Give it up to Hitchens!

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 41 Comments

I missed this. From an interview with Hugh Hewitt last summer (h/t Andrew Sullivan). The Said connection–the two were close in the 80s:

In order for Israel to become part of the alliance against whatever we want to call it, religious barbarism, theocratic, possibly thermonuclear theocratic or nuclear theocratic aggression, it can’t, it’ll have to dispense with the occupation. It’s as simple as that.

It can be, you can think of it as a kind of European style, Western style country if you want, but it can’t govern other people against their will. It can’t continue to steal their land in the way that it does every day. And it’s unbelievably irresponsible of Israelis, knowing the position of the United States and its allies are in around the world, to continue to behave in this unconscionable way. And I’m afraid I know too much about the history of the conflict to think of Israel as just a tiny, little island surrounded by a sea of ravening wolves and so on. I mean, I know quite a lot about how that state was founded, and the amount of violence and dispossession that involved. And I’m a prisoner of that knowledge. I can’t un-know it.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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41 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Give it up a bit. How many clips and words of Hitchens fed the lies? Far more

    • Hostage
      December 16, 2011, 11:33 pm

      Give it up a bit. How many clips and words of Hitchens fed the lies? Far more

      I would agree on the subject of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, co-edited by Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens remains a good source of information about the founding myths of Israel and its hasbara mill.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 17, 2011, 11:01 am

        had to link the greenwald – must read:

        link to salon.com

      • MRW
        December 18, 2011, 2:51 pm

        Agreed. Greenwald’s piece is a must-read.

    • gazacalling
      December 17, 2011, 11:37 am

      Well that’s true. But I love the “I can’t un-know it line.” That sums everything up in 5 words.

      You missed this, Phil? Well how’d I know about it then? I feel like I read it on here a while back…

  2. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Ok here is one that backs you up Phil. Damn it
    link to youtube.com

    Is it that I have just heard Hitchens repeat inflammatory and untrue things about Iraq and Iran

  3. Richard Witty
    December 16, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Is that a view that Hitchens retained?

    No human statement of condolence? Just aggrieved political purpose?

    • James North
      December 16, 2011, 2:31 pm

      Richard Witty said, ‘Notice how I’m hiding on this new thread, instead of responding to repeated, polite requests for substantiation of my wild allegations on earlier threads. This is how I keep my Intellectual Ponzi Scheme going.’

      • Mooser
        December 16, 2011, 3:23 pm

        James North, are you “associating” Richard Witty’s name again?

  4. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Hitchens – Iran vs Israel

    Hitchens repeats bad bad Iran. This gal goes after Hitchens about his contradictions. He talks about Iran ignoring international regulations but says nothing about Israel ignoring and defying international resolutions. Such a double standard
    link to youtube.com

    When Hitchens gets furious
    link to youtube.com

    Hitchens/ Ayn Rand
    link to youtube.com

    Hitchens on the Israeli Flotilla Raid
    “but what the people on that flotilla are saying is we are the advanced guard of the friends of Hamas, friends of jihad”

  5. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Hitchens on Obama’s Israel Policy: ‘Not Impressive’
    link to youtube.com
    ” in other words if the Israeli’s are going to continue to build settlements in an identifiable just a single suburb of Jerusalem where most of the Arab population can produce documents proving that they’ve owned their homes since before the British mandate. If American policy can not get them to stop building in that one identifiable suburb of Jerusalem. Then there is no such thing as leverage or purchase
    And if I had gone to all of the trouble to point out that this is such a terrible thing he should have said more than he (Obama) did in my view. That it is theft. As well as an obstacle to negotiations”

    He goes on to say that Bush 41′s move to suspend Israel’s loan guarantees when they continued to expand illegal settlements was impressive. Carter wrote about this in “:Palestine Peace: Not Apartheid”

    But still Hitchens went along with the invasion of Iraq and has repeated the “wipe Israel off the map” hooey and inflamed the situation with Iran.

