Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Not Easy to Remember, And Not Hard to Forget

It's much too easy to forget events that have tragic consequences when the news is full of the newest and latest examples to disturb us. But what the hard line Israel-Centric Lobby did to Charles Freeman should not be so easily relegated to old news.

Here is Glenn Greenwald's important expose' on what happened to Charles Freeman at the hands of what he calls the "Israel-Centric" mob, and even more importantly how that attack bodes ill for the U.S. and it's foreign policy, especially with respect to the Middle East.

Anyone who's even only slightly concerned that to dare to question any of Israel's actions disqualifies one from even appointed positions in American government, should read this in it's entirety, and also read Roger Cohen's most recent columns on Iran, including today's (3/16/09) column, in the New York Times.

The Israel Policy Forum, including the writings of M.J. Rosenberg, is also an important source of moderate and reasonable views and information about Israel and its relationship with the U.S.. Mr. Rosenberg is disturbed that the right wing Israeli point of view gets more attention than the moderate view in the MSM, and that Congress seems regularly to side with right wing, AIPAC backed views as well.

The Israel Lobby is a powerful cabal, and it's actions need to be exposed for what they are, a dangerous impingement by a foreign government on American policy.

The scurrilous attack on Charles Freeman is just the latest, but arguably the most scandalous,

treatment of any who have had the guts to stand up to those who hold Israel blameless in all things.

I recommend consulting the writings of Roger Cohen, Glenn Greenwald and M.J. Rosenberg, three who brave the fury of the Right Wing faction in Israeli and American politics.

Peace in the Middle East, if it is possible even given the most objective of approaches, is impossible so long as Israel can continue to tie the hands of the American government in formulating open handed policy in the region. Hard line Likud Israel and it's Israel-Centric American Jews and sympathizers are keeping the American fist clenched tight, in spite of Obama's ofter to be open handed if those who oppose Israel will unclench their fists.

This is an irony with tragic consequences.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper


The Old New Englander said...

Let me start by being churlish: AIPAC would have less influence if it were not so easy to make the case that Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and al Qaeda really do want to exterminate the Jews. Indeed, in Arab countries--and not just those that are still formally at war with Israel, it is usual to hear Israelis referred to as "Jews," generally with some nasty epithet attached. Given the history of the Twentieth Century--not to mention centuries of pogroms, forced migration and other crises that have faced the Jewish people over several millenia--it's difficult to argue with that point even if, like me, you believe that Israel must take chances for peace.

Indeed, Israel has taken chances for peace, and what has she got? Most recently, Gaza, where the world stood by while thousands of rockets were fired into Israel. We didn't see any crowds in the streets of Europe when only Jews were being killed and maimed. When Israel went in to clean out the attackers, then we saw people in the streets.

OK, there are more Arabs than Jews in European countries. It's natural for them to express solidarity with their brethren. But those acts have meaning.

And Mr. Freeman may have provided cover to AIPAC and his other critics by his blast at them upon withdrawing his nomination. His vituperative and self-righteous tone suggests that his cricitcs might have been closer to the truth about his attitude than many of his supporters are comfortable in admitting.

Finally, the idea that there is an "Israel lobby," in the sense that there is a unified voice among Jews or those who support Israel is ludicrous to those of us who are among those people. As an old saying has it, if you have ten Jews in a room, you'll have eleven opinions.

Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper said...

Not churlish, just realistic.

As for self-righteousness, Steve Rosen, the long time AIPAC official, currently under indictment for violations of the Espionage Act, set the bar to previously unattained heights for that attitude.

Jew and Israeli are somewhat synonymous labels for citizens of Israel, in the minds of many who understand that the country was established as a safe haven for Jews. Sadly though, to your point, it is often used as an epithet.

Freeman has since said he regrets using the term Israel Lobby, though the NYTimes has used it. Most clear thinking folks know that the culprits are the advocates of the far right Likud party and those in the U.S. who support them in all things, and hold them blameless for any and all actions.

Roger Cohen, Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal, Thomas Friedman and M.J. Rosenberg are a few commenters on this sordid affair who have my admiration for standing up to the fury of those who exert inappropriate influence on American foreign policy by attacking and therefore culling from the potential knowledgeable players any and all who dare to criticize Israel.

Karen Armstrong, in her interview on Bill Moyers Journal last Friday night, called out those who go beyond simply debating a topic; those who attack for the sole purpose of discrediting a perceived opponent; to remove the holder of an opposing view from the debate, out of a need to totally defeat the opposition, what some call the zero sum game, the ultimate goal of a win/lose world view.

Obama has been denied the official and visible views of a knowledgeable person on Middle East affairs, because he was seen as a dangerous threat to those whose views improperly impinge on American policy.

Seems they felt so threatened that they had to take him out.

I'm hoping that Dreyfuss is right in thinking that this might be their Waterloo, and a Pyrrhic victory as M.J. Rosenberg observed.