Chase Madar has a great piece up at Tom Dispatch, “The Folly of Arming Israel,” that focuses on the central problem, American support for Israel’s militarism. “[I]t is hard to imagine what kind of progress can ever be made toward a just and lasting settlement between Israel and Palestine until Washington quits arming one side to the teeth.”
We are paying for ethnic cleansing, Madar says. Here is his nice neat description of the occupation:
In 1967, our client seized some contiguous pieces of real estate and ever since has been colonizing these territories with nearly 650,000 of its own people. It has divided the conquered lands with myriad checkpoints and roads accessible only to the colonizers and is building a 440-mile wall around (and cutting into) the conquered territory, creating a geography of control that violates international law.
“Ethnic cleansing” is a harsh term, but apt for a situation in which people are driven out of their homes and lands because they are not of the right tribe. Though many will balk at leveling this charge against Israel — for that country is, of course, the top recipient of American aid and especially military largesse — who would hesitate to use the term if, in a mirror-image world, all of this were being inflicted on Israeli Jews?…
The world observes the unfairness, but the United States is too imbedded in one side to understand how things appear:
Washington’s active role in all of this is not lost on anyone on the world stage — except Americans, who have declared themselves to be the even-handed arbiters of a conflict involving endless failed efforts at brokering a “peace process.” Globally, fewer and fewer observers believe in this fiction of Washington as a benevolent bystander rather than a participant heavily implicated in a humanitarian crisis. In 2012, the widely respected International Crisis Group described the “peace process” as “a collective addiction that serves all manner of needs, reaching an agreement no longer being the main one.”…
Madar shows that intelligent people in the U.S. regard the conflict as one between equal parties, when one has nukes; and then explains that the Israel lobby’s claims pervade our discourse.
when it comes to what Americans are most responsible for — all that lavish military aid and diplomatic cover for one side only — what you get is either euphemism or an evasive silence.
In general, the American media tends to treat our arming of Israel as part of the natural order of the universe, as beyond question as the force of gravity..
He lands on the Center for American Progress for the lies it tells itself about the conflict. And I always slam MSNBC; but not so well as Madar does here. The Agatha Christie line is excellent to convey the blindness.
You might think that the progressive hosts of MSNBC’s news programs would be all over the story of what American taxpayers are subsidizing, but the topic barely flickers across the chat shows of Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and others. Given this across-the-board selective reticence, American coverage of Israel and Palestine, and particularly of American military aid to Israel, resembles the Agatha Christie novel in which the first-person narrator, observing and commenting on the action in calm semi-detachment, turns out to be the murderer.
Madar scores the liberal Zionist lobby as just as helpless on the central issue as the rightwing lobby.
J Street (“pro-Israel and pro-peace”), a Washington-based nonprofit which bills itself as a moderate alternative to the powerhouse lobbying outfit, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), supports both “robust” military aid and any supplemental disbursements on offer from Washington to the Israeli Defense Forces. Americans for Peace Now similarly takes the position that Washington should provide “robust assistance” to ensure Israel’s “qualitative military edge.” At the risk of sounding literal-minded, any group plumping for enormous military aid packages to a country acting as Israel has is emphatically not “pro-peace.”
Madar says that the US military is more frank than the media about how our attachment is hurting the country across the Middle East:
General James Mattis, echoed [David Petraeus’s] list of liabilities in a public dialogue with Wolf Blitzer last July:
“I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that [alienates] all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”