1. Aiding Enlightenment Arthur Silber, one of the great voices of enlightenment in our benighted age, is in the direst of straits, suffering through one of the worst bouts of the chronic ill health that has afflicted him for years. He has not been able to write for many weeks, but has now surfaced, very briefly, to give us the good news that he is still alive, and the bad news that he is suffering mightily, and that one of his beloved companions also needs medical care.
If you have any money to spare, please consider making a contribution to Silber's website; it is his only means of support, and of course, donations fall when he is not able to write. The tragedy of seeing such a mind, such a spirt, forced to such perilous margins is painful indeed. Please help if you are able.
FOR many years now, we've heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they'd have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination. ...
In any case, if you're among those who have made the argument that Israelis would give Palestinians a state if only the Palestinians would learn to employ Ghandhian tactics of non-violent protest, it appears your moment of truth has arrived. As my colleague writes, what happened on Nakba Day was Israel's "nightmare scenario: masses of Palestinians marching, unarmed, towards the borders of the Jewish state, demanding the redress of their decades-old national grievance." ...
So now we have an opportunity to see how Americans will react. We've asked the Palestinians to lay down their arms. We've told them their lack of a state is their own fault; if only they would embrace non-violence, a reasonable and unprejudiced world would see the merit of their claims. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of them did just that, and it seems likely to continue. If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do? Will we make good on our rhetoric, and press Israel to give them their state? Or will it turn out that our paeans to non-violence were just cynical tactics in an amoral international power contest staged by militaristic Israeli and American right-wing groups whose elective affinities lead them to shape a common narrative of the alien Arab/Muslim threat? Will we even bother to acknowledge that the Palestinians are protesting non-violently? Or will we soldier on with the same empty decades-old rhetoric, now drained of any truth or meaning, because it protects established relationships of power? What will it take to make Americans recognise that the real Martin Luther King-style non-violent Palestinian protestors have arrived, and that Israeli soldiers are shooting them with real bullets?
Unfortunately, I think we all know "how Americans will react." We have already seen how the Progressive Peace Laureate in the White House has responded, sending out his mouthpiece to praise the Israelis for their "restraint" in slaughtering only a few unarmed people, and not the multitudes they could have killed with their super-cool, American-supplied weaponry.
Then again, we will probably never know how Americans would react to the reality of a non-violent Palestinian resistance movement -- because Americans are not going to be told about it in the first place. As AbuKhalil notes in another post, on the New York Times' coverage of the Sunday shootings:
" Israel’s borders erupted in deadly clashes on Sunday as thousands of Palestinians — marching from Syria, Lebanon, Gazaand the West Bank — confronted Israeli troops to mark the anniversary of Israel’s creation." Note the language. First these are "clashes" (even when Arab protesters are armed, as in Libya, the Times does not refer to repression by regime as "clashes"), and then it talks about the victims "confronting" Israeli troops. How did they "confront" them? By receiving their bullets in their chests?
The hideous irony of a black president praising the slaughter of people following Martin Luther King's example is beyond all comment. And beneath contempt.
3. No Moose is Good Moose Speaking of the Peace Laureate, here's what you get under a really cool, open, young, progressive, liberal Democratic administration: The Secret Sharer, Jane Mayer's detailed look in the New Yorker at Obama's relentless and ruthless war on those who tell the truth about government corruption and atrocity. Read the whole thing.
I guess it's OK to follow faithfully -- and extend and strengthen -- the very worst policies of George W. Bush ... as long as you don't wear funny glasses and talk about moose, or have a bad comb-over or something. That seems to be the solid progressive consensus in American politics today.