Thanksgiving fodder: ‘You should fight about Israel’

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

The latest Gaza war has had the effect of mocking the US role in the region– showing our country to be firmly on the aggressor’s side in the conflict and making us peripheral to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership in effecting a truce.

Here are two perspectives on the American condition:

John Cook, who is married to a Jew, writes at Slate: “How To Pick a Fight With Your Relatives This Thanksgiving”:

3) What Should We Fight About? Israel. You should fight about Israel. Particularly if you are Jewish or are married to a Jew or are the child of an Evangelical Christian. If you can find a way to work your way backward to the Clinton impeachment, that’s always a gold mine of long-repressed rage and conflict. Otherwise you are stuck with the election—amateur hour.

More seriously, at the New Republic, John Judis writes that the ceasefire will not hold because the United States, out of obeisance to Israel and its friends, has foolishly refused to deal with Hamas, or indeed to take its own power in the conflict:

If the U.S. wanted to talk to the participants in the conflict, and get them to stop, it had to talk to Israel and Hamas. But it has refused to talk to Hamas until it recognizes Israel, even though the United States talks to plenty of countries—take Saudi Arabia, to begin with—that have never done so. And Congress, with AIPAC looking on, has also ruled against any American efforts to talk with Hamas. 

…in this case, the United States has consistently subordinated its foreign policy to that of the Israeli government—and I use the term “government” not “people,” because I would argue that energetic American diplomacy, absent any artificial constraints, could benefit the Israeli as well as American and Palestinian people.

Washington has reserves of power in the region that it has left untapped; and it can also now call on Egypt, which has considerable influence with Hamas. The United States has leverage on the Palestinian Authority and can influence Hamas directly, if it begins to communicate directly with the group, pressuring it to stop its rocket attacks on Israel and to join Fatah in a unity government. The United States has always had leverage on Israel. The Obama administration has to begin using that leverage—pressuring Netanyahu to stop the growth of settlements and to begin negotiations with a willingness to exchange land for peace—even if that means bucking AIPAC and Congress. Without pressure of this kind, there will not be, as Hillary Clinton put it this week, a “durable peace,” or any peace at all for that matter.

38 Responses

  1. American
    November 22, 2012, 9:45 am

    I still feel there is something very strange and different re Isr-US -Gaza-I/P , the reactions to it and “end arrangement” to it this time. Something more than AIPAC even. Can’t figure it out, but there is something else there.

    • Bumblebye
      November 22, 2012, 2:27 pm

      link to bbc.co.uk
      from about min 6 correspondent in Cairo explains how it was widely known among reporters, but unreported that US withheld backing for ground invasion. Could that be part of the “something else there”?

      • American
        November 22, 2012, 3:23 pm

        I don’t know Bumblebye. But ‘something’ went down we don’t know about or why.
        Most everything was reversed from ’08 from the get go; no loud condemning from Europe, no mumbling by State about everyone claming down interpersed with their Israel support. Everyone on the same song sheet of Israel has right to defend itself, like a script. Even though you know behind closed doors all the European governments , just like ours, knew what precipated this all, they’ve seen it before.
        And then all of sudden Netanyahu gets kicked in the ass?…and he did get kicked in the ass by someone because from all reports he and his entire cabinet, except for Barak, and public opinion were demanding a full out assault on Gaza to end it once and for all.
        I read that Obama had promised more money for their Iron Dome when he finally spoke to Netanyahu but I don’t think offering money explains it. Israel would get the money anyway.
        Some other promise, threat, future plan, something, from someone called Netanyahu off.

      • Bumblebye
        November 22, 2012, 4:08 pm

        The correspondent (John Lines (sp?)) links it to the potential repercussion given other conflicts in the region, and the attempt to maintain US influence there. Particularly wrt Syria, and the way this virtually obliterated the reporting from there.

