American in Palestine reacts to VP debate

While news outlets throughout the U.S. interviewed American voters about the debate, an American blogger living in Palestine recently posted two entries on her thoughts. The activist and teacher named Marcy Newman, writes in her blog, Body on the Line, that many piques arose with her while watching the vice presidential debate featuring Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Newman’s entry titled, “on deleting palestine and other debate observations” first discusses the factual errors made by Biden, including his misuse of the word Arabic word “madrassa.”

Biden’s mistake #1: If you’re going to use an Arabic word, don’t you think you should learn what it means first?:

There have been 7,000 madrasses built along that border. We should be helping them build schools to compete for those hearts and minds of the people in the region so that we’re actually able to take on terrorism and by the way, that’s where bin Laden lives and we will go at him if we have actually intelligence.

المدرسة, or madrassa, literally means school in English. Religious school, private school, public school: it does not matter. Like the word school in English, madrassa applies to all sorts of schools including Islamic religious schools. Oh, and as Fisk, thankfully, makes it clear that there are not 7,000 schools on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Newman then points out that other problems arose during the debate including Palin’s “fabrication.” One fabrication included Palin stating she was middle-class; Newman cites a The Independent article stating that Palin and her husband Todd are worth “at least $1.2m, including a $500,000 lakefront home, a Piper float-plane and two holiday getaways.”

Newman also ties in her current home, Palestine, stating that both candidates failed to mention the country during the 90-minute-debate; however, both repeatedly pointed out their love for Israel.

Can you imagine any country with a leader whose brain is bigger than the size of a pea lending its support for any state without reservations? Without question? Moreover, not only did we never hear the word Palestine mention. By not mentioning Palestine, Palestinian people, a Palestinian context many other things were deleted as well. Occupation. Illegal settlements. The 60th anniversary of an nakba. Palestinian political prisoners. Palestinian refugees. The siege on Gaza. The hyperbole Palin invokes with her reference to a so-called second holocaust and Israel as a “peace-seeking nation” is preposterous and shows the level of myth making involved in their Israel love-fest. Israel is a war-seeking nation and has been so since before its creation.

Newman further addresses Palin’s stance on Israel and her continuous use of the word “energy.”

I take Palin at her word, unfortunately, when she expresses her affection for a nation-state that practices state terrorism on a daily basis. At the same time when she mentioned her love of Israel (about six or seven times) for her American Jewish voting audience (most of whom, by the way, do not support the state of Israel unconditionally), she made it clear that she doesn’t really know or understand the issues at stake. Likewise, there were many moments when she clearly did not understand the words, the language, the question, the concept and in turn either ignored it or injected the word “energy” into her response. It seems that this energy crutch of hers was the only subject she seemed to feel comfortable with (of course, only in the context of “drill, baby, drill”). She used the word “energy” 29 times.

The post is completed with Newman addressing other issues including: the Iraq War and the number of casualties, Henry Kissinger, Afghanistan and Pakistan and essentially, her disappointment in both candidates.

Just as Palin (and Biden) seems to be woefully clueless when it comes to historical matters affecting our current realities…

In a later entry titled, “why i love rosa clemente,” Newman posts what Independent Vice Presidential Candidate Matt Gonzalez and Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Rosa Clemente (also the vice presidential candidates of Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, of whom she is supporting) stated in regards to Palestine.

just a taste of how that Israel love fest would have gone if vice presidential candidates rosa clemente and matt gonazalez had been included. here is what they have to say about palestine (yes! they actually are able to say that word and speak about it in an informed and moral way! imagine!). and there are many reasons why i love clemente: her position on the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex, queer rights, the environment. you can watch the entire debate or read the transcript at democracy now!

MATT GONZALEZ: Well, I think, you know, both of these candidates pay lip service to the notion that we need a two-state solution. They don’t tell you any specifics around that. Do they support 1967 borders, for instance? Joe Biden did not repudiate Barack Obama’s earlier remark about Jerusalem belonging to Israel.

And I think their sort of over-the-top repeating of how much they love Israel—I think, in that, they lose an opportunity to support peace movements in and outside of Israel, joined by many Jews, both in this country and in Israel, that want to see an end to the violence in the region, that don’t believe, for instance, the way Palestinians are being treated is fair.

And I think when Joe Biden starts repudiating elections in the West Bank and elsewhere, you see that these guys are pretty much in step with the current administration. You know, they either—you either have to be a supporter of democracy and deal with the right of people to self-determine, or you repudiate that. And if you repudiate it, you’re going to go down a path that can be very dangerous.

AMY GOODMAN: Rosa Clemente?

ROSA CLEMENTE: Well, I mean, I think it’s not even a question of fairness. The Israeli government, every day, kills Palestinian people in their own homeland. I think it is about the right to self-determination, but it’s also—I think it’s more than a two-state solution.
Many Palestinian groups are calling for a one-state solution, and that’s how it should be.

And the United States, we need to stop sending any type of military aid to Israel. I think what’s going on in—what’s been happening in Palestine, you know, is an indication of forty years of complete terror amongst another group of people, aided by American tax dollars, you know.

And I think younger people, particularly through hip-hop, it’s been interesting that we can have cultural exchanges and actually have people in Palestine, like the hip-hop group DAM, that let us know what’s happening every day right there on the ground and that the issue for a lot of Palestinian people would be that they deserve their homeland back and that the right of return is fundamental to them as a people.

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