Israel and the privilege of being non-partisan

So since I’m talking about the Atlantic‘s biases: today Jeffrey Goldberg, the credulous Iraq war shill, contributed more to his long history of attacking critics of Israel by equating such criticism with anti-Semitism. Indeed, even by Goldberg’s incredibly low standards, this is pretty ugly:

many protesters are challenging Israel’s very right to exist, not its policies in the territories it came to occupy in 1967 (or in Gaza’s case, territory it occupied in 1967 and then turned over to Palestinians in 2005). A second is that the line separating anti-Zionism—the belief that Jews have no right to an independent state in at least part of their ancestral homeland—and anti-Judaism, already reed-thin, has pretty much vanished.

So, 1) territories Israel “came to occupy” has gotta be the funniest way to phrase that I can imagine– whoops, we slipped and fell into almost 50 years of brutal occupation! 2) it’s absurd to say that the Israelis turned over Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, given that they control Gaza’s borders, airspace, and waters, impose a brutal economic blockade against it, and feel absolutely no compunction against launching military strikes against its citizenry whenever they feel the need; 3) a man who denies Palestine’s right to exist, and in fact participated in that denial as a member of the IDF, complains about those who question Israel’s right to exist; 4) Goldberg ignores the fact that it has actually been Zionists who have worked tirelessly to collapse the distinction between Zionism and Judaism; and 5) anti-Zionism is an old and principled stance and one that was once a perfectly mainstream position within international Jewry, before Zionists undertook the previously-mentioned effort of conflating support for the Jewish people with support for the Zionist state. Details! In any event, when we talk about how accusations of anti-Semitism are used to police debate about Israel, sometimes people object and claim that doesn’t really happen anymore. Well, saying that the “already reed-thin” line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has vanished is pretty much the definition of that practice.

Now, were I the kind of person to have the ear of the august Atlantic, I might ask a few questions. For example: would you ever, in a million years, employ a former member of the PLO or Hamas, and give them carte blanche to publish pro-Palestinian propaganda the way you have given carte blanche to Jeffrey Goldberg? Why not? Do you feel any sort of responsibility to balance your coverage? Does the fact that Goldberg admitted to covering up prisoner abuse in his book factor into your decision to give him a forum? If a Palestinian writer similarly admitted to participating in the abuse of an Israeli prisoner, would you give him a forum? Does the fact that he was notoriously duped in the run-up to Iraq, in a way that contributed to that disastrous war, change your confidence in him as a journalist? Do you find it embarrassing that he used the cover story of your print magazine to describe an Israeli attack on Iran as imminent, given that it’s been over 4 years since that story ran and no attack has occurred? Is there a certain amount of times Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting can go disastrously wrong before you’ll consider no longer giving him a forum? These are my questions.

But this gets back to my earlier point from today: to give a permanent forum to a former member of the IDF who publishes endless defense of Israel and attacks on its critics is, in the context of American media, not a particularly noteworthy move, and not one that is seen as particularly controversial or indicative of any kind of political bias. But to extend a similar invitation to a Palestinian– to give a former member of the PLO, say, a cushy gig as a blogger on the Atlantic— would be unthinkable. It would call down immense controversy and be seen as inherently radical and left-wing. The default, in American media, is the unwaveringly pro-Israel position. This again illustrates one of the greatest privileges in American political culture: the privilege of having your views be interpreted as non-partisan.

38 Comments

    1. “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”

      Sounds to me like a call for the destruction of Israel.

      “Khyber, Khyer, ja jahudi”

      Sounds like a call for the death of Israel’s Jewish citizens.

      1. Again: who actually has a state which could be threatened with destruction? And whose citizens are actually killed?

        Why are you so much more worried about threats to Israel that have almost no chance of coming true than you are the actual destruction that is visited on the Palestinians?

        1. For quite some time now Israel has had the opportunity to kill or expel the Palestinians, they haven’t done it. They have in fact shown tremendous restraint when dealing with Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah. Given this, why would I worry about the Palestinians being slaughtered?

          Simultaneously, given their statements and past behavior I have no doubt that Hamas and Hezbollah would have absolutely no moral qualms over massacring Israel’s Jewish population. When has Hamas/Fatah shown moral qualms over anything?

