Senate’s Idiocy on Gaza

James Bovard, January 08, 2009

So the U.S. Senate on Thursday passed by voice vote a resolution blindly supporting Israeli attacks on Gaza and heaping derision on Hamas.

This craven display should awaken anyone who sanguinely assumed that “everything changed” on November 4.

The resolution contained numerous twists of history, but the most glaring absurdity is the following:

“Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying Israel…”

Perhaps the senators were in a rush to collect campaign contributions, so they did not have time to glance at the history of how Hamas arose to power.

Hamas was created with massive aid from the Israeli government. Following is an excerpt from my Terrorism & Tyranny (2003):

Perhaps the single largest mistake in the history of the Israeli government’s long war on terrorism was its covert financing, cosseting, and arming of Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denounced Hamas as “the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face.” But the Israeli government is reticent about admitting its role in creating this Frankenstein.

Beginning in the 1970s Israel began pouring money into Islamic organizations —especially the Moslem Brotherhood—hoping that religion would distract the Palestinians from political activism and the radical left-wing Palestinian Liberation Organization. Hamas was a late offspring of the Moslem Brotherhood. Prior to 1988 Moslem Brotherhood activists “had refrained from openly anti-Israel activities.” But with the outbreak of the first Intifada (uprising) in late 1987, the Israeli government was stunned to see how fast Hamas became the primary source of deadly attacks against Israelis.

Anthony Cordesman, a former State Department and Defense Department intelligence officer and currently a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, stated that the Israeli government “aided Hamas directly—the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO.” A United Press International analysis reported, “According to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.” UPI noted that, according to documents provided by Israeli terrorism experts, “Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement’s spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma al Islami.”

The Jerusalem Post reported on May 29, 1989, that, until the late 1980s, the Moslem Brotherhood “organizations in Gaza and the Islamic University received much encouragement from the [Israeli] military government. . . . The military government believed that their activity would undermine the power of the PLO and of leftist organizations in Gaza. They even supplied some of their activists with weapons, for their protection.” During the first Intifada (uprising), the PLO and Hamas openly clashed over how to resist the Israeli occupation. The Jerusalem Post noted: “The [Israeli] security forces greeted this tension [between Palestinian groups] with satisfaction, in line with the principle of divide and conquer. In several cases, Palestinians noticed that troops stood by quietly during Hamas street activity, but did interfere when PLO activists engaged in the same activity.” The Israeli government assumed that if the PLO could be thwarted, the Palestinian problem would be solved. But Hamas was far more bloodthirsty and radical than the PLO. The PLO effectively recognized Israel’s right to exist in 1988, while Hamas devoted itself to seizing all of Palestine for an Islamic state.




37 Responses to “Senate’s Idiocy on Gaza”

  1. The U.S. Senate–true to form–sucked Israel’s ass again with this latest resolution.

    The U.S. Congress is “Israeli-occupied territory,” as Pat Buchanan aptly put it. Congress is also the best that money can buy. The Israel Lobby owns everyone in it, with the exception of Representative Ron Paul (R-TX).

  2. Did it ever occur to our political elites that many Americans are increasingly sick of paying more taxes and having an larger target painted on their backs because of US support of Israel?

    Also, being a conservative myself, I cannot see how Israel deserves billions of dollars in aid from the tax payers, though of course private citizens should be able to do as they wish with their money. What do we get out of it, why do they deserve unconditional blind support?

    Israel is not a liberal democracy, but rather a religious apartheid. There is democracy for Jews, but what about the indigenous Palestinians whom Israel controls militarily and economically? A number of whom are Christian too. It would be great if everyone had a political voice, but then it would no longer be a Jewish state, it might be a mixed Jewish, Muslim, and Christian state.

    Also the other countries in the Middle East are not Nazis and their anger towards Israel has nothing to do with them being Jewish or their right to practice their religion. It is rather simply a territorial dispute, and the reaction would be the same if the Chinese decided to cleanse and occupy the land between the Mediterranean and river Jordan in the late 1940s. As for the Orwellian titled “moderate” Arab countries (namely Egypt and Jordan, though Saudi gets lumped in there too, don’t ask me why anyone would label Saudi Moderate) they are a dictatorship and monarchy that are purely dependent upon US financial and military aid. Mubarak and Abdullah must fear the day the US will be too broke to finance their tyrannies, which is probably not far off.

