Empire Joe Biden Gaslighting in Tel Aviv

US President Joe Biden really cranked up the Bullshit-o-Meter during his recent speech in Tel Aviv, where he went to pledge continued and escalated massive US support for the apartheid and occupation state of Israel as it used a predictable Hamas terror attack as a pretext to kill untold thousands of people stuck in the giant racist concentration camp that is Gaza.

I respond to his Tel Aviv speech through interjection below.

Empire Joe Biden (hereafter “EJB”): “As long as the United States stands — and we will stand forever — we will not let you ever be alone.”

Street: Jesus, Empire Joe, forever is a long time. No nation stands forever.

EJB: “More than 1,300 innocent Israelis killed, including at least 31 American citizens, by the terrorist group Hamas. …Scores of innocents — from infants to elderly grandparents, Israelis and Americans — taken hostage. Children slaughtered.  Babies slaughtered.  Entire families massacred. Rape, beheadings, bodies burned alive. Hamas committed atrocities that recall the worst ravages of ISIS, unleashing pure unadulterated evil upon the world. There is no rationalizing it, no excusing it.  Period.”

Street: Come on, Empire Joe: you know damn well Israel has killed many, many more Palestinians than the number of Israelis killed by Hamas. They’ve already gone far beyond the October 7th body in the last 12 days. “Scores of innocents — from infants to elderly grandparents, slaughtered.  Babies slaughtered.  Entire families massacred.” Yes, by Israel, in Gaza, for many years, now on an escalated scale, including thousands of Palestinian children. Your good friend Israel just blew up a hospital to which hundreds of innocent civilians had fled for safety in response to Israel’s bombing campaign and threatened ground invasion. Your good friend Israel is now using the criminal and grisly chemical weapon white phosphorous. It is imposing a criminal, mass-murderous state of siege on more than two million Gazans. Talk about pure, unadulterated evil – evil that you and your government not only rationalize and excuse but fund, equip, and politically protect.

EJB: “October 7th, which was a sacred to — a sacred Jewish holiday, became the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.  It has brought to the surface painful memories and scars left by a millennia of antisemitism and the genocide of the Jewish people. The world watched then, it knew, and the world did nothing.  We will not stand by and do nothing again.  Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Street: For f*#k’s sake, Empire Joe, you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting equivalency between Hamas and the Nazi Third Reich. Hamas is a small outfit stuck on a small strip of desperate land. Adolph Hitler ruled one of the world’s great industrial powers, whose reach stretched from the English Channel to the doorsteps of Moscow and Leningrad by 1941. During the Second World Nazi Germany carried out an industrial-scale effort to liquidate every Jew in Europe. It killed 6 million Jewish people. The force replicating the Nazi Holocaust in Israel and the occupied territories is Israel.

EJB: “The State of Israel was born to be a safe place for the Jewish people of the world.  That’s why it was born.  I have long said: If Israel didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.  And while it may not feel that way today, Israel must again be a safe place for the Jewish people.  And I promise you: We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that it will be.  Seventy-five years ago, just 11 minutes after its founding, President Harry S. Truman and the United States of America became the first nation to recognize Israel.  We have stood by your side ever since, and we’re going to stand by your side now.”

Street: You left a few things out of your history, Empire Joe. Most of historically, politically, and morally cognizant humanity knows that Israel was formed through the massive and genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.  From its bloody, Nazi-like formation through ethnic cleansing and mass murder – the division and destruction of Palestine – in the 1948 “Nakba” (Arab for “catastrophe”)  to its seizure of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and beyond, the ethno-religious occupation and apartheid state of Israel has treated the Palestinians as untermensch (“inferior humans”) and its Jewish population as the region’s ubermensch (“superior people”).  Israel is a racist ethno-religious state founded upon the denial, displacement, and oppression of Palestinian humanity. Its leaders believe that the Nazi Holocaust entitles them to do anything they deem necessary to “defend the Jewish state.” The Holocaust is in their minds their open-ended excuse for massive crimes against humanity and international law.  They think the last century’s Holocaust against European Jewry gives them a blank check to inflict a holocaust on Arabs.

EJB: “For decades, we’ve ensured Israel’s qualitative military edge.  And later this week, I’m going to ask the United States Congress for an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense.”

Street: That’s some seriously sick shit, Empire Joe. Israel is conducting a massive slaughter of innocents under the command of its genocidal fascist president Netanyahu. It is already the main recipient  of US military aid and equipment by far and you are about to up the ante significantly. Good luck with Congress. The Republifascist party that you and your party have done so much to enable and accommodate over the years has recently brought its lower chamber, the House of Representatives, to a standstill.

