A Question About Israel

A sticker on a city corner makes me think. The truth is no one is allowed to criticize Israel. No one is allowed to defend Palestine. But why?


I’m not gonna get too political, but this sticker I saw the other day while walking in NYC made me think. I stared at it as the confusion about the latest violence swirled in my brain. It made me ask, “Why does America handle any and all Israeli issues with kid gloves?”

The truth is, the American government and much of the media has always been reluctant to criticize any military action taken by Israel. Yes, I understand that all countries have the right to defend themselves. And yes I realize that Hamas has been tossing bombs across the border. But, are we really OK with a response that is tantamount to answering a bottle rocket with an a-bomb?

Is it really antisemitic to say that Israel bullies it’s neighbors? Is it really antisemitic to say that, if this is a fight over a land that is a religious birthright, then why has Israel bombed the shit out of it? Churches, temples, mosques destroyed. Children and women killed. If we truly want to believe Israel to be the ‘better’ of the two embattled neighbors, then how can we blindly forgive their actions?

OK I may be wrong and I’m more than willing to listen to a balanced debate on the subject. What bothers me though is there is no such debate taking place. No one is allowed to criticize Israel. No one is allowed to defend Palestine. Now I’m not raising a defense for Palestine or Hamas or whoever and I’m not laying blame on Israel. I’m simply wondering why no one is allowed to debate this.


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6 Responses to “A Question About Israel”

  1. fester
    01/15/09 at 4:34 pm #

    No offense to anybody but I think the reason for not criticizing Israel for their heavy handedness may have something to do with not wanting to sound hypocritical by not criticizing America’s heavy handedness with their foreign policies.

  2. Stephen Bailey
    01/15/09 at 5:12 pm #

    Yeah, I definitely think that plays a big part in it. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Tang
    01/16/09 at 3:36 am #

    “Is it really antisemitic to say that Israel bullies it’s neighbors?”

    Not by itself, it’s just inaccurate.

    “Is it really antisemitic to say that, if this is a fight over a land that is a religious birthright, then why has Israel bombed the shit out of it?”

    Not by itself, but 1) it’s not about “a religious birthright” and 2) Israel hasn’t “bombed the shit out of it”, so both claims are inaccurate.

    “Churches, temples, mosques destroyed”

    The mosques destroyed in Gaza were arms depots. Before this flareup, Israel has historically been reluctant to attack holy sites and they have suffered little war damage over the years.

    “Children and women killed.”

    It’s a war. This happens.

    “If we truly want to believe Israel to be the ‘better’ of the two embattled neighbors, then how can we blindly forgive their actions?”

    By not being blind to their neighbours or to history. Not only is Israel’s military conduct far more moral and Israel’s cause far more righteous than their enemies, the level of civilian casualties in Gaza is extremely low by 20th-21st century standards.

    “No one is allowed to criticize Israel”

    People criticize Israel all the time. I’ll do it: They don’t know what the hell they’re doing in Gaza and they have no plan to win the war. Where umbrage begins to be taken is when Israel is condemned for what it does not do, where the condemnations are based on brazen lies and supported only by repetition and shouting and screaming.

    “No one is allowed to defend Palestine”

    This is because Palestine, or rather the Palestine Liberation Organization, is an antisemitic hate group which to this day is dedicated to ethnically cleansing the Jews from Israel which happens to be where Jews are from. To brush off the expected nonrebuttal: no, Israel and the Haganah did not do anything similar in 1948, and Pappe is a fraud. People who don’t know MidEast history can get confused by how the names change. There used to be a Jewish territory called Palestine. They changed the name to Israel in 1948 and recognized the equal rights of Arab residents, who are also Israelis. The Palestinians were formed in 1964, allowed to enter the West Bank and Gaza in the 1980s, and given their first ever authority over any land in 1993 as part of the peace process that the Palestinians unilaterally ended in 2000 by halting negotiations and attacking Israel.

    A second reason that “no one is allowed to defend Palestine” is that Palestine is a foreign imperialist name for Israel. Combine this with the knowledge of who today’s Palestinians are, and calling Israel “Palestine” goes over as well as calling Zimbabwe “Rhodesia” while wearing a white hood.

    Now to the bumper sticker. The phrase “Welcome to the occupation” states that the United States is under Israeli “occupation”, that is, Jewish control. This is classic Protocols antisemitism. The phrase “the occupation” is anti-Israel propaganda referring to Israel’s existence, its use predating Israel’s territorial gains in 1967, but that’s beside the point. The larger message of the bumper sticker expresses the car owner’s pride in making an antisemitic remark by daring anyone to be offended. Of course I am sure the car owner would vehemently deny being an antisemite, but that changes nothing of what the sticker means.

