Israel/Palestine issue is source of Muslim mistrust of US, but NYT and NBC can’t touch that one

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Why do they hate us? And can the mainstream media ever talk about Israel/Palestine? Yesterday Meet the Press devoted an entire hour to the upheaval in the Middle East without touching on the Israel/Palestine issue (as Alex Kane has noted). More notes from the front…

Robert Wright has a very good post up at the Atlantic about why they hate us in which he focuses on three American policies that Muslims don’t like: drone strikes that kill lots of civilians, the presence of US troops in Muslim countries, and the Israel/Palestine issue. Wright’s wrap on I/P:

Again, don’t expect to hear about this from Romney or Obama. During an election campaign, especially, neither man wants to dwell on the downside of America’s essentially unconditional support of Israel even as Israel pursues policies that violate both international law and basic principles of justice, such as the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. But rest assured that the Israeli-American relationship gets plenty of airtime in Muslim, and especially Arab, nations. And, while some of this assumes the form of wild conspiracy theories, the core fact that American support helps sustain highly objectionable Israeli policies is not a figment of anyone’s imagination. Neither is the fact that when President Obama did try to get Israel to freeze settlement expansion, he encountered so much blowback in Israel and America that he had to give up.

Well, now: The New York Times has a front-page piece on “cultural clashes” that are feeding the Arab revolt against the U.S. in the Middle East. And the piece leaves out Israel/Palestine:

Others said that the outpouring of outrage against the video had built up over a long period of perceived denigrations of Muslims and their faith by the United States or its military, which are detailed extensively in the Arab news media: the invasion of Iraq on a discredited pretext; the images of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison; the burning or desecrations of the Koran by troops in Afghanistan and a pastor in Florida; detentions without trial at Guantánamo Bay; the denials of visas to prominent Muslim intellectuals; the deaths of Muslim civilians as collateral damage in drone strikes; even political campaigns against the specter of Islamic law inside the United States.

The Times is not alone. Richard Engel did the same thing on NBC last week. Steve Walt’s report:

I hardly ever watch network news, but I happened to stumble across this appalling report on NBC’s “Rock Center” last night. In this clip, reporter Richard Engel blames this week’s anti-American violence on “conspiracy theories” that Arab populations have been fed over the years by their rulers, including the idea that the United States and Israel are colluding to control the Middle East.

It’s no secret there are conspiracy theories circulating in the Middle East (as there are here in the good old USA: Remember the “birthers?”) I’ve heard them every time I’ve lectured in the region and done my best to debunk them. But by attributing Arab and Muslim anger solely to these ideas, Engel’s report paints a picture of the United States (and by implication, Israel) as wholly blameless. In his telling, the U.S. has had nothing but good intentions for the past century, but the intended beneficiaries of our generosity don’t get it solely because they’ve been misled by their leaders.

In short, Operation Cast Lead never happened, Lebanon wasn’t invaded in 1982 or bombed relentlessly for a month in 2006, the United States has never turned a blind eye towards repeated human rights violations by every single one of its Middle Eastern allies, drones either don’t exist or never killed an innocent victim, the occupation of Iraq in 2003 was just a little misunderstanding, and the Palestinians ought to be grateful to us for what they’ve been left after forty-plus years of occupation. To say this in no way absolves governments in the region for responsibility for many of their current difficulties, but Americans do themselves no favors by ignoring our own contribution to the region’s ills.

I appreciate Wright’s comments about the Arab street too. The protests represent popular opinion:

Obviously, the fact that an American policy contributes to anti-Americanism in the Muslim world isn’t by itself a decisive argument against the policy. But ever since terrorism became a significant threat to American interests, this consideration has belonged in the policy cost-benefit calculus. All the more so in the wake of the Arab Spring, when the policies of Egypt and some other Muslim countries are more responsive to popular opinion, and anti-American sentiment can therefore translate more directly into anti-American policies.

