In his editorial he laid out plainly the back log of real talk so often buried in subltly to mitigate the Pro Israel backlash. He did not pull his punches declaring:
past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people, the Palestinians. Nor can the solemn U.S. promise to stand by Israel be a blank check to the Jewish state when its policies undermine stated American aims.
The past persecution of anyone cannot be used to subjugate anyone. We cannot let revenge dictate the lives of children. Reparations for past wrongs have limits, the dead cannot be brought back to life, and the suffering of one group cannot be balanced by creating suffering in another. We must always assume that every human life is of equal value or we will become something we despise. The assumption that one life being superior because of the individual's ethnicity, wealth, culture, or political influence distorts the very values we seek to defend. We in the west have for too long accepted a double standard for humanity.
This problem is certainly not limited to our analysis of Israel. Our imperial and colonial endeavors have always operated on the assumption that "they" were expendable. From the millions killed in Vietnam to the hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq. It is seen in our Israel double standard reinforced by bigoted talking points designed to convince us that the cultural or ethnic superiority of one group justifies the subjugation of the other. We heard the same arguments in our own country to justify segregation, and the same arguments in South Africa to justify apartheid.
Cohen also writes:
Since Obama spoke, Netanyahu, while promising an almost-freeze, has been planting saplings in settlements and declaring them part of Israel for “eternity.” In a normal relationship between allies — of the kind I think America and Israel should have — there would be consequences for such defiance. In the special relationship between the United States and Israel there are none.
We watch our leaders seem to cower on this issue. America suppose to be the strongest nation on earth but it seems to have no power over this tiny state which it gives several billion dollars a year. Obama could sooner get concession from Authoritarian Egypt on the issue the day than it could the ally it pays Egypt to remain at peace with. We suffer this public humiliation on a continuous basis. Our easily manipulated political process driven by bad media and simple minded propaganda has left us vulnerable to all sorts of interest that don't serve the world or the American people. Our ineffective political response is just another symptom of a broken process. We waste more and suffer more from the other interest groups puppeteering public opinion and politicians on other issues. Nonetheless the obvious moral conflict between a state escaping a history of discrimination supporting another openly engaged in it is particularly troubling. That kind of hypocrisy operating in the collective consciousness is cancerous, poisoning the integrity of our intellectual class. Not to mention the indirect cost of wars, terrorism and diplomatic tensions with Muslim states. Cohen mentions the cost of supporting Israel here:
In fact, it has helped fund it. The settlements are expensive, as is the security fence (hated “separation wall” to the Palestinians) that is itself an annexation mechanism. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, U.S. aid to Israel totaled $28.9 billion over the past decade, a sum that dwarfs aid to any other nation and amounts to four times the total gross domestic product of Haiti.
And this: the “existential threat” to Israel is overplayed. It is no feeble David facing an Arab (or Arab-Persian) Goliath. Armed with a formidable nuclear deterrent, Israel is by far the strongest state in the region. Room exists for America to step back and apply pressure without compromising Israeli security.
Israel has the highest per capita military expenditure in the world. It is a modern day Sparta replete with enough nuclear weapons to destroy every major city in the Middle East. Yet some how they always feel threatened by their non nuclear neighbors that could never survive an attack on Israel. The assumption that these other states are "suicidal" is actually apart of our strategic planing. I think it is an insult to the intelligence of humanity that we think a nation would commit suicide or that the people would support national suicide. Calculated risk, perhaps but outright sure as dead suicide would more likely be a distortion of history by propaganda from the side doing the the killing.
If there are not two states there will be one state between the river and the sea and very soon there will be more Palestinian Arabs in it than Jews. What then will become of the Zionist dream?
It’s time for Obama to ask such tough questions in public and demand of Israel that it work in practice to share the land rather than divide and rule it.
The demographic time bomb is a reality. Israel is not going to change on it's own politically they will simply oppress the Palestinians forever. To them it seems like a tolerable and legitimate strategy after fighting so long to get the state, they will not simply give it up. As long as we tolerate the blatant racism of Israel they will be correct. They don't plan on giving up a thing, that is obvious. We spend more time trying to convince ourselves of their good intentions than they spend trying to convince us. It helps some sleep little better knowing they were not simply enabling apartheid. The truth is we are the enabler, we are responsible, it is racism and apartheid and it is wrong. Our president enables it, our congress, senate, and our UN representative. We have to decide where we want to take humanity. Do we stand against racism or not? The hypocrisy is killing us leading to wars and terrorism where we could have had reconciliation and healing. We can't kill the hate but we can deny it any safe harbor in our hearts, our principals, or in our diplomatic relations.
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