Clinton’s demagogic analogy
July 19, 2006
The speech given by New York’s Democratic Senator Hillary
Clinton to a rally staged by Zionist organizations Monday across
from the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan amounted to
a celebration of massacres and war crimes.
Her remarks left no doubt that a vote for Clinton in November
is a vote not only to continue the US war in Iraq, but to expand
and intensify the slaughter throughout the region.
Under conditions in which Israeli war planes, gunships and
artillery are turning Lebanese bridges, highways, power plants
and residential buildings into rubble while killing hundreds of
civilians, Clinton made it clear that she not only supports the
ongoing aggression that has been unleashed against the Palestinian
and Lebanese people, but is quite prepared to back its escalation
into a full scale war against Syria and Iran as well.
"We will support [Israel’s] efforts to send a message
to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians, to all who
seek death and domination instead of life and freedom," she
told the crowd.
"Send a message" is such an innocuous phrase to describe
mass murder and state terrorism. How is this message being sent?
In southern Lebanon, Israeli planes dropped leaflets warning villagers
that they should flee north for their lives. When they complied,
a warplane attacked a column of refugees incinerating 18 people,
most of them children. Then other planes demolished the main roads
as well as all of the bridges over the Litani River, forcing many
of the refugees to abandon their vehicles and continue their exodus
Homes, schools and even hospitals and ambulances have been
targeted by Israeli bombs and missiles. On Sunday morning, an
Israeli air strike took out an entire wing of the Jabel Amel hospital
in Tyre, killing a family of nine, who had come there seeking
aid after suffering a previous bombing of their apartment building.
Hundreds of Lebanese have been killed—nearly all civilians
and most of them women and children. Many hundreds more have maimed
in the bombings and hundreds of thousands have been forced to
flee, facing an increasingly catastrophic humanitarian crisis.
What is involved is a massive act of "ethnic cleansing,"
aimed at driving an entire population of impoverished Shiites
out of southern Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military is simultaneously sending a
similar "message" in Gaza, where bombings and artillery
strikes have killed scores of civilians, wounded hundreds and
left large parts of the crowded Palestinian territory in rubble.
The Israeli siege has cut off power and water to the population,
while, as in Lebanon, sealing it off from the outside world.
In both territories, Israel is carrying out massive and brutal
acts of collective punishment against civilian populations, war
crimes in the strictest sense of international law. Israeli military
officials have openly proclaimed that their aim is to drive Gaza
"back to the stone age" and in Lebanon to "turn
the clock back 20 years"—to the days of brutal civil
"We will stand with Israel because Israel is standing
up for American values as well as Israeli ones," the New
York Democrat proclaimed at the New York City rally.
Clinton’s remark constitutes a libel against the American
people. The indiscriminate slaughter from the air of innocent
children with the aim of terrorizing an entire population represents
not the values of American working people, the vast majority of
the population, but rather the perverse and criminal methods of
ruling elites in both the US and Israel, which are determined
to impose their imperialist diktat upon the entire Middle East,
by whatever means necessary.
Whose "values" Clinton defends was demonstrated by
her next public appearance after the pro-bombing rally at the
UN—when she was the guest of honor at a campaign fundraising
event sponsored by billionaire publisher Rupert Murdoch, whose
right-wing media empire includes Fox News and the New York
Post, two of the foulest spokesmen for the American ultra-right.
The reality is that both politicians and the media are systematically
feeding lies to the American people about the escalating war in
the Middle East, portraying the one-sided aggression against largely
defenseless populations as a legitimate act of "self-defense."
No major newspaper or broadcast network provides a clear picture
of the carnage that has been unleashed against the people of Lebanon.
Given the near universal portrayal of Israel as the innocent
victim, one would hardly know that Lebanese casualties—nearly
all civilian—outnumber those in Israel—half of whom
are soldiers—by close to ten-to-one.
The claim made by Israel, and echoed by Clinton at the New
York rally, that these massive military offensives are a response
to the capture of three Israeli soldiers—one in Gaza and
two in south Lebanon—is absurd on its face. These operations
have been long planned, and the captured soldiers have merely
been exploited as a pretext—much to the dismay of their families,
who have called on the Israeli government to negotiate their release.
In one of the demagogic lines that won the biggest round of
applause from the Zionist rally, Clinton declared: "I want
us here in New York to imagine, if extremist terrorists were launching
rocket attacks across the Mexican or Canadian border, would we
stand by or would we defend America against these attacks from
The analogy is a far-fetched one at best, but she should have
continued: "Wouldn’t we bomb apartment buildings in
Montreal, demolish Toronto’s international airport, incinerate
entire Canadian families in their homes and on the highways, and
turn the population of southern Ontario into refugees?"
