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Weekly Notebook: On 'the Jews,' ‘price tag,’ Colbert and more

New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner’s sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook for the week ending Saturday, April 12.

Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com

Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com

THE GREAT COLBERT
As he moves into the mainstream of the mainstream (taking over the David Letterman show), a reminder of Stephen Colbert’s unforgettable roast of George W. Bush (and the press) at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner (FB status, April 12):

This is to the Bush years what Edward R. Murrow’s famous TV takedown was to the McCarthy era. In 2006 it was finally sinking in on America that Bush and his wars were a disaster, and that the press had been rolling over for it. Colbert stands up there 10 feet from Bush and just skewers him in that fake-O’Reilly character of his. “I believe that the government that governs best is the one that governs least, and by that standard we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.”

And he also shat all over the White House correspondents. “Let’s review the rules. The president makes the decisions – he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions. And you people in the press type those decisions down.” Twenty-four minutes of this, and it ends with a filmed indictment of the Iraq war. There was palpable tension in the room, and Colbert naturally got a lot of very bad reviews from the press. This is a historic document, one of the greatest works of political art ever.


 

PALESTINIANS – YA CAN’T LIVE WITH ‘EM, YA CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM
Bibi’s dilemma: How to punish Abbas for his disobedience? (FB status, April 12):

Even Roni Daniel, Channel 2′s superhawk war correspondent, said it’s a bad idea for the government to go through with its decision to withhold the $100-million monthly revenue transfer to the Palestinian Authority. (The money belongs to the PA; it’s customs fees Israel collects from Palestinians returning to the West Bank, because Israel, like a good occupying power, doesn’t allow the Palestinians to control the border crossings into their own territory.) Daniel’s point was that the PA needs the money to pay the troops that police the West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps to keep Israel safe, and if they don’t...

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Headlines say ‘Kerry blames Israel’ – who would have dreamt it?

If the road to the UN was open to the Palestinians before, now there may as well be a red carpet on it.

It goes without saying that Kerry’s blaming of Israel for the blow-up in the peace talks is a great thing, a bigger win for the fight against the occupation than anyone could have expected to come out of this process. From the time about a year ago that these negotiations were a twinkle in Kerry’s eye, the name of the game for Israel and the Palestinians was to avoid being held responsible for their inevitable failure. The best anyone had a right to hope for was that the Americans would blame Israel off the record, but on Tuesday Kerry did it on TV in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee!

They must be delirious in the Muqata, the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah. If the road to the UN was open to them before, now there’s almost a red carpet on it. This may or may not be the start of the endgame for Palestinian independence, and even if it is, it’s going to take years and be terribly painful for them, but whatever happens in the next stage of the conflict, the Palestinians start it with the wind clearly at their back.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to some of his aides before the start of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, January 4, 2013. (State Dept. photo)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to some of his aides before the start of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, January 4, 2013. (State Dept. photo)

The funny thing is that Kerry didn’t consciously intend to blame Israel. He’d have to be crazy or stupid to do such a thing in a setting like that, and he’s neither. What he said was this:

The U.S. is now trying to assure Israel that Kerry wasn’t playing the “blame game,” he was just giving a “factual account” of the events. But here’s the thing – when you give a factual account of events that begins with one side’s violation of the agreement (Israel’s refusal to release 26 prisoners as promised), followed by that same side’s provocation (the announcement of the new settlement units), followed...

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Weekly Notebook: On Bibi's lies, BDS, reality shows, and more

New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner’s sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook (and one email) for the week ending Saturday, April 5. 

Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com

Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com

 

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR US LATELY?
FB reaction to commenter who asks, “What have the Palestinians done to advance peace recently?” (Sunday, March 30):

Close, daily security cooperation with the IDF and Shin Bet for 10 full years. They’ve arrested thousands of Hamasniks. It’s a key reason why terror is so low, and the only reason why you don’t see massive anti-Israeli demonstrations. Palestinian forces are policing the Palestinian population areas – the cities, the villages, the refugee camps – not the IDF. As Dov Weisglas once said, the West Bank is the world’s only prison where the prisoners guard themselves.

This is why Israel does not want the PA to fold, why it dreads the prospect of it, and why Abbas keeps threatening it. When I say “Israel” I mean the army and the government – the Israeli public has no responsibility, it doesn’t need to keep this information in mind, so it doesn’t, which allows people to ask “what have the Palestinians done to advance peace recently?”


