BU Panel on “Gaza Behind the Headlines” Boring and Predictably Dishonest

I just got back from a panel organized and hosted by the Muslim Law Student’s Association, a “discussion about human rights issues in Gaza, and co-sponsored by Human Rights Law Society and National Security Law Society at the BU Law School Auditorium. It was attended by about 500 people.

Gaza: Beyond the Headlines

It began with the organizer telling us that they wanted a balanced panel but that they didn’t get responses from some people. “We’re not here to adopt a viewpoint, and neither the Israeli consulate nor Hamas would feel happy about what we’re about to say. She was followed by the moderator (I didn’t get his name), who assured us this was about a misunderstood conflict and we needed information.

This sounded like a joke at the time, given how the panel consisted of five known hyper-critics of Israel. But by the end of the evening, although no one praised Hamas, it’s hard to see how anyone from Hamas could have found the proceedings disagreeable, since the only criticism tendered was of Israel and the US government for supporting her. I’ve asked the Muslim Law Students Association to tell me who they tried to reach, but I doubt either a) they’ll tell me or b) anyone they tried to get would even remotely present the other side.

In fact the panel had virtually nothing to do with Gaza. No one talked about what happened there; no one discussed the implications of current situation at length; no one dealt with the legal issues. (For a good treatment of “Gaza behind the headlines, see Yvonne Greene’s piece.)

Instead is was more or less a low-key, flat, and repetitive articulation of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis about American foreign policy. The working assumption of all the panelists was that a) Israel did bad things in Gaza; b) the US supported them; and c) it’s all our jobs to work for a change a foreign policy that harms the US both morally and practically. Kind of like channeling Amira Hass.

The presentations were all profoundly dishonest both conceptually and factually. It was the classic “Eurocentric” framework of (Western) Israel as (evil) agent and (Thrid World) Palestinians as (innocent and) passive victims. Factually, one would never know from this that the Arabs ever wanted anything but a two-state solution. I have a great deal to do before tomorrow, so I’ll reproduce my notes below, and give my readers first shot at all the inaccuracies and misrepresentations. When I have the time, I’ll post another version, integrating the comments into a fisking.

All in all, if this is the kind of quality of thought and empirical grounding that MIT, Harvard, and BU have to offer on these subjects, then oao is right: Education is in terrible shape because it’s become propaganda. Any of these presentation would not have made the grade at a serious first-year history department seminar. Besides Chomsky’s (which was just his typical ramblings), the worst was Kennedy’s. I hope his other work in law is more substantive, otherwise the students there are being cheated.

Irene Gendzier, Professor of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences

This panel is a first for BU.
The events in Gaza have had a powerful international impact; outside the MSM it’s obvious there’s a powerful demand to know what the calamity is and who’s responsible and US role.
In 1982 after the Lebanon war: Begin said, we were following Ben Gurion’s policies
So too with Gaza in 2009.
That the US supported Israel in 2009 is well known; less well-known is how the US did the same in 48-9, a history little known
Post Zionist historians have reconsidered. Now it’s time for a revision by American historians to look at our responsibilities in this conflict.
1) US regarded Palestine as inseparable from its interests in the ME (oil interest and military installations)
2) While DoDefense and State Dept hostile to partition (they preferred “trusteeship”), after May 15 they went with Israel unilaterally. US supported Israel’s expansion beyond 47 boundaries;
3) admiring view of Israel (realism, ultra-realism) – demonstrated military capacity, had location vis a vis oil.
In violation of 47 UN resolution; but some began to be concerned about ethnic cleansing of Palestinians; evidence from the archives confirms the problem that is with us today.
When they began to reconsider, Robertt McLintock? said “US policy in Palestinian was based on recognizing Israeli expansion; should not undermine its control or sovereignty; contrary to UN 47 plan no Arab state, instead arrangement with Transjordan; US involvment in redrawing boundaries. Exchange of populations.
Phillip Jessup at UN supported the idea of transfers; redrawing the map: Jenin Tulkarm should be transferred to Israel; if the Negev has oil, it should stay with Israel (titters in crowd).
Human movement scope of which they hadn’t anticipated
UN Res. 194 on repatriation (Nov 1949)
When faced with Ben Gurion’s denial fo responsibility, the US officials accused them of Deir Yassin and Haifa, claiming that new refugees are being created by terror. that the Israelis were morally reprehensible.
15 March 1949: Israeli authorities have followed policy of destruction of Arab houses to make way for incoming Jewish refugees (holocaust)
concern for overcrowding
end of march 1949 Truman to Ben Gurion: US relies on it to take responsible action concerning Palestinian refugees; Israel must offer territorial compensation for stuff taken beyond 1947: rupture in the making, Israel must deal with Palestinian Conciliation Commission
“don’t know what you make of that, novel or familiar.”
Conversation dropped by most
By and large, the events of May 1948 profoundly impressed US officials Israeli capacity to expand at will. Israel so much stronger, could drive the Arabs out of Palestinine
insuring Israel’s friendship;
US strategic forces in Israel: reconciliation so they could fight the Russians
Advantages of Israel: from Bosporus to suez location location location, pipelines
Dec 14 1949: Breaks up USSR access to arab oil
Nascent Israeli state a tremendous asset US ME policies
Modern effective fighting machine; against Arab league
It deserves a good deal of examination; set the stage for what we have today

