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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Obama - Israel - Palestine' by Noah Chomsky

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

I came across this eye opening article by Avram Noah Chomsky. The Wikipedia has this to say about him:

Avram Noam Chomsky (pronounced /noʊm ˈtʃɑmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher,[2][3][4] cognitive scientist, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor emeritus and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5] Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific community as the father of modern linguistics.[6][7] Since the 1960s, he has become known more widely as a political dissident, an anarchist,[8] and a libertarian socialist intellectual.

Mitchell is to focus his attention on the Israel-Palestine problem, in the wake of the recent US-Israeli invasion of Gaza.

During the murderous assault, Obama remained silent apart from a few platitudes, because, he said, there is only one president - a fact that did not silence him on many other issues.

His campaign did, however, repeat his statement that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that."

He was referring to Israeli children, not the hundreds of Palestinian children being butchered by US arms, about whom he could not speak, because there was only one president.

On January 22, however, the one president was Barack Obama, so he could speak freely about these matters - avoiding, however, the attack on Gaza, which had, conveniently, been called off just before the inauguration.

Obama's talk emphasized his commitment to a peaceful settlement. He left its contours vague, apart from one specific proposal: "the Arab peace initiative," Obama said, "contains constructive elements that could help advance these efforts.

Now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise by supporting the Palestinian government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, taking steps towards normalizing relations with Israel, and by standing up to extremism that threatens us all."

Obama is not directly falsifying the Arab League proposal, but the carefully framed deceit is instructive.

The Arab League peace proposal does indeed call for normalization of relations with Israel - in the context - repeat, in the context of a two-state settlement in terms of the longstanding international consensus, which the US and Israel have blocked for over 30 years, in international isolation, and still do.

The core of the Arab League proposal, as Obama and his Mideast advisers know very well, is its call for a peaceful political settlement in these terms, which are well-known, and recognized to be the only basis for the peaceful settlement to which Obama professes to be committed.

The omission of that crucial fact can hardly be accidental, and signals clearly that Obama envisions no departure from US rejectionism.

His call for the Arab states to act on a corollary to their proposal, while the US ignores even the existence of its central content, which is the precondition for the corollary, surpasses cynicism.

The most significant acts to undermine a peaceful settlement are the daily US-backed actions in the occupied territories, all recognized to be criminal: taking over valuable land and resources and constructing what the leading architect of the plan, Ariel Sharon, called "Bantustans" for Palestinians - an unfair comparison because the Bantustans were far more viable than the fragments left to Palestinians under Sharon's conception, now being realized.

But the US and Israel even continue to oppose a political settlement in words, most recently in December 2008, when the US and Israel (and a few Pacific islands) voted against a UN resolution supporting "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination" (passed 173 to 5, US-Israel opposed, with evasive pretexts).

Obama had not one word to say about the settlement and infrastructure developments in the West Bank, and the complex measures to control Palestinian existence, designed to undermine the prospects for a peaceful two-state settlement.

His silence is a grim refutation of his oratorical flourishes about how "I will sustain an active commitment to seek two states living side by side in peace and security."
Also unmentioned is Israel's use of US arms in Gaza, in violation not only of international but also US law.

Or Washington's shipment of new arms to Israel right at the peak of the US-Israeli attack, surely not unknown to Obama's Middle East advisers.
Obama was firm, however, that smuggling of arms to Gaza must be stopped.

He endorses the agreement of Condoleeza Rice and Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni that the Egyptian-Gaza border must be closed - a remarkable exercise of imperial arrogance, as the Financial Times observed: "as they stood in Washington congratulating each other, both officials seemed oblivious to the fact that they were making a deal about an illegal trade on someone else's border - Egypt in this case.

The next day, an Egyptian official described the memorandum as `fictional'." Egypt's objections were ignored.

Returning to Obama's reference to the "constructive" Arab League proposal, as the wording indicates, Obama persists in restricting support to the defeated party in the January 2006 election, the only free election in the Arab world, to which the US and Israel reacted, instantly and overtly, by severely punishing Palestinians for opposing the will of the masters.

A minor technicality is that Abbas's term ran out on January 9, and that Fayyad was appointed without confirmation by the Palestinian parliament (many of them kidnapped and in Israeli prisons).

Ha'aretz
describes Fayyad as "a strange bird in Palestinian politics. On the one hand, he is the Palestinian politician most esteemed by Israel and the West.

However, on the other hand, he has no electoral power whatsoever in Gaza or the West Bank."

The report also notes Fayyad's "close relationship with the Israeli establishment," notably his friendship with Sharon's extremist adviser Dov Weiglass.

