March 24, 2010

On Robert Wright's breakthrough NYT article, Against 'Pro-Israel' (and why I think he's right)

by Diane V. McLoughlin, March 24, 2010
main website

I applaud Robert Wright for his strong and forthright opposition to the policies of Israel. Like him, I disagree with the strategies of her apologists.  Wright argues in the New York Times that calling critics of Israel's policies anti-Israel (or, more threateningly, anti-Semitic) actually works against Israel's best interests.  Without our continued efforts to point out where Israel is failing in other words, Israel will never be a success.
It seems to me that one of the biggest elements of the picture with the Israel-Palestine conflict is that Israel clings to the racist notion that it exists to the exclusive benefit of Jews.

Over 20% of Israel's citizens are Palestinian. No solution is going to be able to account for this sad reality for almost two million people who languish under constant oppressive and demeaning treatment as second-class citizens unless it is faced head-on.

This is one of the most important aspects of the problem that must be illuminated. Ynet News, the largest daily on-line Israel news site, and as far as I know a conservative publication, ran an article about the Mossawa Center's annual report on racism that shares that the Knesset is the most racist 'since the establishment of the state... [the report] reveals a 75% increase in discriminatory and racist bills submitted to the Knesset in the past year.'

Jonathan Cook writes in The National about a Jewish family who wanted to rent a home to their Bedouin friends. Three of their dogs were poisoned, vintage cars they owned were burned, their children are harassed at school; the municipality fights tooth and nail to find legal ways to keep the Bedouins out. Municipalities throughout Israel are adopting codes to keep Palestinian Israeli citizens out by forcing them to swear loyalty oaths pledging allegiance to: “Zionism, Jewish heritage and settlement of the land”, the very system that seeks to ethnically cleanse them out.

IPS reports from East Jerusalem of nightly IDF raids into family homes for the arrests of children: '...accelerated attacks by Israeli forces and Jewish settlers inside Silwan in particular, directed towards the community's youngest and most vulnerable population. Since January, at least 33 children from the area have been arrested, detained and interrogated by Israeli forces as home demolitions and settler takeovers continue apace. Muslem Odeh, [aged] 10, tells IPS that he was taken by Israeli forces on Mar. 11 at 3 am, after police broke into the family's home in Silwan's Bustan neighbourhood and pepper-sprayed his father who attempted to protect him...'; in the area of Bustan particularly we are told, the Arab children take their favorite toys and clothes with them to school every day because they worry they will have no home to return to at the end of the day.

A brief scan at finds that 90% of Gaza's water is polluted; the Israeli Education Ministry censors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, more civilians killed in the occupied West Bank, and more air strikes launched against GazaEgypt works to complete its monstrosity of a steel wall that will cut off Gaza's last means of importing goods with which 1.5 million Gaza inhabitants depend, half of whom are children. (uruknet sources: Palestinian Center for Human Rights; Promised Land blog; .)

The apologists will tell you that Palestinian Israeli citizens have 'equal rights'; that Gaza had to be attacked because of rocket fire - Gaza was in the middle of abiding by a mutually agreed upon cease-fire (see CNN YouTube here) when Israel, rather than seizing the opportunity to work at normalizing relations with Gaza and lifting the military siege, girded for total destruction of Gaza instead.

In Canada, an unappointed group of Parliamentarians led by Irwin Cotler (the CPCCA) is busily spinning quietly in back rooms to come up with ways to create legal chill against public criticism of Israel - what they refer to as 'the new anti-Semitism'. Glen Greenwald is so right to refer to Canada's so-called 'hate speech' laws as 'creepy'. I'd go further: it's a fundamental threat to democracy and liberty. So's the McCain-Lieberman bill, S.3081 - but that's a story for another day.

Jewish Voice For Peace is asking everyone who abhors the current unmovable stasis of the situation to sign their PETITION: Tell President Obama: No more unconditional aid to Israel;
support his demand for an end to settlement construction. It reads, in part: 'Please withhold US aid to Israel until it agrees to abide by international law including ending settlement construction and lifting the blockade on Gaza.'

Petition link:

And editorials of mine can be found at

For now.


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