Criticizing Israel Does Not Make You A White Supremacist!

The ugly head that conflates the criticism of Israel’s actions towards the dislodged people of Palestine with anti-Semitism, has risen again. And most of it surrounds a few statements from a Muslim-refugee, who wears a head scarf within the Capitol building, representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Rep. Omar is a freshmen Rep who has joined the caucus of new female House members setting the U.S. political and cultural norms on fire. Along with others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rep, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), she supports new progressive proposals like the Green New Deal and the BDS movement. But what really caught the ire of Republicans and most Democratic leaders, are a few comments that Omar made recently criticizing Israel. For example, referring to AIPAC,

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, Why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby … that is influencing policy

(PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

Statements like these have people screaming anti-Semitism. They say Omar is reinforcing anti-Semitic tropes, such as that Jews have dual-loyalty to both America and Israel, and that Jews are controlling the world with their money. But this couldn’t be more untrue. A criticism of lobbying groups such as AIPAC, and America’s fanatical loyalty to Israel, are true concerns. In the U.S., if you say or do anything out of line regarding Israel’s foreign policy, you are labelled as a bigot towards Jews.

Now, we know that the blind allegiance to Israel is based on three reasons:

  1. Zionism (Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”) is exceptionally strong among American Christians, and especially Evangelicals. They believe that the second-coming of Christ will not take place until Jews return to their homeland in Palestine.
  2. Secondly, according to In These Times, America got mixed up in the Cold War in the region when most Arab states were loyal to the U.S.S.R.
  3. And lastly, according to Chomsky (Who Rules The World, 2016), Israel serves as an available landing station for American forces if their were to be a catastrophic conflict in the Mid-East.

It has nothing to do with all that nonsense about being the only democratic state in the Middle East, or having some sort of special relationship between us and Israel.

In conclusion, another quote from the ITT’s March 4th piece sums it up in one statement:

“…(F)alse accusations of anti-Semitism—usually linked to criticism of Israel or Israel’s supporters in the United States—are on the rise as well. And we need to be clear: It is not anti-Semitic to support Palestinian rights, demand a change in U.S. policy towards Israel, expose the kind of pressure that the pro-Israel lobby brings to bear on elected officials, or call out Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.­­ “

PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )

So get out there to support Rep. Omar, support the BDS movement, and form an activist group in your locality to contribute to the cause. And remember, critiques of Israeli crimes against humanity do not equate you with being anti-Semitic. That’s just a convenient and false construction used to silence the cries of the Palestinians. Don’t let it stop you. You are not a white supremacist.

Israel to pay students to defend it online

Israel to pay students to defend it online.

When you are a government and you need to propagandize what you do, its probably because what you are doing isn’t good enough to sell itself by its own merit.

A rather laughable aspect of Israeli society now:

When Israel’s army launched an offensive on Gaza militants late last year, the Israeli government set up a “media bunker” with hundreds of young volunteers posting updates reflecting Israel’s point of view. Many Israelis believe the international news media are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. (Emphasis added)

Let me help explain that.  When you are a larger, more powerful, and better armed people oppressing another group for decades that just wants to govern themselves, you are going to eventually look like a larger, more powerful, and better armed people oppressing another group.  As that happens, the press around the world will only be on your side for so long.  This should come as no surprise.

Unless, of course, your own media does things like propagandizing your actions so they look good when they’re really not.

Iran, Israel, and the Necessity of Political Boogeymen

No matter where or when a politician runs for office, the one thing they will always need is a political boogeyman.  They must have some real or imagined evil taking place that they believe they could fix if we just give them our vote at the polls.  And this is natural since the opposite would sound rather ridiculous.  “Please elect me because things are perfect and I want to continue that by not changing anything and doing as little as possible.”  Despite the fact it probably seems like many politicians do close to nothing at times, they certainly couldn’t win an election with that platform.  (Except maybe in the gerrymandered and uncompetitive districts in America.  They could probably still win those.  Only half kidding, sadly.)

The boogeymen usually have two key characteristics.  The first is that the politician sees the evil being performed as an abnormality from their perception of societal norms.  The second, typically, is that the boogeymen have little to no political power, preferably no voting power.  Take for instance illegal immigrants, criminals, foreign country/ideas influences, or the poor (since their voting turnout is lower than the shrinking middle class and the getting wealthier wealthy).  If you haven’t heard a politician angrily talk about these evils, you haven’t heard a politician talk.

Most will remember Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Looney Tunes-like diagram he held up during his speech at the United Nations last September when he suggested Iran would be most of the way to a nuclear bomb by early-to-mid 2013.  The potential prospect suggested seemed a bit scary while at the same time the presentation was a bit unintentionally humorous.  But Netanyahu was just doing what he needed to help himself as a politician.  He had an election coming and he needed to show why he was the one Israel should choose to continue its fight against its enemies.

In a recent article in Foreign Affairs, Jacques E. C. Hymans addresses the overall situation between the West and Iran and particularly the numerous failed intelligence assessments by both the U.S. and Israel, at least failed when reality is compared to the rhetoric of each country’s politicians.  Hymans points out the move could be political but strangely dismisses the idea for the exact reason it should, in fact, be seen as political.  Hymans argument:

A second hypothesis is that Israeli intelligence estimates have been manipulated for political purposes. This possibility is hard to verify, but it cannot be dismissed out of hand. Preventing the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran is Netanyahu’s signature foreign policy stance, and he had an acute interest in keeping the anti-Iran pot boiling in the run-up to last month’s parliamentary elections, which he nearly lost. Now, with the elections over, perhaps Israeli intelligence officials feel freer to convey a more honest assessment of Iran’s status. This theory of pre-election spin is not very satisfying, however, because it fails to explain why Israeli governments of all political orientations have been making exaggerated claims about Iran for 20 years — to say nothing of the United States’ own overly dire predictions.

The reality that Israeli claims about Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been overblown for over two decades now should reinforce the idea these claims have been political.  The idea that the length of time this has been going on nulls the possibility it is political bears no resemblance to history.  Take almost any other common political boogeyman.  Railing about illegal immigrants in the U.S. has gone on since long before anyone reading this was born.  Politicians are still debating the use of marijuana while some states are legalizing it.  Look at the era of Prohibition.  The Red Scare.  The list goes on and on.

In fact, there is an obvious clue in the article that should have tipped the author off to this being political.  Hymans points out Israel has backed off its claim Iran will have a nuclear weapon this year and now projects they will have a weapon around 2015 or 2016.

Take a wild guess when the next parliamentary elections in Israel will likely take place.

Israel Should Be Investigated By The I.C.C.

israel_pol01A great op-ed in the NYT by George Bisharat, a law professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, on since Palestine is now recognized as a nonmember state by the U.N., they should take the Israeli’s to the International Criminal Court for their brazen disregard for the Geneva Convention and other international laws addressing crimes against humanity.

This is an important op-ed for two reasons: (1) it outlines the worst offenses committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians and why they should be prosecuted, and (2) press articles that are so critical of Israeli policy involving the Palestinians are rarely found in the United States.

Read Here.