Jim Crow in Palestine and The American Empire

Co-Authored with Lisa Chieco

Our fellow Americans and Earth citizens could benefit from historical perspective. The mantle of American Exceptionalism, a garb that resembles an emperor’s new clothes, becomes more transparent with each passing year.

pal.apologize.condemn
https://twitter.com/Cre8tvlyLicnsd

Americans carry a lot of shame for things we’ve done to this planet that no other government in the world can match, such as the atomic bomb and agent orange (all of this inflicted on civilian populations, explaining it as “collateral damage”).

Another 9/11, this time 1973 when the elected president of Chile was assassinated.
Another 9/11, this time 1973, the assignation of duly elected president of Chile. Here a boy carries on a tradition that unites the people of Chile who were another victim: wearing Allende glasses

September 11, 1973

We have murdered peoples, starved them and spread deadly smallpox virus via “gift blankets”, a virus previously unknown in the Americas. These gift blankets exposed native populations to a disease that spread like wildfire. Did you learn this in history class?

From trains passing westward millions of bison were murdered. Stacked, the bison heads rested thousands high with a deliberate goal: starve the natives and their nations. Our collective memory ascribes the slaughter to sportsmen shooting from the comfort and safety of train cars. There is a little more to that story. Those “sportsmen” disembarked from the locomotives to murder as many bison as humanly possible and thereby remove the buffalo as sustenance to Native America. We learn soundbites. “The Indians used every single part of each buffalo.”

From Smithsonian.org. This is not a photoshopped image. Would that it were.
From Smithsonian.org. This is not photo-shopped. Would that it were.

Where the Buffalo No Longer Roamed

But connecting the dots leading to genocide is never taught. George Washington as a youth chopped down a cherry tree and owned up to it. Andrew Jackson is the president we have on the twenty-dollar bill. His nickname was “Stonewall.” We store soundbites in our memory and we pass them down to our grandchildren. No mail delivery on Presidents Day, banks close but schools are in session and there are sales at Target. Congress passed a law making Presidents Day a Monday holiday…

We murdered millions of First People to get what we wanted, promises broken as greed expanded.

We witness the same dynamic in the Israel/Palestine Conflict. The misinformed think in black and white terms: Philistina does not exist. I use the name Philistine because that is what they call themselves. Bill speaks to the distinction between Philistine and Palestine here.

This is the Arabic word:

Yes, I meant Palestine. Shukran
Yes, I meant Palestine. Shukran

فلسطين

It looks like a series of squiggly lines but evokes a familiar biblical tribe: the Philistines.

British and the United States bound by “a special relationship” snap the Israel into existence in 1948, a catastrophe for the people already living there. The world was still reeling over the disclosure of concentration camps built by a country with a genocidal dream: Third Reich Germany. We forced villagers living near the camps to march through and to bury the dead found in those camps. Israelis and Americans know little or less about the daily human rights abuses in Israel and the occupied territories. It doesn’t help that the New York Times is corporate and NPR is sponsored by corporations. An independent press is our lifeblood.

There is an American camp established to house “enemies of the state” without legal recourse, or representation: Guantanamo, an American naval base from the days when Cuba was ours to manipulate.

The locus of two eras of imperial ambition on the island of Cuba
The locus of two eras of imperial ambition on the island of Cuba

Close Guantánamo

We invaded, without provocation, the independent country of Iraq in 2003. My husband and I participated in one of many rallies in the days preceding that war, also a catastrophe. We were already in Afghanistan under the guise of chasing the terrorist responsible for the horror of 9/11 in New York City. We lost 3000 that day: it was genuine horror. We responded by murdering innocent civilian “collaterals.” Those fighting back are fighting for their autonomy and the right to own their nation without the foreign interests who run their government. The British set borders in their Middle Eastern colonies to contain rival religious sects that could fight one another and leave the governance to the halls of empire. Divide and conquer.

World Wars and Empire

Lawrence in Arabia reviewed in The Guardian

And we are that remaining world power that installed the puppet Saddam Hussein! But perhaps just say “mistakes were made,” accidents happen. But to the victors go the spoils.

Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East

So our uninitiated young people and our more simple and hardline conservatives, tricked and lied to with a propaganda team that manipulates a language of fear alloyed with ignorance, have been at this war for 16 years! In keeping with this embarrassing situation – we also are a, so far, sole superpower gone wild in Israel. We want to make up for what started as humiliation and provocation by the Third Reich and murder of millions of Jews in Europe.

Palestinian Scales Walls

And now the shoe is on the other foot. Out of a vindictiveness, and resources available to the Earth’s fourth largest military, centuries old olive groves are bulldozed to break the spirit and humanity of the Palestinian people. Using humiliation as a daily means of control, cornering them in the same kind of ghetto that the Jews endured in Poland. Install a man with the skills of Joseph Goebbels to orchestrate. Without a military and with weapons on a par with those of the former Ottoman Empire, they revolted using these meager “weapons” and couldn’t gain their freedom.

With fell precision, Israel used a false-flag campaign to tell all Arabs living in ancestral homes that an attack by other Arab nations was imminent and they would be better off leaving their homes until the danger was over. 1948: 700,000 Palestinians lived out a modern incarnation of the “Trail of Tears.” So, building upon a lie Israel moved in and took this land from people who were sharing THEIR land with the new state of Israel. In a word, the Palestinians (Philistines) had their land stolen, with catastrophic (Nakba) results. Israel has a 10 per cent population of Palestinians who did not leave in 1948. Their access to the polls limited similar to Jim Crow. On the very day of his reelection Netanyahu famously warned of those “swarming” voters. It’s as repulsive as our Jim Crow laws in the South. Peaceful demonstrations were the beginning in our nation – because the removal of legal slave ownership should have made black people safe and equal – but let’s not be foolish – it did no such thing until black people got sick and tired of it and revolted – and I would do the same.

