Gaza — The Next Fort Lauderdale?

A small minority of American Jews once opposed Zionism, claiming it would draw the US into endless Mideast conflicts and debase historic Judaism, a religion of high ethics and intellectualism.

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Children receive food relief at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip city of Jabalia, on June 8, 2024. (Photo by Mahmoud Zaki/Xinhua)

Watching the US Navy build a temporary pier in Gaza was a pathetic display of ineptitude and helplessness.  It was a crass attempt by the Biden administration to deflect the storm of worldwide criticism over its encouragement of Israel’s far right government to crush Gaza to rubble.  The pier fell apart due to poor construction and rough seas. I was reminded of America’s gallant fighting Seabees who build harbors and airports almost overnight during World War II.

To date, some 400,000 Gaza Palestinians have been killed by Israel using many US-supplied arms.  Over half were women and children.  A proud moment for the USA.  Biden claims he was not involved in this mass killing.

Of course not.  He just authorized delivery to Israel’s powerful air forces of building-busting 2,000 lb bombs that flatten entire blocks of apartments housing Palestinian refugees.  This is not self-defence but mass murder.  The World Court has demanded Israel cease its savaging of Gaza. The Biden administration has used its UN veto to block all attempts to curb Israel’s mass murder which Israel’s supporters say must be done to free scores of Jewish/Israeli hostages.

Meanwhile, other Palestinians on the Israeli-occupied West Bank are being gunned down or evicted from their homes by heavily armed Jewish settlers who see occupying Palestine as their God-given right.  I have interviewed many of these militant settlers and found their views and actions beyond the pale.  Many hale from Brooklyn or Queens.  I was surrounded by these extreme nationalists – or Jewish fascists as the late great Israeli columnist Uri Avnery called them – last week in New York. They were showing their electoral and financial muscle.

Meanwhile, supporters of Israel’s far right are having a field day cracking the whip on scared politicians.  The new House, speaker, Mike Johnson, has already invited Israel’s prime minister Bibi Netanyahu, to address the US Congress.  Netanyahu is being denounced around the globe as a mass murderer and tyrant, but his wealthy US supporters – who largely fund the Democratic Party- are making sure that the US continues to see the Israeli dog wag of the US tail. 

Candidate Trump has also lavished attention on Israel’s far right.  Like some ancient Roman deity, Trump has told Israel it may have all of Galilee (Judea and Samara in Israeli speak), the old city of Jerusalem, Gaza, Golan and most of the West Bank.  The biggest slice of donations to Trump’s campaign comes from the pro-Israel Adelson family that made its fortune in the sleazy gambling business.  We are also told that Trump son-in-law plans a Vegas-style seaside resort in Gaza – minus its Arabs, of course.

This is risky business.  When a single group seizes control of political and economic power the result can often be a huge backlash.   Criticizing Israel may soon become a federal ‘hate’ crime, validating Voltaire’s famous bon mot that the person or groups that you are not allowed to criticize are the ones who really rule you.

Israel was created after World War I thanks to intense political and financial pressure by the Rothschild banking family.  Today, defending Israel’s far right has been taken over by America’s big Wall Street financiers.  Their money and the alliance with hard right evangelical groups will form the core of Trump’s support.

A small minority of American Jews once opposed Zionism, claiming it would draw the US into endless Mideast conflicts and debase historic Judaism, a religion of high ethics and intellectualism. Their most prominent leader was Rabbi Elmer Berger whose words were prophetic. Judaism is not about 2,000lb bombs. 

Unfortunately, modern Zionism has become infected by adolescent nationalism, one of mankind’s worst traits.  As a British historian wrote, ‘if patriotism is the last refuge of rogues, then nationalism is the first platform of fools.’

We should also remember that during the Middle Ages Jews were persecuted all over Europe, and most notably in Spain. The Jews who fled Christian persecution largely sought refuge in the Muslim nations.  This coexistence could be restored if the real estate developers from Queens, New York, can be kicked out of politics.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2024

Eric S. Margolis

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in globally recognized newspapers and He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC. As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow.

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