The vice president’s recent episode at George Mason University is based on a dispute over what is real, writes
By Lawrence Davidson
What sort of gap exists when it comes to American support for Palestinian rights? Is it a generation gap or perhaps a perceptual gap leading to an argument over what is and is not true?
This question was suggested, at least in my mind, on Sept. 28 when Vice President Harris paid a visit to George Mason University in northern Virginia. Actually, she was there for reasons that had nothing to do with Palestine or U.S. foreign policy. She was on a public relations excursion to “honor national voter registration day.” I do not know why her staff chose this venue, but it being a university, they built in a brief Q & A session.
There is absolutely no doubt that she and her staff see what followed as a minor political disaster. Here is what happened. One of the students (probably in her early 20s) noted that, on a previous occasion, the vice president had said that “the power of the people and demonstrations and organizing is very valuable in America.”
Then the student described recent impressive demonstrations across the country against Israeli treatment of Palestinians, adding that it all added up to “ethnic genocide and a displacement of people — the same that [once] happened in America.” So, the student asked, how come the U.S. continues to give Israel aid and support? She closed by observing that “I feel like there’s a lack of listening” on the part of government officials.
The student was correct in her description, though perhaps inexact in the use of the term genocide. Even so, her assertion of “ethnic genocide” (a charge the Zionists immediately labeled a “patent lie”) was warranted if not in the sense of gas chambers — the only way the Zionists choose to define genocide — but in the sense of the forced death of a culture. Mass displacement, be it through imposed exile or apartheid ghettoization, is historically equivalent to cultural genocide. It was Harris’ failure to challenge the student’s use of the term “ethnic genocide” that subsequently got her in political trouble with the Zionists.
At the Q & A session, Harris responded that she was glad that the student spoke her mind. “This is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard. . . . Our goal should be unity, but not uniformity,” Harris said. “And the point that you’re making about policies that relates to Middle East policy, foreign policy. We still have healthy debates in our country, about what is the right path. And nobody’s voice should be suppressed on that.”
Well, that is not exactly the Zionist line. Almost immediately, various Zionist organizations started contacting the White House — present residence of the confirmed Zionist President Joe Biden — complaining that Harris failed to “correct the student” when she used the term “ethnic genocide.” The Zionists passed over the bit about “a displacement of people.”
The VP’s team just as quickly started to mend fences. Herbie Ziskend, the vice president’s deputy communications director, led the outreach, “making clear that Harris’s silence did not equate agreement with the students’ claims of ‘ethnic genocide.’”
Speaking of ethnic cleansing, if not genocide, on the same day that the student was explaining the oppression of the Palestinians to the vice president of the United States, that oppression was being actualized on the southeastern portion of the occupied West Bank. It was on that same Sept. 28 that Israeli “settlers” launched what, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, can be described as a “state sanctioned pogrom” against the village of Khirbat al-Mufkara. This was not a unique event.
What Is Real?
The episode at George Mason University and its aftermath is based on a dispute over what is real.
-First, there is an assertion of Palestinian oppression. Is the oppression real? The answer to this question might seem all too obvious. The Palestinians say it is real. Much of the rest of the Arab world says it is real. The United Nations General Assembly and its Human Rights Commission says it is real. Various human rights organizations operating worldwide say it is real. Indeed, there is an overwhelming body of evidence — which includes pictorial documentation and eyewitness accounts —as to this reality. It can only be denied by ideologically induced blindness, censored education, propaganda and/or the distortions that come when one’s status and income depend on the denial of this reality.
-Second, there is the Zionist claim that the land of “greater Israel” has always belonged to the Jewish people. In turn, the Palestinian situation, to the extent that it may involve some actual discomfort, is a self-induced reality. The land of Israel/Palestine was divinely deeded to the Jews by God thousands of years ago.
Initially, the Jews took possession of this land, but soon thereafter were forced out by enemy conquerors. However, the Jewish people never forgot about their lost patrimony and, when conditions were right, some 2,000 years later, they invaded Palestine and took the land back. Now comes the other half the story.
