Rubio’s 7 Fallacies on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

In last night’s Republican debate co-sponsored by Telemundo, billionaire bigot Donald Trump, usually a resident of Mars, briefly came back to earth long enough to suggest he could broker a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians by being even-handed. It is not a matter, he said, of good guys and bad guys.

Trump appears momentarily to have forgotten that he thinks there is something very wrong with Muslims in general such that they should all be barred from the United States and their places of worship should be closed down until Trump can figure out what it is. Or perhaps he forgot that the majority of Palestinians is Muslims (worldwide, Christian Palestinians are probably 20% of those with this heritage, but the Christians have been absorbed by Lebanon and the West in a way that Muslim Palestinians have not). I’m not sure how he thinks he can do a deal with the president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, if he won’t let him so much as come to Camp David because he thinks all Muslims are racially suspect.

Marco Rubio is known to be the favorite of corrupt casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who allegedly made his money bribing the Chinese communist party to let him take advantage of people with a casino in Macau. Adelson is a far-right Jewish exceptionalist and the chief backer of far-right Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Adelson illicitly dumps a free pro-Netanyahu newspaper on the poor Israelis, surely a violation of the WTO, in hopes of driving more even-handed newspapers out of business).

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, unlike repeated also-ran Rubio, had to drop out of the GOP race for lack of deep enough donor pockets. One of the reasons Christie is no longer in the race is because he inadvertently offended Adelson by referring to the Occupied West Bank and Gaza as Occupied by the Israelis, which they have been since 1967. Those territories have 4.5 million stateless Palestinians whose air, water and land is controlled by the Israeli army. But one of the propaganda ploys of the Zionist right wing is to go into high dudgeon if someone so much as speaks this simple truth publicly. The Israeli bully-boys of the Right have gone after everyone from the secretary-general of the United Nations to the US ambassador to Israel, and from President Obama to the foreign minister of Sweden, for daring to say the word Occupation out loud. (In the US, professors have been spied on, smeared as terrorists, blackballed, fired, bullied and even sent death threats by Likudniks for not toeing the imposed party line). It is as though they think they can sweep an epic set of war crimes under the rug by multiple and loud tantrums of passive aggression.

So, to please Adelson and other donors of his ilk, Rubio immediately jumped in to make a series of completely false and self-contradictory pronouncements on the Palestinians, about whom he knows nothing at all.

1. RUBIO: “Because — and I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith.”

That Adelson would tell Rubio to say that being even-handed on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is anti-Israeli is no surprise. And I guess that Robo Rubio would read his lines the way they were written by lobbyists is also no surprise.

It is, of course, the Israelis who have consistently acted in bad faith. Netanyahu even proudly boasted about this bad faith when he thought he wasn’t on camera:

“Netanyahu: I Deceived the US to Destroy Oslo Accords. English Subtitles”

Rubio 2. “The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels.”

Rubio should look at Jeffrey Rudolph’s “The Hamas Quiz” :

“Who stated the following on February 14, 2006? ‘Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.’”

“Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel’s Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel’s top negotiator at Camp David and Taba negotiations. (What Ben-Ami recognized was that Israel in fact offered the Palestinians an unviable Middle East Bantustan — several blocks of West Bank land with huge Jewish settlements in between.)

“Mainstream commentators continue to reproduce the baseless Israeli claim that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was very generous in the offer he made to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000. The quote by Ben-Ami should be sufficient to end this harmful myth.”

Rubio: 3. “Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing.”

Here again from Professor Jeffrey’s Quiz:

“True or False: The Palestinian school curriculum incites hatred and anti-Semitism.

-False. Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, after a detailed study on The Palestinian Curriculum, writes: “[T]he Palestinian curriculum is not a war curriculum; while highly nationalistic, it does not incite hatred, violence, and anti-Semitism.”

Right-wing supporters of Israel, seeking reasons why Palestinians harbor resentment against Israel and Jews, often point to Palestinian textbooks that purportedly instill such hatred. Prof. Brown demonstrates that a better explanation is to be found in the harsh occupation administered by Israel. As Prof. Brown writes in his conclusion, “With the effects of conflict felt on a daily basis, what textbooks and teachers say is probably irrelevant in any case.”

Rubio: 4. “Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis.”