Biden: “We have moved U.S. military assets to the region, including positioning the USS Ford carrier strike group in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the USS Eisenhower on the way, to deter — to defer further aggression against Israel and to prevent this conflict from spreading…  And my message to any state or any other hostile actor thinking about attacking Israel remains the same as it was a week ago: Don’t.  Don’t.  Don’t.”

Street: Please, Empire Joe, don’t, don’t bullshit us. Jost don’t. Don’t. Here’s a translation for this last statement: “we have sent two giant imperial war flotillas to punish any regional actor who tries to protect ordinary Gazans from judeo-fascist Israel’s genocidal assault.”

EJB: “You can’t look at what has happened here to your mothers, your fathers, your grandparents, sons, daughters, children — even babies — and not scream out for justice.  Justice must be done.”

Street: Justice, Empire Joe? Justice? Seriously? Jesus, man, Gaza is an Israel-constructed and Israel-imposed open air concentration camp. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency earlier this year:

“The Gaza Strip has a population of approximately 2.1 million people, including some 1.7 million Palestine Refugees. For at least the last decade and a half, the socioeconomic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline. ..A[n] Israel-imposed [and US-backed] blockade on land, air and sea was imposed by Israel following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. There are now very few options left for the people of Gaza, who have been living under collective punishment as a result of the blockade that continues to have a devastating effect as people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip, as well as access to markets, remains severely restricted….The blockade and related restrictions contravene international humanitarian law as they target and impose hardship on the civilian population, effectively penalizing them for acts they have not committed…Food security in Gaza has deteriorated with 63 per cent of people in the Gaza Strip being food insecure and dependent on international assistance. The continuing intra-Palestinian divisions exacerbate the humanitarian and service delivery crisis on the ground. With 81.5 percent of the population living in poverty, an overall unemployment rate of 46.6 per cent (48.1 percent for Palestine Refugees living in the camps) at the end of the third quarter of 2022 and an unemployment rate of 62.3 per cent among youth (15-29 years, refugees and non-refugees), the already fragile humanitarian situation in Gaza threatens to deteriorate further. The economy and its capacity to create jobs have been devastated, resulting in the impoverishment and de-development of a highly skilled and well-educated society. Access to clean water and electricity remains at crisis level and impacts nearly every aspect of life. Clean water is unavailable for 95 percent of the population. Electricity is available up to an average of 11 hours per day as of July 2023. However, the ongoing power shortage has severely impacted the availability of essential services, particularly health, water, and sanitation services, and continues to undermine Gaza’s fragile economy, particularly the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.”

These are the ongoing “realities on the ground” in what I heard an MSNBC reporter call “the so-called open-air prison” that is Gaza. Gaza itself is a giant human rights crime. Why on Earth is anybody shocked that fighters from that tortured zone carried out a bloody massacre on Israeli soil? What’s the mystery here?

Under the deranged leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu (an arch-authoritarian even in relation to his own people), Israel has responded to the supposedly surprising and certainly despicable October 7 attack on its civilians (by the reactionary Islamist group Hamas) by ordering a great crime against 2.5 million Palestinians. Israel has enacted a state of siege on top of the already existing blockade: the shutting off of Gazan access to food, fuel, electricity, water, and medicine.

EJB: “Hamas uses innocents — innocent families in Gaza as human shields, putting their command centers, their weapons, their communications tunnels in residential areas.”

Street: And, Empire Joe, if true, your good friend Israel uses that as an excuse to level whole blocks of Gaza City, burying dead children in rubble…strewing noncombatant body parts all over the grounds of an exploded hospital.

EJB: “The Palestinian people are suffering greatly as well.    We mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.  Like the entire world, I was outraged and saddened by the enormous loss of life yesterday in the hospital in Gaza. Based on the information we’ve seen to date, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza. The United States unequivocally stands for the protection of civilian life during conflict, and I grieve — I truly grieve for the families who were killed or wounded by this tragedy.”

Street: Cut it out, Empire Joe. Stop the gaslighting! Your good friend Israel has created a humanitarian nightmare in Gaza with America’s full backing over many years. Israel has repeatedly invaded Gaza during this time. You have no serious basis whatsoever for buying Israel’s denial of responsibility for the hospital atrocity.

