Palestine, War Profiteers and the Youth

Image by Ahmed Abu Hameeda.

Israel exists. Whether the reader likes this or not, it is a verifiable fact. That it has chosen to exist as a semi-fascist apartheid state that occupies land illegally while militarily supporting so-called settlers in the ongoing theft of more land is also a fact. So is the ongoing genocidal slaughter of Palestinians living in the area known as Gaza. All of these facts are subject to change, despite Israel’s arrogant proclamations to the contrary—the slaughter will end and Israel as we know it might, too. This is true despite its support from the world’s most successful colonial-settler state, the United States.

Here’s another fact. Palestine exists. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people—in the Occupied Territories, in Gaza, in exile around the world and in Israel’s prisons. It also exists in the hearts and minds of millions of other humans on the planet and in the proclamations by 142 governments that recognize Palestinian statehood. This existence goes far beyond the groups that make up the current resistance and their supporters. It is also much more than the dashed hopes represented by the Palestinian Authority. Like other national liberation movements before it in Vietnam and Algeria (among others), and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Palestinian struggle is a struggle that goes beyond borders and reaches across the human population.

Washington is a decrepit regime, crippled by its economic addiction to war and the preparation for war. Billions of dollars are handed over to its clients foreign and domestic, who seem all too willing to hitch their wagons to the death train pulled by the men and women in the White House, Congress and the Pentagon. It is a train fueled by the profits of death merchants and cheered by the sycophant media; a media that pretends diversity of opinion but never stops promoting the lies and programs of the rulers and their agenda. In other words, any diversity of opinion ends when it approaches a genuine challenge to the permanent war economy.

Israel seems determined to follow Washington’s path. Its regime has gone further than ever before, stripping away most pretenses of equal treatment for non-Zionists inside its borders. While Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza and its ongoing incursion into the West Bank continues, its leaders defy the world’s common humanity and understandings, challenging virtually every rule in what Washington’s current White House calls the rules-based order. Israel suffers no punishment for its crimes. Instead, its defense minister challenges the hand of the nation holding its leash—the United States—telling it that “nobody will teach the Israeli military morality” after Washington suggested it might sanction a particularly brutal unit of the Israeli Offensive Forces. Washington backed off.

Israel and the United States are committing war crime after war crime. Indeed, the entire Israeli military, the Israeli government and the governments that fund them should be sanctioned. There is no moral claim left for Israel to make. Its crusade is nothing but homicidal madness. The fact that Washington and a few other morally bankrupt regimes continue to fund that crusade places them in the war crimes docket, as well. US imperialism has no clothes. Its bloodlust is once again revealed. The Israeli government is Washington’s mad dog in the region. Washington feeds the dog and lets it off its chain when it serves the US empire’s agenda. Of course, like any poorly trained dog, Israel doesn’t always return when its master calls.

If one seeks a sense of morality in the US, it seems it can best be found among those college and university students demanding an end to the slaughter in Gaza and divestment from the war machine that these institutions support. Liberals and conservatives call these protesters antisemitic. The media amplifies the nonsense. At this point, it could be argued that antisemitism is defined as any statement that does not indicate anything but total support for Israel’s occupation, land theft and the slaughter of Gazans. When it comes to Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and the institutions running interference for US foreign policy regarding Israel and Palestine (and the rest of the world), the statements regarding antisemitism ring exceedingly hollow upon further investigation. For example, congressman Mike Johnson’s religious beliefs demand his rabid support for Zionism. He is a Christian Zionist. Now, the only reason this branch of Christianity supports the state of Israel in its endeavor is because these believers understand the Bible’s Book of Revelations to read that certain things must happen for Christ’s second coming to occur. One of those things is the rebuilding of a certain temple in Jerusalem where the Al-Aqsa mosque currently exists. That rebuilding would likely only occur when Israel’s rebuilding of what is called Greater Israel is completed. This requires the complete and total defeat of the Palestinian struggle. Only then will these Christians’ savior come back and lead them to heaven. As far as Jewish people are concerned, if this time comes they will be slaughtered en masse unless they quickly convert to Christianity. In other words, Johnson’s version of Christianity doesn’t care about Jewish people, except as a means to hasten the ascent into heaven he and his fellow believers are convinced they are due.

Anyhow, thinking about morality. Not to preach, but certain realities need to be acknowledged. To set the stage, I grew up as the oldest son of twelve children. I raised two children of my own. I worked with young people in public libraries for years and still volunteer. I coached and refereed youth sports and I worked in undergraduate libraries on college campuses for decades. In other words, I’ve been around young folks my entire life. However, even people who have not been around children since they were children themselves must be asking themselves this question: how can anyone justify on any grounds the slaughter of over 15,000 children in Gaza since October 7, 2023? If you were appalled at the murder of children and young people during the attack by Hamas on that date, how can you be not at least equally appalled at Israel’s ongoing massacre?

That is a moral question, not a political one.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com