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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
NPR joins JPost in using the youth question to undermine the struggle to free Palestinian “Mandela” Marwan Barghouti
October 16, 2016
The six-month countdown to the fifteen anniversary of Marwan Barghouti’s abduction has begun. Israelis, Arabs, Muslims, and Africans, Asians and Europeans with commercial and strategic interests in the Middle East and peace there, need to know there will be significant consequences if Marwan Barghouti is not released soon. The Americans must be fought on this point.
In addition to publicly reported attempts to engage Bush and Obama on Barghouti, Barghouti likely came up in several conversations with Kerry and former Secretary of State Clinton when deals or negotiations were being discussed. But the United States doesn’t really support the two-state solution in the first place. As part of its deception about supporting self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the I$raeli settler entity, it has occasionally and falsely given the impression of being open to Barghouti’s release or election.
In terms of emails allegedly from Clinton and Podesta inbox/server leaks, a cursory search of reports shows, or would suggest, there seems to be no smoking gun yet about Barghouti explicitly. It looks like people who worked with Clinton may have been aware of Barghouti at least as “that guy in jail.” What a shocker. Anybody could have learned such by Googling site:state.gov. The State Department under Powell and Rice publicly talked about Barghouti, in some cases commenting that eir election would be “problematic.” Of course it would. And, the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA – these agencies obviously have an interest in studying who may come after Mahmoud Abbas, or what Palestinians would and wouldn’t consider self-determination, not that they support it but as a matter of assessing potential impacts and developments. They have an interest in studying how the media is talking about Barghouti. These things make a difference. They make a difference even if the CIA hacks, stooges and assets saying there needs to be armed struggle against Third World states, but not diplomatic and political struggle against the United Snakes, don’t recognize it. Leaks or no leaks, many of the facts of the amerikans’ duplicity and obstruction, in the context of diplomacy and the two-state solution, are already knowable from public, unclassified sources. Barghouti’s release would be a victory for the two-state solution and for achieving it in a way that the United $tates doesn’t like. Those who actively oppose that solution, don’t care about Palestinian self-determination, and aren’t struggling against u.$. hegemony, are among those against the national reconciliation figure’s release.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the former Israeli deputy prime minister who died a couple months ago after heading various departments over two decades including the Ministry of Defense, supported Barghouti’s release. That’s not a secret either; anybody could have learned that by reading any of numerous websites. The united $nakes and I$rael are both settler, imperialist entities that will be gone after the long and tortuous journey to global socialist victory is complete, but the Israeli former intelligence and military officials’ calling for Barghouti’s release indicate that Israelis have some independent interests of their own that are useful to the Palestinian nation’s struggle at this time. Those, talking about Israeli settler-colonialism but only to obscure the u.$. role and obscure conflicts between amerikans and Israelis in which some Israelis are on the right side, do a serious disservice. Of course, Israeli public opinion is against Barghouti’s release now, but some important Israelis support Barghouti’s release more than certain amerikans ever really did. No amount of rhetoric against Zionism that ignores the u.$. role will take the place of concrete struggle, and under that heading trying to get some Israelis to recognize the pros of letting Barghouti go doesn’t require supporting “peace process” direct negotiations that Barghouti emself has criticized.
A news update received at Podesta’s account contains this regarding the PLO’s “choosing” Barghouti at some point: “This will be a purely symbolic decision, a show of protest that is empty of content: no Israeli government will be in a hurry to release him from prison.” Coming immediately after is this nugget: “In other words, the Palestinians suffer from a leadership vacuum no less than we do.” On the contrary, it may be more accurate to say the Palestinians suffer from a leadership vacuum no worse than the amerikans have now(1), or had one year ago. There is no need to view U.$. leadership as more substantial, reliable or better to work with just because of colonialism-related divisions and appearances in Palestine caused by the amerikans and their British and I$raeli allies. On the other hand, if any amerikans really think Barghouti’s election won’t make a big difference, they shouldn’t stand in the way then. One connotation of “leadership vacuum” is that somebody can fill the space nobody is currently filling, but either colonialism primarily is preventing it from being filled or Barghouti can fill it.
