What Became Of Western Morality?
On the last day of the old year
in CounterPunch, two Israelis, Jeff Halper who heads the Israeli peace
Neve Gordon , who is chairman of the department
of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University,
“Where`s the Academic Outrage Over the Bombing of a
University in Gaza?”
“Not one of
the nearly 450 presidents of American colleges and
universities who prominently denounced an effort by
British academics to
boycott Israeli universities in September 2007
have raised their voice in opposition to Israel`s
bombardment of the Islamic University of Gaza
earlier this week,” report Halper and Gordon.
that Columbia University president Lee C. Bollinger,
who has in the past
It is the goyim moralists who
are silent, not the Jews. It is the Israeli
Haaretz, not the goyim media, that provides
reports of Israel`s abuse of Palestinians. Gideon
Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again” was
Haaretz (29 December), not in the goyim press.
again, Israel`s violent responses, even if there is
justification for them, exceed all proportion and
cross every red line of humaneness, morality,
international law and wisdom”—are not words that
can appear in American print or TV media. Such
words, printed in Israeli newspapers, never reach
The extent of Americans`
ignorance is breathtaking. Israel has the
Palestinians jammed into tightly controlled ghettos
known as Gaza and the West Bank. With Egypt`s help,
Israel controls the inflows of food, medicines,
water, and energy into Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza
are not permitted to enter Israel or Egypt. Last
week a humanitarian ship bringing food and medicine
was rammed by Israeli gunboats and turned away.
In the West Bank, Palestinians
are walled off from their fields, jobs, medical
care, education, water, and from one another by
endless checkpoints, roads for
walls, barbed wire, and machine gun towers.
Palestinians are being evicted from their towns
house by house, block by block.
Israel`s slow theft of
Palestine is illegal under international law but
protected by US
The Palestinians are no more of
a threat to Israel than Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto
were a threat to the Nazi state. Yet, everywhere in
America—Congress, the executive branch, the print
and TV media, the universities, evangelical
Christian institutions—there is the belief that
Israel is on the verge of annihilation by
Palestinian terrorists. This ignorance, so carefully
cultivated by the Israel Lobby, turns genocidal
aggression into self-defense.
It fools Americans, but it
doesn`t fool Israelis. The Israelis have always
“self-defense” is a cloak for a Zionist policy
of territorial expansion. The policy is
controversial within Israel. Many Israelis object,
just as many Americans object to President Bush`s
illegal wars and violations of US civil liberties.
Many Israelis give voice to their moral conscience,
but they are overwhelmed by vested interests.
Karl Marx declared morality to
be merely a mask for vested interests.
of Marx and Engels are scornful of good will and
moral ideals as effective forces in history. The
Israeli state epitomizes Marx`s doctrine that power
alone is the effective force.
Many American conservatives
share the Israeli state`s belief in the efficacy of
power. Conservatives who turned against Bush`s wars
did so because the US was not brutal enough. They
turned away from Bush`s long inconclusive wars in
the way that fans desert a losing team.
Americans used to say that
“the pen is mightier than the sword”, but this hasn`t been the case
for US and Israeli aggression. The success the two
regimes have had in instilling fear into their
populations is part of the explanation for the
impotence of morality. Another part of the
explanation is that vested interests are a powerful
constraint on morality.
Consider the case of Lee
Bollinger. Columbia University is dependent on
Jewish money, faculty and students. If Bollinger
were to take a stand against Israel`s mistreatment
of the Palestinians, he would be denounced as an
anti-Semite. Presidents of competitor universities
would not come to his defense. They would pile on,
in hopes of recruiting Columbia`s top faculty and
students and redirecting the flow of financial
resources from Columbia to themselves.
An American newspaper or TV
network that took a stand against Israel`s abuse of
Palestinians would be confronted with an advertising
boycott organized by AIPAC.
politicians who criticize Israel go down to defeat
by Israel Lobby money.
Hegel gave too much emphasis to
ideas, Marx too much to material interests. Both
forces operate in the world. There are times in
history when revolutionary ideas shatter material
interests. Other times the two coexist in a balance
of power. In other times material interests prevail
We are living in the latter
time. Financial interests, the military-security
complex, and the Israel Lobby are the powers that
rule America. They are buttressed by
neoconservatives and Christian Zionists and by
the patriotic hubris that America is the main force
for good operating in the world. The evils America
commits are dismissed as necessary to the service of
good. The destruction of Iraq, for example, is
“bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people”.
A number of commentators,
including myself, predict a decline in America`s
economic power. As this occurs, Israel will have to
abandon its policy of violence. With the accumulated
hatred that its policies have fomented, Israel will
The world will need to remember
that although Israel is a Jewish state, it is a
state whose policies many Jews find objectionable,
just as a majority of American Jews oppose President
Bush`s wars of aggression in the Middle East and his
unconstitutional policies at home. We must not
confuse Israel`s Zionist government with world
Jewry, just as we must not confuse the American
people with the war criminals in the Bush Regime.
Consider, who do you trust with
your civil liberties, the US Department of Justice
or the ACLU`s phalanx of Jewish attorneys?
We must avoid the mistake that
was made by blaming the German people for Hitler. It
was the aristocratic German military that tried to
remove Hitler. In contrast, Democratic Speaker of
the House Nancy Pelosi blocked the attempt to
impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Pelosi is a
discredit to California, but shall we blame all of
America for Pelosi`s defense of war criminals? How
can we do so when US Rep. Dennis Kucinich
courageously read out
the articles of impeachment on the House floor?
Are all Americans guilty
because Kucinich did not prevail?
Paul Craig Roberts [email
him] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal. He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy and
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Brimelow`s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.