Category Archives: Mike Pompeo

The Watchdogs of Imperialism and the Uyghur Genocide Slander

On February 26 the Canadian Parliament passed a motion, by a vote of 226 to 0, expressing the opinion that “the People’s Republic of China has” implemented “measures intended to prevent” Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim births and that these measures are “consistent with” the United Nations Genocide Convention.

The reality is that Beijing is not preventing Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim births, and a report by a German anthropologist widely cited as evidence that it is, contradicts this claim. That report, by Adrian Zenz, a fellow at a US government-created foundation whose mission is to bring about the end of communism and the Chinese Communist Party,  reveals that while Chinese family planning policy restricts the number of children Chinese couples are allowed to have, it does not prevent couples in any group, including Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, from bearing children. Moreover, limits on family size are the same between the Han Chinese ethnic majority and religious minorities. There is, therefore, no discrimination in Chinese family planning policy on the basis of national, religious, or ethnic affiliation.

Perhaps aware their position was untenable, the parliamentarians sought to buttress their motion by citing political opinion in the United States, where “it has been the position of two consecutive administrations that Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims are being subjected to a genocide by the Government of the People’s Republic of China,” the motion observed. In an act of unseemly subservience to imperial power, Canada’s parliament constructed a motion, based on no evidence, to echo a point of view articulated in Washington, also based on no evidence.

Significantly, the last two consecutive administrations have designated China a rival, and therefore have politically-motivated reasons for slandering their challenger. Moreover, apart from using the hyper-aggressive US military to extort economic and strategic concessions from other countries, US administrations have a long record of fabrication to justify their aggressive actions. That “two consecutive administrations” have held that the Chinese are carrying out a genocide is evidence of nothing more than Washington continuing to operate in its accustomed fashion of churning out lies about states that refuse to be integrated into the US economic, military and political orbit. A Serb-orchestrated genocide against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; hidden weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; moderate rebels in Syria: these are only the tip of the iceberg of US lies and calumnies offered as pretexts for imperial aggression. Genocide in Xinjiang is but the latest.

Below, I look at the genocide slander from four perspectives:

  1. The geostrategic context.
  2. Who is behind the accusations?
  3. How do the accusers define genocide?
  4. What is the evidence?

The geostrategic context

In 2003, Graham E. Fuller, a former vice-chair of the US National Intelligence Estimate and one-time CIA station chief in Kabul, wrote a book for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Study at the Johns Hopkins University, titled The Xinjiang Problem. His co-author was the academic S. Frederick Starr.

Fuller and Starr wrote that:

the historical record suggests that the decision of countries and even of international organizations to raise specific human rights issues is often politicized and highly selective. Many countries will devote attention to human rights issues in China in inverse proportion to the quality of their overall bilateral relationship.

It need not be said that today, 18 years later, the quality of overall bilateral relations between the United States and China has deteriorated sharply. China has emerged as a formidable competitor to US economic and technological supremacy, and US policy has shifted, beginning with the Obama administration, toward an explicit program of eclipsing China’s rise.

In recent days, US president Joe Biden has said, “American leadership must meet … the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Biden’s “goal is to stay ahead of China in semiconductors, artificial intelligence and other advances that are expected to define the economy and military of the future.” However, the US president, according to the newspaper, intends to portray the conflict as one based on “a clash of values: democracy vs. autocracy,” rather than a clash of economic interests.

At the base of a deteriorating Sino-US relationship, then, lies a commercial rivalry, on top of which Washington has layered a narrative about a clash of values. In a Foreign Affairs article written before he became president, Biden outlined a strategy of confronting China over the economic challenges it poses to US businesses, US domination of the industries of tomorrow, and US technological (and concomitant military) supremacy. Biden said he would use a human rights narrative to rally support for a US-led campaign against China.

Fuller and Starr continued: “It would be unrealistic,” they wrote, “to rule out categorically American willingness to play the ‘Uyghur card’ as a means of exerting pressure on China in the event of some future crisis or confrontation.” Many “of China’s rivals have in the past pursued active policies in Xinjiang and exploited the Uyghur issue for their benefit.” Almost two decades later, with US hostility rising as Washington’s claim to primacy on the world stage is under challenge, the United States has decided to play the Uyghur card.

Who is behind the accusations?

A network of groups and individuals, animated by an antagonism to the Chinese Communist Party, and supportive of continued US global supremacy, are involved in originating the slanders against Beijing. At the center is the German anthropologist, Adrian Zenz.

Zenz’s opposition to Beijing lies in his religious beliefs. A fundamentalist Christian, he views communism, feminism and homosexuality, as abominations against God. Zenz also believes that he is on a divinely-inspired mission to bring about the demise of communist rule in China.

Zenz is a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The foundation, created by the US government to discredit an ideology which competes against the United States’ first favorite religion, US state-capitalism (Christianity being the second) seeks to free the world “from the false hope of Marxism” and save it from “the tyranny of communism” (the leitmotif of Hitler’s political career.) This it strives to do by educating future generations that “Marxist socialism is the deadliest ideology in history,” (one that, by this view, is fully capable of carrying out a genocide), a task the foundation sees as especially pressing today, when “Positive attitudes toward communism and socialism are at an all-time high in the United States.”

Zenz has also written anti-Beijing reports for the Jamestown Foundation,  an anti-Communist outfit supported by corporations, foundations, and wealthy individuals, whose mission is to shape public opinion against China and North Korea.

The slanderers also include a number of Uyghur exile groups, including the World Uyghur Congress, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED is a US government-bankrolled organization whose first president conceded that it does overtly what the CIA used to do covertly, namely destabilize foreign governments by strengthening fifth columns. The NED does so under the cover of promoting democracy and human rights.  The organization has boasted on Twitter that it has been funding fifth columnists in Xinjiang since 2004.

Another propagator of anti-Beijing slanders is the Epoch Times, the newspaper of the Falun Gong. Like Zenz, the roots of Falun Gong’s anti-Beijing animus lie in reactionary religious convictions. The cult deplores gender equality, homosexuality, and communism as affronts against God.

How do the accusers define genocide?

Those who accuse Beijing of carrying out a genocide employ a ruse regularly used in the corporate world to dupe consumers and employees. The subterfuge is to redefine a word to mean something other than what the word would be reasonably interpreted to mean.

Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo used this ruse. He accused Beijing of trying to integrate Xinjiang and its Turkic people into the larger Chinese society. While this did not meet the definition of genocide, Pompeo labelled Beijing’s actions as genocide all the same.  According to the magazine Foreign PolicyState Department lawyers told Pompeo that Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang did not satisfy the UN convention’s definition of genocide. Pompeo, who has no respect for the truth, much less the contrary opinions of government lawyers, was undeterred.

The current US secretary of state Anthony Blinken also accused Beijing of genocide. Using the same ruse, Blinken pointed to non-genocidal actions, namely one million Uyghurs in ‘concentration camps’, to make the claim that Beijing was trying to destroy a Muslim minority.  The claim was a double deception. First, there are no Uyghur concentration camps in Xinjiang, and second, even if there were, concentration camps do not equal genocide. Blinken was likely trying to exploit the association of the Holocaust with German death camps to insinuate that concentration camps and genocide go together, like the artic and snow, and that the Chinese government, and its Communist Party, are contemporary expressions of Nazi horror.

The source of the concentration camp allegation is yet another of Beijing’s political foes, an Islamist media outlet run by Uyghur separatists in Turkey, which serves as a platform for the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, an al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist outfit which seeks to transform Xinjiang into an Islamic State. ETIM is considered a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States—or was considered a terrorist organization by the United States until Pompeo removed the group from the US terrorism list in October, thereby eliminating an impediment that had limited the contribution the jihadists could make to the US project of destabilizing Xinjiang, propagating calumnies about the Chinese government, and ultimately undermining China’s ability to compete with US businesses on the world stage.

In July of last year, Zenz wrote a paper for the Jamestown Foundation on Uyghur birthrates, which appears to be the basis for the claim cited by Canadian parliamentarians that China is carrying out a genocide in Xinjiang. Zenz’s report raised the question of genocide only in its final sentence, and then only tentatively. It was, instead, the Jamestown Foundation editor, John Dotson, a former US naval officer and US Congressional staff researcher, who concluded in an introductory note that “Zenz presents a compelling case that the CCP party-state apparatus in Xinjiang is engaged in severe human rights violations that meet the criteria for genocide as defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” Zenz, however, concluded only that Chinese policies “might be characterized” as constituting “a demographic campaign of genocide per” the UN convention. To be sure, any policy might be characterized in any particular way one wants, but the ad rem question isn’t, can policy x be characterized as y, but is it y? Zenz, unlike Dotson, was not prepared to say that Chinese birth control policy constitutes genocide. And there’s a good reason for this; it clearly doesn’t.