The alleged self-induced nature of the Palestinian reality. The Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, were the indigenous occupants when the Jews (not all Jews, but mostly European Jews of Zionist persuasion) showed up at the end of World War II. The Palestinians resisted the Zionist effort to gain control of the land, and this led to the eventual war in 1947-48, their subsequent defeat, and the forced deportation of 750,000 Palestinians. In the Zionist story this was the consequence of Palestinian and Arab choices: (1) the Palestinian choice to resist the Zionist act of “repossession” and (2) the choice of most of the Arab states not to integrate the fleeing refugees into their societies. Are these Zionist claims real?
Well, the official Israeli histories say they are real, although independent Israeli historians have challenged this account in important details. Zionist organizations in Western countries say it is real. The U.S., British, German, French and other governments act diplomatically as if it is real.
Further, repetitive assertions within a mostly closed and censored information environment such as the Israeli educational system, the diaspora Hebrew school system, or much of the U.S. media, appear to confirm this reality. However, a close examination reveals that most of Zionism’s “reality” as to Palestine is based on biblical mythology, the absurd idea that Palestinian resistance to invasion is not legitimate, and ultimately, the notion that Zionist might makes right.
The Zero-Sum Struggle
At George Mason University, Harris was confronted with a student who opened a brief window on Palestinian reality. The VP was not able to respond to the substance of this reality. Why? Maybe this is a function of her superficial knowledge and/or she just recognized its politically controversial nature; in either case, she sidestepped the issue of Israeli oppression by dealing with the student’s statement as an acceptable exercise of free speech.
But for the Zionists, even this is unacceptable. For them the clash of realities is a zero-sum struggle. Therefore, they can never rest easy. Even with solid backing at all U.S. government levels, the Zionists feel they cannot ignore this damning assertion of a 20-something college student. An endless insecurity lurks behind Zionist strength and creates a hypersensitivity to all criticism.
So. the American Zionists got mad at Harris for not “correcting” the student over the use of the charge of “ethnic genocide.” If that charge is allowed to stand, Israel must be put in the same category as Myanmar and its persecution of the Rohingya; China and the persecution of the Uighurs as well as its effort to erase Tibetan culture; Russia and its treatment of the Jews during much of the 19th and 20th centuries; the United States and the racist treatment of Native and Black Americans — a point of comparison the student had the presence of mind to raise; and finally, apartheid South Africa and its treatment of its African black majority.
The last-mentioned comparison calls attention to the Zionist revival of apartheid in greater Israel — a crime against humanity. So, either Zionist practices in Israel are among the most racist on the planet or the George Mason student is bearing false testimony. For the Zionists there is no middle ground.
Kamala Harris’ Reality
Vice President Harris has her own problems with reality — the substantial reality of her political world. She lives in an environment where the Zionists, despite the false nature of their claims, have created a stranglehold on the political fate of many American politicians.
With their ability to pour millions of dollars into local political coffers, and to shift that support to the competitors of anyone who does not stick to a pro-Zionist line, the Zionist lobby has been able to create solid support for an oppressive apartheid state whose founding rationale is based on myth.
That is why, when the heated reaction to Harris’ reply to the George Mason student occurred, her communications director and foreign policy adviser were scrambling to damp down Zionist criticism. In other words, the vice president’s concerns are focused on the reality of her political situation even if it means denying the reality of millions of Palestinians.
In reference to the Palestinians, Harris is no doubt willing to sacrifice other important realities, such as those international laws originally established to protect minorities, including Jews. The Zionists no longer find any use for these laws because these are now called upon to protect Palestinians.
If you have enough ideological determination and control of the information environment, you can create a faux reality. That is, you can convince yourself and others that a set of assumptions and assertions that have no basis in fact are true. It also helps if you are strong enough to punish those who might challenge your claims.
