It occurred to me after Kerry’s performance on Meet the Press this weekend that Americans have a choice this coming November between George Walker Bush or George Kerry Bush, the Tweedleddumb and Tweedledeedumb proffered to us by the Republicrats Party. How clever: one party with two candidates playing at politics for the amusement of the world. John pretends to have disagreements with George on taxes and outsourcing of jobs while he obsequiously crawls behind the President when asked about Israel, and, in that shadowed place, regurgitates the policies of Bush that have locked the US into a “war” of terror. Lewis might have altered his verse a bit to accommodate these twins:
Georgie Bush and John Kerry
Agreed to have a battle,
For Johnny thought that Georgie
Did nothing but war and prattle.
Just then appeared a monstrous terror,
As evil as a tar-barrel,
Which evaporated our heroes’ valor,
So they quite forgot their quarrel.
When asked by Russert if he agreed with the President’s position on Israel as displayed at the Sharon and Bush entertainment special this past week, Kerry, quicker than a click of the mouse, answered, “Absolutely!” followed by the obligatory line: “Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorists.” Now considering that Bush had just unilaterally extinguished the policy of the preceding four US presidents as it applied to the UN’s demands that Israel return stolen land to the Palestinians, that he had erased the universally accepted right of dispossessed people to return to land taken from them illegally, that he had, hand cradled in Ariel’s, granted license to anyone anywhere, Hamas leaders included, to murder any individual determined by that person to be a terrorist (laws of the land be damned), that he had shoved the “road map” up the respective noses of its co-authors without mentioning to them that he was about to rip it up, that he had jumped blindly into bed with the man considered by the vast majority of the people of the world to be the greatest threat to peace in the world (outside of himself) thus shoving his finger you know where at world opinion (see “Eurobarometer” November 2003), that he had rejected even the semblance of understanding that hatred of America has a source of greater depth than his hollow cry that these fanatics hate our “freedoms” negating by his obsequious fawning before Sharon the statements by bin Laden (see ABC 1998 interview with Miller) and the people of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Jordan that America’s blind support of Sharon is the primary cause of unrest and attacks against the US, and, finally, that he had failed once again to distinguish between legitimate fighters against oppression and occupying forces that exists in Palestine and now Iraq, and terrorists that attack western interests around the world because they find fault with western values and impositions on their cultures, you’d think Kerry would have ruminated a bit before answering. But no such thoughtful moments intervened; he had the answers programmed into his head: “Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorists.” Then, as the cannibal said to the civilized man chewing on his nails, “Perhaps you should defend yourself against yourself,” for that is the position Israel finds itself in; it is its own enemy isolating itself from the world community as it walls into a ghetto a defenseless population whose land it stole in 1948 and in 1967. The world cannot comprehend this behavior nor can honest Jews around the world including vast numbers in America who protest at every opportunity Sharon’s policies and Bush’s capitulation, and now Kerry’s, to this shameless victimization of a people that did no harm to the Jews before 1947. Listen to the words of Gerald Kaufman, veteran Labour MP, “Sharon is a ‘war criminal’ who ordered his troops to use methods of barbarism against the Palestinians … It is time to remind Sharon that the Star of David belongs to all Jews and not to his repulsive government. His actions are staining the Star of David with blood.”
Bush’s, and hence Kerry’s, capitulation to Sharon’s new rules continues efforts by Israelis to liquidate the indigenous population of Palestine. Sharon’s removal of 7,500 settlers from Gaza is a token gesture to obscure the annexation of more than 150,000 settlers in the West Bank to Israel proper, stealing in the process the land, the groves, and the aquifers that exist there decreasing the remaining land available to the Palestinians to approximately 10% of the pre-1948 land they had inhabited for more than 1900 years (Henry Siegman, New York Review of Books), and this, Israel claims, demonstrates their commitment to the peace process! Sharon’s “Wall of Fear” continues unabated, the largest open air prison ever constructed in the history of humankind, entombing millions in refugee camps and cramped ghettos cemented in by the wall on the west and the Dead Sea on the east (how appropriate an enclosure), and this, Israel claims, demonstrates their commitment to the peace process! This Wall, that snakes through Palestinian land as it encircles the Sharon protected settlements that rest illegally on others’ land, locks out a few hundred thousand Palestinians from their groves, their villages, their families, their hospitals, their friends and their Mosques, a population Sharon intends to nudge out of their homes and “transfer” to the other side of the wall thus enlarging Israel’s land grab by an untold percent, and this, Israel claims, demonstrates their commitment to the peace process! All this Sharon does in our name blessed by Bush and Kerry, thus demonstrating our commitment and Israel’s to the continued slaughter of our young men in uniform and the agonizing unknown of terrorist attacks on innocent civilians throughout the world for decades to come.
