POWERFUL ZIONISTS IN WASHINGTON ARE DICTATING US FOREIGN POLICY ON MIDDLE EAST
by Syarif Hidayat
“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI’s cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.).
“Who will ever suspect then that ALL THESE PEOPLES WERE STAGE-MANAGED BY US ACCORDING TO A POLITICAL PLAN WHICH NO ONE HAS SO MUCH AS GUESSED AT IN THE COURSE OF MANY CENTURIES?” Protocol of the Elders of Zion —13, para 6.
The strong Zionists influences in the corridors of power in Washington have successfully made the US leaders-the renowned world preachers of human right and democracy inconsistent with what they said about their foreign policy on the Middle East especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state” if there is no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kerry’s comments were published on Sunday (April 27, 2014) by The Daily Beast news website, which obtained a recording of his remarks on Friday to the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental organisation which includes senior officials and experts from the US, Western Europe, Russia and Japan.
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” said Kerry. Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to the Jewish state. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well.
In apparent situation that he seemed to be afraid of the Zionists wrath, on Monday, John Kerry released a statement walking back his reported comments. “[I]f I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said. “In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.”
The power of the Israel lobby
So now we are back to the question of why America continues to pour money to the tune of three to five billions of dollars a year into a state that commits daily human rights violations, defies US strategic interests, provokes rage and resentment among billions of people, competes with and crowds out US interests using technology subsidized by US taxpayers, and sells America’s military secrets to its enemies.
The answer is simple and summed up well by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in their ground-breaking article in the London Review of Books , “The Israel Lobby,” and their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy: “Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?” the article asks.
“One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides. “Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby.’ Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.”
AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is consistently ranked in the top two most powerful lobbies in Washington. And it is only one arm of the much larger, multi-faceted, and well-financed Israel lobby. According to Congressman Jim Moran, “AIPAC is very well organized. The members are willing to be very generous with their personal wealth. But it’s a two edged sword. If you cross AIPAC, AIPAC is unforgiving and will destroy you politically. Their means of communications, their ties to certain newspapers and magazines, and individuals in the media are substantial and intimidating. Every [Congress] member knows it’s the best-organized national lobbying force.”
Senator Joseph Lieberman proudly stated, “Any attempt to pressure Israel, to force Israel to the negotiating table by denying Israel support, will not pass in Congress… Congress will act against any attempt to do that.” It’s true: The US Congress, along with the executive branch, overwhelmingly support virtually any action or wish of the Israeli government, no matter how at odds with US national interest or security, primarily because of the power of the Israel lobby.
Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’
Josh Rogin in his article titled “Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’” published in The Daily Beast news website, wrote The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison. If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday (April 25, 2014). (Josh Rogin is senior correspondent for national security and politics for The Daily Beast. He previously worked at Newsweek, Foreign Policy magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Federal Computer Week magazine, and Japan’s leading daily newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.)
Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to the Jewish state. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well.
It wasn’t the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks.
Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.” “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”
According to the 1998 Rome Statute, the “crime of apartheid” is defined as “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” The term is most often used in reference to the system of racial segregation and oppression that governed South Africa from 1948 until 1994.
Apartheid is an accurate description
Former president Jimmy Carter came under fire in 2007 for titling his book on Middle East peace Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. Carter has said publicly that his views on Israeli treatment of the Palestinians are a main cause of his poor relationship with President Obama and his lack of current communication with the White House. But Carter explained after publishing the book that he was referring to apartheid-type policies in the West Bank, not Israel proper, and he was not accusing Israel of institutionalized racism.
“Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the West Bank, and it’s based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land,” Carter said.
Leading experts, including Richard Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court who led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008 and 2009, have argued that comparisons between the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and “apartheid” are offensive and wrong. “One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues ‘apartheid’ policies,” Goldstone wrote in The New York Times in 2011. “It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”
In a 2008 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, then-Sen. Barack Obama shot down the notion that the word “apartheid” was acceptable in a discussion about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians: “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal,” Obama said. “It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told The Daily Beast that Kerry was simply repeating his view, shared by others, that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel to remain a Jewish state in peace with the Palestinians. “Secretary Kerry, like Justice Minister Livni, and previous Israeli Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one-state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish State. He was talking about the kind of future Israel wants and the kind of future both Israelis and Palestinians would want to envision,” she said. “The only way to have two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution. And without a two-state solution, the level of prosperity and security the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve isn’t possible.”
But leaders of pro-Israel organizations told The Daily Beast that Kerry’s reference to “apartheid” was appalling and inappropriately alarmist because of its racial connotations and historical context.
“One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues ‘apartheid’ policies,” Goldstone wrote in The New York Times in 2011. “It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”
Yet Israel’s leaders have employed the term, as well. In 2010, for example, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak used language very similar to Kerry’s. “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of ¬Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
“While we’ve heard Secretary Kerry express his understandable fears about alternative prospects for Israel to a two-state deal and we understand the stakes involved in reaching that deal, the use of the word ‘apartheid’ is not helpful at all. It takes the discussion to an entirely different dimension,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, an organization that has been supportive of Kerry’s peace process initiative. “In trying to make his point, Kerry reaches into diplomatic vocabulary to raise the stakes, but in doing so he invokes notions that have no place in the discussion.”
