Israel: Time to boycott, divest and sanction
By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Mar 26, 2008, 00:14
"I am a black South African, and
if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."
--Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The situation in Israel has become more murderous and unjust
than ever in the 60-year life of that nation.
Founded over the bodies of an indigenous population, and
rationalized as somehow permissible because of the Nazi persecution of European
Jews in World War Two, the Jewish state has been treated by the USA as a holy
land beyond criticism, and often beyond rational thought. The Palestinian
people were thrown out of their homeland, into refugee camps, or forced to live
in Israel as second-class citizens, maligned and forgotten souls who had done
nothing to incur the vengeful wrath that was visited upon them, and has grown
worse over the years.
Israel�s birth at the expense of indigenous people was really
not that different from America�s and in keeping with the ancient and bloody
history of one people attacking another and taking over their habitat. But this
new nation was supposed to somehow be uniquely based on justice, to serve a
people who had survived persecution, abuse, loss of their homelands and
massacres at the hands of oppressors. Result? They persecuted, abused, expelled
from their homeland and massacred the inhabitants of Palestine. And this was
treated with uncritical support and financing by much of the guilty West, never
with more passionate and unquestioning devotion than by the USA.
We have been the major financial and military sponsor of the
Jewish state, far surpassing aid it received from Germany, which at least had
reason to atone for its previous dreadful treatment of Jews. Why has the USA
given tens of billions of dollars and thousands of lives as well, to help
perpetuate a Jewish apartheid state? The answer is the American Jewish lobby,
which uses the power of money, and guilt, and sees to it that our government
responds to Israeli interests first, by often placing American interests
second. This charge usually provokes frenzied accusations of anti-Semitism,
even when it is made by supposedly safe establishment figures like academics or
ex presidents. Though the anti-Semitic label is losing some of its power, it
still can make presidential candidates and the American congress tremble in
fear. Why? How?
The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) power structure that
exercised much control over the U.S. government through the middle of the
twentieth century has since been replaced by the Jewish Lobby. And though many
critics insist on calling it just another lobby, it is unlike any other, past
or present. It doesn't support industries, as most commercial lobbies did under
WASP control, nor does it represent ethnic, racial or religious groups, as do
lobbies which originated after the WASP era ended and identity group politics,
no threat to their power, began. It stands exclusively for the interests of a
foreign country, and it exercises an antidemocratic control over the American
political process to an extreme that has become more threatening with time.
The worst political and military excesses of the USA in the
Middle East are rationalized by some as simply being about control of oil. But
whether they are sincerely ignorant, cynical apologists, or cringing cowards,
they are in a state of treacherous denial. Our uncritical support for Israel is
not only the cause of much hatred for our nation in the rest of the world, but
could inflict future damage on the USA far beyond anything Americans have
It is irresponsible to think, as some do, that a small
minority of American Jews who speak out against Israeli policies can change the
situation. They are relatively meaningless, not only in number and financial
clout, but in that they rarely if ever identify the lobby, often in fear of
being called self-hating Jews. It is for the American people as a whole to
speak in a democratic voice and demand an end to the existence of a Jewish
state perpetuated on the backs of a conquered people, and surviving in its
present form only because of American dollars and military might. And to do so
in no uncertain terms.
The economic policy of divestiture, boycott and sanctions
worked to make the world aware that change had to come in the apartheid state
of South Africa, and that kind of movement must be brought to bear on American
support for the apartheid state of Israel. Many church, community and campus
groups have already begun to take such action and need the support of new
groups, to literally join in a democratic lobby against the lobby. And to do so
with what power fears almost as much as the barrel of a gun, that is, the
contents of a wallet.
Our federal tax dollars supporting Israel are not the only
ones we should be conscious of, though we need to pressure our government in
Washington most of all. States, counties and municipalities, as well as labor
unions and pension funds use our taxes and dollars to invest in Israel Bonds
and financial paper, as well as private Israeli firms. We need to exercise
control of our money and divest it from those sources that are under the sway
of the lobby and are used to strengthen injustice. Funds supposedly under
public and not private control need to be the first, but not the only targets
of this campaign. And it must be conducted with all deliberate speed, to end a
human rights atrocity and help bring about a democratic state of Palestine with
equal rights for all its people: Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Copyright � 2008
Frank Scott. All rights reserved.
Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, a monthly
publication from Marin County, California, and on numerous web sites, and
on his shared blog at legalienate.blogspot.com.
Contact him at email@example.com.
Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor