View Full Version : resolution for war against Iran gains ground in House
11-01-2013, 05:26 PM
They never stop. They just keep pushing. Hopefully this latest effort by the Zionists will come to nought. MHG
Resolution For War Against Iran Gains Traction In Conservative Wing Of The House
A total of 28 members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, including 13 in the past week alone.
By Rosie Gray
November 01, 2013 "Information Clearing House - WASHINGTON — A resolution that would authorize the use of military force against Iran is gaining traction in the conservative wing of the House of Representatives, with over a dozen new co-sponsors signing on in the last two days as the administration presses Congress to lay off new Iran sanctions.
The “United States-Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act,” introduced earlier this month by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, would green-light the president’s ability to use the U.S. military against Iran if nuclear negotiations fail and Iran develops a nuclear weapon.
Thirteen new members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors to the bill this week, upping the total to 28 co-sponsors, including Tea Party stalwarts like Rep. Steve King and Rep. Louie Gohmert.
“We haven’t been pressing it hard yet because we’ve been gone too much of the time,” Franks told BuzzFeed on Wednesday. He called it “encouraging” that new members had signed on to co-sponsor the resolution.
Franks stressed that the bill is not a formal Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), and said it is intended to strengthen the U.S. negotiating position in nuclear talks by providing leverage through the threat of force. If passed, the bill would constitute the necessary pre-existing permission by Congress for President Barack Obama to use the U.S. military against Iran.
“The effect of it is to say that Congress has recognized or stipulated that consultation under the War Powers Act is already in place, and that’s to make sure we don’t operate in a crisis mode all the the where the president is in a position where the Iranian regime knows he has to telegraph whatever his options may be,” Franks said.
“I suppose it depends on the progress of the talks and tenor or nature of them,” Franks said when asked how successful he thought the bill would be. “But I at least want to be able to look back and say that I tried to strengthen the U.S. negotiation as much as possible.”
The bill comes as the White House has been pressuring Congress to delay new Iran sanctions in the midst of a nascent thaw in relations with Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew are meeting with members of the Senate Banking and Senate Foreign Relations Committees on Thursday to ask them to hold off on new sanctions legislation.
Franks sounded skeptical that sanctions were working to halt Iran’s progress in gaining nuclear capability, saying “we have sanctioned North Korea into starvation almost for half a century and they’ve tested nuclear weapons three times.”
Franks said he was worried that the president “so completely misreads the Iranian intentions that it’s possible for them to gain a nuclear weapons capability, and it changes the whole human equation if Iran gains a nuclear weapon. We will need a new calendar it will change the world that much.”
“I’m worried that [Obama’s] policy of prevention will morph into one of ostensible containment even if it’s not put forward under those auspices,” Franks said. “Some of us are convinced that he is so committed to making some kind of a deal with Iran that he might end up making a very bad one that results in a nuclear weapons capability.”
The idea behind Franks’ bill has floated around on the Senate side as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham has promised in the past to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.
“No decision on timing,” Graham spokesperson Kevin Bishop said when asked when Graham might introduce his bill. “He remains extremely concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. But hasn’t made any comments about the House resolution.”
There is little precedent in Congress for an authorization for the use of force being put forth within the Congress instead of coming from the White House. “I haven’t heard of one,” said Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and Congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “But members of Congress can introduce anything they want. It seems to me clearly a symbolic measure.”
11-01-2013, 08:13 PM
We're not going to war with Iran.
11-02-2013, 02:12 PM
The Zionist war agenda is not going well at the moment, but sociologist James Petras explains why this is no reason for complacency. MHG
Israel Buys the US Congress: Sabotaging the US-Iran Peace Negotiations
By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, November 02, 2013
“Pro-Israel Policy groups such as AIPAC work with unlimited funding to divert US policy in the region ( Middle East )” Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and former Foreign Secretary of the British Labor Party
“The United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its nuclear program” Sheldon Adelson, biggest donor to the Republican Party and major fundraiser for pro-Israel political action committees, speech at Yeshiva University, New York City, October 22, 2013.
The question of war or peace with Iran rests with the policies adopted by the White House and the US Congress. The peace overtures by newly elected Iranian President Rohani have resonated favorably around the world, except with Israel and its Zionist acolytes in North America and Europe . The first negotiating session proceeded without recrimination and resulted in an optimistic assessment by both sides. Precisely because of the initial favorable response among the participants, the Israeli government escalated its propaganda war against Iran . Its agents in the US Congress, the mass media and in the Executive branch moved to undermine the peace process. What is at stake is Israel’s capacity to wage proxy wars using the US military and its NATO allies against any government challenging Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East, its violent annexation of Palestinian territory and its ability to attack any adversary with impunity.
