By Dan Lieberman / Countercurrents.org
Unimpeded Jewish settler violence has left the Palestinian people in desperation. “Between 2010 and 2019, nearly 3,000 Israeli settler attacks killed at least 22 Palestinians and injured 1,258 others across the occupied West Bank.” “Data collected by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reveals that there have been at least 570 attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank in the first six months of 2023 – an average of three attacks a day.” With the settler attacks intensifying, the plight of the Palestinians grows more menacing.
Israeli Human Rights organization, B’Tselem, describes how the Israeli government encourages the settlements
Most of the settlements in the West Bank are defined as national priority areas. Accordingly, the settlers and other Israeli citizens working or investing in the settlements are entitled to significant financial benefits. These benefits are provided by six government ministries: the Ministry of Construction and Housing (generous loans for the purchase of apartments, part of which is converted to a grant); the Israel Lands Administration (significant price reductions in leasing land); the Ministry of Education (incentives for teachers, exemption from tuition fees in kindergartens, and free transportation to school); the Ministry of Industry and Trade (grants for investors, infrastructure for industrial zones, etc.); the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (incentives for social workers); and the Ministry of Finance (reductions in income tax for individuals and companies).
Benefits are an inducement and not an excuse to acquire stolen property and are no reason to harass neighbors in an extreme and violent manner. Criminally attacking innocent Palestinians in adjacent villages gives the settlers a feeling of being all-powerful, all-commanding, all-authoritative, and having the right to murder, rob, and torch anyone they want.
The world treats the settlers as ultra-nationalists, as people with overzealous prophecies who are eager to fulfill a commitment to their God. They run amok because their beliefs are amok. Their violence must be stopped and, hopefully, legal and moral forces will subdue them. The word, as usual, is naive.
These hilltop villains arrive with a twisted mission — to bring their select group back to a land they fanatically believe God has given to them. People are entitled to their myths and ahistorical stories as a central focus to hold their ethnicity together; they are not entitled to take fantasy, pose it as a reality, and use the subverted reality for diabolical purposes. The settlers’ existence depends upon denying existence to others. The settlers’ principal purpose in life is to disturb the lives of others. They have often operated as a murderous contingent, completely unattached to reality, and finding pleasure in dominating their victims.
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Not wanting the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a euphemism for the Israel Offensive Forces (IOF), to be identified with the intended genocide of the Palestinian people, the Israeli government has purposely selected and conveniently installed the Orthodox Jews to play the role of shock troops for the government, commit the mayhem and carry out the vicious deeds. The ever-alert and just-around-the-corner police and military forces always arrive too late to halt the crimes committed against Palestinian villagers. No matter how severe the crime, the criminals are rarely apprehended, and if apprehended, never severely punished.
After decades of suffering under extreme oppression, with no end in sight, with oppressors who could live as well in other places, the destruction of the Palestinian people has unique qualities that defy rational thought. Particularly unique is the Western world’s assistance to the destruction, where, for the first time in history, external forces support and encourage mass violence against an established community, done in solicitation from Israel and in cooperation with foreign groups.
Examine the attacks from the promotions by the underwriters to the actions of the perpetrators and we learn that the attacks are a conspiracy of the unsettled and the deadly strikes on the Palestinians reverberate throughout the world; we are all menacingly affected and do not realize it.
Religious Right evangelists, multitudes of Jewish organizations, compromised political hacks, and the easily deluded, without compunction and without care of the damage they do to others, actively assist Israel in its deliberate repression of the Palestinians. The calamities that these partners in crime inflict upon the Palestinians are identifiable; their effect upon much of the rest of the world’s population is not understood. Political and policy subversion, financial corruption, moral degradation, harmful machinations against individuals that feature false charges of anti-Semitism, indoctrination, and unnecessary military actions are some of the calamities perpetrated against American citizens.
