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Andrew Sullivan: Spreading the greater lie about Israel
The Sunday Times ^ | December 23, 2001 | Andrew Sullivan

Posted on 12/25/2001 4:08:58 PM PST by CrossCheck

A gaffe is perhaps best described as what happens when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Among professional practitioners of the political arts this doesn’t occur too often. But every now and then the truth emerges. So God bless the French ambassador. All he was saying is what many also privately believe. That “shitty little country”, Israel, has become, among many European elites, the object of hate that dare not speak its name.

I’m not talking merely about editorials that seem to deny the right of Jews to emigrate to Israel; or leaders that come close to blaming Israel itself for the mass murder of its own citizens by Hamas terrorists. It is simply routine at this point to see “balanced” news reports from the BBC and the broadsheet British press that morally equate the actions of Israeli self-defence with the deliberate murder of civilian Jews by Palestinian terrorists.

While Britain and America are allowed to fight a war against terrorism, Israel is urged to practise self-restraint every time another terrorist massacres another group of civilians in a restaurant or disco. Supporting Israel as a matter of right versus wrong is almost unheard of in polite society.

In normal times, this is lamentable but not disastrous. The Jews know something about survival. They can and will defend themselves. But in abnormal times, when anti-semitism is spreading across the globe like a brushfire, it is deeply dangerous. Not since the 1930s has such blithe hatred of Jews gained this much acceptability in world opinion. Across the Arab world, in particular, the past decade or so has seen a shift from mere passive resentment of Jews to a paranoid anti-semitism. That European elites want to ignore it, or — worse — pander to it, suggests we have learnt nothing from history.

Am I exaggerating? I wish I were. The massacre of September 11 has merely exposed and accelerated this trend. In the aftermath, a Gallup poll of Pakistanis found 48% believing that the Jews actually flew the planes into the World Trade Center, after warning their compatriots to stay away. This unhinged lie was routinely reproduced in dozens of Middle Eastern newspapers and remains the biggest single obstacle to getting Arabs and Muslims to acknowledge Osama Bin Laden’s guilt.

Al-Ahram, Egypt’s biggest newspaper and the official mouthpiece of the government, controlled by President Hosni Mubarak, recently published a particular gem as a compilation of the “investigative work of four reporters on Jewish control of the world”. It stated that: “Jews have become the political decision-makers and control the media in most capitals of the world (Washington, Paris, London, Berlin, Athens, Ankara).” It claimed: “The main apparatus for the Jews to control the world is the international Jewish lobby, which works for Israel.”

Or take the official “moderates”. Consider the view of the former imam of New York’s Islamic Cultural Center, a man described until a short time ago as a western-leaning mullah sent to New York to spread inter-faith understanding. After September 11, he disappeared and then popped up in the Middle East with the following statement: “You see these people (the Jews) all the time everywhere, disseminating corruption, heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism and drugs. They do this to impose their hegemony and colonialism on the world. Now, they are riding on the back of the world powers.”

Then there’s the Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda: the Muslim-Jewish conflict “resembles the conflict between man and Satan . . . this is the fate of the Muslim nation, and beyond that the fate of all the nations of the world, to be tormented by this nation (the Jews)”. Replace the word Muslim with German and you don’t have an approximation of Hitler. You have Hitler.

Here’s one fact, reported earlier this autumn by Agence France-Presse: Mein Kampf was recently as high as No 6 on the Palestinian bestseller list. Last week, Reuters ran a photograph that was barely picked up elsewhere. It was a picture of Hezbollah youth brigades gathered in a square and all performing the Nazi salute. If that picture had shown American children doing the same, don’t you think it would have been splashed on every front page in the world? In fact, it is a function of condescending racism to the Arabs that we believe this kind of hate-filled pathology is somehow normal for them.

