On global greed and global good
Inclusive Magazine 2013
Professor at Bethlehem University, Occupied Palestine
In March 1992, the US Defense Policy Guidance formulated by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby (two neoconservatives with Israeli ties) was leaked to The New York Times and caused a stir (including a rebuke from then Senator Biden, now vice-president). Its Machiavellian/ Straussian tone of world domination was shocking. The document as revised by its release on 16 April 1992 was far milder, or at least careful in its language. By way of a price, the revised document included for the first time support for Zionism as a key to defense policy: "In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect US nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security..” The same American Zionists wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in 1996 entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." They called for regime change in Iraq, led by the US, followed by acts directed at Iran and Syria to secure US (read US-Israeli) dominance.
In 1997, these Zionists launched the Project for New American Century (PNAC) calling for US world hegemony and proclaimed ominously: " no moment in international politics can be frozen in time: even a global Pax Americana will not preserve itself ... the new world order must have a secure foundation on unquestioned US military preeminence ... The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." I was living near New York when they got the “new Pearly Harbor” on 11 September 2001. The horror was felt first because friends and relatives were in New York City and we were very worried for them and for the country as a whole. The “War on Terrorism” like the “War on Poverty” before it commenced but produced the opposite effects to what the propaganda tried to show.
One of the reasons is simply that fighting terrorism with terrorism is like curing virginity with sex. The US government defined terrorism as an activity that:
(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended —
(A) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(B) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(C) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage taking.
If taken literally, under this law, we would classify as terrorism the United States nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We would classify as terrorism the US-led sanctions that killed over one million Iraqis in 11 years according to the United Nations, as well as the bombing done in 1991 that decimated the infrastructure in Iraq. We would describe as terrorism the siege of Palestinian towns and villages by the Israeli Army and its intentional shelling of infrastructure and neighborhoods. Before the Arab countries engaged in the Palestine/Israel conflict, Zionist forces had already committed 33 massacres including the infamous one at Deir Yassin in April 9, 1948. More than half of the 531 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated by Israeli military actions before Israel was established in May 15, 1948. And we certainly would describe as terrorism the recent US military actions in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia and the Israeli military actions in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008.
In my upcoming book about my life in the US before and after 2001, I devote some pages to describe both the kindness and curiosity of average US citizens and the attacks carried on us by those in the political Zionist camp. We were subjected to email spams, computer hacking, mail fraud, FBI investigations that came from Zionist sources, physical and verbal attacks, and to deluge of letters calling us names (from terrorists to anti-Semites) sent to media, politicians, and even our academic colleagues. But the US public became more aware of how the US government toppled elected governments like those in Iran installing the brutal Shah in 1953 and in Chile installing Pinochet (ironically 11 September 1973). They learned from declassified documents about false flag operations done both by the US and Israeli intelligence agents. Sometimes things worked out in a different direction. The US/Israeli miscalculations and stupidity in attacking Iraq backfired and Iran became stronger than ever as a regional power. The dictatorial governments of the friends of Israel were toppled by popular revolt in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. The US policy tried to balance things by working to remove dictators who are less friendly to it succeeding in Libya but seemingly failing in Syria. Israel-first lobbyists took US policy in directions that strengthened adversaries, promoted war, wrecked the American economy, and destroyed the sympathy and solidarity shown by people around the world to the US.
Governments and special interests scheme to bolster their positions while people resist and put limits on the greed of politicians and business people. The arrogance of those in power sometimes helps us because they make mistakes based on their feeling of unchecked power. But always, the power of the people makes a difference. I wrote a book published in 2010 titled “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment” in which I explained the amazingly rich history of success of nonviolent resistance in Palestine. Howard Zinn had written a book titled “A people’s history of the United States” in which he similarly articulates the centrality of people movement to all the good things that happened in America (women’s right to vote, civil rights, ending the war on Vietnam, ending US support for Apartheid South Africa etc).
In a recent visit to Mumbai, I was reminded again of what a leader of such people movement, Mahatma Gandhi, stated in an article in the Harijan 26 November 1938: “The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me… Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct…. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French.”
Martin Luther King who opposed American imperialism and exceptionalism gave his last speech in 1968 stating: “God didn't call America to do what she's doing in the world now. God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war ….. We have committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world.” King went on to talk about peace and economic justice saying: “What I'm saying to you this morning is that communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problems of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a key leader of popular resistance to South African Apartheid. He stated that there is apartheid in Palestine and that we should resist it with boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) in the same way we did against apartheid in South Africa. King, Gandhi, and Tutu identified the key problems facing us from state terror (British, American, and Israeli). Our histories are intertwined in more ways than can be measured. For example it was the same British who caused much of the problems in India (including division of Pakistan) and about the same time as they caused the problems in Palestine. The Israeli military industrial complex has built a close working relation with the Indian military since the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to India (war criminal Ariel Sharon in 2003). Israel is now the second largest military supplier to India adding billions of dollars to the apartheid Israeli economy. By contrast, the Indian people have always instinctively stood-up against imperialist and Zionist designs on the Middle East.
Seven million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people. The remaining Palestinians in the land have been squeezed to a few open air prisons. Gaza for example is 1.6 million Palestinians, 1.2 million of whom are refugees, and all are squeezed into a desert strip of land besieged by Israel with the help of an Egyptian government pressured by the US. But we Palestinians continue our struggle aided by millions of people around the world. Te activists who invited me to India and to South Africa and to 32 other countries showed me the meaning of global solidarity. They understood how Israel pushed for a war on Iraq and is now pushing for conflict with Iran. They understand that fostering “terrorism” helps detract attention from the fundamental political and economic injustice. They understand that addressing human rights of the Palestinians (including refugees’ right to return) provides a key to transform Western Asia from an area of Western fomented divisions and mayhem to an area and an era of peace with justice. They understand that global economic power is shifting from the North (Europe and North America) to the BRICS countries. They understand that imperial military power is being used to delay such a shift and such use of conflict is spearheaded by Israel. They understand that peace is good for people and bad for those who profit from war.