First of all, Israeli intelligence built Hamas up as a rival to the secular Palestinian Liberation Organization, and Israel agreed to let it run in the 2006 elections, which it won.

Second, here is what an Israeli newspaper wrote:

“Hamas maintains varying degrees of popularity due to Israel. Israel’s actions have shown “Palestinians that nonviolence and mutual recognition are futile….[H]amas’ greatest asset…is not rockets and tunnels. Hamas’ greatest asset is the Palestinian belief that Israel only understands the language of force….The people of Gaza will win [some] relief [after the 2014 ‘war’] not because Salam Fayyad painstakingly built up Palestinian institutions, not because Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly recognized Israel’s right to exist and not because Bassem Tamimi protested nonviolently in partnership with Israelis. Tragically, under this Israeli government, those efforts have brought Palestinians virtually no concessions at all. The people of Gaza will win some relief from the blockade – as they did when the last Gaza war ended [in 2012] – because Hamas launched rockets designed to kill.”

Further, of course, the little home-made rockets, more or less high school science projects, that Hamas shoots out into the Israeli desert very seldom do any significant damage, though there has been some, and some lives lost. That there have been thousands is no more pertinent to military history than that thousands of rockets are set off on Fourth of July in the US (most of them more powerful than anything Hamas has). The Palestinians shooting the rockets belong to families expelled from what is now Israel in 1948, many of them crowded into refugee camps, who lost their land, their homes, all their money, and were then locked out of their former homeland in the world’s largest open-air prison. Many could walk home in a couple of hours if allowed to. Some are from Sderot, now populated by Ethiopians and Moroccans from abroad who are living in Palestinians’ former homes.

In contrast, Israeli F-16s have murdered thousands of Palestinians from the sky in the past decade, including thousands of innocent women and children and elders.

Rubio: 5. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.

That is because Israel has flooded hundreds of thousands of Israelis onto Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank, and, indeed, keeps announcing more such outright theft on a colonial scale.

In my piece, “Palestine overwhelmed by illegal American immigrants,” I wrote:

“It is strictly illegal for the occupying power to attempt to annex occupied territory or to transfer its citizens into militarily occupied territory. Mussolini’s Italy pulled that stunt with the parts of France he occupied during WW II. When you hear that someone has violated the Geneva Convention, that isn’t just an abstract matter. It means that someone is acting the way the dictators acted during the war, because it is that kind of lawless behavior the conventions were attempting to forestall from happening again.”

Rubio: 6. And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side.

Rubio is just admitting that he is not and cannot be an honest broker in any such negotiations. In this, he is saying openly what the actual policy of the United States has been since 1948.

Let’s quote his own words against him since he is admitting his bad faith: You can’t be an honest broker where one of the sides is acting in bad faith. In this case, both Washington and the Likud government are.

Rubio: 7. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.

You can’t be a democracy if you deny 4.5 million people the rights of citizenship or any significant say in how they are governed. The West Bank is ruled by the Israeli military on any issue that matters. Arbitrary imprisonment is routine. Torture has been credibly alleged. Live ammunition is deployed against protesters. Property is confiscated with no shred of legality. Neither the rule of law nor anything that could remotely be termed democracy exists under Israeli Occupation.

As for the Israeli squatter economy, it is heavily subsidized by the Israeli government (which is to say, it is subsidized by American tax dollars), and in some ways is the last bastion of Israeli socialism.

Since Rubio is so hot on free enterprise and on small government, maybe he would like to stop allowing Americans to take their donations to illegal Israeli squatting off their American taxes?


Related video:

CNN: “Rubio: Donald Trump has taken an “anti-Israel” position -Republican Presidential Debate Feb 25, 2016″

25 Responses

  1. Well done Prof. Cole. You have brilliantly taken lie by lie, and beautifully disproved the fairy tales. It was unbelievable to hear Rubio stand up in front of the entire world, and sell his soul to the alien devils, who keep buying our politicians. You are absolutely right in describing what we experience in the US, including the threats, attacks, and insults at any of our officials who dare criticize Israel’s endless crimes against humanity. This has become intolerable to say the least, and it is unfortunate, that the world’s greatest superpower is on it’s knees when it comes to the zionists. We have enabled them to perpetrate a horrendous crime against the Palestinians, and last night Rubio showed us how.
    I wish I could send this article to Rubio.

