Truth and accountability. That seems to be the rallying cry of mainstream media in the United States across the board regarding the mob that attacked the legislature and the results of a democratic election.
But truth, sadly, remains in the eyes of the beholder.
When Governor Andrew Cuomo or the host of MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ see grown men rioting in the nation’s Capitol and parading the Confederate flag or wearing t-shirts that spout antisemitism or going about unmasked, they are clear-eyed about the moral compass that propels them to denounce such gestures. They have no problem in immediately spotting them as “disgusting, repugnant and repulsive” statements (in Cuomo’s words).
But, amidst the chaos we and the world witnessed on Wednesday 6, 2021, too many are still blind to another symbol of hate. By that I am referring to the zionist flag of the apartheid Jewish state of Israel, a flag that, to Palestinians, represents Jewish supremacy, privilege and entitlement.
Lawrence O’Donnell is so blind to it that, in his segment on the Nazi antisemitic t-shirts, he immediately follows his impassioned repudiation of the cultural immorality and grave threat to the nation of antisemitism by citing the intelligence of Israel on Russia and Putin, thus casually normalizing the United States’ relationship with a state that has been exposed, not only as hateful to a whole captive population, the Palestinians, but also as in some ways antisemitic itself and a global threat.
Whereas O’Donnell is well-versed in the long history connecting white supremacy and policing in this country (“Police forces in many cases started as patrols to catch Black people running from slavery”), he knows next to nothing about the connection between Jewish supremacy and the brutality of the self-declared Jewish state against Palestinian Arabs. (See: We’re all Jewish Supremacists Now: Israeli politics, a guide for the perplexed by Yossi Gurvitz.)
But just as the appalling discrepancy between past treatment of protestors of color by the police and that of the predominantly white mob was immediately spotted and called out by Black Lives Matter and their allies, so also was the flag of Israel, its Star of David now akin to the Swastika (both symbols have become misused and easily recognizable), spotted and called out by Palestinians and their supporters.
Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada tweeted an image showing a large Israeli flag fluttering below an American flag with the comments: “Look at that Israeli flag!” and “Honestly this is the first time I’m happy to see the Israeli flag flying anywhere.”
Nevertheless, images of the Israeli flag are excluded from the many images mainstream media continue to display as ‘exhibit A’ of the embodiment of hate and supremacy. I have seen an image captured from Fox News of a rioter waving the Israeli flag with the caption: “Trump encourages supporters to ‘stay peaceful’.”
The events we witnessed in our nation’s capital this week have failed to shake millions of Americans who still support Trump. Such a cultural manifestation of “un-American” values is baffling to those who oppose what Trump stands for.
To Palestinian Americans, the most “un-American” value is the United States’ unholy alliance with Israel and the continued legitimization, by mainstream media, of the biggest real “steal” of all — the theft of Palestine through the deployment of a deadly zionist ideology, one as deadly as fascism.
Despite the high-minded rhetoric we are hearing now, the “return of normal tones” to the machinery of the United States government is inevitable. We’ve already witnessed those “normal tones” in the way the counting of electoral votes proceeded in the House and Senate. [See: “Calling for Trump’s fast and legal removal from office, an incredulous Chris Hayes reacts to the quick return of normal tones in the House and Senate on a day when Capitol Hill saw deadly violence from a mob egged on by Trump himself. Aired on 01/06/2021”]
This is because “who we are”, what is “baked in our DNA” did not embed itself in millions of citizens with the arrival of Trump; it was already there and he simply played it.
We have begun to hear that because of “the darkest day since 9/11,” the threat picture has changed, but “no agency looks at white extremists the same way the CIA and other agencies look at Islamic extremist terrorists.” Trump only made terrifying norms already in place regarding foreign affairs, the economy and the environment infinitely worse.
Some political analysts see this time as, potentially, “a moment of realignment, where the Reagan regime we’ve been living under could be shattered and repudiated, and replaced by a new political regime.”
However, there is the potential that such a “realignment” will not happen, because the danger and threat to the United States, as award-winning journalist Allan Nairn puts it, is that the division in the country is muddying the waters. He says,
The US system is indeed unjust and murderous but they [the Capitol mob and their supporters] are rebelling against the aspects of the system that happen to be good — the democracy, the tolerance, the chance for a democratic space and organizing. That’s what they’re rebelling against. On behalf of evils — like racism, like madness, like blind obedience to the leader, Trump. But we have to be careful and stand against that but also the establishment, which is still the main power in the United States and that is now in the middle of gutting the American poor, the American working class.
The establishment is also in the middle of cutting the legs off from under the Palestinian people. Let’s not look away from that.
In the discourse of what’s within or outside “the bounds of decency,” Israel ought to be categorically outside: South Africa’s apartheid lasted 46 years. Israel’s is at 72 and counting. Enough is enough.
*(Top image: Israeli flag flies in Washington DC on 6 January. Credit: MEE/Ali Harb)
*This article was originally published on the Medium.