The history and continuing violations by Israel of human rights and international law are increasingly recognized, but the question is often asked, “Why focus on Israel with so many other injustices and violent conflicts going on in the world?Isn’t that anti-Semitism?”
This is a valid question that deserves a coherent and comprehensive answer.
First, of course, is the fact that we as a nation support Israel, making us directly complicit and responsible.Israel is the #1 recipient of foreign aid provided by US taxpayers, followed by Egypt that began receiving generous US taxpayer support following its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. The quid pro quo of aid to Egypt is collaboration with Israel in crushing and trapping the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. This increases our annual foreign aid on behalf of Israel by some two-thirds.This combined largesse to maintain oppression of the Palestinians exceeds our total foreign aid to all the post-colonial, emerging nations of sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean that far more greatly need and far more greatly deserve our help.
Israel receives additional aid of some $1 billion/year via tax-deductible donations to pro-Israel “charities” such as the Jewish National Fund, as well as loan guarantees and other hidden sources of assistance. A comprehensive breakdown of Israel’s cost to US taxpayers was compiled in 1997, and a 2013 Israeli compilation concluded that $214 billion has been received in US tax-supported aid since 1948.
Second, US complicity has included protection of Israel from international justice arising from of its consistent violations of human rights and international laws governing the responsibilities and limitations of an occupying power.Since 1972, the US has vetoed 43 UN Security Council resolutions to sanction or censure Israel, EACH time standing ALONE in blocking the judgment and will of the world community.These are more vetoes than cast altogether by the other four permanent UNSC members throughout the entire history of the UN.
American aid to Israel also violates US law.Our Foreign Assistance Act prohibits aid to any country with a consistent history of human rights violations, and our Arms Export Control Act prohibits export of US weapons if used against civilians.
Third, this US support and impunity from accountability is unique to Israel, justified by our so-called “special relationship” that is routinely invoked as a cover for what is in fact submission to the second most powerful lobby in Washington as assessed by two independent congressional surveys.
The taxpayer spigot to Tel Aviv is kept open by generous financial incentives provided to members of Congress by the Israel Lobby led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which under US law cannot contribute directly but steers campaign contributions from many large American donors to pro-Israel candidates. Incumbents know that opposition to what Israel and AIPAC wants will result in substantial contributions to their next opponents' campaigns.
Dual-citizen, neoconservative and other pro-Israel figures are entrenched in our media, think tanks spun off from AIPAC such as WINEP and JINSA, and higher levels of US government and political influence, including such columnists and TV talking heads as Charles Krautheimer, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Eliot Abrams, Sean Hannity, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, John Bolton, Michael Ledeen, Irving and Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan and his wife, Victoria Nuland.
These pro-Israel media figures are routinely treated as Middle East experts given abundant major media print space and are widely consulted for mainstream TV interviews, where they invariably distribute misinformation and contextual misframings to the public. The top three civilian figures in the Bush Pentagon were all neoconservative pro-Israel members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that had lobbied since 1998 to attack Iraq and established the Office of Special Plans within the Pentagon from Sept 2002 through June 2003 that bypassed the professional US intelligence community to funnel Israeli-generated lies about Iraq into the White House and out across America to stampede the US public and Congress into approving this disastrous war.
The Iraq war will cost the US an estimated $2.2 trillion and cost the lives of some 7,900 US military personnel and contractors, while Israel lost not one life or spent one shekel. With its hunger for regional domination still unabated, Israel aggressively lobbied the US government to attack Syria and is now (in 2014-15) warmongering very aggressively for increased sanctions or US military action against Iran. Thus, Israel costs the US far, far more than our direct foreign aid.
No such lobby or influence network exists for any other rogue or aggressor nation or political movement.No leader from Khartoum, North Korea, Boko Haram, ISIS, or any representative of other world “problem spots” can command appearances before joint sessions of Congress or make the rounds of US Sunday morning talk shows. If Israeli interests are so perfectly aligned with those of the US, as Israel and its apologists claim, why would it need to maintain this immense and very expensive political lobby and influence network?
Fourth, in support of invaded, oppressed and terrorized peoples, the US anti-war movement has opposed and condemned (at least retrospectively) US wars of aggression in Vietnam, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan and Libya, as well as covert US instigation and support of coups, civil wars and violent suppression of resistance movements in Iran, Indonesia, Syria, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the six "southern cone" countries of South America. We must do no less for the oppressed and terrorized people of Palestine, suffering under brutal colonial occupation by a nation our government unconditionally supports.
Fifth, our “special relationship” with Israel confers upon the American public both the responsibility and the power to bring Israel into compliance non-violently with international law. With the international community blocked by US obstructionism, and elected US leaders hamstrung by the Israel lobby, it falls upon an awakening American public to bring corrective pressure to bear politically by demanding truth about, and justice within, the “Holy Land.”
But as Middle East correspondent and author Alan Hart has noted, Americans are the most poorly informed population in the world in this area of knowledge. Our website hopes to help change this.
Demand Freedom, Justice and Equality in the Holy Land