The Unholy Alliance Continues – The Flotilla, The Right and Israel

It’s an easy choice for me. I’d rather have a tooth pulled without Novocain than write about Israel. There tends to be a public reaction wave to these things and as the weeks go by Israel may not become completely exonerated – that isn’t even the issue in some ways, but ultimately U.S. policy in regards to Gaza and Israel will remain the same. All the noise coming from the Right is a combination of the usual paranoia when everyone does not just shut TheF*ckUp and follow them like good little sheeple and the possibility of pealing off a half percent of the American Jewish vote. Biden solidifies defense of Israel: ‘What’s the big deal here?’

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people,'” Biden said.

Biden probably believes what he says. Over the course of his political career he has stood up for working class Americans and sensible foreign policy too many times for me to get mad at him for this bit of tunnel vision. It’s like an old friend with who you have a disagreement. You just agree to disagree over this particular issue. One of the metrication factors is that technically speaking Biden is correct. Though getting aid to Gaza was not the only purpose of the flotilla as M.J. Rosenberg explains, Lying About the Gaza Flotilla Attack

The first thing you need to know about the Gaza flotilla disaster is that the intention of the activists on board the ships was to break the Israeli blockade. Delivering the embargoed goods was incidental.

In other words, the activists were like the civil rights demonstrators who sat down at segregated lunch counters throughout the South and refused to leave until they were served. Their goal was not really to get breakfast. It was to end segregation.

That fact is so obvious that it is hard to believe that the “pro-Israel” lobby is using it as an indictment.

Of course the goal of the flotilla was to break the blockade. Of course Martin Luther King provoked the civil authorities of the South to break segregation. Of course the Solidarity movement used workers’ rights as a pretext to break Soviet-imposed Communism.

There might be some tiny bit of wiggle room for Israel to claim it’s actions were legal, but probably not – Why Is Israel’s Blockade of Gaza Legal? (Updated)

L.C. Green, one of the great IHL scholars, agrees with this analysis.  If this is still the state of the law — and I don’t know whether it is — it would be possible to argue that Israel’s conflict with Hamas is an IAC and Israel is thus entitled to blockade Gaza.

But there’s a catch — and a big one.  If the “cost” of the blockade is formally recognizing Hamas as a belligerent, maintaining the blockade would mean recognizing Hamas fighters as privileged combatants.  (Just as the armed forces of any state are privileged combatants.)  That would be fundamentally unacceptable to Israel, because Hamas fighters would then be entitled to attack Israeli combatants and would have to be treated as POWs upon capture.

Quite a bot of maritime law here. The problem for Israel is that want all the privileges of waging a kind of war against Palestinians without officially declaring war and the responsibilities that entails. Even among the pro-Israel right-wing newspapers I have not read any claiming that Israel is at war with the Gaza stripe. Those that care about the well being of the Israeli people should be wondering why the Israeli government is acting like Republican neocons. Who are actually making Hamas more powerful by its actions.

The Right is till as anti-semantic as ever. The religious right like the late Jerry Falwell thought that Jews are condemned to hell and Evangelicals like Pat Robertson thinks Christian fundamentalists are closer to God, and will have an easier time entering heaven as we near Armageddon than Jews. So why the they can do no wrong attitude toward Israel. It is part of what some have called an unholy alliance between right-wing Israelis, the neocons and America’s far Right fundamentalists, The Jesus Landing Pad

The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be “the Christian Voice in the Nation’s Capital,” the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon’s temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won’t come back to earth.

[   ]…The Apostolic Congress dates its origins to 1981, when, according to its website, “Brother Stan Wachtstetter was able to open the door to Apostolic Christians into the White House.” Apostolics, a sect of Pentecostals, claim legitimacy as the heirs of the original church because they, as the 12 apostles supposedly did, baptize converts in the name of Jesus, not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ronald Reagan bore theological affinities with such Christians because of his belief that the world would end in a fiery Armageddon. Reagan himself referenced this belief explicitly a half-dozen times during his presidency.

While the language of apocalyptic Christianity is absent from George W. Bush’s speeches, he has proven eager to work with apocalyptics—a point of pride for Upton. “We’re in constant contact with the White House,” he boasts. “I’m briefed at least once a week via telephone briefings. . . . I was there about two weeks ago . . . At that time we met with the president.”

Religion has been a powerful force for good – the abolitionists were inspired by the Bible. Many of the first proponents of women’s rights (Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792) and later proto-feminists used the Bible as justification for demanding more equality. Contrary to  the Founder’s ideals, America’s fundamentalists have a history of draining every bit of goodness out of religion. On a personal level they have the right to do so. It is when they use their shallow hateful ideology to mettle in and  support a counter productive foreign policy that steers two nations toward the ditch that shows how dangerous and delusional their mingling of religion and politics are.

update: This story ran in the WaPO on June 2, 2010 – New memos detail Republican Frederic Malek’s role in Nixon campaign against Jews

Democrats say that documents recently posted on the National Archives Web site “raise new questions about Mr. Malek’s involvement in targeting and removing Jews from their jobs,” said Jon Vogel, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “As the chairman of the American Action Network, which has pledged to spend $25 million this year targeting Democratic members of Congress, Mr. Malek needs to answer the disturbing questions about his role and why these documents contradict his previous accounts.” The American Action Network describes itself as a nonprofit group that promotes “center-right policies.”

Malek did not return a phone call seeking comment, but Mark Corallo, a spokesman, said: “As Mr. Malek has said before, he has made mistakes in his life for which he has apologized, atoned and learned from.”

In addition to chairing Republican Sen. John McCain’s campaign finance committee in the 2008 presidential race, Malek is an adviser to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Thirteen times in the past decade, he has written checks to Republicans for more than $20,000 apiece, and his total contributions over the past two decades exceed $1.03 million.

The documents about Malek’s work as Nixon’s special assistant are part of formerly restricted material from personal files that the Nixon library made public in January. A note posted on the National Archives Web site mentions Malek’s reputation under Nixon as “the hatchet” because of his tenacity, and says the documents show that Malek “supplied Nixon with a list of thirteen people he thought had Jewish surnames” at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.