It’s Still The Occupation, Stupid

by James M. Wallimages

Bill and Hillary Clinton swept into the White House in 1992 on the back of their campaign strategist, James Carville (right), a wise-cracking political operative from Louisiana.

“It’s the economy, stupid” was Carville’s greatest contribution to the first Clinton campaign victory. It is classic bumper sticker wisdom that cuts through inauthentic campaign rhetorical paragraphs.

“It’s still the occupation, stupid”, is a perfect way to begin all discussion within the Democratic Platform Committee relative to  Israel’s obvious, illegal and immoral occupation.

Flaunting the obvious and playing to her Zionist-honed instincts, Hillary Clinton has instructed her platform writing team to keep the word “occupation” out of the party platform.

The Clinton team cannot erase this “damn spot” any more than could Lady Macbeth. The only word that fits “occupation”, is “occupation”.

You can say a thousand times a day that there is no occupation, but it doesn’t take even a single day among imprisoned Palestinians to see the walls, check points, Israeli military forces, and children running to school through gunfire, to experience the occupation for what it is, an occupation.

Bernie Sanders’ forces within the Platform Committee are demanding that the party’s platform state the obvious. The obfuscation and language game to deny a reality are understood everywhere but in “occupied” Washington, D.C.

The citizens of Israel know it is an occupation, but most of them prefer to look the other way and stay within their “borders”. Those who do venture into occupied territory for a quick, superior-tasting falafel do so on Israeli-only highways.

The occupation is what it is, the tight control over an imprisoned people, a control that has prompted a giant hasbara (propaganda) government agency to police language and attitudes to deny the reality that any casual visitor knows to be a lie.

U.S. Christian church bodies have held, or will soon hold, national assemblies to do the church’s business. This year the pro-Israel forces within those assemblies appear to adopt a new tactic: Keep social justice debates to a bare minimum by filling the daily agendas with conflict on church procedures.

You have to wonder where that idea came from. Strange that different denominations, who rarely speak to one another except to plan annual ecumenical dinners, came up with the same tactics in the same summer.

Have we heard much news from the denominational assemblies, specifically those of the United Methodists and Presbyterians? Of course you have not because church procedures are not news for the non-religious.

Meanwhile, the outreach of the church media is not what it was in earlier times, before national church budgets were shifted toward internal divine matters.

Nevertheless, American voters of all religious and secular stripes will have to endure two national nominating conventions to confirm the Clinton-Trump upcoming election November 8.

Considering the remaining contenders, Hillary Clinton remains such an obviously superior candidate to Donald Trump, that any reasonable sane voter will have to bite the bullet and accept the reality of another Clinton in the White House, starting in January 2017.

Who is this Trump fellow who brags about his achievements and declares himself  the “greatest” with no heavyweight title to point to? Far as we can tell, Donald Trump is a financial mogul who may not have made as much money as he claims.

He is a man so obviously devoid of even minimum qualifications to be president, that even the New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, ending a column on the Orlando mass murder, compared Obama’s response to Orlando to those of Trump:

I don’t agree with Obama on all aspects of this issue, but the guy is thinking deeply and acting responsibly. Trump is shooting from the hip, spraying insults 360 degrees, telling lies, stoking fears and making threats that many in our military and the F.B.I. would refuse to implement.

If you Republican senators and congressmen support Trump for president, he will own you — and you will own everything he does. 

On the issue of Palestine, it is safe to assume that Hillary Clinton will stick to her pro-Israel rigidity and brag that she will restore the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, starting with her administration’s first invitation to the White House to her old friend Bibi Netanyahu.

He will come, of course, with a caveat that she gets him another invite to his ” bought and paid for” U.S. Congress.

Clinton has distanced herself from Obama on the matter of Israel with such fervor that at times she sounds like one of those helpless, stunned victims from a horror movie whose mind has been invaded by alien creatures.

Right now, however, she is all we have between the bullying of Trump, whose ignorance of governing is appalling, and utter international disaster.

My Approved PortraitsCan the underground forces of Bernie Sanders during a Clinton presidency offer hope for the start of a Democratic progressive party over the next four years?

We will have our first clue when we see how strongly Sanders impacts the “occupation platform plank” at the July Democratic convention.

A second clue will be revealed in the choice of Clinton’s vice-president. She could surprise us with Sanders-supporters like Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (above right) or Robert Reich (below left), Secretary of Labor in Bill Clinton’s first term.

Robert_Reich_at_the_UT_Liz_Carpenter_Lecture_2015If she selects Israeli loyalist African American Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, get ready for a Sanders guerrilla-style battle looking toward 2020.

Whichever way she turns, our first Madam President must constantly be reminded that the over-arching issue on her agenda, foreign and domestic, remains the occupation.

Muslim hatred and bigotry, now so prominent in our post-Orlando era, is rooted in that occupation. Respect for domestic and international law cannot be restored without ending that occupation.

Justice for all demands the end of that occupation. Start by naming its name in the 2016 Democratic party platform.

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.
This entry was posted in Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Politics and Elections, Presbyterian Church USA, Religious Faith, United Methodist Church. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to It’s Still The Occupation, Stupid

  1. Noushin says:

    Jeff Halper says there is no occupation. That as far as Israel is concerned, it’s over. And all the land is theirs. Listen to this great interview:
    Especially the 2nd half.

  2. Dorothy Wonder says:

    Wow. Have you seen the film “Occupation of the American Mind”? Dorothy Wonder

  3. Jack Graham says:

    I am a reasonable, sane voter, and I will under no circumstances vote for Hillary Clinton, — never, never, never will I vote for such a crook, nor will I ever forgive the Democratic party for imposing her upon us, because they had a choice and given us an honest candidate. The words of Paul Craig Roberts and Pat Buchanan describe Hillary pretty well. I may vote again for Dr. Jill Stein as I did in 2012, because I could not stomach Obama, Biden, Romney, and Ryan. I may vote for Trump, because both the New York Times and Bibi Netanyahu intensely dislike him, which tells us a lot of good things about him, but I will never under any circumstances vote for Hillary who can escape an indictment for compromising national security, obstruction of justice, and misprision of felony only by corruption in the Department of Justice so profound that only revolution can address it, if she is elected in November, as I am beginning to think is unlikely. British Hong Kong was a good idea, but came to an end, and the same can be said of the United States. — John Remington Graham of the Minnesota Bar (#3664X)

  4. Clearly a Hillary Clinton administration will be a sycophant for Israeli Government interests. It will mark the end of the Two-State Illusion, and the beginning of the great struggle against an apartheid theocracy. Jeff Halper is correct. The struggle continues.

  5. Charlton Price says:

    Do not fail to watch the Jeff Halper discussion , link posted by Noushin. The only viable option is BDS. That’s BDS as in =Binational Democratic State. Jeff explains why and now that can happen. Like “a camel through a needle’s eye.” But any other strategy goes nowhere. Meanwhile, pending: total collapse of the Palestinian “state” (Palestinian Authority).

  6. samijoseph says:

    Most interesting, but very disturbing! I often wonder, are the majority of the American electorate so brain-dead that they can no longer perceive treason in a candidate for high office whose first loyalty is to an alien entity? Very sad.

  7. Richard Falk says:

    As usual, I find this assessment of the American political scene as it bears on relations with Israel/Palestine to be sensible and humane, although I consider Hilary Clinton ‘the lesser of evils’ I still find her rather evil, and not only because of her pandering approach to Netanyahu’s Israel at a time when even members of the Israeli political establishment are expressing their disgust of his leadership and raising deep questions about what is becoming of Israel. I also share an affinity with Jeff Halper’s insistence that the occupation is over, that the terminology of annexation is more appropriate. But perhaps, and here I am not sure, the American dialogue on Israel is so out of sync with reality that only a slogan like ‘end the occupation’ has resonance even though its call seems anachronistic to many of us. As UN Special Rapporteur I had explained why the language of occupation disguised the realities in the West Bank and Jerusalem of annexation and apartheid.

  8. Samia Khoury says:

    Although I am not an American and have no right to vote, but if I did I would feel exactly like Jack Graham. But then I am a Palestinian and indeed James your title is very befitting. “It’s still the occupation, stupid” and for the record I will add to it the ” ongoing dispossession” as well which started in 1948.

  9. Janice Kelly says:

    Dear Mr. Wall: I appreciate your thoughts. I usually agree with your quite rational thinking.

