Two smart pieces from Daniel Larison- the first on the intent of the blockade, and the second, which I will focus on, about the reaction from the most fervent Israel supporters:
The people who should be most furious about this are Israel’s reflexive defenders. They are reduced to making excuses for the inexcusable consequences of a bungled raid carried out in support of a misguided blockade policy that has been damaging Israel’s reputation every day since it began. It ought to make them more critical of the recklessness and stupidity of the Netanyahu government, but on the whole this has not been their response.***
Perhaps most galling about the overall defense of the raid is the constant invocation of self-defense. Everything Israel does is always done in self-defense, no matter how excessive, disproportionate, unnecessary, wrong or aggressive it is. When everything becomes a matter of self-defense and the proper distinctions between actual legtimate self-defense and reckless excesses are erased, pretty soon most of the rest of the world won’t pay any attention to Israeli claims of self-defense even when they are legitimate. There was not much of a reservoir of goodwill for Israel in the world after the war in Lebanon, but successive Israeli governments have done everything they can to exhaust what little remains in that reservoir. We are not watching Israel defend itself. We are watching Israel slowly destroy itself.
Why is this not transparently obvious to everyone? Rather than admit that this has been an absolute disaster and the Israeli raid has done more for the cause of Hamas than anything Hamas could ever hope to pull off on their own, instead we are greeted with excuse making, farcical invocations of “self-defense,” and then called anti-Semites or useful idiots for even daring to question the wisdom of this sort of behavior.
What has Israel accomplished other than to mortally wound their public image, likely leading to the end of the Gaza blockade, inflame anti-Israeli sentiment all over the Muslim world and beyond, destroy her relationship with Turkey, put the United States in a horrible bind, and put on clear display the fecklish and irresponsible nature of her current government. What was accomplished here that is good for Israel? Can anyone think of anything?
I know, I know. I’m an anti-Semite for asking that.
Substitute “United States” for “Israel” for most of our post-9/11 activities… the shoe fits.
Made them look tough and strong in the eyes of Israelis? I’m not so sure that’s good in the long run, but in the very short run it could be good politics.
Forcing Israel to end the Gaza blockade will, eventually, redound to its benefit as well as that of the Palestianians. Both sides have got to end their aggressive idiocy and political posturing, sit down, and devise a solution that’ll involve painful — but necessary — compromise for both. The alternative is endless war, which benefits only arms suppliers, craven politicians who want to appear “strong”, and the bloviating blabberers of bullshit who enable them.
In explaining why wars (or “incidents”) occur, I tend to go to what I call the Clausewitz/O’Neill Principle.
Clausewitz said: War is a continuation of politics.
Tip O’Neill said: All politics is local.
Clausewitz/O’Neill: Wars begin for *domestic* political reasons — the audience for action abroad is at home.
So, like Violet, I assume that the “audience” for the attack is Israeli society. I don’t know enough about Israeli internal politics to say which faction(s) are saying what to whom, or how the message is being received.
Greg Sargent has a piece up interviewing Anthony Weiner, a Congressman I have really admired up until now. Weiner is really toe-ing a very hard pro-IDF line. I get that his constituents may feel that this is necessary. And I suppose I get that a (certain kind) of American of Jewish extraction–just like me!–might choose to protect Israel at some points, on some issues. But somebody else’s messiah on toast points this is just disgusting. Weiner absolutely insists that the Israelis have the right to determine what the “motives” of the peace activists were and that they were “provoked” into violence. That’s like saying the old lady in the cross walk “provoked” me into hitting her with my car so it ok that I killed her.
The point I’m trying to make here is that *other than this* I’ve really liked Weiner’s politics, I’ve supported him politically and financially. But he has some kind of hideous blind spot which makes a fairly rational, gutsy, liberal dem into an apologist for state terrorism, murder, and international lawbreaking. What are we to do, as Dems? I hate to say it but I’m coming around to the view, which I previously avoided holding, which says that Israel’s politics are poisoning our politics as much as our politics are poisoning the world’s.
who called you an anti-semite for saying this?
I see this all over now. People criticize israel and then say they’re going to be called anti-semites for doing so.
What has Israel accomplished?
It has forced the US to defend it in the UN, against NATO allies upon whom it depends for its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What difference does it make? No one is changing their mind on either side. These people have been killing each other for centuries and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
You’re just now coming to this conclusion?
I watched BBC News last night and that’s what the reporter thought the purpose of the blockade was (i.e. Israeli domestic politics).
For those who don’t follow the link to the other piece:
This has always been bluntly obvious, outside the weird bubble of pro-militarist insanity characterizing the way the whole subject of Israel and the Palestinians is treated in our billion dollar media.
Actually, it’s a part of a much larger strategy, too: if someday there really is some two state settlement, it will be with the most pathetic, starved, patchwork-carved joke of a state for the Palestinians imaginable.
I think the term we were throwing around a few weeks ago was “epistemic closure.” The villagers and the neocons operate in an echo chamber where Israel and US business interests can do no wrong.
Unfortunately, the dominance of the US in economics and defense has allowed us to get away with a lot of stupid stuff (deficits, reckless invasions, support of corrupt elites in key countries) for a long time. The spectacle of watching those chickens come home to roost is going to be ugly, and quite painful primarily to people who had little to do with the decisions and reaped none of the benefits.
@D-Chance.: Um, I think you’d better see a doctor, pronto. You seem to have sustained a serious concussion.
Uhm, the confrontation made clear just how weak/how much of an Israel-hater/how liberal Obama is?
O/T (and deserves its own new thread): Holder has filed criminal charges against BP.
@MTiffany: changed that didn’t ya?
Obama’s not really weak, in all honesty. He’s always been very resolute with regard to Israel: Uber Alles.
On the question raised above–that is “was it good for the jews?” and if so, “in what way, Katie?” My own feeling is that the Israeli government overreached itself and imagined that what they would get would be some kind of “raid on entebbe” like footage/coverage. They made the crashing mistake of thinking that the world can be divided into “with us” and “against us” and that those who are “with us” will see the peace activists and their mission as risible and beside the point. And, historically, this has pretty much been the case. The Israeli’s have been indefensibly blockading and bombing Gaza for years without anyone who was not already an political enemy of Israel making a peep. They ran over Rachel Corrie and we didn’t do a thing.
I’m avoiding all coverage because its so horrifying, to me. But I really believe that this is the beginning of the end to Israeli impunity. And I hope, though I don’t have much hope, that if enough former allies *and the US* manage to turn away from enabling this insane policy that Israel’s domestic policy will right itself and become more sane with regard to the Palestinians. But I don’t have much hope. The people of Israel have to hit rock bottom and also see light in peace negotiations (to mix my metaphors) and I doubt if they will do the former, or see the latter.
I know we can’t expect Obama to break ranks.
God forbid he jump out of the box now.
I don’t mean to turn this into a Bash-Obama post, but Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick, I can’t believe this President is doing so little with so much opportunity.
It seems on every single crucial issue, Obama has safely nestled right into “let’s not rock the boat, baby” mode.
He will give some lip service. But off-shore drilling will resume; Banks too Big Too Fail will continue to exist; Middle-America will continue to be squeezed so that rich can continue to increase their wealth, and America will not, in any meaningful way, condemn Israel and her actions.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t imagine the clusterfuck we’d be in with a McCain/Palin monstrosity, but goddammit Obama, I’m starting to believe the MSM narratives about you now.
Start fucking leading.
The sub-head to Bradley Burston’s excellent “The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea” (which I linked to earlier today, too, in HaAretz) is: “We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege, which is itself becoming Israel’s Vietnam.”
O/T (and deserves its own new thread): Holder has filed criminal charges against BP.
ETA: Sorry, I was sloppy there. Holder announced that the US has opened a *criminal probe* but has not filed charges.
I don’t see how any American can object – this is the Bush Doctrine in action. And we gave him a full 2 terms, so we must have been supportive of his philosophy and processes.
Otherwise we would have…I don’t know, voted him out of office and then initiated criminal investigations for fraud, conspiracy and war crimes. Or something like that.
WE made this OK years ago. So now we can suck it.
He’s wrong here. If Hamas is kept impotent, some other group that promises action and demonstrates their intent will come along. This is the history of the area.
Hamas will look like reasonable people compared to whatever comes next, just as the PLO are reasonable compared to Hamas.
filed charges or opened probe?
if you’re like me, then you’ll suspect that this event will change nothing. which will just embolden Israel to do even more stupid shit in the future, which will also change nothing. win!
@Allison W: Opened probe. I corrected myself at #21. Apollogies.
I blame Krav Maga.
The whole IDF learns it and drills in it. It is, AFAICT, built on very fast, reflexive, deadly, brutal, and aggressive pre-emptive strikes.
Maybe it’s gotten into everyone’s muscle-memory there in the right wing and IDF, from all the training.
john is perfectly reasonable/ironic for expecting to be labeled an anti-semite. see Goldstone, Beinart, Jimmy Carter or Chomsky (or any number of Ha’aretz columnists) for that matter. It’s shorthand for: let’s discuss the matter at hand, please.
but while we’re at it. i must protest the way jews are treated like second-class citizens in these matters. why can’t a yid like me be called an ‘anti-semite’ like any goy? has assimilation amounted to nothing? Harumph!
Putting the US in a horrible bind is a feature, not a bug.
More like…who hasn’t?
It’s the Slur of Last Resort, but alas….a slur of epic proportions. No politician could ever survive being labeled as such. Bloghosts largely brush it off, but I’m sure it stings.
Perhaps because that is what happens to anyone who publicly criticize Israel for anything at all? Just ask Matt Yglesias all about what a self-hating Jew he is.
For all the conservatives pleading self-defense, implying that this ship full of activists threatened the security of Israel, can we please adopt this same line for all the AK-47 wielders at Tea Party protests?
I’m not sure there’s much more to do – the wheels are too greased and the game’s too fixed. If you don’t signal more or less complete willingness to stay in “don’t rock the boat” mode during your campaign, you get laughed out of the race a la Kucinich. Even if someone who wanted to deal with this stuff managed to slip into office, the Congress is so overwhelmingly bought and paid for that room to maneuver is pretty limited.
The powers that be are happy with the path we’re on now. Short of a major crisis that changes that configuration of power, they’re not going to allow any but the most marginal changes. Think of the ACA as the outer limit. And if 2008 wasn’t enough of a crisis to do it, I don’t want to live through the one that would.
Which would suit Bibi just perfectly. That’s where all his insanity comes from to start with–Entebbe.
