Transcript from the talk by Ali Abunimah, executive director of The Electronic Intifada (link below)
I want to start by reading from the opening paragraphs of a Washington Post article published on Sunday [2023-11-05], headlined White House Frustrated by Israel’s Onslaught but Sees Few Options.
”As Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza escalates, the Biden administration finds itself in a precarious position. Administration officials say Israel’s counterattack against Hamas has been too severe, too costly in civilian casualties, and lacking a coherent endgame. But they are unable to exert significant influence on America’s closest ally in the Middle East to change its course.”
”U.S. efforts to get Israel to scale back its counterattack have failed or fallen short. The Biden administration urged Israel against the ground invasion, privately asked it to consider proportionality in its attacks, advocated a higher priority on avoiding civilian deaths, and called for a humanitarian pause, only for Israeli officials to dismiss or reject all of those suggestions.”
The Post goes on to say,
”That has left the Biden administration urgently seeking to temper anger in the Arab world by making clear publicly and privately that the United States is deeply distressed by the suffering in Gaza, a densely populated land of more than two million people, about half of whom are children.”
What’s the point of all this? Clearly, the intended effect of this government messaging is to promote the lie that the United States is not responsible for Israel’s horrific actions and should not be blamed, and indeed is even trying to restrain it. The hapless Biden administration, we’re expected to believe, is powerless over Israel, a country which is completely dependent on the United States for political and military support.
”They’re watching a train wreck and they can’t do anything about it, and the trains are speeding up.” The Post quotes an unnamed person, supposedly familiar with administration thinking, saying.
Now, far down in the same Washington Post article, in fact, in the 22nd paragraph, we get this. And I quote,
”Washington is Israel’s largest military backer, and the White House has asked Congress for an additional $14 billion in aid for Israel. But administration officials and advisers say the levers the United States theoretically has over Israel, such as conditioning military aid on making the military campaign more targeted, are non-starters, partly because they would be so politically unpopular in any administration, and partly because, aides say, Biden himself has a personal attachment to Israel.”
So in other words, the United States could demand a ceasefire, could vote for one at the UN, could stop the flow of bombs, but instead, Washington has decided to do none of that. And Joe Biden personally doesn’t want to do it because he loves Israel and apparently loves it when Israel murders Palestinian children.
And listen again to that claim buried in that paragraph that stopping military aid would be, quote, politically unpopular. Would it?
Certainly not with the American people. As I’ve mentioned before, a Data for Progress poll published on October 20th found that 66% of Americans support a ceasefire, including 80% of supporters of Biden’s Democratic Party and 56% of Republicans. I haven’t found a more recent poll, but I can’t imagine that the scenes of utter horror coming out of Gaza can have done anything except increase support for an immediate end to this barbarism.
But even if the Washington Post won’t say it, we know with whom it would be unpopular. The weapons industry and the Israel lobby, the entities that pay the politicians. Let’s call them what they are, the genocide lobby. Ultimately, however, the responsibility lies with those who have the power to turn off the supply of weapons with the stroke of a pen. And that is first and foremost, Joe Biden.
This is his genocide, his Holocaust, and will be his only memorable legacy. But he’s not alone.
Last week, the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal sent letters to members of Congress putting them on notice that they too may be personally liable by voting for more military aid for Israel.
”Should you vote in favor of that package, you risk facing criminal and civil liability for aiding and abetting genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law and may face investigation and prosecution at the International Criminal Court and in third states under the principle of universal jurisdiction,” their letter states. I hope they will follow up with legal action.
Comparison with Russian attack on Ukraine
Now, do you remember back in February 2022 after the large scale entry of Russian forces into Ukraine, where a war against Russian speaking people had been raging in the east of that country, ever since the US-backed coup of 2014[□ comment: we do have a lot of evidence for it] brought far right extremists to power and care.
The United States and the so called West immediately imposed unprecedented sanctions they gleefully announced to reduce the Russian economy to rubble. They even decided to stop listening to Russian music and reading Russian novels. Practically every European university cut off ties with Russian academies and Russian athletes were banned from competing. We were told all this was due to the unprecedented Nazi-like barbarism of the Russians who had come to Ukraine to commit genocide. Let’s take a look at this blast from the past.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaking about Ukraine, almost one year ago .
