Monday, July 6, 2015, 5:22 PM
Alwaght - Professor Denis Rancourt, a Canadian scholar who was fired from the university where he was teaching under Israeli lobby pressures, is of the opinion that everyday should be marked as the International Quds Day, stressing that world’s nations ought to close ranks against the arrogant powers’ murder campaigns and support popular resistance movements.
“Any country that serves US geopolitical machinations is protected by the US regime, and is thereby shielded from war crime prosecutions, no matter how horrendous and obvious its mass murders may be. The history of this pattern is unambiguous, and the protection typically extends to the economic, diplomatic, and military spheres. This is especially true for Israel which is in a symbiotic relation with powerful Israel lobbies in the US, France, Canada, Australia, … In the UK the domestic Israel lobby is somewhat kept in check by strong popular activism that impacts electoral politics,” Dr. Denis Rancourt said in an exclusive interview with Alwaght news website.
He also said that the Saudi regime, by its actions and alliances, is an integral part of the empire that is attempting to exterminate Gaza’s life and spirit, and the Saudi regime’s war crime of aggression against the people of Yemen is most despicable. Israel is not the only active war criminal aggressor in the region. All will enjoy immunity under the empire’s disproportionate influence on world institutions until the newly balanced emerging world has sufficiently matured.
Alwaght: In August 1979, the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as International Quds Day, calling on Muslims across the world to mark the annual occasion by holding street rallies. Millions of people around the world take to the streets on this day in a show of support for the people of Palestine, demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. What's your take on International Quds Day?
Rancourt: The International Quds Day is an important statement of recognition and of profound gratitude towards all occupied Palestinians who fight back and reject collaboration with the occupying force. We must honour and celebrate their inspiring, courageous and tenacious endurance, resistance, and dignified self-defence. Quds Day is a vital link to the extraordinary spirit and strength of occupied Palestinians, who are a world treasure in the global fight against organized oppression and evil. The world desperately needs Palestinians, and Palestinians need a conscious and moral world that respects itself enough to actually fight for justice. Every day must be Quds Day, and we must all be Palestinians. Our personal actions involving risk must oppose domination in every area of society, starting close to home in priority, and extending to all the peoples against which enslavements, genocides and wars have been and are being perpetrated.
We, free people of the world, owe much to Palestinians for their stellar and heroic resistance against a most brutal empire. That empire, which includes my country (Canada) as a participant in these global crimes, is vicious and immoral. It has enslaved and exterminated millions and millions of victims on all inhabited continents, in its insatiable quest for power and material gain. It strives for and imposes total and uncompromising dominance -- not just dominance over territory and national administrations, but over peoples and peoples’ minds and spirits also.
Quds Day is a statement that the dominant global empire will be stopped, and is being stopped, by the actuated will of people, who do not want to be dominated, by the actuated will of people who want freedom and influence over their own communities. Through widespread resistance, a new world is emerging as a mosaic of collaborating nations that control their own destinies and associations, and that do not want to be a plantation and killing field for a global empire. As this new reality is achieved, we must not allow Israel’s on-going genocide project to be continued any further, and we must not allow any more nations to be annihilated by total destruction. We must always stand against the empire’s brutal plans, most visibly, the on-going murder campaigns against Gaza, Palestine, Yemen, and Syria in the immediate, while continuing to support resistance in every region that it is manifested.
Alwaght: Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding that Israeli regime withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War. Despite pressures by international rights bodies, it seems that Tel Aviv doesn't plan to put an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and in fact is benefiting from the prolongation of the siege. Do you believe that Tel Aviv needs to keep the siege in place in order to safeguard its own existence and legitimacy?
