July 30, 2008

Obama gets it WRONG on Israeli Apartheid

Obama (and Big Media) Turn Blind Eye to Israeli Apartheid,Bruce Dixo

Posted by: "Linda G. Richard"


Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:51 am (PDT)

Obama (and Big Media) Turn Blind Eye to Israeli Apartheid

Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

July 24, 2008

Israel is now an apartheid state, according to the publisher of
Ha'aretz, that country's largest circulation daily newspaper. The
occasion was the recent renewal of Israeli citizenship laws which refuse
to recognize marriages and families among most of the Arabs living in
that country. How can Barack Obama, himself the son of an American mixed
marriage remain an apparently uncritical supporter of Israeli apartheid,
and why does corporate media continue to pursue a longstanding "don't
ask, don't tell" policy toward the odious policies of racial and ethnic
discrimination in Israel?/

The presidential campaigns of Democrats and Republicans are no more
about placing issues before the US public than competing commercials for
new cars or bottled water are about the facts. Brought to us by the same
corporate marketers that sell us lifestyles and beer, mainstream
presidential campaigns aim to establish and exploit visceral, fact-proof
loyalties to the brand of a party or candidate. The fact-proof nature of
the Obama brand, and the lengths corporate media go to protect it were
on prominent display during the candidate's brief visit to Israel
Palestine this week.

Barack Obama's smiling brown face and Kansas-Kenya parentage are key
elements in the Obama brand, that hazy image of progressive, post-racial
transformation at home and abroad which lie at the heart of his appeal.
At the same time, Barack Obama is committed to preserving what he calls
Israel's "identity as a Jewish state", the polite term for what much of
the rest of the world recognizes as an apartheid state.

A June 29 editorial by no less a member of the Israeli elite than Amos
Schocken, the publisher of Ha'aretz, Israel's daily newspaper of record
is titled "Citizenship Law Makes Israel An Apartheid State
<http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/996697.html>" The gist of it is
that the Israeli government prohibits recognition of marriages or family
reunions between Arabs with Israeli citizenship and Arabs who live
within the borders of Israel-Palestine in the bantustans
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantustan> of Gaza and the West Bank ---
inside the borders of Israel-Palestine but without Israeli citizenship.

"The law stipulates that the interior minister does not have the
authority to approve residence in Israel for a resident of Judea and
Samaria (unless, of course, they are Jews - that is, settlers). This is
so even regarding family reunions, meaning marriage, when it comes to
Palestinian spouses who are younger than 35 (for men) or 25 (for women).
In effect, the law prevents young Israeli citizens from marrying the
spouse of their choice and living with this spouse in Israel, if the
spouse is a Palestinian from Judea and Samaria.

It is obvious that this has barely any effect on the right of young
Israeli Jews to live in their country with the spouse of their choice,
because there are hardly any marriages between Israeli Jews and
Palestinians from Judea and Samaria. /(These are Israeli names for the
Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.)/ On the other hand,
these Palestinians constitute Israeli Arabs' natural pool for choosing a
spouse. For this reason, the law severely discriminates when comparing
the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens and young Israeli Arab
citizens. "

The Big Media correspondents who breathlessly cover Obama at home and
abroad are not stupid or ignorant people. They (or someone in their
offices) all read Ha'aretz daily, and none are ignorant of the facts of
Israeli apartheid. They are professionals who know their jobs, and their
boundaries. Each and every one realizes it would be career suicide to
directly or indirectly ask the proud son of black African and white
American parents, accorded the rights of full US citizenship through one
parent, how he can uncritically support an apartheid state in Israel
which awards and denies a host of citizenship rights on ethnic and
religious grounds, from property ownership, education and the freedom to
live where one likes to separate license plates (enable police profiling
at a distance), bans on new Palestinian wells, water and electrical use,
to Jewish-only roads and Palestinian-only checkpoints.

Apartheid in South African was odious, to be sure. But apartheid South
Africa was not of primary strategic or economic importance to the US.

The maintenance of Israel's apartheid regime is absolutely central to
projecting US imperial power in the Middle East.

It would be a mistake to believe that the Israeli tail is wagging the
dogs of US presidential candidates and Big Media. The heavily
militarized and nuclear armed state of Israel is entirely dependent upon
US military aid, economic support, and political patronage. Israel is
the direct recipient of more than six billion US tax dollars annually.
Israel could not continue its brutal annexation policies, its
militarized wall, its "settlement" of Palestinian lands or any of its
other objectionable policies for a week without the complete and
bipartisan support of US ruling circles. For the US, Israel is a kind
of offshore military base, a nuclear-armed white enclave in the middle
of millions of brown people who sit atop a large share of the world's
most accessible oil.Polls show that US public opinion, like that in the
rest of the world, persistently
calls for a more just and even-handed US policy toward
Israel-Palestine. But corporate media and the bipartisan US political
elite, including Barack Obama continue to ignore them. On this issue,
as Salon's Glen Greenwald
<http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/20/israel/> writes,
public opinion is pretty well irrelevant.

If, as some Obama supporters claim, there is a "movement" which he
listens to, and which potentially influences his positions, this would
be a good time and place for it to speak up.

How does the son of a mixed marriage visit a country where mixed
marriages are illegal and cozy up to the people who enact these and
other apartheid laws?

How does contradicting the polls to echo the bipartisan foreign policy
establishment AND John McCain on this issue serve the supposedly higher
goal of defeating John McCain?

Looking at the modern history of ethnic partitions and ethnic
exclusivist states, have any of these been successes worth imitating?

Why should the US support a heavily militarized, nuclear armed,
white-dominated apartheid Jewish state in the Middle East rather than a
non-racial and secular democratic one-person one-vote government
for all that state's inhabitants?

If the "Obama Movement" can't or won't pose any of these questions, it's
one more piece of evidence that the Obama candidacy is as people-proof
as any other corporate one, that there is not and never was any "Obama
Movement" with an objective beyond November, and that Obama is just
another brand name demanding blind brand loyalty, like Monsanto, or
Ford, or Exxon. And if our media will ask or cover none of these
questions, they are equally corrupt and useless.

/Bruce Dixon is based in Atlanta and can be reached at

*http://freedetainees.org <http://freedetainees.org/>

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