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Failure of the American Jewry - Part II
by Dr. Habib Siddiqui
2010-08-12 08:28:04
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I fail to see anything great about Israeli democracy. Most of its leaders are corrupt and immoral, and have come from the military with records of war crimes. Some are psychopaths. Most are racists. And on the top of that, fascistic leanings have always tainted its government. Peter Beinart writes, “Israeli governments come and go, but the Netanyahu coalition is the product of frightening, long-term trends in Israeli society: an ultra-Orthodox population that is increasing dramatically, a settler movement that is growing more radical and more entrenched in the Israeli bureaucracy and army, and a Russian immigrant community that is particularly prone to anti-Arab racism. In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. An education ministry official called the survey ‘a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth.’” Only in ‘democratic’ Israel can one see such a support for a fascist leader like Lieberman!

Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset recently said: “The country cannot be divided…I oppose the idea of a state belonging to all its citizens or a bi-national state and am thinking about arrangements of joint sovereignty in Judea and Samaria under the Jewish state, even a regime of two parliaments, Jewish and Arab…Judea and Samaria will be a co-dominion, held jointly…But these are things that take time…Stop waving demography in my face.” What we notice from such messages is much worse than apartheid: a Jewish state in which the Jewish majority will decide, if at all, and when, to confer citizenship on some of the Arabs.

What is so disconcerting is that there is no public concern—even outrage—among the leaders of organized American Jewry about such trends in Israel and her government. AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents remain the Jewish state’s unabashed promoters in the USA. The latter declares that “Israel and the United States share political, moral and intellectual values including democracy, freedom, security and peace.” On its website, AIPAC celebrates Israel’s commitment to “free speech and minority rights.” These groups may not say that Israeli Arabs don’t deserve full citizenship and West Bank Palestinians don’t deserve human rights. But in practice, by defending virtually anything any Israeli government does, they make themselves intellectual bodyguards for Israeli leaders who threaten the very liberal values they profess to admire. The Jewish newspaper - the Forward - sums up the overall response of America’s communal Jewish leadership in its headline “Jewish Leaders Largely Silent on Lieberman’s Role in Government.”

According to Peter Beinart, “Not only does the organized American Jewish community mostly avoid public criticism of the Israeli government, it tries to prevent others from leveling such criticism as well. In recent years, American Jewish organizations have waged a campaign to discredit the world’s most respected international human rights groups. In 2006, Foxman called an Amnesty International report on Israeli killing of Lebanese civilians “bigoted, biased, and borderline anti-Semitic.” The Conference of Presidents has announced that “biased NGOs include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, [and] Save the Children.” Last summer, an AIPAC spokesman declared that Human Rights Watch “has repeatedly demonstrated its anti-Israel bias.” When the Obama administration awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, former UN high commissioner for human rights, the ADL and AIPAC both protested, citing the fact that she had presided over the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.”

A Knesset member from Netanyahu’s Likud recently charged Naomi Chazan, head of the New Israel Fund, which supports some of the human rights groups inside Israel that are critical of Israel’s heavy-handedness with the Palestinians, with treason, and a member of Lieberman’s party launched an investigation aimed at curbing foreign funding of Israeli NGOs. Are these the healthy signs of democracy, or warning signs of fascism?

Where is Israel heading to? Just a look at the actors in the Israeli politics -- Netanyahu, Lieberman and Eitam -- is enough to lose sleep upon. Their political drama is far worse. Settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population; half of Israeli Jewish high school students want Arabs barred from the Knesset. Eitam visits American universities to sell his poisonous pill of ethnic cleansing. Netanyahu knows that Obama is no position to threaten his regime. Thus, he has started to remove the remaining thousands of Palestinian population in the Jordan valley. As I write, villages are being eradicated, starting with Farasiya, where all the dwellings and the water installations were destroyed. As Avnery has reflected, this is pure ethnic cleansing, much like the similar operation now going on against the Bedouins in the Negev.

Beinart asks, “If the line has not yet been crossed, where is the line?” We may never get that answer from American Jewish leaders, and not even from the charlatans like Elie Wiesel. (As I have repeatedly said, since at least the time of the Bosnian crisis of the early 1990s, Wiesel’s tears are shed exclusively for the Holocaust victims. There is no place for others, and surely not the victims of Israeli inhumanity in that mask of hypocrisy.) They behave as if their past suffering, their victimhood in Nazi Germany gives them the license to murder, injure, annex, plunder, and all the horrendous crimes known to mankind. They truly have never gotten out of that “victimhood” mentality of the Jewish Holocaust. They fail to recognize that this sickening obsession with victimhood is at the heart of why Zionism is still viewed as nothing better than Fascism and racism and why its “charm”, if there ever was one, is dying fast among America’s secular Jewish young today who have access to the Internet. No Eitam-lectures and propaganda on the U.S. university campuses can repair that damage.

