Saturday, August 2, 2014

Racism Is Ugly And Claims Of Self-Defense Do Nothing To Pretty It Up

A Ku Klux Klan procession in Maine in 1923. The KKK in Maine targeted immigrants, Catholics and Jews.
As we feel the currents of history shifting the ground beneath our feet it's horrifying yet fascinating to watch racism again deployed as a raison d'etre. The actions of nations like Israel, vigilante groups on the U.S. border with Mexico, and neo-Nazis in Ukraine make me experience deja vu of the creepiest kind.

I thought studying genocides like the Holocaust was supposed to help humans become less racist? This was to have worked by exposing the ugliness that racism entails. Instead, it seems to make certain adherents even more blatantly racist as long as they're convinced that they're on the "right" side.

Then again, it's probably more a case of the super wealthy buying public opinion by catering the the lowest impulses of human beings: fear, xenophobia, and the tendency to look for scapegoats when things aren't going so well.
Source: "This Armed Militia Is Protecting The Border From Central American Children"
BuzzFeed article by Adrian Carrasquillo giving photo credit to Blaine Cooper TX/Patriots Information Hotline
A friend of mine wrote her political science Ph.D. dissertation defending the claim that the Taleban aren't a religious organization, but instead use fundamentalist Islam as a way to consolidate their power among poor people in Afghanistan. That sounded familiar. Why else have right wing politicians in the U.S. embraced zealous forms of evangelical Christianity in recent decades? Based on what I've seen of their violent, lustful, thieving behavior, it's not because they are super religious.

As public opinion against the Zionist project shifts in the face of brutal attacks on civilians in the open air prison pen that is Gaza under siege, there is immediate pushback in the form of name calling. One cannot post a tweet sympathetic to Palestinians without drawing nasty (often paid) commenters and the accusation of anti-Semitism. If the person posting is Jewish and has turned against the apartheid policies of Israel, the nasty backlash accuses them of being self-hating. Jewish critics of Israel are an especially big threat because the claim of Zionists to speak for all Jews is the shakiest premise and the one most in need of vigorous defense.

Mainstream media outlets continue their collusion in propping up that particular lie. Here in Portland, Maine a Gaza support rally that drew 150 immigrants, students and ordinary citizens was characterized by Maine Public Broadcast Network as a shouting match between Zionists and rally goers. That's after a screaming Zionist showed up and began spouting hateful invective.

Challenged on MPBN's biased coverage, CEO Mark Vogelzang responded:
I wanted to let you know that this was a very short news piece within Maine Things Considered that our radio newscaster cited from the account published in the Portland Press Herald. We did not have an MPBN reporter on the scene. Here is the text of the story.  

—-(Portland) -- Portland Police stepped in to separate a man and his son carrying an Israeli flag and a sign condemning Hamas from a crowd that had gathered in Monument Square to denounce Israel for the ongoing violence in Gaza. The Portland Press Herald reports that this is the third pro-Palestinian protest in Portland in three weeks. The paper says protesters argued loudly with the man before police intervened. ---  

We have covered recent protests in Portland, and plan to cover the Seeds of Peace camp next weekend. I hope this is helpful. 
The fact that MPBN is taking its Zionist cues from the newspaper owned by Rep. Chellie Pingree's husband did not make me feel one bit better about their biased reporting.
Gaza support rally, Portland, Maine July 25, 2014. Photo credit: Pat Taub
The fact that over $3 billion of U.S. taxes go to support Israel's military spending is a direct result of Congress looking the other way, ignoring the racism inherent in the many regimes we support with what amounts to corporate welfare. ("Here, Israel, buy some more weapons from Lockheed Martin and we'll pick up the tab.")

Whether it's racism for profit or racism as a nativist ideology, it's just as ugly and just as dangerous to the future peace of the world.

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