Israel keeps changing the discussion

Politicos Ben Smith has caused a small but significant stir in the ranks of the Democratic party a few days ago when he wrote a piece examining the divide over Israel with in the party.  In the article Smith describes a battle between a majority of Democrats, who defend and praise Israel almost unconditionally, with the small but very vocal minority of those on the left speaking out against the hypocrisy and destructive nature of the state of Israel.  He points to several prominent bloggers at the Center for American Progress’ Middle East blog, as well as M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters, both organizations are very well known as staunchly Democratic institutions.

The next day an article by shows that after the Politico article was published, Josh Block the former AIPAC spokesman, sent out an email to a private listserv named the “Freedom Community“.  This group consisted of many conservative journalists.  The main aim espoused by Block in the email was that everyone should more a less expose those critical of Israel for what they are, anti-Semitic.  Those at CAP and Media Matters expressing these kind of ideas are way outside the mainstream for Block.  In one section of the email he writes that

“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal – clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ – to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,”… “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”

Block feels as if it is their duty to right this terrible and dangerous injustice that faces all Jews and their allies.

In today’s New York Times the Anti-Defamation League had a huge add displaying a young boy talking all about the evils of anti-Semitic bullying; while Brian Leher talked to Israeli activist Itamar Marcus, who spent most of the interview basically stating that Palestinians, and the PA in particular, love terrorists and are involved in a massive media coup to distort the truth.  The obvious fact that there is enough propaganda to go around, especially in the way Israeli media both operates and reports seems to have been lost on the guest.

All of this happening in  the past few days points to one of Israel’s oldest tricks to dodge more important issues and to justify their aggressive actions; that of the ever pervasive violent antisemitism that is still going on through out the world.  I am not going to sit here and say that there is no antisemitism in the world. It most certainly exists and is as dangerous as any other form a prejudice.  But, the notion that it is growing or that it is a somehow a major threat to the security of the state of Israel or Jews here in the United States is outrageous.  Here in America the Jewish vote which only makes up about 2% of the electorate, is one of the most fought over constituencies in a presidential election.  At the recent Republican Jewish Coalition forum nearly every GOP candidate tried to out do one another with rhetoric about their commitment to Israel.  Most of the candidates promised to move the embassy as well as preached about the dangers of Iran and “radical Islam”.  If there is any form of “anti” anything it would be a general mood of anti-Islam, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian now widely accepted in mainstream politics.  It is safe to say that while there is some antisemitism, it poses no real threat.

And yet we still haven’t answered what all this hubbub is about.  Just a few months ago PA president Abu Mazen gave an extremely well received speech in the U.N. declaring his intentions to gain full status as a nation.  Most experts deemed that it was probably doomed to failure, while all the same it was a step, if all be it a small one, in a different direction.  This in large part put PM Netanyahu on the defensive.  For once he might actually have to do something more than rail against the Palestinians and the awful Muslim extremists. Instead, Bibi Netenyahu has doubled efforts to build more illegal settlements in Palestine.  The tit for tat rockets attacks have begun to start  up again between Gaza and the IDF.  At least 4 people were killed today in Gaza, including a 12 year boy, after Israeli airstrikes.  And the rhetoric against Iran has now reached a fever pitch.  All of this distracts everyone from the real existential threat to the Jewish state, and that is the lack of a real functioning Palestine.  Rather than actually work with the Palestinians and make inroads in solving the issue, Israel turns the argument on its head, claiming that Iran wants to destroy the Jewish state.  There is no time to even think about the Palestinian question, because Iran wants to kill all the Jews.  This in conjunction with their cronies the ADL and AIPAC; spewing nonsense about the rise of antisemitism, are able to change the discussion entirely.  There is no more room to discuss anything related to Palestine.  Once again a people who have suffered decades of oppression are relegated to the back benches.

Smiths article makes the point of stating that there is now an actual change going on within Democratic circles about a need to change their stance on the question of Palestine.  So perhaps there is some hope in an other wise extremely gloomy situation for the oppressed Palestinians.

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