MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

TGIF: Congress Again Rewards Israel’s Misdeeds

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2022

The Abraham Accords just happen to be one Trump accomplishment that most Democrats, including Joe Biden, love. In January the House and Senate both created bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucuses “to build on the success of the historic” agreements. According to the House news release:

For decades, Congress [back pat] has played a key role in promoting peace between Israel and its neighbors. The Caucus will provide an opportunity to strengthen the Abraham Accords by encouraging and [sic] partnerships among the existing Abraham Accords countries and expanding the agreement to include countries that do not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel.

I can hear the cha-ching already.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-congress-again-rewards-israels-misdeeds/

by Sheldon Richman

To judge by what Congress is up to these days, one would think that it wants to reward Israel for its relentless confiscation of Palestinian land and continued ethnic cleansing.

Congress — which is not only interested in “the Benjamins,” that is, Israel Lobby contributions — is surely operating in what Yakov Hirsch calls “hasbara culture,” according to which anyone who objects to any action of the state of Israel, especially where the Palestinians are concerned, is without question an anti-Semite. In this view, the presence of anti-Semitism is a certainty; the only question is how it manifests itself in any given situation. (The resemblance to critical race theory is striking.)

How do hasbara culturalists know that Israel’s critics are anti-Semites?

They know because, by unexamined yet indefeasible assumption, no other explanation is conceivable. If you offer an alternative, good-faith explanation for the objection, then you too must be an anti-Semite. After all, again by indefeasible assumption, if Israel is the paragon of virtue, if its military is the most moral military on earth, how could any objection be made in good faith? It certainly can’t be that Zionists, whether acting individually or through the Jewish State, could have done anything wrong. That would be blaming the victim, which is (in this case only) is strictly forbidden. (I say Zionist because not all Jews are Zionists — far from it — and not all Zionists are Jews, even if most are. And yet even that term is unsatisfactory because some self-identified “liberal Zionists” also condemn Israeli apartheid.)

Of course, the flip side of hasbara culture is the dehumanization of Palestinians, who are always to blame — even when they appear to be victims. (Readers can sort out that horrifying irony for themselves.) One must never regard the Palestinians as bonafide rights-bearing individuals and members of an ethnic group who could have real century-old grievances against the Zionist movement, the group of European Jews who settler-colonized Arab-majority Palestine and created a Jewish State (in an ethnic, not religious, sense). Rather, the Palestinians are merely the latest rightless embodiments of a permanent and evil, almost nonmaterial, historical force — anti-Semitism — that has taken different physical forms throughout history. By that assumption, Palestinian anger at the self-proclaimed Jewish State can be nothing but anti-Semitism, full stop.

The Viennese social critic Karl Kraus (1874-1936) once said that you can identify a madman by how agitated he becomes when locked up in a madhouse. By the same token, you can identify an anti-Semite by how agitated he becomes when dispossessed by a Zionist settler. Only an anti-Semite would fuss about that rigged game.

Anyway, though the year is still young, members of the House and Senate have been busy finding ways to help Israel. Understanding hasbara culture helps us make sense of it.

Just a few days ago the House and Senate passed the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021 (H.R. 2748). Writing at Mondoweiss.net, the invaluable watchdog site for Israel’s apartheid oppression of Palestinians, Nadya Tannous and Cat Knarr point out that the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights has dubbed the bill  “the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act.”

The bill would accomplish several things. For example, Tannous and Knarr write, it

expands the Abraham Accords, Trump-era weapons and business deals between apartheid Israel and other authoritarian regimes. These deals bribe Arab countries in the region to both ignore Israel’s settler colonialism and constant human rights violations and, indeed, to regionally align with the US and Israeli policy and aspirations for the region in exchange for large weapons packages.

You’ll recall that when Donald Trump and his underachiever son-in-law, Jared Kushner, failed to broker the “real estate deal of the century” between the Israelis and Palestinians — because it ignored Palestinians’ rights — Team Trump tried something else: so-called peace deals between Israel and (so far) these Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. These are the Abraham Accords, which entail allegedly breakthrough mutual diplomatic recognition. Saudi Arabia already has a close working relationship with Israel.

How did Trump do it? As Tannous and Knarr note, by offering arms and business deals to the participants. The Trump administration, in other words, bought the cynical Arab regimes, which have always been ready to sell out the Palestinians for the right price. And what did Israel get? Further Arab acquiescence in its intolerable treatment of the Palestinians.

See the rest here

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