          1) Firing an anti-tank missle at an Israeli School bus. (Hamas)

          2) Attempting to use an injured Palestinian as a suicide bomber in an Israeli hospital (Fatah)

          3) Using child labor to build attack tunnels to attack Israel and store rockets; an action which resulted in the deaths of hundred of Palestinian children. (Hamas)

          4) Telling Gazans that if they stood on their roofs Israel wouldn’t bomb them. (Hamas)

          5) Storing their rockets in schools. (Hamas)

          When Hamas leaders talk about massacring Jews I take them seriously, given their track record.

  1. If I can have your august ear for just a minute, some questions:

    First, I understand that Zionism is not a universal ideology amongst Jews, and never has been.

    Second, I understand that you are not anti semitic (I can’t really tell from your post if you’re anti Zionist, but I think so) and that you have many dear, dear Jewish friends, some of whom probably even look Jewish and practice the religion.

    1. Do you want Hamas to win the present conflict w/Israel?
    2. If not, why not?
    3. Leaving aside Goldberg’s biography & his history of faulty judgements (because he’s not recommending any policy that I can see) why is it false to note that Hamas’s goal is to eliminate the Jewish state? Plus, is serving in the IDF somehow equivalent to denying the Palestinian right to exist? Why? You seem to imply this by your reference to Goldbergs IDF service but I think that’s a faulty implication, ie, you don’t believe it.
    4. If Hamas’s stated goal is the eliminate Israel and the Jews (see their charter), then why is it false to call them anti-semitic?
    5. If it’s true that Hamas is guided by an anti semitic ideology and that control of any territory by them would mean ethnic cleansing at the very least, then why is it false to consider supporters of Hamas anti semitic? For ex: if a political party that promotes a socialist ideology, why is it wrong to consider supporters of such a party socialists?
    6. It’s pointless to argue about history, since there are always two sides, etc etc. But I think you’re skewing the debate by refering to 60 years of oppression, etc etc. After all, in 1967 the Arab states were the aggressors and they lost. Israel then offered to roll back their territorial gains in return for a peace treaty, which was rejected by the Arab states at Karthoum—the famous “three nos” (Palestine wasn’t represented at the conference). We can quibble about this if you want to, but at least admit that even offering concessions to the defeated Arab states was way beyond whatever any other state would do in the same circumstances.
    6. Even if it were true that the media is as pro Israel as you believe, isn’t it possible that people support Israel because they believe Israel is right, ie, that Israel is facing a threat of extinction, while Palestine is not (given the history of peace treaties rejected by them) and not because they’re brainwashed, or unduly influenced by propaganda? Can people support Israel vs Hamas as a result of their own experience and knowledge? That is, it’s easy to desqualify an opposing view because it is developed through “propaganda”. One can do the same thing to supporters of Palestine. Who wins that way?

    1. 1 & 2. Which conflict? The current assault on Gaza? What would it mean for Hamas to win? I want complete and total legal and social equality between Jews, Arabs, and all other ethnicities in greater Palestine. Whether the vehicle is a one-state solution or a two-state solution is not for me to decide. What is clear is that basic liberal democratic ideals require total equality between all peoples.

      3. He’s not just talking about Hamas, clearly, but about protesters of the Gaza assault writ large. I most certainly do believe that Goldberg’s membership in the IDF amounted to the denial of a Palestinian state, given that it was at the time of his service in the business of violently suppressing such a state. And as one of the chief defenders of Israel’s current aggressive policies, he stands in the way of progress on a Palestinian state.

      4. Hamas’s charter doesn’t, actually, call for the elimination of all Jews, though it does call for the elimination of Israel. I fail to understand how the preferences of Hamas have any bearing on the moral legitimacy for calls to end Israeli apartheid.

      5. Again, you imply support for Hamas that I haven’t voiced, and more to the point: Israel is currently carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing, in its program of settler colonialism and ethno-nationalism, so it’s a bit odd to worry about the potential ethnic cleansing of Hamas in that context, particularly considering that Hamas has no practical ability to ever carry out any such thing.

      6. The Palestinian people are not responsible for the actions of Arab dictatorships in the 1960s. Not even Palestinians who were alive then, which is a small fraction of their population.

      7. Again, any rational evaluation of the on-the-ground realities will demonstrate that it is in fact Palestinians who have reason to fear extinction, and not people in Israel, which after all is one of the most prosperous, militarily powerful, and secure states in the world, in no small part because it enjoys the backing of the world’s most powerful military. As for those who just think Israel is right: I think they’re wrong, and I’m saying so.

