Monday, January 28, 2008

Visit Har Homa and Reconnect with the Taxes Taken Out of Your Paycheck!

A common refrain that I keep hearing these days when it comes to the situation in Palestine is that we, the people here in the US, should really just mind our own business and let whatever happens over there happen. 'It's none of our business,' they say, 'We have our own problems to deal with over here.' And they're not wrong, but they're also not right.

We do have problems here in America. Many, actually. From education to health care to a massive recession and housing crisis to our dependence on oil and failure to address global warming to rampant racism and sexism to figuring out how to retrieve our Constitution from the proverbial shredder of the last seven years. Many people think that foreign policy is just one piece of this puzzle...and that domestic issues are just as, if not more important than talking endlessly about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the West Bank and Gaza. I understand this thought process, I just don't agree.

Want more money here at home? End the two illegal "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan and cut 'defense' sepending severely. Want to improve national (and global) security and regain the respect and confidence of the rest of the world? Stop supporting Israel unconditionally, recognize the real inequities of the Palestinian situation, and allow a real resistence movement to progress - with the help of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions - against the racist, apartheid state. Along the way, we might want to ask that Israel actually heed UN resolutions and international law...and I suppose we'd have to adhere to those ideas too.

If the US were an isolationist rather than an imperial power in this world, I might agree that domestic issues trump foreign policy. But that is anything but the reality of the situation. Read the following piece and then tell me how to best mind my own business about foreign policy.


US Military Aid to Israel Tops $30 Billion

Looked at another way, this aid to Israel represents a gift of $100 worth of money and weaponry from every man, woman and child in America to the people of Israel.

By Dave Lindorff, Palestine Chronicle, 23 August 2007

According to a new Associated Press report, the US is offering Israel a record $30-billion 10-year military aid package.

Let's ignore for a moment the AP story's irony-free comment that "Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said the package was meant to back peace-seeking countries like Israel and moderate Arab states in the region to counter U.S. adversaries such as Iran." (Israel is a "peace-seeking" country?) We'll just focus on the amount of money that's being promised here.

Israel is a land of only 6 million people. That works out to about $5000 in arms aid per man, woman and child, and of course, since nearly a third of the people in Israel are Palestinian, and won't see a penny's (or bullet's) worth of that aid, it's really closer to $7500 per person. And remember, this is no basket case nation; this is one of the most technologically developed and wealthiest countries on earth we're talking about here.

Looked at another way, this aid to Israel represents a gift of $100 worth of money and weaponry from every man, woman and child in America to the people of Israel.

Think about that the next time you are scraping together the money to make your next mortgage payment or rent check.

Then think about the additional $20 billion that the U.S. is offering to the so-called "moderate" Arab states around Israel, by which we mean Saudi Arabia (you know, the country that gave us most of the 9-11 bombers and that is the prime country of origin of the foreign fighters we hear so much about in Iraq attacking US troops), Jordan and Egypt. the US has to offer that military aid if it's going to give weapons to Israel, or risk losing the friendship of those countries.

So that's $50 billion in weapons aid to a region that is a perpetual powderkeg. It makes about as much sense as giving a gift of matches and lighters to a rehab center full of pyromaniacs and convicted arsonists.

Viewed another way, the new military aid to Israel, which represents a 25 percent increase over last year (a reward for Israel's brutal and pointless invasion of Lebanon, perhaps?), which comes to about $3 billion per year, is ten times the entire US aid budget to fight AIDS in Africa.

So not only is this aid offer stupid in the extreme, giving Israel no reason whatsoever to work to achieve some kind of just and abiding settlement with its neighbors and with the Palestinians inside and outside its borders, but it's immoral for the reason that it shortchanges those who really need the aid.

I mean, this military aid to Israel is also equal to or greater than all US aid to Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean region.

But the news isn't all bad. At least in Latin America and the Caribbean, Venezuela is picking up the slack (and the rewards in terms of public acclaim) by providing the aid that the US is skimping on while it bankrolls Israel's war machine.

Is this how you want your tax dollars used?


Or maybe you'd rather your taxes go here instead? (Please watch this, it's very short)


Anonymous said...

You're nothing more that a piece of shit floating on the water of a makeshift latrine in the outskirts of Jonestown, MO, on a cold January night of 1922.

I fart in your general direction, one hour after having a great cabbage and beans dinner.

Nima Shirazi said...


I thank you kindly for the gentle imagery of your post, though I must point out an inconsistancy or two...I hope my corrections don't offend.

Since I can only assume you meant to write "Johnston" and not "Jonestown" (since no Jonestown exists in that state), I will address your comment thusly:

Unfortunately for you, if you knew anything about the weather patterns and meteorological phenomena of Johnstown, Missouri (and the entire surrounding Bates County area) in the 1920's, you might recall that the winter (the month of January in particular) of '22 was not only unseasonably mild, but rather downright warm most of the time, with temperatures staying generally between 68 and 73 degrees during the days and at night dipping only to the low 60s.

As a result, the night in question (when I, as your aforementioned piece of shit, am floating in the water of a makeshift latrine*) could hardly be described as "cold," but rather more aptly as "pleasant," "clement," or possibly even "balmy" (depending on which night you meant, specifically).

But still, for your rather lovely - though inept and historically impossible - invocation, I thank you.


- LB

* The aquatic features and use of "latrine" in this statement are a bit incongruous if you indeed know your US fecal history as I do. But, in the interest of space and relevance, I'll spare you the dirty details of temporary outhouses, shit pits, and tinkle pans of the Inter-War period in the Midwest until some other time.