Jill Stein on Israel & Palestine: a study in equivocation

J Stein

It’s likely that when Clinton wins the nomination, some Sanders supporters will consider voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein who will be on the ballot in several states. If Donald Drumpf is the Republican candidate, lesser evil will go into full orbit & most Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton.

Jill Stein doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning so it will be a protest vote. But those who vote for her should be clear about where she stands on those issues which are touchstones in US politics: war & militarism; US support for Israeli apartheid; civil rights & women’s rights; & immigration/refugee rights.

Her approach to politics differs from mine but generally her views are consistently progressive & liberal. She’s no iconoclastic thinker or pioneer but she’s on the right side. She doesn’t call for open borders or assert immigration is a human right but she is not hostile to undocumented immigrants. She just wants reform & new procedures. That’s generally how she approaches politics. She doesn’t challenge the economic system but wants more democratic procedures to govern. She doesn’t think in terms of systems but in terms of modifications & adjustments to make a system in profound crisis work better.

Where there are serious problems with her program are her views toward Israel & Palestinians. If you consider that a fundamental question in US foreign politics, you will find her equivocations & outright accommodations to Israeli colonialism unacceptable. Even more than that, you will see how limited her understanding of the US relationship to Israel, of the nature of US militarism, of Israel’s function in the Middle East as an armed fortress against democracy.

She is clear about Israel’s occupation, apartheid, illegal settlements, collective punishment of Palestinians. She supports BDS & the right of Palestinian refugees to return. But then she says: “On taking office, I will put all parties on notice – including the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, & the Hamas administration in Gaza – that future US support will depend on respect for human rights & compliance with international law. All three administrations will also be held responsible for preventing attacks by non-state actors on civilians or military personnel of any nationality. The parties will be given 60 days to each demonstrate unilateral material progress towards these ends….Should the end of US aid fail to cause a party to redirect its policies & to take steps resulting in sufficient material progress within an additional 60 days, I will direct my State Department to initiate diplomacy intended to isolate & pressure the offending party, including the use of economic sanctions & targeted boycott. In this way, US policy will begin to become consistent with its practices regarding other violators of human rights & international law in the region.”

Didn’t she say a mouthful! After you boil all that verbiage down, what you see is that Stein blames the conflict between Israel & Palestinians on both parties. She replaces Palestinian Intifada in her equation with their problematic current leadership & thereby manages to avoid condemning Israeli colonialism & military aggression. How the hell does that explain what Israel is doing to Gaza!? That’s because, as her campaign platform clearly states, she recognizes the rights of self-determination for both Israel & Palestinians & calls for a bantustate solution, that is, a return to the 1967 borders. Can she even conceive of a democratic, secular state where Jews & Palestinians live as brothers & sisters?

She does not challenge a Jewish-only state nor does she oppose Jewish immigration to Israel but accepts that as “self-determination” when it is nothing but arrant colonialism & theocracy. Zionists don’t get to preempt the achievements of human democratic civilization by claiming a special dispensation at the expense of Palestinians.

Her position isn’t just a massive compromise with Israeli colonialism & ethnic cleansing; it would be unbelievably naive for her to hold these views–unless in fact, it’s a betrayal of Palestinian justice in disguise of “a pox on both your houses’.

It’s a hard lesson to learn in politics, but you can’t have it both ways when it comes to justice. You either stand with Palestinian self-determination or you make a mealy-mouth retreat to compromise.

Some may think mine too hard-assed a view of the Palestinian struggle–whereas I consider Stein’s view a half-assed protestation against apartheid & ethnic cleansing. Tell us where it’s ever worked that way to end tyranny.

(Photo is Jill Stein)

EU Council President Donald Tusk: another ugly, stupid, rabid politician

EU Council Pres. Donald Tusk

Behold the ugly, stupid man with the morals of a rabid Rottweiler. There’s far too many of them running the world.

This one is EU Council President Donald Tusk (rhymes with Donald Drumpf) who warned refugees–who he called “illegal economic migrants”–not to come to Europe “for nothing.”

In a news conference during his tour of Greece & the Balkan states, he said his mission is the “total elimination” of the sea transit of refugees from Turkey to Greece. That’s why there are thousands of refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border unable to cross & 30,000 refugees stranded in Greece unable to move north. The Macedonian border which allowed in a few hundred Syrians & Iraqis per day now is only allowing a handful to pass through. Afghans who are fleeing a war zone are denied asylum.

The purpose of Tusk’s tour is to get agreement among the Balkan states for how to deal with refugees–that is, how to most effectively keep them out–because he fears the crisis could tear the EU apart. Others who are not ugly, stupid men with rabid morals think the demolition of the EU isn’t coming fast enough.

Use his ugly, stupid, rabid face to practice your horse manure shot.

Media coverage of Kashmiris as dishonest as coverage of Palestinians

Funeral of Ashiq Hussain (Danish Ismail:Reuters) Mar 3 2016

Shootout at Charsoo,Kashmir Rising:Sheikh Mashooq

Media coverage of the Indian occupation of Kashmir borrows on the bad journalistic habits & treachery of its usual coverage of Palestinian Intifada. There’s no real investigation or reporting but just a template repeated to pretend they’re reporting news when they’re peddling a particular version of events–the version called propaganda. Whenever there’s another execution of Kashmiri activists, they just plug in new names to a rehash. The problem is, the young people being hunted down & murdered are real people, not mannequins, not props in a narrative.

The template is sketchy & short on details: early this morning, three young men called “suspected militants” or “insurgents” were killed in a “gun battle” with Indian soldiers. (The Indian army involved in the shootouts is always the quoted authority–just like when Palestinians are shot dead by Israeli soldiers.) So according to these military officials, they launched a cordon & search operation in the Dadsara area of Tral last night after getting a tipoff “about the presence of militants.” The three men were shot dead when they tried to break through the cordon. Three AK-47 rifles were later recovered from the scene of the “gun battle.”

Now what is wrong with that story? What makes it smell like horse manure? Other than it’s exactly the same story told every time a Kashmiri activist is killed in an “encounter” with Indian soldiers? We can begin with the rule of law. Since when do soldiers move into an area, set up cordons, & start shooting on the basis of a tipoff? They were, according to the template, going after unidentified “militants.” Does an occupying army have exemptions from international law to stage a massacre on the basis of so little information? To start shooting when they don’t even know who they’re shooting at?

But of course, the template is a lie. Because of the 700,000 Indian military & paramilitary deployed in Kashmir, it is reported 100,000 of them are engaged in surveillance. It is one of the most surveilled places on the planet. That doesn’t mean they knew the three men they killed were guilty of any crime, including having AK-47s. But even if they were armed to the teeth, the criminals are not those who resist occupation (even if in a misguided way); the criminals are the occupiers.

The three men shot dead were Ashiq Hussain Bhat, Mohammad Isaq Parray & Asif Ahmed Mir. The top photo is the funeral of Ashiq Hussain, attended by thousands. (The Guardian-UK betrays its bias when it identifies the funeral location as Charsoo, India rather than Charsoo, Kashmir.) May our three brothers Rest In Peace.

The bottom photo from the FB wall of Rising Kashmir is described as the house in which the three deceased men “were holed up” & showing the damage of the gun battle. It looks like the Indian military took torpedoes after it while, according to Indian military officials, the three men only had AK-47s. That could be documentation of human rights crimes.

(Top photo by Danish Ismail/Reuters; bottom photo by Rising Kashmir/Sheikh Mashooq)