Stephen Zunes : Israel and Palestine
A fight is brewing as Democrats prepare to debate U.S. policy on Israel at their national convention in July. Bernie Sanders’ appointees to the platform committee Cornel West and James Zogby plan to challenge the party establishment’s uncritical support for an increasingly aggressive, right wing Israeli government.
The foreign policy divide between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could not have been more obvious than in last week’s debate in Brooklyn when the moderator brought forward the issue of Israel and Palestine. The answers they gave not only revealed differing emphases among two politicians who both strongly identify as being “pro-Israel,” it revealed a striking contrast regarding the role the United States should play as a mediator in international conflicts and attitudes towards international humanitarian law.
Following earlier Congressional initiatives to effectively recognize Morocco’s illegal annexation of the occupied nation of Western Sahara, a bipartisan effort has been launched in Congress in support of Israel’s colonization of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank and greater East Jerusalem, effectively recognizing Israeli annexation of territories seized in the 1967 war.
Supporters of the international legal framework – which has, with mixed success, governed international affairs since the end of World War II – have long expressed concerns over the prospect of former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton becoming president. Her support for the US invasion of Iraq (a flagrant violation of the UN Charter), as well as her hostility toward the International Criminal Court, her support for international recognition of Morocco’s illegal annexation of occupied Western Sahara, and her attacks against the United Nations and a number of its key agencies raise concerns that her election would bring a return to the Bush administration’s neoconservative rejection of longstanding international legal principles.
UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal, in an all-campus mailing sent out Nov. 19, expressed his opposition to a recently passed resolution by the Student Union Assembly in a manner which has raised serious concerns among supporters of corporate responsibility and academic freedom. It is virtually unprecedented for a chancellor or other high-level administration to criticize student representatives for participating in a democratic process of debate and decision making, even on contentious issues…
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s October 20 speech claiming that Hitler had not planned to exterminate Jews until a prominent Palestinian cleric pressured him to do so, while outrageous, is consistent with the longstanding narrative of the right-wing government and its U.S. supporters.
In April, the student senate at Earlham College, a Quaker liberal arts institution in Indiana, approved a resolution by consensus recommending the college endowment divest from three U.S. companies (Motorola, Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar) which are directly supporting the Israeli occupation in violation of international law. The resolution (thus far ignored by the college’s board of trustees) follows decisions by a number of Quaker-affiliated organizations — as well as the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, and other nonprofit groups — to divest from these companies…
The United States blocked the latest UN resolution to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine for the most disingenuous of reasons.