Question – why is debating Israel taboo???

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of many questions that I think require debate.   I encourage free and open opinion, to look into the question from every angle and from whatever view-point.  I will make my own view clear enough and so I take a side, so to speak, what is yours?

Why is debating Israel taboo???

Israel, the Holy Land and the Jewish State - A Rogue State as well?

Israel is a Jewish State, does that matter?  Israel was a “creation” forced upon and at the expense of the local Arab population, was that justified?  Jews have been hounded, murdered, enslaved and almost wiped off the planet, does that matter?  Israel is constantly facing threats and attack, missiles are fired and the lives of everyone living there has a fear in the back of their mind, is that important?  Israel occupies territories and controls the lives of non-citizens by force, does that matter?  Israel has nuclear weapons but is not a signature of any treaty, is that important?  Israel has been condemned regularly by the international community, do we care?  Israel openly attacks its enemies outside its own territory, that include assassination and kidnapping, is that justified?  Is Israel a Rogue State?   The Knesset has more radical ultra-conservative religious parties that are part of a governing coalition than almost any other country, is that worth noting?  Israel’s survival has been due to the strong cooperation and important relationship with the United States, along with its powerful Jewish lobby, what if that failed?

There are endless questions and not even the biting more intense questions that everyone wants to ask but never gets the chance, why?

Talking Israel and the mob response

Discussing Israel only brings emotions - strong ones!

When one talks “Israel” and it is not all supportive the atmosphere of the discussion changes, and not for the positive.   If you are not instantly called anti-Semitic then you will be labelled a supporter of terrorists, pro-Palestinian, an apologist to Islamists and more.   Ironically, in the majority of Muslim countries if you say much of anything positive about the State of Israel you will be equally condemned as Zionist, Arab-hater, terror-state supporter, American-pawn or Jew-lover – as if that is a criticism.  Either way, talking Israel seems to bring the worst of results and not much positive.  A real shame.

Most of us know well enough the Israel-Palestine/Occupied Territories/pro-Settler/Hamas/Hezbollah/Zionism issues and also most know about the simple fact that the lives of the individuals there are submerged within it.   Arab nationalism and “The Occupation” makes for hot political stuff, and to a degree I will not focus on any on any of that.

USS Liberty, attacked by Israeli Jets and boats

What interests me is the west and the radical response and taboo status of talking Israel.  It goes a long way and is to a degree cemented into government, media and the far-right of politics.  

On the 8th and 9th of June, 1967 , during the Six Day war, Israel mistakenly (and that is disputed) attacked the USS Liberty.  The Liberty was a technical support vessel of the United States Navy.  The attack by Israeli Air Force jets and light sea craft severely damaged the ship, killing many of its officers and crew.  The Liberty’s  Commanding Officer, William L. McGonagle, severely wounded, refused to leave the bridge and for 17 hours managed the defence and safety of the ship until a US destroyer arrived.  

He was awarded the Medal of Honour and in its citation (that comes with all major medals describing the events) never once referred to the attack as coming from Israel.   

I mention this as for me it is synonymous of how taboo it is to point out officially a grave Israeli wrong.  The entire world was aware of what happened, great debate and discussion has occurred, and yet such important symbology of recognizing history is still thwarted to varying degrees to somehow give Israel that constant edge, advantage, relief, “a break”.

One wonders the same about the nuclear arsenal of Israel which estimates ranging from 100 to 220 warheads existing.  There is no membership of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, no international inspections, no safeguards or concerns about their potential use or risks of accident, not even a grumble.  In stark contrast, any other nation attempting to gain such weapons are swiftly condemned for even having started asking if they can have a centrifuge.   The usual excuses of the other states being belligerent, though may certainly be correct, falls flat to nations that live within the range of Israel’s swift reprisal-wielding hands and if anything makes such accusations feel a bit lame and two-faced.  

Settler-groups and their support in the Knesset is strong

With Israel’s pushing further and further to the extreme-right, such concerns are coming to the forefront.  The recent battles in Gaza and the blockade are no longer being whitewashed, the change of Administration in the United States does not completely follow the old no-questions-asked scenario over Israel and it recognises that the value of its neighbours are as important if not greater than that of the one nation.  Perhaps the recognition that this far-right government is itself of a dangerous make-up has finally breached the limits of the barrel of reasons Israel has had this deal over so many years.   That the Coalition Government, the civil service and the military of Israel have an excessive level of ultra-orthodox religious zeal that within its neighbours is constantly condemned and blamed as the cause of radicalism and worse, are the cause of violence and terrorism.   That this political-Judaism or Zionism (the older brother of political Islam or Islamism) is in control of its nuclear program, defence, the occupation, the brutality and the settler-movement.   It is the government.

Still, the talk of the nuclear process is muted, but a change has happened.  What is the result?