Zenz’s paper was a political tract erected on the foundations of a report on Beijing’s family planning policies and their effects on Uyghur and Han birthrates in Xinjiang. What the report showed, notwithstanding Dotson’s politically-motivated misinterpretation, was that:

  • Previously, Han Chinese couples were limited to one child, while Uyghur couples were allowed two in urban areas, and three in rural areas. Family planning restrictions were not rigidly enforced on Uyghur couples.
  • Today, Han Chinese couples are permitted to have as many children as Uyghur couples are permitted (two children in urban areas, and three in rural areas.)
  • Family planning restrictions are now rigidly enforced.
  • The change from lax to rigid enforcement has been accompanied by a decrease in the Uyghur birth rate.

Zenz’s report showed that the Uyghur population continued to grow, despite enforcement of family planning policies; Uyghur couples are not prevented from having children, (they’re only limited in the number of children they can have); and family planning rules apply equally to Han Chinese.

Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, reads as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The relevant consideration is the fourth item, namely, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. Chinese family planning policy does not prevent births within the Uyghur population; it only restricts them, and the restriction is non-discriminatory; it applies equally to all groups.

What is the evidence?

US State Department lawyers told Pompeo there is no evidence of genocide in Xinjiang. As we have seen, that didn’t stop Pompeo–who once boasted that as CIA director “we lied, cheated, and stole“– from making the accusation. He simply changed the definition of genocide, carrying on the US state tradition of fabricating lies to advance its interests.

Bob Rae, Canada’s representative to the UN, accused China of committing genocide, and then said efforts should be made to gather evidence to demonstrate this to be true.

John Ibbitson, a columnist with Canada’s Globe and Mailconceded that Chinese government actions in Xinjiang do not meet the UN definition of genocide, but that Beijing is carrying out a genocide all the same.

The watchdogs of imperialism

The United States is waging an economic and information war on China, to preserve its economic,  military, and technological supremacy. Washington is recruiting its citizens, its allies and their citizens, and the progressive community, into a campaign to protect the international dictatorship of the United States from the challenge posed by the peaceful rise of China. Every manner of slander has been hurled at China to galvanize popular opposition to Beijing and mobilize popular support for economic aggression and growing military intimidation against the People’s Republic, from accusations that Chinese officials concealed the spread of the coronavirus; to calumnies about Muslims being immured in concentration camps, subjected to forced labor, and targeted for genocide; that Beijing is violating the one state-two systems agreement in Hong Kong (when in fact it’s only implementing a security law to undergird the one state part of the accord) and that Beijing’s efforts to reunify the country by re-integrating a territory the US Seventh Fleet prevented it from reintegrating in 1950, are really acts of aggression against an independent country named Taiwan.

Progressive forces, from Democracy Now!, which has provided Adrian Zenz a platform to traduce Beijing, to the New Democratic and Green parties in Canada, which voted for the motion declaring a genocide is in progress in Xinjiang, collude in the campaign to protect and promote the profits of Western shareholders, investors, and bankers from the challenges posed by China’s rise. Lenin, who knew a thing or two about communism, international rivalries, and the perfidy of progressives, described the predecessors of today’s Democracy Nows, Greens, and New Democrats as the watchdogs of imperialism. His words echo through the corridors of time.

  • Originally published at Gowan’s blog.
  • The post The Watchdogs of Imperialism and the Uyghur Genocide Slander first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    How Rational Can the US Be in Dealing with Yemen and Iran?

    We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen — a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks….

    And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.

    President Biden, foreign policy speech, February 4, 2021

    This announcement does not augur peace in Yemen any time soon. Rather it looks a bit like political mystification that some have chosen to celebrate now, regardless of what it actually means, apparently in hope of making it a meaningful, self-fulfilling prophecy some time in the future. This does not seem likely, given what Biden actually said, but we shall see.

    For the foreseeable future, Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, will remain the victim of a Saudi war of aggression and Saudi war crimes. Since March 2015, with the full support of the Obama administration, Saudi Arabia and its allies have turned Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, as assessed by the United Nations. Relentless bombing of military and civilian targets alike has led to the deaths of more than 100,000 Yemenis from famine and disease. Millions more need international aid to survive.

    One hopeful sign now is the Biden administration’s announcement on February 5 that the US designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization has been rescinded. This was a necessary corrective, not a bold move. The Houthis are ethnic natives in northwest Yemen. Their current territory holds about 70% of Yemen’s 30 million people. They are the victims of Saudi terror bombing.

    The Houthis are also the victims of US Iranophobia, the paranoid policy framing that sees Iranian devils behind every difficulty in the Middle East, regardless of any lack of evidence. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo is an Iranophobe, as well as a Christo-fascist. In a midnight news dump on January 10, Pompeo announced the terrorist designation to go into effect on January 19. The announcement provided little basis in policy or fact and received bipartisan criticism because its most likely impact would have been to exacerbate human suffering in Yemen.

    While the Biden administration’s decision to rescind the terrorist designation eliminates a factor that would have made the Yemen situation worse, there is little in Biden’s speech that promises to make the situation better any time soon.

    Supporting United Nations efforts is probably helpful as far as it goes, but it’s a far cry from US engagement on the peace side to match US engagement on the war side. And to suggest that the UN might “impose a ceasefire” implies a military deployment that is pretty much imaginary. The conflict within Yemen is multi-sided, with few if any clearly-defined frontlines.

    The Houthis control most of the northwest, but not all, and that may be the most coherent governmental region in the country. In the south, the official Yemen government, unelected but imposed by international fiat and controlled by Saudi Arabia, shares territory with its own rebel faction controlled by the UAE (United Arab Emirates). The eastern two-thirds of the country, mostly desert, contains islands of control under Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other, smaller factions.

    The US was misguided, at best, to sanction the Saudi aggression. The US was criminal to support the Saudi aggression for the past six years. Now Biden has said the US is ending “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen.” There are NO defensive operations in that war, the war is effectively all in Yemen. And when Biden says the US is ending all American support, does that mean no more military guidance from the US mission in Riyadh? No more logistical support? No more intelligence sharing? No more training Saudi pilots? No more target selection? No more mid-air refueling? No more maintenance for Saudi bombers? No more spare parts? Does it mean an end to the US naval blockade, itself an act of war?

    The US has been doing all these things, and probably more, with Obama’s and Trump’s blessings since 2015. Will the US stop doing all of them now, or in the near future? Biden didn’t say (the State Department later hedged). Biden promised to end “relevant arms sales,” whatever “relevant” is supposed to mean, since it means nothing on its face. And in the next line of his speech, Biden revealed the calamitous duplicity of the US position all along:

    At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.

    This is cover-your-butt spinning to excuse future failures planned to appease the Saudi aggressors. Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks and UAV strikes from the Houthis because the Houthis, in the face of relentless attack, have been fighting back.

    Biden’s undefined “other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries” is murky, non-specific, unverifiable. This makes Biden sound like he’s channeling Pompeo in pure Iranophobe-speak. This fearmongering portends nothing good for Yemen.

    Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty is under no discernible threat, except perhaps from within the monarchical police state. So the US is committed to defending an anti-democratic dictatorship that murders its critics in the most brutal fashion? How is that a good thing?

    Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity is under no credible threat. Quite literally, Saudi Arabia has NO territorial integrity, since most of its border with eastern Yemen has never been drawn. The Saudis and the Houthis have a territorial dispute in the northwest dating to the 1930s. The Saudis have built more than one wall over the years in an effort to block Yemeni migrants seeking work in Saudi Arabia, which has some ten million migrant workers mostly treated abominably.

    Saudi Arabia’s people face a chronic, lethal threat from their own government. There are occasional, minor threats from dissidents. Threats from abroad are likewise all but non-existent. Those missiles and UAV worrying Biden have apparently killed no one; there are no Saudi civilian casualties from the Yemen war, just the 100,000-plus Yemenis.

    Biden’s reassurances to Saudi Arabia weren’t just specious, they represent an unchanging rigidity in American thinking that continues as a threat to peace. On Democracy Now, Michigan State University assistant professor Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar and activist, put Biden’s comments in perspective:

    So, in his speech, Biden said that he is ending offensive operations in Yemen, but committed —  he went on to commit to defending Saudi borders. Now, this is really concerning to me, because I still remember the statement that the White House put out when Obama initially entered the war in March of 2015, and that was the exact same framing, that they were defending Saudi territory from the Houthis. This is what led us here — six years of war, over 100,000 Yemenis killed, 250,000 people starved to death, if not more, the entire country destroyed. And the framing was always to protect Saudi borders.

    In reality, in 2015, the Houthis were nowhere near the Saudi border, they were deep in southern Yemen, on the verge of overrunning Aden and driving out the Yemeni puppet government controlled by Saudi Arabia. That was when the Saudis launched their undeclared war; that was when the US supported the unrestricted aerial bombardment of a country with no air defense.

    And beneath all the other arguments was the widespread fear of Iran, Iranophobia, based on little to no evidence. Iran is a despised Shia Muslim state in a Sunni Muslim world, and the mutual distrust is deep-seated and irrational, except that the Iranians remember that the western allies of Saudi Arabia imposed one of the world’s bloodier dictatorships on Iran. The Iranians weren’t ever very grateful, so how could the US trust them after that: obviously, if Iran had an interest in supporting the Houthis in resisting a puppet government controlled by the Saudi dictatorship, the US had a reason to intervene against the defenders of freedom. Or as Reuters reported in 2015:

    The United States is speeding up arms supplies and bolstering intelligence sharing with a Saudi-led alliance bombing a militia aligned with Iran in neighboring Yemen, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday….

    “Saudi Arabia is sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force,” he told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

    “As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation center….”

    That US diplomat in 2015 was US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, now President Biden’s new Secretary of State. He was an architect of a criminal war rooted in a largely irrational fear of Iran, along with cynical fealty to Saudi Arabia. Since 1979, US relations with Iran have been poisoned by Iranians taking American diplomats hostage, then manipulating those hostages to push Americans to elect President Reagan. There’s plenty to regret on both sides. But on February 5, Secretary Blinken started a new round of talks with American allies aimed at shaping a new relationship with Iran. The trick will be to treat Iran as a rational adversary, and even more so to persuade Iran that the US can be rational, too. The Yemen initiatives are steps in a positive direction, but only baby steps.

    The post How Rational Can the US Be in Dealing with Yemen and Iran? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The Trump Administration’s Parting Outrage Against Cuba

    (Photo credit:  Yander Zamora/EFE)

    On January 11, in his final days before leaving office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added one parting blow to the series of bludgeons his administration has inflicted on Cuba for four years: putting the island on the list of “state sponsors of terror” that includes only Iran, North Korea and Syria. The designation drew swift condemnation from policymakers and humanitarian groups as a decision widely characterized as “politically motivated.” It comes six years after the Obama administration had removed Cuba from the same list as part of his policy of rapprochement.

    In the six years since, Trump’s State Department could not point to a single act of terror sponsored by Cuba. Instead, Secretary Pompeo based his decision on Cuba’s alleged support for the ELN (National Liberation Army – Colombia’s second-largest guerilla group) and the harboring of a handful of U.S. fugitives wanted for crimes committed in the 1970s, including renowned Black revolutionary Assata Shakur. Lacking more specific accusations, the State Department criticized Cuba for its supposed “malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.”

    These claims don’t stand up to scrutiny. Regarding the ELN, the gist of the story is that the Trump administration is punishing Cuba for its role in attempting to bring peace to the long-simmering conflict in Colombia. ELN negotiators arrived in Cuba in 2018 for peace talks with the Colombian government. As part of the protocols for these meetings, ELN negotiators were allowed entry into Cuba and promised safe passage back into Colombia after their conclusion. Guarantor countries, including Cuba and Norway, assumed responsibility for their safe return. The talks collapsed in January 2019 following an ELN car bombing in Bogotá that killed 22 people. Colombia requested the extradition of the negotiators, but Cuba refused because the Colombia government will not honor the previous government’s commitment to guaranteeing the negotiators’ freedom upon returning home.

    Regarding Secretary Pompeo’s other arguments, Cuba’s main influence in the Western Hemisphere has been the opposite of “malign”: it has deployed its doctors throughout the region and the world, saving thousands of lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. And when it comes to harboring terrorists, it’s worth noting that for decades the United States harbored Luis Posada Carriles, mastermind of a 1973 bombing that killed 73 people on a Cuban commercial airliner.

    Cuba’s placement on the state sponsors of terror list is meant to be a thorn in any plan by the Biden administration for rapprochement. Taking Cuba off the list will require a review process that could take months, delaying any new initiatives to roll back Trump-era policies. It will also cause further pain to Cuba’s economy, already battered by tightened sanctions and the pandemic that has devastated the island’s tourism industry. The new terrorism label will likely scare off many businesses that import to Cuba, banks that finance transactions with Cuba and foreign investors.

    A week before the designation, nine U.S. Senators wrote to Secretary Pompeo and warned that such a step “will politicize our national security.” It has drawn strong condemnation from Senator Patrick Leahy, who said it made a “mockery of what had been a credible, objective measure,” and House Foreign Affairs Chairman, Representative Gregory Meeks who said the hypocrisy from President Trump less than a week after he incited a domestic terror attack was “stunning but not surprising.”

    Faith group Pastors For Peace was one of many organizations to condemn the designation: “We know that this latest act, in the waning days of the Trump administration, is not only an aggressive act against Cuba, but aggression against the incoming administration who have pledged to return to a policy leading to peace and civilized relations with our island neighbor.”

    Policy group ACERE (which CODEPINK is a part of) drew a connection between the designation and recent events at home: “Perpetuating the myth that Cuba is a threat to the American people – while minimizing the threat posed by far-right extremists at home – is an embarrassment to our country on the world stage.”

    The real motive behind this move is to offer a parting gift to the Cuban exile community and its allies that have been loyal supporters of the Trump administration and helped oust several Democratic members of Congress in the last election. This is par for the course for an administration that has repeatedly used sanctions for political gain with no regard for the Cuban people who, for four years, have borne the brunt of sanctions affecting everything from energy, tourism, medicines, remittances and flights. Just like millions of U.S. citizens, Cubans are counting the days until the Trump administration becomes history and hoping the next administration will offer some relief.

    The post The Trump Administration’s Parting Outrage Against Cuba first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Venezuela Votes To End Neocolonialism, Create Its Own Path

    On December 2, the Embassy Protection Collective (EPC) members, who were arrested in May 2019 when the United States illegally invaded the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC, completed their probation, ending the risk of the 30 days in prison that was being held over their heads. I am one of the four who were arrested. Sadly, Kevin Zeese, another member and the co-director of Popular Resistance, died unexpectedly in September.

    For the past 18 months, those who were arrested on May 16 had to check in regularly with the federal government and required permission from the judge, who had a clear disdain for the defendants, to travel. The three who remain marked their freedom this week by traveling on December 3 to Venezuela to serve as official international election observers invited by the National Electoral Council. Travel to Venezuela is challenging at the moment due to the United States’ illegal economic blockade.

    The election, which will be held on December 6, is for a new National Assembly. To prepare for observation, the EPC members and others from the United States and Canada who are also official observers received training to understand the election process. They also met with members of the right wing opposition and left wing critics to better understand the political context. An official report will be filed after the election and my interviews with several people who are knowledgeable about the historical and current politics will be available this Tuesday on Clearing the FOG.

    Margaret Flowers, Rick Sterling, and and Michelle Munjanattu ready to head to the voting centers. (By Margaret Flowers)

    The current situation in Venezuela is dire for many people. The United States has been interfering in Venezuelan affairs for decades. Prior to the Bolivarian Revolution, which was solidified with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela was the greatest ally of the US in Latin America. This alliance served US corporate interests well. There was a small class of Venezuelans who were extremely wealthy because of it while the vast majority of the people lived in poverty.

    Since Chavez took office, and then continuing during the Maduro administration, there has been an effort, called the Bolivarian process, to put the people’s interests over those of corporations by using the nation’s resources for social good.

    The first step was the creation of a people’s Constitution through a participatory process that codified rights to health care, housing, education and more, including the right to vote. The socialist Venezuelan government worked to end poverty and has nearly eradicated illiteracy. The government built hospitals, schools and free or low-cost housing. They built electrical, water and transportation infrastructure to serve poor people whose existence was not acknowledged in the past. The people have been working to build participatory democracy from the ground up through local community assemblies and regional communes composed of these local assemblies.

    For this, the United States and its allies in Latin America and the European Union have been waging a hybrid war against Venezuela, which intensified under the Trump administration. Venezuela is viewed as a threat to US corporate interests and the long term Monroe Doctrine because it has been a leader of the Pink Tide, a movement in Latin America towards socialism and rejection of US imperialism.

    The hybrid war against Venezuela includes a misinformation campaign, interference in its internal processes such as elections, the imposition of illegal unilateral coercive measures (referred to as ‘sanctions’), covert sabotage campaigns and coup attempts conducted with paramilitary mercenaries based in Columbia and threats of overt military invasion. Almost everything people hear or read in the US corporate media about Venezuela is false.

    This hybrid war, which violates international law, has brought great suffering to the Venezuelan people and has stifled progress on the Bolivarian process. The sanctions have caused food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation and have damaged industrial capacity and public services. The economic blockade has caused a severe fuel crisis that exacerbates all of the above.

    The Venezuelan government is pursuing legal avenues to stop the deadly economic war through a lawsuit filed in the International Criminal Court that charges the United States of crimes against humanity because the sanctions are a form of collective punishment. Venezuela is fighting the British courts for access to its $1.2 billion in gold being held in the Bank of London. The government plans to use that to buy food and medicine, which are crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. And recently, the Venezuelan United Nations ambassador Samuel Moncada called on the UN General Assembly to take action to stop the economic war being waged against Venezuela and many countries around the world.