Nothing about Barghouti in that email is a secret. In fact, the source is a columnist familiar to millions of Israelis. If WikiLeaks has little to release that is especially helpful to non-AmeriKKKans at this point in time, maybe it should hold on to embarrassing information until after Clinton is elected. Obviously we aren’t fans of Clinton here, but Clinton has an 83.7% chance of winning at the time of this writing.(2) If Clinton is going to become the u.$. president anyway, it would help the oppressed if much of the damaging info came out afterward. For that matter, criticizing Trump to make amerikkkans look good helps the amerikans more than it helps anyone else. Trump is going to lose. The Muslims saying the Clintons and Trumps represent amerikans and amerikan democracy, whether Trump wins or loses, are right about that.
Not all the action takes place in basement/bathroom and Georgetown University email servers. Much of it takes place in the media for everyone to read. When it comes to the media and stories that can influence public opinion and u.$. favorability and affect international relations, many writers who may be acting independently seem to be doing u.$. diplomatic and intelligence personnel’s jobs for them. Most aren’t paid or organized by the State Department. It’s unnecessary, though, when their class or national interests are the same, or because they are shortsighted non-amerikans who perceive benefit in certain ties with the united $tates. Right after this writer got done addressing a highly misleading Jerusalem Post article, that discussed a Palestinian youth poll and minimized support for Marwan Barghouti – it was evident the JPost article would have such an impact – fucking National Public Radio, whose audience is skewed toward Democrats and liberals, published an article(3) regurgitating what the JPost said. After apparently not talking about Barghouti for many months on its website, NPR chose the occasion of this poll to discuss Barghouti and failed to refer to other polls in recent months covering the leader.
“The poll, by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, suggests no single Palestinian political figure has a majority of support of Palestinian youth.” NPR suggested polls have to show a majority already preferring a particular individual for em to be considered a strong potential candidate. Why that is wrong has been explained, but the NPR even went so far as to fudge the percentages a little bit to make it look like there was almost no difference in support among Barghouti, Dahlan, and Haniyeh, without mentioning the previous JMCC youth poll showing fewer answers favoring Dahlan. In the results JMCC reported, there is a 4.9-point difference between Barghouti and Dahlan, not the four-point difference NPR suggested. It seems like nothing, but we are talking about a poll that has a 3% margin of error to begin with, and in JMCC’s previous youth poll(4), conducted in April, Dahlan’s “support” (preference among the youth polled) was only 5.5% while Barghouti’s was 15.8%. Whether we are talking about September or April, the percentage preferring Barghouti is higher; together, JMCC’s September youth poll, and various polls before it, indicate there is a significant difference. And, again, the claim that only 13.4% of the youth at the end of September said they would vote for Barghouti among the many possibilities (“no options were read to the interviewee”) – even if the percentage accurately represented Palestinian youth – hardly means a majority or large plurality of Palestinians wouldn’t vote for Barghouti in a real election. In saying all of this, no offense to Dahlan or Haniyeh supporters is meant. The act of making Palestinian leaders look less popular, or less potentially popular, than they really are affects Palestinians generally. It affects non-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims, too.
The double standards involved are outrageous. With presidential or head of state/government elections throughout the world, it is often the case there is “no clear favorite” when the election day is still far away. There is not even a date for a Palestinian presidential election yet. Germany’s next federal election is a year from now. There is no doubt about that. According to Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, though, only 39% of Germans intend to vote for the CDU/CSU.(5) An Emnid poll shows that about half of Germans don’t want Merkel to stay on as Chancellor.(6) In fact, Merkel’s popularity is such that ey may not even run for a fourth term, yet Germans would be hard-pressed to name a CDU, CSU or SDP individual alternative in numbers larger than those still preferring or favoring Merkel. It doesn’t mean Germany won’t have a new chancellor who can govern. The new chancellor, relatively unknown or not-preferred now, may end up having approval ratings above 60%.
