War in Gaza & America’s Invitation for Blowback

Glenn Greenwald – my favorite member of the progressive blogosphere – has some excellent posts at the liberal online magazine Salon.com on the American political establishment’s response to the Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip.  It is interesting to see how reflexively uncritical of Israeli policy American politicians feel they must be.  On The Daily Show, when the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was holding its annual conference in Washington, D.C., John Stewart commented on the phenomenon that occurs among U.S. politicians when it comes to the subject of American policy toward Israel.  As, at the height of the election season, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain went on stage to prove their pro-Israel bonafides, Stewart commented that “You know where it is okay to criticize Israel’s policies?….In Israel!”  Stewart’s claim was validated by Gideon Levy, writing in the Haaretz.com, excoriated the attack by the Israeli Defense Forces on the territory already suffering a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

I have no desire to diminish or condone the actions taken by Hamas in firing rockets into civilian areas in Israeli territory.  I even agree with the idea that Israel has a right to defend itself by whatever means it feels necessarily.  Conversely, I believe the Palestinians share that right.  It is the uncritical eye which the American political establishment looks toward everything Israel that boggles my mind.  Assertions by American politicians about Israel’s right to defend itself have been followed by statements suggesting Palestinians have no such right and heap all the blame for the current conflict on Hamas “thugs.”

Today, a CNN reporter in Southern Israel put the number of Palestinian dead in perspective.  Apparently the 300-plus dead in Gaza, so far, would be equivalent to 60,000 dead Americans.  It is this callous indifference to the lives of the Palestinians, and deference toward Israel (along with billions of dollars in military aid), that will ultimately lead to blowback for Americans.

(As I complete this post CNN is reporting that Iranian students have stormed the British embassy in Tehran and raised a Palestinian flag in protest of Israeli actions supported by both the U.S. and British governments)

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