Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Roger Cohen's latest New York Times op-ed reveals that when it comes to treating Israel with a double standard, he has no equal:

Every human instinct recoils from the killing of children. It recoils even as Israel’s right to defend itself from rockets is clear; and the excruciating difficulty of waging war against an enemy deployed among civilians is acknowledged; and the readiness of Israel’s foes to kill any Jew is confronted. However framed, the death of a single child to an Israeli bullet seems to betoken some failure in the longed-for Jewish state, to say nothing of several hundred. The slaughter elsewhere in the Middle East cannot be an alibi for Jews to avoid this self-scrutiny.
Cohen throws in the perfunctory disclaimers, yeah, sure, I know that Hamas hides among civilians, sure I know they target civilians, yeah they aren't wonderful people. But the death of a single Gaza child is a failure in the Zionist project altogether!

If Cohen truly believed his blah-blah disclaimers, he would lay the blame on children's deaths in Gaza squarely where they belong: with Hamas. But he doesn't; the disclaimers are meant as a shield for Cohen against criticism that he is too one-sided, and not as an honest appraisal of the situation Israel faces.

To put it bluntly: waging war in an urban area without killing children is nearly impossible. Waging war in an area where the enemy knowingly places its military targets among children is literally impossible. And waging war in an area where the heavily armed enemy instructs its citizens not to evacuate when they are warned that the battle is coming to their homes - and where the enemy purposefully places major command centers inside civilian houses - is absolutely, 100% impossible.

To Cohen, Israel's failure to do the impossible is an indication of the failure of the Jewish state. Which means that to Cohen, after 66 years, Israel among all nations is still in a trial period to see if it is good enough to join the family of nations, and if it ever falls short of an impossible standard, it fails.

Never in a million years would Cohen say the same thing about the children being killed, today, in Syria and Iraq by his own country. He would never dream of asking whether children killed in recent wars by French or British or even Syrian warplanes indicates that they are failures as nations. Spain or Italy or Russia cannot be failures. Only Israel can be a failure, when it fails to pass a test that is rigged against it.

But Cohen's piece gets even more perverse, as he engages in the popular pastime of "Palestinians are the new Jews":

Of course, sermons are only part of the story. The High Holy Days are days to look inward, to be still. I found my eyes straying to a passage from Stefan Zweig’s “The World of Yesterday” reprinted in the prayer book. It read:

“Only now, since they were swept up like dirt in the streets and heaped together, the bankers from their Berlin palaces and sextons from the synagogues of Orthodox congregations, the philosophy professors from Paris, and Romanian cabbies, the undertaker’s helpers and Nobel prize winners, the concert singers, and hired mourners, the authors and distillers, the haves and the have-nots, the great and the small, the devout and the liberals, the usurers and the sages, the Zionists and the assimilated, the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim, the just and the unjust besides which the confused horde who thought that they had long since eluded the curse, the baptized and the semi-Jews — only now, for the first time in hundreds of years, the Jews were forced into a community of interest to which they had long ceased to be sensitive, the ever-recurring — since Egypt — community of expulsion. But why this fate for them and always for them alone? What was the reason, the sense, the aim of this senseless persecution? They were driven out of lands but without a land to go to.”

Two phrases leapt out: “community of expulsion,” and “driven out of lands but without a land to go to.” The second embodied the necessity of the Jewish state of Israel. But it was inconceivable, at least to me, without awareness of the first. Palestinians have joined the ever-recurring “community of expulsion.”
There is indeed something in common between the Jewish experience and the Palestinian Arab experience of diaspora - but it isn't what Cohen thinks.

Jews have been driven out of many lands over many centuries because of Jew-hatred. Whether it is because of jealousy or scapegoating or some other reason is not important for our purposes - antisemitism has been a fixture on the world stage forever.

The reason that several hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs found themselves without a place to live in 1948 is also because of Jew-hatred. Arab states made the conscious decision to not allow the Palestinians to become citizens because they wanted to ensure that they could be used as political pawns. The Arab nations, and indeed the current Palestinian leadership, have invested effort into maintaining the homelessness of millions of people because one day, they hope, these people kept in perpetual misery will be the vanguard in the effort to destroy the Jewish state. Every photo of child in a refugee camp is as valuable as every photo of a dead child in Gaza - they serve the exact same purpose, to use the innocent in order to turn world opinion against Israel (and, often, against Jews.)

Cohen shows here that he is quite susceptible to this nakedly cynical use of people's lives as propaganda.

Why has every single refugee community in the aftermath of World War II managed to disappear, while the Palestinian Arab "refugees" have increased more than tenfold? More importantly, why doesn't Cohen know the answer to this basic question?

To compare the suffering of Jews across millennia with the suffering of an artificial refugee population that is being cynically used for political purposes is outrageous. The Palestinian Arab "refugee" issue could be solved tomorrow if only the very people who pretend to care about them would treat them the way they treat all other Arabs. It isn't because they hate Palestinians, it is because they hate Jews.

This was a masterful propaganda initiative, the conscious use and maintenance of Palestinian suffering in order to make moral midgets like Cohen blame Israel for their plight instead of the Arab countries and Palestinian leaders who knowingly and explicitly perpetuated it for decades. (I'm not even talking about the reasons for their flight in 1948 to begin with; Even if Israel was 100% responsible - which it clearly wasn't - the responsibility for their welfare for the past six decades rests with the Arab countries they fled to. Just like every other refugee population in history.)

There we have it .To Roger Cohen, Israel doesn't deserve to exist unless it reaches impossible levels of perfection, and Israel is responsible for a community whose hosts will keep them stateless until Israel ceases to exist.

And, hey, Cohen can play the Jewish card, so these ridiculous ramblings have an aura of respectability!


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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