EJB: “Like the United States, you [Israel] don’t live by the rules of terrorists.  You live by the rule of law.  And when conflicts flare, you live by the ru- — law of war. What sets us apart from the terrorists is we believe in the fundamental dignity of every human life — Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, Jew, Muslim, Christian — everyone.”

Street: Empire Joe, you can’t be serious. Israel is one of the leading terrorist and criminal states on Earth. With backing from the US, it tortures and kills innocent Palestinian civilians with impunity. It has done this from its US-backed formation to the present day. From its very origins, it has used terror to force more than a million Palestinians off their ancestral lands and to pen them up in cramped and deeply impoverished, dehumanizing apartheid zones. Hitler would admire the fascist Hell that Israel enforces with US support in Gaza and the West Bank.

The US “believes in the fundamental dignity of every human life?” Tell that the survivors of the many millions of Asians, Arabs, Persians, Pashtuns, Latin Americans and others the United States – the world’s leading imperialist aggressor state by far and away – has slaughtered since 1945.

The United States Marine Corps has recently named a newly built amphibious assault ship the USS Fallujah.  The warship is named after the city that the US Marines pulverized twice in 2004 during the United States’ criminal and mass-murderous invasion and occupation of Iraq.  In 2004, the ill-fated city was the site of colossal U.S. war atrocities, crimes including the indiscriminate murder of thousands of civilians, the targeting even of ambulances and hospitals, and the practical leveling of an entire city by the U.S. military in April and November. In one account, “Incoherent Empire,” Michael Mann wrote:

“The U.S. launched two bursts of ferocious assault on the city, in April and November of 2004 … [using] devastating firepower from a distance which minimizes U.S. casualties. In April … military commanders claimed to have precisely targeted … insurgent forces, yet the local hospitals reported that many or most of the casualties were civilians, often women, children, and the elderly… [reflecting an] intention to kill civilians generally. … In November … [U.S.] aerial assault destroyed the only hospital in insurgent territory to ensure that this time no one would be able to document civilian casualties. U.S. forces then went through the city, virtually destroying it. Afterward, Fallujah looked like the city of Grozny in Chechnya after Putin’s Russian troops had razed it to the ground.”

The “global policeman’s” deployment of radioactive ordnance (depleted uranium) in Fallujah created an epidemic of infant mortality, birth defects, leukemia and cancer there.

(The horrendous US attack on Fallujah was launched as payback for Islamist occupation resisters’ vengeful murder, burning, and display of four American private military contractors employed by Blackwater USA. The contractors were pulled from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their charred corpses were then dragged through the streets and hung over a bridge.)

And now US military personnel are conveying the “lessons” of the sick imperialist Fallujah slaughter to Israel. The New York Times reported two days ago that “American military officers with vivid memories of the fights for Falluja in 2004—a six-week struggle against Iraqi insurgents that was some of the most intense urban combat of modern times—have been conveying the lessons of that battle … to their Israeli counterparts.”

EJB: “[Israel,] You inspire hope and light for so many around the world.”

Street: Empire Joe, what F’ng planet do you live on? Israel is widely hated across the world for its racist and fascist policies. Its actions toward the people of Palestine are routinely denounced by most nations. It is hated also for collaborating with other regimes in developing and spreading methods and means of violent repression. Come on, man. Stop the gaslighting, Empire Joe.

EJB: “Nations of conscience like the United States and Israel are not measured solely by the example of their power.  We’re measured by the power of our example.”

Street: What a F’ng joke, Empire Joe. The USA, the only country to ever use nuclear weapons on civilians, is widely feared and hated around the world because of the many millions of people it has killed and maimed since the middle of the last century. It maintains more than 800 military installations in more than 100 nations. It’s domestic scene includes an abject plutocracy masquerading as a democracy, a racist mass incarceration system unmatched across the planet, a maddening gun culture that slaughters tens of thousands of its own people each year, a painfully weak welfare state, an historically unmatched warfare state, insidious global parasitism, savage social inequalities and a hopelessly narrow capitalist-imperialist political system in which one of its only two viable parties has now gone fascist. The United States is properly understood around the world to be a criminal, reckless, unbalanced madhouse and a grave menace to all humanity and livable ecology.

The “power of our example”? For real? Here’s a powerful example for you, Empire Joe. Among the countless episodes of mass-murderous U.S. savagery in the oil-rich Middle East over the last generation, few can match the barbarous ferocity of the “Highway of Death,” where the “global policeman’s” forces massacred tens of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait on Feb. 26 and 27, 1991. Journalist Joyce Chediac testified that:

“U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. ‘It was like shooting fish in a barrel,’ said one U.S. pilot. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun … for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. … ‘Even in Vietnam I didn’t see anything like this. It’s pathetic,’ said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. … U.S. pilots took whatever bombs happened to be close to the flight deck, from cluster bombs to 500-pound bombs. … U.S. forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions. … The victims were not offering resistance. … [I]t was simply a one-sided massacre of tens of thousands of people who had no ability to fight back or defend.”