  2. Dan Crowther
    November 22, 2012, 10:33 am

    I would be real careful about rooting on Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas are nationalists – these other cats aren’t. The Gulf Monarchies support this new arrangement, they also want to break Hamas (read: Iran) ,and you can tell the US press loves reporting on the growing influence of Egypt and the Gulf states. It’s because these forces represent pan-arab-fifedomism(just made that up), and the Israeli’s and the Americans know if they can turn Palestinians back into just Arabs (who we all know you can do anything to) the Palestinian project is over. Vijay Prishad was on the real news talking about this the other day. He said the Qatari emir would love Gaza to be a vacation spot on the Med for the ultra rich of the region.

    The really tough part about the Palestine question is that so many of the forces trying to “free” it would, upon freeing it, turn it into state built on a neoliberal model or worse.

    • seafoid
      November 22, 2012, 11:09 am

      It’s more Sunni vs Shia I think . Qatar hates Iran so it gets to supplant it in Gaza.
      I am not sure the Brothers are not nationalist. They don’t have much room to manoeuvre but they are pro Palestinian.

      The Israelis have less leverage than before.

      A war with Iran would be really stupid if Yossi Israeli soils his pants over Hamas weaponry.

    • Mooser
      November 22, 2012, 12:06 pm

      “The really tough part about the Palestine question is that so many of the forces trying to “free” it would, upon freeing it, turn it into state built on a neoliberal model or worse.”

      Dan that’s not a problem for me. See. I’m really not as “pro-Palestinian” as I am anti-Zionism. Sorry, but there it is. I figure it this way: realistically, it doesn’t matter how “pro-Palestinian” (like you have to be in favor of people not getting criminally f–ked over?) I am, if Zionism goes, the Palestinians will do much, much better, and so will us Jews. First things first, you know.

      • Dan Crowther
        November 22, 2012, 6:46 pm

        I know what you mean Moose, it’s all good.

      • Citizen
        November 23, 2012, 8:50 am

        Maybe it would help if Americans knew that Palestinians would gladly use something besides their shaking hand to wipe themselves if the Israelis would only allow them access to toilet paper? And conversely, that Israelis use (free American) toilet paper, but its not really 10-ply and sometimes its not even scented?

      • jon s
        November 23, 2012, 11:39 am

        ” I’m really not as “pro-Palestinian” as I am anti-Zionism. ”
        That’s an interesting confession, Mooser.
        You remind me of George Costanza claiming that he invented “it’s not you, it’s me” , as a breaking-up line.

      • Citizen
        November 24, 2012, 5:43 am

        @ jon s
        What if Mooser (or anyone?) said, “I’m not really as ‘pro-Jewish’ as I am anti-Nazism”?
        Or, “I’m not really as ‘pro-minority’ as I am anti-white power”?

        Do these two alternates conjure up any George Constanza lines?

      • Mooser
        November 25, 2012, 12:00 pm

        Citizen, it’s really very simple. When a guy puts a gun to my head I don’t ask his religion, I just don’t want to get shot.
        The Palestinians present no danger to me, but Zionism does, and getting rid of Zionism will help both me and the Palestinians.

      • Citizen
        November 27, 2012, 8:42 am

        @ Mooser
        Thanks for your response. I’m still waiting for a response from jon s.

    • AhVee
      November 22, 2012, 10:45 pm

      “the Israeli’s and the Americans know if they can turn Palestinians back into just Arabs”

