Saturday, February 19, 2011
Obama Greenlights Israeli Apartheid
Disgusting. The United States has vetoed a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, settlements that are already considered illegal by international law. Knowing it would be embarrassing, the US first tried to get the vote off the table. Hilariously, as the US vote concretely aided, protected and defended Israeli settlements, President Obama's hand-picked UN representative Susan Rice said the vote should not be "seen as an endorsement of Israel's settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced." She commented that the draft resolution submitted, however, has the risk of "hardening the positions of both sides and could encourage parties to stay out of negotiations." In other words, don't pay attention to what we're actually doing, pay attention to our pretty words. There are no negotiations; in fact there are no legitimate negotiators. The Palestine papers have shown the leadership of the Palestine Authority to be engaged in an elaborate three-way embrace with right-wing Israeli leaders and US politicians bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby to force the Palestinian people to accept a neutered Bantustan-like microstate instead of their actual national rights. No matter; the PA leadership stands to be pushed out of power along with so many other undemocratic "moderate" governments in the wave of revolution sweeping the Middle East.
Back in the 1980s, the United States and its ally Israel were notoriously the last nations to cling to South Africa's white-racist Apartheid regime. Ronald Reagan goes down in history believing the heroic Nelson Mandela belonged in jail. Disturbingly, Obama now joins Reagan in utter moral bankruptcy. No matter how much he says he supports the right of the Palestinian people to their own state, his government's actions now show a commitment only to the brute force of Israeli neocolonialism and racism. Israel's policies to the Palestinians in the West Bank are identical in every meaningful way to the policies of the former racist South Africa. And Israel will end up in the same dustbin of history.
Obama's foreign policy is showing itself to be an endless wellspring of hypocrisy. (The only silver lining perhaps is that President McCain or President Palin would surely have us nuking Tehran and Cairo by now.) Check out the bitterly hilarious compilation on the Zunguzungu blog of all the times in the past two months of popular uprisings and government repression that Obama snd Secretary of State Clinton have called for "restraint." Meanwhile the flow of arms to Israel and repressive Arab regimes is endless. And watch the US government forcefully shout its support of popular protests in (US enemy and quasi-democratic) Iran while urging calm in (home to US military base and authoritarian Kingdom) Bahrain. Again and again the US government is equating the defensive militancy of the people out in the streets with the repressive violence of dictatorial states.
And does the Obama administration seriously think nobody's watching them? Here's a blistering statement from Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, just denied a visit to the U.S., to the Mondoweiss site: "Ms. Clinton can sing the tunes of freedom all she wants when watching the news of Arab popular revolts from Morocco to Bahrain, but she is not fooling any average-intelligence person in the Arab world. US policy, especially after the veto cast yesterday against the most benign UN Security Council resolution, simply reiterating universal, long-held facts that Israel's colonial settlements are illegal and thwart just peace, is being exposed to the new generation of restive, fearless, freedom-aspiring Arab youth as the main cause of their oppression, of buttressing and protecting the tyrants that have denied them all freedoms for decades. It has long been exposed, too, as the key partner of Israel in its occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Without US largess, Israel's multi-tiered system of racist and colonial oppression cannot possibly survive. Freedom, from the US establishment's perspective, amounts to the "liberty" to bow to their hegemony and accepting their multinationals' pillage of the world as fate. We shall continue to speak truth to power no matter what the consequences. We shall continue to struggle for nothing less than full freedom, full justice, full self determination, and full emancipation from US imperial hegemony."
Spring is coming.
(Photo above shows a Palestinian protest in Hebron. Hebron is a city on the occupied West Bank with an overwhelming Arab majority, yet to "protect" the privileges of a small settlement of ultra-rightwing Israelis a large chunk of the town is fenced off and forbidden to Palestinians.)