as Alabama's 44th Attorney General, was succeeded by William H. Pryor, Jr, now a member of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and who, according to WMR's sources, is also a closeted gay man. Pryor was succeeded by Republican Troy King, also reported by a number of sources to be gay.

As the GOP drifts further under the control of the fundamentalist Christian right, any hint of homosexuality among top Republicans in Congress is seen as a political death sentence, especially after the Larry Craig and Mark Foley scandals. Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist also faces potential major opposition from Christian fundamentallists in his U.S. Senate run over rumors that he is also gay.

Another influential Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), said it was likely that Sotomayor will be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), not a member of the Judiciary Committee, voiced some misgivings about Sotomayor. Hatch is treading carefully while Collins is potentially playing with political fire. Both have to watch their own "closet doors," according to our sources on Capitol Hill.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A propaganda sionista

4 DE JUNHO DE 2009 - 20h53

A propaganda sionista

por Lejeune Mirhan*

Não é de hoje que a mídia trabalha a favor dos sionistas, seja na grande imprensa, seja nas academias. Esta semana, numa das listas da internet que participo, recebi uma firme defesa de Israel que publico abaixo. Claro, pretendo comentar, na maioria dos seus tópicos, os meus pontos de vista, refutando os argumentos apresentados. De meu ponto de vista, uma propaganda feita por sionistas que não se intitulam dessa forma.

Theodor Herzl o fundador do Sionismo

Argumentos em Defesa de Israel

São 30 afirmações em defesa e comento em seguida procurando refutá-las. Vamos á elas:

1. Os judeus podem viver na Cidade do México, em Bangcoc, em Saint Louis, ou em qualquer outra cidade do mundo (exceto nas da Arábia Saudita), mas a Autoridade Palestina quer proibi-los de viverem justamente no berço do judaísmo.

O berço do judaísmo não é a palestina. Os judeus saíram de Ur, na Caldeia, antiga Babilônia e passaram parte de suas vidas em parte da palestina. Ainda que seja contestada a partilha da palestina, a região da Cisjordânia é assegurada exclusivamente para os palestinos. Seguir construindo colônias nesse território como Israel faz hoje é negar a paz na região.

2. Nos últimos 3.000 anos, o único período em que não houve uma presença judaica contínua na Margem Ocidental foram os dezenove anos entre 1948 e 1967, quando o governo da Jordânia proibiu os judeus de habitarem na região.

Também não é verdade. A presença de judeus na Palestina, após a diáspora causada pela sua expulsão pelos romanos no ano 70 da era cristã, foi sempre residual. No entanto, a convivência com os palestinos, que foram islamizados no século VII e com os cristãos, sempre foi pacífica, nunca havendo problema. O sionismo é que cria um grande problema para a região com a imigração forçada e artificial.

3. Em 1979, Ariel Sharon desmantelou Yamit e outros assentamentos judaicos no Sinai porque estava absolutamente claro que essas concessões trariam a paz verdadeira.

É preciso dizer que a região do Sinai foi tomada pela invasão do exército israelense e essa colônia judaica foi construída ilegalmente á revelia do direito internacional, em terras egípcias. Tais terras ficaram em poder os israelenses sionistas entre a Guerra dos Seis Dias de 1967 e 1979, portanto por 13 anos seguidos Israel violou todas as resoluções da ONU que determinavam a desocupação dessa região do Egito.

4. Como os territórios disputados nunca fizeram parte de uma nação soberana e foram conquistadas durante uma guerra defensiva, as leis internacionais permitem o assentamento voluntário de colonos naquela região. Reconhecendo esse fato, os acordos de Oslo jamais abordaram a questão das colônias judaicas ou árabes.

Não foi só a Palestina que teve dificuldade de ter um governo soberano em seu território. Vários países da região, que sempre viveu, desde antes de Cristo, vários impérios e sob domínio de várias potências, sejam elas os babilônios, persas, romanos, turco, inglês entre outros. Os palestinos nunca tiveram o direito de constituir o seu estado, pelo menos na forma como conhecemos, moderno, do tipo pós-Westphalia. O Plano de Partilha da ONU assegurou toda a Cisjordânia aos palestinos e assentar judeus nessa região é violar ainda mais o já frágil processo de paz iniciado em Oslo.

5. O problema dos refugiados não existiria se sete nações árabes não tivessem atacado Israel imediatamente após sua fundação, em 1948.

Por essa concepção, os palestinos refugiados deveriam mesmo se contentar em serem cidadãos dos países árabes vizinhos de Israel, que acabaram abrigando tais refugiados expulsos de suas terras pelo exército de Israel desde 1948. Não foram as nações árabes que “atacaram Israel”, mas sim o contrário. O expansionismo judaico que tomou todas as terras dos palestinos e pretendia ocupar os países árabes vizinhos. É o chamado Eretz Israel ou grande Israel em hebraico, que vai do Eufrates, no atual Iraque ao Nilo, no Egito. Esse sempre foi o plano original dos sionistas.

6. Síria, Líbano, Arábia Saudita e outros países árabes decidiram, conscientemente, isolar os refugiados políticos para usá-los como massa de manobra política, em vez de assimilá-los como cidadãos normais. A Resolução 194 da Assembléia Geral da ONU estabelece que todos os governos envolvidos são solidariamente responsáveis em relação à questão dos refugiados.

Esses países árabes e outros mais não “isolam”, nem confinam os palestinos. Apenas não lhes dão cidadania até porque os palestinos não querem ser “sírios”, nem “jordanianos”, nem “sauditas” e outras nacionalidades mais. Querem ser o que são: palestinos. Esse direito eles não podem ter porque seu estado nacional e soberano, a Palestina, não existe no mapa mundial por que Israel sistematicamente nega esse direito.

