One Man’s Home Is Another Man’s Settlement

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

As the Woolsey Fire continues to devastate the Los Angeles region, firefighters are working tirelessly to save many of the homes in the direct path of the wildfire. One such home belongs to Hollywood celebrity Gerard Butler, who just last week posted an Instagram photo standing in front of what appears to be the remains of his home, which was engulfed and destroyed by the fire. Butler is one of many celebrities to have their homes taken by the fire. It brings no happiness to see anyone lose their home, a thought one would think celebrities and people would understand. Yet earlier last week, Butler, along with other prominent celebrities, attended the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) annual gala, where they raised $60 million for the Israeli armed forces. The same armed forces that have time and again, against multiple Security Council resolutions, purposefully destroyed not just a few homes but entire villages belonging to Palestinians.

It’s no surprise that Israel continues to violate UN Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2334 which aims at “ Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” by Israel. This resolution is most notable as last month Israel postponed its demolition of the Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar. The aim of the demolition of homes is not only to displace Palestinians, but to build illegal Israeli settlements, also of which are illegal under security council resolutions. The resolution states it condemns Israel from “the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians”. The problem with Israel’s disregard for international law is the manner in which the media presents its actions. For example, stating that Israel “violated” a resolution or international law leaves room for the impression that Israel may have inadvertently made a mistake. Yet after multiple violations, it’s clear to anyone that these are not simply violations. These are a blatant disregard for the rule of international law and the integrity of the United Nations. It’s quite interesting to see some in the media who are pro-Israel, look to the numerous condemnations by the UN towards Israel as proof of Israel being a victim. Yet never question the usually illegal acts which not only were carried out regardless, but warranted the condemnations in the first place. In fact, the United States has over 40 times vetoed anything that would remotely hold Israel accountable for its actions.

This double standard is nothing new, yet when celebrities were raising money last week for the Israeli Defense Force, a new double standard emerged. Can you imagine not only the perceptive but also the legal consequences if any individual in the United States raised money for a foreign military like occurred last week? Imagine for a moment if a group of people raised money for the Russian, Iranian, Lebanese, or other military. But of course when it’s Israel, this is championed as great charity and humanitarian action. Actions such as this by celebrities are openly demonstrated every year, while U.S veterans of war search for jobs and decent healthcare, wishing to have a fraction of what is given to Israeli soldiers annually. Celebrities are not the only ones giving to Israel however. Unknown to most tax paying Americans, many among them use fine-tuned tax loopholes to write off taxes by contributing to the building of illegal Israeli settlements. This has been ongoing for years, and occurs when tax payers make contributions to nonprofit organizations as donations, which are then used to subsidize illegal Israeli settlements. While hard working Americans pay taxes thinking they are bettering the neighborhoods or country in which they live, some of their neighbors avoid taxes by improving the status of a country on the other side of the world. For more information on the practice of tax loopholes for Israeli settlements, a quick Google search will yield plenty of instances.

It’s quite common for Israeli Americans to send money to better the status of Israel, yet many Palestinians fear sending loved ones in need of money for basic necessities funds, as it can be erroneously tied to funding “terror” if the U.S or Israel dislikes the action. Yet another of the endless double standards.

The centennial anniversary of the end of World War 1 has just occurred and while this happened, our American celebrities celebrated by raising money for soldiers whose country didn’t exist until 30 years after the end of the war. And as unfortunate as their home destructions are by the Woolsey Fire, these very celebrities either are ignorant to the fact, or completely disregard that their charitable actions to Israel only help to add more destruction of homes to people abroad now in their same situation.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan