STOP. Before continuing, click here for important Internet security information about browsing this site.
If a web address is not clickable, copy and paste it into the address bar of a new tab.
Try to switch to using https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io if you find yourself visiting this site regularly.
News & Analysis > All
News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Amerikan privilege and illusions of Amerikan leadership on national oppression: what Black Lives Matter really has to do with Palestine
July 12, 2016
Days after the Paris Middle East peace conference in early June, Ban Ki-moon contributed to derailing French effort on the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative with the bizarre spectacle about alleged Saudi threats against inclusion on a U.N. blacklist. Evidently there is a difference between taking photos with Palestinians and recognizing occupation and its horrors and outrages, and actually doing something about it that isn’t what the Americans want. It is the United States that benefits the most from the Israeli-Palestinian status quo even though it backs Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
Fast-forward to photos of Egypt’s foreign minister and Netanyahu smiling and Netanyahu talking about “direct negotiations” once again, with Abbas seeming to approve with the carrot and stick aimed at Abbas still. And Palestinians still being killed in the Gaza Strip.(1) Anyone can see that the timeline here looks bad, but if the world didn’t want to see Shoukry going to Israel in these circumstances it should have done more to support international diplomacy with less Amerikan influence. It should have done that instead of wasting time telling AmeriKKKans and other First World Westerners that they are economic victims of their governments and elites and agitating against Arab countries as if they were more oppressive than the United States.
Now in Western media we see two things: 1) an appearance of uprising in Amerikan cities after two more Euro-Amerikkkan state killings of New Afrikans caught on video, together with comparisons/juxtapositions with oppression of Palestinians, and 2) commentators talking about a “no-state” solution in opposition to borders, or declaring the impossibility of the two-state solution, while calling the Fatah administrators stooges or deadwood. In contrast, the Amerikan people are supposedly a progressive vehicle for Palestine, one that can wake up after opening their ears and hearing the right words.
They just have to overcome the “elite” and “Jewish pro-Israel money.” That is how it has been put – stupidly and ignorantly – in the context of the Democratic platform committee meeting at which recognition of occupation of Palestine was just debated and rejected.(2) The myth of a “Jewish lobby” or even an “Israel lobby” more important than (non-Jewish) Amerikans’ interests as oppressors persists. The persistence of the myth itself indicates that the Amerikans would continue to play a negative role even if there were more official acknowledgment of occupation and settlement illegality. Various officials acknowledge occupation or settlement illegality (or “illegitimacy”) but have had difficulty working toward peace, and there is no reason to think more from Amerikans along these lines would make those Amerikans do better than non-Amerikan leaders while those Amerikans still cling to tail-wagging-the-dog myths. Those who ignore Amerikans’ independent interests as oppressors in Middle East conflict and oppression of Palestine – and thus don’t acknowledge the basic nature of Amerikans’ support for the status quo, or the nature of their opposition (based on Amerikan nationalism and chauvinism) to certain policies – will not be able to support pro-Palestinian diplomacy as effectively even if they acknowledge the Occupation. In fact, they will interfere with it (arrogantly, in the case of Amerikans) instead of understanding that Amerikans’ actions independent of an “Israel lobby” are still based on Amerikan interests and Amerikan imperialist power.
There are specific problems with relying on the reactionary petty-bourgeois u.$. working class to support even a one-state solution without apartheid. One is that a proposal for Israel to accept naturalization or immigration of even a hundred thousand Palestinians (about 1% of Israel’s population), let alone millions, would remind Amerikans of their own conflicts with Mexican migrants for example despite the specific religious and secular concerns of Israelis. Maybe this is why some people instead of emphasizing solidarity between workers in the context of the I$raeli-Palestinian issue emphasize “Jewish” money, seemingly oblivious to how anti-Semitism makes anti-migrant sentiment worse by drawing attention away from imperialism and international exploitation.
There are serious differences among Palestinians themselves about how much to press the Palestinian nation’s right of return at the moment. The Amerikans and some Israelis see at least a partial return of refugees as separate from the question of Israel’s existence though the very recognition of the Right of return is perceived or claimed to threaten Israel’s existence. But even as they pursue long-term goals, there is no reason other Arabs or Muslims should not have the perspective to understand that if Mahmoud Abbas really wants Egypt to help with a two-state solution as reported in the media,(3) to some degree Westerners have to respect that as a matter of developing the conditions for future recognition of the State of Palestine or making current recognition of the Palestinian state concrete and meaningful. They have to respect that while being wary of the Amerikan and I$raeli preference for “direct talks” with less European and Third World involvement. (If they are still viable, French efforts in this area should not be regarded as failed prematurely in favor of flexibility toward I$raeli amendments to the Arab Peace Initiative.) It is not a simple matter to expect Amerikan-influenced Westerners to ignore or frustrate Abbas as if those Westeners would then do something that is better for Palestinian advancement. Criticism of Abbas as not being serious, or being duplicitous, weak, or without authority, could be used as an excuse by Westerners to do nothing, without getting out of the way. The idea that Arab country leaders are going to be corrupt and untrustworthy anyway already plays a role in discouraging recognition of the Palestinian state among chauvinist Westerners.