7. Em 1948, oitocentos mil refugiados judeus foram expulsos de países árabes, mas seus descendentes são hoje cidadãos plenos porque foram absorvidos por Israel e outros países.

Desconhecemos esse número. Judeus vivem em paz em todos os países árabes e islâmicos. Aliás, esta no Alcorão a proteção de todos os judeus e cristãos, que seguem o livro sagrado que os muçulmanos reconhecem. Todos os judeus do mundo que chegam à Israel viram cidadãos israelenses pela chamada Lei do Retorno, direito esse negado aos palestinos que não podem voltar e são quatro milhões que vivem precariamente espalhados pelo mundo.

8. Ao contrário dos países árabes, Israel concedeu cidadania israelense aos árabes que ficaram dentro de suas fronteiras. Hoje em dia, 1 milhão e 200 mil israelenses de origem árabe desfrutam de cidadania, benefícios e representatividade em Israel.

Os israelenses expulsaram das terras que a ONU destinou aos judeus no plano de partilha mais de um milhão de palestinos. Mais de 500 aldeias palestinas foram destruídas e milhares foram brutalmente assassinados pelos terroristas do Irgun, da Haganah e outros grupos judaicos que se proclamam “libertadores”. Esses palestinos que resistiram acabaram virando “cidadãos” israelenses, mas cidadãos de segunda categoria. A OIT comprova que ganham 50% menos que um judeu para fazer as mesmas funções e praticamente só consegue empregos precários e subalternos. Gastam quase seis horas para ir e vir ao trabalho, pelas humilhações que tem que passar nos checkpoints e são discriminados pois nas suas carteiras de identidades consta que são muçulmanos (aliás, Israel é dos poucos países do mundo que emitem carteiras de identidade onde se menciona a religião das pessoas).

9. Israel assinou tratados de paz independentes com o Egito (1979) e a Jordânia (1994) e, nas duas ocasiões, abriu mão de terras, petróleo, colônias ou vantagens estratégicas em prol de um acordo pacífico.

Mentira descarada. As terras “devolvidas” ao Egito nunca pertenceram à Israel, mas foram tomadas na Guerra de expansão e conquista dos Seis Dias em junho de 1967. Para a Jordânia, nenhuma terra foi devolvida.

10. Israel forneceu terras, dinheiro, armas, treinamento e serviços de inteligência à Autoridade Palestina, na esperança de que aquela organização demonstrasse reciprocidade e acabasse com os atos terroristas e o incentivo à violência.

Mentira. A ANP recebeu ajuda de países do mundo inteiro, da União Europeia e mesmo dos EUA. Mas não de Israel. O que se chama de “terrorismo” é o direito inalienável, reconhecido pela Carta das Nações Unidas, de um povo resistir de armas nas mãos à colonização e a tomada de suas terras.

11. A própria fórmula "Terra em Troca de Paz" indica que cada um dos lados entra em acordo com o outro em troca daquilo que mais deseja: no caso dos árabes, terras; no caso de Israel, paz.

Essa bandeira nunca foi de Israel mas sim dos palestinos e apoiada por todos os países árabes. Enquanto Israel não se convencer que se não devolver as terras que tomou dos palestinos, a paz nunca será possível na região. É preciso devolver a Cisjordânia inteirinha aos palestinos e a Faixa de Gaza deve ter suas fronteiras libertadas. Devem ser devolvidas as colinas de Golã par a Síria e extensa faixa de terras no Sul do Líbano (fazendas de Shebaa), ao Líbano. Sem isso, Israel nunca terá a paz.

12. Em 1917, 1937, 1947, 1956, 1979 e 1993, os líderes israelenses seguiram o mesmo padrão de ceder terras em troca da paz com seus vizinhos árabes.

As datas não estão corretas e nunca Israel cedeu terra alguma. Até porque nunca as teve na região, salvo as que tomou de um povo milenar que morava na Palestina, que são os palestinos. Em 1917, na Palestina existiam apenas 8% de judeus e 92% de árabe-palestinos. E mesmo os 8% de judeus são fruto de um incentivo à imigração feito pelos sionistas desde o congresso sionista da Basileia em 1897. Financiados pela Agência Judaica com dinheiro de banqueiros judeus em várias partes do mundo.

13. A verdadeira OLP manteve refém a delegação israelense nos Jogos Olímpicos de Munique, em 1972, tentando forçar a libertação de prisioneiros palestinos. Como suas reivindicações não foram atendidas, onze atletas israelenses foram assassinados.

Mentira. O sequestro mencionado de atletas israelenses foi feito por um dos grupos palestinos que atuavam na luta de libertação desse povo e não contou com o apoio da OLP.

14. A verdadeira OLP inventou os seqüestros de aviões em 1970 e disseminou o medo entre os viajantes do mundo inteiro.

Também não é verdade. Essa tática foi adotada por uma das organizações que atuam na OLP, que é uma frente política ampla. E mesmo o agrupamento que seqüestrava aviões, o objetivo não era ferir pessoas, mas chamar atenção ao mundo para a causa palestina. Hoje a maioria dos grupos que lutam pela libertação da Palestina, agem apenas e tão somente nos territórios ocupados e não fora deles.

15. A verdadeira OLP matou a tiros o cidadão americano Leon Klinghoffer um homem idoso, desarmado e preso a uma cadeira de rodas a bordo do transatlântico Achille Lauro, em 1985.

