Monday, January 28, 2013

we didn't know

One of the claims made by Germans concerning the treatment of the Jews, made after World War 2, was that "we didn't know" what was happening.

I've heard it said quite often that many Israelis pay no attention to the occupation and are ignorant of the treatment given to the Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Forces.

In this video, Israeli high school students are shown the movie, 5 Broken Cameras, cooperatively made by an Israeli and a Palestinian. If you haven't seen the movie, you should, but this short video is revealing of the way young Israelis are kept in the dark about what is going on. Of course, they, as well as we, are easily able to see what is happening in the occupied territories simply by using the Internet. It's not acceptable to say that one doesn't know when to find out is so easy to do.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Israel lobby or Jewish lobby?

Criticism has been leveled at Chuck Hagel, the nominee for Secretary of Defense, for his use of the term "Jewish lobby" instead of "Israel lobby". The implication is that the term is anti-Semitic and therefor so it Chuck Hagel.

As you likely know, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu portrays Israel representing all Jews throughout the world, making the lobby for Israel in the United States by definition the Jewish lobby. This is one of the reasons many Jews are objecting to being lumped with Zionists (those who support Israel), because they want it to be clear that they are Jewish yet not in accord with Israel. But the attempt to smear anyone using the term continues.

Today, in the New York Times, was a letter to the editor that makes it clear the attempt to make the phrase "Jewish lobby" into anti-Semitism is absurd. Here it is...

To the Editor:

I served on one of Aipac’s committees for more than 20 years when I headed two national American Jewish organizations, the Synagogue Council of America and the American Jewish Congress.
Since the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s creation in 1951, when it was headed by Isaiah L. Kenen, the organization was referred to by everyone in the Jewish community as “the Jewish lobby for Israel.” And to this day, Jewish establishment organizations constitute virtually Aipac’s entire organizational membership. 

The suggestion by some senators and conservative groups opposed to former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary that his reference to Aipac as “the Jewish lobby” is “hurtful to Jews,” as reported in a Jan. 8 news article, is not only untrue but also a cynical exploitation of the issue of anti-Semitism for the narrowest political purposes. 

That said, “the Jewish lobby” may indeed be the wrong name for Aipac and its satellites. Senator Hagel’s skepticism of military solutions to all problems resonates far more authentically prophetic Jewish values than the reflexive support offered by the Israel lobby to the most extreme militaristic policies of this Israeli government. 

President, U.S.-Middle East Project
New York, Jan. 8, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Shamir and Arafat

I cannot recommend highly enough the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It is one of my main sources of information regarding the Middle East and not an issue arrives that I do not read completely. The reason I am such a fan is the quality of the writing, the reputation of the writers and the fact that the magazine depends on readers rather than advertisers (who tend to sway content) for its existence.

It's policy with the magazine to only release contents online for issues before the current one. That means a couple of articles I consider must reads are now available to non-subscribers.

Neither one is lengthy but both are revealing, particularly to Americans who get anything from the Middle East carefully edited by the TV networks and the newsmagazines to be unoffensive to supporters of Israel.

The first article is about the (assumed) poisoning of Yassir Arafat, written by Israeli leftist Uri Avnery, who knew Arafat personally. It was written well before Arafat's body was exhumed and taken to France for chemical analysis from which results are awaited. The second article is on undisputed events of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's life that firmly place him in the category of terrorist, even by his own admission. Current PM Netanyahu was a protege of Shamir's.