The victims’ crime was having been conscripted into an army controlled by a dictator perceived as a threat to U.S. control of Middle Eastern oil. US President George H.W. Bush welcomed the so-called Persian Gulf War as an opportunity to demonstrate America’s unrivaled power and new freedom of action in the post-Cold War world, where the Soviet Union could no longer deter Washington. Bush also heralded the “war” (really a one-sided imperial assault) as marking the end of the “Vietnam Syndrome,” the reigning political culture’s curious term for U.S. citizens’ reluctance to commit U.S. troops to murderous imperial mayhem.

As Noam Chomsky observed in 1992, reflecting on U.S. efforts to maximize suffering in Vietnam by blocking economic and humanitarian assistance to the nation it had devastated: “No degree of cruelty is too great for Washington sadists.”

But Uncle Sam was only getting warmed up building his Iraqi body count in early 1991. Five years later, Bill Clinton’s U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright told CBS News’ Leslie Stahl that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S.-led economic sanctions imposed after the first “Persian Gulf War” (a curious term for a one-sided U.S. assault) was a “price … worth paying” for the advancement of inherently noble U.S. goals.

“The United States,” Secretary Albright explained three years later, “is good. We try to do our best everywhere.”

Fallujah (see above) was just one especially graphic episode in a broader arch-criminal invasion that led to the premature deaths of at least 1 million Iraqi civilians and left Iraq as what Tom Engelhardt called “a disaster zone on a catastrophic scale hard to match in recent memory.” It reflected the same callous mindset behind the Pentagon’s early computer program name for ordinary Iraqis certain to be killed in the 2003 invasion: “bug-splat.” Uncle Sam’s petro-imperial occupation led to the death of at least 1 million Iraqi “bugs” (human beings). According to the respected journalist Nir Rosen in December 2007, “Iraq has been killed. … [T]he American occupation has been more disastrous than that of the Mongols who sacked Baghdad in the thirteenth century.”

Along with death came ruthless and racist torture. In an essay titled “I Helped Create ISIS,” Vincent Emanuele, a former U.S. Marine, recalled his enlistment in an operation that gave him nightmares more than a decade later:

“I think about the hundreds of prisoners we took captive and tortured in makeshift detention facilities. … I vividly remember the marines telling me about punching, slapping, kicking, elbowing, kneeing and head-butting Iraqis. I remember the tales of sexual torture: forcing Iraqi men to perform sexual acts on each other while marines held knives against their testicles, sometimes sodomizing them with batons. … [T]hose of us in infantry units … round[ed] up Iraqis during night raids, zip-tying their hands, black-bagging their heads and throwing them in the back of HUMVEEs and trucks while their wives and kids collapsed to their knees and wailed. … Some of them would hold hands while marines would butt-stroke the prisoners in the face. … [W]hen they were released, we would drive them from the FOB (Forward Operating Base) to the middle of the desert and release them several miles from their homes. … After we cut their zip-ties and took the black bags off their heads, several of our more deranged marines would fire rounds from their AR-15s into their air or ground, scaring the recently released captives. Always for laughs. Most Iraqis would run, still crying from their long ordeal.”

The award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh told the ACLU about the existence of classified Pentagon evidence files containing films of U.S-“global policeman” soldiers sodomizing Iraqi boys in front of their mothers behind the walls of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. “You haven’t begun to see [all the] … evil, horrible things done [by U.S. soldiers] to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run,” Hersh told an audience in Chicago in the summer of 2014.

EJB: “That’s why, as hard as it is, we must keep pursuing peace.  We must keep pursuing a path so that Israel and the Palestinian people can both live safely, in security, in dignity, and in peace. For me, that means a two-state solution.”

Street: Yeah, right Joe. That’s why in two hours or so I’m about to hear you give a national address in which you call for untold tens of billions to support more Israeli terror in coming days, weeks, months, and years. And you know or should know damn well that Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank have canceled a two-state solution, and that Israel is going for a particular kind of one-state solution – a Judeo-fascist final solution based on the ethnic cleansing, genocide, and deepening repression of Palestinians.

Paul Street’s latest book is This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (London: Routledge, 2022).