It's a remarkable paradox when one stops to think about it. A thought that would be instantly dismissed by liberal politicians, journalists and civil others as absurdly extremist in itself. Yet, when one stands, directly or apologetically, in support of an Occupying power and its satellite friends, rather than with the Occupied and oppressed, all those 'moderated' liberal words and inactions provide the greatest impetus for ongoing state violence and the violent responses which emerge from that violent oppression.
Such is the truth behind One Voice and its various international partners, many closely linked to the incoming Obama administration. Behind all the stated aims of this body and its friends to peaceful co-existence lies a power network predicated on political, military and corporate repression.
Much of that consolidated power was observable at last year's World Economic Forum event, "Enough is Enough - Israel and the Palestinian Territories" (note the omission of "Occupied" in the title), where One Voice founder Daniel Lubetzky, in the audience, was hailed as a new young doyen of the WEF.
Here's Lubetzky singing the praises of the WEF, a collective manifestation of business-political elites serving to uphold the global neoliberal disorder:
"I went [to Davos] and was blessed to meet a lot of great people who have become very very important figures in my life. OneVoice would literally not exist today without the support of the World Economic Forum... It is a great platform to meet impressive people who want to do something positive."The host for this event was Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF and one of One Voice's Honorary Board of Advisors.
After inviting Mahmoud Abbas's thoughts, Schwab introduced Tzipi Livni to the podium where she repeated the standard untruths about Israel's 'benign' 'disengagement' from Gaza, the 'lost opportunity' for Palestinians arising from Oslo and the need to 'embrace moderates/reject extremists'. None of the 'moderates' among this esteemed gathering, including Lubetzky, seemed inclined to the truth that it's Israel's violent state extremism which lies at the heart of the problem.
Avoiding mention of Israel's economic devastation of Gaza and the other Occupied Territories, Shimon Peres - a man deeply implicated in war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon - went on to tell the assembled business delegates about the wonderful opportunities for big dollar investments in the region, all helping towards a 'peace solution' - another useful clue to why One Voice and Lubetzky's PeaceWorks corporation are being embraced by the WEF.
Claiming provenance of the 'moderate Israeli-Palestinian voice', Lubetzky falsely portrays all other parties, with select exceptions, as indulging in useless "extremism", which, apparently, explains his decision to form One Voice:
"If you follow speeches in 2001 and 2002, the only people who were speaking like that were King Abdullah and Queen Rania [of Jordan]. Everybody else was in an “us” vs. “them” mentality: it was all about extremism."This, presumably, includes all those bothersome 'extremists' who insist on adhering to international law and the multiple UN resolutions condemning Israel's state extremism.
Still, Lubetzky can always find more 'moderate' voices among Westminster's three main parties, where friends of Israel abound.
During his talk as special guest to the Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel, One Voice adherent Charles Kennedy had this to say:
"Liberal Democrats look around the world to identify who shares our values. We believe in the Liberal values of equal human rights for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or faith. Only Israel, of all the countries in the Middle East, underwrites these values by law."Staggering praise, indeed, for a state which denies non-Jews any right to 93 percent of its stolen land. And this from the same man who led the purge against Jenny Tongue for daring to articulate how a persecuted Palestinian might, in desperation, resort to violence.
Kennedy's defence of Israel, praise for Blair and denunciation of people like Tonge is an effective promotion of Israeli violence. Lubetzky's and One Voice's engagement of Blair, while demonising Hamas, amounts to the same thing. Both help maintain the fiction that the Israeli state is somehow moderate, rather than driven, as so many atrocities have shown, by pure violent intent, designed to terrorise and break an entire people.
While Conservative Friends of Israel help keep old British-Zionist political and business connections intact, it's Labour Friends of Israel whose most 'moderate' voice provides the greatest guarantor for Israel's ongoing violence. Unsurprisingly, Foreign Secretary David Miliband's patronage of LFoI is closely complemented by his endorsement of One Voice.
While Israel was this week blacking-out its merciless starvation of Gaza - helped by the 'moderated' reports from the BBC - the 'moderate' Miliband was strolling around Sderot proclaiming that it's "become the front line of Israel's security", and that's why "countries like mine and others show solidarity with the people of Sderot..."
