Netanyahu now under siege by American Zionists, including Wieseltier

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 24 Comments

I think it’s a matter of weeks before the Netanyahu gov’t collapses. OK, months. At the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier says the raid was a stupid idea, from a leader who is destroying Israel’s image. They were civilians, Wieseltier says. Good line:

The state was not supposed to be a bunker, even if it had enemies. But Netanyahu is a creature of the bunker. He talks about peace, but not like a man who hungers for it. He takes no steps toward peace except as the consequence of a crisis—a crisis not with the Palestinians but with the Americans.

(Wieseltier lapses into the usual outcry against the enemies of Israel, including Henning Mankell. Guess his books won’t be reviewed at TNR….)

Wieseltier’s bunker rap is echoed by Rabbi Andy Bachman, progressive Zionist of big temple in Brooklyn, host of Rashid Khalidi last year, who while he excuses Israel a lot, went to lunch yesterday with an Israeli general, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street, and some rabbis:

One rabbi present made a very wise remark. He said in his observation of watching Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren speak recently, both espoused the classic Jewish narrative of us against them and this rabbi asked, "Is it possible the narrative is hurting more than it’s helping? And if so, what might a new narrative be?"

Everyone nodded their heads around the table but it remains unclear what that new narrative ought to be.

By the way, Rabbi, Emily Henochowicz, the art student whose eye was destroyed by an Israeli tear gas canister fired at her head by Israeli soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint, is said to be Jewish. I ask all American Zionists and non-Zionists to look at this photo of this idealistic and creative young woman after she was shot. She was protesting the raid on the boats going to help the people of Gaza. Maybe there should be more rabbis at the Qalandiya checkpoint?

24 Responses

  1. Colin Murray
    June 3, 2010, 1:09 pm

    While I agree that it is a great improvement that the wise rabbi is questioning the utility of the traditional narrative, what really needs to be questioned is its contemporary veracity and relevance.

  2. eGuard
    June 3, 2010, 1:11 pm

    “… is said to be Jewish”. Why should that matter?

    • Frances
      June 3, 2010, 1:32 pm

      I think it matters because for far too long in the MSM, those of us who sympathise with Palestinians are painted as turban-wearing jihadists out to perpetrate a second Holocaust. Emily being Jewish is significant because it’s going to be pretty hard to portray her as a crazed anti-Semite, though they could always go with the self-hating Jew line. It’s not fair, but it’s true.

      I really, really hope her art career isn’t going to be affected. She’s one of the bravest people I’ve ever heard of.

      • eGuard
        June 3, 2010, 6:15 pm

        As you say: they will use it somehow, anyhow. I am (nor are we) supposed to use that information. That’s what I learned, here on Mondoweiss too. The moment you introduce “Jew” as an argument, it’s derailing. Full stop.

        When yes then? In describing private stuff, like religion. Go ahead (religion should be private, as a hobby). Also: when describing politics, like “Apartheid laws” – do. But not conflating Israel with Jews. That’s introducing some-sort-of-Semitism.

      • Frances
        June 3, 2010, 6:31 pm

        I’m a little confused by the comment, could you clarify? When I say “they”, I mean the usual Israel-apologists who write off anyone with the slightest sympathy to the Palestinian cause as an “Islamist” or a “dhimmi”.

    • potsherd
      June 3, 2010, 2:55 pm

      Because Arabs are subhumans and their deaths and injuries don’t matter.

      Only white people matter, and Jews matter most.

      • Chu
        June 4, 2010, 9:36 am

        plainly put and true statement that many support.
        Her death will make NY Times reader read the headline
        a little slower.
        Especially with the name, Emily Henochowicz.
        I feel sad for her, and she has paid a great price.
        But her eye compared to ten Turkish deaths delivering aid
        are two different categories. Many, like you say can only understand Emily’s loss.

      • potsherd
        June 4, 2010, 9:48 am

        otoh, Emily was engaged in nonviolent protest and could not possibly be said to have constituted a threat to any Israeli. There is no way her attempted murder could be called “self-defense.”

  3. lysias
    June 3, 2010, 1:15 pm

    As French Algeria went down, the pieds noirs got more and more unreasonable and extreme. It all ended with the nihilistic terrorism and destruction of the OAS, which was supported by almost the whole pieds noirs community.

    • lysias
      June 3, 2010, 1:37 pm

      “Crazed” was the word I was searching for. The pieds noirs became crazed.

  4. hayate
    June 3, 2010, 1:49 pm

    “Is it possible the narrative is hurting more than it’s helping? And if so, what might a new narrative be?”

    The problem I have with this is they are still concerned about the pr, not stopping the ongoing crimes the pr is designed shield.

  5. Les
    June 3, 2010, 2:28 pm

    What, if any, is the difference between “liberal Zionism” and “progressive Zionism?”

    • sherbrsi
      June 3, 2010, 2:35 pm

      Good question, Les.

