Monday, June 28, 2010

IN Touch: Lack of context for anti-Israeli vitriol (update)

On June 8, I posted my most-recent addition to The Indianapolis Star’s IN Touch blog. My post was included in the June 13 print edition of The Indianapolis Star. Anyway, when I posted it here, I said, “I suspect (hope?) that there will be some interesting comments posted”. Well, sufficient time has now passed, that I thought it worth posting the comments (typos in originals) that my blog generated. I’d say that the comments below from Jim Smith help prove the point that I was making.

From jvertigo:

I too find it amazing that Israel is painted out to be the bad guy again. The Palestinians were dancing in the street over 9/11. How soon we forget. Israel had over 7,000 rocket attacks on its soil and not one little outcry from the liberals. The liberals and the Hollywood elite along with the media are the enemy of this nation. I challenge all thinking Americans to realize what the real story is here. Obama is anti Jewish like his preacher, he has sided with the muslims like his father and we are seeing the results. Wake up America!!


I agree with what you said until your third sentence. Frankly, I consider myself to be a liberal as to, I suspect, many Jews. Yes, many liberals in America and Europe have taken positions against Israel, but I certainly don't view them as the "enemy of this nation". That kind of hyperbole isn't helpful. Moreover, some may disagree with President Obama's approaches to dealing with Israel and the Middle East but to suggest that he is anti-Jewish is plain wrong.

Me again:

Sorry. I meant fourth sentence.

Jim Smith:

So Mike, I'm thinking by the tone of your article, you think its okay for the Palestinians to be put, kept and confined to the concentration camp called the Gaza Strip. You also must condone the strafing of schools and hospitals and residences by the Israeli F-16's. The bulldozing of which Rachel Corrie was okay too?

As for your one uninformed commenter....I've got news for you...the Jews RUN Hollywood. Do the names Speilberg, Katzenberg, Eisner, Weinstein, Chernin, Meyer, Moonves and Zucker mean anything?

And how Israel's right to exist has anything to do with a humanitarian flotilla of ships carrying food, medicine and supplies to the imprisoned Palestinians...I'll never know. Israel has a navy, army and air force....and nuclear weapons. The Palestinians are and have been in a prison camp for over 60 years. This is like comparing the US to Aruba. A super power vs. a third world concentration camp.

Mike, your humanitarian side is severely lacking.

You Mike, like the mainstream media which is controlled by the Zionists, talk around the subject as if anything the Israelis do is justified. And so far, no weapons, no terrorists and no bombs were found on any of the ships. Which means, they were doing exactly what they said they were doing...delivering aid to the Palestinians.

So I'm guessing you're for starving the Palestinians, keeping needed medical supplies from them and making sure their life is miserable.

And to top it all off, the Israelis release footage which show the passengers on the ships trying to defend themselves with anything they could....while the Israelis are shooting live ammo into the crowd. Of course some of the passengers took video and pictures but the Israelis confiscated all of that and none of it is being released. Perhaps it will show a different story than the propaganda presented to the public by the Zionist controlled media.

And lastly, I hate to break this news to you but the Israelis don't have exclusive rights to the word holocaust even though they've gotten tons of mileage out of it for the last 60+ years.....Hitler has nothing to do with the Palestinians so lets stay on point, shall we?



I'm not going to take the time right now to address each point that you raise. However, I do want to note the way that you conjoin the terms Israeli and Jew. If you want to criticize Israel, that is fine; but what does criticism of Israel have to do with whether "Jews run Hollywood" or whether the mainstream media is "controlled by the Zionists"? Is your real complaint about Israeli policies or are you more focused on the perceived "power" of Jews? If you are unable to separate issues of Israel from those dealing with Jews, then whether your complaints are driven by concern for the Palestinians or animus for Jews becomes a question to be considered.

A few other quick points: Where did I say that anything that Israel did was acceptable? I don't recall writing those words for this post. In fact, I began my post with the note that people can debate the wisdom of Israel's actions and ended with a call to find a way forward to a two-state solution for peace. The thrust of my post was not one of right or wrong, but rather of the need for context.

Second, if the point of the flotilla was purely humanitarian, why did the organizers of the flotilla expressly claim that their goal was to break the blockade, why were they not satisfied to deliver the goods to Ashdod for inspection and delivery to Gaza (as the other aid ships did), why where they unwilling to deliver aid to Gilad Shalit, and why has Hamas refused to accept delivery of the aid?

Finally, with regard to your claim that "Hitler has nothing to do with the Palestinians", I'd suggest that you do a bit more historical research. You might start with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate and World War II.



