You Will Normalize… Or Else…
It is no secret that the US has been using different means to push Arab states toward normalization with “Israel”. These means have been for the most part indirect, and using different channels – diplomatic, political, military, civil society, development programs, etc. Though being indirect does not mean necessarily undetectable or unnoticeable; to the contrary, they are often quite obvious. However, we have seen over the last few years more blatant US efforts to push towards normalization with “Israel.”
Caesar Act And Normalization
One very recent example is the latest US package of sanctions on Syria, which were passed as a law under the name the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019”, the statement of policy of which states the following: “It is the policy of the United States that diplomatic and coercive economic means should be utilized to compel the government of Bashar al-Assad to halt its murderous attacks on the Syrian people and to support a transition to a government in Syria that respects the rule of law, human rights, and peaceful co-existence with its neighbors.” Anyone can understand exactly who is meant by “neighbors” with whom “peaceful co-existence” is required.
The aforementioned Caesar Act passed after political battles within Congress, and opposition thereto was eliminated by including it in a bundle of laws named “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.” Two of the four laws included in this bundle related to “Israel”, one authorizing assistance and weapons transfers to “Israel” and the other allowing states to divest from entities boycotting “Israel” (such as those joining the BDS movement).
These are just very recent examples, though a quick search on the US Congress website can reveal a plethora of legislations and bills waiting in the queue to become legislations relating to “Israel” and the different ways the US can show it love and affection.
This brings us to the US Senate on 10 August 2020, when in a very heart-warming and moving aisle-crossing collaboration, two US Senators, one republican (Rob Portman, OH) and one democrat (Cory Booker, NJ), introduced a legislation titled “Strengthening Reporting of Actions Taken Against the Normalization of Relations with Israel Act.” The proposed legislations states what is already known, that is: “longstanding United States policy has encouraged Arab League states to normalize their relations with Israel.” It then goes on to point out the bad apples among the Arab states that “maintain draconian anti-normalization laws that punish their citizens for people-to-people relations with Israelis”, and reasons that these laws “condemn these societies to mutual estrangement and… reduce the possibility of conciliation and compromise.” Thus, this proposed legislation very comfortably seems to be implying that these types of laws are rejected by the majority of the populations of these countries, and that most of the people of these countries are longing to normalize and co-exist with “Israelis”.
An "Arab" Council That Only Washington Knows
Naturally, the authors of this bill have evidence of this “popular” acceptance and desire to normalize with “Israel”, saying that “a rising tide of Arab civic actors advocate direct engagement with Israeli citizens and residents”. To support this, they cite a group called the “Arab Council for Regional Integration,” which (according to its own website) “is a pan-Arab initiative, launched in cooperation with the Center for Peace Communications… seeks to advance a culture of coexistence and integration among all region’s races and ethnicities, colors and creeds, religions and sects.” This group states that it works to overcome the region’s “legacy of exclusion and rejection of the Other that has spread beyond it through organizations inciting boycotts in economic, cultural, social, artistic, athletic and other civil series — part of a larger campaign to sow division, schism, hatred, extremism, and exclusion of the Other, particularly Jews and Israelis.” Interestingly, while singling out the “mistreatment” and “exclusion” of Jews and Israelis, the group, which is a pan-Arab initiative, fails to mention or even hint at the way these “victims” and their governments and military forces have, for more than 70 years, treated (and continue to treat) Palestinians, and the basis on which their “state” was founded.
There is not much information about this “Arab Council for Regional Integration”, but a quick search indicates that it was launched in late November 2019 (though its Twitter account was created in June 2019), when it held its inaugural meeting in London, and lists a toll-free North American phone number for its contact information. No names are listed on this “Council’s” website, yet according to the proposed legislation, this “group of 32 public figures from 15 Arab countries” is representative enough of the over 360 million people who are citizens of the Arab states to make the proposed legislation a necessity and the desire for direct engagement with “Israelis” a “rising tide” among Arab state populations.
As for the “parent” organization, the Center for Peace Communications, it is also not clear when it was established, but it might be sometime in early 2019, though we are not sure – its Twitter account was created in April 2019. This group seems to be known to be US-based, even listing New York on its Twitter account, but no contact information is listed on its website. However, its website does list some members of the team, a few of whom are associated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which is known to be greatly supported by (and supportive of) AIPAC.
Returning to the proposed legislation, it suggests at the end a reporting requirement for the Department of State to include in its annual Human Rights Report, the following:
• The status of “anti-normalization laws” in each country within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
• Instances of prosecution of citizens and residents of Arab countries for calling for peace and engagement with Israel.
• Instances of unlawful retribution by Arab governments against citizens or residents of Arab countries for any of the same actions.
• Evidence of steps taken by Arab governments encouraging people-to-people relations between their citizens or residents and Israeli citizens.
It is not clear, however, what actions would follow or result from reporting of such unfathomable actions by Arab governments. Meaning, once the report is submitted by the Secretary of State, what would the US government do? Perhaps it would do what it does best: impose sanctions, starve populations, establish military presence, support programming conditioned on undertones of normalization, further support (directly or indirectly) its agents within these countries, or any one of many other actions that it could take in its attempt to keep the region unstable.
Link To «Deal Of The Century»
In this context and looking at recent US behavior in the region, it would seem that proposing and attempting to pass legislations like the one discussed herein, in parallel with the unprecedented pressure towards normalization, along with the “Deal of the Century” and other measures, all of these contribute to achieving one goal: locking in “Israel” as a primary center of US influence in the region. The US is doing this for two main reasons. The first is the US’s forced exit from the region, which is no longer a secret, and something that has become recently more apparent from handing over several military bases and decreasing the number of US troops in the region, something that would make staying in the region for a long time impossible (More about this: Old America’s Race Against Time… How is the US Preparing for its Withdrawal from Syria?). The second reason being “Israel’s” own complex situation, which has been further complicated by the so-called “Deal of the Century”, which had incentivized Palestinians to reorganize and restructure internally on basis completely contrary to the ill-famed Oslo Accords.
The Cause Continues
Regardless of whether or not this proposed legislation passes, merely proposing it is indicative of where things stand in the US, including this incessant need to “please” the Zionist Entity, especially by those in the political sphere, otherwise, they can kiss their political aspirations good-bye. Though there is also this attempt to single out and criminalize the “spoilers” among us, that is those of us who continue to refuse normalization with “Israel” and to call for liberation of Palestine. This is the majority of us, not because we are afraid of the “laws” against normalization, but because this is what we believe in, and no matter what legislations they pass in the US or anywhere else, this cause is here to stay, whether they like it or not.