Monday, May 25, 2009

ISRAEL AND THE USS LIBERTY

NEVVVVER MIND

A substantive article over on Consortium News: there is a significant possibility that the Palestinian inhabitants of the territory now claimed by the State of Israel are actually the closest genetic descendants of the Jewish inhabitants of the Israel of the Roman era.

Many of the Hebrew inhabitants of the Roman era – perhaps with much less Roman pressure than has usually been presumed – spread out all over Europe and elsewhere in what came to be known as the Diaspora. In the process, they mingled and lost the actual ‘bloodlines’. The folks who stayed behind after the time of Titus retained more of their genetic integrity.

“There is also now the modern irony that modern Israel was established by Jews of European origin, many of whom may be ethnically unconnected to Palestine.”

I know that We have lost wayyy too much of Our capacity for being taken aback. Flannery O’Connor once responded to a criticism about the violent bizarreness of her stories by pointing out that ‘Southerners’ (this was in the 1950s) write so much more about “freaks” than writers from other parts of the county “because we can still recognize one when we see one”.

Things have changed. Under unremitting elite pressure from academics and politicians and even the media, We have lost Our sense of the “freakish” in the orgy of “non-judgmentalism” that overtook the country in the 1970s. In the effort to become a ‘kinder, gentler’ place, and – on a slightly more ulterior level – to crowbar open social and political ‘space’ for alternative lifestyles and conceptions of the self and the universe that humans inhabit, and to weaken the hold of patriarchal, categorical, and abstract ‘thinking’, it has become quite bad form to share out loud your assessment of this or that ‘development’, ‘progress’, or – surely – the ‘revolutions’ themselves.

America, of course, doesn’t permit Stalin’s solution: round up anybody who disagrees and shoot them. And round up anybody who may at some point disagree … and shoot them. Over here, the Goebbelsian approach was more workable: manipulate public opinion and induce the ‘press’ to go along. In this battle, at least, the Nazis have beaten Stalin. All that’s left of his approach is the sudden erection of ‘evil enemy’ classes against whom the surplus emotions of the populace might usefully be diverted and deployed. Although, in a bit of conceptual hubris that not even Goebby would have indulged, Our own ‘suspect’ class includes, in one way or another, 49 percent or so of the population … which may yet prove to have been all along a bridge too far.

But the concept migrated, into foreign affairs, and here We are now, confronted with a rather thickish straw in the wind to the effect that for the past half-century and ten, and especially the past 40 years, We have been supporting the takeover of a land in the admittedly well-intentioned purpose of providing a home for “the Jews”*, even to the extent of abetting the expulsion or destruction of the people – and “Arabs” at that, it was said, who had been long-established on the land.

And all along, it turns out that the actual genetic descendants of the Hebrews of yore are not the invading “Jews” nor their nationalist descendants the Israelis, but rather the very folk – farmers and villagers – who had been termed the enemy and the obstructive elements that had to be cleaned out.

If you run this around in your mind for a minute or two, is it possible not to feel a stunning symphony of emotions, none of them ‘happy’? And none of them flattering to America as a nation, and surely not to its governing elites.

All these decades of treasure, blood, and – oy – moral integrity, deployed in ever-astronomical amounts, spewed, sprayed, shot and dropped all over the place, all the feral panoply of ‘doing whatever it takes’, and all along We have been supporting – you should pardon the expression – ‘the bad guys’?

So that the next time you might chance to view those newsreels of the Allied liberation of the camps, the actual role of the current generations of Americans is not as the Allied liberation troops, but rather the German townsfolk filing by the piles of corpses and all that human wrack and ruin?

We didn’t know. We had been assured by the government that only the right things were being done. We had our own problems. It was war. Life is tough. Surely you can’t blame us for this? It’s over now, so why drag it all up? You must hate us to even show us all this, and remind us. We thought the fine ash was snow – this isn’t your fairy-tale Florida, you know.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Ach. Oy.

