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Why do they hate us? Robust support (even by liberals) for ethnic cleansing

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Chase Madar

Chase Madar

Chase Madar has a great piece up at Tom Dispatch, “The Folly of Arming Israel,” that focuses on the central problem, American support for Israel’s militarism. “[I]t is hard to imagine what kind of progress can ever be made toward a just and lasting settlement between Israel and Palestine until Washington quits arming one side to the teeth.”

We are paying for ethnic cleansing, Madar says. Here is his nice neat description of the occupation:

In 1967, our client seized some contiguous pieces of real estate and ever since has been colonizing these territories with nearly 650,000 of its own people. It has divided the conquered lands with myriad checkpoints and roads accessible only to the colonizers and is building a 440-mile wall around (and cutting into) the conquered territory, creating a geography of control that violates international law.

“Ethnic cleansing” is a harsh term, but apt for a situation in which people are driven out of their homes and lands because they are not of the right tribe. Though many will balk at leveling this charge against Israel — for that country is, of course, the top recipient of American aid and especially military largesse — who would hesitate to use the term if, in a mirror-image world, all of this were being inflicted on Israeli Jews?…

The world observes the unfairness, but the United States is too imbedded in one side to understand how things appear:

Washington’s active role in all of this is not lost on anyone on the world stage — except Americans, who have declared themselves to be the even-handed arbiters of a conflict involving endless failed efforts at brokering a “peace process.” Globally, fewer and fewer observers believe in this fiction of Washington as a benevolent bystander rather than a participant heavily implicated in a humanitarian crisis. In 2012, the widely respected International Crisis Group described the “peace process” as “a collective addiction that serves all manner of needs, reaching an agreement no longer being the main one.”…

Madar shows that intelligent people in the U.S. regard the conflict as one between equal parties, when one has nukes; and then explains that the Israel lobby’s claims pervade our discourse.

when it comes to what Americans are most responsible for — all that lavish military aid and diplomatic cover for one side only — what you get is either euphemism or an evasive silence.
In general, the American media tends to treat our arming of Israel as part of the natural order of the universe, as beyond question as the force of gravity..

He lands on the Center for American Progress for the lies it tells itself about the conflict. And I always slam MSNBC; but not so well as Madar does here. The Agatha Christie line is excellent to convey the blindness.

You might think that the progressive hosts of MSNBC’s news programs would be all over the story of what American taxpayers are subsidizing, but the topic barely flickers across the chat shows of Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and others. Given this across-the-board selective reticence, American coverage of Israel and Palestine, and particularly of American military aid to Israel, resembles the Agatha Christie novel in which the first-person narrator, observing and commenting on the action in calm semi-detachment, turns out to be the murderer.

Madar scores the liberal Zionist lobby as just as helpless on the central issue as the rightwing lobby.

J Street (“pro-Israel and pro-peace”), a Washington-based nonprofit which bills itself as a moderate alternative to the powerhouse lobbying outfit, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), supports both “robust” military aid and any supplemental disbursements on offer from Washington to the Israeli Defense Forces.  Americans for Peace Now similarly takes the position that Washington should provide “robust assistance” to ensure Israel’s “qualitative military edge.” At the risk of sounding literal-minded, any group plumping for enormous military aid packages to a country acting as Israel has is emphatically not “pro-peace.”

Madar says that the US military is more frank than the media about how our attachment is hurting the country across the Middle East:

General James Mattis, echoed [David Petraeus’s] list of liabilities in a public dialogue with Wolf Blitzer last July:

“I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that [alienates] all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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26 Responses

  1. W.Jones on February 10, 2014, 10:36 am

    Americans for Peace Now similarly takes the position that Washington should provide “robust assistance” to ensure Israel’s “qualitative military edge.” At the risk of sounding literal-minded, any group plumping for enormous military aid packages to a country acting as Israel has is emphatically not “pro-peace.”

    How come we don’t get commentors coming in to Mondoweiss and arguing for the Liberal nationalist viewpoint much at all?

    The last major discussion for the liberal nationalist viewpoint was by J.Slater arguing that the state has to exist as a refuge for European racism and that this justifies removing the native population.

