President Barack Obama continues, incredibly, to defend the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In a news report from July 29, he proclaims that Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu “’consistently said he would embrace a cease-fire that permits Israel to protect itself against the tunnels’ used by Palestinian militants in Gaza”.
No one doubts that that is part of what Israel wants. Certainly it wants no threat from its oppressed colony, the Gaza Strip. An end to rocket fire and a return to the status quo will be fine with Israel. That status quo includes the full, illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, the deprivation of food, water, medical supplies, household goods that much of the world takes for granted, and the total control of everything that enters or leaves Gaza. That is what Mr. Obama appears to want for the Middle East.
He conveniently forgets the needs of the Palestinians. He forgets or ignores the fact that Israel was born by the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, with over 750,000 people being driven from their homes, with no recompense, to live in refugee camps. He does not concern himself with the more than 10,000 Palestinians who were murdered at that time. He cares nothing for the brutal treatment of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, all in violation of international law, much of which the U.S. is a party to, and has signed and therefore endorsed. His administration decries the recently approved move by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel for war crimes, saying the agency focuses unfairly on Israel. Perhaps Mr. Obama feels that, since the Council doesn’t investigate all possible war crimes, it shouldn’t investigate any of them.
Somehow, he seems able to see pictures of children, including infants, bloody and blown apart by Israeli bombs supplied by the U.S., without emotion. Scenes of anguished relatives, collecting the parts of their loved ones’ bodies, as they themselves run from U.S.-financed bombs, do not seem to move him. The ever-growing body count, numbering over 1,000 for the Palestinians and less than 60 for Israel, are apparently meaningless to him.
Let us take a quick glance at a few lines from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the collection of thought on which the U.S. was ostensibly founded:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”
A few points are worthy of further explication:
‘All men are created equal’.
Although at the time the document was written, ‘all men’ included only white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, land-owning males, the U.S. Supreme Court has, over the years, expanded that to mean all human beings. While that may not be the actual practice, it is certainly the theory. So if we consider ‘all men’ to be all human beings, and if we note that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t specify a location, we can realistically assume that Arabs are part of ‘all men’.
‘Created equal’ does not imply equal in opportunity, talent, riches, etc. But, in the eyes of the law, no one person is any better than another. The American Revolution rejected the idea of royalty, although wealthy landowners had more rights than the poor. Each person, it is strongly implied, has the same intrinsic value as the next.
‘Are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ Whether or not one believes in a Creator, this certainly implies that everyone has some very basic rights.
‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. These are three of those ‘unalienable rights’ that are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. ‘Life’ is basic; everyone, according the Declaration of Independence, has this most foundational right. ‘Liberty’ is the ability to make one’s own decisions, move about freely, buy, sell, trade, marry, etc. And ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ encompasses all that gives life fulfillment and satisfaction.
‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…’. This is very clear. Those who are governed give those who have jurisdiction over them, the power and authority to do so.
Now that we have had a brief lesson in U.S. civics, let’s broaden this, to see how the U.S. respects these basic principles in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
Based on U.S. actions, Palestinians are not equal to Israelis in the ‘all men are created equal’ category. Israeli deaths are mourned; Palestinian deaths are seen as the result of their own lack of cooperation with their oppressors.
‘Unalienable’ is defined as ‘not transferable to another, or capable of being repudiated’. Mr. Obama’s statements and actions plainly convey that he believes Palestinian rights can be repudiated. Their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been deprived by Israel, with complete U.S. compliance and financing, for generations.
Lastly, thanks mainly to the U.S., the people of Palestine in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are governed by people from a nation that only wants their total extinction. Israel does not have ‘the consent of the governed,’ but that is just fine with the U.S.
The popular U.S. media, all corporate-owned, reflects Mr. Obama’s sentiments. Israel, they proclaim, has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks. They don’t bother to explore the reasons why those rockets are launched, despite the fact that the reasons are not deeply hidden. Ongoing oppression and genocide are there for anyone to see who chooses to do so. But the Israeli lobby is powerful, and the media, like the government, is too timid to confront it. And so citizens who get their ‘information’ from Fox News, or any of the other popular news stations, those who tell us that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and will soon start imprisoning heterosexuals and Christians, parrot what they hear without thought or question.
Thankfully, social media seems to be a potential game-changer. While people may not see the bloody bodies of children, who sought safe refuge in a United Nations school but were blown to bits by Israeli bombs, on the television news, such pictures are difficult to avoid on Facebook. If the news media gives scant attention to the numerous, huge demonstrations in support of the Palestinians that have been taking place around the world in the last few weeks, including in Israel, their viewers will see them by clicking on a link they see on Twitter.
This way, even the most uninformed may start to gain an awareness of Israel’s horrendous crimes, and U.S. complicity in all of them. Few people, outside of government officials, of course, need to be told that targeting children innocently playing on a beach is not a good thing. Seeing photos of the bloody, mangled bodies of those children brings the point home.
Israel proclaims that the agreement to a cease-fire is now up to Hamas. Israel will stop its murderous shelling of the Gaza Strip if Hamas will stop its ineffectual rocket attacks on Israel. Nothing else will change; the blockade will remain, and Palestinian suffering will be unrelieved. Hamas’s demands are completely reasonable: end the blockade and remove all Israeli terrorists (IDF forces) from Gaza, and the rocket attacks will cease. Hopefully, global pressure will be brought to bear on Israel to force that apartheid nation to end the blockade. Such pressure will not come from the U.S. government, but citizens of the world can bring about the justice that the U.S. refuses to address. The unspeakable, decades-long suffering of the Palestinians must end.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).