Well, History – or God acting through History – has already started handing out sentences. Our democracy corrodes toward a ‘permanent war state’, the better to ‘support’ the Israeli ‘ally’. Our troops now walk the streets in their combat-field uniforms, where in an earlier era but not so long ago, they wore the uniforms of the day out among the civilians and left field-uniforms for field-operations.

In just over a week, on June 8, there will occur the 42nd anniversary of the sustained Israeli assault on the American naval vessel, USS Liberty: bombed, machine-gunned, torpedoed, dozens of Our ‘boys’ killed or wounded, life-rafts machine-gunned, and in its vote-desperate effort to pander, LBJ’s government refused to send rescue missions to drive off the attackers.

And it sat there – that government – eagerly ‘accepting’ ridiculously obvious faked Israeli ‘evidence’ that the whole thing had been (after the ship refused to sink and the crew refused to go conveniently to the bottom) a ‘mistake’.

The Israeli’s claimed they couldn’t see the flag in all the smoke, though there are photos from the ship of its planes coming in for leisurely bomb-runs in perfect sunlight; doctored photos of Israeli ‘gunsight’ cameras that include brushed out globs where the tugboats easing the ship into dock were depicted in the actual un-doctored photo; purportedly seasoned Israeli pilots and naval officers claiming that they mistook the massive Liberty ship, with its big white Navy letter-and-number markings on both sides, bow and stern, to be an Egyptian tramp steamer half its size and speed.

And LBJ himself, who said that he didn’t care if the ship and all its sailors sank to the bottom of the sea – he wasn’t going to embarrass his Israel “friends”. Could Biden put it any better? **

The hot ironies. The hot, hellish, demonic ironies. How much blood cries from the ground and the sea? The blood not only of the grievously afflicted ‘Palestinians’, but of Our own sailors.

Assuming that JFK didn’t meet his end because he opposed the then-current Israeli efforts to illegally acquire their own Bomb, then I place the moment of Blutbund – of the forging of the bond of shared treachery of spilled innocent blood – right there on June 8, 1967, between the US government (under Democratic control, although the Republicans allowed themselves to be dealt in later on) and the government of Israel (the one that has never signed a treaty of alliance with Us).

Johnson’s Historical punishment was swift. Though he sacrificed integrity and committed vile treachery for the sake of securing ‘the Jewish vote’ for the 1968 election, he would not win that election, and indeed preemptively removed himself, rather than face the voters. He lived only a few more years.

But Our own payment is being extracted more slowly. When History deals with large groups, it often takes its time. The fact that human memories, especially nowadays, don’t seem to go back very far doesn’t seem to bother History in the least. Unlike ‘victims’, History doesn’t mind if its retribution isn’t even recognized for what it is. If folks want to keep mulishly believing that History doesn’t exist and that stuff just happens, well that’s not History’s problem. We, after all, are not History’s ‘consumer’s – let alone its ‘creators’ – and History owes no fiduciary sensitivity to human beings.

And that’s just the secular take on it.

If one accepts the existence of Jefferson’s “just God”, then you can see how much drama and seriousness is still left in the affairs of human beings – nor do We need to manufacture ‘drama’ and pretend to ‘seriousness’ … those two elemental aspects of the human experience are alive and well and verrrry busy, thank you very much.

The German townsfolk, finally brought to bay and forced to see what had been done in their name – for the sake of their great Volk, suddenly realized that not only had History come to town, but that it was looking for them. Nor would it listen to polite, snarky, plaintive or angry suggestions that it move on to Berlin and take it up with the frazzled ogre in his Bunker. There was more than enough History to go around; the ogre and his Volk would be dealt with.

With all respect to hard-working Hollywood, who needs to go to a movie on Memorial Day? We’re in one. A big one. A block-buster. A people-buster.

Some sackcloth and ashes might be better than hot dogs and beer this day.

NOTES

*I have said and say again that I don’t like the phrases “Jews” or “the Jews” and I do not use them to express my own thought. I use the term here because it’s the common-coin of terminology in the public discourse (such as it has been).

**You can go to http://www.ussliberty.org/ and review the whole incredible collection.

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