Friday, July 21, 2017

into Trump's swamp

In the long-ago and faraway, when candidate Donald Trump inveighed against and vowed to drain the "swamp" that had consumed Washington, the gridlock was palpable. Republicans said no to pretty much anything they could get their hands on and the Democrats had no plan B for defeating the Republican strategy. "Swamp" seemed an apt term.

But now, as president, Donald Trump is busy cobbling together his own swamp ... a many-colored banner that extends from climate change to cuddling with Russians to NAFTA to healthcare to stabbing his own appointees in the back.

And within the Trump swamp slurry that has yet to see a single piece of legislation after six months in office, comes another piece of skunk weed as served up by The Independent:
A bill that would criminalise boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressman.
The so-called “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” would impose fines of up to $250,000 (£192,000) on any US citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israeli goods and services.
The US has long defended Israel in territorial disputes in the Middle East, even as the Israeli military has expanded into areas assigned to the Palestinians by international law.
This position runs counter to that of the United Nations, which claims Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territory have “no legal validity”, and “constitute flagrant violation of international law”.
Folded into this would-be law is a maximum million-dollar-fine and a 20-year jail sentence for anyone who signs on to such a boycott. Once again, bonny Israel has got the United States by the short hairs.... On behalf of an Middle Eastern ally (read nukes and publicity) and its own self-referential president.

Based on who's doing the counting and how they are counted, there are a high-side-estimated 10.5 million Jews in an America of 323 million people. Based on those numbers, it seems fair to say that the tail is wagging the dog when it comes to the proposed anti-boycott measure.

But this persuasion leaves me open to the ever-popular charges of "anti-Semitism."

Does anyone remember the time when the term "anti-Semitic" referred to a group wider than the Jews? ... i.e. Middle Easterners of Semitic origin ... including Arabs? Merriam Webster Dictionary agrees with the anti-Jewish leaning for "anti-Semite" and yet defines a "Semite" as "a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs." Based on the latter, a lot of Jews might be called anti-Semites, I guess.

Oh well, I don't much like Israel's apartheid policies when it comes to Palestinians... even if those policies are linked to the dollar-donating potential for U.S. politicians.

PS. In which regard, the unpublished-in-the-U.S.(?) "The Israel Lobby" by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2006) may be of interest:
For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.
Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.

1 comment:

  1. And here in america, we thought we were free to follow our own conscience. It seems a short step from here to outlawing voting for any but the ruling party.