The Coastal Post - October, 1997

Passionate Attachments

BY EDWARD W. MILLER

If there was any doubt in the minds of Americans as to who makes U.S. foreign policy, Madeleine Albright's just-concluded visit to the Mideast erased that doubt. Netanyahu publicly thumbed his nose at Clinton's representative. Our Jewish lobby and its money controls Washington.

The dangers inherent in this situation were clearly enunciated to our forefathers by our first President during his farewell address in 1776. I quote from Washington's speech:

"...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no common interests exist, and infusing into one the entities of the latter, without adequate inducements or justifications. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation, of privileges denied others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making concessions, by unnecessarily parting with what ought to be retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

"It gives to ambitious, corrupted or deluded citizens who devote themselves to the favorite nation, facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding with the appearance of a virtuous sense of obligation...the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatuation... How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? ... Since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of a republican government...real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious... The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."

The recent suicide bomb attacks in the Jerusalem market and the massive Israeli response, coupled with the demonstrated impotence of our Secretary of State serve only to highlight the degree to which this country has betrayed its ideals and neglected the advice of our first President. We are increasingly seen by the world as corrupted by a small but dangerous parasite, and have lost face amongst the nations.

The stark reality of the Mideast situation was best expressed this week in The Nation magazine (September 8-15) by Edwards Said, professor at Columbia University and former member of the Palestinian Council. I quote: "It has taken almost exactly four years for the Oslo process to peel off its cosmetic wrappings to reveal the stark truth hidden at its core. There was no peace agreement. Instead, Palestinians entered an appalling spiral of loss and humiliation, gulled by the United states and the media into thinking we had at last achieved some measure of respectability, bludgeoned by Israel into accepting its pathological definition of security, all of which has impoverished our people, whose income has been slashed in half, who cannot move freely, confined to the dreadful bantustans (about 3 percent of the West Bank) that we insist on calling liberated zones, who are obliged to watch more settlements being built, more land taken, more houses destroyed, more sadistic collective punishments meted out. ... Oslo came after 26 years of Israel occupation, and before that, 19 years of Palestinian dispossession... The murders in the marketplace were horrible, but by what standards of decency does he [Netanyahu] assume that the hundreds of Palestinians murdered during the Intafada, or the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, are nothing compared with Israel's "security needs"? ... Is there no barrier to what Israel can do and continue to demand the privileges of the innocent?"

Another egregious insult to the Palestinians was Congress'' response to the recent bombs in the Jerusalem marketplace and on the same day the killing in Lebanon of two elderly Lebanese by Israeli planes. Washington refused to renew the official lease on the PLO headquarters in Washington and four congressmen ran a full-page ad to demand Arafat produce complete security for Israel. While the long-promised funds due Arafat's PLO from Congress were further delayed, no demands whatsoever that Israel comply with her government's signed Olso Accord, no urging that Israel stop stonewalling the opening of both the Palestinian's promised seaport and their long-overdue airport, or that Israel stop her vicious collective punishment of the Palestinian community, her withholding millions in tax monies, forbidding travel between Palestinian towns, denying work to tens of thousands. Israel's ugly weapons of collective cruelty are wielded at every opportunity while Congress looks the other way.

How has our Congress rewarded Israel for her continuing persecution of the Palestinians? The record is clear:

U.S. grants to Israel in Fiscal Year 1997 (in millions)

From Foreign Aid Budget:

Military aid-$1,800

Economic aid-$1,200

Other FY '97 aid:-$325

Total FY '97 grants-$3525.8

Insurance and other charges incurred by the U.S. on money borrowed for these Israeli grants-$150

U.S. loan guarantees to Israel for FY '97-$2000

Total 1997 grants, interest, and loan guarantees for Israel for Fiscal Year 1997-$5,675,800,000.

(from Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Oct.-Nov. '97)

One of the most quoted and respected Israeli intellectual leaders, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who died two years ago, wrote in his 1992 book: Judaism, Human Values and the Jewish State:

"We call the acts of the Palestinians "terrorism" and their fighters "terrorists," but we are able to rule over the rebellious people only by acts regarded by the world as criminal. We refer to this as "policy" rather than "terror" because it is conducted by a duly constituted government and its regular army... Already today, the State of Israel, to which most of the world's nations were once sympathetic, has earned contempt and hatred throughout the world. Its very existence has come to depend on a thin lifeline stretching from the White House. Above all, the State which was to be the pride and glory of the Jewish people is rapidly becoming an embarrassment to them."

Donald Bergus, a former ambassador to the Sudan and retired diplomat once wrote: "At the State Department we used to predict that if Israel's prime minister should announce that the world is flat, within 24 hours Congress would pass a resolution congratulating him on his discovery."

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