Também não é verdade. Esse evento foi feito por um grupo dissidente de uma das organizações internas da OLP. A direção central da Organização nunca apoiou essa atitude e atividades de seqüestros fora dos territórios ocupados por Israel.

16. A verdadeira OLP continua a incitar a violência contra os judeus, a promover a luta armada para "libertar toda a Palestina" e a plantar o ódio no coração das crianças palestinas, ensinando-lhes que a morte é o prêmio máximo.

Os diversos grupos que atuam nos territórios ocupados defendem sim a libertação de suas terras e enfrentam o quarto maior exército do mundo que é o de Israel. Muitas vezes com pedras e paus. É uma luta desigual e a mídia que apoia e/ou é controlada por Israel coloca os israelenses como vítimas, mas estes são os algozes do povo palestino.

17. As duas únicas nações soberanas que já existiram na terra de Israel foram os dois reinos do antigo Israel, o reino do Norte e o reino do Sul, sendo que o segundo foi destruído no ano 70 da era cristã.

Isso é parte da lenda bíblica e acredita nisso quem tem fé. Não há documento algum sobre isso. Mas, ainda que isso fosse verdadeiro, os chamados reinos de Israel, existiram apenas em parte de toda a palestina. Os judeus, os antigos hebreus nunca ocuparam toda a Palestina, mas parte dela, uma minoria e mesmo assim, por um determinado período, nunca de forma continuada. Ainda assim, não poderiam reivindicar essas terras, com base na religião, pois é dono das terras quem fica nelas e cuida delas, como os palestinos fizeram ao longo de milhares de anos. A cidade mais antiga existente na terra de forma continuada, chama-se Jericó e é palestina e tem mais de cinco mil anos. Se essa moda pega e tivermos que devolver terras para os ancestrais que as ocuparam, os EUA deveriam devolver todo o seu território imediatamente aos comanches, apaches, sioux, sherokees entre outros povos indígenas, como os latino-americanos deveriam devolver todo o subcontinente aos Incas, Mais e Astecas.

18. Por 3.000 anos, os judeus expressaram o desejo de voltar à sua terra ancestral: no Seder da Páscoa, na cerimônia do Yom Kippur, nas orações diárias, na bênção após as refeições, nas palavras ditas sob o dossel durante a celebração nupcial, no Tisha B’Av (o dia do luto nacional), e através do ato de colocar um pouco da terra de Israel no túmulo de seus mortos.

Todos os povos e todas as religiões podem expressar em seus rituais seus desejos mais recônditos, mas desde que uma eventual volta não signifique desalojar um povo que milenarmente ocupa tais terras objeto de desejo de um povo. A chegada dos hebreus na Palestina, expressa no capítulo Josué do Velho testamento é sangrenta. A conquista foi feito a ferro e fogo, tudo foi abatido a fio de lâmina da espada. Mulheres, crianças e idosos foram brutalmente mortos. É a lenda bíblica, mas esta lá narrado como foi. E a própria “volta” à uma terra ancestral nunca foi unanimidade na interpretação bíblica. Diversos grupos judaicos, que são contra o sionismo discordam da criação do Estado de Israel.

19. Apesar da Diáspora (Dispersão), algumas comunidades judaicas conseguiram permanecer residindo continuamente em cidades como Jerusalém, Safed, Tiberíades, Siquém e Hebron.

É verdade. Os judeus que ficaram na Palestina sempre viveram em paz com árabes muçulmanos ou cristãos e foram sempre respeitados. A discordância está na imigração, muitas vezes estimulada e forçada, para criar uma situação de fato para forçar a criação de um estado artificial completamente, que é Israel onde se falam pelo menos 70 línguas diferentes, ainda que o hebraico seja a língua oficial.

20. Quando Israel assumiu o controle de Jerusalém e a reunificou, em 1967, em vez de proibir a religião muçulmana ou fechar as mesquitas, permitiu que o Waqf muçulmano (autoridade religiosa) administrasse e controlasse o Monte do Templo e mantivesse a mesquita de Al-Aqsa.

A liberdade religiosa é restrita em Jerusalém. Os palestinos não têm direito de ir e vir livremente e de cuidar do lado árabe dessa cidade completamente ocupada pelo exército de Israel. Os judeus consideram Jerusalém como sua eterna e indivisível capital e esta cidade é tão sagrada para os cristão como para os muçulmanos. Ter um prefeito judeu de Jerusalém e essa cidade estar militarmente ocupada é uma ofensa das maiores que se poderia praticar contra cristãos (de todas as confissões no mundo) e contra muçulmanos. Tais atitudes nunca levarão à paz.

21. Quando a Jordânia detinha o controle da região, os judeus foram proibidos de orar no Muro Ocidental. Além disso, o cemitério do Monte das Oliveiras e 58 sinagogas foram destruídos. Já com o governo de Israel, os lugares sagrados dos cristãos, judeus e muçulmanos estão abertos a todos os fieis com exceção do local onde se erguia o antigo Templo judaico, o Monte do Templo, onde os judeus, normalmente, são impedidos de orar.

Não é verdade isso. O Corão proíbe textualmente que se toque em qualquer templo sagrado de judeus e cristãos. Isso é vedado textualmente. Os judeus e cristãos são considerados os “povos do livro”, em uma alusão ao Velho Testamento. Há uma célebre passagem da chegada do califa Omar Al Khatab em Jerusalém em 638. O patriarca cristão da cidade, chamado Sofrônius, o convidou para orar junto na Igreja do Santo Sepulcro. Omar agradeceu, mas preferiu orar na porta dessa Igreja, pois disse a Sofrônius que sabia da sua importância no Império Árabe-Muçulmano e com isso temia que naquele local seus seguidores construíssem uma Mesquita e isso nunca seria permitido. Foi o período da maior liberdade religiosa vivido por Jerusalém.

