The links below provide background facts for, and further discussion of, the corresponding statements made in a hard-copy leaflet (pdf) distributed in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Ballot Questions 5 & 6 and the Lies that Harm Us
Questions 5 and 6, endorsing Palestinians’ right to return to their homes in Israel, and divestment from Israel, seem unrelated to our lives in Massachusetts; but these questions give us a chance to reject lies that harm us at home everyday.
What’s Arab vs. Jewish Fighting to Do With Us?
The lies behind America's pro-Israel foreign policy—and the “War on Terror” of which it is a part—enable our corporate and government elites to control us. They use these lies to make us willingly sacrifice American lives for an unjust cause, hand over to military weapons corporations hundreds of billions of dollars that should instead be used to address pressing local and national problems, and needlessly give up our personal liberties. The U.S. government’s pro-Israel policies are part of its strategy for controlling working people wherever they live.
A Jewish State is Bad for Both Jews & Arabs
Israel is ruled by an upper class of Zionist Jews (it was the Zionist movement that called for Jews to immigrate to Palestine.) Zionist leaders lord it over ordinary people, both Arab and Jewish: During the Holocaust Zionist leaders betrayed European Jews by opposing rescue efforts because, in their own words, they needed dead Jews to give them standing in post-war negotiations to make Palestine a Jewish state (which they would rule.) Israeli leaders in the 1990s pressured other countries to deny entrance to Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitism so they would be forced to go to Israel; and in 1997 they tried to take away working class Israelis’ pensions, which led to a massive general strike against the government.
To make Israel a Jewish state, Israeli leaders used violence and massacres of civilians in 1948 to remove 80% of the indigenous non-Jewish Palestinians from the 78% of Palestine that is now called Israel, and removed more again in 1967. In violation of international law, Israel refuses to allow these refugees (now 5 million, 4 million of whom live in overcrowded refugee camps) to return to their homes, and Israel has permanently confiscated all of their land and movable property. Palestinians who remained in Israel (now 1/5 of Israel’s population) are citizens and can vote but they are harshly discriminated against for being non-Jews, since the official sovereign authority in Israel is “the Jewish people,” not all Israeli citizens. Five million Palestinians cannot vote or even return to their homes in Israel. Anybody who challenges the ethnic cleansing, which ensures a Jewish majority and destroys working class solidarity between Jews and Arabs, is barred by law from running for Israel’s parliament. Palestinians don’t hate Jews (though Israeli leaders try to foment hate) but they do oppose Israel because of its racist ethnic cleansing, discrimination and anti-democracy. Our media hide this key fact!
Why Does Our Government Support Israel?
America's upper class supports Israel because Israel’s ethnic cleansing foments a Jews-versus-Arabs divide-and-conquer war throughout the region that provides a pretext for Mid-East elites (Arab and Jewish) more easily to control their own people and direct their anger away from their own rulers. This keeps oil wealth under control of upper class Arabs and foreign corporations, not the working class. U.S. rulers then use Arab violence of self-defense (entirely justified when it's against Israeli soldiers or violent civilians) as a pretext for controlling us here in the United States with an Orwellian “War on Terror.”
What About Hamas and Hezbollah?
The “War on Terror” is an elite strategy of social control. It requires an enemy that, like the Cold War Communists, is scary enough to make us obey our rulers, and so anti-working class and counterrevolutionary as to pose no threat to global upper class control. Islamic “Fundamentalists” like Hamas and Hezbollah are thus the perfect enemy. Though unable intentionally to kill as many civilians as Israel or the U.S. [see this also], their same practice of targeting non-combatant civilians is similarly immoral and anti-working class. It serves only to make it easier for Israeli and U.S. leaders to pretend they are protecting their own people, and it helps Jewish and Arab elites by pitting ordinary Jews and Arabs against each other.
Voting yes on questions 5 and 6 is a way to affirm our solidarity with the great majority of people on the planet who have to work for a living, against upper class rulers who don't. It's a way to reject lies that aim to prevent us from siding with people like ourselves who want a more equal and democratic world, and who want to win the class war war that rages everyday, sometimes openly, sometimes in disguised ways, between ordinary people and the elite.
John Spritzler (Spritzler@comcast.net)
[Go to www.newdemocracyworld.org/facts.htm for facts and discussion backing up the above statements.]