  6. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

    ok ok give it up somewhat on the I/P issue. But go listen to that clip of him talking about the Flotilla. He does have a tendency to exaggerate and inflame

  7. dumvitaestspesest
    December 16, 2011, 2:05 pm

    “it’s unbelievably irresponsible of Israelis, knowing the position of the United States and its allies are in around the world, to continue to behave in this unconscionable way.”

    Phleeese. “Irresponsible”. That’s ALL he can say.
    “Oh my dear, it is so IRRESPONSIBLE of you to kill some of your neighbours, people in town won’t be your allies, if you continue to behave in this unconscionable way.”
    “Stop your killings and people will treat you with a great honor and respect.
    And then, they will let you attack other “regimes. You will be a righteous one.
    A light above nations. Now you are a little irresponsible, my dear.”

  8. kalithea
    December 16, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Three articles dedicated to the self-indulgent rantings and ramblings of an intellectualized idiot who switched opinions like he switched cognac for whisky and beer.

    • yourstruly
      December 18, 2011, 9:51 am

      the LA Times’ obituary feasted on Hitchen’s vitriol against the left.

  9. Donald
    December 16, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Hitchens and Edward Said co-edited a book called “Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question.” I have it. It was published in 1988 by Verso and the second chapter is Norman Finkelstein’s demolition of the Joan Peters book. There are also chapters by Chomsky, Rashid Khalidi, and others, including three by Edward Said and one by Hitchens himself about the broadcasts that allegedly caused the Palestinians to flee in 1948. Here’s the first two sentences –

    “It is probably safe to say that nobody interested enough in the Middle East to have even overheard an argument about it can be a stranger to the story of the “broadcasts”. Confronted with the charge that the Palestinian Arabs were forcibly dispossessed in 1948, Israeli propaganda resorts routinely to the claim that the Palestinians did indeed run away, but that they were induced or incited to do so by their own leadership.”

    This was pretty strong stuff for 1988. It’s sad what Hitchens became after 9/11.

    And incidentally, in the Hitch hagiography on the front page of the NYT today I don’t think they mention the Palestinian issue, though I’d have to recheck to be sure. But if they did no doubt they’d quote something from recent years.

    • IranContraClanDidNineEleven
      December 16, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Donald said:
      “This was pretty strong stuff for 1988. It’s sad what Hitchens became after 9/11.”

      You think that was an accident? He is no fool, Hitchens may not have (had) enough sense to pour piss out of a boot but he certainly knew how to use his accent for the $. I laughed aloud at Gordon Duff’s take on it:

      link to veteranstoday.com

      PS
      I am an atheist/agnostic/non religious person but I prefer not be associated with people such as Hitchens.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 16, 2011, 5:21 pm

        “I am an atheist/agnostic/non religious person but I prefer not be associated with people such as Hitchens.”

        Why not? Just because you’re associated with him because of an agreement in one area does not mean that you agree with him in another. Hitchens was as flawed as any of us.

    • tree
      December 16, 2011, 5:00 pm

      This was pretty strong stuff for 1988.

      Which is sad in itself, since Erskine Childers, a former BBC correspondent, had clearly debunked that myth of the radio broadcasts back in 1961, 17 years before Hitchens’ piece.

      • irishmoses
        December 17, 2011, 8:37 pm

        Erskine Childers (of Riddle of the Sands fame – greatest spy novel ever written) was executed by the Brits in 1922. Must be the son you are referring to.

      • Hostage
        December 17, 2011, 11:34 pm

        Which is sad in itself, since Erskine Childers, a former BBC correspondent, had clearly debunked that myth of the radio broadcasts back in 1961, 17 years before Hitchens’ piece.

        Hitchens essay for the book covered the entire history of the bogus Israeli scholarship on the broadcasts. So, naturally it related the entire series of exchanges between Childers, the Israeli Foreign Office, Dr. Leo Kohn and Jon Kimche. It also covered a discussion of Benny Morris’ report about an IDF intelligence report entitled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947 to 1/6/1948″. It revealed that fully 72 percent of the Palestinian refugees during this crucial period were expelled by military force. All this was related in great detail with a generous dose of Hichens’ trademark snark.

