Monday, January 25, 2010

For War Crime Apologists, Israel Can Do No Wrong -- The Case of Alan Dershowitz

So I was reading this piece in the Huffington Post, the online blog-turned-news website with, supposedly, left leaning coverage. The title itself, 'For Bigots, Israel Can Do No Right' struck me as childish and infantile. But as it turned out, the title was the least malicious part of this piece of crap. And with every line my jaw would drop (in amazement at the creative audacity of propaganda) and clench (at the outright lying and falsification of facts).

In order of gravity, here is the most disturbing of lies and propaganda in the article:
While Israel digs deeply into its treasury and manpower to send medical assistance a quarter of the way around the world, Arab and Muslim nations are generally missing in action when it comes to relief efforts.

It's really mind boggling, given this article is published at the 24th. It couldn't have taken long for this fine lawyer to search Google for info on Arab aid to Haiti. Just type 'Arab aid Haiti' and you'll get several articles saying more or less the same thing: listing the volume and form of initial aid Arab states have rushed to put together (that has also been increased, later). Dershowitz couldn't have not known this, it's obvious that he'd chosen to lie.

And he's not even alone. Here's David Harris of the AJC yesterday:

The Israeli effort far exceeds the nation’s small size and dwarfs the response of many larger countries. Of course, some countries, most notably in the Arab world, shamefully sat on their hands, doing nothing in the face of a human calamity.

What's going on? why is this semi-campaign of lies and propaganda?

You can only understand this in light of Israel's desperate attempt to score some PR brownie points out of the aid it's providing -- something Dershowitz calls Realpolitik (isn't it also Realpolitik to call you out on it, Dershowitz?). And Israel, government and IDF, isn't keeping this a secret. NYTimes reports on the 21st of Jan:
The government has been trying to figure out how to make the most of the relatively rare positive news coverage, especially after the severe criticism it has faced over its Gaza offensive a year ago.

(note that 'severe criticism' is actually a reference to the war crime charges set by the UN fact finding mission, aka the Goldstone report.)

So there you have it. Before I'd read the above (and many other) articles, I didn't think much of the Israeli aid. Although I knew it's going to be exploitedand politicized in one way or the other. Israel set up a field hospital? Jordan did the same. Israel sent 9 metric tons of aid? (Which Dershowitz, mind you, says it had to 'dig deep into its treasury and manpower' to put together), the UAE sent 117 tons of supply. Iran promised to send 30.

So, what exactly warrants this exceptional 'positive news coverage' for Israel's aid? am I missing something here? does helping out in Haiti erases war crimes in Gaza? does the rap sheet of a Mafioso become squeaky clean out of the sudden just by contributing to charity?

A friend of mine observed: 'but I don't see any Muslim governments stepping up'. Of course you'll not see them, they're not going in to a disaster zone, cameras rolling and all, with full blown publicity and grinding gears of PR machine.

But why am I not surprised? if you use the Holocaust tragedy to justify the persecution of Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, it's not far fetched for you to use humanitarian aid to Haiti to cover up for war crimes against Palestinians and Palestine.

15 comments:

Fatty said...

Probabaly the world doesnt know that when a muslim helps others or gives charity, his left hand doesnt come to know what the right hand has given.

And thats what our religion has taught us and we should follow to the t. That we do not believe in pompous show of even the help we extend which defines the fine tradition religion and upbringing.

Dubai Jazz said...

Fatty,

That's true. But it's not unique to Muslims; people of all creeds give quietly to charity...

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

Hi DJ! isn't it disgusting...I guess people who seek the truth will get to find it..let them write what they write. What people think or beleive doesn't make any difference to what they decide to do or whatever actions they decide to take later.


I just LOVE your writing style!

Fatty said...

"I just LOVE your writing style!"

me toooo...

Allie said...

I usually don't like to comment on your Israel-related posts, since as you know, we disagree about much of this type of stuff (plus, I live in the Rodney King camp that makes arguing generally pointless to me).

However, the virulence in this particular post is a little shocking to me, even when accounting for your feelings about Israel. It's not a competition to see who sends more aid. If one or a even several guy(s) missed the fact that Arab nations are sending aid, it's no different then the other instances where Israel sends aid somewhere and no one notices. It's also no different from instances when nations-not-related-to-this-political-issue send aid and aren't noticed. This happens ALL THE TIME to various nations.

These misconceptions happen, and while it's not OKAY that they happen, attacking someone for receiving recognition for doing something good doesn't really help equalise these situations. Providing accurate information is what helps, but it is less helpful when it's presented in the form of an attack. The overtly biased nature of the format of this post makes it difficult to read as something other than simple bias, unless one already agrees with your position.

Thankfully I am already in possession of excellent reading skills, but I thought you might not be aware of how it could seem to someone who doesn't necessarily agree with you, and who doesn't possess the reading/thinking skills that would allow them to look beyond the bias. You often have a lot of valuable insight that I think has the potential be overlooked due to this issue.

Stimulus said...

Well Allie the post is somewhat biased not because DJ is biased, but because he was responding to a particular post in the Huffington which was originally biased! Hence to make his point clear he had to respond, rather than just "state the facts" (i.e. that Arab nations also give support).

P.S. I assumed that DJ is male, sorry if I was mistaken!

Allie said...

Stimulus,

I think you might have missed my point. If you read all of what I said, then you might see that my point is that when bias is presented in the form of a virulent attack, it is less effective as an argument to any who might not have had the same initial bias.

Dubai Jazz said...

Allie,

Thank you for commenting. As I said before, please do feel at home and have your say even if-- especially if-- you disagree with me. Your input is always valued.

I have little to add, as most of what I wanted to say I said it in the post.

After posting this, I came across several other posts which have the same talking points; that Arabs provided nothing, Israel has a moral superiority and provided altruistically..etc..

I know those might be minority. But they are out there, and some of them are obscene and deserve to be called out on their bias.

Besides, this seem to even be the official stance of the current Israeli government: taking advantage of the aid to improve the image of Israel in the world.

Now, remembering that Israel's image has deteriorated after the massacres in Gaza, it's only logical to assume that the good PR coverage is being used to cover up for those war crimes.

Also, it is hard to imagine how Israel would go half way across the world to aid Haiti while there is a *man-made* humanitarian crisis in its backyard; Gaza.

And I think the people of Gaza aren't asking for help: they just need the blockade to be lifted.

Dubai Jazz said...

Stimulus,

Your assumption is correct!

And welcome to my blog. I assume this is your first post.

Allie said...

I think in most political situations, every government will take advantage of any and all good press they get. Israel is not unique in this, and that is certainly not the reason they sent teams to Haiti (tzedekah, commonly translating to charity, is one of the tenets of Jewish ideology and is also a religious mandate). Israel, however, is probably the only country whose motivations might be questioned when they seek to help a nation who's in trouble.

I think ALL people deserve to be called out on their biases - pro-Israel or pro-Palestinians. Again, these biases are not one sided, and both sides have flaws in their thinking (as well as correctness in their thinking). There really is no one correct side or thought on this matter.

Additionally, the situation with Gaza, while tragic, is not exclusively the fault or responsibility of Israel. Just as there are Palestinian refugees, there are also many Jewish refugees; that Israel is happy to absorb as many of its Jewish refugees as possible does not change the fact that many of those people would prefer to go back to their home nations.

The situation is not the responsibility of only one party to fix. Palestinian refugees who live in other Arab countries but are not granted citizenship rights are another side of the problem. A problem exacerbated by the fact that even the children of those refugees (who are born in the countries they live in) are still classified as refugees and not given status, despite their birth being in the countries in question. This aids in the continuation of the problem and, as I see it, serves to act as a deflection of the responsibility EVERY nation in the region has toward seeking to find a solution that's amenable to everyone.

While what happened and continues to happen in Gaza is tragic (and a solution DOES need to be found), Hamas has at least as much responsibility as Israel. Using human shields, continued rocketing and generally creating a situation where any reasonable military would be unwilling to lift a blockade is NOT something that helps to solve things - it's something that serves to exploit the very people they claim to be protecting. The Gazan people are effectively trapped in the middle of a situation that the majority of which are powerless to change until fundamental changes in the policies of ALL sides start happening.

NO nation would act differently. None. Not yours, most certainly not mine, and correspondingly, not Israel. Peaceful solutions that allow for safe cohabitation are available, if the people in power on all sides can set aside ideological differences long enough to consider the lives of the people who are affected by these policies.

But ONE side is not responsible for what's going on. Both sides have culpability and need to own up to it, agree to disagree on ideological differences and set forth to find a peaceful solution that works for ALL the people who're adversely affected here.

It saddens me that we live in a world where differences are fueled by hatred, intolerance, weapons and fences. I wish we instead lived in a world where looking for mutual understanding was how we dealt with differences. But that will never happen until everyone involved can sit down and say, "Yes. You are wrong. But so am I. How can we move forward to find a way to be right together?"

Dubai Jazz said...

Israel, however, is probably the only country whose motivations might be questioned when they seek to help a nation who's in trouble.

If another nation attempts to exploit aids to cover up for war crimes and absolve itself from historical and moral responsibilities, then I’m equally prepared to call them out on it.

There really is no one correct side or thought on this matter.

Maybe, but there is one side denied justice here; the Palestinians.

with Gaza, while tragic, is not exclusively the fault or responsibility of Israel.

Yes, but Israel is the main perpetrator. I don’t understand the rest of your paragraph about Israel helping Jewish refugees; what’s that got to do with Gaza?

The situation is not the responsibility of only one party to fix. Palestinian refugees who live in other Arab countries but are not granted citizenship rights are another side of the problem. ……….

While it is agreed that Arab nations could do more to help the Palestinians (and we do lash out at Arab governments who don’t), it’s absurd to blame the plight of the Palestinians on other Arab countries: it’s akin to blaming the death of the victim on the incompetence of the ER staff, and not on the real perpetrator.

While what happened and continues to happen in Gaza is tragic (and a solution DOES need to be found), Hamas has at least as much responsibility as Israel. ………….


While I’m not particularly fond of Hamas, and would be the first to vote them out; why are Israeli fundamentalist parties –like Shas, Likud, or Israel Beituna, not accorded the same treatment? Hamas is being treated like a pariah because it doesn’t recognize Israel; well, how about the Likud party whose charter doesn’t recognize the right of Palestinians for a state? Why is Likud not excommunicated like Hamas is? Why are the illegal settlements in west bank, which are nothing less than a form of ethnic cleansing and reflection of religious fundamentalism, why are they not put under siege like Gaza?

There’s obviously a great deal of hypocrisy and double standards here.

NO nation would act differently. None. Not yours, most certainly not mine, and correspondingly, not Israel. …………

I beg to differ: Israel has been and continue to act differently. Severe measures have been put in place to ensure Jewish supremacy in Israel/Palestine (expulsion of millions of Palestinians, keeping them disenfranchised under occupation, denying them the right to return). I could think of few other nations who would do such things, like Apartheid South Africa.

My stance on Israel isn’t even ideological. It stems from human rights and international law, which-- I hope you agree with me-- do not allow for compromise.

It saddens me that we live in a world where differences are fueled by hatred, intolerance, weapons and fences. I wish we instead lived in a world where looking for mutual understanding was how we dealt with differences. …….


I also share your view. I wish we live in such world where religion, ethnicity or religion do not matter. And this is why I believe in a one state solution: one, secular, democratic state where every individual has equal rights.

Dubai Jazz said...

Hot Lemon& Honey,

I'm sorry I missed your comment earlier. Thank you very much, we serve to please. :)

Dubai Jazz said...

Allie,

Forgot to add: I do understand that this is a sensitive subject for you. I really do. And I respect your views. We don't have to conform to the same views, but we can still be friends :)

Allie said...

Hey there,

I think it's a sensitive subject for everyone involved. And irrespective of any differences in opinion we may have, you're still my friend!

I just wanted to say that really quickly and to let you know that I haven't exited the discussion, but that my full, thoughtful reply is/will be delayed until I get through this nightmare batch of homework I'm behind in. :) So, more on this as soon as possible!

Allie said...

Okay, since I've given up on my differentials homework for the evening, I finally have a moment to respond more fully. :)

I'm glad to know you're equally prepared to call other nations out on exploitive acts. I wasn't sure if you were, because I never see you call out Hamas (which, while I don't recognise it as a legitimate gov't, does function as though it were one) on the exploitive tactics it uses against the citizens of Gaza.

Yes, the Palestinians are being denied justice. You'll get no argument from me on that one. However, it should be recognised that a portion of that being what's happened is due to incessant rocketing, suicide bombing and the like. Every nation has an obligation to protect its citizens from those types of acts, and I truly believe these denials of justice would end if Israel felt confident there was a way to co-exist without that happening. I think it should be noted that there have been many instances where Israel has sought to improve the standing and livelihoods of the Palestinian people, and those efforts have not only been rejected but retaliated against. Please also note that I am not saying that in the midst of those efforts that horrible things haven't been happening to the Palestinians at the hands of Israel. They have. The Palestinian people have been victimised by pretty much every government who's come into contact with them, including their own.

The Jewish refugees don't specifically deal with Gaza, but they do deal with the fact that Palestinian refugees are not being absorbed into the population of the countries they've gone to by those respective governments, and it also has to deal with the fact that in the midst of this, Jews throughout the Middle East have been slaughtered and/or ejected from countries their families have spent hundreds of years living in. Only because they're Jewish. Total run-on sentence, but my main point is that this is not only happening to the Gazans, and not only happening because of Israel. This is a system perpetrated by pretty much every nation in the region, among which Israel is only one of many. I'm not saying it makes it right, or that these things balance out. I just want it to be noted that this isn't just happening to one people; we just only hear complaints about one group of people it's happening to. The rest seem to be acceptable casualties of a ridiculous ideological war between our peoples.

To me, ALL of the countries who perpetuate this problem are an equal part of the problem. For that reason I blame every country who doesn't take action to bring peace to the region. I don't just blame one country. For this reason I don't think the ER analogy holds - I would blame a doctor in the ER who didn't bother to try to help the patient, and that is more how I see what's going on in this situation.

I don't have an answer for you regarding the double-standard. There SHOULD be a Palestinian state, though I do believe it needs to be one governed by someone other than Hamas, or any other organisation who believes terrorism is the best means of accomplishing its goals.

I do agree with you that human rights are not subject to compromise. Both sides of this dispute have a right to exist in the land they've lived in for centuries, and both have the right to exist without fear of violence.

On the issue of a secular state, I both agree and disagree. My rational mind agrees 100%. However, my emotional mind, which lives with the memories of being raised on the stories of my relatives lost in the Holocaust, wants a safe place for Jews to exist without fear of being wiped off the planet. However, even if a non-secular state were to be the solution, that does NOT change my belief that all inhabitants of that land should have equal rights, Jewish or not.