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January 08, 2009

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One hopes that this type of talk on the pages of magazines like Foreign Policy will make it easier to criticize Israel publicly, which will in turn force a redefinition of "pro-Israel."

"One hopes that this type of talk on the pages of magazines like Foreign Policy...."

These are blogs, not part of the magazine.

True Gary, but they are still under the Foreign Policy masthead, which hopefully serves to make them more acceptable.

"True Gary, but they are still under the Foreign Policy masthead, which hopefully serves to make them more acceptable."

Sure. I just see people confuse what's in a magazine, and on a website, all the time, amongst other continual confusions of attributions (editorials with ob-eds with news articles, etc.), and I'm anal.

Not you!

;)

Of course Gary isn't. He'll be able to document a number of people who are far deeper into the edge of OCD who also tell you that they are not.

I'm touched. Thanks for the kind words, Eric. And ObWians, please send us your feeback (and your traffic).

cheers,
the artist formerly known as praktike

This is the aspect of the current hot war I have been aching to read someone getting wiser about. Friends don't enable.

I would not want a friend who treated me the way the US treats Israel.

That is, if I called a friend and said, 'Hey man, I need money to buy some bullets because that treehouse my kids built? It's on the neighbor's lot and his dog keeps biting them so I'm gonna shoot it', I would expect my friend to ask me some questions about how I came to the conclusion that shooting the dog was appropriate, why I allowed my children to trespass in this fashion, and what I had already done about the biting dog.

A friend would get me help for my attack of the crazies. A friend would hide my gun, take away the vodka supply, and call my wife.

Someone who responded to that request with, 'No problem, in fact I'll lend you my tractor to bury the body'? That's not a friend, that's an accessory before the fact.

Unfortunately, this attitude of being a friend means supporting everything the firend does has a reciprocal factor, specially under the current administration. Remember the run up to Iraq when Germany, France and Canada were roundly criticized as not really being our allies because they wouldn't join in the invasion?

Comes from the same principle. Of course, conspicuously absent from the discussion back then was that those three countries (and others) had military members fighting and dying along side our own troops in Afghanistan.

BTW, not only is Gary not anal but he is also clearly the master of understatement.

Maybe someone should let "Moe Lane" or the kitten know about the new FP blog so we can has bloglink plz?

There's a short story in the Times, which, in just a few hundred words speaks more eloquently to the insanity of this conflict than anything else I've recently read.

In many ways, it describes my frustration with the warped "pro-Israel"/"anti-Semite" dichotomy that is inevitably applied to any discussion of the policies of Israel's government:

Eric,

It is obviously foolish, at best, to equate criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism. But I think there are two points you ought to consider:

1. While such criticism does not imply anti-Semitism, yet it can serve as a convenient outlet for anti-Semites. How handy to be able to attack Jews behind the shield of, "I just don't agree with what Israel is doing."

2. Unpleasant as the "anti-Israel=anti-Semitic" equation is, it is no worse than the "Zionist=anti-Arab genocidal maniac" equation. The ease with which Israel's critics throw around Nazi analogies suggests things at work beyond rational discussion of the issues.

Observer: There's a short story in the Times, which, in just a few hundred words speaks more eloquently to the insanity of this conflict than anything else I've recently read.

I found this blog less eloquent - it tells a less simple story - but conveyed more.

How handy to be able to attack Jews behind the shield of, "I just don't agree with what Israel is doing."

Do you see any sign of people doing this?

Do you see any sign of people doing this?

jes,

I don't carefully track anti-Semites, so I can't point to lots of examples. A quick google shows that David Duke, to take an extreme case, is harshly critical of the Gaza incursion.

Of course, Duke isn't trying to hide anything, so that may not be the best example, but it does illustrate the point.

Assuming you agree that there is such a thing as anti-Semitism, do you think anti-Semites would generally oppose Israeli policies?

While such criticism does not imply anti-Semitism, yet it can serve as a convenient outlet for anti-Semites.

Democrats and bomb throwing anarchists both have opposed the Bush Administration, yet you can easily discern the difference between the two. Likewise, it's not hard to tell the difference between Jimmy Carter and David Duke. Honest supporters of all stripes should be careful of their own language and avoid paying attention to the radical fringes.

