Culture, Global, Identity, Justice, Mishegas, Politics, Religion

Damned if we do

After seeing the overwhelming presence of Jews at the Darfur rally, I knew it was only a matter of time…

Today’s demonstration in Washington was organized by a coalition called “Save Darfur.” It describes itself as “an alliance of over 130 diverse faith-based, humanitarian, and human rights organizations.” The Jerusalem Post provides additional information: “Little known…is that the coalition…was actually begun exclusively as an initiative of the American Jewish community.” The American Holocaust Museum has been conspicuously involved, and while many people feel that the term “genocide” should be used very sparingly the Museum hasn’t hesitated to draw parallels between the Shoah and the Darfur situation. Joining Jewish organizations are evangelical Zionist Christian groups who see Sudan as a prime mission ground in these Latter Days.
We’re talking about a rally urging a US/NATO intervention in Africa’s largest country, legitimated by the UN strong-armed by a thuggish neocon-led administration in Washington. We’re talking potentially about regime change in Africa’s second-largest oil producer, in the context of planned U.S. strikes against Syria and Iran. Should anyone in the antiwar movement with a minimal knowledge or recent history be comfortable with that, or suppose that it could be fully benign?

By all means, may the people of Darfur, including those in the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Army (if indeed they represent liberation), using any means necessary, fight their oppression and seek international allies in the process. And let those Americans who’ve really studied the situation and wish to assist the struggle of Darfur’s oppressed provide such help as they can — especially if they do so while fighting oppression globally without any skewed agenda. But let the U.S. antiwar movement not confuse friends with enemies, and in that confusion help those Martin Luther King Jr. once called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

Apparently it’s just the Jews using Darfur to cover up our “ongoing brutalization of the Palestinians.”
I grant that the author does have a point (which my husband actually wrote a thesis on) in that US action in Darfur would, in fact, be imperialist. This does not necessarily mean that it is wrong, however. US invervention in the death camps of WWII was an imperialist action, and we were right to do it. When hundreds of thousands are being slaughtered, perhaps it is appropriate for outsiders to impose their values on the situation.
Read the full article by Professor Gary Leupp or Tufts, as published on Dissident Voice.
[Ed’s Note] See also: Arieh Leibowitz @ Meretz Blog and Kelsey The Ghetto Jew, tho do pay extra attention to the comments from Xisnotx.

5 thoughts on “Damned if we do

  1. Um, has anyone noticed that Jewschool, Kelsey’s post, and the ensuing discussion were (very selectively) used by Yoshie Furuhashi in the comments to her basically anti-Semitic (and inane) article (one of those that the Meretz blog sends us to)? Furuhashi cherry picks two pieces of the discussion to give herself cred. Bleh.

  2. America intervened to stop Nazi imperialism. Anyway, there are certain groups that are using this to promote the clash of civilizations. Some of which are Jewish. He also made the good point that it is not agreed by everyone to be a genocide. Many think it is a the Nicaragua death squad model, which is bad in and of itself in that civilians are killed but not genocide. He also made the point that this is not an Arab muslim vs black christian argument. In fact both sides are black muslims.

  3. I disagreed with the liberal hawks on Iraq for the same reasons Leupp cites. Namely, that I did not trust the Bush administration to be the force for the positive outcomes the liberal hawks were claiming would result from an invasion of Iraq. And my suspicions were vindicated by what came later.
    However, Mr. Leupp ignores the fact that the rally was not necessarily calling for U.S. troops to be deployed (indeed, it would be difficult to do so given the current deployment configuration), and that there are many diplomatic roads still to be taken against the Sudanese government before simply handing over Sudan to U.S. imperialism. Methinks he doth protest too much.

  4. Yes, there are many idiots like this.
    I am tempted to respond by saying that I met the chairman of the Save Darfur coalition, and that the idea that it is merely a mask for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an outrageous falsehood, but the truth is that it is not worth dignifying with disagreement.
    Even were we to concede Mr. Leupp’s point, what is he arguing? That everyone who supports a good policy is clean and pure as the driven snow? That it would be better for us to spend all our time on an internecine land conflict where a few thousand people have died rather than on a genocide where a few hundred thousand people have died? This is the pinnacle of holier-than-thou argument.
    The real truth is that inaction on the part of the left is a direct result of their not wanting to piss off their Arab supporters, who would like to sweep Darfur under the rug. It is a devil’s agreement on their part, and we have nothing to apologize for.

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