16 February 2016

U.S. Peripatetic Policy on Apartheid Goes Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Why do we, the people, allow our government to be exclusively selective about it's support and non-support of discriminatory apartheid that targets specified groups of people as punishment for their religion and/or ethnicity and/or race?  Apartheid punishment targets select groups of people for the purpose of economically insuring their quality of life is unconscionable; for the purpose of making them victims, repeatedly for decades, of physical attacks which result in damaged health, disability, and/or death within a targeted population. 

A Democracy Now! video from 6 May 2015 makes that clear.  Ex-U.N. Official John Dugard: Israel's Crimes are "Infinitely Worse" Than in Apartheid South Africa

The immediacy of the problems spoken of in the video still needs to be resolved after more than half a century.   Note that juxtaposition of “immediacy” and “half a century” is incongruous, as incongruous as the on going problems. 

Why is this video pertinent today nearly a year later?  Well, because of some provisions in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015  which made it through both houses of Congress and is waiting for the President's signature.  But the bill exacerbates the long standing apartheid problems perpetrated by Israel and obstructs the same peaceful means to resolve them that eventually highly contributed to South Africa resolving it’s apartheid problems -  those peaceful means being worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions - BDS.  

As much as apartheid was a crime being perpetrated by South Africa, it is also as much of  a crime, and moreso in some ways, that is still being perpetrated by the Israeli government on Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territories.  That crime has been perpetrated since 1948 when Israel was declared a nation by people within several terrorist groups who, after they had been responsible for numerous massacres in Palestinian villages, then peopled the government of the modern day nation of Israel which they wanted to establish in the entire region of Palestine.

The Israeli government wants to claim that Palestinian Territory it occupies belongs to Israel.  But it is land that belongs to Palestinians which Israel occupies in criminal ways according to International Laws to which Israel is signatory.  (If you want a refresher on those laws you can find links to them here: United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions, Protocols, and Related Documents)  And the Israeli government does NOT want anyone living on the land it wants to appropriate, other than Israelis.  Israel has made it very clear it does not want to accept Palestinian people who are not Jewish, as part of the nation of Israel; thus it’s genocidal apartheid targeting Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories.  If an example is needed of Israel's genocidal effort, recall the several unconscionable devastating attacks on Gaza which all clearly demonstrate it.  

For those who need a reminder of the agreed upon international definition of genocide, you’ll find it here:  Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide The document is clearly written, and easily understood.  It is not long.

The bill at issue is the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 with language wanting to legitimize Israel's appropriation of occupied territories; and by doing so apparently also wanting to legitimize the past genocidal efforts of Israel to clear the land of Palestinians along with whatever future genocidal activity the Israeli government wants to commit on people living on land it wants.  Israel's punishment of Palestinians is a crime, literally a crime in violation of agreed upon International law.   The only reason for the punishment is because Palestinians live on land Israel wants.  All the other associated problems through the decades stem from that irrational greed on the part of the Israeli government  

Americans too are literally committing crimes against Palestinian people in Israeli occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel because some of the people living on Palestinian land in illegal Israeli settlements are also Americans, in addition to the American citizens who live in Israel.  And some of those American citizens have repeatedly participated in attacking Palestinians and killing them plus destroying their homes and agricultural land.  Those Americans are dual citizen American Israelis who vote in both nations.  Again, they vote in both nations and if that doesn't knock your socks off it should.

Our nation, collectively, is also committing those crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territory, indirectly, because of the ongoing military aid to Israel from the U.S.  based on 10 year memorandums of understanding (mou) that insure at least three billion dollars annually is granted to Israel.  In reality the military aid provided is much more than that annually, and there are provisions that require much of those funds to be dedicated to the purchase U.S. weaponry.  But Israel's use of the military aid makes it an illegal U.S. policy issue; because our own laws do not allow us to provide military aid to nations who use it to kill their own people, or an occupied people for whose welfare they are responsible to provide.  Again, the Gaza massacres have provided evidence, like shell casings from the bombing, which indicate our nation enabled the massacres because of our military aid to Israel. 

This brings us to the lobbying of our congress which has resulted in unacceptable portions of this bill.  If anyone has ever wondered what "the Jewish vote" means, one of it's meanings is that citing the "Jewish vote" perpetrates prejudice against all Jewish folks in the U.S. by claiming there is a monolithic political perspective among Jewish folks in support of Israel's crimes against Palestinians.  In actuality reference to "the Jewish vote" means, instead, "the ideological political zionist vote of dual citizen American Israelis"  (NOT to be confused with religious zionism).

Ideological political zionist Americans living in either Israel or America (or both nations for a certain amount of time each year) who are dual citizen Israeli Americans and who put the political interests of Israel ahead of American political interests, are who the so-called "Jewish vote" reference.  Thus, the "Jewish vote" with which AIPAC and it's ilk wield the power that threatens and manipulates our nation’s Congress.  The Israeli lobbies do indeed make and break campaigns.  They have been responsible for hasbara that persuades voters to elect those who support Israel first  in place of those already serving who support America first, as they should and as we should expect of them.  Those former Congress people are to be commended for remaining ethical instead of choosing to be anti-American as the cost of continuing to represent their constituents in congress.

