Via: Media Monitors Network.
For an intellectual giant like Noam Chomsky, respected by millions of students and academics all over the world, to be interrogated by an Israeli soldier for hours and then to be prevented from entering the occupied West Bank to give a previously arranged lecture, is a very serious indicator of the depth of the gutter successive US administrations have brought their country into as a result of their submission to the will of Israeli generals.
Chomsky is not only an American citizen, a university professor and a prominent linguist, he is also known throughout the world for his opinions, his research and theories. It is an honour for any country to be visited by Chomsky and for any university to host his lectures. Yet, and despite all this humiliation, we have not heard any protest – no matter how timid – from any American official. Let us imagine that an American citizen has been denied entry to any other country in this manner, or has been interrogated by a non-Israeli soldier – let us say an Iranian – or interrogated on the Korean borders, what would be the reaction of American political and media circles?
The eloquent White House and State Department spokespeople, and maybe the Secretary of State herself, who usually make their fiery statements against Syria and Iran defending democracy, human rights and freedom, turned all of a sudden into dumb mutes regarding this arrogant Israeli humiliation of an academic legend like Chomsky who happened to be an American!!
Not allowing Chomsky to enter the West Bank to lecture at Bir Zeit University is actually an escalation of the Netanyahu government defiance of the United States, relying, of course, on the ability of the Israeli lobby in the US Congress to twist the president’s arm.
Ignoring human and moral values is customary in Israel ‘s conduct towards the Arabs. But the escalation of Israeli arrogance towards the US administration proves the fact that the generals have been given a free hand by Netanyahu’s extremist government against all. This is confirmed by Bradley Burston (Haaretz, 19 May, 2010) who wrote that “the right in Israel and its supporters abroad have come to plant and nurture the seeds of fascism”. Burston describes what Israeli army officers did to an Israel State Radio news reporter, who was interviewing one of the Israeli demonstrator protesting in support of Palestinians who had been driven out of their houses so that they can be occupied by Jews:
“[They] jump him and drag him away in a headlock to a police custody van.… What was curious here was not the neck-wrenching brutality of the Yasam riot police in their gunmetal gray uniforms, bristling with assault rifles, clubs, tear gas and helmets, arrayed against the demonstrators, most of them Israeli Jews, some of them well past retirement age.… it is Fascism with a confused face.“
Israeli generals also announced that they will not allow ships carrying humanitarian aid to get to Gaza, which has been blockaded for the past three years and whose population is deprived of the simplest necessities of life. They are without food, medicine or construction materials. All this, says Burston, amounts to “fascistic rulings by extreme rightist rabbis, especially some of those holding official positions in the West Bank “.
Do American officials realize that when they give money and justification to Netanyahu’s extremist government, they are actually working against the interests of the Jews, Christians and Muslims of the Middle East? By giving Israel an additional $205 millions for new armaments in Israel, the US Congress is undermining the stability of the region, stepping up the arms race and encouraging extremists in Israel to launch more wars against their neighbors. Elvis Costello canceled concerts in Tel Aviv as a ‘matter of conscience’. He said: “I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation, or much worse, on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security”.
If some in the US government are not concerned about Chomsky’s dignity or do not trust the wisdom and integrity of Costello, why do not they read Gadi Baltinsky’s article “An Israeli public lost in the woods” (Foreign Policy, 19 May 2010). He writes: “about two-thirds of Israelis support the evacuation of most settlements as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Yet at the same time, only 30 percent believe that this is the opinion held by the majority”. So, the majority which supports evacuation from most settlements finds itself a minority, while a small group of racist extremists spread fascism in Israel by promoting settlement and behaving like Hitler’s SS forces to suppress the public will.
When Western politicians and journalists in general, and American ones in particular, condone Israel’s ugly crimes, this will lead, as it did in Nazi Germany, to the persecution of any Jew who condemns the crimes of Israel’s generals, supports the just Palestinian cause or stands up to official Israel crimes.
This biased Policy followed by Obama, Clinton, the US Congress and the West in general, will create an Israeli Frankenstein who will not terrorize the Palestinians alone, but will plague those who tolerated him and did not stop him while they could.
When rock music legend Elvis Costello, and before him jazz performer Gil Scott-Heron and guitar legend Carlos Santana, boycott Israel, they do not do so only in support of justice in Palestine , but in support of human and democratic values and to save the potential Arab and Israeli victims. When Hitler started his notorious path, he did so as a lover of Germany and as concerned for the Germans. But he bequeathed the disgrace of his horrible persecution to those he used to claim to defend. These generals are not better than Hitler’s generals; and their crimes are not less ugly. That is why it is wise to conclude that they are no less dangerous to their people and to other peoples. So, can anyone dare take a decision to stop Israeli tyrants to save the future of the Arabs, the Jews and the whole world?
Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She’s got Ph.D. in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN).