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24 August 2017

Charlottesville exposes Israeli and US hypocrisy

By: Daoud Kuttab
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The hate and ugliness that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia, exposed the hypocrisy and insincerity in a faraway place, in Israel.
 
All of a sudden, terms like anti-Semitism and terrorism sound hollow when spoken by the current US and Israeli officials.
 
After torch-wielding white supremacists, and anti-Jewish, anti-black and anti-Muslim neo-Nazis marched in Virginia, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, waited three days before making a public statement.
 
This speaks volumes about the insincerity of Israel’s usually vicious attacks against anyone opposed to Israel worldwide, which is labelled anti-Semitic.
 
The same prime minister of the so-called national homeland of the Jewish people who is not willing to wait minutes to condemn an act of violence or hate against Israel wanted to play politics by refraining from angering his rightwing buddy, President Donald Trump.
 
If Israel had indeed been the homeland of the Jewish people around the world, its leader would not have waited for three days before making a statement against neo Nazis in Charlottesville.
 
One Israeli Cabinet minister said that relations with Trump are more important than calling out Nazis.
 
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli minister of communications said: “Due to the terrific relations with the US, we need to put the declarations about the Nazis in the proper proportion.”
 
The minister continued by saying that “Trump is the best US leader Israel has ever had. His relations with the prime minister of Israel are wonderful, and after enduring the terrible years of Obama, Trump is the unquestioned leader of the free world, and we must not accept anyone harming him.”
 
This political calculation, which has badly backfired in Washington, should also be a wakeup call for all those who believe that there are indeed shared values between the US and Israel.
 
Israel’s claim that it represents and defends worldwide Jewry and is a champion in the fight against Semitism appears to be different from what is advertised. The claim is used as political manipulation and blackmail of anyone that supports Palestinians and opposes Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement enterprise on Palestinian lands.
 
The reaction, or lack thereof, to the hate evident in Charlottesville reflects Washington’s hypocrisy and double standards when handling various conflicts around the world, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
Israel was set up on the basis of racial supremacy of Jews over the local Palestinian population.
 
This racism was reflected in the ethnic cleansing that marked the creation of Israel and the over 50 years of racist laws that discriminate against Arab citizens of Israel.
 
While Israel has rejected every international law and treaty calling for the return of Palestinian Arab refugees who left in 1948 due to the violence or in fear, its laws allow any Jew from anywhere in the world to become instantly an Israel citizen simply because of his religion.
 
This discriminatory policy is also being practised in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, where illegal Jewish settlers live in comfort and with government support under civilian Israeli law while the majority Palestinians live under the Israeli military law.
 
One week before the Charlottesville events, a bomb exploded at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Centre in suburban Minneapolis. The governor of the state, Mark Dayton, called the mosque attack an “act of terrorism” and the FBI launched an investigation, but the US president refused to speak out against what happened.
 
A White House aide argued that the administration was not sure about the motive of the attack.
 
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to Trump, said the White House would “wait and see” in case the blast turned out to be a hoax.
 
Both the US and Israel are clearly hypocritical when they use the issue of Palestinian violence to slow down the peace process.
 
Whether they admit it or not, the US-Israeli alliance ultimately supports the continued illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
 
American and Israeli condemnation of terrorism and anti-Semitism sounds very hollow now that they were tried and tested in a case coming from their own political environment.
 
The various justifications Americans use to blindly support Israel are quickly falling apart as white supremacists are flexing their hateful muscle to the deadening silence from Israel, which itself applies daily discriminatory and racial policies against the Palestinians.
 
It is high time to stop using terms like terrorism or anti-Semitism and focus on terms like settlement reversal, Israeli army withdrawal and ending the occupation.

* A Palestinian columnist based in Amman, Jordan. - dkuttab@ammannet.net



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