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Barney Frank: Israel is Mandela, Gaza is apartheid South Africa

by fairleft Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:54:59 AM EST

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U.S. Senator Barney Frank equates Israel's brutal embargo against the Gaza Strip with the 1980s U.S. sanctions against the South Africa apartheid regime. Can a member of Congress get any more down on his hands and knees toward a foreign power, one that seems to have just engaged in murder and piracy on the high seas, and this from a supposed liberal beacon in the U.S. Senate?

Barney Frank Compares Israel's Gaza Blockade to Sanctions Against Apartheid
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 04, 2010

Israel's blockade against Gaza is comparable to the sanctions levied by the U.S. Congress against the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1986, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank told the Forward in an interview June 3.

Rebuffing critics who decry the effects of the Israeli blockade on the health and welfare of Gaza's Palestinian residents, Frank said, "I remember that argument being used against our tough sanctions against the South African regime during apartheid. People said, `You're hurting the South African black people,' and Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill and we overrode his veto.

"A few years later," Frank recalled, proudly, "I listened to Nelson Mandela in the Capitol thank us for helping maintain the sanctions because they were so effective." . . .

And now Frank listens to Benjamin Netanyahu deny medicine and infant formula to the Gaza Strip and he hears Nelson Mandela in that? Here's more obsequiosity from the leading 'progressive' in the U.S. Senate:


In his interview with the Forward, Frank also sought to clarify remarks the Boston Herald attributed to him in a June 2 article. The article stated that the congressman "had harsh words yesterday for the Israeli navy," but a transcript of the interview that Frank provided offered no evidence of such remarks.  . . .

"I never said anything critical of the Israeli navy," Frank stressed in his interview with the Forward and in a statement he issued. The liberal lawmaker, who chairs the prestigious House Financial Services Committee, went to great lengths to emphasize he had not a critical word to say about Israel's conduct in the flotilla incident.

Though no sane person knows exactly what went on on the boat -- but you can get an inkling from Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range -- Frank is absolutely sure who is really responsible for all the deaths, and he's sure it wasn't the military guys blasting away with their assault weapons. And, oh, by the way, why do we need an independent, international investigation of the killings, Israel is the best in the world at investigating itself!

Frank said also that after learning the details of the flotilla event, it "became clear to me that the people killed weren't innocent bystanders." The responsibility, he added, rests on the shoulders of the organizers whose actions led to the use of force. . . .

Despite calls to launch an international investigation into Israel's actions, Frank said he believed that Israel could investigate itself without fear of prejudice. "The Israeli government, Israeli courts, have the best record I know of a country's judiciary showing independence."

What a one-party state the U.S. is on this and everything else military or economic. It should be a crime, especially for real progressives or real leftists, to pretend that isn't the case.

And in case you think Frank is unusually subservient toward Israel, you'd be wrong. (Unusually craven, yes, but that's more a matter of style.) Like the Forward says below, it's wall-to-wall 'Israel can do no wrong' in the U.S. Congress:

One of the few voices in Congress calling for a change in United States policy is Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison. . . .

In a statement he issued following the flotilla incident, Ellison urged President Obama and the international community to lead an effort to end the blockade. "This event is the result of the ongoing, counterproductive blockade on Gaza," he said. "The blockade punishes ordinary citizens, and strengthens Hamas's control over commerce."

But Ellison's is a lone voice on this issue. Statements by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who heard the news from Gaza during their Memorial Day recess, showed almost wall-to-wall support for the Israeli position and urged the continuation of the blockade.

"The naval blockade and the closure of access points into Israel from Gaza are entirely justified, legal and necessary to preserve Israeli lives and to minimize the smuggling of more and more powerful arms into Gaza to be used against Israeli civilians," said New York Democrat Gary Ackerman, who chairs the House subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

What to do about this one-party state?

Finally, by the way, in case you think Frank redeems himself as a leftie as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, read Ralph Nader:

The banks did not want a consumer right of action against companies violating standards for their mortgages, credit and debit cards, or payday and installment loans. Barney said sure!

The banks want a weak oversight panel consisting of their toady regulators, who failed repeatedly and miserably in the past decade to stave off the collapse of Wall Street and its economically lethal consequences for workers and consumers. Barney said sure!