      Hmm.. so do most Mondoweiss posters… to my knowledge almost everyone I’ve seen post here uses the terms “Palestinian” and “Arab” interchangeably (I’m guilty of this once or twice myself, to my shame), nevermind if a significant number of them (I remember reading it being close to 50% of the Palestinians) don’t even self-identify as “Arab”, nevermind if their backgrounds are interesting and diverse, nevermind that Palestine has been a melting-pot throughout much of history, nevermind that a substantial amount of Palestinians have hundreds or even thousands of years of Christian and Jewish ancestry, (of those I’m in contact with one mentioned a personal interest in Greek culture because of his extensive Greek ancestry, another one got brought up with 2 religions, one for the public, and one for their home) and an unknown amount of them (but it’s not uncommon) can still remember having Jewish great-grandparents. I’m not seeing anyone appreciate these (and more) facets when talking about the Palestinians, and that alone also plays into the hands of the Zio freaks who would love nothing more but to paint them all as “Arabs who moved in to occupy Jewish land, and are now squatting there and pretending it was theirs all along” (a surprisingly wide-spread notion among conservative Zio-sympathizers, at least on some message boards I’ve had the misfortune of gracing)
      I strongly suspect that most discussing this conflict are overwhelmingly (perhaps even solely) interested in the blemish Judaism is taking as a result of Zionist thought in action, or on the negative effect that the U.S. – Israel bond is having on U.S. spending and foreign policy. That and the third group I’ve identified here are activists who happen to care because they see people are being wronged here. Have yet to see anyone actually give an active damn about what their history is and how it is attempted to be re-written or eradicated by either Israel or Arabs themselves. (I recall a funny book by written by some Wahabi crackpot about the “History of the Palestinian People”, most all of what’s written in there is ludicrous and so esoteric, it’s not even funny. I don’t recall the guy being Palestinian, either, though I still smile recalling the friend who lent me the book with a wink. Wish I could find it again, so I could share some quotes.)

      How is this important? I feel that it is, seeing as how Palestinian history has become a matter of political opinion and / or agenda, rather than focusing on historical accuracy. (And if we can all get upset about Zionists re-writing Jewish history in favor of making believe it’s been about Zionism all along, and distorting the reasons many Jews had for leaving Eretz-Israel back in the day… we can also discuss in which ways Palestinian history is being re-written.)
      By keeping their history and diversity in mind, we’re fighting against the spread of misinformation around, and we’re fighting against the “they’re one monolithic mass” notion, this is, in my opinion, especially important where the subject of debate is shifting from “what’s being done to them” to “who they are and why they’re evil”. To understand anything, you need to know and consider its history any any resulting diversity, and the same applies here.

      And while we’re talking about personal motivations, yes, the “damage to Judaism” aspect disturbs me most personally, too. As time went by however I learnt to care about the negative effect it’s having on the U.S. (I’m not a U.S. citizen) and the damage it’s doing to Palestinians (both the physical aspects of the injustice – Nakba, apartheid, terrorism etc., as also the damage Israel AND other parties, well-meaning or not, are doing to Palestinians in different ways, and yes, also the damage some Palestinians may be inflicting upon each other) enough to deem it important that none of these aspects and facets become neglected in I / P discourse.

      • MHughes976
        November 23, 2012, 4:12 am

        Nina Paley’s anti-Zionist animation of This Land is Ours makes the multicultural history of Palestine clear in an amusing, though frustratingly misleading, way -misleading because there has been so much coexistence and mutuality between the grand imperial episodes.

      • AhVee
        November 23, 2012, 6:07 am

        Thanks for drawing my attention to it. Not too thrilled with it, but her geometric-ish art makes for a pleasing viewing experience. :,)
        I’m loving this one, though:
        link to blog.ninapaley.com

      • MHughes976
        November 24, 2012, 5:45 pm

        My turn to thank you! Yes, it’s very funny, very disturbing. Walter Burkert’s Homo Necans discusses animal sacrifice in the ancient world, saying that it was a way to maintain and to make sacred a skill, the ability to hunt and slaughter, that had once been essential for survival but in a practical sense was threatened with redundancy once agriculture had arrived.

    • Taxi
      November 23, 2012, 6:40 am

      Brother Dan,

      Hamas are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. They’ve divided themselves into two branches: one aligned with Saudi Arabia, who sends them funds to rebuild Gaza – and the other half have aligned themselves with Iran, who sends them arms and knowledge of arms manufacturing.

      They have two patrons now and are kinda not beholden to either.