Stephen Walt, Belfer Professor of International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Domestic politics of US policy
[MOst recently on Walt, and his tendentious grasp of facts, see Jonathan Chait.

1) special relationship between US and Israel
2) Israel Lobby
3) At work in Gaza

How things may be changing for the better.,
Rabin, US support for Israel beyond comparison
Largest recipient of US aid $500/yr for every citizen; gets it when it does things US opposes like settlements (And Egypt does what we want? – rl)
Rarely if ever criticized by anyone who wants to get high office
Hillary Israel unshakeable, even if the Israeli government rejects 2-state solution
Large scale didn’t really start till after 1967
Usual explanation: asset (only in Cold War) democracy
But this can’t explain: a reason we have a terror problem; not making US citizens more secure at home
Lots of democracies around the world, but few get aid like this
Not the same as US: Jewish state that privileges its citizens: different from our system
Israel’s treatment of Palestinians sharply at odds with US values

Lobby: loose coaliton working to preserve the special relationship
CUfI, Wash, New Republic, Weekly Standard, AIPAC, ADL
Not a cabal or conspiracy: just an interest group like others
Not synomymous with Jewish Americans ¼ don’t care, many critical; includes Christians,
Small groups who care a lot about a particular issue have a lot of infuence
AIPAC highly professional, second most powerful lobby, in a class by themselves
Don’t mess with these guys
Just normal politics: gun lobby, embargo cuba, farm lobby
MSM strongly pro-Israel; much less wide range of material
Stifling open discussion – smearing critics as anti-Semitic or self-hating
Marty Peretz on Carter: he’ll go down in history as a Jew hater
HRW: anti-Semitic director
Distract people from real issue US foreign policy
Marginalize people
Even if accusation bogus

Lobby’s fingerprints in Gaza
Weapons and fuel provided and subsidized taxpayers
Bush wasn’t pressured:
Eliot Abrams at NSC running ME policy
Ever since Hamas won the elections in 2006;
Muscle at work with congress: US favors Israel because of favorable media coverage
Jan 2009 rasmussen somew
44% in favor/ 41 against; another poll, 40/33%
but Congress praised Israel for behavior that was condemned by UN, AI, HRW, Israeli journalists, other democracies
in British Parliament Gerald Kaufmann (an avowed Zionist) denounced Israel
media coverage here was quite different
NYT didn’t write an editorial for a week
Both first op eds by Israelis
Overwhelmingly backed Israel
Relatively little criticism
When the new progressive lobby J-Street issued a mild statement for cease fire, they got assaulted
Systematic campaign with YouTube and Twitter feeds
IDF imposed media black out so journalists had problems finding out what was going on
Even Israel more critical of Israel
US pursued a policy that was bad for everyone including Israel
Weakened moderates, strengthened Hamas

Are things going to change?
Internet debunked many Israeli and Hamas sources
Many prominent bloggers et al. criticized Israel, like John Stewart, and Bill Moyers who stood up to ADL attack
Some signs that American domestic politics is waking up
But is it too late?
If 2-state solution increasingly remote, then what’s your alternative?

