By William A. Cook
‘Calls for democracy … stem from …an inner hunger for freedom.’ — (Tzipi Livni, Washington Post, 2/24/11)
A beacon is a signal fire, a warning light to guide one out of darkness; as the former Foreign Affairs Minister for Israel noted in late February, “These are days of momentous change in the Middle East …” Courageous thousands demand their rights as human beings, she intones, there is an inner hunger for freedom abroad in the land. But those courageous thousands have lit a fire that is a beacon for Israel, if it heeds it, a warning that it alone of all the states in the Middle East could be left defying the peoples’ demands for human rights and freedoms. Yet Livni, and Edward Koch last week, went to the media not to announce that Israel would alter its treatment of the Palestinians, they simply ignored the existence of the Palestinians; in the words of Edward Koch, “These uprisings clearly demonstrate that it is not the issue of Israel that is rocking the Arab world, but the presence of arbitrary and repressive regimes.” (Newsmax.com, 3/1/11).
How convenient. Israel alone stands immune from the repression and arbitrary policies of the abusive regimes that face the multitudes in the streets. Indeed, Livni charitably intones that “The values and experiences of the Jewish people demand that we embrace the promise of real democratic change, not merely express concern about uncertainties associated with it.” Certainly in these uncertain times Israel can be a beacon to warn those who have an “inner hunger for freedom” that there are dues to pay before they can be granted such freedoms because “world leaders are required to shape events so that our collective aspirations, rather than our fears, become reality.” Translated, Livni on behalf of Israel takes on the mantle of a world leader who, together with other democratic nations like the U.S., must guide the nations of the world through these perilous waters of upheaval by designing a “democratic code” to ensure that new democracies adhere to the Israeli/United States dictates. How convenient and how duplicitous.
It’s obvious now that Israel and its Golem, the United States, have entered the lists of this new world order, thrust on them by forces they did not anticipate, created in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, and Lebanon, with lances drawn and swords displayed. Their response remains, as always, military might exposed for the world to see bolstered by policies of delay and coercion seeded by fear of instability and uncertainty. They remain the only two powers capable of bringing stability to the region even if it must be done by establishing new dictators sympathetic to their interests.
To achieve their ends, the Israelis and the Obama administration have sent their legions around the world to control discussions of the impending changes and response to them. Two major thrusts emerge as guidelines for control: delay and denial. Delay takes the form of concern for the “inner hunger” that must be fed with care that the wolf at the door (read Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda) doesn’t devour the food (read freedoms), because not enough time was devoted to preparation for “real” democratic reforms. “The free world has long recognized that democracy is about values before it is about voting,” says Livni silently passing over Israel’s destruction of its neighbors as it demonstrates to the world how “real” democracies operate by occupation and repression. As an example of values, Livni notes that “In Israel parties are ineligible to participate in elections if their platform embraces racist or anti-democratic doctrines.” Denial takes the form of omission: she failed to remark on Avigdor Leiberman’s comment, Head of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, an essential component of the present Netanyahu government, describing Arab members of the Knesset that meet with Hamas as “terror collaborators”, (and) called for their execution: “World War II ended with the Nuremburg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].” (Wikipedia). So much for no racism or anti-democratic actions on the part of members of Israel’s government.
But it’s not only Livni and Koch in the newsrooms to promote delay. Ha’aretz carried an article by Dr. Emily Landau and Dr. Carlo Masala that noted “…the West has forgotten how long the road to democratization can really be.” It can only happen when its population “embraces the concepts of tolerance and the protection of minority rights.” Here too, of course, the denial continues: they fail to mention Israel’s founding on May 14 of 1948, a simple declaration by the Zionist consultancy issued through the Jewish Agency that the Jews declared Israel as their state; not even the UNSC was involved as the Partition Plan composed by a committee of the UN never made it to that body. That was not a long process unless one wants to use the terrorists of the clandestine Jewish Agency and its armies that went to war against the British Mandate government as preparation for a democracy. Nor did they mention Israel’s denial of minority rights as Occupiers of another people under International Law.
Then there is the delay caused by the Palestinians who refuse to engage in peace talks, not because Israel refused to stop the building of settlements, even with Obama’s bribe as an inducement, but because they desire to thwart Israel’s “eagerness to return to the negotiating table” by going directly to the UN to force a vote on acceptance of a Palestinian State, what Joel Mowbray calls the “Palestinian Smoke Screen” reported in the Washington Times.
Before the protests, Israel could find no reason to negotiate; now it sees a problem evolving as the world focuses on the mid-east and human rights and sees the glass house it lives in revealed for all the world to see: the Wall that entombs the Palestinians, the checkpoints that deny freedom of movement, the gates that limit egress and ingress, the siege that limits basic foodstuffs for survival, the humiliation caused when a mother to be is denied access to a hospital, the overcrowded conditions caused by denial of building permits, the support of fanatical settlers who beat and maim and kill old men and mothers and children, the absolute dependence forced on them by the Israeli occupation that represses every fundamental right of human decency and respect.
