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Posted in: Anti-Semitism

Published on Nov 04, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Anti-Americanism Dangerously Misunderstood

While Israel is Still Expected to do all the Heavy Lifting


Why-oh-why does the mainstream media keep tacking on "The Israeli-Palestinian crisis" where it does not belong? This has become a mindless mantra meant to inflame not inform people and more important, meant to affirm the "goodness" and "fairness" of the journalists who espouse precisely such rank propaganda.

Today, the New York Times included the above phrase in their editorial titled "Selling America." The editors believe that they know how to–and how not to–"sell" America. In their view, President Bush's "waging preventive war in Iraq, redefining torture, repudiating the Geneva Conventions, establishing illegal detention camps, and refusing to grapple with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis" has created "new enemies every minute" and has "soured allies."

What universe do their editors inhabit? My universe is one in which Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, is already perceived to be leaning on Israel to give more in return for less at the Annapolis conference. Diplomatically, Israel is already expected to do all the heavy lifting for Arab and Muslim states (such as Jordan and Turkey) who are gravely concerned with the Iranian threat. Israel, not Jordan, and not even America, flew that wisely secret mission into Syria which some people are now saying might have helped "avert World War Three."

According to political expert, Dan Diker, (a very passionate speaker) who works with Ambassador Dore Gold in Jerusalem, Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are not even asking for the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, but, Oslo-style, Israeli politicians and pundits are offering them as sacrifical lambs nevertheless.

In his experience, dealing with the Fatah leadership is like dealing with a "vacuum;" other than some strong and honorable individuals, "there is no there there." The Palestinian Authority consists of "warring clans, families, and warlords" and they are threatened by a well funded Hamas. In Diker's view, the main reason that fewer suicide bombings have taken place is due to the "security barrier" and to Israeli intelligence gathering.

But still, the Kassam rockets continue to rain down on Sderot and the international community barely notices it. The mainstream media mainly note when Israel does something–anything, to defend itself from this non-stop onslaught and when it contemplates reducing electricity and fuel to its hostile, parasitic dependent in Hamas's Gaza. (Why don't the wealthy Arab states finally pick up the slack here to avoid the impending humanitarian crisis?)

Diker shared an important anecdote. It seems that when he goes to Ramallah, which he does every few weeks, he hides his kippa (skullcap). His host, a religious Muslim and a "good man" stops their ongoing negotiations to pray, in full view of the Israelis. Diker finally decided that it was time for him to do likewise. He donned a kippa and asked his host to point him in the direction of The Western Wall for his afternoon prayers. His host immediately and respectfully did so.

"From now on" Diker quietly vowed, "I will not hide my religion or fail to pray" simply because Jews (and all non-Muslims) are endangered in Arab and Muslim territories.

Afterwards, Diker told me privately that "Israel behaves like a battered woman. She keeps coming back for more mistreatment." Said I: "But when battered women kill in self-defense in America they receive life sentences, often with no parole." We both stood together in momentary silence.

Do the editors of the mainstream media, ever stand in silence before tragic and complicated realities? Do they ever entertain the possibility that Israel is being falsely blamed in order to serve the cause of Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian imperialism? Do they ever contemplate the possibility that "anti-Americanism" might not be caused by American failure or even by American crimes but by American virtues and strengths?

Perhaps America, too, (at least its media elite) have begun to behave like a "battered woman," and have grown to "enjoy" being demeaned and mistreated.


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