While context is needed to understand the conflict, context is also needed in the blockade. We've now found out that its, as Isreal calls it, economic warfare....collective punishment of a group of people that the government disapproves of. The flotilla organizers knew that Middle Eastern spices would be confiscated by Isreal along with bottled water and other banned economic warfare items. Since no weapons were found, that is most likely the reason for "breaking the blockade".


Some weapons (though not rockets or bombs were found; but query how bullet proof vests, night-vision gear, and millions of Euros in cash is humanitarian).

As to the issue of economic blockade or collective punishment, don't forget that Hamas is the de facto (maybe even de jure) government in Gaza and Hamas, as the government of Gaza, has called for and made war against Israel. It is worth reading the Hamas Charter to know precisely what Israel is confronted with. What sort of methods would you permit Israel to use to defend itself against that war and to defeat Hamas?

Blockades, whether ecomic or military, have a long history. Does the US engage in collective punishment of Cuba or North Korea? More on point, does virtually the entire Arabic world engage in collective punishment against Isreal for refusing to trade with Israel and refusing to do business with businesses (and some countries) that do business with Israel? Did you know that the US had to pass a statute to prevent US companies from succumbing to pressure from Arab countries to disclose whether those companies do business with Israel in order to do business with the Arab country or company?

Moreover, if the blockade is legal (and there is plenty to argue both ways on that), then the intent to break the blockade is technically an act of war. It is also worth noting that if Gaza was occupied (as many still claim, ignoring that Israel left Gaza), then no blockade would be necessary as Israel would be the de fact occupying power. But it isn't.

Finally, don't forget that Hamas still has not allowed the aid from the flotilla to be brought into Gaza (or that Israel continues to transport an enormous amount of aid into Gaza and allow a large number of Palestinians to leave Gaza for medical treatment in Israel). Can you imagine Hamas allowing Israelis to seek medical aid in Gaza or even the West Bank?

Also, don't forget that though the flotilla organizers may claim to have known what would and would not be allowed in, they also made express statements about their desire to reach Gaza or die trying and many told Al-Jazeera and other sources of their desire to become shaheeds (martyrs) in the flotilla. Before emarking, they sang songs gloryfing a Medieval Muslim massacre of Jews in the Arabian Peninsula. Not exactly humanitarian, either.

The fact that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are not in favor of a complete lifting of the blockade should also be telling.

But thank you for keeping your comments related to Israel and the context of the blockade, rather than veering into the type of criticism that others (like Jim, above) have gone for.

Jim Smith:

Yes, Mikey, heaven forbid ANYONE would criticize Israel. Especially while they continue to perform genocide on the Palestinians and hold the entire Middle East under nuclear blackmail.

And I understand you don't wish to address the points I raised as your only purpose here is to defend the Zionist terror machine.


You have some issues, don't you Jim?

First, I'd like you to identify, with specificity, preicsely what genocidal actions Israel has taken. How many Palestinians have been killed, not in combat, but solely because of their race, religion, or nationality? Now, compare and contrast that to other incidents of genocide (remember Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, for example?).

Next, I'd like you to point to a single instance of Israel threatening to use nuclear weapons against a neighbor. Compare and contrast that to the repeated calls from Iran and others for Israel to be wiped of the map or pushed into the sea.

Finally, my "only purpose here is to defend the Zionist terror machine"? Really? I guess you haven't read most of my posts which have focused on domestic issues. And I guess that you didn't actually read my post above where I talk about the need to find solutions with security and dignity for a peaceful resolution.

No, Jim, I'd say that your anti-Semitism has eaten your soul and poisoned you to reasoned discussion and debate.

Jim Smith:


Playing the anti-semite, holocuast denier card is all you have left isn't it? Just like the Zionist media, when you can't defend Israel's terrorist, inhumane treatment of others, you resort to name calling and hurling racial accusations.

The sad part is that you don't recognize the Jews are being used by the Zionists to accomplish their reign of terror in the name of Israel. People like you play right into the propaganda and offer it up to the masses as if its fact. If you aren't aware of the nuclear blackmail by the Israelis then you watch and read too much MSM and are guided and influenced by it. Just because the Zionist controlled media doesn't report it doesn't mean it hasn't happened. Matter of fact, I don't think the MSM even wants to admit...officially...that Israel has nukes. And you won't find any Zionists admitting that either.

And of course you know nothing about the demonstrations in Israel by the many people who disagree with the treatment of the Palestinians by their own government.


You have a profound ability to read into someone else's statements things that aren't there. Where did I call you a Holocaust denier?

And what have I offered up as if it was a fact? Have I said something that you can prove to be untrue?

Your constant whining about the "Zionist controlled media" is all the evidence that most people really need to see you for what you are.

