Condoleezza Rice, Gaza and Zimbabwe

By Stephen Gowans
January 2, 2009

Israel has killed 414 Gazans and wounded 1,850 in the last seven daysIn the last seven days, Israeli airstrikes have killed 414 Gazans and wounded 1,850. [1] Israel says it’s defending itself against Palestinian rocket attacks. If that’s so, the response is grossly disproportionate. In the last seven days, only five Israelis have died as a result of these attacks. [2] Average the number of Israeli deaths over the last seven years from rockets launched from Gaza and the figure comes out to less than two per year. In response, Israel has killed 59 Palestinians and wounded 264 per day over the last seven days.

Israel says it is “targeting only Hamas operatives and those affiliated with Hamas.” [3] Yet “hundreds of thousands of Gazans have received warnings in the form of telephone messages or fliers that their buildings are Israeli targets.” [4] In other words, Israel is targeting hundreds of thousands…to prevent the deaths of an average of less than two Israelis killed every year by Palestinian rocket fire.

Last month, Israel expelled Richard Falk, a professor of international law at Princeton. Falk is also the United Nations investigator of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Falk was ejected because of what Israeli officials said was his hostile position toward Israel. (What person of conscience wouldn’t have a hostile position toward Israel?) In December, Falk denounced Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a crime against humanity and compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi atrocities. Israel called these statements hostile because they were accompanied by only cursory references to Palestinian rocket attacks [5] – the ones that kill an average of less than two Israelis per year.

Israel is going backwards. It used to justify its Nazi-like behaviour by invoking Hitler’s systematic extermination of the Jews, as if that somehow justified its ethnic cleansing of Mandate Palestine. Now all it can muster is rocket attacks that have killed a handful of people in the last seven years to justify the blockade and subsequent pummelling of Gaza.

It is important to recall why the Palestinians lob their crude, largely ineffective missiles into surrounding settler towns. The reason has everything to do with why there are settler towns in the first place. In 1947, over the objection of the Arab majority, the UN set forth a plan to partition Mandate Palestine. The Jews, one-third of the population, most having arrived since WWI, would get 56 percent of the territory, while the Arabs, two-thirds of the population, would get only 42 percent. (The remaining two percent, Jerusalem, would be internationalized.) Some 800,000 Arabs were forced or fled from their homes in response to a systematic program of ethnic cleansing by Jewish forces [6]. When the dust settled, the new Israeli state was in control of 80 percent of the territory. Nineteen years later, in 1967, it took the rest. Since 1948, Palestinians have either languished in refugee camps, barred from returning home, have lived under military rule in occupied territories, have rotted in the open air prison of Gaza, or live as second-class citizens in Israel.

The Palestinians’ armed struggle against Israel, then, is a legitimate and necessary one, tantamount to struggle against rape. When Israel says it must smash Gaza to defend itself against rocket attacks, its words echo the protest of the rapist: I had to club her because she wouldn’t stop struggling.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, showing an unmitigated partiality toward the country Washington injects billions of dollars of aid into every year, met the Israeli clubbing of the prostrate and weakened Gaza with this:

The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for…the renewal of violence in Gaza. [7]

This was as monstrous as the Israeli attacks.

In March, 2007 Rice invited Jenni Williams to Washington to receive the US State Department’s 2007 International Woman of Courage Award for Africa [8]. Williams is an anti-Mugabe activist who leads Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a group which, according to a US State Department report [9], receives US government funding through Freedom House, a CIA-interlocked [10]organization headed by Peter Ackerman, junk bond trader Michael Milken’s former right hand man.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine an American or Briton being invited to Harare by Robert Mugabe to receive the International Person of Courage Award for the North Atlantic. Imagine further that the recipient is the leader of a civil society group called Women of America Arise or Women of Britain Arise and that the group is financially assisted by the Zimbabwean government. How believable would the claim be that our person of courage is not an agent of the Zimbabwean government? How much scorn would be heaped upon her for accepting an accolade – and money — from the monster, Mugabe, in Harare, no less? How likely would it be that our person of courage would escape calls to be sanctioned or deported? And what would we think of a progressive scholar who dismissed the idea that our person of courage could in any way be considered an agent of Zimbabwe, or that she represented an independent left?

In reply to a September 25, 2008 Netfa Freeman article in the Black Agenda Report, “Zimbabwe and the Battle of Ideas”, progressive scholar Stephen Zunes declared that it was impossible to consider Jenni Williams, the women who is feted in Washington by the monster Condoleezza Rice and takes her money, to be an American agent. Zunes heads up the board of academic advisors of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, a body which trains people to use nonviolence to bring down governments that refuse to accept the open door (trade and investment) demand that forms the cornerstone of US foreign policy. The ICNC is run by Peter Ackerman – the same Peter Ackerman, who, pursuing a post-Michael Milken career, also runs the CIA interlocked Freedom House, the same Freedom House that funnels Uncle Sam’s lucre to Jenni Williams. And Stephen Zunes, working with Freedom House head Peter Ackerman at the ICNC says, Jenni Williams can in no way be considered an American agent. Is it any wonder that our progressive scholar is sometimes known as 00Zunes?