    I hope you’re starting to understand why there is nothing approaching a balanced debate on Israel. The anti-Israel side seeks the total extermination of Israel, tells an endless stream of lies to support their cause, and peppers their statements with subtly racist rhetoric that will inflame the other side into irrational anger while uninformed onlookers see nothing wrong with it. It’s already hard to have a rational debate when two sides don’t agree on the facts. In this situation, there’s not a chance.

  4. Stephen Bailey
    01/16/09 at 9:04 am #

    Thank you for your comment.

    “1) it’s not about “a religious birthright” and 2) Israel hasn’t “bombed the shit out of it”
    – OK, I’ll rephrase. The fight is over a perceived religious birthright. Both sides feel this area is theirs and theirs alone.

    – You say that Israel hasn’t bombed the shit out of the area. What news reports have you been watching?

    “The mosques destroyed in Gaza were arms depots.”
    – Proof?

    “Not only is Israel’s military conduct far more moral and Israel’s cause far more righteous than their enemies, the level of civilian casualties in Gaza is extremely low by 20th-21st century standards.”
    – This goes to the very argument I make about support for Israel. How exactly are their actions “moral” and what makes their cause more “righteous”? Everyone says that about their own actions and causes. It’s what makes war so complicated.

    – And to justify the casualties by saying they’re low by 20th-21st century standards? Really? Responding to a reported couple of dozen casualties caused by Hamas rockets lobbed into Israeli territories in the last two years by killing of nearly 1,000 people in just a few days is not moral, righteous or low by any standards. And of those reported dead, more than a third are women and children. To brush it off by saying, “It’s a war. This happens,” is a cop out.

    “Where umbrage begins to be taken is when Israel is condemned for what it does not do, where the condemnations are based on brazen lies and supported only by repetition and shouting and screaming.”
    – My personal criticism and condemnation of Israel are based on what it is doing, not what it is not doing. What brazen lies are you talking about?

    “calling Israel “Palestine” goes over as well as calling Zimbabwe “Rhodesia” while wearing a white hood.”
    – I was not suggesting Palestine be called Israel or vice versa. I was not disputing the history in the area. The truth is, those living in Gaza today, as this conflict happens, are referred to as Palestinian.

    “The anti-Israel side seeks the total extermination of Israel”
    – Then why has the area of Gaza shrunk over the years? How is that not Israel trying to exterminate the Palestinians? And why shouldn’t those in Gaza fight back? How would any of us react if a neighbor began claiming bits of our land until what we called home was a mere fraction of the size it used to be? Or should I just to go back to your earlier statement and say “It’s a war. This happens?”

    “The phrase “the occupation” is anti-Israel propaganda referring to Israel’s existence, its use predating Israel’s territorial gains in 1967, but that’s beside the point.”
    – No that is not beside the point … it is the actual point.

    “The larger message of the bumper sticker expresses the car owner’s pride in making an antisemitic remark by daring anyone to be offended.”
    – It wasn’t on a car, it was on a pole on the street. Anyway, this sticker in and of itself is not antisemitic. It is criticizing Israel’s actions. Israel is a country, a government, an army. Not every Jewish person is Israeli and not every Israeli is Jewish.

    “It’s already hard to have a rational debate when two sides don’t agree on the facts. In this situation, there’s not a chance.”
    – I pray you are wrong, but I know you are right. On this point we can agree.

    In the end, my beef over this situation has nothing to do with who lives where and who calls who what. It has to do with the complication of the situation and Israel’s supporters simply, well … supporting with no (or few) questions asked. Yes they will have their minor criticisms, but those get tossed as soon as someone tries to start a deeper debate. You are correct, war is war, but what most people neglect to see is there are two sides to every war.

  5. mitch
    01/16/09 at 10:16 am #

    Let’s face it: Israel, because of it military power will always be seen as the villain. They could caused 5 civilian deaths in on event and 500 the next. However, the Palestinian people should be revolting against Hamas instead of allowing them to do whatever they please. Honestly, I do think some “pro-Palestinian” sentiments are anti-semitic. I have read countless Digg comments in response to articles on the mideast crisis. But, let me digress…

    My guarantee is this…If Israel were to give the Palestinians back the land, there will be a new enemey — us. Hamas are terrorists. Their extremist views are “follow us or die”. They even kill other Palestinians to protected their views. To them, there is no such things as peace.

    So, the questions if are people judging Israel on civilian deaths, then why the amnesia of all the suicide bombing in Israel which caused many Israeli civilian casualties? Yes, blood follows bloods (learned this from Metallica’s “Damage Inc” song …j/k, of course) and two wrongs don’t make a right. But, let me digress a bit…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrM0dAFsZ8k&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrM0dAFsZ8k&feature=related

  6. mitch
    01/16/09 at 10:17 am #

    BTW, you should AJAX your comments because I lost my original comment which I had to rewrite after an error occurred on missing required fields.

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