The left is particularly complicit in this evil. Many western liberals chided America for withdrawing from the Durban conference on racism last August. But that conference was the latest high-water mark for Jew-hating. The infamous, fabricated tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was widely distributed at the meeting. Questioners were shouted down with cries of “Jew! Jew! Jew!” The Palestinian Authority refuses to include the fact of the Holocaust in its own history books.

What about the following statement by one Ali ’Aqleh ’Ursan: “The covetous, racist, and hated Jew Shylock, who cut the flesh from Antonio’s chest with the knife of hatred, invades you with his money, his modern airplanes, his missiles, and his nuclear bombs.” Is ’Ursan some fringe extremist? No, he’s the chairman of the Arab Writers’ Association.

There are, of course, completely legitimate criticisms of Israel and Israeli policy that have nothing to do with anti-semitism. The settlements policy of the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is extremely hard to justify. There are Jewish extremists as well; and there is brutality in Israel’s conduct in the West Bank and Gaza that deserves rebuke.

But these valid arguments are light years away from the Jew- hating that has been fomented by Arab governments for years and tolerated by western elites for far too long. Such anti-semitism is the fundamental reason why no peace is possible in the Middle East, because it has so infected every possible Arab interlocutor that Israel simply has nobody to make peace with. In fact, unless western governments expose and condemn such anti-semitism no peace will ever be possible.

And the minute real pressure is put on the Palestinians by the West, we get results. Hamas’s temporary cessation of suicide bombings in Israel last week is directly related to the Bush administration’s clear backing for Israel after the latest terrorist wave. Appeasement is not necessary for peace. In fact, it perpetuates war.

Do we remember anything? Sixty years ago such hatred of Jews — unchallenged, appeased, excused, ignored — led directly to Auschwitz. Its prevalence now in the Middle East should remove any doubt about the morality of Israel’s self-defence in these perilous times and shame anyone who trafficks in it. Yes, this means that Israel’s war against terrorism is the same as our war against terrorism. And, yes, it is good versus evil all over again.

How much more do we need to know about the nature of Israel’s enemies to know whose side we should truly be on?

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: andrewsullivanlist
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To: Alouette
No, YOU go over there and fight for the side you like. But you won't. The USA is my country and I'm not leaving and we have a right to demand our government put our safety above the interests of people in other countries.
101 posted on 12/25/2001 7:46:17 PM PST by LoisHunt
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To: dlt
When we deal with any other country, except Israel, it is from a perspective of what is good for our national interest.

Wrong, Britian in the Falklands war. To name one case off the top of my head.

102 posted on 12/25/2001 7:48:44 PM PST by Valin
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Comment #103 Removed by Moderator

To: College Repub
We have special relationships with Britain, Canada, and Mexico also. What's your point?

How much $$$ do we give these countries each year?

104 posted on 12/25/2001 7:50:59 PM PST by dlt
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To: Valin
What about the was against Serbia?

If it was in the national interest to accumulate Islamic good will, at least we learned that you can not accumulate Islamic good will.

105 posted on 12/25/2001 7:52:15 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: dlt
Half a Century of NATO cost many many multiples of aid to Israel.
106 posted on 12/25/2001 7:53:45 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Sabramerican
107 posted on 12/25/2001 7:54:19 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Valin
Wrong, Britian in the Falklands war. To name one case off the top of my head.

And did Britain come whining to Congress, insisting that we pay for their war? While -- at the same time -- Britain eavesdropped on our elected officials, stole military and technological secrets and then sold them to the the USSR and China?

108 posted on 12/25/2001 7:54:21 PM PST by dlt
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To: wooly_mammoth
Did you buy one get five free? Don't spend them all in one day.
109 posted on 12/25/2001 7:55:41 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: dlt
I'm sorry but it's not Christmas if you don't mention Pollard, the Liberty and Mark Rich.
110 posted on 12/25/2001 7:57:04 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Valin
As I said about Vietnam above, the American people WILL demand that their government put their safety above the interests of people in other countries. Do you doubt that?

