It occurs to me that the continuing Gaza war can be viewed (in addition to viewing it as part of Israel’s continuing battle to maintain the occupation) as a testament to the failure of American democracy. Hear me out.
Everyone knows that the only way to permanently end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is by Israel getting out of the territories occupied after the ’67 war in exchange for ironclad security arrangements guaranteed by the United States.
The territories Israel would evacuate would become an independent Palestinian state.
So why does the conflict continue? No, not because the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel. They have, repeatedly.
It continues because the one nation in the world which can mediate such a deal, the United States, will not do so because it fears retribution from big donors mobilized by the lobby. That is why the Kerry mission failed. It is why every peace initiative going back to Oslo has failed. Every U.S. position has to be cleared by the donors. (I was working at AIPAC in 1982 when President Reagan himself telephoned its executive director to clear a proposal the United States was planning to issue.)
Big donors will not permit the United States to even call for a settlement freeze, let alone for ending the occupation, making any negotiations ridiculous. Why should Palestinians negotiate over the final disposition of the West Bank when, even while the negotiations are going on, Israel continues to gobble up more land and expel Palestinians from homes on that land?
Because of the occupation, because of the settlements, and because of big donors who are mobilized by the Israel lobby to protect both, the United States is forced into a position of helplessness.
As for this war, the United States cannot propose a reasonable and fair solution to it because donors won’t permit it. President Obama cannot even express what he must feel about the dead children of Gaza. Every word must be crafted and weighed not to offend the donors. The dead kids of Gaza don’t exist because Israel “has the right to defend itself” against them.
That is why no one ever mentions that America could use its $3.5 billion a year in aid to Israel to influence its behavior. Impossible. The donors would go crazy.
In short, America is a pathetic helpless giant in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. The donors have shut us down. They own our policy.
But don’t go getting bent out of shape about the “damn Israel lobby” as if it is unique. The fact is that there barely is a significant issue on which big money types don’t determine America’s policies.
The proliferation of guns that kill kids here at home will not be curtailed because of the gun manufacturers and its lobby, the NRA. Climate change, which threatens every person on the planet, cannot be addressed because the Koch Brothers and their allies won’t permit it. The same plutocrats prevent the United States from addressing income inequality and the screwing of working people as a rightist majority on the Supreme Court successfully repeals the New Deal and the Great Society.
Neither party does anything about the killing of the American dream because both are owned by donors and corporate interests in general. American democracy has become a dirty joke. The Great Experiment of 1787 has failed.
So why should the Israel issue be any different? It isn’t. It’s all about the money, just like all the other issues.
Even though we can end the killing now, we won’t because the big money people will not permit it.
If you have any doubt, look at Rand Paul. The man is the worst kind of isolationist, a Charles Lindbergh for our time. But he now makes one big exception: Israel. He is so “pro-Israel” that he attacks President Obama for not loving Israel enough.
Why does he do it? For votes? No, there are no Jewish votes for a rightwing Republican like Paul. He does it for the money, Sheldon Adelson’s and others.
And so it goes.
It’s all about the money, money so enticing that virtually all American politicians look the other way as children are killed so that Israel can secure its occupation.
And, yes, I know that Israel has the right to defend itself. But that “right” is clouded by the fact that it has occupied the Palestinians’ land and squashed their fundamental human rights for 47 years. I wish Hamas had not behaved with such brutal barbarism in firing rockets at Israel but I understand why they do it. They don’t see any alternative.
America could give them one. If only the donors would allow it.