Congress Blesses Israel’s Matrix of Control

by James M. Wall

The US Congress announced through two July votes that since the US and Israel are obviously the colonial bosses of the Middle East, the future of the Palestinian people must be determined through “negotiations” between unequal partners, an occupying military power and the captive population it occupies.

OK, so the resolution did not actually say that part about colonialism. But ponder for a moment what really happened in our national legislative halls this month.

By a unanimous Senate vote and a 407 to 6 majority in the US House, the Congress demanded that Palestinian leaders “cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including through a unilateral declaration of statehood or by seeking recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations or the United Nations.”

The Congress also demanded that President Obama “announce that the United States will veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood that comes before the United Nations Security Council which is not a result of agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians”.

Furthermore, the Congress, in the words of its resolution, expects President Obama to “lead a diplomatic effort to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians.”

Stephen Zunes understands the American zeitgeist which produced the arrogance behind that resolution. He wrote:

Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are still trapped in an early 20th century colonialist mindset which believes that colonized people should only be allowed independence under the terms and conditions granted them by their occupiers.

We are all occupied by Israel’s army because we are, as Zunes notes, “trapped in an early 20th century colonial mindset”. To be trapped in a colonial mindset is to be linked to a a matrix of mind control that deadens our hearts, our minds, and yes, our souls. Not convinced? You still believe that our political leaders, our church leaders, and our media controllers tell us the truth about Israel?

Take note of what riles up the oppressors. Why else would the state of Israel react with such vehemence at the slightest effort to throw supportive and symbolic lifelines to the Palestinian people?  Recent example: The Israeli Knesset has just declared it to be a crime to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

That’s right, that innocent-sounding Palestinian-inspired effort to call attention to the connection between corporate profits and Israel’s occupation has made Israel chip away yet another hunk of high-minded idealism that once led Israelis to dub themselves as “the only democracy” in the Middle East.

Remember that, you delegates to church legislative bodies. You could end up in an Israeli prison cell if you continue to protest Israeli occupation. These people want us to be afraid, very afraid.

You congressional legislators who have come to love the perks and glamour of power, you thought you could be Mr. Smith in Washington doing what is good for your people? The moment a member of Congress endorses a check from supporters of colonialism, they lose their freedom to determine what is good.

It works this way, Madame and Mr. Congress member. Listen well. When AIPAC sends over its latest resolutions, don’t bother to read it.  Just sign and cast your vote the way you are told. When you have been ground down sufficiently, you will embrace Israel’s control the way you once accepted the control of the schoolyard bully who stole that piece of your Mom’s apple pie you brought for an afternoon snack.

You will get used to it, so much so that you will find yourself sending out lies and distortions to your voters and believing them, just as you expect the voters to believe them.

After a while, it becomes easy to send out such a letter the way Hawaii’s Democratic Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, did recently.  The Congresswoman caught on fast. She is serving her first term in Washington:

Stuart Littlewood shared Hanabusa’s letter through the website, Intifada Palestine.

Littlewood reminds us just what is in Resolution 268, of which the congresswoman is so proud to have supported in her first term in office:

Resolution 268 actually states that “Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations.” It threatens withholding US foreign aid to the Palestinian National Authority if it presses ahead with an application for statehood in the United Nations in September. It also calls for the Palestinian unity government to “publicly and formally forswear terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist, and reaffirm previous agreements made with the Government of Israel.”

Got that, you Palestinians? If you expect to keep your 40 acres and the mule, you must talk to no one but us. And, another thing, you must do so under our rules of engagement. Otherwise, as the Mafia guys in my town might say, “we know where you live”. Read Hanabusa’s letter carefully and take note of the deceptions and distortions members of Congress accept as the price for staying in office.