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, MIT
Big applause for Chomsky
Widespread untenable assumptions that underlie policy formulation, bad for sensible folks
Michael Hanlin and Kenneth *** at NYT
Unless things go smoothly in the region, Obama will find little desire for taking hard steps for pursuing peace with Israel
Michael Oren: with proper inducements Syria might participate in a deal with Israel
The assumption here is that the problem is the recalcitrant Arabs
US an honest broker, committed to all good things: we make mistakes but well intentnioned
US deparately trying to bring peace; Israel wants to make peace, but arabs unreasonable hysterical terrorist
Real world radically different from these untenable assumptions, indeed, almost diametrically opposed to this line
International consensus: 2-state settlement on 49 border with modifications
Includes all the nations mentioned as recalcitrant
Includes Hamas, Hizbullah
Includes everyone but Israel and US government
From 67-71 US called for 242 solution (same as everyone else, except Israel)
In 71 that changed because Kissinger took over state dept US sharply shifted (Kissinger became Secretary of State September 22, 1973 – rl)
Sadat offered Israel a full peace treaty in that year in exchange for giving up the territories
Palestinians not on the international agenda
Israel rejected Sadat’s offer
Stalemate: no negotiations, support Israel’s use of force
Israel preferred expansion to security into NE Sinai: expel Bedouins, build huge city, Yamit → 1973 war, near catastrophe
After that a realization that Egypt can’t be dismissed as basket case, then shuttle diplomacy where Israel ended up accepting Sadat’s offer made in 1971.
Diplomatic catastrophe;
Meanwhile Palestinian national rights entered international agenda: 1976 UN resolution for 2-state solution by Arab League (huh?)
Israel responded by bombing Lebanon, with no pretext to speak of
UN vetoed resolution
Proposal of Arab league, good features, calls for normalization of relations with Israel
Joining international consensus
Obama eviscerated proposal – let’s go for recognition without Israeli withdrawal
Clear statement that he’ll carry forward US position obstructing peace
Camp David → new parameters for peace in December of 2000 Taba
Came close to a solution: with two more days they might reach a settlement
But Barak cancelled the negotiations prematurely and that was that
If a US president will tolerate them
Israeli policies are pretty clear and explicit
Annex everything within the separation wall, take Jordan value, imprison everything that’s left and two salients dissecting the territory was the policy before the Lebanon war (2006?)
After considered that was considered too moderate, more extreme policy during and after Gaza operation
Peace Now report Israel’s plans to double population in WB, take over what’s valuable and leave them in cantons

Three possibilities:
1) implementation of international consensus Bob Simon (knowledgeable serious correspondent) says it will lead to a civil war (but no, just take out troops, a few might remain and live under Palestinian sovereignty) staged a natl trauma all totally staged to provide a basis for further settlement of the WB, same as 1982
2) Israel takes over territories and becomes apartheid state
3) Israel continues what it’s doing with convergeance plus with help of America – Palestinians are ground up in process; redraw the boundaries so that the arabs are transferred to derisory state and driven from the first world (?)

US client state
Pentagon sending supplies to Gaza for US use in stabilizing the region: You know what that means
US high tech increasing investments in Israel; military industries; also moving to US

Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School

Refocus this discussion: my own interest connected to a sense of shame for US involvement in issue, focused on plight of Palestinians in history
Legal lens: what happened to them in 47-49 greater awareness of displacement 70% of Arab population of population were driven out by combination of terror tactics and military policies; everyone in Israel agreed to drive them out; not let them come back
Killed or shoved back out anyone who wanted to come back
Dispossessed the property and paid no compensation
Big event
First fact
Arabs left in Israel didn’t get full citizenship
Not participating in Israeli democracy
Only two cases where the Arabs exercised decisive action in the Knesset
Jewishness imposes drawbacks on second class citizens
Next thing that happened 1967 war
Another 300K left WB and Gaza
Oppressive apparatus necessary to kept control
Makes the occupied territories a terrible place to live
Destroy everything
WB a police state for Arab population
Micro control
Torture an de facto element of control
No more anything like an independent political life
Leveled Gaza and now won’t let it be reconstructed.
Against that background
Fate of occupied territories and arabs in Israel
Exploited as labor pool
WB and Gaza reduced to aid recipients
Permanent resolution of the problem: to have stability – Israel has to give up a lot
450-500K settlers in WB
de facto created an Israeli state in WB
50% of WB allocated to Israel
peace requires a lot of concessions to Palestinians
Palestinians aren’t responsible for the geo-politics
Largely victim population adopted terror tactics to resist
But I mean, yes, horrifying, but it pales in comparison of mass suffering and terror inflicted on them
All this a function of US support
2-state would be instantly created by an Israeli withdawal to the 49 borders
force Israel to make massive concessions
Israeli positions being weakened by morphing of world military power – successful resistance of Iraqis and Taliban and Hizbullah – military situation of Israel weakening to asymmetrical and unconventional warfare
Balance against
Slow radicalization of arab population in Israel: bad sign; higher level of education
More complex than it once was therefore unlikely for a decent settlement – Israel insecure makes a just deal less likely
Chomsky’s assessment of Obama very accurate
Only a few glimmers of hope that Obama will be more confrontative
Willingness to ramp up the pressure and get Israel to act justly
Obama in a second term might pressure Israel: talk tough and carry a big stick against Israel: gonna have to give up all kinds of stuff
Situation in medium term not hopelessbig stick type pressure on Israel depends on pro-Palestinian crowd making itself heard
What to do:
movements can affect public opinion
Blogosphere, networld, opposition to Iraq war: anti-war left, totally potentially a force against the Israelis; Muslim opinion
Mysterious way that liberal Jews feel they have to shift and adopt a different attitude, can’t ignore Palestinian issues if you want to be a liberal
Jewish liberals: “I don’t know anything about the Israel-Palestine issue” but they’re in denial, but they’ve spared themselves
WASP Jewish alliance, deeply romantic historical alliance, academic intelligentsia, since 1973 – that war showed that Israel was in danger, precarious
Actually that’s a fantasy: it showed that the US could and would bail Israel out of a disastrous military situation; could not be permitted to, not even appear to have lost.
People in university communities having a mission to do what all the members of the panel have done, to speak everywhere to find people in their communities and workplaces to advocates for a more realistic portrayal of what’s going on in the conflict.
Sustained willingness to force conversations in the mildest way that one’s interlocutor can accept
Divestment by university is an excellent univ slogan, not feasible program, excellent way into dialogue and conversation, not violent,d oesn’t require screaming and yelling, but making clear it’s something you care about
Many micro-initiatives
Build opinion to shift it profoundly over the near and middle term
A possibility of a change here.

Question and answer:

BU Polic sci student: media reports that Israel hit farmer’s fields, UNRWA compound blown up and destroyed 60% of food supplies, direct policy of using (destruction of) food as weapon, would you not agree that to demonstrate or test western reaction, model for future policy
Irene Gendzier: Britain there, but US involved; I’m not here to assign culpability but to raise awareness; Israelis weren’t concerned for western reaction “a war to finish off Palestinian resistance in Gaza” alas given rise to interest in US to have weapons for war in densely inhabited areas

Nasrud Palestinian born in 1948 unfortunately: Israel not interested in anything more than self-rule for Palestinians, what should the Palestinian resistance do now?
IG responsibility of Arab states silence during all the things that were described; Palestinians victims of arab states; Mustafa Barghouti, in despair at Netanyahu regime
SW Palestinian national movement will continue to try and influence the way this is viewed; shifts in discourse in political mobilization, ultimately where it will be won; Israeli policies of denying Palestinian continuing acts of violence flare-ups resistance, you should expect to see that; it’ll get worse unless the US intervenes
NC it’s not up to me to lecture Palestinians how they should resist; we need to focus the question on ourselves; what are the forms of our resistance to US foreign policy which isn’t so feudal (futile?) and hopeless; success of violence – extremely successful and American should know this.

have you denounced the rockets? maybe you want more dead Palestinians?
NC: try literacy: yes I’ve condemned the rocket attacks on Israel; and Israel has a right to self-defense, but no right to self defense by force without having exhausted peaceful means.
Israel has not accepted a cease fire with Hamas
Hamas did accept it until November 4 invasion
Mark Regev has admitted that Hamas had fired no rocket from June 2008 till the November invasion of the Israelis (what’s he talking about?)

Jewish Refugees?
Kennedy: Iraqi Jews thought it was a catastrophe and blamed Zionism
Profound question for the dialogue: what is the role of Arab players in the story
Palestinians are arabs: look what the Arabs have done; because they invaded Israel
They lost they should shut up and get on with their lives
Some say that the Palestinians are just Arabs (Israelis lump them to the geopolitical larger unit of Arabs)
Doesn’t alter the fact that the Israeli policy was to take it out on the Palestinians by taking over
IG read Israeli sources, they’ll answer your questions.

I had to leave at this point, but I had the impression that there was a strong presence of people well informed enought o know what was up, and to speak up. If anyone stayed to the end, I welcome further comment.

25 Responses to BU Panel on “Gaza Behind the Headlines” Boring and Predictably Dishonest

  1. Fat Man says:

    Noam Chomsky. Shanda fur den goyim.