22. Quando Israel transferiu o controle militar para a Autoridade Palestina, multidões enfurecidas queimaram e destruíram lugares sagrados e artefatos religiosos dos judeus em Jericó, Hebron e no túmulo de José, em Nablus.

Isso, se ocorreu, não foi e nunca será uma orientação das autoridades palestinas, pois José é um dos 25 profetas considerados sagrados no Islã e seu tumulo nunca poderia ser violado. Essa não é e nunca será uma orientação da liderança palestina, pois são defensores dos valores sagrados de todas as religiões. A direção da OLP, apesar de laica, não religiosa, não adota essa postura de provocação.

23. Em 2002, trinta monges da Igreja da Natividade, em Belém, ficaram reféns de terroristas palestinos, porque estes sabiam que os soldados israelenses não atirariam para dentro da igreja. Depois que os reféns foram libertos, os investigadores encontraram a igreja profanada e aviltada.

Atitudes de agressão a símbolos judaicos e cristãos não é uma orientação e nunca será da liderança palestina que encabeça a luta de libertação do povo palestino da ocupação israelense. Até porque entre palestinos existem muitos que são cristãos. Episódios como esse são rechaçados pela liderança palestina. Não se pode generalizar atitudes equivocadas de minorias como sendo a opinião de um povo como um todo.

24. Meca e Medina são as cidades mais sagradas para os muçulmanos. A cidade do Vaticano é a sede do catolicismo. Embora Jerusalém tenha importância para muitas religiões, apenas os judeus a consideram como sua capital e cidade mais sagrada. Quando Jerusalém foi conquistada pela Jordânia, em 1949, nenhuma autoridade ou líder muçulmano visitou a cidade em caráter oficial, público ou religioso.

A cidade de Jerusalém é tão sagrada para judeus como é para cristão e muçulmanos. Por isso a sua administração nunca poderia ser única, só judaica. O plano de partilha da Palestina aprovado pela ONU em 29 de novembro de 1947, previa que essa cidade tivesse um status internacional.

25. Os judeus são maioria em Jerusalém desde 1840, e grupos de judeus sempre habitaram a cidade, ininterruptamente, desde a destruição do Templo, no ano 70 de nossa era (Paul Johnson, A História dos Judeus).

Não é verdade. Depois da saída dos cristãos de Jerusalém, derrotados que foram por Saladino (Saláh El Din, grande general muçulmano, de origem curda), os muçulmanos sempre tiveram imensa presença nessa cidade. Na verdade, desde 638 até 1099, quando chegaram os primeiros cruzados e lá estabeleceram o Reino Cristão (um verdadeiro massacre de muçulmanos e judeus). Mas isso durou apenas 88 anos, quando em 1187 Saladino liberta Jerusalém e os cristãos voltam à Europa. Desta época em diante nem judeus nem cristãos nunca tiveram nem o controle nem a maioria da cidade.

26. A Declaração Balfour de 1917, o Mandato da Liga das Nações, o Plano de Partilha da ONU de 1947 e a admissão de Israel na ONU, em 1949, representaram o reconhecimento internacional do direito de Israel existir como pátria dos judeus.

Nada disso é verdadeiro, sob a luz do direito internacional. A declaração Balfour, de 1917, é rechaçada por todos os juristas mais respeitados do mundo. A Inglaterra nunca poderia prometer um “lar nacional judaico” em terras que nunca lhes pertenceram. Esse é um dos mitos na qual o sionismo se baseia. A de que seria preciso dar “terras sem povo a um povo sem terra”. A Palestina sempre foi habitada milenarmente pelos palestinos e os judeus, como se viu, passaram por lá pouco tempo e nunca a conquistaram integralmente. Mesmo a famigerada declaração Balfour foi feita com a ressalva de que o “povo palestino nunca seria prejudicado” com isso. O mandato que se menciona é da Liga das Nações e é de 1920 e ocorreu na cidade que leva o seu nome, San Remo, na Itália e foi organizado pelas potências vitoriosas da I Guerra e outorgaram um mandato para as potências vencedoras dessa guerra para administrar os territórios do antigo Império Otomano. Tais potências eram basicamente a França e a Inglaterra. Esse país, domina a Palestina até a proclamação do Estado de Israel em 14 de maio de 1948. O plano de partilha da ONU é fruto de um período muito especial e particular da história. A Europa, cuja consciência estava manchada pela morte de milhões de judeus na Alemanha, não sabia mais o que fazer e a migração forçada de judeus, incentivada por Hitler e suas barbaridades, fez com que a população judaica na Palestina ultrapassasse a casa dos 40%. Assim seria preciso uma solução para esse povo que para lá imigrou com apoio da Inglaterra em detrimento do povo palestino. Assim, a votação, por um voto de diferença para que o quórum mínimo fosse atingido, venceu pela criação de Israel e a aprovação do plano de Partilha, onde os judeus ficariam com 53% da Palestina pela Resolução 181 da ONU e os palestinos com 45% e 2% ficariam sob gestão internacional (que seria Jerusalém). A votação ocorreu quando a ONU tinha apenas 57 países membros (hoje tem 192). Somente a Tailândia faltou à sessão. A votação foi de 33 a favor, 13 contrários e 10 abstenções, inclusive dos EUA. A URSS votou a favor, comovida que estava com a opinião pública sobre os massacres de judeus. Mas mais do que isso. Stálin acreditava – erro de avaliação política – que Israel pudesse vir a ser um “país socialista”. Erro crasso cometido pelo camarada.

