Bernie Sanders steps in | David E. Weisberg
Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) A written an editorial for the NY Times on the fighting in and around Israel. It begins with the standard, one-size-fits-all, universal claim that it is “absolutely unacceptable” for Hamas to fire rockets at Israeli communities, but even with that mandatory sentencing comes a caveat. Here is what the senator writes: “[W]Although Hamas firing rockets at Israeli communities is absolutely unacceptable, today’s conflict did not start with these rockets.
See where we’re going here? We will learn, thanks to the young senator from Vermont, how the conflict started or, to put it another way, who is to blame for the conflict. Now, you’d think the guy who gave the order to fire the rockets, and the guys who executed that order, are to blame. But the young senator knows better. There are two villains: one is called Israel and the other is called Netanyahu.
Here is his testimony. First, lengthy legal proceedings that could lead to the expulsion of several Palestinian families from East Jerusalem properties appear to be ending and the expulsion appears imminent. If a deportation order is likely (which order, by the way, has still not been issued, and perhaps never will be), the natural response is to fire some two thousand rockets at densely populated Israeli communities. , is not it? Or, at least in the young senator’s mind, that is not an unnatural answer.
But it’s not just the (possible) deportation that troubles Senator Sanders. His next specific complaint is: “In Gaza, which has a population of around two million, 70% of young people are unemployed and have little hope for the future.”
Dear reader, consider this last sentence very, very carefully.
The skyrocketing unemployment and desperation among Gaza’s youth is, apparently, Israel’s fault. It is not Hamas – the of facto ruler of Gaza since 2007, spending millions of dollars in international aid to build military tunnels and thousands of rockets, instead of using those funds to develop Gaza’s economy – which is directly responsible for the misery in Gaza. Gaza. (There will inevitably be even more misery when the current conflict ends and Hamas declares another “victory.”) And, of course, teaching children from cradle to adulthood that their highest and best destiny is to to die as martyrs fighting the Zionists formula to produce happy and well-adjusted young people.
The junior senator has not finished. He then writes:
Additionally, we have seen Benjamin Netanyahu’s government work to marginalize and demonize Palestinian citizens of Israel, pursue settlement policies designed to exclude the possibility of a two-state solution, and pass laws that entrench systemic inequalities. between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Two of these unfounded complaints relate to Israel’s treatment of its own Arab citizens. (Note Sanders’ hypothesis that every Israeli Arab identifies as a Palestinian – how does he know this to be true?) How Israel’s treatment of its Arab citizens relates to rocket attacks from Gaza – who, moreover, also killed Israeli Arabs – is a mystery understood only by the young senator.
Whether or not Israel or Netanyahu pursues “settlement policies aimed at excluding … a two-state solution” is an open question. But, if Senator Sanders took the time to read Hamas commitment, he would learn that Hamas is (literally) fiercely opposed to any two-state solution. (“There is no solution to the Palestinian question except through Jihad. International initiatives, proposals and conferences are all a waste of time and wasted effort.”) Hamas does not want to, and will not accept never, a two-state solution. So how can Israel’s so-called settlement policies be linked in any way to Hamas rocket attacks?
There is more. The senator writes:
None of this excuses the attacks by Hamas, which were an attempt to exploit the unrest in Jerusalem, or the failures of the corrupt and ineffective Palestinian Authority, which recently postponed a long-awaited election. But the point is that Israel remains the sole sovereign authority in the land of Israel and Palestine, and rather than prepare for peace and justice, it has entrenched its unequal and undemocratic control.
The “But…” that begins the second sentence is key. There is nothing to excuse what the Palestinians have done, but, in the end, it is really Israel that is at fault.
First of all, it is simply wrong that Israel is “the only sovereign authority” in the whole region. Although Hamas has no of sworn authority, it is nevertheless the of facto ruler of Gaza. If Hamas wanted to use all of its international aid funds to develop Gaza’s economy, rather than building rockets and attacking tunnels, it could. Second, how will Israel “prepare for peace and justice” when the only relevant counterpart, Hamas, is determined to destroy Israel? If the young senator knows how to do this, he is certainly not telling anyone.
And, once again, Sanders ignores the Hamas alliance. (“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and serious …[Hamas] strives to raise the banner of Allah on every square inch of Palestine[.]Israel could negotiate a “peace deal” with Mahmoud Abbas, who is now in the seventeenth (17th) year of his four-year term as “president” of the Palestinian Authority. But this deal could just as easily be a blank sheet of paper. Abbas and his PA cronies have no control over the Islamist terrorists in Gaza, and those terrorists are the ones who fire rockets at Israel.
Here is my opinion. When Bernie Sanders was growing up in Brooklyn, he learned at the kitchen table that the world is divided into two camps: the oppressed and the oppressors. The oppressed are those who are poor and weak; the oppressors are the rich and the strong. The oppressed are good and their cause is just; the oppressors are bad and their cause is unjust. In the seventy years he has lived since then, Sanders has never found a single reason to question this teaching. The Palestinians are certainly poorer and weaker than the Israelis. So if there is conflict between Israel and groups of Palestinians, then even though those Palestinians have sworn to the Most High to wipe Israel off the map, Israel is ultimately the party at fault.
For the junior senator from Vermont, this makes perfect sense.
David E. Weisberg is a semi-retired lawyer and member of the New York Bar; he also holds a doctorate. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan (1971). He now lives in Cary, North Carolina. His scientific articles on US constitutional law can be read on the Social Science Research Network at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=2523973