Pro-Israeli discourse suppressors desperately try to rebuild their Bar-Lev Line!

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 Maginot Line Bar Lev Line of their imagined security.
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.

4 thoughts on “Pro-Israeli discourse suppressors desperately try to rebuild their Bar-Lev Line!

  1. Yousef

    Helena,
    The last thing right-wing Zionist groups are interested in is the truth and the actual facts. When you are effective in exposing the actual facts, they will heap more sand and will try harder to smear and discredit you. They do research and they know the actual facts, but their job is to build a wall around them that will prevent them from reaching the public, especially the American public. They will do anything to make it as costly and uncomfortable as possible for media and individual journalists to tell the truth and inform the public on the actual facts. The truth is their most dangerous enemy that must be fought by all means necessary.
    I recall an article by a right-wing Israeli journalist after the 1967 war, in which he emphasized the need for a continuing process of screaming and heaping sand. Why? because we know, he wrote, that the Zionist project is far from complete. We know that continuing the project is a difficult task and “we cannot always do it with clean hands”. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to continue yelling and heaping sand.
    With this mindset, a defamation group must be called “anti-defamation”, and when they fail to find anything to accuse you with, they will ask you: why did you beat your spouse!

  2. Eurosabra

    I am a bit glad that you are getting pushback from Zionists, to the extent that I consider you and Bill quite dangerous to the long-term survival of Israel as a Jewish state, working in the path of peace from your perspective. (And why should outsiders be obligated to protect Israeli-Jewish privilege and particularism, you may ask.) I may be misreading you somewhat in that I don’t think you have anything inimical in mind, but the practical effect of your openness to Hamas and Hezbollah and to unlimited Palestinian right of return is the end of Israel as a Jewish state should the Palestinians ever have the chance to impose what you regard as the minimally equitable positions as you’ve outlined them. I am sorry that the pushback is so distorted and so hateful, because even though I regard Findley and the CNI as heirs of Charles Crane and some very nasty people (from an Israeli perspective) I don’t think you situate yourself within that tradition of American Arabism and I don’t think any person informed about the conflict should situate you there either.
    Re: the Bar-Lev line, it was trying to be all things to all people, militarily. Israel profited from the war to retrain in combined arms operations and is currently coping with 3rd generation threats like Hezbollah, well enough, I suppose. One thing that gets elided is that the geography of the Canal Zone meant that Egypt could succeed in a limited war which fit in with the Egyptian desire to resolve the dispute with a treaty and placed it within the realm of statecraft. I do not think the threats to Israel are currently limited and I think the current foes are capable of waging (and eager to wage total war) despite potential proportional damage to their societies.

  3. pabelmont

    Eurosabra: I think I agree with your conclusion — and Bibi’s — that allowing return of the exiles of 1948, with their progeny, would mean a definite reduction of or elimination of Jewish numerical dominance in whatever territory might then be called Israel. Moreover, if democracy were preserved (and the returned exiles were allowed to vote), there’d be big changes, assuredly.
    HOWEVER: nothing in Balfour (quite the contrary!) or the League’s copying of Balfour into the Mandate promised the Jews (then or later) of Palestine the right to exclude the Arabs (or their progeny). When Israel was established, the Arabs should have been allowed to remain. Had they been allowed to remain, they’d be there now — just as if the exiles had returned.
    I know this is not what the Jews wanted. But they were promised a home IN Palestine, not an exclusively Jewish home OF ALL OF Palestine.
    If the Jews of Israel want a purely Jewish country in Palestine, let them make a geographically small country, say 1/10 of pre-1967 Israel, and crowd in there. In that case, 9/10 of the returning Arabs will return outside Israel and the Jewish character of Israel will be preserved.

  4. Jack

    Perhaps you have been too busy lately to notice, but there is a new , organized campaign to smear critics of the Likud policies that has targeted CAP as well as Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald has a very good examination and discussion of the new program on his blog. It seems you have been targeted also.

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