    Mural in Caracas (Margaret Flowers).

    Across the political spectrum in Venezuela, except for the extreme right, which is financed and given legitimacy by the United States, there is rejection of US interference, especially the economic blockade. The extreme right, led by Juan Guaido, who illegally declared himself president of Venezuela in January 2019, supports US intervention, including an outright military invasion, to overthrow the elected government. Guaido is calling on the Right to boycott the upcoming election in an effort to undermine it. Already, the United States is claiming the election is rigged, a common regime change tactic. Leo Flores speaks about this on Clearing the FOG.

    Most of the Right did boycott the presidential election in 2018, but this time around they chose to participate. They joined together as the Democratic Alliance and have been in negotiations with the Maduro government over the past year. In a meeting with election observers on December 5, candidates and representatives of the five parties in the alliance clearly stated that they believe the best path to solving the crises in Venezuela is peaceful, using elections and diplomacy. They hope the United States will lift the economic blockade and restore diplomatic relations in a way that respects the sovereignty of Venezuela and the people’s right to determine their own path.

    The Left in Venezuela has also formed a new alliance, the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR), composed of thirteen parties, to push the ruling party, the United Socialist Party or PSUV, to do more to continue building the Bolivarian Process and meet the people’s needs. They agree with the PSUV on foreign policy but oppose the increasing privatization of industries, state institutions and public services. They are running candidates for all of the 277 National Assembly seats.

    In this election, there are 107 political parties and 14,ooo candidates. The election is run by an independent government body, the National Electoral Council (CNE). One of the major challenges in this election is the loss of all of their voting machines in a suspicious fire early in the year. However, the CNE succeeded in replacing the machines, despite the blockade, and improving the process as it did so.

    Venezuela’s electoral process is very secure and transparent. The election observers, myself included, were trained in how to use the machines and visited the warehouse to learn about the safeguards and quality-control processes. When they vote, Venezuelans are required to show their national id, which everyone has. The machine is activated through a digital scan of the voter’s fingerprint, which verifies the voter is in the correct polling center. In this election, Venezuelans will cast two votes, one for their delegate to the National Assembly and one for a political party. Venezuela uses both direct election of representatives and proportional representation of parties in the National Assembly.

    Once the voter makes their selections, they submit their vote and the machine creates a paper receipt the voter can use to verify their vote is accurate. This is placed in a box that corresponds to that machine. Finally, the voter signs a log book and again provides a fingerprint to verify they completed the process.

    At the end of the day, a public audit of at least 54% of the machines in each polling center is conducted. The paper ballots are counted in front of party representatives and anyone who wants to be present and are compared to the machine count. If it matches up, the votes are sent to the information center for tallying. If they don’t, a hand count of all of the paper ballots at that center is done.

    This year, extra precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There is a strict protocol of distancing, mask-wearing, use of hand sanitizer and disinfecting the machines. In fact, Venezuela has a strong public health approach to controlling the pandemic, which is why they have a low number of cases per million population compared to most Latin American countries.

    Venezuelan voters and the party alliances on the Right and the Left have high confidence in the voting process. Despite this, the US government claims there is rigging and refuses to respect the will of the people in choosing their government. One member of the opposition alliance, who worked at the CNE for ten years, said the greatest fraud was convincing the public there was fraud.

    Evo Morales and Andronico Rodriguez, the current Senate President in Bolivia, visit a voting center in Caracas (Margaret Flowers)

    The current election is widely viewed as one of the most important elections in Venezuela’s history because it is a referendum against US imperialism. As Vijay Prashad and Carlos Ron write, the simple fact that Venezuela is holding this election is a victory because of the US’ actions to prevent and undermine Venezuelan democracy.

    The previous election for National Assembly was five years ago. In that election, the US claimed it was illegitimate until the Right won the majority of seats and suddenly the US changed its tune. Shortly after that, it was discovered that there was a scheme to buy votes in a remote region of the country. The Supreme Court ordered the National Assembly to redo the races that were involved but the right-wing parties refused to comply. This put them in contempt of court and invalidated the National Assembly. The Right and the US claimed the NA delegates were victims of the current government, even though it was the Right’s decision not to comply and regain their power.

    In 2018, the United States urged the Right to boycott the Presidential election, even threatening those who decided to participate with sanctions, and then it claimed the election was illegitimate. The US refused to recognize President Maduro, who won, and even tried to assassinate him a few months later.

    Failing at that, the US backed Juan Guaido, a little known National Assembly delegate from a small state, as the president and pressured its allies to recognize him too. With the help of the US, this fake ‘president’ also has a fake Supreme Court that operates out of Miami, Florida, and a fake National Assembly that operates out of a right wing television station.

    Members of the Democratic Alliance called this absurd fake government crazy and said it has made diplomacy with other countries very difficult. Most countries recognize the Constitutional government under President Maduro, some recognize Guaido as the President but maintain their relationship with the Maduro government and a minority of countries only recognize Guaido. The Democratic Alliance reiterated that Guaido only has a base of support among the wealthy Venezuelans who moved to the United States. They want people in the US to know that there is a right-wing opposition with support in Venezuela who respects the rule of law and wants to work to solve Venezuela’s crises without US intervention and within the legitimate institutions.

    This is why protecting the Venezuelan embassy from being handed over to Guaido’s people last year was critical. It would have further solidified the ability of the US to claim that Guaido was legitimate and it would have provided a base for the extreme right to continue organizing its coup efforts. Since the arrest of the final four Embassy Protectors who were inside the embassy, the embassy has remained empty.

    This election will cement the end of the fake Guaido presidency. There will be zero basis to make that claim, although Mike Pompeo is already saying the US will continue to recognize him. We in the US must demand the Biden administration recognize the elected government of Venezuela and stop supporting Guaido.

    Carlos Ron, the vice foreign minister for North America, writes:

    The new National Assembly will no longer be a platform for politicians to plead for US intervention, rather it can push legislation to overcome the blockade and it can turn into a new space for political dialogue between government and opposition. Challenges will continue, but the US will need to reassess its Monroe Doctrine once again. For Venezuela, and the Latin American progressive movement, however, these elections will be another victory of resistance and resilience.

    We, in the US, must demand the United States respect Venezuela’s sovereignty, end the brutal economic blockade and re-establish diplomatic relations instead of military aggression. Learn more about the Venezuelan election and what we must do in this webinar “Venezuelans Want to Vote” featuring Carlos Ron, Gabriel Aguirre, Ajamu Baraka, Vijay Prashad and more.

    The post Venezuela Votes To End Neocolonialism, Create Its Own Path first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Expansion and Mass Eviction: Israel “Takes Advantage” of Trump’s Remaining Days in Office  

    In a few words, a close associate of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, summed up the logic behind the ongoing frenzy to expand illegal Jewish settlements in Israel.

    “These days are an irreplaceable opportunity to establish our hold on the Land of Israel, and I’m sure that our friend, President (Donald) Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be able to take advantage,” Miki Zohar, a member of the Likud Party was quoted in the Christian Science Monitor.

    By “these days”, Zohar was referring to the remaining few weeks of Trump’s term in office. The US President was trounced by his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, in the presidential elections held on November 3.

    Trump’s defeat ignited fears in Tel Aviv, and heated debates in the Israeli Knesset that the new US administration might challenge Israel’s unhindered settlement expansion policies.

    Indeed, not only was Israel allowed to expand old settlements and build new ones throughout Trump’s term, but was actually encouraged by US officials to do so with a great sense of urgency.

    US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is an ardent supporter of rapid expansion and was handpicked for his role, not because of his diplomatic experience – he has none – but to help facilitate US support for Israel’s colonial expansion. In doing so, the US violated international consensus on the issue, and reversed earlier US positions that perceived Israel’s illegal settlements as “obstacles to peace”.

    Friedman was entrusted with communicating the ominous new American agenda regarding Israel’s illegal action in the occupied Palestinian territories and also in the Syrian Golan Heights. In June 2019, Friedman, rather clumsily, articulated a new American position on the illegal Jewish settlements when he said in an interview with the New York Times that “Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

    The green light to Netanyahu was translated, in January 2020, into an announcement by Israel that it intended to formally annex nearly a third of the West Bank within a few months.

    The illegal annexation was set to take place on July 1. Just prior to that date, Friedman resurfaced, this time with a less coded message, that Netanyahu’s annexation had the full backing of the US government. He told the Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, that Washington was preparing to acknowledge the Israeli move to apply sovereignty in ‘Judea and Samaria’, using the biblical reference to the West Bank.

    Annexation did not materialize as grandly as expected. Instead, the Netanyahu government opted to cement its de facto annexation of Palestinian land by announcing plans to build more settlements, barring Palestinian farmers from reaching their land and accelerating the policy of home demolition.

