Israel Remains The Untouchable Election Issue

by James M. Wallspotlight

In recent weeks, I have studied Spotlight, a film that should explain why our current presidential election is about none of the critical issues facing our nation.

This Clinton-Trump campaign, is, most certainly, not about the critical foreign policy issue of Israel’s expansive and repressive grip on Palestinian freedom. 

Spotlight is the 2015 Academy Award winning real-life examination of a team of journalists working to uncover, and identify, those at fault in a massive church cover-up.

The title comes from The Boston Globe‘s investigative team of reporters, which spent eight months examining the role of the Boston archdiocese hierarchy in covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.

Early in the film, two men, Boston Cardinal Bernard F. Law (Len Cariou) and Martin Baron (Liev Schreiber), the editor of The Globe, are in a quiet conversation.

The Cardinal says to the editor, “The city flourishes when its great institutions work together.” The editor politely dissents, arguing that the paper should stand alone.

Their conversation, New York Times critic A.O. Scott, wrote, “sets up the film’s central conflict”. He continues:

The image of two prominent men talking quietly behind closed doors, haunts this somber, thrilling movie and crystallizes its major concern, which is the way power operates in the absence of accountability.

Directed by Tom McCarthy from a script he co-wrote, Spotlight is in the rich tradition of an earlier investigative newspaper story, All the President’s Men, which exposed White House involvement in the Watergate Scandal. Globe-movie_FotorSpotlight won the Academy Award for best picture. McCarthy won the Academy Award for best original script, which he co-wrote with Josh Singer. McCarthy is currently one of our finest film-makers.  See his The Visitor for his creative take on immigration.

Spotlight will remind you that our media, at its best, does not cower before the institutions that shape our nation.

What the mainstream media does at its worst, however, which it is demonstrating during the present campaign, is to “work together with its institutions” to satisfy the demands of those institutions.

Little on the political front, for example, approaches the evil conduct of Israel in its repression of Palestinians, a repression that could not continue without American financial and political institutional support.

A presidential campaign should explore how to confront such conduct. This one does not. 

Fortunately, there are a few journalists, like Glenn Greenwald, who understand how the institution of mainstream media serves as one of Israel’s major enablers in Israel’s addiction to American power and money.

Greenwald appeared recently on the web site, Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman. At one point in the interview, Goodman asked Greenwald about Trump. His answer began:

[Donald Trump], the person the Republican Party has nominated, on a personal level, is extraordinarily unstable and vindictive and dangerous and narcissistic, in a way that you really wouldn’t trust him to occupy any minor political office, let alone command the military of the United States and the entire executive branch.

Goodman also asked Greenwald about his recent essay, “As Israel Prospers, Obama Set to Give Billions More in Aid While Netanyahu Demands Even More.”  His response:

One of the things that happens during the election campaign is that all the focus of the media, and therefore the American public, goes to the personalities of the two candidates, and the U.S. government does incredibly important things, consequential things, that get ignored.

The United States already is by far the biggest benefactor of the Israeli government. We already give $3 billion a year in taxpayer money, in military aid, all sorts of other forms of aid, including diplomatic cover as they bomb Gaza, as they occupy the Palestinians, as they violate international law.

It’s because the U.S. government enables this. And we transfer all this money to Israel, even though, in many ways, Israel is more prosperous and thriving and its citizens enjoy more benefits than American citizens do, including universal healthcare and free college, which Israelis enjoy but the U.S. doesn’t, as we transfer billions of dollars to them.

One of the things that President Obama is doing, with almost no attention, is he has negotiated a deal with Israel to significantly increase the amount of money that Israel gets for 10 years, so no government, no future Congress can even reverse it, to give them many, many billions more than we’re already giving them.

The idea is to keep Israel militarily superior to its neighbors to ensure that they can continue to dominate the region without challenge, and also domestic political reasons, for the Democratic Party to show voters who care about Israel, namely evangelical and Jewish voters, that they are doing even more for Israel. And it’s incredibly consequential. 

Gideon Levy, the Israeli Ha’aretz columnist, continues to inform the world and remind his own government, that “what Israel does to the Palestinians, is incredibly immoral”.  

In a recent column, Levy cited population numbers that should shame Israel and its American enablers.

A state where half the subjects are denied rights can’t be democratic. In a state that doesn’t intend to change its borders or the nature of its rule, this discussion is merely part of the delusion of perpetually parading around naked but feeling fully clothed.

Two peoples equal in size live under Israeli rule: about 6.3 million Jews and 6.3 million Arabs. Half and half. That’s the outcome of 50 years of life in a binational state, not Jewish and not democratic. To the 1.8 million Arab citizens, you have to add the 2.7 million Palestinians living under direct Israeli rule in the West Bank, and about 1.8 million living under indirect Israeli rule in Gaza.

The fate of all these subjects, from registration at birth to the currency they use and most of their rights, is set in Israel. They are subject to its rule; they are part of the state.

