Sunday, October 19, 2014

We're All Palestinians

We're All Palestinians

by Stephen Lendman

The late Edward Said called "any serious public discussion" about Israeli policies the last taboo. It's no exaggeration, he said.

"Abortion, homosexuality, the death penalty, even the sacrosanct military budget can be discussed with some freedom." 

"The extermination of native Americans can be admitted, the morality of Hiroshima attacked, the national flag publicly committed to the flames." But (decades-long Israeli) oppression and maltreatment of the Palestinians is virtually unmentionable, a narrative that has no permission to appear."

Why, he asked? Because of enormous Israeli Lobby influence. The "power of Zionist organizations in American politics…"

An "absolute astonishing" refusal to openly discuss what's vital. One-sided MSM media support for Israel.

Many US Zionists believe "Palestinians are not real beings." They're "demonized fantasms - fearsome embodiments of terrorism and anti-Semitism."

AIPAC is Washington "most powerful single lobby," Said said. It "inspires an awed fear and respect across the political spectrum." 

"Who is going to stand up to this Moloch on behalf of the Palestinians, when they can offer nothing, and AIPAC can destroy a congressional career at the drop of a check book?"

"(V)irtually the entire Senate can be marshalled in a matter of hours into signing a letter to the President on Israel’s behalf." 

"No-one exemplifies the sway of AIPAC better than Hillary Clinton, outdoing even the most right-wing Zionists in fervor for Israel in her avid clawing for power in New York, where she went so far as to call for the transfer of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the grant of leniency for Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the US."

The notion of model Israeli democracy, an "oasis of Western modernity in the political desert of the Middle East, is virtually impregnable."

Zionist power claims the "right to intervene in everybody's business." It waged war on Said. Its officials asked Columbia University where he taught to dismiss or censure him criticizing Israel.

Right-wing ideologues attacked him. He called the so-called peace process a "shameful charade."

He denounced "Arab blindness" and PLO duplicity. For selling out to America, he said. He called Oslo a Palestinian Versailles.

"Caging Palestinians in a remnant of their own lands, like inmates in an asylum or prison."

"What's "astonishing is…that it could ever have been passed off as peace instead of the desolation that it has really been all along."

"A dithering Palestinian leadership" sold out. Betraying their people. Doing so for benefits they derived.

Agreeing to be Israel's enforcer. Consigning Palestinians to a "miserable, denigrated place." With no rights whatever. 

At Israel's mercy. Subject to its will. Its contemptible disregard for fundamental rights. Its treating Palestinians like subhumans. Including its own Arab citizens.

Said championed peace, equity and justice. He denounced imperial lawlessness.

Israel's 1967 Six Day War transformed him. It radicalized him.

He began championing Palestinian rights. He became their leading spokesperson. He was that and much more until his death.

He advocated a one-state solution, saying:

"The beginning is to develop something entirely missing from both Israeli and Palestinian realities today: the idea and practice of citizenship, not of ethnic or racial community, as the main vehicle of coexistence."

"Palestinian self-determination in a separate state is unworkable." 

"The question" now isn't separation. It's "to see whether it is possible for (Jews and Palestinians) to live together as fairly and peacefully as possible." 

"What exists now is a disheartening…(A) bloody impasse." 

"There is no way for Israel to get rid of Palestinians or for Palestinians to wish Israelis away."

"I see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen."

Doing so in no way diminishes life and aspirations for either side, he added.

It affirms equal self-determination for Arabs and Jews. Living together in the same land where they once coexisted peacefully.

Neither side deserves "special status at the expense of the other," Said believed.

For millennia, Palestine was (and still is) "multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious," he explained

No "historical justification for homogeneity" or "notions of national or ethnic and religious purity" exist. 

"The alternatives are unpleasantly simple: either the war continues" with its unacceptable costs or an equitable solution is found.

There's no in between. Oslo betrayed Palestinian rights. Said denounced it powerfully. 

He explained "the fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony…" 

"(T)he degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people's rights…" 

"(T)he fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton's performance…"

"(L)ike a 20th century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance (and) the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation."

Oslo was unconditional surrender. Twenty-one years later, things are worse than ever. Nightmarish. An entire population is brutalized unaccountably.

It's being suffocated out of existence. Israel terrorizes, traumatizes, and slaughters Palestinians at its discretion.

It humiliates, mass arrests, imprisons, tortures and otherwise abuses them. For decades, they've endured every imaginable indignity. Degradation. 

Hypocritical Big Lies. Masquerading as absolute truths. Deplorable high crimes against peace. Slow-motion genocide.

In his book titled "Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire," John Pilger discussed decades of horrific Israeli repression.

What no people should have to endure. Defenseless. At Israel's mercy. With Washington's full support and encouragement.

Balfour's 1917 promised "national home for the Jewish people" created hell for Palestinians. It bears repeating. It's worse than ever today.

George Galloway is one of Palestine's staunchest supports. He challenges Israeli barbarism responsibly. He does it no-holds-barred. Eloquently. Powerfully.

In July, he told UK parliamentarians: "We are the authors of the Palestinian tragedy."

"The international community is not impotent," he said. It's "merely feigning impotence as an excuse for its failures to carry out its duties."

"The foreign secretary says he doesn't want what he calls 'gesture politics.' Supported widely in the house today."

"Like an arms embargo. Like recalling ambassadors. Like requiring the recalling of Israeli ambassadors."

"Because he doesn't want to isolate Israel. But he and the government were in the forefront of those isolating the elected government of Palestine (Hamas in January 2006)."

"They like to talk about president Abbas who's now illegally occupying the presidential chair in Ramallah."