    Duncan Kennedy: Once the infant terrible of the Law School world. Claimed that the law schools were taking fluffy kittens, and making them into robot sharks. The law School gave him tenure and he grew roots, and ivy climbed up his trunk. I am amazed that he is not completely sessile.

  2. oao says:

    All in all, if this is the kind of quality of thought that MIT, Harvard, and BU have to offer on these subjects, then oao is right: Education is in terrible shape.

    there IS no education. there is indoctrination. not only do all events sound like a broken record, but nobody asks, questions, investigates. they all regurgitate the same thing. the notion of evidence, reasoning, knowledge do not exist.

    the consequences are quite clear: clinton, bush and alibama in the US, the european union in europe.

    (to give you and idea of what the latter is about, the corrupt and dictatorial president of romania, following ceausescu’s example, sent his daughter there as a rep with 30000EU/month and all expenses paid to get her out of romania before elections because she can’t speak proper romanian and made an ass of herself on tv each time she opened her mouth)

    and here is what the US and EU have done, not once, but twice:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/025062.php

    this is what happens when you produce generations of ignorant, unable to think and reason masses, that can be manipulated effortless.

  3. Sissy Willis says:

    The words of CS Lewis’s head of the secret police in That Hideous Strength come to mind, as I blogged a couple of months back:

    “Ah, you fool, it’s the educated reader who can be gulled. All of our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman [Joe the Plumber comes to mind] who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles … He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.”

  4. Eliyahu says:

    Thank you, Sissy.

    Anyway, one of the curious things in these diatribes is the common desire to have the US act as an imperialist power AGAINST Israel. If the US is for Israel that’s bad. But against Israel is OK. The self-styled anti-imperialist unpleasant chomsky takes that line. If only US imperialism were against Israel.

    Terrorism is a natural reaction, supposedly. These characters are too ignorant to know how the State Dept acted to encourage Arab terrorism. For example, after the first airplane hijacking [1967 or 68] to Algiers, the int’l airline pilots association wanted to boycott flights to Algeria. The State Dept opposed that boycott, according to the NYT at the time. The pilots backed down. Airplane hijacking took off. Then, in the 1950s, the USA helped Nasser, the hero of Arab nationalism, develop a sophisticated psywar apparatus of his own. They not only helped to send German Nazi psywar veterans to Egypt but American psywar experts too [Hunsbarger? Hunsberger?]. In the 1970s, before sec’y of state Vance came to Egypt, “Gerald Warren, former deputy press assistant to former presidents Ford and Nizon…” was “sent to Egypt for several weeks by the US State Department to help increase the effectiveness of the Egyptian president’s press office.” [UPI, Aug. 6, 1977].

    Israel had no 1949 “borders”, indeed no borders at all with Arab states, only armistice lines. All of the Palestine mandate was the Jewish National Home, although the UK had violated its commitment to the National Home principle by preventing Jewish land purchase in most of the country west of the Jordan starting in 1940, as well as by drastically limiting the number of Jewish refugees allowed in during the Holocaust. Abba Eban called the 1949 lines “Auschwitz lines.” When unNo’am calls for the 1949 “borders” with “modifications” he is just echoing the 1969 Rogers Plan, a plan by Nixon’s sec’y of state. How is it that our stalwart anti-imperialist echoes Nixon’s foreign policy??
    If unpleasant No’am really believes that Hamas accepts the two-state then he is nuts. They believe in time-limited truces as per Muslim jihad doctrine.

    Gendzier’s claim that the US supported Israel in 1948-49 is not only false but insane. Her claim that this support was based on oil and military concerns is false and insane. The State Dept, CIA, and Defense Dept specifically cited oil concerns and the fear of Communist expansion either through Israel or as an Arab reaction to Israel as reasons for opposing Israel at that time. She seems incoherent on this matter. On the issue of Israel and Communist expansion, Israel’s detractors in the Truman administration could cite the pro-Soviet Mapam party in Israel, as well as the freely operating Israel CP.
    On her point # 2, there were no 1947 boundaries, only borders recommended by the Partition plan [11-29-1947], which was a recommendation like all GA political resolutions. This plan in fact took much of the land of the Jewish National Home away from the Jews and awarded it to Arabs, while assigning the city of Jerusalem to an international govt, to please the Vatican maybe. This disregarded the fact that Jerusalem had a Jewish majority then, and since 1853 if not before.
    It was the Arab side that rejected this recommendation and began to drive Jews out of their homes in December 1947, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Hence, the partition plan was null and void.