I’m sure you know all this, aimai, but for the education of any of BJers who don’t…
Just read this and it annoyed me immensely. Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast”:
“It is not the Israeli naval commandos who should be judged guilty. Upon dismounting their helicopter onto the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, they found themselves, unexpectedly, in the belly of an armed mob. ”
To his credit, Beinart goes on to criticize the very top of the Israeli leadership, as he has been doing lately. But when you raid, attack, and board a ship in international waters, how can you say the Israeli commandos “found themselves, unexpectedly” in the belly of an “armed” mob?”
Uh, who’s the armed mob here? I’ve read three humanitarian observers on the ship said the boat was unarmed. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but smearing the victims as a “mob”- armed with crowbars? utterly ruins any good point Beinart was trying to make, and it’s why I think he is still such a smug weasel.
Where’s Cheney been? This has his stink all over it. Him and Bibi have been co-conspirators for years, and I wouldn’t put it past him to be ratfucking Obama. He’s a sick fucking traitorous snake.
@Violet: They accomplished exactly what they wanted–but it’s not ‘Israel’ that accomplished it, it’s ‘the Israeli right.’ It’s like our invasion of Iraq. You wanna push the country rightward? Spend more money on the military? Foster a sense of righteous persecution that empowers the worst domestic elements?
Everyone plays their part–Hamas, the Turks, the Israelis, the US, the UN, the peace activists and the warmongers. It’s a perpetual motion machine.
kommrade reproductive vigor
Every few years you have to throw a ship full of relief workers up against the wall to prove you mean business.
I think Israel’s reaction comes from the fact that they see themselves as under siege. Every country around them does not like them, harbor’s terrorists, or uses Israel as a political pinata when elections come around.
I’m not excusing what they did but you can see how their mentality leads them to actions like this. The Jewish people, which dominate Israel, have spent the last two thousand years being blamed for everything from the black death to economic collapse, when that happens, they get slaughtered. They are currently besieging an enemy that doesn’t believe they have a right to exist as well as a substantial civilian population. The rest of the world wants them to loosen up on them. From their point of view, what would be the advantage? Since increasing the pressure on Hamas, they have decreased the amount of suicide bombings while increasing the amount of rockets that are incoming. Less death for them from their point of view.
So in response to this, they have become a tad desensitized to what the rest of the world thinks of them. Turkey has also been ratcheting up the pressure as the election for the current president, the two main political parties are trying to take the lead here.
None of this excuses what happened but it does explain the mentality of both sides.
Sorry for repeating myself, but since Entebbe has come up, I am copying my comment that I just made a half-dozen threads ago:
Let’s pretend to be pragmatic. How has this event advanced Israel’s self-interests? How, specifically? The blowback is bad and getting worse, and it outweighs whatever tactical goal the operation may have been intended to achieve. It wasn’t a credible, defensible operation that went badly. It was an ill-thought out, bizarre, unnecessary operation that got completely fucked up. Paintball guns? Lowering Israeli soldiers one by one into a mob? How does this make sense?
Benyamin Netanyahu has never gotten over the memory of Entebbe, the deadly but effective raid on the airport to free hostages, the operation in which one IDF soldier was killed: the commander of the unit, Yonatan Netanyahu. That would be Bibi’s older brother, the one who’s regarded as a hero. Bibi’s the other one.
@MikeJ: I’m sure Larison was implying a movement resistant to Hamas (remember, the Hamas whose formation Israel supported to undermine the PLO) which he, Larison, and likely his readers, would see as more desirable. That would be my guess.
Because Israel and its enablers in the US have fully embraced neo-conservative epistemology (or is that ontology):
The fact that they have provoked the Turks is absolutely staggering. Sure, Turkey under the AKP has been increasingly critical of Israel, but this really stepped it up a notch, esp. after the kick in the nuts professional asshole Danny Ayalon delivered to the Turkish ambassador – one of the most pro-Israeli Turkish politicians – back in January.
Still, they will deny deny deny because it is straight out of the Hasbara manual.
And I think everyone should add Mondoweiss to their bookmarks/blogrolls. It’s an excellent blog run by a Jewish New Yorker that also goes out of its way to feature Palestinian and non-Jewish voices.
Yeah, good point. I’d actually forgotten that. I guess what I was thinking really was that Israel and Israelis seem to take pride in being outcasts in a kind of sour grapes way, but also long for a heroic and admired moment in which they can be reintegrated into a world community as more than the US’s kid brother. I think Entebbe was, for them, such a moment. They also have a huge chip on their shoulder about being castigated for things that, as they see it, Arab countries do routinely. When people had longer memories the Israelis would always bring up the destruction of the Syrian city of Hama:
Something the world made nary a peep over. But I’ve always felt that its a case of “too bad, so sad” just because the world is full of murderous assholes doesn’t mean that your country gets a free pass to do this shit. It just means that life is unfair that way. One’s duty to behave morally, as a person or as a country, isn’t conditioned by the behavior of other people or countries.
Some fine comments here. As for anti-Semitism, isn’t it anti-Semitic to hold Israel to a lesser moral standard than one holds other countries, as if they were not capable of better?
well said, sheila.
I agree. These kinds of comments really bug me. It’s the equivalent of some rightwinger preemptively playing the race card — “Oh, and I suppose you’ll call me a racist for saying that. Race card!” I completely agree that many defenders of Israel unfairly label critics of Israel as antisemites, but preemptively playing the antisemite card doesn’t help matters.
