AIPAC, American Racism and Human Rights

This posting is going to be very short but hopefully it will cause us all to ponder the reality of racism across the globe and how the practice of racism is heavily dependent on your viewpoint.

Here is a tweet from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, outlining the organization's thoughts on the death of George Floyd back in June 2020:

In case you weren't aware, AIPAC's mission is to "engage with and educate decision-makers about the bonds that unite the two countries (the United States and Israel), and how it is in America's best interest to strengthen those bonds and help ensure that the Jewish state remains safe, strong and secure."

In other words, AIPAC functions as Congress's conscience when it comes to dealing positively with Israel, no matter what its behaviour.

Let's close this brief posting with two excerpts from recent reports on human rights issues in Palestine.  Here is an excerpt from Human Rights Watch's World Report 2020 on Israel and Palestine:

"The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights; restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank, an illegal practice under international humanitarian law.

Israel’s twelve-year closure of Gaza, exacerbated by Egyptian restrictions on its border with Gaza, limits access to educational, economic and other opportunities, medical care, clean water and electricity for the nearly 2 million Palestinians who live there. Eighty percent of Gaza’s population depend on humanitarian aid.

Israeli forces stationed on the Israeli side of fences separating Gaza and Israel continued to fire live ammunition at demonstrators inside Gaza who posed no imminent threat to life, pursuant to open-fire orders from senior officials that contravene international human rights standards. According to the Palestinian rights group al-Mezan, Israeli forces killed 34 Palestinians and, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, injured 1,883 with live ammunition during these protests in 2019 as of October 31.

Fighting between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza involved unlawful attacks and civilian casualties. During a flare-up in early May, Israeli airstrikes killed 25 Palestinians, 13 of whom were civilians killed in strikes that appeared to contain no military objective or caused disproportionate civilian loss in violation of the laws of war, while Palestinian armed groups fired 690 unguided rockets towards Israeli population centers, war crimes, killing four Israeli and two Palestinian civilians.

During the first nine months of 2019, Israeli authorities approved plans for 5,995 housing units in West Bank settlements, excluding East Jerusalem, as compared to 5,618 in all of 2018, according to the Israeli group Peace Now. Israeli cabinet officials in September approved ex-post facto the outpost settlement of Mevo’ot Yericho in the Jordan Valley that had been illegal even under Israeli law, just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex the Jordan Valley if re-elected.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities destroyed 504 Palestinian homes and other structures in 2019 as November 11, the majority for lacking construction permits. Israel makes it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain such permits in East Jerusalem or in the 60 percent of the West Bank under its exclusive control (Area C). The demolitions displaced 642 people as of September 16, more than the total number of people displaced in 2018 (472), according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Israeli rights group B’Tselem recorded more demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in 2019 than in any other year since at least 2004."

Now, let's take a quick look at Amnesty International's Annual Report on Israel and Occupied Palestine for 2019:

Israeli military and security forces killed at least 38 Palestinians, including 11 children, during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Many were unlawfully killed by live ammunition or other excessive force when posing no imminent threat to life. Many of the unlawful killings appeared to be wilful, which would constitute war crimes.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continued weekly “Great March of Return protests” that began in March 2018. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, by 27 December, 215 Palestinians had been killed, among them 47 children, four paramedics and two journalists. Some Palestinian protesters engaged in violence, including by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails towards Israeli soldiers.

On 28 February, the UN Commission of Inquiry into violations committed in the context of the protests in Gaza between March and December 2018 found that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes, including by deliberately firing at Palestinian civilians.[1] In July, Israeli media reported that the Israeli military had decided to change their open-fire regulations, which had allowed snipers to fire at protesters’ lower limbs above the knee, but only after over a year of it being aware that they were leading needlessly to deaths and devastating injuries; snipers were briefed, in the future, to shoot below the knee.

On 16 May, the Israeli army closed the investigation into the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who used a wheelchair, during the Gaza protests in December 2017, without pressing any charges.

On 30 October, the army sentenced an Israeli soldier who shot dead 15-year-old Palestinian Othman Halas during a protest in Gaza in July 2018 to community service and reduced his rank for “endangering a life by deviating from orders”.

Israeli air strikes and shelling in the Gaza Strip killed 28 Palestinian civilians who were not directly participating in hostilities, including 10 children; 13 civilians were killed in the hostilities of 3-6 May and 15 in those of 12-16 November. Some of the attacks in which civilians were killed or injured appeared to have been indiscriminate or disproportionate or to have been carried out without adequate precautions to spare civilians."

It would seem to me that if there is any group that understands racism, intolerance, inequality and a lack of freedom and justice, it is Israel's chief lobbyist in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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