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Former Senator Weicker says he was ‘lobbied’ to be silent about Palestinian suffering

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

Speaking at the Tree of Life Conference in Old Lyme, CT, yesterday, former Connecticut Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker Jr. compared the Israeli wall to the notorious wall that was built by East Germany.

He said:

“When I think of Israelis, Palestinians and today’s wall I’m reminded of yesterday’s East German wall and when that obstruction came down I remember an America that stood up and cheered. What then is the difference between that wall and the one that stands as an abomination in the holy land today? The difference is a resigned silence.

“It is one thing for a nation to defend itself against nonstop murderous sallies, as was the case in the early times of Israel. Quite another to use history as justification for an ongoing policy of isolation, internment, deprivation and humiliation as waged against today’s Palestinians.”

“Instead of insisting that Israel get to the business of peace in short order, the United States fuels indifference to Palestinian suffering by continuing a steady flow of aid, military and economic, to Israel as if they were the sole aggrieved party in the present standoff.”

“The United States Congress past (and that included me) and present has been successfully lobbied to close its eyes to the travesty that consumes the holy land.”

Editor: Note that South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings also commented on the power of the lobby, when he was no longer up for reelection. Links here and here.

 

Stanley Heller
About Stanley Heller

Stanley Heller is Executive Director of the Middle East Crisis Committee (CT) and host of its TV program "The Struggle". He publishes the Struggle Video News, at TheStruggle.org

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20 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    October 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

    American support for botulism is driven by money but will be undermined by israel’s abandonment of the universal values that define our shared humanity. Zionism is a moral cul de sac. No amount of money can render it decent.

  2. Oklahoma farmer
    Oklahoma farmer
    October 21, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Remember he was about the most prissy Sentator ever, acting like his BO smelled of roses….. Now all at once he wants forgiveness? He’s more of a clod than ever.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      October 21, 2013, 2:29 pm

      I recall Weicker rather fondly, and was disappointed when he was unseated by Joe Lieberman. I don’t recall anything about his body odor or prissiness, but I did have to hold my nose often when hearing his replacement talk.

      • Oklahoma farmer
        Oklahoma farmer
        October 21, 2013, 2:50 pm

        You’re right…. Lieberman is worse….he will never admit Israel’s barbarism…. Weicker does….but too late.

  3. Cliff
    Cliff
    October 21, 2013, 3:09 pm

    Just goes to show the level of contempt American politicians have for Israel and Zionism.

    They play along though because of the ideological pressure (real or imagined; although ‘imagined’ has a lot to do with real, and they play off each other since we’re talking about abstractions here anyway) they (and all of us) are under from the American Jewish Establishment.

  4. Donald
    Donald
    October 21, 2013, 4:06 pm

    “It is one thing for a nation to defend itself against nonstop murderous sallies, as was the case in the early times of Israel”

    I’m not sure what he means. There were some terrorist attacks on Israelis in the early years, but as usual, civilians killed by Israel far outnumbered Israeli civilians killed by Arabs. Benny Morris’s “Israel’s Border Wars” has the details.

    Not to be churlish here, but it’s a little frustrating how criticism of Israel is often accompanied by an inaccurate statement that is supposed to provide balance.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      October 21, 2013, 7:18 pm

      Most of the Arabs in the country, approximately 400,000, were chased out and expelled during the first stage of the war. In other words, before the Arab armies invaded the country. According to Morris, the expulsion of the Arabs was meant to safeguard the homeland before the invasion of the armies of Arabia. This explanation is problematic, first because according to Morris himself, David Ben Gurion was not at all afraid of the Arabs of Israel, and for good cause: they were almost powerless. Ben Gurion was afraid of an invasion by the Arab armies. Moreover, Ben Gurion was not certain that they would invade Israel. On May 7th 1948 he wrote in his journal: “Will the neighboring countries fight?” Ben Gurion could not know this for certain because, according to Morris, the Arabs themselves hesitated until almost the very last moment. Be that as it may, Morris states that the invasion plans by the Arab armies played no role [in the thinking and decisions of] the Arabs of the land of Israel.