If Westerners aren’t going to offer Israel or Palestine anything to incentivize pursuing and maintaining peace, they should get out of the way and let other countries play a larger role. Certainly Abbas should not be treated as more of a U.S. puppet than collaborators in occupied Third World countries with U.$. bases and thousands of u.$. troops backing or carrying out the repression of militant anti-imperialists there. Separately but relatedly, Abbas should not be considered more of a u.$. puppet than highly influential New Afrikan (Black) leaders who openly oppose, or all but reject, New Afrikan national liberation, independence, and self-determination.
Alternatively, if people want dozens of Third World countries and several European countries to temporarily stop recognizing or officially engaging the Palestinian state because they think Abbas is a U.S. puppet more than other Arab U.$. (neo-)colonies’ governments are u.$. puppets – or to start recognizing the Hamas administrators as the legitimate Palestinian state – to say that clearly, openly and publicly would also be concrete, not just practically unclear idealistic rhetoric against the two-state solution. If they think the Abbas government is a collaborator regime to such an extent and especially if they oppose states or nationalism in general as anarchists or pseudo-Marxists, they should try to influence or pressure governments along with other organizations to stop legitimizing the puppet state. They should do that instead of opportunistically trying to have things both ways in treatment of Hamas – opposing repression of Hamas and other movements by the puppet state but then failing to recognize anyone else as representing Palestine – or trying to have things both ways with rhetoric about needing to have abstract recognition of a Palestinian state just in case it is useful for legal purposes etc. The thing is, too many people have some words to say in favor of Middle East peace, or in favor of advancement on the Israeli-Palestinian issue more comprehensive than the Arab Peace Initiative proposal, but lack the will or domestic support to take even the smallest concrete steps. And in some Arab countries cooperating with the united $tates, there is a tendency to oppose normalization with Israel publicly because of domestic public opinion but do little in pursuit of any solution: with two states or one, Palestinian state.
Likewise, if Western or Muslim “leftists” opposed to the two-state solution actually/secretly oppose Palestinian nationalism because of some delusion about “multinational” (or “binational”) or “multiethnic” socialism involving a single state – or statelessness – and a revolution supported by the reactionary Israeli labor aristocracy, they should come out and say that openly unless their conscious intention is to deceive people.
Some of those suggesting the Arab Peace Initiative is a disaster for the Palestinian right of return seem to have forgot past Israeli resistance to timetables in which the “refugee question” would be settled after borders had been redrawn, indicating that Israelis themselves see proposals like the API or general acceptance of it as not precluding further Palestinian advancement. Although, the API itself contains a wildcard: “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.” That contains the possibility of partial return (or partial compensation) and preserving the full right of return in principle. In other words, the Israelis are against certain timetables that may give Palestinians something while leaving the ultimate status of the right of return unresolved, and also they want to avoid addressing the issue altogether unless it is to get Palestinians to renounce their right. Many of the problems Israelis have with the API are not secrets. Israeli opposition to an unrevised API and Israeli lack of seriousness are easily explained in such terms, but some persist in suggesting that acceptance of the original API would be an unmitigated victory for Israel, when they aren’t asserting that the API is no longer viable.
Among those opposing the two-state solution from an anti-Israel perspective, there are those also calling for the dismantlement of the united $nakes as a parasite settler aggressor colonial state, and those who aren’t calling for that. Others seem to evade the question of u.$. dismantlement and even I$raeli dismantlement by claiming to oppose states and borders in general even as they imply an imminent proletarian or liberal-democratic uprising among Amerikans, who could then influence their government. Two things have to be addressed in this context. One is that those earnestly calling for the destruction of Amerika in particular are very few and far between in the West, even among those in New Afrika and other u.$. internal semi-colonies supporting militant “anti-racist” struggle. That is to say, the West arguably lacks the forces to handle a stronger position against Israel’s existence properly. One can see Iran trying to promote anti-Amerikanism in the English language, but majority opinion of the united $tates remains positive in many Western or EU countries, including France (63%), Germany (57%), and the United Kingdom (61%), and three countries that have recognized the Palestinian state: Hungary (62%), Poland (74%), and Sweden (69%), according to some currently available data.(4) (Some countries that recognize a Palestinian state oddly appear to be more pro-Amerikan than Britain, France, and Germany, despite less u.$. favorability in many countries recognizing the Palestinian state.)