    Gendzier also fails to explain how the US that had failed to save Jews from the Nazis during WW2 [whereas the Arab leadership had openly collaborated with the Nazis] suddenly became pro-Jewish. On the other hand, she correctly states that State Dept and Dept of Defense opposed Israeli independence. But this conflicts with her claim about US support for Israel. The US imposed an arms embargo on Israel [the whole Middle East] in 1948, while the UK was arming the Arabs and also took part in pro-Arab warfare with British troops, tanks, and planes. Her view is a self-contradictory mish mash.

    Kennedy is foul and full of errors too. But there are other things to do here.

  5. AT says:

    It’s interesting … once BU used to distance itself from such displays, trying to maintain an even keel by keeping out extremists. I wonder if this renewed courtship is related to external fund-raising measures.

  6. Solomonia says:

    It’s Bash Israel Week on Campus…

    Richard Landes has a preliminary report from BU: BU Panel on "Gaza Behind the Headlines" Boring and Predictably Dishonest I just got back from a panel organized and hosted by the Muslim Law Student’s Association, a "discussion about hum…

  7. oao says:

    But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning.

    correction: not the educated, the schooled. there is no education.

    i am not so sure that the unschooled are more of a problem. doesn’t look like alibama was elected just by the schooled, although the schooled made a significant contribution.

  8. JD says:

    Wow. What a lot of work on shaping the narrativelogy by the first one to make America, not the UN, responsible for Israel’s founding. Like usual with anti-semitism, not one concession can be given the Jew.

    Actually Chomsky is right about Arab states wanting a peace deal. What he doesn’t tell the audience is that this shift is new. Such would undermine the ideation of Israel’s guilt.

    My favorite comment:

    “Next thing that happened 1967 war
    Another 300K left WB and Gaza”

    Yes. And why? This fellow is not “onboard.” He brings up a fact that undermines the narrative of expulsion, that the Arabs left because Israel army literally chasing them, not that they assumed the Jews would have done to them in victory that which they would have done to the Jews had they won. Or that they did not want to live under Jewish rule.

    I see the “post Zionists” are cited as “authority.” Every post-Zionist thing I’ve read is like hack work, an Israeli leftist trying to comport his or her thinking to Western ideation about Israeli history, not understanding the anti-semitic templates, and not understanding their neighbors at all. Actually, most Israeli leftists are, maybe now were, just as unaware about their neighbors and just as unwilling to give them independent thoughts and actions not merely reactive to “Western” actions as Western leftists. This attitude is common in former Empire countries and Marxists whose historical sensibilities are faith-based.

  9. JD says:

    “Gendzier’s claim that the US supported Israel in 1948-49 is not only false but insane.”

    The reality isn’t important, but how it fits into her narrative. Israel is a bad thing, and their must be American culpability too.

    “Her claim that this support was based on oil and military concerns is false and insane.”

    Support of Israel is despite oil, not for oil. To the leftist anti-Zionist there can be no regional variability, no complex causes. Israel is original sin. The anti-semitism is the Jews are always wrong, the anti-Zionism is that the Israel is always wrong. They cannot concede fault on Hamas. They cannot say, Israel did this and that and are almost always wrong, but I’ll give them a break on Hamas. From old religious grounds anti-semitism cannot concede non-Jewish culpability. From Marxism, its self-serving historical eventualism has to blame someone for the failings of its triumphal predictions.

  10. Sophia says:

    Also significant, the British and French betrayals of both Jews and Arabs (Sykes-Picot) and subsequently, of Eretz Israel; also, Cold War rivalries that saw wars and terror actually fomented in the Middle East.

    But who reads this stuff? I guess it is too boring for university students and professors to actually crack some books or – gasp – use their minds to do something besides brainlessly react against the society that gave them birth and the freedom to be reactionary.

    I would also be interested in seeing some new looks at the British assault on the Ottoman Empire and subsequent events, which clearly resonate to this day.

    It’s interesting that British Imperialism was to be applauded in that case is it not?

    But why? Are the (British assisted) Greeks and Arabs not portrayed as heroes and Turks the goats?

    We study the evils of Ottoman Turkey including various appalling massacres during WWI but what about the effect of Britain’s war on the Turkish people not to mention The Empire’s motives (this goes for Russia too in its various games with Britain, which victimized people in the East)?

    And what about the formation of the “Arab League”? There are a lot of people in the Middle East and North Africa yet they are blindly characterized as “Arab” and for some reason the Jews as foreigners.

