Of all the current political taboos that we have in the United States and in the west as a whole, the one that often exacts the greatest scorn, and at times the quickest punishment when violated, is the prohibition against not giving total allegiance to the Nation of Israel. It really doesn't matter whether one is American, Canadian, British, French - whatever, the rule still applies.
In the United States, all major presidential candidates as well as many congressional aspirants seemingly must appear at the annual Policy Conference sponsored by AIPAC, otherwise known as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; this, in order to swear allegiance to Israel's foreign policy objectives. This lobbying organization's own website puts it this way:
"The AIPAC Policy Conference is the pro-Israel community's preeminent annual gathering. The event attracts more than 5,000 community and student activists from all 50 states, and more than half of the Senate, a third of the House of Representatives and countless American and Israeli policymakers and thinkers."
Last year, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barak Obama all attended and gave speeches at the conference. None of these candidates questioned in the least, Israel's foreign policies toward its neighbors, including well documented human-rights violations and collective punishments used against the civilian populations of Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Further, President Obama was sworn in only a few days after Israel completed an operation of absolute carnage against Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli operation included the now documented use of internationally-banned white phosphorus against defenseless people there and blocked humanitarian aid from reaching the suffering. This included the deliberate firing upon Red Cross workers. Still, not a word of this was mentioned by Mr. Obama either on Inauguration day or any time during the two months since - nor will it be. The simple fact of the matter is that for all practical purposes, the State of Israel, either directly or through its various powerful lobbies such as AIPAC, controls our politicians and foreign policy in the Middle East.
Those who dare to speak up against Israeli policies are quick to find themselves labeled as "anti-Semitic," with these accusations coming as quickly from so-called liberals as well as conservatives. In Germany it is actually illegal to deny the holocaust, and just about anywhere in the west where one speaks against Israeli policy some sort of ostracism is almost sure to follow; this, not because of any wrong doing, but only due to the holding an unpopular opinion - political correctness at its best. While this writer certainly condemns the atrocities committed against the Jewish people by the Nazis during the 30's and 40's I have to say emphatically that I am not afraid of opinions that differ from my own. After all, isn't free speech and lively debate what it's supposed to be about? Further, the questions must be asked: Isn't it right to condemn all human-rights violations, no matter who they are committed by and no matter who they are committed against? How can we on the one hand, condemn Nazi atrocities against Jewish people and then on the other, condone Israel's more recent violations against the virtually defenseless Palestinian and Lebanese populations?
The extent to which some governments and organizations will go to stifle any discussion or ideas contrary to Israel's policies toward its neighbors was brought out into the open recently when the Canadian government banned George Galloway from entering that country in order to thwart a March 30 speaking engagement and public forum in Toronto that was to be entitled, Resisting War From Gaza to Kandahar.
For those who are not familiar with him, Galloway is a radio talk-show host as well as a member of the British Parliament - one who has been elected to that governing body five times; this, in spite of being cast out of the Labour Party in October of 2003 when it was decided by the party leadership that his strong statements against that year's invasion of Iraq brought his party into disrepute. Mr. Galloway is a controversial figure in Great Britain, and is often considered as being one who enjoys rubbing people the wrong way. This writer's opinion of him, after some observation, is that the British MP is a passionate voice for peace and justice in an often unjust world, a man whose statements and actions are either misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented by his critics. If he enjoys rubbing some folks the wrong way, then so be it. He is certainly no criminal and is certainly not a terrorist - a label the Canadian government seemingly wants to place upon him.
Late last week Mr. Galloway faced off in a televised discussion on UK Channel 4 with Meir Weinsten, the director of the JDL (Jewish Defense League) of Canada. Reportedly, the JDL was instrumental in convincing the Canadian government to block Galloway's entrance into the country on the grounds of being a national security threat; this, in spite of the fact that the British anti-war spokesman travels to that country every year in order to engage in such forums. It must also be pointed out that in its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, our own FBI referred to the JDL as a "violent extremist Jewish Organization."
During the televised discussion Weinsten labeled Galloway as "a threat to Canadian security" and "a proxy agent" for Hamas and Hezbollah. These charges come in part, from the British MP's recent visit to Gaza, where he and many more of his countrymen delivered humanitarian aid to the people of that war-ravaged territory. Toward the end of the discussion the MP pointed out that there are other means available with which to address the Canadian people. In response, Weinsten issued a threat to any Canadian supporters of Galloway or those who would so much as listen to him by saying, "we will be looking into these organizations to expose their links to terrorist organizations." He went on to threaten individuals as well. Galloway's response was to cite Weinsten's remarks as being "venal and brute threats." He called for debate as opposed to exclusion.
For any who watch the above-mentioned debate - if you want to call it that, it is easy to observe Weinsten's body language and his general demeanor. In the opinion of this writer, to watch Weinsten in action is to see the bare face of fascism - a fascism that intends to do harm to anyone, who will even listen to a differing point of view from that of the Israeli storyline. To watch George Galloway, as he stands up to his opponent armed with truth and freedom, is a ray of light in an ever-darkening political climate.
Those organizations to whom Galloway was scheduled to speak have already begun legal action in order to overturn their government's decision. The MP's contention that, "all right-thinking Canadians, whether they agree with me over the wisdom of sending troops to Afghanistan or not, will oppose this outrageous decision," seems to be coming to fulfillment in that country.
On March 24, Canada's own Center for Research on Globalization published an article entitled Bush Versus Galloway: Who is a Threat to Canada's Security? The article begins by stating that, "A gross violation of constitutional and international law occurred this week heralding a dark day for Canadian governance and society. The credibly accused war criminal George W. Bush was allowed into Canada in violation of Canada's ratified international and constitutional obligations...The Canadian government's complacency in the war criminal's visit, was starkly contrasted with the haste of the government in banning the anti-war British MP George Galloway from entering Canada, who was planning to speak to an anti-war church group in Toronto in the coming weeks."
Further, even thoughtful Jewish Canadians have begun speaking out against their government"s banning of Mr. Galloway in favor of free speech and lively debate.
Although George Galloway has said that the Canadian government's decision is unacceptable and that he intends to fight it, there is no telling what the eventual outcome of this dispute will be. It is his feeling that Canada's right-wing government will soon be swept away by the voters in the up and coming elections; there is some reason to believe that this is so. Still, it is difficult to deny the ever-growing power of Israel and its lobbying/citizen's groups in the United States, Canada, and other western countries. It is becoming more obvious by the day that as regards the situation in the Middle East, it is these people's intention that there will only be one narrative told - and it will be theirs! Good luck George. I hope you win this one.