Sharon’s actions follow those of his predecessors that had commandeered Palestinian land then rewrote history to tell the world that they legitimately acquired it. Moshe Dayan, in an address to the Israel Institute of Technology in 1969, stated openly, “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there eitherThere is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Indeed, 369 Palestinian villages were destroyed and depopulated in the 1948 war (All That Remains, Walid Khalidi), a calculated depopulation and forced “ethnic cleansing” of the indigenous people, constituting 54% of the total Palestinian population in Mandatory Palestine, as Benny Morris the Israeli historian, has confirmed. Lest we overlook the obvious, consider what this Israeli general accomplished with his tanks and bulldozers as he slashed the homes in these villages, burying under the sand and remnants of buildings the identity of the people whose birth records, property deeds, business records, yea, the historical evidence of their very existence, the memories of families, sank beneath the blades of the dozers even as Rachel Corrie’s life was snuffed out a year ago beneath another bulldozer driven by another merchant of death, Ariel Sharon. This “colonization” of the Palestinian homeland took place in full glare of “civilized” media continuing to this day, and no one cared, nor do they care now, not even our only alternative to the new Pope, now resident in Washington, Bush II, whose “crusade” on behalf of God is now underway. Thus do we demonstrate our commitment to continued slaughter of the innocent accepting as the crusaders did that God’s ways are unfathomable but surely just.
Having obliterated the villages and massacred or forced out the people, the Israeli leaders moved quickly to control the area designated by the UNGA as Israel’s by importing Jews from around the world. In 1948, 806,000 Jews lived in Palestine, approximately 33% of the total population and they owned about 6% of the land; by the time the Israeli military completed its devastation of Arab villages, driving almost 800,000 Palestinians out, the indigenous population had been reduced to a minority; by 1972, the Jewish population had increased to 2,450,000, and by 2003, to more than 5,400,000, the vast majority immigrants. They now live in Arab homes or in new settlements constructed on top of razed Arab villages or in settlements illegally constructed in Palestinian territories while the Israeli government controls 93% of the land with provisions that prevent ownership by Palestinians. But those who lived in Palestine, children of children of Palestinians who lived on the land since the Roman Empire expelled the Jews in 70 CE, cannot return to their homeland because Bush said so. No power given to the President by our Constitution gives him that authority; no provision in the Charter of the United Nations grants an American President such power; nothing written into the Geneva Accords provides such license. Yet having taken that authority unto himself he has guaranteed that the nations of the world will react negatively to America’s arrogance and the Arab world will understand, and rightly so, that this President has assumed the mantel of the ancient Crusader, a veritable King Richard the Lionhearted, in quest of the extermination of the Infidels, as he announces to the world that he has a mission from God Himself to bring His gifts to all of humankind. And Kerry, Catholic that he is, may find comfort in that mission and in its comparison to the glory days of the Medieval Church.
Both Bush and Kerry, by embracing Sharon, have embraced the continuation of terrorism against America for decades to come. Neither has thought out the causes of the hatred that resides in the world against the west, nor have they distinguished between legitimate freedom fighters struggling to regain stolen homeland, land occupied and controlled by foreign forces, and terrorists that rise in multiple countries around the globe, including our own (witness the Oklahoma bombing), who have ideologies that conflict with western ideology and find need to assert their anger in random acts of retaliation for perceived wrongs inflicted by the west including western control of their leaders and western control of their oil and gas reserves. Unfortunately, legitimate freedom fighters, deprived of military resources and reduced to stones as weapons, ultimately resort to the last expedient, the suicide bomber, to regain their lost land. This is the case in Israel, which occupies illegally the land of the Palestinians since 1967 and which defies more than 155 UN Resolutions demanding that they cease and desist Human Rights violations and return stolen land; it is also the case in Iraq because Bush’s invasion of that country was as illegal as it was stupid. The Arab world has made it clear that Sharon’s subjugation of a defenseless people in Palestine and America’s invasion of an Arab state on behalf of Israel are the primary causes of anger in the Arab world. America’s support of Israel’s oppression and occupation makes it, to use Bush’s own logic, an accomplice in the terrorism inflicted by Sharon on the Palestinians and his acceptance of his Neo-Con Cabal’s use of American forces in the service of Israel adds fuel to the fire that resides in the soul of the fanatic. America has gone awry, and Kerry remains blind to that reality.