”Hitting at a critical juncture as Ukraine continues to seize momentum on the battlefield, President Putin has focused his ire and his fire on Ukraine’s civilian population. Over the past several weeks, Russia has bombed out more than a third of Ukraine’s energy system. Plunging millions into cold, into darkness, as frigid temperatures set in. Heat, water, electricity, for children, for the elderly, for the sick. These are President Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard. This brutalization of Ukraine’s people is barbaric.”
Well, you heard that right. Heat, water, electricity for children, for the elderly, for the sick. This brutalization of Ukraine’s public is barbaric. Those are the words of Anthony Blinken.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine from February 22 until the end of September this year was 9,701 killed and more than 17,000 injured. That includes fatalities in the Russian-speaking eastern areas. It also includes 555 children.
So according to the UN, children made up 5.7% of the fatalities in Ukraine. Bear in mind that this is over an 18-month period and in a vast country with a population in 2021 of 43 million people. In tiny Gaza, in just 30 days, Israeli-American bombing has now killed more than 10,000 people, including more than 4,100 children.
That means children make up 40% of the Palestinians, Israel and the Joe Biden administration are slaughtering.
So the civilian death toll in Gaza in 30 days has already surpassed Ukraine’s in 18 months. These numbers cannot capture the scale and horror of the suffering, but by themselves they provide a clear indication that what is happening in Gaza is a systematic campaign to deliberately murder civilians, whether purely for sadistic revenge or with the purpose of exterminating and ethnically cleansing them.
There is no limit at all to Israel’s desire to murder Palestinians. Over the weekend, Amichai Eliyahu, Israel’s Minister of so-called Culture, suggested that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was an option to finish everyone off there in one blow.
Keep in mind that Israel has by now already dropped the equivalent of several atomic bombs on Gaza of the type the United States used against Japan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supposedly suspended Eliyahu and made a statement that the minister’s remarks were, quote, disconnected from reality.
Netanyahu added that Israel and its military, ”act according to the highest standards of international law in order to prevent harm to non-combatants, and we will continue to do so until victory.”
Listening to that statement from Netanyahu, I ask you if Netanyahu is any more connected to reality than the rest of the murderous fanatics in his government.
On Sunday, the heads of 18 major UN agencies called for an immediate halt to the slaughter. ”For almost a month, the world has been watching the unfolding situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in shock and horror of the spiraling numbers of lives lost and torn apart,” they said.
”We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, it’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now.”
By any account, Israel is committing the worst possible crimes, and it shocks the conscience that up until now, only a tiny handful of countries have even withdrawn their ambassadors from Tel Aviv, let alone imposed significant sanctions or arms embargoes.
It is true that the primary responsibility for the genocide lies in Washington, as well as in the capitals of its vassal states, including London, Paris, Brussels, Rome and Berlin. But that does not absolve other countries, particularly China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council from taking action.
Over the weekend, Blinken traveled to the region and met with the foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. They demanded a ceasefire, and they disagreed with Blinken publicly, but they know well that asking politely won’t change Washington’s mind.
Yes, I understand that these are client regimes of the United States, but sometimes even the puppet must surely get tired of having the puppet master’s hand so far up there behind.
There’s simply no excuse for Egypt’s refusal to exercise sovereignty over its own border crossing with Gaza and let the wounded out and aid in unimpeded by the United States and Israel. Although, as I’ve said before, aid is largely a distraction from Israel’s purposeful siege. And Jordan’s air dropping of a few crates of medical supplies over its field hospital in Gaza last night was little more than a publicity stunt fully coordinated with Israel.
So it is left once again to the people of the world to try to stop horrors over which they have little control. It was heartening to see the huge protests around the world once again this weekend, especially in Washington.
This picture sent to us by our friend, Jennifer Bing, was one of many that struck me. It’s a list of all those Israel had killed up to that day, Saturday [2023-11-04]. It’s a list that is already much longer.
The Palestinian people in Gaza now have only themselves their resistance and us. They are counting on us to continue to raise our voices as loud and as often as we can without slowing or tiring to demand an end to this genocide.
Last updated on 2023-11-07 by w3admin