The banks want their buddies in Congress to drop the standard of reasonableness by which the new consumer protection agency can go after wildly gouging fees and deceptive practices, such as the check overdraft racket that rakes in $40 billion for the banks. Barney said, sure, sure!

Okay, that was from back in late 2009, but do we think anything has really changed since then? He's owned by those who give him money, as are nearly all of 'our' representatives.

CORRECTION: OOPs, Barney Frank is actually not in the Senate but the House, chair of its finance committee, and one of the leading pseudo-progressives there.

Display:
did you expect anything else ? Aipac have bought DC with its own aid money. Nothing will change until laws are passed to forbid foreign powers owning the US political process in the same way that foreign individuals are.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 08:18:55 AM EST
I didn't think someone like Barney would play the Nelson Mandela card on this. Avigdor or Joe Lieberman, sure. My sense is AIPAC is raising the degree of groveling for their max contributions.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 11:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO you are one of the sharper knives in the ET drawer.  So please explain to me how ...

... laws are passed to forbid foreign powers owning the US political process in the same way that foreign individuals are.
could possibly come about since the people you wish to rein in write the rules.  How does that happen?  Tea Party activity?  That group has already been compromised by the Repubs.  End of the US as we know it?  Could happen.  Nothing's forever.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll come up against a series of increasingly inflexible resource constraints in the not so far future. If the current incumbents do not adapt to this new reality, then they will cease to be incumbents.

The question will then be how much of your political, economic and civil infrastructure they take with them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:41:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question will then be how much of your political, economic and civil infrastructure they take with them.

I think I like the sound of that.  If I may use an analogy, the US is a human body, the Fed Govt. is a cancer which must be removed, and CA is a fetus preparing to be born.  Let the birth-mother die.  It has served its purpose.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:52:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Permit me to temper your enthusiasm a bit: Would California be able to feed itself in the absence of imported natural gas, electricity and crude and refined oil?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Energy sources ... we'll survive once we know what's going down.

  2. Food ... we can easily produce enough for ourselves and have plenty to trade for ... whatever.

  3. Innovation ... once our feet are to the fire, watch out.

The real question:  What will the Fed. Govt. do once it sees itself looking like the old USSR?  Invasion of CA?  Nuke strikes on Sacramento?  All in the name of Democracy, of course.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 06:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Electricity infrastructure takes between five and twenty years to build. "Once you know what's going down" you are too late to adapt to it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 06:36:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh poo poo.  Once the population accepts the fact that the old regime is over, the first question is ... What do we need to survive?  Start there.  Don't limit your thinking to today's givens.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 06:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 07:13:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What will the Fed. Govt. do once it sees itself looking like the old USSR?....Nuke strikes on Sacramento?

That, depending on who was in town, might actually be doing CA a favor.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the meantime, Drill, baby, drill!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Palin has long advocated deep water drilling along with the so called "preferred" locations.  What a fraud!

Revealing article:
  http://malialitman.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/1114/

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:02:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Global Civil Society Campaign to De-Legitimise Israel? - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 4, 2010 (IPS) - If, as expected, the U.N. Security Council remains politically impotent and refuses to penalise Israel for the killings of nine pro-Palestinian civilians on a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, what is the next course of action?

A global civil society campaign to de-legitimise Israel? Formal or informal sanctions by individual states? Worldwide arrest warrants?

All of these - and more - are in the realm of possibility, say two leading constitutional experts, Professor Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Michael Ratner, president of the New York- based Centre for Constitutional Rights.

The gridlock in the Security Council is likely to remind civil society forces that justice for the Palestinians will depend on bottom-up conflict resolution, and a global delegitimising campaign that worked so well in the struggle to defeat South African racism, Falk told IPS.

Asked how Israel could be punished and/or penalised for its atrocities - if action is to be taken outside the Security Council chambers - Falk said there are two sets of punitive responses outside of the U.N. system.

First, by strong diplomatic initiatives, as for instance, the deterioration of Israeli trade and security relations with Turkey, and others; and by some governments adopting informal or formal sanctions - again the South Africa analogy is relevant, he said.

Secondly, by civil society initiatives that move toward further de-legitimisation of Israel, such as a citizen tribunal on Israeli aggression on the high seas or slow genocide in Gaza; an intensifying campaign fueled by outrage, including the failure of the United Nations to uphold international law in relation to Israel, said Falk, who is also professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.

