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Give Me That Old Time Republic

Martin Peretz, a rabid cheerleader for Zionist causes, entitles his American-based magazine, “The New Republic.” It’s an Israel First organ, if there ever was one. In the name of America’s revered Founding Fathers, I object! His journal should be labeled, “The New Israel.”

In his “Cambridge Diarist” column of Jan. 10, 2003, he rants, “But many people have pursued statehood in modern history, and only the Palestinians have pursued it so barbarically. Terrorism, the truth be told, is about the sum total of what the Palestinians have bestowed on our civilization during the last five decades.” Peretz’s statement is arrogant, cruel and grossly insensitive. It also seriously mocks the truth.

The fact that the Palestinians have been living under a brutal Israeli occupation for more than 35 years was ignored by the clever wordsmith. He has also overlooked the Zionist terrorist activities of the infamous Irgun and the Stern Gang. The massacres of Arabs by Israelis at Qibya and Deir Yassin, have also conveniently slipped down the “memory hole.”

Amnesty International in a recent report detailed some of the egregious wrongdoings of Ariel Sharon’s regime. It said that since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, over 1,800 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which routinely use “F16 fighter jets, helicopter gun ships and tanks to bomb and shell densely populated residential areas. The victims [have] included more than 300 children and some 80 individuals [have been] killed in targeted state assassinations.” The Israelis also have “destroyed more than 3,000 homes and damaged thousands more…ten of thousands have lost their main or sole source of income.”

Peretz in his 01/10/03 spiel, also relied on a quote from the famed English statesman, Edmund Burke, to support his Palestinian bashing theme. However, history showed that Burke was a champion of America’s right to self-determination, and Ireland’s cause, too. I feel confident that this great man of principle, would have taken the same position today with respect to the Palestinian people, who are suffering under the colonial Israeli yoke.

Even Egypt’s Prime Minister, Hosni Mubarak, came in for an insult. Peretz claimed Mubarak was too much influenced by “Cairo’s rent-a-mob populace.” The occupied territories were glossed over as the “disputed territories” by the New Republic’s guru. (See, The LINK, 10/02 issue, for the truth about that question and also about the myth of “Israel’s Generous Offer,” which Peretz had bragged about in an earlier column). He also blamed the exodus, over the years, of “hundreds of thousands of Christians” from the Holy Land, not on the evils of the Israeli Occupation, but on its victims, the Palestinians. Isn’t this surreal?

Come to think of it, Peretz’s railings remind me of Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York. His massive Zionism-as-the-center-of-the-universe ego was on display, (12/07/02),when he did a “Bloomberg Radio” program. Whether or not he liked somebody depended on how they responded to Israel’s agenda. For example, Koch heaped praise on the Christian Right ministers, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, for “standing up for the Jewish nation.” Then, he blasted France, Mexico and National Public Radio for not. ABC’s Peter Jennings was smeared for his supposedly “vicious and unfair portrayals of Israel.” What chutzpah!

The “state-targeted assassinations” that Amnesty cited, is a politically correct way of saying that Tel Aviv is running death squads in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. These are the same kind of death squads that were used by the oligarchies in Central America, like in Guatemala, in the 70s, to dispose of their putative enemies. The only difference between the two is that the Zionist killers prefer to murder their Palestinians victims from a safe distance, via a missile shot from an helicopter. Peretz has a duty to speak out on the moral and legal question of the Israeli death squads.

Israel’s use of “fighter jets, helicopter gun ships and tanks to bomb and shell civilians in densely populated areas,” also cited by Amnesty, is barbaric, too. I would think that Peretz would agree with that. However, “barbaric” to him seems only to mean the Palestinians shouldn’t resort to “suicide bombings.” He’s right, they shouldn’t. But, he’s wrong for shrugging off the real cause: the Occupation. There would have been no Jewish “Warsaw Uprising,” without the Nazi occupation of Europe, and there would be no Palestine “suicide bombings” without the Israeli Occupation. Peretz needs to get off his high horse and address the Occupation issue, too.

Languishing in Zionist hell holes, in Israel, according to Amnesty International, are “over 1,000 Palestinians.” They are being held under a process known as “administrative detention,” without charges or trial and based on “secret evidence,” often without any “family visits.” Amnesty confirmed many of these inmates are subjected to “torture.”

Unfortunately, Israel’s “administrative detention” practice is another sordid fact of life of the so-called “only democracy in the Middle East.” The right of “Habeas Corpus,” the ancient Common Law writ incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, is alien to the prison wardens of Sharon’s Gulag. There is no way for Palestinian detainees to challenge the legality of their imprisonment. And, even if they did, what kind of hearing would they get from a racist apartheid government that runs death squads, engages in collective punishment of innocent people, and regularly bulldozes the homes of Palestinians with impunity? So, where is Peretz on Israel’s barbaric “administrative detention” scheme? Does he condone it?

On April 21, 2001, Peretz’s “The New Republic” was given an award by HonestReporting.com for consistently standing by Sharon and “Israel’s side, and exposing the Arab rhetoric commonly parroted by the Western media.” Are we in a Woody Allen movie?

Finally, I think Peretz has taken a very undemocratic line towards the Palestinians. His position has nothing remotely to do with America or the core values of the vast majority of its people. As far as I’m concerned, the American people should reject Sharonism in all its manifestations.

Give me that old time Republic.

WILLIAM HUGHES is the author of “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which is available online. He can be reached at liamhughes@mindspring.com.

© WILLIAM HUGHES 2002

 

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