Is Islamophobia Shaping US Policy in Middle East and South Asia?

As the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rolls out "Nakbah 2023", a former senior US diplomat has been caught on a viral video telling an Arab street food vendor in New York that the killing of 4,000 Palestinian children in Gaza is "not enough". The video shows Stuart Seldowitz, who worked on the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under President Barack Obama, beginning by insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the Holy Quran, and then goes on a hateful anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian tirade. Seldowitz also served as deputy director/senior political officer in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003. This incident raises the question: Is Islamophobia shaping the US policy in the Middle East and South Asia regions? 

Stuart Seldowitz, Former US Senior National Security Official

US-Pakistan Ties:

US-Pakistan relations hit an all-time low during the Obama years when Stuart Seldowitz worked on the National Security Council South Asia Directorate. Did Seldowitz contribute to the downward spiral? Would the ties have tanked as rapidly and as far as they did if he wasn't there? Were there other Islamophobes in policy roles who caused it? Seldowitz's recent hateful comments about Muslims and Palestinians do raise all these questions. 

Nakba 2023:

"We're rolling out Nakba 2023", said Israeli government minister Avi Dichter, referring to  Israel's genocidal war on Gaza on November 12, 2023, according to Haaretz newspaperNakbah, meaning catastrophe, is what the Palestinians call their forced removal from their homes and lands by violent Zionist militias in the 1940s. 

Since Dichter's statement about "rolling out Nakba 2023", another Israeli minister,  Gila Gamliel, has  explained in a Jerusalem Post op ed why Israel has made large parts of Gaza un-inhabitable. In her words, Israel wants to "promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip."  

Palestine Partition Plan of 1937

The Nakba 1 happened in contravention of the Balfour Declaration on British support for a Jewish state in Palestine that clearly stated: "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."

Balfour Declaration. Source: Jewish Virtual Library

Settler Colonialism: 

What has followed the Balfour Declaration of 1917 is essentially settler colonialism. It is similar to the displacement of the indigenous populations and their replacement by Europeans in  places like America and Australia. It was endorsed by top British politicians like Winston Churchill.  

“I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger,” former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the Peel Commission in 1937, “even though he may have lain there for a very long time.” He denied that “a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the Black people of Australia,” by their replacement with “a higher grade race.”

Zionist Psyche: 

How do Zionists like Stuart Seldowitz, Avi Dichter and Gila Gamliel think about what is going on in the Middle East? I wrote the following piece a couple of weeks ago to explain it: 

Zionists are "secular" but they use God as their "land agent" who gave them the "promised land", says Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. Jews are God's "chosen people" who are exempt from the rules that apply to non-Jews, according to Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy. Israel is carrying out "ethnic cleansing … and that may become genocide”, adds Israeli American scholar Omer Bartov. "No, Palestinians did not commit acts of terrorism, Israel did", tweets Miko Peled, an ex IDF soldier and son of a former Israeli general. These few quotes summarize current thoughts of some of the former Zionists.  

Israel Turns Gaza into Rubble

Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy:

The core of Zionism is the "feeling of being chosen people" that is "deep rooted" in Israel. A consequence of it is that the rules and laws that apply to others do not apply to Israelis. Here's a quote from one of his speeches:   

"This is the core of Zionism. This feeling of chosen people is still very deep rooted in Israel. The consequence is that everything which refers to any other country in the world does not refer to Israel. That we are a special case. That international law should be implemented everywhere, but we are a different case. That a Molotov bottle against a Jewish soldier is not like a Molotov bottle against a Russian soldier because we are different, because we are chosen, because of this damned Jewish supremacy". 

On Israel's campaign of dehumanizing Palestinians, Levy says:

“My biggest struggle is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.”