To understand what is at stake in the current peace negotiations one must envision the consequences of failure: Under Israeli pressure, the US announced that its ‘military option’ could be activated – resulting in missile strikes and a bombing campaign against 76 million Iranians in order to destroy their government and economy. Teheran could retaliate against such aggression by targeting US military bases in the region and Gulf oil installations resulting in a global crisis. This is what Israel wants.
We will begin by examining the context of Israel ’s military supremacy in the Middle East . We will then proceed to analyze Israel ’s incredible power over the US political process and how it shapes the negotiation process today, with special emphasis on Zionist power in the US Congress.
The Context of Israeli Military Supremacy in the Middle East
Since the end of World War II , Israel has bombed, invaded and occupied more countries in the Middle East and Africa than previous colonial power, except the US . The list of Israel ’s victims includes: Palestine , Syria , Lebanon , Egypt , Iraq , Jordan , Sudan and Yemen . If we include countries where Israel has launched quasi-clandestine terrorist attacks and assassinations, the list would be greatly expanded to include a dozen countries in Europe and Asia – including the US through its Zionist terror network.
Israel ’s projection of military power, its capacity for waging offensive wars at will, is matched by its near-total impunity. Despite their repeated violations of international law, including war crimes, Israel has never been censored at an international tribunal or subjected to economic sanctions because the US government uses its position to veto UN Security Council resolutions and pressure its NATO-EU allies.
Israel’s military supremacy has less to do with the native techno-industrial ‘brilliance’ of its war-mongers and more to do with the transfers and outright theft of nuclear, chemical and biological technology and weapons from the US (Grant Smith “Ten Explosive US Government Secrets of Israel” IRMEP). Overseas Zionists in the US and France have played a strategic (and treasonous) role in stealing and illegally shipping nuclear technology and weapon components to Israel, according to an investigation by former CIA Director Richard Helms.
Israel maintains huge nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon stockpiles refusing any access to international arms inspectors and is not obliged to abide by the non-proliferation treaty, because of US diplomatic intervention. Under pressure from the local ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC), the US government has blocked any action which might constrain Israel ’s production of weapons of mass destruction. In fact the US continues to provide Israel with strategic weapons of mass destruction for use against its neighbors – in violation of international law.
US military aid and technology transfers to Israel exceed $100 billion dollars over the past half century. US diplomatic and military intervention was crucial in rescuing Israel from defeat during the 1973 war. US President Lyndon Johnson’s refusal to defend the unarmed intelligence ship, the USS Liberty in 1967, after it had been bombed and napalmed by Israeli fighter planes and warships in international waters, constituted a tremendous victory for Israel thanks to Johnson’s Zionist advisers. Because of its impunity, even in killing American servicemen, Israel has been given a free hand to wage aggressive wars to dominate its neighbors, commit acts of terrorism and assassinate its adversaries throughout the world without fear of retaliation.
Israel ’s uncontested military superiority has converted several of its neighbors to quasi-client collaborators: Egypt and Jordan have served as de facto allies, along with the Gulf monarchies, helping Israel repress the region’s nationalist and pro-Palestinian movements.
The most decisive factor in the rise and consolidation of Israel ’s power in the Middle East has not been its military prowess but its political reach and influence via its Zionist agents in the US . Washington ’s wars against Iraq and Libya , and its current support of the mercenary assault against Syria , have destroyed three major secular nationalist opponents of Israel ’s hegemonic ambitions.
As Israel accumulates more power in the region, expanding its colonization of Palestinian territory, it looks eastward toward destroying the last remaining obstacle to its colonial policies: Iran .
For at least two decades, Israel has directed its overseas agents – (the ZPC) – to destroy the government of Iran by destabilizing its society, assassinating its scientists, bombing its military establishments and laboratories and strangling its economy.
After the ZPC successfully pushed the US into war against Iraq in 2003 – literally shredding its complex secular society and killing over a million Iraqis – it turned its sights on destroying Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the secular government of Syria as a way to isolate Iran and prepare for an attack. While thousands of Lebanese civilians were slaughtered in 2006, Israel ’s attack of Lebanon failed, despite the support of the US government and the ZPC’s wild propaganda campaign. Hysterical at its failure and to ‘compensate’ for its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah and to ‘boost morale’, Israel invaded and destroyed much of Gaza (2008/9) – the world’s largest open air prison camp.
