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Daily Archives: May 18th, 2018


This article had many pro and cons in the online version, too many to list, to view access this online at HuffPost.MA

Marc Lamont Hill
HuffPost•May 17, 2018

 

“Hopefully, we can move beyond these arguments and engage in deeper and more nuanced conversations about creating peace, justice and freedom in the region.”
On Monday, one day prior to the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, the Trump administration fulfilled its promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. This move was followed by Palestinian protests in the West Bank and Gaza, with Israeli soldiers killing over 50 Palestinians, including children, and wounding over 1,000 others. Since then, debates have been raging among pundits, policymakers and everyday citizens about the struggle over Israel and Palestine. Unfortunately, many of these conversations are animated by the same stale and problematic talking points. Here are seven of the most damaging:
1. These people have been fighting forever.
This is one of the most often repeated and inaccurate comments on the conflict. The truth is that Arabs and Jews have not been fighting forever. Rather, it can be dated to the end of the 20th century or, more acutely, the beginning of the post-World War I British Mandatory period. In addition to being historically inaccurate, such a claim frames the issue as something unsolvable and intractable, in addition to reinforcing longstanding ideas of Arabs as barbaric and inherently violent.

Palestinians want peace. But justice is always a precondition of peace.
2. This is a religious conflict.
This, too, is inaccurate. Palestinians are not a religious monolith. While majority Muslim, the Palestinian community has always included Muslims, Christians and Jews. Also, prior to Zionist settlement at the end of the Ottoman Empire, religious diversity was a feature of historic Palestine. Even after Jewish immigration began, Zionist settlers were mainly secular, as were the indigenous Palestinians.
But this isn’t just a question of historical accuracy. By framing the conflict as religious, we are encouraged to see it as an internecine squabble between two equally earnest parties who are in possession of competing religious texts or scriptural interpretations. Simply put, this is not about religion. It’s about land theft, expulsion and ethnic cleansing by foreign settlers to indigenous land.
3. It’s very complicated.
In a certain way, the issue is indeed complicated. After more than a century of conflict, there is definitely a lot of nuance surrounding various truth claims, policies and solutions. Too often, however, the claim that “it’s complicated” functions as an excuse to sidestep a very simple reality: this is about the 70-year struggle of a people who have been expelled, murdered, robbed, imprisoned and occupied. While there’s certainly a need to engage the finer points of the conflict, we can never lose sight of this basic and very uncomplicated point.
4. Palestinians keep turning down fair deals.
This argument wrongly presumes that any deal that includes the sharing of stolen land with the victims of said theft could be fair. But even in relative and pragmatic terms, this is not true. Think back to the wildly disproportionate U.N. partition agreement of 1947 that allotted 55 percent of the land to the Jewish population even though there only comprised 33 percent of the population and owned 7 percent of the land. Or look to the 2008 negotiations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that did not allow for a contiguous Palestinian territory nor a real resolution to the struggle over Jerusalem, Palestinians have never been offered a deal that allows for a truly independent, fertile, sufficient, and secure state.

5. Palestinians don’t want peace.
This argument plays on Orientalist narratives of Arabs as innately violent, irrational, pre-modern and undeserving of Western democracy or diplomacy. The argument also castigates Palestinians for resisting their brutal occupation and repression. Occupied people have a legal and moral right to defend themselves. To ask them not to resist is to ask them to die quietly. Palestinians want peace. But justice is always a precondition of peace.
6. Israel has a right to exist!
This claim is a product of U.S. and Israeli hasbara, a term for propaganda. First, this argument is only rhetorically deployed in relation to Israel, as opposed to Palestine or virtually any other nation-states. After all, no one routinely demands that Israel and its advocates declare Palestine’s “right to exist” as an abstract idea, physical space or independent nation. More importantly, however, the claim obscures a more fundamental truth: no country has a right to exist, only people do. By naturalizing the idea that nation-states have a “right to exist,” we undermine our ability to offer a moral critique of Israel’s (or any settler-colony’s) origin story.

