Good for Durban



Colin Powell is not going to Durban as a protest against those who are protesting Israeli racism. This decision came barely a week after the United States brandished its veto against a resolution that would have dispatched United Nations monitors to protect the Palestinians from further Israeli assaults. The State department also took quick action to prevent a German peace initiative. And George Bush has made it clear that he approves of the atrocious behavior of the Israeli occupation army and the murderous tactics of Ariel Sharon.

This has been a busy week for Powell and his boss. Ariel Sharon, the war criminal who governs Israel, the butcher of Sabra and Shatila and Qibya, has been given a free hand to intensify the institutional violence of the occupation. Just today, a major Palestinian political leader was assassinated. Mostafa Zibri, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was murdered in his Ramallah office. In Palestinian terms, this is the equivalent of someone murdering a leader of a major political party. Next thing you know, the American government will be approving the assassination of Egyptian and Syrian political leaders who support the uprising. Once you travel down this murky road, there is little incentive for turning back. The damage has been done. The American government has been implicated. This President has already earned a reputation of openly supporting the violent repression of a people seeking their freedom. It is not out of character for a man who was caught on camera in a giddy mood after approving the execution of a Texan woman.

George Bush has capitulated to the Israel firsters in a way that would embarrass Al Gore, who was owned and operated by the Israeli lobby. It appears that he has it in for the Palestinians. More likely, he simply doesn’t care. He will let the formidable Jewish Lobby get their way, so long as they reciprocate by not launching attacks from their extensive media properties.

The anti-Arab policies of the Bush administration have become more overt in the last few weeks. To the Arabs, It appears that one objective is to humiliate the Arab people and keep their leaders in their place. More likely, it is to soften up the pro-Israeli media barons on his domestic economic policies, which appear to be failing badly. Next thing to fall from the sky will be the American dollar at which point Bush might give Sharon a green light to invade Lebanon or Syria.

But back to Powell and his decision to boycott The Durban conference. It would do well, for those who will gather at Durban, to evaluate the racist rationale that is part and parcel of America’s foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa. Many American citizens have questioned the racist assumptions of these policies, only to be ignored by both the government and the media lords. After all, they have their finger prints all over the policy and actively market it to the American people. There is no question that Zionism is built on a notion of Jewish supremacy that allowed for the mass expulsion of the native people of the Holy Land. In Durban, the question that needs to be raised is why American governments are so zealous in subsidizing and supporting the racist policies of an Israeli State involved in a belligerent occupation engaged in the wholesale violation of Palestinians civil and human rights. The Bush Administration needs to explain itself not just to the Palestinians, but to Americans and to the world. The American delegation might also want to explain why a wealthy Israel gets more economic aid than all of sub-Saharan Africa.

As an American, I am deeply offended by the attitude of our President, who is completely unmoved by the systematic Israeli repression of the native people of Palestine. This president has openly aligned himself with Ariel Sharon, who will soon be indicted for his war crimes. There is precious little that the client Arab governments, owned and operated by the CIA, can do to resist an American president who goes to bed with Israeli war criminals. The only thing an American president disdains more than an Arab ruler is an Arab ruler on an American leash. So, forget about the Queens in the Gulf. For all practical purposes, the Gulf is under Anglo-American occupation.

The Egyptian and Syrian governments have repeatedly attempted to rally Arab support for their beleaguered Palestinian brothers, but to no avail. Their attempts to get attention in Washington have also been rudely ignored. Perhaps it is time to dismantle the Arab League. It is a useless organization. The only time it has been used effectively was when the Americans borrowed it for the Gulf War. In every other respect, this organization is a dismal failure. Those Arab governments that still remain independent, especially Egypt, should disengage themselves from associating with Arab governments that are obviously still colonies and absolute monarchies.