The far-right, pro-Israel lobby, the Jewish-American community are calling Obama anti-Semite, pro-Islam (as if they are opposites) and traitorous.   That instead of also raising the questions that are legitimate, they try the political point scoring and refer to the lack of automated black-out and censorship of anything Israel-negative as backstabbing an alley.   They forget that Israel has made it clear on many, many occasions that no-one or no nation that gets in the way of Israel’s self-preservation is immune from action.  Blind-support for the US does and never has existed.

Israel most certainly, in my view, has the right to exist.  It has the right, as every nation has, to defend itself.   It has a right to have to preserve and enjoy its faith, cultures, morals and standards.   Its’ people have a right to liberty and tranquility, to see its children grow in happiness, to prosper.  It does not have the right to do that at the expense of others, to not be part of the international community and yet demand that status as one of its members.   It most certainly does not have the right to condemn, respond, occupy or wage battle, and demand not to be scrutinized and criticized.

Outside of Israel, religion and conflict is condemned.... outside that is.

Why can one not support Israel and yet not support its current government and its politico-religious policies?   Why is it that not supporting the blockade on Gaza is anti-Semite?   Does being Israeli mean you must be patriotic to Likud and the actions of the IDF?

What do you think?


About donny2811
Trots Nederlands, goed gereist en een begerige politieke centrist met een speciale afkeer voor basissen.

9 Responses to Question – why is debating Israel taboo???

  1. iro says:

    There is no problem with criticising Israel as long as the comment is not racist. You can tell by substituting another term for “Israel”. How would it have sounded if Helen Thomas ha dsaid, “Muslims should get the hell out of Germany”?

  2. donny2811 says:

    I think Helen Thomas is an example of old world values, old world politics, old world journalism and her old age. Each of them not having a place for here and now.

    Thanks for your comment and contribution, I wish it was the way you said it, that would be fine.

    Unfortunately look at the blogs and see the results of comments. I made a few comments about not supporting the steps and methods taken in Gaza and was instantly branded anti-Semite, a Hamas supporter and worse. In other places, making comments even saying, like some very good journalists and again some Jewish – that the Flotilla response was badly handled and in many aspects wrong – but at the same time noting that the flotilla was not really an aid shipment but a political stunt – I got the condemnation and anti-Semitic claims again and no-one noted that other Israeli and American Jews had said the same.

    The subject is certainly interesting and itself has been hijacked by various political and other agendas.


  3. iro says:

    No one else is here yet, so let’s discuss.

    How does the USS Liberty incident show it is taboo to criticize Israel? The Medal of Honor citation doesn’t state Israelis shot the servicemen; but none of the MOH citations do. They say where the event happened (international waters). Incidents of friendly fire are all too common. The circumstances were investigated many times and Israel was found innocent of intentionally attacking the ship. Israel paid millions of dollars to the families of the dead men and to the wounded.

    I’ve seen that picture of the Israeli kids pulling and kicking at a Muslim woman before. I think it’s horrible. Those kids are old enough to know better. But it hardly proves the point that the Israeli government is encouraging those children. There are other pictures of Palestinian kids harrassing Jews. That doesn’t prove we can’t discuss the right and wrong of bratty kids I think it shows people need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find evidence of Israelis doing something wrong.

    • donny2811 says:

      Thanks for your comments.

      I have raised these as thought provoking questions, to discuss and I appreciate your making them. Since there are many compelling arguments both ways.

      The Liberty Incient not having a mention on who the attacker is actually unusual. I was actually watching a program on France24 channel whilst I was drafting thoughts about the item and thus I put it. It came down to two aspects, first MOH Citations usually recall the events, identifies the attackers and the conflict. In this case it did not say anything other than “operating in international waters”. It then gave a very compelling list of how other events, less and more serious drew more attention, but this one had the media shouting and still only limited responses. It basically came down to in comparison to other events, the wall of silence was conspicious in its absence of directly referring to Israel as an aggressor, be it accidental or not. I chose to put it in as an example that is debated and worth mentioning for those reasons.

      The image of the “children” includes to aspects, they are not all that young and there are IDF troops doing nothing about it. Like it or not, the treatement of Palestinian citizens, particularly around settlers is an issue and it is being condemned, mostly for the collective punishment aspects, which I also criticize.

      The issue with the photo also reflects the “settler movement” and in another item that I have put, I talk abou the radicalizaiton of the Knesset and the government, with religious-based radical-Zionist politics, that are strongly pro-Settler. I equate Zionism as the older-brother of Islamism and I put them both in the same basket. Religous-politics, or political-Judaism and political-Islam. In the purest sence the arguments are fine, in a purely Judaic or Islamic environment it may make sense but as soon as you put outsiders within its grasp, it changes.

