BRATTLEBORO — What is happening in Palestine and Israel has finally put to a lie the pretense that the United States was or ever could be an "honest broker" - as Washington has long labeled itself - in negotiating a fair and just peace.
Since Saturday, Oct. 7, regardless of whether they are liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between, U.S. officials with President Joe Biden first out of the gate have been falling over themselves in the rush to justify any action Israel decides to take.
Carpet bomb Gaza? No problem. Slaughter more Palestinian children? Be our guest. Bomb an international border crossing? We'll just look the other way.
This most recent U.S. capitulation and complicity pulls back the curtain on Washington and Tel Aviv as comfortable bedfellows in their shared desire to delegitimize and defuse Palestinians' decades-long struggle for autonomy and justice.
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No less a party to that incestuous relationship is the U.S. big media, which across the board willingly join in the Israel First chorus by sidelining or omitting the Palestinian narrative. On the rare occasions when a Palestinian opinion or news source is included, it must always, always be "counterbalanced" with an Israeli one.
But here's the problem: There is no balance.
Israel is a nuclear power that receives $3.8 billion in U.S. military weaponry each year. It boasts the most sophisticated spyware and surveillance mechanisms of any country in the world.
The heavily armed and fortified troops of the Israel Defense Forces are backed up by Israeli police throughout the occupied West Bank and the border with Gaza, where they man hundreds of checkpoints, barriers, and other roadblocks that impede or block Palestinian movement.
Israeli troops and police routinely enter villages, where they arrest or kill Palestinian children with impunity. Soldiers accompany and often assist some of the more than 700,000 settlers who live illegally on stolen Palestinian land, channel their raw sewage into Palestinian fields, and daily harass, attack, and often kill Palestinians as they attempt to take their children to school, harvest their crops, worship, or transport the ill to hospital.
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I am not a scientist, but even I understand that pressure applied to matter in a confined space leads to explosion, and explosions are ugly.
Israel has been steadily applying pressure on Palestinians since 1948, when Zionist ethnic-cleansing campaigns of terror killed thousands and drove thousands more from their homes in historic Palestine into refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and elsewhere in the region.
The pressure increased in 1967, when Israel occupied and subsequently annexed the West Bank and Gaza, creating another massive displacement of Palestinians.
So, Oct. 7 was not "Day 1" of the so-called Israel-Gaza war. It was Day 280 of the 75th year of Israel's war on Palestinians.
And all of this - the oppression, destruction, and death of Palestinian lives, land, and property - would not be possible without hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry and aid, with U.S diplomatic and geopolitical clout to back it up.
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So how about we just be honest with ourselves now?
The United States has no interest whatsoever in truth or integrity when it comes to Palestinians.
Washington will never willingly concede that Palestinians have human rights.
Whether it's NPR or The Wall Street Journal, U.S. mainstream media does not have the courage of its own professed convictions when it comes to Palestine and Israel.
U.S. academic institutions have little appetite for poking the "antisemitism" beast, which invariably rears its ugly head when students demand justice for Palestine or when faculty question Israel.
Oh, and if you live in one of the 35 U.S. states that have passed anti-boycott legislation, you are likewise not free to express your opinion about Israel through nonviolent participation in a boycott.
If you are one of the few but growing number of Americans to whom this sounds wrong; if you are interested in deciding for yourself what's happening, you will need to dig deep.
News organizations that do attempt to report the facts get blacklisted on social media platforms, and there's a good chance that any post you make in support of Palestinians will get you a time-out or worse. You will have to look broadly, and internationally, for factual sources of news and information, but they are out there.
Find them. Read, listen - and then please think for yourself.
Kate Casa, a former journalist and an editor of this newspaper in its earliest years, has worked for years in higher education, development, and communications. She has lived in and reported from the Middle East.
This Voices Viewpoint was submitted to The Commons.