Newsletter by Mazin Qumsiyeh: Zionism, Imperialism, Dictatorship in the Middle East

by Mazin Qumsiyeh, February 27, 2016. 
A Syrian colleague who is in his 9th decade of life wrote
commenting on what he had witnessed in his life. Starting with the Ottoman rule
(that many Turkish leaders long to revive) he went on to describe why we Arabs
fell for the binary notion of having to choose those who ppressed us for five
hundred years and those who were to become the new oppressors from the West
(starting with France and Britain and now the USA). It made me think about the
same dichotomous false choice they give us today: we either side with Iran and
Russia or with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US. My friends’s conclusion about
the earlier periods is that the people moved in these directions because they
had limited social and economic progress. I wish he elaborated on this issue of
social progress. I am an educator dealing with students and with society under
tremendous pressure all the time. When I look back to the 1960s and 1970s I
recall as a child and then youth how there was indeed more curiosity about the
world. Young and old would sit together and talk about new discoveries in the
world. We would discuss science, we would think about advances in astronomy and
in physics and in chemistry. No topic was off limits and we debated
evolutionary theory, nature of and existence of a god, environmental issues and
more. Politics was simpler: we all rallied against Zionism and imperialism. We
did it based on objective observable evidence and logic. We viewed notions of
sectarianism and religious-based governance as “retrograde” ideas that can be
dismissed and dismantled with logic and the revolutionary spirit.
Things have changed since then. Zionism and imperialism
did suffer setbacks (in Vietnam, in 1973, in liberation struggles). However,
being flush with cash and the weakness of the human condition, they were able
to create counter-revolutionary structures that ensured dominance. In regimes
like those in “Israel” and “Saudi Arabia” repression increased gradually and
right-wing fanaticism became main-stream in society. Arab leaders became more
and more subservient to Zionism and imperialism. The regimes learned to
manipulate the masses to give them another false choice: stability (with dictatorship) or chaos. In Egypt, people were forced by
propaganda to believe that he choice was between a retrograde Islamic rule
(recreating a society of the Middle Ages) or a brutal military dictatorship
subservient to the US/Israel. In Palestine we are supposed to either take
theocratic Hamas rule or autocratic Fatah rule. School teachers are on strike
after failed promises for the past 10 years from the Palestinian authority (PA)
which spends 43% of its budgets on “security”. These teachers should be honored
instead. Yet at Bethlehem University we displayed photos of the dozens of
martyrs fallen and more falling each day as Palestine remains under colonial
brutal occupation. That Mohammad AlQeeq ended his 93 days of hunger strike and
will survive is a small ray of light in this sea of darkness. We understand
that all choices are risky for the PA but this cannot be an excuse for
maintaining a status quo that is increasingly untenable. We still do not accept
that the PA does not want to pursue Israel in international tribunals because
they are afraid for their petty positions of power. 
The PLO did issue a statement
about the British attempts to stifle BDS at the behest of the Zionist lobby. In
part it says:
“In practical terms this means that such bodies are
forbidden from exercising their democratic right and freedom of choice not to
be complicit in the Israeli settlement project and to take a positive, moral
and legal stand in the face of such a war crime. This represents a serious
regression in British policy and it would empower the Israeli occupation by
sending a message of impunity. In order to accommodate the Israeli occupation,
the British Government is undermining British democracy and their own people’s
rights. Such a law would have prevented British citizens from taking peaceful
actions against the South African Apartheid. Such a law also contradicts international
responsibility and even the UK’s own practice when it comes to entities
violating human rights.”
Hillary Clinton in a letter to Haim Saban (leaked to the
Guardian): if elected president she will give a green light to Israel to kill
not just 2000 Gazans but 200,000. But we also do not accept much
from someone who considers Henry Kissinger her friend (a rabid Zionist war
criminal responsible for destruction of millions of lives). All other leading
US candidates (Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Sanders) are no better. The reason western
elites could get away with this is the friendliness of local “Arab elites”.
 Take Egyptian dictator Sisi who praised Netanyahu or
Saudi king Salman who is funding Wahhabi terrorism education and weapons around
the world and is committing genocide in Yemen. But despite all the subterfuge,
Zionism remains the largest promoter of these activities around the world (we
must remember that it was British Zionists who appointed the Saud family as
rulers of Arabia). Just yesterday, we heard sirens here at the Jewish only
colonies built on stolen Palestinian lands. This was an exercise in preparation
for the upcoming attack on Gaza. Israeli terrorist army has to attack Gaza to
test new weapons. Most “Israeli” weapons are repackaged US weapons tested on
the captive guinea pigs or the two million residents of the Gaza strip (an open
air prison under siege). 
And Indian elite leaders plan to buy 3 billion worth
of these “battle tested” Israeli weapons. But how we common human
beings away from positions of authority behave will be critical. Apathy cannot
be the answer. Our work with young Palestinians is expanding at Bethlehem
University, in the fields, in high schools etc. We are also writing and
speaking (just finished two articles one on BDS and the other on role of civic
society in a changing world). We wish more people join us (
Warning – Graphic video of the suffering of political
prisoner Mohammad Al-Qeeq (held without trial and on hunger strike for three
months now)
BDS movement faces attack in six state legislatures by
Alex Kane