So far the ADL, AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, the Republican Jewish Coalition, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), and approximately 1,627 Jewish or conservative bloggers have criticized President Obama for planning to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Robinson presided over the infamous 2001 Durban Conference at which Israel was vilified for alleged racism, apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes. At a regional conference in Teheran which preceded the main event, Israel was actually accused of such crimes as antisemitism and committing holocausts! When asked about Durban, she said
I don’t care who tells me or who doesn’t tell me that Durban was a success. I know because the I know what the consequences of failure were … it would have dramatically worsened North-South relations.
In her position as President of Ireland and her UN job, Robinson consistently took strong anti-Israel positions. She represents the all-too-common ‘progressive’ European and UN view that sees Israel as the villain in the conflict, the Palestinians as victims, etc.
But I am not writing to object to Obama’s giving her a medal. He can give medals to anyone that he wants. After all, they gave a Nobel Prize to Yasser Arafat! What could possibly beat that?
I also don’t think that this shows that Obama disrespects Israel. Of course he does — his actual policy shows that. But chances are, he’s never thought about Mary Robinson’s record in this regard; only Zionists and Zionophobes obsess about Israel in every context.
No, what interests me is the reaction to the reaction, the howls of rage that came from the legions of antisemites and Israel-haters when we had the temerity to express ourselves about this. “Who’s good enough for the lobby on Israel/Palestine?” writes the inimitable Philip Weiss, furious that Abe Foxman dared to express himself. “And Zionists never fail to disappoint. They just can’t sleep until demonizing at least one critique [sic] of Israel a day … Bullying. That is all Zionist hoodlums know what to do”, says Marco Villa. And Robinson herself said this:
There’s a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community. They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank. Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets the same criticism.
How could anyone criticize Tutu, another well-meaning ‘progressive’ who sees only the Palestinian slant, indeed? But never mind — the point is that we — Zionists — are as entitled to speak as anyone else.
After all, we are outnumbered who-knows-how-many times to one. And the “Israel Lobby” in the US pales in comparison to the Saudi lobby, with its well-rewarded network of former officials like Chas Freeman and Jimmy Carter. We are also developing a hefty Arab-American lobby, who met recently with the president for the second time.
Finally, we mustn’t forget the best-financed most powerful anti-Israel lobby of all: Ms Robinson’s own United Nations.
So please stuff all the “lobby” talk. Perhaps we should ask who is actually ‘muzzling’ and ‘bullying’ whom.