Archive for September, 2009

Kosher anti-Zionism

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

One of the hardest things about writing a blog is thinking of something even halfway original to write about every day, especially since there are far better writers, journalists and even scholars doing the same thing.

So I was excited this morning when one of my commenters handed me a topic on a silver platter, as it were. Here’s part of what he said:

I cannot speak as well for J Street as I can for Brit Tzedek. I have spoken with the Executive Director and am good friends with several of the local chapter leaders. I also know myself. Our goal is not to weaken Israel but to strengthen it. We simply don’t believe that strength lies in the barrel of a gun and in the constant war of words that this blog represents so well. Strength lies in peace, equality and justice. And more than anything else in mutual respect, very little of which is in evidence here…

So yes, perhaps we are “aging baby-boomer (leftist)[s]” …committed to worn out ideologies from a bygone era.

Then why are you so fearful of us? Simply because Obama seems to agree with our position and he is after all President of the United States of America, Israel’s one and only true ally in this cruel and unpredictable world where Nazism is not only yesterday’s nightmare, but also today’s constant threat waiting to blossom with the next desert rains?

I suspect the fear and bitterness (second only to that which you have for Palestinians and other Arabs … and anyone else who says anything critical about Israel, including Israelis) goes beyond mere political disagreement.

The fact that we continue to hope and work for peace stands directly in the way of your campaign for hopelessness. It bugs you to see people, especially fellow Jews, that can maintain a sense of the possible and don’t confirm your grim view of the deadly nature of life, especially for the Jewish People.

The writer makes several serious mistakes here, mistakes which can be deadly if they become the basis of policy.

One is  that the admirable concepts of peace, equality, justice and respect can strengthen a nation when applied unilaterally in a world where the other actors don’t share the same values. For example, the Palestinians will happily agree that they want justice, but ‘justice’ for them will be when the state of Israel has been replaced by an Arab state. And respect in the Arab world is not given to the one who compromises, but rather to the one who is most uncompromising.

Another is thinking that the geographic and  historical bubble in which American Jews have been living since WWII is somehow normal, and what the Jews in other places and other times — since the Roman conquest of Jerusalem — have experienced is abnormal. How irrational to assume that the change is permanent and applies world-wide!

The blindness displayed by the writer in the face of even recent history is astonishing. Did he not see how the wishful attribution of Western liberal values to the Palestinians lead to the disastrous failure of Oslo and the rise of Hamas? Did he not notice how the Palestinians responded to Israel’s attempt to end the occupation by withdrawing from Gaza?

Does he not listen to the statements that come from Meshaal, Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and even the supposed ‘moderate’ Mahmoud Abbas and every media outlet of the PA? Does he think it’s all ‘rhetoric’? Could it be that — like Hitler — they mean what they say?

‘Campaign of hopelessness’? Rather a campaign to realistically see the world — especially the Middle East — as it is.

But despite the admitted fact that the world is “cruel and unpredictable”, the writer maintains his  optimism that if he and his friends continue to ‘work for peace’ — I presume that by this he means ‘demand Israeli concessions’ because that is the platform of Brit Tzedek and J Street — the Arabs will wake up one day thinking that the Jews can be allowed to live in Palestine after all.

Finally, I want to turn to the ad hominem part of his comment.

Speaking for myself, I’m not a bitter or fearful person. I don’t fear the ‘useful idiots‘ of the Jewish anti-Zionist Left (JAZL), although I worry about Ahmadinejad, et al, who threaten to kill my children.

To the JAZL I say: what ‘bugs’ me  isn’t envy of your naive self-delusions.

Rather, it’s the way you use your Jewishness to render your Israel-hatred kosher.

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Goldstone, J Street, want an ‘investigation’

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Judge Richard Goldstone wrote, in his NY Times op-ed last week, that

Unfortunately, both Israel and Hamas have dismal records of investigating their own forces. I am unaware of any case where a Hamas fighter was punished for deliberately shooting a rocket into a civilian area in Israel — on the contrary, Hamas leaders repeatedly praise such acts. While Israel has begun investigations into alleged violations by its forces in the Gaza conflict, they are unlikely to be serious and objective.

Why unlikely? There are plenty of examples of IDF soldiers disciplined for mistreating Palestinians. And the comparison to Hamas… why did he even mention Hamas in this context when he clearly understands that Hamas exists to commit war crimes?

I am not going to try to search for too much fairness, logic or consistency in the utterances of Goldstone, who fell asleep when testimony about the bombardment of Sderot was presented. But yesterday he suggested that an Israeli investigation would indeed be worthwhile:

In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 on Monday, Goldstone said IDF soldiers who committed the violations, as well as the commanders who failed to reprimand them, must stand trial for their offenses. The former judge also said that Israel should have taken the opportunity for an internal investigation of the IDF’s conduct during the offensive. — Ha’aretz

Apparently, the idea is that IDF investigations can’t possibly be objective, but that Israel should set up an ‘independent commission’ to beat up on the IDF. There is nothing that makes the Israel-haters happier than the spectacle of Israelis themselves doing the dirty work.