      Smart.

      • Dan Crowther
        November 23, 2012, 11:18 am

        Yes, Taxi, yes! I give Hamas a ton of credit for their strategy, I was just pointing out that there is a “new narrative” being offered, one where the GCC/Egypt is “taking the lead” in Gaza – to me, this an obvious attempt at marginalizing Hamas, something we should all be cognizant of. And I do worry about what the “price” is for GCC/Egyptian patronage, and I bet Hamas’ leadership has the same worry (hopefully).

  3. tommy
    November 22, 2012, 11:41 am

    I will be dining at my step sister’s McMansion in a gated community. Her and her mother are California Reaganites who have attended prestigious private universities and read books by the Rev. John Hagee to inform themselves about the justification for Palestinian oppression. There are no arguments that can penetrate the righteous myths that mold their inhumanity.

    • W.Jones
      November 22, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Tommy,

      How about Palestinian evangelical christians getting targeted by State policies for the sake of the ideal of building the third temple, heralding the anti-Messiah.

  4. Mooser
    November 22, 2012, 11:54 am

    In Washington, I-502 passed. We got nothing to fight about at Thanksgiving. Why, I think it’s going to be one of the most enjoyable holidays in years! Just wait till you try our “secret recipe” stuffing.

  5. Mooser
    November 22, 2012, 12:00 pm

    “Thanksgiving fodder: ‘You should fight about Israel’”

    Once again, as a public service, I remind all readers that an inheritance is a gift, not an obligation. So, you know, don’t fight too hard, you might end up with one of those Pyrrhic victories one reads so much about.
    And really, fighting at the Thangsgiving dinner table does nobody’s digestion any good.

    • sardelapasti
      November 23, 2012, 2:02 pm

      “So, you know, don’t fight too hard, you might end up with one of those Pyrrhic victories one reads so much about.”

      I don’t know. If, Zeus forbid, I had been born American and celebrated Thanxgiving and were Zionist, and my son would have told me (as he sure would), between the sweet potatoes and the cranberry jam, “Dad, this was the last time we have seen each other –until you stop being an accessory to Zionist crimes, assuming you are lucky enough to avoid being sentenced for it”, the results wouldn’t be Pyrrhic.

      Or how about a nice little card to the relations inviting you: “Thank you for the invitation, but we just decided that you are murderers, of the conscious kind. No need to excuse us.”

      There is nothing wrong with family breakups over principles. What’s the point of telling Zionists that they are criminals if you continue talking to them?

  6. American
    November 22, 2012, 1:04 pm

    You need a thousand ears and eyes to fight the fight on Israel. Or a press and media that actually functions as a watch dog for democracy and we no longer have that. The Israel interest at work in the US really is a assault on ‘all’ the fundamentals of democracy, not just on our sovereign interest in foreign policy. It is insidious and malignant.

    link to aclu.org

    New frontiers of “free speech”: pressuring Twitter to ban Hamas

    Dis­turb­ing post by the ACLU about the grow­ing pres­sure in the US to try and si­lence ideas or groups that cer­tain in­ter­est groups don’t like (but who live and op­er­ate in the real world):

    An evangelical group called “Christians United for Israel” has launched a petition asking that the “U.S. Attorney’s Office . . . ban” Hamas from Twitter under the theory that Twitter is providing a “service” to Hamas—a designated terrorist group—under the material support statute (namely “communications equipment”). “Communications equipment” is not defined in the statute (nor in federal law generally, as far as I can tell), and it’s not insane to argue that it encompasses remote infrastructure that permits an individual or group to micro-blog on the internet (though it’s also arguably true that they’re not providing physical “equipment” per se, merely data and storage).

