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Creative Speculation (formerly EC)

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The current state of US/Israeli relations

  • arendt (1432 posts)
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    The current state of US/Israeli relations

    I’m going to violate my own experience (that I always regret it) by starting a thread about Israel. However, I am starting it in EC, so I don’t get banned.

    I’m starting this thread because I am utterly confused, and I think anyone with a brain should be too.

    The story that got me thinking about this is not the most propitious story to quote (the author is definitely not enamored of Israel), but it was published today. I have excerpted the part I find relevant :

    ‘Web of Weirdness’: US and Israeli Codependent Relationship is Not Just about Money

    In an article entitled: “Steve Bannon’s web of weirdness: Meet the bizarre billionaires behind the president-elect’s chief strategist,” Heather Digby Patron named a few of these ‘bizarre billionaires’.

    They included, Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing billionaire with a gambling empire, who is ‘singularly focused on the state of Israel.’

    Adelson’s relationship with Bannon (and Trump) has well preceded Trump’s victory, and seemed to take little notice of the fact that Bannon and his ilk were viewed by many American Jews as frightening, racist, anti-Semites with a menacing agenda.

    Adelson, however, cares little for the true racists. His obsession to shield Israel’s militant Z-ist agenda trumped all other seemingly little irritants.

    Reading this story led me to some older (but still highly inflammatory for JPR) material. Its inflammatory because, again, it is highly critical of Israel, plus it repeatedly uses the JPR-banned Z-word. (I have bowdlerized all the offensive Z-words.) Interestingly, the story points to Z-ist Organization of America, whose website proudly bills itself as “The oldest, and one of the largest, pro-Israel/Z-ist organizations in the United States.” (So, tell me again why the Z-word is a banned word?):

    Z-ists embrace of Trump and Bannon is no surprise
    News platforms such as the Huffington Post and the Jewish Forward ask whether its possible to be antisemitic and Z-ist and have concluded, YES. …
    …the fact that the ZOA and other reactionary Z-ist organizations, political figures and billionaires would support Trump, is not a surprise. What is surprising is that organizations (like the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Community Relations Council), groups that constantly target (Arab, Muslim, Black, Chicano and other progressive organizations who criticize Israel and groups that frequently equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism), would take issue with the ZOA’s support for Trump.
    (parentheses and underlines added to parse a very unwieldy sentence structure)

    OK. Now I am completely confused. Major Jewish organizations (e.g., ZOA) have no problem with Bannon, the acknowledged anti-Semite? But other Jewish organizations are attacking them?  As I said at the beginning, as a non-Jewish person, I know better than to pick a side in such a fight. So, all I want someone to tell me is: which side do Israelis and US Jewish folks take in this fight? Which side does JPR take?

    Finally, down in the comments of this last quoted article, I found the full text of a story by Gideon Levy (a genuine good guy, IMHO) in Haaretz (the original is behind a paywall):

    Ha’aretz, Nov. 21/16

    Suddenly It’s Okay to Be pro-Israel and anti-Semitic
    By Gideon Levy

    “Palestinians are calling white nationalist Bannon an anti-Semite, while AIPAC and Dershowitz think he’s not such a bad guy. What more proof do you need that Zionism is a face of white supremacy, and ultimately antithetical to Judaism?”

    “All of a sudden it’s not so terrible to be anti-Semitic. Suddenly it’s excusable as long as you hate Muslims and Arabs and ‘love Israel.’ The Jewish and Israeli right has issued a sweeping amnesty to anti-Semitic lovers of Israel – yes, there is such a thing, and they’re en route to taking power in the United States.

    “So now we know: Not just pornography but also anti-Semitism is a matter of geography and price. Right-wing American anti-Semites are no longer considered anti-Semites.

    “The definition has been updated: From now on, anti-Semites are only found on the left. Roger Waters, a courageous man of conscience without stain, is an anti-Semite. Steve Bannon, a declared racist and closet anti-Semite who has been appointed chief strategist in the Trump White House, is a friend of Israel….

    And that’s why I am writing this – because I have had my “criticsm of Israeli policies equated with anti-Semitism”. I sorta suspect that this topic doesn’t get a lot of airtime at JPR for the same reason that it doesn’t get airtime in the corporate media: these kind of stories tend to instantly degenerate into flame wars.

    So why am i putting myself out here for this then? Because I think Trump and Bannon are loathsome; and Netanyahu and Dershowitz are loathsome for justifying and empowering this anti-Semitism. At the same time, they justify and empower the endless wars of chaos in the Middle East that benefit our MIC and benefit Israel. But I am supposed to be silent lest I be labeled an anti-Semite?

    The kind of Newspeak that I am hearing from “patriotic” Israelis and their US supporters regarding the acceptability of Bannon just makes my blood boil. I want to test whether its OK to call a supporter of Israel an anti-Semite, because it is one kind of “Identity Politics” with a proven track record: six million dead Jews. We need to call out Bannon and any Jew who excuses Bannon.

    But, until I see the response to this OP, I do not know if I have permission to call those folks out on this board. And I don’t know what politically correct hoops I might be forced to jump through in order to do that calling out. Can I call out ZOA, or does that make me an anti-Semite?

    Ducking and covering.

    davidgmills, LaaDeeDaaVA, FanBoy and 4 othersMom Cat, leveymg, OzoneTom, broiles like this

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