But Israel has signed peace treaties with two of its neighbours: Egypt and Jordan. It had a chance to do the same with Syria (and Lebanon until 2005 because it was under Syrian control) but refuses to withdraw from the Golan (which I tend to believe has as much to with water rights as security, which I also think it behind the reluctance to withdraw from the West Bank.) There must be some value in these treaties or they wouldn’t have entered into them.
I don’t think there is much argument that Egypt or Jordan are existential threats anymore.
So much of that siege mentality is self inflicted.
@aimai: It’s probably worth mentioning that it’s pretty unlikely that anyone could particularly have stopped Syria from slaughtering one of its own cities, and at the time the Soviets or Chinese didn’t particularly give a flip, and it’s not like the U.S. or Europe were funding the Syrian authorities’ massacre. It’s not exactly like the Israeli authorities were exercised over the Syrian government slaughtering civilians in a move to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood in that nation. It’s a weird thing for pro-militarists on the Israeli side to cite, because it just proves that a lot of government slaughter a lot of people.
About 20,000 were killed in the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, but they weren’t just bombarded in a city in a few days, but over a longer time period. They were assisted by Reagan having the U.S. Navy fire giant shells into Beirut to blow the hell out of civilian structures. Though there were those several hundred refugees slaughtered in the Sabra and Shatila camps under Israeli military watch and lighting by the Israeli forces’ allies, the fascist Phalangist forces.
Heh. My husband got called an anti-Semite just last week, on Facebook, by a (now former) friend who’s Jewish and a die-hard Israel supporter. He’d objected to some of Israel’s behavior.
So, yes. It happens even if you’re not a powerful journalist or politician.
Hey Dan: Check the other threads. Commenters Dave and Phil pretty much just posted the terms “anti-Semite” and “Nazi” in place of any other content.
@John Cole (quoting Larison)
to which John Cole added:
Most dangerously for Jews and Israel, the charge of anti-Semitism loses its potency and meaning when diluted to include anyone who questions or criticizes Israel, rather than limiting it to bona fide pathological Jew haters. I’m just about to the point of being ready to shout back: “if being critical of Israeli actions is enough to make me an anti-Semite, then so be it I am one and so are a billion or so other Western people who are otherwise not innately opposed to the Jews or to the continued existence of a Jewish Israeli state.
I’m saying this as someone who has within the past month visited the Ann Frank house in Amsterdam, as vivid a reminder of what true anti-Semitism is and historically was as there is outside the sites of some of the WW2 German concentration camps. The Ann Frank house is an extremely moving testament to what the state of Israel was worth fighting for and establishing in the first place (though it might have been better in retrospect to have found a less problematic “safe” homeland for the Jews, if possible). But Israel did get established where it is, what it was the first two decades of its existence, and I was all-in on Israel’s side for a very long time during my adulthood, even though I am an American Caucasian non-evangelical Christian by ethnicity/religion, and have no personal or religious stake in Israel’s existence.
But despite appreciating the challenges posed by living in a hostile neighborhood, you’re losing me Isreal bit by arrogant bit, not because the Palestinians have proven to be especially worthy actors – they’re led by viciously callous psychopaths who are a bunch of pathetic losers to boot. The problem is that it’s getting harder and harder to tell much difference between the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership. Especially, I am tired of your dragging the US by the nose-ring into your psychopathically sick, twisted, irredentist, religio-ethnic feuds under the banner of supposed righteousness.
Fuck you, it’s you who have made anti-Semitism meaningless by diluting it to include people like me who ought to naturally be sympathetic to your cause. It isn’t anything I’ve done to legitimately deserve being called that according to any meaningful standard of the term.
@RP: If you check out some earlier threads, here and on other blogs, there are already comments — not imaginary, but real — accusing people of hating Jews and being anti-Semites and denying the Holocaust and wanting Israel wiped off the map, etc., etc., etc.
It’s only ‘pre-emptive’ in the sense that such complaints of anti-Semitism in criticizing Israeli forces shooting humanitarian aid activists has already taken place — heck, I tuned into right wing screamer radio for just a few minutes today and heard that anyone who was criticizing the Israeli response hates Jews and wants Hamas to kill everyone in Israel.
If I were a cynical person, I’d believe that the sum total of Israel’s seemingly unproductive behavior, seems to be to ensure that Hamas stays what it is – the de facto government of “Palestine.” Israel knows that as long as Hamas is in charge, all that will ever happen is a discussion about governance on the macro scale. Because Hamas is a bunch of stinkers and no one likes them. So, whatever Israel does, its always in defense of itself from the stinkers running Hamas. If the Palestinans would only change their leadership, we wouldn’t have to bulldoze villages and build all those settlements.
Israel also knows that the West would rather side with it – generally – than with Hamas, and will be content to discuss heady issues of policy and green lines, rather than dropping white phosphorus, and lighting up runways, hospitals, and refugee camps. Israel knows that no one with any power in the west gives a shit about the Palestinians, and that whomever is president in the US HAS to at least try to appear to be buddy-buddy with Isreal because of the domestic politics over here.
So every now and against they do something to put pressure on the US president to take a stand vis Israel. Each time it does that, politicians over here fall all over themselves running to microphones to declare that they support Israel more than anyone – ever. And the president declares that he regrets the loss of life and Israel should be more careful when it’s taking doors. Or in this case – flotillas.
I don’t know how this plays domestically in Israel, but I figure that the powers that be figure that the Palestinians will be dead soon enough anyway.
The difference is that right-wingers are generally actually saying something racist when they use the “Oh, and I suppose you’ll call me a racist now” argument.
Criticizing Israel’s behavior is not the same as saying you hate Jews. It’s unfortunate that you have to point out that certain people will make that argument the minute you criticize Israel, but it’s the result of that knee-jerk reaction.
Your point is valid only if someone was saying, “Jews are running the world. Oh, I suppose you’ll call me an anti-Semite now!”
Hell, I’ve been called an anti-semite multiples times today on this very blog.
All because I think Israel is a rogue state that deserves whatever hell they unleash on themselves.
I’m glad someone has finally said this. I have gotten really sick of the “anti-Semitism”-baiting on this blog. I generally stay out of it though, lest I be accused of denying the irrefutable fact that ANY disagreement with ANY criticism of Israel, ANYtime, ANYwhere, by ANYbody, amounts to a meaningless accusation of anti-Semitism.
Um, no. I’m pretty sure its when people accuse you of being an anti-Semite for voicing ordinary criticism. If a person can’t disagree without doing that, that person doesn’t really deserve much respect, and deserves to be called on it.
This also waters down “anti-Semite” until it becomes absolutely meaningless.
Just as the nativist right-wing teabag movement might end up really being anti-Semitic. Dangerous game.
um, actually, people here get called crazed Likudnic “Israel right or wrongers” (or the equivalent thereof) just for voicing so much as a question in response to a criticism of Israel, much less disagreeing with one.
You’re missing my point. I’m well aware that many unfair accusations of anti-semitism have already been leveled (and will continue to be leveled) against Cole and others. All I’m saying is that preemptively attacking the attacks is counterproductive. As #57 notes, he’s just baiting people.
eemom: Citation needed.
That’s absolutely right. Telling someone that they’re an idiot or a monster simply because they’ve disagreed with a criticism of Israel is no better than calling someone an anti-semite simply because they’ve criticized Israel.
And, for the record, I am horrified by Israel’s actions and think Netanyahu is a crazed lunatic. But I firmly believe in moderation, balance, and humility in all things.
Regarding the comments that indicate that a great deal of these actions are decided on with a domestic political audience at mind: there’s been a few good articles over the years (which Im’ trying to find now online without much luck) discussing the “liberal/peacenik flight” of Israel’s left-leaning and centrist citizens out of the country, particularly since the 1990s, and how that’s shaped the current political landscape within Israel. At the same time, there’s been an influx of Jewish immigrants from (in particular) the former USSR, many of whom had no conscious awareness of being “Jewish” until the opportunity arose to emigrate out of their economically depressed homelands, bringing with them a very hardline view of ethnic politics and use of military power.
This has resulted in a domestic political environment that positively encourages extremism, and it’s getting worse over time. Imagine operating in a political environment where your opponents could actually point to daily politically-inspired violent acts (rocket attacks, minor riots, scuffles at checkpoints, etc) and say that your political beliefs were actively supporting the people who were doing those things. That’s why the work of the progressive voices published in Ha’aretz and so on is truly impressive-they’re operating in a political environment a thousand times more hostile than America in 2002-4.
The only thing that’s going to change this situation, and that’s going to make a peaceful settlement between Israel and its neighbours possible, is a dramatic reversal of this demographic trend: either the return of expatriates to Israel, or the introduction of universal sufferage that allows genuine proportional representation for the non-Jewish citizens of the country. This simply doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon, so we’re stuck in an internal feedback loop that will continue to reward extremism and punish moderation for the forseeable future.
@Doctor Science: “Busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels,” as Henry IV said to soon-to-be V (at least according to Shakespeare).
What on earth are you talking about? From the moment I mentioned the flotilla, there have been people in here calling me an anti-Semite and a useful idiot. Go through any of the previous threads and do a search for Phil or Dave, to name two.
Considering that you wrote your post in reply to another post which denied that accusations of anti-Semitism were ever made, I must say you didn’t do a good job of making your point.
And I find your point to be, quite frankly, a very thin hair above outright concern trolling. The fact is, many Israel defenders *do* make phony accusations of anti-Semitism. This is not my opinion, it is an easily verifiable fact.
And it is quite fair push back against such outrageous behavior preemptively. If you know that it will come (and when it comes to criticism of Israel, you *do* know that), why bother waiting for it?
The united states to a large degree, depends in a certain amount of cooperation with turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, in terms of not actively opposing US troops, facilitating transportation, etc.
Turkey especially has been a strong ally. While in the initial invasion of Iraq, turkey did not grant flying rights, I think this was allowed since then.
Also, is it worthwhile for NATO to be shown as a joke, simplyto protect Israel?
Just thinking about what is in the U.S. interests, as well as the current Israeli government going out of it’s way to embarrass Obama and Biden, Israel also seems to be going out of it’s way to make a lot of U.S. Policy goals a lot more difficult.
Am I incorrect in this?
What have they accomplished, you ask? You left out one thing:
They killed ten people and shot up a boat. That’s something, ain’t it? It accomplished more than a little old blog post, let alone a comment.
