Question – why is debating Israel taboo???
June 9, 2010 9 Comments
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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?