Huckabee: Palestine Should Thank Israel For Brutal Occupation Because They Have Sidewalks (VIDEO)

The Israeli occupation of Palestine is fantastic for Palestinians, according to presidential hopeful and resident nimrod Mike Huckabee. He spoke at the 22nd annual Israel Day concert at Central Park, in New York City, alongside other right-wing nimrods like John Bolton, who was George W. Bush’s ambassador to the U.N. According to a video on The Raw StoryHuckabee said this:

“We must educate the world that the Israelis have done more to bring prosperity, peace, and a state of liberty to people, whether they’re Jewish or not. And the many times that I have been there, just last year, three times in Israel, one of those trips to the SodaStream factory in Judea, and I watched this plant with 600 Arabs and 500 Jews working side by side; the Arabs earning four times the amount of money that they would in any place in the [Palestinian Authority], and somebody in Europe or somebody in this country, sitting in some Ivy League ivory tower, wants to tell me that life isn’t as good under the prospect of an Israeli protection? My dear friend, tell that to the Arabs who are making more money than they have ever made in their lives, and who have security, and sidewalks, and schools, and hospitals, that they’ve never had before.”

Notice how he uses “protection,” instead of “occupation?” He’s whitewashing what Israel’s doing. In fact, this sounds an awful lot like the people who say slavery was good for black people. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), said that slave policies were better for black people than today’s policies. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson thanked his god for slavery, because if it weren’t for that, black people would still be stuck in Africa (a sentiment echoed by many conservatives).

Both Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed some pledge saying that blacks were better off in slavery because the children were more likely to be born and raised in two-parent households than they are under our first black president’s policies.

But forget that comparison for a moment, and consider this: The SodaStream factory that Huckabee refers to in that speech was in the West Bank (Judea). A full two-thirds of the goods produced there, however, did not serve the local Palestinian economy; they went back into Israel and served that population. Taxes and profits supported Israel, too, and not Palestine.

The location of the settlement in which the SodaStream factory existed also definitively separated Israel from Palestine, to prevent Palestinian movement and development.

Furthermore, Palestinian workers in the factory were treated as occupied subjects, and not as employees. They had to have special work permits, which could be denied for “security reasons” after any type of labor dispute. That made it so Palestinian workers could not demand labor rights; they had to make do with what they were dealt, or risk getting fired and possibly barred from working anywhere else.

They also worked for well below the Israeli minimum wage, despite the money to which they were entitled under Israeli law.

This is what Huckabee thinks is freedom, and the good life, for the Palestinians? By all means, let’s go ahead and say, “Israel treats them terribly, but on their own they’ll be even worse off, so Israel gets a pass on this!” Because that totally justifies what Israel’s been doing.

An article in The Guardian says that SodaStream moved out of the West Bank last year for “commercial reasons.” The BDS movement that Huckabee so decries in his speech is the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategy that Palestinian activists—among others—have employed for the purpose of protesting against Israel’s ongoing colonialism and apartheid. The factory is now located in the Negev.

In other words, Huckabee has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s easy to think that oppressors are making the lives of the oppressed easier when you’re on the side of the oppressor. It’s justification and rationalization for what you’re doing and supporting. He needs to get a serious clue, though. Israel is not the victim here.

Watch Huckabee’s full, idiotic speech here:


Featured image via screen capture