FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Potholes Bigger Than Ever for Palestinians

The occasion arose recently in Santa Fe to talk briefly — less than ten minutes — about the likelihood of resolving the Palestine-Israel issue in the near future. Following is the text of that talk to a group of people generally quite knowledgeable about U.S. foreign policy.

Just to get a discussion started, would each of you please ask yourself, how much do you honestly think the situation for Palestinians will have improved over the next five years, say by 2013? Obviously we may all have different answers, including even on the meaning of “improve. We may not even agree on what,s an improvement. But let,s come back to that question later if anyone wishes. Let,s also not argue that no big Palestinian changes for the better in this fairly short period are possible. Major changes in world history have often caught us by surprise, and we all knew about them only after the fact. Just as the Soviet Union collapsed, for instance, something equally big inside the United States or inside Israel could conceivably happen and the result might be to bring immediate and major benefits to the Palestinians. Here, however, the key word is “conceivably, which really means unlikely. The point most important to me here and now is that there are powerful forces in the United States that will work to make the present injustices to and oppression of Palestinians worse rather than better in coming years.

The most important of these powerful forces in the U.S. arises from a critical element in the U.S.-Israeli relationship that one can see in Washington almost every day. This critical element is the competition that has grown stronger and stronger between the Republicans and the Democrats over which party can demonstrate the greater support for Israel. The competition, which overrides everything else in the U.S. affecting Palestine, will not just be important from now until the presidential election in November. It will last well beyond that and will still be important in future elections through 2012 and beyond. The Republicans are trying to replace the Democrats as the party receiving the most support from Jewish-Americans, and Democrats are trying to prevent that from happening. The battle may continue for years, and, to repeat, it underlies everything affecting Palestine.

Next, we need to broaden the discussion beyond just this competition between the two major U.S. political parties. All the policies of the U.S. in the Middle East and Central Asia are interrelated. Everyone here today knows this. But under the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. side of the uniquely close Israeli-U.S. partnership either concentrates on, or fails to concentrate on, Palestinian affairs depending in part on how involved the U.S. is at any moment in other parts of the region such as Iraq or Iran. The 80 or 90 percent of the U.S. electorate that is generally apathetic to all international affairs is even more willing to ignore anything that is happening in Palestine when the corporate-controlled and Israel-lobby-dominated U.S. media is devoting its limited international attentions to, say, Iran. At such times, the inclination of U.S. governments is to let the Israeli government, supported particularly by those U.S. officials most friendly to Israel, do practically anything it wants to the Palestinians, as long as Israel does it without making too much noise about it.

Anyone who is realistic simply must recognize that the situation of the Palestinians, and the future outlook for them, is bleak today, and for the next five years, and possibly even for an unknown length of time beyond that.

There is, however, another trend — this time a global trend — that may encourage hopes of changes for the better among Palestinians and among those who want more justice for the Palestinians. The neoconservatives who have dominated U.S. policies in the Middle East in recent years have not only been among the strongest supporters of Israel in the U.S. They, and the elite families who own Israel,s largest corporations and financial institutions, have also been the strongest advocates of the excessively greedy form of capitalism based on privatization, deregulation, and total freedom of trade and monetary transfers that the U.S. has forced down the throats of many nations since the 1970s. This Israeli advocacy is strengthened by the wealthy financiers of the Israel lobby in the U.S. who make it just about impossible for American supporters of justice and peace in the Middle East to induce lawmakers and bureaucrats to change Washington,s foreign policies. Anyone who stands up to the lobby risks being charged with anti-Semitism.

In recent years, and in areas of the world that so far do not include Israel, this U.S. extreme capitalism has led to increased criticism, and in some instances the ouster, as in Venezuela, of governments that accepted this extreme economic system under U.S. pressure. The question is whether malaise arising from increasing income inequalities not only globally and in the U.S. as well, but also in Israel itself might encourage Israel to start turning away from the costly and unjust occupation measures in the West Bank and Gaza in ways that would truly be beneficial to the Palestinians. Admittedly this does not seem likely at the moment, but there is little doubt that significant numbers of Israelis and supporters of Israel in the U.S. are increasingly questioning the close partnership between the leaderships of the two major U.S. political parties and the older generation of American-Jewish leaders who dominate the Israel lobby in the U.S.

The present situation in the U.S. sends me two very clear messages. The first is that the present tight partnership between Israel and the U.S. is not beneficial to the long-term interests of either nation. The second message is that the U.S. version of unregulated or minimally regulated global capitalism combined with greater powers to the executive that introduce significant elements of dictatorship is absolutely no better than the Soviet version of communism as a way of organizing and managing a society. There is only greed, and a serious lack of decency or compassion, in both systems.

BILL CHRISTISON was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as director of the CIA,s Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He can be reached at kathy.bill.christison@comcast.net.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail