Israel Gives Chutzpah New Meaning
by Stephen Lendman
The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew hutspa. It means insolence or audacity. The Urban Dictionary adds “unmitigated effrontery or impudence.”
Leo Rosten’s “The Joys of Yiddish” calls it “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible guts, presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to.”
Rosten said it embraces “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”
Israeli extremism matches these definitions and then some. For decades, it’s been the tail wagging the US dog. The so-called special relationship is more liability than benefit.
Rights afforded Israel do more harm than good. US interests are sacrificed. America loses more than it gains. World peace is threatened. Both countries threaten humanity. Serious reassessment of this hellish relationship is long overdue.
Washington does more than let Israel get away with murder. It actively aids and abets it. It concurs on virtually everything Israel wants. Media scoundrels approve. They turn a blind eye to Israel’s worst crimes.
Rare criticisms are muted. A December 3 New York Times editorial headlined “Mr. Netanyahu’s Strategic Mistake,” saying:
He “dug in” his heels. He’s “escalat(ing) a crisis.” He’s increasing settlement construction and withholding tax revenues collected for Palestine. He threatened more punitive measures.
He “ma(de) it nearly impossible to restart peace negotiations.” He “threaten(s) to crush the Palestinian Authority, and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, who….represents the only credible peace negotiator.”
Palestinians have endured crisis conditions for over 64 years. Besieged Gazans are being suffocated. Decades of Israeli settlements are illegal.
Abbas has no legitimacy whatever. Israel rigged his election. His term expired in January 2009. He’s still there. He’s Israel’s useful puppet. He helps enforce occupation harshness.
Hamas is Palestine’s legitimate government. In January 2006, Palestinians overwhelmingly elected its candidates. Israel pressured Washington to declare it a terrorist organization.
Its political legitimacy is solid. Denying it doesn’t wash. Times editors omitted these and other inconvenient facts.
At the same time, they criticized Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. They urged Obama to revive peace talks. They ignored decades of Washington and Israel subverting them.
They want Abbas to “forgo applying for Palestinian membership in United Nations affiliates or trying to bring cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court.”
In other words, they want Palestinians to sacrifice their legitimate rights and surrender to Israeli authority. It’s been that way at least since Oslo.
This is what passes for opinion in America’s “newspaper of record.” Times pro-Israeli bias is uncompromising. Palestinian rights don’t matter.
Haaretz goes both ways. It largely supports Israeli policies. At the same time, legitimate criticism is published. Sometimes it’s in editorials. They go so far but no further. Stopping short spoils otherwise good comments.
On December 4, Haaretz headlined “Reckless behavior,” saying:
E1 Ma’aleh Adumin settlement housing construction and withholding Palestinian tax revenues “is nothing less than reckless behavior.”
International outrage followed. “This policy is seriously threatening Israel.”
Netanyahu crossed the line. “This is a heavy price that cannot be explained away as an investment in national security.”
“Rather, it is a whim that might plumb new depths for Israel’s international standing.”
“Netanyahu and his ministers have no right to make Israel an international pariah.”
At the same time, unjustifiable comments spoiled these legitimate criticisms. Iran’s peaceful nuclear program was called threatening. Haaretz editors know otherwise but don’t say.
Lawless settlements weren’t discussed. Nor were daily attacks on Palestinian civilians. Dozens of weekly incursions continue. Nonthreatening Palestinians are accosted, arrested, shot, injured, or killed. Overnight another man was shot.
On December 4, Israeli soldiers demolished a south Hebron Hills mosque. It was destroyed in 2011 and rebuilt. Palestinians are denied their right to worship.
Israel plans to demolish eight West Bank villages to provide land for a military training zone.
Haaretz reported none of this. No outrage was expressed. Ongoing crimes against humanity go largely unmentioned.
In March 2010, 1,700 East Jerusalem Ramat Shlomo settlement housing units were approved. Netanyahu wants construction expedited.
By mid-December, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee will discuss what’s next. Hundreds more Givat Hamatos units will be approved. Many more are planned for Gilo and Givet Ze’ev.
They’re part of Netanyahu’s E1 corridor expansion. Accelerated Palestinian home demolitions are expected. Netanyahu thumbed his nose at world opinion. Don’t bet he won’t get away with it.
He sees settlement construction as good electoral strategy. Despite international criticism, he won’t back down. His office said:
“Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure. There will be no change in the decision that has been made.”
“The Palestinian unilateral move at the UN is a blatant and fundamental violation of agreements to which the international community was a guarantor.”
“No one should be surprised that Israel is not sitting with its arms folded in response to the unilateral Palestinian steps.”
So-called international outrage is more rhetorical than real. Washington did little more than call Netanyahu’s announcement “counterproductive.” Added comments called “controversial” construction “contrary to US policy.”
Settlements aren’t “controversial.” They’re illegal. Most Israelis support them. World leaders do nothing to stop them. They have plenty of muscle but won’t use it.
Iran’s been unjustly punished with multiple rounds of sanctions. Israel deserves harsh punishment but stays free to operate lawlessly. Double standard hypocrisy is glaring.
On Monday, Haaretz headlined “UK, France may recall ambassadors to protest Israel’s settlement construction,” saying:
So far it’s not announced. Haaretz quoted an unnamed “senior European diplomat” saying:
“This time it won’t just be a condemnation. There will be real action taken against Israel. London is furious about the E1 decision.”