There is plenty of perversity here. Gazans, lobbing simple missiles with limited destructive power into nearby settler towns that have been erected on ethnically cleansed former Palestinian villages, are slaughtered for struggling against a gross injustice. Condoleezza Rice paints them as the villains and holds them responsible for their own slaughter.

Mugabe is denounced as a monster by the same Condoleezza Rice for reversing a kind of ethnic cleansing practiced by European settlers against the indigenous African population through an effective land redistribution program, one other south Africans demand of their own governments, and are denied.

In other words, reversal of, or attempts to reverse, ethnic cleansing is met by the denunciation of the United States, and harsh responses.

Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice confers an accolade, and lucre, upon a woman progressive scholars in the United States spring to the defense of, but would just as zealously denounce as a crude propagandist and supporter of a monstrous regime were she receiving awards and financial support from Robert Mugabe.

1. Rory McCarthy and David Batty, “Israeli warplanes destroy Gaza houses and mosque as air strikes continue,” The Guardian (UK), January 2, 2009.

2. Ibid.

3. Ethan Bonner, “Israel Rejects Cease-Fire, but Offers Gaza Aid, The New York Times, January 1, 2009.

4. Isabel Kershner and Taghreed El-Khodary, “Gaze bombing continues as foreigners are evacuated,” The New York Times, January 2, 2009.

5. Isabel Kershner, “U.N. rights investigator expelled by Israel,” The New York Times, December 16, 2008.

6. Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, One World, Oxford, 2006.

7. U.S. Department of State Press Release, “Situation in Gaze,” December 27, 2008.

8. Jim Fisher-Thompson, “Zimbabwean receives International Woman of Courage Award,” USINFO, March 7, 2007.


10. Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Pantheon Books, New York, 1988, p. 28.


10 thoughts on “Condoleezza Rice, Gaza and Zimbabwe”

  1. How is what the Isrealies are doing any different the what the Russians did to Georgia. The problem is that the isrealies shouldn’t have been aided in their conquest to counquor that land. The government of the United States had a fit when they thought that Communist countries were aiding the minorities within the United States during the various 60’s movements and the BPP in particular. What if China used their muscle to aid native Americans in a persuit to reclaim land that was stolen from them?

  2. Why is it ok for Africans (or “lesser” allies)to die in the minds of the power structure of the U.S., but as soon as one European ally gets a splinter from a less desirable neighbor, The U.S. extinguishes or seeks to without any time spared?
    I have been saying for the past six or so years that countries who have felt shunned by the U.S. should unite in more ways than one in order to ensure by all means possible a future for their children. It’s obvious that the U.N. and the United States are not that beacon and change must start from within.
    However, with the election of The United States first non traditional politician to the top post of President, I’m willing to give them another four years. I just wonder how many more times and years will Cuban, Haitians, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Vietnamese, and countless amount of others who rank low in social distance of the Euro based industrialized hierarchy of the west are going to put up with being told no you can’t! How long are we the, “less fortunate but expendable souls of the world” going to continue to let imperfect men of imperfect nations dictate the dealings and interactions of our everyday lives in our back yards” I think that the impoverished, uneducated, and cheated are learning one thing and that is that they are fed up. That’s what China was and now look at them. They changed the rules to the game of survival on our planet. No power in the world can deny the will of the masses when they mobilize for one goal which is Survival.
    We will see what happens over the next four and where we will be then. I’m hopeful, but still a skeptic.

  3. You see Curtis, America have the freedom to speak with the side of their mouths and never have to apologize; afterall, they’re the superpower of the world. By everyone rushing to empathyze and sympathyse with Israel everytime they cry afoul is the cause of this war. They feel vindicated by Obama’s statements not too long ago and know that he cannot reverse his position. Every spokesperson from Israel regurgitates Obama’s sentiments no wonder he’s in hiding at this moment. Now israel has a scapegoat for thier actions “America told us to defend ourselves.”

    All these political pundits and professors of Middle East expertise are now scrambling to distance themselves from the massacre taking place. Before this, they all labelled Hamaas as a terrorist organization, now they are all revisiting their comments because they never expected the Holy Land to act in such perverse manner.

    The USA will have to take full responsibility for what is happening. Hopefully, Obama will begin a new era as to how the USA commits to supporting another country crying foul!

  4. Israel did not need the comments of the naive pandering Hawaiian/ Chicago upstart Senator to attack and destroy innocent civilians in Gaza under the guise of defending themselves on obvious stolen lands. A country the size of New Jersey ,that possess the 3rd largest military in the world feels justified in performing its own brand of state terrorism against what it deems stupid and divided Arabs and Muslims since Russia a former super power have done countless damage against Chechnyans ,and the USA the present super power have ran rough shod over Iraq and Afghans’ while the respective regional leaders and the world at large, rolls over and remain asleep sleep.

