Israel is the most racist society: American singer

January 12, 2009

David Rovics is a world-renowned American folk singer and political activist from the small, northeastern state of Connecticut. He encourages the free distribution of his work by all non-profit means to help spread his anti-war, anti-occupation message.

Rovics has strong anti-Zionist, anti-Imperialist feelings and is an advocate of peace in the Middle East without the intervention of external forces. He has performed several concerts worldwide and dedicated their interests, benefits to the oppressed people of Palestine. What follows is the complete text of Tehran Times’s exclusive interview with David Rovics, discussing the grievous, uncivilized incursion of Israeli forces into the besieged Gaza strip and the massacre of innocent people there. Tehran Times: Israel is carrying a concatenated series of assaults on the people of Palestine from the air, land, and sea. The casualty rates are surging dramatically and most of the victims are infants, children, women and civilians. What’s your opinion about such atrocities?
David Rovics: I’m so horrified by what Israel is doing to the people of Gaza, and also horrified by what Israel regularly does to the people of the West Bank, Lebanon and other countries. Israel’s war against the Palestinian people is not a response to the home-made, ineffective rocket fire coming out of Gaza .Israel’s war is the reason for the rocket fire in the first place. The idea that Israel is ‘retaliating’ is outrageous and if it were retaliating, the retaliation is so far beyond disproportionate that anyone talking like that can only be viewed as some kind of sick comedian.
Israel’s whole modus operandi is collective punishment, and unfortunately it is undoubtedly the case that not only the Zionist leadership but also many regular Israeli people view Arab life as dispensable.
Tehran Times: U.S. vetoed the anti-Israeli resolution of Security Council two times, as it had done several times before. It didn’t allow the UN to impose embargo on Israel for its belligerent genocide of Palestinians. What’s the reason?
David Rovics: The double standards of both ‘democratic’ and ‘republican’ administrations throughout the history of U.S. relations with Israel and the Middle East have been staggering. The U.S. supports a government which has hundreds of nuclear weapons and regularly makes war against other countries. And without this support of the U.S. Israel would not be able to do the things it does. Meanwhile, Iran, which has not attacked another country in 2500 years I believe, is punished terribly in many ways by the U.S. for pursuing a nuclear program. … the U.S. double standard here is outrageous and is one of many instances that demonstrate why the U.S. government has no moral credibility whatsoever.
Tehran Times: The American media pretend that they are independent and non-aligned to government; however, they simply censor and withhold all of the news regarding the criticism of American-Israeli lobby, anti-Israeli remarks of world officials, demonstrations and condemnations. Does it mean that the American media are somehow governmental, while disguising themselves under the mask of independence?
David Rovics: Not exactly, I’d say rather that the government is largely corporate-controlled, and so is the media. It would however be an oversimplification to say that the media ‘withhold all of the news’ regarding criticism of Israel by world officials, etc. In fact, this is not true. What might be called the ‘evil genius’ of the American corporate media and the American system in general is that it’s not entirely monolithic. Voices speaking out against Israel do occasionally get heard in the corporate media, thus giving a lot of people a sense that the media is fair. The reality is that overwhelmingly the media represents pro-Israel voices, and very rarely does one hear the critical voices. That way the media can insure that most Americans are terribly ill-informed, while still allowing many Americans to live under the illusion that the media is not actually censored. In fact, I’d say that keeping critical voices out of the media 95% of the time is much more effective in brainwashing a population than keeping those voices out 100% of the time.
In any case, the corporate media is not independent, though many of the good journalists working for it wish it were. It serves the interests of the elite, even if it does allow a bit of dissenting voices to be heard now and then.
Tehran Times: What’s in your view, the main reason behind the unconditional and overall vindication that the U.S. government purveys to Israel, even in the event that Israel commits such a crimes? Why it does not deal with Israel such as other countries?
David Rovics: I often wonder this myself. I mean, generally the U.S. government’s foreign policy represents U.S. corporate interests. You can see this over and over in the history of U.S. foreign policy. When the United Fruit Company wanted the government of Guatemala overthrown, the CIA overthrew it. When the oil companies wanted Mossadegh’s overthrown, the CIA put the shah into power and so on. But given the economic importance of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, why does the U.S. government insist on such unequivocal support for Israeli apartheid and the Israeli slaughter of Arabs?
I’d say the answer is not simple, but actually quite multi-faceted. Partly it’s that the U.S. leadership doesn’t trust Arab regimes, even ‘friendly’ ones, and wants to have a more ‘European’ ally in the region. Partly it’s that the U.S. likes to play with fire, and wants to keep Israel strong in order to constantly demonstrate to the rest of the region what can happen to them if they fall out of line. Partly the U.S. supports Israel because it undermines the so-called democratic movements in the Middle East as long as undemocratic regimes can claim Israel as the source of their problems. It is more difficult for a democratic movement to succeed in opposing monarchies and dictatorships, and of course the U.S. government does not like democracy either at home or abroad). Partly U.S. support for Israel stems from the profits made by the military-industrial complex from this support. Billions of dollars of arms sales every year to Israel alone. Partly it’s about a fundamentally racist attitude many in the powers-that-be have towards Arabs and Muslims in general. And last but not least, partly U.S. support for Israel stems from the power of AIPAC and the confusion of many Jewish Americans around Israel, what it stands for, why it exists and how it behaves. In many cases ‘confusion’ would be a very generous term, and other stronger words might be more appropriate, such as ‘racist’ or ‘fascist.’
Tehran Times: What’s your anticipation about the prospect of Israeli regime with this vicious and savage approach which it has taken toward the world? Is it going to survive with its current stance that is arousing a global hatred and contempt toward itself?
David Rovics: Israel is the most racist society I have ever spent time in. There are many reasons why this is the case, and it’s not simple. I have no idea what the future holds, but it seems to me that positive change could come from many different potential developments. One is that many Jews don’t want to live in Israel; furthermore, most Jews in the world don’t feel particularly connected to Israel, according to polls I’ve read, and most Israelis don’t want to live in the settlements. This threatens the idea of Zionist expansion. Also, Palestinians have a much higher birth rate than Israeli Jews, which threatens the democratic underpinning of Israeli society. But it seems to me the situation is most likely to change not from within Israel, but from within either the U.S. or the Arab world. Either the U.S. or the Arab world, with decent leadership in either, could change everything. Israel can’t do what it does without U.S. support. Also the U.S can’t do what it does without the Arab world being terribly divided, without regimes like Saudi Arabia being motivated primarily by money rather than by any love of their fellow Arabs. I don’t know when the U.S. might have a better government or when the Arab leadership will come together; however I wish I did!
Tehran Times: And finally, what’s your personal agenda about such a disaster which is underway in Gaza? Do you intend to perform any concert or record any piece of music about that?
David Rovics: In all of the concerts I’ve done since Gaza has been in the headlines I’ve been talking and singing about the situation there more than usual, trying to take advantage of the fact that people are once again thinking about Palestine in one way or another. I’d love to do more than that, and be involved with lots of demonstrations, concert tours focused on the situation there, etc., but this will depend on people and organizations mobilizing that I can plug into. I hope there will be lots of that going on. Here in Australia where I’m finishing a tour right now, I just sang at a rally for Gaza the other day. When I return to the U.S. tomorrow I hope to do much more than that