As to demonstrations in Israel, that it one of the great things about a truly open democratic country. People can, and do, voice dissenting opinions. They run in open, contested elections, and get elected into a Parliament where they can give voice to all sides in political debate. Were you aware that Israeli Arabs have representation in the Israeli Knesset and on the Israeli Supreme Court?

Finally, while you want to keep harping on these alleged "Zionist" (or is that Israeli?) terror, you still have refused to answer the questions that I've put to you. I understand that you believe that the "Zionist controlled media" is keeping the truth from us, but why don't you share with us that great truth that you've learned on your own to prove your case.


Cuba and N Korea still trade with countries other than the United States and are able to bring in supplies but yes, we are using collective punishment. And in both cases, embargoes are shown not to work. It strengthens the subjected governments. Bring prosperity to people through trade and the cries for freedom will (slowly) grow.

Not too many people are calling for a complete dismantling of the embargo...Israel has a right to defend itself. But using such repressive policies are counterproductive and are killing many innocent civilians (while creating great propaganda tools). They also just lost an important embargo ally that was able to control the southern border.

The Arab world not trading with Israel does not constitute collective punishment until they form a navy (and air force) and block all traffic and trade to Israel.

Jim - While you bring up some subjects for debate, your focus on Zionists and Jews makes one believe your argument is more about Judaism than humanitarian.

I elected not to respond further at this point; I anticipate that a “response” to some of the remaining issues will find its way to this blog or IN Touch in the near future.

Anyway, the points that I was trying to make with regard both to context and the vitriol of those opposed to Israel was certainly in full display with Jim Smith’s comments, don’t you think?

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Dan Burton Parrots a Glenn Beck Lie to Smear President Obama (update)

Apparently I wasn't the only one to take issue with Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana and, sadly, my Congressman) going onto the floor of the House of Representatives and repeating a Glenn Beck lie in order to smear President Obama:

Way to go Keith!


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dan Burton Parrots a Glenn Beck Lie to Smear President Obama

I just got off the phone with an intern in the Washington office of my Congressman, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana). I called to complain about a charge that Rep. Burton made on the floor of the House of Representatives earlier this week that was designed to smear President Obama. The allegation came a day after Glenn Beck made the same allegation (with pretty drawings on his chalk board, no less) on Fox News. The problem? The allegation is totally false. Moreover, it was proven to be false at least nine months ago. Yet both Beck and Rep. Burton were willing to place that allegation front and square before the American public and to hell with truth and accuracy. That is what is wrong with politics in America today.

The allegation in question has, in one form or another, been around for over a year. It has made its way into one of those ever-present chain emails:

Today even though President Obama is against off shore drilling for oil for this country. He signed an executive order to loan 2 Billion of our taxpayers dollars to a Brazilian Oil Exploration Company (which is the 8th largest company in the entire world) to drill for oil off the coast of Brazil. The oil that comes from this operation is for the sole purpose and use of China and not the USA. The Chinese government is under contract to purchase all the oil that this oil field will produce, which is hundreds of millions of barrels of oil".

We have absolutely no gain from this transaction whatsoever.

Wait it gets more interesting.

Guess who is the largest individual stockholder of this Brazilian Oil Company and who would benefit most from this? It is American Billionaire, George Soros, Liberal businessman who is a radical left wing supporter, finances as well as other liberal programs and was President Obama’s largest and most generous supporter during his campaign. If you are able to connect the dots and follow the money, you are probably as upset as I am. Not a word of this transaction was on any of the other news networks.

Here’s video of Beck and Rep. Burton (and Rep. Louie Gohmert [R-Texas]) leveling the allegation against President Obama.

(The full version of Rep. Burton’s speech is prominently displayed on Rep. Burton’s website.)

But here is what (a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center) said about the allegation back in September 2009:

This claim stems from a "preliminary committment" made back on April 14 by the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The bank intends to loan up to $2 billion to finance exports to the Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras, over the next several years.

The e-mail is false on two counts.

  • The message falsely says the decision was due to an "executive order" by the president. No presidential order was required. Furthermore, none of President Obama’s appointees had joined the Ex-Im board at the time of the vote, which was unanimous, and bipartisan. The Ex-Im Bank states: "In fact, at the time the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush."

  • The message falsely claims that "we have absolutely no gain" from the loan. In fact, the loan is being made specifically to finance purchase by Petrobras of U.S.-made oilfield equipment and services. The mission of the Ex-Im Bank is to encourage exports by making such loans.

The bank’s chairman and president, Fred P. Hochberg, underscored the purpose of the loan during a trip to Brazil at the end of July:

Ex-Im Bank President Hochberg, July 29: I chose Brazil as my first international destination for good reason: Brazil is a powerhouse among South American economies and offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters in many sectors. I want Brazilians to know that Ex-Im Bank has the will and the capacity to finance their purchases of U.S. equipment, products and services

Obama appointed Hochberg to the Ex-Im Bank on April 20, nearly a week after the board voted to approve the loan. He was confirmed May 14 and sworn in May 21.

