Thursday, 28 April 2016

“She sounds like Netanyahu”: Killary Clinton goes extra hawkish in her biased, die-hard pro-israel AIPAC speech

"She sounds like Netanyahu": Hillary Clinton goes extra hawkish in her biased, die-hard pro-Israel AIPAC speech
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, March 21, 2016, at the Verizon Center in Washington(Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Clinton's speech was full of distortion, belligerence and uncritical support of Israel, totally ignoring its crimes

Hillary Clinton has always been hawkish about the Middle East, but she took her belligerence to a new level in her speech at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday.
Much of the rhetoric of the Democratic presidential front-runner sounded indistinguishable from that of a neocon. Some viewers even compared her to hard-line right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever,” Clinton declared. “We must take our alliance to the next level,” she said, calling for “even more intense security and diplomatic cooperation” and demanding that the U.S. arm the Israeli military “with the most sophisticated defense technology.”

American taxpayers already give approximately $3.1 billion in military aid alone to Israel every year. The U.S. also ensures that its close ally has complete political impunity at the United Nations, where the U.S. has vetoed scores of Security Council resolutions on Israel’s behalf.

Clinton is positioning herself to be the most pro-Israel candidate in the presidential campaign. Her speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC — the most influential pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S. — was laden with cheerleading for the Israeli government.

She affirmed her staunch support for the organization — which is notorious for its equally staunch support for right-wing policies, such as its vehement opposition to the Iran nuclear deal — and spoke glowingly of “the privilege of working closely with AIPAC members to strengthen and deepen America’s ties with Israel.”

The audience loved it. Her 4,000-word speech was interrupted 55 times by applause.

Ignoring the illegal occupation

Clinton’s speech was overtly biased in countless ways. She spoke in detail of violence endured on Israel’s side, but made no acknowledgment whatsoever of Israel’s many crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population.

Since 1967, Israel has military occupied Palestinian territories in direct violation of international law. Clinton did not mention Israel’s illegal military occupation once in her prolix address.

In the almost five decades since the illegal occupation began, Israel has slowly colonized Palestinian land with ever-expanding settlements. Today, there are more than 600,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied territories, in flagrant contravention of rulings by the United Nations.

Clinton acknowledges settlements just one time in her 4,000-word speech — and, even then, only in passing. The U.N. General Assembly, along with countless experts, has deemed Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements to be a principal obstacle to peace, but Clinton clearly did not feel the enormous and growing problem was important enough to mention.

None of this is even to mention the Nakba, the violent ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine in 1947 and 1948, in which approximately two-thirds of the indigenous Arab population was forcibly removed from the land by the militias that founded Israel. Prominent Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has documented how Israel’s founding fathers intentionally ethnically cleansed the country to create a new state.

Today, there are more than 5 million Palestinians refugees throughout the world. Most are unable to return to their homeland. Their existence was not even acknowledged by Clinton, who in her speech lionized former Israeli Prime Minster Golda Meir as a sign of Israel’s supposed progressivism, while failing to mention that Meir infamously claimed that there “was no such thing as Palestinians” — while simultaneously blaming this ostensibly imaginary people for “forcing us to kill their sons.”

One-sided discussion of violence

Clinton’s double standards were blatant in her discussion of the violence in Israel-Palestine.
She condemned “Hamas rockets” in the summer 2014 war with Gaza, but glossed over the more than 2,250 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military, roughly two-thirds of whom were civilians, including more than 550 children, according to the U.N. — not to mention the fact that leading human rights organizations including Amnesty International and independent investigations by experts accused the Israel Defense Forces of intentionally targeting civilians and committing war crimes.

Clinton also mentioned the Israeli victims of “terrorist bombs,” but utterly ignored the thousands upon thousands of Palestinian civilians who have been killed by the Israeli military in recent years — in Israel’s 2009, 2012 and 2014 wars in Gaza, along with its periodic bombings in times of so-called peace.

“Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home,” Clinton said in her speech, but failed to mention the much larger violence Palestinians endure under the illegal Israeli military occupation that she completely ignored.

Israelis have indeed been killed in such attacks, but roughly 600 percent more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis. Since violence began escalating in October, around 180 Palestinians have been killed, along with 30 Israelis. Most of the Israelis killed were in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. Moreover, extremist Israelis and illegal Israeli settlers have also frequently attacked Palestinians, run over them with their cars and burned their houses down.

In fact, just one day before Clinton spoke at AIPAC, the home of relatives of the Palestinian Dawabsheh family killed by Israeli extremists, key witnesses in the case, was also set on fire.
Clinton accused Palestinian leaders of “inciting violence” and “celebrating terrorists as martyrs.” Once again, however, she utterly ignored the many instances of Israeli leaders inciting violence. In May 2015, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for beheading “disloyal” Palestinian citizens of Israel.

As for “celebrating terrorists,” in February 1994, Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshipers at the religious site the Cave of the Patriarchs. Today, Goldstein is seen as a martyr. His grave is a popular pilgrimage site for Israelis; its epitaph describes the Israeli terrorist as a man of “clean hands and a pure heart” who “gave his life for the people of Israel.”

In Clinton’s world, Palestinians are responsible for all of Israel’s woes. Although she fearmongered about the militant Palestinian party Hamas, she failed to mention that it was only created in 1987 — two decades after the beginning of the illegal Israeli military occupation.

She also ignored the fact that, when Hamas was first forming, the Israeli government secretly supported it, in order to undermine the secular socialist militant groups that dominated the Palestinian resistance.

Opposition to neutrality

Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who turned down an invitation to speak at AIPAC. The Vermont senator, a self-declared democratic socialist, has — unlike virtually every other prominent U.S. politician — promised to pursue a “level playing field” in Israel-Palestine

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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