    It’s a little unclear what Christians United is asking—do they want the Justice Department to demand that Twitter ban Hamas, or do they want a prosecution? But the fact that the plain language of the statute could even conceivably reach Twitter in this context shows why the law is arguably the most dangerous speech restriction on the books today, and why the Supreme Court’s decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project was such an unfortunate departure from the Court’s relatively positive track record on controversial speech. Say what you will about Hamas, but I don’t think it benefits American public discourse to censor their Twitter feed, nor do I think merely providing Hamas with an outlet furthers their organizational goals (and, indeed, may do the opposite for many who find their views repellent).

    One other aspect of this story raises hairs on the back of the neck. Professor David Cole at Georgetown, who litigated Humanitarian Law Project, noted that Twitter is “for all practical purposes” a common carrier, meaning it would not be responsible for illegal conduct by its users. That is absolutely right, but the scary caveat there is “for all practical purposes.” Practically doesn’t mean legally, and Twitter is not legally classified as a common carrier under telecommunications law. Further, the various laws governing intermediary liability on the internet wouldn’t trump criminal material support for terrorism. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (the part that survived Reno v. ACLU) only insulates online intermediaries from liability for illegal content (and this content isn’t illegal), and, in any event, doesn’t apply to crimes. In sum, there is an argument that Twitter is providing material support to Hamas by simply hosting its feed . . . and that should frighten the daylights out of all of us.

    Fortunately, there may be two counterarguments based on limiting language in Humanitarian Law Project. First, the Supreme Court there made it clear that independent advocacy, even if in support of the ends of a terrorist group, would not be material support. The Court reasoned that the definition of “service” in the statute requires something done at the command of another. So, in the context of providing “communications equipment,” one could argue that the “service” has to be something like renting a satellite phone (not passively providing data and hosting services). For de facto common carriers like Twitter, open to all, the provision of service is not “coordinated” in the way the Court seems to argue is necessary, and it certainly does not suggest “support” in the sense of concerted activity in furtherance of the goals of the designated terrorist organization.

    Second, the decision limits itself narrowly to the facts of the case (namely, direct political and humanitarian guidance), and notes that not every application of the material support statute will survive First Amendment scrutiny. Though I think this would be a case of first impression, providing a Twitter feed (or a Facebook page or a Google link) should be totally immunized from criminal liability.

    In any event, if we truly believe in the marketplace of ideas, we cannot block the public distribution of potentially offensive ideas (different story for incitement to violence or speech integral to criminal activity, which nobody has shown me are at issue here). The fact this is even an arguable case, as I’ve outlined above, should be of great concern to us all.”

    • MRW
      November 22, 2012, 1:49 pm

      Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is run by David Brog (Jewish) not John Hagee. Brog is aligned with Yisrael Beitenu, and Danny Ayalon. See jewsonfirst.org for the investigative story. It’s a cover for right-wing (extremist) Israeli interests.

  7. American
    November 22, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving George……wish you were here now.

    Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

    ”Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. ”

    ”All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.”

    ”However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. ”

    ”Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices? ”

    ”In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim. ”

    ”So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation. ”

    ”As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

    ”Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. ‘’

  8. Emma
    November 22, 2012, 4:44 pm

    “But it has refused to talk to Hamas until it recognizes Israel, even though the United States talks to plenty of countries—take Saudi Arabia, to begin with—that have never done so.”

    Could be wrong, but I believe the issue is recognizing Israel’s “right to exist” not merely the “existence of Israel.” They are not the same thing. The latter has a basis in international law, the former does not. The “right to exist” is some special new right made up by the US and Israel in the 70s which no country has recognized and no state has, other than Israel, apparently. Recognizing Israel’s “right to exist” would mean recognizing the legitimacy of Palestinians’ expulsion from their own land.

    link to crikey.com.au

    • ParkSlopeSingleGuy
      November 22, 2012, 10:30 pm

      I’ll answer your own speculation with one of my own: It’s probably a colloquial reaction, not a legal one, to those who have always insisted Israel has NO right to exist.

    • eljay
      November 22, 2012, 10:52 pm

      >> Recognizing Israel’s “right to exist” would mean recognizing the legitimacy of Palestinians’ expulsion from their own land.

