-Mark Hage, Vermonters for Justice in Palestine
Joe Biden fared very poorly in a recent candidates’ debate that featured Kamala Harris, to her credit, taking him to school on the difference between civil rights and states’ rights. But it is highly unlikely we will ever witness the two of them squaring off in the same way about Israel. Both are professed cheerleaders for the Zionist state.
Biden (2014): “Send a message to Bibi, I love him!”
Prime Minister Netanyahu has… been my friend for over 30 years. We drive each other crazy. But he has truly been a personal friend for well over 30 years…. I said, Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you have to say, but I love you. (Laughter.) I agree with a lot he has to say. But if friends can’t acknowledge — if friends can’t acknowledge the very things that are acknowledged in each of our countries vis-à-vis one another, then it’s not much of a friendship.
Harris (2018): “…it’s always been, it’s always been there.”
At an event sponsored by the American Israel Political Action Committee in 2018, Harris was asked where her support for Israel came from:
It was always part of my life. I grew up ― we, and maybe many of you, I don’t know if anyone is still doing this with the vigor with which we would do it, but we would have our little boxes where we were raising money to plant trees for Israel. (Laughs) And we would go around with our box, and you know, I actually never sold Girl Scout cookies, but I raised money to plant trees in Israel. So it was just, it’s always been, it’s always been there. I’ve been to Israel three times, most recently in November of last year. I promised friends and myself that I would go before the end of my first year as a United States Senator, and it is just something that has always been a part of me. I don’t know when it started, it’s almost like saying when did you first realize you loved your family, or love your country, it just was always there. It was always there.
In Palestine, Senator Harris, Olive Trees Are Family
Dear Senator Harris,
The next time you are trolling for support from the pro-Israeli lobby, please share the story of the olive groves that Israeli soldiers and settlers have wantonly destroyed in massive numbers since 1967.
If you would, on the campaign trail, bring a box and ask for donations to Trees for Life, “a Palestine Fair Trade Association program that gives thousands of olive trees to farmers starting out, as well as smaller farmers and those whose trees or lands have been destroyed by Israeli forces.”
(Excerpted from an article in “The Ecologist,” 2015)
As a result of the attacks on farmers by the IDF and by settlers, declared B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, the [Palestinian] farmers “can’t get to their lands and work them. The settlers chase the farmers, shoot in the air, threaten their lives, confiscate their ID cards and damage the crops.”
Practically none of the complaints filed during the past several years on damage to Palestinians trees in the West Bank has resulted on an indictment. The toll includes thousands of trees from several areas from Susya in the southern Hebron Hills to Salem in northern Samaria.
Last April, Israeli settlers from the Immanuel settlement uprooted some 450 olive trees and saplings from lands in Deir Istiya, northern Salfit. This followed the uprooting earlier of 120 olive trees in Wadi Qana.
Since 1967 some 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank alone, according to research from the Palestinian Authority and the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem. This has threatened the livelihood of 80,000 families.
The Book of Trump
Miriam Adelson, the wealthiest Israeli in the world, sang the praises of Donald Trump in an op-ed recently. Her piece, “A Time of Miracles,” appeared in Israel Hayom — a daily paper Sheldon Adelson, her husband, owns and she publishes.
Here she is, in her own words, proposing that the story of Donald Trump be added to the Bible.
Trump is a man of his word. On the campaign trail, he promised to protect Israel, to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, to quit the Iran nuclear deal. And he has kept each and every one of those promises – unlike previous presidents who traded principle for political expediency.
Trump is a businessman and a statesman with an instinct for justice. He sees an Israel that does whatever is necessary for its security and defense, against the odds and sweeping international consensus. These are the kind of nations and people that he likes to deal with.
By rights, Trump should enjoy sweeping support among US Jews, just as he does among Israelis. That this has not been the case (so far; the 2020 election still beckons) is an oddity that will long be pondered by historians. Scholars of the Bible will no doubt note the heroes, sages, and prophets of antiquity who were similarly spurned by the very people they came to raise up.
Would it be too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a “Book of Trump,” much like it has a “Book of Esther” celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from ancient Persia?
What is the Genesis of a Conscience?
In late June, at a gala event in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector has been under military occupation since 1967, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft pledged $20 million to establish a new foundation that will work to counter “BDS,” the international movement to boycott Israel over its violations of human rights.
The Associated Press reported: “The feting and ritzy ceremony in his honor in Jerusalem offered Kraft a welcome reprieve just four months after he was charged with soliciting a prostitute at a Florida massage parlor.”
Kraft made sure to include a reference to “Anti-Semitism” in the name of his new project, the “Foundation for Social Media Messaging Against Antisemitism.”
He announced his pledge while in Israel to receive the “Genesis Prize,” often called the “Jewish Nobel.” Kraft is the sixth winner. Last year’s recipient, Natalie Portman, refused to attend the event out of concern that an appearance might be construed as endorsing Netanyahu.
American Money Talks
Robert Kraft is not alone when it comes to raising and doling out money for Israel, its brutal occupation policies, and illegal settlement regime.
The pro-Israel lobby in the US includes in its ranks hundreds of entities.
In May, 2018, the organization If Americans Knew published an “A List” of these organizations.