 

EXPOSING DERSHOWITZ:
On his Haaretz op-ed, “J Street’s hypocrisy must be exposed.” (FB, Friday, March 28):

Alan Dershowitz goes after J Street as being dangerously left-wing, calls the Goldstone Report “mendacious and despicable” (he called its author an “evil, evil man”) while describing himself for the zillionth time as a supporter of the two-state solution. Dershowitz is the ultimate new Zionist “centrist” – a bloodthirsty warmonger who cheers home every Israeli bullet aimed at any Arab, but says with a smile that he wants peace. He’s reminiscent of Nixon at his most lethal. This is the sort of person who gets raised up as a Zionist hero for our time.


 

ISRAELIS ABROAD:
On Haaretz op-ed “Why Israelis make the worst tourists,”  about how South American Jews are tired of apologizing for the often offensive, destructive behavior of ubiquitous Israeli backpackers. (FB, Monday, March 31):

This is written by an “active member of the Jewish community” in Santiago, Chile. She’s describing Israeli post-army trekkers – but it holds true for the pre-army trekkers, too, who may...


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A hard choice faces the Palestinians

Politically, this is a moment of opportunity, but it carries a painful human price.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, June 29, 2013. (Photo by State Dept.)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, June 29, 2013. (Photo by State Dept.)

The Palestinians have “won” the Kerry peace initiative: the Obama administration is blaming both sides for its likely failure, not just the Palestinian side, which is the most they could have expected. The New York Times editorial goes one better: it points the finger pretty squarely at Netanyahu, which is radical for a Times editorial. So the Palestinians, having the clear sympathy of Europe and the rest of the world as the aggrieved party, can go to the UN after the talks run out on April 29 and be able to say: “We are seeking our independence here because Israel refused to give it to us.”

At the same time, the BDS movement will almost certainly expand further into the mainstream – including among Jewish liberals. The Netanyahu government has shown itself on a very brightly lit stage to be the Palestinians’ rigid, punitive, mean overlord; it’s screwed itself in international opinion, which was always lousy, but now I think is going to be horrendous.

So the Palestinians and their supporters – whose success is Israel’s success, regardless of their intentions – have a great opportunity. Politically, now is the time for the UN, for The Hague, for BDS, for unarmed “popular resistance.” Politically it’s the only option because if the Palestinians continue playing by America’s rules, they will never be free. From a purely selfish point of view, I hope they go for it.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

But if they do, they’re going to pay a high price in day-to-day suffering. Israel will crack down on them and make their lives even harsher in any number of ways. And America, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told Congress on Wednesday, will do everything it can to block their advance in the UN. Congress will certainly cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid. Maybe Europe, the UN and the Muslim states will...

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Israel is reneging on its promise to release Palestinian prisoners

That’s the long and short of this latest ‘crisis’ in the peace talks.

This couldn’t be more black-and white, more writ in bold, if Israel set off fireworks in the night sky that spelled out: “WE LIED.” Netanyahu and his government – including, very forthrightly, house “peacenik” Tzipi Livni – are reneging on their promise to free 26 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners on Friday.

The numbers, the names, the date of release were all agreed on between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas and overseen by Secretary of State Kerry when the current peace talks, such as they are, began last July. The Israeli cabinet approved the prisoner agreement on July 28 by a vote of 13 to 7 with two abstentions. But now Netanyahu and Co. are  saying they won’t free the prisoners – all in jail on murder charges since before the 1993 Oslo Accord – unless Abbas agrees to go on with the talks beyond their April 29 time limit, and to again set aside his plans to pursue statehood via international avenues such as The Hague.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech to released Palestinian prisoners, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 14. (Activestills.org)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech to released Palestinian prisoners, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 14. (Activestills.org)

“[T]he keys to the prison doors are in the hands of Abu Mazen and the decisions he will take in the coming days,” Livni warned last week. Israel’s co-negotiator at the peace talks insisted that the government never made an “automatic commitment to release prisoners unrelated to making progress in negotiations.”

She’s lying. There are no conditions, no caveats in the deal. Abbas did not agree to make what Israel would consider “progress” in return for the prisoners’ release; he simply agreed not to go to the UN or make any other unilateral moves for the nine-month duration of the talks, and in return Israel agreed to release the 104 prisoners in four groups at the appointed times. (Israel freed the first 78 prisoners as promised; the 26 who were slated to be released Friday are the last on the list.)

It’s comic how ministers in the government are trying to weasel their way out of...

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Israel’s ‘war between wars’ backfires

A self-fulfilling prophecy is playing out in the north.

After nearly eight years of quiet, Israel’s northern border got stormy over the past week. The culmination of the tit-for-tat violence was a bomb placed on the border with Syria that wounded four Israeli soldiers, one seriously, which was followed by an Israeli air strike on a Syrian military base that killed a soldier and wounded others. Amos Harel, Haaretz’s military affairs correspondent, wrote the following:

The fear is that the escalation will continue, whether by design or miscalculation, and Israel will end up with soldiers fighting in Lebanon and Syria while rockets are falling on its civilians.

And what set off this first serious, sustained clash between Israel and its enemies to the north in nearly eight years? Everyone agrees: Israel’s lethal February 25 attack on a convoy carrying advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah. Not only the relatively dovish Harel, but Yedioth Ahronoth’s hawkish military affairs commentator Alex Fishman acknowledges that:

That Israeli air strike followed at least six others last year, some of them fatal, on sophisticated weapons in Syria that were evidently meant for Hezbollah. There were no retaliations after any of those attacks, so Israel kept going until Syria and Hezbollah finally hit back this past week, and now everyone’s worried.

But nobody here is suggesting that Israel shouldn’t have attacked those weapons sites and killed those Syrians and Hezbollah members in the first place. Nobody here is saying Israel brought this on itself, that it provoked the new fighting by dropping bombs on other people’s countries and killing other people’s soldiers when those countries weren’t attacking Israel. And nobody here is saying, God forbid, that the blood of those four wounded Israeli soldiers is ultimately on Israel’s hands.

People in this country don’t say that sort of thing anymore. They did once, during the Lebanon War in the early 80s, and during the First Intifada in the late 80s, but no more. Now Israelis think it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do, the Arabs are always going to try to kill us, so let’s just bash them up as much as we can to weaken them for the next round, which is inevitable. If they don’t hit us back, good for us; if they do, it was going to happen sooner or later anyway. So we have no choice...

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It's the occupation and Israeli bigotry that are anti-Semitic

What we do to the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs – in the last two days, for example – has caused more damage to the Jewish people than anything since the Holocaust.

Who knows? Maybe the Jordanian judge, Raed Zueter, killed by Israeli soldiers Monday, went mad from grief over his critically ill 5-year-old son lying in a coma, and really did attack the troops, and maybe they truly had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Or maybe there was no such attack, maybe there was just an argument and the soldiers got a little trigger happy, not for the first time. Reportedly, there are eyewitness accounts for both versions of what happened at the Allenby (or King Hussein) Bridge border crossing from Jordan into the West Bank yesterday.

And maybe Sael Saji Darwish, the 20-year-old Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers the same day, really was throwing rocks at passing Israeli cars near the settlement of Beit El, which was built close to Ramallah. Or maybe he was just tending his goats; again; there are contradicting accounts.

But even if the soldiers at the border crossing fired at the judge in self-defense – a possibility, but by no means a certainty – why are Israeli soldiers controlling who comes into the West Bank from Jordan? Are Palestinians controlling who comes into Israel?

The funeral of Saji Sayel Darwish, killed yesterday by the Israeli army forces, March 11, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The funeral of Saji Sayel Darwish, killed yesterday by the Israeli army forces, March 11, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

And even if the young Darwish was throwing rocks at Israeli cars, was it necessary to kill him? And why was he throwing rocks at Israeli cars? If Palestinians had gobbled up the land around Tel Aviv, Haifa and every other Israeli city for Palestinian settlements, and if a Palestinian army and Shit Bet were controlling the lives of Israeli Jews for a half-century, would Israeli Jews throw rocks at passing Palestinian cars?

Today, Tuesday, the Knesset enacted a new law sponsored by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and whose overriding purpose is to keep Israeli Arabs, who are 20 percent of the population, out of the Knesset.

We usurp Palestinian land, we rule their lives at gunpoint, we...

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Good news: Obama gives the Palestinians an insurance policy

The president’s high-profile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it extremely hard for the administration to blame the Palestinians for the expected failure of Kerry’s peace initiative.  

U.S. President Barack Obama (Center for American Progress/CC)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Center for American Progress/CC)

Obama’s interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, in which he basically blamed Netanyahu and exonerated Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the intractability of the occupation, is a very important event, and very good news. With Netanyahu and Abbas jockeying to avoid the blame for the likely impending failure of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, the Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it very hard for the administration to do Israel’s bidding, as is its habit, by pointing the finger at the Palestinians if and when the talks, whose allotted time runs out on April 29, run aground.

