- Edward Said once called AIPAC "the most powerful
and feared lobby in Washington." For years, it's "drawn on a
well-organized, well-connected, highly visible, successful, and wealthy
Jewish population," subverting potential opposition.
- As a result, fear and respect "for AIPAC (exists)
all over the country, but especially in Washington, where in a matter of
hours, almost the entire Senate can be marshaled into signing a letter
to the president on Israel's behalf. Who is going to oppose AIPAC and continue
to have a career in Congress, or" to represent the Palestinian cause
"when nothing concrete can be offered by that cause to anyone who
stands up to AIPAC?"
- Deferentially, each year, US politicians, including presidents,
flock to its annual conference, paying homage to Israel and its influence.
- Calling itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby,"
it's represented Israeli interests since founded in 1953, then incorporated
in 1963 as a division of the American Zionist Council (AZC), its precursor.
- Exempted from registering as a foreign agent, it's had
virtual fifth column veto power over war and peace, trade and investment,
multi-billion dollar arms sales, and all Middle East policies affecting
Israel under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.
- In March 2001, discussing the power of American Zionist
organizations, Edward Said said:
- "I find it absolutely astonishing, given that Palestinian
policy has been essentially to throw our fate as a people in the lap of
the United States without any strategic awareness of how US policy is in
effect dominated, if not completely controlled, by a small minority of
people whose views about the Middle East are in some way more extreme than
even those of the Israeli Likud."
- In fact, Zionist discourse in America reflects power,
"and Arabs....are the objects of power - despised objects at that....To
submit supinely to a Zionist-controlled (US) Middle East policy....will
neither bring stability (for Israelis or Palestinians) nor equality and
justice in the US."
- As a result, today's status is what Said called "untrammelled
immorality," a shocking disregard for the most basic sense of fairness
- unrecognized, undiscussed and spurned in political and major media discourse.
Instead, they focus solely on the interests of a rogue Israeli state -
occupying, persecuting, and immiserating millions of Palestinians whose
only offense is not being Jewish.
- No wonder Obama's May 22 AIPAC speech affirmed rock solid
support for a "strong and secure Israel," leaving Palestinians
entirely out of his equation, despite paying disingenuous lip service to
- No wonder also that an official AIPAC statement expressed
gratitude for his assurance that Washington doesn't expect Israel to withdraw
to June 1967 borders, besides explicitly calling Hamas a terrorist organization,
ignoring its January 2006 electoral victory as Palestine's legitimate government.
- Obama also ignored:
- -- the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of
the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention), defined by the Rome
Statute to include murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary
arrest, illegal imprisonment, denial of the right to life and liberty,
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts imposed
by one group on another;
- -- Israel's abhorrence of peace and repeated international
- -- its decades of lawless occupation, aggression, and
- -- Palestinians denied free movement, expression and
right of assembly;
- -- explicit recognition of Palestinian self-determination
under provisions of the December 1960 UN General Assembly Declaration on
the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and all
other UN resolutions affirming it;
- -- the universally recognized right of return;
- -- Jerusalem as Palestine's legitimate capital;
- -- Israel's illegal July 1980 East Jerusalem annexation
despite SC Resolution 478 a month later declaring the Jerusalem Law null
and void and requiring its immediate rescinding;
- -- Israel's Separation Wall on stolen Palestinian land,
ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice;
- -- Palestinians denied access to their own land, air
space, coastal waters, and control of their borders;
- -- extreme poverty, unemployment, exploitation and depravation;
- -- daily violence against defense civilians, including
- -- targeted assassinations and other killings;
- -- mass arrests, detentions and torture;
- -- illegal home demolitions;
- -- apartheid settlements for Jews only, numbering 500,000
in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, illegally transferred to Occupied
- -- around half of the West Bank and East Jerusalem off
limits to Palestinians, according to UN estimates, as well as denying them
access to their own resources; and
- -- since June 2007, Gaza's suffocating siege, condemning
nearly 1.7 million Palestinians to slow-motion genocide after Israel illegally
declared it a "hostile entity," denying nonviolent civilians
access to enough food, healthcare, fuel, electricity, and other essential
- Conditions in Besieged Gaza
- The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement "promotes
rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law." In May 2011,
it published a "Gaza Cheat Sheet" account of what Gazans endure
daily out of sight and mind in Washington and other Western capitals.
- As a result, Israel created a humanitarian crisis, requiring
aid for over 70% of Gazans. Moreover, Cast Lead destruction remains rubble.
Vital needs go unmet. Around 95% of Gaza's industrial enterprises were
impacted, suspended, closed, damaged or destroyed. The remaining 5% operate
at from 20 to 50% of capacity. Lost jobs haven't been regained.
- Aside from Gaza's tunnel economy to Egypt, vulnerable
to Israeli bombing, Kerem Shalom is the sole crossing point to Israel for
the limited amount of aid let in.
- Excluded are goods and materials called dual use, basic
construction materials like cement, steel and gravel (except for small
amounts), spare parts, and other vital supplies to rebuild what Cast Lead
destroyed. Overall, a small fraction of what entered freely pre-June 2007
gets in now.
- Moreover, exports are largely banned, except for occasional
small amounts of strawberries, flowers, peppers and tomatoes to European
markets. On average, it's about two truckloads a day compared to 400 or
more in 2005.
- In addition, travel between Gaza and the West Bank is
extremely limited via Erez crossing to Israel and Rafah to Egypt. In fact,
only "exceptional humanitarian cases" are allowed with an emphasis
on medical emergencies, and not many of them.
- Travel to other areas is only possible through Egypt,
with very rare exceptions. By controlling Palestine's population registry,
Israel has decision-making power over passports, required to exit through
Rafah. Since Mubarak's ouster, only about 300 a day now cross.
- As a result, students can't study abroad. Families are
divided, and commerce can't operate freely. Further, Israel prohibits access
to and from Gaza by air or sea. Fishing is allowed only up to three nautical
miles offshore, excluding most Gazan waters from use. In fact, under Oslo,
20 nautical miles were established.
- In addition, a 300 - 1,500 meter no-go "buffer zone"
exists along Israel's separating border fence, placing 17% of Gaza off
limits and 35% of its arable land. Farmers daring to work it risk being
shot and killed.
- For many years, in fact, travel between the West Bank,
Gaza, and East Jerusalem was highly restricted, preventing most Palestinians
from doing it, let alone having access outside the Territories. In large
measure, occupation, especially for Gaza, has meant imprisonment, unable
to move freely as international law permits.
- Moreover, the international community bears direct responsibility
for letting Israel perpetuate this crisis by not imposing boycotts, divestments,
sanctions and isolation until it ends.
- In fact, the 2009 Lisbon Treaty affirms fundamental freedoms,
peace, democracy, human rights and dignity, justice, equality, the rule
of law, security, tolerance, solidarity, mutual respect among peoples,
the rights of the child, strict adherence to the UN Charter and international
law, environmental protection, sustainable development, conflict prevention,
and combatting social exclusion and discrimination.
- Western nations literally let Israel get away with murder
by spurning these principles.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.