movement has its nutballs, and the most radical are always
the loudest, but from the transcript of the rally and various news reports, the jeering clearly
wasn't an isolated phenomenon; it was a roar of disapproval
from the crowd that threatened to drown out Wolfowitz, at
least momentarily. Gary Alcorn of the Sydney Morning Herald
zoomed in on one of the hecklers:
Go home,' yelled Laurence Mammon, an antique dealer who was
crammed with tens of thousands of people on the grass in front
of the Capitol building.
the staunchly pro-Israel Mr Wolfowitz pointed out that 'innocent
Palestinians are suffering and dying' as well as Israelis,
Mr Mammon joined in with a chant that almost drowned out the
secretary. 'No Double Standard! No Double Standard!' It was
the mantra for what was said to be the biggest rally in support
of Israel in United States history. "
yes, they must mean the double standard whereby we bombed
Yugoslavia for allegedly doing what Israel is visibly trying
to do in Palestine.
boos are not recorded in the transcript (although "cheers"
and "applause" are dutifully noted). When Wolfowitz
was done, Zuckerman admonished the crowd: "Hold your
comments. We'll have time in a little while for all of you
to be heard."
those who ask, if only implicitly, "why shouldn't
the Palestinians suffer?" they also had their say at
same crowd that jeered Wolfowitz --and the very idea of compassion
for Palestinian suffering cheered Bill Bennett's demagogic
pitch for "moral clarity." Michael Gelman, the president
of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, introduced
Bennett by saying:
September 12th, the day after the terrorist attack on our
country, my neighbor and friend, Bill Bennett, said to me,
'Now we are all Israelis.'"
is the perfect device to evade the present conflict between
American and Israeli interests in the Middle East: simply
deny the divergence by proclaiming that, somehow, Americans
are Israelis. But is America really analogous to an
occupying power, one that, furthermore, finds itself in natural
collision with the entire Arab-Muslim world?
amen corner would certainly like to convince us that it's
America and Israel against most of the rest of the world,
but certainly the Bush administration is of another opinion.
The perfect convergence of Israeli and American interests
is a fiction, one easily dispelled by Bennett's own writings:
it was he, after all, who concurred when Sharon compared
the President of the United States to Neville Chamberlain. In any conflict between
Israel and the US, the Israel lobby of which Bennett is
one of the most visible spokespersons always chooses
US ALONE AND PAY OUR BILLS
claiming that "Israel has been fighting terrorism for
54 years," what Bennett is really saying is that the
Palestinians never had any rights, anyway, including the right
to self-defense: they, not the Israeli colonizers, are the
interlopers, and any action Israel may take against them is
justified. Israel is to be given a blank check, and, says,
Bennett, the US has no moral right to intervene:
we need to remind some of our countrymen, is not asking us
to fight for it. It is asking only for the right to be left
alone to fight its own war on terrorism. And if we let Israel
fight her war, we will be the beneficiaries."
wants the right to be left alone as long as the US foots the bill. Those IDF tanks, those
modern weapons, those bloody bulldozers all were paid for
by the US taxpayers. That's $90 billion-plus since 1949. Oh, yes, I'm sure
they want to be left alone to spend our money on building
"settlements" over bulldozed Palestinian communities
and attack helicopters to do battle with stone-throwing
children and yet surely the US has some interest
in not being seen as an accomplice to Sharon's crimes. But
since "we are all Israelis now," there are
no American interests, only Israeli interests.
THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS
was the point of Bennett's speech, and the theme of this rally
the biggest rally held on behalf of a foreign power since
the huge pro-Soviet rallies of the 1930s. Indeed, the resemblance
is positively eerie: while the ideological slant is quite
different, we see the same hectoring style, the same apologia
for abuse in the name of "moral clarity," the same
mystical faith that the god of History is embodied in a revered
foreign nation. In a direct appeal to Judaeo-Christian fundamentalists,
sum, I am here as one of tens of millions of Americans who
have seen, in the founding and flourishing of the Jewish state,
the hand of the same beneficent God who attended our own founding
and who has guided our fortunes until now."
is on Israel's side, while the Palestinians, presumably, represent
the forces of the Devil. And we know what do to with devils,
don't we? Drive them out, exorcise them, expel them from the
BLAMING AMERICA FIRST
brutal methods are
rapidly becoming the program of Israel's radicalized Likud
Party, the biggest component of Sharon's governing coalition.
With the Labor Party anticipating going into opposition over
the Powell peace plan, the Likudniks are increasingly
looking to their right for new coalition partners. This can
only widen the American-Israeli split, and make the position
of Israel's American apologists even more untenable and contradictory.
Bennett, after all, poses as a great "patriot"
and yet takes the side of a foreign power over and against
an American President in wartime.
it me, or does it seem like only yesterday that Bennett and his fellow
neoconservatives were equating
criticism of this President and his policies with "anti-Americanism"
and who's "blaming America first" now?
AND ETHNIC CLEANSING
believes that "moral clarity" in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian
the understanding of distinctions, such as the distinction
between a democracy and a dictatorship. There is a difference,
a real and substantial difference, between a democracy fighting
for survival and its opponents fighting to push that democracy
into the sea."
what if it is "democratically" decided to bulldoze
the last Arab home and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians
out of the occupied territories and into Jordan? Is that okay?
Bennett also draws a distinction "between civilization
and barbarism, between decency and terror," but what
if terror is adopted as the policy of a democratic government
and the majority agrees? Last week, 46 percent of Israelis endorsed mass expulsion: by now the
ethnic cleansers may have a majority.
then, so be it. Or, as Bennett puts it, "the time for
moral equivocation and moral equivalence should be over."
In other words, those hecklers were right to boo Wolfowitz's
reference to Palestinian suffering for any sense of moral
compassion for Palestinians is just more of the "moral
equivalence" that Bennett disdains.
outrageousness of sending Benjamin Netanyahu to openly lobby the US Senate,
and make a direct appeal to the Democrats who flocked to
support him was equaled only by the nerve of inviting Natan Sharansky, Israel's deputy prime minister, to address
the rally. The spectacle of a high Israeli official at an
American political rally, on American soil, not-so-implicitly
scolding an American President for his Mideast policy, was
an act of brazen insolence, the sort of behavior that wouldn't
be tolerated from any other country. These agents of influence
aren't at all concerned about covering up their fealty to
a foreign power: as they boast about having thrown together
the effort in record time, a little over a week, one can only
wonder: where did all the money and organizational support came
TAKE A VOTE
or not the Israeli government was directly involved, or merely
encouraged and indirectly supported these activities, the
reality is that the Israel Firsters are little more than a
small, somewhat wacky, albeit vociferous fifth column, whose
influence is way out of proportion to their actual numbers.
A Time-CNN poll, released April 12, shows that most Americans would reduce or completely eliminate aid to Israel
if Sharon doesn't withdraw his troops from Palestinian areas.
60 percent would cut or eliminate aid; and a full 75 percent
support America's diplomatic initiative.
such a great believer in the virtues of "democracy,"
will Bennett now accede to the wishes of the majority and
accept the end of aid to Israel?
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
or Contribute Via
our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form
are now tax-deductible