Monday, January 11, 2010

HuffPoWatch: It's Not About Israel

David Harris, a pro-Israel Huffington Post blogger, wrote a post a few days ago called "It's Not About Israel" which makes the fairly intuitive point that Israel is not to blame for all of the Middle East conflicts and instability. He points out examples like the Iran/Iraq War as conflicts that Israel has nothing to do with. This is a completely reasonable point (in my opinion) but nevertheless some anti-Israel sentiment arose.

Before we get to the comments, if anyone reading this article is active on that thread, I have noticed the argument made by some HPers that Osama Bin Ladin and Al Queda really did attack the US on 9/11 because of Israel. If you need facts to refute this point, look at the very last comment. I included a link for statements you can use to contradict that point.

Erzsebet Gilbert
Continuing upon Countess' excellent comment below, conflict in the ME might not be *only* about Israel/Palestine, but it's naive and self-justifying to pretend that it isn't about Israel/Palestine, too.
One can't use the points cited in this article - which, in large part, seem to me to be quite prejudiced speculation - as an excuse for the human rights disaster occurring every minute to Palestinian civilians. One can't dismiss these atrocities simply because "it's not the (entire) cause".
What Israel has become is a manifest symbol of the western (i.e. Judeo-Christian white affluent) attitude towards the Islamic world. Its abuses, such as the murder of civilians, appropriation of land and property, or their confinement behind an unbelievable wall, constitute the most blatant contemporary demonstration of the dehumanization of Islamic citizens, which in the "western" cultural vocabulary are simply lumped into a faceless monolith of belief (which is different from ours). All these violations have created an enormous representation of the past thousand years of conflict and racist attitudes; as sponsors we're saying one thing, and getting a response.

This is the Paul Wolfowitz view of the middle east which completely glosses over the fact that Israel has violated more UN resolutions than all the countries in the world combined, has bombed civilians and reporters during its many expansionist wars and is a direct threat to all its neighbors because it not only has nuclear weapons but is nutty enough to use them. We have foolishly given them blind support instead of working for a just settlement of the conflict and this is undermining the national security of the United States.

I agree that our blind support of Israel is one of the prime reasons this conflict hasn't been settled long ago.
[I agree. Without US support, there would probably be no Israel, and consequently no conflict]

You have hit upon one of the major tactics of pro-Zionist supporters of Israel's policies. Distract, distract and distract. When in doubt fingerpoint at everybody else to keep attention off of Israel.

The heavy emphasis on Israel's role is akin to our breathless reaction to an *attempted* bombing. Or reacting to the lurid and overplayed news of the (rare) stranger kidnapping of a child by forbidding your child to play in the streets. It's a factor but way out of proportion. And really, which solution is more doable, getting Israel to be a non-Jewish state or raising literacy rates in Arabic countries?
[I don't totally understand what this poster is saying, but if it's about Israel being a non-Jewish state, it goes in here]

The Palestinian humanitarian crisis IS the greatest driver of political unrest in the world. Whether its warranted or not, and no matter whose "side" you are on, the effects of Israel's Occupation have been political dynamite for decades now. It is used as justification and cover for everybodies misdeeds from Tripoli to Washington.

Not to mention the fact the unhelpful cynicism so many countries feel toward America since the 70's because of its amazingly blatant double standard when it comes to Israel in terms of both its military occupation and its nuclear arsenal.
[Pure 100% projection. Wisdo has no way of knowing why countries feel "cynicism" towards America, or even if they do at all]

Richard Pearce
Yes, I know Zionism predates the Balfour Declaration. In fact, it traces back to a European immigrant who moved to Palestine to escape the discrimination of Christians, and, on finding Jews could live much more securely in a land where they weren't discriminated against, or persecuted, decided that a land where they were the dominant power would be an even better situation. Of course, in trying to create that situation, his followers have ended up with a country where they are the ones doing the discriminating and persecuting, and fearing that if they ever take a breath, or relax just a bit, they would loose their dominance, and be subjected to the same sort of treatment they are dishing out.

In one of those ironies (and a pretty classic example of the need to be careful what you wish for), those trying to pursue his dream of a land where Jews dominated destroyed the very thing he most desired, a land where Jews could live in peace.