  2. Rubio’s comments would not play well, if America’s news media were on the ball. Say what you will, it appears Trump is speaking to the American people, while Rubio is mouthing words for the House of Sheldon. Maybe every American should vote in the Israeli elections. Vote Likud out, and watch the Neocon/Christian Right go away. The Yinon Plan’s biggest victory, was taking over the U.S. Government…we the American people want it back. Who among all of our presidential candidates will bring it home?

  3. At least Rubio is honest. Obama has waffled but his policy has been eight years of spineless support of Likud policies. Not once has he stood up to Netanyahu.

  4. If Rubio, Cruz, and Hillary were the only politicians owned by the Israel Lobby (The Donald will eventually join) it would still be a matter of concern, but the real problem is the Lobby’s ownership of the oligarchs of both corrupt and morally bankrupt parties and a sizable number of their legionnaires in Congress. And that includes otherwise decent people who just can’t seem to rise to the level of profiles in courage.

  5. Didn’t watch the debate. This explains Rubio’s earlier comment this morning, when he went after Trump in his rally, where he accused Trump of ‘not being on Israel’s side AGAINST the Palestinians’. Even knowing who his donor was and the overall conservative movement’s beliefs, was mildly surprised he made that anti-Palestinian sentiment clear. This is supposedly the Republican establishment’s choice.

  6. Real peace will not come until those in positions of power and control reflect the higher consciousness, which reflects qualities such as selflessness, humility, justice, peace, forgiveness, generosity, not doing unto others what one doesn’t want done unto one, sharing, serving others with no expectations, not seeing otherness, etc.

  7. Nina Willothewisp

    I am guessing his idea of ” a deal” is one where Palestinians have to grab an economy sized bottle of lube, bend over, drop their pants and take it up the trail pipe yet again !

  8. Rubio is a blindly pro-Israel, ultra-“free enterprise” Phil Gramm right-wing economic extremist. Everything the government now does moves into the private sector where fees are added to taxes. Everything includes Social Security and national healthcare. No firewalls inside the banking cartels. Industry self-regulates. “Free enterprise” means no U.S. government except military and police being the single “social responsibility” maintained by government.

    Cruz will perform for anyone who funds his campaign. Currently, Cruz is the darling of well-oiled evangelical and far-right religious extremists. Cruz is just as dangerous as Rubio to the vast majority of our citizens but adding a seriously deranged egomaniac to his mix. Blocking Senate funding to help Flint, Michigan where a horrible governor has been poisoning a city water supply for years – is an example of Cruz leadership. He relented only when his poll numbers took a hit.

    Trump is a corporate owned and controlled media spawn who brings out the very worst in our country. He is an accidentally wealthy, carnival barker and 21st Century bad imitation of Benito Mussolini. And suspect Trump is just as amazed at his early bloated victories as many are? The big dogs have yet to bark regarding Trump’s reality show. A future minor footnote in media history.

    These three right-wing extremist candidates masquerading as Republicans, base their popularity on h8 and divisiveness. ALL have repeatedly assured going to WAR will be a CERTAINTY.

    The only method by which any could stay in office if voting appliances prevail in November.

    • Michigan’s young GOP congressman Justin Amash – the only Palestinian-American in the U.S. House – has bucked the general sentiment in the Republican Party to act as cheerleaders for Cuban-American exiles by openly advocating normalized relations with the Castro regime.

      Fidel Castro has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.

  9. Bravo for debunking myths about Israel’s relations with the Palestinians! They’ve become a priori truisms in this country, unchallenged by our craven, cowardly media!

    One thing I will say is that you go a little overboard against Trump. He is a braggart and bully, but he’s refreshingly candid. So unfiltered that he often speaks the next day almost forgetting what he said before. This being said, I would prefer him to any of the doctrinaire Republican candidates. And since i don’t trust Hillary at all, I am in a quandary there …

    • Trump’s ignorance of very basic facts of the US government should be troubling. Anyone who has real knowledge about American government and politics, whether Republican or Democrat, considers him a real buffoon. Even if he weren’t probably a racist and a fascist, he would be likely a disaster. Only Cruz would be worse because he is smart and evil. Trump’s rhetoric is mainly insults and vague, unrealistic generalities. And he is maybe the most overtly egomaniacal candidate in modern history.