Ratner told IPS the injured citizens from various countries can and should begin criminal prosecutions in their home countries against Israeli officials who ordered this attack in international waters.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 09:27:45 AM EST
That Israel has said that they won't even investigate, much less prosecute there crimes in this instance, makes it an issue for the ICC. And before someone reminds me that Israel isn't a signatory, and if that's a legitimate excuse, then what is the next step up for a country who knows it can't sign because it is in the midst of performing war crimes daily?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 04:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ratner told IPS the injured citizens from various countries can and should begin criminal prosecutions in their home countries against Israeli officials who ordered this attack in international waters.

Or their governments, such as Turkey, could undertake legal action on their behalf, which is sorta what I suggested in mig's "Israel and Turkey: no love lost". But this needs to be done by everyone who has a claim and is able. The strategy of the Lilliputians to tie down Gulliver when the opportunity presented itself.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barney got a dose of his own medicine. I saw this information on some liberal blogs and I was sure you would write about it. Because it was brazen lie proven by history of consistent defense by US of apartheid regime in UN Security Council. I think hundreds of anti-Pretoria resolutions were vetoed by US, maybe more than anti-Israel resolutions.

Nobody expected Barney to jump into defense of Palestinians as we know now how the whole American establishment is sustained on AIPAC funelled funds. On DK I saw a diary with list of recipients, headed by Liberman and McCain, but the list seemed to include who's who in Washington. Nobody was forgotten and Barney as well. He however could do the PR work better on behalf of Israel.

As for the conflict itself I think despite the prevailing despair I see silver lining in extracting lessons from this vicious cycle of violence and hatred for the distant future. The sides should remember that they both belong to one, human specie, and they eventually will have to find decent compromise, just to remain human beings.

by FarEasterner on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:18:40 PM EST
I appreciate your sentiments, but it has gone too far.

On some things, I don't think that there is a room for decent compromise. In terms of slow genocide, what is the compromise?

...from bombing hospitals and water plants? only water and power plants are OK?

...from using 45% of the areas usable land as an alleged security buffer zone? 22% is OK?

...from extra-judicial killings every week that just happen to also kill a few (or more) people who just happen to be also driving on the same road or hanging on some corner, to just a couple a month?

Every violation of the Geneva Protocols, every day, is an individual war crime. That there is complete empathy from the US because it likes to do the same things is reprehensible. The same US who is doing the same identical in the 3 active war zones of its own, a repeat of what they did for years in Viet Nam and Cambodia and Laos?

Boycott them both. It's time.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 04:53:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not in the plans of those who run Israel now:

. . . they eventually will have to find decent compromise, just to remain human beings.

Israel has descended into open international law violations and war crime. It's a virtually inevitable result of a large and permanent military-industrial complex and its decisive control of the media and the political system. The only solution is the one applied to apartheid South Africa.

Global BDS Movement
http://bdsmovement.net/

In Response to Israel's Assault on the Freedom Flotilla: BNC Calls for Action
Posted by RORCoalition on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:49

BNC, 1 June 2010 - Palestinian civil society calls for intensifying boycott and sanctions as Israel massacres humanitarian relief workers and international solidarity activists . . .

http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/710

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 07:59:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the boycott link.

Problem is, whatever they lose in a boycott, the US will probably give.

It is time to boycott American companies who do well exporting, especially consumer products; Who are they?

For example: Apple, but start by only hitting iTunes, both to get into practice and to not fight the impossible until there is more peer acceptance.

All GE products...that list has to be convoluted...

Obviously, Coke, McDonalds, and other food products.

Whether successful this time, each time we attack a country for its policies, we should get better. What are some past lessons learned?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is, whatever they lose in a boycott, the US will probably give.

What is the South African experience in this respect?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tightly focused boycotts are the only successful ones, from what I remember of that history. And success matters. I think, for example, that a boycott of companies complicit in the expansion of Israeli settlements and the Gaza blockade has a better chance of success (at least here in the States) than one focused on Israel in general.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, this is going to be neither quick nor easy.

Second, I equate this with the anti-war disobedience of '68 to '75. There are many who say that at some point it was the execs in high places who said "enough." They can't afford to let the society rent too wide or they can't manipulate it so well.

Third, the US was not a friend of the boycott for a long long long time, one of the marks of Frank's hypocrisy.