The message claims that George Soros would "benefit most" from the loan, but that is also a baseless accusation. Soros is a favorite whipping boy of conservatives because of his early financial help to the liberal group And he is indeed a major investor in Petrobras, through his New York-based hedge-fund firm, Soros Fund Management LLC. But the hedge fund recently sold 22 million shares of common stock in the company (which carry voting rights) while buying 5.8 million shares of preferred stock (which is non-voting.) As reported by Bloomberg News, Soros reduced his stake in the company before any of the Ex-Im Bank’s promised loan has been dispensed.

There is some truth to the claim that China would benefit, but not much. Brazil recently agreed to export 200,000 barrels of oil per day to China in coming years. But that was in return for a loan by China of $10 billion, five times more than the U.S. Ex-Im Bank is lending to finance purchase of U.S. gear.

The Ex-Im Bank also would like it known that no loan has yet been made, and that the "preliminary commitment" could eventually result in either a direct loan or a loan guarantee. Either way, the Ex-Im Bank states, "no taxpayer dollars are involved." The bank is self-sustaining.

It is also worth noting that if you go to the website for the Export-Import Bank of the United States and type “Petrobras” in the search box, you’ll find several articles describing and discussing the proposed loan transaction, including the an article entitled “Facts About the Proposed Ex-Im Bank Loans for Petrobras' Brazilian Offshore Oil Exploration and Development”:

Background on Ex-Im Bank:
Charges and facts:

Charge: The U.S. government is giving away more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars to Brazil’s largest oil and gas company to drill for oil in Brazil.

Fact: The Bank has approved a preliminary commitment to lend up to $2 billion to Petrobras for the purchase of American-made goods and services. The funds will go to American exporters as payment for their sales to the company. Of note, the Bank is self-sustaining and no taxpayer dollars are involved.

Charge: The loans to Petrobras represent a giveaway of U.S. tax dollars.

Fact: The Bank’s activities do not cost the American taxpayer a dime. In fact, since 1992 the American people netted more than $4.9 billion and the jobs those exports created.

Charge: America is exporting jobs to Brazil as a result of the loans.

Fact: Only American made goods and services qualify for Ex-Im Bank loans or guarantees. This is the government doing what it's supposed to do - helping to create U.S. jobs, making sure that Americans get a fair shot at selling goods and services, and helping American workers compete on a level playing field against foreign competition.

Charge: The loan to Petrobras represents a reversal of the Obama Administration’s policies on off-shore drilling.

Fact: The Bank’s bipartisan Board unanimously approved the preliminary commitment to Petrobras on April 14, 2009, before any Obama appointees joined the Bank. In fact, at the time the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush.

Read Chairman Hochberg's Letter to the Editor that appeared in the August 21, 2009 editions of the Wall Street Journal.

Is it coincidence that two Congressman made the same charge on the floor of the House of Representatives the day after Glenn Beck leveled the charge? Maybe, but that’s some coincidence. But you’d think, just maybe, that before leveling these kinds of charges on the floor of the House, that the Congressmen (or at least their staffers or interns) would maybe do just a little research to be sure that the charge had some tiny bit of merit. Then again, we have to remember Rep. Burton and the famous watermelon. Facts don’t matter; only political points count.

I asked the intern whether I could expect to hear Rep. Burton publicly retract his allegation on the floor of the House. I’m not holding my breath. Once again, Republicans have proven that they simply don’t care about facts, especially when they’re trying to smear liberals or Democrats in general or President Obama in particular.

One more thing: When I spoke to Rep. Burton’s intern I also expressed my frustration at the continued use of George Soros as left-wing boogeyman. The problem, I explained, comes from the fact that Soros is Jewish and is almost always described as a billionaire or financier. That he becomes the boogeyman of all that is wrong with the America and that “secret deals” are done to his economic benefit harkens back to the old claims of “control” leveled against “Jewish bankers” or “Jewish financiers”, claims which have been at the core of anti-Semitism over the last few centuries.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Violent Political Rhetoric

One of the themes that I’ve explored and worried about since I began this blog is the ever-increasing amount of violent political rhetoric. I’ve also noted and fretted that the usage of violent political rhetoric has seemingly become tolerated, if not accepted and expected. Look around the rest of the world to see what societies look like that don’t have the affinity for democracy and the rule of law that are the hallmarks of the American system. Is that where we want to go?

Well, then, perhaps Americans need to start letting their elected officials and candidates know that some political speech simply goes too far.