I’m certain that it would be easy to find plenty of anti-Zionist academics like Neve Gordon who would be happy to be party to it. It’s reminiscent of the Nazis ordering Jews to dig their own graves before shooting them, isn’t it?

In any event, look who else thinks a self-flagellation commission would be a good idea:

J Street has reviewed the Goldstone report in its entirety over the past several days…

We urge the Israeli government to establish an independent state commission of inquiry to investigate the accusations, something Israel has done on several occasions in the past.

J Street strongly condemns Hamas for its actions both before and during the Gaza war – actions which the report says may amount to crimes against humanity. [my emphasis]

It’s wonderful that they actually tack on a condemnation of Hamas, but they can’t even say “we condemn Hamas for crimes against humanity” — only that the report says that they may amount to such! Such exquisite care to give the fanatic butchers of Hamas the benefit of the doubt.

There is very little difference between calling for an investigation of the allegations in the Goldstone report and those in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, which accused the IDF of stealing organs from dead Palestinians. Both documents base their accusations primarily on the accounts of Palestinian ‘witnesses’ — indeed, the Goldstone report includes language almost identical to that in the wholly tendentious product of Human Rights Watch and other biased sources (NGO Monitor called it a “cut-and-paste job“).

In either case, the result of the investigation would be to give currency to the absurd charges. Leave it to J Street to take the Zionophobic tack every time.

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An argument for progressives

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I admit that I’m politically schizophrenic, mixing right-and left-wing positions on different subjects. Those of my friends (those that remain) who have consistent ideologies invariably come to regard me as a extremist in favor of whatever they are against.

Anyway, the other day I was listening to a woman of the progressive persuasion talk about the really distressing phenomenon of Obama-hatred on the Right. The President’s statements and his motives are misrepresented, attacks on him are personal and possibly racist, he is portrayed in vile caricatures, he is simply hated — far beyond any criticism of policy. And she added that she was honestly afraid for his safety as a result.

Now I think his administration’s Mideast policy — worse, his entire view about the proper place of the US in the world and the intentions of its adversaries — is entirely wrong and off-balance. It’s both immoral and disadvantageous for the US and for the human race. But I absolutely agree with this woman that his political enemies have gone way too far in the direction of misrepresentation and personal vilification. And yes, it’s worse than it was with Clinton and even worse than the Left’s treatment of Bush.

So I asked her if she saw any parallel between the way the Right relates to Obama and the way she and other ‘progressives’ think about the state of Israel.

Did she see any similarity between the made-up stories about Obama’s birth and religion and the absurd blood libels against Israel spreading rapidly around the world?

Is she aware that motives attributed to Obama and Israel by opponents are always the worst possible, no matter how irrational? So Obama is said to want to wreck the economy in order to ultimately destroy capitalism and replace it with some form of socialism — and Israel is accused of acting to ‘punish’ Palestinians in order to humiliate them and destroy their culture.

Did she notice the caricatures and cartoons vilifying Israel?

Did she worry that the constant din of Israel’s enemies like Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Meshaal, and countless others calling for and predicting Israel’s destruction might stimulate terrorists to act?

Does she see that the goal of the assault is the same — to soften up the target so it can be destroyed?

Does she notice that she herself — someone who tries very hard to live ethically and fight against every form of oppression and unfairness — sometimes repeats false accusations against Israel that she heard on KPFA, the left-wing version of conservative ‘hate radio’?

It seems to me that anti-Israel lies and distortions are in many ways worse than those told about the President. For one thing, what are the rantings of a Glenn Beck compared with the official pronouncements of the Goldstone Commission of the ‘United Nations’ — although the credibility of the latter should be no more than that of the former?

And as far as I know, nobody has yet accused the President of stealing organs.

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Zbig calls for “a Liberty in reverse”

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Way back in January 2008, I referred to “Barack Obama’s Zbig problem” — Zbigniew Brzezinski, that is. Zbig was never a friend of Israel, and I was more than a little bothered by the suggestion that he would be a key foreign policy adviser for candidate Obama.

After quoting some of Brzezinski’s more egregiously anti-Israel remarks, I wrote,

Brzezinski supports the pernicious, even anti-Semitic Mearsheimer and Walt, he accuses Israel of ignoring collateral damage and in effect committing war crimes in Lebanon, he perpetuates the false and dangerous accusation that Israel is in some sense responsible for the US being in Iraq, and — time and again — he declares a moral equivalence between Israel and her terrorist opponents — Hamas and Arafat…

We don’t need another James A. Baker in a critical position in a future Obama administration. Obama has received criticism from pro-Israel voices like Alan Dershowitz about Brzezinski. The Obama campaign has responded that the criticism is politically motivated and coming from supporters of Hillary Clinton. Regardless, Brzezinski’s slant is clear from his own words.

