Jim Simons :
The three state solution

We are complicit in the apartheid and occupation imposed on the Palestinian people.

A Palestinian boy and Israeli soldier in front of the Israeli West Bank Barrier, August 2004. Justin McIntosh./ Wikimedia Commons.

By Jim Simons | The Rag Blog | May 20, 2018

The thing Trump loves best is attention. Perhaps for that reason it has become easy for foreign governments to manipulate our politics. That and a weak right-wing Congress.

If it’s not Putin, it is Netanyahu. In an earlier stunt that failed, Netanyahu spoke to Congress just before the Iran nuclear treaty was ratified, bypassing the president in a breach of protocol. Now he has produced a video purporting to “prove” that Iran was in violation of the treaty, laughable except for the fact that we may be heading toward war.

The likes of John Bolton are likely planning out strikes on Iran now. Netanyahu is more blatant than Putin was in a bald-faced attempt to get such a war going. He has long wanted it. A war for us to conduct, not Israel. On May 1, Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now! that many experts had exposed Netanyahu’s clumsy attempt to create an illusion of evidence based solely on pre-treaty documents at least 15 years old.

The stunt proved nothing. In fact, inspections by international officials have certified compliance by Iran. Our intelligence agencies also back this up. Nevertheless Trump withdrew the U.S. from the treaty. Other countries are signatories of the treaty but our withdrawal may kill it. That may cause Iran to seek nuclear capability which in turn will be used to justify an invasion of Iran. Remember as well that Israel has nuclear weapons given to them by our government. No one is calling for their removal.

Israel has become the bully of the Middle East with its  treatment of the Palestinians..

Israel has become the bully of the Middle East with its shameful treatment of Palestinians. Periodic bombings of Gaza have not been targeted to avoid civilian deaths. Indeed, large sections of Gaza have been bombed insuring many civilian deaths.

Gaza is a virtual prison which no one can enter or leave without Israeli permission. Supplies, like food and medical equipment have been held up or blocked. Killings escalated recently when Palestinians conducted nonviolent demonstrations. Israeli snipers have picked off their victims from a safe distance away; IDF troops have fired live ammunition into marches. When violence flares up only one side is armed. Incredibly the corporate media have described these one-sided incidents as “clashes.” For decades the nation-less Palestinians have been oppressed, discriminated against and bulldozed out of their own property.

Even in Israel proper citizens who are Palestinian are denied rights that Israeli Jews are accorded. Discrimination is codified into law and practiced with a vengeance. When Jewish Israeli citizens injure or kill Palestinian Israeli citizens they are rarely, if ever, prosecuted. The government is paranoid about their “demographic program” to always maintain a large majority of Jewish citizens in keeping with the Zionist nature of the present government in Tel Aviv.

Government and religion have not been
good partners anywhere.

Government and religion have not been good partners anywhere, whatever religion or nation. Yet, Israel is bound and determined to keep the government a Zionist one at the expense of being a democratic one. Israel is no democracy in spite of Israeli and AIPAC propaganda. They are skilled in propaganda and its handmaiden, disregard of truth. The road to fascism is paved with such. That is the reason the right-wing in the U.S. loves Israel with such fawning obsequiousness.

Another facet of this is the tight lid Israel manages to keep on what is going on in the country. Transparency in government? Forget it. I became very curious about this a few years ago. Fortunately a great book was published about that time: Goliath. The author, Max Blumenthal, had spent several years in Israel to report what was really happening there. As a Jewish-American and a journalist he wanted to know the truth. His book was like turning on a light in the darkness. Chapter and verse are detailed and it will curdle your blood.

The notion put forward by some that criticism of Israel is tantamount to anti-semitism is simply sophistry. Some in the U.S. have argued that criticism of the wars by our government is un-American. This is the cudgel of despotism. Its opposite is informed, free and vigorous debate. No government is sacrosanct.

We enable the chicanery and bloodletting.

Finally, we as progressives must recognize the fact that Israel could not continue its repression and conceal it so well without the billions in aid and international CYA the U.S. provides. We enable the chicanery and bloodletting. We are complicit in the apartheid and occupation imposed on a people. It is time to stand up, speak up and dispatch the intimidation that has silenced many for so long.

There are multiple organizations, mostly run by American Jews, working hard to oppose the occupation and apartheid in Israel-Palestine. BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) has proved to be the tactic that is working and could change Israel.