First, this ad from Rick Barber, running for Congress in Alabama:


“Gather your armies?” Really? I could go on at length about the fallacies in this ad (“taxation without representation”?). And who exactly does Mr. Barber want to impeach, not to mention why? But don’t you think that a call, made over the butt of pistol, to gather armies is the type of violent rhetoric that we don’t really need. Oh, I’m sure that Mr. Barber will say that the reference to armies is figurative, rather than literal, but the use of the costumed “founding fathers,” the pistol, and the anger in his voice, should give all Americans pause.

Next we have a recent statement from Sharron Angle, the newly chosen Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, given on a radio program (partial transcript follows, emphasis added):

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.

I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

When our political candidates feel free to invoke the image of armies, revolution, and assassination in their political discourse, then we have a lot to worry about. Somehow, at least on the right, it appears to have become completely acceptable to say, “Gee, if we don’t get what we want (who cares that the majority may have voted against us), we’ll look to the use of violence to get our way!” As I’ve asked repeatedly over the last two and half years, how many exhortations to metaphorical violence will it take before some whackjob decides that these folks are serious and really does engage in some kind of domestic political terrorism or assassination?

That is a danger that we must all guard against, and it starts with telling politicians like Barber and Angle that their violent rhetoric is wholly unacceptable. Tell us what you stand for, tell us why you oppose a current policy or position, tell us what you’d do differently and why, but leave the calls for revolution and assassination to third world banana republics.


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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

IN Touch: Lack of context for anti-Israeli vitriol (and bonus material)

My fifteenth post on The Indianapolis Star's IN Touch blog is now online (actually, it went live yesterday, but Blogger was down so I couldn’t post this entry). As I keep saying when I post these entries, I'm going to keep re-posting my IN Touch entries here (at least until someone from the Star asks me to stop). Go ahead and visit the post on the IN Touch site, anyway.

One can debate the wisdom of Israel’s actions in boarding the “Free Gaza” vessels that set out with the express intent of breaching Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.  To be serious, however, that debate must acknowledge context, including: Israel’s right to defend itself, Hamas’ continued holding of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit without access to the Red Cross, the continued rocket fire from Gaza, the Hamas Charter that calls for the destruction of Israel, Hezbollah’s calls for the death of all Jews, not just Israelis, the theft by Hamas of aid intended for the civilian population of Gaza and refusal to take delivery of the aid unloaded and inspected by Israel, and the use of the Hamas-run television programs akin to Sesame Street designed to indoctrinate children into the belief that martyrdom and killing Jews is something to which they should aspire.

The timing and vitriol of some of the anti-Israeli responses has been nothing less than stunning and may represent something far deeper, far more pernicious, than anger at Israel over treatment of Gaza or a naval raid. Witness for example, the anger expressed by Mina Khoury in a letter to the editor published on June 4: “It is time the world opens its eyes to the Holocaust being inflicted on the Palestinians.” To compare the events in Gaza to the Holocaust is not merely wrong; it is evil. This odious comparison is invoked for only one reason: to defame, demonize, and delegitimize Israel.

Moreover, given the stunning amount of media coverage and public discussion over this issue, one would think that thousands, if not millions, of civilians had been killed. Yet barely a word is uttered as actual millions are dying in Congo.  Where is the world’s outrage in the face of North Korea’s act of aggression against South Korea that resulted in 46 deaths? Where are the aid flotillas attempting to breach the beaches in Myanmar or North Korea to deliver supplies to those impoverished and oppressed peoples?

Like America, Israel finds itself in uncharted waters, vilified by radical forces and facing murderous aggression from terrorists who proclaim a wish for “martyrdom” and a hatred for the West. The real task now concerns finding a road forward to a two-state solution which satisfies Israel’s need for security and the Palestinian need for dignity. Mr. Khoury’s diatribe provides no illumination.

I suspect (hope?) that there will be some interesting comments posted. Stop by the IN Touch site and join in the “conversation”.

In addition, to posting the foregoing, I thought that it would be worthwhile to post Mina Khoury’s letter to the editor that I referenced as well as some of the comments and follow-ups to that letter. They are both interesting and instructive.

First, Mina Khoury’s initial letter (followed by some selected comments posted in response; unfortunately [fortunately?] it appears as if some of the more inflammatory comments have been removed by the Star’s editors):

Israel's leaders have once again proved to the world their terrorist state of mind by massacring civilians and injuring dozens whose mission was peaceful and humanitarian. They yet again defied international law by committing this crime of terror in international waters.

How much longer with the world stand still watching Israel taking other countries and international entities as well as the United States for granted and continue to ignore the suffering they are causing to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank? Americans fund these actions with $8 million a day.

It is time the world opens its eyes to the Holocaust being inflicted on the Palestinians.