How handy to be able to attack Jews behind the shield of, "I just don't agree with what Israel is doing."

Do you think critics of US foreign policy are, in any large numbers, merely displaying veiled contempt for the Caucasian race or the Christian religion?

The ease with which Israel's critics throw around Nazi analogies suggests things at work beyond rational discussion of the issues

No, the ease with which Israel's critics throw around Nazi analogies suggests the degree to which Israel is acting like the Nazis when dealing with people living there who are not members of the favored ethnic group. When a country uses the equivalent of Lebensraum as justification for ethnic cleansing, it is going to get some Nazi comparisons.

Bernard: Assuming you agree that there is such a thing as anti-Semitism, do you think anti-Semites would generally oppose Israeli policies?

I agree there's definitely such a thing as anti-Semitism. But when Israeli policies are clearly tending towards blowing up the region into a war that may destroy Israel entirely as a nation, will an anti-Semite support those policies because they hate Jews and want to see Israel destroyed, or oppose those policies because they hate Jews and so hate all policies formulated by Jews? I don't know. I don't think I'm anti-Semitic: do you?

I am glad to see these articles. Glenn Greenwald and others complain that neocon reflexive support for anything Israel does has become so ingrained in this Administration that no one in government dares go against it. It is good to see a reminder that this didn't used to be so. Many of our past Administrations did criticize and attempt to pressure Israel and guess what, Israel survived.

What's really scary about Bush Junior is not just how radical his policies are (meaning not just WRT Israel, but also torture, etc), but the extent to which these policies have now become the norm and any opposition to them is considered dangerously radical. We need to start rolling them back, and NOW.

Yomtov,

No doubt you are right that sometimes anti-Semites conceal anti-Semitism under criticisms of Israel. But your statement seems to imply that anyone who criticizes Israel should be treated as at least suspect as a possible anti-Semite. That, I think, is what is bothering people here.

Jeffery Goldberg of the Atlantic writes:

Gaza is where the dream of Palestinian statehood goes to die; Gaza is where the Zionist dream might yet die. Or, more to the point, might be murdered.
With all due respect to Mr. Goldberg, I doubt very much that the Zionist dream will end up murdered in Gaza. If the Zionist d=ream does die, I suspect historians will fix the place of its death in locations such as Havat Maon, ans imilar locations, where extremist settlers, some linked with terrorist activities but still protected by the IDF, carry out a slow motion campaign of ethnic cleansing against their Palestinian Arab neighbours.

Even after decades of occupation, Palestinians do not view all Christians, all Westerners, all Americnas or even all Israelis as their enemies. The Islamic and national forces of the Hebron Governate made this movingly clear in the fall of 2005, when they released a statement on behalf of Christian Peacemakers kidnapped in Iraq. Some of the hard men of Hamas and other organisations committed to violent resistance will never welcome peace, but as long as the hard men of Hamas have their counterparts in the extreme settler movement, we will never have an opportunity to find out. Israelis like to say that the violence will end when the Palestinians decide they love their children more than they hate us, but in reality, the sources for that hate include the persecution and indeed the attempted murder of Palestinian children by extremists who flout Israeli law but enjoy the protection if the State of Israel.

If outsiders could do one thing besides try to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, I would, speaking strictly for myself, recommend this: take the same measures to cut off all outside funding for the extremist settlers that we have taken to cut off funding for the groups such as Islamic Jihad. Make very sure that none of the money raised by the legitimate appeals for Israel can get diverted to places like Havat Maon. Make sure those who choose to fund extremism and ethnic cleansing, by whatever party, will face the full rigour of the law.

Jes, there are both types. Some antisemites are pro Israeli agression because they think that it will make Israel nonviable in the long term* and others that condemn Israeli actions because Israel is the Jewish state.
As an analogy: there are white racists/supremacists in support of Obama because they believe that it will hasten the start of the great race war and others that won't accept the n|gger as their head of state.