    • Hostage on February 10, 2014, 12:08 pm

      The last major discussion for the liberal nationalist viewpoint was by J.Slater arguing that the state has to exist as a refuge for European racism and that this justifies removing the native population.

      See Ynet, EU Passport as Backup Plan:

      The pursuit of European passports: ‘There’s somewhere to escape to’: The Spanish law allowing Jews to claim Spanish citizenship gives many Israelis a chance to dream, have a backup plan

      For years, Israelis have been searching for the Ashkenazi connection that would allow them to receive the sought-after European passport. Thousands of them discovered over the weekend that the path to obtaining the passport is shorter than ever – and will actually be acquired through a Sephardic connection.

      The never-ending pursuit for the European passport does not surprise Zeev Tzahor, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University and former President of Sapir College. “The Zionist assumption that the establishment of a Jewish state would give them a ‘safe haven’, as stated in the Zionist Congress in Basel, seems very distant today. If there’s a place that’s the least safe for Jews, it’s the Jewish state. Even if not everyone admits it, some Israelis who are aware of the Jewish history, prepare a shelter for themselves, like every generation tends to do, to be on the safe side. That’s the main reason for the attraction of the foreign passport.”,7340,L-4486514,00.html

      • amigo on February 10, 2014, 12:38 pm

        As a European ,I object strongly to issuing Passports to Jewish Israelis who refuse to support ROR to the Palestinians to their homes in Israel.Clearly the same applies to Jews anywhere who deny Palestinian ROR.

        We should require them to sign a document demanding equal treatment for Palestinians , otherwise no ROR to the EU for them.

      • Sycamores on February 10, 2014, 3:22 pm

        i suppose for some israelis receiving European passports is like finding a place on a lifeboat leaving a sinking ship.
        it would seem the foreseeable future of israel is not so bright or secure for some israelis.

        the ‘safe haven’ in Europe or/and the high cost of living in israel is driving israelis out.

        the high cost of living in israel can be connected to the cost of the occupation (albeit heavily subsidised by the EU) and the fiancial cost of supporting the welfare of the illegal settlements.
        not to mention israel military expenduture is 6.9% of GDP (0ne of the highest % in the world), not forgeting the annual 3.1 billion dollars in American military aid.

      • W.Jones on February 10, 2014, 5:15 pm

        Yes, Palestine was rather safe in 1920. The Muslims had lived with Jews for 1500 years rather harmoniously. Plus, they were pretty weak as a military force, so there would not be much opposition from that side. We have tons of weapons, good organization and training and fight hard.

        The casualties in the Israeli-palestinian issue in all of 2009 was over 1300 vs. under 20 (like 10). In the 1960’s – 1970’s, the opposing armies got slaughtered in the 10’s of thousands. Now the Israelis have nukes and the other guys don’t.

        Pretty much locked down the victories there, huh?

        Plus, in the tiny non-possibility that things go wrong, there’s always Europe or America.

      • xanadou on February 10, 2014, 6:52 pm

        Islam was founded in the 7th century and did not become a religion of consequence for at least another century, so the claim of 1500 years.
        is an unnecessary exaggeration. However, history does confirm that during the Arab hegemony centered around Spain (until the 15th century), and then during the Ottoman empire, minorities such as the Jews were too small to be considered a threat. Therefore, granting such minorities a problem-free life was a smart, long-term, political move. That latter concept, inexplicably, eludes the fanatics known as the Israeli government.

        Will Israel survive to celebrate its centennial? I doubt it considering the unchecked exponential violence against the Palestinians, the growing disgust of the world population bored of the hearing about the Shoah, and ongoing revival of two millennia-old voluntary exodus of Jews out of Palestine. I’m told there are bookies who are taking bets when the crash will happen. That is not a good omen…

      • chocopie on February 11, 2014, 4:28 am

        My teenage son has a friend who is Israeli and he was proud to tell us that he has four passports, two European (based on his parents’ origins), U.S., and Israeli. A bit hard to take since most of our Palestinian family members are stateless and don’t even have one passport.

