Congress Tries to Wish Away Israeli Racism and Apartheid

On July 18, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution by the kind of lopsided vote (412 for, 9 against, 1 present) normally reserved for proclamations lauding members’ hometown Little League programs. Unlike most legislation, Concurrent Resolution 57 is short enough to fit comfortably into newspaper op-ed length:

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that —

“(1) the State of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state;

“(2) Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia; and

“(3) the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”

The billions Congress wastes annually on xenophobic nonsense like “border security” and “countering China”  belie the resolution’s second point, and the third point is simply bizarre — ask the Lakota or the Cherokee about how trustworthy the US is when it comes to “always” commitments.

But what about that first point, which was what the resolution was really intended to get across after US Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) stepped on a political third rail by contradicting it on July 16 (Jayapal quickly turned tail, apologized, and voted for the resolution)?

Well, there’s a problem with that point as well:

Israel IS a racist (at least if the concept of “race” encompasses ethno-religious groups) and apartheid state.

Israel was expressly founded as a “homeland” for people of a specific ethnic/religious group, and its “basic law” clearly and unambiguously affirms that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.”

Non-Jews, and especially Palestinian Arabs, are legally treated as second-class citizens, when they’re treated as citizens at all. For example, a “right of return” to Israel is offered to all Jews, no matter where they were born, but not to Palestinian Arabs who may have actually been born right there.

That’s racist, period. Disagree? Substitute “Montana” for “Israel” and “white” for “Jewish.” How does it read now?

As for the “apartheid” allegation, no other term fits a state which has spilled outside its internationally recognized borders (as codified in 1948 by United Nations Resolution 181) and set up a two-tier system based on race/ethnicity in territory it occupies. A system where Arabs are subject to Jewish rule without representation in the Knesset, where Arab property is subject to legalized theft by Jewish “settlers,” where roads and other infrastructure facilities are segregated into “Arab” and “Jews Only” use, and under which a menial class of Arabs are allowed to cross into Israel proper from their designated “homelands” to work, but not to live.

The usual defenses I see of Israel on these matters is that its existence as a “Jewish state,” and its apartheid treatment of Palestinian Arabs, are justified and must therefore not be considered “racist” or “apartheid.”

Presumably American supporters of racial segregation and South African supporters of the original “apartheid” considered their systems justified as well.

Claiming something’s justified doesn’t magically make it something other than what it is.

Neither does lying about it in a congressional resolution.


Classified Documents Leak: Who Should Go to Prison

As I write this, Politico reports that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has made an arrest in the matter of “classified” government documents found circulating on social media after allegedly being posted on an Internet game chat server over a period of weeks or months.

The New York Times reports that the likely arrestee is one Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Given my past writings on government abuse of the “classification” system, you may be surprised to learn that in this particular instance I support prison time.

Continue reading “Classified Documents Leak: Who Should Go to Prison”

Cacophony, Not Harmony: US Foreign Policy’s Terrible Tune

On March 14, a Russian SU-27 fighter brought down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. The exact details of where and how remain a mystery even after the release of drone video showing what appears to be a dump of jet fuel onto the drone, but those details don’t matter much. The incident mainly serves as an excuse for more ratcheting up of US-Russian tensions around the war in Ukraine.

When I think of drones, I’m more likely to think of music – yes, music – than of unmanned military aircraft. And thinking about the drone effect in music provides a useful analogy to US foreign policy.

Continue reading “Cacophony, Not Harmony: US Foreign Policy’s Terrible Tune”

Aloft in Search of Monsters To Destroy

They’re over Alaska! They’re over Montana! They’re over Lake Huron! They’re over … oh, wait, they just got shot down. Whew! That was close!

Tesla’s engineers are gathering this week in Washington with an eye on dramatically improving their vehicles’ acceleration profiles by studying how fast the US government managed to get from “nothing there,” to “balloon of some kind,” to “spy balloon,” to “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon,” to seemingly flying squadrons of military aircraft over every child’s birthday party and using expensive missiles to take down stray helium containers.

From, you know, an abundance of caution. Wouldn’t want the Chinese to find out about those low, low prices at the Walmart in Billings, Montana on pretty much everything but the giant sub-$100 helium balloons which US Senator Josh Hawley finds “very disturbing” (as if we didn’t know he’s already very disturbed in general). To surreptitiously gather THAT information, they’d have to surveil an distribution center.

Continue reading “Aloft in Search of Monsters To Destroy”

Why I Am Antiwar (And What That Means)

As the post-Russian-invasion phase of the war in Ukraine approaches the end of its first year (its previous, lower-intensity, phase blazed into military flame in 2014), I continually find my own position pigeon-holed into convenient categories by those who hold other positions on it.

Some who claim to be “antiwar” accuse me of supporting Russian aggression, while others say I support Ukrainian Nazism or US imperialism. Still others, more openly “pro-war,” find me “soft” on the various actions of [insert regime of choice here].

Continue reading “Why I Am Antiwar (And What That Means)”

The US ‘Intelligence Community’ Can’t Be Trusted To Police Itself

An “experienced analyst” at the National Security Agency ran an illegal surveillance project that involved “unauthorized targeting and collection of private communications of people or organizations in the US.” The agency’s inspector general concluded that the analyst “acted with reckless disregard” for “numerous rules and possibly the law.”

This happened ten years ago. The inspector general’s report was issued six years ago. But the public is just now learning about it, courtesy of Bloomberg. After some intrepid Freedom of Information Act work, we can now see a highly redacted version of the IG report.

The NSA’s investigation of the analyst began about a month before American hero Edward Snowden’s public disclosures of other illegal activities on the part of the “intelligence community.”

Snowden’s reward for exposing crime in government? Involuntary exile to Russia under threat of life imprisonment.

Continue reading “The US ‘Intelligence Community’ Can’t Be Trusted To Police Itself”