Rancourt: Israel’s blockade against the Gaza Strip, in combination with Israel’s periodic military massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and all-out destruction of public infrastructure, is an international crime of the highest order. There is no rational justification for the blockade against Gaza, unless the ultimate Israeli goal is progressive genocidal extermination and evacuation of Gaza. Israel’s policy and practice of periodic military slaughters and destruction of public and housing infrastructures, combined with an effectively permanent blockade, can only be objectively understood as a long-term Israeli goal to annihilate Palestinians. This is the on-going, systematic, and long-term Israel genocide that is clear for everyone to see, and that is explicitly managed by Israeli political and opinion leaders.
Israel’s mass crimes cannot be justified as part of any legitimate political or military tactic. There is no realistic existential threat to the Jewish State. Israel is the regional superpower, with one of the most powerful armies in the world. Israel’s fabricated myth of an existential threat is untenable in the face of its history and of the hard evidence. On the contrary, if anything it is Israel’s power, predatory designs, and influence and interference in the interest of empire that are a sustained threat to stability in the region.
There is no sign that enough will ever be enough. Israel could choose to respect human rights and the right of return, in negotiating reparations and resource sharing, or it can continue to practice its criminal campaigns. It has the power to make those decisions. There is every sign that Israel will never make just reparation decisions without sufficient global pressure.
Quds Day is one manifestation of a desire of world citizens to pressure their governments to bring Israel in line with international norms of decency. Quds Day should not be solely an expression of “hope” or solely an occasion for spiritual reflection. In my view, Quds Day also needs to be an affirmation of a moral contract to act and speak-out to exert needed political influence for good. When I have been honoured to be a speaker at Quds Day celebrations, I have expressed this view.
Alwaght: Israeli regime warplanes pounded residential areas in the Gaza Strip during Tel Aviv's 51-day war, killing and injuring thousands of civilians, mostly women and children. International rights bodies and the so-called advocates of democracy and human rights such the US and some Western countries are privy to the fact that the massacre of innocent people is a crime under international law. What has turned Israel into an immune regime while it has repeatedly violated international law by its ongoing atrocities?
Rancourt: Any country that serves US geopolitical machinations is protected by the US regime, and is thereby shielded from war crime prosecutions, no matter how horrendous and obvious its mass murders may be. The history of this pattern is unambiguous, and the protection typically extends to the economic, diplomatic, and military spheres. This is especially true for Israel which is in a symbiotic relation with powerful Israel lobbies in the US, France, Canada, Australia, … In the UK the domestic Israel lobby is somewhat kept in check by strong popular activism that impacts electoral politics.
The UK is an example where represented active citizens can moderate some of the attempted excesses of the US regime. In response to such a democratic threat, the US and Israel have been using regional tensions and hired-thugs such as ISIS to attempt nation annihilation and dismantling through proxy wars, in targeted countries where collaborating elites cannot easily be installed, such as in Iraq and Syria. These fuelled proxy wars are the most despicable mass crimes imaginable, without declarations of war, without UN approval, and without the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
The Saudi regime, by its actions and alliances, is an integral part of the empire, the same empire that is attempting to exterminate Gaza’s life and spirit, and the Saudi regime’s war crime of aggression against the people of Yemen is most despicable. Israel is not the only active war criminal aggressor in the region. All will enjoy immunity under the empire’s disproportionate influence on world institutions until the newly balanced emerging world has sufficiently matured.
A similar scenario of empire-supported fractioning and destruction was partly actuated in the Ukraine recently. The US regime is enthusiastic about fermenting war in such a way as to attempt to halt the inevitable global economic development of independent blocks, such as BRICS. Here and elsewhere, the empire’s now-common duplicitous use of economic “sanctions” is both morally criminal, in the potential harm caused to ordinary citizens, and geopolitically irresponsible, in the potential instability that is knowingly created. By any objective standard, the empire’s “sanctions” are mass criminal aggressions.
