May 14, 2024

New York – What exactly is Israel’s strategy in Gaza? Behind all the clamor about antisemitism, films about the 1940’s Jewish Holocaust and western politicians chanting about Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ lie some ugly facts that are not spoken of in polite society.

I know antisemitism when I see it. While still a boy, I was sent to a rustic summer camp in New Hampshire. At dinner, many of the campers would chant ‘all you guys with long, long noses, come and join the fight for Moses!’

A close Jewish friend of my fathers bought a resort hotel on New Hampshire’s Rangeley – only to be informed that it refused to rent to Jews. That was the virulent antisemitism of the 1950’s.

At the same time my mother, a renowned journalist writing about the Mideast, and I were repeatedly threatened by pro-Israel thugs who threatened to throw acid in our faces if my mother kept writing about the nearly one million Palestinian refugees driven from the Galilee region in the 1940’s who – according to the US media – did not actually exist. They did. Many are now refugees in Gaza. My mother was forced to stop writing for US newspapers due to the cascade of threats.
As pro-Palestinian students demonstrate across the US and the rest of the world demanding the massacre in Gaza end, we see growing efforts by pro-Israel groups to silence the students, curb the internet, and unseat politicians who dared criticize Israel.

The massive pro-Palestinian demos we are seeing are in part a reaction by right wing pro-Israel groups to impose Israel’s party line on independent universities and gag all non-conforming professors. Such heavy-handed attempts at censorship have enraged students,

So too the endless barrage of disinformation about Palestine we see on America’s Israel-dominated TV. Britain and Canada also suffer from similar media censorship. Big financial donors to academia are using their tax-deductible donations to stifle criticism of Israeli tactics and strategy in Gaza. The US Congress is worse. The Israel lobby seats and unseats senators and congressmen depending on their Mideast votes. It’s no wonder Israel is the world’s largest recipient of US aid. The Israel lobby is feared and obeyed.

Many members of Congress receive money from Israel and its American lobby, plus media support and freebie trips. Last week the New York Times was caught issuing orders to its staff not to use any terms or phrases that put Israel in a bad light. In Britain, the Labour Party’s left-wing leadership was purged of critics of Israel, and a bland leader installed in place of its former fiery left wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Israel’s supporters must be careful not to twist too many arms. Doing so will surely engender real antisemitism and raise the famous question posed by Voltaire about who really rules us.

Right wing Israelis must lower their demands for an ever-larger Israel. They want Galilee, and chunks of southern Lebanon, including the Litani River. Plus driving most or even all Arabs out of the West Bank – designated a Palestinian state by the UN agreement that created the first Jewish state.

I was with Israel’s army when it invaded Lebanon in 1982 and, inadvertently helped create the Hezbollah movement. The notion of a second Jewish state in Ukraine is illusory. Israelis must begin figuring out how to live in the Arab World if they ever want to find peace. Getting out of Gaza would be a good beginning.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2024

This post is in: Gaza, Israel

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