Though lacking popular support, he is regarded as competent and honest, not the norm in the US-backed political sectors.

Obama's insistence that only Abbas and Fayyad exist conforms to the consistent Western contempt for democracy unless it is under control.

Obama provided the usual reasons for ignoring the elected government led by Hamas. "To be a genuine party to peace," Obama declared, "the quartet [US, EU, Russia, UN] has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements."

Unmentioned, also as usual, is the inconvenient fact that the US and Israel firmly reject all three conditions.

In international isolation, they bar a two-state settlement including a Palestinian state; they of course do not renounce violence; and they reject the quartet's central proposal, the "road map."

Israel formally accepted it, but with 14 reservations that effectively eliminate its contents (tacitly backed by the US).

It is the great merit of Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, to have brought these facts to public attention for the first time - and in the mainstream, the only time.

It follows, by elementary reasoning, that neither the US nor Israel is a "genuine party to peace." But that cannot be. It is not even a phrase in the English language.

It is perhaps unfair to criticize Obama for this further exercise of cynicism, because it is close to universal, unlike his scrupulous evisceration of the core component of the Arab League proposal, which is his own novel contribution.

Also near universal are the standard references to Hamas: a terrorist organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel (or maybe all Jews).

Omitted are the inconvenient facts that the US-Israel are not only dedicated to the destruction of any viable Palestinian state, but are steadily implementing those policies.

Or that unlike the two rejectionist states, Hamas has called for a two-state settlement in terms of the international consensus: publicly, repeatedly, explicitly.

Obama began his remarks by saying: "Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats."

There was nothing about the right of Palestinians to defend themselves against far more extreme threats, such as those occurring daily, with US support, in the occupied territories. But that again is the norm.

Also normal is the enunciation of the principle that Israel has the right to defend itself. That is correct, but vacuous: so does everyone. But in the context the cliche is worse than vacuous: it is more cynical deceit.

The issue is not whether Israel has the right to defend itself, like everyone else, but whether it has the right to do so by force. No one, including Obama, believes that states enjoy a general right to defend themselves by force: it is first necessary to demonstrate that there are no peaceful alternatives that can be tried. In this case, there surely are.

A narrow alternative would be for Israel to abide by a cease-fire, for example, the cease-fire proposed by Hamas political leader Khaled Mishal a few days before Israel launched its attack on December 27. Mishal called for restoring the 2005 agreement.

That agreement called for an end to violence and uninterrupted opening of the borders, along with an Israeli guarantee that goods and people could move freely between the two parts of occupied Palestine, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The agreement was rejected by the US and Israel a few months later, after the free election of January 2006 turned out "the wrong way." There are many other highly relevant cases.

The broader and more significant alternative would be for the US and Israel to abandon their extreme rejectionism, and join the rest of the world - including the Arab states and Hamas - in supporting a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus.

It should be noted that in the past 30 years there has been one departure from US-Israeli rejectionism: the negotiations at Taba in January 2001, which appeared to be close to a peaceful resolution when Israel prematurely called them off.

It would not, then, be outlandish for Obama to agree to join the world, even within the framework of US policy, if he were interested in doing so.
In short, Obama's forceful reiteration of Israel's right to defend itself is another exercise of cynical deceit - though, it must be admitted, not unique to him, but virtually universal.

The deceit is particularly striking in this case because the occasion was the appointment of Mitchell as special envoy.

Mitchell's primary achievement was his leading role in the peaceful settlement in northern Ireland. It called for an end to IRA terror and British violence. Implicit is the recognition that while Britain had the right to defend itself from terror, it had no right to do so by force, because there was a peaceful alternative: recognition of the legitimate grievances of the Irish Catholic community that were the roots of IRA terror.

When Britain adopted that sensible course, the terror ended. The implications for Mitchell's mission with regard to Israel-Palestine are so obvious that they need not be spelled out. And omission of them is, again, a striking indication of the commitment of the Obama administration to traditional US rejectionism and opposition to peace, except on its extremist terms.

Obama also praised Jordan for its "constructive role in training Palestinian security forces and nurturing its relations with Israel" - which contrasts strikingly with US-Israeli refusal to deal with the freely elected government of Palestine, while savagely punishing Palestinians for electing it with pretexts which, as noted, do not withstand a moment's scrutiny.

It is true that Jordan joined the US in arming and training Palestinian security forces, so that they could violently suppress any manifestation of support for the miserable victims of US-Israeli assault in Gaza, also arresting supporters of Hamas and the prominent journalist Khaled Amayreh, while organizing their own demonstrations in support of Abbas and Fatah, in which most participants "were civil servants and school children who were instructed by the PA to attend the rally," according to the Jerusalem Post. Our kind of democracy.

