— —Peace and justice are deeply related concepts. That is why we name our organization The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. Peace without justice is short-lived if it occurs at all. The Versailles Peace Treaty, which ended World War One but laid the foundations for World War Two, is a classic example of this reality. Justice without peace is cruel, or ineffectual, or an oxymoron, or all of the above. Unfortunately, efforts to establish peace often fail to acknowledge the vital relationship between peace and justice.
A contemporary example of this failure occurs within the US led “peace process” supposedly intended to end the long-standing Israel/Palestine conflict. In Shattered Hopes, the authoritative book about Obama’s failure to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace, author Josh Ruebner shows that the basic cause of the “peace process” fiasco was US disregard of justice for the Palestinians. This disregard enabled Israel to expropriate ever more Palestinian land, build an illegal separation wall, and continue its daily oppression of Palestinian people even while pretending to engage in peace negotiations.
As Shattered Hopes documents, Obama’s government (like that of Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr.) functioned as a dedicated ally of Israel rather than an impartial broker of peace. Obama’s government provided Israel with record amounts of military support, protected Israel from well-deserved diplomatic censure, sabotaged Palestinian UN initiatives, and even tolerated humiliating insults from Israeli leaders.
Obama entered office proclaiming that: “It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
But he drastically underestimated the power of the Israel lobby within Congress, over the mass media, and upon public opinion. Under the influence of the Israel lobby, Obama gradually morphed into an obedient (though privately resentful) enforcer of Zionist political policies.
Josh Ruebner contrasts Obama’s undignified subservience to Tel Aviv with Dwight Eisenhower’s resolute handling of the 1956 Suez crisis. By halting all public and private aid to Israel, Eisenhower compelled a quick withdrawal of Israel’s military forces from Egypt. According to Ruebner: “if the United States were to pull its backing for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, then Israeli intransigence would melt away in the historical blink of an eye, as it did when President Dwight Eisenhower terminated all US aid programs to Israel”.
In addition to writing Shattered Hopes, Josh Ruebner is policy director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and a former analyst
on Middle Eastern affairs at the Congressional Research Service. He speaks in Humanities room 250 at CU on Wednesday, November 5 at 7pm. Anyone open minded person who is concerned about the Israel/Palestine conflict will want to hear this astute and highly informed political analyst.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s Peace Train runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.