On Reciprocity and Responsibility

My friend Laura Weis (who is currently working in Indonesia) sent me the following excerpts from a piece by Glenn Greenwald. A while back, an Israeli friend of mine asked me, “Why should you care about the Palestinians?” I think she was implying that as an American, if I should be concerned about an occupation, it should be the US’s one in Iraq. Of course, it’s not either/or. See below (Thanks, Laura!)

On Obama’s July comment:

“Can’t the exact same mentality be deployed to justify everything Hamas has done and is doing, to wit: “if a foreign power were brutally occupying my country for four decades — or blockading my country and denying my children medical needs and nutrition and the ability even to exit — I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing”? But the last thing that our political class ever extends is reciprocal, two-sided analysis to this dispute.”

And on the consensus view in the US political landscape:

“It would be nice if U.S. citizens weren’t connected to and responsible for every Israeli military action, so that we really could and should take the attitude that what the Israeli Government does — or what is done to it — is not our responsibility. That’s how it should be.

“Instead, since we fund a huge bulk of it and supply the weapons used for much of it and use our veto power at the U.N. to enable all of it, we are connected to it — intimately — and bear responsibility for all of Israel’s various wars, including the current overwhelming assault on Gaza, as much as Israelis themselves. Blind support for whatever they do — the consensus view in American political life in both parties — is therefore a total abdication of our responsibility.”

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