Soon after the U.S. House adopted a resolution to denounce the Goldstone Report, the Israeli Army chief of staff threatened a new offensive against Gazan civilians. We can officially say that there are at least 344 Neo-Con’s in the lower house of Congress.
Tuesday, the U.S. House voted to approved a resolution denouncing the Goldstone Report, the fact-finding mission endorsed by the U.N. Human Rights Council which found the Israeli government and Hamas committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The so-called “conflict”—better known as the ‘U.S.-Israeli Gaza Massacre’—resulted in over 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, the ‘wanton destruction‘ of almost 40,000 Gazan homes and left tens of thousands homeless. Of the nearly 1,200 dead non-combatants, hundreds were children.
The Gaza Massacre began less than two months after Israel broke a four-month ceasefire between it and Hamas. While Americans and the rest of the world were anointing so-called “change” to lead the world, Israel Defence Forces (I.D.F.) raided Gaza in the middle of the night, killing six Hamas forces.
H.R. 867, a resolution “calling on the president and the secretary of state to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’”, passed with 344 ‘yeas’ and 22 voting ‘present’.
Of the war criminal coddlers voting ‘yea’ were 179 Democrats and 130 Republicans. Of the so-called ‘liberals’ in the Congressional Progressive Caucus voting ‘yea’ included: Barney Frank (D-MA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Phil Hare (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL).
(Notice the three common states shared by all but Mr. Frank. Can you say ‘in the pocket of the Israel Lobby’? Or ‘K Street whore’ for Mr. Grayson?)
Of the 36 ‘nays’ was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who dissented: “Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.
“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.” (2:22):
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, called the GoldStone Report “unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate” in support of the resolution co-sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-FL) the two senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Associated Press reports.
“AIPAC, in concert with every mainstream pro-Israel organization in the United States, supports this important resolution,” said Josh Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Glenn Kessler reported at The Washington Post last week.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who headed the opposition to the resolution, said it should’ve been opposed because “it suppresses inquiry” which he says is a “hallmark of democratic societies”. This is true as a truly democratic society is one where individuals have a role in the decision-making processes in process to the degree to which the decision affects them. For such processes to exist, people must have the freedom to effectively scrutinize—through “inquiry”—all individuals and bodies of authority which assert power and use force. Democracy does not exist in U.S. politics. Nor does it exist in Israel’s.
Mr. Ellison called on his colleagues to read the Report—D.C.-talk for ‘you’re voting based on lobbyists, not facts’. The Israel Lobby is among the strongest in Washington, D.C.
He stated the resolution “goes against President Obama’s foreign policy direction”, but facts prove the contrary. On top of an overt willingness to enable Israel’s war crimes, Mr. Obama has actively covered-up violations of international law by the Bush Administration to not hinder his own.
Covering up U.S.-Israel war crimes
While taking a stand on future uses of torture by the U.S., Mr. Obama refuses to invalidate the “torture memos” used by the Bush Administration to justify its violations of the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. An inspector general’s report recently found the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) covered up murder, performed mock executions on detainees, and threatened to rape and kill their wives and children on top of using the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”—called “torture” and “illegal” any place away from the memos of the White House Office of Legal Counsel.
Today, the Obama Administration was “disappointed” with an Italian court convicting 23 Americans—including 22 C.I.A. agents—tried in absentia for the 2003 illegal kidnapping of Osama Mustafa Hassan, a Muslim cleric, in Milan. The agents shipped the imam off to be tortured repeatedly until 2007 in Egypt—a loyal client-state of the U.S., whose 28-year dictator Mr. Obama recently called a “force for stability and good“.
The day after banning torture, Mr. Obama ordered airstrikes in Pakistan using unmanned drones without a declaration of war from Congress—airstrikes with U.N. human rights investigators say “may violate international law”. Citing Jane Mayer at The New Yorker on October 19, Kelley B. Vlahos wrote that the Obama Administration has taken the Bush Administration’s Predator drone program and “jacked it up with steroids” as “the number of Obama-authorized strikes in Pakistan equals the sum launched by the Bush Administration—in the last three years of his tenure”.
Over the last three years, only 14 of the nearly 700 killed by U.S. drones have been militants. For every terrorist killed, nearly 49 civilians are murdered. Knowing this, “only six of the forty-one C.I.A. drone strikes conducted by the Obama Administration in Pakistan have targeted al-Qa’ida”. Ms. Mayer reported. Targeting non-combatants is exactly what international humanitarian law focuses on condemning.
In the two wars Mr. Obama has been leading in 2009, 886 civilians were killed in Afghanistan from February to July [.pdf] and 2,629 in Iraq from February to August, Brian Doherty posted at the Reason blog. (h/t: Angela Keaton)
Ha’aretz, a mainstream Israel daily publication, reported Mr. Obama “surprised” Israeli President Shimon Peres’ recent gala with a recorded message calling the U.S.-Israel relationship “a bond that is much more than a strategic alliance”—calling Israel an “extraordinary example how courage and perseverance help shape the future”.
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., “promised that the United States will continue to stand by Israel as a loyal friend in the fight against the Goldstone Report”, Johnathan Lis reported at Ha’aretz.
The watered-down 575-page report found Israel “terrorized” Palestinians during the Gaza Massacre earlier this year. Israel “used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians and used Palestinian civilians as human shields”, the fact-finding mission concluded.
The Report is the result of a fact-finding mission sponsored by the U.N. Human Rights Council that was headed by self-proclaimed Zionist Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa. The Report that if the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority don’t conduct independent investigations into war crimes committed by the (I.D.F.) and Hamas during Israel 22-day massacre of Gazans, facts found should move to international bodies—the U.N. Security Council, the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Enabling new unlawful threats of force
Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israeli Army “threatened a new offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, suggesting attacks on civilian targets”, Press TV reports, adding: “He said the Israeli army could be fighting in cities, mosques, hospitals, schools and even kindergartens, blaming the indiscriminate warfare and a likely targeting of civilians on Palestinian resistance fighters.” The manufactured cause pushed is that Hamas is “hiding weaponry in public buildings and residential areas”.