As the only democracy in the region, I believe that the United States has a special relationship with Israel… During my time in the House of Representatives, I will support our funding our ally and help to forward Israel’s efforts to keep their citizens safe, which currently stands at $2.8 billion in general foreign aid, and another $280 million for a missile defense system…

Our foreign aid to Palestine is intended to create a virtuous cycle of stability and prosperity in the West Bank that inclines Palestinians towards peaceful coexistence with Israel and prepares them for self-governance.  .  .  .  

Most recently, I became a co-sponsor of House Resolution 268, which reaffirms our support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states. This resolution is also in opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, as well as outlined consequences for Palestinian efforts to circumvent direct negotiations. This bill passed in the House on July 7, 2011 by a vote of 407 – 6…  

(House resolution 268 was sponsored by Representative Eric Cantor, the Debt Ceiling Republican point man. It was co-sponsored by virtually the entire House membership. Visit this site to see how your member voted; For the text of the resolution, click here.) 

In the essay he wrote for Truthout this week, Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, describes the history of  the colonial mindset which is so slavishly followed by the US Congress. Zunes calls his essay, “Congress and Its Colonialist Agenda”. He writes:

Up until the mid-20th century, Western attitudes regarding national freedom essentially went like this: the independence of white Western nations (Great Britain, France, the United States etc.) was a given. Independence for nonwhite, non-Western nations (such as those in Africa, the Middle East and Asia), however, could only be under conditions granted by the occupying powers.

The time at which these nations could be free, their specific boundaries and the conditions of their independence could only be reached through negotiations between the colonial occupiers and representatives (if approved by the colonial powers) of the conquered peoples. 

The time for freedom, the ” specific boundaries” and what will constitute independence, must be negotiated, which is to say, handed down to the “conquered peoples” by their conquerers.  Any suggestion that a “third party”, say, the United Nations, might be able to suggest a more equitable arrangement for the “conquered peoples”, must be resisted vigorously.

There have been many Israelis who have felt the painful burden of having to impose their will on a captive people. These Israelis have spoken out, written about, and sought to reverse the uglier aspects of this occupation, but they have not prevailed against successive hardline conservative governments that buy the US Congress and shape the US media, all with one aim, to deny the reality of colonialism in the 21st century.

President Obama is no stranger to colonialism nor to racial hatred. We keep hoping his sensitivity to oppression will influence him to take his decision-making away from slavish adherence to Israel’s dictates.  Thus far, he has been a huge disappointment. When he was elected and basking in the adoration that engulfed him in Chicago’s Grant Park, that long-ago night in 2008, we thought the matrix was about to crack.

But even before he was sworn into office, the signs were ominous. The President-elect sat by without complaint as President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert completed their dirty business in Gaza, carrying out an invasion which did not end until a few hours before Obama’s inauguration.

Then came the appointments. Obama added no one to his inner circle who might have at least suggested to him that Palestinians are people who have been continuously brutalized.  Instead, he brought in people like Dennis Ross to guide his Middle East policies.

The American media pontificators give Ross a free ride.  Not so the liberal wing of Israel’s media, as Stephen Walt (of Mearsheimer and Walt fame) points out in his blog for Foreign Policy:

In case you missed it, veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar has written a scathing denunciation of US Middle East policy — and long-time Middle East advisor Dennis Ross — in Ha’aretz. His bottom line is that Oslo is over, yet the United States is still trying to convince the Palestinian leadership to buy into a diplomatic process that has been a cover for continued settlement building and has manifestly failed to bring them a state. The key passage:

“It would be tough to find a bigger expert than Ross on the myths and illusions related to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For years he has been nurturing the myth that if the United States would only meet his exact specifications, the Israeli right would offer the Arabs extensive concessions.”

During the years he headed the American peace team, Israeli settlement construction ramped up. Now Ross, the former chairman of the Jewish People Policy Institute, is trying to convince the Palestinians to give up on bringing Palestinian independence for a vote in the United Nations in September and recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people — in other words, as his country, though he was born in San Francisco, more than that of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was born in Safed. . . .