Lacking military capacity to attack Iran on its own, Israel directed its agents to manipulate the US government to start a war with Teheran. The militarist leaders in Tel Aviv have unleashed their political assets (ZPC) throughout the US to work to destroy Iran – the last formidable adversary to Israel supremacy in the Middle East .
The Israeli-ZPC strategy is designed to set the stage for a US confrontation with Iran , using its agents in the Executive branch as well as its ongoing corruption, bribery and control of the US Congress. ZPC control over the mass media enhances its propaganda campaign: Everyday the New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles and editorials promoting Israel ’s war agenda. The ZPC uses the US State Department to force other NATO states to likewise confront Iran .
Israel’s Proxy War with Iran: US Political Pressure, Economic Sanctions and Military Threats
Alone, Israel’s ‘war’ with Iran would not amount to much more than its cyber sabotage, the periodical assassinations of Iranian scientists using its paid agents among Iranian terrorist groups and non-stop brow-beating from Israeli politicians and their ‘amen crowd’. Outside of Israel , this campaign has had little impact on public opinion. Israel’s ‘was’ on Iran depends exclusively on its capacity to manipulate US policy using its local agents and groups who dominate the US Congress and through the appointments of officials in key positions in the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice , and as Middle East ‘advisors’. Israel cannot organize an effective sanction campaign against Iran ; nor could it influence any major power to abide by such a campaign. Only the US has that power. Israel ’s dominance in the Middle East comes entirely from its capacity to mobilize its proxies in the United States who are assigned the task of securing total submission to Israel ’s interests from elected and appointed government officials – especially in regard to Israel ’s regional adversaries.
Strategically placed, ‘dual US-Israeli citizens’ have used their US citizenship to secure high security positions in the Government directly involved in policies affecting Israel . As Israelis, their activities are in line with the dictates of Tel Aviv. In the Bush administration (2001-2008) high placed ‘Israel Firsters’ dominated the Pentagon (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith), Middle East Security (Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross), the Vice President’s office (‘Scooter’ Libby), Treasury (Levey) and Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff). In the Obama administration the ‘Israel Firsters’ include Dennis Ross, Rahm Emanuel, David Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Jack “Jake the Snake” Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Michael Froman as Trade Representative among others.
Israel ’s Proxy Power within the Executive branch is matched by its dominance of the US Congress. Contrary to some critics, Israel is neither an ‘ally’ or ‘client’ of the US . Evidence of the gross asymmetry of the relation abounds over the past half century. Because of these powerful proxies in Congress and the Executive branch, Israel has received over $100 billion dollar tribute from the US over the past 30 years, or $3 billion plus a year. The US Pentagon has transferred the most up-to-date military technology and engaged in several wars on Israel ’s behalf. The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against potentially lucrative trading and investment partners in the Middle East ( Iran , Iraq and Syria ) depriving US agricultural and manufacturing exporters and oil companies of over $500 billion in revenues. The White House sacrificed the lives of over 4,400 US soldiers in the Iraq War – a war promoted by Israel ’s proxies at the behest of Israel ’s leaders. The State Department has rejected friendly and profitable relations with over 1.5 billion Muslims by backing the illegal settlement of over half million Jewish colonists on military-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem .
The strategic question is how and why this one-sided relation between the US and Israel persists for so long, even as it goes counter to so many strategic and elite US interests? The more immediate and pressing question is how this historically lopsided relation effects contemporary US-Iran sanctions and nuclear negotiations?
11-02-2013, 02:13 PM
Iran and the Peace Negotiations
Undoubtedly the newly elected Iranian President and his Foreign Minister are prepared to negotiate an end to hostilities with the US by making major concessions ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. They have stated they are open to reducing or even ending the production of highly enriched uranium; reducing the number of centrifuges and even allowing intrusive, unannounced inspections, among other promising proposals. The Iranian government proposes a roadmap with end goals as part of the initial agreements. The European Union’s Foreign Secretary Lady Ashton has commented favorably on the initial meeting.
The US Administration has given conflicting signals following the Iranian overtures and the opening meeting. Some individual comments are guardedly positive; others are less encouraging and rigid. Administration Zionists like Jack ‘Jake’ Lew, the Treasury Secretary, insists sanctions will remain until Iran meets all US (read ‘Israeli’) demands. The US Congress, bought and controlled by the ZPC, rejects the promising Iranian overtures and flexibility, insisting on military ‘options’ or the total dismantling of Iran’s legal and peaceful nuclear program – ZPC positions designed to sabotage the negotiations. To that end, Congress has passed new, more extreme, economic sanctions to strangle the Iran ’s oil economy.