In the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government fooled its population and Americans suffered casualties from the treachery. The “intelligence assessment” that Sadaam Hussein was prepared to finalize the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and attack the United States proved false and the reasons for the invasion became a hoax. Not revealed was that the hoax was a hoax. The George W. Bush administration’s reason for the invasion was not due to its fear of Hussein acquiring advanced weapons of mass destruction, it was due to the Israel-friendly neoconservatives — Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, and Elliot Abrams — convincing the administration that a strong Iraq could become the central military power of the Middle East, be able to confront Israel, and should be defeated. How do we know this
It is ridiculous to assume that a government and its intelligence agencies could believe that Sadaam Hussein was “secretly creating biological agents using mobile laboratories in “road-trailer units and rail cars.” Laboratories for biological agents are fixed in tightly controlled and specifically designed buildings to maintain clean air and prevent escape of the deadly agents. How was this “secret operation” discovered? It wasn’t; it came from a supposed interview by German intelligence with one person, an Iraqi dissident, Rafid Alwan, known as Curveball. CNN investigated Curveball.
Subsequent U.S. investigations into the intelligence failure around the claims found that German intelligence considered the defector “crazy” and “out of control,” while friends said he was a “liar.” Just days after Powell’s presentation, U.N. weapons inspectors presented evidence they said disproved those claims. But six weeks later, on March 20, 2003, the United States launched its invasion, toppling Hussein’s government in three weeks but locking itself in a war against an insurgency that has cost more than 4,000 American lives. No biological weapons, no germ labs, no weapons of mass destruction of any kind were found in Iraq after the invasion.
Did Saddam Hussein try to acquire uranium yellowcake or aluminum tubes for developing nuclear weapons? He did not, but even if he did, the Iraqi leader did not have the equipment for enriching the uranium. What did he need and how long would it take to enrich the yellowcake? Iran claimed to have converted a few tons of yellowcake in 2004 and they still do not have sufficient uranium for a nuclear weapon.
Why did the U.S. government and its expert intelligence agencies believe Hussein was manufacturing biological weapons and seeking material for making a nuclear weapon? They could not and they did not believe the ridiculous propositions; it was just a way to trick the populace into thinking evidence was available that proved Hussein sought weapons of mass destruction and to justify the invasion without disclosing the real reason.
The neocons were intimately involved with Israel and promoted Israel’s interests. They had already produced a 1996 policy paper titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” for Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the document recommended the removal of Saddam Hussein. Couple the fact that the United States had no reason to attack Iraq with the constant urgings by the influential neocons in the Bush administration to topple Hussein and we have the reason for the unreasonable invasion of Iraq.
International terrorism has caused havoc to Americans. This violent phenomenon would exist apart from Israel, but Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians has strengthened the terrorist ranks. How has Israel contributed to international terrorism? Osama bin Laden clarified that conjecture
Osama Bin Laden Warns America, CBS News by Joel Arak, October 30, 2004
He (bin-Laden) said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital.
“While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women,” he said.
Recently declassified information from the first-ever interrogation of someone presumed to be a senior al-Qaeda operative captured after 9/11 provides dramatic new insights into Osama bin Laden’s plans for a follow-up attack to Sept. 11. Specifically, bin Laden was plotting a major attack in Israel, a move consistent with his obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict and U.S. support for Israel. The attack was thwarted at the last minute.
A number of jihadist groups have made Palestine a central tenet of their political goals. Over the years, Al Qaeda, one of the most powerful global jihadist outfits, has often mentioned Palestine in its various communications.
Consequently, the [ISIS} narratives target the United States, as a key ally of Israel and a direct contributor to the plight of the Ummah. Several European nations, along with Australia and Canada are also criticized for their recent calls to boycott the United Nations conference on racism — aimed at demonstrating Israel’s apartheid on Palestinians.
The American public rebels at swollen government budgets, huge government deficit spending, and punishing government debt, all intended to help the American nation, and refrains from voicing anger at the unnecessary government contributions to the foreign nation of Israel and its people.
As part of an agreement, signed by former president Barack Obama in 2016, the U.S. taxpayers pledged to give the Israel war machine $3.8 billion annually until 2029. The agreement releases Israel from budgeting funds for its military and diverts those funds to build settlements. In effect, Obama told Netanyahu, “You build the settlements and we’ll supply the weapons for militarizing them.”
