Biden is clearly the corporate and ‘normal’ choice for the Democratic nomination in the US, but there has also been much focus on Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Specifically, Harris attacked Biden regarding his close ties with segregationists and his record on busing. She appears to be gaining momentum in the debates and national conversation, but there is a touch of hypocrisy behind the campaign.
A quick aside, I found this headline by Politico rather interesting: “Harris, Warren tie for third place in new 2020 Dem poll, but Biden still leads”. Not that Harris and Warren don’t deserve to be mentioned, obviously, but what about Sanders? In the very poll they cite, Sanders ranks higher than the two of them combined. In 2016 there was a substantial campaign against Sanders by the media, mostly through omission – seems nothing has changed. He is mentioned in the article, of course, but he only ever appears to make headlines when it’s a negative story. At least, from what I have seen in the mainstream outlets.
Back to (ironically enough) Harris and Biden. Biden, I’ve written before, is pretty much just an elderly male version of Clinton, i.e. a corporate hack but actually has a chance of being elected. That is a joke, please don’t get angry.
Harris, on the other hand, is a woman of colour with a rising support base after her debate performances – I haven’t watched any debates because the election is over a year away, in another country, and I’m not an idiot, but I have read some reviews. The conversation following on from it all appears to be her attacks on Biden’s record on segregation. Again, corporate hack with a shady past – somehow less electable than the current corporate born President with a much, much darker history – America is screwed up.
But others have picked a different line after the debate, others meaning non-mainstream outlets. When questioned about whether they believe Israel meets international standards of human rights, many of the Democratic candidates – at least, the ones that ‘matter’, are hesitant to make too much noise. Sanders calls Netanyahu “problematic”; some said vague things like “all countries could do better”; a few of them outright say yes, including Harris.
By no means do I wish to diminish her stance on combating racism in the US – that is commendable, and calling Biden out for his past actions is definitely worthwhile. But, if you are going to run a campaign against oppression, particularly oppression of race, then having a positive view on Israel’s human rights record crashes your credibility. The oppression of Palestinians in Israel is rampant, and Gaza and the West Bank face endless hardships and rights abuses.
If you oppose the discrimination of people of colour in America, that is worthy of support. If you challenge white voices of power like Biden in an attempt to highlight the institutionalised nature of racism, that is worthy of support. If you fight against the tragedy unfolding at the border with refugees and migrants being locked up for daring to seek a better life, that is worthy of support.
By that same determination and set of motives, one should be outraged at Israel’s continued occupation and oppression of Palestinians. If not, then that is worthy of criticism and some interesting questioning. Why not? How can you describe Israel’s human rights record as “overall, good” when there is so much documented evidence to say it absolutely isn’t? The most likely answer is that candidates who want to be ‘taken seriously’ don’t rock the boat on this issue. Warren even describes Israel as a democracy, which I am sure Israeli Arabs would be quite upset about.
Kamala Harris, like others in the list of Democratic candidates, looks much better at face value to the American people, but there is no doubt she is still tied to the establishment on foreign policy issues. Maybe that is all rosy for Americans, but as an outsider with a global perspective, it’s just the same old shit wrapped up in a more presentable vessel for local ‘progressives’.
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