      • just on February 11, 2014, 6:41 am

        That’s about as stunning a reality of the injustice as anything I have ever read anywhere. Why does any Israeli need more than one, anyway? Paranoia? Greed? Entitlement? As for your family’s plight………may that change for the better very soon. They’ve waited for FAR too long and deserve their freedom and human rights restored.
        Thanks, chocopie.

  2. frankier on February 10, 2014, 10:43 am

    This is a great article by Chase Madar.

    However, this is also sad. Madar is not really saying anything new, nothing that the average person could not gather by him/her/self. Most likely, Madar’s excellent article will not make it in the mainstream media in print, in video, or otherwise.

    Basically, Madar’s article will stay within the confine of people who have already an acute sense of awareness of the situation. As such, I don’t expect Madar’s article to change anyone’s mind, and this is sad because it is a very good summary of what has been happening in the Israel/US arena that people could use to educate themselves on the subject… if they only wanted or had the interest.

    • Citizen on February 11, 2014, 11:21 am

      @ frankier
      I agree. Here’s Madar’s excellent corresponding interview with Scott Horton on the latter’s radio show–Madar really boils down why Americans need to learn that the US is anything but an “honest broker” in the I-P peace process:

      The folly of arming Israel indeed!
      Dick and Jane remain oblivious.
      Inch by inch, I guess.

  3. dbroncos on February 10, 2014, 11:00 am

    Chris Hays, Rachael Maddow et al. are racists and fascist sympathizers. In yesterday’s NYT Tom Freidman blamed Hamas for “mismanaging” the water supply in Gaza which is predicted to run out in 2016. I hope these “journalists” will be remembered for their callous hatred and bigotry and that the stain follows them for the rest of their careers because its what they’ve earned.

    • xanadou on February 10, 2014, 7:11 pm

      I’m not sure the term “racist” is fair. I think the problem is sadly very parochial: cowardly fear for their job security and fear of AIPAC (whose own insanity is also largely induced by their very well remunerated, cushy, no-brainer jobs that long ago have past their “use-by” date). I do agree, however, that their (CH’s and RM’s) intellectual opportunism is an indelible stain, a ghost that one day will howl back at them.

  4. chinese box on February 10, 2014, 11:05 am

    Speaking of “liberals”, looking forward to the MW take on Roger Cohen’s “BDS Threat” piece today…

    • Hostage on February 10, 2014, 1:03 pm

      Speaking of “liberals”, looking forward to the MW take on Roger Cohen’s “BDS Threat” piece today…

      He’s being insincere by trying to re-frame Israel as the national home of the Zionists, but not of the Palestinian refugees. If Palestinian rights lapse after a few generations in exile, then there is no basis to recognize a superior right for a Zionist to return on the basis of an individual’s self-professed “historical connection” to Palestine.

      Cohen glosses over the fact that the South African BDS movement certainly did intend to bring to an end the white apartheid character of the state and supported the reconstitution of the Republic on the basis of a new interim (1993) and permanent Constitution (1997). Achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return are not a “hidden agenda” of the BDS movement. It is Cohen who is hiding his own agenda by advocating the maintenance of a status quo achieved through eviction by armed attack (a.k.a. ethnic cleansing), occupation, and the policy of apartheid. There is no law against equality for all. See the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity regarding the prohibition of Cohen’s proposed agenda.

    • ritzl on February 10, 2014, 5:51 pm

      Roger Cohen: …This is the hidden agenda of B.D.S., its unacceptable subterfuge: beguile, disguise and suffocate. …

      More like “its unacceptable suffrage…” as was the case in South Africa, which Cohen gratuitously inflates to something completely different when it comes to Israel.

      Cohen starts out unequivocal with, “The messianic idea of Greater Israel, occupying all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, must wither.” as a written warning for the unabashed Zionist PTB/faithful, emanating from the NYT, but the rest of the article is ignorable rationalization and deflection for the rest of us.

      As always, people that heap dispersions on BDS never offer an alternative to the current Israeli intransigence.