How Israel’s Political Action Committees Control the US Congress and Prepare War with Iran
The Zionist Power Configuration uses its financial firepower to dictate Congressional policy on the Middle East and to ensure that the US Congress and Senate do not stray one iota from serving Israel ’s interests. The Zionist instrument used in the purchase of elected officials in the US is the political action committee (PAC).
Thanks to a 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Super PACs-linked to Israel spend enormous sums to elect or destroy candidates – depending on the candidate’s political work on behalf of Israel . As long as these funds do not go directly to the candidate, these Super PACs do not have to reveal how much they spend or how it is spent. Conservative estimates of ZPC- linked direct and indirect funds to US legislators run close to $100 million dollars over the past 30-year. The ZPC channels these funds to legislative leaders and members of Congressional committees dealing with foreign policy, especially sub-committee chairpersons dealing with the Middle East . Unsurprisingly, the largest Congressional recipients of ZPC money are those who have aggressively promoted Israel ’s hard-line policies. Elsewhere around the world, such large scale payoffs for legislative votes would be considered blatant bribery and subject to felony prosecution and imprisonment for both parties. In the US , the purchase and sale of a politician’s vote is called ‘lobbying’ and is legal and open. The legislative branch of the US government has come to resemble a high-price brothel or white slavers’ auction – but with the lives of thousands at stake.
The ZPC has purchased the alliance of US Congress people and Senators on a massive scale: Of 435 members of the US House of Representatives (sic), 219 have received payments from the ZPC in exchange for their votes on behalf of the state of Israel . Corruption is even more rampant among the 100 US Senators, 94 of whom have accepted pro-Israel PAC and Super PAC money for their loyalty to Israel . The ZPC showers money on both Republicans and Democrats, thus securing incredible (in this era of Congressional deadlock), near unanimous (‘bipartisan’) votes in favor of the ‘Jewish State’, including its war crimes, like the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon as well as the annual $3 billion dollar plus US tax-payer tribute to Tel Aviv. At least 50 US Senators have each collected between $100 thousand and $1 million in ZPC money over the past decades . In exchange, they have voted for over $100 billion in tribute payments to Israel … in addition to other ‘services and payments’. The members of the US Congress are cheaper: 25 legislators have received between $238,000 and $50,000, while the rest got peanuts. Regardless of the amount, the net result is the same: Congressional member pick up their script from their Zionist mentors in the PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC and back all of Israel ’s wars in the Middle East and promote US aggression on behalf of Israel .
The most outspoken and influential legislators get the biggest chunk of Zionist payola: Senator Mark Kirk (Bombs over Teheran!) tops the ‘pigs at the trough’ list with $925,000 in ZPC payoffs, followed by John McCain (Bombs over Damascus!) with $771,000, while Senators Mitch McConnell, Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, Richard Durban and other Zionophilic politicos are not shy about holding out their little begging bowls when the pro-Israel PAC bagmen arrive! Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tops the ‘House’ list with $238,000 for her 100% pro-Israel record as well as for being more war-mongering than even Netanyahu! Eric Cantor got $209,000 for championing ‘wars for Israel ’ with American lives while cutting Social Security payments to US seniors in order to increase military aid to Tel Aviv. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, got $144,000 for ‘whipping the few wobbly’ Democrats back into Israel ’s ‘camp’. House Majority Leader John Boehner was paid $130,000 to do the same among the Republicans.
The ZPC has spent huge amounts to punish and destroy a dozen or so dissident legislators who had stood up to Israel ’s wars and grotesque human rights record. The ZPC has poured millions into individual campaigns, not only financing opposition candidates who pledged allegiance to the Israel but mounting scurrilous character assassinations of Israel’s critics in office. These campaigns have been mounted in the most obscure parts of the US , including in majority African-American districts, where local Zionist interests and influence are otherwise absolutely nil.
