Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Washington is responsible for the deaths and destruction in Palestine

Today, we are witnessing one of the most horrific events of our times.  The Israeli military is conducting a full-fledged war against civilians in the Gaza Strip.  After there have been 1,850 deaths from this war, the Israeli government has declared a temporary truce.  While other wars have claimed many more casualties, this war is different in that it is against a civilian area that is occupied by Israel.

Newark, New Jersey 1967

In 1967, I was fourteen years old.  The National Guard in this country invaded my hometown of Newark, New Jersey.  Rebellions like the one in Newark erupted in cities and towns across the country. 

That fall I started high school.  On the bus ride to school for the next four years, I saw the ruins of the 1967 rebellion in Newark.  While my experience was completely different from the one in Palestine, this event made a lifelong impression on me.  Soldiers who were being paid with tax dollars murdered twenty people and hundreds were arrested.

At the same time as this event was unfolding, the United States ordered the armed forces to murder millions of people in Southeast Asia.  While all of this was happening my teachers asked us to pledge allegiance to a flag that claimed to represent “liberty and justice for all.”   

Why does the United States support Israel?

Anyone who knows anything about Israel’s war knows that the United States government gives Israel about three billion dollars every year.  The U.S. also gives Israel and immense amount of military aid that makes its current war possible.  Understanding this, we know that if U.S. government demanded that Israel end this war, the war would be over.  To the contrary, the U.S. government is in full support of Israel’s war against Palestinians.

We might ask a basic question.  In the United States the standard of living is deteriorating on a number of fronts.  Many schools have closed down.  Wage increases have not kept pace with prices.  Unemployment is at its highest point since the depression.  Many people find it difficult or impossible to receive proper medical care.  So, why has the United States government been giving Israel, a nation of about eight million people, billions of dollars every year?

While the politicians and pundits have pontificated about the reasons for this funding for years, we need only one three-letter word to answer this question.  That one word is oil.  Without a continuous flow of oil no corporation in the United States has even one dime of profit.  Without oil, workers wouldn’t be able to go to their jobs.  Without oil, commodities wouldn’t be delivered to market.  Without oil, engines would not be lubricated. 

In the United States, money talks.  Without a continuous flow of oil, corporations would have no profits.  Most of the oil in the world is located in northern Africa and in the Middle East.  Israel is located in the center of this region.

The energy policies of the capitalist world mean that in about fifty years the reserves of oil will begin to run out.  This will have unimaginable consequences for working people and farmers in the world.

Why does Israel exist?

The state of Israel, as well as the apartheid state of South Africa, were both established in the year 1948.  Before 1948 Britain was the world’s superpower and ruled the world through its colonies and its economic influence.  After the Second World War the United States became the world’s super-power.  Israel and South Africa followed the reality of the United States at that time.

In 1948 Native Americans had lost their lands and the government sent them to live on reservations.  African Americans did not have full citizenship rights because of the legal system of Jim Crow segregation.

The South African system of apartheid stripped the original inhabitants of that area from their land.  The apartheid laws denied black people full citizenship rights in their homeland.  Bantustans became the new homeland for many whose land had been stolen. 

The Israeli government seized hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages and evicted the inhabitants.  In an area where over ninety percent of the land was occupied by Palestinians, Israel became a so-called homeland for Jewish people.  While the West Bank and Gaza Strip have Palestinian governments, Israel continues to occupy this land.

Unlike South Africa, Israel has completely relied on foreign assistance for its very survival.  Without an enormous amount of military aid, Israel never would have become a nation.

Israel serves U.S. corporations

We can see how Israel serves U.S. corporations in the current war against Palestinians.  About a year ago the entire Arabic world erupted in what has been called the Arab Spring.  In nation after nation workers and farmers challenged corrupt dictatorships.  The Arab Spring erupted as the United States military was ending its war against the people of Iraq.

Today, Israel is conducting its genocidal war against Palestinians.  While the people of this region have legitimate grievances against the governments of that region, today Israel is viewed as the pariah state. 

The Egyptian government has carried out a brutal repression against anyone who opposes its rule.  This is after Egypt was the center of the Arab Spring.  Now Egypt is working in concert with Israel in closing its border to the Gaza Strip.  The Egyptian military also receives billions of dollars in support from the United States every year.

While all of this is happening, oil continues to flow into the United States, Europe, China, and Japan.  Billionaire capitalists continue to reap obscene profits from the flow of this oil.  They are completely indifferent to the deaths and destruction in the Gaza Strip.  These are some of the reasons why Israel receives billions of dollars in aid every year.

An injury to one is an injury to all

In the United States Jews and Palestinians have certain rights.  They have the right to own land, the right to travel, the right to vote, and the right to own firearms.  The reason why Israel has become a pariah state is because it denies Palestinians the same rights they have in the United States.  This is the source of this conflict.

Chief Joseph was a leader of the Native American nation known as the Nez Perce.  Chief Joseph understood what it meant for his people to have their land stolen and to loose all human rights.  He made the following statement that became the anthem for today's American Indian Movement.  I believe the Palestinian people would also support these words.

"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself - and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty."  

Workers in this country have the same basic interests as workers in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in Israel.  The current war against Gaza is about denying the Palestinian people the right to live.  This war against civilians is being conducted in the most densely populated area of the world.  This is a clear attack on workers who live in every nation in the world.

In this country we have an opportunity to have a real impact in making it more difficult for Israel to conduct its war.  Millions of people in this country are horrified by what is happening in the Gaza Strip.  We can protest against the federal government by raising the demand of No More Aid To Israel. 

Massive demonstrations can be organized that can shift the political discussion in this country.  While politicians are committed to robbing the people of the Middle East of the immense wealth created by oil, working people have different priorities.  Our priority is for everyone to have the means to live.  We have no interest in denying Palestinians their basic rights.

We have learned that Washington’s support for war only means more war.  The wars against the people of Newark, Vietnam, and Gaza have one basic goal.  This is to support the profit drive of corporations.  My opinion is that human needs are more important than profits. 


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