Jun 5, 2008

HR Clinton and AIPAC/Israel

Had I the time or the inclination, I would go ape-shit (in a bad way) about Clinton's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tonight. I didn't hear Obama's, but I'm sure it was adequately fucked up, as I'm sure Bush and his underlings and all the others are as well.

But I got to hear HRC on C-Span live, and her terrible characterizations of Palestinians and her chauvinistic statements about fully supporting Israel ($2 Bn a year for "defense"?!) boiled my blood.

I guess it's a quintessential American value: the brutal subjugation of an entire people on the justification that "this land is now our land, now get the fuck off or die." Like I've said before, Manifest Destiny, anyone?

So I'm not surprised, but she even got the "debacle in Durban" -- the first global conference on racism, where there was a motion to characterize Zionism (the militant political ideology to expand Israel at any cost - human or otherwise) as racism, that resulted in the U.S. happily (and conveniently) walking away from the discussion. We're going to get to a point where the U.S. and Israel are alone in their inability to fully confront the evils associated with their founding, while the rest of the world moves on. I mean, even Australia is moving closer to understanding that its shameful legacy with its own aboriginal populations must be confronted. But it's easy to stick your head inthe ground when no one else can bully you into accepting the brutal truth of your own nation's sins.

Thing is, many Israelis know better, and there's definitely some level of understanding with regular people about how the question of Israel/Palestine should move beyond "they don't want to recognize our right to exist" to a more detailed parsing of the issues. I don't know if Americans can do the same with the legacies of slavery, decimation of the native population, and everything that came after these things.

But that speech was intolerable, and I'm so sick of hearing every politician with any aspiration to keep or advance in their political careers remaining 100% wholly uncritical of Israel's actions. Shit, I'd consider it something noteworthy if they even mentioned anti-Arab racism and xenophobia in the same speech as antisemitism (no hope for the same paragraph or sentence of course, and disregarding the fact that Arabs are also Semites, but somehow that has been lost in every modern discussion at this point).

The state of Israel is not just a victim: it's also an aggressor in this whole situation. Perhaps the image of besieged state fighting for survival is romantic, or perhaps some kind of national guilt from America's failure to intervene in the treatment and slaughter of the Jewish people for years before finally getting involved in WWII has permeated American politics (I doubt it). Whatever it is, this one-sided approach to the whole thing is incredibly troubling. How can America have any moral authority when it is so totally biased in an arena where one side is using sophisticated war technology that we've provided and the other is using the military equivalent of slingshots and bows and arrows?

What happened to "We are all Palestinian"?

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