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Following Israel’s deliberate insult to the United States of America on March 9 some people thought there would be action taken by Washington to make it clear that in future it would be unwise to make a fool of the US Vice President.
No chance. You can humiliate the Vice President of the United States of America any time you want – if you’re the Israeli government.
To recap on what happened : in March Vice President Biden went to Israel, supposedly in an attempt to persuade the Israelis and Palestinians to at least begin to start to engage in talks. He didn’t have a hope of succeeding, but he did what vice presidents are designed for : he sought to convey the impression that the US Administration is serious about an international problem that it has no intention of fixing. And while he was in Tel Aviv the Israelis announced that they were going to build yet more settlements on Arab lands, in defiance of international law, human decency, and everything else associated with civilized behavior.
Nothing new about that – but it does raise the matter of a calculated insult to the United States, because Israel yet again defied a Security Council ruling that the construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land is illegal.
The official policy of the United States is to encourage adherence to UN Security Council resolutions. Washington, after all, refers to them repeatedly in regard to alleged violations by North Korea and Iran. So perish the thought that the President of the United States should deem some resolutions less relevant or operative than others.
In his speech to the UN about his war on Iraq George W Bush told lies, naturally, but he did let slip one gem of sense. He declared that “We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced.”
He did not mean what he said, of course. But many of us had hopes that his successor would pay attention to UN Security Council resolutions, even to the extent of insisting on their enforcement.
After all, in his address to the UN General Assembly last September Mr Obama declared that “The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully,” and that there must be “an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated.” Above all, in the context of the Palestinian nation, he said that “we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
Fine words. And they would be even finer if they were acted on.
But they were just words.
Mr Obama’s pronouncement that “the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny” was only speechifying baloney. Washington doesn’t stand up for Palestinians; and their rights are debased and doomed by the barbaric, racist state of Israel. Washington tolerated “the murder of innocent men, women and children” by Israel in Gaza in 2008-2009, and is content to let Israel continue its illegal blockade of the region.
The Security Council made it clear in Resolution 446 that “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
It could not be more definite : the building of houses and shopping malls by Jews on land stolen from its Arab owners is contrary to International Law. And most certainly Israel’s actions constitute “a serious obstruction” to peace.
But, as recorded in the New York Times, just “Hours after Vice President Joseph R Biden vowed unyielding American support for Israel’s security here on Tuesday, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced 1,600 new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem.”
What a whack on the cheek for the Veep.
In spite of Mr Biden then saying that this example of Zionist arrogance is “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now,” there was no decisive action on the part of Washington. The White House and Congress are terrified of upsetting Israel. Secretary of State Clinton complained that “the announcement of the settlements the very day that the vice president was there was insulting,” but nothing happened. Her comment was the lightest, slightest wrist-tap.
So Israel will continue to treat America and the UN Security Council with contempt, secure in the knowledge that if the Council discusses measures intended to curb its racist savagery then the United States and Britain will do their utmost to neutralize or defeat them. After all, both countries refused to vote on Resolution 446, thereby demonstrating acceptance of Israel’s unlawful settlements.
Little wonder the Palestinians distrust the West. And little wonder that fanatical Islamists around the world can spread effective propaganda in order to enlist support and suicide bombers. They don’t need to manufacture tales about persecution of Muslims by Jews : they are handed stories on a plate.
But why does the US so enthusiastically support a country that by all standards of decency deserves to be an international pariah?
Israel has some 200 nuclear weapons and refuses to adhere to any international nuclear regulatory agreement. Its attempted genocide in Gaza in 2008-2009 and its ongoing illegal blockade of the territory, causing massive civilian suffering, are recognized as being crimes against humanity. Israeli agents carry out assassinations around the world. But Washington’s only reaction to blatant violations of international justice is one of spineless acceptance.
It isn’t as if Israel has even attempted to play fair with the US over the years. Remember that the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is still in jail in America, and that he was visited there by none other than the present prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, he of the Biden face-slap.
Pollard caused a colossal amount of damage to US security, selling secrets to Israel for diamonds and large sums of cash. His betrayal of US electronic surveillance capabilities regarding foreign (and many friendly) nations’ communications was alone a monstrous blow against his country. He is a repulsive sleazy criminal whose treacherous behavior attracted little but praise from Israel and the amazingly powerful Jewish lobby in the US, whose thousands of dedicated activists seem to find it acceptable, even laudable, that their own nation can be subject to the attentions of a downright traitor. Pollard, in an astonishing act of contemptuous chutzpah on the part of the Israeli government, was made an Israeli citizen while in prison.
And Pollard is not the only Israel-focused Jewish spy. There have been many of them, including two workers for the unsavory organization AIPAC, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (100,000 members, of whom thousands are mega-rich and politically powerful), who, in a strange turn of events, had espionage charges dropped against them a year ago on the astonishing grounds that there might be courtroom mention of top secret information and therefore the trial should not proceed.
The wacky thing about this is that the Israelis already know the top secret information, therefore no further harm could be done by mentioning it in court. – No harm to America, that is. But there would have been plenty of damage to Israel if normal loyal Americans, as distinct from those whose allegiance is generously bifurcated, were to be allowed to know just what the Israelis and others were up to. They might even ask some awkward questions about why, exactly, their elected representatives are so determined to defend Israel.
AIPAC has got US legislators deep in its well-lined pockets.
In March 2010, just after Israel insulted their Vice President and their country, 327 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 76 of 100 senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton to “reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension.”
But Secretary Clinton and President Obama have already made it clear that they are entirely supportive of Israel, no matter what excesses and atrocities are committed by its government and armed forces. During their compulsory appearances at AIPAC conferences they spout such syrupy sentiments as Obama’s “today I’ll be speaking from my heart and as a true friend of Israel. And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever.”
The message his speech sent to the world and to persecuted Palestinians in particular couldn’t be more clear : no matter what anyone in Washington might say about the illegality of Jews stealing Arab land and building settlements, the United States is not going to do a thing to stop it.
In a particularly cosy arrangement, Lee (‘Rosy’) Rosenberg, who was on the president’s national campaign finance committee and accompanied Mr Obama on a visit to Israel while he was on the campaign trail, has just been appointed president of AIPAC.
The relationship between the White House and Israel has been officially cemented, just as effectively as the Washington-supported cementation of illegal Jewish condos on stolen Arab land. Palestinians will continue to be persecuted and dispossessed, and their plight will cause more and more Islamic extremists to rise against the West.
It’s hard to imagine that this is what Washington wants. But if Israel isn’t controlled, and the occupied territories are not restored to their rightful owners, and if Gaza continues to be subjected to illegal blockade, then that’s what it will get. And we’ll all suffer.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY’s website is www.beecluff.com