Another wave of violence erupted over the past weeks in Palestine resulting in yet another blood bath coinciding with the holy celebrations of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr. Most Arab populations feel the mounting wrath and indignation against incoming images of elderly women chassed from their rightful homes, slaughtered children, and razed civilian infrastructure. We, Arab Americans endure a different set of feelings: Guilt, shame, and culpability that we actively subsidize with our hard-earned money an organized genocide against our extended families in Palestine.
146 billion dollars, that’s the estimated amount of military assistance provided to date by the United States of America to Israel, enabling it to devour the Arab carcass since 1948, according to a recent congressional report. The bulk of these funds that serve to perpetuate the atrocious extermination of Palestinian people are financed by taxpayer dollars, including some 3.6 million Arabs living in America like myself.
We, Arab Americans endure a different set of feelings: Guilt, shame, and culpability that we actively subsidize with our hard-earned money an organized genocide against our extended families in Palestine
The Predicament of American Arabs
The Zionist state is indisputably the largest recipient of US foreign aid since World War II. Successive administrations, regardless of their partisan colors, have provided Israel with consistent and significant military and economic assistance justified with “a mutual interests in the Middle East and common commitment to democratic values”. If I understand this right, the consecutive American governments define forced displacement, human rights violations, systematic murder of civilians and minors as “democratic values”.
The American system gives its citizens the illusion that their votes matter. While this might be true on a variety of domestic and foreign policies, the sole point of conjunction between all governing powers in the country is the unconditional, and often irrational, siding with Israel at the cost of indigenous populations in the Middle East. Our predicament as Arabs living and paying taxes in this land, is feeling powerless and unable to influence the ways capital is being dispensed and policies are being shaped with respect to the Arab region in general and Palestine in particular. This is also true in the context of millions of Arabs living in Europe that counts some of the other key Israeli funders like Germany, France, and the UK.
In 2016, the US and Israeli governments signed their third 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on military aid which will run through 2028. Under the terms of the renewed partnership, the United States pledges to provide some 38 billion dollars in military aid, with $5 billion in missile defense, the same rockets that have been raining for a week over the heads of Gaza’s children. Israel is the first international operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, considered to be the most technologically advanced fighter jets ever made, while any armament sales of such technologies to other MENA countries are subjected to thorough scrutiny and exhaustive due diligence by congressional committees.
The double standards don’t stop here. One other prominent example is the hypocrite noise and policy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, while France and the US and other nuclear proliferation lamenters diligently and assiduously aided and sponsored the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, a notorious site that Israel continues to deny its existance to avoid signing and abiding by the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Meanwhile, western powers persistently turn a deaf ear on their cherished protégé’s suspicious research facilities.
Stifled Voices and Intellectual Masturbation
State Representative Abdullah Hammoud of Michigan introduced a resolution this week urging congress to halt all Israeli military funding amidst the recent events in Jerusalem and Gaza. Other leftist politicians and public personalities came out to condemn these inhumane atrocities. Yet, these voices are extremely marginal given the American political and social fabric and decades of pro-Israeli conditioning that became part of the popular “truth”: Hamas’s resistance will always be labelled as terrorism acts and Israeli land-grabbing in East Jerusalem or bombing of civilians in Gaza will always be perceived as self-defense.
In a country that prides itself with its first amendment, freedom of speech ends when presumed anti-Semitism begins. This is particularly true when you work like me with international organizations and corporate America, where Israel is the utmost taboo subject shielded by the leviathan Jewish lobby. Even in the most liberal settings that value diversity, standing for Palestine will stigmatize you into the terrorist-lover they already assume you already are. Thus, most Arab Americans, out of sheer cowardice and self-preservation, limit their political activism on MENA causes to their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds, as a form of intellectual masturbation.
In a country that prides itself with its 1st amendment, freedom of speech ends when presumed anti-Semitism begins. This is particularly true when you work with international organizations and corporate America, where Israel is the utmost taboo subject shielded by the Jewish lobby
Several organizations like Human Rights Watch in an April 2021 report even called what is happening in the occupied lands Apartheid policies and crimes against humanity. Anyone sensible in America with minimal critical thinking can clearly comprehend how the Jews of Israel are reproducing the holocaust at a larger scale, by detaining 6.8 people hostages inside their own land, forcibly separating them, and subjugating them by virtue of their race and identity. Though, Palestinians have nothing to do with Nazi Germany, Nabuchodonosor, or the Romans to be punished and dispossessed of the sort just because of a promise made to Jews on a historically questionable mythological scripture.
The honeymoon phase following the Abrahamic Accords’ forced carnival is over, proving once more the precarity of top-down normalization plans and the impossibility to sustain Israel’s fake peace plan and normalization. Maybe I can’t stop my taxes from funding a Palestinian genocide, but I refuse to be a mute accomplice and will continue inundating the digital world with messages and articles until it becomes impossible to deny. It is our moral responsibility to protect the truth.