EDITORIAL: By Saeed Naqvi, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer: A brutal tragedy is being played out on an epic scale between Israel and Gaza. Though the scale is truly epic, it still constitutes but a sub plot in the cosmic drama of a hegemon’s fall, to describe which Milton’s description on another epochal fall is apt:
“From morn till noon he fell,
From noon to Dewey eve.”
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This is a particularly poignant moment for the US because at least two of its stellar proteges are at risk. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding a tiger. Should he dismount, he will be devoured – so he must continue pounding a hapless people.
The other protégé, Volodymyr Zelensky is running around, cap in hand: “Please Sir, may I have some more.”
The genocidal war continues but US would not like to be seen to have pressed for a ceasefire without terminating Hamas. The absurdity of this war will dawn on Tel Aviv and Washington when the guns fall silent, because Hamas will still be there possibly more rejuvenated.
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In Elia Kazan’s Viva Zapata, named after the Emiliano Zapata who led a peasant revolt against a corrupt Mexican landlord, the army surround the hero (played by Marlon Brando) and pump a hail of bullets in him to make absolutely certain in their state of funk that Emiliano is dead. In a symbolic last shot Kazan focuses his camera on Emiliano’s trusted white stallion dancing in the hills. The Idea of Zapata will ride on.
Netanyahu and his fearsome right wing make rational debate impossible. US displeasure matters not a jot to them because Israel, by their lights, is not protected by the US. It is protected by books of the Old Testament contained in the Kazan.
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This reminds me of a huge distortion in the Idea of Israel that has always puzzled me. The projection of the conflict in Israel in Muslim-Judaic terms is patently false.
In Andalusia, Spain, Jewish philosophers like Maimonides who complied the Mishneh Torah, were much celebrated during the long Muslim rule. During the “Reconquista” when Muslims and Jews were hounded out by the Inquisition, Jews found refuge in Morocco, where the Royal Palace to this day invites representative form the world Jewry for an annual jamboree. I interviewed the second most powerful man in the Kingdom, Andre Azoulay, a Jew, principal adviser to the King.
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This explained photographs of King Hasan V on the walls of many Sephardic Jews in Jerusalem. This is only one of the social habits which separates Sephardics from the Ashkenazi Jews who migrated from Europe and Russia. They control most of the levers of state power. Prime Minister Menachem Begin was leader of Irgun the avowedly Israeli terrorist organization responsible for blowing up the British headquarters at Jerusalem’s King David hotel killing 96 British subjects in 1946.
This digressive flourish simply to provide perspective. And now that president Biden is unequivocal that Israeli bombing of Gaza is “indiscriminate” I suspect he has gone as far as he can. But will the Minister of Defence, Yoar Gallant and Minister for Internal Security Ben Gvir take note? Their support base flaunts Biblical guarantees to neutralize most US advice which moderates hardline “Bibi” Netanyahu’s position.
Very often Washington has to look over its shoulders at the all powerful Israel lobby before outlining serious policy options on Israel. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s classic “The Israel Lobby” is strewn with nuggets on the Lobby’s extraordinary influence. An American participant at Camp David in 2000 told the authors: “Far too often, we functioned as Israel’s lawyers.”
It is established beyond the shadow of a doubt that on matter relating to Israel, the Lobby can trump any policy. Remember how Barack Obama’s opposition to a Netanyahu visit was thwarted: the Israeli Prime Minister sailed over the president’s head and addressed a joint session of Congress.
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Biden’s words of caution to minimize civilian deaths have been largely ignored during the current Israeli brutalities. In this operation as in previous ones, Israel derives its impurity largely from the Lobby’s capacity to manipulate the US establishment.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s signal to Netanyahu two weeks ago was clear: you must complete the operation of “destroying” Hamas within limited time. Civilian deaths on this scale are leading to a collapse of support worldwide. The ground situation shows Dresden like destruction, but there is no evidence of Hamas having been destroyed.
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To the contrary, the Chief Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Major General Hossein Salami says Israel are in a “quagmire” because “Palestinian youth” are adopting new methods. “So far 180 of their 1,600 tanks have been destroyed.” The number of dead Israeli soldiers is in three digits.
This is a do or die situation for Israel as well as its patron, the US. Vladimir Putin, whose nose the West was determined to rub in the dust ever since the “Special Operations” began in Ukraine on 24th February, 2022, looked none the worse after nearly two years of military operations, even as he visited Saudi Arabia and UAE and received Iran’s President Raisi in Moscow. Meanwhile a high powered EU delegation, European Council President, Charles Michael and European Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen trooped in to meet President Xi Jinping and implored him to use his influence in Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine.
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Just when Ukraine and Gaza were both looking unmanageable, Nicolas Maduro has opened up a front claiming 61,000 km oil and gas rich disputed Essequibo enclave on the border with former British colony, Guyana.
Venezuela is right under the US’s nose. Moreover, just a year ago Washington had produced from its hat one Guan Guaido as its preferred President. The country is oil rich, you see. The eager beaver initiative was abandoned because it was so patently childish. Now Maduro’s move has invited a tepid response from Secretary of State Blinken. He turned up in Guyana but said not a word about the disputes. President Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once famously thundered. “The Monroe doctrine is still alive.” Really?
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