Sunday, June 06, 2010

Israel: WTF?

I know I come across as only being interested in the inconsequential, but I've actually been spending all my spare time following the flotilla crisis. No kids, no vomit, no mice - just 40 years of poor domestic policy on the part of the Israelis and at least a decade of lousy foreign policy on our part, all coming home to roost in a situation where a good ally of ours (Turkey) is rightly furious, another ally of ours (Israel) is manipulating evidence, and the White House is dithering. Oh, and nine people are dead. And journalists' photos and tapes are confiscated.

[That link up there, and the articles and blogs it links to, are really informative. Much better than this stuff I'm spouting here...]

My generation of American Jews was brainwashed to believe that criticism of Israeli policies is de facto anti-Semitic. Any Jew who dared question Israeli conduct in the West Bank, or Gaza, or anywhere else in the world was labeled "self-hating." It was an effective way to silence dissent.

But what we need to realize is that any actions that desecrate the sacred memory of our slaughtered Jewish ancestors are what is really anti-Semitic. And the Israeli actions against oppressed populations? Definitely fall into that category.

The reflexive defense of Israel by American Jews (on the Right and the Left) is examined by Glenn Greenwald here, who is right on the mark. The Jews of my generation were inculcated from a young age with warnings of Israel's vulnerability. I remember my 5th-grade teacher saying, "The Palestinians? They are terrorists. All of them. The women, the children - they are all terrorists."

It's hard to blame her - she and the other teachers were traumatized survivors of the Holocaust, witnesses to the War for Independence (1948) and the 6-Day War (1967).... in their minds, Israel was still the threatened new nation in which so many Holocaust survivors had found refuge. But our parents' reality is not ours. For most of our lifetimes, Israel has been an occupying force in the Palestinian territories (its presence in the West Bank I have already discussed here); it fields a formidable, well-equipped army and even has nuclear weapons (shh, it's a secret). To continue to claim that it is vulnerable to a few Katyusha rockets is ridiculous. To believe that they must invade a neighboring country with overwhelming force in order to secure its borders is absurd. Does Turkey invade Kurdish Iraq, slaughtering over a thousand people and destroying a large portion of the civil infrastructure, when terrorists sneak over its borders?

Really, what do such actions do but produce even more instability in an already unstable situation? Israel says it is fighting terrorism - but it is actually producing more terrorists.

It behooves American Jews to speak up on this topic. Israel is not always right. Israel is faced with a marginalized, oppressed Palestinian population that is the result of 40 years of poor policy choices on the part of the Israeli government. No amount of military might will make that go away. It's time for Israel to admit its mistakes and find a new way forward, a way of cooperation and peace. It is a strong enough nation to do so now. It just doesn't seem to realize that.

[Addendum: Check out these eyewitness accounts, if you are still buying the sanitized video put out by the Israeli government. I really think that official video is what bothers me the most. It is a deliberately constructed lie.]

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27 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. You might enjoy this article from the Huffington Post, if you haven't already seen it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hajo-meyer/an-ethical-tradition-betr_b_438660.html

    I thought it was beautiful and important.

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  2. Just what Palestinian people do you write about? Your historical facts are sadly a joke. Anyone living under the British Mandate held a Palestinian passport, Jew, Christian or Muslim. 80% of the original size of Palestine went to the Muslims and it's called Jordan. Jordan killed many of the "Palestinians" and kicked the rest out. Where's your condemnation for that? Oh that's right you just want to be a self-hating Jew. Do you think this will make the world accept you? Bruhaaah. I'll see you at the gas chamber when they drag us both in. You need to wake up and realize you are spreading propaganda and hate. You only point to mistakes of Jews/Israel but not of the surrounding thugacracies. They murder dissenting people. Israel doesn't which is why you can write this piece of crap on your blog at all.

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  3. http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2010/06/06/alice-walker-my-heart-is-breaking-too-stop-the-lies-about-israel/

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  4. I'm so glad you're speaking your mind, providing perspective, taking the time to go deeper. Thanks.

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  5. Well said! I don't pretend to know a lot about middle eastern politics, but even I can see that this course of action is not working.

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  6. I'm also tired of any non-Jewish person who disagrees with any of Israel's tactics being labeled anti-Semitic. It's stifling. I've no doubt some people who disagree ARE anti-Semitic. But then there are those of us who are thoughtful people with a deep respect and admiration for the Jewish culture and experience.

    If I disagree with some of America's actions, does that make me a self-hating American?

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  7. Thanks for sharing your views. It makes me feel good to know that people are willing to acknowledge that no one is ever ALWAYS in the right. You might also appreciate Michael Chabon's NYT op-ed from yesterday:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/opinion/06chabon.html

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  8. I'm not Jewish, but I do weary of the way my Jewish friends speak so MILITANTLY on any perceived slight--no one, no country, no action is entirely right without consequences. Your post really struck me as honest and brave.

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  9. AnonymousJune 07, 2010

    The most ridiculous article I have read yet. The reality on the ground is totally different.