      If you want it to be a Jewish state, Mr. Cohen, tell us how you would overcome/address the insurmountable resistance in Israel to any mechanism whatsoever for assimilating millions of Palestinians under Israeli control. Control that would continue under the current “peace framework.”

      “Equitable land swaps” is great cocktail discussion, but HOW? Even just how in some realistic time frame?” Or should the Palestinians just wait for this type of intra-Jewish discussion to head in a discernable direction? After all this time, would you wait for that if you were them?

      This way-too-timid and belated exhortation/discussion about two-states, among non-Palestinians-who-lord-over-Palestine is becoming a real joke. The realities have passed Mr. Cohen by.

      • chinese box on February 10, 2014, 8:20 pm

        Thanks Hostage & Ritzl…I’m hoping Mondoweiss will have a blog entry on this oped since he actually mentioned BDS by name (while demonizing it, of course)…

  5. pabelmont on February 10, 2014, 12:38 pm

    I’ve heard Madar speak — he’s wonderful. And his remarks here are spot on. I like very much the Agatha Christie line.

    As to our benighted media folks, they live in (or assume with good reason that they live in) a world where one may lose not only one’s job but also one’s employability at all (due to blackball) for speaking truths about USA-Israel-Imperialism-Racism out loud (i.e., “speaking truth to power”.)

    That’s the way it is, or is perceived, and who doubts it? Who wants to be the FIRST to risk a lifetime of employment? And don’t forget what happened to JFK, MLK Jr.

    Still one would hope that someone would make the jump from opposing AIPAC on Iran to opposing AIPAC in other ways. Hope, but not really expect.

  6. American on February 10, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Yes,Yes,Yes !

    We must impose sanctions” on Israel says British MP

    Stuart Littlewood February 9, 2014 21

    Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Gorton, Manchester

    ”The time when we could condemn Israel and think that that was enough has long passed. The Israelis do not care about condemnation. They are self-righteous. We must now take action against them. We must impose sanctions. If the spineless Obama will not do it, we must do it—even unilaterally. We must press the European community for it to be done. – Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Gorton, Manchester

    by Stuart Littlewood

    I’d like to share, especially with American readers, a great moment in the British Parliament on 5 February when the MP for Gorton, Manchester, Sir Gerald Kaufman rose to speak in a debate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Here is what he said word for word so that you get the full flavor:

    “I once led a delegation of 60 parliamentarians from 13 European Parliaments to Gaza. I could no longer do that today because Gaza is practically inaccessible. The Israelis try to lay the responsibility on the Egyptians, but although the Egyptians’ closing of the tunnels has caused great hardship, it is the Israelis who have imposed the blockade and are the occupying power. The culpability of the Israelis was demonstrated in the report to the UN by Richard Goldstone following Operation Cast Lead. After his report, he was harassed by Jewish organizations. At the end of a meeting I had with him in New York, his wife said to me, “It is good to meet another self-hating Jew.”

    Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalized with that as the justification. That is unacceptable.

    The statistics are appalling. There is fresh water for a few hours every five days. Fishing boats are not allowed to go out—in any case, what is the point, because the waters are so filthy that no fish they catch can be eaten? The Israelis are victimizing the children above all. Half the population of this country is under the voting age. What is being done to those children—the lack of nutrition—is damaging not only their bodies and brains; it will go on for generation after generation.

    It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away. The right hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) quoted the Prime Minister as saying that Gaza is a prison camp. It is all very well for him to say that, as he did, in Turkey—he was visiting a Muslim country—but what is he doing about it? Nothing, nothing, nothing!

    The time when we could condemn and think that that was enough has long passed. The Israelis do not care about condemnation. They are self-righteous and complacent. We must now take action against them. We must impose sanctions. If the spineless Obama will not do it, we must do it—even unilaterally. We must press the European community for it to be done. These people cannot be persuaded. We cannot appeal to their better nature when they do not have one. It is all very well saying, “Wicked, wicked Hamas.” Hamas is dreadful. I have met people from Hamas, but nothing it has done justifies punishing children, women and the sick as the Israelis are doing now. They must be stopped.

