The oppression and occupation of the Palestinians is not a matter for the Methodists or Presbyterians or Catholics or Muslims or Jews or any denomination across the planet; it is the responsibility of humans everywhere.
by Prof. William A. Cook
“You are the man—who has stated that Gordon Duff of VT and Debbie Menon of My Catbird Seat are your friends. You praise these people who despise the Jewish people. You praise them and use their material. You do not care that they have blamed untold evil on the Jews including the tragedy of 9-11, the evil of the Nazis, etc., etc. (Please see, VT: Against the Jewish people, against Christians, and against veterans) So why should the Methodist listen to you about Israel?” (Letter to Jim Wall from Ms. Larsen).
Dear Ms. Larsen:
Let me begin with a confession: I “listen” to Jim Wall and I too write for VT and My Catbird Seat, and hence must abide with “vileness and unloving bigotry.” Your words cast all who write for these publications into your pit of damnation, yet you offer no specificity for that damnation, only your universal condemnation for the truth of what you say. Amazing that the “grace of Christ” has not penetrated your righteous heart with the “love,” you say “all must have for the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
You say “We must work for a two state solution.” Have you looked at a map of Palestine recently? See what is left of Palestine for those who lived there for 2000 years; given the seizure of their land by the Zionist government of Israel, there is approximately 12% left to create that second state you talk about. Oh, you do say Israel must do some work; perhaps return the 45% granted them in 1947 under Resolution 181? That would be somewhat just wouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, however, that action would necessitate the Likud party, that of Mr. Netanyahu, remove from its platform the statement that claims “there will never be a Palestinian state west of Jordan.” It’s quite possible that you never heard that the Israeli government had no intentions of negotiating with the Palestinians for a two state solution. Check it out. Also while you are attempting to discover whether critics of Zionism have reasons to criticize, you might read the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians where documents seized by the British Mandate authorities prove beyond a doubt that the intention of the Zionists back then was to erase every Arab out of Palestine. Their intentions have not changed. How do you develop a two state solution under these circumstances? You might also consider that the populations of the two peoples is roughly the same. The Israelis now occupy about 88% of Palestine leaving 12% for close to 5 million Palestinians not counting the refugees existing in the diaspora. The map below graphically illustrates the systematic erasure of the two state solution. Note there is an updated 4th map for 2011 should you want to see it.
But this is not why I have decided to write to you Ms. Larsen. Criticize whomever you wish. My argument is with your reasoning. The oppression and occupation of the Palestinians is not a matter for the Methodists or Presbyterians or Catholics or Muslims or Jews or any denomination across the planet; it is the responsibility of humans everywhere. Indifference to the plight of humans in any land, silence in the face of oppression and occupation of others, and support of those who tolerate the brutality of occupation and oppression is acceptance of evil and damns all of us. Should churches, synagogues, temples and mosques enter the fray to prevent continuation of such evil? Yes, but not because of dogma or doctrine, but because we are one peoples across the planet and must sustain each other.
As a citizen of the United States, I must condemn our government for supporting the Israeli State’s occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. This is not hatred of Jews; it is condemnation of the government that acts in my name yet acts without morals, without ethics, without principles, without remorse. It is a government that has abandoned its responsibility to the documents that made America a nation of citizens with rights determined by nature itself. Americans have fought for their principles over the course of centuries, and they must continue to do that now. I wrote about such evil that called upon all of us to confront the forces that imposed it October 21, 2009. I quote that article here; it bears repeating.
“There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.” (Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July,” 1852)
One hundred and forty seven years ago that charge was leveled at the United States by a former slave who judged America’s actions since its founding against the principles that this nation presented to the world as the basis for its existence: the rights of humans to self governance, to life, to liberty, and to happiness. These are his words as he addressed his fellow citizens on the 4th of July: “… your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; … your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your sermons and thanksgivings … mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”
Today, what has changed? True, we no longer sell humans like cattle in our town squares, no longer confine slaves to the whips of overseers, no longer create unjust laws to discriminate those we find inferior, no longer subdue our fellow humans with force of chains or cudgel or hose or noose, not here, not in these United States. But today America is not confined to an east coast or a west coast; today America occupies Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine and under International Law must provide for those who live under its occupation.
Isn’t this the conundrum Obama faces as he confronts the inevitable vote he must make at the United Nations Security Council when it acts on the UNCHR Goldstone Report? How does this man, whose wife is a descendent of slaves, whose father comes from a land that has suffered under colonialism, sit before the council of the world devoted to the security of all, and veto a motion that would force the nation of Israel to face the consequences of its inhumanity to its neighbors and its disregard for International Law? What has changed? Does Obama’s vote raise the specter that the United States could be prosecuted for its crimes as well? Listen again to Frederick Douglass:
“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”
What has changed? It is America that invaded Gaza; it is America that dropped the bombs on the schools and hospitals and homes; it is America that spread white phosphorus on the hapless people of Gaza charring their bodies black as they burned in insufferable pain; it is America that sent its drones overhead to savage families in their homes; it is America that pulled the snipers trigger as he targeted a child or a mother; it is America that chose to invade a sliver of land packed with 1.5 million people, caged like animals, unable to hide or run or protect themselves against the barbarity of the IDF that practiced its war games on a defenseless people, and it is America that votes in its own Knesset to support such savagery and stands naked in its hypocrisy before the assembly of the world. What has changed?
What has changed is the ancestry of the man in the White House, a man of color that knows what America Douglass describes.
He has heard these words before, for twenty years before he was elected to the Presidency, words spoken by a preacher he admired, a preacher that married him to Michelle, a preacher that lived through the years of segregation but refused to be subjugated. These are the words of Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
“We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arikara, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism. We have supported state terrorism versus the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff that we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism.”
What has changed that this President must confront or be the face of falsehood before the world? Both Jeremiah Wright and Frederick Douglass identify the same shameful source that marks indelibly this country as savage, one living in slavery, the other bonded in segregation, both products of a mindset that accepted and tolerated the ethnic cleansing by its founders as legitimate practice to establish a nation while proposing that all men are created equal. Today, the state of Israel, our “only friend in the mid-east and the only democracy in the mid-east” cites that very mindset as accepted rationale for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. “Israel is … unfortunately located, gentrifying a pretty bad neighborhood. But the world is full of dislocated peoples, and we ourselves live in a country where the Indians were pushed out of the way so that– oh, what irony! – the owners of slaves could spread liberty and democracy from sea to shining sea.
As for Europe, who today cries for the Greeks of Anatolia or the Germans of Bohemia?” (Richard Cohen, July 25, 2006, “No, It’s Survival”).
How ironic indeed, that a people given international approval to form a homeland on someone else’s land would find genocide acceptable as a means to establish a democracy that offers self-government to members of a religion but not to others, liberty for the chosen but oppression for the occupied, and happiness for those who conform and obey but not for those segregated and imprisoned.
Martin Luther King broke the law in order to correct the law; defied the government in order to save the nation from further terror; and confronted power with principle to save the nation’s soul.
Perhaps it’s time for this President to stand tall against those who control by stealth, who wrap and so enslave our representatives in chains of campaign contributions, who shackle our military and hence our children in unending wars that benefit the merchants of munitions, and seek self-gratification at the expense of selflessness.
Now is the time for this President to stand against the Eurocentric colonial mindset that has enslaved too many for too long.
Now is the time for this President to stand against those who continue America’s centuries of plunder and pillage at the expense of the masses who bear the brunt of our merciless power.
Now is the time for meaningful change, even at the expense of personal power, if the principle that drives the decision recognizes the inherent right of all that fall beneath the boots of America’s force to a life of dignity and respect.
Now is the time to break the bonds that tie the United States and its people to the criminal state being brought before the Security Council to face justice, to free America to walk in peace in the world and to feel the life giving force of the ideals that give America meaning. Then and only then will America be able to bury the words of Douglass and King and Wright as jeremiads that taught the way to truth by condemning the path of falsehood.
Righteousness and Grace indeed: “action from principle–the perception and the performance of right– changes things and relations,” so sayeth Henry David Thoreau.
Let the churches act so Ms. Larsen.
Editing: Debbie Menon
William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy and The Chronicles Of Nefaria. He is editor of MWCNEWS.
The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction by Prof. William A. Cook, available to order from Palgrave Macmillan!
The Plight Of The Palestinians – Book Review by Edward Jayne
“In his collection of thirty-two articles by almost as many authors, The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction, William Cook provides a devastating assessment of Zionist violence against Palestinians. Relentlessly told are one atrocity after another, one act of deception after another, one broken treaty after another, one surprise attack after another, one policy reversal after another–all of which are described with both effective immediacy and an adequate sense of historic context.”
What silent communion this scene holds, Of a life lived and one yet to unfold;
What forlorn love those encircling arms portend,
That would protect against the evils that descend
From unseen missiles yet to come with unlived years,
Where hopes and dreams dissolve into unforeseen fears
That falls like a funeral pall upon this child,
Who sits so quiet, so pensive, so mild Beneath those crescent arms as they reach to shield
This innocent lost in this barren field.
– What catastrophe is caught in this aged face,
What last years lost in silent disgrace,
What father is now absent from this scene,
What mother abandoned to a fate unseen?
– How relive a life lost, what might have been?
How rekindle love in a world of sin?
How undo the infectious toxin of hate?
How understand the true terror of fate?
– I share this tent of sorrow and of shame,
The darkness in the soul, the guilt and blame,
A seared image of suffering and pain–
The curse of Cain rises– once again — William A Cook
William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of Age of Fools, The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy and The Chronicles Of Nefaria. He is the editor of MWCNEWS.
The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction by Dr. William A. Cook is out now, available to order from Palgrave Macmillan!
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