If the state of Palestinian leadership is in disarray, so is the state of German leadership and the state of amerikan leadership before and after most of the current and former amerikan candidates had announced their candidacies. Palestinians appear to prefer German influence and involvement to amerikan influence and involvement (and prefer the involvement of the EU as a whole in the Israeli-Palestinian issue more than they prefer amerikan or German involvement),(7) but the harping in global media about how bad the Palestinian leadership situation supposedly is has ominous overtones of continued disrespect for Palestinian self-determination, isolation of Palestinian leadership, and favoring the imperialists. If the Palestinian leadership situation is exceptionally bad, it could be improved by freeing Marwan Barghouti, who is still in prison in “Israel.”
It is given that, whoever emerges as the apparent future president of the Palestinians, ey will be poorly treated in amerikan and Western media and not just conservative media. Already, Abbas, Barghouti, Dahlan, Haniyeh, and Meshaal, and Fatah and Hamas, are all treated like trash, while others are considered weak contenders for other reasons. NPR raises the idea of Barghouti’s becoming President – “One man who has long been seen as a possible successor to Abbas is Marwan Barghouti, a leader in the first and second Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, against Israel” – in order to undercut it by describing Palestinian leaders and officials in general as having excessive rivalries and being incapable of commanding more than little support. The role of the amerikan and I$raeli settler entities in Palestinians’ election difficulties is barely touched on.
While certain pollsters were seemingly coming up with polls designed to minimize Barghouti’s apparent favorability – instead of simply asking youth if they view Barghouti favorably or not or would be opposed to Barghouti’s being President – Clinton was having eir own youth favorability problem. It was revealed Clinton said in February that Bernie Sanders supporters were living in their parents’ basement. Before that, and many other things, were reported and regardless of what one thinks of the disclosures, only 31% of Gallup “youth” (18-29) respondents viewed Clinton favorably in July.(8) Clinton’s youth favorability is almost certainly much lower today. The same age group gave Obama a 64% job approval rating in April, though, and a 74% during the week of October 3-9 after 16 weeks of youth ratings in the 60s(9). Despite Clinton’s having youth favorability likely less than Marwan Barghouti’s favorability among Palestinian youth, it is likely various youth demographics will mostly vote for Clinton if they vote, leading others to behave opportunistically toward Clinton and amerikan youth in international contexts. Barghouti was a leader of youth more than some anticipated candidates ever were, but somehow the amerikans will have Clinton as their president while the Palestinians supposedly have no basis in public opinion for their own.
The idea that a new youth poll would be so important as to prove something new after many polls had already indicated Barghouti as having high favorability among Palestinians involves a misuse of the youth question. For most, the youth question has nothing really to do with ending children’s oppression or age-specific oppression. What has ended up happening is defining youth to exclude younger teenagers and include people in their late twenties and even older, and then using the question, of what youth want, to support some notion of progress in the united $nakes, or relying on amerikan liberals or phony socialists, while criticizing Third World nations’ leaders. The point here is not that the liberals, Democrats and some youth listening to and reading NPR need to be won over in particular, but that the world needs to struggle against amerikan liberals and others, including so-called radicals, opposing Palestinian self-determination who in some cases do so by using a notion of universal youth condition inclusive of both Western and Third World youth.
The effect of NPR’s suggesting Abbas may die within months and that the Palestinians don’t have anybody who could rule even just in the West Bank, because of what youth think, could be to support further violation of Palestine’s sovereignty. Some of those making excuses for supporting Clinton – who talks about the youth question and wimmin’s rights when it suits u.$. interests and in a way that suits those interests – and others, already fantasize about some fake socialist secular revolution in Palestine, and other predominantly Muslim or religious Third World nations, led by youth. Among them are fake revolutionaries claiming to support Third World revolution, but opposing many different anti-amerikan movements in the Third World that happen to be Muslim.
In regard to Saeb Erekat, Erekat has reportedly supported Barghouti’s freedom and running for the presidency. It is significant because of how close Erekat reportedly is to Abbas. Those who are publicly skeptical about a Barghouti run, but skeptically raise the idea of a Erekat candidacy, do Erekat no favor as a Palestinian interested in self-determination, sovereignty, and diplomacy.