That is the case of Israel and the Zionists. In Israel the media, synagogues, the educational system and political environment all support stories based on myth — the idea that Israel/Palestine belongs to the Jews by divine sanction, and the claim that the Palestinians are responsible for their own situation. There are, of course, Jewish Israelis who have broken free from this closed information environment. However, they are the exceptions.
In the U.S. and Europe, there is more information to be had and a greater devotion to free speech. Therefore, challenges to the Zionist storyline are broad and growing. As a consequence, many Jews, particularly of a younger generation, have recognized that the Zionist faux reality is a cover for oppression and state-sponsored racism.
Against this realization the Zionists, having rallied their bought and bullied allies in most of the Western governments, still fight as if their anachronistic notion of national existence depends on it — as if it is a zero-sum struggle.
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.
This article is from his site, TothePointAnalysis.com.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
I wonder what kind of euphemism the Zionists prefer to describe the horrors they do to the Palestinians.
“Either Zionist practices in Israel are among the most racist on the planet or the George Mason student is bearing false testimony.”
What’s absurd about this zero-sum problem is that we even give it any validity, that we actually reserve Zionists the right to so slander this student. The outrage should be over that injustice against an innocent student, and not over Kamala’s silence in not “correcting” her.
All of us who live under the tradition that rejected the notion divine right centuries ago are likewise bearing false testimony when we assert that founding myth of Israel is not rooted in reality.
For us the issue was settled centuries ago: we cannot have freedom of religion if we don’t also have freedom from religion.
While we grant Zionist the right of freedom of religion, they deny us freedom from their religion. Their demanding we take their beliefs as “real.” is an offense against the very principle that grants the right to believe whatever they want.
This is not the first time religion is being used to justify a crime against humanity.
“So, the American Zionists got mad at Harris for not “correcting” the student over the use of the charge of “ethnic genocide.” If that charge is allowed to stand, Israel must be put in the same category as Myanmar and its persecution of the Rohingya; China and the persecution of the Uighurs as well as its effort to erase Tibetan culture; Russia and its treatment of the Jews during much of the 19th and 20th centuries; the United States and the racist treatment of Native and Black Americans — a point of comparison the student had the presence of mind to raise; and finally, apartheid South Africa and its treatment of its African black majority………Vice President Harris has her own problems with reality — the substantial reality of her political world. She lives in an environment where the Zionists, despite the false nature of their claims, have created a stranglehold on the political fate of many American politicians………the Zionist lobby has been able to create solid support for an oppressive apartheid state whose founding rationale is based on myth.”
Yes, biblical myth! Has humanity not reached a point that it is unwilling to follow religion, any religion, over the cliff, shrew style to its ultimate destruction?
It is shame the adynamia shows by American politician from both side of the aisle Rep. and Dem. There are international laws that banning Israel for its crimes such as building Jewish settlement in Palestinian land, and the ongoing remove of Palestinian from their homes, town and cities. The detention of Palestinian children young as the age of 5, and so on. USA viws Zionist regime as the mainstay of imperialist domination in the Middle East.
Support BDS. Period.
A rational and thought provoking article published online, where discourse is usually bitter and polarized — And an article which would probably never be published in the mainstream press.
I commend the writer.
I don’t accept the idea “there was no Palestinian nation”, but even if it was true, the persecution of the inhabitants of the area have created a national feeling. Israel was a created nationality and indeed the 18th colonists of North America created a nation where it had not existed before.
A key event in the establishment of the state of Israel was its recognition by Truman. Today all most all the nations of the UN are prepared, and most of the rest abstain – tacitly not objecting to-the recognition of a state of Palestine.
The present US administration declares a belief in democracy and the rule of law. The gap between that aspiration and reality regarding their attitude towards the Palestinians, will undermine the credibility of the USA in respect of international law.
Can we please stop all the complaining about bullying in schools? The US and Israel wouldn’t exist without it.
