Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Subsidizing Settlements

Hitch in Slate:
The impressive documentation assembled by the Times revealed some familiar and ugly contours. Many of the U.S.-based pro-settlement forces are connected to extreme Israeli nationalist groups with proven records of violence (including the heirs of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane) or to the wilder pulpits of Christian extremism, such as the one occupied by the hysterical Rev. John Hagee, or to essentially racketeering outfits, such as the one operated until recently by the disgraced "lobbyist" Jack Abramoff. It comes as no surprise to find that much of the material provided by these "charitable" fronts consists of sniper equipment, night-vision binoculars, bulletproof vehicles, and guard dogs.

So here you have it in plain words: The U.S. Treasury Department passively allows tax breaks to vicious and fanatical groups whose activity, if conducted by Israelis, would be illegal under Israeli law! (It's more than a decade since Israel banned tax deductions for groups that devote themselves to the creation of unrecognized "outposts" on the West Bank.) This, in effect, constitutes an official American subsidy to outlaw zealot groups whose aim is to destroy any chance of accomplishing what is this country's declared foreign-policy objective...
The U.S. Constitution is icily hard and clear on the point: There can be no "establishment of religion" by our government. And these nasty little settlements are quite unambiguously aimed at the promulgation of a sectarian faith—and in its most literal and fundamentalist and exclusive form at that.
So here we have found a means of a) alienating even the most flexible and patient Palestinians; while b) frustrating the efforts of the more principled and compromising Israelis; while c) empowering and financing some of the creepiest forces in American and Israeli society; and d) heaping ordure on our own secular founding documents. When will the Justice Department and the Congress and the Supreme Court become aware of this huge and rank offense, which is designed to bring us ever nearer to holy war?
More here...

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