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More Oddities In The US "Debate Over Israel/Gaza

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This Rasmussen Reports poll -- the first to survey American public opinion specifically regarding the Israeli attack on Gaza -- strongly bolsters the severe disconnect I documented the other day between ( a ) American public opinion on U.S. policy towards Israel and ( b ) the consensus views expressed by America's political leadership. Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip" (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive -- by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62-27%).

It's not at all surprising, then, that Republican leaders -- from ####### Cheney and John Bolton to virtually all appendages of the right-wing noise machine, from talk radio and Fox News to right-wing blogs and neoconservative journals -- are unquestioning supporters of the Israeli attack. After all, they're expressing the core ideology of the overwhelming majority of their voters and audience.

Much more notable is the fact that Democratic Party leaders -- including Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- are just as lockstep in their blind, uncritical support for the Israeli attack, in their absolute refusal to utter a word of criticism of, or even reservations about, Israeli actions. While some Democratic politicians who are marginalized by the party's leadership are willing to express the views which Democratic voters overwhelmingly embrace, the suffocating, fully bipartisan orthodoxy which typically predominates in America when it comes to Israel -- thou shalt not speak ill of Israel, thou shalt support all actions it takes -- is in full force with this latest conflict.

Is there any other significant issue in American political life, besides Israel, where ( a ) citizens split almost evenly in their views, yet ( b ) the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions which leave half of the citizenry with no real voice? More notably still, is there any other position, besides Israel, where ( a ) a party's voters overwhelmingly embrace one position (Israel should not have attacked Gaza) but ( b ) that party's leadership unanimously embraces the exact opposite position (Israel was absolutely right to attack Gaza and the U.S. must support Israel unequivocally)? Does that happen with any other issue?

Equally noteworthy is that the factional breakdown regarding Israel-Gaza mirrors quite closely the factional alliances that arose with regard to the Iraq War. Just as was true with Iraq, one finds vigorous pro-war sentiment among the ####### Cheney/National Review/neoconservative/hard-core-GOP crowd, joined (as was true for Iraq) by some American liberals who typically oppose that faction yet eagerly join with them when it comes to Israel. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world -- Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East, the U.N. leadership -- opposes and condemns the attack, all to no avail. The parties with the superior military might (the U.S. and Israel) dismiss world opinion as essentially irrelevant. Even the pro-war rhetorical tactics are the same (just as those who opposed the Iraq War were demonized as being "pro-Saddam," those who oppose the Israeli attack on Gaza are now "pro-Hamas").

Substantively, there are certainly meaningful differences between the U.S. attack on Iraq and the Israeli attack on Gaza (most notably the fact that Hamas really does shoot rockets into Israel and has killed Israeli civilians and Israel really is blockading and occupying Palestinian land, whereas Iraq did not attack and could not attack the U.S. as the U.S. was sanctioning them and controlling their airspace). But the underlying logic of both wars are far more similar than different: military attacks, invasions and occupations will end rather than exacerbate terrorism; the Muslim world only understands brute force; the root causes of the disputes are irrelevant; diplomacy and the U.N. are largely worthless. It's therefore entirely unsurprising that the sides split along the same general lines. What's actually somewhat remarkable is that there is even more lockstep consensus among America's political leadership supporting the Israeli attack on Gaza than there was supporting the U.S.'s own attack on Iraq (at least a few Democratic Congressional leaders opposed the war on Iraq, unlike for Israel's bombing of Gaza, where they virtually all unequivocally support it).

* * * * *

Ultimately, what is most notable about the "debate" in the U.S. over Israel-Gaza is that virtually all of it occurs from the perspective of Israeli interests but almost none of it is conducted from the perspective of American interests. There is endless debate over whether Israel's security is enhanced or undermined by the attack on Gaza and whether the 40-year-old Israeli occupation, expanding West Bank settlements and recent devastating blockade or Hamas militancy and attacks on Israeli civilians bear more of the blame. American opinion-making elites march forward to opine on the historical rights and wrongs of the endless Israeli-Palestinian territorial conflict with such fervor and fixation that it's often easy to forget that the U.S. is not actually a direct party to this dispute.

Though the ins-and-outs of Israeli grievances and strategic considerations are endlessly examined, there is virtually no debate over whether the U.S. should continue to play such an active, one-sided role in this dispute. It's the American taxpayer, with their incredibly consequential yet never-debated multi-billion-dollar aid packages to Israel, who are vital in funding this costly Israeli assault on Gaza. Just as was true for Israel's bombing of Lebanon, it's American bombs that -- with the whole world watching -- are blowing up children and mosques, along with Hamas militants, in Gaza. And it's the American veto power that, time and again, blocks any U.N. action to stop these wars.

