Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Greenwald: 70 % of US Citizens do NOT unquestionably Support Israel Over Palestinians (according to polls)

the consensus view -- that America must unquestioningly stand on Israel's side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel's various wars -- is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace -- that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally -- is one that no mainstream politician would dare express.


Yet, we have been way to arrogant, silent & isolated so that this view rarely makes it on international media & into global blogsites, dialogues, etc.

So, if this is true, why don't we speak out more publically? LET'S DO SO!

Why don't we do all we can to demand that our Congress speak for us? WELL, WHAT'S HOLDING US BACK?

To read more, including to survey the 521 COMMENTS, go

fOLLOWING ARE EXCERPTS only from this Greenwald article:

Tuesday Dec. 30, 2008 05:33 EST
George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel

(Update II)

University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes -- July 1, 2008:

A new poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.

CQ Politics, yesterday:

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle rallied to Israel’s cause Monday as it pressed forward with large-scale air attacks against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip. . . .

“I strongly support Israel’s right to defend its citizens against rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza, which have killed and injured Israeli citizens, and to restore security to its residents,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev. . . .

His view was echoed by leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Israel has a right, indeed a duty, to defend itself in response to the hundreds of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza over the past week,” Howard L. Berman , D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House committee, also expressed support for the Israeli offensive. . . .

The White House on Monday also took Israel’s side in the fighting, demanding that Hamas halt its rocket fire into Israel and agree to a last ceasefire.

Earlier this week, Nancy Pelosi issued an identical statement, and yesterday Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did the same.

There sure is a lot of agreeing going on -- one might describe it as "absolute." The degree of mandated orthodoxy on the Israel question among America's political elites is so great that if one took the statements on Gaza from George Bush, Pelosi, Hoyer, Berman, Ros-Lehtinen, and randomly chosen Bill Kristol-acolytes and redacted their names, it would be impossible to know which statements came from whom. They're all identical: what Israel does is absolutely right. The U.S. must fully and unconditionally support Israel. Israel does not merit an iota of criticism for what it is doing. It bears none of the blame for this conflict. No questioning even of the wisdom of its decisions -- let alone the justifiability -- is uttered. No deviation from that script takes place.

By itself, the degree of full-fledged, absolute agreement -- down to the syllable -- among America's political leaders is striking, even when one acknowledges the constant convergence between the leadership of both parties. But it becomes even more striking in light of the bizarre fact that the consensus view -- that America must unquestioningly stand on Israel's side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel's various wars -- is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace -- that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally -- is one that no mainstream politician would dare express.

In a democracy, one could expect that politicians would be afraid to express a view that 70% of the citizens oppose. Yet here we have the exact opposite situation: no mainstream politician would dare express the view that 70% of Americans support; instead, the universal piety is the one that only a small minority accept. Isn't that fairly compelling evidence of the complete disconnect between our political elites and the people they purportedly represent?

...The other striking aspect of this lockstep American consensus is that the Gaza situation is very complex, and a wide range of opinions fall within the realm of what is reasonable. Even many who believe that Israel's attack is morally and legally justifiable as a response to Hamas rockets and who generally side with Israel -- such as J Street -- nonetheless oppose this attack on strictly pragmatic grounds: that it won't achieve anything positive, that it will exacerbate the problem, that it makes less likely a diplomatic resolution, that there is no military solution to the rocket attacks. Others condemn Hamas rocket attacks but also condemn the devastating Israeli blockade and expanding settlements. Others still who may be supportive of Israel's right to attack at least express horror over the level of Palestinian suffering and urge greater restraint.;
* * * * *
All of that underscores one vital point I want to emphasize with regard to the commentary I've written on Israel and Gaza the last couple of days....

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who defends Israel's actions by approvingly quoting Barack Obama's statement that "If someone was sending rockets on my house where my daughters were sleeping at night, I would do everything to stop it, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." (This may be a misquote or quote out of context of Obama - let's hope? from blogger. Connie at One Heart...) But that mindset justifies any and all actions by any group with a legitimate grievance, as in: "if my family and I were forced to live under a 4-decade foreign occupation and had our land blockaded and were not allowed to exit and my children couldn't access basic nutrition or medical treatment, I would do everything to stop it, and I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing." That happens also to be the same mentality that was used to justify the 9/11 attacks ("if my family and I were forced to live in a region in which a foreign superpower dominated our politics and propped up brutal dictators for its own ends, I would do everything to stop it, and I would expect Muslims to do the same thing").

But -- just like those who insist that American Torture is different because American leaders use it for noble ends -- this is nothing more elevated than...(a) refusal to view the world through any prism other than complete self-centeredness, where one's own side merits infinite empathy and the "other side" merits none...there is endless blame to go around to countless parties...
* * * * *
...None of these intractable disputes between Israel and its various neighbors should be a focal point of American policy at all. Yet the above-documented orthodoxy has ensured that it is...

George Washington in his 1796 Farewell Address, and have thereby provoked exactly the dangers he decried:

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? . . . . .

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.

It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest..."

Uncritical support for someone's destructive behavior isn't "friendship"; it is, as Washington said, slavishness, and it does no good either for the party lending the blind support nor the party receiving it. It's hard to overstate the good that would be achieved if the U.S. simply adhered to those basic and self-evidently compelling principles of George Washington, who actually knew a thing or two about the perils of war.
* * * * *
UPDATE: "...during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, the Bush administration purposely expedited shipments of bombs to Israel to enable Israel to drop those bombs on Lebanon. We fed Israel the bombs they used on the Lebanese. A similar American action seems to have occurred with regard to the bombs that the Israelis are now dropping on Gaza.

UPDATE II: Polls taken in the U.S. during the 2006 Israeli incursion into Lebanon bolster the above point regarding American public opinion. A USA Today/Gallup poll (.pdf) asked: "In the current conflict, do you think the United States should take Israel's side, take the side of Hezbollah, or not take either side?" A large majority (65%) answered "neither," while only 31% wanted to take Israel's side.

A Washington Post poll actually found that a plurality of Americans (46%) blamed "both sides equally" (Israel and Hezbollah) for the war and believed (48%) that Israel's claimed "bombing [of] rocket launchers and other Hezbollah targets located in civilian areas" was "not justified." The lockstep, uncritical support for everything Israel does in the political class is completely unrepresentative of American public opinion.

-- Glenn Greenwald

Currently in Glenn Greenwald's Blog (check out the URL top of this post & remember that there are many COMMENTS for each item)

Torture prosecutions finally begin in the U.S.
The Bush DOJ is actually demanding a 147 year sentence for a Liberian political official who ordered torture inside Liberia.
Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008 15:56 EST
George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel
Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. to take no sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Why is that view not just disregarded, but made into a taboo?
Tuesday, Dec 30, 2008 13:33 EST
David Gregory shows why he's the perfect replacement for Tim Russert
The new Meet the Press star conducts an "interview" with the Israeli Foreign Minister that makes the media's pre-Iraq-war behavior look adversarial by comparison
Monday, Dec 29, 2008 16:07 EST
Marty Peretz and the American political consensus on Israel
The New Republic Editor-in-Chief expresses anti-Arab hatred in the starkest terms possible, but are his policy views towards Israel any different from the standard American position?
Sunday, Dec 28, 2008 16:14 EST

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