Criticizing Israel Does Not Make You A White Supremacist!

The ugly head that conflates the criticism of Israel’s actions towards the dislodged people of Palestine with anti-Semitism, has risen again. And most of it surrounds a few statements from a Muslim-refugee, who wears a head scarf within the Capitol building, representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Rep. Omar is a freshmen Rep who has joined the caucus of new female House members setting the U.S. political and cultural norms on fire. Along with others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rep, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), she supports new progressive proposals like the Green New Deal and the BDS movement. But what really caught the ire of Republicans and most Democratic leaders, are a few comments that Omar made recently criticizing Israel. For example, referring to AIPAC,


“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, Why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby … that is influencing policy


(PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

Statements like these have people screaming anti-Semitism. They say Omar is reinforcing anti-Semitic tropes, such as that Jews have dual-loyalty to both America and Israel, and that Jews are controlling the world with their money. But this couldn’t be more untrue. A criticism of lobbying groups such as AIPAC, and America’s fanatical loyalty to Israel, are true concerns. In the U.S., if you say or do anything out of line regarding Israel’s foreign policy, you are labelled as a bigot towards Jews.

Now, we know that the blind allegiance to Israel is based on three reasons:

  1. Zionism (Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”) is exceptionally strong among American Christians, and especially Evangelicals. They believe that the second-coming of Christ will not take place until Jews return to their homeland in Palestine.
  2. Secondly, according to In These Times, America got mixed up in the Cold War in the region when most Arab states were loyal to the U.S.S.R.
  3. And lastly, according to Chomsky (Who Rules The World, 2016), Israel serves as an available landing station for American forces if their were to be a catastrophic conflict in the Mid-East.

It has nothing to do with all that nonsense about being the only democratic state in the Middle East, or having some sort of special relationship between us and Israel.

In conclusion, another quote from the ITT’s March 4th piece sums it up in one statement:


“…(F)alse accusations of anti-Semitism—usually linked to criticism of Israel or Israel’s supporters in the United States—are on the rise as well. And we need to be clear: It is not anti-Semitic to support Palestinian rights, demand a change in U.S. policy towards Israel, expose the kind of pressure that the pro-Israel lobby brings to bear on elected officials, or call out Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.­­ “


PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

So get out there to support Rep. Omar, support the BDS movement, and form an activist group in your locality to contribute to the cause. And remember, critiques of Israeli crimes against humanity do not equate you with being anti-Semitic. That’s just a convenient and false construction used to silence the cries of the Palestinians. Don’t let it stop you. You are not a white supremacist.

Yes, Ms. Burns, Let’s Tax the Hell Out of the Rich!

The headline reads above an article from the leftist publication “In These Times”, published on February 8th, 2019, by Rebecca Burns, “Tax the Hell Out of the Rich, When They’re Alive and When They’re Dead.” Without saying, I was already on-board.

What the article outlines is a comparison of the three proposed ways that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Bernie Sanders want to create a fairer tax system for the 99%. Here’s the rundown:

First Warren’s plan

…(A) 1 percent tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent, or those with assets of over $20 million. Warren’s proposal would tax fewer people—those with more than $50 million in assets, an estimated 75,000 families—but she would bump up the rate to 2 percent. Households with more than $1 billion in assets would get a 3 percent rate.

Yet,

Where Warren’s proposal would probably be insufficient on its own is that it wouldn’t offer a particularly aggressive corrective to inequality over time. It would raise trillions for social programs, which is crucially important and would certainly have other beneficial political effects. But, as a result of the tax, the fabulously wealthy would be only slightly less fabulously so.

But right now, correcting the immense rate of economic inequality in American society is not going to fix itself with one tax plan. So, don’t get down, writer Rebecca Burns. That’s going to take something truly radical to happen (hint, hint).

Second, AOC’s plan as outlined in a “60 Minutes” interview,

“You look at our tax rates back in the ’60s and when you have a progressive tax rate system. Your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 may be ten percent or 15 percent, et cetera. But once you get to, like, the tippy tops—on your 10 millionth dollar—sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”

But,

By even the most optimistic estimates, this would bring in only a quarter of the revenues Warren’s plan would generate.

So, once again, it will not cure the economic inequality in our society as Warren’s will neither. Yet, it is a starting point and one that may be more palatable to everyday-progressives.

And lastly, the Sander’s plan,

Bernie Sanders’ plan involves restoring top marginal tax rates on inheritances to where they were in the 1970s: 77 percent for estates over $1 billion.

The plan would also decrease the threshold for the inheritance tax from $11.18 million to $3.5 million and impose a 45 percent rate on this lower (but still very rich by any normal standard) tier. Even with this new threshold, just 0.2 percent of Americans would ever pay an estate tax. Thus, in the style of Occupy, the plan is called “For the 99.8 Percent Act.”

Yet,

Again, Sanders’ plan would probably raise less revenue than Warren’s: About $315 billion over a decade.

Then it continues,

But by taking aim at the ultra-rich as a class, it also singles out the kind of dynastic wealth that allows a few families to wreak havoc on our political system. Just three families with multi-generational wealth—the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars—have a combined fortune of $343 billion, more than 3.5 million times the median wealth of U.S. families. And they use that wealth to fund all manner of right-wing policies.

The Sanders plan makes the least revenue for the government and will not even come within seeing distance to the eradication of the exspanse of inequality in the United States. But it could be the most acceptable not only to progressives but even centrists if the argument is framed properly by Sanders.

What I am trying to do up above is, first and foremost, to educate everyone on the strides made by modern politicians (two of the three deeming themselves so-called “socialists”) towards income equality which would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. It’s almost amazing, when you really think about it.

Yet my main point comes out of the analysis of the Warren plan, namely, that her plan is the most effective regarding a shrinking of the income gap in this country, but it does not really even make a scratch. As Burns was writing above, “the fabulously wealthy would be only slightly less fabulously so.” That’s all. And this is the reason why we need real change in this nation. We need real radical leftists in power, not just democratic socialists, but real revolutionary thinkers. That is the only way to get any immediate help with the income gap in the U.S. and, later, around the world.

So, I am greatly impressed with the ITT article by Burns in that, first, it has a cool title and, secondly, she respects that even these so-called sweeping tax plans will not truly affect the disparity between the rich and the poor in this nation.

But it’s a start…now let us take advantage of it.