Thursday, 4 October 2007

Israel Shouldn’t Get a Free Pass: Real Debate Is Not Anti-Semetic

By Jonathan Tasini - Playboy magazine. It's very unusual to see mainstream publications run articles like this. Let's hope more start doing it.

Why can’t American Jews, particularly liberal Jews, think straight about Israel? American Jews can easily condemn the war in and occupation of Iraq, as well as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the violations of civil rights there. Yet the same passion for peace, justice and human rights is muted when it comes to talking about unpleasant activities in the Israeli government. American Jews and many politicians who pander for Jewish votes are hurting Israel and the cause of peace by refusing to have an honest debate about our country’s historically one-sided position vis-a-vis Israel and the Middle East conflict. An honest debate is underway within Israel itself, but in the US it’s impossible to be critical of Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic or worse.

Before I dive further into this, I should establish my bona fides for making this argument, which itself says alot about the terrain. I am a Jew. My father was born in what was then Palestine and fought in Israel’s war of independence. My father’s cousin was killed in that war. I lived in Israel for seven years, including the period of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. A cousin of mine was killed in that war, leaving behind a widow and two children. My step-grandfather, an ikd nab wgi was no threat to anyone was killed by a Palestinian who took an axe to his head while he was sitting quietly on a park bench. His murder was revenge for the massacre of dozens of peaceful Muslims the day before, slaughtered by an ultra-nationalist Israeli soldier as they knelt in prayer.

I care about Israel as I care about our country, but I wish to speak the truth about it. In 2006, when I ran in the New York Democratic primary for Senator because of incumbent Hillary Clinton’s support for the Iraq war, my campaign coincided with Israel’s bombing of Lebanon, a move triggered by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. While campaigning I said that Israel had committed acts that violated the Geneva Conventions and international standards. Within an hour reporters from all four New York daily papers called me, alerted to my comments by my opponent’s operatives. Betraying their bias, the reporters had no idea my position would not be considered novel or radical in Israel where the country’s conduct in the war was a topic of hot debate. Indeed, the reporters need only have consulted Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

Referring to last summer’s Lebanon bombing, B Tselem’s website states, “International humanitarian law…requires that the combating sides direct their attacks only against specific military objectives, take cautionary measures to prevent injury to civilians and refrain from disproportionate attacks, ie., attacks directed against legitimate targets but that are likely to cause excessive harm to civilians. Over the past week Israel has killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians in its attacks against targets in Lebanon. There is a concern that at least some of them were disproportionate attacks, which constitute war crimes”.

Here are some other inconvenient truths. Israel is holding 10,000 Palestinians in administrative detention where, according to B’Tselem, they are exposed to “moderate pressure”, a euphuism for torture. And while six Israeli soldiers and 17 civilians died last year, the Israeli military killed 660 Palestinians, roughly half of them innocent bystanders. So why is there such a lack of debate in the US?

Jews and non-Jews who can easily tell foreigners that being American is not the same as supporting the American government are incapable of making the same argument in Israel’s case. Elected officials won’t say anything because of the political cost or at least the perceived threat from Jewish voters. And there is residue from the Cold War, when Israel was seen as the region’s bulwark against the Soviet Union. Among Jews there is a reflexive “Israel right or wrong” attitude that is deeply rooted in the memory of the Holocaust. My own family lost people in the Holocaust. But the Holocaust should not be used as a moral shield to suppress honest criticism of Israel.

It’s also important to acknowledge that some critics of Israel undercut their own positions by painting a caricature of the country. Israel is a democracy, and like all democracies it has its flaws Nut the open debate heard in Israel is rarely heard in the regions’s other countries, most of which are ruled by dictators or generals. Israel has a very free rambunctious press” can the same be said about Egypt or Syria? Israel’s attorney general recently went after the country’s president for sexual harassment. We can’t even get Congress, not to mention the attorney general, to investigate the president for lying about a war.