    • Kathleen
      December 19, 2011, 12:24 pm

      heard Hitchens state that he and Said had co authored a book. Said was the individual who helped the lightbulbs go off in my head after I heard Vanessa Redgrave bring up the issue at an Oscar event. She was ripped up for bringing up the issue

  10. MRW
    December 16, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Give up the occupation, Hitchens? Now they’re carving their positions into their arms:

    Racism as self-harm: Man carves “death to Arabs” into his arm

    Well, that’s a painful visual metaphor if there ever was one. A young Israeli man by the name of Yisrael Yehudai (lit: Israel Judean) has decided to express his hatred for Arabs not by a sticker, and not by actually attacking anyone (to my knowledge), but by carving the words “Death to Arabs” into his own arm. He posted this as a profile picture back in July, and the pic recently went viral:

    Dimi Reider today: link to 972mag.com

  11. FreddyV
    December 16, 2011, 3:52 pm

    ‘I mean, I know quite a lot about how that state was founded, and the amount of violence and dispossession that involved. And I’m a prisoner of that knowledge. I can’t un-know it.’

    This resonated with me.

    I spoke with the Rev. Stephen Sizer last year re: Christian Zionism. He said that once you see it (the error of Christian Zionism), you can’t un-see it.

    I agree with that. Despite it putting you at odds with your friends and family and everything you believed, once you know it, you can’t un-see it.

    Here’s to the scales over many eyes falling. I’m raising a glass of single malt to Mr Hitchens.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      December 16, 2011, 8:44 pm

      Why a “prisoner of knowledge”?? It is just pure rhetoric.
      Knowing truth does not make you a “prisoner”.
      Knowing truth tells you that you are on the right track. What do you do about it , it’s a different story.
      He obviously got very confused /lost in life and made a lot of convoluted statements that did not make too much sense. I guess, soaking sorrows in alkohol does not dissolve them. Maybe temporarily.

      • FreddyV
        December 17, 2011, 6:51 am

        @dumvitaestspesest:

        I agree with Hitchens, but I also agree with you. You also pointed out a serious failing in Hitchens’ logic. I lived in a ‘Matrix’ world where Israel were the good guys and always seemed to win. I didn’t have the burden of knowing the truth. What a happy world I lived in.

        Now I do and I have to live with my ignorance and feel a responsibility to understand the facts and tell people who still support Israel’s behaviour.

        I think Hitchens was right in his statement, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here:

        ‘Knowing truth tells you that you are on the right track. What do you do about it , it’s a different story.’

      • dumvitaestspesest
        December 17, 2011, 7:36 am

        Thank you.
        In the meantime, I was laughing, looking at Mr Finkelstein’s website on which he placed this photo under his title: Big Loss.
        link to flickr.com
        link to normanfinkelstein.com
        The photo of Hitchens sandwiched between two , well known for its big money and empty heads ,”celebrities” says it all. If he were such a persona non grata, the messenger of uncomfortable truth, he would not get invited to the great mansions where rich and spoiled paaarty.
        He was rather a weak man, opportunist, alkoholic, nothing to brag about.

      • yourstruly
        December 18, 2011, 9:57 am

        being right on the p/i conflict doesn’t excuse hitchens for the role he played in bringing about the iraq war as well as perpetuating the so-called war on terror.

