These People Deserve Each Other

Not the United States.

In order to understand the latest Israel-Gaza conflict through the prism of the seemingly unending Arab-Israeli conflict, one need only turn to one of the most brilliantly concise explanations ever written: “It’s the latest version of the longest-running play in the Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called, Two Groups of Racist Assholes Endlessly Killing Each Other.” Although Matt Taibbi was referring to the atrociously amazing writing of one Thomas Friedman, this should not obscure the point. If that sounds like flippant analysis, that’s because it is. It is flippant precisely because it is a meaningless fight between two deeply racist communities based entirely upon equal parts machismo, religiosity, stubbornness, tribalism and the ownership of a very specific number of arid, dry and generally useless square kilometers. Obviously it is not meaningless to the combatants, but it is (or at least should be) to Americans.

If you’re anything like me, and according to your current internet dalliance–you are, with each almost identical iteration of bloodshed between Israel and Palestine it’s enough to turn a normal person into a cynic, a cynic into a nihilist, a nihilist into a masturbating octopus. All you really want to do is wash your hands of the whole thing in frustration. Israelis and Palestinians endlessly murdering each other means about as much to the US national interest as it meant when the Hutus and Tutsis murdering one another–and we didn’t lift a finger for either.

Quite rightly you’re asking yourself, “Of what importance is a future viable, democratic Palestine to either yourself or your country?” “Is American support to the tiny, theocratic Israel either necessary or beneficial to the United States?” In the end of your analysis you’re likely to conclude that dealing with either side is a fool’s errand and that only a lunatic would continue to expect a different result after repeating the same problem solving method, ad infinitum.

“Fuck’em both. Fuck’em in the ear!” you say. And you wouldn’t be wrong.

As Glenn Greenwald, in a superb column, pointed out last week:

“Virtually everyone wishes the entire conflict would just go away. With the exception of extremists on both sides who benefit in various ways, nobody relishes having to become involved in any of this. It is exhausting, draining, soul-crushing, and miserable. Embracing “screw-both-sides” nihilism and doing nothing else is so tempting because it appears to provide relief from the burden of paying any further attention to the horrific violence or bearing responsibility for any of it.”

Fuckin’ A, dude.

Yet there is one major flaw to this argument. Two, if you take into consideration the comparative morality of missile strikes from Afro-engineered bottle rockets landing in Israel and upsetting pets against F-16s that can unleash 17,000 lbs. of ordinance and destroy an entire block of Gaza in a single sortie. But to my mind, it’s really just one: blind, reflexive and oftentimes counterproductive American support to Israel.

American support is by far the greatest enabler of the conflict. The crux is simple: Palestinians want their own state and Israel is not inclined to give it to them. Israel can only be as intransigent as it is with the backing of its all-powerful benefactor, Uncle Sam. The US has shown, time and time again, both a willingness to not only insulate Israel from global condemnation or legal repercussions but an unwillingness to restrain Israel when it decides to start some bullshit.

Given the military welfare provided to Israel from the US foreign aid budget for decades (indeed, Israel is the largest recipient of American aid despite its first world living standards), Israeli aggression against and the occupation of Palestine has been relatively cheap for Israel’s leaders. In 2008, the US even codified into law that America would maintain, at all costs, Israel’s “Qualitative Military Edge,” i.e. ensuring that Israel could kick the shit out of any state (read: Arab/Muslim terrorists), coalition of states (read: Arab/Muslim terrorists) or non-state actors (read: Arab/Muslim terrorists). As a matter of policy, the United States has consistently provided political and diplomatic cover by vetoing any UN resolutions condemning Israel, promoting a just agreement or even demanding ceasefires to various conflicts.

As Americans, as much as we might like, we simply cannot take a disinterested view of the Arab-Israeli conflict because our government, supported by voters and taxpayer dollars, has and continues to support Israel so rigidly and so fanatically that Americans cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility in this sorted drama. And ultimately responsibility is the real issue here.

Neither country has oil or is of any real value to the national interest, so why continue to be a party to this endless cycle of violence? A party that has done nothing but make the US look bad, put blood on American hands and incited a hatred so deep that not once, not twice, not three times but four times was American support to Israel cited as one of three motivating factors for the 9/11 attacks.

(Obviously, for all you shitbirds, I am not citing Bin Laden out of sympathy, empathy or support. I am merely citing a concrete example where support for Israel has proved to be a negative. In addition to stipulating that as a member of a representative democracy we all bear the responsibility of our elected leaders’ actions since we were the ones who voted for them; it shouldn’t take a terrorist mastermind to remind us of that fact.)

Take it home, Double G:

“If one wants to try to wash one’s hands of this entire matter by declaring both sides equally culpable, that’s fine. But doing so requires an acknowledgment that the US government is doing nothing of the sort. It is fueling, funding and feeding the Israeli war machine, and, with its own militaristic conduct, is legitimizing the premises of Israeli aggression.

If Israel or the Palestinians want to destroy each other in the most epic and brutal bloodbath of all time, by all means, be my guest. But ONLY when neither Israel nor Palestine has the financial, political, military and diplomatic backing of the American people, through the conduit of our elected officials and official institutions. At that point, ignorance is bliss and fucking Monday Night Football is on.

Honestly, I just want to not give a fuck with a clean conscience. Is that too much to ask?

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