    Thomas,

    New York, NY

  3. “Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying Israel…”

    Stating something and following through with it are two different things.

    Seriously – what we’ve seen this week is that Hamas for all their bluster will never be able to destroy Israel. They haven’t even begun to blunt a small part of the Israeli army pulverizing their territory, they haven’t destroyed any tanks or armored vehicles, shot down no airplanes and certainly are not about to unleash massive columns of their own into Israeli territory. Even if every Gazan was armed with a weapon they couldn’t defeat the Israeli army, yet we are to believe the Israeli talking heads and their warmonger supporters in North America that Hamas is going to destroy Israel if Israel doesn’t go on an unchecked rampage first.

    There is the daily Israeli spin on the media airwaves then there is reality. Expecting bought and paid for American politicians to know the difference is obviously asking far too much. But I do expect them to repeat the old moronic, “Why do they hate us?” when America is again targeted by extremists who cite American support of Israel in war crimes against the Palestinians.

  4. The parliamentary system extant in the United States with its sham elections and comodified politicians has failed utterly. The promise of 1776 has become an illusion. There will never be an end to the slavery the Israeli and other lobbies have imposed on the government of the United States without an enormous public uprising aimed at bringing down the structures that makes it possible and expelling for life every last one of the reptiles then holding themselves out as “public servants”. We need a new constitution and a radically different way of ordering the role of government in society. It is simply fantasy – and becoming even cruel – to hold out hope that there will ever be meaningful change under present auspices.

  5. Yesterday, Bob Chapman predicts that there will be a nuke attack on a USA city (culprits the same as before, USA and Israel), and this time they will blame Hamas and Iran. And you know, what will come next! My fellow Americans, don’t fall for it again. See http://www.prisonplanet.com.

    John Pilger does a wonderful job explaining how the attack on Gaza is an anti-semitic act, (see http://www.infowars.com). His War on Democracy, found at google video, is about how our elite has pillaged and plundered in central and south america, and the Carribean, with the same motives as has Israel. It wants what Gaza has access to, and our gov has signed off on that. Shudder!

  6. The day that celebrates “Peace” on Earth is long past, let the Holocaust begin!

  7. A politically irresponsible and foolish move that does nothing to help our country and only hurts it. These guys are just plain stupid.

  8. It’s not surprising that America supports Israel. There are many close connections between Zionism and Americanism/Westernism than many American apologists would rather not admit–as they hit a bit too close to home.

    Israel itself is a Western settler colony–much like the USA. Just as European Jews ethnically cleansed Palestinians in order to steal their land and form the state of Israel, the first European American (cough) pioneers ethnically cleansed Native Indians and Mexicans in order to steal their land and form the United States of America.

    Moreover, Israel was effectively created and then supported by the British Empire and of course is now supported by the American Empire.

    Israel is even using White Phosphorous to “illuminate” the Gaza battlefield just as America has used White Phosphorous to “illuminate” Iraqi citizens … I mean … battlefields as well.

    Great war criminal democracies think alike!

  9. I intend to call my Senators today (Byrd and Rockefeller) and let them know how distasteful their part in this support for bloody Israel is to me. Both of these men border on senility, but what kind of an excuse is that? Also, being in that Beltway Bubble so long, they probably think that the whole world (except the “bad guys”) loves Israel and hates Palestinians. Time to wake them up. When the worm finally turns on this issue, apartheid Israel will meet the same fate as apartheid South Africa.

  10. Is it possible in this country to mobilize the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in this country who hold beliefs such as the readers of Antiwar.com do? This is what I believe must happen before the “leaders” of this country will pay attention. We need I believe to fill the streets of DC and other large cities around the country with demonstrations with 100s of thousands of people like Martin Luther King and Ghandi did in their times. Peaceful non-violent extremely large scale protests that will force them to listen. Its the only thing these cowards understand.

  11. As for the Senate’s unanimous approval of Israel’s genocide in Gaza, “follow the money.”

  12. Shame on the senate. They are just a bunch of trained seals. Bought and paid for by AIPAC. Just shows you what an ethnic lobby with its own agenda can accomplish in the corrupt and dysfunctional political system of Washington. Someday actions like this will come back on America. The Arab world isn’t always going to be weak and disorganized. Tyhere will be a terrible day of reckoning. As with 9/11 it will be ordinary Americans who will pay the price.

