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EP PODCASTSXML

January 23, 2009

The Art of Plain Speaking

James Petras lithographIn the UK press one frequently finds tough criticism of Israel. See, for example, this recent essay by Mark Steel in the Independent, a thoroughly mainstream UK paper [proving me wrong the paper pulled the article sometime in the last 24 hours, but you can still find it at Mark's site]. One cannot imagine a similar essay appearing in the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, or the Wall Street Journal, or USA Today, or indeed any other major American newspaper. Why not? Perhaps more taboo than mentioning the 'Israel Lobby,' is asking what's behind it, what makes it different than the tobacco lobby, the NRA, or the AARP? To get at this vexing issue I turned to an extraordinarily distinguished leftist academic, Dr. James Petras. Jim is one of the very, very few people that I know of who reasons sensibly about the problem of Zionist influence and who isn't afraid to speak out. And he's an amazing conversationalist. It was kind of Jim to talk with me and I'll try to live up to his example. Total runtime fifty six minutes. Seek justice without fear or favor.

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« Barbarism in Gaza (and Zimbabwe) | Main | Daring To Disarm »



Comments

Congratulations on tackling a topic that is still very taboo (despite the recent efforts of Walt & Mearsheimer).

I agree overall with many of the points made by Mr Petras, but I couldn't help feeling that there was a lot of wishful thinking on his part, if he really believed that Obama could take any of the steps he argued for wrt to Israel (eg. withholding military aid, or banning dual citizenship, or tax-deductible donations that fund colonization). I would wholeheartedly agree with these ideas, but lets face it, it's just not going to happen with Obama; and I noticed you tried to coax him in to suggesting more practical realpolitik actions Obama or Democrats could take — but he failed to offer anything realistic. Unfortunately, all of Obama's in/actions and appointments to date suggest that he is every bit a captive of the Israel Lobby as his predecessor.

I think the only real way forward for those of us who want to see a just peace in Palestine is to personally lead the way by supporting a boycott of Israeli goods and companies that have major investments in Israel. We are already seeing fledgling boycotts take shape in Europe. We don't need politicians. The internet has the power to virally spread the call to action to the tens of millions of people who have watched and been repulsed — perhaps for the first time — by the needless and savage butchery of innocents by the unrepentant, nay gleeful Israeli killing machine. Enough! Never again!

Here's one practical suggestion that many people can easily take: If you are buying a computer or know someone who is, boycott any Intel-powered PC. Intel has a huge research and manufacturing facility built on stolen Palestinian land (Qiryat Gat). Instead, buy AMD-powered PCs, which are just as good. And make sure you write Intel to tell!!

He got one thing wrong — Rahm Emanuel was never in the Gulf War and he was not a soldier in any war, his father was. I doubt Obama would have picked him if he was anti-Palestinian. And this subject is not so taboo anymore, thanks to the brutal behavior of the Israeli army. Banning the mainstream media from Gaza was a mistake for Israel because it then meant that the "other" media, regular people with cell phones and blogs, etc., were given more publicity in their reporting from the ground inside Gaza. One person I bet they regret becoming a reporter from the hospitals was the Norwegian doctor, who did far more damage to the PR effort of Israel than anyone from NBC might have. Israel did everything so wrong and so brutally this time around that it turned a lot of people from supporting them to questioning everything they said. At this point Israel has very little credibility left and the whole world has seen their unspeakable violence, finally.

[RE served as a volunteer on an Israeli military base during the first Gulf War. I notice a lot of people get confused about what he actually did. g.]

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