However, Netanyahu eked out a victory in the last election over the opposition of some senior military leaders who no longer believe that Israel can win by force. They have come to believe victory can only be achieved by diplomatic means and a rapprochement with Palestinians — the two-state solution largely abandoned by Netanyahu.

He still chooses violence and killing as though Israel could annihilate the Palestinians. (This seems to be seriously advocated by some in the extreme right-wing.) The tactic that will change the U.S. sponsorship of the present government of Israel has not emerged and AIPAC prevails in the Congress and with Trump.

[Jim Simons practiced law in Austin for 40 years, representing many movement activists, including anti-war GIs. Jim served as a counsel for members of the American Indian Movement who were arrested at Wounded Knee in 1974. After he retired he published his memoir, Molly Chronicles, in 2007.]

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3 Responses to Jim Simons :
The three state solution

  1. Allen Young says:

    There are many American Jews — some of whom belong to a worthwhile hard-working pro-peace organization called J Street — who oppose the policies of the Netanyahu government and the West Bank occupation. I am in that category. However, I feel the need to protest essays such as this one by Jim Simons when the language and analysis are oversimplified, ignoring the existence of Jew-haters in today’s world, ignoring the fact that many in the Arab world want to push the Jews into the sea, and baldly stating that Israel is “the bully of the Middle East.” Really? The only bully? The Middle East has a plethora of bullies, including Saudi Arabia (currently responsible for a humanitarian crisis in Yemen) and Iran (funding and promoting the violence-prone, religion-based and extremist Hamas organization). And this does not even take into account — the ordinary daily bullying (including jailing and executions) by various Islamic-based governments of women, gays, secularists, musicians, artists, journalists, free-thinkers etc. Yes, I agree that the cry of anti-Semitism is used incorrectly at times by those who defend Netanyahu’s policies, but I believe that anti-Semitism is present when a writer has negative things to say only about Jews in a very complex reality.

  2. Larry says:

    This article was about Israel and Palestine. To not mention Saudi Arabia, et al, as fellow authoritarian states does not imply Israel is the only one. Calling Israel the bully of the Middle East is not necessarily ignoring the others either.

    If you – honestly now, Allen – had to pick only one bully for the region, Israel would qualify more than the rest, though Saudi Arabia is gaining fast, and Syria until a few years ago was only mildly bullying compared to Israel’s steady catastrophic bullying continuum).

    I, too, am fairly often calling out fellow commenters or other authors on their unfortunate slippery slope progress down the sliding path to anti-semitism, and I think the author of this article is teetering on the cusp and might need to regain his balance a bit, but overall I think he refrains from such accusation and instead lays out the problem and the case for facing the problem more directly very well and also fairly.

    I don’t detect one untrue or exaggerated instance in his article that could be considered actually unfair. Some rhetoric may be somewhat overheated, but then that heat pales in comparison to what Israel lies on the brink of right now.

  3. Steve Russell says:

    Jim, I was working up a head of steam over facts that are either incorrect or mentioned without context but then I got to your policy prescriptions and didn’t find a whole lot to disagree with.

    Trump has blown the role Carter tried to create as honest broker among people who have legitimate grievances on all sides. Of course, it’s hard to overlook the assassinations of Sadat and Rabin, both killed by their own people for talking to the Devils who can only be destroyed.

    If anyone ever collects Trump’s greatest hits, there will probably be his off the record “joke” that his son in law is qualified to handle the Middle East portfolio “because he knows all the crooked Jews in Israel.”

    There is a big BIG problem with pushing Israel to talk to the Palestinians and that is that the Palestinians don’t talk to each other. Force Israel to choose between the organization that will not recognize their existence or the organization run by crooks and they chose the latter every time. Now Gaza has discovered that the faction that was against corruption has its own quota of crooks.

    Still, it should be US policy to relieve Gaza.

    I would push El-Sisi for a permanent corrider with weapons searches conducted by the blue helmets; same deal as to the searches if on the Israel side because neither Netanyau nor El-Sisi is to be trusted.

    If low dollar solutions are blocked, there’s a high dollar solution: Order the US Navy to relieve them by sea. The Seabees could put something together in a month but we would still have to patrol it. Very costly and somewhat risky but what is happening now is insufferable.

    Maybe relieve Gaza by the sea and deduct the costs from Israeli and Egyptian aid packages?

    I’m going to forego posting about the facts unless there is a lot more debate.

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