There are no comparable PACs, Super PACs, party leaders, or civic organization that can contest the power of Israel ’s Fifth Column. According to documents archived by the courageous researcher, Grant Smith of IRMEP, when it comes to Israel , the US Justice Department has adamantly refused to enforce its own federal laws requiring the prosecution of US citizens who fail to register as foreign agents while working for a foreign country – at least since 1963. On the other hand, the ZPC, through the so-call ‘Anti-Defamation League’, has successfully pressured the Justice Department, the FBI and NSA to investigate and prosecute law-abiding, patriotic US citizens critical of Israel ’s land grabs in Palestine and the Zionist corruptors of the US political system on behalf of their foreign master.
The corruption and degradation of US democracy is made possible by the equally compromised and corrupted ‘respectable press’. Media critic, Steve Lendman, has pointed out the direct link between Israel and the mass media in his investigation of the New York Times. The leading (‘fair and balanced’) journalists reporting on Israel have strong family and political ties to that country and their articles have been little more than propaganda. Times reporter Ethan Bronner, whose son served in the Israel Defense Forces, is a long-time apologist for the Zionist state. Times reporter Isabel Kershner, whose ‘writing’ seem to come straight out of the Israeli Foreign Office, is married to Hirsh Goodman an adviser to the Netanyahu regime on ‘security affairs’. The Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, lives comfortably in the ancestral home of a Palestinian family dispossessed from that ancient city.
The Times unflinching pro-Israel posture provides a political cover and justification for the corrupted US politicians as they beat the war drums for Israel . It is no surprise that the New York Times, like the Washington Post, is deeply engaged in disparaging and denouncing the current US-Iran negotiations – and providing ample space for the one-sided rhetoric of Israeli politicians and their US mouthpieces, while studiously excluding the more rational, pro-rapprochement voices of experienced former US diplomats, war-weary military leaders and representatives of the US business and academic communities.
To understand Congress’ hostility to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and their efforts to scuttle them through the imposition of ridiculous new sanctions, it is important to get to the source of the problem, namely the statements of key Israeli politicians, who set the line of march for their US proxies.
In late October, 2013, Former Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin spoke of ‘having to choose between ‘the bomb’ or the bombing’ – a message which immediately resonated with the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (Daily Alert, October 24, 2013). On October 22, 2013, Israel ’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, called for harsh new sanctions on Iran and insisted that the US use them as leverage to demand that Iran agree to entirely abandon its peaceful nuclear energy and enrichment program. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon affirmed that ‘ Israel will not accept any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium’. It is Israel ’s position to threaten war (via the US ) if Iran does not submit to unconditional surrender of its nuclear program. This defines the position of all the major pro-Israel PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC. They in turn proceed to dictate policy to their ‘lick-spittles’ in the US Congress. As a result, Congress passes even more extreme economic sanctions on Iran in order to sabotage the ongoing negotiations.
Those who have received the biggest Zionist pay-offs from the pro-Israel PACs are the most vociferous: Senator Mark Kirk ($925,379), author of a previous sanctions bill, demands that Iran end its entire nuclear and ballistic missile program (!) and declared that the US Senate “should immediately move forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves” (Financial Times, 10/18/13, p. 6). The US House of Representatives (sic) has already passed a bill sharply limiting Iran ’s ability to sell its main export, oil. Once again, the Israel- ZPC – Congressional axis seeks to impose Israel ’s war agenda on the American people! In late October 2013, Secretary of State Kerry was ‘grilled’ for 7 hours by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with the craven Kerry promising to promote Israel ’s agenda on dismantling Iran ’s nuclear enrichment program.
To counter the campaign to strangle Iran ’s oil economy, promoted by Israel ’s flunkeys in the Congress, the Iranian government has offered generous contracts to the US and EU oil companies (Financial Times 10/29/2013, p 1). Existing nationalist provisions are being removed. Under the new terms, foreign companies book reserves or take equity stakes in Iranian projects. Iran hopes to attract at least $100 billion dollars in investments over the next three years. This stable country boasts the world’s largest gas and the fourth largest oil reserves. Because of the current US ( Israel )-imposed sanctions, production has fallen from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to 2.58 million barrels per day in 2013. The question is whether ‘Big Oil’, the giant US and EU companies have to power to challenge the ZPC-stranglehold over US-EU sanction policy. So far, the ZPC has dominated this critical policy and marginalized ‘Big Oil’ using threats, blackmail and coercion against US policymakers. This has effectively shut out US companies from the lucrative Iranian market.
As the US and the 5 other countries attempt to negotiate with Iran , they face enormous obstacles overcoming Israel ’s power over the US Congress. Over past decades Israel ’s agents have bought the loyalties of the vast majority of Congress people, training them to recognize and obey the whistles, signals and script from the war mongers in Tel Aviv.