Delay and denial, the tactics used to prevent the very rights Israel claims it wants for the people of the mid-east, must be seen for what it is—the ongoing strategy of land acquisition to prevent the recognition and the creation of a Palestinian State. Should Israel publically accept the right of Palestine to exist, it foregoes the gas and oil reserves off the coast of Gaza and it must relinquish its settlements in the occupied West Bank if justice, as designated by the United Nations Resolutions, is enforced. That is why Livni plays the “democratic code” card—“a universal code for participation in democratic elections … the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of state monopoly over the use of force, the pursuit of aims by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound.”
Should such a code be adopted by the UN, Israel ironically would be the first nation exorcised from its membership. Indeed Israel has existed from its inception by a code of violence, not assimilation or negotiation; force has been its modus operandi, not accommodation or deliberation; it obeys no law but its own mocking the nations of the world and their International Criminal Courts and the International Court of Justice; and it stands alone in its repudiation of the United Nations in its defiance of that body’s resolutions (more than 160 in the General Assembly and approximately 30 in the Security Council) that it address its obligations and international agreements.
Edward Koch’s claim that the Arab protests point only to repressive Arab regimes denies the 63 years of repressive policies of Israel on the Palestinian people. To suggest it has no impact is to deny Osama Bin Laden’s letters to the world communities that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians was the principle reason for his attacks against America. It denies as well the reality that Governor Kean and his 9/11 Commission Chairmen admitted whitewashing the cause of the attacks. “As both the Bush administration and its client government in Israel, with their invasions of Arab states in Iraq and Lebanon, respectively, make the United States ever more hated in the Islamic world, a new book by the chairmen of the 9/11 commission admits that the commission whitewashed the root cause of the 9/11 attacks—that same interventionist U.S. foreign policy.” (August 7, 2006, Ivan Eland).
It denies, finally, how Israel and the U.S. manipulated the “peace agreement” with Egypt to ensure that Israel was protected by creating a dictator that obeyed his owners, those who bribed him to accept 2.8 billion in yearly payoffs from America to incarcerate his own people, fellow Arabs, in the Israeli jail of Gaza and to pretend to engage in negotiations with Gaza’s government, Hamas, while Israel invaded the strip in the Christmas massacre of 1400 civilians. To assume that Israel was not aware of Mubarak’s repressive regime, what Livni euphemistically calls “a leader who kept a ‘cold’ peace and promoted Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation,” is to assume the ridiculous. In short, Israel exists in its splendorous security because it is willing to support dictators that will serve its needs even as they oppress their own people. For this behavior Israel bears no responsibility.
And now, witnessing the people protest the 30 years of oppression in Egypt, that security is threatened because neither Israel nor the U.S. know what government may replace the dictator. Hence the rush to intervene as the Neo-Cons rally to force the President to place U.S. ships off the coast of Libya, to manipulate the Egyptian military to keep Mubarak cronies in office, and to force confrontation with Iran. These are the same crew that lied to the American people to invade Iraq– Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz—the elders of PNAC seeking yet another confrontation in the mid-east. One cannot lead by violence unless one forces violence to erupt, and then divide and conquer. What happens to the people who took their stand in the streets is irrelevant when our warriors turn to their weapons of mass destruction, their word processors, to egg the President on to destroy yet another country for Israel.
Ultimately, this beacon that is Israel sheds its light on the mid-east as a nation that accepts no sister nations ruled by a religion except Israel; rules by defiance of International Law while hypocritically demanding all sister nations abide by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights; declares that a universal code for democracy be applied to all nations except Israel, the only nation to have impunity before the international community; denies the right of sister nations to develop an Atomic bomb including Iran that has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement, while it assiduously denies it possesses atomic weapons which it uses as an undeclared threat against its neighbors; continues its calculated policies of systematic genocide against the Palestinian people as it destroys their cultural heritage in Jerusalem and occupied Palestine by confiscating their land and natural resources while denying them legal rights; and, finally, in absolute arrogance acclaims itself a democracy as it damns Hamas as a terrorist organization, though it is a democratically elected government of Palestine, by condemning its violence against Israel, but denies that Israel is a terrorist nation that defies law, uses violence as a matter of course, incarcerates civilians in the thousands without charge or due process thus abandoning their fundamental rights as humans, creates assassination teams that kill as a matter of course turning such action into accepted policy of a nation state, and invades other nations at will as it did in Lebanon in 2006, and Gaza in 2008/9. That is the beacon that is Israel.
– William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book, The Plight of the Palestinians, was published this past summer by Macmillan. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.drwilliamacook.com and contact him at: [email protected]