Global Pushback Against Israel Rises
A growing number of Christian groups and a few brave members of U.S. Congress are no longer willing to bankroll Israel’s genocide.
By Philip Giraldi
One of the remarkable aspects of the Israeli government’s program to turn the United States into a vassal state that exists to provide money, political support, and military interventions to destroy adversaries like Iran is the complete lack of any debate on the issue in the U.S. mainstream media or in Congress. But there are signs that at least some of that might be changing. The election of at least three Democratic congresswomen—Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is an only miniscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grassroots. A recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%—27% versus 25%—with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.
More significant is last week’s announcement by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons and delivery systems enabling them to destroy targets in most of Europe and western Asia. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), for obvious reasons.
There are other issues relating to Israel, to include its booming economy, which would suggest that it does not need more money from the U.S. taxpayer who does not enjoy the free healthcare and university education that all Israelis receive. And then there is also the problem with using American-provided weapons to commit war crimes in Gaza and Lebanon, illegal under both U.S. and international law.
Nevertheless, Paul’s action is extremely courageous, as he is the first senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another senator, Charles Percy, who was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights,” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection. Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.
Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud-dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, but reports that occasionally surface in some of the alternative media suggest something quite different. Jewish zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and property of religious foundations are frequently vandalized, defaced with obscene graffiti, and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.
At the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 there existed a considerable Christian community inside Israel, on the West Bank and in Gaza. It was estimated that nearly 10% of Palestinian Arabs were Christian, mostly Greek Orthodox or Catholic. There were also churches and foundations in the old city of Jerusalem that adhered to other sects, including Syrian and Armenian Christians. Currently the percentage of Christians is closer to 2% of the Palestinian population with more than a million Palestinian Christians living in other countries, having been driven from their homes by the Israelis in 1948 and after 1967. The Israelis sometimes claim that most Palestinians have departed the country due to persecution by Muslims, but Palestinian sources deny that assertion.
Christian churches have been reluctant to support their co-religionists in Israel and the Occupied Territories presumably for fear of being labeled as anti-Semitic in criticizing the Jewish state, as is routinely done by both Jewish groups and the Israeli government to end all discussion. But, as in the case of Sen. Paul, that, too, is changing.
The Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An action alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli army.
The Presbyterians also signed on to a letter on May 14 entitled “70 Years On: Seeking a hopeful future in a time of yearning,” which called for an end to the slaughter and justice for the Palestinians. It was also signed onto by 13 other Christian groups, including the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Churches in America, the Lutherans, and Maryknoll. A copy was sent to each congressman.
Israel’s friends have pushed back against the Presbyterians, with the American Jewish Committee denouncing “The Church [as] remain[ing] obsessively critical of Israel in its national utterances. For many years and in myriad ways, the PCUSA has gone beyond legitimate criticism of Israel and embraced demonization of the Jewish state.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the Presbyterians when they withdrew $21 million in investments in Israel, saying hyperbolically, “You come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know, I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is.”
Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the Church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government,” prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so, and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade. The Board of Deputies of British Jews immediately described the move as “appalling” and demanded that the policy be reversed.
It is certainly refreshing to see anyone taking on Israel and its all-too-often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that unprincipled Zionist power in the United States will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization of just how evil Israel’s government is and the terrible damage it has done to the United States grow, finally reaching a point where some people in Congress, the media, and even in the White House will begin to listen.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.