The Israeli lobbies represent the interests of the foreign nation of Israel.  Lobbying on behalf of a foreign nation to our congress people is illegal.  And even though AIPAC was sued because of it and lost the case, the crime continues to be perpetrate by organizations lobbying on behalf of Israel - a foreign nation.  It should also be noted that some of the dual citizens who are American Israeli ideological political zionists, serve in American government, and  put Israel's interests before those of our nation.  So it becomes less of a mystery how the U.S. has been manipulated and extorted into serving Israel’s interest which are directly responsible for all of the U.S. involvement with combat in the middle east region - all of it.  And over half of our nation's annual budget is dedicated to those military actions meant to satisfy Israel, and to prevent Israel from going on the attack in the region, instead, or too.

Additionally, by kowtowing to the "zionist" interests when making political decisions that are to the benefit of Israel, but not our nation, our government is embracing both the religious and ethnic prejudice of the Israeli government, plus it's genocidal effort to eradicate people living on land Israel wants to claim; people who are not accepted by Israel because of their religion and/or ethnicity i.e. indigenous Palestinian people.  For our nation to condone those crimes especially when dual citizen Americans are perpetrating them, is a crime in many ways and totally antithetical to the stated values, principles, and ideals of our nation, as well as International and Humanitarian laws.  It must also be noted that both racist and ethnic discrimination exists in Israel that targets Jewish Africans living in Israel for being black Africans, and Palestinians who are legal citizens of Israel for not being Jewish.  Those Palestinian folks did not flee from the massacres leading up to Israel declaring itself a nation in 1948, and they miraculously lived.  At the time Israel accepted the U.N. demand for those Palestinians to be allowed to be citizens of Israel even though they were not Jewish.

Here is the Text of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 for those who want to read it for themselves (the “AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS“).  It is very long of course.  And it is downloadable as a pdf.  However, the pertinent parts are provided by a Mondoweiss article.  Thanks to those folks for perusing the bill and extracting the pertinent parts. 

Here is the Mondoweiss article which has reported on the issue:
Obama to sign AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS

Two quotes from that article:
"The legislation references 'any territory controlled by Israel' or 'Israeli-controlled territories' seven separate times, making it the first U.S. legislation effectively defining Israel as including occupied Palestine, essentially recognizing the territory of Palestine and Israel as one entity."

And the article comments on the White House press release about the bill:  "President Obama will be signing the legislation. However, the White House issued a statement hours after the bills passage stating '[W]e do not support, including a provision that contravenes longstanding U.S. policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including with regard to Israeli settlement activity.' "

Here is the press release associated with the Bill.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

It is blatant hypocrisy to present such obvious contradictions that are only meaningless hot air - though the typical double-talk offered by some White House Press Conferences.  And it insults the intelligence of the collective American public.  It simply is not possible to have it both ways.  Signing the bill is agreeing to the bill which means supporting what it says. 

Also from the Mondoweiss article quoting a "Times of Israel" article:  Obama to reluctantly sign trade bill that lumps together Israel and settlements by Eric Cortellessa February 12, 2016 :

"While the Obama administration has long expressed adamant opposition to BDS tactics targeting Israel, there are several references in the legislation to 'Israeli-controlled territories' or 'any territory controlled by Israel' as being applicable to the terms of the bill."  

The Mondoweiss article then goes on to extensively provide numerous excerpts from the Bill to which it also provides a link.  One excerpt of particular note is associated with the hypocritical U.S. double standard:

"[B]oycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel by governments, governmental bodies, quasi-governmental bodies, international organizations, and other such entities are contrary to principle of nondiscrimination under the GATT 1994 (as defined in section 2(1)(B) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (19 U.S.C. 3501(1)(B)))"

Our government wants to talk about nondiscrimination when it has never let up trying to force the world of nations (in part with repeated vetoes in the U.N. Security Council) to politically accept the Israeli government's deadly genocidal discrimination against Palestinians as legitimate even though supporting such policies is antithetical to the very foundation of our nation?  Really?

Returning to John Dugard's statement in the video that Israel's crimes are "infinitely worse" than crimes in apartheid South Africa were (John Dugard who lived through apartheid in South Africa it must be remembered), it seems we are being left to understand that our government believes apartheid is o.k. for Israel to perpetrate on indigenous Palestinian folks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but it was not o.k. for  South Africa to perpetrate apartheid against it's indigenous people.  Is that because there is not a huge amount of dual citizen American South African living in South Africa?   What else could explain why the U.S. is willing to condone not only Israel's apartheid, but also the long term genocidal effort on the part of the Israel government which targets Palestinian people?  

Our nation participated in the successful and persuasive non-violent boycott, divestment, and sanction efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa.  Why is it not willing to participate in an effort to end apartheid by Israel against people in the territories it occupies when support of Israel's genocidal apartheid is not only antithetical to our nation's laws, but also to international laws?  Why?