"They refuse to acknowledge that the Palestinian people voted for Hamas."

"The Israeli attitude to Arafat and Fatah when they were in power was exactly the same as their attitude now to the Palestinian administration of Hamas."

"They drowned Arafat's administration in blood by a policy of assassinations, settlements, wall building, and economic embargo."

"The British government wholeheartedly supported the embargo of Gaza to punish the Palestinian people for voting for a Hamas administration."

"The government's double standards in this affair is so brazen that people are boiling with rage outside in the country, if not absolutely clearly in this building outside people are furious, and the danger of radicalization of particularly the Muslim youth in this country is clear and present as a danger."

"The government is always looking for some cleric to refuse a visa to or some Islamic organization to proscribe, to try and curb radicalization."

"How radical does the minister think British Muslims feel right now, as they watch on the news right now…the slaughter of children…"

"Their policy of setting back extremism and radicalization have been set back by their own complacency and ineffectual policy towards this, especially compared with their militancy on subjects like Russia…"

I'm amazed at how many members of Parliament have been in Sderot (in southern Israel near Gaza's border)."

"Did any of them when they were there see the ruins of the Palestinian villages on which Sderot is built?"

"The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from Sderot in the south of Israel. Did any of them know that the refugee camps of Gaza are filled with the people who use to live in the villages on which Sderot is built?"

"This started in this building when Arthur Balfour on behalf of one people promised a second people the land which belonged to a third people."

"We are the authors of this tragedy. Everything that has flown (happened) as a result of that declaration."

"And for that reason if no other, the British foreign office needs to…stand up and be counted along side the British people demonstrating on the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere."

"Let's see some urgency from the minister. Action speaks louder than words. And from this government so far we've had no action at all."

In 2004, during Tony Blair's administration, Galloway was asked if he supported an arms embargo on Israel. 

"Not only do I favor it," he said, I am the one whose parliamentary questions exposed the fact that contrary to all the assurances given to Parliament by Mr. Blair, and contrary he said to assurances given to him by Ariel Sharon, British weapons were being used in the occupied territories, and I was given that information by people on the ground who took pictures of the tanks that were using British parts, and who knew that the avionics and the aircraft that were attacking the Palestinian refugee camps were British Aerospace exports." 

"The so-called ethical foreign policy of Mr. Blair doesn’t seem to draw any lines around General Sharon. Mr. Blair is not against dictatorships. It depends only whether (they) obey orders."

He said then what he repeated last July. "Britain is the author of the Palestinian tragedy. (W)e are an indispensable part of it."

"We are absolutely implicated in all the sufferings of the Palestinians." If he was prime minister, he'd "start by recognizing that."

He'd "apolog(ize) for the Balfour Declaration…" He'd throw (his) weight behind the Palestinian case for justice, and (he'd) use our position in Europe to try and open a second front, because we have to decide whether we are a European country or whether we are the 51st state of the United States of America, and Europe has to decide whether it is going to have a political weight in the world commensurate with its economic and cultural weight, and if it does, it will follow a separate and different path on the Middle East."

He called peace process hypocrisy "sand thrown in the eyes of the Arabs." Over and over again. 

Palestinians will never surrender, he says. He supports their justifiable resistance. He rejects Israeli legitimacy. 

He supports boycotts, divestments and sanctions. "(U)ntil the apartheid state is defeated," he says. Until Palestinian liberation.

Israel was born out of Palestinian blood, he explains. They were "hounded" from their land. Expelled. Ethnically cleansed. Slaughtered to let Israelis replace them.

Victimized by decades of "murderous assaults." Occupied lawlessly. Brutalized by merciless Israeli power. 

Defiantly doing what it damn pleases. Because Western powers able to intervene do nothing. They support Israel's worst crimes.

We're all Palestinians. They deserve universal support. Nelson Mandela once said South Africa wouldn't be free until Palestinian liberation.

Popular struggles unite ordinary people. Against dark force repression and injustice.

During Israel's Operation Protective Edge, hundreds of thousands protested worldwide. Millions perhaps. 

On August 9, 150,000 massed in London. Near wall-to-wall signs and banners were displayed. One read "Victory to the Intifada." 

Others displayed "Free Palestine." Many said "Gaza." While condemning Israel's massacre.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign urged Whitehall to introduce an immediate arms embargo against Israel.

A same day Cape Town, South Africa mass demonstration was believed to be the largest in the country's history. 

An estimated 200,000 turned out. Supporting Palestinian rights. Denouncing Israeli lawlessness. Demanding decisive action from their government.

On August 26, Israel's merciless slaughter ended. Ceasefire terms don't matter. Israel continues doing what it damn pleases.

Gaza remains blockaded. Nothing whatever is being done to facilitate reconstruction. 

Israel controls whatever happens going forward. Gazans are on their own out of luck. 

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq calls reconstruction "one of the most important tasks the PA should carry out according to the reconciliation agreement, but on the condition that there be no obstacles, physical or legal, to the entry of construction materials."

Abbas and likeminded Fatah officials don't give a damn about Gazan rights. They've done nothing to help tens of thousands in need.

They're Israeli enforcers. At war with their own people. According to civil libertarian Khalik Assaf:

"Every day people are being detained in the West Bank because of their political affiliation."

Night or pre-dawn raids persist. Much like those Israel conducts daily. Occupation harshness is ruthless.

Millions of Palestinians suffer horrendously. Justice remains denied. It bears repeating what other articles stressed. 

Liberation is nowhere in sight. Maybe some day. Not now. Not any time soon. 

Last August, UK activist Karma Nabulsi perhaps spoke for people worldwide, saying:

"In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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