This ‘Axis of War’, has inflicted enormous damage on the world resulting in the deaths of millions of victims of US wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa . The gross corruption and widely recognized bankruptcy of the US legislative system is due to its slavish submission to a foreign power. What remains in Washington is a debased vassal state despised by its own citizens. If the ZPC controlled Congress succeeds once again in destroying the negotiations between the US and Iran via new war-like resolutions, we, the American people, will have to pay an enormous price in lives and treasure.
The time to act is now. It is time to stand up and expose the role played by the Israeli PACs, Super PACs and the 52 Major American Jewish Organization in corrupting Congress and turning “our” elected representatives into flunkeys for Israel’s wars. There has been a deafening silence from our noted critics –few alternative media critics have attacked Israel ’s power over the US Congress. The evidence is openly available, the crimes are undeniable. The American people need real political leaders with the courage to root out the corrupted and corruptors and force their elected members in the House and Senate to represent the interest of the American people.
11-02-2013, 02:19 PM
On Oct 30th Israel attacked Syria. According to CNN, Israeli planes bombed the Syrian city of Latakia, on the coast.
Israel appears to be trying to provoke a response from Assad -- which would be a pretext for another war. Thus far, Assad has wisely restrained himself. MHG
Israeli Warplanes Attacked Syria: Tel Aviv outraged by US Intelligence Leaks Concerning Strike
I thought Tehran was supposed to have been a glassy crater - about 10-15 times by now...
Every horrible thing is just over the horizon for gaffe. Always just over.
11-04-2013, 03:40 PM
W*gs needs to STFU and read this truth piece by Chris Hedges --
Imploding the Myth of Israel
By Chris Hedges
November 04, 2013 "Information Clearing House - Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. They wring their hands over the tragic necessity of airstrikes on Gaza or Lebanon or the demolition of Palestinian homes. They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them. This reality implodes the myth of the Jewish state. It exposes the cynicism of a state whose real goal is, and always has been, the transfer, forced immigration or utter subjugation and impoverishment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories. Reality shatters the fiction of a peace process. Reality lays bear the fact that Israel routinely has used deadly force against unarmed civilians, including children, to steal half the land on the West Bank and crowd forcibly displaced Palestinians into squalid, militarized ghettos while turning their land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Reality exposes the new racial laws adopted by Israel as those once advocated by the fanatic racist Meir Kahane. Reality unveils the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, the largest detention center in the world. Reality mocks the lie of open, democratic debate, including in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where racist diatribes and physical threats, often enshrined into law, are used to silence and criminalize the few who attempt to promote a civil society. Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel, however, desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality. This is what makes Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel. Blumenthal burrows deep into the dark heart of Israel. The American journalist binds himself to the beleaguered and shunned activists, radical journalists and human rights campaigners who are the conscience of the nation, as well as Palestinian families in the West Bank struggling in vain to hold back Israel’s ceaseless theft of their land. Blumenthal, in chapter after chapter, methodically rips down the facade. And what he exposes, in the end, is a corpse.
I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, including months in Gaza and the West Bank. I lived for two years in Jerusalem. Many of the closest friends I made during my two decades overseas are Israeli. Most of them are among the Israeli outcasts that Blumenthal writes about, men and women whose innate decency and courage he honors throughout his book. They are those who, unlike the Israeli leadership and a population inculcated with racial hatred, sincerely want to end occupation, restore the rule of law and banish an ideology that creates moral hierarchies with Arabs hovering at the level of animal as Jews—especially Jews of European descent—are elevated to the status of demigods. It is a measure of Blumenthal’s astuteness as a reporter that he viewed Israel through the eyes of these outcasts, as well as the Palestinians, and stood with them as they were arrested, tear-gassed and fired upon by Israeli soldiers. There is no other honest way to tell the story about Israel. And this is a very honest book.
