Israel, your brand is tanking

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Carolyn Cole photo for LA Times of boy mourning a friend in makeshift graveyard in Gaza
Carolyn Cole photo for LA Times of Ahmed Wady mourning a friend in makeshift graveyard in Gaza  City

Over the last day or so there have been more and more signs that Israel’s image is tanking due its latest massacres in Gaza. Ordinary Americans see Palestinians being “annihilated,” and they’re angry about it.

The Gallup poll that shows 2-to-1 opposition to Israel’s war among the young and the non-white is getting a lot of pickup:

“Latest Gallup poll shows young Americans overwhelmingly support Palestine.”

Salon headlines the same trend:

“Millennials are over Israel. A new generation, outraged over Gaza, rejects Washington’s reflexive support.”

CNN featured the data last night and quoted a branding expert (I believe named Martha Pearson) saying,

“Israel’s image is taking a big hit here… Israel isn’t moving into the 21st century in terms of their media.”

The realist blogger Pat Lang says Israel’s support is disintegrating around the world— as the Israelis have made clear that genocide is one of their options.

[I]t can be seen at this point that while Israel has triumphed politically and militarily at the tactical level, it is defeated at the strategic level.  Hamas yet lives and continues to resist the fire storm of air strikes, artillery bombardment and ground action.  That very steadfastness places Israel in the position of eventually having to make a choice with regard to the Palestinians between actual, serious, bargaining or extermination.  The Israeli government and populace have chosen to believe that sufficient brutal force, if widely applied, would separate the resistance from the people.  That has failed no matter how much the Israelis would like to believe otherwise.  At the same time, political support for Israel is disintegrating across the world.  This is defeat.

Notice Lang’s wise observation that the resistance will never be separated from the people? This is the lesson of Northern Ireland and South Africa; and the best response to those who chant about the rockets, the rockets.

As many have noted, liberal Zionist MJ Rosenberg has had it with Israel over the filthy justifications of slaughter: 

Hasbara, “It was Lindbergh who killed the Lindbergh baby.” “It wasn’t Booth. Lincoln killed himself.” “Julius Caesar had a heart attack.”

Hasbara: “Kennedy was speeding in Dallas. It wasn’t Oswald.”

Speaking anecdotally, my sense of US public opinion on the left is that Israel is cooked. “I have come to hate Israel,” writes one friend to me. Another, on a hike, says, “That country has no legitimacy; do you know how it was created?” A third has begun using the term Nazion instead of Zionist. How is it pronounced? I asked.

Nazion is pronounced Natz Zion, combine Nazi and Zion. That way you get the play on “nation” as well as Nazi and Zion, an aural reflection on fanatic nationalism as well. 

Yes, I saw Chris Hayes deploring the comparison of Israelis to Nazis on Twitter. The responses to him reflect enormous rage toward Israel; and as Nick Galea, a defense attorney and baseball blogger in Illinois writes sensibly: 

“I think it’s a little smarmy to ask for nuance from the people being annihilated.”

(Also, no one should be barred from considering the Holocaust’s effect on Jews. As Norman Mailer said, Hitler’s bitter posthumous achievement was to reduce Jews to the question, Is it good for the Jews?)

Michael Walzer
Michael Walzer

Even Michael Walzer, the liberal Zionist political philosopher, seems to concede that Israel might be losing. In a call arranged by Peace Now today, he repeatedly analogized Israel’s position to that of the U.S. army in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

High tech armies lose wars of this sort by killing too many civilians– as we lost, the US lost, a war in Vietnam and may be losing a war in Afghanistan. Because this kind of warfare against people who live among and fight from among the  civilian population is enormously difficult.

Walzer pronounced Israel’s strikes on homes of Hamas officials to be morally wrong. And per Pat Lang, he said that Israel could win by annihilating a population, but it can’t do that “for moral and political reasons.”

More on the left-Israel divorce. This is from two weeks back. Leftwinger Sue Katz of Arlington MA says she’s done with Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken and Bernie Sanders:

This is a break-up letter, I’m sorry to tell you. I am done with each and every one of you. Don’t come knocking at my door or my inbox. Don’t look for my support…

I could do an ABC of brutal Occupation, but you ought to already understand what is being done by a country to which you vote billions of dollars in military and other support. You three are members of one of the most powerful political bodies in the world and you should be as ashamed of yourselves as I am of you. 

Lastly, I’d point to something posted by a pro-Israel outfit. Camera is very upset that the LA Times has run a photo gallery from Gaza without any photographs of Hamas militants. Well, then, go to that slideshow, many of them photos by Carolyn Cole, like the astonishing portrait at the top of this post of a boy mourning a friend in a makeshift graveyard in Gaza City. The Israel lobby doesn’t have a clue what is happening to it.

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“This is defeat.”

Israel has delegitimized itself…I hope that DC gets the message before it’s too late.

“The Israel lobby doesn’t have a clue what is happening to it.” Believe me, they have a very good idea. They understand that it’s principally a function of social media, which is why the numbers among 18-29 differ so much from other demographic groups. But they’re used to this, and… Read more »

The polls here would be corrupted. People I speak to, who have no dog in this fight are all horrified about what is happening in Gaza. No parent can see the brutality and loss of innocent lives, and NOT feel repulsed about what Israel is doing. I think the majority… Read more »

It would be strange if there wasnt pro-israel support since the media bias is still in 9/10 cases pro-israel.

Does the average Joe even know where Israel/Palestine is on a school map?

There is one thing what the recent polls don’t reflect, what I – based on my anecdotical view – assume that there is another big and very relevant change happening in the US. From what I see, a big change regarding Israel is underway in the US military establishment. I… Read more »