    Months before Biden became the US president-elect, Israel seemed to be preparing for the possibility that the Trump administration might not be re-elected. Certainly, while a Biden presidency is bound to remain unconditionally supportive of Israel, the new administration is likely to return to old policies pertaining to the ‘peace process’ and the two-State solution. Netanyahu has long been averse to such rhetoric as, in his view, such unnecessary delays will cost Israel precious time that could be invested in building yet more settlements. Politically, the mere discussion of a return to negotiations could, potentially, splinter Israel’s powerful, yet fractious, pro-settlement right-wing alliance.

    Immediately it was clear that Trump had lost the race, Netanyahu begrudgingly congratulated Biden. Even the Israeli leader’s belated acknowledgement of Trump’s defeat did not spare him the political ambush that awaited him. Many Knesset members attacked Netanyahu for losing Israel’s bipartisan support in Washington by allying himself with the Republican Party and the Trump administration.

    Leading the charge was Israel’s opposition leader from Yesh Atid-Telem, Yair Lapid, who had already criticized the Prime Minister’s “Republican First” approach to US politics. His views were shared by many Israelis in the Knesset and media.

    Reversing course in Trump’s last weeks in office is not an easy choice, especially as the Trump administration remains committed to help Israel achieve its objectives to the very end.

    On November 19, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, became the first top US official to visit an illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. During his visit to a winery in the Psagot settlement, Pompeo gave Netanyahu yet more good news. He announced that products from illegal Jewish settlements could now be labeled “Made in Israel”, and that the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement would be declared ‘anti-Semitic’ by the US State Department.

    The latter announcement will give Israel the legal capital required to prosecute and silence any US civil society opposition to Israel’s illegal occupation. Israel is counting on the fact that Biden is unlikely to dare contest or reverse such policies due to the sensitivity of the subject of anti-Semitism – real or alleged – in US politics.

    The same rationale applies to the settlement building frenzy throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

    On November 20, Israeli authorities announced that 80 Palestinian families would be evicted from their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. These homes would, in turn, be handed over to illegal Israeli Jewish settlers.

    The news of the mass eviction came only a few days after the government’s announcements that the illegal settlements of Givat Hamatos and Ramat Shlomo, both located in East Jerusalem, are set for major expansion.

    The massive development in Givat Hamatos, according to the Israeli group ‘Peace Now’, “will severely hamper the prospect of a two-State solution because it will ultimately block the possibility of territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem” and major urban centers in the West Bank.

    The announcements are strategically timed, as they carry an unmistakable political message that Israel does not intend to reverse its settlement policies, regardless of who resides in the White House.

    The coming weeks are likely to witness even more coordinated Israeli-US moves, where the Trump administration will seek to fulfill Netanyahu’s political wish list, leaving Biden with little political margin to maneuver, thus denying his government the self-proclaimed, undeserved title of the ‘honest peace broker’.

    The post Expansion and Mass Eviction: Israel "Takes Advantage" of Trump’s Remaining Days in Office   first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Pompeo Spells Out the New Normal: All Criticism of Israel is “antisemitic”

    It is tempting to dismiss last week’s statements by Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism and suggesting the global movement to boycott Israel is driven by hatred of Jews, as the last gasp of a dying administration. But that would be foolhardy.

    Pompeo’s decision to label all but the most tepid criticism of Israel as antisemitism is fully in line with the current redrawing of the limits of western political debate about Israel.

    To underscore his message, Pompeo issued his statement as he headed to an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank – the first such official visit by a US secretary of state. New guidelines announced that in future the US would mark settlement goods as “Made in Israel”, concealing the fact that they are produced in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    For good measure, Pompeo described the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), widely supported by Palestinians, as a “cancer”. “We will regard the global, anti-Israel BDS campaign as antisemitic,” he added. The state department would identify any individual or group opposed to “doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel” – that is, in the settlements – “and withdraw US government support”.

    ‘Made in Israel’

    The settlement visit was doubtless intended as affirmation by the departing Trump administration of its recognition of Israel’s right to annex swaths of the West Bank seized by settlers. That position was cemented into a so-called “peace plan” earlier in the year.

    Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, warned that Pompeo’s declarations would be hard for the new Democratic administration under Joe Biden to reverse, either rhetorically or substantively, when it takes office in January. “Such malicious measures are intended to corner the incoming US administration with layers of legal and administrative measures that maintain the destructive Trump legacy beyond his disruptive term,” she said.

    To change course, Biden will have to declare the settlements illegal and come to the defence of the BDS movement – incurring the wrath of Israel’s lobbyists in Washington and opposition from the overwhelming majority of his own lawmakers in Congress.

    It is fanciful to imagine he will do either.

    The reality is that Israel’s endless facts on the ground, all ultimately pushing towards annexation, will continue as before, whether Biden or Trump is in charge. More significantly still, however, Pompeo’s statement marks the logical endpoint of a new foreign policy consensus on Israel that has rapidly taken shape in the US and Europe.

    By this stage, only concerted action from western states to penalise Israel can alter the cost-benefit calculus that has so far made expanding the settlement enterprise pain-free. But trenchant criticism of Israel – of the kind so urgently necessary – is now increasingly off-limits. Instead western states are actually defaming and outlawing even the most limited forms of grassroots, non-violent action against Israel, like the BDS movement.

    Topsy-turvy view

    Pompeo’s statement, in fact, marks a complete inversion of the United Nations’ decision in 1975 to declare Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination”. At the time, supporters of Resolution 3379 made a self-evident case: any state is structurally racist if its founding ideology, as with Zionism, accords superior rights to citizens based on their ethnicity or religion.

    An international convention further makes clear that such a political arrangement amounts to apartheid.

    While in the 1970s Israel made efforts to obscure its ideological character, it has long since abandoned such pretence. In 2018 Israel passed the Nation-State Law making its apartheid explicit. The law affirmed superior legal rights for Jewish citizens over a large minority of Palestinian citizens.

    In late 1991, however, the UN was browbeaten into revoking the “Zionism is racism” resolution after the Soviet Union fell and the US, Israel’s patron, emerged as the sole global superpower. We have now reached the point where, as Pompeo’s statement underscores, it is criticism of Israel and Zionism that is viewed as racism.

    In this topsy-turvy worldview, nuclear-armed Israel is the victim, not the Palestinians who have been dispossessed and ethnically cleansed by Israel for decades. This derangement is so entrenched that last year the House of Representatives passed a near-unanimous resolution – pushed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC – denouncing any boycott of Israel as antisemitic.

    Some 32 US states have passed legislation uniquely denying First Amendment rights to those who support a boycott of Israel in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians. Other states have similar legislation in the pipeline.

    Criminal offence

    The absurdity extends beyond the US.

    The German parliament passed a resolution last year that declared boycotting Israel – a state occupying Palestinians for more than five decades – comparable to the Nazi slogan “Don’t buy from Jews”. Bonn has the power to deny public funds to any group that supports, however tangentially, such a boycott.

    Last month, Israeli Jewish academics in Berlin became the latest group targeted. Their art school removed their web page and cut funding for a series of workshops critical of Zionism after an outcry from German anti-racism groups and the media.

    A similar inversion of reality is taking place in the UK, where the government has ruled that local authorities are not allowed to divest pension funds from Israel. These investments, some in illegal Jewish settlements, are assessed at nearly £3.5bn ($4.7bn), meaning ordinary Britons heavily subsidise Israel’s occupation.

    The decision by Boris Johnson’s government was struck down by Britain’s highest court in April, but the government has vowed to bring in new anti-BDS legislation that would nullify that ruling.

    In France, meanwhile, support for boycotting Israel has long been treated as a criminal offence under anti-discrimination legislation. A group of 12 Palestinian solidarity activists lost a series of court battles in France after they were convicted a decade ago of calling for a boycott outside a supermarket. The activists received a reprieve in June only after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that their convictions violated Europe’s human rights convention.

    Growing chasm

    That judgment serves only to highlight the growing chasm between, on one side, the political and legal environments being shaped by lobbyists in individual western states and, on the other, the principles of international law and human rights established in the wake of the Second World War.

    Pompeo’s claim that opposition to Zionism – the ideology oppressing Palestinians – is antisemitic has taken widespread root because pro-Israel activists have managed to advance an entirely novel definition of antisemitism. In 2016 the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance adopted a highly contentious and politicised “working definition” of antisemitism – one promoted by Israel. The definition is illustrated with 11 examples, seven of which refer to various criticisms of Israel, including that it is a “racist endeavour”.

    A conclusion reached by the UN 45 years ago – that it is racist for a state to promote rights based not on our shared humanity but on ethnic or religious difference – is now defined as antisemitic. Donald Trump used an executive order to incorporate this weaponised definition into the Civil Rights Act last year, thereby chilling speech about Israel, especially on US campuses.

    The IHRA definition is now widely accepted in the West, making it all but impossible to mount a defence against the malicious characterisation of support for Palestinian rights as equivalent to hatred of Jews. Pompeo is simply echoing a discourse that has rapidly become entrenched.