    Why?

    Don’t these minorities and indogenes deserve further study, even recognition that they exist?

    On the subject of brainwashing: the American public is conditioned to react to 30 second commercials. We are sadly easy to control, to train. Children raised on TV instead of books? Forgetaboutit.

    People wonder why we’re in economic trouble. Hah.

    The internet, incredibly valuable as a source of information, is also being misused. Lies about Jews and Israel (among other things) spread virally; misinformation is as easy to transmit as real knowledge. Comment boards even on major papers have become hatefests and easy ways to spread propaganda to millions of people. Once this happens it is darn near impossible to undo the damage. A few brief sentences – for example fake Talmud quotes – require hours and paragraphs of citations to refute.

    Harry’s Place reports that CBC has just (thankfully) begun to deal with the use of their board as a host for antisemitism. But what if the universities themselves are the hosts?

    Without the ability to think, reason, research and read, people are tools. If professors are actually brainwashing them –

    There’s a hilarious commercial on the tube right now about Hulu, which goes straight to the point about mass media. This wouldn’t be a problem if people were ALSO reading, writing, studying, creating – it’s all a matter of balance.

    Yet, when challenged economically we cut arts and humanities programs, which teach people how to think, how to make things, how to create. We are turning against science now.

    I’m starting to sound like oao.

  11. JD says:

    Eliyahu,

    “The State Dept, CIA, and Defense Dept specifically cited oil concerns and the fear of Communist expansion either through Israel or as an Arab reaction to Israel as reasons for opposing Israel at that time. She seems incoherent on this matter.”

    Part of the Western style of Marxist Apologism is to deny Communist threat and thoughts. On one level, this was clever taqiyya by the knowing. They did advocate expansion as clearly stated in their writings and found in their actions. Denying Leninist ideology is much like denying what Hamas says.

    Walt does the same about the “Cold War” in his way. Doesn’t deny it, but glosses it over as insignificant. It wasn’t, and when the UAR became a Soviet ally, that’s when American government got more involved with Israel. 1973 was very much like a Cold War proxy conflict. But such observation decreases the centrality of Jewish guilt and blame, so it is overlooked. For the semblance of “comprehensitivity” it might be briefly mentioned.

  12. JD says:

    “Mark Regev has admitted that Hamas had fired no rocket from June 2008 till the November invasion of the Israelis (what’s he talking about?)”

    It’s an anti-semitic ideation, a corollary to collective guilt. The Jew must always be to the blame, and the Jew is the cause of all wars. Whether the speaker knows it or not, its a cultural template. I noticed the lefties were nosing around for some kind of “Israel started it” explanation early in the Gaza conflict.

  13. JD says:

    Sorry for the many posts, but this stuff is ripe.

    Irene is an old-style Marxist, or thinks like one in foreign policy. Key for them is the ideation that world events are centered on helping or hurting the revolution, thereby the USSR. Here are some prime examples:

    “US strategic forces in Israel: reconciliation so they could fight the Russians
    Advantages of Israel: from Bosporus to suez location location location, pipelines
    Dec 14 1949: Breaks up USSR access to arab oil”

    Russia needed access to Arab oil? That’s a geostrategic laugh riot. They’re the competition to the Arabs! America needed help with containing the Russians via the Bosporus? Hello! Turkey and Greece were both part of NATO! Pipelines? What piplelines? This is like the idiocy that preceded the Iraq war pinning it on the Jews. Strategic forces in Israel? Nope. Try Libya then, that was the strategic spot. And Israel only controlled the Suez after ’67.

    Here is one of the typical glossings over by Marxists thinking about Israel. Israel WAS an American asset as to the Suez from 1967 to 1973. Israel prevented Soviet materiel from reaching Vietnam thru the Suez, greatly increasing the cost of shipping. American policy during that time urged Israel to retain control. After April 1973 this was no longer needed, thereby American policy lost interest in Israeli control of the Suez. Plus, after the 73 war, Egypt became an ally of the West.

    It’s all out there. Kissinger writes about it. But Marxists and “new historians” ignore it because, its blatant obviousness cannot be easily glossed away. Also, acceptance of these facts into the discourse would harm the ideation about Jewish control and Cold War apologetics.

  14. E.G. says:

    Why does this evoke a Soviet trial and verdict pronounced in absentia?

    JD,
    Please keep posting. Plenty of insights – at least for me.

