Phil Duncan on Mon, 15 Apr 2002 18:37:31 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Palestina [5x]

While choking back the bile that rises in my throat at the way the US media 
has demonized the Palestinians, and the complicity of the world community 
with the abuses of the Israelis, and the resulting escalating violence, I 
can't help but wonder why no one is calling for Sharon to denounce Israeli 
terrorism as we demand of Arafat.  Also, my trepidation increases hourly at 
the misappropriation of the definition of terrorism since 9-11.  It seems 
that any faction resistant to the political, military and cultural dominant 
can now be assailed in the spirit of "anti-terrorist" crusade.  What 
plagues my heart even more is the blatant disregard for the constitution 
that the present United States administration has demonstrated for the U. 
S. Constitution.

In the face of all of that, I am even more strongly moved by the way the 
U.S. popular media dishes out its rhetoric to the masses who lap it up like 
sweet little lap kittens, while their masters go about their business of 
making a business out of hate, violence, and genocide.  I would like to 
offer a disturbing fact in response to Dan's post:

>There is a myth that US support for Israel exists because of the
>strength of the zionist lobby--meaning "Jewish lobby", as if there
>were thousands of Jewish zionists pressing palms on Capitol Hill
>everyday, or funneling thousands of dollars to pols all the time. In
>the more crackpot, fringe versions of this story diamonds get put into
>the pockets of presidents and senators. That's a bunch of anti-semitic
>crap-- military contractor interests are probably much more important.

Well, yes, it is far more complex that one or two Big Print Headline causes 
(remember Lyndon B. Johnson was in the back pocket of McDonald Douglas 
during the Viet Nam escalation), but myth or not, popular perception is 
being fueled by an irresponsible media.  I quote from the last paragraph of 
an article by Laurence McQuillan on Page 6A in the April 10, 2002 edition 
of USA Today titled, "Bush exerts careful pressure on Israel":

<begin quote>
The president does not want to confront Sharon directly.  He says he 
believes his father, the first President Bush, made a political mistake 
that helped cost him the re-election when he threatened to withhold some 
U.S. aid in order to block Israel's plan to build settlements in 
Palestinian territory.  The settlements were not built, but the showdown 
led to a strain in U.S.-Israeli relations, and some Republicans say Bush 
lost Jewish votes.
<end quote>

It could be no clearer that the source of the myths are the President 
himself as represented in the popular media.  How do you train the 
citizenry to see beyond the representations of its media?  What if this is 
indeed accurate reporting, and Bush II is indeed more concerned about his 
own personal control of political power, so that he is willing to be 
accessory to the mass murders occurring?  Is that so out of character?  Or 
is pandering to the interest of the war industries so out of character?

What are the implications if Bush II really did say the things he is 
reported to have said?  The sad fact of the matter is that the only reason 
that Bush II has motivation at all to intervene in this crisis is because 
he wants Arab support to invade Iraq to finish the job his old man didn't - 
kill Saddam Hussein.

>So it is very, very important to maintain a strong stance against
>racism in all its forms, including and especially anti-Semitism, given
>the smokescreens before us. Maybe the most difficult part of this
>situation is that there are a handful of Jewish demogogues more than
>ready to take advantage of anything that could possibly be perceived
>as anti-Semitic.

Again, yes, standing in resistance to racism is the strongest form of 
defiance to this type of rhetoric.  As with so many other land disputes - 
issues of race, religion, economics, etc, ad nauseam are hijacked to build 
emotional sentiment that may serve to cloud the real issues of power and 
control, on both the state and personal levels.  As long as the masses 
stand divided against each other, they can never organize against the 
powerful.  Why is it human nature to haggle over our differences, rather 
than rally around our similarities?

>I think the best thing to do is to inform ourselves
>and each other about the way all this developed, about how others
>(Religious Right, esp) have used the conflict for their own ends, and
>how support for a state which adheres to a ethnically-defined Right of
>Return practice cannot in any way be termed anti- or non-racist.

There is a saying that, "Blood washes blood."  If either religious faction 
in this conflict would examine the doctrine of their faith system, then 
perhaps understanding would come to pass that violence answered by violence 
is not acceptable behavior.  The sad fact is that in this conflict, Sharon 
has never had peace as an objective.  Be it fact, fiction, or myth, the old 
testament describes an Israel that is oppressed and enslaved by many of the 
other nations in the region.  Has their national memory and conscience been 
wiped clean?  Why is there no empathy from a nation whose national identity 
is rooted in violence and genocide?  How can a nation so proficient at 
continuing to keep the Holocaust of WWII fresh in the minds of the world in 
the same breath condone genocidal actions?

>This conservative christian crusade mentality, in alliance with
>nationalist sentiment from some Jewish groups, the tempting potential
>for non-Jews to claim anti-racist credit, and generic War on Terror
>aggression against everything Arab is what is making this all possible
>right now. The least known element of this coalition from hell is the
>stake held by the conservative christians, and that's why I'm writing
>about it.

Again, I agree with you whole-hearted.  But even more nocuous, I submit 
that the least talked about element in complicity with the enduring 
conflict is the American public who accept the actions and non-actions of 
their leadership without question.  The masses who digest the popular 
media's biased representations of right and wrong, us and them from the 
comfort of their living rooms, while surrendering privacy and 
constitutionally granted rights in order to feel more secure and stable 
during their rites of consumption.

Can we expect the masses to sit by complicitly during the trial of Lynne 
Stewart when the courts will enforce the six-month old Justice Department 
directive that allows the government to listen in on conversations between 
lawyers and their clients?  (hmm, funny sense of timing...)  What is the 
future of being a defence lawyer in the U.S. with intimidation like 
this?  In how many states will the citizenry sit back while the federal 
government overrides issues passed by numerous state referendums? (As in 
the case with Oregon's statute which legalizes a doctor prescribing a 
lethal dosage for terminally ill patients so that they may exercise their 
right to die with dignity?  Ashcroft's edict was even personalized - worded 
to reflect his values and not to represent the position of the government, 
nor even his office.)  Yet the complacent masses purr away as their leaders 
run roughshod over the fundamental document of our nation.  How many more 
infractions of the constitution will we endure in the name of Homeland 

To quote an old Chicago song, "Do you even think they'll think?"

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