Isn’t it interesting that the increasingly secular state of Israel can cling to their “divine right” to specific territories. (Of course, native Americans had no “divine right” even after millenia.) To assert divine right is an ancient notion, and as the Old Testament shows pretty well, was asserted by the kings and warrior leaders (think Joshua) while being decried by the prophets–wholesalely ignored then and now. Harris has the moral fortitude of virtually all our political leaders. Her morning soul searching extends far enough to ask, “Which way is the wind blowing today?”
Less than half a millennium ago, it was death to question the Catholic Church’s view of reality. A lot of people died or faced death to change that reality. It seems strange that in a world where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has almost no living reality at all except among mostly faceless individuals who keep it in their hearts, the whole world is expected to believe in the divine return to a Promised Land by any nation for any less of a reason than a gospel of universal love for all. I would say that such a belief in manifest destiny has as much to do with psychology as it does with a failed mythology. The question that is never asked is why such a belief is determined to be worth the effort? One would assume that a nation could be started anywhere, as long as it sustains itself by being part of the greater world around it and by refusing acts of terror and violence as part of their religious calling. Otherwise, not even God could hope to tell the difference between those chosen and those simply choosing themselves.
“So, either Zionist practices in Israel are among the most racist on the planet or the George Mason student is bearing false testimony. For the Zionists there is no middle ground.”
Excellent and perceptive article. There is no middle ground for Zionists because their racist project in Israel depends on their ability to maintain the illusion that Zionists are the victims of racism, not the perpetrators. Once that propaganda-induced spell is broken, it’s game over for the Zionists and they know it.
Analogies with Chinese treatment if Uyghurs is totally baseless. Apart from this I enjoyed this excellent read.
The power of the Zionist/Israeli lobby extends also to Australia. There is a veritable embargo on any news or political analysis abt the daily existence of the Palestinians in the Westbank, Gaza etc. Non-Zionist commentators never get the chance of publication in Australian newspapers, with the effect that there is no real and fear understanding of the situation in the Middle East vav Israel’s role in it
Precise details of the Delta plan have been recorded. 15 March 1948 a meeting of Zionists and Israeli Army officers met at the so-called Red House in what is now part of Tel Aviv to approve the Delta (4th) Plan. The very next day and for the following six months clearances of some 750,000 Palestinians and the destruction of dozens of their villages commenced.
What is real is not the verbiage, but the displacement and deaths of Palestinians by a neo-fascist government moved by an extremist religious set of beliefs older than the extremist ideology of their enemies. But age is only a fiction to support the fantasies of the Zionists today. It has nothing to do with the nature of the daily actions and reality that are imposed on the Palestinians.
Our own politicians can get their dander all worked up, publicly at least, over the genocide of the Uighurs, because they are stupid enough to get a lot of political money for backing from one group, but not the other who are touted as our deadly enemy monsters, the Chinese, who are trying to get rid of them. Rather like what we did to the American Indians on a smaller scale.
It’s all grotesque blah-blah puffed up by the media.
I’m confused. Do you mean to say you believe this : “… over the genocide of the Uighurs, because they are stupid enough to get a lot of political money for backing from one group, but not the other who are touted as our deadly enemy monsters, the Chinese, who are trying to get rid of them.”
I recommend reading Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Land of Israel” to see how Zionists have twisted reality to suit their political aims. Also, being a Jew is not a racial title that Zionist flout, but a religious title incorporating many racial casts which have adopted the Jewish faith.
Herodotus who travelled the Levant documenting the people he met in the mid 400’s BC calls the region Palestine and mentions Syria, but no talk of this Greater Israel. It is also worth mentioning that some Egyptian archeologists and historians suggest that the supposed promised land is in the mountains of south western Arabia and Yemen area, where a people who lost their livelihoods when the camel trains disappeared after the sailboat was invented, moved about the Levant looking foe a new life. That regions geography and names agree with the early Biblical stories more than Palestine. Yemeni Jews are much mentioned in the history books of the area.
Sorry I made a grammatical error in my second line. Being a Jew is not a racial title, but one pushed by Zionists.