Levy believes that the talk of the peace process and two-state solution is a scam perpetrated by Zionists. Here's Levy in his own words:   

"Now the real turning point should be, for us, the moment that each of us realize that the Israeli occupation is not a temporary phenomenon. I think that most of the people, if not all of them, understand that the occupation is there to stay. And Israel never had the slightest intention to put an end to it. All the efforts were only to mislead the West and to maintain the occupation. All this longest peace process in history, which never led to anywhere, was never aimed to lead to anywhere. All those efforts were only in order to mislead you and enable the occupation to grow, including Oslo". 

Professor Avi Shlaim:

Oxford Professor Avi Shlaim believes that Israel "prefers land to peace", adding that "land grabbing and peacemaking don't go together". Here's his exact quote:

"Land grabbing and peacemaking don’t go together, it’s one or the other, and by constantly expanding settlements, Israel showed that it prefers land to peace....Israel by its actions has shown that it is not interested in having a Palestinian partner for peace because it wants to maintain its control over the territory. Israel refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Israel’s position is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation – pure and simple. It will never negotiate with it. Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy has been to let Hamas rule the Gaza Strip, but to contain the Gaza Strip, and this policy collapsed, because Gaza could not be contained."

Professor Omer Bartov:

Holocaust scholar Omer Bartov has warned of "genocide" in Gaza. He has talked about "clear intention of ethnic cleansing" in the narrow strip of two million Palestinians under heavy bombardment by Israeli forces since the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel. Here's a quote from him:

"So, my sense is the following. Israeli political leaders and military leaders have made very startling and frightening statements about Gaza, speaking about flattening Gaza, speaking about Hamas, but by sort of extending it also, by extension, also Gazans, in general, as human animals, speaking about moving the entire population of Gaza out of Gaza. That is a clear intention of ethnic cleansing. So, those statements show intent. And that’s a genocidal intent, which is often very difficult to prove in genocide. People who carry out genocide don’t always want to say that they’re doing it". 

Former Israeli Soldier Miko Peled:

Miko Peled, whose father was a general in the IDF and who himself served in the Israeli military, says that Israel is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Talking about the October 7 surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, he says that "Israel is behaving like a gangster who has been humiliated taking vengeance upon innocent civilians, killing thousands upon thousands". "It's not a question of self-defense, it's a question of brutality and revenge because Israel was humiliated", he adds in an interview on Al Jazeera English

Peled accuses Israel of lying about the October 7 attack. He said the testimony is now showing that most of the Israeli civilians on October 7 were killed by the Israeli helicopters firing indiscriminately.  He says the western governments who support Israel “are supporting the fight against justice, the fight against peace”.

Peled says that “liberal Zionism” is a myth and all forms of Zionism amount, in practice, to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms for the Palestinian people. This process starts at a young age for Israeli children whose history textbooks claim that the Palestinians left their homes of their own free will, that they were not driven out by Jewish militias in the 1940s. These history books deny what the Palestinians call "Nakbah", meaning Great Catastrophe, that forced them to flee their homes as part of the Zionist plan to ethnically cleanse what is now Israel. 

Related Links:


Riaz Haq said…
Arnaud Bertrand

This is a must-read by Omer Bartov, an Israeli professor who is one of the world’s leading Holocaust historians and genocide experts:

"On October 7 the repressed reality of Palestinians under direct or indirect Israeli rule literally exploded in the country’s face. From this perspective, while I was shocked and horrified by the brutality of the Hamas attack, I was not surprised at all that it occurred. This was an event waiting to happen. If you keep over two million people under siege for 16 years, cramped in a narrow strip of land, without enough work, proper sanitation, food, water, energy, education, with no hope or future prospects, you cannot but expect outbreaks of ever more desperate and brutal violence."
Riaz Haq said…
Arnaud Bertrand
This has got to be a first in France's history. A former Prime Minister saying that France is becoming "a very diminished nation" ("un très petit pays"), notably due to the country's reduction in freedom of thought and speech with regard to Israel.

