The bad news for Israel seems to continue almost unabated. Oh, here and there one finds a hard-fought victory, most recently in Palestine’s shameful withdrawal of its demand that FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association; International Federation of Association Football) vote on expelling Israel for its various crimes against Palestinian soccer, and the decision of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to omit the Israeli terrorist organization known as the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) from the U.N. list of violators of children’s rights. The former action was accomplished with furious efforts by Israel; the latter, with the usual complicity of the United States. But the bad news outweighs the good, and these small victories may be short-lived. After all, Mahmoud Abbas won’t be the puppet-head of the Palestinian Authority forever, and U.S. influence, at least in terms of support for Israel, seems to be on the wane.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated unequivocally during his recent re-election campaign that there would never be an independent Palestine while he was Prime Minister, there was as subtle shift in the international chess game. This caused even President Barack Obama, the somewhat obstreperous pet of Mr. Netanyahu, but the pet nonetheless, to express more displeasure with Israel than any sitting president in history.
Indicating that Israel could always count on a U.S. veto at that U.N. as long as the farce of negotiations, and the lip- service Israel played to a two-state solution, continued, he said that with Mr. Netanyahu’s dismissal of that fairy tale, the U.S. would have to ‘re-evaluate’ its relationship with Israel. If the efforts of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to prevent the U.N. from naming Israel to the disgraceful list of violators of children’s rights is any indication, such a re-evaluation has not yet occurred.
But even as the U.S. closes its eyes to horrific human rights violations, and funds the nation that perpetrates them, the rest of the world is paying attention. In a meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek, the Israeli Prime Minister was clear. Said he: “Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel.” One learns two important facts from this statement:
* The U.S. was either fooled by, or complicit in, Israel’s sham of negotiations with Palestine. One is not sure which is worse: that a major world power could be so tricked by Israel, or that it knew all along that negotiations were merely a cover for continued land theft.
* Netanyahu believes that regardless of what he says or does, the U.S. and the rest of the world will not intervene.
This is not a new concept. During the term of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, after Israel soundly rejected a peace proposal recommended by the U.S., the U.S. immediately expedited the delivery of 75 F-16 fighter jets to Israel. As an Israeli journalist commented at the time: “One may say no to America, and still get a bonus”. After 51 days of genocide in Gaza in the summer of 2014, Israel received U.S. assistance in avoiding being included on an embarrassing U.N. list, in addition to another $1.9 billion in military aid. So, the Israeli Prime Minister has strong evidence to support his belief that he can do as he chooses on the international stage.
Mr. Zaoralek was not so sanguine. In a radio interview regarding his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, he said this:
“If the building of settlements continues on the territories that fall under Palestinian autonomy, and on which no decision has been made that they should belong to Israel … it is actually a direct torpedoing of this process, [namely] the formation of two independent states.”
And in remarks directly made to Netanyahu, he was succinct:
“As a close friend of yours, it is important for the Czech Republic to say that if the situation does not change it will be hard to maintain our position. We want to avoid initiatives against Israel, but it is getting more difficult with the current government and with the opposition to the two-state solution. What is the alternative, to deteriorate towards apartheid?”
Once again, that ugly word ‘apartheid’ has been raised. In April of 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set off a minor firestorm when he predicted that without a two-state solution, Israel would be an apartheid nation. Never mind the fact that Israel is today, and has for decades been, the model depiction of apartheid. For a highly-placed U.S. governmental official to say it, even one as incompetent and useless as Mr. Kerry, is extremely unusual. But the word is being spoken more frequently in the context of Israel, and no amount of damage control is going to stop it.
The news has become so bad for Israel that even Mr. Netanyahu is unwittingly extolling the success of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement, by publicly criticizing it. And in the U.S., which, of course, finances all of Israel’s crimes, a small group of wealthy U.S. Zionists, led by Sheldon Adelson, recently met in Las Vegas, to discuss how to combat BDS. It is reported that $50 million dollars was committed for this purpose.
Will this help? Will vast amounts of money really turn the tide from condemnation of Israel to acceptance? Mr. Netanyahu might be excused for thinking so. In a recent article in Ha’aretz, Gideon Levy wrote this about Israel’s denial of reality:
“It’s only to be expected when facing a worldwide campaign aimed at implementing justice and international law: the stage of denial, of repression and clinging to the false, nearly magical belief that if Israel will just explain its position better and invest the appropriate resources, everything will be fine. In other words, Israel continues to think that the world is dumb (and Israel is smart). That you can sell the world anything, just as you can sell anything to Israelis. That Adelson will buy the world’s sympathy the way he buys politicians in America….”
Has no one pointed out to Mr. Netanyahu that he can overcome all significant opposition to Israel with far less effort? How is this to be done, one might ask. What is the magical secret that will bring Israel an unprecedented level of global respectability? It is simply to abide by international law. This would mean departing from the West Bank, and taking all of the half-million-plus illegal settlers with him. It would mean ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Respect for the pre-1967 borders, as mandated by international law would be key. It would mean providing equal rights to all citizens of Israel. It would mean official recognition of Palestine.
But in a nation with a high number of atheists who believe God gave them the land they are stealing from the Palestinians, reason and logic have no place in the discussion. So wealthy Americans try to solve the problem with money, as Israeli politicians continue to foster the fantasies that are so satisfying to their public. And more and more countries condemn Israeli apartheid; more and more performers and academics refuse to appear in Israel, and more and more companies take their business elsewhere.
Palestinians, well-known for their resilience, continue to suffer, but the world has begun to take note, and it doesn’t like what it’s seeing. The facts are clear: Israel illegally occupies and oppresses a defenseless people, and has for generations. The world is beginning to say that the time has come for this to end. All of Mr. Adelson’s money and Mr. Netanyahu’s rhetoric will make no difference. Palestine will be free.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).