      I agree with some of your comments about the exagerations and finger pointing at Israel but I find that more and more it is justified because of that radicalism. I disagree that there is scraping of the bottom of the barrel, there are currently a series of issues that are condemnable.

      My argument about taboo is more about the past, more at official levels than at the media side, certainly as a title a little exagerated, but just as certainly to raise the questions to make a good discussions.

      As for what is Israel doing wrong, I would say not participating in the NPT, inspection regimes as being a wrong, the collective punshment of Gazans for the wrongs of the militant terrorist Hamas that controls them, the continued settlement building, the process of isolating, targetting and to a degree terrorizing the Arabs of Jerusalem, all being wrong. I would continue to argue that hypocritical arguments about and against “political-Islam” by Israelis when they have their own political-Judaism running their government.

      This is not a jab, but the list of my thoughts of what is wrong, worth condemning or debating. It was not the subject of this thread, which is how much of a code of silence between some of Israel’s defenders and the assumption by the US far-right and the Zionist movement that the slightest disagreement is condemned as siding with the enemy.

      Cheers, excuse the mixed phrases and style, usually I put it through word and work as I am still improving my English.


  4. Kenny says:

    I agree that israel has a right to exist although i completely disagree that land was basically stolen from a predominately arab population to give to them. i know that the religious zealots rely on stating that israel is the promised land of god but that land has been in dispute and war since the bible and these religious claims began. honestly seeing the US and israel do everything they can to destroy the infrastructure, control the population and cover up their insidious activities proves that israel is not interested in peace. i would even go as far to say that they are employing tactics very similar to what the germans rained down on them in the 30’s & 40’s. and, according to the jews it wasn’t right then — i ask what makes it right now. israel would never survive by itself as your article clearly states. without the money, firepower and unyielding support in the UN israel would have been gone a long time ago. but honestly i believe they have done everything they can to keep themselves in such a precarious situation. if maybe they actually tried to resolve issues instead of making them we really wouldn’t need a internationally peace brokered deal.

    • donny2811 says:

      Thanks Kenny for your comments and participation. I like the end of your paragraph and perhaps that is the key – “if maybe they actually tried to resolve issues”, I think that goes perhaps with all sides now, as the subject has gone for so long, there is an element that “lives-off” the status quo and hate.

  5. iro says:

    You have built it, Donny, they will come (from the movie Field of Dreams).

    Are you saying there are other individuals online who quickly begin to call you names or are you alleging it is the website itself which you think is responding to your discussion points?

    This is something you may not know about; but there are certain “hot button” words and phrases which make it clear that a person is anti-semitic, even though the individual is pretending to discuss rights for Palestinian Arabs without bias.

    Some of the obvious ones are to refer to putting a person in an oven, stereotypes about Jews being rich (all of us; I’ve been meaning to speak up about that to whoever is in charge of all Jews being rich. I have a long list of ones who missed out on that.) Talking about a secret group of powerful Jews controlling the world.

    I am confident that if there were Jews running the world, we would all be enjoying clean safe cheap energy and sustainable foods. There would be good and affordable medical care. I’m just basing my comments on how Israel has been run.

    I have to confess there are accusations against Jews or Israel which I don’t even understand. Maybe you will have time to explain them to me if this comes up.

    Free and open discussions can be interesting. In the photograph of the bratty Jewish children, I see some things you do not. There are two IDF soldiers. One has his back turned to the action. Maybe he turned around as he saw with his peripheral vision there was a misdeed, and yelled at the children.

    The other soldier seems to me not to be ignoring or condoning the action; but has his right arm raised as though he is about to try to stop them.

    Since the photographer had the intention of showing something bad done by Jews, he had no motivation to take the next shots if they show the soldiers helping the elderly woman and making the children apologize.

    I feel confident, though, that if you were to select Jewish homes at random, they would not be sitting around the table hating Arabs; but talking about civil rights in Iran, even though the Iranians want to destroy Israel. At one time, American Jews fought for the civil rights of African-Americans in the South. Later African-Americans libeled Jews, making false accusations including a book written by a supposed scholar which talked about Jews involved in the American slave trade! There was a minimal involvement by Jews; but a huge part was done by Muslims. I have never found an American black person correctly point to the people who were most involved in and profited from the buying and selling of humans.

    So I do have the sad conviction there are black families talking trash about Jews/Israel, and Arab families (like Helen Thomas’) where it is commonplace to say harsh things about people.

    I’d still support their rights, wouldn’t you, Donny? Does it matter to you if someone is charming before you can distinguish between right and wrong treatment?

    I’m hoping you are that type of person.