If Americans perceive that US policy vis a vis Israel/Palestinians (whatever - whatever the heck that situation is over there, which means absolutely nothing to me personally either way as far as I can figure out) is endangering their lives a la 9/11, there will be demands on the pols to change that policy. Once they see it like that, they are not going to put up with getting blown up over a land dispute half way around the world when we have millions of empty acres in the US.

111 posted on 12/25/2001 7:57:37 PM PST by LoisHunt
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To: dlt
How much do we give egypt each year? Don't you think Israel deserves a few million more? Especailly since they don't have state sanctioned newspapers celebrating the attack and murder of 3000 americans on 911.
112 posted on 12/25/2001 7:59:22 PM PST by College Repub
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To: dlt
"Alouette, when I lived in Jerusalem, the only place to get a bagel was in one Arab bakery in the Old City, and it only vaguely looked like a bagel as it was about 10 inches in diameter."

You are probably overlooking the fact that the majority of Israeli Jews are from the Arab world, many of them refugees. Bagels, lox, Saul bellow, and Streimels are all "Ashkenazic" or European Jewish. The "Sephardic" or Oriental Jews do not know this stuff at all. That doesn't make them less Jewish.

As to "pork butchers" outnumbering "kosher butchers," having visited my Sephardic relatives in Tel Aviv a fair bit, I think that's, well, baloney.

113 posted on 12/25/2001 8:00:52 PM PST by cookcounty
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To: LoisHunt
And your point, exactly, is? Not enough Americans died in WWII to suit you? Fighting for the balance of power in the world isn't important, it only counts if you're fighting to liberate people from concentration camps? Surely, you must have had a point, but I'm damned if I can figure out what it is.

You asked why you should care about Israel, and I told you. You know, WWI started with the assasination of some guy no one ever heard of by an anarchist somewhere in the Balkans. Before you knew it, millions were dead in Europe. World War is a funny thing-- once it gets going, it's hard to figure how it will play out. Israel has the potential to be that kind of spark to a long smoldering fire.

114 posted on 12/25/2001 8:00:55 PM PST by walden
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To: Alouette
Here is some Nazi talk -- not indicative of the average Israeli on the street -- but just the same:

1. "There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies ­not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy." Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. "The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more".... Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time - August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. " [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs." Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts". New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. "The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls." " Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. "The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war." Israeli General Matityahu Peled, Ha'aretz, 19 March 1972.

7. David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), p. 121.

8. "We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.


But don't take my work for it....check it out! Read everything you can get your hands on, go there, live there. Really check it out.

115 posted on 12/25/2001 8:04:26 PM PST by dlt
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To: dlt
"They taste good with onions"- Moshe, Chief Chef, Tel Aviv Missada
116 posted on 12/25/2001 8:07:09 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: LoisHunt
whatever - whatever the heck that situation is over there, which means absolutely nothing to me personally either way as far as I can figure out

You might want to find out about what is going on over there and what it means to this country. The safety of individual citizens is NOT the #1 priority of your government.

117 posted on 12/25/2001 8:07:16 PM PST by Valin
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To: walden
Sheesh. Your rationale is pretty lame. Those are good reasons why the US shouldn't have supported founding the state of Israel if its got the potential to cause Doomsday. And at this point, that would be a good reason to pull the plug on it and evacuate the people living there to Nebraska.

Look, you have no desire to die for Israel and if you came right up to it, you wouldn't want to die for Israel and you're an Israel supporter. Why in God's name have you no humility about other Americans who don't care one way or the other about Israel getting killed for Israel? And for what? Some egomania?

118 posted on 12/25/2001 8:09:18 PM PST by LoisHunt
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To: LoisHunt
You've got many opinions for someone who doesn't care.
119 posted on 12/25/2001 8:11:28 PM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Valin
Yeah, and put that before them (safety of the citizens) in an election and see what happens. Lets hear the pols defend sacrificing US civilians.
120 posted on 12/25/2001 8:11:39 PM PST by LoisHunt
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