  12. eGuard
    December 16, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Here, in 2007, he wears that jewish hat: link to youtube.com

    • dumvitaestspesest
      December 17, 2011, 8:49 am

      there is an explanation in the video description why he wears skullcap.
      I do not really know his “preaching”, but from a little that I’ve heard and read,
      it looks like his “fight with God” focuses mostly , not on God’d teaching per se,
      but on different PEOPLE’S INTERPRETATIONS ( and applying it into actions) of God’s words/teachings.
      If I ask 100 people “do you think you are a good person”, or “what do you think being a good person mean”, I’m sure ,I’ll get many different answers.
      People interpret abstract, ideas on many different ways, many levels.
      I think the idea of God is one of the most misinterpreted ideas ever.
      But on the other hand, lots of people ,all over the world, from many different cultures, be it very primitve or be it very advanced, have the need to pursue the concept of God/divinity.
      The eschatological questions “why are we here, what’s the purpose of our life’s journey, where are we heading, how we should live our life.. “etc.
      were asked and answered in many ways by lots of philosophers, theologists, scholars, intelectualls, priests, pastors, artists, and of course average people over the centuries.
      Hitchens is not the first one, and not the last one.

  13. stevieb
    December 16, 2011, 5:24 pm

    Hitchens was an alcoholic. And he needed the money. Case closed….

  14. Polly
    December 16, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Hitchens’ positions on almost everything smacked more of having a personal axe to grind than any wish to right wrongs. He may have lambasted Israels bahavior but he bashed Islam far more severely and for a lot longer – and that’s where he loses me.
    I’m not sure what his stance on the British Empire’s colonization of half the globe was but I bet he would have supported that -just a guess, maybe someone can tell me different.

    • MRW
      December 16, 2011, 8:37 pm

      Hitchens’ positions on almost everything smacked more of having a personal axe to grind than any wish to right wrongs.

      Nah, he was just an Oxford Brit. But you are dead right about his Islam bashing, IMO. He lost me when he supported the Iraq War.

  15. pabelmont
    December 17, 2011, 10:18 am

    CH speaks of two things of interest to us here. [1] Solidarity with friends (Edward Said, in his case). [2] knowledge of important things that we cannot “un-know” (events in the formation of Israel) .

    He seems to say he could — were he not dying of cancer — become a friend of Israel (or the nations could do so) if only Israel would remove itself from the occupied territories. But he also acknowledges, sort of, that he knows what happened during Israel’s formation — the things he cannot “un-know”, which should make becoming Israel’s friend difficult even if the occupation came to an end.

    • Hostage
      December 17, 2011, 5:08 pm

      He seems to say he could — were he not dying of cancer — become a friend of Israel (or the nations could do so) if only Israel would remove itself from the occupied territories.

      No, he wrote the chapter in “Blaming the Victims” on the mythical broadcasts made by the Arab leadership instructing the Palestinians to leave their towns and villages. Hitchens noted that the whole discussion of this blatant Israeli propaganda talking point was secondary to the fact that, no matter why the refugees left a battle zone, they had a right to return when the cease fires and armistices were adopted.

  16. Jeffrey Blankfort
    December 17, 2011, 1:26 pm

    In the end, Hitchens was somewhat of a pathetic character. Imagine being eulogized by Paul Wolfowitz who had become his good friend and drinking buddy. Fortunately the CBC Day Six interviewer followed Wolfowitz with Chris Hedges. It’s well worth a listen:
    http://www.cbc.ca/day6/blog/2011/12/16/episode-54–russian/

    • Philip Weiss
      December 17, 2011, 1:33 pm

      jeffrey goldberg, another good friend….

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        December 18, 2011, 2:10 am

        Frankly, it was harder for me to accept Hitchens socializing with the likes of Wolfowitz, Goldberg and even David Horowitz than his support of the war. In the end one becomes known by the society one keeps and Hitchens’s was despicable.

      • yourstruly
        December 18, 2011, 10:01 am

        Didn’t Hitchens turn into David Horowitz without his Zionist baggage?

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        December 18, 2011, 1:21 pm

        Not quite. He was a far better writer and more profound thinker, err, drinker. What they had in common was their Trotskyist roots which they shared with a number of the leading neocons. Whatever one would say about Trotsky, were he alive he probably would have all of them shot.

    • MRW
      December 18, 2011, 4:22 pm

      Thanks for the link, Jeffrey. Hedges’ comments were great.

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