Guardian piece: obsession with Israel has rational basis, but is dangerous

on 81 Comments

The discourse globally is changing, we all know it. Here’s a wonderful piece by Robert Fowke in the Guardian on the new mood, on the singling out of Israel, and the dangers in doing so. I am totally with him here. I know that I single out Israel in part because of the lies, because the lobby has gotten away with this since Truman’s day, and pulled the wool over the eyes of a balanced policy, and when Walt and Mearsheimer called them on it, there were squalls of denial. This angers me as a journo and a citizen. And yet it is true that the stakes are huge here. This is why I constantly compare the conflict with the battle over slavery in this country in the 1850s, and the corruption of our political system then, and the difficulty of preventing a crisis of massive proportions. Where are the statespeople?

One reason why Israel is singled out for so much attention is because its supporters are so very vociferous, pushing their agenda at every opportunity. As a consumer of news, the speed of their responses and their sheer ubiquity inflames my interest and my antipathy. Why do they persist in trying to defend the indefensible?

Another reason for my disproportionate interest in this conflict is that I feel I have been lied to, and I feel that people are still trying to lie to me and I don’t like it. Why try to convince me that those Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara were terrorists? Whatever else they were, they patently were not that.

If the word "terrorist" is to have any meaning at all it must refer to those who attack innocent civilians. From an Israeli propaganda perspective, silence would be better than lies.

I can remember a time back in the 1960s when I accepted a view of Israel as a plucky little state full of kibutzes busily taming the desert. At that time I had scarcely heard of the Palestinians. Then I discovered the other narrative.

My purpose here is not to go into the rights or wrongs, but to point out that if Israel had been described to me from the start as the product of remorseless expropriation of some else’s land (not the full story, I know), I might well have lost interest by now.

But having been told how heroic and wonderful it was and then to find out that, at the very least, there is a different and more troubling story running in parallel, that affects me emotionally.

When I see Binyamin Netanyahu and his colleagues putting their side of some event, I do not see honest men and my emotions are the same as those I experience when I see burglars and con-men – distaste and disapproval. And yet they won’t shut up.

I am not sure where all this leads, all these millions of us from both sides picking away at this particular scab. The sheer number taking so much passionate interest is in itself dangerous. Dogs must bark before they can bite. This relatively small conflict has

81 Responses

  1. otto
    June 23, 2010, 11:59 am

    Why do they persist in trying to defend the indefensible?
    Because they’re chauvinist bigots?

    The obsession with Israel has the same roots, and is just as defensible, as the ‘obsession’ with apartheid South Africa.

  2. Colin Murray
    June 23, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I know that I single out Israel in part because of the lies, because the lobby has gotten away with this …

    Also because they threaten the livelihoods of those who criticize them.

    • MRW
      June 23, 2010, 3:09 pm

      Fowke is right: And yet they won’t shut up. But when combined with what Colin notes: because they threaten the livelihoods of those who criticize them, Israel creates a self-fulfilling prophesy, another time that will be added to the school and prayer books and these times will be dramatized as persecution 400 years from now.

      Everything Israel does lately seems all out 0f proportion to the stimulus, including calls to bomb Iran. The rest of us are not required to sanction this insanity, and when the recklessness and impunity with which Israel pugnaciously claims it has a right to act with in this world threatens all of us, as its more extreme behavior does, then Israel is going to see Fowke’s dog stop barking and start biting.

      The choice is Israel’s to make.

      • MRW
        June 23, 2010, 3:24 pm

        When I reread, why dont I reread the whole gd sentence: sorry, I usually let my typos fly off unescorted, but I have to reroute this one. and when the recklessness and impunity with which Israel pugnaciously claims it has a right to act in this world threatens all of us, as its more extreme behavior does

  3. Chespirito
    June 23, 2010, 12:49 pm

    We have all heard the complaint that Israel is unfairly singled out for criticism as other nations behave worse. Fowke’s response to this is an eloquent response from a Brit.
    But for Americans, the response is far simpler. The US government singles out Israel for more foreign aid than any other country. Americans therefore have every reason to single out Israel for special scrutiny because we are all bankrolling and arming what they do. This cannot be said of Zimbabwe or North Korea.
    Yet how many Americans even know about our $3bn per annum of military aid to Israel? How many know about our $2bn per annum gift to the Mubarak dictatorship? Most of us Americans ignorantly believe that we are somehow honest brokers in a “peace process” even as we lavishly support one side against the other. This is no peace process, it’s a war process.
    Does anyone know of any polls or surveys measuring how many Americans actually know who our top two recipients of foreign aid are?
    Until we stop arming and bankrolling Israel and Egypt–a day which cannot come soon enough–we americanos have a categorical duty to single out those countries for criticism.

    • Sumud
      June 23, 2010, 2:06 pm

      Aid aside Chespirito – the Israeli/Palestine conflict has been far costlier for the US than is commonly known, from a total-cost-of-ownership) perspective:

      The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion
      link to

      That’s a 2003 estimate, so hell only knows now what the current figure.