    This became obvious when the British Labour party found itself plunged into a manufactured controversy in early 2016 that, overnight, it had become uniquely and institutionally antisemitic. The campaign began shortly after the membership elected as leader Jeremy Corbyn, one of a handful of socialist MPs in Labour and a vocal advocate of Palestinian rights.

    Fear of backlash

    The degree to which Israel has become untouchable – even when criticisms accord with international law – was highlighted when the United Nations compiled a list of businesses colluding with Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

    Publication of the database was repeatedly delayed for fear of the backlash the UN would receive for offending Israel and its lobbyists. The list finally saw daylight last February.

    But the firms identified in the list have not come under any significant pressure to pull out of the settlements. In fact, what pressure they have faced has been for them to stay put, or otherwise face accusations of unfairly discriminating against Israel.

    Countervailing pressure on them could come through the actions of popular, grassroots groups calling for a boycott. But western states now characterise the BDS movement that organises such boycotts as antisemitic too.

    Quiescence and inaction are the only options allowed, if one wishes to avoid being labelled antisemitic.

    Human rights ‘racist’?

    Pompeo’s remarks in support of the settlements last week were foreshadowed by reports last month that the State Department is considering a mechanism for labelling the world’s most prominent human rights groups as antisemitic. The US would then urge other states not to deal with organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam.

    Pompeo’s approach – ridiculous as it might have seemed a decade ago – does not stray far from the current logic in western capitals. Their officials have ridden roughshod over international law for some time – especially with their “interventions” in Arab states such as Iraq, Libya and Syria.

    As the Palestinian cause is progressively sidelined by both western states and Arab states, groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have found themselves solitary critical voices on Israel. They are almost alone in continuing to articulate concerns about Israel’s egregious violations of international law, especially in relation to the settlements.

    As a result, Pompeo’s moves to silence them may face much less resistance than many observers might assume.

    Might makes right

    Sadly, there is a self-fulfilling logic to these moves by the Trump administration. From Corbyn to Amnesty International and the BDS movement, those trying to uphold human rights and international law are being forced on to the defensive.

    They have been strong-armed into the dock and must prove to their accusers the impossible: their innocence, measured not in concrete, public positions but in what supposedly lies behind them, in the form of private and unprovable motives.

    This is safe ground for right-wing politicians and lobby groups.

    Antisemitism is the insidious charge that sticks to anything it touches. The stain is all but impossible to remove. Which is why those standing up for human rights – and against racism and oppression – are going to find themselves ever more aggressively condemned as antisemitic.

    This is a path not towards peace and reconciliation but towards greater tribalism, confrontation and violence. It strips out the tools of argument and persuasion, as well as non-violent forms of pressure like boycotts, and ensures a world ruled by “might makes right”.

    • First published in Middle East Eye

    The post Pompeo Spells Out the New Normal: All Criticism of Israel is "antisemitic" first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime

    One dogma that is likely to persist in US foreign policy during a Biden presidency will be the sanctions regime adopted towards Iran.  Every messianic state craves clearly scripted enemies, and the demonology about the Islamic Republic is not going to go begging.  Elliot Abrahams, the current US special representative for Iran, told Associated Press on November 12 that, “Even if you went back to the (nuclear deal) and even if the Iranians were willing to return … this newly enriched uranium, you would not have solved these fundamental questions of whether Iran is going to be permitted to violate long-term commitments it has made to the world community.”

    It is worth pointing out that it was President Donald Trump who proved so itchy to renege on the nuclear deal to begin with.  In May 2018, his administration formally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the long negotiated harvest of the Obama administration in July 2015.  Over the course of 120 days, it re-imposed all previously lifted economic sanctions, including “secondary sanctions” on non-US entities conducting financial or commercial transactions with Iran. A unilateral shredding of Washington’s own undertakings was made while still expecting the mullahs to continue in sweet compliance.

    The less than compliant response from Tehran has not made this one of Trump’s finer moments: an abandonment of nuclear limits marked out by the agreement; a resumption of the nuclear program; an increasingly emboldened stance in the Middle East.  According to UN inspectors, Iran’s enriched stockpile currently lies at 2,440 kilograms.  Under the deal, it would have been under 300 kilograms.  All of this took place despite the precipitous fall in oil exports, a decline in currency value and a steep rise in inflation.

    Even before the pandemic, human rights organisations were already warning about the broader health implications of a brutal sanctions regime.  As Human Rights Watch explained in an October 2019 report, the consequences of such sanctions “pose a serious threat to Iranians’ right to health and access to essential medicines – and has almost certainly contributed to documented shortages – ranging from a lack of critical drugs for epilepsy patients to limited chemotherapy medications for Iranians with cancer.”

    The US State Department and the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control continue to maintain that humanitarian goods, which also covers medicine and medical supplies, are exempt in the sanctions policy.  A rosily inaccurate picture, given the imposition of sanctions on 18 Iranian banks including those entities engaged in financing foods and medicines.  To this comes the added complication of what the US considers “dual use” items: hazmat suits, face shields, oxygen generators, air filters.  Decisions to grant exemptions, the purview of bureaucrats, are tardily made.

    The advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic inspired a ghoulish train of thought in the Trump administration.  Easing sanctions to better enable Iran to cope with COVID-19 was never entertained.  Instead, as Djavad Salehi-Isfahani of the Brookings Institute observed, “the US piled on more sanctions, and chose to ignore calls from world leaders, former US diplomats, and the United Nations to ease sanctions.”  Such a bloodthirsty sentiment was captured by the Wall Street Journal in March 2020, whose editors decided that sanctions should continue, despite Iran becoming a pandemic hotspot.  “If American sanctions were the culprit, it might be reasonable to consider lifting them.  But the regime’s incompetence and self-interest are to blame.”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif thought differently of it, accusing the US of “medical terrorism” in blunting Tehran’s efforts to access financial resources during the COVID-19 crisis.  Hadi Yazdani, a physician and a member of the reformist Union of Islamic People Party, sports a more nuanced view: US sanctions have well hobbled the government’s pandemic policy, but so has inefficiency and habitual bureaucratic mismanagement.

    The dedicatedly nasty sanctions regime encouraged and enforced by the United States is now frustrating efforts in the country to make advance payment to the COVAX facility, created to assist in providing future COVID-19 vaccines to more indigent states.  This will become more pressing, given rising death tolls.  (On November 13, 461 were reported in the state media.)

    The rate of COVID-19 infections is also scorching: 11,737 cases over 24 hours from Friday, according to Sima Sadat Lari, a health ministry spokeswoman who has become the regular herald of doom.  She also admitted that various questions on the vaccines remained unanswered, notably in terms of “how effective the vaccine is and for what groups it is more effective.”

    During the transition period in US politics, we can expect the Trump administration to be particularly testy about modifying its position on sanctions.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to busy himself with blacklisting Iranian entities.  The Treasury Department, for instance, recently placed a supply chain network on the list, claiming it “facilitated the procurement of sensitive goods, including US-origin electronic components” for an Iranian entity linked to the production of “military communication systems, avionics, information technology, electronic warfare, and missile launchers.”

    Pompeo — and in this, he has a few devotees — argues that a return to the nuclear deal would be dotty and dangerous.  “It’s a crazy idea to think that you’re going to get back into a deal that permitted a clean pathway for the Iranians to have a nuclear weapon by which they could terrorize the entire world.”  President-elect Joe Biden, for his part, insists that Iran “must return to strict compliance with the deal.  If it does so, I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.”

    The statements of the president-elect suggest nothing comforting to health specialists and policy makers bearing witness to the suffering caused by sanctions.  Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy might be abandoned in name, but will continue exerting a haunting influence.  The hawks in the Republican Party will be sharpening their talons, ever watchful of any softening towards Tehran.

    The post A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The Ramblings of a Self-confessed Liar, Cheater, and Thief

    On 10 November 2020, the United States secretary-of-state Mike Pompeo, he of the ill-famed confession “We lied, we cheated, we stole,” spoke at the Ronald Reagan Institute.

    The liar Pompeo can even speak candidly, “I’ve talked about American exceptionalism. I did so in Brussels; I did it in Cairo; I did it in Jakarta, and every opportunity that I’ve had in my public life. Sometimes it was met with a resounding thud as well. I’ve walked out of quiet ward rooms.”

    Imagine a US secretary-of-state admitting that people walked out on American exceptionalism.

    The cheater Pompeo boasted, “In the Middle East, American strength has replaced leading from behind. We destroyed the caliphate, the ISIS caliphate. We killed Baghdadi and Soleimani, and we have restored substantial deterrence.”

    It is a bizarre form of exceptionalism to brag about assassinations carried out by one’s country. The US created Daesh and later killed their associate, the Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as the major destroyer of Daesh, Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani, commander of its Quds Force.

