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Deval Patrick has unequivocally supported Israel at the height of its worst human rights abuses

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Former Massachusetts Governor (and managing director of private equity firm Bain Capital) Deval Patrick has announced that he’s officially entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Patrick’s connections to the financial industry will presumably anger left-leaning voters, but his foreign policy record should also rankle progressives. Patrick has a long history of support for Israel and no record to show in terms of supporting Palestinian self-determination. The former governor has led delegations to Israel on numerous occasions. During a 2011 trip, Patrick met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and informed the press that his visit was one of “collaboration, friendship and steadfast support.”

In 2012, at the height of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, Patrick spoke at a pro-Israel rally in the Boston area. He told the crowd:

I came here tonight to stand with my friends. To stand with my friends who are worried sick about their friends and their family, here and in Israel. … And to stand with all of those who, like me, yearn for peace. Israel will endure and survive this, as scared and worried as we all are at this moment. Israel is timeless, it was meant to be, and she will survive.

According to an investigation by the human rights organization B’Tselem, 167 Palestinians were killed in the operation.

In 2014, Patrick led a trade mission of Massachusetts business leaders to Israel. There’s a large number of Israeli-founded businesses in the state and Patrick said the goal of the trip was to expand those partnerships. “It’s a very, very fruitful — and tangibly so — relationship,” he said. “The way to keep it going is to keep cultivating it.”

Water was one of the key focuses of that mission, as a 2011 Patrick trip to Israel had birthed the “Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership Water and Clean Energy Track.” The creation of that group inspired Boston residents to form an organization called Boston Alliance for Water Justice, to hold local officials accountable for their connections to water apartheid in Palestine. In response to news of the 2014 trade mission, Boston Alliance for Water Justice delivered a number of letters to Patrick that were written by Palestinian refugee children. The children their families’ struggles to obtain basic water needs. A 15-year-old named Ahmad wrote:

I don’t know what kind of work you are doing with Israel over water but I’ll tell you that you are supporting the occupation and violating human rights.  Do you know that Israel steals most of the water and leaves almost nothing for us?  Do you know that we don’t have enough water to take showers in the summer, to clean the house, to clean our clothes, and sometimes we don’t have enough water or clean water to drink because Israel doesn’t care about us.

“We are not asking you to help us with water but at least don’t be a partner with Israel in killing us.  Maybe you should come to visit us while you are in Israel to see for yourself.

In 2014, Patrick attended another pro-Israel rally, this one taking place during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. According to the United Nations, at least 2,131 Palestinians were killed during the seven-week conflict. According to Palestinian Center for Human Rights statistics, 1660 of those killed were civilians. “I didn’t come here tonight for headlines, or for votes. I came here tonight to stand with my friends,” Patrick told the crowd.

“It’s very important to understand Governor Patrick’s participation within the context of Israel lobby politics,” the Gaza-born journalist Ahmed Moor told the local news at the time, “[He] really plays to a base that he knows he needs to play to.”

Earlier this year, Patrick gave the keynote address at The Consulate General of Israel to New England’s annual Israeli Executive Forum and promoted the concept of mandatory military service in the United States with Israel as a model.


Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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6 Responses

  1. eljay on November 15, 2019, 11:29 am

    Yet another American politician attempts shamelessly to out-fellate his rivals in service to / servicing of a foreign country.

    • JWalters on November 15, 2019, 7:57 pm

      Gee, I wonder who’s financing his last-ditch “stop Bernie” campaign?

    • Mooser on November 16, 2019, 12:32 pm

      If Israel is a great example of national service Deval Patrick must be prepared to hand out a lot of religious exemptions.

  2. brent on November 16, 2019, 1:35 am

    Same old, same old tune.

    If the issue were framed as equality under the law in one state or independence in two, my bet is Deval Patrick would be humming a different tune.

  3. Misterioso on November 16, 2019, 9:49 am

    A brief look at the monster Deval Patrick supports:

    “Ex-general likens Israel to Nazi Germany”
    “Israel could end up like Nazi Germany”

    Middle East Monitor, Oct. 4/19

    “Former Israeli army General, yesterday, Yair Golan compared Israel’s right-wing politicians to the Nazis.

    “In an interview with Radio Darom, the newly elected member of the Knesset, representing the Democratic Union alliance, said: ‘I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that extremist figures with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.’

    “This is not the first time Golan has likened Israeli policies to those of the Nazis, in May 2016 during a speech to mark Holocaust Day, he claimed ’the horrific processes which developed in Europe’ and led to the Nazi genocide were present in Israel today.”

    “Israel’s Right Wing Is Worse Than Europe’s” by Zeev Sternhell,** Haaretz, July 19/19

    “From the end of the 19th century, radical, anti-liberal nationalism – after serving as a basis for fascism throughout Europe and Nazism in Germany, and despite calling itself an ideology of national unity – essentially became an ideology of civil war. Hostility toward different categories of citizens, not just ethnic minorities but ideological adversaries, became a primary tool of nationalists. So it was in the past and so it is today in countries where vicious nationalism rules: From ostensibly democratic India, which abuses its minorities, to Poland and Hungary, to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, which is consciously moving toward becoming an apartheid state.

    “In truth, the Israeli right, which maintains the settlements with their racist, backward rabbis, is much worse that the European nationalist right, which is wary of displaying open racism and anti-Semitism, lest it be accused of fostering an ideology akin to Nazism. Here we have no such problem because hey, we’re all Jews, and who would dare accuse a Jew of approximating the kind of Nazi ideology that preceded World War II? Therefore we get an education minister who is ignorant, not just on sexual matters but also of history, feeling no qualms about calling for the annexation of millions of Arabs while cynically denying them of political rights.

    “In all Europe, the pre-fascist and pre-Nazi nationalists were united in their hatred of human rights and enlightened principles, of socialists, intellectuals, pluralism and democratic government based on a division of authority. The Polish government and the Netanyahu government are similar not only because both foster hatred among their citizens as a tool of governing, but because they are both promoting a historical fabrication industry on a colossal scale.”

    **Zeev Sternhell is a Polish-born Israeli historian, political scientist, commentator on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and writer. He is one of the world’s leading experts on fascism. He headed the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  4. Vera Gottlieb on November 17, 2019, 10:28 am

    He does not belong in US politics…move to israel.

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