These facts make Israel’s conduct even more troubling. The country’s democratic principles and societal fabric are being undermined by its role as an occupier. People who refuse to criticize Israel because of friendship are no friends to Israel. A true friend would not have stood by and remained silent as Israel dropped thousands of cluster bombs in Lebanon, leaving a million unexploded bomblets-small devices the size of a light socket that are still killing and injuring civilians-littered throughout the southern part of the country. A true friend would have taken Israel’s leaders to the woodshed and said, “Responding to Hezbollah is one thing, but turning Lebanon into rubble and embittering a new generation toward the existence of your country is madness”. Instead, politicians like Joe Lieberman and Clinton actually encouraged the bombing by uttering vigorous endorsements of Israel’s right to defend itself. A friend of Israel would not try to fan fears y tarring as anti-Semitic people who are critical of U.S. Middle East policy. Criticism of Israel may be painful to American Jews, but it is high time anyone, Jew or non-Jew, were able to raise questions about our one-sided policy without fear of a McCarthy like smear. A friend would argue strenuously that Israel’s moral fiber and security are weakened every moment it allows the so-called separation barrier in the West Bank to stand, in violation of international law. Whether Jews like the comparison or not, Jimmy Carter is correct in his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid when he describes the control over Palestinian’s movements as similar to South Africa’s apartheid system.

As a Jew, I have always been proud of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which means roughly,”repairing the world.” I like to think it is hat brought so many Jews into the civil rights and labor movements in the 60’s and 70’s and in to the current antiwar movement. I feel great sorrow that Israel is an occupier of another people, and I believe Israel can never be whole or at peace until that occupation is ended in a just way. I also believe tikkun olam means we must never be silent.

Full story...

2 comments:

BEAJ said...

You may want to fix the title because you spelled "SemItic" like a redneck hick would spell it.

Other than that. The dude who wrote the article is not an anti-semite, just a far left lunatic.

The anti-war movement attracts a lot of imbeciles.

The bottom line is if the Arabs dropped their arms, there would be peace in the region.

Normal people understand this, and that is why normal people support Israel.

Anonymous said...

Beaj- I hope my spelling and grammar passes you esteemed review.

The Arabs are just native people trying to reclaim possession of their homes, lives and right to self determination. When will people with imperialistic ideals wake the fuck up and accept you cant move into other peoples lands, displace them and try to force integration and expect peaceful compliance. The Roman's did it first and fell then the fucking British went stole all the lands from natives, causing displacement, poverty and ultimately genocide. If its Australia, America and many others lands the same fucking story, every prick who is white thinks they have the god given right over a natives land, you all think that you are going around spreading peace, tolerance, democracy and progress. Yet all that follows the Anglo Imperialist settlements of any nation is war, poverty, oppression and genocide. As evidenced by the willful destruction of the Native American people, the Aboriginal people of Australia etc etc etc, I could write an essay on this all the way up the current agenda of mass extermination and assimilation of Arabic people. Then when you get the formation of radicalism and revolutionary struggle, you label those people evil. When will white American's and the English stop blaming Jews for there own collective evils, you taught the white European Jews who now occupy the Middle East all about imperialist invasion and settlements, and still willfully help for a fucking $$$. The taking possession of and invading the West Bank etc was all fully supported by Gentiles from England and America, also aided financially and materially. These nations still block any attempt by other countries to hold Israel to account for more than 35 UN violations, and breaches of the Geneva convention. They allow Israel to build WMD's, and also to sell those technologies to enemy nations including South Africa & China. Yet as soon as these weapons are in the hands of non-whites the world seeks to disarm them crying "there evil". Does anybody remember that it was America who is the only country to have used nukes?. That it was America that sprayed Vietnam with mega tonnes of chemical agents. Crimes on a scale never seen with no accountability, all against non-whites so who cares. Thats why the continual crying and researching and conspiracy banter about 911 is starting to make me sick, everybody crying because a few thousand American's mainly white lost there lives. All this crap about the "New World Order" You know non-whites everywhere already went through a new world order when whites stole there lands. Now poor whites are getting exploited by rich whites everybody is crying foul.. Did you ever stop to think about this?. That native people everywhere already where absorbed into a police state, have already undergone brainwashing and forced assimilation?. No but now it affects a segment of white society your all crying..