      • Chespirito
        June 23, 2010, 2:18 pm

        That’s absolutely right. The cost of arming and bankrolling Israel is far greater than the sum total of the money spent. This aid and ceaseless diplomatic support have cost the US much prestige and goodwill in the world, and earned us great rancor. America’s special relationship with Israel is a strategic liability. Pointing this out cannot rationally be considered “singling out” Israel or “demonizing” it in any way.

    • MRW
      June 23, 2010, 3:18 pm

      A Washington DC legend (who must remain nameless, SVP, because he’s still in DC) told me that had we put the money we’ve given Israel in the bank for a ‘measly’ 6% interest per annum, we would have a $4-6 trillion surplus. Interesting fact, if true (but why the range?)

  4. lysias
    June 23, 2010, 12:51 pm

    Israel threatens world peace like no other country (with the possible exception of the United States). Seems to me that’s sufficient reason to focus on it.

  5. Leper Colonialist
    June 23, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Kudos to all the POVs expressed directly above.

    Israel is singled out for inordinate attention and crictical scrutiny [I don’t dare use the word ‘disproportionate’ – LMAO] because it’s own ethnic/religious chauvanist founders singled themselves out as, among other things, a Light Unto The Nations.” [Yes, yes, they did mean well, and it was a morale-booster in dark times].

    Well, observers have taken the Israelis at their words and have pointed out, from time to time, in the most respectful and timorous voices imaginable, and often with the friendliest of intentions, how subsequent Israeli deeds and words have failed to meet the exacting LUTN standard.

    Really, what could be more fair? We judge Israel by the very same standards Israel uses to exault themselves over other, less-enlightened, non-Covenental, run-of-the-mill, no account, dime-a-dozen, cookie cutter nation-states.

    It seems as if Israel wants to talk the talk, but not walk the walk, and yet reserve a right to pitch an endless hissy bitch fitch when some little boy observes that this particular king is buck naked.

    As they sometimes say in the ‘hood – don’t let your mouth get your ass into trouble.

    I’ll make a friendly sugggestion : instead of the impossible Light Unto The Nations standard, why doesn’t Israel downscale it’s ambitions and it’s overwhelming chauvanism and infinite self-absorption and shoot for the more modest “City On a Hill” standard of the USA? I’m sure our craven politico class will not complain about plagiarism; they simply wouldn’t dare.

    • Psychopathic god
      June 23, 2010, 4:23 pm

      lower case lol, LeperColonist:

      shoot for the more modest “City On a Hill”

      Why, that was precisely Ariel Sharon’s tactic: “build settlement colonies on the hilltops!” Destroy any possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state; occupy heights from which we can militarily dominate and surveil Arabs.

  6. Richard Witty
    June 23, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I feel lied to by Palestinian solidarity more than I feel lied to by Israel.

    I don’t read Israeli press or media except for Haaretz, and I don’t consider the NY Times as biased as many here.

    Someone that objects to being lied to has to work to see the truth, and to discern a humane way to define and pursue goals.

    Many feel lied to when they discover that God is not a man with a white beard, or that the stork didn’t bring their little brother. It does not follow then that birth does not happen, or that there is no profundity in the world.

  7. Shmuel
    June 23, 2010, 1:39 pm

    One reason why Israel is singled out for so much attention is because its supporters are so very vociferous, pushing their agenda at every opportunity … Why do they persist in trying to defend the indefensible?

    It’s not just about defending the indefensible. Israel and its supporters want the country to be noticed, loved, respected, etc. They don’t just want to be part of the West; they want to be at the centre of it; they want to wear the white hats (which is the way they think of themselves). So they brand and re-brand and publicly advocate and publicly relate and worry themselves silly over their “image in the world”. The last thing they want is to be “left alone”. If they just went about their business like a murderous junta in some banana republic, with little interest in what “the world” (i.e. the West) thinks, they would certainly get far less attention.

    You can’t demand special treatment and special attention and then turn around say “why are you singling me out?” It’s silly and it’s obnoxious.

    • MarkF
      June 23, 2010, 1:57 pm

      Right. And Israel insists on pushing it’s shared values, democracy, rule of law, etc., yet when called on it’s policies that prove otherwise, the response is, “what about China/Somalia/Sudan?” Look at them. (Reminds me of Leslie Nielson in Naked Gun – Nothing to see here, look away, nothing to see here… when all hell is breaking loose behind him)

      What a horrible response from a “democracy with shared values”. I would think you’d want to be held to much higher standards than these regimes.

      • Leper Colonialist
        June 23, 2010, 5:13 pm

        Yeah, from the “Light Unto The Nations” standard to “tu quoque” [pardon my Latin] and better [worse?] yet ‘what about all those other miserable sinkholes of third world corruption and depravity?’ is quite a steep fall.

        I’m only wondering when ‘well, we could be a lot worse’ makes it’s effective debut in the armory of arrogant and asinine Israeli excuses.

