The United Methodist Church has begun its ten-day General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The Conference will consider resolutions to join other mainline Protestant denominations in divesting from three American corporate giants, Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard.
These companies profit from businesses that operate inside the occupied Palestinian territories. The UMC resolutions are aimed directly at the American companies, a tactic which worked well to reshape the government of South Africa.
The state of Israel hides behind “anti-Semitism” as it fights these divestment efforts. This often-used fear tactic originates in Israel and spreads like a virus deliberately introduced into different settings.
The tactic came up in recent British elections. When the “anti-Semitism” trope is on the table, you know Israel is afraid of being exposed as a fraud. Israel has never been the “only democracy in the region”. Instead, as Ilan Pappe writes, Israel is “the last remaining, active settler-colonialist project”.
Since its creation as a modern state, Israel has been guilty of immoral conduct and international crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population.
To defeat resolutions which support BDS, or at least water them down to “kum ba ya” meetings, Israel called on two leaders of U.S. pro-Israel organizations–the Israel Action Network and the Jewish Federations of North America.
Their task: Write a “please help” letter to Hillary Clinton, a United Methodist Church member since childhood.
Clinton’s response to these pro-Israel leaders is sheer, unadulterated Israeli propaganda.
Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.
Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society — not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere. We must never tire in defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, and taking our alliance to the next level.
Please know that I am grateful for your work, and that I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith — regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics — in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike,
Well, that was not helpful.
The candidate almost certain to be our next president, announces to the world that as president, she will stand with Israel. Furthermore, she will make “countering BDS a priority”.
Hillary Clinton is not a PEP (Progressive except on Palestine). She is nowhere close to being a Progressive. She is closer to being a neoconservative.
Jim Lobe offers a look at what it means for a politician to be a neoconservative:
I agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has sometimes observed that when neoconservatives talk about democratization, they usually mean destabilization.
Now I believe some neocons, notably Bob Kagan, are indeed—I believe—sincerely committed to democracy promotion and human rights, but I think his is a minority view, as demonstrated most recently in the case of Egypt, where, like Netanyahu, most influential neocons deeply appreciate President Sisi and want Washington to do more to help him.
And like Bibi, most neocons think a de facto alliance between Israel and the region’s Sunni autocrats who have led the counter-revolution against the Arab Spring would just be the cat’s pajamas. Indeed, most neocons have historically always had a soft spot for what they used to refer to as friendly authoritarians.
When was the last time you heard neoconservatives advocate for full human rights for Palestinians, let alone their right to national self-determination, unless they want to exercise it in Jordan? In any event, their record over the past 40 years suggests that their devotion to democracy depends entirely on the circumstances.
This is the world view Clinton employs as she signs on with the anti-BDS forces who are currently seeking to squash support for a non-violent Palestinian effort to overthrow its decades-long occupation.
In her letter, Clinton attacks BDS by describing the modern state of Israel as “the miracle in the desert”.
“Miracle in the desert” is a Zionist propaganda trope designed to serve as a wall of deceit to the world.
When Arab Palestinians were invaded by Zionist forces, Palestine was not a desert. It was a thriving farming culture of Arabs, both Christian and Muslims, and indigenous Jews.
For an American candidate to use a propagandist phrase like “miracle in the desert” is an insult.
That Zionist influence in her campaign which led her to make the dumb mistake of employing the “miracle in the desert” trope, did not just offend her potential progressive supporters.
It was also a display of bad judgment, the sort of bad judgment she cannot afford when she answers that same “2 a.m telephone call”, the phrase her campaign used against State Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 primary elections.
Clinton is virtually certain to win the Democratic nomination. She certainly has made her case for her support for Israel to her Jewish funders and voters for the general election. That box has been checked many times.
So why make this mistake?
The only possible answer is a lack of judgment, a sign of an uncertain leader. We had that in George W. Bush, who was pushed into the Iraq war by the same neoconservative forces who now are eager for another Clinton in the White House.
Clinton or Trump? Clinton has far more experience and is no stranger to how Washington and the world work. She is the clear choice. But we have to encourage her to stop with the bad judgment calls.