Another border analogy, which more accurately captures the
wildly disproportionate character of Israel’s response, would
be: "Imagine if members of the right-wing Minutemen group
opened fire on Mexican migrants preparing to cross the border
and the government of Mexico responded with massive air raids
against San Diego, Dallas and Houston, blew up the runways at
New York’s JFK airport and sent hundreds of thousands of
Americans fleeing north."
Of course Mexico has no military means of carrying out such
a response against its neighbor to the north, any more than the
Palestinians in Gaza can launch such an assault on Israel every
time IDF forces storm into their territory, killing civilians
and abducting people who disappear into Israel’s prison system
without ever being charged, much less tried. Nor has Lebanon the
wherewithal to mount such an exercise in "self-defense"
every time Israeli troops have crossed its border. Such self-righteous
acts of massive military violence are reserved only for the most
powerful gangsters in the region, Washington and Tel Aviv.
Speaking on the same platform with Hillary Clinton, Israel’s
UN Ambassador, Dan Gillerman, gave voice to this gangsterism.
Turning toward the UN building, he shouted, "Let us finish
the job!" Then, addressing the timid criticisms of certain
European governments, he declared, "And to those countries
who claim we are using disproportionate force, I have only this
to say: you’re damn right we are!"
This arrogant indifference to world public opinion and reveling
in the use of brutal force are hallmarks of Israeli policy. Underlying
them is the unconditional support provided by successive US governments
and big business politicians like Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is perhaps the most slavish in her support
for the positions of the Israeli right of any US political figure.
According to figures released by the Federal Election Commission,
she is the number-one recipient of campaign funds from the Israeli
lobby in the 2005-2006 campaign cycle, far exceeding all other
Democrats and Republicans alike.
Late last year, she made a trip to Israel for a photo opportunity
next to the apartheid-style wall which Israel is using to grab
more Palestinian territory and seal off thousands of people from
their jobs, schools and farming lands. Endorsing the project,
she proclaimed it was not "against the Palestinian people"
but only "against terrorists."
She has distinguished herself by attacking the Bush administration
from the right on its policy towards Iran, largely echoing the
positions of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),
which is promoting a US war against the Iranians.
Clinton’s policies, however, are by no means unique. Both
major parties have remained silent and indifferent toward the
suffering of the Lebanese and Palestinian people, while fully
endorsing Israel’s "right" to launch aggression
against Lebanon and Gaza. Both houses of the US Congress are preparing
resolutions making this position explicit.
Clinton and the Democrats, no less than Bush and the Republicans,
have made a calculated, cold-blooded decision to allow the carnage
in Lebanon and Gaza to continue and to oppose any serious effort
to secure a cease-fire before Israel has achieved its military
In running against Hillary Clinton for Senate, I categorically
reject her support for Israeli militarism and expansionism. I
call for the immediate cut-off of all US aid to the Israeli military
machine, which today receives some $3 billion annually—one
fifth of Washington’s total foreign aid spending, for a country
that represents little more than one-one-thousandth of the world’s
This enormous expenditure of US funds to arm Israel has the
same aim as the illegal war and occupation in Iraq. It is not
to "defend democracy" or "defeat terrorism,"
but rather to secure US domination of the Middle East and its
strategic oil reserves and project American economic and military
power throughout the region.
Against Clinton’s support for the continued occupation
of Iraq, the Socialist Equality Party is demanding the immediate
and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from the country.
It likewise calls for holding all those responsible for dragging
the American people into this war based upon lies to be held responsible,
both politically and criminally.
Neither the struggle to end the war in Iraq, nor the fight
against Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories,
can be advanced through appeals to the United Nations or the "international
community," both of which have proven impotent before the
eruption of US and Israeli militarism.
Rather, these struggles against imperialist war can be advanced
only through the independent political mobilization of working
people. Despite the opposition of the majority of the American
population to the continuation of the Iraq war, the demand for
the withdrawal of US troops finds no significant expression within
either major party. The only way forward lies through a decisive
break with the Democratic Party and the building of a new independent
political party of the working class.
At the same time, the fight against war requires a struggle
for the international unity of the working class, including a
struggle to unite Jewish and Arab workers in Israel and the Arab
countries in the struggle to free the region of the domination
of imperialism and the local ruling classes—Arab bourgeois
and Zionist alike—and develop its considerable resources
for the benefit of all.
It is to further these aims that the Socialist Equality Party
is intervening in the 2006 election. I urge all those who oppose
the escalation of US and Israeli militarism in the Middle East
and the growing threat of a wider war to support our campaign
and to help place the candidates of the SEP on the ballot.