From: Francis Feeley <Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>
Subject: Edward Herman: Part 2 of 3.
7 April 2002
Message from the Center for the Advanced
Study of American Institutions and Social Movements,
Université de Grenoble-3
F. Feeley, directeur de recherches
ISRAEL'S APPROVED ETHNIC CLEANSING: PART 2
U.S. OFFICIAL PROTECTION
by Edward S. Herman
dealt brutally with Kosovo Albanians, the United
States claimed to find such actions so intolerable as to justify a
war against the villain and his people and an occupation of Kosovo
to terminate the process. Returning expelled Kosovo Albanians to
their homes was an urgent priority--after NATO policy itself had
produced the expulsions.
In sharp contrast, as described in Part 1, Israel has been able
to establish and maintain a "Jewish" state--hence a racist state--
and systematically "redeem" the land from the large indigenous
Palestinian population--that is, engage in large-scale ethnic
cleansing--because in this case the United States found ethnic
cleansing not only tolerable but worthy of aggressive support. An
international consensus has condemned the Israeli occupation for
decades, and huge majorities in the UN have periodically called for
an Israeli exit (e.g., 144-2 on Resolution 242 in December 1990),
but the United States and Israel have said "nyet," so nyet it has
Official Protection: The Orwellian Processes
of having to leave the occupied territories Israel
continues to push out the locals by force, uproot their trees,
steal their water, beggar them by "closures" and endless
restrictions, and it suffers no penalties because it has U.S.
approval, protection, and active assistance (see below). The
partners also deny Palestinians any right to return to land from
which they were expelled, so 140+ contrary UN votes, and two
Security Council Resolutions--both vetoed by the United States--
have no effect; and in a remarkable Orwellian process of
doublethink--and double morality--Israel is free to expel more
Palestinians in the same time frame in which their protector spent
billions and great moral energy in a campaign to return worthy
victims in Kosovo. (On the lying and non-humanitarian root and
effects of the Nato war, see Chomsky's New Military Humanism;
Herman and Peterson, "The Nato-Media Lie Machine," Z Magazine, May
2000; Herman and Peterson, "Kosovo One Year Later: From Serb
Repression to NATO-Sponsored Ethnic Cleansing," ZNet Commentary,
Another remarkable Orwellian process is this: the abused and
beggared Palestinian people periodically rebel as their conditions
deteriorate and more land is taken, homes are demolished, and they
are treated with great ruthlessness and discrimination. Many are
among the hundreds of thousands expelled earlier, or who have still
not forgotten their relatives killed and injured by Israeli
violence over many years--and Palestinian deaths by Israeli arms
almost surely exceed Israeli deaths from "terrorism" by better than
15 to 1 (see Herman and O'Sullivan, The "Terrorism" Industry, pp.
29-33). Judith Stone, a frequent visitor to Palestine, says that "I
have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn't lost a member of their
family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a
relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an
Israeli prison" ("Quest for Justice,"
http://www.facts4peace.com/article/stone.htm). And after this long
history of expulsion and murder they are still under assault. In
this context, if they rise up in revolt at their oppressors this is
not "freedom fighters" or a "national liberation movement" in
action, it is "irrational violence" and a return to "terrorism,"
and both Israeli and U.S. officials (and therefore the mainstream
U.S. media) agree that the first order of business is to stop this
Back at the time of the first Intifada, U.S. Ambassador Robert
Pelletreau was explicit that the "riots" in the occupied
territories "we view as terrorist acts against Israel."