    Speaking of theft, Pompeo chortled, “And by just simply recognizing Jerusalem – candidly recognizing Jerusalem – as the capital of Israel and acknowledging that the Golan Heights are part of Israel, we’ve helped secured our ally, the Jewish state, as central to the region’s future.”

    The colonial-settlers managed to wipe out many Indigenous nations in what is now called the United States, and they later aided European Jews in stealing the land of Indigenous Palestinians. But as the events in Armenia and Azerbaijan indicate, territory conquered in the past can be regained in the future. Sitting on stolen land can be like sitting on a ticking time bomb.

    Finally Pompeo got to the crux of his speech where he identified the “foundation for America’s policy towards the world’s number-one threat to freedom today: the Chinese Communist Party.”

    Liars, cheaters, and thieves count on their audience to accept their proclamations and not probe into the background of the speaker and the glasshouses in which they reside. Thus Pompeo could smugly assert of China, without an iota of evidence presented:

    And it also means no more illegal claims in the South China Sea, no more coercion and co-optation of American businesses, no more consulates used as dens of spies, no more stealing of intellectual property, and no more ignoring fundamental human rights violations. And the party’s atrocities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere will not be tolerated.

    Is China a paragon of virtue? No. And the US is no paragon of good either. Illegal claims? Do settler-colonialists have a legitimate legal claim to the landmass of the US? To the Hawaiian islands? To Puerto Rico? To Guam? Where is the evidence that US corporations were co-opted or coerced by the Chinese? One hears such claims over and over but never with evidence. Why? Because entry to the Chinese market was conditioned on access to technology, a decision that US corporations could have refused. This is not coercion. That a former CIA head speaks of dens of spies is risible. Theft of intellectual property? And what was the forced sale of China’s social media TikTok in the US supposed to represent? US protesting human rights violations? Like the occupation and oppression of Palestinians by the Jewish state? Like the Muslim holocaust?1 Like the police murders of Blacks in the US? How about the human right to freedom from poverty and to have a roof over one’s head?

    Pompeo said, “The fight is between authoritarianism, barbarism on one side and freedom on the other.”

    As I wrote recently:

    Among other items “proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,” the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “… human beings shall enjoy freedom … from want.”

    The UDHR preamble goes on to state that “fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person … have [been] determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

    China is the country that addresses the fundamental dignity and worth of the human person. The US falls abysmally short of addressing dignity of all citizens. Chinese have freedom from homelessness and poverty. Consequently lying and cheating is required by US politicians to hide their thievery.

    China conquered COVID-19 while Americans suffer. Americans are warring in several countries while the Communist Party of China calls for peace. Who are the barbarians? If it is a choice between two countries, it seems an easy choice to make.

    1. Gideon Polya, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide (Korsgaard Publishing, 2020).

    The post The Ramblings of a Self-confessed Liar, Cheater, and Thief first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The War on Populism: The Final Act

    So, it appears the War on Populism is building toward an exciting climax. All the proper pieces are in place for a Class-A GloboCap color revolution, and maybe even civil war. You got your unauthorized Putin-Nazi president, your imaginary apocalyptic pandemic, your violent identitarian civil unrest, your heavily-armed politically-polarized populace, your ominous rumblings from military quarters … you couldn’t really ask for much more.

    OK, the plot is pretty obvious by now (as it is in all big-budget action spectacles, which is essentially what color revolutions are), but that won’t spoil our viewing experience. The fun isn’t in guessing what is going to happen. Everybody knows what’s going to happen. The fun is in watching Bruce, or Sigourney, or “the moderate rebels,” or the GloboCap “Resistance,” take down the monster, or the terrorists, or Hitler, and save the world, or democracy, or whatever.

    The show-runners at GloboCap understand this, and they are sticking to the classic Act III formula (i.e., the one they teach in all those scriptwriting seminars, which, full disclosure, I teach a few of those). They’ve been running the War on Populism by the numbers since the very beginning. I’m going to break that down in just a moment, act by act, plot point by plot point, but, first, let’s quickly cover the basics.

    The first thing every big Hollywood action picture (or GloboCap color revolution) needs is a solid logline to build the plot around. The logline shows us: (1) our protagonist, (2) what our protagonist is trying to do, and (3) our antagonist or antagonistic force.

    For example, here’s one everyone will recognize:

    A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

    In our case, the logline writes itself:

    After America is taken over by a Russian-backed Hitlerian dictator, the forces of democracy unite to depose the tyrant and save the free world.

    Donald Trump is our antagonist, of course. And what an antagonist he has been! As the deep-state spooks and the corporate media have been relentlessly repeating for the last four years, the man is both a Russian-backed traitor and literally the resurrection of Hitler! In terms of baddies, it doesn’t get any better.

    It goes without saying that our protagonist is GloboCap (i.e., the global capitalist empire), or “democracy,” as it is known in the entertainment business.

    Now, we’re in the middle of Act III already, and, as in every big-budget action movie, our protagonist suffered a series of mounting losses all throughout Act II, and the baddie was mostly driving the action. Now it’s time for the Final Push, but, before all the action gets underway, here’s a quick recap of those previous acts. Ready? All right, here we go …

    Act I

    (status quo/inciting incident)

    There democracy (i.e., GloboCap) was, peacefully operating its de facto global capitalist empire like a normal global hegemon (i.e., destabilizing, restructuring, and privatizing everything it hadn’t already destabilized and privatized, and OK, occasionally murdering, torturing, and otherwise mercilessly oppressing people), when out of nowhere it was viciously attacked by Donald Trump and his Putin-Nazi “populists,” who stole the 2016 election from Clinton with those insidious Facebook ads. (For you writers, this was the Inciting Incident.)

    (new situation/predicament/lock-in)

    GloboCap did not take this well. The deep state and the corporate media started shrieking about a coming “Age of Darkness,” “The death of globalization at the hands of white supremacy,” “racial Orwellianism,” “Zionist anti-Semitism,” the “Bottomless Pit of Fascism,” and so on. Liberals festooned themselves with safety pins and went out looking for minorities to hide in their attics throughout the occupation. According to GloboCap, every “populist” that voted for Trump (or just refused to vote for Clinton) was a genocidal white supremacist undeserving of either empathy or mercy. Somewhere in there, the “Resistance” was born. (This is the plot point known as the Lock-In, where the protagonist commits to the struggle ahead.)

    Act II (a)

    (progress/obstacles)

    As is traditional at the opening of Act II, things were looking promising for GloboCap. The “Resistance” staged those pink pussyhat protests, and the corporate media were pumping out Russia and Hitler propaganda like a Goebbelsian piano. Yes, there were obstacles, but the “Resistance” was growing. And then, in May of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, and “Russiagate” was officially launched. It appeared that Donald Trump’s days were numbered!

    (rising action/first culmination)

    But, no, it was never going to be that easy. (If it was, feature films would be less than an hour long, not to mention incredibly boring.) There was plenty of action (and an endless series of “bombshells”) throughout the ensuing two years, but by the end of March 2019, “Russiagate” had blown up in GloboCap’s face. “Populism” was still on the rise! It was time for GloboCap to get serious. (This was the classic first culmination, sometimes known as The Point of No Return.)

    Act II (b)

    (complications/subplots/higher stakes)

    In the aftermath of the “Russiagate” fiasco, the GloboCap “Resistance” flailed around for a while. An assortment of ridiculous subplots unfolded … Obstructiongate, Ukrainegate, Pornstargate (and I’m probably forgetting some “gates”), white-supremacist non-terrorist terrorism, brain-devouring Russian-Cubano crickets, Russian spy whales, and other such nonsense. Meanwhile, the forces of “populism” were running amok all across the planet. The gilets jaunes were on the verge of taking down Macron in France, and gangs of neo-nationalist boneheads had launched a series of frontal assaults on Portlandia, GloboCap Anti-Fascist HQ, which Antifa was barely holding off.

    (second culmination/major setback)

    All wasn’t totally lost, however. GloboCap sprang back into action, successfully Hitlerizing Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of leftist “populism,” and thus preventing the mass exdodus of Jews from Great Britain. And the US elections were on the horizon. Trump was still Russian-agent Hitler, after all, so he wasn’t going to be too hard to beat. All that GloboCap had to do was put forth a viable Democratic candidate, then let the corporate media do their thing. OK, first, they had to do Bernie Sanders (because he was another “populist” figurehead, and the point of the entire War on Populism has been to crush the “populist” resistance to global capitalism from both the Left and the Right), but the DNC made short work of that.

    So, everything was looking hunky-dory until — and you screenwriters saw this coming, didn’t you? — the pivotal plot-point at the end of Act II, The Major Setback, or The Dark Night of the Soul, when all seems lost for our protagonist.

