Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is in the US this week. In the wake of President Obama’s speech calling for a peace settlement based on the 1967 borders with negotiated land swaps to ensure the security of Israel, a laundry list of the usual Republican fuckwits began screaming that the president was throwing Israel under the bus. Netanyahu himself intentionally distorted the president’s remarks and has been sucking up to the American right wing, even going so far as to appear on Hannity, perhaps the most partisan, dishonest ass on American network television.
Speaking before Congress yesterday, Netanyahu said:
“Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967,” Netanyahu said, prompting a big standing ovation.
Later he added: “Israel on the 1967 lines would be only 9 miles wide. So much for defensible borders.”
As Netanyahu himself pointed out, the President has not called on Israel to return to the exact 1967 borders. The President has said that a peace agreement should be “based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
I want to tread a very fine line here.
I am not a supporter of Netanyahu. I am not a supporter of Israel’s expansion of the settlements or their conduct in the occupied territories. I support a two-state solution; a secure homeland for the Palestinians. Watching the Republicans play this issue on Netanyahu’s coattails for political points against the president makes me angry and frustrated.
That said, I support Israel as a homeland for the Jews; its right to exist within secure borders.
There is a danger in much of the reflexive, “I’m so sick of Israel and all the money we send them! AIPAC can suck it!” rhetoric that is flaring up. Not to say there’s no justification for it, but it comes awfully close to the sort of thing one finds on Storm Front.
And thus we come to the fine line…
Not everyone who opposes Israel is an anti-Semite. But when one’s principled opposition to Israeli policies, and by extension American policies, finds one standing shoulder to shoulder with skinheads and neo-Nazis, chanting very similar slogans, THAT ought to give one pause.
This is not a case of playing the race card. It is simply to acknowledge that there IS antisemitism out there, and that it’s woven through American culture in very subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Glenn Beck’s attacks on George Soros accusing him of profiting from leading Jews to the camps was not JUST the ranting of a contemptible, lying assclown – it’s a calculated appeal to a hateful paranoia that is in no way uncommon and not far beneath the surface.
Yes, America has done much for Israel and the Jews. That is not a one way street.
Einstein and Oppenheimer did much for America (not to mention the Coen brothers)…the diphtheria test, the contraceptive pill, streptomycin, the polio vaccine – the list of Nobel prizes awarded to American Jews in medicine alone will peel your skull back. Have a look for yourself.
And not only medicine. Some other American Jews you know: Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Milton Friedman and Josef Steiglitz; Noam Chomsky; Richard Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Carl Sagan, Wolfgang Pauli, and Leonard Susskind; Erich Fromm, Steven Pinker; Louis Brandeis, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Abe Fortas and Benjamin Cardozo.
I haven’t even considered the writers, composers, singers, actors and playwrights…and you can keep Bob Dylan.
There must be a line between the “Israel right or wrong” bullshit that comes oozing from the gob of ignorant fuckwits like Sarah Palin, and “Fuck those power hungry AIPAC, Palestinian genocide, greedy banker Jews!”
And America needs to find it or something really fucking ugly and regrettable will be the result.