For those reasons, the pervasive opposition and anger around the world from the Israeli assault on Gaza is not only directed to Israel but -- quite rationally and understandably -- to America as well. Virtually the entire world, other than large segments of the American public, see Israeli actions as American actions. The attack on Gaza thus harms not only Israel's reputation and credibility, but America's reputation and credibility as well.

And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?

It's one thing to argue that Israel is being both wise and just by bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. It's another thing entirely to argue that the U.S. should use all of its resources to support Israel as it does so. Those are two entirely separate questions. Arguments insisting that the Gaza attack is good and right for Israel don't mean that they are good and right for the U.S. Yet unstinting, unquestioning American support for whatever Israel does is just tacitly assumed in most of these discussions. The core assumption is that if it can be established that this is the right thing for Israel to do, then it must be the right thing for the U.S. to support it. The notion that the two countries may have separate interests -- that this may be good for Israel to do but not for the U.S. to support -- is the one issue that, above all else, may never be examined.

The "change" that many anticipate (or, more accurately, hope) that Obama will bring about is often invoked as a substance-free mantra, a feel-good political slogan. But to the extent it means anything specific, at the very least it has to entail that there will be a substantial shift in how America is perceived in the world, the role that we in fact play, the civil-liberties-erosions and militarized culture that inevitably arise from endlessly involving ourselves in numerous, hate-fueled military conflicts around the world. Our blind support for Israel, our eagerness to make all of its disputes our own disputes, our refusal to acknowledge any divergence of interests between us and that other country, our active impeding rather than facilitating of diplomatic resolutions between it and its neighbors are major impediments to any meaningful progress in those areas.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/200...rael/index.html


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Israel
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"And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?"

Americans do have an interest in who controls what and the moral and ethic reprecussions. Israel is a free nation beset by terrorism. Did America not involve itself in Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam, half of Latin America? Yes.. for each of those reasons... financial, diplomatic, security, etc. etc. To ward off communism or stop genocide. You can pick a reason. What did average Americans have to do with those places either? Of course the public with be divided. Yet Government does have its reason

Leadership is privy to information and dialogue with other world leaders that the American Public isnt. We are a representative democracy and therefore public opinion only carries enough weight to make an elected official nervous enough to lose his/her job when specific issues are addressed.


Emmett Fitz-Hume: I'm sorry I'm late, I had to attend the reading of a will. I had to stay till the very end, and I found out I received nothing... broke my arm.

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"And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?"

Americans do have an interest in who controls what and the moral and ethic reprecussions. Israel is a free nation beset by terrorism. Did America not involve itself in Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam, half of Latin America? Yes.. for each of those reasons... financial, diplomatic, security, etc. etc. To ward off communism or stop genocide. You can pick a reason. What did average Americans have to do with those places either? Of course the public with be divided. Yet Government does have its reason

Leadership is privy to information and dialogue with other world leaders that the American Public isnt. We are a representative democracy and therefore public opinion only carries enough weight to make an elected official nervous enough to lose his/her job when specific issues are addressed.

You say "Americans" like we are one whole unanimous group. Which, we clearly are not. Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

That's the problem with America. We are not, as you say, a Representative Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A Democracy only determines who will rule; A Republic determines how they will rule, and establishes exactly the extent of their power.

If the standards which formed this country were followed, then clearly I wouldn't have to worry about my tax dollars funding a conflict which I have no moral or ethical force pulling me to one side or the other.


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Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

:thumbs:

I'd like to see both sides blow each other to pieces, without any help from us. I am confident they can!

I'd like to see American wealth and energy focused on America.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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0i.


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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"And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?"

Americans do have an interest in who controls what and the moral and ethic reprecussions. Israel is a free nation beset by terrorism. Did America not involve itself in Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam, half of Latin America? Yes.. for each of those reasons... financial, diplomatic, security, etc. etc. To ward off communism or stop genocide. You can pick a reason. What did average Americans have to do with those places either? Of course the public with be divided. Yet Government does have its reason

Leadership is privy to information and dialogue with other world leaders that the American Public isnt. We are a representative democracy and therefore public opinion only carries enough weight to make an elected official nervous enough to lose his/her job when specific issues are addressed.

You say "Americans" like we are one whole unanimous group. Which, we clearly are not. Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

That's the problem with America. We are not, as you say, a Representative Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A Democracy only determines who will rule; A Republic determines how they will rule, and establishes exactly the extent of their power.