    Yes, implausible as it probably still seems, the Democratic Party nominated Joe Biden, a clearly cognitively-compromised person who literally sucked his wife’s fingers on camera and who can’t get through a two-minute speech without totally losing his train of thought and babbling non-sequiturial gibberish. Exactly why they did this will be debated forever, but, obviously, Biden was not GloboCap’s first choice. The man is as inspiring as a head of lettuce. (There is an actual campaign group called “Settle for Biden!”) GloboCap was now staring down the barrel of certain swing-voter death. And as if things weren’t already dire enough, the “populists” rolled out a catchy new slogan … “TRUMP 2020, BECAUSE FUCK YOU AGAIN!”

    Act III

    So, all right, this is part where Neo orders up “guns … lots of guns.” Which is exactly what our friends at GloboCap did. The time for playing grab-ass was over. Faced with four more years of Trump and this “populist” rebellion against global capitalism and its increasingly insufferable woke ideology, the entire global capitalist machine went full-totalitarian all at once. Suddenly, a rather undeadly virus (as far as deadly pestilences go) became the excuse for GloboCap to lock down most of humanity for months, destroy the economy, unleash the goon squads, terrorize everyone with hysterical propaganda, and otherwise remake society into a global totalitarian police state.

    And that wasn’t all … no, far from it. GloboCap was just getting started. Having terrorized the masses into a state of anus-puckering paranoia over an imaginary apocalyptic plague and forced everyone to perform a variety of humiliating ideological-compliance rituals, they unleashed the identitarian civil unrest. Because what would a color revolution be without rioting, looting, wanton destruction, clouds of tear gas, robocops, and GloboCap-sponsored “moderate rebels” and “pro-regime forces” shooting each other down in the streets on television? (In an homage to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, the corporate media, with totally straight faces, have been describing this rioting as “mostly peaceful.”)

    *****

    That brings us up to speed, I think. The rest of Act III should be pretty exciting, despite the fact that the outcome is certain. One way or another, Trump is history. Or do you seriously believe that GloboCap is going to allow him to serve another four years? Not that Trump is an actual threat to them. As I have said repeatedly over the past four years, Donald Trump is not a populist. Donald Trump is a narcissistic ass clown who is playing president to feed his ego. He is not a threat to global capitalism, but the people who elected him president are. In order to teach these people a lesson, GloboCap needs to make an example of Trump. Odds are, it’s not going to be pretty.

    See, they have him between a rock and a hard place. As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explains, on election night, Trump will appear to have won (because the Democrats will all be mailing in their votes due to the apocalyptic plague), but later, once the mail-in votes are all counted, which may take weeks or even months, it will turn out that Biden really won. But, by then, it won’t matter who really won, because one of two scenarios will have already played out.

    In Scenario Number One, Trump declares victory before the mail-in votes have been tallied and is “removed from office” for “attempting a coup.” In Scenario Number Two, he doesn’t declare victory, and the country enters a state of limbo, which the Democrats will prolong as long as possible. Either way, rioting breaks out. Serious rioting … not “peaceful” rioting. Rioting that makes the “BLM protests” we have witnessed so far look like a game of touch football.

    And this is where the US military (or the military-industrial complex) comes in. I’ll leave you with just a few of the many ominous headlines that GloboCap has been generating:

    “This Election Has Become Dangerous for the U.S. Military” — Foreign Policy

    “Al Gore suggests military will remove Trump from office if he won’t concede on election night” — Fox News

    “Former ambassador warns of election violence” — The Guardian

    “All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic”: An Open Letter to Gen. Milley (“If the commander in chief attempts to ignore the election’s results, you will face a choice.)” — Defense One

    “Is Trump Planning a Coup d’État?” — The Nation

    “Trump could refuse to concede” — Washington Post

    “What happens if Trump loses but refuses to concede?” — Financial Times

    “White Supremacists, Domestic Terrorists Pose Biggest Threat Of ‘Lethal Violence’ This Election, DHS Assessment Finds” — Forbes

    “Trump’s Attacks Put Military In Presidential Campaign Minefield”NPR

    “Trump’s Election Delay Threat Is a Coup in the Making” — Common Dreams

    “What If Trump Won’t Leave?” — The Intercept

    “How to Plan a Coup” — Bill Moyers on Democracy

    “It can happen here: A Trump election coup?” — Wall Street International Magazine

    “Whose America Is It?” — The New York Times

    Does it sound like GloboCap is bluffing? Because it doesn’t sound like that to me. I could be totally wrong, of course, and just letting my imagination run away with itself, but if I were back home in the USA, instead of here in Berlin, I wouldn’t bet on it.

    In any event, whatever is coming, whether this is the end of the War on Populism or just the beginning of a new, more dramatic phase of it, the next two months are going to be exciting. So, go grab your popcorn, or your AR-15, and your mask, or full-body anti-virus bubble suit (which you might want to have retrofitted with Kevlar), and sit back and enjoy the show!

    The post The War on Populism: The Final Act first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    How do Democrats and Republicans Differ on Palestine and Israel? 

    The polarized nature of American politics often makes it difficult to address fundamental differences between the country’s two main political rivals, Republicans and Democrats. As each side is intent on discrediting the other at every opportunity, unbiased information regarding the two parties’ actual stances on internal and external issues can be difficult to decipher.

    Regarding Palestine and Israel, however, both parties’ establishments are quite clear on offering Israel unlimited and unconditional support. The discrepancies in their positions are, at times, quite negligible, even if Democrats, occasionally, attempt to present themselves as fairer and more even-handed.

    Judging by statements made by Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden, his running mate, Kamala Harris, and people affiliated with their campaign, a future President Biden does not intend to reverse any of the pro-Israel political measures adopted by the Donald Trump Administration.

    Moreover, a Democrat administration, as revealed, will not even consider the possibility of conditioning US financial and military support to Israel on the latter’s respect for Palestinian human rights, let alone international law altogether.

    “Joe Biden has made it clear  … he will not tie US security assistance to Israel to political decisions Israel makes, and I couldn’t agree more,” Harris, who is promoted enthusiastically by some as a ‘progressive’ politician, was quoted as saying in a telephone call on August 26. The call was made to what Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, termed as “Jewish supporters.” The Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel referred to this crucial constituency as “Jewish donors.”

    Although the view of the party’s rank and file has significantly shifted against Israel in recent years, the Democrat’s upper echelon still caters to the Israel lobby and their rich backers, even if this means continuing to mold US foreign policy in the Middle East so that it serves Israeli interests.

    Republicans, on the other hand, have cemented their support for Israel, but no longer around geo-strategic issues pertaining to Israel’s ‘security’ or US interests. The speeches made by Republican leaders at the Republican National Convention (RNC), held in  Charlotte, North Carolina last month, were all aimed at reassuring ‘Christian Zionists’, who represent the most powerful pro-Israel constituency in the US. The once relatively marginal impact of Christian Zionists in directly shaping US foreign policy has morphed, over the years, to define the core values of Republicans.

    Regardless of the nature of the discourse through which Republican and Democrat leaders express their love and support for Israel, the two parties are decidedly ‘pro-Israel’. There are many recent examples that corroborate this assertion.

    On November 18, 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would no longer consider Jewish settlements illegal or a violation of international law. That position was later cemented in Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’, published on January 28.

    Democrats, however, continue to perceive illegal Jewish settlements as, indeed, illegal. “This decision harms the cause of diplomacy, takes us further away from the hope of a two-state solution, and will only further inflame tensions in the region,” Joe Biden’s campaign said in a statement, in response to Pompeo’s declaration.

    Although markedly different, it is hard to imagine a Democrat administration upholding the above position, while simultaneously refraining from reversing previous decisions made by the Trump administration. It can only be one or the other.

    One’s cynicism is fully justified, as we recently learned, that the Democrat establishment has refused to even use the word ‘occupation’, with reference to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, in their party platform released on July 15. According to Foreign Policy, the decision “followed heavy last-minute lobbying by pro-Israel advocacy groups.”

    On December 6, 2017, the Trump administration made one of the boldest pro-Israel decisions, when he formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A few months later, on May 14, 2018, the US embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a brazen violation of international law.

    The legal foundation of Trump’s decision was the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. This Act was the outcome of bipartisan efforts, bringing together Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Interestingly, leading Democrats, such as Joe Biden and John Kerry, were the main cheerleaders of the embassy move, back then. Only one Democrat senator, the late Robert Byrd, voted against the Bill. In the House of Representatives, only 30 out of 204 Democrats voted ‘no’.

    Even though many Democrats rejected the timing of Trump’s implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, their criticism was largely political, primarily motivated by Democrats’ attempts to discredit Trump. The fact that the Biden campaign, later on, made it clear that the decision will not be reversed should he become president, is a further illustration highlighting the moral bankruptcy of the Democratic establishment, as well.

    The truth is, US unconditional backing for Israel is a common cause among all American administrations, whether Democrat or Republican. What they may differ on, however, is their overall motive and primary target audience during election time.

    Political polarization and misinformation aside, both Democrats and Republicans head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments, if not outright support, while completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

    The post How do Democrats and Republicans Differ on Palestine and Israel?  first appeared on Dissident Voice.