At stake in the blame game is momentum: if Washington finds against the Palestinians, Abbas’ plans to take Israel to The Hague would stall, as would the “mainstreaming” of the BDS movement. If Washington finds against Israel, the effect would be the opposite. And if Washington blames neither side, then the rest of the world will be left to decide for itself, and its decision will likely be for the Palestinians. In the probable event of the talks failing, Israel’s only hope of avoiding an upsurge of world opposition – which is what Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, along with top Israeli business people, friendly foreign diplomats, Kerry and now Obama are trying to warn Israel against – is if Washington clears Netanyahu of responsibility and turns its wrath on Abbas.

Click here for +972 Magazine’s full coverage of the diplomatic process

But how can Washington do that after what Obama just said in that interview:

On Abbas:

I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue.

I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people...

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The dark heart of Israel's regional military policy

When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there’s no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing.

Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off (photo: IDF Spokesperson

Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off (photo: IDF Spokesperson

Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt a hands-off policy toward Gaza, it still believes it has the right to bomb neighboring countries to retard their military development, all the while Israel itself, of course, goes on building its arsenal to the heavens.

That won’t change if Israel signs a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Hezbollah will still be arming itself across the border, Muslim countries will sooner or later try to build nuclear weapons. And Israel won’t tolerate that; Israel will keep sending out the jet bombers (unless, as in the case with Iran, America puts its foot down).

Israel’s regional military policy – bombing Iraq’s embryonic nuclear reactor (which marked not the end of Saddam’s nuclear program, but really its beginning), bombing Syria’s embryonic nuclear reactor, killing Iranian nuclear scientists, killing Hezbollah’s military chief, bombing Hamas-bound arms convoys in Sudan, and, the latest obsession, bombing Hezbollah-bound arms convoys along the Lebanese-Syrian border – is more dangerous, at least in the short term, than the occupation. Any of these attacks could start a war, and eventually one of them is likely to do just that, unless you believe that Israel can go on hitting its neighbors indefinitely without them ever hitting back. (Since the 2006 war in Lebanon, the blowback has been limited to a Hezbollah terror attack that killed five Israelis on a tourist bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, and an Iranian attack on the Israeli embassy in New Delhi that injured the wife of a diplomat.)

Another way in which Israel’s regional military policy is a worse problem than the occupation is the complete acceptance of it by the country’s Jewish majority, and the apathy...

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Beware, J Street: The Kerry deal looks rigged against the Palestinians

Well-intentioned American Jewish liberals backing this latest U.S.-led peace process appear to be riding for a fall.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

What is J Street going to say if, after urging American Jews to support the Kerry peace mission, that mission wins the support of the right-wing Netanyahu government – but not that of the Palestinians, who view it as the terms of their surrender? And what will J Street say if Western liberal opinion, and even much of Israeli liberal opinion, decides that the Palestinians are right?

This is a question that J Street and all American Jewish liberals supporting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts should ask themselves now, because all indications are that within a few weeks, Kerry is going to present a “framework agreement” for a peace treaty that the Israeli government would be crazy to reject and the Palestinian Authority crazy to accept.

Last week, Israel’s Channel 10 news ran a report saying “the emerging framework document is so unthreatening even to Israeli hardliners that it is unlikely to prompt any kind of coalition crisis.” At the same time, the report, citing sources close to the negotiations, said “Kerry would now face an even greater challenge to persuade the Palestinians to accept it.”

To anybody who’s been following the news of the peace talks, the story made perfect sense. Kerry reportedly has given in to Netanyahu’s demands to the point that the framework agreement is shaping up to be not only more “pro-Israel” than the 2001 Clinton parameters, but even more so than Ehud Barak’s offer to the Palestinians at the 2001 Taba talks or Ehud Olmert’s at the 2008 Annapolis talks.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

There has been nothing but expressions of demoralization coming from the Palestinian side. Even one...

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The boycott isn't economic warfare, it's psychological

It does not have to bring the Israeli economy to its knees, or even close, to force an end to the occupation.

Stock photo boycott activists in France. (Photo by Olga Besnard/Shutterstock.com)

Stock photo boycott activists in France. (Photo by Olga Besnard / Shutterstock.com)

Now that it’s a very common, almost consensus view that Israel faces isolation and serious economic pain if it does not end the occupation, the skeptics are weighing in. They’re saying that the BDS movement, academic boycott and Europe’s anti-settlement policy toward Israeli businesses, even though they are intensifying, have hardly made a dent in this country’s material quality of life. (Here, here, here and here.) Deals are still being made, rock stars are still coming to perform, Israel’s economy is still outdoing most of those in the West. As for the future, such commentators, who are by no means all from the right, are saying that even if the number of boycotters grows, they will still amount to drops in the bucket, and Israel’s economic and political power will thwart any attempt to pressure the country’s leaders into changing course.

