Not a Mistake, Misunderstanding, or Well-Intended Criticism But a Deliberate Campaign to Bash Israel
By Barry Rubin
The craziest stuff is just the most incautious end of far more apparently credible lies and distortions. And the key "mistake" made is to use the word "Jews," unacceptable, rather "Israel," "Israelis," or "Zionists."
In other words, "The Jews want to take over the world." No. "Israel wants to take over the Middle East." Okay. "The Jews use children's blood in Passover matzoh." No. "Israel deliberately murders Palestinian children." Okay.
Here are two more aspects:
Once having been defined as the "bad guy," Israel can be accused of anything, as in a film narrative in which the villain is, well, always villainous.
Second, Israel is one of the few categories that can be attacked with unbridled vituperation, though some limits still apply in American political life at least. You cannot say the slightest thing against other nations or nationalities, as well as races, religions, or genders. One wrong word, even if uttered carelessly, and the person's career is finished. With Israel, the bile can flow unbridled.
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Or the Israeli election was widely presented as the impending triumph of neo-fascist forces even though the far-right party received less than 10 percent of the vote, what that category usually receives. The New Yorker gave us a hitherto unknown professor at a university in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as its expert on Israeli politics. Or the New York Times article claiming that many Israelis were complaining that the Iron Dome system shot down Hamas missiles because it would be better--the reporter lied--if more Israelis were killed or wounded since that would impel the country to change its evil, hard-line ways and seek peace.
Yet again this situation can no longer be dealt with as an ordinary, though rather spirited and emotional, debate. It is a massive, often conscious and deliberate, campaign of defamation. No longer on the margins, this campaign has penetrated into using the commanding heights of the Western mass media, intellectual, and academic institutions.
The reason for pointing this all out is that there are millions of well-intentioned, honest people who would be shocked if they had the paradigm shift between taking a good portion of this material as honest and well-intentioned and understood that they are being subjected to a concerted propaganda campaign of lies. If they comprehend that, they are far more likely to reject these lies as well as having their eyes opened to wider disinformation campaigns going on today.
Update: The New York Times editorial claims (as its lead no less!), in what is starting to look like an antisemitic pattern (I'm not accusing the paper of antisemitism but merely of using such a theme) that Hagel's only problem is that he isn't sufficiently servile to Israeli interests: "One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking." The man showed himself to be an embarrassing fool and this is their claim--that it's the Jews' fault? Let's be clear here. If Hagel said everything he ever said about Israel and had no other problemmatic statements or if Hagel said everything he ever said about Israel and had done a mediocre to minimal job at the confirmation hearings, no one would be talking about his not getting an overwhelming majority in the Senate. A sign of antisemitism: Blame the Jews first. By the way, Obama, Kerry, and Brennan don't have a sterling record on Israel but they had no problem getting elected, appointed, and confirmed.