HOPE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

by John Hickox, Dufur, Oregon
palestine stampAre you ready for good news about the Middle East? It’s here! For the first time since 1948, it’s okay to boldly speak out in support of the Palestinian cause. Even Thomas Friedman is doing it! A link to his recent New York Times column follows:

The Third Intifada,  February 5, 2014, Wednesday

The weapons of this uprising in the Middle East are nonviolent.

One of the surprising, even shocking, things Mr. Friedman says:

It’s obvious that a Third Intifada is underway.  It’s the one that Israel always feared most–not an intifada with stones or suicide bombers, but one propelled by nonviolent resistance and economic boycott.

Friedman is right.  Benjamin Netanyahu (and Ariel Sharon before him) was happy when the opposition was defined by suicide bombers. Every bus explosion translated into millions of dollars from members of the American Jewish community.

And, significant as those dollars were, of much greater importance were/are the $5 billion in American “foreign aid” that we’ve been sending to Israel for decades.  This aid has paid for the occupation that’s continued since 1967.  Even more important than the billions of dollars we’ve sent over the years is the political blank check Israeli leaders have received from the U.S.  There is a story about a former ambassador from Israel who was asked, “Why don’t you guys just become our 51st state?” to which the ambassador replied, “Why on earth would we ever want to do that?  Then we’d only have TWO senators!”

When a Jewish columnist with the influence of Thomas Friedman suggests that Jimmy Carter was right when he used the word Apartheid to describe Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Netanyahu must be facing nightmares. The nonviolent resistance Mandela promoted led to the boycotts that ultimately brought down the de Klerk government.  You can bet Netanyahu isn’t sleeping well these days.

Not so fast you say, and correctly.  America participated fully in the worldwide sanctions and boycotts against and divestment in South Africa in the early 1990’s, but we are dragging our feet on Israel.  Why is that?  Perhaps that’s a whole different thing that will have to wait for another Rolling Justice article.  Stay tuned!

 

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