Bernie Sanders’ recent speech in Utah, in which he outlined his views on the Middle East in particular, and foreign affairs in general, was little short of delusional. Certainly it was lackluster. Sanders labeled ISIS as the ultimate evil in the world today, but regrettably he gave no indication of recognizing that ISIS has been backed by our putative allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and probably even by the Mossad and the CIA as well.
Instead, Sanders took his playbook from the mainstream media, calling Syrian President Bashar Assad “a brutal, brutal dictator” and advocating a political settlement “to get Assad out of power.” He also mistakenly referred to the Syrian conflict as a “civil war.” It is not. It is an invasion by foreign powers using terrorist mercenaries as proxies.
In 2014, the people of Syria voted overwhelmingly for Assad in the country’s presidential election. As I have said numerous times, the moderates in Syria are the people who support their government. This is not hard to understand, given the choices before them. But it is something US presidential candidates, including Sanders, either cannot or will not recognize. Assad is a capable leader who has exhibited considerable wisdom and insight in a number of his public comments. For instance, he once observed, “The West calls it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, democracy, freedom, and human rights’ when it hits us.” He alsostated that:
Western officials have lost their credibility. They no longer have double standards; they have triple and quadruple standards. They have all kinds of standards for every political situation. They have lost their credibility; they have sold their principles in return for interests, and therefore it is impossible to build a consistent policy with them. Tomorrow, they might do the exact opposite of what they are doing today.
Assad is correct. Western officials have lost their credibility. But all Sanders can do is parrot the US State Department line that Assad’s a dictator! Assad’s a dictator! Polly wanna cracker, ack! And of course we get no acknowledgement that the Syrian leader has afforded protection to his country’s Christian population.
Ironically, Sanders’ position on Syria doesn’t seem to be distinctly different from Hillary Clinton’s:
— Abbs Winston (@AbbsWinston) March 22, 2016
Sanders also asserted that, “Preventing Iran from getting the bomb will make the world a safe place,” but naturally he made no mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I guess that’s something you simply don’t talk about on the US campaign trail, regardless of whether you’re Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Trump soiled himself in his speech before AIPAC on Monday night, but Sanders really hasn’t done much better here.
I have been saying recently that we need a new political party in America, a party that will go by the name of the End Aid to Israel Party, or EAIP. There are crowdfunding sites out there where startup funding for such a party conceivably could be raised–enough money at least to fund a candidate for a congressional election somewhere in the country. Maybe in 2018. It’s something to be hoped for, at any rate, and it would be understood, of course, that candidates on the EAIP ticket would not be afraid to talk about Israel’s nuclear weapons and the huge, huge problem they pose for the world.
Sanders also got into the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict–in fact it was probably the main point of his speech. And on this issue, just as with regard to Iran and Syria, he is equally lackluster and delusional. This is the point made by Steve Lendman in the article below. As Lendman puts it, Sanders’ “formula for peace isn’t reality based,” and he is absolutely correct in that assessment.
Given the deficiencies in all the major presidential contenders, it seems that sadly we are left, as usual, with “no one to vote for.” It’s down once again to a “lesser of two evils” election. This is why a new political party in America is so direly needed.
Sanders’ Written Remarks to AIPAC
AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.
Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.
“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”
Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.
Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.
Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.
Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.
No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.
Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!
He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.
Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.
Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.
His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe it wants peace and stability.
Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel…Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”
Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.
Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.
Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.
It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.
Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.
Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.
He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”
Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.
Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”
They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.
His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.
Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.
Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”