FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ted Cruz Weaponizes History

by JP SOTTILE

Senator Ted Cruz has some peculiar ideas about history.

And the newly-elected Tea Party darling from Texas didn’t bother to mince his words or ideas during confirmation hearings for former Senator and GOP gadfly Chuck Hagel.

Although, he did mince Hagel’s words. But that was all to emphasize what Ted obviously regarded as a teachable moment.

His lesson?

Crimes against a group or people can be put into an “historical wrongs bank account” and, on an ad hoc basis, those wrongs can be withdrawn and used to justify wrongs against anyone at any time in perpetuity.

The freshman Senator used Hagel’s appearance on, as he put it, a “foreign network broadcasting propaganda to nations that are hostile to us” to make it clear that this bank account not only exists, but that it is a travesty to imply otherwise.

The “foreign network” is, of course, the perennial boogeyman—Al Jazeera. The discussion, hosted by Riz Khan, was about the reduction of nuclear weapons around the world. Ted Cruz’s key point centered on Hagel’s supposed response to a caller who asked why war crimes in one place are pursued—Sudan, while war crimes in another are not—Israel. Riz Khan asked the caller to get back to the point of nuclear disarmament. The caller did and then made a point regarding the need for leadership. Hagel concurred.

But Ted heard something more. Or less. A lot less.

In fact, Ted cannot believe that he heard nothing at all! Said the Senator to his quarry, “The caller suggests that the nation of Israel has committed war crimes, and your response to that was not to dispute that characterization.”

A-ha!

Hagel didn’t condemn the caller’s implication that war crimes have occurred in the Occupied Territories against Palestinians. See? Gotcha!

But the real zinger followed, because Ted found the caller’s war crimes claim “particularly offensive given that the Jewish people suffered under the most horrific war crimes in the Holocaust.”

In other words, the simple fact of the monumental injustice suffered by European Jews under the crushing weight of Nazism and European anti-Semitism is, in and of itself, an historical “get out of jail free card” for anything and everything done by Israel in the Occupied Territories, or during its periodic invasions of Lebanon, or anything that the “the people” may do.

This is a teachable moment, Ted. This is exactly how history gets weaponized.

This is why the Japanese were interned in World War II, their property and wealth often absconded and their legal standing revoked. Pearl Harbor justified what is, in retrospect, tantamount to a war crime.

This is why the United States remains outside the International Criminal Court, because a laundry list of post-9/11 abuses—from Gitmo and rendition to Abu Ghraib and the massacre at Haditha and onto “Double Tap” drone strikes of rescue workers—exposes the leadership of the United States to criminal prosecution for crimes against thousands upon thousands of people who had nothing to do with 9/11.

The historical justification of 9/11 and “terrorism” makes all things possible.

And, in the mind of Ted Cruz, what German Nazis and their European collaborators did to European Jews makes it impossible to even consider as any wrongdoing in the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the settlement process in occupied territories, the imprisonment of children, the death of civilians and children in periodic bombing campaigns, the creation of a de facto prison camp in Gaza or the forcible sterilization of Ethiopians.

According to Ted, one man’s war crimes are another man’s tough historical luck. But the blade cuts both ways, Ted. Couldn’t those around the world who’ve suffered under American power also feel that they have brimming bank accounts of historical injustice, ready to spend in perpetuity?

Central America, Southeast Asia, Iraq, Pakistan and even Iran. They all have historical cases to make against the United States and the war crimes they endured under the weight of U.S. power or the power of its proxies.

How about right here at home? Does the unbelievable brutality of slavery or the grinding genocide of the American Indian also offer them free passes?

Alas, Senator Cruz plays fast and loose with his weaponized version of history.

But the sword cuts both ways.

Which is exactly why six former chiefs of Israel’s internal security service—Shin Bet—have come out to criticize the Israeli occupation in the film “The Gatekeepers.

They see the future of Israel imperiled by the occupation and by policies that have marginalized Palestinians in their own land. Avraham Shalom, an Austrian-born Jew who fled the Nazis, went so far as to compare Israel’s current occupation to Germany’s occupation of Europe. As Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh said to CNN, “Bear in mind that Avraham Shalom was born in Vienna…and at the Kristallnacht he was forced by his mother to go to school and was beaten almost to death by his classmates.”

Shalom said to Moreh, “I experienced firsthand what it means to be under a racist regime.”

And, right or wrong, Palestinians are putting all that real and perceived injustice into a weaponized bank account of their own.

And so goes the deadly cycle.

Before Senator Cruz once again wields his half-cocked, weaponized history theory, he needs to take a closer look at history itself. It is an ongoing warning to those who are tempted to use history as a justification for injustice.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, published historian, radio co-host and documentary filmmaker (The Warning, 2008). His credits include a stint on the Newshour news desk, C-SPAN, and as newsmagazine producer for ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa. He blogs under the pseudonym “the Newsvandal“.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, published historian, radio co-host and documentary filmmaker (The Warning, 2008). His credits include a stint on the Newshour news desk, C-SPAN, and as newsmagazine producer for ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa. He blogs under the pseudonym “the Newsvandal“.

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail