I’m totally dispirited by the killing of the three teenagers and by the Israeli government’s (and the Jewish organizations here) ugly reaction to it. Ugly and political, designed to justify the war against Hamas that Netanyahu lusts for.
Credit: Creative Commons
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response was perhaps the most repulsive response to an event like this that I have ever seen by any national leader of a civilized country. He vows “revenge.” Revenge? Not Even George W. Bush used that term after 9/11, pledging instead to bring the people who committed the crime to justice. FDR after Pearl Harbor? The parents after Newtown?
Meanwhile other Israeli politicians and Jewish organizations here are in their “we are one” mode which means standing together as Netanyahu blasts innocent Palestinians, and pretending that the settlement enterprise is not responsible for almost all of this.
The neocons are back, although not by popular demand.
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a nauseating profile of Robert Kagan, one of the Flying Wallenda, I mean Kagan, war tribe consisting of Robert, father Donald, and brother Frederick. Tough guys all!
The justification for the article is that the Kagans have come out of hiding because their Iraq policy has proven a success. Their thinking goes like this:
Yes, we helped steamroll the US into invading Iraq and we were right. The problem we are seeing today is that George W. Bush got cold feet about escalating the war and then that coward Obama pretty much ended it. So look what you have now. Disaster. And it’s because you didn’t leave our allies Cheney and Rumsfeld in charge.
No need to rebut any of that for this audience. Most of my readers believe that all the architects of the Iraq war belong at The Hague not in loving New York Times profiles.
The New York Times devoted a few thousand words on Tuesday to telling us what we already know: the peace process is dead and Prime Minister Netanyahu killed it.
Of course, it hems and haws, apportioning blame to both sides but, it is clear that the Times knows that the sole reason there was no chance that Kerry’s fool’s errand would succeed is because the Israeli right has no intention of giving up the West Bank.
It is possible that the details of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace proposal (as reported in the New York Times) are wrong. However, assuming the reports are correct, the Palestinians would be out of their minds to accept it. It is bad for Israelis and Palestinians and demeans the United States by reducing us to the role of Binyamin Netanyahu’s stenographer.
Here are the key points as reported in the Times.
Early Wednesday morning the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a resolution that would have begun the process of divesting from companies doing business with Israel. It was the latest defeat for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is dedicated to fighting Israel by isolating it, particularly in the cultural and economic sectors.
Other than Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to devote a full 25% of his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to condemning the BDS movement, it hasn’t got very much to show for its efforts. And I don’t expect it ever will.
The reason why BDS keeps failing despite the almost universal recognition that the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are illegal and immoral is that the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is the end of the State of Israel itself.
by: MJ Rosenberg on March 17th, 2014 | Comments Off
I wonder what would have happened back in the 1960′s if fat cat donors to U.S. universities demanded that school administrators ban anti-Vietnam war action on campus or else lose donations. Judging by the way some universities are caving to donors on the Israel-Palestine issue, it is just possible that the donors would have succeeded in crushing antiwar activity, cutting the legs out from the movement that ultimately forced the end of the Vietnam war. Fortunately the donors of the 60′s didn’t care as much about Vietnam as many of them do now about Israel so they did not threaten to tear up their donations. Today it is something else Donors across the country, organized by AIPAC and other components of the Netanyahu lobby, are threatening to cut university funding and administrators are caving.
Lately I have been struck by the raw anti-semitism evinced on anti-Israel websites (most egregious example, Mondoweiss). http://mondoweiss.net/
There is nothing novel about it. It’s not “the new anti-semitism” that the Anti-Defamation League likes to talk about. But the old kind, masquerading as anti-Zionism but manifesting itself as support or, at least, sympathy for every group or individual hostile to Jews: from Pat Buchanan to Hizbullah.
The only difference between this anti-semitism and the old-fashioned kind is that it has no impact. If you don’t visit Mondoweiss or other websites like it, you won’t know it exists. It threatens no one. It is just ugly. But ugly and irrelevant.
Time To Put Conditions On Aid
Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday that he doesn’t believe it is helpful for the Israeli government to keep bringing up the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, He has concluded that all that demand does is make achieving a deal less likely.
I guess that kind of mental acuity is what made him Secretary of State. For future reference, Secretary, all Israeli demands not directly related to security are designed to make a deal impossible. Given that the United States is as zealous about defending Israel’s physical security as Israel itself is and demonstrates it continuously, it is safe to say that all demands that Israel puts to the United States are designed for no other reason except to kill negotiations.
President Obama is not, apparently, going to be steamrolled into acting as if Russia is the Soviet Union and Ukraine is Czechoslovakia. (Not that we did anything in 1968.)
And I’m grateful for that. Just imagine if that crazed warmonger John McCain was president or even Mitt Romney (although Romney is not unstable so I don’t suggest they are the same).
Instead, we have Obama who seems to understand that the United States is limited in what we can do about Ukraine. And not just logistically either.
We are also limited by the fact that the U.S. has acted precisely the way Russia has dozens of times in the last century alone. Ukraine is on the Russian border. How far are we from Guatemala, El Salavador or Chile? How far away was Iran when we overthrew its government in 1953? How far away is Iraq which we invaded and destroyed or Afghanistan where we provided the arms to put the mujaheddin in power who are now the Taliban, a curse from which that country is unlikely ever to recover?
Not surprisingly, the same people who promoted the Iraq war and now want the U.S. to bomb Iran (or let Israel do it) or pushing for action against Russia. You can call them the neocons or the Kristol-Joe Lieberman-Dershowitz-Krauthammer-Perle-Feith-Peretz gang, who always want us to be tough, lest someday we won’t defend Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. (These guys are all about Israel, nothing else.)
Ari Shavit, the Israeli journalist, has been traveling the United States recently (promoting his book) and has discovered what those of us who live here already know: Israel is a cause for Jews over 70 (and not most of them either). Below that general cutoff, most Jews have strayed from the reservation. And that cutoff will slip even further back soon. In 2016, the first baby-boomers turn 70. At the point, Shavit will need to revise his age cutoff to 71, then 72, etc. The Woodstock/McGovern Jews/Viet war protestors are not that into Israel.