Obama made one further substantive comment: "As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate monitoring regime..."

He did not, of course, mention that the US-Israel had rejected much the same agreement after the January 2006 election, and that Israel had never observed similar subsequent agreements on borders.

Also missing is any reaction to Israel's announcement that it rejected the cease-fire agreement, so that the prospects for it to be "lasting" are not auspicious.

As reported at once in the press, "Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who takes part in security deliberations, told Army Radio on Thursday that Israel wouldn't let border crossings with Gaza reopen without a deal to free [Gilad] Schalit" (AP, Jan 22); ‘Israel to keep Gaza crossings closed...

An official said the government planned to use the issue to bargain for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by the Islamist group since 2006 (Financial Times, Jan. 23);

"Earlier this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that progress on Corporal Shalit's release would be a precondition to opening up the border crossings that have been mostly closed since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in 2007" (Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 23); "an Israeli official said there would be tough conditions for any lifting of the blockade, which he linked with the release of Gilad Shalit" (FT, Jan. 23); among many others.

Shalit's capture is a prominent issue in the West, another indication of Hamas's criminality.

Whatever one thinks about it, it is uncontroversial that capture of a soldier of an attacking army is far less of a crime than kidnapping of civilians, exactly what Israeli forces did the day before the capture of Shalit, invading Gaza city and kidnapping two brothers, then spiriting them across the border where they disappeared into Israel's prison complex.

Unlike the much lesser case of Shalit, that crime was virtually unreported and has been forgotten, along with Israel's regular practice for decades of kidnapping civilians in Lebanon and on the high seas and dispatching them to Israeli prisons, often held for many years as hostages. But the capture of Shalit bars a cease-fire.

Obama's State Department talk about the Middle East continued with "the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan... the central front in our enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism."

A few hours later, US planes attacked a remote village in Afghanistan, intending to kill a Taliban commander.

"Village elders, though, told provincial officials there were no Taliban in the area, which they described as a hamlet populated mainly by shepherds. Women and children were among the 22 dead, they said, according to Hamididan Abdul Rahmzai, the head of the provincial council" (LA Times, Jan. 24).

Afghan president Karzai's first message to Obama after he was elected in November was a plea to end the bombing of Afghan civilians, reiterated a few hours before Obama was sworn in.

This was considered as significant as Karzai's call for a timetable for departure of US and other foreign forces.

The rich and powerful have their "responsibilities."

Among them, the New York Times reported, is to "provide security" in southern Afghanistan, where "the insurgency is homegrown and self-sustaining." All familiar. From Pravda in the 1980s, for example.

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Comments

Re: Re: Cut off the money
By Wazani, Aladin

The damage the Bush/Cheney neo-conservative war mongering American administration inflicted onto the cause of liberals in the third world cannot be overstated.

Here comes Obama and deflates the Obama mania in the Middle East and Muslim world as well as, I would argue, many in the liberal western quarters in his first speech on the Middle East. That will surely be a reality check to the Palestinians.

United States is a country of institutions that is biased to the core when it comes to the Palestinian question.

Over 1300 Palestinian dead, hundreds of whom are children, thousands injured, lives chattered... are not worth even a fictitious empathy by the first African American president.

Obama's words and action so far seem to condone the Israeli massacres and support their approach of subjugating the Palestinians in Gaza.

A first class lesson in democracy to the Middle East from the United States of America...

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Re: Cut off the money
By Shapiro, Tali

Hey Carl,
I agree with what you say, but I think you're missing the point. Israel isn't (and has never been) an entity on its own. As you say, it's financially supported by the US.

As such, it is morally supported by the US. I'm an Israeli citizen- I hear the talk in the street. When Israelis (government and citizens) talk about the UN or international law, they do it with arrogance- they learned from the best. In regards to the US, the question on on every ignorant reporter's mind is "will they side with us, this time?".

The answer is of course "Yes they will, they always do". Even when international relation blunders occur, such as PM Olmert braggin' to the boys about him being THE reason why "Condolisa" voted the way she did in the UN.

Chomsky said it, and I believe it to be true, the only way a boycott on American funds to Israel will happen, is if there is pressure from the people.

So I support you, in your call to cut off the money- let's hope you manage to somehow drown out the barrage of dribble from Fox news and other networks. Good luck.

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Cut off the money - Agreed
By couzin, nimbus

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Re: Cut off the money
By Abram, Ido

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Cut off the money
By Davidson, Carl

Like all US presidents, Obama now has the blood of innocents on his hands.