    • annie
      June 23, 2010, 2:17 pm

      So they brand and re-brand and publicly advocate and publicly relate and worry themselves silly over their “image in the world”

      exactly. reminds me of something i read this morn “Netanyahu’s aides explained that the most important arena was that of the media and international public opinion. It was therefore decided that it would be better to have Blair present the important change in the government’s policy since he is considered objective”

      iow, since everyone already knows you’re a lying sack of shit hire a new face. people are obsessed w/israel because this atrociousness has been going on too long. we’re like the crowd watching the naked emperor day after day. whereas it used to be a few people screaming ‘no clothes’ now the whole crowd is screaming.

      israel just keeps coming up w/new and more creative ways to NOT FIX THE PROBLEM. as if there is some way around facing the facts, that israel is between palestinians and their rights. i think if it were not for the internet israel would have gotten away w/it for much longer.

      for me it is clear. once it became apparent to me there was never anything temporary about israel’s policy of expansion, once realized this was a tactic of endless delay and creeping encroachment, once i understood i (little ol me) was an integral part of israel’s determination, the refusal to ever allow palestinians to be equal in their own home on land israel wanted..because all we are required to do is believe them instead of what we know to be true.

      this is game israel plays w/us, not palestinians. palestinians have always known the truth and israel could care less because there’s no respect from the zionist racist state. israel care’s what we think. the lie is for us and it is us who must stop israel who has already demonstrated they can treat palestinians worse than dogs.

      AND, because what standard does it set for us going into this new century with generations of people born into jails? born in one and raise your children in one who go onto raise theirs in one and then die in one..what kind of life is this??? NO we will not stop, ever ever ever ever ever. shit or get off the pot israel. this zionist experiment will not be lasting if it cannot accommodate universal standards of human rights. it doesn’r need a new branding campaign it needs new rules of engagement w/the world and it can start in it’s own front yard.

      • Sumud
        June 23, 2010, 2:30 pm

        I often wonder Annie, what percentage of those who paint the problem as being one of PR (“Israel is misunderstood”) are actually genuine when they say it.

        I can understand there will be – as in any country – stupid members of the public that basically believe everything their government and leaders say. But as you get progressively up the chain of political/cultural command, who actually believes the propaganda? Hard to know.

      • Shmuel
        June 23, 2010, 2:51 pm


        On some level, virtually all Israelis believe that Israel is unjustly vilified. They may draw the lines in different places (Israel’s “right to exist”, occupation, invasion, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, rights for Palestinian Israelis, torture, settlements, etc), but the mechanism is fundamentally the same: People whose opinion I should respect are saying some pretty awful things that don’t jive at all with how I see myself and my society – they must therefore be either evil or ignorant.

        As more and more people who are respected in Israel speak out and join campaigns like BDS, the harder it will be to maintain the facade – especially for those who are already willing to criticise their country to some extent.

      • Shmuel
        June 23, 2010, 2:53 pm

        people who are respected in Israel

        I meant people from outside Israel. This is something Israelis can’t do on their own.

      • Psychopathic god
        June 23, 2010, 4:39 pm

        you’ve put your finger on something very important, Sumud: Who actually believes the propaganda.

        get out your ‘antisemite’ pens: I think it is part of being Jewish to believe that “we are moral, we are persecuted, we are special, it’s never our fault.” It’s part of Talmudic learning.

        Remember when Ron Suskind quoted a member of the Bush admin:

        “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating new realities … we’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

        The Talmudic thinking style is one which “creates its own reality.” Phil demonstrated that tendency when he posted an article a few weeks ago asking (something like) “What shall be our new historic narrative?” The books of Torah were put on paper in Babylon — Hebrews in exile had the time and financial and intellectual support of the most cosmopolitan society in existence, Babylon. The writers shaped the narrative to somehow make sense of the circumstances they found themselves in — they shaped the narrative to present a good “PR” face first and foremost to themselves. They believed the narrative.
        A larger question is whether this is a general human tendency or if the Jewish people have developed it culturally and persisted it in their group identity.

      • Shmuel
        June 23, 2010, 5:00 pm

        Talmudic thinking style? As unifying principles go, that and some Patristic thinking style and some Tafsir thinking style and whatever a cup of coffee costs in your neighbourhood will get you a cup of coffee.

    • MRW
      June 23, 2010, 3:27 pm


      they want to be at the centre of it


      What will they do to get, or be, it?

      • Shmuel
        June 23, 2010, 3:50 pm

        What will they do to get, or be, it?

        It is their rightful due, of course. All they have to do ‘splain things a little better to the dopes who haven’t figured it out yet, and pour out their wrath on those who refuse to understand because they are blinded by irrational hatred. Simples.

  8. Sumud
    June 23, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Interesting piece.

    I can definitely relate to the being angered upon learning some home-truths about Isael. I’m still deeply offended that the jewish victims of the holocaust have been so utterly exploited for political (hasbara) purposes over the years.

    Oh for a wise Israeli leader who would fire all the Regevs and embark on a period of sane national soul-searching. Resolution of the conflict remains remarkably simple. It’s just never going to occur with Israeli PMs that constantly terrorise the population with “It’s 1938” rhetoric.

    • Mooser
      June 23, 2010, 2:45 pm

      “Oh for a wise Israeli leader who would fire all the Regevs and embark on a period of sane national soul-searching. “

      Israeli leaders will put all their intelligence, in the event of an existential crisis into escape routes for themselves, their families and their assets. Why should they risk their lives for a bunch of Sephardim and Arab Jews?
      The same exact things which fracture Israel from the world fracture Israeli society. When the shit hit the fans, self-interest will rule the day, not the good of “the Jewish people”.
      Oh, I don’t know, maybe the Israeli Army will make a brave stand defending the settlements. People will die to defend their homes. Be pretty ironic (if fitting) if they manged to retain that and lost the rest.