This is why the Israeli failure to accept either the Saudi peace initiative of 2002 or Obama’s “settlements must end” challenge of 2009, represents a form of national suicide. By failing to cut a deal with authoritarian leaders when it could on the ’67 borders, Israel now has, as a world constituency, the Arab street; and Arabs are concerned about refugees and justice, and won’t shut up about these questions. I suppose the ’67 lines and dignity for Palestinians might satisfy the Arab street; but Israel is incapable of going that way, which is why realistic people fear that apartheid will only end with massive bloodshed.

Back in ’47 and ’48 State Department officials warned Truman that recognizing Israel was a prescription for endless strife. One of those officials later produced this warning:

“President [Roosevelt] told [mideast envoy Lt. Col. Harold] Hoskins that he ‘fully agreed that a Jewish state in Palestine could be installed and maintained only by force.'”

US policy in the Middle East has long been to contain these anti-Israel forces so as to maintain peace. These forces are breaking loose…

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12 Responses

  1. Les
    September 17, 2012, 11:15 am

    [I can’t imagine our media picking up on this piece by MJ Rosenberg]

    MJ Rosenberg

    Sep 17 2012

    The Anti-Semitic Attacks On Maureen Dowd

    It’s come full circle. The neocons are now using classic anti-semitic tropes to destroy Maureen Dowd for attacking Romney adviser Dan Senor and the other neocons who are in charge of the Romney campaign’s foreign policy apparatus. See this and this and, of course this.

    Dowd’s column yesterday was about neoconservatives who, after their ignominious history of pressuring the U.S. to attack Iraq, are now “slithering” into the Romney campaign to be in place to do the same thing with Iran.

    In the column she suggests, actually she more than suggests that these neocons are largely motivated by their support for Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies. She never uses the words “Jewish” or “Jew” or, uh, the crucifixion of Jesus!

    In fact, she says nothing about Jews. And everything she says about neocons is simple fact. No one has ever denied that they were instrumental in getting us into the Iraq war. Some of them have even apologized (gee, thanks) for being part of the war push.

    Neocons are not all Jews. Most are (Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Abrams Netanyahu, Lieberman, Senor, Krauthammer, Commentary, etc) but not all. John Bolton is a prominent neoconservative. And, more to the point, so is Dick Cheney. Probably most neoconservatives are Jews, all are Israel-centered, but only a minuscule percentage of Jews are neocons. (Jews overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq war and supported and support, Barack Obama).

    So an attack on neocons is not an attack on Jews. It is an attack on a tiny but influential movement that is dominated by people whose #1 concern is Israel. Most happen to be Jews.

    Saying that attacking neoconservatism is anti-Semitic is like saying that attacking the neo-fascist Opus Dei movement is an attack on all Catholics. Or that attacking the Muslim Brotherhood is an attack on Islam. Or that an attack on the Nation Of Islam is an attack on all African-Americans.

    It is worse than that. The neoconservatives now savaging Maureen Dowd are saying that an attack on Jewish individuals who do bad things is anti-Semitic. They are foaming at the mouth because she singles out Dan Senor, Romney’s Middle East brain trust, for particular scorn.

    This is where the neocons employ classic antisemitism. They are saying that any Jew represents all Jews. Attacking Senor is anti-Semitic even though it just happens to be Senor who is Romney’s #1 advisor on Middle East issues. This is no different than saying that attacking Bernie Madoff is anti-Semitic or Jack Abramoff or Joe Lieberman. Every Jew is all Jews. (This point of view has distinct echoes from the past,)

    Dan Senor is no ordinary Jewish guy who happens to work for Romney. He was Paul Bremer’s spokesman in Iraq. He has written a best-selling book on the wonders of Israel. His sister runs AIPAC’s Jerusalem office and her husband is a far-right writer in Israel (they emigrated from the United States). He is an outspoken apologist for the right-wing Israeli position and has been his whole life (he worked for me as a college kid).

