Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Martin LeFevre: America and Israel

Meditations - From Martin LeFevre in California

America and Israel

When a New York Times columnist and Nobel Laureate literally calls for “goo-goo” from the Obama Administration, you know America has gone completely round the bend.

As epic self-congratulatory celebrations are prepared for the millions of people descending on DC for the inauguration, Israel destroys Gaza with impunity, aping the United States in word and deed.

The goo-goo in question refers to ‘good government guys,’ a derisive term for reformers dating from the late 19th century, when politics was an all male sport. Though goo-goos have gone the way of Mugwumps in the American political lexicon, the childish hope that Obama will clean up the corruption and clean out patronage of the Bush Administration is reaching a fever pitch as the inauguration nears.

In the American mainstream media, hackneyed comparisons between Obama’s cabinet appointments and Abe Lincoln’s “team of rivals” have given way to hackneyed comparisons to Obama’s economic plans and Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Meanwhile, Israel is getting in one last, most murderous bombing spree in Gaza before its partner in these latest crimes against humanity, the Bush Administration, exits stage right.

It’s mind-boggling and heart wrenching. A nation formed by Holocaust survivors kills and wounds hundreds of people in a single day, reacting to rarely lethal rockets that Hamas fools have been launching into Jewish settlements along the border.

Proving that there is nothing more violent than an Israeli defense minister whose reputation is at stake, a surly Edmud Barak, citing the ‘global war on terror,’ said, “we will use our force as forcefully as needed to change the behavior of Hamas.” Regional wars, even world wars, have begun with much less provocation.

Of course, diabolical domestic political calculations are behind the attacks, with Israel wanting to present a new American president with a fait accompli in Gaza, while at the same time ‘doing something’ about the rocket attacks as elections in February approach in that country.

Obama gave his own green light to the Israeli atrocity last summer by saying in Israel, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that.”

How can a people that has historically endured so much suffering at the hands of power in so many places callously mete out so much suffering to the powerless people in their midst? Why has Israel become so evil?

As things stand, the United States absurdly calls “for rocket attacks against Israel to stop,” even as Israel bombs the hell out of the Gaza strip in a blatant act of collective punishment.

That is the kind of a shameful example of “moral leadership” that the world has had from the Bush Administration. Will Obama truly break with these policies, or do as he has done during the transition—paste over prejudices and put on a smiley face?

In short, what will Barack do with Barak? If a larger war is not triggered by Israel’s grossly disproportionate reaction, will Obama accept the “changed realities on the ground," according Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni?

Or will he attempt to be an honest broker between the nearly powerless Palestinians against the Israeli military machine, and insist on a minimal degree of fairness for the Palestinian people?

Of course Hamas will have to accept the Israeli state, and swear off terror attacks against civilians, even though Israel unleashes its own, much more massive terror campaign against the Palestinian people. That appears about as likely as Fatah and Hamas coming to an accord, and quit playing into Israeli hands. But this latest war, whether it remains confined to Gaza or not, may well force the issue.

I think it was Hegel who said, “All people get the government they deserve.” I can’t speak for other peoples, but it certainly is true of America. For the last eight years, we’ve had the government we deserve in the Bush-Cheney Administration.

When Americans re-elected Bush-Cheney in 2004, people knew what they were getting. Progressives have to quit blaming the corporate media, and start telling the truth and speaking directly to the people, since it’s condescending to assume that people are always duped.

There are indications that responsibility may be catching on. Addressing the American people, New York Times columnist, Bob Herbert, remarkably entitled his last column, “Stop Being Stupid.”

Especially for America, supposedly “the indispensable nation,” it’s no longer a question of, as Obama put it, “where we need to take the country;” it’s a question of where we need to take the world. Those who can sustain thinking and feeling in those terms—that is, in the context of humanity--will prevail.

************

- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: martinlefevre@sbcglobal.net. The author welcomes comments.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>