  9. MRW
    June 23, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Israel does not understand consequences, and even less that consequences are set by the world around you, not the person or country who performed the action that produces the consequences.

    • MRW
      June 23, 2010, 3:35 pm

      Which means that Israel fights against human nature. Good luck with that, all you Nobel Prize winners and genius IQs.

      Israel (Mama Bear): Tell me more about my eyes!

    • Shmuel
      June 23, 2010, 3:59 pm

      Why should Israel understand consequences, MRW? Normal countries have consequences. Israel has a perpetual get-out-of-jail-free card, printed in DC. Don’t make Lieberman laugh (no really, please don’t – it’s not a pretty sight).

      • MRW
        June 23, 2010, 5:15 pm

        Don’t make Lieberman laugh (no really, please don’t – it’s not a pretty sight)

        So true. Both of them. ;-)

  10. Shingo
    June 23, 2010, 4:54 pm

    What this article fails to take into account are the wars that are being fought for Israel and the possibility of war with Iran, which will be entirely fouhgt for Israel.

    How can the world not single out Israel?

  11. DICKERSON3870
    June 23, 2010, 5:05 pm

    RE: “Where are the statespeople?” – Weiss
    ONE ANSWER: “Gone to graveyards everywhere.” (with a few exceptions like Goldstone, Mitchell, Kucinich, ElBaradei, etc.)
    ANOTHER ANSWER: Intimidated by the ‘Likud Lobby’, the Christian Zionists, and their allies.

  12. chet
    June 23, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Mark F –

    In the event you are not aware of it, the critics of Israeli actions and policies in the Comments section of the Guardian have coined a name for the Israeli deflecting hasbara tactic – it’s called “whataboutery”.

    • MarkF
      June 24, 2010, 7:20 am

      Thanks for pointing that out chet, that’s a good one.

      Bibi’s pretty much an expert at whataboutery….

  13. Mr-X
    June 23, 2010, 7:30 pm

    Speaking for myself as a citizen in the American democracy, I feel no small amount of responsibility for having perpetuated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, my nation’s government has used it’s Security Council veto on behalf of Israel more than on any other single issue. It’s my nation’s media that, beyond even that in Israel, consistently portrays the conflict in a flatly one-sided fashion, with heroic Israelis battling evil Palestinian terrorists. My own neighbors more often than not are unaware of the facts of the unjust and illegal expansion of territory that comprises the settlements, or the other mechanisms of apartheid, largely believing instead that Palestinian resistance is born out of ethnic rivalry and hatred of Jews akin to Nazi philosophy.

    With the idea firmly in mind that tunnel vision must be avoided, and in the firm belief that Israeli and Palestinian lives are no more or less valuable than those of Tibetans, Iranians, or Kyrgs, I cannot shake the feeling that more attention to the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from my fellow Americans is necessary to right those past wrongs, the positive growth of American culture, and building a more stable world.

  14. hayate
    June 23, 2010, 8:20 pm

    The problem with the way israel/israelis are treated is they are not singled out enough.

    One of the Porky’s films had this great scene at the end when local Native Americans in the town rounded up the local klu klux klan,who were making a nuisance of themselves, as usual. The shaved the klan buggers’ heads and forced them to run nude through the high school sports stadium during the “big game”. :D The rest of the film was mostly dull, but that ending was delicious.

    This is how the world needs to treat israel/zionists, both in israel and everywhere else. IE: stop cutting them slack “because they are Jews” and start treating them the same way criminals and chauvinistic, bigoted supremacists should be treated. When they act out, single them out mercilessly.

  15. Keith
    June 23, 2010, 8:22 pm

    ISRAELI OBSESSION? Perhaps the reason some of us are so concerned about Israel is because of Israel’s dependence upon and unique position within the US Empire. To critique Israel is to critique the US Empire, without whose support Israel could not do the things it does. Additionally, the interpenetration of the ruling elites of both countries, coupled with the impact of Zionism on US Empire and US geo-strategy make an understanding of the dynamics of Zionism and Israel essential for understanding the US Empire, and crucially, for understanding the forces behind the unfolding neoliberal corporate/financial empire. At this stage of the game, to portray the US and Israel as two distinct entities may not be realistic. While the Zionist lobby is very powerful, to portray it as imposing an Israeli agenda on the US is to misconstrue the true nature of the lobby. Israel is the spiritual center of Zionism, however, the epicenter of Zionist power is New York/Washington. It is no mistake that I put New York first. Political power aligns with economic power. New York is the home of the financial juggernaut that is guiding the neoliberal economic conquest of the planet. The Zionist lobby serves them as much as it does Israel, ideological fealty notwithstanding.

  16. Schwartzman
    June 23, 2010, 8:36 pm

    The obsession is because Israel is a ‘Jewish State.’ If that weren’t the case all of you guys would spend at least some of your time on other atrocities in the world.