Jim Crow in Palestine

There are no shortage of parallels between oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians. Issam Rimawi APA images
There are no shortage of parallels between oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians. Issam Rimawi APA images

The Black Panthers were born into a dream denied, to paraphrase Langston Hughes. They demanded equality and freedom, and were also murdered, but the message made it to the fore and legal recourse resulted in affirmative action and enforcement of the 14th Amendment. Now, we have nazi storm troopers of a police armed with military gifted them by the Defense Department who just shoot black people like they’re in target practice! I’m sickened and ashamed – and we are the nation supporting the same shameful behavior of the current governmental leaders in Israel.

I lean on God, knowing in my heart it is the Enemy we need to fight: the evil that flourishes on greed and hate.

Palestine: a people with a land are still without a land

Israel insists that it is still the underdog in the Middle East. Danny Ayalon, well known for his video series The Truth about Israel, is a familiar countenance on the pro-Israeli internet. He explains Underdogland with familiar maps and graphics, available at the click (such as the link above). The presentation has high production qualities, the music is rousing and the end-tone is dramatic. Favored mightily by those who like echo-chamber metaphors.

Wie weit zur Heimat?
Wie weit zur Heimat?

Something happened at Harvard and Microsoft recently: two prestigious shakers and movers (lifelong Zionists) endorsed a boycott of Israel, a ‘single state.’  It became the most read article on the Washington Post. This does not mean that they have joined the BDS Movement but it’s a step.

Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl

Consider diaspora: the Syrians these last five years, the Palestinians these last sixty-seven years? To be ousted from ancestral lands along the Mediterranean and shoved to the east. Then, in 1967 (Naksa)  occupied by the same people who shoved you eastward in 1948: (Nakba).

But what about Lebensraum for the people of choice?

Unfortunately it was Paradise (Mahmoud Darwish)

Home
Home

darwish1

Conscious Activism

Perhaps a current dweller thinks “The Mediterranean coast is beautiful, but we need more living space for more living rooms. May the houses all look like the ones in California where the climate is the same.”

Descendants of Abraham: Ishmael and Isaac. A great lesson learned from those who occupied all of Palestine, the British and their Empire. A semantic sleight of hand and, magically, the Palestinians no longer exist. But a magician’s trick does not stay a secret forever. It turns out Palestinians were there all along with a history, a culture, families, friends, acquaintances, businesses, interests, festivals, religions, works of literature, restaurants, theaters, tourist trade, traditions…and tragedies.

Into The Wilderness
1500 BC, Old Testament prophet Abraham banishes Hagar and her son Ishmael into the wilderness after the birth of Isaac to his aged, barren wife Sarah. Genesis, chapter 16. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

At present, a two-state solution (State of Israel/State of Palestine) remains challenged by Realpolitik.

Immigration, emigration, visiting exiled family in other climes. Travel back and forth between Gaza and the West Bank? It’s onerous. The two territories are not contiguous. It is also expensive, time-consuming and dangerous.

I'll be home for...you can plan on me...
I’ll be home for…you can plan on me…

Did you know that most Israelis are not interested in visiting the occupied territories? To go through generations without once meeting the “other.” Believing only their own propaganda.

Palestinians are also de facto victims of extrajudicial executions. There are no Palestinian soldiers, there is no Palestinian military force. Israeli soldiers know they can simply attack fellow humans using their own judgment, without disciplinary action. Did you know that records detailing criminal acts are sometimes lost by the authorities entrusted with preserving them? I’ve hear that it happens.

Israel vê a ONU como território hostil. Por isso manda embaixadores militantes da anexação, cuja resposta-padrão a qualquer crítica é a acusação de ‘antissemitismo’ – diz Vijay Prashad.O governo de Israel não aprecia a ONU. Cartaz frequente nas ocupações de colonos ilegais é “UNwelcome” [ONU não é bem-vinda].

Highways connecting settlements are modern and rimmed with security. Fences built to complement the security wall lengthen.

source: Embaixadores de Israel: mais uma farsa do moderno apartheid

Existing Palestinian homes are demolished daily, reason optional. Unemployment is so high in the occupied sectors that many Palestinians work as domestic help in the very homes they lost to “settlers”. Yes, this is humiliating, but those who humiliate know that a mean-spirited, tough, single-minded determination and persistence may bring blossoms of fear and submission. The New York Times and NPR do not remove bias from their reporting. Both news giants are either corporations or corporately funded.

What happens when Rupert Murdock purchases media? The Wall Street Journal was once a newspaper of integrity, now it’s a tabloid. National Geographic was an institution and cultural icon. Guess who owns NG now. Readers and listeners are left to wonder: just who are these tattered keffiyeh-sporting angry people in the street, those with weapons slightly more modern than those of the Ottoman Empire, with knives and stones: stones right at-hand, produced from rubble left by incendiary bombs equipped with the latest technology, dropped on civilians (collaterals) by the fourth largest military on our planet.

Counter-arguments are always welcomed.

Thanks for reading