      This brings the discussion back to the question of why 400,000 Arabs were expelled before these armies had taken even a single shot at the IDF, and the possibility arises that it did not happen because the Arabs had attacked Israel but vice versa: the Arab states attacked Israel – among other reasons – because it had chased out and expelled 400,000 Palestinians. It is doubtful if any person knows more about this subject than Morris. The thesis which transpires from his book is that almost everything happened as the result of an error: the Jews exaggerated the force of the Arabs and were afraid of another Holocaust. In fact, they did not correctly estimate their weakness and were unjustifiably afraid of them. It seems that it was for this reason that they expelled them, with no justification. But Morris wishes to justify the expulsion of the Arabs: he says that they started the attack, but the concrete information that he brings forth about their harassment of the Jewish settlements cannot explain great extent of the expulsion.

      Naturally, the question arises: were the Arabs expelled in order to get rid of them. Morris states at as early as December 1947, at least, which is nearly half a year before the Arab armies invaded, two goals were at the forefront for the Jews of the land of Israel: expanding the territory designated by the United Nations resolution for the founding of a Jewish state; and reducing the number of Arabs living in that territory. And that was what they did. Historiographically, that is sufficient, but Morris brings his readers into an old dispute about a subject with which he is also well-familiar: the Zionist movement’s yearning to transfer the Arabs of the country, or at least some of them.

      This idea has accompanied the Zionist movement since the time of Herzl himself. It took center stage in the thinking of the leaders of the Zionist movement, including Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion. But Morris makes a great effort to detach the chasing out of the Arabs from the idea of transfer. A similar measure of logic could detach the founding of the state from the Zionist vision.

      The rest of the Arabs [300,000 more] were expelled during the war and thereafter. What Morris says about the frontline conditions does not demonstrate the military need to expel the population, especially as Israel’s military power was much greater than the armies of Arabia within two or three weeks, and the remaining Arab population did not constitute any kind of threat to the country. The question of why they were expelled remains without an answer in this book. Morris says that they wanted to throw the Jews into the sea and states: “The Arab expulsion clearly derived from the Zionist transferist thinking in the 30s and 40s.” This is a perplexing statement, as Morris goes out of his way to prove the marginal status of transferist thinking.

      Cleansing – without quotation marks

      About six years ago Benny Morris said that Israel had not expelled enough Arabs

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2010/07/19/tom-segev-reviews-benny-morris-new-book-1948/
      Tom Segev Critically Reviews Benny Morris’ new book, ’1948′
      by Richard Silverstein on July 19, 2010 · 30 comments

      in Mideast Peace

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        October 22, 2013, 9:54 pm

        @traintosiberia: Thoughful post.

        Naturally, the question arises: were the Arabs expelled in order to get rid of them.

        How could the new Israeli state have been a Zionist state if almost half or more of its new citizens would have been non-Jews? (Not to mention land ownership). There was long-standing general agreement that a Jewish state had to be upwards of 80% Jewish. 50% simply would not do. Thus, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was an inescapable logical consequence of Zionist ideology, imo. The details of when, where, how, to what extent, etc. , of course depended on historical conditions and human agency.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        October 22, 2013, 10:06 pm

        traintosiberia:

        Morris goes out of his way to prove the marginal status of transferist thinking.

        Having read  Nur Masalha’s : “Expulsion of the Palestinians: the concept of “transfer” in Zionist political thought, 1882–1948”, (now available on Kindle, btw), I would doubt that a compelling argument for the marginal status of transferist thinking were possible.

        Did you find Morris at all convincing on that point? What are his main argument/ evidence to support his “marginal status” conclusion?

