Sometimes I get carried away and I forget to come back to the original event that motivated a post. I want to get back to Secretary Clinton’s remark that Israel’s announcement of new settlements in Jerusalem was a slap in the face. The remark itself was not the only significant thing. If you happen to have caught Clinton on TV you may have noticed a flicker of the eye, a hesitation in the voice when she said that the United States has always supported Israel because we have “shared values”.
It’s one thing to have occupying armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s one thing to dabble in assassinations by drones in Pakistan, it’s one thing even, to allow arms to flow to drug lords in Mexico – or local police, as was just reported today on CNN, to sell confiscated weapons to dealers. It’s quite another thing to flaunt all the rules that govern occupations for decades, with the excuse that the occupied populations rebel.
When Israeli soldiers, as reported by Chris Hedges in today’s Truthdig, are increasingly refusing to serve; when the Israeli government is cracking down in extreme ways against Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, it is no wonder that the Secretary of States has difficulty in enunciating that now defunct situation.
I visited Israel in 1986 to report on Israeli reactions to the first intifada. It was hard to believe that the Israel I saw on World Focus last night on my local public television station was the same country: there were no skyscrapers in Tel Aviv then, now Microsoft and other companies reach to the sky; the airport was rudimentary; it is now as impressively modern as any; there was only a budding technology industry: today the Israelis are making electric cars and charging grids, and a pill that photographs a patient’s insides.
One has to wonder, considering the needs of other countries who do not assert their rights with weapons, whether Israel still needs our money: its achievements do not appear to have given it the self-assurance necessary for a humane – let alone constructive – policy toward those it displaced.
In an ironic reversal of the story of David and Goliath, this is a country that crushes throwers of homemade rockets with tanks and bulldozers, and bristles when the world condemns it.