      1. Yes, I mean the current conflict Israel / Hamas
        1&2: How is your position different from the Balfour Declaration? For that matter, how is it different from “Can’t they all just get along?” The problem is finding a solution since they plainly don’t just want to get along.
        What would it mean for Israel if Hamas won? I bet against “complete and total legal and social equality between Jews, Arabs, and all other ethnicities in greater Palestine.”

        3. Soldiers carry out orders. Thay are not to blame for the policies that got them into battle.

        4. Can’t argue with you on this one. You have too many assumptions built in. Would take too long.

        5. I didn’t imply your support for Hamas. My first question was just that. On the other hand, you attack Israel in the same terms that the Palestinians and Hamas do. Plus, the fact that Hamas has no practical ability to carry out ethnic cleansing in Palestine/Israel is not gratituous: Israel has prevented them for ever acquiring such “practical ability”. Could they ever have such “practical ability”? Of course they could. Around 700 thousand Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab states at the time of the founding of Israel, so all that Hamas needs is state power for that to happen.

        6. Are you saying that if the Palestinians had had a vote in ’67, they would have accepted some kind of peace treaty w/Israel? How on Earth could you imagine that?

        7. There you go again: only “irrational” people can disagree with you. Israelis who feel threatned with extinction by Hamas, and by extention, Iran, are “irrational.”

        How can you proclaim your “basic liberal democratic ideals” and disqualify everyone on the other side as “irrational”? Don’t you see that “irrational” people are not fully human? Do you really believe that? I sincerely doubt it. You’re too smart for that. So, what’s the problem?

        1. Yeah, the guy with the Muhammad bomb head cartoon for an avatar is the epitome of someone who really wants to have a rational debate.

          1. I wasn’t expecting that from you. Honestly. A cheap shot. I’ll ignore it and let you engage in a rational debate. Just because I’m a nice guy and I like you. Try and avoid the ad hominems and we’ll do a lot better. I do. Part of my “liberal democratic ideals”.

            I don’t believe that you think you can really judge someone by the avatar they choose for Word Press. That would not be part of anyone’s “basic liberal democratic ideals”.

            So you know: the Muhammad cartoon was part of the cartoon controversy years ago, where the cartoonists were put under fatwah death-threats for drawing the Prophet. I chose it in solidarity for the cartoonists. That’s because of my “basic liberal democratic ideals”, which doesn’t include any sacred cows (or sacred humans, either). I do not believe that the Prophet took dictation from the Archangel Gabriel or any other transcendental garbage, East or West. How is that irrational?

            Haven’t I been rational so far? Where did I go off the rails of rationality? If you’re rational, you can answer precisely. Then I can retract my irrational statements and we can move on with the debate.

            Here are some quotes from the Hamas Charter:

            Article Eleven: The Strategy of Hamas: Palestine is an Islamic Waqf
            The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.

            [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion;

            For Palestine is an Islamic land where the First Qibla and the third holiest site are located. That is also the place whence the Prophet, be Allah’s prayer and peace upon him, ascended to heavens.

            For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there.

            I ask you, Does the above somehow represent “basic liberal democratic ideals” for you?

            I know that both sides have their irrational elements, ie, religious elements. I know that both sides’ religious & irrational elements are worthy of utmost disrespect when it comes to public policy. So it won’t be helpful for you to cite Israel’s or Likud’s analogous beliefs with respect to Palestine. I know that they are parallel to the “Islamic waqf” idea so don’t bother.

            Can we debate this rationally? You started it.

          2. It is not a cheap shot to say that someone using a deliberately inflammatory image for Muslims as his avatar is not an honest or “rational” broker in this exchange. And again: I know you really want the Palestinian people to be equivalent with Hamas, but they aren’t, I’ve explained that to you and you haven’t changed your tactics, so I’m done talking with you. The Palestinian people are not Hamas. Arabs are not a unified mass.

          3. That’s what I had feared. Why isn’t it “rational” to be “deliberately inflamatory? Wasn’t Voltaire rational when he was deliberately inflamatory with respect to Christianity? Not that I’m Voltaire. But the only people you’ll reject as “deliberately infamatory” are those who disrespect Islam. How about Flaubert? Read The Temptation of Saint Anthony for some over-the-top inflammatory discourse. Not comparing myself to Flaubert (who would?). Just saying that your standards for desqualifying discourse as “irrational” are themselves irrational—because they are based on partisan political positions, which you refuse to debate.