27. A Resolução 242 do Conselho de Segurança da ONU declara que Israel só deve ceder terras se isso fizer parte de um "acordo pacífico e aceitável".

Isso é falso. A essência da Resolução exige que Israel devolva todos os territórios palestinos ocupados com a guerra dos Seis Dias de junho de 1967. Essa é uma das poucas resoluções do Conselho de Segurança da ONU que contou com o voto inclusive dos Estados Unidos. Israel havia se exacerbado na ocupação e expansão de terras com relação aos seus vizinhos árabes. Tomou toda a península do Sinai, do Egito, ocupou a Palestina inteira, parte da Síria e do Líbano. Isso irritou toda a comunidade internacional. Essa Resolução, portanto, é pela imediata retiradas dos territórios palestinos, coisa que Israel não aceita cumprir, até os dias atuais inclusive, quando continua ocupando parte da Cisjordânia e construindo colônias judaicas ilegais nessas terras palestinas.

28. A Resolução 242 do Conselho de Segurança da ONU também estabelece que todas as nações vizinhas devem reconhecer o direito de Israel "viver em paz, com fronteiras seguras e reconhecidas, livre de ameaças e atos de força".

Como os países árabes podem viver em paz com um Estado como Israel? Possui pelo menos 40 bombas atômicas, ainda que isso não seja dito oficialmente. Tem o quarto maior exército do mundo e mais poderoso. Ocupa terras dos palestinos e os expulsa. Destroi suas casas, prende mais de 15 mil palestinos, boa parte sem direito a advogado de defesa. É contra a solução de “dois estados convivendo lado a lado em paz e segurança”. Como Israel pode exigir fronteiras “seguras” se naco oferece fronteiras seguras a seus vizinhos? Como pode querer um Estado com essa natureza viver em paz?

29. Até 2002, Israel era o único Estado-Membro das Nações Unidas considerado inelegível para o Conselho de Segurança. Mesmo hoje em dia, esse direito é apenas restrito e temporário. Desde a década de 70, um bloco formado por árabes, soviéticos e nações do Terceiro Mundo tem reforçado a marginalização de Israel, bloqueando sua participação em outros organismos-chave da ONU e submetendo a nação a mais comitês de investigação e representantes especiais do que qualquer outro Estado-Membro das Nações Unidas.

Israel colhe – e não é de hoje – aquilo que plantou durante anos. Seu absoluto apoiador são os Estados Unidos. E isso não é qualquer coisa. Por isso Israel se arvora no direito de descumprir todas as resoluções que lhes são contrárias. E são centenas dessas. Os Estados Unidos cunharam um termo para definir certos estados que eles consideram como “apoiadores do terrorismo”, que são os chamados “estados bandidos”. Como definir Israel hoje, que massacra palestinos, que viola convenções de Genebra sobre acordos de genocídio? Assim, Israel vai ficando completamente à Marge da comunidade internacional, perdendo a cada dia mais apoios. Hoje com a administração de Obama, a tendência é Israel ficar cada dia mais isolado. A diplomacia estadunidense vem enviando sinais de que vai deixar de apoiar Israel nos fóruns das Nações Unidas.

30. Israel está enfrentando uma grave ameaça: palestinos armados, escondidos em hospitais, escolas e mesquitas, têm atirado em civis e soldados israelenses, protegendo-se atrás de escudos humanos e usando ambulâncias para transportar armas e munições.

Ninguém compra essa versão fantasiosa, divulgada pelo exército de Israel. Isso ocorre exatamente ao contrário. Israel bombardeia sem dó nem piedade, escolas, hospitais e templos religiosos, nunca poupando a população civil. O maior exemplo disso foram oi quase 1,5 mil mortos palestinos, dos quais um terço de crianças nos 22 dias que Israel bombardeou a Faixa de Gaza entre os dias 27 de dezembro de 2008 e 18 de janeiro de 2009. Tais atitudes foram condenadas pelo mundo todo, sob o silêncio do governo do então presidente Bush, que, claro, apoiava tais atitudes.

Considerações finais

Haviam mais afirmações falsas ou distorcidas. Mas, algumas estavam incompletas, repetitivas ou incompreensíveis. Mas, eu mesmo poderia acrescentar dezenas de outras afirmações – estas verdadeiras – sob a visão dos palestinos. Não tenho dúvidas de que a verdade histórico esta com os palestinos e esse povo vencerá a guerra, seja ela com a resistência armada, seja a guerra da propaganda como é travada dia-a-dia na Internet e pela imprensa, quase toda ela pró-Israel.

A simpatia dos palestinos é total não só entre os grupos e partidos de esquerda no mundo inteiro, mas mesmo em países que não seguem essa orientação política mais progressista. O que se quer hoje é a paz e esse novo governo de Israel, nunca foi tão avesso à paz como todos os outros que o antecederam. E isso dito por intelectuais respeitados do judaísmo.

Benjamin Netanyahu, conhecido como Bibi não quer a paz e foi eleito fazendo campanha contra a paz e contra o Estado palestino. Mas, vai pagar um elevado preço por isso. Vai ficar cada dia mais isolado. E os palestinos acabarão por vencer na sua batalha histórica.