As for Arab-Americans, especially Palestinian-Americans, they had better wake up and smell the bitter brew. While we cannot hope to challenge the Israeli lobby’s ownership of the State Department or the media, we need to realize that a government that disdains Arabs ‘over there’ most likely has similar sentiments for American citizens of Arab origin. It would be a mistake to continue to deal politely with these kind of politicians. It is time we organize to back opposition candidates, who are neither Republicans nor Democrats. It is time to permanently divorce ourselves from these two political parties, which openly endorse each and every Israeli policy, no matter how bloody, no matter how racist. Polite inquiries as to the cause of their unnatural disdain for Arabs will only encourage the bastards. The Green Party and the Libertarians are full of good well-meaning people who want to return the government to the citizens of this great republic. Every time you get the itch to vote for a major party candidate, remember how they gladly squandered your tax money to subsidize a murderous Israeli State. Every time, you think a Republican sounds patriotic or a Democrat sounds progressive, remember how they are bought and sold by the Israeli Lobby. Let your friends know. If we are ever going to have full rights and freedoms in this country, we will need to ditch every last bigot who dares to run for office.

Once an individual displays that kind of overt bigotry and acts on it, knowing full well that it will cost hundreds of Palestinian lives and dash the hopes of freedom of an entire nation. Once a politician ignores genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya. Once they have sanctioned sanctions that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. There comes a point, where as individual human beings, they are beyond redemption. Forget about having them as Senators or Presidents. I wouldn’t want them as dog catcher. I always wonder how they face their children and their grandchildren. As Americans, they are an insult to the heritage of this great nation. The legacy of this generation of American politician has already been chiseled in stone and it will be a sculpture titled the “rush for more mountains of campaign loot.” They are the lowest most amoral breed of Americans to ever rule this nation. They are slaves to their parties which are owned and operated by the contribution of ‘special interest groups’. In the case of the Israeli lobby, the special interests they represent are those of a racist exclusionary foreign state. But what the hell, their money is good and the vast majority of politicians don’t want to challenge their ‘influence’ in the media.

And those who think that a racist President or a racist Senator will confine himself to insulting Arab-Americans are deluding themselves. Take a look at our Lilly white Senate, a virtual extension of the Israeli Lobby, and you will realize why they feel so comfortable in subsidizing Israeli repression against the Palestinians.

George Bush and the mass media barons and the Senate and the House and every other major ‘American’ establishment have given a thousand Green lights to Israeli extremism. It is not that they don’t understand the institutional racism of the Israeli government. Rather, it is that they personally have no problems with bigotry. Bigots love to find fellow travelers to reinforce their bizarre sentiments. That is why Durban would have been such an uncomfortable place for Powell. American politicians have actively engaged in promoting the racist Israeli agenda.

Take Colin Powell. What a sad joke. Uncle Colin, in his speeches and his autobiography, paints a hard luck story of how humiliating it was to travel from Alabama to Georgia, during segregation, even as an Army officer. Powell and his young bride had problems with Motel owners and Restaurants. There was denial of service. I challenge Powell to compare the worst of the segregationist south in the fifties and sixties to the conditions that Palestinians have to endure every day of the year. Then Powell will need to explain again why he will not be in Durban.

If Powell was a man of integrity, if he had any personal dignity, he would have already resigned in protest against the racist foreign policies of his president. But he has only encouraged Bush. I understand George Bush. He couldn’t give a damn about the Palestinians. He figures standing up to the Israeli lobby cost his daddy a second term in the white house. So, he is not going to make the same ‘mistake’ of attempting to put a stop to Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. He knows the boys in the press will have his hide and he would rather see the whole Middle East go up in flames, instead of taking a stand to end the repression. Besides, his wild cat buddies down in Texas would like nothing more than a little oil crisis to neutralize the environmentalists and do a little price gouging at the pumps.

Whatever their motivations, both Bush and Powell have displayed a disturbing and indecent disregard for Palestinian human rights and for a people’s legitimate struggle for liberty and freedom from foreign oppression. I suppose if they were around in 1956, they would have figured a reason to ignore the Russian repression in Budapest. In 1968, they would have ignored the resistance in Prague. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, they would have let them have it. In 1988, they would have appeased the Chinese over Tianemen Square. Bush Senior did. Powell is already on record as a supporter of ‘constructive engagement’ with the Apartheid regime in South Africa. This is the character of the man who refused to go to Durban. Good for Durban. Powell needs to stay home under the covers.

Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).