Comments (typos in originals):

From Paladin007:

A well written letter with legitimate concerns and questions.

Interesting how the Zionist propaganda machine has turned this into sympathy for the biggest terrorist organization on the planet.

And not surprising that the hayseeds in Indiana buy into the propaganda and misinformation so wilingly. But then most of them sit on the sidelines and cheer the "war on terror" when the real terrorists sit in DC and Tel Aviv.

My response (both to Khoury and to Paladin007):

Query to those engaged in this discussion who do not support Israel: In his post, Khoury states: "It is time the world opens its eyes to the Holocaust being inflicted on the Palestinians". Please define "Holocaust" and then provide concrete examples to support a claim that a "Holocaust is being inflicted on the Palestinians."

Similarly, for those who claim that Israel is the "biggest terrorist organization" on the planet, please provide a definition of "terrorism" and concrete examples of acts of Israeli terrorism, including all planes hijacked by Israelis, all cruise ships hijacked by Israelis (and all disabled Americans thrown overboard on hijacked cruise ships), all Olympic games attacked by Israelis, all public buses bombed by Israelis, all roadside bombs detonated by Israelis, all pizza parlors, discos, and bus stations targeted by Israeli suicide bombers, and all government facilities or high rise office towers into which Israelis have flown hijacked airliners.

From Shamanistic:

The last American president to stand up to Israel was John F. Kennedy. Shortly after he warned Irael about building nuclear weapons he was assasinated. The next president, Johnson, allowed Israel to bomb and torpedo a U.S. Navy ship and machine-gun the survivors, and then covered the whole thing up. Since then, every other president has gotten on his knees for Israel and done everything for them, at the expense of American interests. Israel has murdered numerous American citizens and nothing has ever been done about it.

Some people were probably hopeful that Obama would finally stand up for America against this evil regime, but he too is merely a puppet controlled from Tel Aviv.

So the answer is, Israel can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, because it controls the most powerful military in the world.

And another from Shamanistic:

If anyone doubts the power of propaganda just look at the last 5 posts in this thread. The typical yahoos in America are so easily manipulated by mass media that they will trip over themselves being the first to betray their own country to support some crappy little middle eastern parasitic state. They will ignore or even deny the ruthless attack on the USS Liberty and countless other Americans and the trillions of dollars extorted in blood and treasure from the citizens of the United States, selling out their own birthright to prop up some evil little despots who do nothing but laugh at them behind their backs.

What a bunch of rubes.

The day after printing Khoury’s letter, the Star printed the following letter from James F. Siener (selected comments follow):

Mina Khoury ("When will world recognize Israel's defiance?" June 4) wrote about the terrorist acts of Israel. There was a legal blockade. There were terrorists on board the ships (but without weapons). The terroristson board started the violence. Those are the facts.

It's been said that if all the Arab countries would disarm, there would be no more wars. If Israel disarms, there would be no more Israel.


From Paladin007:

oh yes, poor poor Israel. The Zionist propaganda machine is in full swing now.

First, it was about the weapons...but none were found. Then it was about those nasty guys, al-CIAda. Yeah, thats right, the organization started, funded and armed by our own CIA. Then sadly, the Zionist terrorists had to admit there was no al-CIAda members aboard.

So now, a ship with no weapons and no "terrorists"...full of humanitarian aid for the enslaved boarded and taken over by the real terrorists and the sheep here follow the media manipulation like the brainwashed idiots they are.

You Zionist terrorist lovers should read the Protocols of Zion....perhaps then you wouldn't be considered stupid, mindless goyim.

Also from Paladin007 (certain portions omitted for brevity and clarity):

The holocaust and all the other mainstream media talking points (distractions) which are repeated here display the depth of the manipulation of the masses. This has to do with delivering food and supplies and medicine to civilians in prison camp in Gaza. The fact that no weapons or "terrorists' were on board...which is the reason the Zionist's use to justify the killing of innocent people....isn't discussed. The crowd brings up WWII and Iran and everything else of except the incident.

And more from Paladin007:

All our newspapers will be of all possible complexions -- aristocratic, republican, revolutionary, even anarchical - for so long, of course, as the constitution exists .... Like the Indian idol "Vishnu" they will have a hundred hands, and every one of them will have a finger on any one of the public opinions as required. When a pulse quickens these hands will lead opinion in the direction of our aims, for an excited patient loses all power of judgment and easily yields to suggestion. Those FOOLS who will think they are repeating the opinion of a newspaper of their own camp will be repeating our opinion or any opinion that seems desirable for us. In the vain belief that they are following the organ of their party they will, in fact, follow the flag which we hang out for them.

- From the protocols of the elders of Zion...Protocol No. 12 - Control of the press.