Forth, is buying something used that one can't buy because of a boycott allowed?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:51:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time is not on the side of Israel, only the USA. Demographics are against them. The economic and technological development of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey is against them. They are a very small nation in area. They cannot afford to sacrifice a large number of their citizens. Large numbers of Palestinians have little to lose. We may well yet end up seeing radioactive craters where Jerusalem used to be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:53:23 PM EST
.
and place Benjamin Netanyahu on the US terrorist list! The People's representatives in US Congress display an extreme case of amnesia of South Africa's white regime and their joint development of biological and chemical weapons with the racist Israeli regime.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:53:34 AM EST
about it? Oh that's right, because Mandela would tell him that it is, indeed, Apartheid.

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.
by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:44:49 AM EST
.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people

When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system.

But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians; without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.

We are proud as a government, and as the overwhelming majority of South Africans to be part of an international consensus taking root that the time has come to resolve the problems of Palestine.

Indeed, all of us marvelled at the progress made a few years ago, with the adoption of the Oslo Agreements. Leaders of vision, who saw problems not merely from the point of view of their own narrow constituency, had at least found a workable approach towards friendship and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.

I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these Palestinian and Israeli leaders. In particular, we pay homage to the memory of Yitshak Rabin who paid the supreme sacrifice in pursuit of peace.

We are proud as humanists, that the international consensus on the need for the implementation of the Oslo Agreements is finding expression in the efforts of the multitude of Israeli and Palestinian citizens of goodwill who are marching together, campaigning together, for an end to prevarication. These soldiers of peace are indeed sending a message to us all, that the day is not far off, when Palestinian and Jewish children will enjoy the gay abandon of children of God in a peaceful and prosperous region.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand:
And yesterday, GOP Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a libertarian who thinks the U.S. has no business in most international affairs, also blasted Israel's actions, telling radio host Don Imus that the blockade of Gaza is "atrocious" and America's support of it makes us "morally responsible."

"Preventing goods from going in, it's actually an act of war," Paul said. "It's absolutely wrong to prevent people that are starving and having problems -- that are almost like in concentration camps -- [from receiving aid], and saying, `Yes, we endorse this whole concept.'

"I think it's just terrible, and I don't think we should be a part of it."

Could somebody please ask Rand Paul if he agrees with his father?...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:32:06 PM EST
is just repeating what many paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan used to say. Buchanan also condemned Israel in American Conservative.
by FarEasterner on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 06:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Is just a Southern bigot of the KKK type. Buchanon's views on Israel. Ron Paul tells as he sees it and blames US foreign policy in the Middle East for the blowback we see today. Quite a difference and is more an isolationist of non-interference.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You do realize that Barney Frank is Jewish, and lives in Newton, which is the center of Judaism in Massachusetts...complete with eruv.

http://bostoneruv.org/bound.htm

It is not surprising that he would support an Israeli position.

by asdf on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:20:59 PM EST
why Jewish origin of Barney Frank should automatically give licence of blind support to all actions of Israel? I heard that Bernard Kouchner is Jew, Sarkozy is half Jew but that don't make them support every Israeli action. This is also true to American, New Zealand, etc Jews, not all of them are blindly pro-Israel. There are many critics even inside Israel. So Barney's words should be taken and judged at their face value.
by FarEasterner on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:12:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the people in his district, including most of the Jews I bet, don't support his equating Israel's blockade of Gaza with anti-apartheid activists South Africa boycott movement. Anyway, I posted my diary simply to show how far gone things are now here in the U.S., to make fun of the big fat a-hole, and for entertainment purposes, not because I was surprised.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 09:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the irony...

European Tribune - Can't say 'Israeli apartheid' in Toronto

Oh, and yeah, Israel's rule in the occupied territory fully qualifies as apartheid. As the folks who know say:

'This is like apartheid': ANC veterans visit West Bank
By Donald Macintyre in Hebron
Friday, 11 July 2008

Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the restrictions endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.

Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank.

After a five-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, some delegates expressed shock and dismay at conditions in the Israeli-controlled heart of Hebron. Uniquely among West Bank cities, 800 settlers now live there and segregation has seen the closure of nearly 3,000 Palestinian businesses and housing units. Palestinian cars (and in some sections pedestrians) are prohibited from using the once busy streets.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 05:29:25 AM EST


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