By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PHD
Some one million Arab and Muslim Americans, including some in my own family, voted for Obama in the primaries. I was not one of them and I will likely vote for a third party candidate in November. I believe Obama is a shrewd politician who knew his political weaknesses (his contacts with Muslims, his middle name, his friendship with Chicago Arab community leaders etc.), knew his strengths (coalition building, motivational speaker, intelligence), but most importantly knew how to manipulate the US political system. Thus he shunned most special interests but worked closely with Zionist lobby very early when he decided to run for national office. In the past three years, he did not shy from supporting Israeli war crimes in Lebanon in 2006, Israeli collective punishment of the Palestinians, Israeli extrajudicial executions, Israeli settlement activities, and maintenance of US occupation forces in the Middle East (although like Israel with Gaza, it will be redeployment not withdrawal), and most recently a strong stance against Iran to serve Israeli interests. Obama excluded advisers who may want him to ask Israel to obey International law and hired the services of people like Dennis Ross who was and remains an employee of an Israeli lobby group (WINEP).
Rabbi Michael Lerner explained: "Jewish voters are only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are mostly concentrated in the states with the highest number of delegate and electoral votes (New York, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois), they contribute financially to politicians disproportionately to their percentage of the voters, and they are often in key roles as opinion shapers in the communities in which they work or live." Shlomo Shamir wrote in an analysis in Haaretz (in Hebrew not English version) that establishment Jews in the US supported Obama financially as a replacement to the aging black leadership such as Jesse Jackson which were not trusted.
A compliant US media quickly marginalized and did away with candidates who got the lowest scores on "friendliness to Israel" (e.g. Ron Paul, Gravel, Kucinich). Those with the highest scores were elevated in a media that is populated heavily by those to whom Israeli interests are number 1 (e.g. Wolf Blitzer was Washington Bureau Chief for the ultra-right Zionist, ‘Jerusalem Post,’ and before that he was an employee of and a staff writer for AIPAC before becoming exalted CNN anchor.
The fact that Obama spoke to AIPAC the day after clinching the nomination is in itself telling about the power of lobbies. For many US citizens, the political system in the US had become a theater play with predictable script and changing actors but well-known gatekeepers in the form of special interest lobbies. Script-writers/gatekeepers will not allow anything beyond differences in tactics of advancing the "white man’s burden" of "civilizing" and "improving" the world. That is why candidates will question why US troops are stationed in 140 countries (no other country has such an empire). That is why they will insure continuous flow of billions of our taxes to Israel and many more billions to support conflicts perceived to help Israel (e.g. Iraq and Iran). That is why candidates will not seriously address slavery, genocide of Native Americans, support of brutal foreign dictators, genocide in Iraq and Vietnam, mass terrorism as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, growing economic injustice, global warming etc. That is also why we will not have proportional representation or instant runoff elections.
The pathetic "stimulus package" (with minor variations) will give some $600 tax rebates to 117 million Americans so that "they can spend it" and supposedly stimulate the sagging economy. Yet, gatekeepers will ensure no discussion of the real minefield of the future economy: the trillions in private debts (corporate and individual), the nine trillion in government debt, the multi-trillion dollar mortgage debacle involving large scale fraud, the scandal of a raided/depleted social security safety net, the collapse of the fiat currency otherwise known as the US dollar, and an unchecked “free market” system that even Alan Greenspan argued cannot be sustainable without checks and controls on the corporate greed.
Cleared candidates for presidential elections will never have to answer any real difficult questions about these matters or about the equally important legal and social matters. When was a candidate really challenged about the violations of the US Constitution and of International agreements signed by the US (violations that they implicitly or explicitly supported)? Gatekeepers make sure that cleared candidates are not challenged on taking legal action (including impeachment) against a corrupt administration that:
1) Violated domestic laws and International treaties that are part of the US law.
2) Violated the constitution by eliminating habeas corpus and engaging in warrant-less spying on US Citizens and sought retroactive immunity for companies that helped and immunities for officials who did this
3) Engaged in massive lies and distortions (now attested to by members of the inner circle including Paul O’Neill, Richard Clark, and most recently Scott McClellan)
4) Engaged in massive corruption and favoritism. Examples in the justice Department firing of Attorney Generals and in Zionist Michael Chertoff awarding no bid contracts to Israeli companies for US-Mexico border security while denying it to US led consortiums.
Ron Paul articulated that the Republican party of today bears no resemblance to the party of Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln for example was against the war with Mexico). But the media gatekeepers did not give Paul much airtime or exposure. Dennis Kucinich was similarly shunned especially since both realize the danger of the “special relationship” with apartheid Israel.
The US with 6% of the world population spends nearly the same amount as all other countries combined on the war machine. With military industries, bases, and other outlets spread in just about every congressional district in the US, it is politically impossible to tackle this issue with logic. When the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight, the scriptwriters found it convenient to latch onto the new invented “threat of Islamic terrorism".
Billionaires like the Zionist Haim Saban (the largest single contributor to the Democratic Party) invest abroad more than in the US. Rupert Murdoch is buying European media. Halliburton relocated its headquarters to Dubai (the same Halliburton which bilked taxpayers of billions supposedly to rebuild Iraq and ended up with no completed projects in Iraq). There are literally hundreds of other examples.
So what can be done beyond voting for the lesser of two evils and ignoring the role of special interests in vetting candidates for national offices? We must remember that real social change occurs from grassroots movements. We all know that that is what achieved civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, ending the genocidal war on Vietnam, ending the support for Apartheid South Africa, etc. We all know that freedom is never freely given; that it must be demanded. Even the simplest things would help like leafleting and speaking out at all candidates appearances, challenging a supine media, or using your $600 tax rebate for activism. The alternative is far too disastrous and is becoming clearer every year above the constant din of all the talking heads in mainstream media.
-Mazin Qumsiyeh is on the board of Peace Action Education Fund and is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan.” He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.