*Lejeune Mirhan, Presidente do Sindicato dos Sociólogos do Estado de São Paulo, Escritor, Arabista e Professor Membro da Academia de Altos Estudos Ibero-Árabe de Lisboa, Membro da International Sociological

* Opiniões aqui expressas não refletem, necessariamente, a opinião do site.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Future of Israel and the Decline of the American Empire - The Wages of Hubris and Vengeance


Israel is in the grip of a kind of collective schizophrenia. Not only its governors but the majority of its Jewish population have delusions of both grandeur and persecution, making for a distortion of reality and inconsistent behavior. Israeli Jews see and represent themselves as a chosen people and part of a superior Western civilization. They consider themselves more cerebral, reasonable, moral, and dynamic than Arabs and Muslims generally, and Palestinians in particular. At the same time they feel themselves to be the ultimate incarnation of the Jewish people’s unique suffering through the ages, still subject to constant insecurity and defenselessness in the face of ever-threatening extreme and unmerited punishment.

Such a psyche leads to hubris and vengefulness, the latter a response to the perpetual Jewish torment said to have culminated, as if by a directive purpose, in the Holocaust. Remembering the Shoah is Israel’s Eleventh Commandment and central to the nation’s civil religion and Weltanschauung. Family, school, synagogue, and official culture propagate its prescriptive narrative, decontextualized and surfeited with ethnocentrism. The re-memorizing of victimization is ritualized on Yom Ha Shoah and institutionalized by Yad Vashem.

Israel uses the Holocaust to conjure the specter of a timeless existential peril, in turn used to justify its warfare state and unbending diplomacy. Forever posing as the impossibly vulnerable Biblical David braving the Islamic Goliath, Israel insists all its cross-border wars and punitive operations are strictly defensive, preventive, or preemptive. Yet its leaders, many of them retired senior officers of the armed forces and intelligence services, attribute the exploits of the military to the advanced weapons, exemplary strategists, and uniquely principled citizen soldiers of the country’s formidable “Defense Forces,” one of the world’s mightiest fighting machines.

This self-congratulation passes over the powerlessness of the enemy “other” while it vastly exaggerates Israel’s innate strength to the point of impairing judgment and action. Without the enormous and practically unconditional financial, military, and diplomatic support of the United States and European Union, Israel would be an unexceptional small Middle Eastern nation-state, not an anomalous regional superpower. Even with this truly uncommon foreign backing (not to mention that of the global diaspora), the Jewish state scores only pyrrhic victories, judging by its failure to significantly enhance its strategic and political position in the Greater Middle East—except for the time gained to further consolidate and expand its fiercely contested “facts on the ground” in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Golan.

Although its leaders avoid saying so in public, Israel does not want peace, or a permanent comprehensive settlement, except on its own terms. They do not dare spell these out publicly, as they presume the enemy’s unconditional surrender, even enduring submission. Instead the Palestinians continue to be blamed for a chronic state of war that entails Israel’s continuing self-endangerment and militarization. This policy’s underlying strategic premise is the need to prevent any significant change in the West Asian balance of power.

But there is possibly another less delusional reason for their spurning accommodation and negotiation: because of their history of exile and want of political self-rule, Jews and their sages may well be insufficiently mindful of the theory and practice of sovereign statecraft. Admittedly, after 1945 the leaders of many of the new states of the post-colonial worlds were equally benighted. Unlike most of them, however, Israel’s political class and thinkers prize their deep connection with the West, including its philosophic and intellectual heritage, to the point of putting admission to the European Union ahead of rapprochement with the Arab/Muslim world. Yet they seem not to be conversant with the fundamental ideas of the likes of Machiavelli and Clausewitz. Respectively theorists of politics and war, both emphatically propound moderation over unrestraint. Machiavelli puts virtù at the center of his formula for the use of power and force. He does not, however, construe it as a moral principle—as virtue—but as a prescript for prudence, flexibility, and a sense of sober limits in power politics.

Clausewitz theorizes limited war for well-defined and negotiable objectives, the disposition for compromise varying in inverse ratio to the victor’s aims and demands. He cautions above all against “absolute” war in which intellect, reason, and judgment are cast aside. Although he and Machiavelli take account of the interpenetration of domestic and international politics, both conceive them as two distinct spheres. In Israel, domestic politics prevails, with little concern for the reason of international politics.

These insights are particularly relevant for small states. But blinded by their successful defiance of limits and laws, the leaders of Israel take their country of seven million people (over 20 percent of them non-Jewish, mostly Arabs) to be a great power by dint of its outsized armed forces and arms industry. They deceive themselves by assuming the Western world’s support for its military hypertrophy is irreversible. Perverting virtù they launch nearly absolute military expeditions against the radical Palestinian resistance. They also envisage striking resurgent Iran with the most modern American-made and -financed aircraft operated by American-certified Israeli pilots. Nor does Tel Aviv hesitate to send military, technical, and covert “intelligence” missions, as well as weapons, to scores of nations in the Middle East, ex-Soviet sphere, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, not infrequently in concert with Washington.

State terror is all but integral to the latest weapons and tactics with which Israel’s forces engage the Palestinian resistance fighters. Of course the latter also resort to terror, the hallmark of asymmetrical warfare. But it is Israel that sows the wind and reaps the whirlwind. A vicious, endless cycle of vengeance, driven by the clashes of Israel’s overconfident, sophisticated, and regular military forces with crude and irregular paramilitary forces, further intensifies the distrust between Israelis and Palestinians, including Israeli Arabs, most of them Muslim. Though intended to break the will of the armed militias by inflicting unbearable pain on the host society, as in Lebanon and Gaza, the collateral damage of Israel’s campaigns of “shock and awe” only serve to fire the avenging fury of the powerless.

