I will be the first to admit I have a bad case of tunnel vision when it comes to the Palestinian conflict. This in itself makes it nearly impossible to choose a worthy candidate in a nation where allegiance to Israel is a prerequisite to becoming electorally viable.
I will also admit the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is probably the furthest thing from the minds of most Americans, who have more immediate worries such as mortgage payments, inadequate or non-existent medical coverage and/or loved ones deployed to some illogical war zone.
However, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is in so many ways a summary of the disasters plaguing the United States today. The staggering cost of aiding and abetting the Israeli government, to the tune of $30 billion over the next ten years, is both an economic drain and a major component of our failed foreign policy.
American taxpayers are not only forced to funnel hard-earned dollars to military and economic aid for Israel, but are also providing substantial assistance to the Fatah party, as reported last year by Christian Science Monitor.
According to CSM, “Senior US officials in Washington promised ongoing military support for secular Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas amid his power struggle with Islamist Hamas as part of an $84 million aid package largely aimed at improving the fighting ability of an elite corps of loyalists from his Fatah Party.”
Such action is used to exacerbate and prolong civil strife, whereby the lack of security in the Palestinian territories can be utilized as a perfect excuse not to establish a Palestinian state. With no official state and no defined borders, Israel is free to grab more land at will, whittling away at the last 20% of historical Palestine .
Additionally, the same Israeli lobby that demands Congress’s unflinching support of the Jewish state helped sell us the now over $650 billion Iraq War, a figure which pales in comparison to the human cost. Those who deny Israeli influence in the fiasco must remember former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s statement after the fall of Baghdad : “That’s one enemy of Israel gone.”
Next on their hit list is Iran . According to U.S. News and World Report, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is coming to New York next week to attend a “pro-Israel, anti-Iran rally.”
At one point, I was actually leaning McCain-Palin’s way; or rather leaning away from Senator Barack Obama and his expressed solidarity for the “brave citizens of Sderot.” His spineless denial of former friends who were pro-Palestinian activists in Chicago didn’t exactly raise his stock with me, either.
However, there is one thing Obama does have going for him: he is not of the Zionist “Christian” ilk that brought us eight years of George W. Bush. Lest we forget, McCain and Palin belong to the special evangelical breed that believes all Jews have to congregate in “Greater Israel” before Jesus Christ can return to earth. These views have been downplayed by the McCain-Palin ticket, as pointed out by conservative political activist George Ajjan on his website, http://www.ajjan.com.
In his analysis of Palin’s Republican National Convention Ajjan states:
“If Sarah Palin is the evangelical Christian’s dream candidate, you’d never guess it from this speech – she used the word God twice, exactly as many time as Barack Obama did in his keynote remarks last week.”
Alaska ’s governor may be more savvy than was our illustrious President about airing her beliefs. However, on August 17, 2008 at the Wasilla Bible Church attended by Palin and her family, the congregation was singing in Hebrew and blaming Palestinian reprisals against Israelis as “judgment from God” rather than the American-backed occupation.
All of which brings us back to our choice—or lack thereof—in the 2008 election: a candidate who supports Israel on the basis of warped religious beliefs versus a candidate who supports Israel on the basis of grabbing the Jewish community’s votes and money. Either way, the American people lose.
Tammy Watts Obeidallah