      And it would mean recognizing Israel as a supremacist “Jewish State” rather than as a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state, a state of and for all Israelis, equally.

  9. American
    November 23, 2012, 1:49 am

    Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), Apr. 27, 2009
    Mahmoud Abbas, PA Chairman and Head of Fatah:
    “The ‘Jewish state.’ What is a ‘Jewish state?’ We call it, the ‘State of Israel.’ You can call yourselves whatever you want. And I say this on a live broadcast… It’s not my job to define it, to provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic] call it whatever you like. I don’t care.”

    Makes sense to me. A thousand times the PLO and Hamas have said they recognize a “State of Israel”. All this ” call us Jewish” crap is just more of the chosen’s little foot stomping tribal egotism…”say uncle”!…..”call me pretty”!…..”say it, say it!”….ad nauseum…..like f’ing little 2 year olds banging on their high chair to get someone’s attention.

  10. YoungMassJew
    November 23, 2012, 4:01 am

    This really is a problem. How do I/we explain to people, particularly Jewish family members, about the power of the Israel Lobby, especially when they bring up the power of the NRA or the Oil Lobby? This was a problem for me last weekend when I attended a Reconstructionist Bat Mitzvah for one of my cousins. One of my close cousins was like, there are many lobbys out there, why is the Israel lobby the only one you focus on? So I brought up the fact and provided sources showing the amount of aid we’re given to Israel in the last 60 years, the largest cummulative recipicent of U.S. aid, and they are still not completely convinced. I even provided the text of congressional legislation straight from loc.gov showing how much aid we allocate as recently as 2010 to Israel. I don’t think most Jews will ever get it or acknowledge it. They will go “But look what Chinas doing in Tibet, look at Assad killing his own people!” always pointing to other conflicts in order to shield Israel from criticism. I guess the problem, as seafoid has put it, is that people will always insist “But Jews don’t do that!” since we’ve historically been the victim.

    • Ellen
      November 24, 2012, 5:03 am

      since we’ve historically been the victim. That is the chosen education of a people. In a way, another way of assuring fear and seperation from “the other.”

      History has a rich contex.

      The cloak of identity as victim is a straight jacket. who wants to wear that?

    • Citizen
      November 24, 2012, 5:56 am

      @ YoungMassJew

      What foreign state does the NRA lobby to benefit (at cost of blood and treasure of Americans)? Ditto re the Oil Lobby?

      If the teacher comes to a student and calls that student to account for some reason, say bullying in the gym, halls, or playground or for disrupting the class, is it kosher/enough/sufficient and to the teacher’s point for the student to respond to the teacher by whining, “What about Dick or Jane over there! They’ve been doing it too! They’re worse than me! Why you always pickin’ on me?”

  11. Citizen
    November 23, 2012, 9:03 am

    Well, Thanksgiving dinner with the family members in my local region is over. Nobody attending had the slightest interest in talking any politics, nor the slightest interest in Israel or what’s happening in Gaza. One of my sisters there knows the full score, but she’d never bring up such issues to relatives, (nor to most people), feeling it would get nowhere, even if anyone actually acted as if they heard whatever comment one wanted to wedge in during the football game. I did not say anything either; I knew everybody there well too.

    • Theo
      November 24, 2012, 8:50 am

      Yes, the good old american custom of never talking about politics or religion, because it inadvertently leads to disagreement and that would destroy the spirit of a holiday. Or even a party.
      I prefer good old european discussions just about everything, going on for hours and where all say their opinions without getting into a physical fight, as so common in the USA.

  12. Betsy
    November 23, 2012, 9:52 pm

    If anyone needs something to show relatives, that’s under 3 minutes & sums much of it up — here’s BBC reporter Owen Jones on Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

    • Ellen
      November 24, 2012, 4:57 am

      Betsy, thanks for pounting that out. Would love to get a transcript. And interesingly, not a word he said can be refuted.

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