Jun 18, 2024, 9:15 PM

American lawmakers serving Israeli interests and not US's

American lawmakers serving Israeli interests and not US's

TEHRAN, Jun. 18 (MNA) – The United States has sent over $320 billion in financial aid to Israel which has a higher per capita income than France and Germany

The United States has long supported Israel: we have sent over $320 billion in financial aid to a country that has a higher per capita income than France and Germany; we have given Israel most of our lethal weapons; we have shared intelligence and supplied Israel with political support at the UN and at the UN Security Council with dozens of vetoes to shield Israel from its crimes and to protect it from increasing global recrimination and isolation; we have issued massive media support including through print, airwaves, internet and the entertainment industry in order to silence anti-Israeli voices.

The public justification for this overwhelming support has been that Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy and is indispensable for our national security. These justifications are so ridiculous that they deserve only a brief debunking. Many global observers classify Israel as an apartheid state with different laws depending on status—Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and non-Israeli Arabs with the latter having few rights and being persecuted at will. Inside Israel today, free speech is limited and those who speak out in defense of Palestinian rights are openly punished. Israel can hardly be classified as a stalwart ally—it attacked an American ship (SS Liberty) in 1967 killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding another 171, refused to support us at the UN Security Council after Russia invaded Ukraine and ignores our pleadings during the Gaza War to change course. Our inseparable bond to Israel, no matter its actions, not only does not enhance our national security but endangers it. Our support is condemned by much of the world, especially by the Global South who see Israel as a rogue colonial settler country. The only credible reason for our support for Israel is the power of the Israeli lobby in the United States.

While it is true that many illegitimate Arab rulers see the Palestinian conflict and Palestinians as irritants and a danger to their rule, Arabs and two billion Muslims in the world are overwhelming supporters of the Palestinian stipulation for their own viable country.

Since the deplorable events of October 7 last year, our support for Israel has been ratcheted up to a new high and is in danger of causing America great harm. Yes, we have supplied more and more 2,000 pound bunker buster bombs and every other lethal weapon that has enabled Israel to butcher over 37.000 Palestinians, largely women and children and to kill UN and other aid workers. Meanwhile, illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank have been on a rampage, killing and incarcerating hundreds of Palestinians with the support of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Israel has also restricted food supplies to malnourished Gazans, and the United States cannot persuade its “ally,” Israel, to let in more food trucks and protect their distribution despite the rampant famine in Gaza.

All this is a humanitarian disaster with the United States seen as complicit by much of the world. Yet what has happened in international courts and America’s response will cause America irreparable harm.

First, on January 26, 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ highest court, stated that it had seen sufficient evidence to take on the case brought by South Africa joined by a number of other countries to prevent the slaughter in Gaza. It ordered Israel to take steps to prevent all acts of genocide. Generally speaking, this ruling requires Israel to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. While it may take several years to adjudicate this case to a final decision, the United States pressured the court not to take up the case at all. This was a disgraceful opposition by the United States to the international rule of law. Yes, the United States says it believes in the rule of law, but its belief therein is selective in the eyes of much of the world. This smells of duplicity and only hurts our global standing.

Second, on May 20, 2024, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) sought arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as for Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas political leader) and Mohammed Deif (head of the Al Qassem Brigades) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. While the United States is not a signatory to the Rome statutes creating the court (nor is Israel), the U.S. has supported and applauded previous arrest warrants for criminals such as Putin, but not so when it comes to Netanyahu and Israel. The United States blasted this decision and threatened the chief prosecutor. U.S. lawmakers have even threatened the ICC with sanctions. Do we support the international rule of law or not?

Now to top it off, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has invited Benjamin Netanyahu, seen by many around the world as a war criminal, to address a Joint Session of the House, something that is reserved for revered global heroes, on July 24. While some senators and representatives may skip the session in protest, Netanyahu is likely to receive a thunderous welcome with many standing ovations. How do you think the world will see this spectacle? America supporting a war criminal who is butchering thousands of innocent women and children, applauding him and snubbing its nose at the world? It will be played over and over around the world by our enemies and to our national detriment and long-term demise.

Why are we hurting our global standing so? The only plausible explanation is the power of the Israeli lobby in the United States.

If Israel continues its rampage, if we go on supporting the ongoing carnage with arms and political backing, if we continue our attacks on the ICJ and the ICC and if we go ahead with our potential love fest on July 24, the U.S. will surely pay a heavy price for generations to come.

Hossein Askari is emeritus professor of business and international affairs, George Washington University

First published in Tehran Times

News ID 216671


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