The Guardian

The Guardian October 22, 2003


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Let terrorism be unconstrained

As I write this, US President George W Bush is shortly to 
visit us. He will address Parliament and no doubt have lots to 
say about peace, the democratic system, American values, and such 
like. He will pose as a champion of freedom and leader of the war 
on terrorism.

But actions speak louder than words, or so they say, so we can 
hope that people will see through the well-crafted bilge of 
Bush's speech to the reality behind the words.

That reality, just lately, includes Bush's whole-hearted 
endorsement, on two separate occasions, of the Israeli 
Government's October 5 bombing of Syria.

The Israeli bombing was an act of terrorism intended to coerce 
the Syrian Government into abandoning its support for the 
Palestinian's struggle for freedom. Now, Bush, as everyone knows, 
claims to oppose terrorism and support freedom, but when it comes 
to the Palestinian people the words seem to acquire different 
meanings for him.

The day after the bombing of Syria Bush telephoned Israel's Prime 
Minister, Ariel Sharon. Did Bush tear a strip off Sharon for 
trying to start another war in the region? Hardly.

Instead, according to Bush himself, he "made it very clear to the 
Prime Minister, like I have consistently done, that Israel's got 
a right to defend itself and that Israel must not feel 
constrained in defending the homeland".

Israel is the country that boasts openly of state-sanctioned 
assassinations, unashamedly carries out massacres of civilians 
who get in its way and practices group punishment (identified at 
Nuremburg as a war crime).

To tell such blatant state terrorists "not to feel constrained" 
in these matters is like giving a serial killer a "get out of 
jail free" card. It's not just an encouragement to commit further 
acts of violence, it condones them in advance.

The pretext for the Israeli bombing was a suicide bombing in the 
Israeli city of Haifa, carried out by a 27-year-old apprentice 
lawyer, Hanadi Jaradat. Her brother Fadi, 23, and cousin Saleh, 
31, had been shot to death 18 months earlier by Israeli troops.

Bush reiterated his support for Israel's terrorist action in a 
televised address the next day. This time he said the Israeli 
bombing was "essential" no less and went on to say what probably 
came as a surprise to no one: "We would do the same thing".

As the group If Americans Knew and anyone who pays attention to 
these matters can tell, terrorists abound in the USA, and they're 
not all in the White House, either.

If Americans Knew is a public advocacy organisation that would 
like to see Bush's administration do something genuine about real 
terrorists in the US.

This group tries to get the facts about Israeli policy in 
Palestine out to the American people, a tall order in the face of 
a relentlessly pro-Israel media and government.

Nevertheless, they say, "It is our belief that the American 
people, finally armed with such information, will take the steps 
necessary to end the tragic and escalating carnage in Israel and 
Palestine".

For the organisation's efforts "to inform the American public 
accurately, fully, and truthfully about Israel and Palestine", 
its founder, Alison Weir is listed as an "enemy" on the website 
of the Jewish Defence League(JDL) in New York.

The JDL is indefatigable in exposing and opposing neo-Nazis and 
other fascist apologists for Hitler. But they also equate 
criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and label all critics 
accordingly.

The JDL website falsely labels Ms Weir with the ominous tag of 
"holocaust denier" and attaches a seemingly innocent warning: 
"MAY YOU ONE DAY KNOW WHAT LIVING IN TERROR IS LIKE".

If Americans Knew does not think the warning is all that 
innocent. In a release they point out that "the Chairman and a 
member of the Jewish Defence League were indicted January 10 on 
charges of conspiring to bomb the office of Congressman Daryl 
Issa".

They also quote "Middle Eastern expert Donald Neff" who refers to 
a 1986 study of domestic terrorism prepared by the Department of 
Energy (presumably prepared out of concern about possible 
terrorist attacks on US power stations and oil facilities).

That study concluded: "For more than a decade, the Jewish Defense 
League (JDL) has been one of the most active terrorist groups in 
the United States... Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 
persons and wounded at least 22".

If Americans Knew link the JDL website attacks on them with a 
death threat the organisation received at the beginning of 
October, after Alison Weir took part in a public debate at the 
University of California Berkeley Campus.

The caller threatened that "me and my buddies, who were trained 
in the Israeli Army, will come and kill every single one of you 
son-of-a-bitches for what you are doing to destroy Israel".

Now, the question is: can If Americans Knew look to George Bush 
and the US Government to protect them, or would Bush be likely to 
tell the JDL "not to be constrained in defending the homeland"?

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