American Jewish Leaders Yield Their Power to a Weak, Brutalized Foreign Country

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 23 Comments

In the Guardian, an Israeli minister warns that Palestinians may face a "holocaust" because of the rockets falling on Ashkelon and Sderot. Oh my god. Meantime, on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, there is this horrifying photo from Gaza of a Palestinian child, 5 months old, the son of a doorman, killed by an Israeli air strike.

And then there’s this: the director of the American Jewish Committee David Harris saying that Israel is blameless in the Middle East.

know of no nation on earth that yearns for peace more than Israel, no
nation, victorious in unsought wars, that has been more generous in
yielding to its vanquished foes’ terms in pursuit of peace, and no
nation that has taken more demonstrated – and tangible – risks for the
sake of peace than Israel.

To think othrwise is to assume that Israel would prefer a state of permanent conflict, and that, quite frankly, would be preposterous.

These are absurd statements, and a virtual profession of dual loyalty. Israel’s soul is weakened by violence. It has lived with violence for 60 years.
Violence shapes Israeli identity and brutalizes the country’s vision of its horizons.
Forty years ago the ’67 War was preceded by retaliatory air strikes against Syria and Jordan like the ones against Gaza. That was preceded by the Arab war of ’48 and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and before that by the Hebron massacre of ’29…. The violence never ends.  On my one visit to the country a friend said, "They don’t want us here. We must accept that. And so there
will be war after war after war."

The true path for a person in David Harris’s job is to look at the photograph on Sullivan’s site with his eyes not his doctrine and understand that when Palestinian children are murdered, everyone is hurt, including our country, the United States. Israel is a weak state that hates Arabs and diminishes their humanity (and yes, the Palestinians do the same to Israelis). David Harris, American Jews
do not have to think like Israelis.
We live in a strong, multi-ethnic country that cherishes freedom for minorities, including Jews, and we should ape American attitudes not Israeli attitudes. American Jewish leaders may be able to help lead Israel away
from its intransigent brutalized religious positions. To do so, they must take their own power.

23 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    March 1, 2008, 10:30 am

    "In the Guardian, an Israeli minister warns that Palestinians may face a "holocaust" because of the rockets falling on Ashkelon and Sderot."

    Undeniably a cruel and idiotic statement.

    And, shelling civilian Israeli cities can only be described as terrorism, not resistance.

    Accepting terror as a "valid" response to real frustration, is to condone crime.

  2. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 11:04 am

    RE: "Accepting terror as a "valid" response to real frustration, is to condone crime."

    Yes, precisely the point. Americans, wake up! You've been heavily funding state-sponsored terrorism far too long. It is illegal under self-defense law to proportionately over-react.
    That's a standard beyond tit for tat & chicken and egg.

  3. Jim Haygood
    March 1, 2008, 11:54 am

    "Can any well-intentioned person truly believe that the Jewish people, resettled in the land of their ancestors after centuries of violence, persecution, and stigmatization, would seek anything other than a long-denied tranquility and peaceful coexistence with its neighbors?" – David A. Harris

    Why yes, Mister Harris. Yes, I can indeed! Why, specifically, would Israel maintain an illegal forty-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, rather than normalizing their status through either annexation or independence?

    The answer lies in the code-phrase, "Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state," which requires an unassailable Jewish majority. Thus, the Arab-populated West Bank and Gaza must be held in limbo, outside of Israel. But as Jewish settlements are established inside the occupied territories (which would be impossible if they were sovereign), the Wall can be moved eastward to annex these growing Jewish-majority areas, which now comprise 460,000 Israelis.

    This cynical policy reflects the same dilemma apartheid South Africa faced, in trying to keep control over African-majority areas, while exluding them from South African nationality and voting privileges. It fully explains why Israel sets impossible preconditions on negotiations — ALWAYS including the mischievous insistence on recognition of "Israel's right to exist (as a Jewish state)," which is the root of the present stalemate.

    Honeyed sophistry drips thickly and treacly from every word of Harris's heartfelt paean to Israel's peaceful, humanitarian good intentions. Like our estimable correspondent and legal scholar Mr. Witty, Harris is his own best parody. Too bad he's not that funny.

  4. Jim Haygood
    March 1, 2008, 12:31 pm

    "Can any well-intentioned person truly believe … that Israelis would luxuriate in the knowledge that there is risk of a terrorist attack even in the simple act of riding a public bus, dancing in a discotheque, eating in a pizzeria, or attending a university?" – David A. Harris

    Interesting that Mr. Harris mentions Israeli universities. Jonathan Cook, a journalist in Nazareth, points out several facts:

    "As in most other areas of Israeli life, the country's Palestinian minority faces systematic discrimination in higher education. No public university is located in an Arab community or teaches in Arabic, and, though the minority is a fifth of the population, fewer than 1 per cent of lecturers are Arab.

    "In addition, the number of Arab students is a third of their proportion in the population — an under-representation that is apparently intentional. In 2003, psychometric tests biased towards Western culture were scrapped in an effort to help "weaker sections" of society gain acceptance to university. However, when the Committee of University Heads learnt that the number of Arabs entering university had risen sharply as a result, the tests were immediately reinstated."

    link to

    Even in the Jim Crow South, there were "historically black" universities — some quite prestigious, such as Howard, Fisk and Morehouse. The absence of Arab colleges in Israel more closely parallels apartheid South Africa, where a token number of black scholars were admitted into majority-white universities such as Cape Town and Witwatersrand.

    Zionism is racism. Dugard's UN report refers to Jews-only roads in the territories as "road apartheid," a cruel twist that never occurred to master apartheid theorists such as Hendrik Verwoerd and George Wallace. Fifteen extra IQ points goes a long way, don't it?

  5. Ed.
    March 1, 2008, 12:41 pm

    Paul Gottfried recently wrote of militant Israeli Jewish Zionism's closest cousins in America, the Neocons:

    “In the twisted world of neoconservative letters most Germans are Nazis, most Russians are anti-Semites, and most white Southerners fascistoid racists.”
    link to

    Jewish Zionists obviously also hate Muslims.

    So when Harris says Jewish Zionist Israelis are seeking "long-denied tranquility and peaceful coexistence with its neighbors" he is being disingenuous.

    What they are really seeking is vengeance against a world that has rejected their tribal fascism (often times violently) and regards them as pariahs for their usurious, sociopathic behavior. No amount of negotiating, military aid, financial aid or coddling will ever satisfy their deep well of eternal anger and hatred at the world. In fact, they would happily see America bankrupt and destroy itself pandering to their Greater Israel ambitions and chalk it up to a victory over the hated gentile “other.”

    And apparently a significant percentage of dumbed-down Americans think there's nothing wrong with that. Americans have been conditioned by the Jewish Zionists for so long, they have apparently become suicidal. And the weakest and most despicable of those Americans today condemn those willing to fight for America’s survival as anti-Semites. Pathetic, but predictable in a country that has internalized the Jewish narrative.

  6. David Seaton
    March 1, 2008, 12:49 pm

    I think there will be no meaningful debate on Israel till after the presidential elections. The elections, strangely enough, put all serious discussion in the deep freeze. The candidates and their handlers craft positions and try to avoid being shot down. The world burns, but the elections come first.

  7. Klaus Bloemker, Frankfurt
    March 1, 2008, 1:21 pm

    David Harris on the "prophetic vision" of peace

    Responding to an article by Jimmy Carter in the International Herald Tribune, Harris wrote in a letter to the editior on 12/22/2006:

    "Israel does not require lectures on the need for peace. The Jewish people introduced to the world the prophetic vision of a world in which 'nation shall not lift up sword against nation'. No country yearns for peace more than Israel …"

    Poor world, it wouldn't know about the concept of peace if it hadn't been for the Jewish people.

  8. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 2:11 pm

    Jim Haygood's correct: As in most other areas of Israeli life, the country's Palestinian minority faces systematic discrimination in higher education. Most of the teachers are tied in with Israel's
    IDF. If you are not, you get the boot, especially in you teach in
    a place known lately for cheap rocket attacks in retaliation for
    Israeli aggression masked as merely defending civilians.
    link to

  9. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 2:37 pm

    What's left of the USA's aristocrat WASP elite similar to the guy who put that bomb in a suitcase under Hitler's table? Didn't the last one just die? The White Rose here has merely to speak out, and they don't. We are left with bulldozed Ms. Corrie. Where is our new elite, where our Dr. Suess, our Marlene? I guess we have to settle for Phil.

  10. sim
    March 1, 2008, 3:16 pm

    "On my one visit to the country"

    Oh my God, has Phil just finally, admitted what anyone who has been to Israel more than once knows? Namely, that he has not a clue about Israel and speaks almost exclusively from the perspective of an upstate formerly Jewish unemployed dick living off his wife's money?

  11. Michael Blaine
    March 1, 2008, 4:31 pm


    You made a valid point yesterday about where Americans got the land we currently live on.

    But your enthusiasm for a McCain presidency baffles me. Why do we want an antique, not-too-bright warmonger in the White House?

    Michael Blaine

  12. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 5:29 pm

    Well one thing McCain could do is nip in the bud the next USS Liberty fiasco, as his father did.

  13. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 5:46 pm

    Cheer up. Costa Rica, although not qualifying as a "real" country because they aren't murdering anyone, don't spend all their money on death machines, and don't collect billions of dollars in welfare from the American taxpayers, has recently recognized the sovereign state of Palestine. I guess they got tired of waiting.

  14. Arie Brand
    March 1, 2008, 5:54 pm

    Here is a video about the ongoing massacre in Gaza:

    link to

    Arie Brand

  15. Arie Brand
    March 1, 2008, 6:25 pm

    I remember that a few years ago the US ranked below Costa Rica in the International Press Freedom Index drawn up by Reporters Without Borders.

    This is no longer so but now it is placed below Trinidad and Tobago and in 23rd place.

    Yet I don't think that the servitude of the American press to Israel has been taken into account (more things like reporters being forced to reveal their sources etc.). If that had been the case it probably would have gone a few places lower down even though the press in many Western countries is not much better on this point.