The U.S.-Israel-Egypt blockade on Gaza has transformed it in a de facto concentration camp. “Most food products and other goods, including construction material desperately needed to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure devastated by Israeli bombing during the war in January, are forbidden,” as Mel Frykberg regularly reports at Inter Press Service.
Barely able to access food, water, goods to make a living that is most regularly of what’s smuggled through tunnels, Israel acts as if Gazans are ignoring their hunger and poverty to build up a force to challenge Israel—with whom Mr. Obama, in continuity with decades-old U.S. rejectionist policy to supply and blindly throw full support behind the I.D.F., has “a bond that is much more than a strategic alliance”.
Ms. Rice is leading the push by the Obama Administration and Israel for the U.N. General Assembly to block a hearing on the Goldstone Report to reach the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), al Jazeera reports (2:32):
‘Neo-Con’ is a bipartisan word
The Report will most likely reach the UNSC and the U.S. knows this. The Administration is just displaying continuity reinforced by Congress in preparation for the inevitable veto of any resolution to condemn Israel’s war crimes—as the U.S. has done routinely for decades, being a permament member with such power on the UNSC.
Given Mr. Obama’s support for the Gaza Massacre, denouncement of the Goldstone Report and continued military welfare to Israel larger than that to any other nation-state in the world, it would be no surprise were the U.S. to support Israel once again “fighting in cities, mosques, hospitals, schools and even kindergartens” and using legal and illegal weaponery from the U.S. to do so.
Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz columnist, wrote an article last weekend titled, “America, Stop Sucking Up to Israel,” saying of Mr. Obama’s rhetoric—parallel to all prior U.S. presidents who never cut back on coddling or military welfare for Israel—that “a persuasive speech won’t persuade anyone to end the occupation” of Palestine, adding:
Before no other country on the planet does the United States kneel and plead like this. In other trouble spots, America takes a different tone. It bombs in Afghanistan, invades Iraq and threatens sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Did anyone in Washington consider begging Saddam Hussein to withdraw from occupied territory in Kuwait?
But Israel the occupier, the stubborn contrarian that continues to mock America and the world by building settlements and abusing the Palestinians, receives different treatment. Another massage to the national ego in one video, more embarrassing praise in another.
Now is the time to say to the United States: Enough flattery. If you don’t change the tone, nothing will change. As long as Israel feels the United States is in its pocket, and that America’s automatic veto will save it from condemnations and sanctions, that it will receive massive aid unconditionally, and that it can continue waging punitive, lethal campaigns without a word from Washington, killing, destroying and imprisoning without the world’s policeman making a sound, it will continue in its ways.
“It’s simply impossible to imagine that sort of harsh and blunt critique being voiced by any establishment political commentator or national politician in the U.S.,” Glenn Greenwald writes at Salon. “In fact, one finds the exact opposite trend of the one Levy advocates.”
“The U.S. is unwilling merely to demand from Israel a cessation of activity which is illegal in the eyes of the entire world and destructive to American interests,” he adds:
Any decent human being would react with horror and disgust at such a report [as the Goldstone Report] and demand a full investigation and accountability. But the members of Congress in both parties—predictably—are doing the opposite: they’re condemning the report itself, demonizing those who prepared it, and demanding that investigations be suppressed. As Levy says, why would Israel ever feel constrained to stop any of its behavior when it knows that the U.S. Government is unwilling and/or unable to do anything but subserviently cheer it on?…
As this highly revealing exchange between Hillary Clinton and Pakistani journalists over the meaning of “terrorism” reflects, nothing destroys our efforts to improve our image in the Muslim world as these blatant double standards do (blatant, that is, to virtually everyone outside of the U.S. and much of Western Europe). Even Iran’s dissident leaders point to America’s double standards on Israel to justify their own government’s conduct. It’s so obvious as to require no explanation that we cannot and will not be taken seriously in our campaigns against “terrorism” and “war crimes” when we are not only willing, but eager, to exempt ourselves and Israel from those sermons. But after some initial, impressive steps from Obama, we are continuing to do that as much as ever, probably to Israel’s detriment and certainly to our own.
Alexander Cockburn, editor and publisher of Counterpunch, tells the story of then-U.S. President George W. Bush asking his father, Fmr. U.S. President George H.W. Bush, in August 2006,”Dad, what’s a ‘Neo-Con’?”
Asked whether or not he wanted “names or a description”, the sitting president asked for a description.
“I’ll give it to you in one word,” Mr. Bush, the father, replied to his son. “Israel.”
This week, we received a head-count of at least 344 Neo-Con’s in the U.S. House of Representatives to go along with the war criminal in the Oval Office.
- Chomsky’s Lectern: Palestine and the Region in the Obama Era—The Emerging Framework (Video)
- U.S. to ‘Continue Standing By Israel’ War Crimes ‘as Loyal Friend’
- Norman Finkelstein on the U.S.-Israel Relationship (Video)
- Norman Finkelstein on the U.N. Report Finding Israel ‘Terrorized’ Palestinians and Committed War Crimes in Gaza Massacre (Video)
- Nobel Committee: War is Peace
- Obama Agrees to Continue Covering Up Israel Nukes
- VIDEO: Citizens Arrest Attempt of Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in San Francisco
- Amnesty Int’l Report: U.S.-Israel Gaza Massacre — 22 Days of Death and Destruction
- Israel and the US (Video)