    To accuse Dowd of anti-Semitism for attacking Senor is anti-Semitic. After all, these neoconservatives and their fellow regular conservatives attack President Obama (the President!) with far more vitriol than anything Dowd directed at Senor and company. Are they racists? The mere suggestion causes right-wingers to go insane.

    So, you can attack individual African-Americans including the president and not be indicted for racism. You can condemn the Pope for indifference to sex scandals in the church and not be deemed anti-Catholic. You can excoriate Justice Sotamayor and not be deemed anti-Latino.

    But you cannot attack individual Jews because we are all the same and thus attacking one is attacking all.

    The neoconservatives and their defenders have now crossed over from just fueling anti-Semitism. Now they are directly spreading it themselves.

    Hang in there, Maureen Dowd. Do it for us Jews. And for our country too because, if these guys come back, we will have war.

    Last point, anti-Semitism is about hating Jews, refusing to associate with them, discriminating against them, blaming Jews for all the ills of the world or your street. It has nothing to do with Israel. Don’t let the neocons get away with this lie too!

    • American
      September 17, 2012, 12:04 pm

      So pathetic. A sure sign of desperation by zios and neo’s on the Romney and Israel team.. It’s stupid really, because the percentage of real anti semitic discourse anywhere is so miniscule and 99% of the anti semitic accusations have been so ridiculous that people laugh at them now. The comments on various sites on these smears of Dowd indicates that you can’t convince people anti semitism is there, can’t even convince any Jews it’s there..when it’s plainly not there.

      ”Such language, to say nothing of the questionable legitimacy of her claims, struck experts on American-Israeli relations as an inappropriate (though perhaps unintentional) appeal to anti-Semitic stereotypes, and especially offensive ahead of the first night of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

      “Dowd’s use of anti-Semitic imagery is awful,” Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on Twitter.

      “Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews,” Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic columnist and leading journalist on Israeli issues, wrote.

      “[A]mazing that apparently nobody sat her down and said, this is not OK,” Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted.

      On the right, The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper called it “outrageous,” while Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin described it as “particularly creepy.”

      “Dowd’s column marks yet another step down into the pit of hate-mongering that has become all too common at the Times,” Tobin wrote. “This is a tipping point that should alarm even the most stalwart liberal Jewish supporters of the president.”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 17, 2012, 12:29 pm

        “Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews,” Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic columnist and leading journalist on Israeli issues, wrote.

        so where was goldberg when wolfie applied the term? here’s dowd: “Paul Wolfowitz, an Iraq war architect, weighed in on Fox News, slimily asserting that President Obama should not be allowed to “slither through” without a clear position on Libya. “

        oh right, it’s an old anti semitic trope therefore it’s ok to apply the term to anyone else i suppose. maybe they should just publish a list of insults that are acceptable critiques except when applied to you know who because of ‘history’.

      • American
        September 17, 2012, 12:35 pm

        “Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, ”

        rotflmao…someone mail Goldberg and tell him when he quits living up to the old stereotypes then he’ll have nothing to worry about..until then he has to be content to run circles, scream and shout.

  2. seafoid
    September 17, 2012, 11:18 am

    ‘fully agreed that a Jewish state in Palestine could be installed and maintained only by force.'”

    They could impose it by force . anything can be imposed by force.
    But they could never make the Arab people love it.
    Or believe in it.

    • marc b.
      September 17, 2012, 12:26 pm

      this could get interesting. and for once, i’m truly interested in friedman’s opinion, not just rubbernecking at the single-seat clown car crash that is friedman’s analysis. what will tom have to say if dowd is dressed down by the NYT management for her ‘anti-semitism’, as diagnosed by dr. tobin of commentary. (what an ass tobin is.) will tom resign in solidarity if dowd is sacked for saying the same things that he regularly, but belatedly writes?