    • donny2811 says:

      Thanks for some very thought-provoking comments, i understand and support much of them. Rest assured that in my own belief and faith that as we are all equally children of Abraham and Moses, that any comments “at Jews” are repugnant and ugly. I have had the immense pleasure of working with Jews, employing them and walking the old and still occupied Jewish quaters of Rabat, Fez and Marrakech in Morocco to be accutely aware of a wonderful history and the reality of their economic wealth. I always wondered how the “Rich Jew” came about and it probably comes from the better than average success that some Jews have had in business and politics throughout history. I grew-up with praising the Jewish work-ethics of learning a business and a trade-skill. We know that in times of economic and social crisis that ugly nationalist movements and fascism will target minorities first and play their horrible games of propoganda, there is no need repeating here that horrible history I am sure you are more qualified to know than me.

      On the topic of anti-Semitism and being accused of it, I have experienced blogs, bloggers and commentors who jump to that quickly, which reflects more on those blogs. Be certain that those blogs are extreme or use extreme tactics to control their banter. Atlasshrugs is a great example as is Jihadwatch. Neither of the bloggers themselves will do accussing, carefully and most of the time staying in the grey area of implication but certainly encourage a number of ugly “protectors” on their blogs to do the ugly accussations and shout-downs. Many on the”Pundit” linked blogs simply call you anti-Semite if you do not agree with “Israel” of which they seem to assume that Israel’s government IS the people and thus you must be anti-Semitic.

      I should point out the reason for the post in the first place. It was a combination of these responses but was more a reaction to comments I read in the New York Times and La Figaro. Both raised the question, not at the media or personal level but at the top government to government level, that for a long time western governments had an “understanding” not to discuss, accuse or question the actions of Israel. They both cited a combination of collective guilt, responsibilty and political game-play as the reasons. Guilt over the past persecutions, responsibility over the decision (either way) to help create “Israel” and political game-play as they had a pro-western ally in heart of the Middle-East. I am not sure I agree with all of that, it is to simplistic and generalized for me to sit on it. Anyhow, that was the motivation to ask the question – at all levels, and to see thought provoking comments and opinions such as yours.

      For me, I do not know about African-American anti-Semitism, I have never experienced seeing it. I would say though, that there is a lot more to the history of slaving than what you have put there, it is a subject I have studied. Arab middle-men certainly profitted and was heavily involved in the slave-trade. Having said that, they were not involved in the bulk of it, nor in the latter – immense factory like production – of slavery that came out of West Africa that dwared the rest of tally of history. That has to come down to Anglo, Anglo-American and Flemish (latere Belgium) traders and to the Africans themselves via tribalism (one group selling out the other due to tribal competion and conflict). I am also not aware of many, Jews involved in the business except for the Flemish families in Antwerp that owned and knowingly leased out their boats to slavers. I know of no others.

      Having Jewish friends and knowing Israelis, I know that the average family sits at home thinking if anything about the civil rights of Iranians. I also know, having been born in Indonesia, being a former City of Councillor of Rotterdam with a huge Muslim consituency, having some family members marry Muslim men, having offices in Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and clients also in Lebanon – that the average Muslim sits at home also thinking about his or her family’s human rights, those of others and frankly ensuring their children have a good education and how is food going to be on the table. The problem is not them, it is the 10 or so percent of radicals, ultra-orthodox, radical Islamist, ultra-conservatives, evangelical, etc, and the effect, impact, influence and media attention that they get. Evangelicals influence the opinions, fund raising and voting in the US, particularly at local and State level, ultra-orthodox parties have an unwarrented influence in the Knesset and they are a part of the Coalition – they ensure the farce over the settler-movement which has an impact on peace talks. Ultra-conservatism and radical Islamism is an ugly scurge that to put it in the most simple terms is at war with the West and anything and anyone that apposes it. It is this level that is the problem and to a degree they dominate the topics of our blogs. That is, in fact, why I created Blootstellen, to discuss the effects, influence and mindset behind radicalism.

      I support everyone’s rights, the basic concept of justice and freedoms to express opinions. I do not support radicalized version of anything and to use Popper’s concept, the only thing that one has a right to be intollerant about is intollerance itself. That is why, or example, I do not support what Dutch fascist MP Geert Wilders calls his freedom of speech to push for hatred and collective targetting of Muslims – the line between freedom fo speech and coordinated political hate with a purpose is easily confused when you spend hundreds of thousands of Euros to propogate it.

      Thanks again for your comments, I tend to go on so I will cut it short here. Your comments and ideas are more than welcome here, if anything I encourage it.


  6. donny2811 says:

    I read an interesting quote that I thought I will add, just to provoke thought

    “Anti-Semitism is nothing but the antagonistic attitude produced in the non-Jew by the Jewish group. The Jewish group has thrived on oppression and on the antagonism it has forever met in the world… the root cause is their use of enemies they create in order to keep solidarity…”
    ~~~Albert Einstein,
    quoted in Collier’s Magazine, November 26, 1938

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