It is almost amusing to see the lengths to which the pro-Israeli discourse suppressors here in the United States have been going to try to rebuild the long-crumbled “Bar-Lev Line” with which, over decades past, they sought to protect Israel from being the subject of any free, fair, and fact-based discussion.
The ADL–yes, folks, that is supposed to be the Anti Defamation League– recently described me on their website as “an anti-Israel writer, publisher and the former executive director of the Council for the National Interest, an organization that regularly sends delegations of its supporters to meet with Hamas and Hezbollah representatives in the Middle East… ” How’s that again?
Never mind that in a career spanning 38 years, I spent precisely four months working for CNI… or that, on the one CNI trip I helped organize we spent a lot of time with Israelis of a variety of viewpoints, and even made a special visit to the Knesset… Or that in the course of my career I have extensively interviewed Israeli government ministers, military leaders, and analysts (as the folks from the ‘Anti’-Defamation League might know if they ever, er, actually read any of the many books and articles I have written… )
No, instead of doing any research that might involve, you know, actual facts, they just jumped on this rather seedy (but no doubt well-funded) little defamation bandwagon that a bunch of scared “Israel-right-or-wrong” types have been gunning up…
And they recycle an extremely tired (and fallacious) little piece of defamation that appeared somewhere else not long ago, which completely mischaracterized some thing I said at Georgetown University in late January 2009.
Actually, my own contemporaneous (or very near to contemporaneous) account of that incident can be read on this JWN post, that I published on January 25, 2009.
Here is just the beginning of that blog post:
- One notable thing that happened at our panel discussion on Gaza, at Georgetown University Thursday night, was that a young Israeli student directed a question at me asking why I had said that “all Israelis are stupid”– and also asserting that her country had had “no choice” but to launch the war on Gaza.
I replied that I had never said “all Israelis” are stupid– though I had certainly pointed out the counter-productive nature, from every point of view, of the decision her country’s government had made to launch the most recent war; and I’d pointed out too, with some sadness, that that decision seemed to have received high levels of support from Jewish Israelis.
But certainly not from all of them– as I had also pointed out in my main presentation.
What I’d referred to specifically was this extremely insightful (and courageous) article, published on December 31 in the WaPo by a Jewish Israeli social-work lecturer called Julia Chaitin. Chaitin, by the way, lives in southern Israel so has a deep understanding of the concerns and fears of the people who live there…
So now, this accusation that I had “said that all Israelis are stupid” seems to have gotten a second and third life. With zero evidence being presented by those who make this accusation… Because there is none. Because I never said what they claimed I said! But evidently, that young Israeli woman in question (the original mischaracterizer) must have rushed around spreading her version of what happened… and now, with zero evidence at all, the ‘Anti’-Defamation League and others like these folks (PDF) at “Jewish Philly”, or this “stevebronfman”, have just been echo-chambering this nasty smear all around.
They are truly pathetic. People: You don’t control the discourse any more because in the era of the intertubes you can’t control the discourse any more! Deal with it. Palestinians– like Iraqis, Lebanese people, Syrians, Egyptians, Israelis and everyone on God’s earth, today get to speak about truth of their situations without the heavy hand of the Zionist discourse-suppression organizations (‘Camera’, ‘Flame’, ‘Stand With Us’, etc) being able to suffocate us.
You know, for six years after the Israeli military swept into and occupied the whole of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 1967, the generals (okay, most of them, but not Gen Matti Peled, as his son Miko reminds us in his great upcoming memoir) thought their control of Sinai was assured by the defensive line of forts, ramparts, and fortifications they had thrown up along the Suez Canal… That was the “Bar-Lev Line”… And imagining themselves quite secure behind it they started building (quite illegally, as always) settlements in different spots in the large Sinai Peninsula…
But in October 1973, it took the Egyptian military just a few hours to fatally breach the Bar-Lev Line in a number of places. This, from Wikipedia today:
- Within the first hour of the war, the Egyptian engineering corps tackled the sand barrier. Seventy engineer groups, each one responsible for opening a single passage, worked from wooden boats. With hoses attached to water pumps, they began attacking the sand obstacle. Many breaches occurred within two to three hours of the onset of operations — according to schedule; engineers at several places, however, experienced unexpected problems… The Third Army, in particular, had difficulty in its sector. There, the clay proved resistant to high-water pressure and, consequently, the engineers experienced delays in their breaching. Engineers in the Second Army completed the erection of their bridges and ferries within nine hours, whereas Third Army needed more than sixteen hours…
So maybe the big BDS conference that I’m participating in, in Philadelphia this weekend, won’t be quite as dramatic as the 1973 war… In many respects, the ramparts of the Zionist discourse-suppression machine have all been weakened and breached repeatedly over the past 10-15 years. Thanks to the intertubes…
And here’s a big shoutout to MuzzleWatch, Mondoweiss, Max Blumenthal, and everyone else who’s made a big difference in all of this!
But over there at the ‘Anti’-Defamation League and in those other discourse suppression networks, I guess leaders and staffers have their own (highly inflated) salaries they need to justify, and fundraising appeals they need to crank up… So there they go, desperately trying to heap more sand into the breaches and recreate the
As I said, the sight would almost be amusing… if it did not also involve a prolongation of this illegally lengthy Israeli occupation of Palestine with all the desperate human suffering that involves.