Besides, the real struggle for sanity in our Middle East policies lies in the U.S. Senate races. Israeli Haaretz columnist, Gideon Levy, who understands the U.S. political scene better than most of our U.S. media experts, points to 83 Senators who need some state pressure.
Agonizing over Bibi Netanyahu’s call for more U.S. dollars for Israeli military expenditures, Levy tagged 83 U.S. Senators who rushed to write another letter to agree to Bibi’s request.
The 83 U.S. senators who urged the president to increase military assistance to Israel are 83 ignoramuses and their letter is a disgrace. Israel of all countries? Military assistance of all needs?
Increasing military aid won’t add one iota of security to Israel, which is armed to the teeth. It will harm Israel. Those 83 out of 100 senators base their extraordinary demand on “Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges.”
What are they talking about? What “rising challenges”? The rise in the use of kitchen knives as a deal-breaking weapon in the Middle East? The challenge for one of the world’s strongest armies to survive against young girls brandishing scissors? Hamas’ tunnels in the sand? Hezbollah, which is bleeding in Syria? Iran, which has taken a new path?
It’s time they expanded their narrow view and reduced the enormous aid they shower on Israel’s arms industry – one of the world’s largest weapons exporters – and its army.
Check your senator’s record and make that an additional focus for this November 8 general election. You have Gideon Levy’s marching orders: “No more U.S. aid for Israel to survive against young girls brandishing scissors”.
The picture of Hillary Clinton is from a rally at La Escuelita School, Oakland, California, U.S., May 6, 2016. Gabrielle Lurie, AFP.
“Clinton or Trump? Clinton has far more experience and is no stranger to how Washington and the world work. She is the clear choice.”
I beg to differ on the clarity of this choice. Her “far more experience” abroad translates into neo-conish advocacy for far more wars and violence in the Mideast. Hence the pro-Israel propaganda.
At least in terms of foreign policy, choosing the lesser of these two evils is clear as mud.
It is because Hillary unflinchingly and thoughtlessly supports “rising defense challenges” for Israel that she is not almost certainly the next President. She is probably the most vulnerable major candidate for President since 1948 and is as overrated as Tom Dewey ever was. We all know that Trump has disgustingly pampered AIPAC, but he never promised to give away the farm to Bibi as Hillary is doing in order to survive. Trump has from the beginning been the most underrated candidate for President in our lifetimes, but has defeated the largest field of candidates for the Republican nomination and the most powerful combination of major media that anybody can remember. Who on earth last fall thought Trump would have eliminated all his competition by the Indiana primary? This coming November is likely to be a big surprise for those who believe in conventional politics. This reality is as true for those who do not like Trump as for those who like him. We can’t make predictions about this man upon conventional expectations, — either on how well he will do politically, or what he will do if he becomes President. We need to calculate very carefully, keep open minds, and be prepared to adapt to an unusual situation.
We have an Arabic saying which roughly translates to: “If God is angered by some people, He empowers their ignoramuses.” I leave the rest to your imagination!
We are truly caught between the Devil and the Chaotic (Deep) Blue Sea.
Hillary is a syncophant. The Donald is a Demagogue.
There is no way I can vote for Trump. I’m holding my nose and voting for Clinton.
We’ve got a long way to go before the tipping point comes in the US. It isn’t just Hillary. It’s the 83 senators and the 80% of the House that need to get the grassroots message that the status quo can not last and will change. Yes to the UM church in the BDS campaign. It worked among our cousins in S. Africa. It will work in I/P, but with more difficulty and a longer slog. JRK
I’m with Messers. Assaly and Graham on this one and stand counter to the old saw “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t”. The woman is just too pernicious for me. I’m convinced that thousands and thousands, if not millions, will needlessly die if she’s put in charge of the vicious, immoral American meat-grinder.
Thanks, Jim, yet again, for your timely incisive analyses and courage. I’m glad you pointed out, and I want to underscore, that Hillary has not cared to address “her church” as a member, but enthusiastically consented to be a propaganda exhibit for a foreign government’s attack on the church she was raised in. Shameful enough, but as a presidential candidate an absolute disgrace to both church and country. And I would add, a disgrace to Judaism also.
Thanks, Jim. I’ll be waiting for the next one.