Fortunately, recent reporting on Barghouti on JPost has not been uniformly bad. Maybe there is some disagreement over at JPost. Though it reiterated the narrative of Palestinian division without context, JPost yesterday published an article that stated Abbas “has said that the Palestinian street will decide the next Palestinian president through elections.”(10) The first individual the JPost article profiled after mentioning Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) chairman Aziz Dweik (Duwaik) was Barghouti, who is a member of the PLC. Though suggesting Barghouti did what Israel accused em of doing, the article reminds readers, “After the signing of the Oslo I Accord in 1993, Barghouti underwent a major political transformation, backing the Oslo Accords and negotiations.” Also, “In polls, Palestinians consistently have said they will give Barghouti the most votes in a presidential election. More recently, top leaders of Fatah, including Saeb Erekat, have said they would support Barghouti, if he wanted to become the next Palestinian president. . . . Some analysts believe that if he were elected president, the international community would pressure Israel to release Barghouti.”
If what JPost is suggesting now is to be believed, it is either Barghouti, Dahlan, al-Kidwa, or Erekat. According to a polling organization not JMCC, 37.1% of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (30.0%) and the West Bank (40.7%) on September 22-24 “want[ed]” Barghouti “to be the president after” Abbas.(11) 1.3% picked or named Erekat. 4.7% chose Dahlan. Less than 3.2% chose al-Kidwa under “Other.” The 3.2% almost certainly included names of multiple candidates.
An i24news article published several days ago profiled many individuals, several of them less-discussed in the media.(12) The greatest numbers of words, though, went to Dahlan (186 words), Erekat (121 words), Jibril Rajoub (141), and Barghouti (118). Dahlan was described as “can relate to the young and Fatah base.” “He has a good working relationship with Israelis and is well liked by the Americans. He has strong support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.” i24news described Dahlan mostly positively, in comparison with others, except for: “Dahlan is seen as a corrupt, self serving politician who wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate opposition to protect his interests.” Jibril Rajoub is described negatively to Israelis. Of Barghouti it was accurately said, “He has done well in opinion polls. In fact he is a widely popular choice among Palestinians. He is seen as the only Fatah member capable of defeating Hamas in the polls while maintain street credibility.” “He has good working relations with Hamas and is seen as a unifier.” Nothing about youth, though.
The i24news profile of Barghouti ends with, “But many Fatah officials say in private that it’s a bad idea from him to run while in prison. They ask: how would he perform his duties as president from a prison cell?” This makes Barghouti look non-threatening in one way, but could be a bad reason for Israelis to keep Barghouti in prison. ◊
1. “New JMCC poll shows pluralities of Palestinian youth prefer Marwan Barghouti and the two-state solution; PSR poll shows unfavorable Palestinian views of the United $tates,” 2016 October. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-10-15-news-Marwan-Barghouti-polls.md
2. https://archive.is/hIw1c (https://www.electionbettingodds.com/)
3. “Palestinians Wonder: Who Will Be Our Next Leader?” 2016 October 13. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/10/13/497535315/palestinians-wonder-who-will-be-our-next-leader?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=storiesfromnpr
4. “Youth Poll - April 2016 - Politics, Social Media and Conservatism,” 2016 April 24. http://jmcc.org/documentsandmaps.aspx?id=871
5. https://archive.is/OUps6 (http://www.wahlrecht.de/umfragen/politbarometer.htm)
6. “New poll shows split opinion over fourth term for Chancellor Angela Merkel,” 2016 August 28. http://www.dw.com/en/new-poll-shows-split-opinion-over-fourth-term-for-chancellor-angela-merkel/a-19509085
7. “Palestinian perception of Germany and its policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” 2016 March 7. http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/632
8. “Hillary Clinton’s continuing youth problem,” 2016 July 28. http://www.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/194045/clinton-continuing-youth-problem.aspx
10. “Palestinian affairs: the post-Abbas scenario,” 2016 October 14. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Palestinian-Affairs-The-post-Abbas-scenario-470085
11. “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (61),” 2016 September 27. http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/668
12. “Is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas running out of time?,” 2016 October 10. http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/127428-161010-analysis-who-will-inherit-abbas-throne