One would think that a man educated at a prestigious university would meditate a moment or two on issues like those above, and, if not on issues that raise righteous indignation because they spotlight moral concerns, then perhaps time might be spent on economics. Considering the current cost to the American taxpayer, a modest 10 billion per year if all costs are calculated including those paid out to Egypt and Jordan to assure that they will continue to recognize Israel, a citizen might expect a candidate for President to wonder if it is worth it. After all, cannot the fourth largest military in the world, defending a population of five million, care for itself against a population that has no army, air force, or navy but only the stones created by the demolition of homes by the IDF? And should we, after all, pay for the removal of the Gaza settlements as Sharon has requested after we paid for them to be built in the first place despite whispering to Sharon that he should cease building them? After fifty-seven years of support to the 16th wealthiest nation in the world, couldn’t America consider cutting off its payments? Shouldn’t some time be given to calculate the cost of our invasion and occupation of Iraq as it was done on behalf of Israel according to the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Phillip Zelikow. I believe the cost has been calculated at roughly a billion a day. Since we demanded that the UN take decisive action against one nation, Iraq, for defying 16 of its Resolutions, should we continue to support a nation that defies 155 of them? Since we demand that all nations discontinue development of nuclear weapons or destroy those they possess, shouldn’t we consider demanding the same of Israel that has in excess of 200? Fair is fair after all.
Wouldn’t a common ordinary citizen think that a man who studied law might find some problems with the very concept of extra-judicial execution? Doesn’t the reality of it make moot the need for law? Shouldn’t Kerry understand this? Shouldn’t he remember that assassinations are prohibited by Article 23b of the Hague Regulations, 1907? Shouldn’t he know that American policy bans political assassinations and even if credibility were given to Bush’s repeal of that order, it would be difficult to claim that Sheik Yassin was a political and not a religious figure. In short, Yassin’s assassination was a symbolic act of destruction against the Palestinian culture. If those who rise to power can determine right from wrong, and have the power to impose their will, what need have they for courts of law? I was under the impression that this reality, that existed in the early middle ages and before, when barbarian hoards roamed Europe at will inflicting their rule by might on all, gave rise to the need for civilized societies to construct a system of laws that would apply to all equally. Yet Bush and Sharon find no need for courts, for lawyers, for juries, for laws drawn up by the people’s representatives; they are the law and apparently Kerry agrees. Perhaps the belief that God has appointed Bush as his emissary to the world to fulfill His mission makes Kerry believe that he must assume that mantle when he defeats Bush in the November joust.
Watching Kerry surrender his intelligence to the mantra of Israel’s demands on our representatives, forces the citizen to resort to the UN for resolution of the dilemma facing the American voter. There is no hope of change in the future even if Kerry wins. Therefore, it is up to the UN nations to bring the US to task before the UNGA for indictment of all the international laws that have been decimated by this administration in its illegal invasion of a sovereign nation and in its support of the nation of Israel for its indiscriminate exploitation of Human Rights violations against the Palestinians and its defiance of UN Resolutions for over 30 years. Unless it takes action, Sharon and Bush will have succeeded in returning the purported civilized nations of the world back to barbarian times as they plot their crusade against the Greater Middle East. Riding with them, apparently in full agreement with their arrogance, is John Kerry, the Tweedledee of the duo, chanting his mantra beneath a banner that proclaims his allegiance to the ancient Kings of Israel “Me Too, Me Too!”
William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was just published by Mellen Press. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU