Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Finally, some moral clarity

Anti-Israel types love to lecture the public about the difference between opposition to Israel's policies/interests and anti-Semitism. The former, we are told, is not tantamount to the latter.

As one activist puts it,

Those of us who are involved in activism around Israel/Palestine, and take a position critical of the standard American and Israeli views of the conflict are constantly peppered with accusations of anti-Semitism...it becomes incumbent upon us to prominently and frequently argue that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.
Tom Friedman, in a 2002 column quoted here, comments, "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile..." [We'll let the grammar slide just this once, but it seems worth pointing out that Friedman likely didn't mean to call his own statement vile]. Countless other critics of Israel have issued similar protestations.

The issue is certainly a complicated one. Indeed, it is often difficult to determine whether anti-Israel sentiment is - in intent or in effect - anti-Semitic as well. All of which makes Charley Reese's August 12 column ever-so-refresehing.

Entitled "A Taste of What is to Come," the article erases any doubt as to where Reese stands on the Israel-Judaism equation. In short, Reese (implicitly) argues, "Israel" and "the Jews" are synonymous. Consider his rhetoric. After explaining that Israel's policies have embittered the Palestinians, and that American support of Israel has cost America dearly, Reese asserts,

Today there is no avoiding the plain truth: We have a Jewish problem. The government is totally paralyzed and is unwilling to issue even the mildest rebuke to Israel, no matter how outrageous its behavior. Why? Because the Jewish lobby is so powerful, American politicians are afraid of it...we don't elect politicians to serve 3 percent of the population and a foreign country.

See how clearly Reese paints his picture! It's simple, really. The US refuses to criticize Israel because of the Jewish lobby. Get it? Israel=Jewish. It's not an Israel problem; it's a "Jewish problem." It's not an Israel lobby; it's a "Jewish lobby." Whose interests are being served? The Jews' ("3 percent of the population") and Israel's ("a foreign country"). Sure, Reese seems to be trafficking in the forged czarist "Protocols," but his honesty must be applauded.

A bit less honest is a site called "antiwar.com," whose proprieters are apparently a bit uneasy with Reese's unvarnished view. In its presentation of Reese's column, the words "Jewish problem" and "Jewish lobby" have been magically airbrushed to "Israel problem" and "Israel lobby." Why, antiwar.com, why? Just when the picture was becoming clearer, you muddy it up once again!?

1 Comments:

Blogger Avo said...

you truncated the end of that friedman quote, where he goes on to say that unfairly singling out israel is in fact anti-semitic and not saying so is dishonest. didnt think anyone would know the quote by heart and be able to call you on it, did you?

4:22 PM  

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