No country has a right to exist, only people do.
If a country has a natural right to exist, there is less room to challenge the means by which that country obtains land, interacts with indigenous populations or engages in international and domestic law. After all, it had a right to exist, right? The “right to exist” argument also reified the nation-state, erasing its relatively new emergence as a political imaginary construct. In other words, the idea of nations and nationalism is relatively new. (This is why the whole “there was never a country called Palestine” argument is both ahistorical and dishonest). The argument also limits our ability to imagine the world on different terms and different political formations, including the reconstitution of historic Palestine (or contemporary Israel) as a single democracy for ALL citizens, regardless of race, class, gender or religion.
7. You’re anti-Semitic!
Anti-Semitism is a very real phenomenon around the globe. And we must be vigilant about addressing and destroying anti-Semitism wherever it emerges. Too often, however, this claim is leveled against anyone who critiques or protests the practices of the Israeli nation-state.
Under these conditions, allegations of anti-Semitism become nothing more than a reflexive retort, intended to shut down the conversation. More importantly, this is a key part of Zionist strategy: equating Judaism with Zionism and the Israeli state itself. Under this logic, to critique Israel is to critique Judaism. Such arguments also ignore the fact that the Jewish tradition is one that covets justice and fairness, and its principles are in fundamental opposition with the Israeli government’s actions.
Hopefully, we can move beyond these arguments and engage in deeper and more nuanced conversations about creating peace, justice and freedom in the region.

Marc Lamont Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University, a CNN political commentator and former host of HuffPost Live.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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The reason for Trump is dissatisfaction with Government but the focus needs to be directed at the people we elect on the Congressional level. The myriad of political views which are excited by the election and ongoing tweet governance of DJT (TOTUS, #45 or your preferred description) have proven to be more of a distraction than attraction. The assorted Named groups from Conservative to progressive and the subsets that exist all appear to  have a similar agenda and that is get their way without considering how their way affects everyone else. There is and never will be a perfect solution to governing or lawmaking. The best we can hope for is electing people who are as middle of the road as possible. Our current political campaigns are fueled by huge amounts of money since the Citizens United ruling (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark U.S. constitutional law, campaign finance, and corporate law case dealing with regulation of political campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) on January 21, 2010 that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for communications by nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.)  Along with this ruling came the darker side of politics, the name calling, the barely true and unlikely true statements. Essentially the idea became a Goebbels-Hitler method of politics. This method follows any National unrest or upheaval, ours was the early 2000’s financial collapse brought on the greed in the Real Estate debacle of sub prime mortgage lending and the shock to some citizens of Having a person of color being elected President. The long string of anti anything or person of color was proudly pushed by this administration with no regard for the long range effects. All of the showy signing of rollback executive orders with no regard or understanding of the harm that will ensue should give ALL of us a reason to vote for people who will (we hope) fight back on these types of roll backs. The multitude of “buzzwords, sound bites and outright lies” should not be the convincing information to vote for anyone. As voters it is our DUTY to get All of the facts even if we don’t like them. With facts one can make a reasonable choice of who represents us. It is well to remember that Washington has the power to corrupt and once we understand that, we must keep backing the most honest of our lawmakers no matter which party they serve under. It is well to remember that this administration conflate lie with the truth as a matter of course along with the extreme conservatives who interfere with the work and funding of Women’s and low income citizens nutritional health. 

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“The problem with this country is with the politicians, not with the people,” exclaims Sultan Aziz Abu Hasan, a clerk sitting behind the desk at a small pharmacy.
“We need to get those thieves out,” says Fizza Ali, as a crowd listens attentively to the debate about democracy between the candidate and voters.”
This statement was made by a resident of Mosul to a candidate for office. This resonated with me since it reflects my thoughts about our own politicians especially now. The United States has undergone nearly two years of incompetent Federal Leadership all with the assistance of a Neer do well Congress lead by two of possibly the worst Congressional leaders in our history. The goal appears to be to attack the most vulnerable among us. All of the talk about jobs, deals that affect our allies and the egocentric executive actions area pushing us into the position of being nearly a third world situation. The worst part of this is our 2 Congressional leaders(?) have abdicated their duty to the country in favor of a Narcissus who happened to get elected. Each action by this Resident is aimed at campaign promises that do nothing for America as a whole but benefit small groups of people whose interest are solely their own. At this time the “Evangelical conservatives” are pushing for moral authority over us all by supporting the selection of “conservative” judges in high courts which will shift the courts to the right for years (do we want a bunch of “ROY MOORE’S on the bench?). Every action of this administration will push us back as country to a time where it was OK to kill anyone with an accent or a different skin color. The long range effect of this administration will surely create rifts among us which is exactly what this administration thrives on along with the daily diets of  misinformation and outright lies streaming on twitter, backed up by the talking heads of the administration.

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