Very few issues fill me with despair like thinking about Israel and Palestine.
I don’t understand why, when American Jews lean left, virtually all the major lobbies and organizations representing American Jews are on the far right. (Groups like AIPAC are strongly in favor of the Iraq invasion and have loyally supported Bush’s policies). Why, oh why, can’t we have a representative Jewish lobby?
(Speaking of which, see Glenn Greenwald’s recent posts on the ADL’s extreme reluctance to call out major right-wing figures for casually slinging around trivializing Nazi and Holocaust comparisons — 1 2 3 4 — even though they jump to criticize such important left-wing figures as an anonymous poster on Moveon.Org’s message board. Again, why do we American Jews — most of whom are liberal democrats — accept right-wing partisan hacks representing us in Washington?)
(But Glenn, you’ve missed a major example — the way that the ADL has never found time to criticize the word “Feminazi,” coined by Rush L., which Rush and other major right-wingers have been using nonstop for almost 20 years).
I’ve given up on any possibility of an honest debate or engagement with 99% of Israel’s supporters. I get it: Anyone who criticizes Israel, ever, in anything but the mildest of terms, is an anti-semite. (Edited to add the following sentence:) Meanwhile, far too many of Israel’s defenders are far too quick to dismiss any but the mildest criticism of Israel as anti-semitic. Rootless Cosmopolitan reports that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has now been branded an anti-semite, and St. Thomas University has accordingly cancelled a scheduled speech by Tutu:
Having asked sane and rational people to believe that Jimmy Carter is a Holocaust denier1 simply for pointing out the obvious about the apartheid regime Israel maintains in the occupied territories, the same crew now want us to believe that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an anti-Semite. No jokes! That was the reason cited for Tutu being banned from speaking at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis. “We had heard some things he said that some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy,” explained university official Doug Hennes.
Since the above quote includes the word “apartheid,” which people are bound to object to, I’ll point out this post by Tony Karon defending his (and Jimmy Carter’s) use of the term. (Karon, who is Jewish, is branded “self-hating” rather than anti-Semitic.)
Also branded anti-Semites: Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, Harvard and
Columbia University of Chicago professors, authors of the current best-seller The Israel Lobby. Neither of them has a single documented instance of anti-Semitism, but they’ve published a scholarly book criticizing Israel, so they’re anti-Semites. Daniel Levy’s review of the book in Haaretz is critical and balanced, the most reasonable commentary on the book I’ve read so far.
UPDATE: Here’s the fourth post from Glenn Greenwald on the ADL’s apparent bias.
- Tony is exaggerating here; Carter was called all sorts of foul things by Israel’s partisans, but they stopped short — just barely short — of calling him a Holocaust denier. [↩]