    • American
      September 17, 2012, 12:29 pm

      With Israel it’s always been force…and deception. And the deception has almost always been aimed at inciting the US against the ME states and the ME states to hate the US and draw the US to Israel as a ally. Israel’s constant , constant, both overt and covert efforts, to pit the US and ME against each other so Israel can be the US’s “only friend” is well documented in W&M’s Israel Lobby. People who haven’t yet read that book would be totally floored by the dozens and dozens of deceptions and set ups both thru violent false flags and false intell to the US Israel has carried out to make sure the US has no friends in the region and that ME states hate and resent the US. Too many instances of Israel sabotaging US efforts to establish diplomatic relations with other countries to list, the minute they got a whiff of US overtures to any Arab state they found a way to throw a monkey wrench in it.
      This in my book is a good enough reason to call the zios snakes, that’s what they are.

      July 1954: Israel Commits Bombing Attacks in Egypt, Tries to Blame Muslim Brotherhood

      Bombs explode in British and American cultural centers and libraries, and in post offices in Alexandria and Cairo. The campaign ends when a bomb explodes prematurely in the pocket of an Israeli agent who is about to plant it in a British-owned cinema. The plan is to damage the relations between Egypt and the US and Britain by placing the blame for the bombings on the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian Islamic militant group. An initial inquiry places blame on the Minister of Defense, Pinhas Lavon, but a subsequent inquiry authorized by Sharett finds that Lavon was set up using forged documents, and that the true author of the false-flag attack was none other than David Ben Gurion, the “father of the Israeli State. (see March 2005)” [New York Times, 12/11/1954; New York Times, 3/30/1975; Hirst, 2003, pp. 290-296] These events, which later become known as the Lavon Affair, will be documented in the diaries of Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, who did not learn of the plot until after it was completed. [Rokach, 1986]

      Entity Tags: Israel

      Timeline Tags U.S International Relations

      • seafoid
        September 17, 2012, 3:54 pm

        I have a lot of time for snakes. The Zionists have always been thugs. It goes right back to the start and the Balfour declaration.

        the only way to make Zionism work was via a massive application of violence and repeats. But the violence now eats away at Jewish Israeli social cohesion. Violence never comes free.

  3. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2012, 4:32 pm

    RE: “Yesterday Meet the Press devoted an entire hour to the upheaval in the Middle East without touching on the Israel/Palestine issue . . . Well, now: The New York Times has a front-page piece on ‘cultural clashes’ that are feeding the Arab revolt against the U.S. in the Middle East. And the piece leaves out Israel/Palestine . . .” ~ Weiss

    “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

    (excerpts) Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees in Tel Aviv. The thuggery was frightening – refugees were attacked, African-owned businesses and stores were vandalized . . .
    . . . The story received very little coverage in the United States. . .
    . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)
    • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
    • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
    In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
    They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .
    • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . . Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
    • MJ ROSENBERG: . . . This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
    I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers. . .


  4. dbroncos
    September 17, 2012, 10:04 pm

    How can the influence Zionists have on our politicians and media be seen as anything other than a conspiracy. Of course it’s a conspiracy! People who conspire to support Israel at the expense of American and Palestinian interests are, by definition, part of a conspiracy. One of the most clever mechanisms in the Zionist’s conspiracy is to silence those who call attention to its existence.

  5. piotr
    September 18, 2012, 9:44 am

    Neocons try to benefit from their existence (and neocon credentials!) and from the denial of their existence. For example, Romney campaign stoutly denies that there are any neocons there. To give them credit, for how many years do they have to suffer humiliating neo-frefix?

    Plus it is unclear if the -con part refers to “confidence trick” or “[ex-]convict” (used for crooks even without convictions). In any case, the term “neocon” is always deregatory at reflects an ugly prejudice against walrus-Americans (who sport huge mustaches and communicate with angry-sounding bellows, so are easy to be misunderstood as homicidal maniacs).

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