Equally reprehensible is the behavior of the Jewish lawmakers in the U.S. Not only are they cheerleading for Israel, they ensure that she can go on terrorizing others without ever being punished. Aided by the pro-Israeli lobby groups, they essentially make sure that Israel is supported militarily, economically and diplomatically in spite of her grievous crimes against humanity. The guys like Chuck Schumer and Joe Lieberman even enlist other lawmakers to punish any country that is slightly critical of the rogue state. To most of them, Washington D.C. and their own constituency come second or third to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It is no accident that they bring resolutions in the Capitol Hill to drown the Goldstone report, to punish Iran, to annoy or embarrass Turkey, to overlook the heinous crimes of Israel in international waters when its IDF kills civilian activists, to condemn UN inquiries on war crimes. They are criminally silent on the cold-blooded murder of American activists Rachel Corey and Furkan Dogan, let alone the victims of the USS Liberty. Their blind support for the crimes and ‘security’ of the pariah state is costing Americans dearly in blood and money. How long can they afford to do such proxy acts?

In the December 1948 a letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and others appeared in the New York Times that protested right-wing Zionist leader Menachem Begin’s visit to the U.S. after his party’s militias massacred Arab civilians in the village of Deir Yassin. I have failed to see that kind of activism amongst Jewish men of conscience. No one protested the recent visit of Israeli leaders to Washington D.C., coming as it did right after the Gaza freedom flotilla attack. There is an eerie silence everywhere in the Jewish controlled media today. As the New York Times op/ed columnist Roger Cohen recently wrote about Furkan Dogan, the Turkish-American teenager victim of the Gaza flotilla, “I also have little doubt that if the incident had been different — say a 19-year-old American student called Michael Sandler killed by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank when caught in a cross-fire between Palestinians and Israelis — we would have been deluged in stories about him.” What can we expect, when we did not even hear much about Rachel Corey, bulldozed to death for protesting demolition of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories, in the media?

Why this silence in the Jewish controlled media about Israeli crimes? Why the failure of American Jewry to discuss sensitive issues that affect lives of so many? How many thousand of Americans must die at the altar of Zionism? This chill is a bad thing. Can’t they see? Today, it is the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims, who are the victims. But what guarantee is there that tomorrow or the day after it won’t hurt the very nest it is trying to protect?

In 2004, Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished hundreds of houses in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Beinart says that while watching television, a veteran Israeli commentator and politician named Tommy Lapid saw an elderly Palestinian woman crouched on all fours looking for her medicines amid the ruins of her home. He said she reminded him of his grandmother. Unlike most American Zionists, who suffer from an epidemic of not watching tragedies of the Palestinian people, Lapid watched. And he was able to connect the Palestinian elderly woman’s tragedy with that of his own Jewish grandma in Auschwitz.

Truly, what the Palestinians suffer today in the Occupied Territories is no less painful than those suffered seven decades ago by the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Well, the rate of extinction may be slower, and there are no gas chambers, but there is no shortage of Israeli bullets that kill or injure, and Israeli bombs and missiles that are dropped into the homes, schools, hospitals, shops and streets of the Palestinian people. And then there is the never-ending cycle of eviction, demolition and annexation of Palestinian land and properties. Far from the wishful proclamations of Pinchas Lavon, one of the founding fathers of Israel, who declared in December of 1948 rather naively, “For the first time we shall be the majority living with a minority, and we shall be called upon to provide an example and prove how Jews live with a minority,” that experience of the minority Palestinians has been simply awful; it has no parallel in our world today outside those suffered by the Rohingya Muslims of Burma. That is a sad commentary to what Israel has become. It is no longer the little God-fearing David but has transformed itself to the monstrous God-less Goliath.

Let’s hope that there will be more Jews like Lapid who will watch the unpleasant scenes of Israeli brutality. If they do, they will find their grandmas and grandpas amongst the victims of Gaza and the West Bank. Let’s also hope that they understand that the best way to memorialize the history of Jewish suffering is through the ethical use of Jewish power, and nothing can be better in that direction than stopping the bleeding process for the Palestinian people.

But my hopes here may be misplaced in a people that are led by Zionists who are taking them on a downward spiral of war and savagery, and moral bankruptcy that cannot even distinguish between right and wrong, moral and immoral acts. I am not sure if the world Jewry is even aware of its own ailment. Its leadership is arrogant and overconfident and refuses to see the visible warning signs and amend its faulty ways, and instead breeds a culture of fascism that does not tolerate opposing views or claims. It muffles the voices of Sternhell, Lapid, Avnery and others. What good can come out of such an immoral leadership that uses ordinary people as pawns or zombies for fulfilling its evil desires? Is the American Jewry ready for an alternative leadership that is caring and peace-making?

Peter Beinart still sees a ray of hope in his people to try a new brand of Zionism that is angry at what Israel risks becoming, and in love with what it still could be. He believes that this different Zionist calling has its roots in Israel’s Independence Proclamation, which promised that the Jewish state “will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets.” I hope he is right and the definition is inclusive.
With all the economic and media power it controls, American Jewry in general, and American Zionists in particular, are in a unique position today to either do much good or much harm to our world.  Which option will it choose?



Failure of the American Jewry - Part I, HERE!


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