Carte blanche support for the Zionist State of Israel on the global landscape has dwindled. International condemnation is rising over unprecedented repression by the occupier state in the occupied Palestinian territories. In recent weeks, rare disapproval of Israel was expressed by the United States, its main ally and benefactor.
A diverse group of nations endorsed a letter on Jan. 16 expressing “deep concern” about punitive policies of the month-old ultra-right Israeli government. The statement was signed by representatives of Arab nations, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and 37 other countries—27 from Europe, including Germany, France, and Italy as well as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa.
“This is a moment when there is a significant shift in international opinion, both public and governmental,” said Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalist Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Ms. Bennis pointed out that there is also a shift in the U.S. that shouldn’t be overlooked. “This one is more at the public level, particularly in the Jewish community, and at the media level, but we’re also seeing some new divisions at the political level,” she said. However, “it’s not yet at the level of a policy shift,” she added.
While it appears to be a new day of reckoning for the Zionist state on the public opinion scale, change in U.S. policy cannot happen until there’s a political shift in the discourse permeating Congress, the State Department, and the White House.
“That’s what we’re seeing a little bit of,” explained Ms. Bennis.
It remains to be seen the extent Washington will go with Israel’s deep dive into extremism. Despite record-breaking bloodshed of Palestinians by occupier forces, U.S. lawmakers and President Joe Biden signed off on Israel’s annual check of $3.8 billion for 2023. Unlike other countries, the aid, and additional ancillary arms sales, are not conditional on Israel’s human rights record. Critics long argued that the U.S. playbook of “unwavering support” has prevented her from exercising such leverage to reign Israel in. Since Israel’s inception, the U.S. provided diplomatic cover from accountability and condemnation.
Peace cannot be achieved structured on injustice, lying and thievery, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam warned Israel in past years. Along with his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he cautioned from scriptures about the rise and fall of nations.
Oblivious to the laws of justice, the proponents of Zionism balk against sound reason and implementing justice. On page 211 of His illuminating book: “The Fall of America,” the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad explained the wicked mindset of those who are opponents of justice and those who are wrongdoers.
“For the past four thousand years and more Allah (God) has already given the prophecy through the mouth of His prophets of the doom of the wicked. Now is the time and we cannot do anything but take it, and it is dangerous to add fuel to an unwanted fire. THE FIRE IS THE WAR,” Mr. Muhammad wrote.
“We do not hope for peace as long as we add to the war that which serves as fuel to a fire,” He added. “The fire cannot go out as long as we keep it burning by adding more fuel. A dying, burning fire is increased when more fuel is thrown into it.”
“How can we expect peace where the method used to bring about peace is the same method that started the war—instead of finding a right solution and then practicing the right solution?” asked Mr. Muhammad.
These times were foretold in the scriptures, which say there is no peace for the wicked and the world is in a time of reaping what was sown. Israel and America have sown trouble and now are reaping the bitter fruit of trouble
Palestinian rights advocate Muhammad Sankari of the Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)-Chicago said Washington and Tel Aviv’s unholy bond can be understood in the nature of U.S. imperialism and Israel, in the broader region. “Israel works as a bastion for U.S. imperialism in the region,” Mr. Sankari told The Final Call. “They prop up America’s allies, and they suppress those who don’t toe the line on what the United States wants for the region,” he added.
This trouble-making bond in the name of regional security partly undergirds U.S.-Israel policy.
Global backlash was sparked after Israel recently slapped punitive sanctions on the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for petitioning the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the UN’s highest judiciary—to issue a legal opinion on Israeli occupation. In a December 30, 2022 UN General Assembly vote, a resolution on the Palestinian request was passed at the ire of Israel.
The ICJ will draw up an advisory opinion on Israeli’s “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,” the resolution reads.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “despicable” and stated Israel was not bound by it, and so far has chosen not to cooperate with the Court. His ultra-right government admitted the punitive measures were to make the Palestinian Authority “pay the price” for pushing for the resolution.
“The colonial occupier’s vindictive measures against the Palestinian people are a direct assault on the UNGA’s request for an advisory opinion from the ICJ,” said Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, in a Jan. 9 statement.
Mr. Maliki, whose VIP travel permit was rescinded by Israeli authorities, lambasted the measures as an affront to the ICJ. The permit allows Palestinian officials to travel more easily in and out of the West Bank than ordinary Palestinians.
Other retaliatory measures included $40 million in frozen Palestinian tax revenue earmarked for Palestinian territories being redirected to families of Israeli settlers allegedly killed in “terrorist” attacks. Israel will also deduct from Palestinian tax revenues $150 million in payments made in 2022 by the Palestinian Authority to Palestinian prisoners and their families.
Added to Israel’s woes is the domestic reaction to plans to reduce the powers of the judiciary. Responding to the power grab, massive anti-government demonstrations by Israelis themselves engulfed the streets, contending the move opens the path for the autocratic rule of Israelis.
An estimated 80,000 protesters gathered on Jan. 16 in Tel Aviv and other cities waving Israeli flags and anti-Netanyahu banners, decrying the move. The intra-Israeli anger shows a critical divide at a time when Israel is losing on the international stage.
“It’s an ironic time in a sense,” stated Ms. Bennis. The new government is worse and much more “explicitly proto-fascist” than any of the earlier governments, she said. “So they’re being pretty dramatic in levels of repression against the entire population, not only against Palestinians, but of course, it’s primarily significant against Palestinians,” explained Ms. Bennis.
Middle East watchers said Israeli-Palestinian hostility has boiled over so much, that the traditional “see no evil, hear no evil,” posture of the international community towards Israeli atrocities is becoming tougher to defend or remain silent about.
“Their hand is being forced because of the extremes of the government,” argued Mr. Sankari.
A major thorn pricking the side of Israel is the expanding echo chamber of condemnation in the international space. It appears the gig is up. The diverse signatories on the Jan.16 statement condemning Israel’s reaction to the ICJ decision and demanding an end to the punishment were important.
It was significant because it included countries that had not even supported the original call, Ms. Bennis explained. “It’s like, they’ve kind of had it with this Israeli government.”
These efforts unfolding at the UN, which is usually impotent to address Palestinian human rights, are also significant, said Ms. Bennis. She sees a change underway at the UN that mirrors the decision by major human rights organizations to call Israeli policy for what it is—apartheid.
The energy adds to a call to revive the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, established during the anti-apartheid movement around South Africa. After defeating apartheid in South Africa in the 1990s, the committee was not fully disbanded.
“The idea would be to reopen the committee … looking at a number of countries, including Israel,” said Ms. Bennis.