20 June 2018 – Matthew R. Bishop, World Report News
Human Rights Watch, one of the leading American NGO-NPOs in the foreign policy space, boldly called for the United States to begin targeted sanctions against Israel and Israeli leaders this past week.
The Israeli foreign lobby invests more money influencing the United States Congress than any other country. Israel and the United States, as a result, have historically been inseparable as allies. But, increasingly, American public opinion has shifted against Israeli apartheid policies in Palestine.
The call for sanctions against Israel comes nine weeks into the Great March of Return, a massive Palestinian protest movement intended to memorialize the lives lost and the lands stolen by Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Since its beginning nine weeks ago, more than one hundred Palestinians have been killed in the protests, with an additional 1,200 wounded. Most of those killed were unarmed civilian protestors, among them an eighteen-month old baby and a seventeen-year old female medic who was responding to an emergency scene when she herself was shot by a sniper.
Palestinians held a memorial service for the slain medic, who they hailed as a martyr. They also planned a service for the eighteen-month old baby, but Israeli militants crashed that funeral and chased away family members, calling openly for a genocide against their Palestinian neighbors.
The United Nations has resoundingly voiced its outrage against this behavior. But the United States has consistently shielded Israel from accountability by employing their veto power, leaving Israel free to continue with its violent response to the protests.
The United States, however, officially quit the United Nations Human Rights Council just yesterday, largely as a result of its inability to continuously justify its material and moral support for Israeli violations of international law.
Also factoring into this decision was President Trump’s concern that the United Nations would use the forum to convict the United States of crimes against the rights of the child along the US-Mexico border. By leaving the Human Rights Council, the United States hopes to avoid being held accountable not only for what is happening in Palestine, but also for what is happening on its very own southern border.
Some UN workers have called for Israel’s behavior to be labeled as genocide, and then for a U.N. Peacekeeping force to be deployed into Palestine to protect the endangered civilian population. The United States will do its best to veto that action if it does move forward.
Human Rights Watch is not the first organization to recommend targeted sanctions against Israel. Progressive-leaning NGOs have been calling for those sanctions for more than a decade. But this is a major turning point because Human Rights Watch carries enormous weight and credibility in the U.S. foreign policy space.
Public opinion has already shifted as a result of previous wars and operations. Recent polls showed that slim majorities of voters in Israel, Palestine, and the USA all agreed on tentative peace and settlement terms.
Religious hardliners, however, continue to sabotage that concord, with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditionalists each believing that they have an exclusive God-given right to inhabit Jerusalem and its hinterlands.
Inside of the U.S.A., the Evangelical voting bloc continues to support a no-negotiations warmonger policy, and they back up that opinion with a constant stream of heavy financing into Congress. Evangelical-Americans contribute more funding to militant Zionism every year, in fact, than Jewish-Americans, who as a group are actually more liberal and more centered than their Evangelical colleagues.
While most Americans desire peace between Israel and Palestine, it is largely because of this voting bloc that no long-term settlement can move forward here in America's Congress. That is why it is important for these American nonprofits and watchdogs to speak out against what has been happening.
Sources and Further Reading
Compiled with Eyewitness Testimonies