  10. That video of Netanyahu is dynamite, not because it reveals new information, but because we hear him admitting it directly. It should be seen by everyone interested in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

    • “That video of Netanyahu is dynamite…….”

      Yes, but likely only about 2% of Americans know it exists given the attitudes of mainstream U.S. media.

  11. As for the “democracy”, Israel is now acting in the Knesset to ensure that the few rights now enjoyed by the “Israeli Arabs” (not the Occupied millions) are lost, by squeezing out the few reps the minority Palestinians have.

    • The Speaker of the Knesset recently was photographed with Israeli citizens supporting the passage of legislation to punish the relatives of those tied to “terrorism”:

      link to

      Collective punishment violates the Geneva Conventions and is obviously inconsistent with “democracy”.

  12. Irwin: To acknowledge you are in a quandary re who would make the best POTUS among all of the candidates available should be a great embarrassment to yourself. Bertrand Russell described very accurately the three stoogies along with Ben and Grumpy in one sentence. “the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt” It is obvious you truly don’t know what you don’t know if you think there is any choice at all other than HRH. For your own good and peace of mind, get informed, it takes a little work, but you will be the better man for it.

    • “It is obvious you truly don’t know what you don’t know if you think there is any choice at all other than HRH.”

      Sounds cocksure to me.

  13. Suggested closing remarks for the moderator at the next Republican presidential debate: You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, “gentlemen”? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

    Where is a contemporary Joseph Welch when we need him? link to

    • Having taught elementary school for a while, I have seen more civil and fact based arguments among 5th graders on the playground than the insult fest that has become common among these candidates. Truly unbelievable how they have totally debased the process.

  14. “……..the only pro-American free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.”

    The Israeli government is opposed to “free enterprise” as it continues to intentionally sabotage the Gazan economy by targeting factories and farms for destruction:

    link to

    As far as “democracy”, neither Rubio or any other candidate is commenting on the fact that ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who enthusiastically directed the deadly Operation Cast Lead against Gazans, has just entered an Israeli prison to serve a sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice convictions:

    link to

    “They (Hamas)……..launch rockets and terrorist attacks against Israel on an ongoing basis.”

    What about all of the families where most children – completely innocent – have been killed by Israeli military action? For example:

    link to

  15. Worth noting that many Israeli security professionals share several of your observations. The following is from Prof. Rudolph’s Detailed Political Quizzes site: In fall 2014, “In what appears to be the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, a group of 106 retired generals, Mossad directors and national police commissioners has signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to ‘initiate a diplomatic process’ based on a regional framework for peace with the Palestinians. Several of the signers [stated] in interviews that Israel had the strength and the means to reach a two-state solution that ‘doesn’t entail a security risk,’ but hadn’t managed to reach an agreement because of ‘weak leadership.’ ‘We’re on a steep slope toward an increasingly polarized society and moral decline, due to the need to keep millions of people under occupation on claims that are presented as security-related,’ reserve Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven [said]. ‘I have no doubt that the prime minister seeks Israel’s welfare, but I think he suffers from some sort of political blindness that drives him to scare himself and us.’” link to

  16. I’ve made point number two myself several times, but I’d offer one caveat. True, Israel didn’t offer the Palestinians anything close to a final deal at Camp David / Taba, with the major problem exactly as described : ludicrous and unworkable borders. But at the time, the Israeli leadership did one notable thing: They were willing to negotiate on all the major compromises necessary (from them) for peace, and take those compromises in a treaty to their people. The Palestinian leadership wasn’t willing to do that in 1999-2000, and I’m not sure any Palestinian leader has ever been willing to take severe limitations on the Right of Return to his people – the major compromise required from the Palestinian side for a two-state solution.

    Now, of course, both sides are too blind, too stupid, and too cowardly to consider the long term consequences of no peace, or the compromises required to reach a deal. Both sides are more interested in their own internal politics than even thinking of real negotiations. Both sides have a ready list of excuses to evade serious talk. Both sides played for time during the Kerry Talks, waiting for the inevitable collapse. Both sides – and their supporters – are killing time with phony controversies, faux battles, and mock victories – all so that they don’t even have to think of hard necessary choices, much less act.

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