Why they bash Israel

Yesterday I posted some light reading from the Hamas Covenant, just in case anybody still wonders who they are. It’s important to realize that those “human rights” advocates who call for boycotts and divestment from Israel are not just opposed to something. They are for something, too — and Hamas is it.

One of the themes repeated by the BIO people (Bash Israel Obsessively) is that those of us who support Israel in the US are putting Israel first, subordinating American interests to those of a foreign nation. Leaving aside the nasty implication that we’re, well, traitors, there is the premise that helping Israel hurts America. Really?

In a recent interview, Noah Pollak of the Emergency Committee for Israel asks,

I would like to know the following from those who view American and Israeli strategic interests as divergent: what interests do you advocate? Is it allowing Iran to go nuclear, or granting legitimacy to Hamas, or letting Hezbollah become stronger? Is it the desire for America to turn away from its democratic allies in order to placate dictatorships and terrorist groups? Is it the belief that we share common values with societies that sentence homosexuals to death, allow honor killings for women, and viciously discriminate against religious and racial minorities? Is it the campaign to delegitimize the only liberal democracy in the Middle East while ignoring the authoritarianism of nearly every other country in the region? What interests are these people talking about, exactly?

Here are a few choices:

  • Islamist maximalism, as exemplified by Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime, etc.
  • Saudi anti-Zionism and antisemitism (there’s no difference)
  • Pathological left-wing or anarchist extremism, ‘the new antisemitism’
  • Palestinian Arab irredentism (Fatah’s demand for ‘right of return’ comes to mind)

Which is it? Don’t keep us in the dark.

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3 Responses to “Why they bash Israel”

  1. NormanF says:

    I’m sure not surely exactly what they are for. I do know what they are against: Jews, Zionism, Israel and the two centuries of the Enlightenment.

    Perhaps they can tell us what they are for the next time they bash Israel.

  2. Grandma says:

    It almost seems as if it is a psychological problem. Israel is a teeny, tiny country, more like us than any other country in the ME. If you step back and look at the “problems” of the world; the “human rights” violations in Darfur, Somalia, China, Iran, N. Korea, etc., it would seem the bias and condemnation of Israel is totally “out of balance”. Is it because Israel is like us? Is it because these misfits CAN publicly condemn Israel without fear of being imprisoned or killed? Do these people just have to have a “cause”? If all their misguided anger were directed toward Iran or at the horrendous atrocities happening in Darfur, they might actually be able to HELP their fellow man. What they are doing now, is not helping ANYONE. Like you, I am at a total loss to explain it. To simply say, they are anti-semites, or to say they are being sucked in to the Arab propaganda machine is too easy (although, that is definitely part of the problem). It has to be something else…something bigger…something in the air.

  3. Robman says:

    Hi, Grandma! Been a while!

    There are a number of explanations, depending on the source.

    The most “rational” (I would say, “faux rational”) for this idea that people who support Israel are doing so at the expense of U.S. interests centers on a particular school of thought known as “realist theory”.

    Practitioners include people such as John Mearsheimer, Brent Scowcroft, Zbig Brzezinski (the latter two informal advisors of Obama).

    The idea is that traditional American alliances – such as those we have with such long-standing allies as Britain and Israel – are based on a common ideology. “Realists” say that we should not base our alliances on such notions, as this will get us into wars over matters that do not directly relate to our objective material interests.

    To the realists, ideology does not and should not matter in determining which horses we back on the world stage. What matters is “what’s in it for us”. Boiled down to bare essentials, where the Middle East is concerned, this amounts to the Billy Carter school of Middle East diplomacy, i.e., “There’s more Arabs than there are Jews, the Arabs have the oil, so we should back the Arabs”.

    Within the current geopolitical context, the realists buy the disingenuous “moderate” Arab line that the various dictators and monarchies in the region would like to fight the “extremists”, that these “extremists” are every bit as much a threat to them as they are to us. But their hands are tied, you see, because of our support for Israel.

    We can’t be seen helping you, they say, because our people see you as the supporters of the Zionists, which they rightly see as a terrible colonial/racist injustice. Your support for Israel just serves as a recruiting device for the bad guys. So, if only you step back from Israel, if you give us public support in our claims against her, then we can go to our people and say, ‘See? The U.S. is our friend, and you should not join the terrorists in attacking her’..and we can all isolate and defeat the terrorists together, and all be friends.

    Now, if the logical conclusion of this policy direction is that we should abandon Israel and treat her as a pariah state, and thus enable her dismantlement at the hands of the Arabs in the manner of Rhodesia of the 1970s (which is exactly how the Saudis and friends would like to cast this issue, and what their ‘end game’ looks like), then so be it. We can’t let a puny country of 7 million either, on the one hand, stand in the way of protecting our citizens from further terrorist attacks, or on the other, necessitate a big, bloody, expensive war to defeat them in Moslem SW Asia generally.

    It is so much cheaper – for us – and easier to appease our Arab “friends” at Israel’s expense. And anyway, there wouldn’t even be an Israel if it hadn’t been for the Holocaust, and that wasn’t our fault, and how long are we going to pay for that? If worse comes to worse, the Jews of Israel can always come here. We’re happy to take their brains and talent, and as a consolation prize, we’ll even have a Passover Seder in the White House every year! They Jews don’t need Israel, when they have the Democratic Party, right?

    Of course, what I’ve described above is nothing but a highly rationalized form of cowardice in the extreme. It is just plain wrong. While the Arabs make a lot of noise about Israel just to divide her from her source of support and isolate her for their own medieval bloody-minded reasons, anyone with half a brain can see that our war against Islamism has little to do with Israel.

    Consider, for example, France, who maintained a solidly pro-Palestinian foreign policy from 1967 at least until the relatively recent election of Nicolas Sarkozy. Yet this did not stop Al Queda-linked terrorists from hijacking a French jet in 1993, and trying t fly it into the Eiffel Tower. I could come up with many more examples, but one gets the idea.

    Moreover, ideology DOES matter. Alliances based on immediate material expedience tend not to last, especially when the common threat they were formed to deal with disappears, or if there is some other ‘unexpected’ development. Our wartime alliance with Stalin’s USSR dissolved into the Cold War before the scent of cordite was out of the air in Berlin. Look what happened when the Shah of Iran was overthrown, what that did to our strategic situation in the Middle East overnight.

    But maintaining alliances based on ideology requires us to – gasp! – stand for something. Standing for something means that we might, in the short term, have to adopt a confrontational stance towards those who don’t reflect our values and institutions. We might actually have to make sacrifices for the sake of an…..an….IDEA. Omigod.

    Well, that is what we did – after exhausting all other alternatives – in WW2. We could have “cut a deal” with Nazi Germany, and even Japan. Japan attacked us precisely because we refused to do this. Just prior to WW2, the “America First” movement advocated precisely that with respect to Nazi Germany, and they viewed Great Britain with much the same suspicion that the “realists” of today view Israel now, as a sneaky, inconvenient “friend” who was [is] merely trying to suck us into fighting there war for them.

    The first thing you learn from history, is that nobody ever learns from history.