  15. Eliyahu says:

    JD, you’re only confirming that Gendzier is nuts. Also, if Israel was an American pawn, or vice versa, then why did Israel fight the 6 Day War in 1967 with French fighter aircraft [mirages and mysteres], rather than with US aircraft??? For anyone who knows anything, the argument is absurd.

    by the way, Irene wrote a biog of Frantz Fanon, the supposed theoretician of 3rd World revolution. At the end, as he is dying of disease, she reports, Fanon was admitted to one of the US military hospitals in the DC area [Bethesda or Walter Reed, I forget]. Now, if that is so, then it would seem to contradict her claim that the USA is fully supportive of Israel. This is because Fanon was very pro-Arab, pro-Arab revolution of course, whatever Arab revolution means. But how does she explain that implicit contradiction to her argument?

  16. oao says:

    I’m starting to sound like oao.

    i know it’s depressing but at least you’re facing reality.

  17. oao says:

    btw, once we give up science, we lower ourselves to the level of the jihadis, but without their commitment and sacrifice to their cause.

    that guarantees we don’t survive.

  18. E.G. says:

    Sophia,

    Yet, when challenged economically we cut arts and humanities programs,

    And nobody cries “Crime against Humanities”…

  19. Eliyahu says:

    to continue my comment # 15:

    Gendzier also forgets the Baghdad Pact which John Foster Dulles so much wanted to set up in the 1950s as a “bulwark” against the Soviet Onion because Arabs/Muslims were naturally staunch anti-Communist. Israel of course was left out of the Baghdad Pact.

    Unpleasantness chomsky too makes up false simplifications of modern Middle Eastern history. Do you notice how he’s always so glib with his one-liner, his simplistic generalizations?? He too ought to be asked to explain why the Baghdad Pact left out Israel; why john foster and allen Dulles preferred Nasser and King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia [wouldn't you like to have a kingdom named after yourself?] to Israel?? Why Nasser was given US help in setting up a propaganda and psywar apparatus? Why the US never sold heavy weapons to Israel from May 1948 through the Eisenhower [Dulles] administraiton?

    In other words, the so-called “Left” has constantly been falsifying modern Middle Eastern history and in particular, Israel-US relations. Indeed, the Left has made it easier for the State Dept, for the real policymakers, to push their policies.

  20. oao says:

    Gendzier also forgets the Baghdad Pact which John Foster Dulles so much wanted to set up in the 1950s as a “bulwark” against the Soviet Onion because Arabs/Muslims were naturally staunch anti-Communist. Israel of course was left out of the Baghdad Pact.

    not clear these people forget. more likely they are ignorant, or ignorant very selectively. they are products of the same lack of education, but rather of indoctrination.

    that such people and they generation that produced them got to be academics is the best indication there is that education is no more.

  21. Eliyahu says:

    oao, I don’t know if your description fits Gendzier. I remember that she was around in the late 60s, while you were still in Israel. She ain’t no spring chicken. Not even a good-looking chick, I’m sure. I recall that she authored an article [probably not a book] back in those days that bemoaned what the creation of Israel had done to the peaceful, harmonious, fruitful “Middle Eastern mosaic” where everybody had his cozy corner. That was before the civil war in Lebanon but after Nasser’s assault on Yemen [use of poison gas]. Maybe the Armenian genocide had taken place too long before for her to remember or be aware of it.

    The more I think about it, the more I have to say that the Left, even the Old Left of the 50s and 60s, when they were more rational than now, were deliberately falsifying Arab-Israeli events and the US-Israel relationship. They were calling Israel a catspaw of the USA [the Commies (Stalinists) were] while the Dulles Bros. foreign policy was rather hostile to Israel, and they did not want Israel to take part in an anti-Soviet alliance [such as the Baghdad Pact and later CENTO].

  22. JD says:

    I don’t encounter old left, or any lefties, that are seemingly as focused on the early years of Israel and the American relationship as this woman apparently is here. If at all it is about Israel not being Socialist enough, and not following Russia, so Israel failed them, and isn’t deserving of support. The party line, which is important, placed Israel in the “Imperialist Camp” when Israel voted for the Korean War in 1950. Not so much about America causing the creation of Israel, because it is not true, and Europe, incl. Russia, were much more involved.

    I recall the M-Walt paper had that peculiar focus so perhaps she’s picking it up from there, despite what I elsewhere said about seeing no one follow the M-Walt paper.

  23. oao says:

    the left MUST falsify — the discrepancy between what they think and reality forces them to.

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