Since Israel’s foundation, the failure to pursue Arab-Jewish understanding and cooperation has been Zionism’s “great sin of omission” (Judah Magnes). At every major turn since 1947-48 Israel has had the upper hand in the conflict with the Palestinians, its ascendancy at once military, diplomatic, and economic. This prepotency became especially pronounced after the Six Day War of 1967. Consider the annexations and settlements; occupation and martial law; settler pogroms and expropriations; border crossings and checkpoints; walls and segregated roads. No less mortifying for the Palestinians has been the disproportionately large number of civilians killed and injured, and the roughly 10,000 languishing in Israeli prisons.

Despite the recent ingloriousness of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Israel’s ruling and governing class continues to stand imperious. Yet evidence that the country’s military is increasingly ill-adapted to fight today’s decentralized irregular warfare mounts, while its foreign policy is increasingly incoherent and hostage to the hidebound partisan politics of competing intransigence. Geopolitically unsteady, its relation to Washington is battered by the same heavy winds now buffeting the center and periphery of the American empire.

Even so, emboldened by cutting-edge conventional and unconventional weapons, the governors of Israel, contemptuous of the minuscule and comatose left opposition in the Knesset and the country at large, vow to hold on to most of the archipelago of settlements and all of Jerusalem. They pay lip service to the two-state solution, but all they are prepared to concede to the Palestinians is a cramped pseudo-state with minimal sovereignty, with Gaza severed from the West Bank. If pressed they might agree to a 30-mile tunnel under sovereign Israeli land to establish an artificial contiguity between fragmented West Bank and fenced-in Gaza Strip. Yet they mean to control all land and maritime borders as well as the airspace and electromagnetic frequencies.

Meanwhile Israel continues to play on the internecine divisions of the Palestinian nation and the discords in the Arab-Muslim world. Its leaders dread nothing more than a reconciliation of the two principal Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah; a Palestinian unity government; and an entente cordiale of the Arab states whose peace proposal, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2002, they consider fraught with doom. The latest spirit of darkness is non-Arab Shi’ite Iran. Should Tehran’s political power and ideological sway strike fear into the so-called moderate Arab states, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, these might all rally around the treacherous Arab peace overture. Such a turn would most likely drive Iran to step up its support of radical political Islam throughout the Greater Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas throughout Palestine, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If Israel responds only with the usual truculence, it will continue to navigate dangerously between the ever more insecure and disoriented anciens régimes of the Arab/Muslim world and an intensifying political unrest whose impulses are both secular and religious.

While the country is fixated on national security—Iran being decried as the latest, and imminent, existential threat—elsewhere Israel is widely perceived to be rapidly eroding what remains of its singular moral capital and international prestige. There are more and more calls for boycotts, embargoes, divestments, sanctions, and prosecutions, while the media are finally giving more space and time to analytic and critical voices. To dismiss or denounce this growing censure of Israel’s policies as an expression of resurgent age-old anti-Semitism—allegedly encouraged and legitimated by the ravings of self-hating Jews—is not to see the forest for the trees. The same holds for Israel’s leaders’ disposition to stigmatize major foreign adversary leaders—Nasser, Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad—as Hitler redivivus.

But the old reflexes remain, and the prospect of a nuclear and Islamist Iran said to be bent on regional hegemony keeps them quick. With a population of 70 million and some 15 percent of the world’s proven oil and natural gas reserves, Iran is, indeed, a state to reckon with: it has a long history, a strong national consciousness, and a swelling educated middle class. Its two-stage, solid-fueled missiles are capable of carrying conventional and nonconventional warheads a distance of between 930 and 1,200 miles.

Instead of joining those who seek diplomatic ways to refigure the balance of regional power, Israel advocates an all-out economic embargo of Iran backed by the threat of air strikes. The hardliners’ aim: to trigger a regime change by way of a color revolution covertly fomented by the U.S. and Israel. They warn that Tel Aviv will make good on this threat of aerial assaults on Iran’s nuclear sites to delay or prevent it from developing the ultimate weapon. Even respected politicians and public intellectuals swear that in extremis Israel will strike without approval from Washington, confident the U.S. will have no alternative but to provide military and diplomatic cover, all the more so now that Israel can use America’s five military bases in the Holy Land as blackmail.

In March 2009, Barack Obama and Shimon Peres saluted the Iranian people and government on the occasion of Noruz, the start of the Persian new year. Obama stressed the “common humanity that binds us together” and insisted it was in the interest of both countries that “Iran should take its rightful place in the community of nations.” Peres struck a radically different note. He urged Iranians to reclaim their “worthy place among the nations of the enlightened world” as he laid out the conditions in their country: “There is great unemployment, corruption, a lot of drugs, and general discontent. You cannot feed your children enriched uranium, they need a real breakfast. It cannot be that the money is invested in enriched uranium and the children are told to remain a little hungry, a little ignorant.” Iran’s children suffer only because “a handful of religious fanatics take the worst possible path.” Rather than heed President Ahmadinejad, who in 2006 questioned the Holocaust, the citizenry should “topple these leaders…who do not serve the people.” Besides, while “they are destroying their [own] people, they won’t destroy us.”

The accusations are rich. Even now the independence of the Israeli judiciary is compromised, secularism is losing ground, xenophobia is rampant, and, still and always, the Palestinian minority is reduced to second-class citizenship. In brandishing the Iranian threat, Israel’s faction-ridden but consensual political class merely perpetuates its rule by fear, which, according to Montesquieu, sows the seeds of despotism.