Simply if you came and kicked me out my house and forced me into a life where I had to got through several armed gates to try and work. If you bulldozed my families house down and killed the people inside, and then called them terrorist. Your damb fucking right I would pick up a gun or bomb and fight for what was mine!..And I am sure you would too unless you where gutless prick.

People who once lived in the west bank where chased out just like this, and suffer the indignity of being called terrorist for fighting to get there homes back. Paint it up however you want but thats what happened, and until its admitted there will be a continual backlash. I'm sick of been feed the same bullshit propaganda about Israel, it is an invasion state based on an apartied system. It has no reason for being there and has done nothing by cause tension between factions who once at peace. It is a modern day version of South Africa and should be contested globally in same fashion. And in fact South Africa and Israel have historically been very close allies, sharing similar political ideals.

The European Jews of Israel are an Imperialist invasion force that has no right to occupying the land it is, it is founded a lie of ancestry that cant be proven. It is only supported by the "white" run governments of the world because it a further realization another "white" proxy government in a non-white land. And all you people crying foul of Israel need to wake up to why England, Australia and the US are so eager to support this. The ideology of Zionism is found on white supremacy ideals, that is superiority of ancestry and the "divine right" to occupy a land. So in fact it is a creation of the anglo man, and thus supported by him.

I can see this collective evil I acknowledge that in this world the lives of non-whites are considered less than those of whites, and our majority white governments will run to the aid of whites in peril anywhere. Thats why the Brits ran to South Africa to help the Boar's defeat the locals, and why they re-enforced the early Americans against the natives there. And why these governments wholeheartedly support Israel in there war against the natives of the middle east. Wake up its not some big complicated conspiracy its the core racist ideology and superiority of whites.
When will you read your own histories and realize its time to own up to this continual genocide against non-whites, and that the white Imperialists agenda is flawed. When will you learn that not everybody wants democracy/ corporatocracy and western religion. Not everybody wants drugs, pornography & prostitution which always follows white settlements.

Beaj your just another closet white supremacists who supports Israel because its a white enclave in a black land. And you cant stand seeing some whitey's get there asses kicked for the crime of stealing somebodies homes. If you want to argue that children should be shot for throwing rocks at well armed and funded Israeli soldiers, then you truly are a clueless twit.

If you truly want peace it is the "white" imperialist profit machine that needs to put down its guns. Needs to stop invading others lands to strip the wealth and create a poor working underclass. Needs to stop exploiting 3rd world nations to make $200.00 Nikes for $2 bucks a week, so they can line the pockets of minority of rich mainly white people. Needs to stop force assimilating other peoples cultures, and dismantling there governments to install there own fake puppet democracies. Needs to stop lying about history and covering up and blaming the victims for the countless atrocities. Needs learn to negotiate with others and practice tolerance towards other cultures, customs and beliefs. Needs to step out other affairs and return control, resources and wealth to native peoples in their own lands. Maybe then finally wealth will get distributed equally and long oppressed people will perhaps get to eat and feel good about themselves. Maybe then they wont feel like they need to wear a bomb on a bus to draw attention to their peoples sufferance, maybe then with such equality we can enjoy peace and the right of "self determination" for all not just white people.

Personally I have been looking at this conspiracy stuff for a few years now but its starting to dawn on me, that perhaps its an excuse. Just engineered by deniers who don't want to accept that radicalism is true, because they cant except why it exist. Theres some new Codshit to think about :)

BTW: I am 1/2 white and I understand that not all whites think this way, but the power structure sure does.