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On the topic of Israel, what actions are you looking for the next president to take? – an SJP perspective

By Iona Feldman and Guy Mika

Section: Features

October 7, 2016

For the cause of Palestinian freedom, there is seldom much hope to be found in U.S. presidential elections, and this one is no different. Both major party nominees met with Benjamin Netanyahu last week, hoping to outcompete each other in their support for his oppressive policies (the most extreme in Israeli history).

Trump unapologetically draws parallels between his advocacy for the further militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and Israel’s apartheid wall, while Clinton has vocally promised to prioritize suppression of the grassroots Palestinian civil society led-Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.

Occasionally, the United States utters limited condemnation of Israel’s illegal settlement project in the West Bank, as the State Department did on Wednesday. However, the U.S. never fails to continue providing Israel with enormous amounts of military aid, three weeks ago increasing it to $38 billion over the course of 10 years.

There are those who continue to hope that the U.S. government can one day facilitate some sort of peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. But such an analysis stems from a flawed understanding of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

As Hillary Clinton stressed to Netanyahu last week, “A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests,” according to The Guardian. Indeed, Israel serves as a junior partner in advancing the U.S.’s imperialist aims, and any genuine U.S. government action to protect Palestinian human rights is therefore disarmed from the outset.

If we want anything more than that, we need to carry our conversation beyond this election. We need to continue to organize in solidarity with Palestinians, partly through boycotting and divesting from the corporations most involved in their oppression. But also, we need to continue working towards building a mass anti-war and anti-imperialist movement, one that would match in scale the demonstrations of the Bush years.

Then, we could bring people together to fight not only against apartheid in Palestine, but against the U.S. drone war in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. We could support Syrian refugees and welcome them into this country. We could work against U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen. And of course, we could fight against the U.S.’s domestic imperialist policies against black people in our cities, indigenous people protecting their water and people running away from the mayhem that U.S. policy has created in Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.

It is highly unlikely that the next president will do the right thing on any of these closely interconnected issues, so it will be our duty to continue organizing in solidarity.

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