Israelis must ask themselves whether there is a point beyond which the Zionist quest becomes self-defeatingly perilous, corrupting, and degrading. Although the Judeocide marks the nadir of the history of the Jewish people, it is not its defining moment and experience. The mythologized millennial exile of the Jewish people was anything but an unrelenting dark age: there was a vital Jewish life before the Shoah, and it resumed full force after 1945, in both Israel and the diaspora. It is neither to profane the Holocaust nor to desecrate the memory of its 5 to 6 million victims to recall their membership in a vast confederation of over 70 million killed during World War Two, some 45 million of them civilians. It is simply to point up that the Jewish catastrophe was inextricably tied into the most murderous and cruel war in the history of humanity, a war uniquely ferocious because of its crusading furies, and not because of a divine narrative about the Jews.

The Greater Middle East is a seething cauldron of domestic and international conflicts. All the nations of this perennially contested geopolitical space will have to adjust to the emergence of a multipolar world system and the attendant waning of the American empire. This great and accelerating change in international politics coincides with the breakneck globalization of economics, finance, and science, which subverts national economies while simultaneously fostering a new mercantilism whose terms are set by a new concert of Great Powers.

Israel’s leaders are at a crossroads: either they stick to their guns and are forced into a reconfigured geopolitical reality they cannot outwit or overmaster, or they decide of their own accord to temper their hubris and rein in their propensity to vengeance. What should they choose at a moment when Israeli society is facing a decline in Jewish immigration, a rise in Jewish and Israeli emigration, and an upturn in draft dodging (to say nothing of how this disenchantment may be affecting the steep rate of assimilation and intermarriage in the diaspora)?

To begin, Israel’s governors and public intellectuals should rethink the fundamental premises, objectives, and strategies of the policies followed since 1948. They might do well to recall one of Theodor Herzl’s earliest ideas: in exchange for a Jewish commonwealth serving as “an outpost of civilization against barbarism” in Palestine, which was considered a link in Europe’s “rampart against Asia,” the Great Powers would guarantee its existence “as a neutral state.” To be sure, even for most Israeli Jews the crass orientalism of this vision is out of season. But the notion of a neutral state ought not to be dismissed lightly. The present garrison state is not about to become, as Herzl envisioned, “a light unto the nations”—let alone the diaspora.

Next, they might admit to themselves that small nations do not have the prerogative to speak loudly and carry a big stick, and that they keep tempting fate by stubbornly staying Israel’s nuclear course. This defiance cannot help but increase the perils of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and Central Asia from which Israel will not be immune. Betting a tiny country’s security and survival on a momentary regional head start in state-of-the-art warheads, aircraft, missiles, unmanned drones, cluster bombs, and cyber weapons is, again, delusional. Inevitably Iran and other states will challenge its imperiousness, in the process exposing the entire region to the unthinkable doctrine of mutually assured destruction premised on both attacker and defender having a fail-safe deterrent in the form of a second-strike nuclear or chemical-biological capability. Although Tehran may still lack an effective missile air defense system, it has test-fired high-speed missiles whose range puts it within striking distance of Israel. But Iran has two additional trumps: a foothold near the northern entrance to the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the world’s single most vital energy chokepoint; and a critical geopolitical proximity to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Rather than lead the regional nuclear and biological charge, Israel should issue a call for a nuclear-free Middle East along with the announcement of a significant reduction of its own outsized atomic arsenal and armaments industry, which are both counterproductive and provocative. Tangible and symbolic, such a military cutback could be paired with a signal that Israel is prepared to seriously discuss the Palestinian refugee issue. This might take the form of expressing remorse and assuming partial moral responsibility for the exodus of over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs in 1947-49 and of mounting an international effort to make amends in the form of reparations in line with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (Article 11).

In the aftermath of the bloody and destructive invasion a donors’ conference raised some $4.5 billion for the relief and reconstruction of Gaza. While the bulk of the aid was pledged by the Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, the U. S. committed $900 million for the Palestinian Authority and $300 million for relief in Gaza. What if these monies had been raised earlier? Had they gone to reparations, deployed as a confidence-building measure, the region might have been spared the politically toxic and humanly lethal Lebanon and Gaza incursions.

Overtures of this nature, seconded by other nations, might be preliminary steps to Israel’s at long last specifying base lines for a negotiated agreement on security, borders, settlements, Jerusalem, holy places, and water resources. Such a turnaround and agenda would spell the renunciation of the secular and religious diehards’ inveterate reach for the Jordan River and reliance on the strategy of the Iron Wall. To seek a conciliation and accommodation with the restive Palestinian political class, edgy Arab regimes, and turbulent Islamic world is to forsake the Joshua-like martial and closed Zionism of Weizmann, Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion, Begin, Netanyahu, and Barak. It would call for and make possible a recovery of the repressed Isaiah-like humanist and open Zionism of Ahad Haam, Martin Buber, Judah Magnes, Ernst Simon, and Yeshayahu Leibowitz for either two demilitarized states or a single bi-national state for two peoples with open borders, the separation of state and religion, universal civil and social rights, and ecumenically informed cultural reciprocity.

The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only at dusk for political actors as well as philosophers. Israel’s leaders, reflecting more critically on Herzl’s belief in the need for an imperial patron, must grasp the implications of the incipient decline of the American empire for Israel’s future. Paradoxically the waning of Washington’s hegemony in the Greater Middle East is likely to chasten Israel’s pride and give enlightened and cosmopolitan Zionism a new if difficult lease on life. But insofar as the U.S. fights its decline tooth and nail, Israel’s power elite is also more likely to remain implacable, at all risks and hazards for their own country and the diaspora.

Arno J Mayer is emeritus professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions.and Plowshares Into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Verso).