In times like ours, when the brutality and viciousness of a particular regime is staring us the in the face and no longer masquerading behind a false sense of grace and morality, men of true intelligence and courage do not recede, instead they continue their unrelenting work as watchers, reminders, and educators. Some will undeniably draw back and become hesitant to voice their real convictions in fear of political repression, or even worse consequences. I don't know how trying our times will be for journalists, reporters and yes, bloggers, but I am sure they will need our unflinching support, to the last drop of what we can muster in our little corner of the world. We must support the new rebels of our day, whether through donations, subscribing to their publications, or buying their books; by whatever means, we must help the ones who are principled and uninfluenced by power and flattery. TomDispatch, Truthdig, Counterpunch, Democracy Now, The Real News, Anitwar, these sites are indispensable to the understanding of the current crisis of faith and truth in almost all of the world issues/conflicts today. Journalists and commentators like Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Nir Rosen, Chris Floyd, Robert Fisk, Tariq Ali, Justin Raimondo, Jeremy Scahill, Seymour Hersh, Amy Goodman, these men and women and others I've either forgot to mention or I'm unaware of, exuberate courage and possess a strong mindnesses to accept and tell the truth. In an hour of crisis, they are not the type to squander the oppourtunity to educate and enlighten the public. Their work, across broad fields, will give us the ammo to fight against the torturers, liars, and thieves who are conducting a war on Middle Eastern civlization, from Iraq to Palestine.
The recent Gaza assault has opened a vein for a new direct and hostile commentary towards Israel and its policies in the region. The time has come to garner our rights and be hostile to violence, lies, and thievery. Chuck D, Hip Hop's rebel, pronounced "I have a right to be hostile." And how right he was.
Below is a broad spectrum of the commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian war by some of the journalists and commentators I previously mentioned.
Glenn Greenwald, writes in his piece entitled George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel:
When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute -- like most intractable, bloody, hate-driven, decades-long wars -- there is endless blame to go around to countless parties. Commentary which fails to recognize that, or, worse, which insists it's not true, is almost certainly the by-product of this blind self-regard.He finishes his commentary by acknowleding one of the more revealing and encouraging facts in all of this:
Uncritical support for someone's destructive behavior isn't "friendship"; it is, as Washington said, slavishness, and it does no good either for the party lending the blind support nor the party receiving it. It's hard to overstate the good that would be achieved if the U.S. simply adhered to those basic and self-evidently compelling principles of George Washington, who actually knew a thing or two about the perils of war.
The lockstep, uncritical support for everything Israel does in the political class is completely unrepresentative of American public opinion.Chris Hedges's newest column, a sort-of continuation of his previous column "Israel's Crime Against Humanity," is called Party to Murder. Here is a brief excerpt that appears at the end:
The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and Islamic radicals. Jihadists, enraged by the injustices done by Israel and the United States, seek to carry out reciprocal acts of savagery, even at the cost of their own lives. The violence unleashed on Palestinian children will, one day, be the violence unleashed on Israeli children. This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel.And then there is Nir Rosen and his scathing attack on the whole war on terrorism. Rosen explains how the word 'terrorism' is used by political powers to repress and inhibit political expression by people who have less power. The article is Gaza: the logic of colonial power
Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful – whether Israel, America, Russia or China – will always describe their victims' struggle as terrorism, but the destruction of Chechnya, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the slow slaughter of the remaining Palestinians, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan – with the tens of thousands of civilians it has killed … these will never earn the title of terrorism, though civilians were the target and terrorising them was the purpose.One of my favourite writers is Chris Floyd, he is stunningly accurate on almost all the major stories, and on both foreign and domestic issues. Floyd, in his new piece Voiceless in Gaza: Israeli Carnage and the American Courtiers confronts, with unmatched precision, the silence in the American political class and media:
A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?