On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said Downing Street won’t recall its envoy. “We are not proposing to do that,” he said. “We are not setting out any further action at this stage.”
Expect much the same from other European leaders. Policy measures with teeth don’t follow rhetorical bluster. Words alone ring hollow. Washington backs Israel’s worst crimes. It’s been that way for decades. It won’t change now.
US tax dollars and American NGOs help fund settlements. The US tax code enables donations to organizations involved in settlement construction and activities.
From 2002 – 2009 alone, dozens of NGOs, private foundations, and US corporations contributed $274 million in settlement enterprise support.
Doing so, of course, is illegal. Fourth Geneva obligates occupiers not to transfer their population to territories they control. Israel’s been doing it for over 45 years. World community outrage is absent.
Silence or muted criticism is support.
On July 5, 2010, The New York Times headlined “Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank,” saying:
Many US groups contribute this way. On the one hand, Washington rhetorically opposes settlements. On the other, construction is facilitated “through (supportive) tax breaks.”
US and Israeli public records “identified at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for” West Bank/East Jerusalem settlements “over the last decade.”
Millions more are collected annually. Influential organizations and wealthy contributors are involved. Nothing is done to stop them. Tax law stays unchanged. It violates international and constitutional law.
Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, federal statutes and US treaties (like the Genocide and four Geneva Conventions) are “the supreme law of the land.”
Religious charities are involved. Their policies are opaque. Tax law exempts them from disclosing their finances publicly. Extremists like Christian fascist John Hagee take full advantage.
He helped raise tens of millions of dollars. He’s militantly anti-Muslim. He endorses preemptive war on Islam. He defiles Christian tenets. He’s welcome whenever he visits Israel.
On December 4, a Jerusalem Post editorial headlined “The logic of E1,” saying:
Building in its corridor “would not necessarily undermine the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.”
JP editors look facts in the face and ignore them. Two states side-by-side haven’t been possible for years. Netanyahu’s announcement perhaps drove the final nail in its corpse.
Not according to JP editors. At best, they suggest Netanyahu’s announcement was tactically wrong. Construction is legitimate they claim. International law doesn’t matter.
“We build in existing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem such as Pisgat Ze’ev and Gilo or in consensus settlement blocs like Gush Etzion and Ariel out of a real need to supply housing for a fast-growing population.”
They’re in Palestinian East Jerusalem. Legal housing construction is legitimate. On stolen land it’s lawless. Perhaps JP editors forgot.
More likely they don’t care. Building anywhere in Palestine “is perfectly in line with our country’s interests,” they said.
E1 development is no different than anywhere else. Previous governments felt the same way. In October 1994, Yitzhak Rabin said “united Jerusalem” would include Ma’aleh Adumim under Israeli authority.
Then-Jerusalem mayor Benny Kashriel got E1 annexation documents. As prime minister in 1996, Shimon Peres reaffirmed them. So did most other Israeli officials. They stopped short of proceeding with development.
On Sunday, Netanyahu declared that “the State of Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all the places on the state’s strategic map.”
JP editors believe doing so “protects integral Israeli interests recognized and protected” by Israeli governments “for well over a decade.”
Never mind rule of law principles. Forget about Palestinian rights. Whether they say it or not, most Israelis feel the same way.
A Final Comment
Obama seems heading toward full-scale war on Syria. Post-election, he’s unrestrained. Interventionists want direct US involvement. They urge decisive action.
An unnamed senior EU official said, “We have hung back for 28 months and watched people die. That is long enough.”
An unnamed US official disagreed, saying, “Anybody who says that Western intervention cannot make things worse in Syria simply lacks imagination.”
Official comments omit explaining who bears full responsibility. Washington planned war on Syria years ago. It’s been raging since early last year.
No-fly zone advocates know establishing it declares war. Installing Patriot missiles on the Turkish/Syrian border combined with recognizing Syria’s illegitimate opposition perhaps is planned pretext to launch it.
Syrian chemical weapons again made headlines. Contrived US intelligence reports claim Assad may be readying them for use. On Monday, Obama said:
“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable.”
“And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”
Last summer, Syrian officials said they’ll never be used internally. In self-defense if NATO attacks, anything is possible. Washington uses chemical, biological and nuclear weapons freely. So does Israel. Media scoundrels say nothing.
They prefer headlines calling naked aggression humanitarian intervention.
On December 3, The Atlantic contributor Jeffrey Goldberg headlined “Israel Asked Jordan for Approval to Bomb Syrian WMD Sites,” saying:
Why ask Jordan? Only Washington’s approval is needed. At issue is some chemical sites are close to Jordan’s border. Syrians might also suspect Jordanian involvement if Israel attacks.
So far, Jordan disapproves. Amman officials said now isn’t the right time.
US and Israeli drones are overflying the Jordanian/Syrian border. Goldberg said unnamed sources told him that Washington, Jordan, and Gulf state allies established a “war room.”
It’s “organizing efforts to screen Syrian militants for jihadist sympathies, and to provide” other opposition elements “with training and equipment.”
Mission creep seems incrementally heading toward full-scale war. It could erupt anytime. Perhaps a false flag will launch it. It wouldn’t be the first time Washington used this stunt.
Or Israel if it gets directly involved. It looks that way if Goldberg’s information is right.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.