In view of the emerging world economic realities, the US regime is a failing empire with disproportionate military strength, which is a most dangerous situation. The best we can do in this transition period is to stop the ongoing nation destructions and genocides. And the best way to do that is to support the freedom fighters and resistors as much as we can by taking our governments out of the murderous US-led campaigns of destruction. We must impose domestic democracy as much as we can, in such a way as to protect Gaza, Yemen, Syria, and our own oppressed domestic populations that are needed in the unified struggle for actual democracy. This is why the present wave of US-empire campaigns of terror and proxy wars are currently accompanied by the most aggressive attacks against civil liberties in the US-aligned world seen in many decades, from criminalizing BDS and criticisms of Israel, to prosecuting thought crimes of every variety. Independent thought and democracy are the new undeclared enemies of satellite administrations such as France and Canada, and in the US itself. Even in Israel now, a world bastion of freedom of speech, Palestinian national politicians are being summarily imprisoned. These are all clear signs of a failing empire, and of an emerging generalized will to resist. More and more, every day is Quds Day.
Soon, I hope, in my naïve view, the Muslim world will find a way to unite and become the independent and powerful world leader that it deserves to be. It will further and effectively reject US regime interference, and any emerging interference, and it will negotiate and collaborate as an equal in the world, in the interest of its citizens and their diverse democratic ambitions. The fall of absolute US domination need not be a hell of destruction. It can be an occasion for unity and new possibilities. It can occur as an emergence of justice, with inspired and principled new and renewed leaders. This can even occur in the US and its satellite countries if we show these governments the way. Gaza is already eminently showing the way by its resourcefulness, determination, and pure courage; by its Sumud [Steadfastness]. Gaza calls for our involvement every day, which must be Quds Day.
Alwaght: Some certain Arab and Western countries have been always seeking to deflect world's attention away from the Palestinian Cause which tops the priorities of the Muslim world. What's your perspective on the issue of Cause of Palestine and the attempts to put it on the road of oblivion?
Rancourt: The Zionist project has shown itself to be an expansionist and genocidal project, rather than a benign national emancipation project. This has been more than clear to all observers for a long time. Israel is now seen for what it is: a criminal and rogue state deeply motivated by racist exceptionalism, with a majority population that apparently wants to exterminate Palestinians. Israel’s hate is the hate of a genocidal campaign. It can only be stopped by resisting the campaign and shunning the murderers. A sufficiently firm treatment of Israel can constrain it to follow international law, and to accept the needed reparations and equal-party justice-based negotiations regarding illegally occupied land and the right of return.
The US regime will continue to protect Israel’s immunity, even while the genocide is perpetrated, until the US itself sees Israel’s crimes as an intolerable liability. As the US Empire fails to maintain absolute dominance, even in its own backyard and over its own domestic population, it may come to see Israeli crimes as an intolerable liability. At that point, the US Israel lobby will also see the light. Therefore, this is a race for the survival of Palestine. Israel will do everything it can to steal and break Palestine before the circumstances of the faltering US and an awakening world put a definitive stop to the genocide. If Israel succeeds, the world will have lost Palestine, and we all will share responsibility for this greatest catastrophe. I just don’t know that Palestine can survive without our own real contributions to the global struggle, but I hope that Palestine can overcome even our cruel indifference if we cannot be moved beyond “remembering”.
Dr. Denis Rancourt was a professor for more than 20 years at the University of Ottawa, up to the highest rank of Full Professor, until 2009. In the fall of 2008, he was removed from all teaching duties under the pretext that he had granted A+ grades to 23 students in one course during the winter 2008 semester; however, it's quite clear to everybody that his outspoken criticism of Israel and his pro-Palestinian activism had triggered his dismissal from the university. Professor Rancourt's classes were always attended by tens of students and he was considered as one of the popular university professors at the Faculty of Science.He has authored more than 100 articles published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, in the fields of physics, and environmental science. He is currently an independent social theorist and science critic, author of several social analysis articles posted on internet venues, and the author of the book “Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism” (Stairway Press, 2013). He is an active volunteer with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, and an experienced self-represented litigant.
Interview by Javad Arab Shirazi