A Tale of Two Nakbas

May 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM

tumblr_mmufreotYA1rot242o1_r1_1280Last week, millions around the world marked the 67th anniversary of the Nakba – literally “the disaster” or “the catastrophe” in Arabic – commemorating the seizure of Palestinian land and transformation of historic Palestine into modern Israel. Naturally, there is little ambiguity among pro-Palestine activists that the Nakba represents the opening salvo in the ongoing war perpetrated by Israel and Zionism against the people of Palestine; it is the continuing war of gradual (and not so gradual) erasure of Palestinian culture, Palestinian ethnic identity, and Palestinian collective memory. The weapons in this war range from Israeli bombs, to Zionist propaganda that seeks to dehumanize the Palestinian people, robbing them of both their agency and their humanity, their land and their livelihoods.

But these facts are only controversial when facing the barrage of pro-Israeli propaganda either in the media, or as parroted by liberal Zionists whose humanity and compassion somehow does not extend to a tiny strip of land called Gaza, or the disjointed and disfigured territory known as the West Bank. Indeed, most people of conscience have come to see the self-evident injustice of the Nakba and the occupation; they recognize the apartheid and continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, correctly believing this struggle to be one of the great injustices of the contemporary world.

However, there is another Nakba, another catastrophe, that is ongoing today that even many pro-Palestinian voices fail (or choose not) to see – the war on Syria, Iraq, and indeed much of the region. For while 1948 saw the destruction of whole villages, extermination of families, displacement of millions, and the stealing of land throughout Palestine, so too have the last few years seen a similar phenomenon in Syria and Iraq. But while the rape of Palestine is a cause around which millions all over the world can unite, the war on Syria and Iraq has left much of the international movement divided. Many even today refuse to see this continuing war as even a war at all; it is “sectarian conflict,” it is “merely a proxy war,” and many argue that “all sides should be condemned.” But is this really true? Or, are these merely the empty platitudes of intellectual and moral cowards who prefer to stick with just Palestine because Syria and Iraq are “not their issue”?

Hezbollah, Syria, and Historical Memory

While there are many proverbial ostriches with their heads in the sand, there are forces in the region who have taken a stand with their brothers and sisters in Syria, chief among them Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah organization. Hezbollah has been fighting side by side with the Syrian Arab Army on the ground in Syria since at least early 2013, and has won strategically significant military victories countless times in the intervening months. Perhaps even more striking however is the intellectual fervor with which Nasrallah and Hezbollah have defended the very concept of resistance to Saudi/Qatari-sponsored wahhabi (takfiri) extremism espoused by the Al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front, ISIS, and the myriad other foreign-sponsored terror organizations waging war on Syria and Iraq.

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On US Elections, Russia, and the Imperial Establishment

May 17, 2015 at 11:32 PM

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Eric Draitser appears on renowned anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan’s weekly show “Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox” for an in depth conversation on a variety of political and geopolitical issues. Eric and Cindy discuss the pathetic state of US politics in the context of the 2016 election race, noting the manufactured nature of the so-called election process. They examine the ambitions of the US-dominated global empire: its objectives, its methods, and its struggles. Eric and Cindy look at US military escalation with Russia and the dangers of such belligerent policies, as well as the growing alliance between Russia and China. All this and much more in this detailed discussion.

Battlefield: Black Sea

May 17, 2015 at 10:48 PM

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While the war in Ukraine has raged on for more than a year, the growing conflict between the US-NATO and Russia has taken on new dimensions. From economic warfare waged by the West in the form of sanctions, to the diplomatic rows over the commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow, more and more it seems that relations between East and West are fraying beyond repair. Though it may seem that this conflict is escalating into simply an extension of what was once known as the Cold War, the potential exists for a hot war of global dimensions.

Lost amid the cacophony of saber-rattling and chest-thumping in Washington and Brussels is the quietly emerging, and infinitely dangerous, military deployment in the Black Sea. Once seen as a no-go zone for the US and NATO, the Black Sea, with its expansive Russian shores, has recently become the site of a slew of provocative military moves by the US, and equally significant counter-moves by Russia. Adding fuel to this potential fire is the participation of Chinese naval assets in this quietly brewing cocktail of global conflict.

The presence of US military assets all throughout the Black Sea region is undoubtedly provocative as it is pushing perilously close to Russia’s borders. The potential for escalation – premeditated or otherwise – puts the entire region, and indeed the entire world, at risk of catastrophe.

This article will focus on the US-NATO military developments in and around the Black Sea. While by no means a comprehensive listing of all of Washington’s moves in the region, it is an attempt to provide a glimpse into a little discussed theater of deployment for the West – one that is regarded as a very serious threat by Moscow.

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Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 3 (Ajamu Baraka)

May 17, 2015 at 10:34 PM

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Click here to listen to Counterpunch Radio Ep. 3 – Ajamu Baraka

In Episode 3 of CounterPunch Radio, host Eric Draitser sits down with human rights activist and political analyst Ajamu Baraka to discuss his article on Israeli politics in the latest print issue of CounterPunch Magazine, as well as a host of other issues. Eric and Ajamu examine the racist rhetoric at the heart of President Netanyahu’s recent election victory, and the way in which the political language of Israel has shifted in recent times. Within the context of recent demonstrations by Ethiopian Jews, Eric and Ajamu explore the politics of identity in Israel, and how supremacist ideology plays a major factor Israel’s self-image and domestic policies, while connecting the issue to the ongoing struggle against racism in America. All this and much more in Episode 3 of CounterPunch Radio.

Israel’s Fascist Democracy

May 17, 2015 at 10:25 PM

 

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For years, Israel and its powerful lobby in the US and Europe have presented the Jewish state as the model of democracy in a region typically referred to as “anti-democratic.” Naturally, many pro-Palestine activists, among countless others, have long argued that the central principles of Israel’s Jewish supremacist ideology, its legal structure, and its society broadly represent anything but democracy.

Such voices have correctly noted that Israel’s policies and very essence run counter to the traits traditionally associated with democracy: the rule of law, respect for minorities, and protection of civil and human rights. While no objective analyst could reasonably dismiss those important points, recent developments in Israeli politics do point to a disturbing, and painfully ironic, trend: Israel’s loving embrace of outright fascism is, to a large degree, an expression of its democracy.

The Government and the People’s Will

When Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party won a landslide reelection victory in March 2015, many Israelis, and activists and analysts around the world, were understandably disturbed by what this development portended for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations, and the future of the entire region. Although many had predicted a defeat for Likud, the elections resulted in a landslide victory for Netanyahu’s right wing party.

While the reasons for Likud’s victory are obviously myriad, one of the decisive factors was Netanyahu’s resorting to racist scaremongering in order to drive the ultra-right wing fascist base to the polls. In a widely disseminated Facebook post, Netanyahu warned of “Arab voters…coming out in droves to the polls.” Although Netanyahu claimed he was simply mobilizing his base, the obvious fact, self-evident to even the most naïve political amateur, was that the Netanyahu was resorting to and exploiting the anti-Arab racist views deeply held by the bulk of Israeli society. And it worked. The elections boasted a 72.3 percent voter turnout, the highest since 1999.

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