Kerry has used dire warnings twice in the past to paint a picture of doom for Israel if the current peace process fails. Last November, Kerry warned of a third intifada of Palestinian violence and increased isolation of Israel if the peace process failed. In March, Democrats and Republican alike criticized Kerry for suggesting that if peace talks fail, it would bolster the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“It’s in the Palestinian playbook to tie Israel to these extreme notions of time being on the Palestinian side, that demographics are on the Palestinian side, and that Israel has to confront notions of the Jewishness of the state,” Harris said.
A fundamental confrontation
Kerry on Friday repeated his warning that a dissolution of the peace process might lead to more Palestinian violence. “People grow so frustrated with their lot in life that they begin to take other choices and go to dark places they’ve been before, which forces confrontation,” he said.
The secretary of state also implied, but did not say outright, that if the governments of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left power, there could be a change in the prospects for peace. If “there is a change of government or a change of heart,” Kerry said, “something will happen.”
Kerry criticized Israeli settlement construction as being unhelpful to the peace process and he also criticized Palestinian leaders for making statements that declined to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.
“There is a fundamental confrontation and it is over settlements. Fourteen thousand new settlement units announced since we began negotiations. It’s very difficult for any leader to deal under that cloud,” Kerry said.
He acknowledged that the formal negotiating process that he initiated and led since last summer may soon stop. But he maintained that his efforts to push for a final settlement will continue in one form or another.
“The reports of the demise of the peace process have consistently been misunderstood and misreported. And even we are now getting to the moment of obvious confrontation and hiatus, but I would far from declare it dead,” Kerry said. “You would say this thing is going to hell in a handbasket, and who knows, it might at some point, but I don’t think it is right now, yet.”
Kerry gave both Israeli and Palestinian leaders credit for sticking with the peace process for this long. But he added that both sides were to blame for the current impasse in the talks; neither leader was ready to make the tough decisions necessary for achieving peace.
“There’s a period here where there needs to be some regrouping. I don’t think it’s unhealthy for both of them to have to stare over the abyss and understand where the real tensions are and what the real critical decisions are that have to be made,” he said. “Neither party is quite ready to make it at this point in time. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to make these decisions.”
Kerry said that he was considering, at some point, publicly laying out a comprehensive U.S. plan for a final agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in a last-ditch effort to forge a deal before the Obama administration leaves office in 2017. “We have enough time to do any number of things, including the potential at some point in time that we will just put something out there. ‘Here it is, folks. This is what it looks like. Take it or leave it,’” Kerry said.
Kerry denies calling Israel ‘apartheid state’
Afraid of the Zionists wrath, US secretary of state backs away from Israel “apartheid” remark, saying different word would have been more appropriate. John Kerry has denied he has ever called Israel “an apartheid state”, amid a row over comments reportedly made during a private meeting. “I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one,” the US secretary of state said in a strong statement after calls for him to resign or at least apologise for the alleged comments.
“Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt,” said Kerry, according to the AFP news agency.
But Kerry, whose efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians have collapsed, did say that he had used a poor choice of words during his speech on Friday to international experts of the Trilateral Commission.
“I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution,” he said.
“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes.”
The US-based Daily Beast online news site reported that Kerry had warned that “a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state”.
The website said it had been given a recording of Kerry’s speech, which sparked a furore in Israel and led one Republican senator to call for his resignation. Kerry has “repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to countenance a world in which Israel is made a pariah,” said Senator Ted Cruz. He said that Kerry should offer his resignation “before any more harm is done to our national security interests and our critical alliance with the state of Israel”.
John McCain, a veteran Republican senator, also said Kerry should clarify his comments and apologise. He disagreed that Kerry should resign, however. A US-imposed deadline for progress on Palestinian-Israel peace talks ran out on Tuesday. Last week, Israel pulled out of talks after Fatah announced it would seek to create a unity government with the Hamas group, which controls Gaza.
The structural roots of Israeli apartheid
Noura Erakat, a Palestinian human rights attorney and is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in his article titled “The structural roots of Israeli apartheid” published in http://www.aljazeera.com writes Recent rulings by the Israeli high court have made a mockery of the concepts of equality, justice, and dignity for all.
Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have intensified in recent days. The talks, facilitated by US Secretary of State John Kerry, have resulted in 13 meetings between the two delegations to discuss issues of mutual concern. Yet in the midst of the current flurry of activity aimed at saving the two-state solution from the shelves of rich archival libraries, three-time Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is insisting that the conflict is not a political one at all.
To the contrary, at a recent talk delivered at Bar Ilan University, Netanyahu explained that the conflict is about Palestinian hatred for Jews as a people. There is, he maintains, a cultural malaise inherent to Palestinians that is not connected to Israeli military and structural violence against a dispossessed and stateless people. His diagnosis leaves little in the way of possible remedies, aside from cultural sensitivity trainings (for Palestinians, mind you) or, more realistically, the indefinite subjugation of an entire people – billed to US taxpayers.
The hawkish leader’s analysis is contingent on the belief that Palestinians are not rational actors, but emotional ones impervious to reason. Netanyahu’s analysis is fundamentally racist and flawed because it ascribes to Jewish immigration into Mandatory Palestine an innocuous character it has never possessed.
Israel’s establishment as a homeland for a Jewish majority in a land where a Palestinian-Arab majority existed has necessitated the on-going forced removal and subjugation of the non-Jewish Palestinian population – not simply in the Arab-Israeli War or the Six-Day War, but into the present day.
Forced into Ghettoised communities
Today, there are 6.8 million Palestinian refugees. These are people who fled the war and the threat of harm in 1948 – the Nakba – and 1967, and their descendants. Yet the travails of Palestinians are by no means finished. Israel’s present-day administrative practices in housing, residency, water distribution, urban planning, education, and taxation policies are herding Palestinians into ghettoised communities or forcing them from the territory altogether.
Within Israel, Palestinians are squeezed into designated areas or urban townships, as is the case with the 70,000 Palestinian bedouin in the Negev. Within the West Bank, Israeli policies are forcing Palestinians to search for opportunities in Area A, or a mere 16 percent of the occupied territory, severely constraining their movement. And the Gaza Strip, subject to a naval blockade and a comprehensive land siege, is the largest ghetto of all.
Surrounding the concentrated and disconnected West Bank population centres is an intricate network of Jewish settler colonies, with the attendant physical and economic infrastructure, and whose residents are subject to a different set of laws designated for Jewish persons only with the intention – and result – of privileging them legally, administratively, economically, and politically.
Still, this apartheid reality is not the worst-case scenario for Palestinians, many of whom insist that, come what may, they will never be forced out again.
Yet notwithstanding the courageous Palestinian determination to stay rooted to what land remains to them, Israel is pressuring thousands of Palestinians out of the territory and into forced exile along with those already removed since 1948. Between 1967 and 1994, Israel revoked the residency rights of approximately 140,000 Palestinians in the Occupied Territory through what can best be termed “silent deportation”. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics comments that, were it not for Israel’s discriminatory policies, the Palestinian population would be greater by 14 percent.
Within Israel, the ban on family reunification has forced Palestinian citizens, constituting approximately 20 percent of Israel’s population, to build their families and lives outside of their place of birth if they marry a Palestinian from the Occupied Territories or a resident of an “enemy state”. After the Israeli High Court upheld the discriminatory ban, Israeli Knesset member Yaakov Katz explained “… the State of Israel was saved from being flooded by 2-3 million Arab refugees”.
The intended purpose of Israeli laws, policies, and decrees within the state, as well as the Occupied Territories, is to diminish the Palestinian population. Under international law, this policy amounts to forced population transfer. In common speech, it is ethnic cleansing – sometimes by Israeli military might and sometimes via the law.
It is in this context that Netanyahu proclaimed in his Bar Ilan address: “We will not be satisfied with recognition of the Israeli people or of some kind of bi-national state which will later be flooded by refugees.”
Palestinians officially recognised the State of Israel in 1993. The demand for something more, namely recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and state of the Jews alone, began in the early 2000s. Such recognition is a way of sanctioning Jewish privilege and ongoing Palestinian forced removal, dispossession, and exile.
Israeli vs Jewish
To date, a bifurcation between Israeli citizenship and Jewish nationality has facilitated both of these objectives. There is no such thing as an Israeli nationality under Israeli law. Israel recognises two basic bundles of rights – one for Jewish nationals who are entitled to citizenship, housing and education subsidies, employment opportunities and one for Israeli citizens only.
In effect, a Jewish national (as defined by Israeli law) residing in London with no relationship to the state is entitled to more state benefits and protection than a Palestinian-Israeli citizen in Nazareth whose family lineage in the area dates back centuries.
A group of Jewish-Israelis concerned with this structural discrimination recently filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice seeking recognition for an Israeli people rather than a Jewish one. Despite the law’s discriminatory implications, the court rejected the petition, explaining that the issue of whether there is a “peoplehood … common to all its residents and citizens, called ‘Israeli’ … is a national-political-social question and it is not the court’s place to decide it.”
Some Israelis, like those who comprise the NGO Zochrot, are intent on having this discussion among Jewish-Israelis. In late September, Zochrot organised a conference aimed at promoting acknowledgment and accountability among Jewish-Israelis for the ongoing forced removal and exile of Palestinians. It explains that “realising the return of Palestinian refugees is a prerequisite for the country’s decolonisation, ending the conflict, doing justice and creating an egalitarian civil society serving the interests of all its members”.
The NGO Monitor, an Israeli organisation incensed by the proposition of equality, has launched a campaign against Zochrot by targeting its European government funders.
To an outside observer brought up on the merit of equal rights, the conditions to which Palestinians are subject are cause for indignation rather than the irrational hatred voiced by Netanyahu. Significantly, these conditions are the fruit of power, privilege, and politics and they can be remedied by affording equality, justice, and dignity for all. US taxpayers would be better off investing in these ideals rather then in an apartheid regime, which they are helping to make more durable. (HSH)