I think they miss the point. It’s true that the Israeli economy as a whole is hardly feeling the boycott (though a fast-growing number of companies are), and it’s unimaginable that the economic and political isolation of Israel will ever approach that of apartheid-era South Africa (for lots of reasons, including Israel’s exalted standing in the U.S.). But it doesn’t have to approach what happened in South Africa. The boycott doesn’t have to bring the Israeli economy to its knees, or anything close, for the Israeli body politic – the public, the opinion-makers and the decision-makers – to decide to end the occupation. All the boycott has to do is keep growing, drop by drop – yes, like Chinese water torture – for it to succeed. Because finally, the boycott is not an economic war against Israel, it’s a psychological war, and even the skeptics would agree that it’s already had a deep, damaging effect on this country’s will to continue fighting for the West Bank and Gaza.

The experience of the last nine months, starting with Stephen Hawking’s no-show in Jerusalem for the Presidential Conference – which brought the boycott movement into the mainstream,...

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The cynical use of Palestinian workers in the SodaStream controversy

As a rule, Palestinians working for Israelis in the West Bank hate the settlements and the occupation. But they have to feed their families, so they swallow their pride.

Palestinians workers walk in the early morning next to the Wall and an Israeli military tower to cross the Eyal Israeli military checkpoint, November 2011 (photo: Activestills)

Palestinians workers walk in the early morning next to the Wall and an Israeli military tower to cross the Eyal Israeli military checkpoint, November 2011 (photo: Activestills)

Supporters of the occupation have found a new set of spokesmen: the Palestinian workers at the West Bank factory owned by the Israeli company SodaStream, of BDS and Scarlett Johansson fame. Reporters from The Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph and other media outlets talked to some of the 500 Palestinians employed at the Mishor Adumim plant, and quoted them saying they were against the boycott. It was threatening their livelihood. They would have a hard time finding a job at a Palestinian-owned company and no chance at all of finding one that paid as well as SodaStream, which, they said, treated them fairly.

“Palestinian workers back Scarlett Johansson’s opposition to SodaStream boycott,” read The Monitor’s headline. “’We need 1,000 SodaStreams around here,’” read The Telegraph’s, taken from a quote by a Palestinian contractor at the plant.

These were news stories in highly reputable media, their treatment of the issue was balanced, the quotes from the Palestinians – many taken while they were outside the plant – seemed credible. To people who don’t understand the occupation (and they include even intelligent, informed, liberal-minded folks like Johansson), this is very persuasive testimony. And so the hasbaratists have jumped on it. Honest Reporting, one of the most successful of the many pro-Israel, anti-Arab “media watchdogs,” stamped the Palestinians’ accounts all over its website in posts such as “Fighting BDS – SodaStream Workers Speak Out” and “SodaStream shows that BDS is the real obstacle to peace,”

Butter wouldn’t melt in these propagandists’ mouths. To understate things, it is rather cynical using those Palestinian workers as a weapon against the boycott and, by extension, on behalf of the settlements and occupation. Cynical because those Palestinians don’t support the settlements or occupation in the slightest. Some put the issue out of their minds, some are reluctant to...

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No, Abe Foxman, America is not out to get the Jews

The U.S. Jewish establishment is starting to say publicly that anti-Semitism is the reason Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. This is sickening slander that reflects a deep-seated psychological problem.  

ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)

ADL Director Abraham Foxman (justinhoch/CC BY 2.0)

Abraham Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, capo di tutti capi of the Israel lobby, scourge of all scourges of anti-Semitism (real or imagined), the U.S. Jewish establishment’s chief of language police, the J. Edgar Hoover of American Jewish macherdom, has flipped out completely this time. Earlier this month he said publicly that Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration for spying, now going on 29 years, is a “vendetta” against the entire American Jewish community. From Foxman’s statement on the ADL website:

Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.

In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been paroled on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States.

In other words, the underlying concept which fuels the ongoing Pollard incarceration is the notion that he is only the tip of the iceberg in the community. So Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.

Foxman wrote the above in response to an editorial by the online Tablet magazine, the highest-quality Jewish publication in the United States and a fairly pluralistic one politically. Which is all the more weird, because Tablet’s editorial, written in response to a New York Times op-ed arguing that Pollard was getting what he deserved, was much crazier even than Foxman’s response to it. Tablet:

Pollard’s continued incarceration appears, at this point in time, to be intended as a statement that dual loyalty on the part of American Jews is a real...

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