Posted by: University of Mississippi | June 11, 2009

The Rich Man’s Terrorism

By Justin Head

It is no stretch for one to conclude that terrorism has replaced socialism as the new perceived threat to America. Our government has found it exponentially more convenient to use mythical terrorist threats to scare US citizens into saluting the flag and pledging support for all horrendous atrocities being carried out in our names. These scare tactics are to be expected post Cold War because America needs a new reason to justify its empire, as well as its increasing control over the lives of the population. However, a recent court case has me questioning the arbitrary definition our government has placed on terrorism.

According to Al Jazeera, A US court recently sentenced the former heads of the charity organization Holy Land Foundation to 65 years in prison for providing funds to Hamas. Prosecutors claimed that the charity was spreading Hamas ideology by providing aid to its schools, hospitals, and social welfare programs inside Palestinian territories. They also accused the charity of allowing Hamas to fund its fighting with the charitable donations. Bush labeled this case another battle in the War on Terror. However, while I would not agree with this charity funding Hamas’s violent actions, the case does expose the hypocrisy of the US government in dealing with Israel and Palestine.

We recently had heated debates on this campus over whether or not our school should divest from companies providing military supplies to Israel. The main point of the divestment campaign is that the university is not and, of course, should not invest in companies giving military supplies to Hamas; therefore, we should not invest in companies providing weapons to Israel. We now have a case where a charity, accused of aiding Hamas’s battles with Israel, has its leaders thrown in prison. Is this happening to Boeing or Caterpillar? Would it had been better if, instead of giving Hamas money, the Holy Land Foundation had sold them weapons as US companies are doing with Israel?

This case also exposes another, even more egregious, transgression. According to John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt in their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, the US government gives an average of $3 billion a year to Israel, consisting mainly of direct grants, 75% of which is now spent for military purposes. These figures are larger than for any other country receiving US foreign aid. No doubt Israel uses this money to build illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinians territories and to fight Hamas. Therefore, the US government gives billions to the Israeli military every year, but a charity is jailed for giving any money to Hamas’s fighting force. This is a hypocritical stance.

So why do Americans go along with these obviously biased actions of the US government? Is it correct to assume that Palestinians are the only ones capable of terrorist acts? To answer this question, it is necessary to define terrorism. Of course there are many definitions. However, according to U.S. Code Title 22, Ch.38, Para. 2656f(d), terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. Therefore, Americans must associate Hamas with this definition since we see no harm in giving money to Israel but are willing to prosecute those who do the same to Hamas. However, when taking a look at the facts, Israel seems just as guilty of terrorist acts as does Hamas. According to B’Tselem, The Israel Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, at least 6,348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since September 29, 2000, as opposed to 1,072 Israelis having been killed by Palestinians. Of the 6,348 Palestinian deaths, an estimated 4,596 (72%) were innocent civilians, or what the US calls noncombatant targets. Of the 1,072 Israelis killed, 731 (68%) were innocent civilians.

Seeing as how Israel kills more noncombatant targets than Hamas does, why does America not define Israel’s government as a terrorist organization as well? Israel’s attacks are obviously premeditated, politically motivated, and, as I just pointed out, perpetrated against innocent people. Obviously, the mere intention to strike combatant targets does not exonerate Israel when the innocent are slain as well. The only difference seems to be who is carrying out the attacks. This leads to the conclusion that when a military murders innocent people, they call it collateral damage. However, when poor people murder the innocent, they call it terrorism.  

My wish is that people begin to realize that war and terrorism are the same monster. The murdering of innocent people is never justified, even if it is carried out by fighter jets instead of commercial airliners. America’s love affair with Israel must come to an end. We must also realize that the terror created by our empirical policies is no different than the terrorism we claim to be fighting against.

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Responses

  1. NO. THIS IS A KIND OF SLAUGHTER, NOT APARTHEID. THE ISRAELIS ARE FANATICAL NATIONALISTS, THEIR ONLY LOVE FOR THE USA WITH ITS NON JEWISH POPULATION IS THE WILLINGNESS WE HAVE TO DO WHATEVER THEY SUGGEST….JUST SO LONG AS IT INVOLVES THE OLD LUST TO PUNISH AN UNDEFENDED TARGET, TO SPILL BLOOD AND TO WIN . THE PRO ISRAELI AMERICANS ARE LIKE A BUNCH OF DRUNKEN FOOTGAME LOUTS, THEY WANT TO WIN AND FEEL GREAT. YET THEY CANT TELL YOU WHAT THEY WON. ONLY THAT THEY MADE THE MOTHERS CRY


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