If the standards which formed this country were followed, then clearly I wouldn't have to worry about my tax dollars funding a conflict which I have no moral or ethical force pulling me to one side or the other.

:thumbs:

Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

:thumbs:

I'd like to see both sides blow each other to pieces, without any help from us. I am confident they can!

I'd like to see American wealth and energy focused on America.

AJ

Ok . well I agree with half of ur statement can u guess which half??

Edited by merijan

Truth of Palestine

take time to watch , give yourself time to understand. Then make your conclusions.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=676280059

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea...endid=242259905

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I'd like to see both sides blow each other to pieces, without any help from us. I am confident they can!

I'd like to see American wealth and energy focused on America.

AJ

Ok . well I agree with half of ur statement can u guess which half??

You also want to watch them blow each other up on CNN?

Murderer!


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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"And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?"

Americans do have an interest in who controls what and the moral and ethic reprecussions. Israel is a free nation beset by terrorism. Did America not involve itself in Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam, half of Latin America? Yes.. for each of those reasons... financial, diplomatic, security, etc. etc. To ward off communism or stop genocide. You can pick a reason. What did average Americans have to do with those places either? Of course the public with be divided. Yet Government does have its reason

Leadership is privy to information and dialogue with other world leaders that the American Public isnt. We are a representative democracy and therefore public opinion only carries enough weight to make an elected official nervous enough to lose his/her job when specific issues are addressed.

You say "Americans" like we are one whole unanimous group. Which, we clearly are not. Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

That's the problem with America. We are not, as you say, a Representative Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A Democracy only determines who will rule; A Republic determines how they will rule, and establishes exactly the extent of their power.

If the standards which formed this country were followed, then clearly I wouldn't have to worry about my tax dollars funding a conflict which I have no moral or ethical force pulling me to one side or the other.

If the standards which formed this country were followed as you state then some people would only be considered worth 3/5ths of themselves. Where in the constitutions does it deny the US giving monetary support to nations? Monetary support which is regulated by oversite by the very people we elect to office. No law is being broken.

And while you have no ethical or moral contention in international affairs (like most Americans in every international affair), we allow people representing us to make important decisions... decisions that they are paid to make for the welfare and prosperity of our country. We sign off on those decisions by re-electing them or not doing so


Emmett Fitz-Hume: I'm sorry I'm late, I had to attend the reading of a will. I had to stay till the very end, and I found out I received nothing... broke my arm.

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"And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?"

Americans do have an interest in who controls what and the moral and ethic reprecussions. Israel is a free nation beset by terrorism. Did America not involve itself in Bosnia, Korea, Vietnam, half of Latin America? Yes.. for each of those reasons... financial, diplomatic, security, etc. etc. To ward off communism or stop genocide. You can pick a reason. What did average Americans have to do with those places either? Of course the public with be divided. Yet Government does have its reason

Leadership is privy to information and dialogue with other world leaders that the American Public isnt. We are a representative democracy and therefore public opinion only carries enough weight to make an elected official nervous enough to lose his/her job when specific issues are addressed.

You say "Americans" like we are one whole unanimous group. Which, we clearly are not. Personally, I have no vested interest in the Israel/Gaza mess. I gain no benefit if Israelis controls the land or Palestinians. Yet I am taxed to fund the subsidized sales of military equipment and technology to Israel. So, my elected officials have clearly determined that I must support a side, and that the side is Israel. Clearly, I have been misrepresented by my representatives.

That's the problem with America. We are not, as you say, a Representative Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A Democracy only determines who will rule; A Republic determines how they will rule, and establishes exactly the extent of their power.

If the standards which formed this country were followed, then clearly I wouldn't have to worry about my tax dollars funding a conflict which I have no moral or ethical force pulling me to one side or the other.

If the standards which formed this country were followed as you state then some people would only be considered worth 3/5ths of themselves. Where in the constitutions does it deny the US giving monetary support to nations? Monetary support which is regulated by oversite by the very people we elect to office. No law is being broken.

And while you have no ethical or moral contention in international affairs (like most Americans in every international affair), we allow people representing us to make important decisions... decisions that they are paid to make for the welfare and prosperity of our country. We sign off on those decisions by re-electing them or not doing so

Where in the Constitution does it state that monetary support be given to another country so they can wage warfare with another country? That's right, it doesn't. Article 1 establishes the powers of congress, and I didn't see that power in there.

Since establishing the general welfare and security of Americans is a Congressional power, how is financing the Israel side of the conflict securing American's welfare? What enhanced security or well being do I get out of this?

As with anything, the Constitution is not perfect. That's why there is a long and thorough process that enables it to be amended, as with the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery.


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