Special guest comment: Our Changing Relationship with Gaza

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Special Guest blogger “Grant from Texas” recalls his time working in Israel in the mid-1970’s and how much our relationship with the people in that region has changed since then. Minor edits, a few corrections and some supporting links were added for clarity.

Romney is on TV this morning accusing President Obama of “sympathizing” with the protesters in Libya and Egypt that killed four Americans. How offensive! Now it looks like Lebanon may be next!!!

I lived in Israel in 1975 working as a supervisor on a $23 million U.S. funded project to build military bases from Port Said along the east side of the Suez all the way down to Sharm el-Sheikh. I went to work there 100% behind Israel mostly based upon the propaganda I grew up with in the U.S.A.. I even had to fill out a 10 page extensive questionnaire to be reviewed by the MOSSAD (that took weeks) and ended up with a higher security classification than many in the Israeli Defense Forces. However, I broke some rules like never talking to an Arab, but it was hard not to have contact. The ones I befriended I liked. We Texans on the job called Arabs the “Mexicans” of Israel as they did most of the service work at the time in hotels, restaurants, taxis.

I also drove through Gaza weekly on the way to and from our job in the Sinai as it was the shortest route. The detour through Israel was longer. We 33 American supervisors (had an Israeli work force) lived at the Ramada Intercontinental (now the Renaissance on the beach) four days every other weekend. I was warned that with yellow Jewish license plates on my truck, I would take rocks or worse bullets. However, stopping for gasoline, food and drinks in El Arish, I was always treated with respect, even admiration for being an American (however, this was 1975). I was appalled at the time seeing Israel building a high fence topped with razor wire and gun towers on the Gaza border. Since then, Gaza has become most similar to the Warsaw Ghetto, a cramped prison for Gazans. Gazans used to commute daily to jobs in Israel, but now banned those jobs are now mostly filled by low wage Eastern Europeans.

I would like to go back to visit Israel but maybe with some of the comments I’ve made online now, that might keep me from getting a visa. One never knows the extent of MOSSAD review. I left Israel in the autumn of 1975 with my viewpoints changed nearly 180 degrees. I saw much mistreatment of Arabs, and sadly, some of the Israelis were visiting the same injustices done to them by fascists, now visiting similar upon the Arabs. However, there is a peace-seeking liberal minority in Israel who don’t go along with Likud, and The Jerusalem Post (where Wolf Blitzer once worked) is most right-wing, but there is a liberal voice in Ha-aretz.

Also of note, I am seriously worried about the election this fall. I see that our Texas Republican Secretary of State sent a list of 80,000 supposedly deceased voters to counties saying these voters need to be purged from the voter roles (fortunately, the list was challenged and rejected, but it’s not the first attempt nor is not likely to be the last – Mugsy). The state says they got their list from the Social Security Administration but people who received letters from the state checking to see if they are dead are saying if they are dead, then “why are our Social Security checks coming every month?” So far the undead have one thing in common… most of them voted in the Democratic Primary! You’d think maybe the GOP here is afraid that Obama might take our electoral votes? How absurd with all of the gerrymandering and voter suppression tricks they are trying to pull.
 

 
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September 12, 2012 · Grant in Texas · 6 Comments - Add
Posted in: General, Guest Blogger, Middle East, Politics, Rants, Religion, Terrorism, War

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  • Grant in Texas September 13, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Republican leadership is strangely quiet. Few, except for some like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and the usual publicity hogs, are supporting Mitt Romney’s attack on our Commander-in-Chief during tense world crises. Having lived under 13 presidents, now, I’ve can’t recall such an overt political stunt. One of the unwritten rules of a presidential campaign has always been to never criticize the president in the middle of a crisis nor to criticize a president from a foreign shore. But then the racist REICHwing has never acknowledged the validity of our first black president. He has to be reduced to “the other”.

    Those behind this hate film produced by an Israeli-American HAD to know it would create chaos in the Muslim world. Maybe that is what Bibi Netanyahu and his friends in the right-wing here want as their early “October Surprise”…to influence our elections! This film was funded, promoted by Americans (and possibly Israelis). Several years ago I was in a long discussion with a German student studying in the U.S. about neo-Nazis in Germany and Europe. Since everything Nazi is outlawed in Germany, the student said that much of the neo-Nazi funding, the printing/filming of propaganda for dissemination there, was coming from the USA, smuggled into Germany. IOW, without American help, the neo-fascists in Europe would be starved. He also told our group not to worry, and wanted to take wagers that, sadly, the next great world fascist power would not be found in Europe, but would be the United States. Germans have learned a brutal lesson. With Citizens United, billionaire corporatists buying our elections, building fences along our border, scape-goating minorities, I shudder. At age 73, I probably won’t be around to see such a landscape but I don’t want my many nieces/nephews to have to sort through rubble someday when the rest of world rises up and says, “USA, enough is enough.” Remember we are only 300 million in a world of 7 billion. In the end numbers of people will trump our military hardware or worst case scenario, we use our nuclear power and annihilate our planet.

     
    • Mugsy September 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Remember when Republicans conflated “criticism of the President” with “criticism of America“?

       
  • Grant in Texas September 13, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Strangely silent are Mitt Romney and the whole Republican establishment NOT denouncing the blasphemous hate-film about Islam. Even George W. Bush, after 9/11, was most vocal about not attacking Islam as a religion and Muslim-Americans (sadly, a few of the latter were murdered including a non-Muslim Sikh). Where is the “leadership” from Mitt Romney? However, he fears not getting the love of the many bigoted, far-right GOP. Hate the smirk on Romney’s face as he walks away from the podium after thinking he scored A BIG ONE on President Obama:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/169902/romneys-fatal-libya-blunder

     
    • Mugsy October 1, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      (Oops, excuse the oversight. I corrected the “Author” for this story, correctly attributing it to reader “Grant from Texas”. I apologize for the oversight and delayed correction.)

       
  • fastfeat September 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks for the interesting perspective. Sadly, I, like many other Americans, haven’t been out of this country, except to Tijuana. And it sounds rather similar to Gaza; it is also a place I wouldn’t set foot nowadays.

    And I recommend that anyone who is in a ‘Thug-controlled state check their voter registration before it’s too late. Start here: http://www.canivote.org/ (I’m a Florida resident who voted absentee in 2010 and haven’t been home much lately. Fortunately, I was still on the roll.) It only takes a minute to check.

     
    • Mugsy September 16, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      I hope people have already noticed the big “CanIVote.org” graphic link (among others) at the top of the left column by now. 🙂

       
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