    It’s based on Jew hatred, Israel is the scapegoat for those who hate Jews. It’s too bad that Israel does such a good job at it.

    • azythos
      June 23, 2010, 8:42 pm

      It looks as if among the clowns from the Propaganda-Abteilung, Schwarzmann and maximalWhatever are the two who best represent your average Israeli.

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 8:45 pm

        Can there be a thread without a Nazi reference? what is with the Nazi obsession on here? It’s disgusting. And you wonder why I don’t think you guys are driven by hatred of Jews? Your obsession with Naziism speaks wonders to your true motivations.

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 8:52 pm

        “Can there be a thread without a Nazi reference?”

        Sure, by would you when the comparison is so obvious?

        We don’t care what you think because you’re a lying troll, and an apologist for mass murder.

      • Chaos4700
        June 23, 2010, 9:39 pm

        What, Israelis hold a copyright on that or something?

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 11:01 pm

        Do the commentators on Mondoweiss hold a copyright on Nazi obsession?

        Do Palestinians hold a copyright on wanting to martyr their children?

        link to

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 11:05 pm

        Ehm, just for ur info. The parallels with Nazism will be repeated again and again and again, and supported by obvious fact. They must be exposed clearly for all to see. Time and again we might also try an excursus on the historical ties, common origins, etc.

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 11:10 pm

        What are you talking about, I don’t see comparisons, I see people bring up Nazism, using Nazi words, to explain anything on here. Horrible comparisons are one thing, obsessions with Nazism is another.

        The Nazis killed exterminated 12 million and killed countless more in acts of war. Israel pales in comparison.

        You guys are sick bunch on here. It’s like a God damn Hitler youth convention. sick bastards….

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 11:20 pm

        “Horrible comparisons are one thing,  obsessions with Nazism is another.”

        It’s valid because while Jews suffered the most under Nazism, sick and mentally deranged Zionists like yourself, think nothing of adopting such behavior.

        “The Nazis killed exterminated 12 million and killed countless more in acts of war.  Israel pales in comparison.”

        Yes it does, but the fact that 6 million Jews were murdered in WWII does not mean that murdering less people is acceptable.

        “You guys are sick bunch on here.  It’s like a God damn Hitler youth convention.  sick bastards….”

        The feeling is mutual, but unlike you, we’re not the ones supporting and justifying mass murder, war and ethnic cleansing.

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 11:21 pm

        Do Zionist trolls visiting Mondoweiss hold a copyright on justifying Nazi behavior and Nazi policies?

        “Do Palestinians hold a copyright on wanting to martyr their children?”

        No, the IDF, who often use Palestinian for target practice, are always happy to oblige, unless of course, they are in the mood for dumping white phosphorous on those children.

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 11:36 pm

        Underage gatherings in Israel all Zionist centers are of course a goddamn Hitlerjugend convention. Sick bastards. Just compare their militarism, their Master-Race myths and supremacist ideology, their training –starting in the bud– in systematical Master-Race enforcement and readiness to aggressive war, their nice “postcards” written by oh-so-nice smiling little Nazi girls on the shells and bombs that buried so many kids in Lebanon… And, first and foremost, that militaristic training to obey and support the Vaterland when push comes to shove, no matter if they describe themselves as being Zi-settler, Zi-heavy or Zi-lite.

        Thanks for the opportunity to review that.

        Now for the 12 million. And yes, Nazi Germany’s aggression was the cause of many more deaths, around 50 million.

        The defense expected and punctually presented seems to be what another poster so nicely called the Abraham Burg defense: “but we don’t have gas chambers!”

        I agree that you haven’t been as diligent as the original Nazis. But don’t despair, if Zionism is left alive long enough I have absolutely no doubt that you can and will do more. Both in terms of systematically exterminating the owners of the land, and with regard to starting another world conflagration. In fact, as mentioned in another discussion most of it will be (already is) done by your gofer the US. The body count is progressing nicely.

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 11:41 pm
      • Chaos4700
        June 24, 2010, 12:05 am

        And as an addendum:
        link to

      • Shingo
        June 24, 2010, 12:22 am

        If threatening to nuke Europe if Israel is force to reutnr land to the Palestinians is not a cause for WWIII, then what is?

        “Israel aims its nuclear warheads at Europe”
        link to

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:31 am


        And you wonder why I don’t think you guys are driven by hatred of Jews?

        No one gives a shit what you think. Because you aren’t thinking.

    • Shingo
      June 23, 2010, 8:46 pm

      “The obsession is because Israel is a ‘Jewish State.’  If that weren’t the case all of you guys would spend at least some of your time on other atrocities in the world.”

      Who’s to say we don’t?  Israel is trying to drag the world in WWIII with Iran. No other state in teh world, except for the US (on behalf of Israel) threatens the world the way Israel and the US do.

      “It’s based on Jew hatred,  Israel is the scapegoat for those who hate Jews. It’s too bad that Israel does such a good job at it.”

      If that were true, there woudln’t be so many Jews joining in the bashing. 

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 8:54 pm

        Just like the Jews were responsible for WWI and WWII? I’ve heard it many times on here, now WWIII…..