  13. Right on target, Chris. No meaningful change will ever come about in the United States short of an enormous public uprising along these lines. To believe otherwise in the teeth of the available evidence is now simply naive in my view. We must to begin all over again by expelling for life and to a man the extant political leadership and by introducing a new constitution which manifests wholly new concepts of the place of government in society.

  14. I called my Senators offices; Senator Byrd’s office took my message, name and adress without comment. At Senator Rockefeller’s office, I got a young staff person (a Mr. Evan Nogay) who decided to argue with me. Of course, it was all of the Tim R type of talking points concerning Israel’s “right to defend itself, blah, blah, blah”. When I pointed out that this was a slaughter of people armed mostly with rocks, he replied “Well, maybe that will teach them not to throw rocks!”
    The whole conversation was unbelievable – he let me know that he spoke for Senator and Rokefeller (and the United States, for that matter). I reminded him that as a taxpayer, I paid his salary and he was supposeded to listen to me.
    I intend to pursue this matter until I am sure that Senator Rockefeller knows how his staff presents his office and he knows without doubt that some Americans are fed up with this Zionist garbage.

  15. George Washington warned against exactly this in his farewell address:

    Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? . . . . .

    In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.

    It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. . . .

    So likewise, 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 real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

    It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And 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 appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

  16. It still amazes me how this tiny little country called Israel seems to drive people crazy and give them apoplexy. You are angry about the billions of dollars to Israel? Well, are you just as angry about the billions of dollars to Egpyt? (second highest in US foreign aid after Israel). Are you just as angry that we give billions of dollars in military aid and hardware to Saudi Arabia, a country where a religious judge recently upheld the “marriage” of a 47 yo man to an 11 year old girl (the little girl was “betrothed” to this pedophile as payment for a debt owed by her father.) Are you just as angry at the government of Sudan, where the United Nations says THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND have already been killed? How about the stuff going on in the Congo? Or in Burma? How about the doctors arrested in Iran for treating people with AIDS? None of that seems to bother you much because you can’t blame Israel, Jews, Zionists, or big bad America. The level of hypocracy here is mind-boggling.

  17. Oh, Jim. History is like so yesterday. Haven’t you been getting the message? We must forget the past and begin moving forward today with a positive, hopeful view — you know, the kind of short-term thinking that has characterized the progressives for many decades and has now been co-opted on the right with great zeal. Down the memory-hole with you. We have been seeking the enemy Bernstein forever and have been at war with Terror forever. If you are not against Bernstein, you are with the terrorists!

  18. I’m not sure. Zionism, Communism, German National-socialism, nonconservatism, globalizm, even ang-soc :-) I can see stemming from the same tradition.

    Early US history, although filled with genocide and mega-hypocrisy (US constitution + slavery) is rather far from this, having strong notion of individual freedoms and liberties importance. Certainly with a strong tribalism slant (indians, negros), but still, at least 1st class citizens were not supposed to be the objects (rather then subjects) to some ideology.

    I mean what kind of a free county Israel is even for Jews, when migrants are not allowed to leave it, unless they pay $20K ransom?

  19. THE W.A.R. Operating System,French 4 WAR & division ov goats rats pigs & snakee little cobra venom fang things=? conspired (True or+a% False),yes,kno,-absolute_relative??? Prop a Ganda Games Gazes & cowardly gambits made of fat,flesh & others sacrafices of the human scum that human-un,ROIDS + things & zombie bots #1 requires,#2 desires,#3deserves etc till obliovion & infinity get together and manufacture some brand new antique must,horse houves are popular according to scripts that controls the must organic & inanamite roms & rams of brain matter & tron,all happening on the other sidesz of the night & day clock,and in between here & thair where OO whair does it all end up, the benafit that is,look 4 the pigs & ? hogsz on top when the old dust is new & the new vesca vu,pretends its not a war pig merely a hog,and theirs no repatition of contagion or disease here ,whair ever no where happens to be at the time ,,depending on which houve ya happen to be selling at that exzact moment in space and ^ or time,LONG LIVE GENESIS/-without sides i beleive is what it”sz trying to squeel

  20. Unreal. In a fair world you’d be able to walk into the office and punch that numbskull in the face.

  21. Tim, you really are simple, aren’t you? This is AntiWar.Com, for fuck’s sake. It goes without saying that most people commenting here are against foreign aid to Egypt, SA, etc.