“Goliath” is made up of numerous vignettes, some only a few pages long, that methodically build a picture of Israel, like pieces fit into a puzzle. It is in the details that Israel’s reality is exposed. The Israeli army, Blumenthal points out in his first chapter, “To the Slaughter,” employs a mathematical formula to limit outside food deliveries to Gaza to keep the caloric levels of the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped inside its open air prison just above starvation; a government official later denied that he had joked in a meeting that the practice is “like an appointment with a dietician.” The saturation, 22-day bombing of Gaza that began on Dec. 27, 2008, led by 60 F-16 fighter jets, instantly killed 240 Palestinians, including scores of children. Israel’s leading liberal intellectuals, including the writers Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, blithely supported the wholesale murder of Palestinian civilians. And while Israelis blocked reporters from entering the coastal Gaza Strip—forcing them to watch distant explosions from Israel’s Parash Hill, which some reporters nicknamed “the Hill of Shame”—the army and air force carried out atrocity after atrocity, day after day, crimes that were uncovered only after the attack was over and the press blockade lifted. This massive aerial and ground assault against a defenseless civilian population that is surrounded by the Israeli army, a population without an organized military, air force, air defenses, navy, heavy artillery or mechanized units, caused barely a ripple of protest inside Israel from the left or the right. It was part of the ongoing business of slaughtering the other.
“Unarmed civilians were torn to pieces with flechette darts sprayed from tank shells,” Blumenthal writes. “Several other children covered in burns from white phosphorous chemical weapon rounds were taken to hospitals; a few were found dead with bizarre wounds after being hit with experimental Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) bombs designed to dissolve into the body and rapidly erode internal soft tissue. A group of women were shot to death while waving a white flag; another family was destroyed by a missile while eating lunch; and Israeli soldiers killed Ibrahim Awajah, an eight-year-old child. His mother, Wafaa, told the documentary filmmaker Jen Marlowe that soldiers used his corpse for target practice. Numerous crimes like these were documented across the Gaza Strip.”
By the end of the assault, with 1,400 dead, nearly all civilians, Gaza lay in ruins. The Israeli air force purposely targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, including power plants, to reduce Gaza to a vast, overcrowded, dysfunctional slum. Israel, Blumenthal notes, destroyed “80 percent of all arable farmland in the coastal strip, bombing the strip’s largest flour mill, leveling seven concrete factories, shelling a major cheese factory, and shooting up a chicken farm, killing thirty-one thousand chickens.”
“Twelve [years old] and up, you are allowed to shoot. That’s what they tell us,” an Israeli sniper told Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass in 2004 at the height of the Second Intifada, Blumenthal writes. “This is according to what the IDF [Israel Defense Force] says to its soldiers. I do not know if this is what the IDF says to the media,” the sniper was quoted as saying.
The 2008 murderous rampage is not, as Blumenthal understands, an anomaly. It is the overt policy of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who advocates “a system of open apartheid.” Israel, as Blumenthal points out, has not lifted its state of emergency since its foundation. It has detained at least 750,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 women, in its prisons since 1967. It currently holds more than 4,500 political prisoners, including more than 200 children and 322 people jailed without charges, Blumenthal writes, including those it has labeled “administrative detainees.” Israel has a staggering 99.74 percent conviction rate for these so-called security prisoners, a figure that any totalitarian state would envy.
Blumenthal cites a survey of Jewish Israeli attitudes on the Gaza bombing, known as Operation Cast Lead. The survey, by Daniel Bar-Tal, a political psychologist from Tel Aviv University, concluded that the public’s “consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering.” Bar-Tal tells Blumenthal “these attitudes are the product of indoctrination.” And Blumenthal sets out to chronicle the poison of this indoctrination and what it has spawned in Israeli society.
The racist narrative, once the domain of the far right and now the domain of the Israeli government and the mainstream, demonizes Palestinians and Arabs, as well as all non-Jews. Non-Jews, according to this propaganda, will forever seek the annihilation of the Jewish people. The Holocaust, in which Israeli victimhood is sanctified, is seamlessly conflated with Palestinian and Arab resistance to occupation. The state flies more than 25 percent of Israeli 11th-graders to Poland to tour Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps a year before they start army service. They are told that the goal of Arabs, along with the rest of the non-Jewish world, is another Auschwitz. And the only thing standing between Israelis and a death camp is the Israeli army. Israeli high schools show films such as “Sleeping With the Enemy” to warn students about dating non-Jews, especially Arabs. Racist books such as “Torat Ha’Melech,” or “The King’s Torah,” are given to soldiers seeking rabbinical guidance on the rules of engagement. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, the authors of the 230-page book, inform soldiers that non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and may have to be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has violated one of the seven commandments [of Noah] ... there is nothing wrong with the murder,” Shapira and Elitzur write. The rabbis claim that under Jewish law “there is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”
These narratives of hatred make any act of deadly force by the Israeli army permissible, from the shooting of Palestinian children to the 2010 killing by Israeli commandos of nine unarmed activists on the Turkish boat the Mavi Marmara. The activists were part of a flotilla of six boats bringing humanitarian supplies to Gaza. The Israeli propaganda machine claimed that the small flotilla was a covert terror convoy. Never mind that the Mavi Marmara was in international waters when it was attacked. Never mind that no one on the boat, or any of the five other boats, was armed. Never mind that the boats were thoroughly searched before they left for Gaza. The Israeli lie was trumpeted while every camera, video and tape recorder, computer and cellphone of the activists on board was seized and destroyed—or in a few cases sold by Israeli soldiers when they got back to Israel—while those on the boats were towed to an Israeli port and detained in isolation. The ceaseless stoking of fear and racial hatred—given full vent by the Israeli government and media in the days after the Mavi Marmara incident—has served to empower racist political demagogues such as Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, a camp follower of Meir Kahane. It has also effectively snuffed out Israel’s old left-wing Zionist establishment.