            I was discussing the situation in Israel/Palestine and the current conflict w/Hamas. I was not conflating Palestinians and Hamas. I believe the opposite: that Hamas does not represent Palestinians. That’s obvious to me since Hamas is a totalitarian movement with a totalitarian ideology. This kind of thing only appeals to a minority in any time or place. But totalitarian movements do seize state power, which is what Hamas wants. Hamas (and by extension, Iran) are totalitarian movements and as such deserve no support or apology, which means that my “liberal democratic ideals” determine that I support Israel in its current conflict with them.

            That’s why I have no problem saying I support Israel down the line in this conflict. I emphasize “this conflict”. I’m not referring to Israeli plans to conquer all the territory between the Nile and the Euphrates, before they conquer the whole world, as per the Protocols, which is a founding text of Hamas (cited in its charter). Why is it a problem for you do to do so, with all of your liberal democratic ideals?

            If Palestinians are not in accord with Hamas’s ideals & charter, then let them manifest it. They haven’t done so so far. Remember the PLO has a power-sharing arrangement with them. How is it rational to make power-sharing arrangements with a totalitarian movement? Remember that Hamas won the elections in Gaza. Don’t your liberal democratic ideals determine that votes show the will of the people? If I were Israeli, I would not trust either Hamas or anyone who supports, apologizes or makes power-sharing arrangements with them. I would not call them anti semitic, though. That would be psychoanalyzing them and I can’t do that. But since Hamas is clearly anti semitic, I do believe that it’s a possiblility—an it’s a certainty when such support, apology and so forth take the form of vandalizing synagogues, chanting anti semitic slogans etc etc, as in Europe.

            It’s your blog. You can respond to anyone you want to. I’m in your space. I respect that.

            Should I cancel my subscription?

          4. Hey. Listen. Friend. I know you have this worked out where you are this voice of reasoned debate, but everything you’ve written is riven with self-contradiction and bizarre flights of illogic. You are asking me to maintain some sort of an open mind and then admit that you support Israel “down the line.” You equate Palestine with Hamas, then deny you’re doing it, then justify why you’re equating Palestine with Hamas. You claim not to be making accusations of anti-Semitism, then accuse me of embracing arguments from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in an incredibly weaselly way. You talk about rational argument while deliberately stoking irrationality with your avatar. That’s worse than self-importance, it’s intellectual cowardice.

            Now I remember arguing with you years ago. I thought that what you wrote was stupid and venal then, I think it’s stupid and venal now. I don’t want the blessing of your interest and I never asked for it. You don’t have to cancel your subscription; I’m happy to ban you.

  2. Clearly they think he’s doing something right because they went ahead and added Frum to the mix. The part of the Atlantic that is at all respectable is quickly receding, to the point of encompassing but a handful of its editors and regular contributors.

  3. Hey Freddie, a little off topic, but I was curious about something you wrote on the dish site. You described israel supporters who wrote to you as “seemingly reasonable people who have completely lost track of basic moral reasoning.”

    Can you be more specific as to whom you are referring? Are you saying that the people who support and defend the latest Israeli gaza offensive lack basic moral reasoning with respect to the issue?

    More importantly, since 95%+ of Israeli jews and the majority of jews worldwide support this latest offensive, would it be fair to say that the overwhelming majority of jews in the world lack basic moral reasoning on this issue?

    Perhaps this is what Dr. Steve Salaita had in mind when he said that these days being labeled an Anti-Semite is a “badge of honor.” In other words, if most jews lack basic moral reasoning, is it not honorable (and obviously brave) to accurately designating jews as lacking moral reasoning?

    1. I think those that worry more about the possible violence against people who are objectively in a position of greater physical security than they do about those who are currently in the process of being slaughtered displays broken moral reasoning. I have no interest in your attempts to invent a theoretical path to getting me to say that I think most Jews are irrational. It’s particularly weird in this instance because I explicitly and unambiguously was referring to my emailers. In the broader view, many or most in the media whose reasoning is broken in this way are Gentiles. I don’t care who thinks that way; I care that so many think it, and that it is such an obvious inversion of basic moral reasoning.

      1. Well, in your opinion, is there any way for anyone to support the recent Israeli offensive on gaza, without lacking basic moral reasoning on the issue? What would that support look like? From articles ive read it seems that even die hard Israeli peaceniks have supporter this last war. Is there a way they could pull this off without “inverting” their basic morality?