*similar to the old bolshevik idea of helping the fascists against the democrats/moderates in order to "heighten the contradictions"

Let's not assume that one can make sense of anti-Semites and their beliefs, in most cases it's a purely emotional and aesthetic posture - in some ways quite similar to blind and reflexive support for Israeli policies.

Assuming you agree that there is such a thing as anti-Semitism, do you think anti-Semites would generally oppose Israeli policies?

Yes, but I have questions about the anti-Semitism of some evangelical supporters of Israel.

But, as all things, I'll analyze each argument and arguer in context, and by the totality of available data.

Criticism of Israel is no different in this respect.

EP,

But your statement seems to imply that anyone who criticizes Israel should be treated as at least suspect as a possible anti-Semite. That, I think, is what is bothering people here.

I thought I made it clear that I do not feel that way. And no, I do not think jes is an anti-Semite.

I personally agree with much of what Eric wrote, especially that the US should very strongly pressure Israel on the settlements issue, and as John Spragge suggests, not just with words.

In the department of Who To Blame This Time?, both Hamas and the Israeli government have reached agreement!

More war is better than peace.

Lovely.

Who To Blame This Time?

That's quite simple, I just ignore the self-righteous claims of both sides and blame each side for the amount of death, suffering and destruction they have wrought. Israel doesn't look good at all in my calculation.

"Israel doesn't look good at all in my calculation."

Funny, I don't think Israel or Hamas look good at all.

But I guess it's just Israel.

Non blame list of a few things that would help.

It would help if Israel would dismantle all the archipelago settlements. (Trying to remove Israelis from Jerusalem is a different topic).

It would help if Hamas didn't attack checkpoints.

It would help if checkpoints didn't strangle commerce.

It would help if Hamas didn't use ambulances to smuggle arms and combatants.

But I guess it's just Israel.

No, it's not just Israel. But if the body count ratio is somewhere around 100:1 and if the UN, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch are documenting grave and large scale human rights violations against the Palestinian population, if the doctrine of proportionality is simply ignored - then saying that both sides are equally at fault is just plain nonsense.

"(Trying to remove Israelis from Jerusalem is a different topic)."


My own peace plan--

Israel withdraws to the 67 borders--if they want to keep anything they have to let Palestinians pick the equal amount of land that they want inside the 67 borders, which ought to be a nice game theoretical way to solve that little problem, even if the Israelis would never agree. If I were Palestinian I'd pick a corridor to the beach, though there's also Gaza for that. Maybe they pick up some nice property in Tel Aviv (nothing has to be contiguous). This should make the Israelis think hard about how much of the West Bank they want to hold onto. There will be no agreement about holy sites, so they all get bulldozed. Okay, that last part isn't practical. The Muslims get the Dome and the Jews get the Wall--that ought to be fair, I think.

The US guarantees support for Israel if there are still rockets or terror attacks then. Or we sign a mutual defense pact or something (I don't think they'll need to come to our aid).

And some right of return, with the understanding that it isn't allowed to effect the demographic balance. (Not that I care about all this ethnic head counting, but people over there do.)

"...then saying that both sides are equally at fault is just plain nonsense."

Could you quote who said "equally," please?

Thanks.

Why did anyone consult with Bush about anything? Everything the guy suggested or did turned to **it that had to be cleaned up by someone else.

Well, if everybody agrees with me, that's certainly a good thing, lol.

A tiny good thing:

Hundreds of Jews and Arabs from the north and center of Israel gathered near Kfar Kara'a on Highway 65 Saturday in a rally for peace. The only sign present at the demonstration read "Hand in hand – neighbors for peace".

Guy, a resident of Maccabim who participated in the rally, told Ynet he had learned of the event through a widely distributed email.

"It's an Arab-Jewish initiative intended to boost coexistence between us in Israel, these days especially," he said.


Those present stressed that they were not for or against the military operation in Gaza. They wore white and held hands to create a human chain along the road for one hour, without disrupting traffic. The demonstration was declared a success and organizers said they would hold a similar one next Saturday.


"The political views remain on the sidelines," Guy explained. "We the people want to continue to live side by side in friendship and harmony and not to open up another front inside Israel."

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