Beyond his token visits to the West Bank and 'firm' words to Tel Aviv on the problem of 'mis-labelled' Israeli products, Miliband's 'moderate' silence on Israel's high crimes and apartheid state illustrates how liberal voices merely serve to excuse the Occupation, thus encouraging ongoing Israeli murder. Miliband's speech to LFoI is a further template example of how this liberal genuflection to Israel, 'moderated' by appeals for a halt to settlement expansion, allows a 'ticked-off' Israel to continue, unopposed, with its systematic violence.
One Voice and the Obama circle
One Voice also enjoys the support of notable politicians and celebrities in the US, again serving to enhance its image while turning a blind-eye to Israel's violent conduct.
How reassuringly 'moderate' to have glam-figures like Danny DeVito and Brad Pitt on One Voice's list. Why would anyone doubt the bona fides of a movement supported by such 'peace-affirming' celebs? Intrinsic to this is a kind of moral blackmail, enjoining people to say "well, how can I argue with a group trying to, at least, bring people together - particularly when that organisation is endorsed by role-model stars?"
One Voice's courting of the 'Arab constituency' in the US provides another such dimension on liberal co-optation and persusion. Take, for example, the Arab American Institute (AAI), prominently listed as "organizational partners" of One Voice.
James Zogby, the AAI head, has been making apologetic statements on behalf of Obama's proto Chief of Staff and seasoned Zionist, Rahm Emanuel.
Currently in thrall to Obama, Zogby has been criticised by more disapproving Arabs as a self opportunist fixer. Claiming the mantle of foremost Arab voice in the US, he served the Clinton administration faithfully while it executed its genocidal sanctions policy against Iraq. Zogby has also promoted and bestowed plaudits on Clinton's sanctions-enforcer and most-favoured Zionist, Martin Indyk. Indyk has been active, of late, reassuring Israel that Obama has the full interests of Israel at heart - even in his proposed 'mediations' with Iran.
Zogby is also close to Clinton's old Middle East ambassador and current Obama aide, Dennis Ross, who has been straining similar political sinews to convince Israelis and concerned US Jews that Obama is staunchly on their side:
"I am convinced that he will stand by Israel. I am. If I wasn't convinced of that, I wouldn't be standing here. Do I think that at the end of the day he will do whatever's necessary if Israel's threatened? I do. You raised the issue of Jerusalem. That was at the AIPAC speech. And what he said, he said the following: "Jerusalem is Israel's capital." ...The fact of the matter is, Jerusalem is Israel's capital. That's a fact. It's also a fact that the city should not be divided again. That's also a fact."Indyk, Ross and Zogby are all on One Voice's Honorary Board of Advisors.
In a thoughtful essay on Zogby and the AII , US-Palestinian poet Remi Kanizi reminds us what these kind of moderate supplications to Obama really mean:
"While Zogby wants us to be aware of the "political realities," the actual reality for many Arab Americans is simple: this appointment represents more of the same -- whether it is the hawkish policies of the Bush administration or the destructive Middle East policy that was wrapped in nicer packaging during the Clinton years."Zogby is no less effusive about Oslo and Emanuel's part in it, a process which Kanizi properly consigns to the dustbin of history:
"Zogby then swerves in a bizarre direction by praising Emanuel’s involvement in the Oslo Accords. Emanuel is the person who coordinated the shaking of hands between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn. The Oslo Accords (which Zogby endorsed) were a complete failure. During the Oslo years, illegal Israeli settlements doubled and the policy that emanated from the accords helped destroy the Palestinian economy. It is the equivalent of proclaiming that Emanuel was the ribbon cutter, unveiling the “bridge to nowhere.”"And that's the principal point of Zogby's and his peers' residence at the One Voice board: to help maintain the language of 'moderation' and a politics of prostration to ongoing US/Israeli versions of the 'peace agenda'.
True voices of moderation and peace should be alarmed that such mavericks and extremists, posing as liberal ambassadors, are finding common cause with Obama to entrench Israel's violence. In similar ways, One Voice's appeal and connections across this network helps maintain the crucial fiction that Israel is, at heart, intent on peace and dialogue; a process, so the liberal narrative goes, forever undermined by Palestinian unwillingness to renounce extremism and guarantee Israeli security.
As Israel's inhuman punishment of Gaza goes on, with the blame continually inverted to its victims, ask yourself what part One Voice and its assembly of 'moderate' friends are playing in support of that killing and the obstruction to a just peace for Palestine.