Ross is trying to peddle the illusion that the most right-wing government Israel has ever seen will abandon the strategy of eradicating the Oslo approach in favor of fulfilling the hated agreement. In an effort to save his latest boss from choosing between recognizing a Palestinian state at the risk of clashing with the Jewish community and voting against recognition at the risk of damaging U.S. standing in the Arab world, Ross is trying to drag the Palestinians back into the “peace process” trap.

There are reports out of Ramallah that the Palestinians may decide not to go forward in their appeal to the United Nations in September. If this is true, and we hope it is not true, then look for the US-Israeli matrix of colonial control to tighten even further.

The picture at top is from Aljazeera. The children are in Gaza. The time is December, 2008, taken during the Israeli invasion.

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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6 Responses to Congress Blesses Israel’s Matrix of Control

  1. It’s sickening Jim. Again, an expose for those willing to read and understand..
    Good news! Justin Amash, son of a Palestinian immigrant, and the newly elected Republican from District 3 (Michigan) to the House, was one of the six brave Congresspersons who voted NO on the HR 268!
    Those of us from the Grand Rapids area have let him know our profound thanks for standing up and being counted, and for being on the right side of history, on the right side of justice for the oppressed.
    Whew! Do we ever have a long way to go. But guess what? Grass roots are at the leading edge indicators. Congress (and the White House) are almost always lagging indicators.
    Especially with the power of the LOBBY, they know on which side their bread is buttered. But, the constant drumbeat of justice will roll over this country like a mighty stream. Our American legacy of support for the underdog, the disenfranchised and the oppressed, will win the day. JRK

  2. UmerSultan says:

    Another good researched and factual article. Such articles can’t be found in any of the news opinion pages.

    Thanks Jim.

  3. Awad Paul Sifri says:

    Thanks, Jim, for analyzing and dismantling the walls of colonial mind-set, lies and injustice, and for exposing such Zionist infiltrators as Dennis Ross and the sham “Peace Process”, the purpose of which is to give Israel more time to build more settlements and facts on the ground.

    The israeli strategy is to distract us by building an apartheid wall, demanding recognition as a “Jewish-only” state, expropriating Palestinian homes and lands, invading Gaza, feigning victimization from crude rockets, or Iran.

    Israel’s primary strategy is not only implementing these criminal apartheid activities, but rather to distract Palestinians and their supporters, the UN, and Human Rights groups from focusing primarily on Ending Israeli Occupation and dismantling Israeli settlements.

    Palestinians and their supporters need to keep their eye on the ball by demanding the END OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION and the establishment of the Palestinian State on pre-1967 borders.

    Seeking out UN membership as State of Palestine is a very important goal that should be relentlesly pursued.

  4. Apart from his work as a professor of politics and international studies, Stephen Zunes is on the payroll of Peter Ackerman’s International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (see my “The Junk Bond ‘Teflon Guy'”). Although he poses as an idealistic advocate of nonviolent resistance, Ackerman is a former chairman of the staunchly pro-Israel Freedom House and a close associate of Zionist warmonger Michael Ledeen. In 2005, Ackerman and Ledeen co-authored “Say You Want A Revolution,” an op-ed in the LA Times which argued for U.S. support for regime change in Tehran, Damascus and Beirut. Ackerman also participated in a roundtable discussion entitled “The Challenge of Radical Islam” at the 2008 Herzliya Conference with Uzi Landau, Ariel Sharon’s Minister of Internal Security and current member of the Knesset for Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, the Mossad-linked “terrorism” expert Steven Emerson, and Judith Miller, the purveyor of Israeli-sponsored lies about Iraqi WMDs in the New York Times.

    In 2009, Stephen Zunes received $105,549 from Ackerman’s ICNC. Considering his recent training of activists from Egypt and elsewhere (see Mother Jones’ “Fantasy Island: Democracy Edition”), he will probably earn even more in this year of the “Arab Spring.”