This was Dominique de Villepin, who was responding to accusations of antisemitism made against him, because he'd been very critical of Israel and of the censorship of Israel's critics. Here's a complete translation of what he said, as always extraordinarily well expressed:

"All roads lead to Rome, but not all paths of criticism lead to antisemitism. It is possible to criticize the United States without being necessarily antisemitic. One can criticize the messianic Zionism of a part of the Israeli government without being antisemitic. One can support the idea of justice for the Palestinian people without being antisemitic. One can question an economic, cultural, financial system... As far as I know, a former [french] president of the republic campaigned denouncing the power of finance, he was not antisemitic!

Essentially, in all the questions you ask me, what is the goal? What is the purpose behind you and those who prepare this kind of questioning? It is to make sure that I remain silent... By constantly wanting to limit our ability to express ourselves, by no longer being able to say anything in the media under the pretext that it might mean [this or that] or be inconvenient, by tracking all forms of thought that can overshadow a strategy or policy, we are becoming what we are turning into, that is, a very diminished nation.

Look at the United States, what is happening there? In the United States, within the Democratic Party, which is not known for its antisemitism, a major revolt is taking place regarding Israel. A generational revolt, a political revolt. And within the Jewish community itself, linked to the relationship between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, there is also a revolt organizing.

You know, what I think about first and foremost by telling you this is the interests of Israel, the interest of the Jewish community: it is necessary to help oneself, that is, not to put oneself in a situation where one risks fueling criticism. So I believe it takes a lot of lucidity, a great deal of rigor, a little bit of courage, to try to assert one's ideas and convictions."

Riaz Haq said…
Israeli archives from 1948 shed light on Nakbah

In December 2021, Haaretz published an investigation that revealed new information about the 1948 Israeli massacres of Palestinians, based on documents from Israeli government archives. The documents included cabinet meeting minutes and soldiers' letters, and the report found that top Israeli leaders were aware of and complicit in the violence. The investigation also uncovered a "migration report" that details Israel's depopulation of Palestinian villages in the first six months of the 1948 war, which contradicts official Israeli narratives.

Institute for Palestine Studies |
The Erasure of the Nakba in Israel's Archives
Keywords: depopulation. expulsion. nakba. Israeli archives. whispering campaigns. psychological warfare. dispossession. 1948 war. Abstract: 2019 investigation by the Israeli NGO Akevot and Haaretz newspaper has uncovered official suppression of crucial documents about the Nakba in Israeli archives. The Journal of Palestine Studies is publishing print excerpts and a full online version of the buried “migration report,” which details Israel's depopulation of Palestinian villages in the first six months of the 1948 war, a document that clearly undermines official Israeli state narratives about the course of events.

TRT World
Palestine: Declassified documents reveal details of Israeli ...
Newly-released documents from Israeli government archives reveal details of atrocities committed against Palestinians during two large-scale operations carried out by Israeli forces during the Nakba of 1948, several months after the official establishment of the State of Israel. The classified information was made available following a request to the state archivist by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research, and a report on the findings was published in Haaretz by researcher Adam Raz.

Jewish Currents
Archives of Israeli Oppression - Jewish Currents
Sep 29, 2023 — Mitchell Abidor. September 29, 2023. The Visitors' Center at the Israel State Archives. Avishai Teicher / PikiWiki Israel. In December 2021, Haaretz published a groundbreaking investigation exposing previously unknown information about Israel's massacres of Palestinians in 1948. Drawing on newly uncovered documents from government archives—including cabinet meeting minutes and soldiers' letters—the report found that top Israeli leaders were aware of, and complicit in, the violence of the Nakba, when Zionist militias expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their land.
The Nakba, which means "catastrophe" in Arabic, refers to the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians were made refugees beyond the borders of the state.
However, some say that many of the documents that expose the systematic nature of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine are no longer accessible to the public or to researchers. A 2019 investigation by the Israeli NGO Akevot and Haaretz newspaper uncovered official suppression of crucial documents about the Nakba in Israeli archives.
Generative AI is experimental.,750%2C000%20Palestinians%20from%20their%20land.

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