Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Mike Huckabee: You make me sick

Mike Huckabee was recently in Israel. While he was there he attended a cornerstone laying ceremony in east Jerusalem's Mount of Olives neighborhood. Just to be clear, this was a ceremony for a the building of a new settlement. The settlement lies east of the Green Line, and not one international body has officially recognized any Israeli colony east of the Green Line. Despite the lack of support for Israeli settlement, neither by an international body nor any nation state, Huckabee seems to think Israel extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River:

I can't let Huckabee get away with being an outright liar.  Huckabee says in that video:
It is inconceivable in many ways that we would have to argue and debate whether or not Israelis can live in Israel, not just in part of Israel but anywhere they want to live. I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English. I would be outraged if someone told me that in my country, I would be prohibited and forbidden to live in a part of that country, for any reason.
Facts: Israeli Jews can live ANYWHERE in Israel they want to live. Due to international law, it is illegal for Israelis to live outside of Israel while being protected by the Israeli army.  The fact is that Israelis can actually live anywhere they want in the West Bank as well, despite the clear contempt for international law in doing so, because no one is holding Israeli settlers accountable for choosing to steal land and squat on Palestinian territory.  Mike, as an American, you can live anywhere in your country, just like Israeli Jews can live anywhere in their country.  

Tangent: Why am I using the term Israeli Jew when speaking about those Israelis who can live anywhere in Israel? Well because 20% of the Israeli population is Arab, and due to a racist system, Israeli Arabs cannot live anywhere they choose. Israeli citizens in al-Araqib, a town in Israel's Negev Desert, have seen their village demolished nine times in the last year. Because their ethno-religious category is not Jewish, they cannot live where they would like

The AJC reports that Huckabee presented some ideas about where Arabs living in the Holy Land should move to since the West Bank and Gaza are actually pseudonyms for Eretz Yisrael, and are to be settled by Jews and Jews only.
Huckabee suggested that a Palestinian state were to be established, it shouldn't come at Israel's expense. "There are vast amounts of territory that are in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs. Maybe the international community can come together and accommodate," he said in a meeting with reporters.
Huckabee basically presents the idea of ethnic cleansing and of the population transfer of Palestinians while cloaking the ideas in softer terms. Also, is he suggesting that we send these Palestinians to Muslims or to Arabs? Because not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Arabs are Muslims. I can't imagine Palestinians would feel terribly at home in Pakistan or Afghanistan, where they wouldn't even speak the same language as the locals. I also can't see that Palestinian Christians would feel like they were arriving to their people if they were sent to Persian and Muslim Iran. These are bigoted statements that refuse to grant Palestinians a nationality, but rather lump them all into the category of 'Muslim' and 'Arab', and I am fairly certain Huckabee doesn't distinguish between 'Arab' and 'Muslim' and doesn't acknowledge the various nationalities of brown people in the Middle East.

Huckabee has no concept of the Palestinian history of dispossession as a result of the birth of the state of Israel. He has completely flipped the reality of the current situation and seems to believe Palestinians (or 'Arabs' as he would prefer) are squatting on Jewish land. He thinks there are racist undertones and overtones in demanding that Jews stop building houses in their own country. However, the opposite is true. The Israeli apartheid system, which controls all of the land from the sea to the river, privileges Jews over non-Jews and is leading to the slow genocide of Palestinian residents of the region. 

Huckabee is such a novice on this issue, and has such a myopic view of the political and demographic realities, that I would accept a public debate with him on the issue. Even more, I am hereby publicly challenge Mike Huckabee (I feel like Stephen Colbert right now) to a debate with yours truly. Bring it on Mike, I would shred you in a public debate on Israel and Palestine (and I know 200 people who could shred you infinitely harder!).

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