Pictured below: A Jewish Settler mom shows her son how to have fun at the local market in Hebron. Israeli Settlers are very good at stopping independent media outlets from filming them and what they do.
What is Israel’s relationship to the Holocaust?
Present-day Israel has few connections with the Holocaust, its Jewish heritage notwithstanding. Very few Holocaust survivors are still living. After the war, many survivors migrated into the West instead of going to Israel. For its part, Israel has always been selective in its commemoration of the tragedy—often using it to score political points against the Palestinians, who live on land which it wants to acquire. Israel’s present leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, once even made the just-plain-crazy statement that a Palestinian inspired the Holocaust! Lots of Israeli politicans and advocates opportunistically exploit the tragedy for their own ends, thereby debasing its memory. Collectively, Israelis are cruel to Palestinians (see the photos) as they ever-so-slowly drive them from their homes and take their land. Should Americans support Israel or the Palestinians?
Of course this is an individual decision, presumably based on values, which are subjective. What are your values? What do you aspire to in life?
Do you want to live a long and comfortable life in the United States? While Americans do not directly benefit from the slow Israeli appropriation of Palestinian land, Israel provides important services for the American way of life. The role of Israel in working with mercenary armies in the Third World is an important element in keeping America wealthy. In myriad counterinsurgency operations over the past few decades, Israelis and their resources played an important role. In Colombia, for example, paramilitary leaders like the Castaño brothers trained in Israel, and hundreds of Israeli mercenaries worked alongside paras units, teaching them combat tactics and heavy interrogation techniques, including the ‘Palestinian hanging’ and 'Palestinian Chair' methods (it’s not that people don’t readily know how to hurt other people—much of the real contribution is just having the huzpah to really do it. Israelis like Yair Klein and his buddies just showed hundreds of Colombian soldiers how to take this plunge against various moralistic inhibitions). Victory against insurgencies in the Third World, especially in Latin America, facilitate continued wealth extraction that allows Americans to enjoy a vastly better quality of life than most people on the planet. President Obama’s fall 2016 pledge of $38 billion in military aid to Israel—the largest ever in U.S. history—thus has tangible benefits for Americans. The U.S. military works closely with the Israelis in many ways. For example, the U.S. paid for an urban warfare training center at Tze'elim in the Negev Desert, and U.S. troops (and those of many U.S. allies) frequently use it and train there. Another very practical benefit for us comes from Israeli software manufacturers like NSO Group. Israelis have been on the forefront of high tech spying software. NSO's Pegasus product, for example, allows government intel agencies to control iPhones (they can take control of the iPhone's microphone and camera features, among others). It is used by authoritarian regimes to control people and stifle dissent. While such control in places like Egypt directly benefits Israel, its use in Latin America and other Third World countries directly helps facilitate our enhanced way of life. A subversive person who tries to organize a labor strike or protest human rights violations can literally be nabbed out-of-the-blue and hauled off to the torture chamber. Orwell himself could hardly have anticipated this level of pure control in our world!
It is always logical (for self-preservation and enhancement) to support the strong instead of the weak. This case is arguably not an exception—Israel can do things for us and give us things, while the Palestinians have almost nothing to offer us. Having said that, this particular case is also not completely a ‘slam dunk’. U.S. opposition to a free Palestine has antagonized portions of the world, and has helped aggravate tensions in the volatile Middle East. And in truth mercenaries are a dime-a-dozen, while Israel does not provide the United States with either cheap labor or raw materials. But if your values are oriented to living a long and comfortable life in the United States--on the whole, cumulatively, supporting Israel at the expense of the Palestinians is logical. Perhaps this too is the author's overarching life goal; perhaps it is not. This short essay is not an expression of his opinion, but of logic. It is logical for Americans who are seeking longevity and comfort to support Israel instead of Palestine.
Information-wise, the only realistic news source on happenings in the West Bank is Maan News (and, facing pressure from the Israel-collaborating Palestinian Authority, even it is significantly compromised), online at https://www.maannews.com/ For those of us who like to see things the way they actually are, the only truely valid option is of course to GO THERE. I roamed the West Bank for about ten days in 2014. If you are a U.S. citizen it is fairly easy to enter (past Israeli immmigration and security--though they do vigorously question you). The Palestinians are surprisingly friendly to foreigners, though they are clearly under political duress--with some signs of visible fear and reluctance to talk about their situation or anything relating to politics--a dynamic undoubtedly heightened today. In places like Hebron and Nabi Saleh, you can watch the IDF tear gas and abuse Palestinian kids. The IDF uses epic amounts of tear gas on the Palestinians. I experienced the Pennsylvania-made gas once, and woa! does it burn (much worse than the stuff I've wiffed in Latin America on a couple of occasions). They also use a U.S.-made concoction called "Skunk spray", which is actually rotting dead corpse spray. You can smell it days later after a village or refugee camp has been bombed with it--and even then it still makes you nauseous. To my surprise (being an English-speaking American), Israeli settlers on the West Bank were not very accessible. They live in compounds and generally don't seem to want to talk to visitors or outsiders. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem you can experience a religious Disneyland! I still remember watching a middle-aged Asian man loudly commanding his wife to "Kiss it! Kissi it!" as he took her picture while she knelt at the 'Stone of Unction', where (fat chance) Christ's body supposedly laid. It is indeed a fun and funny world, occupied by a highly irrational, remarkably banal, and wholly self-destructive human species. It will be quite a shame if the current President of the United States--with the mental development of an eight-year-old and the emotional development of a four-year-old--does something stupid that ends it all.
Pictured above: Israel has repeatedly used U.S.-supplied White Phosphorous on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip—which is a good testing laboratory for military hardware.