@Seebach:One is a lot more likely to find real anti-Semitism (along with it’s siblings xenophobia and racism) among teabaggers than on sites like Balloon Juice. However, teabaggers are given a pass because they’re more likely to give unquestioning support to Israel, not only because European Jewish colonialists look more like teabaggers than the indigenous population of the Middle East, but also because of the end-time theology that drives many of them.
Still don’t get the adjective usage here and elsewhere. “Botched” raid? Bungled? How about savage or unconscionable?
It’s like trying to say that the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (from April 2003 to June 2004) was a brilliant tactical and strategic success, carefully planned, thoughtfully deployed, and the basis for Iraq’s flourishing economy and democracy…oh wait.
Am I anti-American for thinking that the CPA was a tragic clusterfuck? The same dunderheads that ginned up the WMD threat, and went to war with the ill-equipped, poorly supplied army it had (instead of whatever army they wanted), and that characterized the subsequent disaster as “untidy” were the same dunderheads who cheerfully mishandled the CPA project, misusing some excellent, talented career FSA officers, rewarding inexperienced Young Republicans, bankrupting the country, and shoveling huge mountains of wealth into the coffers of the usual corporate suspects. Who is going to tell me I am completely and utterly wrong? And nobody had better accuse me of wanting the clusterfuck to happen so I could sit back and enjoy the show.
It’s analogous. Anyone who contends that criticizing Israeli policy or being thoroughly disgusted with Netanyahu’s government is the same as wishing the destruction of the State of Israel is a stone-cold liar. It’s especially depraved to align one’s self with the minority U.S. faction that does want to sit back and enjoy this show, on the belief that the blood-drenched End Times are coming. These people are not friends of Israel.
@Larkspur: It serves Israel’s interests if it contributes to making a two-state solution impossible.
No, they haven’t. That is a myth.
no, actually the ritual “call me an anti-Semite” remarks predate the flotilla. They’re pretty much de rigeur in any post here that mentions Israel.
For example, when the Beinart piece came out a few weeks ago, you and/or DougJ were practically giddy in anticipation of the “anti Semite” “self hating Jew” rhetoric that you expected to greet it……even before a single word had been uttered in response to the thing.
That’s right. Jews and Arabs coexisted quite peacefully in that part of the world before the 20th century.
The thing that is pissing me off more and more about the “anti-semitism” thing is that Americans pay huge amount of money and booty to Israel every year and defend every fucking thing that Israel does. Yet if someone disagrees with anything Israel does or doesn’t want to give them money to do it — particularly when it is blood thirsty and brutal — we get called anti-semitic. So not only do we get to pay for it and support it via our government, but we’re not allowed NOT to like it. Fuck that shit — I’m sick of it. Israel might be able to control my wallet, but I’m damned if it’s going to control my thoughts.
RP: point proved.
WHO calls you anti-Semitic? Neocon assholes for whom you have no respect? They call us all a lot of things — so the fuck what?
The very simple point that I and I think a few others are trying to make here, is that everytime someone so much as QUESTIONS a criticism of Israel, they get lumped in with the anti-Semitic name calling assholes. That’s just not fair, and it’s no better than what you’re accusing them of doing.
eemom: Bullshit. This blog has five posts mentioning Beinart in 2010. I just re-read all of them, and this is the closest you can even possibly get to a mention of accusations of anti-Semitism:
From https://balloon-juice.com/2010/05/21/the-message-is-the-media/ :
“Similarly, Jeff Golderg thinks Peter Beinart’s real sin was writing his anti-AIPAC/TNR/Weekly Standard piece in the New York Review Of Books because only Jew-haters read NYRB.”
This is the piece linked to:
In that article, Goldberg calls the NYRB “the one-stop shopping source for bien-pensant anti-Israelism.”
So quit this nonsense.
I get that. Except it’s ultimately suicidal. Unless your historical prototype is Masada or the Alamo or Pickett’s Charge or something, it’s an insane interest.
go back and have another look. Check the comments. It’s there.
@eemom: I didn’t even read the Beinart piece you are talking about.
Just Some Fuckhead
The bar for “anti-Semitism” is so low now that I’m an anti-Semite despite having many Jewish friends and actually being in the wedding party (and delivering a reception toast) for one of them.
We need a new term for anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-apartheid. I’ll cop to that.
@eemom: I don’t see it. I did my part; pull it up if it’s there.
To reiterate what I said way upthread:
I can haz citation pleez?
Well, except for the fact that he works for a bunch of Jew-baiting Buchananite neo-fascists which makes most of what he does pretty suspect.
So he’s right other than that.
Sorry. I meant to say he works for a bunch of Jew-baiting Buchananite paleo fascists. These ur-conservatives worship the original Hitler, not the ersatz modern imitations. I don’t mean to mislead anybody here.
So, let me get this straight. You’re saying that people who reflexively complain about being labelled anti-Semitic are hypersensitive and should just shut up because being called anti-Semitic by assholes (who are, I assume, defined as “anyone who disagrees with your point”) is meaningless, but that if someone criticises anyone who makes this reflexive complaint of anti-Semitism before making an argument, it’s so terrible that they’re accused of “playing the anti-Semitism” card instead of having their arguments judged on the actual merits as to whether or not the original commenter is actually anti-Semitic?
Is that really the point you’re trying to make? Because if so, I can only assume you’re either a troll or not really understanding the context of the statements being made here.