As of March 1, 2023, the Congressional Research Service documents that the “United States has provided Israel $158 billion in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding.” The Jewish Virtual Library has a similar figure of $152 billion until the year 2022.
Unknown to most of the American public is how it subsidizes the settlements. The Washington Post had a revealing opinion story on the subject
From 2009 to 2013, more than $220 million was sent across the ocean and into schools, synagogues and playgrounds dotting the hills of Judea and Samaria. Millions of tax-subsidized dollars have gone to Jewish settlements in Hebron, helping to sustain a grim reality in the segregated part of the city, where Palestinian movement is sharply restricted and their economic life has been suffocated.
In 2020, 28% of voters referred to themselves as white evangelicals. Overwhelmingly, they cast their votes for Republican candidates. The two most important issues for these churchgoers are Right to Life and support for Israel. The former is more talk than walk; candidates who run on a platform that includes women’s rights to abortion have done well. The latter issue, which is losing adherents in a younger bloc of the “saved,” serves Israel; many politicos have lost the evangelical vote and elections because they lacked unwavering support for Israel. Trump would be in Nowheresville if he defied the evangelicals and criticized Israel.
Led by Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairperson of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), dozens of spokespersons for the evangelical community spend prime time praising Israel to the faithful. In 2013, a Pew poll showed that 82 percent of white evangelicals agreed with the statement, “Israel was given by God to the Jews.”
Former Israel Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, courted the American evangelicals and Benjamin Netanyahu solidified the courtship after meetings with the most popular evangelical personalities, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Each July, thousands of conservative evangelicals gather in Washington, DC for an annual summit of CUFI. Besides voting massively for candidates who support Israel, estimates have the conservative evangelical community contributing between $175 and $200 million annually to the apartheid state.
The evangelist community votes are insufficient to assure Israel gets its chosen candidates into office. Individual Political Action Committees (PAC) operating under the umbrella of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), pro-Israel groups, such as United Democracy Project (UDP), Democratic Majority for Israel, Republican Jewish Coalition, and Pro-Israel America, and wealthy Jewish individuals supply campaign contributions in big numbers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, gambling casino operator, “Sheldon Adelson, and his wife, Miriam, spent $123 million on the 2018 midterm elections, all of it benefiting Republicans.”
PACs allied with AIPAC “poured more than $24m into defeating Democratic primary candidates critical of Israel. …it celebrated defeating former congresswoman Donna Edwards, who was the favorite to win a Maryland seat until the UDP spent $7m to unleash an advertising blitz against her.” In the 2022 Democratic primary for a congressional seat in northwestern Detroit, the UDP spent more than $4m to defeat Andy Levin, an Israel supporter who “dissented from AIPAC’s support for hardline Israeli policies.”
No argument with individuals and PACs legally contributing to the campaigns of candidates they favor and feel will propose policies benefiting the American people. AIPAC and its allied Jewish organizations and individuals contribute to the campaigns of candidates that favor the policies that benefit a foreign government, Israel, and, often, purposely steer elections for one narrow reason — to defeat candidates who may be rewarding to the American electorate but criticize Israel.
Reshaping U.S. policies
In 2010, the FBI uncovered 10 unregistered Russian agents living in the U.S. as ordinary citizens, engaged in harmless activities, such as meeting people in high places in order to influence their attitudes and reporting American views on foreign and domestic affairs to Moscow. Multiply the number of discovered Russian agents by thousands and you will have the number of Israeli expatriates in the U.S. who do the same for Israel and more; by becoming U.S. citizens they vote for Israel-friendly candidates.
In 2014, the Israeli government ministries and the Los Angeles-based Israeli American Council, which represents Israelis across the United States and promotes their interests, estimated between 500,000 and 800,000 Israelis lived in the U.S., about 150,000 living in the New York area, 120,000 in Los Angeles, and 80,000 in Miami. What are the more important voting areas in the United States? New York, California, and Florida are significant. Enough dual-citizen American-Israelis can shape the ballot in those regions and may have done that in Florida during the disputed 2000 presidential election.