Presidential candidate debates will soon begin. One question that should come up, but will not, is this:

Should the U.S. government continue a guaranteed increase of its current three billion dollars a year to the prosperous nation of Israel, even as Israel continues to oppress half of the population under its control?

The picture of Boston Globe staff members is from the film, Spotlight.

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 Movies, Politics and Elections. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Israel Remains The Untouchable Election Issue

  1. Absolutely a scintillating overview of the maleficent workings of our political class, in full complicity with the MSM, and in total disregard of law, justice, and morality. The Palestinians are allowed — nay, forced — to suffer at the bloody hands of the Zionist-led USrael “entangling alliance” that soils our body politic and makes a mockery of our pious calls for “democracy” and “human rights.” Thank you, Jim.

  2. says:

    Dear James –

    Thank you for this excellent piece highlighting how power works behind closed doors. It is the sort of power some of us in the Episcopal Diocese of California are currently struggling against in an effort to get the Church to take a stance against California’s AB2844 that would criminalize opposition to BDS.

    Thanks for all you do and



  3. samijoseph says:

    Most interesting. Paul Craig Roberts posed the question ‘Can Americans Overthrow The Evil That Rules Them?’ in his article at:
    I am afraid it will take a miracle or, God forbid, a catastrophe, to rid the American people of the evil forces that presently dictate the agenda of whoever sits in the Oval Office.

  4. AWAD SIFRI says:

    Thanks for a great review, Jim.
    It is absolutely horrifying to ponder upon the extent to which the Israel Lobby controls, distorts, and manipulates US foreign policy, especially, in the Middle East, and this includes our “wars of choice” in Iraq and other parts of the region.

    In fact, it is ironic that Israel’s monopoly of the narrative, is what generates most of the hatred towards our country. So, the US actually gives Israel the highest aid money to any country, in order for Israel to generate hatred towards our country.

    If Presidential candidates were to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian issue, I can only see candidates racing to prove their loyalty to Israel and their support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
    The candidates will make preposterous promises for which Israel will bind them after elections are over, and for which it is the US that pays dearly.

    Had mainstream America been half-way aware of the most basic facts of the Palestinian narrative, as they are of Israel’s, it would be worth raising the issue during elections. The primary reason Bernie Sanders was able to talk to power, was that no one could credibly accuse him of being anti-Semitic.. But, as we know, the only message allowed is the Israeli narrative, and the media obediently spreads Israel’s deceptions.

    As I see it, the best avenue that one can hope for is continue pushing for the campaign issues raised by Bernie Sanders, and to raise the issue of a Free and Independent Palestinian State, as part and parcel of US National interest.

  5. David Timm says:

    The words “Greater Israel Plan” — which, if you have not already done so, you should Google and read the various pros and cons — are NEVER seen in print in the USA . . . “The evil which no man dares speak his name.” There are hard arguments on both sides of the issue, but when one looks at the strategic and groundwork necessary to implement The Plan, it is clear that the USA is hauling Israeli water in Iraq & Syria. To our credit, President Obama chose talks and diplomacy over the (un-winnable) war with Iran, which Netanyhu & Co were urging us into. This illogical relationship . . with Israel has resulted in the USA’s vetoing resolution-after-resolutikon in the UN which were submitted by other countries that sought to rebuke Israel for terror and illegal actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the illegally occupied West Bank & Gaza. . . All of this aside from Israel’s deliberate attack upon the esemntially un-armed defenseless USS Liberty and their attempts to sink this clearly-marked U S Naval vessel with all hands in broad daylight . . . why else would their torpedo boats machine-gun Liberty’s life boats? The tail seems to be wagging the dog.

  6. Jack Graham says:

    The Boston Globe has carried out a program of the powers of high finance to injure the Catholic Church since a meeting some years ago between David Rockefeller and Paul VI . The perversity of the journalism associated with the attempt to attack the Catholic priesthood in Boston is almost beyond description, and parallels the distortions which surround the assassination of JFK, the attack on the U. S. S. Liberty, and the big lies of 9/11, and the Boston marathon case, not to mention countless other episodes. The major news media of the United States are, purely and simply, the voice of a banking cartel which was installed by the financing of the American Civil War, and runs the country from behind the façade of the Federal Reserve. The story of the decline and fall of the United States now underway is pretty simple, all things considered. Our constitutional republic has been subverted and betrayed from within. The Israeli government is not alone, but only a member of the club which has betrayed us. The First Amendment does not work because the major media are the servants of special interests, and are not allowed to report the news truthfully

  7. Pauline Coffman says:

    I would add the name of James Wall to those who inform the American public. Thanks, Jim.

  8. oldkahuna says:

    Hillary Clinton has said that one of the first persons she will invite to the White House is the equally unstable Bibi. The next step will be to establish a “no fly” zone in Syria…and boots on the ground.

    Like the many years in Boston, the abuse of children in Palestine, Syria and Yemen will continue because the “mainline” media do not report institutional abuses by churches OR governments. (We must be “objective” you see!) Two or three decades later, the same media will muse: “Why did the federal government encourage the exile and execution of the Palestinians?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s