By Dallas Darling
If it was not enough for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to condemn the Palestinians for publicly suggesting that they have a right to consider a unilateral declaration of statehood, the extremely influential and powerful Jewish-American lobbying group has worked diligently to associate Israel’s commitment to a settlement freeze and the restarting of talks with the Palestinians as something akin to appeasing Hitlerism. Including AIPAC’s manipulation of the Holocaust, such scandalous and reprehensible behaviors have sabotaged peace efforts between the Palestinians and Israelis for decades. These political ruses and false associations have also led to unnecessary conflicts and wars, causing suffering and death for thousands of innocent people.
But the Berman bill, introduced by Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) who chair’s the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is just one example of how AIPAC is allowed to behave outrageously and to control Congress. While most Americans were fixated with AIPAC’s Sex Scandal and Espionage Suit (in which a former employee has threatened to expose the lobbying group) and its scramble to pay a $20 million settlement, the Berman bill was just passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. Congress. It is a bill that denounces any recognition of Palestinian statehood. The bill was also based on hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions by AIPAC lobbyists, along with promises to deliver huge Jewish voting blocs to certain members of Congress in the 2012 election.
While Palestinian lands are being confiscated and seized by Israel, in America democracy and the ideals of human rights continue to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. And while nations are recognizing the rights of Palestinians and the creation of a Palestinian State, in America the pro-Israel AIPAC is redefining military occupations and false imprisonments and is misinforming the American people. In fact, many AIPAC lobbyists have compared restarting talks with Palestinians and a settlement freeze to the international community appeasing Hitler in 1938 by giving him Czechoslovakia. Others have claimed that if a UN Security Council resolution is passed and recognizes Palestine, it will lead to another Jewish Holocaust.
For many years AIPAC (originally the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs) has used the Jewish Holocaust and the “politics of appeasing Hitlerism” as a political ploy in Washington. When AIPAC lobbied against the sale of American fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, it sent a copy of the novel, which was based on the television series “Holocaust,” to every member in the U.S. Congress.(1) Most everyone in the U.S. has internalized the images and stories of the Jewish Holocaust. What few Americans see, though, are millions of non-Jewish victims, like Gypsies, Socialists, and the mentally and physically impaired. Not only has AIPAC erased these victims from America’s collective understanding, but they have completely eliminated the Palestinian Nakba, or Catastrophe.
Even more regrettable, both behaviorally and ideologically, AIPAC has tried to connect the Holocaust to Arab nations and Palestinians. In order to gain sympathy and broad support for the state of Israel, an AIPAC spokesman, I.L. Kenen, stated, “The Arabs cannot pretend they played no role in the Holocaust.”(2) Leon Wieseltier later wrote the “Palestinians were Hitler’s little helpers in the Middle East.”(3) History, however, shows Arabs did assist the Jews. A new publication, The Rode of Righteous Muslim Persons, relates how courageous Muslims stood-up against Nazism and injustices and protected Jews during the Holocaust. In the midst of grave danger and even death, other Arabs and Muslims helped Jews escaped from Concentration and Extermination Camps.
AIPAC has not only misused the Jewish Holocaust to help dictate Israel’s aims in the Middle East and to punish Palestinians, but it has distorted U.S. wartime behavior during World War II. Arthur Morse’s “While Six Million Died,” was a searing indictment against the Roosevelt Administration for not reacting properly and for not rescuing Jews from Nazism. It also chastises the Roosevelt Administration for not liberating concentration camps sooner.(4) Still, AIPAC has joined forces with some Evangelical conservatives and groups, like Pastor John Hagee and United for Israel. While their literature predicts Israel will be attacked by a nuclear Iran, thousands of movies are filled with end time prophecies and images of how Israel will be invaded by Arab and Muslim armies.
Suffering and injustice anywhere and anytime should always be prevented and should never be monopolized. Neither should it be used as an ends to justify a nation‘s existence, especially at the expense of others. Using the Holocaust or the “politics of appeasing Hitlerism” either mobilize a nation or deny another peoples existence and statehood, like the Palestinians, is scandalous and an affront those who suffered or were killed in the Jewish Holocaust and Nakba. Lobbying efforts in the U.S. should also be about peace with justice for all peoples, not peace with justice for only a particular group of people. Meanwhile, equality and freedom should never have too be bought and sold, neither should the historical record be manipulated or monopolized by a wealthy faction.
From the Holocaust to the Berman bill and from the misuse of “appeasing Hitler” to the present-day prophesies of how Arab and Muslim armies will lay waste to Israel, such historical misrepresentations and the use of apocalyptic hysteria are what really needs to be challenged and condemned. Congress should rethink its support of Israel’s military occupation of 1.5 million people too, including its utter rejection of Palestinians and a Palestinian state and AIPAC’s impunity. “Living space” for all peoples, not just some, should be sought after and pursued. Political lobbies in the U.S., like AIPAC, should be more inclusive and justice-oriented. Otherwise, are not they actually the ones guilty of “appeasement” and of committing atrocities?
– Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.beverlydarling.com.
(1) Novick, Peter. The Holocaust In American Life. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. p. 156.
(2) Ibid., p. 157.
(3) Ibid., p. 157.
(4) Ibid., p. 158.