Has Israel purposely selected citizens to emigrate to the United States and influence voters? I have known Israelis living and working in the United States who have invited people into their homes and propagandized for Israel, persuaded synagogues to display the Israeli flag, and collected statistical information for Israel. Others went to Israel, became allied with a known Israeli institute, returned with a grant from a Jewish institution, and, due to previous ties with a recognized Israeli institute, became scholars at recognized think tanks.
In addition to its allied PACS’ efforts to steer American elections, AIPAC functions as a Congressional lobby. Funding annual trips to Israel for senators and representatives is an essential part of the “wooing” of Congress. According to Legistorm, “AIPAC’s charity arm has spent $15.7 million on congressional visits to Israel since 2000. On gift travel disclosures, AIPAC says the purpose of these trips is ‘educating policymakers about the U.S.-Israel relationship.’”
Important congressional leaders attend its annual convention in Washington, where AIPAC displays its influence in shaping the federal government and its policies. During the Covid epidemic in 2020, AIPAC convention speakers included Vice President Mike Pence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. These influential political figures must have a reason (getting elected?) for paying homage to the Lobby for Israel group.
Harmful machinations against individuals
Unable to respond to the obvious reality of an Israel built upon the theft of Palestinian lands and oppression of the Palestinian people, Israel’s supporters resort to slander and vicious attacks on Americans to deter the population from understanding the Middle East crisis.
Canary Mission, AMCHA Initiative, anti-Defamation League, and other Jewish organizations ferret out groups and persons that support the Palestinians and harass and defame them with the usual charge of anti-Semitism. The attacks lead to the proposition that Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism, an identity that has become the final resting place of the word “anti-Semitism.”
Stealing another community’s lands, ethnically cleansing a population, and instituting a severe repression that terrorizes the community — controls their daily life, purposely denies agriculture, water rights, and fishing rights, willfully ruins cherished olive and orange groves, interferes in acquiring livelihood and employment, and reduces their ontological security — describes the Zionist intrusion into the land of Palestine and is a Goddamn awful way to behave. Being against Zionism is a positive and meritorious action. No sound person can argue with that recommendation.
If anti-Zionism is a positive and meritorious action, then the equation anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism indicates that anti-Semitism is a positive and meritorious action. Can that be? No, it cannot be, and Israel’s supporters are guilty of defaming Jews and should be reproached for their insistence that anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism. Or, maybe this shows the unworthiness of the word anti-Semitism, that it is not a word to describe hate; it is a hateful word used to prevent debate and harm people.
Pro-Israel organizations have used nefarious methods to skew voting patterns, manipulate the American mindset, and prevent legitimate debate. They have made a mockery of American democracy and allied Americans as partners in an intended destruction of the Palestinian people.
The manner in which the Israeli settlers have inflicted their deadly operations on the Palestinians characterizes the happenings in an insane world. Imagine someone running through the streets, injuring innocent pedestrians and onlookers saying, “That’s not nice, you shouldn’t be doing that and others saying, “How can I help? And, when you’re finished, come over for a cup of coffee.”
Everything should be done to stop this madness; too little has been done and that little has been ineffective. The reason for this deficiency is obvious, a thought exists that bringing Israel to the Court of Justice harms the Jewish people. Just as anti-Zionism equates to anti-Semitism is an oxymoron, “bringing Israel to the Court of Justice harms the Jewish people” is also a contradiction. The Jewish people have already harmed themselves. Helping other people is a high priority in a moral world. Helping the Palestinians to escape destruction is one of the high priorities. Accomplishing that task will not harm the Jewish people; it will prevent an eventual moral and physical destruction of the people of the book, a win-win proposition for all participants in the crisis.
Dan Lieberman publishes commentaries on foreign policy, economics, and politics at https://dlieb10gmailcom.substack.com/. He is author of the non-fiction books A Third Party Can Succeed in America, Not until They Were Gone, Think Tanks of DC, The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name, David L. McWellan)