Wed, 27 May 2015
Obama Invokes U.S. Civil Rights Movement to Defend Israel
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
“The Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid.”
Like most politicians in the United States, President Obama takes on the ethic and political coloration of whoever he’s trying to impress. In the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Obama cozied up to Zionist writer and former Israeli solider Jeffrey Goldberg by swearing ever-lasting love for the State of Israel. Again, standard behavior for Democrats and Republicans – but, this time, Obama couldn’t resist dragging Black folks into his political fantasy. If Obama wants to kiss Zionist butt, he should do it with his own lips, and leave Black America out of it.
Obama told Goldberg he sees “a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law.” In Obama’s mind, “These things are indivisible.”
By equating the Zionist state’s racial and religious policies with the U.S. civil rights movement, Obama is committing the gravest slander against African Americans. You might call it a “blood libel.” Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world, since the demise of the white South African regime, Israel’s close partner in crime, two decades ago. Black and white South Africans are well aware that Israel is the last bastion of the racially-based state. Bishop Desmond Tutu, who supports boycotts and economic sanctions against Israel, says segregation on Israeli highways and in housing reminds him “so much of conditions” Blacks experienced under white rule in his own country. White South African John Dugard, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur, says “Israel’s crimes are infinitely worse than those committed by the apartheid regime in South Africa.” Indeed, an article in the popular Israeli newspaper Haaretz points out that the Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid – petty apartheid in effective segregation in public accommodations and transportation, and grand apartheid in terms of where people are allowed to live and work, especially on the occupied West Bank.
“Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world.”
The Israeli government hastily cancelled a plan to segregate Jewish settlers and Palestinians on a bus line into the West Bank, earlier this month, fearing the publicity would evoke memories of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. As it should. The United States was the world’s first apartheid state, and remains a deeply segregated country whose politics are dominated by white racism. So much so, that a Black U.S. president cannot figure out a way to defend Israel without reference to Black America. In the sickest of political contortions, Obama invoked the U.S. civil rights movement as a way of holding out hope that Israel can break away from a deeper descent into apartheid by following the U.S. example. Which is not good news for the Palestinians.
In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked after the Soviet Union dissolved, but it remains true, nonetheless. Civilization demands that the Zionist state be dismantled, root and branch.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.