The United States and Israel: ‘Shared Values’

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This is a presidential election year in the United States, and every campaign for the presidency requires all candidates to bow down to Israel.
We hear proclamations of how closely the security of Israel is tied to the security of the United States, with no explanation of why that is. We are constantly being told that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, regardless of one set of laws for Jewish Israelis, and separate, discriminatory laws for non-Jewish Israelis living there.
The ‘fact’ that Israel is the US’s only ‘friend’ in the Middle East is repeated constantly, without any reminder that, before the existence of Israel, the US had no enemies in that part of the world. Neither are we told that the US’s only ‘friend’ in the Middle East receives more money in foreign aid from the US than all other countries combined.
Let US cities go bankrupt, while Tel Aviv flourishes; charge astronomical interest rates to US university students, while Israeli students pay a nominal fee for tuition, room and board; provide Israel with the most sophisticated and deadly armaments on the planet, some of them illegal under international law, while the nation Israel brutally oppresses is used as a testing ground for them. Even Democratic candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, while offering a tepid criticism of Israel, made these same proclamations. And we never cease to hear of the ‘shared values’ between the US and Israel.
Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at these ‘shared values’; by doing so, we can see that the two nations do, indeed share many of the same ‘values.’


In the United States, young, unarmed Black men serve as target practice for the mainly white police force. They are shot multiple times, at point-blank range, when unarmed and unthreatening. Seldom is a police officer charged with any crime for shooting and killing such a victim, whether the victim is an adult or a minor, male or female. That is the justice system in the US. This is now so commonplace that it is hardly even reported anymore.
In Israel, young, unarmed Palestinians serve the same function for the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and illegal settlers (a redundant term, since all settlers are illegal).  They are shot to death when unarmed and unthreatening in any way, sometimes in the back. Such shootings have even been captured on video camera, eliminating any need for eye-witness accounts. Yet seldom, if ever, is an IDF soldier or a settler charged with a crime. Even when a soldier shoots, in the head, a wounded, immobile, unarmed Palestinian, the nation rallies around the soldier and proclaims him a hero, as the government says the shooting was justified.

‘Might makes right’

United States: The US probably invented this concept as its power grew over the centuries. When any international conflict arises, rather than working through diplomatic channels to resolve it, bombing always seems to be the preferred method. The countries that the US has bombed, invaded, destabilised or otherwise violently interfered with are too numerous to mention here, but a short list will be provided of those so victimised since the middle of the last century:
    • Syria – 1949, 2014 – present.
    • Iran – 1953
    • Guatemala – 1954
    • Tibet – 1955
    • Indonesia – 1958
    • Cuba – 1959 – 2016
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo – 1960 -1965
    • South Vietnam – 1963 – 1973
    • Brazil – 1964
    • Ghana – 1966
    • Chile – 1970 – 1973
    • Afghanistan – 1979 – 1989; 2003 – present.
    • Turkey – 1980
    • Poland – 1980 – 1981
    • Nicaragua – 1981 – 1990
    • Cambodia – 1980
    • Angola – 1980s
    • Philippines – 1986
    • Iraq – 1992 – 1996 – 2002
    • Venezuela – 2002
    • Palestinian territories – 2006 – present
    • Yemen – 2002 – Present
Israel: In Israel, IDF soldiers use what by any definition is excessive force to quell rock-throwing by Palestinians. It has also assassinated nuclear scientists in Iran, bombed US warships, and brutally and criminally invaded Palestine numerous times, a nation that it occupies in violation of international law.

Selective use of law

United States: In late 2002, the United Nations, pushed by the US, found Iraq to be in violation of one UN resolution. With this as an excuse, the US invaded Iraq, causing untold death, destruction and suffering, not to mention a huge increase in hostility toward the US. Yet Israel, in violation of dozens of UN resolutions, receives constant, unwavering support from the US.
Israel: For its part, Israel condemns rock-throwing by Palestinians, who have an internationally-recognised right to resist occupation. When three illegal settlers were found murdered in 2014, Israel condemned the violence. But when an illegal settler burned a Palestinian infant to death, this was not seen as an act of terrorism, and only minor charges were laid. Additionally, during a recent increase in attacks on Israelis by Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel responded with deadly force, condemning the violence, while ignoring the ongoing, daily, deadly violence perpetrated against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and soldiers, all in violation of international law.

Global Hypocrisy

United States: US spokespeople, from the president on down to local governmental politicians, all talk about democracy, the absolute right for people to decide on their own who should govern them, and the sacredness of liberty. Yet this same government overthrows democratically-elected governments that it disagrees with. One example, among many, occurred in Chile. Salvador Allende was democratically elected in 1970, but the US could not countenance a Marxist as the president there. As a result, it supported radical, right-wing groups which eventually led to the overthrow of Mr Allende, who was replaced by General Augusto Pinochet. With his ascent to power, democratic rule in Chile ended after 41 years, and tens of thousands of his opponents were kidnapped, tortured and murdered. But this rule, in the view of the United States, was preferable than that of Mr Allende.
Israel: Politicians in Israel forever talk about their desire for peace, as they continue to steal Palestinian land; imprison, torture and kill innocent Palestinian men, women and children, and then call all opposition to this brutality ‘anti-Semitic’, and a threat to the existence of Israel. These politicians are always fearful of ‘existential’ threats to Israel, as they slowly destroy all that remains of Palestine.
There was a time when people believed that the Republican Party represented the wishes of business and the wealthy; the Democratic Party was seen as the voice of the common, working man and woman. If this was ever true, and that is questionable, at the very least, it is certainly not the case today. In 2012, a ‘voice vote’ was held at the Democratic convention to address a few issues, including whether or not the Party should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something omitted from the 2008 platform, and opposed by the international community.
The voice vote was held by participants being asked to shout either ‘aye’ or ‘no’; a two-thirds majority is required. How one can estimate that from a voice vote is beyond the understanding of this writer. Regardless, after holding three such ‘votes’, the convention chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, determined that the ‘aye’ votes had registered more than two-thirds, and the motion passed. The crowd present vocally expressed its disapproval. A truly democratic vote would have provided ballots on which the participants could record their votes, and which could then be counted. But the convention chair, who has visited Israel multiple times, and often expressed support for Israel, announced that the motion had carried.
So, let us summarise: shared ‘values’ include deadly violence; violation of international law; selective use of law, and global hypocrisy. It also seems to mean the refusal to recognise reality. Around the world, more and more people are recognising that Israel is an apartheid regime, and are taking steps to oppose it. This is seen at the ‘grass-roots’ level, as the ‘Boycott, Divest and Sanction’ movement gains power, and at the national level as more and more nations vote to recognise Palestine, and demand that Israel adhere to international law. The US and Israel become increasingly isolated in the court of public opinion, and the facade that each attempts to present is quickly dissolving.
While none of this increased awareness changes the facts on the ground for Palestinians today, it all bodes well for the future. Generations yet unborn will demand to know why Israeli apartheid was allowed to continue for so long. This writer, for one, will be unable to provide them with a satisfactory answer.
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