Correspondingly, U.S. policy was to put no pressure on Israel to
curb its repression or alter its policies, essentially giving
Israel carte blanche to use "harsh military and economic pressure"
till "in the end, they will be broken" (Yitzak Rabin). In the
second Intifada, once again there is absolutely no U.S. pressure on
Israel to change its policies. Arms aid and training programs to
Israel have been stepped up--35 Black Hawk military helicopters
supplied in October, 2000 and nine Apache attack helicopters bought
from Boeing in February 2001; U.S. training in urban counter-
insurgency tactics that would help Israel to take control of
Palestinian urban centers, provided in mid-September 2000; and
joint U.S.-Israeli military exercises along with the redeployment
of Patriot missiles from Germany to Israel in February 2001--and as
in the past all UN resolutions of condemnation and calls for an
international presence in the occupied territories have been
ignored or vetoed by the United States on behalf of its ethnic-
This of course makes the process self-fulfilling. A people under
continuous oppression and a long process of "redemption of the
land" at their expense is given no peaceful recourse by Israel and
its patron--Oslo was an agreement confirming all Palestinian
losses, with no right of return or compensation promised, no ending
of expropriations and expulsions in the occupied territories, and
with any benefits to the victims dependent on future negotiations.
But that future never came: since 1993 the Palestinians have been
ground down further, and Israel has continued its steady
encroachment and increased its brutalization (the more recent
Barak-Clinton Bantustan offer is discussed in Part 3 under
"Apologetic Frames"). In consequence, the Palestinians periodically
burst forth with bombings involving the self-immolation of
desperate men, and with mass upheavals, as in the two Intifadas.
But in the definitional system of oppressor and patron this is
TERRORISM, horrifying and intolerable. What Israel has done making
this people desperate is not terror. As State Department PR man
James Rubin explained after another spate of Israeli demolitions of
Palestinian houses, this was "a wrong signal" for a delicate stage
in peace talks (NYT, June 23, 1998). Not bad in themselves and a
violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, just a wrong signal.
Madeleine Albright called on the Israelis to refrain from "what
Palestinians see as the provocative expansion of settlements, land
confiscation, house demolitions and confiscation of IDs" (NYT, Oct.
15, 1997). Only "the Palestinians" see these actions as
"provocative;" Albright does not find them objectionable in
themselves or illegal. In fact, under Clinton the United States
finally rejected the international law and almost universal
consensus on the occupation, declaring the territories not
"occupied Palestinian lands" but "disputed territories" (Albright).
By U.S. fiat Palestinian lands became open to settlement by force
by the ethnic cleanser who the United States has armed to the
teeth, and who has aggressively brutalized while creating "facts on
the ground" during the "dispute," which will not be settled until
the victims end their terrorism.
And Albright has stressed that there is "No moral equivalency
between suicide bombers and bulldozers" (Newsweek, Aug. 18, 1997).
Clinton, standing next to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres as
the latter defended a blockade of the Palestinians that was adding
to their misery, put the blame on Hamas who were allegedly "trying
to make the Palestinians as miserable as possible" (Phila.
Inquirer, March 15, 1996). There was not the slightest hint that
Israel was contributing to Palestinian misery despite massive
expropriations and 300 devastating "closures" after 1993.
So it is not Israeli policy, which amounts to a continuous and
illegal assault on and displacement of the Palestinians, that is
ultimately at fault and that must be changed to resolve this
conflict. Albright can't recognize that decades of "bulldozers"
necessarily produce suicide bombers, although she was quick to find
that much less repression in Kosovo produced "freedom fighters;"
nor can she distinguish between systematic policy (i.e., bull-
dozers) and uncontrollable outbursts from victims that do NOT
constitute policy. The inability of these U.S. officials to see
Israel's hugely discriminatory and brutal expulsions, demolitions,
mistreatment and plain exploitation as seriously wrong in
themselves, illegal, or causal manifests a complete identification
with and apologetic for the ethnic cleansers. Five years ago a
senior Clinton White House official declared that "We are not going
to second-guess Israel" (PI, March 15, 1996), and on March 19,
2001, Colin Powell assured the Jewish lobbying group AIPAC that "We
are dedicated to preserving this special relationship with Israel
and the Israeli people...[and] a secure Israel with
internationally-recognized borders remains a cornerstone of the
United States foreign policy." In short, now as in the past, and
with only rare exceptions, as in the case of the unauthorized
Israeli attack on Egypt in 1956, Israel will get strong U.S.
support for whatever it does, and the ethnic cleansing of its
unworthy victims can proceed as required.