To oldpinky [oldpink is a commenter who has challenged Paladin007] ......see the world fools? You can stand up and be counted now....among the manipulated, brainwashed goy.

And, as if the preceding weren’t enough, Paladin007 finally went off his/her rocker:

You're another stupid goyim....or maybe not. But I know you listen to the fathead, drug abuser all the time....considered a "friend of Israel" I wouldn't expect you to know anything other than what big mouth spouts....another example of the Zionist media machine in action.


And one more support Israel and the Zionists because your drug using blowhard tells you to. But I'm wondering how you square that with your unwavering support of the Bush crime family...who are known Nazis.

I chimed in again, with a revised version of my prior query (to which I’d received no response):

I posted the following query in response to Paladin007's comments to another LttE. No response so far:

For those who claim that Israel is the "biggest terrorist organization" on the planet, please provide a definition of "terrorism" and concrete examples of acts of Israeli terrorism, including all planes hijacked by Israelis, all cruise ships hijacked by Israelis (and all disabled Americans thrown overboard on hijacked cruise ships), all Olympic games attacked by Israelis, all public buses bombed by Israelis, all roadside bombs detonated by Israelis, all pizza parlors, discos, and bus stations targeted by Israeli suicide bombers, and all government facilities or high rise office towers into which Israelis have flown hijacked airliners.

(Oh, I dare those spouting hate and calling people names to post under their real name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym.)

Paladin007 is back (this time responding to another commenter):

You should be on the evening news spouting this disinformation like all the rest of the prostitutes. First you say the Israelis were using rubber you say the passengers on the ships attacked them. Its seems if they were dangerous terrorists they would've had guns of their own...and taken care of the pirates before they even got on board.

You still haven't addressed the nine people killed....over 50 injured...and nothing but humanitarian aid for Gaza found on the ships. No terrorists, no weapons, no bombs....just food and supplies and medicine.

Guess the protocols scared you since you haven't commented on those.

And then, Paladin007 responded to me (but didn’t answer my queries):

Your questions are cute but they've got nothing to do with the issue of the humanitarian ships being attacked by the terrorists from Israel.

None of you can address that, you just follow the talking points of the controlled media like parrots. Mindless, manipulated and brainwashed.

Posting under a real name has no relevance to anything other than your misguided attempt to be credible. I could post under any name....what difference does it make? Just because you use what appears to be a real name doesn't give your comments any more meaning or substance. Your real name could be Able Foxman for all we know. Its still irrelevant.

Finally, in response to another poster who had taken Paladin007’s challenge to read “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”, I wrote:

You do realize that "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" is a Czarist era forgery based upon even earlier works, don't you? Of course, that hasn't stopped Hamas from actually including a reference to "The Protocols" in the Hamas Charter as a basis for Jihad against Jews. Nor did that stop state-run Egyptian television from producing a 41-part miniseries based on "The Protocols" that was shown in Egypt and elsewhere throughout the Middle East during Ramadan several years ago.

For that matter, Hamas TV has aired claims of the blood libel (that Jews murder [insert chosen victim; in the Middle Ages it was Christians, now it is Muslims] and use their blood to bake Passover matzoh).

Yet in the world of people like Paladin007, it is Israel that is wrong. Of course, if he refuses to recognize that "The Protocols" is a forgery, then what should one expect of the rest of his reasoning.

Then, on Sunday, the Star printed another pro-Israel letter, this one from Dr. Allon Friedman:

What is missing from The Star's May 31-June 2 articles describing the Gaza flotilla affair is a description of the integral role that Turkey and Islamism played. The Turkish IHH, the organizer of the flotilla, has well-known links to violent jihadist movements worldwide, including Hamas. In fact, in 1999 the then-secular Turkish government actually banned the IHH from contributing to Turkish earthquake relief because of its radical ideology.

Furthermore, al-Jazeera reported flotilla members singing about the Koranic-era slaughter and expulsion of Jews. At a Turkish press conference, a number of activists wrote their own wills and, according to Turkish media, three of the four Turks killed were eager to die while participating in violent jihad.

With this in mind, the flotilla mission can only be understood as a classic jihadist martyrdom operation against the infidel Jewish state, one disguised as a humanitarian mission and actively aided, abetted and embraced by the Turkish government. Many secular Turks have for years warned that Turkey's current government is Islamist to its core and that its nod to secularism is merely a sham. The flotilla affair appears to have proven this beyond a doubt.

So far, Dr. Friedman’s post hasn’t generated any harsh response (and Paladin007 is missing in action).

I could go on and on (as the letters and comments do). If you’re interested, The Indianapolis Star designated and reliably anti-Israel columnist, Dan Carpenter, wrote a screed in which he said: “In Israel's rendition, it is a black-and-white battle against genocidal terrorism with no credence given to the humanitarian bona fides of the legions of activists, Israeli as well as foreign, lending their voices to the voiceless.” Of course this completely ignores (a) the fact that Israel has been supplying enormous amounts of aid to Gaza, none of which would be necessary if Hamas would simply agree to stop trying to kill Israelis and (b) that people like Carpenter, not to mention the UN and a billion or so Muslims around the world are already “lending” their voices to the people of Gaza. Anyway, Carpenter’s column generated quite a few comments including the following comments that I found particularly instructive with regard to the nature of the debate and the anti-Israel crowd.

From walksupright (certain portions omitted for brevity and clarity):

That's billions of OUR TAX DOLLARS annually to prop up the rogue Zionist apartheid state, Fuddsy.

That's our "blood and treasure" your pals are costing us - not just the direct costs in terms of questionless blank-check - and in fact illegal under US law, in terms of the arms shipments - but in the TRILLIONS in higher energy (oil) cost, military expenses to fight the endless "war on terror" that your pals have sucked us into, and the BLOOD OF AMERICANS. From the USS Liberty to the USS Cole to 9-11 to Afghanistan to Iraq...

Why don't YOU put YOUR money where your mouth is, Fuddsy -


We don't need traitorous shills like you, Elmer Stooge. Bye bye.

From Telexkrash:

Israel is occupying Palestinian land!! If someone was occupying American land we would be fighting back too. Is it really that hard to put yourself in their situation. They are fighting for their own freedom, liberties, justice and equality. Do they use terroristic tactics sometimes -- yes they do. We also used terroristic approaches when we fought for our own independence against the English. Is it because Palestinians want to eradicate Jews -- No. It's because they want sovereignty. They want their f*cking land back. They want Israel to stop making new settlements on their land.

Today, two more (pro-Israel) letters to the editor were printed (from Josh Hasten and Jeffrey Adler). And yet more interesting comments followed.

From someguy555:

Simply stated: Your military boarded a ship in international waters. Had they boarded in the territorial waters near Palestine (which you blockade and thus control) or Israel, the crew of the ship would be in the wrong. Because your military boarded them in international waters, what they really committed was an act of piracy.

It's a lie to say that a ship filled with medical supplies and building materials is an "attack on Israel." You people live in a universe of blind-paranoia--as much as I support the right of the Jewish people to a homeland, I am disgusted by what they've done with that blessing. Here's a thought: STOP PROVOKING THEM BY BUILDING NEW SETTLEMENTS.

People I've seen spouting this "Ships filled with medical supplies are a violent attack on Israel!" rhetoric also seem to spout the manifest destiny/divine right to build new settlements on Palestinian land drivel, too. Want rocket attacks to end? DISMANTLE ALL SETTLEMENTS, and don't build more.

From bobindy:

The Palestinians have just as much a right to exist on their homelands as the country that bullied them off of their territorial history in 1949. The Israelies are holding an entire culture, one as old as their own, hostage and, despite what Mike Pensive says, are, indeed, subjected to inhumane hardships. If it were you and your family and your culture and your history and your desparateness, would you not also try to fight back? Okay, maybe you wouldn't.


While Paladin007 and Shamanistic have been the principal commentators opposed to Israel in these particular comment threads, I suspect that if one were to review the comments posted to similar articles or letters in the past or to similar articles or letters in other publications, you would find that the opinions expressed are consistent with much of anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) rhetoric being openly expressed.

I include these comments for three purposes: To demonstrate the degree of hostility toward Israel (and Jews) currently being expressed, to demonstrate how this hostility is being mainstreamed (i.e., those who espouse these views are less likely to keep them private; witness Helen Thomas’ statements that went viral over this past weekend), and to show how readily these views confuse/conflate Jews and Zionism/Israel, thus, putting into sharp focus the reality of the “I’m not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist” claim.

I also note one further thing that gives me a great deal of concern: Most of the anti-Zionist sentiment is being expressed by the political left. I usually think of myself as being firmly on the left, maybe even a progressive. More importantly, I’d speculate that a large percentage of American Jews would place themselves on the political left, too. Yet the one issue on which the left appears to be pushing away a segment of their strongest supporters is on the issue of Israel. That worries me.

I’m in the process of writing at length on the whole Gaza flotilla incident. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to finish that in the next day or four.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm Still Here...

Just a quick note to assure folks that I'm still around. Between being very busy at work, having a long holiday weekend (with a bonus bronchial infection), and working on several posts that will probably come out in pieces over the summer (with luck), I haven't had a chance to say much over the last part of May. Unfortunately, I went a bit quiet right when this site started getting lots of hits thanks to my post on Tim Crawford's "victory" in May's Indiana Democratic Party primary.


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