      • Cliff
        June 23, 2010, 9:02 pm

        ‘Jews’? You’re the only antisemite here Schwartzmann.

        Israel IS trying to create WW3 w/ Iran. Israel is COLONIZING land. It’s stealing land. It’s killing people regularly. Making war w/ it’s neighbors regularly.

        All these crimes are real.

        And all you can do – being the narcissist that you are – is frame it as Jew this and Jew that.

        Get a life.

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 9:16 pm

        “Just like the Jews were responsible for WWI and WWII?  I’ve heard it many times on here,  now WWIII…..”

        No one said anything about the Jews.  “The Jews” doesn’t exist you pathological liar.

        And yes, Iarael’s policies, ideology and behavior is disgusting.

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 9:18 pm

        You can’t have it both ways Shingo, in its current form, is Israel or is it not a Jewish State?

      • Schwartzman
        June 23, 2010, 9:21 pm

        Also I don’t get the WWIII thing, the world has overwhelmingly voted for for sanctions of some sort against Iran. Western Europe wants an end to their weapons program as much as anyone. Who exactly is this WW going to be against? Crap 1/2 the Arab world wants Israel to bomb Iran.

        So quit the rhetoric OK?

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 9:32 pm

        In it’s current form, Israel is a Zionist apartheid state.

        If it were a democracy, it would not be Zionist.  There’s certainly no such thing as “the Jews”.  That’s just Old Testament mumbo jumbo.

        “You can’t have it both ways Shingo,  in its current form,  is Israel or is it not a Jewish State?”

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 9:33 pm

        “Also I don’t get the WWIII thing,  the world has overwhelmingly voted for for sanctions of some sort against Iran.”

        So what?  The US and the West did sleazy deals with Iran and China to pass some ineffectual resolutions against Iran.  The US has had it in for Iran since 1979,

        ” Western Europe wants an end to their weapons program as much as anyone.”

        Bullshit. There is no nuclear weapons program.  None.

        “Who exactly is this WW going to be against?”

        It could happen any time.  There are 4 aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf this week, along with Israel’s 3 nuclear armed submarines.

        “Crap 1/2 the Arab world wants Israel to bomb Iran.”

        No they don’t

        “So quit the rhetoric OK?”

        Sorry, I don;t quit facts, and do us all a favor and stop behaving like a fascists nut job. It might be hard for you, but give it your best shot.

      • Chaos4700
        June 23, 2010, 9:37 pm

        I’ve never heard anyone propagate anti-Semitic rhetoric more vociferously and more often than Zionists. It’s almost as if Israelis want to trick the rest of the world’s Jewish population into thinking that the rest of the world hates Jews when we don’t! (cough*LavonAffair*cough)

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:35 am


        is Israel or is it not a Jewish State?

        Gee, I’m waiting for what you’re going to do with that answer. Next, you’ll be declaring Israel is a democratic state, using that Zionist logic we are all anti-semitic not to recognize and bow down before.

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:43 am


        Also I don’t get the WWIII thing

        You dont?

        Only Jews in the US and Israel want war with Israel. Only Jews.
        They’ve pushed for it. They’ve screamed for it. They are currently fighting for it in US public opinion.

        I’m only allowed two links, so I’ll pick these two out of the 35 I have:

        What to do with Iran?
        We must coordinate independent strike with US, prepare for Iranian response

        General Oded Tira
        link to

        The Case for Bombing Iran

        I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.

        Norman Podhoretz
        link to

        Israel and its supporters are an effing warmongers.

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:51 am

        Allow me to amend this: Only ZIONISTS want war. Including despicable Christian Zionists here in the US who are effing warmongers as well. And about as religious as the lower half of my body.

    • Cliff
      June 23, 2010, 8:59 pm

      It’s based on Jew hatred, Israel is the scapegoat for those who hate Jews. It’s too bad that Israel does such a good job at it.

      This is the most disgusting, self-centered thing I’ve read from a Zionist in the past week.

      All Israel’s crimes are real. Not imagined up in some propagandistic pamphlet/black-and-white movie/etc.

      I am an American citizen. I am also a person of color – an Indian American.

      I have never felt an attachment to India. I stopped going to temple around age 14. My dad is an athiest. My mom is superstitious. I’ve lived a privileged life for the most part, and have gone to schools w/ a multicultural student body. I never felt better than anyone else. I was always happy to learn more about different cultures/etc. At the same time though, I was uninterested in my own (India). I am very individualistic. I don’t think of myself as part of a ‘tribe’.

      I consider myself an American…because of the values I felt this country exemplified (but I feel discouraged daily). Zionism is not democracy. Zionism destroys other people. It’s a destabilizing logic. It has built a society on the ruins of another – AND ITS STILL HAPPENING IN THE PRESENT.

      I got into politics in college. I became interested because of 9/11 and the Iraq War. Then I began reading Noam Chomsky. I didn’t know anything about Israel or Zionism.

      One thing led to another. And I realized, that what’s going on in Israel-Palestine is COLONIALISM. I didn’t need to understand the gritty details. I understood instinctively the utter unfairness of it all. I understood how it creates all this hatred, because one stronger group WANTS SOMETHING the weaker group has.

      The world does not revolve around you or ‘the Jewish people’. I don’t care. I am not interested.

