Friday, April 30, 2010

  • Friday, April 30, 2010
  • Elder of Ziyon
John Mearsheimer, of "The Israel Lobby" fame, gave the Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC yesterday.

His long speech is filled with unbelievable rhetoric where he accepts the Palestinian Arab narrative hook, line and sinker.

Like Goldstone and others, he builds his argument by first creating a framework that is false to begin with. Once he builds this straw-man edifice he can fill out his speech with "facts" that fit his fantasy worldview.

Here is one strawman:
To be viable, [a] Palestine state would have to control 95 percent or more of the West Bank and all of Gaza. There would also have to be territorial swaps to compensate the Palestinians for those small pieces of West Bank territory that Israel got to keep in the final agreement. East Jerusalem would be the capital of the new Palestinian state.
What is the relationship between "viability" and his list? They may be the Palestinian Arab minimum demands, which he accepts uncritically, but they have nothing to do with "viability." Other states are smaller, other states have fewer natural resources, other states somehow manage to exist without east Jerusalem. Why does an Arab Palestine require these things?

Mearsheimer also dismisses any problems with Palestinian Arab unity, subconsciously treating them like the children that liberals always do:
The Palestinians are badly divided among themselves and not in a good position to make a deal with Israel and then stick to it. That problem is fixable with time and help from Israel and the United States.
That's it. In a lecture that must have taken an hour, to an audience that actually has the power to help fix the biggest obstacle to a viable Palestinian Arab state, Mearsheimer dismisses it with two sentences - and doesn't even think that his heroes have the ability to fix their own problems without help from Israel and the US! Yet these infantile people, in his estimation, can responsibly run a nation-state.

It gets worse. Mearsheimer is convinced that Zionists are people who are just itching to murder and expel millions of people from their homes. Since he is convinced that Israel is going to create a Greater Israel (using more strawman arguments), he concludes:
...Israel could expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, thereby preserving its Jewish character through an overt act of ethnic cleansing. This is what happened in 1948 when the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes. Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. The scale of the expulsion, however, would have to be even greater this time, because there are about 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

...Then there is ethnic cleansing, which would certainly mean that Greater Israel would have a Jewish majority. But that murderous strategy seems unlikely, because it would do enormous damage to Israel's moral fabric, its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora, and its international standing. ...Nevertheless, there is reason to worry that Israelis might adopt this solution as the demographic balance shifts against them and they fear for the survival of the Jewish state. Given the right circumstances -- say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest -- Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions.

We should not underestimate Israel's willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself. It is apparent from public opinion surveys and everyday discourse that many Israelis hold racist views of Palestinians and the Gaza massacre makes clear that they have few qualms about killing Palestinian civilians. It is difficult to disagree with Jimmy Carter's comment earlier this year that "the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings." A century of conflict and four decades of occupation will do that to a people.
To Mearsheimer, Meir Kahane is not an aberration whose party was made illegal in Israel - he represents the majority viewpoint of committed Zionists.

Mearsheimer goes on to label his concept of who the good Jews are and who the bad Jews are. Using obscenely insulting language, he says:
American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories. The first two are what I call "righteous Jews" and the "new Afrikaners," which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways. The third and largest group is comprised of those Jews who care a lot about Israel, but do not have clear-cut views on how to think about Greater Israel and apartheid. Let us call this group the "great ambivalent middle."

...To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

On the other side we have the new Afrikaners, who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state. These are individuals who will back Israel no matter what it does, because they have blind loyalty to the Jewish state. This is not to say that the new Afrikaners think that apartheid is an attractive or desirable political system, because I am sure that many of them do not. Surely some of them favor a two-state solution and some of them probably have a serious commitment to liberal values. The key point, however, is that they have an even deeper commitment to supporting Israel unreservedly. The new Afrikaners will of course try to come up with clever arguments to convince themselves and others that Israel is really not an apartheid state, and that those who say it is are anti-Semites. We are all familiar with this strategy.

I would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby's major organizations as new Afrikaners. That list would include Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress, and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, just to name some of the more prominent ones. I would also include businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Lester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman as well as media personalities like Fred Hiatt and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, and Martin Peretz of the New Republic. It would be easy to add more names to this list.

The key to determining whether the lobby can protect apartheid Israel over the long run is whether the great ambivalent middle sides with the new Afrikaners or the righteous Jews. The new Afrikaners have to win that fight decisively for Greater Israel to survive as a racist state.
Again, he is spending the main part of a lecture about his perception of American Jews to a group of Arabs who fully accept his thesis that all of their problems can be blamed directly on Jews, as it supports their own bigoted worldviews.

He also doesn't disappoint with his comments on the all-powerful Jewish lobby, of course.

All in all, this is a despicable speech full of half-truths and a completely skewed viewpoint that ironically caters to Arab bigotry by accusing all Zionist Jews of that same trait.

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