We know what needs to be done about Iraq and Afghanistan--'Out Now!--and we need to continue insisting on it, not only because it is just, but because doing anything else will end up destroying anything positive he wants to do.

But I admit to the sin of despair on the Middle East. I'm not nearly as certain as Noam Chomsky about the prospects for a two-state solution or Ali's one-state solution either.

I can't see a positive role for Mitchell or anyone from the outside in the face of Israeli arrogance. Sane voices in their press are a small minority.

I think the most positive thing the US can do it cut off the subsidy to Israel, starting with the military support.

That's not likely at the moment, but all that's left for us here at this point is to build the support among organized voters to cut off the money.

It's a long, tough road, but the Israelis don't really give a damn about anything else we might do or say, and without some organized clout on this topic, neither does Congress or the White House. They're marching to their own drummers on the road to perdition.

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Thus spoke Noah Chomsky, a prominent critic of America's foreign policy since the Vietnam War era.

Wikipedia has more to say about him here:

'Beginning with his opposition to the Vietnam War, Chomsky established himself as a prominent critic of US foreign and domestic policy. He is a self-declared adherent of libertarian socialism which he regards as "the proper and natural extension of classical liberalism into the era of advanced industrial society."[12]

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar during the 1980–92 period, and was the eighth most-cited source.[13][14][15] He is also considered a prominent cultural figure.[16] At the same time, his status as a leading critic of US foreign policy has made him a controversial figure.[17]'

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It's heartening to know that not everyone is blinded by the euphoria over the American President is now Barack Obama and no longer the murderous fool who presided before him.

Yet, even as we know that the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian land is wrong and that the USA and Britain are the ones behind this open robbery of a once sovereign people, treachery of the Arab leaders and their disunity over this rampant occupation, massacre and continued occupation of Palestine before the very eyes of the world's so called United Nations entity, makes me not hold any hopes for the world body to be able to do anything about this injustice towards the Palestinians.

When the Israeli regime can blatantly disregard the countless resolutions passed by the UN Security Council against it and the USA veto any such resolutions, it makes the UN redundant and the continuous participation of all other countries in the UN, a clear waste of time and money!

There is no other alternative but for Muslim nations to force Israel out by force but in actuality, the leaders of these so called Muslim countries are plain cowards who do not abide by what Allahu Ta'ala commands them and they fear death exactly as what the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam prophesied 1400 over years ago?

I for one do not have an iota of respect anymore for anyone of these Organisation of Islamic Conference tricksters who put up a facade of being the leaders of the Muslims.

To hell with these munafiks for they do not stand up or protect the lives of all oppressed and persecuted Muslims worldwide.

The UN, OIC, Arab League, etc. are all useless organisations that do not have the balls to stand up to the rogue regime of Israel for behind Israel stands the USA and Britain, the world's imperialists and colonialists who are behind most of the world population's troubles ever since they came into being.

We might not be able to do much for the Palestinians physically being bloggers but we can help spread the message about the deceit being carried out by smooth talkers such as Obama.

In short, the honeymoon is over!

Here are some videos of Obama for what he truly is? An American President who is actually a kowtowing to Israel Zionist stooge.










There are many more videos proving American President Barack Hussein Obama Jr.'s obesiance to the powerful Israeli Zionist lobby in the determining of who gets to be the American President?

Without the Zionist Israeli seal of approval, Barack Obama Jr will never get even to be considered for nomination of the Democratic Presidential candidate for the most powerful political seat in the whole wide world.

So, Barack Obama Jr. has no option but to kowtow and kiss the Zionists ass if he wants to continue being the American President?

Knowing the treacherous way that the Zionists operate, if he ever gets out of line from his oath of allegiance to the State of Israel, there is no guarantee that he'd not end up as the assassinated late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy?

So there you have it folks.

Palestine will still be in deep shit for as long as any of the cowardly so called world organisations in the form of the UN, OIC and Arab League continue to shiwer and cower before the oh so mighty Zionist entity!

As far as I am concerned, sure I was happy that the bastard George W.Bush Jr. is no longer the USA's President but my happiness over the ascension of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. as the current US President is however shortlived in realising that the plight of the world's Muslims as well as other faith adherents are in no better position today than what it has been since America took over the role of colonial imperialists from Britain and are now oppressing the rest of the world to kowtow to them or else?

Maybe Hizbut at Tahrir have been right all along!

It's high time that Muslims wake up to the reality that if they remain disunited, they will surely perish by being eliminated a people at a time as what Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala and the Messenger Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam have been telling us all along?
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