    As Jeff Blankfort, arguably the best informed and most incisive critic of the Israel lobby, writes of Zunes:

    As some others have pointed out, but it can’t be emphasized enough, Zunes never tries to explain WHY the US president and Congress bow and scrape to Israel. He is just like someone describing what is taking place but offers no guide to the reader to understand what is going on. This way he can claim he is criticizing both the US and Israel while providing protective cover for the Zionist lobby, a project he has been engaged in for years,

    In his book, Tinderbox, and elsewhere, he claims that it is Israel that it being used by the US (seriously!) and that this is a form of anti-semitism on the part of Washington that resembles that of feudal lords who used Jews as middlemen with the serfs. He also has said that “Israel can be seen as an example of global affirmative action” and that he “will be a Zionist as long as anti-semitism exists.” Why he retains any credibility among thinking people is beyond me.

  5. Thanks for this essay. I have linked it on my FaceBook page with the following caption:

    “An excellent essay by James Wall describing what I now recognize as the “Israeli Yoyo” – a special club ritual in which over 500 elected officials perform 29 standing ovations for a foreign Prime Minister in a joint session of the US Congress.”

    I watched the entire testimony for H.RES.268 and have also emailed the transcript of the testimony with links to the CSPAN video segments to my congressman and many others. It is a snapshot of what I hope is one of the darkest moments of our history. I write a letter almost daily to my Congressman Polis on this topic. He did once go to the West Bank to meet a Palestinian at my suggestion. I have just returned from my first trip to Palestine myself, and am even more sure that our nation’s contribution to the region is largely destructive.

    Besides the apologizing I did in Palestine, on the way home I did some more apologizing to the activists in Tahrir Square who are watching the actions of Obama, Clinton and Congress as closely as I do. It is important to know what H.RES.268 and S.RES.185 mean on the ground in Palestine. For that reason, I contribute the following- a part of what I wrote to my congressman today concerning the following short video:

    “The linked short video is of Nabi Saleh, a village I visited in late May. Residents told me about night raids by Israeli “Defense” Forces on the village in which IDF shoot sound grenades and tear gas indiscriminately throughout the village. It was hard to accept the description. Now we can all see the video from July 14.

    I see unprovoked nighttime teargas invasions as methodical provocation and in my language it is terrorism- state terrorism by Israeli forces against unarmed, and in this case probably sleeping population. This video is a mere 2 minutes of proof. There can’t be a moral explanation or justification for this behavior… it is despicable. It leaves behind broken glass reminiscent of November 9, 1938. I have seen the broken windows of May 2011 myself.

    I imagine that some Israeli officials who care less about human rights for Arabs have probably come up with some kind of legal justification for impromptu teargassing of a village at night. Perhaps the entire village has been declared a “military zone.” Perhaps these soldiers even believe there is a legal justification.

    But the young Israeli soldiers must know in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong and that they are not just prolonging but actually instigating escalation of the conflict. Far from the tired explanation about thousand year old hatreds… this conflict is modern and the hatreds that form the shaky basis for the policy are being spawned every day by activities like what is shown on the video but you might never see repeated on a television news program.”

    American taxpayers who collectively support the Israeli military with several billions per year also need to recognize that there is no symmetry, no equivalence, no orange vs. apple on this issue. What you see in this video is wrong and it is partially, indirectly, our fault. This is more than just a mistake. Israel is in a habit of being wrong. Remember that it is only a foreign country and we do not have to support their obnoxious, provocative and lethal policies.

    Harvie Branscomb

  6. Bill Gepford says:

    An excellent analysis of the issues, Jim. I am afraid that Obama has been caught in Israel’s web, like the last four presidents: we will do anyhing to guarantee Israel’s security, even at the expense of telling lies, devaluing international agreements on what is meant by “human rights, the destruction of any hope for a separate and independent Palestinian state,. and devaluing our own currency in the process.

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