      I care about the Palestinians. I will always.

      • Chaos4700
        June 23, 2010, 9:43 pm

        And this is why you are one of the most valuable commentators we have here, Cliff.

      • Shingo
        June 23, 2010, 11:31 pm

        Very similar to my position Cliff.

        Isn’t it ironic that even though Netenyahu said 911 was good for Israel and that it Woolf create immediate sympathy for Israel, it actually drew the attention of millions to the I/P conflict and to Israel’s disgusting ideology?

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:54 am

        What I like, Cliff, is that you’re a Gen-Yer with a great head on your shoulders. I hope your attitude is rife among your generation.

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:56 am

        Cliff, you should listen to the link I give at June 24, 2010 at 2:48 am as well.

    • Shmuel
      June 24, 2010, 2:02 am

      Thanks, Schwartzman, for an illustration of why Israel gets so much attention.

      Who was talking about Jews (says our hypothetical Israel critic)? I was talking about war crimes. Yet I get attacked for hating Jews. When I criticise China, I don’t get accused of hating Chinese. When I criticise Burma, no one tells me I hate Burmese. When I criticised various South American dictatorships (and their US sponsors), no one called me anti-Chilean or anti-Argentinian or anti-Brazilian (well, maybe I did get called anti-American once). Calling me (hypothetical critic) an anti-Semite for criticising Israel not only makes me out to be a racist – which pisses me off no end – but actually uses feigned anti-racism to justify racism and silence criticism of human rights violations. Now that really pisses me off. Besides, I abhor anti-Semitism (just as I abhor all racism), and these guys are turning it into a joke. How anti-Semitic of them.

      • Shingo
        June 24, 2010, 2:14 am

        Nicely put Shmuel,

        It’s remarkable to watch Zionists trying to wrestle anti racism card away from those who support the plight of Palestinians by arguing that criticism of Israel’s racist, ethnocentric, apartheid policies is itself racist and immoral.  It’s much like the argument that not demands for Israel to observe internatinoal law, human rights and UN Resolutions is calling for Israel’s destruction or a heroin addict who insists that denying them drugs means you want them to die.

        One wonders how the Schwartzman’s of this world would react to a Neo Nazi propsing that criticism of the Nazi’s was due to an iiratinoal hatred of Germans.

      • Shmuel
        June 24, 2010, 2:39 am


        When Israelis/Zionist complain about “obsession” or “singling out” (as Netanyahu did yesterday, in Austria), they are inevitably referring to “the Left”, to people of conscience, peace and human rights activists. It’s just not the kind of thing you accuse neo-Nazis of. The fact that the hasbarists go for the (sl)easiest kind of ad hominem argument (“you’re a hypocrite”) is ample proof of their lack of substantive arguments. It is also ample proof of their moral bankruptcy and addiction to the illogical (as Phil has pointed out – the dumbing effect of Zionist bias).

        Were a neo-Nazi to propose that criticism of the Nazis was due to an irrational hatred of Germans, the Schwartzmans of this world would simply call him an anti-Semite, and get back to the business of defending Apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the name of freedom, liberty, equality and human rights (for Jews).

      • Shingo
        June 24, 2010, 3:11 am


        You’re definitely onto something re the hypocrite attack.  Israeli leaders like Netenyahu have taken this term and flipped it on it’s head to the point it almost leaves you mesmerized at the hubris and chutzpah of it.  It’s a bit like a walking in on Hanibal Lecter while amputate the arms of his latest victim and he accuses you of lacking compassion.

        The most recent episode was when Israel were demanding the world impose sanctions on Iran, who have signed the NPT,  opened their facilities to inspection, have never violated the NPT and have produced no nuclear weapons.  When the UN suggested that the Israelis also join the NPT, Neteyahu accused the UN of…get this…. of hypocrisy!!!

        Only in the anti intellectual, Orwellian world of the Zionist does Israel, with it’s 200 nukes, and it’s nuclear ambiguity, get to claim to be the victim of hypocrisy while it points the finger at a state that has played by the rules and still been
        punished for excercising it’s rights under the treaty that Israel refuses to accept.

        I couldn’t help but wonder if this is some kind of phycoplogical weapon Israel is using to defend it’s indefensible position.  The  “hypocrisy” accusation coming from Israel completely turns reality on it’s head to such a degree that it does your head in.  Do you think it’s a deliberate tactic, or simply an incoherent reactionary response that Zionists use unconsciously?  I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

      • Shmuel
        June 24, 2010, 4:33 am

        Do you think it’s a deliberate tactic, or simply an incoherent reactionary response that Zionists use unconsciously?

        Definitely the latter. The Israeli sense of self-righteous indignation knows no bounds – not even the bounds of fuzzy thinking, illogic and hypocrisy. To the extent that anything appears at the very edge of the apologist’s radar screen it is swiftly and brutally repressed.

      • Shmuel
        June 24, 2010, 4:35 am

        = any self doubt

      • Shmuel
        June 24, 2010, 4:36 am


        anything = any self doubt

  17. robin
    June 23, 2010, 10:54 pm

    I agree with Fowke’s argument about Israel not feeling “foreign”. Especially as an American, with all the aid and collaboration and the close relationship. As an American I do have a role in Israeli politics, and their politics affect me by association (as Phil and others have argued).