It took me precisely 10 seconds to find this gem from “Dave” in the thread right above this one:
Boo frigging hoo. Tell your sob story to Norm Finkelstein. When you lose your job over being too pro-Israeli, maybe I’ll listen.
oh fuck you. Nothing I said warrants that level of rudeness.
no, that is not what I said. Learn to READ.
ok, then it was DougJ. My apologies.
have YOU lost your job because you were an “anti-Semite,” poor dear?
Anti-Semite is not a strong enough term for the contempt I have for a government that would deprive 1.5 million people of basic human needs; and to be so blatant about it too like it’s good government policy and something they are very proud of. Needless to say I am very disappointed that the United States could not find the chutzpah to stand with the rest of the United Nations in their condemnation of the murders of humanitarian workers and the cover-up ever since by the Israeli government.
For what it’s worth, this is the difference for me. There are people who advocate for Palestinians who are anti-semites. There are people who just have what comes off as a reflexive dislike for Jews and others who have an actual, arcane conspiracy narrative to tell you.
These people will TELL you about it, that’s what they are there for. They don’t just sit around in crypto-human rights land for years disguising themselves, because that’s not their point. They are going to tell you about Jews owning the media or Jews pulling the strings in the government (and it’s going to be better than that they have the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio) or whatever else is nagging at them. That’s really too bad, and everyone would be better off without them especially the Palestinians.
What I have seen way, way, too many times is people who have just gotten done making some obscene religious tirade against Muslims or used some rancid, naked racism to lambaste Arabs turn around call out someone who hasn’t mentioned Jews at all for anti-semitism!
After awhile it becomes numbing, and that’s not an excuse but it’s true. You don’t really give a piss about the cranky guy Jew baiting on the internet other than to be irritated at his presence, but he’s not the problem with the world right now. If you believe in the “new-antisemitism” that seems suspiciously to be “criticizing Israel” to me, that’s probably the end of the conversation because to those people it *is* the problem. Everyone isn’t angry at Israel’s actions, it’s a global wave of irrational Judenhass and if that’s where you are coming from, I’m just going to think you are nuts. Otherwise, I do try and chew out anti-semites if for no other reason than they give comfort and a distraction for team Blue and White.
What point? You are starting to make very little sense. Judging from your posts, you are either claiming that false accusations of anti-Semitism don’t happen, which is laughably false; or you are claiming that it’s wrong to push back against them, which is laughably silly.
block quote fail
“Learn to read”?
If what I wrote is not what you’re trying to say (and I agree it’s a horrible mess of tangled logic, but I was working with what I was given) then perhaps you should learn to write.
Yep. But to get a sense of the real insanity of all this, take a look at the nugget Roy Edroso found:
Just Some Fuckhead
eemom accusing someone else of intolerable levels of rudeness is laughable on its face, especially a long-time commenter in good standing like Svensker.
“Boo frigging hoo…”
“Fuck you… [for your] rudeness. …poor dear…”
Say, did someone mention “disproportionate response” to a percieved deadly attack, that leaves the responder totally bereft of Win and looking, you know, kind of tough to love?
This is a thing of almost mathematical beauty. It’s a microcosm of the current difficulty, except that nobody got shot or beaten. Thanks to everyone involved.
ok, I’ll try once again and then I’m done. (This is why I generally avoid this subject.)
We agree that criticizing Israel does not equal anti-Semitism.
We agree that there are many people who hurl accusations of anti-Semitism in reflexive defense of whatever Israel does, and that this is wrong.
I’m just saying that many people on this blog and elsewhere respond with equally reflexive accusations to anyone who QUESTIONS a criticism of Israel. Like the commenter the other day who very reasonably and without a shred of accusation of “anti-Semite” or anything else, asked John why he focuses on Israel when there are many worse regimes in the world. I know the answer is regarded as obvious — i.e., our tax dollars support Israel — but that doesn’t make it an unreasonable question, and it sure as shit didn’t make the asker an “anti-Semite” name caller. Yet the guy got lambasted on that thread, as have others who asked perfectly reasonable questions, or made perfectly reasonable points, that didn’t accord with the “fuck Israel all the time” party line.
If you still think that makes no sense, I don’t give a shit.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
you’re real big on that “long time commenter of good standing” cred, aren’t you fuckhead? Surprising to see that kind of elitist snobbery from a free spirit like you.
Wile E. Quixote
I thought the way this worked was that you can’t be an anti-semite since you’re Jewish. Instead you’re a self-hating Jew.
Just Some Fuckhead
@eemom: No elitism here. I just like Svensker and think yer a wretched pox on humanity.
Because it’s absolutely irrelevant to the issue, and passive defense of Israel as “not that bad” doesn’t take the context of the “regimes” into account, and why it might be more possible to use international pressure to sanction Israel over the other rogue states. You’re lowering the standards any well-behaving nation should be held to. If we can’t control the ill-action of our “friends”, we’re not going to be able to do shit for our “enemies”.
If you want the criticism of the criticism to be taken seriously, offer a legitimate complaint and stop with the mindless nitpicking.
I actually felt bad for that guy, he started talking about the billions in aid we give to Sri Lanka, which, eerrr, American foreign policy or aid aren’t his long suits and I felt like he very well may have been confused.