        1. I mean, plenty of people just side with Israel for all sorts of reasons– tribal allegiances, belief that we’re in a war against Islam, belief that its democratic systems make it worth defending no matter what, because they agree with the historical claims of Jews to the land, etc. I don’t find them all somehow illegitimate; I just find them, you know, wrong. The way we do when we argue. What I find perverse moral reasoning are arguments of the type “Israelis live in fear of Hamas’s rockets” that don’t grapple with the fact that Palestinians live in fear of Israel’s bombs, which in fact kill way more people. Etc.

        2. “Rather than trying to troll me into accidentally saying something plainly anti-Semitic”

          You have me all wrong. I don’t for a second think I could ever get you to fall for a “gotcha” moment. i am genuinely curious to hear how you respond to my questions. In particular, your views on supporters of israel’s current policies.

    2. Surely, individuals who are mostly reasonable and moral can lose track of basic moral reasoning on a given issue? Otherwise most of history wouldn’t exist, would it?

      1. Yeah, but the positions and arguments that Freddie believes to be morally inverse seem to be held by the overwhelming majority of jews worldwide. What is it that makes jews so much likely to lose track of moral reasoning? Is it cultural? Are they disproportionately tribal? Or is it just a coincidence that most jews happened to have arrived at the same morally wrong conclusions on this issue?

        And is pointing this out anti Semitic?

        1. “What is it that makes jews so much likely to lose track of moral reasoning?”

          Why do the vast majority of evangelical protestants sympathize with Israel? Why do the vast majority of Muslims view Israel as a threat? Why did most antebellum white southerners have no problem with slavery? Why do various groupings feel the way they do about other groupings? Is there something about human nature that tends to make people lose track of moral reasoning on issues of out-groups? Something to ponder.

          1. That makes sense. But I don’t know if Freddie agrees with this. I doubt Freddie thinks that his views on Israel are shaped by his tribal affiliations: white, gentile, intellectual. A tribe that does in fact have some rocky history with jews.

          2. Perhaps if you were interested in my actual beliefs, tribal or otherwise, you would try and ask me, rather than trying to troll me into accidentally saying something plainly anti-Semitic which I don’t believe, which has been the goal of this poor troll job from the very beginning.

            By the way: the obvious and unmistakable inverse of your little project is just as much “proof” that you find Palestinians (or Arabs or however you’d like to define it) morally incoherent. But then, there’s a lot less danger in getting trolled into saying something similar to that, isn’t there?

        2. As someone raised by jewish parents, I would say most jews side with Israel because they continue to have this false sense of victim-hood, much akin to white christian males in the US. Many jews, even in the US to this day still feel like victims, despite the fact they run the world’s largest corporations, law firms, banks, governments, international institutions, etc. It is this ridiculous sense of victimization that drives reflexive support for Israel. Jews need to understand that they are no longer victims of oppression in this day in age, but the oppressors themselves.

          1. Many jews, even in the US to this day still feel like victims, despite the fact they run the world’s largest corporations, law firms, banks, governments, international institutions, etc. are no longer subject to state sponsored persecution.

            Fixed that for you. There is some truth to the notion of victimization (not just notion, but in fact as well) and the necessity of a Jewish homeland. However, it’s a bit more nuanced than as you have stated it.

            I supported Israel for a real long time as they were “my team.” But, as I got older and matured, I began to realize that my team is humanity first. So, I love the idea of Israel as this pluralistic and democratic place. But, in reality, I can’t support the state if they’re oppressing the indigenous population.

            There’s also a lot of social pressure (friends and family). I grew up in a mostly Jewish suburb. My facebook feed during the war in Gaza was full of “Fuck Hamas and their use of human shields” and “F— Gaza, turn it into a parking lot,” by seemingly normal people. It takes a lot to break away from that and call attention to yourself by non-conforming.

          2. Dino,

            People like you are the reason that anti-zionism is equated with anti-semitism.

            -Ben

    3. More importantly, since 95%+ of Israeli jews and the majority of jews worldwide support this latest offensive.

      Just want to add, I’m one of the world wide Jews who didn’t support the offensive and in fact, it angers me that such offensive was undertaken in my name (two times, once as a Jew, and then I get stained again by extension as an American, since my country supports this offensive with weapons and diplomatic cover).