    And this is why the anti-semitism accusation sounds especially ridiculous to me. Not only do I not hate Jews, the same as I don’t hate other racial or religious groups, but on a subconscious level I don’t even experience them as an “other”. The Jewish-Americans I have known seem to share, almost entirely, my experiences as a White person in America. That’s not to say that they really do, or that I understand their experience. Just that I don’t perceive a difference beyond the surface label, so there couldn’t even be any basis for hatred.

    But Fowke only touches on some of the relevant arguments here. For me, I think I find satisfaction in the contentiousness of the issue. Palestine solidarity is not charity. It’s not something that everyone will support, and the only real task is motivating people to do good. It requires an argument about what is good. It is an issue of oppression, in which people actively defend the immiseration of others. And moreover, many of those people are around me and play an important role in my society. And of course I’m not just talking about Jews here. Huge numbers of evangelicals, and probably 3/4 of our national politicians defend this oppression.

    So there is the issue of my responsibility, the “fix your own house first” argument, which is huge for me. Israel policy is a huge part of American foreign policy. (If we cut ties, our responsibility would be less clear and direct; it would be more of a puzzle, similar to “what do we do about North Korea?” or “how can Americans best support Iranian freedom?”) But also it’s a truly political issue, not a matter of charity, which appeals to me.

    And there are ways in which Israeli oppression is unique, even if it is not the cruelest in today’s world. It is, I would say, the only remaining clear-cut apartheid regime. And it has endured for a really long time.

  18. piotr
    June 24, 2010, 12:57 am

    ” Western Europe wants an end to their weapons program as much as anyone.”

    “Crap 1/2 the Arab world wants Israel to bomb Iran.”

    One can dispute how accurate it is. For example, even if it was true that there is no “weapon program”, the wish to end it is only loosely connected with its existence. Say, some people want Messiah to come, and that wish is only loosely connected with his existence.

    Where I see a glaring contradiction is when you put it together with the narrative “The world pays attention only to Israel”. One can make a long list of countries that are subjected to various sanctions, indictments, and, in case of superpowers where no such things can apply, at least to regular critique, that sometimes makes me fall from my chair.

    For example, I learned that the concept of “proportionality” makes no sense when a conflict entails two sides with vastly unequal forces. Logic was impeccable. Then Bush (President at the time) criticized Russia for violating the principle of proportionality. And it was not as if the conflict with Georgia was particularly symmetric.

    It really looked to me that Russians’ mistake was that they did not bomb crap out of Tbilisi. In fact, they did not bomb Georgian capital at all, even though the airport there was used to bring Georgian troops home to fight Russians. Russians correctly deemed that as irrelevant. But perhaps it was a mistake. Perhaps, if they leveled half of Tbilisi to the ground they would be rewarded with the Congressional resolution supporting all measures that Russian Federation needs for her defense.

    Luckily for Georgians, Russians care little of what Congress thinks. Or others. No complains about “anti-Russian obsession”, at least, not many (and, like anti-Semitism, anti-Russian obsession does exist, while to read some really, really hateful posts, one can check some websites where Georgians and Abhazians care to exchange their comments. “Gruziny nye umeyut strelat'” was about the nicest.)

    The truth is that Georgians are obsessed with Russians, Russians, with the exciting possibility that some of their former glory can be restored, Estonians — again, with Russians, Fins — perhaps with Sweden etc. and only here and there someone pays attention to Israel for more that a day or two when some major shit happens. (Characteristically, as there was an anti-Israeli protest in Sweden, Fins made a pro-Israeli demonstration.) Israel can do whatever she pleases. The largest problem that Israel faces relates to the fact that the goals are logically inconsistent. Ordinarily, only superpowers can afford illogical policies. Or at least, large states with impeccable strategic position, like Iran. (Note to Israel: after a putative bombing, Iran will be no weaker than it is, and somewhat angrier. Do you really, really want to bomb Iran?)

    More precisely, the only end-result that is satisfactory to the majority of Israelis is one that is also impossible, and they know it.

  19. Shingo
    June 24, 2010, 1:10 am

    If Fowke argues that the world is obsessing about Israel, how does he explain the fact that Iran has just received a 4th round of UN sanctions, in spite of singling the NPT and opening it’scountry to inspections while Israel receives not even a reprimand for refusing to sign the NPT shill harboring hundreds of nukes?

    • Shmuel
      June 24, 2010, 1:45 am

      If Fowke argues that the world is obsessing about Israel, how does he explain the fact that Iran has just received a 4th round of UN sanctions …

      Bingo, Shingo.

      • MRW
        June 24, 2010, 2:48 am


        OT. You might be interested in this interview. They are both with BBC Middle East expert, Alan Hart. Listen to the second one with Kevin Barrett first. Fascinating history.
        link to

  20. thankgodimatheist
    June 24, 2010, 8:12 am

    I read the first 30 or so comments on the article . Overwhelmingly critical of Israel…Unheard of on a mainstream paper like the Guardian (I know it’s on the left but still)

Leave a Reply