    As has been pointed out, there is a time limit for what we are talking about. The idea that things can go on, while we wait for a two-state solution, is gone. Sooner or later, the Palestinians will say, “We are dying anyhow, so let us die for something.” Let us stop that: I do not want a war. I do not want violent action, but the action that the international community takes must be imposed, otherwise hell will break loose. ”

    Sir Gerald is one of the very few heroic figures in British politics. His family suffered horribly during the Holocaust. After the Israelis’ Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in 2008/9 in which they slaughtered 1400, mostly civilians including hundreds of children, he told the House of Commons: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

    He doesn’t mince words; he knows the Israeli regime for what it really is. “They’re not simply war criminals, they’re fools”. He calls Israel itself a “pariah state”.

    In April 2002, during Israel’s controversial military operation codenamed Defensive Shield, Kaufman said in the Commons: “It is time to remind Sharon that the Star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive Government. His actions are staining the star of David with blood.”

    He also compared Hamas in Gaza to the Jewish resistance during World War II. “The spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians. The total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that ’500 of them were militants’. That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

    As for Hamas, he describes them as “a deeply nasty organization, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.” He pointed out that the Irgun [infamously responsible for the bombing in 1946 of the King David Hotel, HQ of the British Mandate government, murdering 91, and the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948] were terrorists, and that “Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism”.

    There’s an interesting footnote on the Wiki page which says: “In 2010, the Supreme Court of Israel rejected a petition by the newspaper Haaretz for the declassification of documents, reports and photographs concerning the Deir Yassin massacre. The court cited the possible damage to Israel’s foreign relations…”

    The US Congress is stuffed to the gunwales with Jews and Zionist stooges and hirelings. How is it that they are so taken in, or cowed, by the lie machine that few, if any, have the balls or integrity to see the Israeli regime, like Kaufman, for what it is. If they did – and acted accordingly – there would be far less grief around the world.”

    • RoHa on February 11, 2014, 10:16 pm

      Good old Gerald is one of the few who are not deserving of the general contempt directed towards politicians.

  7. W.Jones on February 11, 2014, 1:01 am

    Please read:

    The key term is called “transfer”. It was practically never called expulsion or ethnic cleansing, etc.

    • Talkback on February 11, 2014, 8:24 am

      Ben Gurion: “I support compulsory transfer.”
      Plan Daleth: “Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the. armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

      • W.Jones on February 12, 2014, 10:54 am


        And how, you ask me, can socialism solve this [Jewish] question?…
        Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations on the basis of the most developed technique and culture. It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy . This is the grand historical perspective that I envisage. To work for international socialism means also to work for the solution of the Jewish question.

        Please tell me, where are the “Arabs” “scattered” and where will they go?
        (Earlier he says this is a hypothesis for a temporary period)

  8. NickJOCW on February 11, 2014, 6:11 pm

    The US doesn’t provide Israel with all those weapons for the purpose of battering the Palestinians. Israel is a US military base and its actions are sugar coated just like Bahrain’s. The first of four US missile destroyers has just arrived at the Spanish naval station at Rota, presumably a piece moved on the chessboard in its stand-off with Russia. But also not that far from my peaceful Andalusian home. The US is the most ruthless and dangerous nation on earth and wont let anyone live in peace. Those who doubt that should listen to Nuland’s plans for Ukraine. And some of those she is talking about are anti-Semitic fascists.

    A Palestinian man in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip has come up with a new method to light up houses and streets in his neighborhood as the Palestinian territory suffers from massive power cuts, Press TV reports.
    Hassan Saad, who is in his thirties, has launched a project to make use of expired and broken batteries to produce electricity.

    It brings tears to my eyes.

  9. TheWatcherWatching on February 12, 2014, 12:14 am

    See I don’t know if your arguments will work for people on the right. I would definitely try to fracture there alliance. The arguments I try to use can you be conservative and be in favour of Israel the worlds biggest welfare state. Then to the Christian zealots I would bring stories about Jews literally spitting on them, I would mention quotes about netyahoo calling christian zionists scum and useful idiots.

    Whenever anyone mentions the Iranians threatening to wipe Israel off the map you should counter by bringing up the Samson option.

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