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  10. We Are The BritsJune 07, 2010

    An ill-informed, emotional outburst that clumsily avoids fact in preference to self-loathing and appeasement that is the hallmark of the liberal left.

    You are correct in one aspect though, you are brainwashed and it is self-evident in this smalltown opus of yours.

    Thank God others far more worldly are at the business-end of what keeps you and your kind safe each and every night.

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  11. Ppp Shaw. Cough Cough. Spitting out the horse shit here.

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  12. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

    Israel + Palestine + over and over = Insanity.

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  13. What I don't understand is how anyone, Jewish or not, can deny Israel's right to defend itself. Even "IF" Israel "faked" the video footage, they had a legal blockade of a terrorist nation/organization. They had every right to torpedo ANY ship that attempted to run the blockade.

    Given that, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
    1. Why did Israel let the other ships pass after inspection?
    2. Why was this ship singled out?
    3. If the ship was for humanitarian aid, why were there known terrorists aboard?
    4. Why did the humanitarian aid not go through normal channels rather than through the blockade? Thousands of dollars of aid came through Israel DAILY, and still is.
    5. Why has HAMAS refused aid from Israel?

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  14. 49% Say Pro-Palestinian Activists To Blame in Gaza Ship Incident - Rasmussen Reports - http://bccth.is/4VF

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  15. Wow, looks like a can of worms has been opened here, SC! Good for you in digging deeper and not being trivial. I know you enjoy making laughter, not war, so I know this is an important topic for you. I'll be clicking on your links when I have the time.

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  16. Hey there. Thank you for speaking your mind. I agree that wanting Israelis to stop killing people does not make you a self-hating Jew. I am pretty amazed that your audience are so outraged at (and seemingly intolerant of) your viewpoint. Scary.

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  17. The comments seem to make your point for you quite well,

    The oppressed can become the oppressors. It happens all the time.

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  18. You might be right that not all Israeli policies are wise. you are also right that Katyushas do not present danger to the sovereignty of the Israeli state. They do, however, present danger to the Israeli civil population. I have family living in Sderot, so my perspective is a bit different than yours, and I obviously and whole heartedly disagree. That being said, i don't think criticizing Israeli government makes you a self-hating Jew.

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  19. I have to admit that I just shy away from these discussion for the reasons you write about tha the comments you got. My husband and I can't discuss it either. I come from a family with Holocaust victims, he doesn't. It's like my DNA cries out at criticism of Israel even though I know there are wrongs on both sides.

    I am going to read all the links you posted - time to get my head out of the sand!

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  20. What a lot of different opinions. I disagree that outrage is equal to intolerance, Michaela. SC knew this was a touchy issue before she posted and I doubt she is surprised by the depth of feeling shown in this comment section.

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  21. @Susan - I recognize that desire to just stick one's head in the sand. I think it is a very complicated issue, not easily boiled down to one blog post. I just hate the lock step that American Jews seem to be in. There is much more open dissent and discussion in Israel over their gov't and its policies toward the occupied territories than there is here. Protests, op-ed pieces, etc. - it's fascinating.

    Be brave! Check it all out! Disagreeing with something the Israeli gov't is doing doesn't make you a Holocaust denier. I heartily recommend From Beirut To Jerusalem (Thomas Friedman) - the man loves Israel, yet he is honest about its history and how it treats its Arab population. Plus, it is a fun read!

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  22. Great post. 2 thoughts. U.S. actions are partially responsible for creating the climate that allows Israel to act how it's acting. t2: Up until this year, there was no written proof out there of Israel's nuclear weapons. They would test and manufacture plutonium and then shrug and go "what, us?" I always thought that was hilarious.

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  23. I would stick to blogging about what you know. It's so sad to see how the American media has managed to even turn the Jews against themselves. I also always find it so interesting that the American people have all this time to DISCUSS Israeli politics, and mostly, to criticize Israel. On mommy blogs, no less.... Try living here. Do you know that in the last week, there have been 7 ROCKETS FIRED on Israel? And you think we should throw rose petals in the water as we welcome their "Freedom Fighters" to replenish their weapons? Have you ever BEEN to Israel? Just wondering.

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  24. BRAVO. This post took guts. More guts than I'll ever have.

    And I, too, am shocked by some of the comments you've received. Why can't "mommy" bloggers talk about world events? About things that affect us emotionally? Should we just stick to diapers and fishsticks? We're smarter than that - and our readers should respect that, even if they disagree with our points.

    I must confess that even with a father who received a doctorate in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and having lived in Saudi Arabia for 15 years, I find it difficult to speak coherently about this subject. While my friends consist of "homeless" Palestinians, as well as Jews, I agree with you. A "new way forward" MUST be found if World War III is to be prevented.

    Thank you for taking time out to turn our eyes to the bigger picture. Which I frequently ignore, because it's easier, isn't it?

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  25. I had not seen those first-hand accounts before. I had wanted to hear their side. Thank you for posting that link and for speaking your mind (which I happen to agree with) and for reminding me too, in the process, that it is such a great, great thing that we Americans have the gift of freedom of speech.

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  26. Great post, Suburban Correspondent!

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  27. http://www.shoebat.com/blog/

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