So obsessed is U.S. media with this year’s headlong dash for the White House, that Israel’s increase in settlement construction has gone by us like a snake sliding into a back yard recycling bin.
The Paris-based news agency, AFP reported from Jerusalem this week that “the number of West Bank settlements Israel plans to build” has more than tripled “in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year”.
Israeli-based Peace Now, a settlement watchdog, said in a statement “that between January and March, projects for 674 housing units passed at least one of the steps in the planning approval process, up from 194 in the first quarter of 2015”.
The absence of media attention to such a development is no surprise. The mainline media narrative on Israel/Palestine is already conditioned to treat Israel as a 51st U.S. state, surrounded by “terrorists”.
With attention directed more than usual to a domestic conflict between and within two political parties, what happens in Israel/Palestine stays in Israel/Palestine. Local U.S.conflicts are better copy especially if they involve name calling and ugly innuendos.
It is not just the settlements. At the end of March, Israel’s Knesset, voted in favour of a “Suspension Law” designed “to allow lawmakers to suspend an elected member of the Knesset (MK) with a three-quarters majority”.
The impact of this Israeli law on American readers/viewers has slid by virtually unnoticed as our major media focuses on the imbroglio between Clinton, Sanders, Trump and Cruz.
Does any of this sound familiar to situations confronted on American campuses, church law-making bodies and in political elections?
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said at an Likud Party meeting, the law is “meant to remove MKs [members of the Knesset] who stand against Israel and for terrorism.”
Under the new law, the grounds for suspension of an MK member would “include negating the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, inciting racism, and supporting armed struggle by a hostile state or a terrorist organisation against the State of Israel”.
The Knesset “suspension law” is designed to remove any MK member who dares to speak, or act, in what Israeli law deems “is against Israel and for terrorism”.
According to Israeli sources, the “suspension bill originated” after three Israeli-Palestinian MKs from the Balad Party visited families of Palestinians killed during attacks against Israelis.
This adds pressure on those MKs who wanted to pay condolences to the grieving families. The clear implication: You want to be an Israeli-Palestinian member of the Knesset? Stay away from Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens.
Housing demotions were also increased against the captive Palestinian population in the West Bank. The Palestine News Network reports:
Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) destroyed 523 Palestinian homes and civilian structures in the West Bank since the start of 2016, with an increase of 275% from last year, a Palestinian center reported Sunday.
According to the report by the Land Research Center (LRC), the Israeli occupation army demolished 188 civilian structures sheltering 854 Palestinians. Nablus province, in the northern occupied West Bank, hit a record high of 58 in the number of demolished homes.
In case you had not noticed, the Israeli “suspension law” merely codifies the Knesset’s war against any and all who do not display absolute loyalty to the state.
The hatred embedded in that law have surfaced in bills proposed and passed, in U.S state and city legislative bodies, demanding allegiance to an American version of Israel’s “suspension law”. They even use essentially the same language passed by the Knesset.
The MK “suspension law” has long been operative in all corners of the U.S. Are there church journalists alleged to be anti-Semitic for questioning Israeli policies?. Of course there are.
Are there university professors dismissed or fired for failing to give allegiance to a specific foreign power? A professor from a college within bike-riding distance of my home, ran into trouble for displaying solidarity to Muslims. She is no longer at the school..
What’s does this have to do with Israel’s “suspension law”? If you had to ask, you have not been paying attention. Supporting Muslims is tantamount to questioning the right of Israel to exist. How is that possible? Ask your pro-Israel friends.
Hillary Clinton, a United Methodist member since her childhood in the town of Park Ridge, Illinois, has pledged to work to stop BDS agitation if she is elected. How do we know this?
She said so in a letter to Haim Saban, a strong pro-Israel Hollywood figure and one of Clinton’s major contributors.
In Truthdig, Sandy Toland reports that with Saban’s $6.4 million destined for her campaign war chest, Clinton wrote to her benefactor to express her “alarm” over BDS, “seeking your thoughts and recommendations” to “work together to counter BDS.”
If it is wrong for a foreign power to buy loyalty from American politicians, is it not also wrong for American police chiefs and Christian pastors to accept Israel’s free trips to a foreign nation?
Are these freebie trips to Israel designed to educate? Of course they are not. They are a form of hashish which creates an addictive bond to a foreign power. For pastors it can mean slanted sermons. For police chiefs it can lead to massive purchases of military assault weapons to “keep the peace” in our cities.
Rulers of the Roman empire once deluded their subjects into ignoring their poverty and suffering through elaborate circuses.
Our media today is feeding this nation a political circus which features four politicians fighting over insults and childish name calling, a diversion made all the more diverting when candidates’ wives come into play.
The media knows what its subjects will read, watch and buy. Meanwhile, Israel’s occupation ferocity, shielded from an indifferent American public, grows more oppressive by the day, and especially, by the night.