One of the triumphs of Oslo was its buying off of Arafat,
making him into a second class client and an enforcer of the
pathetic "settlement," with U.S. and Israeli funds and training
exchanged for his commitment to keep his people in line and control
"terrorism." (For a compelling account, with full background,
Chomsky, World Orders Old and New , chap. 3.) The formula for
the wholesale terrorists (Israel) has always been: whatever
violence we perpetrate is "retaliation" and it is up to the retail
terrorists (Palestinians) to stop terrorizing and then we might
"negotiate" with them in a "peace process." Israeli leaders say
"You can't ask us to stop expanding existing settlements, which are
living organisms" (Netanyahu), as if this were not in violation of
UN resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and even the 1993
Oslo agreement itself. (Note also the spiritual affinity with
another great ethnic cleanser, who said: "One only possesses a land
when even the last inhabitant of this territory belongs to his own
people." [Heinrich Himmler])
U.S. officials can never bring themselves to say that what Israel
is doing is wrong--at worst it may send "a wrong signal," etc. And
they follow closely the Israeli party line that "terrorism"
(Palestinian, not Israeli) must be stopped first, so that the
"peace process" can be put back on track. For Albright, "security"
is primary, and she told Arafat that "she needed a commitment and
action on the subject of security" before she could make a credible
approach to Israel on other issues (WP, Sept 12, 1997). "Security"
always means Israeli security, not Palestinian, for Albright--or
for Colin Powell--just as for Israeli officials. Here as elsewhere
these high U.S. officials internalize the Israeli perspective and
the idea of "security" for the unworthy victims doesn't arise, any
more than the notion that Israeli insecurity arises from the much
greater Palestinian insecurity that inevitably results from Israeli
policies. In his visit to Jerusalem in March 1996, Clinton spoke of
"the awful persistence of fear"--but only in reference to Israelis,
not to Palestinians (PI, March 15, 1996). This is an internalized
racist bias that has characterized U.S. official statements and
media and expert opinion here for decades.
Reasons For and Modalities of Support
Why does the United
States support Israel's ethnic cleansing?
Broadly speaking, the reasons boil down to two factors. One is
Israel's role as a U.S. proxy in the Middle East and its
integration into the U.S. security system, which encompasses not
only keeping the Arab world in line, but also providing services
like supplying arms to the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, the Pinochet
government of Chile, Mobutu, Idi Amin, apartheid South Africa, and
the Guatemalan and Argentinian terror states. Because of these
services, Israel's victims are not merely unworthy, they also
become "terrorists" and part of the "Islamic threat" for the U.S.
political elite and mainstream media.
The second factor is the exceptional power of the pro-Israel
lobby, which for many years has bought and bullied politicians and
the media, so that they all vie with one another in genuflections
to the holy state. This bullying is especially strong and effective
in Canada and the United States, but it applies widely, and the
distinguished British reporter Robert Fisk, describing the abuse he
has suffered in reporting on the Middle East, says that "the
attempt to force the media to obey Israel's rules is now
international" ("I Am Being Vilified For Telling the Truth About
Palestinians," The Independent, Dec. 13, 2000). (For fuller
analyses of "why" see my "The Pro-Israel Lobby," Z Magazine, July-
August 1994; and especially Chomsky's The Fateful Triangle, Updated
Edition, 1999, Preface and chapter 2.)
These factors feed into the intellectual and media culture in
complex ways that institutionalize the huge bias, with pro-Israeli
and anti-Palestinian perspectives internalized and/or made
obligatory by potential flak and pressure from above and without.
This is extremely important, as there is no reason to believe that
the U.S. public would support a massive and brutal ethnic cleansing
program if they were given even a modest quantum of the ugly facts,
if the main victims rather than the ethnic cleansers were
humanized, and if the media's frames of reference were not designed
to apologize for Israeli expropriation and violence. However, the
ongoing media and intellectual biases do very effectively
complement the national policy of support for the ethnic cleansing
state, just as they helped cover up national policy supporting
Indonesia's murderous occupation of East Timor, and just as they
roused the public to a pitch of frenzy over the unapproved Yugoslav
violence in Kosovo.
(con'd. in Bullletin #10)