I am keeping a photograph that took up two pages in a London newspaper last week. It shows a noisy demonstration in New York against Wall Street and the greed of bankers and large corporations.
Demonstrators called for a march to Wall Street; their cause is purely American, as they want jobs and a reining-in of the control that the affluent have on their daily lives. What caught my eye in the big picture, though, is that some protesters held a large banner declaring, “Stop military aid to Israel”.
As good as that idea is I say stop all US aid to Israel. The United States economy is in a mess and the country is near-bankrupt, whereas Israel is doing very nicely, thank you, not least because of the direct and undeclared assistance of more than $10 billion a year it gets from American taxpayers. This huge sum is taken from increasingly poor American citizens thanks to the US Congress, which has been more or less bought by the pro-Israel Lobby. No foreign policy decisions are made by Congress without the approval of the Lobby.
When I sat in the UN General Assembly listening to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech a couple of weeks ago, more than half of the members interrupted him with standing ovations and cheers. I estimate that those for and against Palestine is about 50/50.
However, nobody really loves Israel these days and Israeli newspapers talk daily about its isolation in the international community. Nevertheless, the neo-fascist government of the Zionist state continues with its illegal settlement policy, murder and destruction with impunity, while it is rewarded for its violations of international law with American financial aid and diplomatic and political protection; all at the expense of US interests.
Every day brings new indications of hatred for Israeli actions and what the country has come to represent. This month began with a call by more than two hundred Swedes for an academic boycott of Israel; this would include Swedish universities refusing to take part in any research or other cooperation with Israeli academic institutions. Among the signatories to the call were 12 university professors, 14 associate professors, 21 senior lecturers and 70 students. The campaign was led by a team for boycotting Israel at the Royal Academy for Technology.
In Belgium, meanwhile, singer Natasha Atlas announced that she will not sing in Israel “until the official apartheid is completely removed”. Natasha wanted to visit Israel for a concert but the promoters announced that an email from the singer said that she wanted to visit the country to urge her fans to oppose the policies of the Israeli government. In the end, she decided that her refusal to sing in Israel would send a stronger message to the government. Natasha Atlas is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.
The racism, extremism and aggression of the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu have even provoked Israelis. Although the majority have swung to the political right in recent years, the peace bloc is strong and very active. Press TV aired a programme about peace activists called “Israel against Israel”. The right-wing accuses the activists of treason and includes the head of “Breaking the Silence”, Yehuda Ashaúl, and Jonathan Pollack and his group, “Anarchists Against the Wall” as targets for its opprobrium.
The ongoing issue of the so-called “Museum of Tolerance” being built by America’s Simon Wiesenthal Foundation on the historic Palestinian Ma’aman Allah Cemetery has led to the destruction of graves. Israeli peace activists are helping Palestinian families affected by this cynical “museum” to take a powerful stand against the Wiesenthal Foundation and the Israeli government, which backs it.
In a month which has witnessed the burning of a mosque in a Palestinian village and a number of other attacks by illegal settlers, the Palestinians are remembering ten different massacres in their villages 63 years ago; a massacre committed by soldiers led by Ariel Sharon in 1953; and another in 1958 in which 48 Palestinians were killed, including six women, one of them pregnant, and 13 children between the ages of eight and seventeen.
The whole world now knows the crimes of Israel and condemns it. US support for these crimes through the unconditional aid it gives to Israel means that it is very likely that tomorrow will bring a new offence against Palestinian civilians and further condemnation; US aid is actually polarising Israeli society. Moreover, such violations by Israel won’t stop until US aid to Israel stops. That’s why I repeat, don’t just stop “US military aid to Israel”; stop all US aid to Israel.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.