“In Israel you have three systems of laws,” the Israeli Arab politician Ahmed Tibi observes in the Blumenthal book. “One is democracy for 80 percent of the population. It is democracy for Jews. I call it an ethnocracy or you could call it a Judocracy. The second is racial discrimination for 20 percent of the population, the Israeli Arabs. The third is apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. This includes two sets of governments, one for the Palestinians and one for the settlers. Inside Israel there is not yet apartheid but we are being pushed there with ... new laws.”
As Blumenthal documents, even Israeli Jews no longer live in a democracy. The mounting state repression against human rights advocates, journalists and dissidents has reached the proportions of U.S. Homeland Security. The overtly racist cant of the political elite and the masses—“Death to Arabs” is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches—has emboldened mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, to carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the hapless African immigrants who live crammed into the slums of Tel Aviv. Israel has pushed through a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law, for example, permits “small, exclusively Jewish towns planted across Israel’s Galilee region to formally reject applicants for residency on the grounds of ‘suitability to the community’s fundamental outlook.’ ” And all who denounce the steady march of Israel toward fascism—including Jewish academics—are attacked in organized campaigns as being insufficiently Zionist. They are branded as terrorists or collaborators with terrorists. As a headline in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz read: “The settlers are the real government of Israel.”
“Woody [a law school graduate from New York] became my initial liaison to Tel Aviv’s radical left, introducing me to a loose-knit band of a few hundred anarchists, disillusioned ex-soldiers, disaffected children of ultra-Zionists, queers, academics, and generally idealistic and disillusioned young people who came of age during the Second Intifada when the liberal Zionist ‘peace camp’ closed ranks with the militaristic right wing,” Blumenthal writes. “This tiny band of social deviants comprised the only grouping of people I met who sincerely embraced multiculturalism and who took concrete action against the discriminatory foundations of their country’s political apparatus. Right-wingers and many Jewish Israelis who considered themselves part of the social mainstream referred to members of the radical left as smolinim, which simply means ‘leftists,’ but the word carried a deeply insulting connotation of an unacceptable caste, an Other. As branded social outcasts, inflexible in their principles, disdainful of ordinary politics, and brazen in their racial liberalism they resembled nothing so much as the pre-Civil War abolitionists.”
The late Amnon Dankner, the former editor of Maariv, one of Israel’s major newspapers, Blumenthal notes, denounced “neo-Nazi expressions in the Knesset” and “entire parties whose tenor and tone arouse feelings of horror and terrifying memories.” David Landau, the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, has called on Israelis to boycott the Knesset “to stand against the wave of fascism that has engulfed the Zionist project.” And Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, says: “Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism.”
The disillusionment among idealistic young immigrants to Israel dots the book. As one example, Canadian David Sheen is recorded as saying that everything he had known about Israel and Palestinians was, in Blumenthal’s words, “a fantasy cultivated through years of heavy indoctrination.” But perhaps what is saddest is that Israel has, and has always had, within its population intellectuals, including the great scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who sought to save Israel from itself.
Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called “the conscience of Israel,” warned that if Israel did not separate church and state it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult.
“Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism,” said Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He understood that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war that captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, was dangerous and would lead to the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state and any hope of democracy. “Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam, to a war in constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution.” He foresaw that “the Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police—mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people’s army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations.” He warned that the rise of a virulent racism would consume Israeli society. He knew that prolonged occupation of the Palestinians would spawn “concentration camps” for the occupied and that, in his words, “Israel would not deserve to exist, and it will not be worthwhile to preserve it.”
But few, then or now, cared to listen. This is why Blumenthal’s new book is so important.
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
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