Well, Zbig does not have an official position in the Obama administration, but there is no question that his voice is taken seriously.

And what he is saying is obscene. This is from an interview in the Daily Beast (thanks to Michael Goldfarb for noticing it and Dan Friedman for bringing it to my attention):

How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?

What if they fly over anyway?
Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.

“A Liberty in reverse”?

Just a couple of words about the USS Liberty:

The facts are that Israeli planes attacked the US naval vessel in the Mediterranean in 1967, killing 34 and wounding 171. Israel said it was a mistake caused by a series of errors and that the ship was thought to be Egyptian. The government apologized and paid compensation for the crew members who were killed and injured, as well as for the damage to the ship. The US officially accepted the Israeli explanation of the incident and the apology.

But those are just the facts. The reality is that there is a huge controversy, with survivors of the crew and others firmly convinced that the attack was deliberate, and that the US and Israel conspired to cover up the truth (a good presentation of the case that the attack was a tragic error can be found in “The Liberty Incident” by A. Jay Cristol).

The ugly part is that Jews and conspiracies go together. Every neo-Nazi website gleefully presents the theory as proof that the US really is ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) territory. The Liberty incident is on every antisemite and anti-Zionist’s list of reasons for hating Israel and the perfidious Jews.

Including Zbiggy’s.

So not only is this mamzer advocating that the United States of America shoot at aircraft of its ally, Israel — in order to protect the nuclear weapons capability of its enemy, Iran — but he is doing so in terms which evoke the darkest impulses in his American audience.

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‘Peace activists’ pro-murder demonstration

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

While the usual murderous Palestinian terrorists fire rockets at southern Israel (yes, they are still doing that) and plant bombs by the fence separating Gaza and Israel, the ‘non-violent’ resistance forces of Palestinians, Israeli left-wing extremists and ‘internationals’ — anti-Zionists from Europe and North America who come to Israel in order to take part in demonstrations or to serve as human shields for Arab terrorists — do their part against the Jewish state. Here’s a report from the Palestinian Ma’an news agency:

Bethlehem – Ma’an – More than 100 of farmers, youth, international and Israeli peace activists [!] marched against the Israeli separation wall Friday, and armed with car tires and home made ladder to climb the high wall they managed to burn one section and pull down three others.

According to participants one of the youth passed over the wall and set fire to car tires, damaging the fence and the sensors attached to it. A second group of youth burned a stack of 10 tires at one of the gates in the concrete wall, with black smoke billowing toward the nearby settlement.

“This is the first message sent from N’lin’s people that the wall will not prevent them from going to their lands that was taken from them,” a statement from the local popular committee said.

'Demonstrators' pull down part of security barrier near Nil'in (Ma'an News)

'Demonstrators' pull down part of security barrier near Nil'in (Ma'an News)

Nil’in is about a mile and half from the green line, due east from Lod. The security barrier runs south of the town, protecting several Jewish settlements which abut the green line (see map linked above). My guess is that the road visible through the breach is rt. 446, looking toward Matityahu or Modi’in Illit.

This road is the main connection to several Jewish settlements just inside the Green Line (and numerous Arab villages).

On January 17, 2008, an Israeli driving on Rt. 446 was shot and wounded by Palestinian terrorists — the Fatah al-Aqsa brigades took credit. The much longer rt. 443, which runs through the same general area,  has also been the site of numerous firebomb and sniper attacks, including fatal ones. After five Israelis were killed and more wounded in multiple incidents on 443, Israel blocked off exits to Palestinian villages along 443, giving rise to howls of “apartheid” and petitions to the Supreme Court from the usual suspects.

Nil’in demonstrators claim that the purpose of the barrier is to separate local farmers from some of the land that they work (even though there is a gate in it which they can pass through). Yes, it’s inconvenient for them.

But the alternative was even more inconvenient for one Israeli family in August 2001:

Two Israelis were killed, one critically wounded, and two lightly wounded late last night when terrorists shot at the vehicle they were driving along the Givat Ze’ev-Modi’in road, near the Dor Energia gas station.

Sharon and Yaniv Ben-Shalom, of Ofarim in western Binyamin, were killed, and their children – one and two – were lightly wounded. Sharon’s brother, Zion Sabiri, was critically wounded in the attack…

Police said the terrorists either set up an ambush at the side of the road or fired from a passing vehicle, near the village Beit Ghur e-Tahta, not far from the army roadblock at Maccabim. Bullets hit the right side of the Ben-Shaloms’ car.

Now, keeping this in mind, look at the photo above, in which Palestinian vandals have opened a gap in the barrier. Then ask yourself why the barrier was built.

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