    As for your strange arguing tactics, you’ll get no traction here, so why do you keep returning. With every word you write you only confirm to everyone what a complete whackjob you are.

    You do realize that no one takes you seriously, yes?
    You do realize that most people consider you comic relief here, yes?
    You do realize that whenever you write a comment a kitten dies, yes?

    While you sat there typing that useless screed, a few more Palestinian children were senselessly murdered, and your tax dollars paid for it. You do pay your taxes, like a good American, right? I hope so, because I’m not. I need other gullible idiots to pick up my slack.

  22. There was a time when US Government Officials openly supported Islamic Fundamentalists with Weapons.

    Imagine the difference a few hundred Stinger Missiles, a few old Vietnam Era 105mm Howitzer Artillery pieces, and a few Cold War Era Anti-Tank Missiles could do for the Palestinians. All that financial “aid” that goes to Palestinians only ends up in the hands of Corrupt Palestinian Authority Officials anyway.

    The playing field needs to be leveled. Perhaps there would be less complaining about Qassams if the Palestinians were shelling IDF positions with Shells “proudly made in the USA”. Then it would no longer look like a Massacre of Palestinians if Israeli US made F-16s were being blown out of the sky.

  23. Hopefully tthe long-suffering, land-raped Palestinians will be avenged someday…

  24. This country is finished as a democracy, as proven by Obama and the “Democrats” we elected in the Senate doing the opposite of what the majority of Democrats want (who oppose the Israeli invasion of Gaza by 22%). If you think anyone in Washington gives a damn about what we think, you’re a fool. If you think there will ever be any change that doesn’t come in the form of a mushroom cloud, you’re also a fool — we have the most powerful military on Earth, the chance of any peaceful “revolution” succeeding is zero, you’ll just be waterboarded and left to rot in a Gitmo clone. If you have the means, move to a real democracy, like France. Otherwise hide and prepare for the coming collapse of our economy and as someone else mentioned very likely nuking by another power.

  25. Early US history, although filled with genocide and mega-hypocrisy (US constitution + slavery) is rather far from this, having strong notion of individual freedoms and liberties importance.

    I gotta hand it to you, man. You admit that America was filled with genocide but then try to rationalize it away with the predictable patriotic blather about US freedumbs. A Pentagon or IDF press spokesperson couldn’t have spindoctored this little …um … contradiction more adroitly.

  26. The aid to Egypt, Jordan, SA etc is to keep the dictators from letting their people do what is right and natural and rampage through the streets of Tel Aviv, stuffing heads on pikes.

  27. The two establishment parties – the Republicrats – are virtually identical. America has a ‘permanent’ government. The every four years charade of parading two parrots to spew the official line is just an distraction for the masses, much like the old ‘bread and circus’ routine in ancient Rome.

  28. Nod. That was what my non-voting friends always said. I didn’t believe it until now.

  29. I have never seen a country with so many educated ignorant citizens. They have no critical thinking abilaties. Led by a conspiring medea and crocket politicians we fail to protest for justice and humane causes while promoting chaos, division, fear. We give our approval of any policy they promote regardless whether or not it’s good for America. Our appathy will prove to be our demise. The world will have no sympathy when we get our comeupens. If they do, they will have shown us a humane jesture and compassion we beleved we were, at one time, capable of.

  30. Of course they don’t. They’ve been “educated” not to. Critical thinking abilities makes for less profitable customers and less docile citizens.

  31. No wonder this country is a mess. You guys elected morons and idiots in DC! That’s why.

  32. Timmy, once again your facts are wrong. The US gives no aid to Saudi Arabia. It’s actually the other way around.

    Secondly, the aid given to Egypt is a direct cost of support for Israel. If Israel hadn’t shunned Egypt’s treaty proposals after the 1967 Israeli aggression then it would never have been necessary to buy the Egyptian elite’s complicity.

  33. In fact the United States DOES NOT have a parliamentary system of government. That’s part of the problem. It would be a lot easier for third or fourth parties to enter into the political process if it did. The two parties – the Republicrats – are basically the same.

  34. “I cannot see how Israel deserves billions of dollars in aid from the tax payers”,,,

    In fact it doesn’t deserve it at all. Nor is it in the interests of Americans to give it. It all just goes to show what a powerful organized ethnic lobby can accomplish in the dysfunctional corrupt American political system.