The other thing is that the lack of stronger anti-Amerikanism among those opposing the two-state solution from a Palestinian point of view is related to illusions many have about Amerikans being a force for revolution rather than obstacles. Rejecting the two-state solution but focusing on Israel as the enemy, while being more flexible about the united $tates, can actually be unhelpful by promoting illusions about Amerikans and obscuring the u.$. role in perpetuating conflict. Even looking at Iranian media such as PressTV, which is more anti-Amerikan than some other Muslim countries’ media, one could perceive too much attention given to Amerikan “analysts” – from organizations led by phony communists or phony socialists – leaving the impression that the united $tates is manipulated by Saudi Arabia. A clear message that Amerika is enemy #1 – which can accompany criticisms of non-Amerikan government officials cooperating with the united $tates – is necessary for a variety reasons including ending the most glaring manifestations of colonial oppression of Palestine.
People around the world are seeing images of massive protests in the united $tates centered on police/vigilante killings of New Afrikan males. Hopefully, the murders, protests and all of the arrests and coverage will hurt the united $tates’ image globally. The spread and deepening of negative opinion of the united $tates – in spite of war criminal Barack Obama’s best efforts to prop up eir own image and that of the united $tates – will help with overcoming u.$. frustration of Middle East peace efforts. Countries experiencing Amerikan warfare – including psychological warfare involving treatment of their citizens and minorities – rightfully point out repression and oppression of the black, brown and red nations inside u.$. borders. Many of these are Arab or Muslim countries that should have more influence than the united $tates. It is another matter altogether to think, suggest or act like Amerikans – generally oppressors and exploiters petty-bourgeois or higher – are on the verge of bringing socialism to the united $tates themselves before Saudis achieve socialism. If that were the case then it would make more sense to denigrate Saudi diplomacy – and possibly Egyptian and Palestinian diplomacy involving the Arab Peace Initiative and French and Saudi efforts – while extolling Amerikan activism and lauding the potential of so-“productive” exploiter ordinary citizens in the united $nakes.
This writer would like to be able to say at some point that the current prominent protests in the united $tates had developed into a revolution, but that is not in the foreseeable future due to economic and political bribery of all groups of Amerikans and continued adherence to sell-out leaders who are not seen as lackeys or bureaucrats, but as more progressive than Fatah officials. And here I’m not talking about Barack Obama, who is the boss (not a puppet) though many in 2016 continue to ridiculously view Obama as a hands-tied idealist or more progressive than u.$. lackeys. True, most outrageous are pro-Obama Democrats and activists who have much contempt for Abbas but constantly make excuses for Abbas’ would-be masters. The effect of such attitudes is obviously to make Abbas more isolated and easier to manipulate by Obama. Obama is just so beautiful even in 2016 and striving to be progressive while Arab/Muslim leaders including in the multiple countries that Obama (not Bush) invaded are ugly and intolerably and irretrievably corrupt, according to many bananas, coconuts, and oreos.
One can see evidence of amazing double standards, with a majority of anti-Israel opponents of the two-state solution in the West and in the Arab world being more likely to emphasize “multiracial” socialism or progress in the united $tates than New Afrikan and other oppressed nation nationalism. It is as if economic bribery of the New Afrikan nation (being inside the borders of the #1 exploiter on the planet, with legal working rights) made its leaders less capable of being bought-off to the extent some Fatah members are, the only question being whether one is a stereotypical “oreo” as a Republican or a Clayton Bigsby. No matter how integrationist and pro-Amerikan one is, as long as one demands bribes from the white state that is fine, in the minds of many. It seems Amerikan puppets become more noticeable when an oppressed nation has less income than New Afrika, or has a larger movement that is more militant and radical (Hamas) making the less militant/radical movement (Fatah) pro-Amerikan in comparison.