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      October 21, 2013, 10:07 pm

      On Weiker_ “I’m not sure what he means…” He probably doesn’t know what he means either-

      Weiker demonstrates thoughtful compassion, he also a superficial, even ignorance of history.

      That is a dangerous combination, easily manipulated. And is probably why he was, as he indicates, rated high in his support of Israel, received AIPAC funds to assure the flow of money from US taxpayers to Israel.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      October 21, 2013, 11:28 pm

      Excellent point Donald. Very common to see such “balance”

  5. Krauss
    Krauss
    October 21, 2013, 6:15 pm

    I for one have little patience with people like Weicker. It’s easy to be brave and honest when he’s an old man ready for the grave, but when he was in power he didn’t seem to mind much. When he was in power was when it mattered.

    Also, to compare the wall in East Berlin with the separation/apartheid wall in Palestine is to be truly delsusional, they are not even close. The Israeli wall is much longer, bigger and used in a far more coercive way. It’s also part of a significant occupation that simply cannot be compared to anything in what was then East Germany.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      October 22, 2013, 12:41 pm

      The Israeli wall is much longer, bigger and used in a far more coercive way. It’s also part of a significant occupation that simply cannot be compared to anything in what was then East Germany.

      I agree. My home country was very peaceful and nowhere near as criminal as Israel. Building a wall to keep the natives in is much less terrible than building a wall to keep the natives out.

  6. Obsidian
    Obsidian
    October 22, 2013, 1:35 am

    The Berlin Wall was constructed to keep East Berliners from fleeing to the West.
    Any East Berliner could be shot dead for trying to LEAVE.

    On the other hand, China’s monumental ‘Great Wall’, and the Roman ‘Hadrian Wall’, were built to keep the barbarians AWAY.

    ““Instead of insisting that Israel get to the business of peace in short order…”

    Uhh…Secretary of State Kerry has gotten both sides to sit down and talk peace.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 22, 2013, 6:06 am

      @ Obsidian
      Kerry has done nothing to discourage Israel from expanding settlements, although he’s stated, like Hillary and other US political leaders, those settlements are “not helpful” for encouraging real peace negotiations.

    • Ron Edwards
      Ron Edwards
      October 23, 2013, 12:35 am

      The body count at the Berlin Wall, including car accidents and non-escape events like drownings, did not exceed about 120 people throughout its existence between 1961 and 1989. Some perspective to deal with your typical misleading use of facts (the purpose of said Wall) to convey lies (“the Jerusalem and Gaza Walls are not so bad”).

      As for barbarians, there is no doubt who they are in this case. High-tech does not civilization make … as I believe was made clear in Central Europe some 75-80 years ago.

  7. AM
    AM
    October 22, 2013, 2:19 am

    His last statement was the most telling — he will speak his mind because he isn’t pursuing office anymore. Obviously I’m taking a pessimistic definition, but we’ve seen it more and more recently.

    And for that [greater number of former public servents expressing their views] I am thankful because it will build up, yet I have no idea how long it will take for that breeze to really affect the tree branches of government.

    • lysias
      lysias
      October 23, 2013, 1:27 pm

      It’s pathetic how desperate our politicians are to be re-elected and to retain their offices. There’s something dreadfully flawed with the system of electing legislators: almost all the people that method chooses turn out to have that weakness of character.

      The ancient Athenians had a much better system. They chose most officials and all legislators by lot from the whole citizen body, like for our juries.

  8. flyod
    flyod
    October 22, 2013, 7:59 am

    the mic thrives in ct…

  9. Ron Edwards
    Ron Edwards
    October 23, 2013, 12:27 am

    I long for the day when “lobbying” as used here is called what it actually is, bribery.

    Think of how refreshing it would be if Weicker or someone like him would say, “The United States Congress past (and that included me) and present has been successfully bribed to close its eyes to the travesty that consumes the holy land.”

    Even better if it were said by someone actually in office at the time, and then acted upon appropriately.

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