      Progressive Zionisms makes just about as sense Liberal Zionism. They’re merely political adjectives attached to a movement that is inherently based on right-wing principles. I think the political labels of liberal and progressive serve mainly to indicate the sort of arguments and rhetoric to be used to defend or even advance Zionism.

      • Oscar
        June 3, 2010, 5:05 pm

        The way Witty uses it, it’s meant to suggest that Zionism is not monolithic, that it’s a “big tent” that can accommodate a Progressive or Liberal view as well.

        What the term is actually meant to do, however, is to take any ability away from the J Street crowd to say “there’s a better way,” and put sole control in the hands of The Dersh, Foxy Abe Foxman and the AIPAC cabal.

        You see how Witty uses the terminology as a subterfuge to obstruct intellectually honest dialogue.

      • droog
        June 3, 2010, 5:25 pm

        Progressive Apartheid?
        Liberal Apartheid?

  6. radii
    June 3, 2010, 2:38 pm

    israel made the calculation after their fight-to-a-draw with Hezbollah that they were going to be even more vicious, more murderous, and wage campaigns to create fear, so this has all been carefully calculated – Gaza massacre, flotilla raid and murders, all of it … they’ve stoked the racism of their youth and have turned into a rogue hate-nation 100 times more dangerous than Iran ever will be

  7. robin
    June 3, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Phil’s phrasing about Emily Henochowicz evokes a sense of the layering of injustices here. She was maimed for protesting. Her protest was a response to the killings on the flotilla. The flotilla itself was a response to the blockade of Gaza. And the people of Gaza (the majority) are in that territory because of ethnic cleansing and ongoing exclusion.

    If Gazans had only been extended the rights and privileges they should be entitled to as natives of Israeli territory, it would be unlikely that any of this would have happened. This should still be the goal and the most obvious solution.

    • Avi
      June 3, 2010, 6:09 pm


      You get directly to the heart of the problem with this short and concise post.

      As you have concluded, the derivatives of the original injustice continue to result in more injustices. It’s a domino effect that has been going on for 62 years now.

      The problem is that only a handful of people in Israel, and in the US, certainly within the Zionist community, have yet to show an inkling of willingness to acknowledge and recognize that very issue with which you concluded your comment.

      See this article by Professor Yehuda Shenhav as published on the Israeli YNET:

      link to

  8. Avi
    June 3, 2010, 5:58 pm

    So what if the Netanyahu government falls apart?

    OLMERT’s government was the one that slaughtered 400 children in Gaza and killed 1400 Palestinians in total. It was also the government that imposed the siege of Gaza.

    Simply put, when it comes to actions on the ground and the concrete steps which the consecutive Israeli governments have taken over the years, there is NO difference between the left wing governments and the right wing governments.

    Those who believe otherwise are diluting themselves.

    I would much rather Netanyahu stayed in power and spoke bluntly and honestly, instead of having the self-styled Israeli left Kadima or Labor stonewalling with a peace process that lasts another 20 years and one that makes the lives of Palestinians even worse while accomplishing nothing.

    Those who delude themselves into thinking that Netanyahu’s departure will change things for the better are in the same camp of those who diluted themselves into thinking that Bush’s departure and Obama’s arrival would somehow reverse the course on which the Bush administration put the US.

    Equally, if those same people who wish for the Netanyahu government to fall because it will bring an end to the blatant racism that pervades merely because such language makes them ashamed of being Jewish or represented by such a state that claims to be Jewish, then I find it rather bizarre.

  9. seafoid
    June 4, 2010, 2:03 am

    Israeli society as a whole needs to change. Changing the government for Tzipi or Olmert is just rearranging the deckchairs.

    • Chaos4700
      June 4, 2010, 2:09 am

      Israeli society is incapable of change. Six decades later and all they are, are a bunch of racist murderous thieving brutalizing lying thugs who think stapling a Star of David to their sleeves will shield them from justice.

      • potsherd
        June 4, 2010, 9:53 am

        I think Israeli society has changed a lot – for the worse. I have never felt more confident that its collapse from the weight of its own corruption is inevitable and imminent.

        The only lesson that the Israeli public has taken from the latest act of violence is that they need to use more violence.

      • sherbrsi
        June 4, 2010, 10:08 am

        And according to reports I’ve been reading, it’s going to get worst.

        Some American officials and Israeli commentators are chiding Obama for not taking a stronger stance in defending Israel, saying that if Israel feels “isolated” and not supported enough in their “right to self-defense,” it might attack Iran and embroil US in yet another war.

        In other words, support Israeli demands, or suffer the consequences. The exact same premise of the siege on Gaza.

        I think it’s simply astounding in the way that there is no daylight between the way Israel treats its enemies and its greatest “ally.”

        If Americans were any smart, they would take away from this massacre how quickly Israel discards its its strongest allies and in an instant chews them up and makes them their sworn enemy (e.g., “Turkish Islamists.”)

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