    However, I must , respectfully, disagree with you that we need to bite the bullet and vote for Hillary Clinton.She has a ghastly record of negatives. She is by far the worst candidate the democratic party has ever run, starting with her high unfavorability rating, going on to her disastrous support of the war on Iraq, to the lack of broad support of Bernie Sanders supporters, and the voter-discouraging Email and source of her cash questionability. But I will not go into all the negatives because we all know them. Because of her negatives, I doubt that she can defeat ****** ***** (I used asterisks so as not to give him any more publicity) even though his unfavorability rating is huge now.

    Further, she can not be influenced by Elizabeth Warren or any other sane democrat (although recently I have begun to wonder about Ms. Warren) because she has her head in the right-leaning faux democratic sand. Also, her past record indicates that she will say anything/do anything, and later “change her mind” to suit the prevailing winds, even “apologize” for her diastrous lack of judgment and, may I even say, common sense.

    I will never, never vote for her, and neither will many other disaffected voters. If Senator Sanders decides to support her, I will not write in his name (I can in my Ohio county). I will vote for Jill Stein, a capable and honorable progressive.

    If Mrs. Clinton loses, please do not blame me or other disaffected voters. Blame the poor judgment of the democratic establishment for foisting her upon us.

    Mrs. Clinton as president will mean only more of the same, and probably even worse. For example, the crime bill and the welfare reform bill that had disastrous effects on poor Black young men and poor Black mothers and children. To say nothing of which, the Clintons passed those bills to placate the Republicans. What does that (respectfully speaking, I am going to use a judgmental word) craven act tell us about how she would operate in the White House?

    I hope that the genuine grass roots movement inspired by Senator Sanders and the honest embracing of progressive ideals that the Green party represents results in a new party not beholden to corrupt moneyed interests. That is how we must operate to bring cleanliness to our democratic system. Maybe it is too late for this election, if the Democrats insist on Mrs. Clinton. But in the future we will have a new party that represents all of the people. And I am quite sure that Mrs. Clinton will not “bite the bullet” and embrace us, the way you are asking us to support her, because she irredeemably belongs to the evils of the past.

    I see a huge amount of support for my position on social media, which, as everyone knows, allows in all the information not permitted by journalists who have sold out. Yes, I know that even on social media we have to be careful, but that being said, opinions are in favor of Senator Sanders, Jill Stein, and a new party.

    Please, please reconsider your view, and join the political revolution. I respectfully ask.

    Janice Kelly

  10. Paul Larudee says:

    There are many Palestinians who object to the word “occupation”, as well. Call it larceny, ethnic cleansing, genocide, settler colonialism, and many other things. “Occupation” minimizes the Israeli actions and policy, and it implies that everything will be fine if Israel stops “occupying” 22% of Palestine. The use of that word does not necessarily constitute progress.

  11. Patricia says:

    I agree with you Janice Kelly. Third party it is to save AMERICA!

  12. Dorothy Wonder: Yes! I received my copy of The Media Education Foundation’s “The Occupation of the American Mind — Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States” on 6/08 and watched it yesterday/18th. It is excellent, but, sadly, only the choir will sing to it.

    I have stated in any forum available to me that Dr. Jill Stein has my vote in November.

  13. Helen Marshall says:

    Second your comments Janice Kelly! Leaving aside the disaster that Clinton represents for domiestic policy, she brings with her a crowd of extremely dangerous neoncons and “interventionists” such as Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice…the chances of a nuclear confrontation with Russia increase dramatically. Iraq war? Honduras military coup? Destruction of Libya and the disgusting chortle recorded live when she heard that Gadaffi had been sodomized and murdered?? Boots on the ground in Syria? The prospect of another Clinton in the White House is terrifying.

  14. Sam Bryan says:

    Wonder what Hillary would say confronted with the fact that “her own State Department” uses the phrase “Occupied Territories? See titled “2015 Human Rights Reports: Israel and The Occupied dated April 13, 2016.

    Israel of course used the phrase “Disputed Territories” to sidestep international law. See discussion
    “The United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice both describe the West Bank and Golan Heights as “occupied territory” under international law, However Israel’s government calls all of them “disputed” rather than “occupied.”

    The Israeli government’s use of language often bears questioning, especially the current government’s. Here’s one of Ehud Barak’s “zingers” aimed at Netanyahu: “In world capitals, in London and Washington, in Berlin and Paris, in Moscow and Beijing – no leader believes even one word from Netanyahu and his government. Reference: “Ehud Barak’s Top 12 Zingers and Putdowns of Netanyahu and Co.

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