  4. “A man who denies Palestine’s right to exist, and in fact participated in that denial as a member of the IDF, complains about those who question Israel’s right to exist.”

    I don’t get this. Goldberg is in support of a two-state outcome. He says that he wants a Palestinian state to exist. What do you mean, then, by “denies Palestine’s right to exist”?

    “Goldberg ignores the fact that it has actually been Zionists who have worked tirelessly to collapse the distinction between Zionism and Judaism.”

    Which Zionists are you referring to? And why is this relevant? If it’s a bad thing to collapse the distinction between Zionism and Judaism it’s a bad thing whether Jews or anti-Semites do it, no?

    1. Like many, Goldberg claims to support a two-state solution, while using his very prominent position– far more prominent than any Palestinian in the world– to subvert the processes and movements that could actually help bring that solution to pass.

      Zionists like AIPAC, the ADL, and countless other individuals and organizations who react to criticism of Israel by insisting that it is ipso facto anti-Semitic. And it is relevant because it is only the critics of Israel, rather than its defenders, who are accused of anti-Semitism for collapsing the distinction, which is the subject of this post.

      1. JG’s support of an ind. Palestinian state is like how Dershowitz opposes torture.

        Oh, he says he opposes torture (which is, under every f—ing law, very illegal) but then provides a basis for a “torture warrant,” which, to be clear, if acted upon, would likely have you sent to the Hague.

        Likewise, JG says he supports an independent Pal. state. And he demonstrates that, by saying, he supports an independent Palestinian state.

        Among the Liberal Zionists, at least Beinart is willing to boycott goods from the occupied territories. I don’t think JG is willing to go that far, to say nothing of BDS or actual criticism, ya know, stuff that could bring about this independent Pal. state that he professes to support.

      2. …while using his very prominent position– far more prominent than any Palestinian in the world– to subvert the processes and movements that could actually help bring that solution to pass.

        It strikes me as odd to characterize this as “being against the existence of a Palestinian state.” It’s like saying that I’m against making money because of my bad business acumen. That’s not right: I’m all for making money, but I’m substantively wrong about what it’ll take for me to get rich.

        …unless what you’re imagining is that, despite my loud protestations that I want to be rich, rich as GOD, my actions reveal my true intent, which is to remain broke as hell. And so I’m a liar.

        Are you arguing that Goldberg is a liar? That he isn’t sincere in his wishes for a Palestinian state? Because that strikes me as a very different claim than “he is harming the Palestinian cause.”

        And it is relevant because it is only the critics of Israel, rather than its defenders, who are accused of anti-Semitism for collapsing the distinction, which is the subject of this post.

        Agreed. AIPAC, ADL and others who collapse the distinction between Zionist and Jew in the public arena should be criticized. (Not of anti-Semitism, because that’s not exactly what’s going wrong there either.)

        To put my beliefs on the table: Jews (like me!) look at what’s going on in Europe and correctly recognize much of the anti-Israel protesting as saturated with anti-Semitism. Then we look back in America, where the landscape is very different, and we tend to overreact. This overreaction leads many Jews to see anti-Semitism in American criticism of Israel. American critics, on the whole, are not anti-Semitic. But this air of bewilderment isn’t called for. Criticism of Israel is often anti-Semitic right over the pond.

        American critics of Israel would do much good to allay their criticisms of Israel with work against anti-Semitism.

      3. Fredrik,

        Why do you place all the blame on Israel for a lack of a Palestinian state? If they have such a strong desire for a state, then why not accept what Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert offered? Moreover, Abbas does not appear eager to resume negotiations with Netanyahu.

        My personal belief is that neither Abbas, nor any Palestinian leader, will ever accept the legitimacy of any state without a Muslim majority.

        -Ben

  5. When discussing how totalitarian Political Islam is (and I dislike Islam intensely), one cannot ignore that the American State Religion, MAMMONISM, is pretty f&^%ing totalitarian as well. And it operates 700 military bases around the world and has cost millions of lives in just the past two decades alone.

  6. Frederick,

    Your pro-Palestinian favoritism is beyond absurd; it isn’t Israel that doesn’t want a Palestinian state to exist, it is the Palestinians who don’t want Israel to exist. How do I know? History.

    No Palestinian political leader has ever accepted the idea of a Jewish majority state of any size, within Historic Palestine. In 1936 they rejected a Jewish state that would have consisted of a mere 20% of historic Palestine.