Richard Pearce
In a way, its true that 'It's Not About Israel'. It's about the policies (and the racist attitudes that generated them in the first place) of the Caucasian world. Without those, Jews would be living peacefully in Palestine, there wouldn't be the anger that years of having any responsible government, that put the needs and wishes of its citizens before the needs and wishes of the US government, overthrown produces, and all the rest of the things that have kept South America, and the Middle East, from reaching their potential.

But Israel is a pretty good indicator of whether the US (pretty much the last holdout) is giving up those policies. (You could make a case for Iran and Venezuela also being good indicators, but the effects of the US policies there are a lot less urgent than the effects of the US policies in regards to Israel)

Right now, the US is basically putting a better spin on the same policies, but there is hope that it either will go insular again (along with its semi-autonomous agencies like the CIA) which seems unlikely, or stop trying to control so much of the world. There is also the possibility of it imploding when its currency devalues and cannot borrow enough money to keep its citizens happy.

They [the Palestinians of the 1940s] were scared of the influx of refugees that was taking over their way of life. I guess they should have built a wall.

Richard Pearce
True, they weren't exploding themselves on buses, but they [the Jews of the 1940s] were roaming around killing, raping, and extorting, as well as blowing up things like hotels (ironically enough, to do that they had to disguise themselves as people no one expected to be violent. So they dressed up as Muslim Arabs.)

If by "forceably dismantled" you meant "their [the Irgun] weapons and tactics legalized and their members given jobs in Israels fledgling government" then yes, I'd agree.
[stating that terror is legal in Israel]

David Harris points out many problems in Middle Eastern countries, but in doing so he cleverly steers attention away from Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians. So while Israel may or may not be the sole cause of unrest in the Middle East, it is a major cause of unrest and a major reason why many Arabs and Muslims have taken a strong dislike to the U.S. Our support of Israel weakens us in the eyes of much of the world.
[Eh, Israel may or may not be the only threat to world peace. I'm just keeping my mind open!]

Yeah, so encouraging,

Haaretz probe: Israel airport security often carried out by untrained employees

Israel's renowned airline security faced a legal challenge Wednesday from a civil rights group charging that its practice of ethnic profiling is racist because it singles out Arabs for tougher treatment.

At a Supreme Court hearing, civil rights lawyers demanded an end to the policy, which they say violates Israeli law. Such profiling is illegal in the U.S., where passengers must be singled out for security checks on a random basis.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz announced on Tuesday that Ben Gurion International Airport security would no longer mark the luggage belonging to non-Jews with colored tags, in order to spare these passengers embarrassment.

Instead, Mofaz explained, the luggage of non-Jewish passengers will be stamped with the same color sticker as the Jewish passengers, only with a different number. In the past, the color of the sticker on the passenger's luggage would indicate to airport security personnel the level of security check they must administer.

Nothing like an Israeli democracy, is there?
[copy bomb about bad things happening in Israel. Off topic and unabashedly anti-Israel]

Yeah, right!
Osama only came to understand Israel was a main issue, after 9/11.
[Nevertheless, to blame Israel for 9/11 is disingenuous. I'm sure Osama was aware Israel existed before 9/11, but then he gained an epiphany? More like he realized the HPers would actually support him if he blamed Israel like they do]

In the US, we do not have universal health care. In lsraeI, they do. We send foreign aid to a country more advanced than we are. What's wrong with that picture?
[I'm sure Israel would be honored that you think they are more advanced than the US, but I don't think many people will agree with you]

Yes, it is. lsraeIi advocates project, and present that they are the only state that endures terr.r,is.m. We do in the US, but we call it cr.ime here. I have a 400 times better chance of being unlucky enough to get struck down in a vi.o.lent crime than I do from "terr.ris.m". That's a fact.

I refuse to give away one more liberty so that we as a nation will charge into a war to protect a state that so far has shown that it whines a lot and does less to encourage peace. Spend some time in the US, and understand that what you have, universal health care among many things, make lsraeIis better off than many Americans. The irony is that we send our tax dollars in foreign aid to a country with better health care than we have.

[Would al Qaeda not have attacked the U.S. in 2001, when, it should be remembered, the Israeli-Palestinian issue was never even mentioned among Osama bin Laden's list of "grievances?"]


"Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed -- when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women."

– Osama bin Laden

[Did 9/11 happen because of US support for Israel? Read here for the truth]

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