That is not normally the case with the “What about Tibet?” school of accusation, but even if it was innocent it’s completely irrelevant to the question at hand. Now we are talking about my motivations for noticing an event in the world instead of discussing it’s merits which is even if an honest question (which it rarely is) doesn’t move the conversation anywhere.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
and I think you’re a pathetic, embittered drunk whose emotional development terminated at age 12.
Silly! You get to be a “self-hating Jew,” of course! Remember, only right-wingers get to decide who’s a patriot, who’s “strong” on national defense, who’s a good Jew, and who’s an anti-Semite…
Just Some Fuckhead
@eemom: oh fuck you. Nothing I said warrants that level of rudeness.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
I rest my case.
@eemom: You’re really rude, and still an apologist for Israeli crimes against humanity. Sick of hearing bitching like yours about “anti-Semitism”, fucking word games, when we are talking about an incident where ten people were slaughtered. In international waters. By Israelis. They had no right, and people are dead. No, you’re the one that needs to STFU that Israel gets our money and is above criticism. No. As they treat captive Palestinians like animals- no food, no freedom, no hope. Despicable. I used to be a supporter of Israel, but no more. Because people like you can’t admit what a horror this is, the latest in a long string. That’s all we get from Israel- violence against a powerless population , the hatred of the Muslim world for our stupidly supporting these crimes. It sickens me, and Israel should not ever get another fucking cent from the strapped American taxpayer. This has to stop. Israel can go fucking fight its own battles, the world is just disgusted.
@eemom: Repeat after me,Elitism is good, elites are to be sought out, elitist is a compliment, we should all strive to be elite whatever we do.
once again, point proved.
Show me where I said anything that “apologized” for “Israeli war crimes against humanity.”
Show me where I said ANYTHING about what Israel has done, much less as an “apologist” for same.
Go on, show me — you knee jerk, ignorant asshole.
Yep, you’re rude. What point was proved, darling? That we’re all raging anti-Semites?
“Show me where I said ANYTHING about what Israel has done, much less as an “apologist” for same.”
If you never said anything about what Israel has done, I wonder how you magically ended up in this thread, in multiple posts. You actually seem to have quite a few opinions on what Israel has done.
Oh wait! You don’t. You just came here to attack everyone who has a problem with beastly Israeli actions lately, like slaughtering 10 people on a boat they seized and claiming self defense.
“Go on, show me—you knee jerk, ignorant asshole.”
I am lovingly clipping this for my scrapbook. You’re still rude and pushy on this topic.
haven’t answered the question, have you darling?
I said nothing that you are attributing to me — nothing. If you want to know what I actually said, open your tiny little mind, and re-read.
oranges and lemons
as an american jew, this all pisses me off no end. we’ve been persecuted for our entire existence, chased out of just about everywhere and forced into ghettos, and once we finally have a little bit of power and a place to call our own– what do we do? THE EXACT SAME THING we’ve been trying to get away from all this time.
out of all people, jews especially should know better. yeah, there’s people trying to kill us. there’s ALWAYS people trying to kill us. two wrongs don’t make a right. and if you force ordinary people into ghettos– because that’s exactly what gaza is– you shouldn’t be surprised that they become radicalized.
i’ve always felt ashamed that i benefit from america’s history of empire and racism, and that my family’s country (russia) isn’t that much better, but this is the first time i’ve ever felt even the slightest bit embarrassed about being jewish.
(not self-hating here. just angry about the shit that’s being done in the name of “our people”, and that so many blindly support it. we’re supposed to be better than this.)
@eemom: Fail on several counts:
1) DougJ (not Cole, BTW) wasn’t setting himself up for any accusations of anti-Semitism.
2) The Wieseltier treatment (a/k/a “Self-hating supporter of Islamofascism”) ain’t the same as anti-Semite or Nazi. Moreover, it’s based on what actually happened rather than being a pre-emptive “accusation”:
Your “critics of Israel whine that someone will accuse them of anti-Semitism for being critics of Israel!” BS is on a level with “How dare you be intolerant of intolerance!” for disingenuous and badly-managed syllogisms. And your so-called citation for evidence is BS.
eemom: Actually, screw that. You still haven’t found anything that comes close to BJers preemptively accusing people of being Likudniks for questioning criticism of Israel. You’re fully derailing the discussion.
@eemom: Don’t know if it matters for you to hear this from someone other than Fuckhead (and I almost never agree with Fuckhead, for what it’s worth) but what you wrote was both confusing and wrong.
I was there for the conversation you’re talking about, and people were trying to reason with that guy, politely in most cases, and way past the point where he clearly wasn’t listening; by no stretch of the imagination was it just “he’s calling us anti-semites, don’t listen to him.” But frankly, that was what he was doing. He claimed this blog was obsessed with Israel, that it was “all Israel all the time”– which is clearly bullshit on any day when there hasn’t just been a fucking huge news story about Israel– and he wondered what Cole’s “motivation” might be, nudge nudge wink wink. And he pulled out the “why don’t you criticize all these other oppressive countries instead” chestnut (although he still managed to pick the one that completely undermined his point: Egypt), and again, wondered what could possibly be behind this strange obsession that we all have with hating Israel and criticizing Jews. No, he did not say the word “anti-semite”, he was just asking questions as one does, but… sorry, no one is that dense. Or if he really was that dense, then Ed Marshall’s point still stands: someone who only wants to talk about why you’re talking about what you’re talking about, and can’t be bothered to engage with the facts under discussion, is playing an unhelpful game.
I think you’re all anti-dentites.