Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Right-wing settlers want U.S. out--but U.S. military aid in

A new short film produced by Israeli activist Joseph Dana shows right-wing Israeli settler groups protesting the arrival of US envoys to Israel with chants of "Saddam Hussein Obama" and "Mitchell Go Home". Dana comments:
"The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy....Most people we talked to did not hesitate to attack Obama and his administration, of which many are Jews themselves. The general atmosphere of the rally was that Obama is a Muslim and a racist who denies the Jewish people their right to control the Land of Israel. When asked about American aid to Israel, most replied that this was a separate issue [emphasis added]."
Check it out: The Israeli right wants to have it both ways--massive U.S. financial and political support, but no pressure from the United States to end Israel's 42-year occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. We need to put pressure on our members of Congress and organize in our local communities to hold Israel accountable for the violations of human rights and international law that are enabled by our U.S. tax dollars. Manal Tellawi presents another view on the growing settlements at A Different Perspective on the Middle East:
"Removing settlements may not be as hard as some people make it out to be. There are settlers who indeed believe that they live on Palestinian land, and their primary motive for moving to the West Bank was not an aggressive one or a desire to fulfill the dream of a greater Israel. These are points we must disclose to others, especially to those individuals who argue that the future borders of the Israeli state must include a handful of settlements along the western border of the West Bank. We must urge our politicians to lobby for U.S. support of the application of the 4th Geneva Conventions in the occupied territories, and as President Obama has stated on numerous occasions, to demand an end to all Israeli settlement construction, without exceptions for “natural growth.”"
We can change U.S. policy in the Middle East, but without pressure on our elected representatives and in our local communities, settlements will continue to expand, military aid will continue to pour in--and prospects for a just peace in Israel/Palestine will continue to fade.