Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Glenn Greenwald takes on an ancient foe in “Rendering Public Opinion Irrelevant” over on the Salon site. (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/).

I had forgotten how much can be hidden in plain sight, simply because the MSM refuse to notice it. Thus, that – prescinding from the tremendous preponderance of world opinion in the matter – a stupefying 71% of Americans believe that America should take an even-handed approach in the sempiternal Israeli-Palestinian mess.

I had forgotten. And to hear Congresspersons and pols and government apparatchiks tell it, you’d think that We were all for being the ‘bodyguard’ for the Israeli realm (for which, I think, the German word would be ‘Reich’).

Historians will have a field day with this. 22nd-century academic careers will be made writing about how for so long so many Americans wanted to take a balanced approach, and yet the American government – for votes and cash and an excuse to grab oil and keep at a seat at the Eurasian table – took a stupendously one-sided approach.

Greenwald recalls the stunningly bad experience of Howard Dean – whose ‘even-handed’ comment got him into irretrievable difficulties with AIPAC and the other usual suspects, including just about the entire roster of Democratic Party biggies including Reid and Pelosi.
America must support Israel’s right to exist and to be free from terror, bleats the chorus of pandering frogs whose only remaining virtue is that they are bipartisan.

A couple of things come to me:

This was a sorta preventable problem 60 years ago. The Jewish Zionist movement for almost a century had envisioned a ‘safe home’ for Jewish folk. It was a very understandable desire, given the uncertainty of the status of Jewish folk in Europe and European Russia. There would be a problem with finding a patch of real-estate, since most of it was taken up. Some shrewd negotiating with various governments might have yielded benefits. But the ‘solution’ that the Zionists latched onto almost immediately was to equate the ‘safe home’ with a ‘return’ to the real-estate once known as ancient Israel, until in the time of the early Roman Empire that particular property was taken from them after their unsuccessful revolt. But, of course, if the Bible is used as a Registry of Deeds sort of book, then the Jewish ownership of ‘biblical’ Israel is pretty much eternal (Jewish thought on the religious validity of this usage has not been unanimous.).

And once, at least in theory, the very real concern about the permanent safety of the Jewish folk was indissolubly linked to a piece of real estate no longer in their possession and indeed ‘possessed’ – to the extent any land is ever possessed – by others, and for a period of many centuries … well, even in theory and on paper the almost-total intractability of the problem was clear.

But then came the Third Reich and World War Two. Western revulsion at the monstrousness of Hitler’s demonic vision and the inconceivable efficiency of its execution was complete.

Surfing the complicated but not unfavorable wave patterns, the Zionist elements within surviving world Jewry began to make serious noises about ‘going home’, and that they were ‘owed’. That something had to be done to ensure no such massacre would ever happen again seemed clear to any reasonable adult. That the surviving members of world Jewry needed a place to go to call their own was not quite so clear, but certainly a matter for consideration. That world Jewry, represented by a Zionist vanguard, should be permitted to go and re-occupy its old biblical homestead, erect a sovereign state, and to hell with world opinion or the objections of anybody – such as the present inhabitants of the place – did not seem a clearly logical or wise course of action at all.

Harry Truman, as he noted at the time, had no Arab voters and a lot of Jewish ones – and being in charge simultaneously of the world’s new superpower and a Democratic Party that was not sure of its own voter-base – figured that numerous birds could be killed with the one stone. And he cast it. The Pope advised against it; and while he famously had no divisions, he did draw upon almost two millennia worth of highly professional Vatican insight and diplomacy; Harry ignored him. The United Nations and others expressed objections with varying degrees of circumspection – Harry was the new superkid on the block, after all – but to no avail. And by then Zionist-connected militant groups such as Irgun were already over there, setting off car bombs and killing troops (British, even) to let the world know that business was meant and that No as an answer was not on the table.

In a part of the world where memories go back centuries and are never repressed, and in which his nation had no abiding interest (in 1948 the US was pumping its own oil from domestic sources), Harry stretched forth his arm and the people returned ‘home’.

Straightaway, the foreseen intractables began to manifest themselves. The inhabitants resisted to the point where the newly-established Jewish State had to deploy methods not quite so different from the Wehrmacht’s a half-decade before.

And the perky Israeli solution to that inconvenient reality was to insist that a) there were no people there to be militarily eliminated, b) and anyway they were not resistance-fighters but terrorists, c) the horror of the Holocaust has created its own kind of emergency that justifies ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent its repetition, and d) to mention this whole inconvenient reality is to be anti-Semitic and perhaps even Nazi yourself. Behind this queasy cloud of unknowing the Israeli plan was to create itself as a Fact on the Ground that nobody could make ‘go away’; hewed to tenaciously, in season and out of season, this strategy would simply use the West’s famous distractibility as a tool: the West’s attention would be worn down until Israel would appear to be as natural a part of the regional furniture as the mountains and the sand.

And in that plan was the basis of an indenturing of vote-desperate and newly ‘sensitive’ Democrats, a thoroughgoing Political Correctness, a comprehensive media manipulation of public opinion, and a fundamental disconnection between accurate perceptions of reality and repeated official versions of reality that would eventually poison the American polity, ‘host’ and benefactor of the Israeli state, and then would be taken up by the Advocacies of the Identities in the late ‘60s and corrode the very foundations of American democratic politics and the ability of its citizens to People their government.

But to think about it all – except in the way that the Israeli state found useful and convenient – was Forbidden, by parties unknown - or at least who don't care to acknowledge their role in this treacherous mess.

For quite some time it was useful to de-emphasize ‘religion’ in American society. Hence for years there was an unstinting support of the ‘secularization’ of American society. After all, since the country was mostly ‘Christian’ (although not necessarily Fundamentalist, back then) it stood to reason that the less ‘Christianity’ was loose, the less danger of a repeat of the Holocaust happening. And – a happy two-fer – this dovetailed nicely with the feministic emphasis on de-emphasizing ‘religion’ in American society not only because the feminists of that Wave wanted to destabilize the white, male-dominated ‘rape culture’ of American society, but also because ‘religious’ arguments were the greatest conceptual obstruction to the ramming home of pro-abortion laws.

And yet then when it became clear that the Democrats were no longer as useful as they once had been, rapport was established with a Republican Party whose conceptual and emotional base was in the whackery of American Protestant Fundamentalism, an early-20th century phenomenon that believed in the literal truth of every single word of the Bible except wherever it said ‘wine’ (which, according to the most authoritative preacherly exegesis, really meant ‘grape juice’). Not historically averse to the virtues of the grape themselves, the Israelis tactfully overlooked the oenophobia and embraced those particular elements of Fundamentalism that would surreptitiously spackle up the notoriously flaccid American citizenry with a respect for authority and efficiency (ja!) and with a sense of how urgent it was to win the unavoidable battle for Armageddon that would establish the Israeli state in total peace and security by flattening all its enemies.

Ominously, the tidal wave generated by 9/11 provided the vehicle by which a now energy-and-economy-challenged US government could simultaneously make its bid for fresh supplies of energy, a place at the evolving Eurasian table, a refreshed stature for its dangerously ungrounded currency, and a securing of the Israeli state’s regional position (and thus of the American Jewish voters’ undying gratitude) … so many nice birds with just the one stone.

The current US government need to spackle up the American citizenry for 'resource wars' and national-interest preventive wars and other assorted overseas adventures dovetails nicely with the Israeli government's need to keep the US involved 'over there'. After all, it wasn't rocket science to see - even in 1948 - that if the Israelis for all practical purposes invaded Palestine, and then had to resort to Wehrmacht-tactics in order to establish their beach-head, then in that never-forget part of the world a lot of the locals would be mickle displeased with the Israeli state for the forseeable future. The Israeli governments of that era could be forgiven for thinking that such hostility - generated not by a conceptual anti-Semitism but rather by an abiding outrage over the invasion and 'pacification' of Palestine - would in itself be useful, creating an ongoing 'emergency' that would justify any further harsh measures of military repression and also sustaining an ongoing 'emergency' sure to snag American voters and politicians. And so it has.

And - also not rocket science - the Arab states accurately perceive - also not rocket science, given US pols' statements - that the US is the strength propping up this whole Israeli gambit. And do they hate 'us' for who we are? Or for what the US government has done and continues to do? Funny how Bush hit on that point, in exactly that odd way of putting it, immediately after 9/11. And answered his own question - what did We expect? - that it wasn't anything that We 'did', but rather that 'those' folks were simply hating-on Us for who We are. Which, also, in a marvelous but no doubt innocent coincidence, is precisely how the Israeli government likes to present itself, thus blotting out the original invasion, that ironic original-sin upon which the entire enterprise is built. My my my. Yah.

It also occurs to me: if Congressfolk are opposing so large a majority of the public, and – as we’ve seen in matters sex-offensive and Patriot-ic – aren’t even bothering to read the laws that they then vote for, just how legitimate are the laws? Issues of ‘legitimacy’ – profoundly ominous – arise, politically even if not (for the moment) legally. There is a 71% majority of Us who wish to see a more 'balanced' - face it, a more intelligent - approach to the Israel-Palestine problem, and Our pols ignore that?

Many of those 22nd-century careers will also be made tracing the debacle of the US government’s gradual self-indenture to the interests of the Israeli state – a state with which no official alliance exists or has ever existed, one of the very few states which had attacked US forces, killing and injuring many, in repeated attacks in the broad light of a terribly long day … an achievement in infamy not even effected by the USSR in all its long, dark tenure.

And then those 22nd-century scholars will start looking at Us: what the frak had gone wrong with Us that We could have let things – Our government included – get so far out of hand?

What indeed? Inquiring minds will want to know.

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