  35. Thomas said “As for the Orwellian titled “moderate” Arab countries (namely Egypt and Jordan, though Saudi gets lumped in there too, don’t ask me why anyone would label Saudi Moderate) they are a dictatorship and monarchy that are purely dependent upon US financial and military aid.”

    It’s not hard to understand.

    “Moderate” means “compliant”. Compliant states that do what they are told by Amerika are “moderate”.

    States that disobey the Evil Empire and pursue their own interests instead are “radical”.

    Forcing people into a giant open air concentration camp, sealing all the exits, denying them food, water, medical supplies and electricity and murdering UN workers who attempt to deliver aid to them, then bombing the city and burning them with white phosphorus are not
    war crimes and crimes against humanity because they are being done *by* Zionists. If these things were done *to* Zionists, then those would be monstrous crimes.

    It’s important to understand the language and how the meaning of words is twisted. Israel has not launched an aggressive war and this one-sided massacre is not genocide ( even though Matan Vilnai let the cat out of the bag last year when he threatened Palestinians with a “Greater Holocaust” – see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israels-warning-rocket-fire-from-gaza-will-result-in-a-palestinian-holocaust-790004.html ). Instead, it is just Israel “defending itself”.

    War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

  36. @ Tim R.: Yes, I am just as upset by the things you have detailed. No, I don’t blame the Jews; please do not accuse everyone of anti-Semitism who may disagree with your views. To say that the government of Israel represents the best interests of Jews is debatable. Jews (who are themselves a very diverse group), Arabs (also diverse), and Americans (also diverse) need and want peace, trade and prosperity. The various governments have their own agendas, which do not generally include peace. Look to history. War and crisis are the way to greater authority and power for governments. The benefits of war accrue to a small segment of the nation(s). The rest of the nation(s) people suffer for it. What do the rulers care, as long as their power, prestige, and comfortable standard of living are maintained? They only need enough people to serve them. The rest are cannon fodder.

  37. Hello James, great article. Sorry for the lateness in commenting.

    There is one statement you make here that I have given a lot of thought:
    Perhaps the single largest mistake in the history of the Israeli government’s long war on terrorism was its covert financing, cosseting, and arming of Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement

    I can see you being both right and wrong at the same time with this statement, James. There are many ways to look at this.

    The “right” way should be a strategic long term view. Anything that leads to more radicalization and violence between people can only be bad in the long term, and in this sense you are right. That is even more the case when those people have ultimately few choices: peacefull cohabitation or violent destruction. Clearly in this case, there was a de facto bet taken that the long term security of Israel and its people could best be maintained in through violence, apartheid and violation of the rights of the Palestinians, for an indefinite duration. I would not like those odds if I was living there.

    At a craven political level, for the likes of Netanhayu, you are clearly wrong. This is the best thing that could happen to them. First, Hamas was nurtured as an internal opposition to the PLO and Arafat (he of many shortcomings, but at least one who would engage on a political peace process with the Israelis, and as such, was of no appeal to the hawks and needed to be either radicalised, marginalized or removed). Hamas provided those Israeli hawks with perfect excuses for a step wise disengagement from the peace process, ramping up of an apartheid policy and eventual war of aggression. What’s not to like? :(

    In addition it gave those politicians a vehicle by which to manipulate and control the (already too willing) US government. For example, I regard the Palestinian elections as a stroke of genius on the part of those craven Israeli politicians. I have no doubt they fully planned and expected (and probably hoped for) a Hammas victory. They played the US government (Condi in particular) into believing there was a real hope for a real democratic process that they really supported, and that would yield a Palestinian government that would be ready for a peace negotiation in earnest. But does anyone seriously believe they did not know Hammas would win, and maybe even that they did not do all the could to help them win? At that time, a falsely shocked Israeli governement and a naively but truly shocked US government both denounced Hammas and the Palestinians as unworthy. The US was tied in even deeper than before, and Israel did not have to worry about peace talks anymore.

    Hence, if you’d written your initial sentence in this way, James, I would have agreed with you:
    Perhaps the single largest mistake in the history of both the Israeli people’s and the Palestinian people’s long quests for sustainable peace was their tacit support of their respective extrememists’ complicity in the Israeli government’s covert financing, cosseting, and arming of Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement.

    Regards