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Saturday, June 05, 2010



I'm a long time leftist, critic of capitalism and imperialism. It takes a lot to shock me. But I have to say in the last week I have been shocked. Not by the actions of the Israeli government (yes, the government, who planned and authorized this operation, not some rogue commander or commando unit). Virtually nothing, possibly with the exception of using nuclear weapons, would shock me about Israel's actions. But what has shocked me is the American reaction, specifically American ruling class reaction, politicians and media alike. I've been to one spirited demo in Washington, D.C. already, and am headed to another in San Francisco today, and I'm well aware that activists (including myself of course) are outraged, but I really have no way to judge the reaction of the general public. But the widespread not just acceptance, but aggressive defense of Israel's actions, on the part of the ruling class, that I must say does shock me.

My view is a little skewed because I have been in the east for a few days and reading the New York Times. In three successive days the letters to the editor ran something like 5-2, 4-0, and 4-1 in defense of Israel. Now I'm not foolish enough to think that is the actual proportion of the letters they received, which is precisely my point. That, along with a similar skewing of op-eds (I think I only saw one that was mildly critical of Israel) shows me the ruling class circling the wagons.

After the Israeli invasion of Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, Norman Finkelstein wrote a book entitled "This Time We Went Too Far." But it wasn't true. The other day I saw a similar headline about the latest atrocity - this time, said the headline, Israel has gone "too far." But it increasingly appears as if there literally is no bridge too far as far as the American ruling classes position on Israel goes.

Will these latest events bring about change? I actually believe they will, some loosing of the blockade of Gaza. Maybe they'll start to allow in chocolate, or toys. So maybe this has been a footbridge too far. But not a real bridge. That's going to take a lot more of us in the streets raising our voices in protest, so I'll sign off now so I can go be one of them.

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