The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Republicans offer Palestinians at the altar of Jewish campaign contributions

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By Amjad Yamein
The Passionate Attachment
December 21, 2011

If only I had a dollar for every time a new blatant inconsideration of Palestinians’ rights by the USA sparked surprise and dismay. Such amazement is often premised on a supposed presumption that the USA is not only pro-human rights when it comes to spreading their hegemony all over the world.

Such assumptions reclining on, among other things, the flagrant denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and hypocrisy towards the occupation (condemning it and sanctioning it), are not enough markers to indicate the lengths to which the USA would go in support of Israel.

This time, however, it came in a different form. Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich trampled over a decade of an apparent bipartisan U.S. foreign policy when he said in a cable TV interview that Palestinians are an invented people with no apparent right to their own state.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich said. “We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people, and they had the chance to go many places.”

“For a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and I think it’s tragic,” he continued.

Deservedly and justifiably, his comment drew attention from various Palestinians figures. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad calling it, “extremely trivial,” “demeaning,” and “ridiculous,” according to the Ma’an News Agency. Top Palestinian Liberation Organization official Hanan Ashrawi dubbed it “racist” and “betray not just their [Americans] own ignorance but an unforgivable bias.” Saeb Erekat called it “the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach… He is denying our existence.”

“Invented,” in this sense, conjures the Zionist-congenial 1984 bestseller (still totemic for some on the Israeli right) “From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine,” authored by Joan Peters, who was not a historian.

From Time Immemorial is a pseudo-scholarly book, which has been dismantled and categorically rejected even by right-wing Israelis and historians, including Yehoshua Porath and Daniel Pipes.

Still, somehow, the political has-been, dubbed historian by his own self, still finds it meaningful to use such a phrase to deny more than 4.5 million people the right to their own houses, farms, and schools, amongst other things, and even undermines their suffering.

In spite of the career politician, has-been slammed historian’s apparent conviction, he is not taking his comment seriously enough to demand a rebuttal. All in all, the comment did draw enough media attention, and it could very well achieve an unstated aim of shifting swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania to his favor.

However, the next day’s events, which drew little to no media attention, has been much more alarming than the single comment aimed to attract campaign contributions from Jewish billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson.

The Iowa Republican debate between Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, final transcript courtesy of ABC News/Yahoo News debate co-sponsored by WOI-TV, The Des Moines Register and Drake University (I’m obliged by law to credit that), divulged a subtler, ideologically stable prejudice among the candidates (possibly reflecting the ideas saturated within a large strata of the American society).

To give credit where credit is due, the good doctor, Congressman Ron Paul, was the only reasonable candidate in the debate, categorically stating, in reply to anchor George Stephanopoulos’s question, that Gingrich’s comment is “just stirrin’ up trouble.”

The remaining part of the debate was outrageously farcical, coated with a thin veneer of ignorance, and portrayed against a somewhat comic background that made me, personally, feel like I no longer need to rely on websites like the Onion for humor.

Mr. Speaker further defended his claims to be historically correct. Historically, the area has been controlled by the British, Ottoman, Arab, Crusader, Arab, Maccabee, Roman, Greek, Persian, Babylonian, Hebrew, Canaanite, Hittite, Assyrian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Sumerian, and others. Historically, nations rise from within other nations; countries are carved by imperialists out of larger countries. To state, categorically, that Palestinians are invented people, as opposed to other non-invented people like Israelis, Jordanians, Saudis, Canadian, Poles, and even Americans, displays a certain amount of prejudice that should not sprout from a US presidential hopeful.

The has-been did not think that was enough. He further continued and denied the Nakba, the 1948 Palestinian exodus, on the grounds that it is “based on a historically false story.”

Gingrich further treaded in the mud saying, “Somebody oughta have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and “Palestinian” did not become a common term until after 1977.

It is not really obvious what context was Mr. Speaker referring to, since even the Zionists in 1921 said they would live with the Arabs, not throw them out of the country and claim they historically didn’t exist.

“[…]The Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims “the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development.”

Here is a link to a New York Times article , using the term “Palestine”, dating back to the late 1890s. There are also organizations named after Palesine since 1865, which proves either his blatant lying or ignorance of the subject.

Gingrich advanced further in his campaign. He went ahead and branded all Palestinians terrorists, which, as a matter of fact, does qualify as hate-speech – unless “terrorists” suddenly emanates some positive ions that does not “disparage” Palestinians.

Hate Speech, Noun; speech disparaging a racial, sexual, or ethnic group, or a member of such a group,” Collins English Dictionary.

For the record, Governor Romney, the Republican slapstick, agreed on ‘most of what the speaker said, except by going down and saying the Palestinians are an invented people.” Not because he disagrees with the sentiment, but because “Israel does not want us [USA] to make it more difficult for them to sit down with the Palestinians.”

Gingrich said, “Somebody oughta have the courage to tell the truth: These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’ We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, ‘Enough lying about the Middle East.'”

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann reciprocated the sentiment about the textbooks the has-been referred to, “[…] ‘Oh really?’ I pulled out a manila envelope that I’d brought with me, and I pulled out the pages that I’d photocopied out of current books that were being used that clearly showed that [Palestinians teaching their children hatred][…].”

On December 17, AP went on a hunt for the alleged books that Palestinians use to teach their children hatred, and failed to find the phrase, or sentiment, Gingrich and Bachmann referred to in their examples.

“[…] several studies by Israeli, Palestinian and international researchers, found no direct calls for violence against Israel,” wrote AP.

Time Magazine reported on the subject, “While the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found ‘incitement’ in atlases that have shown the country labeled ‘Palestine’ extending to the sea (that is, taking in the area that in 1948 became Israel), AP notes that some Israelis texts show Israel extending not to the 1967 Green Line but all the way to the Jordan River — erasing the Palestinian claim to the West Bank, occupied by Israeli troops since 1967 and now home to hundreds of thousand of Israeli settlers.”

Last but not least, Senator Rick Santorum decided to join the bandwagon of false information, and categorically stated that the West Bank is on Israeli land, “[…] the Israelis have the right to determine what happens in their land. And all of Israel, including the quote — you know, West Bank, is Israeli land.”

It should be noted that Gingrich did get one thing right, when he said that, “This is a propaganda war,” however, he trampled it, again, with the next phrase right after that, saying, “in which our side refuses to engage.”

There is ample evidence of the USA’s media bias in reporting. I believe it suffices to include two reports by Fair.org about the New York Times and National Public Radio.

Except for the good doctor, Ron Paul, the Republican presidential hopefuls displayed an outrageous attitude towards one of the most important issues in the region, spread what seem to be lies, intentionally or unintentionally (it is their job to check the facts behind the facts they state), and spewed hate speech that couldn’t possibly help anyone, except, perhaps, to secure them more Jewish contributions and voters for their campaigns.

Amjad Yamein is an independent writer and journalist based in Amman, Jordan. He can be reached at tudsitwol@hotmail.com

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

December 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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