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 experienced.

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.

Frank 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 Contact him at

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