    The Palestinians rejected a Palestinian state in 1948, in 2000, and in 2008. Not only did they reject offers of statehood, but Israel accepted the existence of a Palestinian state each of those times.

    Jews are a tiny regional minority that only lives within Israel, they have far more to lose than the Palestinians do. More to the point when given power the Israelis have exercised tremendous restraint.

    The far left displays a disgusting bias toward groups they deem to be “oppressed.” For the left so-called “people of color” are by definition sacred and can never be wrong. Ignoring the fact that Palestinians are members of the regions dominant ethno-religious group. A group which happens to control a huge chunk of the worlds oil supply, and treats non-members of their club like crap. But their brown skin makes them holy in the eyes of the left.

    Yes their is an inequality of power, but there is also an inequality of virtue. I have no doubt that Hamas would like to see Jews killed or expelled from all of Historic Palestine. The “moderate” Palestinian leadership would likely relegate Jews to some sort of Dhimmitude. Meanwhile, Israel allows Israeli Arabs to vote and receive generous social services, despite the fact that most of them don’t serve in the military and are openly hostile to the state.

    When virtue is unequal than power ought to be unequal as well.

    1. Well, first of all, if you think there’s no difference between a Jordanian, a Syrian, and a Palestinian, you’re probably beyond helping. As you are no doubt aware, the question of what has actually been offered to Palestinian leadership is a matter of considerable controversy, particularly in regards to Camp David and Taba. As for the notion that Palestinians were “offered a state” in 1948, when they had just undergone the violent expropriation of their land, is absurd on its face. As has been documented at length, there are in fact many Israelis who would like to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Palestinians, thanks to a large and growing reactionary movement of ethno-nationalists, which has resulted not just in hideous racism on social media and in street protests, but coming from perfectly mainstream members of Israeli politics, such as members of the Knesset. (Having Avidgor Lieberman in a position of power is in and of itself an indictment of where Israeli politics are right now.) Arab citizens of Israel may have voting rights, but the also suffer from a vast number of restrictions and exclusions that render them second class citizens.

      But most importantly, talking as though ethnic groups have an inherent “virtue” that describes all of them is the basic logic of all bigotry, including anti-Semitism.

      I have said the same thing over and over again: there are Jews in Palestine and there are Arabs in Palestine, by the millions in each case, and other ethnic, racial, and religious groups besides. The only outcome that is consonant with basic theories of democracy and justice is the total and complete political and civil equality between all peoples, regardless of their ethnic heritage or religious custom. Whether that means one state or two is not for me to decide. But only true equality can ensure basic liberal democratic ideals. I have no regard for Palestinians who seek out an Islamic state or to ethnically cleanse Jews from that region, but I also don’t mistake this situation for one of equal power or equal blame. It is Israel that occupies the Palestinian territories, it is Israel that commits the greater portion of the violence, and it is Israel that perpetuates the lack of equality. Therefore it is my responsibility to denounce Israel, especially given that my own country subsidizes this occupation at every turn. If the situation ever changes and Palestinians are in a position of power over Jews, denying them basic human and political rights, I will speak out against them, as is appropriate. For now: the occupation is immoral, it is the problem, and the Israeli government is to blame.

      1. Fredrik,

        If the occupation were maintained out of spite, then you would be right to condemn it. Personally, I believe the people who say the Palestinians repeatedly rejected offers for a viable Palestinian state. Even if they had reasonable objections to those offers, they never made significant counter offers. Which is why their leaders deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the occupation.

        Of equal importance is the question of whether such a peace treaty will be durable. Israel has every reason to believe that the Palestinian side will use any Palestinian state as a platform for launching a war against Israel.

        So yes the occupation is a relationship of unequal power, but a justified inequality given the circumstances. Does morality compel Israel to agree to all of Fatah’s demands, just so it can end the occupation? Does morality compel Israel to concede territory that will be used to wage war on it?

        There are circumstances where inequality of power is justified. Nobody would consider the U.S occupation of Japan intrinsically immoral, on the contrary the occupation was moral. In lieu of a durable and just agreement, Israel’s occupation is justified.

    2. The Palestinians rejected a Palestinian state in 1948, in 2000, and in 2008.

      Whoa. Was there a referendum? I must’ve missed those votes. Especially 2008. I must’ve just not been reading the NYT or something.

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