Everyone knows that the United States government is the only force that could rein in the virulent militarism of the Israeli state, which is now reaching literally genocidal proportions. But there is no faction in American politics that has the courage, the will -- or the desire -- to offer even the most tepid criticisms of Israeli policy.Perhaps no one is more qualified to speak on the Gaza asault and its roots than Robert Fisk, long-time correspondent for The Independent, and the most truthful journalist there is. He is Britain's Sey Hersh. Or maybe, its the other way around. In his new article Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored Fisk documents the hopelessness and senselessness of the whole bloody war. It's a cycle of violence, and its a cylce both Hamas and the Israeli establishment feed on to stay alive. Here is a passage from Fisk's piece:
We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.Tariq Ali agrees with Nir Rosen and many others that a one-state solution is the only viable solution, and that solution is becoming inevitable every day. He writes in the Guardian:
The test for Hamas is not whether it can be house-trained to the satisfaction of western opinion, but whether it can break with this crippling tradition. Soon after the Hamas election victory in Gaza, I was asked in public by a Palestinian what I would do in their place. "Dissolve the Palestinian Authority" was my response and end the make-believe. To do so would situate the Palestinian national cause on its proper basis, with the demand that the country and its resources be divided equitably, in proportion to two populations that are equal in size ñ not 80% to one and 20% to the other, a dispossession of such iniquity that no self-respecting people will ever submit to it in the long run. The only acceptable alternative is a single state for Jews and Palestinians alike, in which the exactions of Zionism are repaired. There is no other way.The whole piece is a worthy read.
It's hard to pick a favorite of the many articles on Israel-Palestine that has sprouted in the wake of the recent assault on Gaza. But I'm not one to hold all of them up on the same plateau. Some commentaries are entirely different in their conception and approach and because of that they deserve wider acclaim. Justin Raimondo's recent piece called Israel's Constant Crisis is one of those necessary reads. Below is a long section from the piece:
From the day of its birth, Israel has been a Western project, a unique creation of European ideologues whose vision of a Jewish state was rooted in myth, custom, and remembrance, rather than blood and soil. Israel owes its existence to theology rather than geography, and in this it occupies a singular place in the history of nations. The only other comparable state is, or was, the old Soviet Union, which was founded as the receptacle for Leninist ideology, but even here the analogy isn't quite exact, for the simple reason that Russia preexisted the USSR by several centuries, and Russian nationalism soon came to dominate and overwhelm the ostensibly "internationalist" Kremlin leadership.If it wasn't for these writers my knowledge of the present crisis would be inadequate and my observations, shallow. They come from various backgrounds, write from a wide variety of experiences. Some come from an academic field, others a battlefield, but they all reach, in one way or another, the same truth about the annihilation in Gaza. What is happening there, at the present moment, is not a cause for celebration. Let's hope there won't be any fireworks there tonight.
As a settler colony rather than a rooted nation, Israel's always precarious existence is made possible by an extensive international support system that exists entirely outside the Middle East. In the beginning, it was the Zionist movement itself that provided the outside material aid that nurtured and grew this nascent nation. That, however, was not enough to provide the sustenance Israel needed to come into existence and survive in a very rough neighborhood, so it was the British empire that presided over its birth. The Balfour Declaration provided the semi-legal basis for the existence of an independent Jewish state in the area known as Palestine.
The British, however, had neither the resources nor the inclination to act as Israel's permanent sponsor and protector, and this role eventually fell to the United States. Without U.S. aid, including unconditional military and political support, Israel could not exist for long. Over the years, it has evolved its own characteristic means of survival, which is analogous to that of an epiphyte – a plant that, rather than rooting in its own soil, grows on other plants.
Because Israel is almost entirely dependent on international support – and especially American support – for its very survival, without U.S. public opinion behind it the Jewish state would soon wither on the vine. What this means, in practice, is that a constant stream of pro-Israel propaganda must be directed at the American people in order to justify the high levels of financial and military aid that keep Israel afloat. What's more, the Israelis must constantly generate the urgency and immediacy of the need to support their country. They have succeeded in doing this by projecting a sense of continuing crisis. The idea that Israel is in danger, that unless we ship billions more in taxpayer dollars the Israeli state will sink beneath the waves of an unrelenting Arab assault, is constantly being pushed – and we wonder why the "peace process" is perpetually stalled.