If receiving reparations within the context of the united $tates’ still existing without a distinct New Afrikan government – or receiving bribes without renouncing Amerikan citizenship – is acceptable for New Afrikans, then money, land, freedoms and international status sufficient to stabilize a two-state solution should be acceptable for Palestinians. Westerners should not be against, or prevent, anything that would actually satisfy the vast majority of Palestinians in practice regardless of any current collaborator’s (un)popularity. On the other hand if semi-colonial integration of Palestine with I$raeli imperialism – analogous to New Afrika’s situation with u.$. imperialism – were truly the only way for Palestine to be “liberated” perhaps by delivering massive amounts of compensation (and bribery) to Palestinians to accept the rights and obligations of citizenship in the occupying imperialist country and renounce armed struggle (which most groups of New Afrikans have basically done), then viewing continued attachment to the two-state solution idea as counterproductive would be more understandable. But that is not what anti-Israel opponents of the two-state solution are talking about supposedly. Yet, despite ideas of New Afrikan separatism, New Afrikan statehood and New Afrikan nationhood (e.g., “nation within a nation”) appearing even in mainstream Western media, anti-Israeli non-Amerikan media for the most part treat New Afrikan nation questions as internal affairs of a sovereign non-aggressor country at the same time they make positive references to Amerikans rejecting New Afrikan nationalism in favor of so-called progressive “multiracial” Amerikanism.
This writer doesn’t blame any Muslim country – looking at incarceration and killings of New Afrikans in the united $tates – for thinking that a similar status of Palestinians inside an Israeli state would be a disaster worse than the Nakba – a disaster for Palestine, the world, or both. That is different from comparing all possible two-state solutions to the Nakba. Abbas could be compromising more than usual right now as a result of any French or Saudi failure, but it is not for Westerners or even non-Palestinian Arabs to be talking in global media about overthrowing Abbas – particularly without specifying a Palestinian replacement – as if there were about to be a pro-Palestinian surge in Amerikans’ petty-bourgeois or bourgeois consciousness as part of some kind of global revolution. Such talk becomes an excuse to displace or complicate diplomacy in various countries. The fact that it takes anti-Amerikans with a global perspective to point this out has to do with pro-Amerikans’ opposing peace efforts and simultaneously abusing Palestinians’ struggles to hide or make up for their lack of opposition to Amerikan international economic exploitation, their inadequate or absent opposition to Obama wars, and their lack of support for anti-Amerikan, anti-imperialist New Afrikan nationalism.
It is not that there is no possible rebuttal to what this writer is saying here within the framework of a global perspective acknowledging u.$. hegemony in the midst of massive global inequality between nations, but this writer has not heard a good one. It seems extremely difficult to defend pursuit of a one-state solution, or some “no-state” solution, from that perspective at this time. Whatever people want, they should be clear and open about it rather than try to please different people while discouraging diplomacy that is already very difficult and complex but necessary. ◊
• “Reparations from United $tates and Germany due to Palestine,” 2007 October. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/countries/mideast/mideast101307.html
• “Again for a two-state solution,” 2007 October. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/countries/mideast/mideast103107.html
• “Colonial oppression of Palestine,” 2007 November. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/countries/mideast/mideast112407.html
• “Three Worlds Theory,” 2008 September. https://web.archive.org/web/20080926062326/http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/wyl/threeworldstheory.html
1. “Gaza tunnel collapse kills terrorist,” 2016 July 10. http://hamodia.com/2016/07/10/gaza-tunnel-collapse-kills-terrorist/
“Egypt foreign minister attempts to support Palestine,” 2016 July 11. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/11/474598/Egypt-Shoukry-Isrtwostate-solution-peace-agreement-Palestinians-Israel-Netanyahu
“On rare Israel visit, Egypt FM urges 2-state solution,” 2016 July 11. http://saudigazette.com.sa/world/mena/rare-israel-visit-egypt-fm-urges-2-state-solution/
“Egyptian FM to visit Israel in first such visit in a decade,” 2016 July 10. http://saudigazette.com.sa/world/egyptian-fm-visit-israel-first-visit-decade/
“With Egypt’s blessing, Israel conducting drone strikes in Sinai — report,” 2016 July 11. http://www.timesofisrael.com/with-egypts-blessing-israel-conducting-drone-strikes-in-sinai-report/
2. “As Dems vote against Palestine, Cornel West warns it is the ‘Vietnam War’ of our time,” 2016 July 10. http://mondoweiss.net/2016/07/democratic-palestine-cornel/
3. “Is Egypt the right country to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority?” 2016 July 10. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2016/0710/Is-Egypt-the-right-country-to-broker-peace-between-Israel-and-the-Palestinian-Authority
4. “Opinion of the United States.” Retrieved 2016 July 11 from http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/1/survey/all . Archived at https://archive.is/Pw2vL