Five days ago, Ben Ehrenreich published a very strong piece at Politico, titled “How Israel Is Inciting Palestinian Violence: Inside the oppressive and far-reaching occupation designed to give Palestinians the “feeling of being chased.” The piece is an excerpt of his new book about the occupation, The Way to the Spring. But it began with the plain argument that the Tel Aviv attack killing four on June 8 is inevitable given the brutality of the occupation. It’s amazing and wonderful that Politico ran his analysis:
Tel Aviv’s Mayor Ron Huldai found the courage to state the obvious—that violence will persist until the occupation ends. Israel “is perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights,” Huldai said. Such frankness counts as bravery these days, but even Huldai was understating the truth. It’s not the mere fact of a military occupation, of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory, that provokes such attacks. It can be difficult to comprehend from across the Atlantic, or even from usually tranquil Tel Aviv, but the occupation, as I have observed while reporting from the West Bank since 2011, functions as a massive mechanism for the creation of uncertainty, dispossession and systematic humiliation. It is not just soldiers and guns, but a far-reaching structure that affects all aspects of Palestinian life—a complex web of checkpoints, travel restrictions, permits, walls and fences, courts and prisons, endless constraints on economic possibilities, home demolitions, land appropriations, expropriation of natural resources, and, too often, lethal force.
No amount of preventive repression or collective punishment will bring an end to the bloodletting in Tel Aviv or elsewhere. As long as this oppressive system stands, and the United States continues to support it with billions of dollars a year in military aid, despair will spread, and with it death.
The piece was promptly met by a broadside from Camera, the pro-Israel organization, calling on its members to flog Politico with criticisms of the decision to run Ehrenreich’s views.
Camera began an email blast with its own attack on the article as somehow anti-semitic (“Politico—a newspaper and Web site covering Congress, the White House and politics—has published an Op-Ed claiming the Jewish state ‘provokes such attacks’ … [The article] perversely—not to mention counter-factually—cited Israeli ‘settlements’ and ‘despair’ over the lack of a Palestinian state as the motive for anti-Jewish violence”) before telling its readers how to proceed:
Please use as the basis for your own letters. Do not recirculate to members of the news media or individuals you do not know to be committed to accurate Middle East news coverage.
Please contact POLITICO:
• Write a letter to POLITICO at:
1000 Wilson Blvd., 8th floor
Arlington, VA 22209
• Or call 703-647-7999
• And tweet @POLITICOMag
• Also tweet @BenEhrenreich
• E-mail Blake Hounshell, Editorial Director at [email protected] or tweet @blakehounshell
• Also e-mail Gillian Reagan, Managing Editor at [email protected]
As always, make your points courteously, but directly.
Two can play this game.
Estee Chandler of KPFK’s Middle East in Focus sent out an email urging folks to thank Politico for the excellent piece, and Ehrenreich published the full CAMERA alert on Facebook along with a similar appeal:
Dear friends: It has come to my attention that the ironically named CAMERA (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) just put out this alert asking their supporters to write to the editors of Politico to protest the publication of an excerpt of my book this week. CAMERA, for those who don’t know them, is devoted solely to silencing and discrediting any media reporting critical of Israel. In the current environment, it was an act of considerable bravery for Politico to run my work, and I’m grateful to them for it. If you have the time and inclination, please write to the editors to thank them for having the courage to show a side of the story that is rarely shown in the US press. You can email their editors here: http://
Many thanks for your support.
That’s the main point here: the mayor of Tel Aviv can advance this analysis about the occupation, and some brave people in the U.S., but it’s still verboten in the mainstream to describe the political roots of terrorism; and CAMERA wants to keep it that way. These people hate Jews, is the CAMERA narrative. Now Politico has broken the seal and is finally acknowledging some of the truths of the conflict. This will make it harder for the State Department and State reporters to talk about Palestinian incitement, harder for politicians to trash Palestine at any opportunity.