    Arie Brand

  16. Joshua
    March 1, 2008, 9:35 pm

    I'm sure we're all well aware of Vilnai's threats of a "new Shoah" that's going to be inflicted on the Palestinians. Is this the path Israel really wants to take just to stop some Qassam rockets?

  17. samuel burke
    March 1, 2008, 10:10 pm

    Who said? Israeli minister warns that Palestinians may face a "holocaust"

    Such a lovely thought, isn"t it?
    Why the bellicosity?
    Are the palestinians not a pople too?
    Whose scales will the People use to measure the weight of the balance of equity?
    Let there be Shalom, use the scale of the Lord.
    He is GOD.

  18. Jim Haygood
    March 2, 2008, 8:54 am


    In contrast to David Harris's soft-focus fantasies about 'peace-loving Israelis' (a species as rare as a unicorn), take a look at this remarkable dialogue reported by Haaretz, in which Israeli ministers debate how to 'legalize' war crimes:


    Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann to examine whether the Israel Defense Forces can legally target populated areas from which Qassam rockets are being [fired] on the western Negev.

    During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Vice Premier Haim Ramon asked why the IDF was not directing massive fire on the areas from which Qassams are being launched. "According to international law, you can do that," he said. "In the Second Lebanon War it was clear that if they shoot from within a village, [we] can fire on them even if the area is populated."

    Following Ramon's comments, Barak asked Friedmann to examine the issue in order to determine whether the IDF indeed has such an option.

    link to


    Utterly unbelievable! Similar debates doubtless occurred within Hitler's cabinet. But they weren't published in the newspaper.

  19. Oarwell
    March 2, 2008, 9:06 am

    Above, describing the true-believer NeoCon: "…In fact, they would happily see America bankrupt and destroy itself pandering to their Greater Israel ambitions…"

    No dual loyalty there. Only single-minded purpose.

    David Harris is merely doing his job, touting his product just like any Big Pharma sales rep. Deaths as side effects? Cover it up, deny, smile. Same thing. With one diff: the Big Pharma guys KNOW their product is suspect. Ideologues like Harris gulp down their own product like meth heads, and achieve the same result: estrangement from reality, and descent into a purblind shadow-world where their sociopathic perspectives are magnified into full-blown megalomania.

    The sociopathic NeoCons are a dysfunctional, damaging presence in our society, and they need to be rendered powerless before more harm is inflicted on our nation.

    Laughing at them is a good start.

  20. Clara
    March 2, 2008, 9:08 am

    Phil keeps telling us it's all Israels fault, if Israel didn't exist Jewry wouldn't be so morally bankrupt as to pull a country {not their own} to pamper and worship at the feet another country {which they believe is their own} Jewry wouldn't send a people {not their own} to fight wars for a people {which stand apart} is their own.
    The problem is with ""your people"" Phil. There's a big problem with ""your people"" you and they need to start ""owning that"" or the rest of us sure do, because you're people are killing us, Arabs, anyone ""other people"" whether we pamper and worship you {US Europe} or not.
    God take pity on Gaza, Take pity on a dumned down abused America, God help us all.
    Ron Paul a missed oportunity was snatched from us by being buried under Jewish ownede controlled media. Who owns the media, Phil? Who writes the news, Phil? ""your poeple"" are over represented in finance, media and law. It wouldn't be so bad if your people were as over represented in US military cept, your people apart from that. Whats the statistics, phil? Can we even talk about teh truth anymore without your people wailing anti semitism. If the truth offends your people then they commit themselves and us, if we let them, to live in a dark place. We need day light.

  21. Protest II
    March 2, 2008, 9:10 am

    Tasteless remark by Vilnai. Although a good message. Even better to say: Palestine deserves civility, it needs it, but the Hamas and Fatah leaders deny it to them.

    Hamas leaders: idiotically uneducated, morally corrupt individuals. Listen to them on the BBC.

    Iran's petty leaders are really due in the Hague.

    Philip Weiss has to pay attention to Tehran.

    Reject the half-baked ideas Obama.

  22. Val
    March 2, 2008, 10:03 am

    What about the neoconzionists, Protesteth -Too- Much? shouldn't they be at the Hague? regime change is contrary to international law.
    Defence of the Realm & A Clean Break? Treason, protesteth too much, shouldn't those Israel firsters be in a US court? AIPAC burry that one too, protesteth too much.
    Traitors, globalist thieves, murderers. What price American goyim blood.
    Yip, lets get some sunlight onto these people.
    The natives are getting angry, or should that be the peasents are revolting.

    Clara, they stole Ron Paul from us. Dictators!

  23. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 2:14 pm

    "The vote was 404-1. Some day this vote will be in history books, as evidence of the miserable imbalance in our foreign policy. Ron Paul's courage on this vote was surely shored up by his discussions with his foreign-policy advisers Robert Pape and Leon Hadar. I have to believe that Barack Obama is listening…"

    I hope so since Witty and his friends are not. Witty says the one NO to the 404 Yays! shows the courage of the 404 against the one…. He sees no problem here. He says he knows Phil's family intimately. I see no hope at all in this scenario. American families
    are doomed by their own ignorance made manifest by marketing
    and money.

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