Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Ron Paul Is Wrong on Jerusalem

Jeremy Hammond, author of the best brief introduction to the Palestine conflict, The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination, demonstrates that Ron Paul’s position on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “betrayal of his values.”

Ron Paul’s senior adviser, Doug Weed, says the presidential candidate supports Israel’s choice for its capital. Weed reported that Paul told a a group of evangelical leaders:
The real issue here is not what America wants but what Israel wants. We have no right to choose their capital. If they say it is Jerusalem, then it is Jerusalem.
Weed then paraphrased Paul: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Get over it.”

Hammond documents in detail the illegality of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem (as well as its 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reaction, which Paul also defended):
Ron Paul’s suggestion that the U.S. should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is likewise a disappointing defense of lawlessness that would seem to indicate that Dr. Paul is unfamiliar with the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rather bases his views on the establishment-approved mythical narrative, which is essentially the history as it is presented in Zionist propaganda….
It is a disturbing development in Ron Paul’s campaign to see him sounding on this issue more rather than less like his establishment opponents.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sheldon,

First, I'd like to commend you for your writings pertaining to the Israeli state. As we're all aware, there is tremendous pressure not to discuss these issues. For but one example, Israeli Apartheid Week, http://apartheidweek.org (which I've only become aware of in the past couple of years) has come under fire from gov't legislators. In 2010, in Winnipeg, Canada, the provincial gov't almost passed a motion asking for an all-party denunciation of the "hate-motivated" Israel Apartheid Week: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/ndp-draws-flak-from-jewish-leader-91013879.html

Indeed, just last month, Canadian federal "Conservatives and Liberals are joining forces in condemning the so-called Israel Apartheid Week events being held on university campuses across Canada": http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/03/07/tories-liberals-oppose-israel-apartheid-week

Are you familiar with IAW? I'm curious to know more about it. However, consider these negative reader comments in the Winnipeg Free Press:




I imagine the political/religious pressure in the US is similiar, so I personally wouldn't be too disappointed in Ron Paul's purported remarks concerning Jerusalem/Israel. Maybe he's throwing them ("Evangelical"/Israeli lobbies) a bone? He already has detractors calling him anti-Semitic and racist. Since we (currently) only have Doug Wead's comments about what Paul said, I'd like to get clarification from Paul himself.

But then again, the quote is "We have no right to choose their capital...". I take the "we" to mean the US gov't, which would mean he is correct. It is not for the US to determine any country's capital. Now, Paul may have personal feelings on the matter, but as a member of Congress, he obviously knows to take a hands off approach.
Richard G.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult for most people...liberal, conservative or libertarian...to understand that Ron Paul is all about integrity and cares nothing for political expediency. His statement on Jerusalem as capital of Israel is entirely consistent with his positions. With Ron Paul one actually has reason and consistency, regardless of how inconsistent with the ordinary practiced divisiveness of professional politics. All drugs legalized and unabashedly pro life. Take it or leave it.

Sheldon Richman said...

I am unfamiliar with IAW.

I don't see his position as consistent at all. He is giving his sanction to crime.

Anonymous said...

< I don't see his position as consistent at all. He is giving his sanction to crime. >

Hi Sheldon,

Although I believe your comment is addressing anonymous (April 14, 2012 4:44 PM), and not me, necessarily, I'd like to address what you said. If RP's quote is accurate (i.e. "...We have no right to choose their capital...), and excluding Wead's paraphrase, to me, that seems consistent with his foreign policy views, i.e. neutrality. Wouldn't you agree that it's not up to the US gov't to determine a nation's capital? [Note: I'm using the minarchist position for argumentative purposes]

Sheldon, do you also believe that the mere recognization of Israel as a nation is giving "sanction to crime"? If not, what would be the difference? Didn't the emergence of Israel itself originate through criminal activities?

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, if you support United States sovereignty, you're giving sanction to the crimes of annexing Native American land. Israel has much more of a claim to Jerusalem than European colonists to America.

Sheldon Richman said...

Israel has zero legitimate claim to East Jerusalem, which was seized in an aggressive war. Its annexation is illegal under international law. West Jerusalem would take more time to explain. See Jeremy Hammond's The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination.

Grabrich said...

Hi Sheldon,

Okay, what if Israel were to change their capital to West Jerusalem only? Do you believe that would be legitimate?

Which begs the question: do you belive that Israel itself is legitimate under minarchist criteria? Note that I agree with your anarchist criteria that no nation is legitimate.

However, imagine if RP were to publicly deny the legitimacy of Israel itself; you know what would hit the fan! He'd be vilified for being anti-Semitic; he'd lose widespread support; he'd possibly be hit with lawsuits; charged with hate crimes; and libertarianism would be shackled with allegations of anti-semitism too.

He's already walking a tightrope as it is, so I think you're being a bit too hard on RP in this specific instance (which has yet to be confirmed/clarified by RP himself).

Richard G.

P.S. I'm not the anonymous poster(s) of April 14, 2012 4:44 PM, nor April 16, 2012 12:10 PM.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Mr. Hammond many scholars would disagree.

Moreover, most of America was captured in aggressive war. What makes Jews any less entitled to self determination than Americans are?

East Jerusalem was annexed by Jordan in an aggressive war started by multiple Arab nations in '48. The Jews captured it in '67. Before then, it was controlled by both the British and the Ottoman empires. Who would you suggest the land is "returned" to? The British? the Ottomans? It certainly was never controlled by Palestinians.

Sheldon Richman said...

I don't support national sovereignty. I support individual sovereignty.

It doesn't matter how many scholars disagree with Hammond. What matters is the truth. Look at his documentation and that of similar books. Look at the work of the ethnic-cleansing apologist Benny Morris.

Israel started the Six-Day War. Its generals have said so; they also said Israel was not under threat in the days before the war. So much for East Jerusalem. Jordan had come into possession of East Jerusalem after conspiring with the Zionist leaders before independence. See Avi Shlaim's Collusion Across the Jordan.

As for West Jerusalem, it must be judged in light of the fact that the UN partitioned Palestine without the consultation or consent of the indigenous Palestinian population. Their wishes just did not count. Jews owned no more than 7 percent of Palestine (although many of the purchases from feudal landlords wouldn't pass Lockean or libertarian muster) but were given 57 percent of the (best) land. I can't see how that establishes a legitimate Israeli claim to West Jerusalem.

Grabrich said...

Hi Sheldon,

I agree that Israel has a very tenuous legitimate claim to W Jerusalem. But since you (and I) only recognize individual sovereignty, it almost seems like splitting hairs for you to point out the lack of legitimacy to Israel's claim to any portion of Jerusalem (since the legitimacy of Israel itself is disputed by you).

But since you reference international law, is it not the case that Israel itself is recognized as legitimate (albeit with Tel Aviv as the capital)? If so, I believe Ron Paul is right (if the quote is accurate) to say that the US cannot dictate what their capital should or shouldn't be, i.e. it is an internal matter. Doug Wead's paraphrase is more problematic, to say the least.

However, if an RP administration would immediately switch its diplomatic operations from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (without widespread international agreement), then I would agree that's negative.

I just think that your comment that it's giving "sanction to crime" is too harsh, considering that you could rightly criticize him for even recognizing the legitimacy of Israel itself. Would you also say that merely having diplomatic operations in Israel gives "sanction to crime"?

[Note: there's more than one poster in this thread, so I hope you're not conflating us?]

Richard G.

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