These are desperate times for Israel. While Prime Murder Benjamin Netanyahu forms a new government with people who have said that Palestinians are not human, and who have openly called for genocide against them, he and they continue to talk about their security concerns, how the Israeli army is the most moral in the world, etc., etc. Yet beyond the ivory towers in which they have ensconced themselves, few people are buying the tattered goods they are selling.
Let’s look at a few examples.
The International Criminal Court (ICC). When Palestine officially signed the Rome statute and joined the ICC, Israel withheld millions of dollars paid by Palestinians in taxes, which Israel collects. This money is needed to pay salaries in Palestine. But even more telling than this illegal act of collective punishment is the fact that Israel contacted several member countries of the ICC, imploring them to reduce the amount of money they pay to that organization in order to keep it going. They were rebuffed on every side. The one country they might have counted on to reduce donations was the United States; however, like Israel, the U.S. has never condescended to join the ICC, believing, like its protégé Israel, that it is above the law.
FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association; English: International Federation of Association Football). Palestine has petitioned FIFA to expel Israel from this organization, the largest and most prestigious soccer organization in the world, saying that Israel prevents Palestinian players from traveling to events, from purchasing necessary equipment, and in other ways preventing full Palestinian participation. In order to prevent any official action against it, Israel is frantically contacting the heads of soccer associations in other nations, desperate to gain support for its (indefensible) position. Rumors are that Israel is even making concessions to the Palestinians, to thwart what would be another slap in the face of the beleaguered Israeli international reputation.
The United Nations and Children’s Rights. In March, The Guardian reported this: “Senior U.N. officials in Jerusalem have been accused of caving in to Israeli pressure to abandon moves to include the state’s armed forces on a U.N. list of serious violators of children’s rights.” That Israel kidnaps, arrests without charge, holds for months at a time and tortures children is all well-documented. But the U.N. has yet to officially condemn Israel, despite reports from U.N. agencies clearly stating the obvious. But Israel has worked hard, not to rectify the unspeakable abuses with which IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists treat Palestinian children, since that is apparently government policy, but to prevent the United Nations from taking action.
In the past, Israel did not bother with such trivialities; it had the U.S. do its dirty work for it. As recently as December, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called at least fifty heads of state to defeat a proposal in the United Nations that would have called for an end to the occupation by 2017.The thanks he received for his efforts was the controversial speech by Mr. Netanyahu to Congress, increased settlement building, and the statement that an independent Palestine would never exist while he is Prime Murderer. Apparently, even the hapless Mr. Kerry and his incompetent boss have been insulted beyond their breaking point, and are not running around the globe, demanding deference to Israel, at least in these matters.
What a difference a few years, social media, and well-publicized genocide make! Another stark difference can be seen in two examples on U.S. university campuses. In 2007, Professor Norman Finkelstein, a noted scholar, son of Holocaust survivors and an outspoken critic of Israel, was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago, based on his written, carefully-researched criticisms of that apartheid nation. Although this generated some minor controversy at the time, it wasn’t well-publicized.
In early August of 2014, a job offer tendered to Professor Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was withdrawn shortly before the start of classes, due to some ‘tweets’ he sent, critical of Israel. By August 18, over 1,200 academics around the world had vowed to boycott the university, and that number has increased dramatically since then; countless events scheduled to take place there have been cancelled, and the American Association of University Professors is expected to formally censor the school this summer.
It does appear that Israel is on the run. Mr. Netanyahu has formed the most racist, apartheid government the world has known for generations, one that makes the apartheid regime that ruled South Africa for so long seem almost benign. Sweden became the 135th country to recognize Palestine in October of 2014, and just in the last several days the Vatican has done so. While that is certainly a tiny country, its leader is also the leader of billions of Catholics around the world, so the importance of this recognition can’t be overstated. Film and music festivals in Israel reduce their durations, because international participation is down; more and more entertainers are taking a stand against apartheid. Joint academic ventures between Israel and other nations are also on the decline, not to mention the many companies that will no longer do business with firms operating in the occupied territories.
The last major stronghold of support for Israel is the United States, and although President Barack Obama has talked about a ‘readjustment’ of relations with Israel, not much is expected to happen, as long as AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee) continues to pull the Congressional strings. And lobbying is the name of the game in the U.S. In the just-beginning race for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is condemning any light criticism any candidate, announced or potential, ever made about Israel. This isn’t surprising, considering that one of his major donors is Norman Braman, a Florida businessman and a strong supporter of the illegal settlements, who is expected to spend between $10 and $25 million to help Mr. Rubio purchase a four-year lease on the White House. There is no room for principle, and certainly not for human rights, when such sums are to be had by violating them.
The U.S. is currently attempting to pass legislation neutralizing the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction,) movement, and while it is likely to pass, it is unlikely to be upheld when the inevitable court challenge to it occurs. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, hoping to cement the Jewish vote in his upcoming reelection campaign, is suggesting charging those who criticize Israel under hate-crimes laws. This is not being well-received north of the border, where human rights and civil rights seem to have more importance than they do in the U.S. And any thought that Jewish voters give complete support to Israeli crimes is belied by the number of Jewish organizations established to combat those crimes.
So it does seem as if time is running out. Israel may be able to avoid sanctions from FIFA, the ICC and the U.N. this year, but that nation is becoming the global pariah, shunned for its atrocious human rights violations in Palestine and within Israel itself, where there are separate laws for Israelis, different than those for Africans or Arabs. With U.S. backing, Israel became a world power, and it is now in decline, and so very dangerous. Palestinian suffering will increase in the short-term, but inevitably, Palestine will be free. And once again, the U.S. will be among the last at the party, preferring to remain outside with the international bully, while the other guests toast freedom.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).