  5. I wonder if Dr. Rice is paying attention as to how US foreign policy is assessed to have fared in recent years to win hearts and minds with other nations and leave the world a better place for US people and its partner states.

    In a Middle East valedictory speech on 5 December, summing up the nearly eight years of his two administrations, George W. Bush declared that “the Middle East in 2008 is a freer, more hopeful, and more promising place than it was in 2001.”

    May disagree. Count some of the important ways things are now worse, says Daniel Pipes and lists the following:

    George W. Bush delivering his swan song on the Middle East.

    Iran is closer to nuclear weapons, perhaps the single most alarming development of Bush’s era.

    Pakistan is close to becoming a nuclear-armed, Islamist rogue state.

    The price of oil reached all time highs and only collapsed in recent months due to a U.S.-led recession.

    Turkey has gone from being a stalwart ally to the most anti-American country in the world.

    The doctrine of preemption has been discredited.

    Arab rejectionism of Israel has spread.

    Democracy efforts in Egypt have collapsed.

    Hizbullah grows in power in Lebanon.

    Hamas took power in Gaza and may next control the West Bank.

    The Taliban may again run Afghanistan.

    And Iraq? Bush made an almost direct reply to my appeal since 2003 to place a “democratically-minded strongman” in power in Baghdad, stating that “when Saddam’s regime fell, we refused to take the easy option and install a friendly strongman in his place.” Bush remains convinced he did the right thing, I remain convinced that the Iraq story will end badly for the United States.

    What are the positive Bush legacies? Pipes can cite just two. “No Saddam Hussein in Iraq and a Libya that is only quasi hostile.”

    Having contributed to this dismal situation, is Condy Rice seeking an advocacy slot after stepping down as State Secretary?

    Condoleezza Rice, having observed that more than 300 Gazans were dead, said: “We are deeply concerned about the escalating violence. We strongly condemn the attacks on Israel and hold Hamas responsible.”

    Mark Steel, suggests that someone “should ask her to comment on teenage knife-crime, to see if she’d say: “I strongly condemn the people who’ve been stabbed, and until they abandon their practice of wandering around clutching their sides and bleeding, there is no hope for peace.”

  6. If ever there was a useful argument that any holder of important political office should first develop an intimate relationship with another human at some stage in their life- preferably of the opposite sex- then Condi the Queen of the neocons should be used as a test case. She is undoubtedly the most heartless , misguided and useless Secretary of State we have ever seen in this country. So much more was expected from both her and her immediate predecessor General Colin Powell, for in true spineless black middle class fashion ,they have opted to be useful tools for their manipulative handlers.
    I’ll excuse the general as military men tend to be loyal to their bosses even if such actions could lead to their demise . However, every sentence that this last President was able to utter as it relate to matters of global political significance , was generated from the brain of the obviously brilliant Stanford Professor and baby sitter ,Dr Rice. It is very sad to say but these two characters have done more to harm the interest of their race as well as struggling and desperate people across the globe that were not linked to Europe, and a miniscule section of the Middle East that we can afford to leave unmentioned , as even a two weeks old baby can figure it out by now. Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger in contrast ,can afford to sleep well at night due to the fact they did their part to selectively enhance causes that powerful Washingtonian multimillion dollar lobbyist felt were important.. Ms Rice claimed to be this Russian expert, but have missed the mark on geopolitical strategic issues involving that country on almost every occasion. Only time would tell what her legacy would be, as the Crawford kid lacks the moral authority to state like the former Missouri Senator and 33 rd President of Japanese atomic bomb fame, Harry Truman that claimed “ The buck stops here” and “If you can’t stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen.”Those comments or similar shpul;d instead be left to either Mr. Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheny thje two co presidents that helped tarnish the good name and reputation of the world’s sole super power- if ever such an expression can still be valid and be mentioned with a straight face..

  7. Neal! What the hell are you talking about! You spewed all the incomprehensible gibberish, lacking one single complete line of thought. Are you on meds? Holy crack! At least attempt a “thesis” in your column so one can try and follow what you’re ranting and raving about.

  8. Bert stick to watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and reading the columns of our articulate former Tethron military giant- com Trade Unionist / politician and editor at large Mr. Shah for cojent , coherent ,and astute political analysis.
    It is not my fault that you left the John John primary school in standard one because you had to engage in subhuman child labour to help take care of your 15 bare feet and starving brothers and sisters since in the word of Explainer mummy could not answer your questions as to “where is daddy ” I won’t tell you how to write your blogs, and surely need no advice as to how to write mine.
    Once you get off your pedestrial, you can Google my commentary or r better yet request someone a bit more intelligent than yourself to do some research as to the veracity of what I have said to see if they make sense or are mere baseless rants by a some nut . Regards.

Comments are closed.