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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/25/14

Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists

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Cross-posted from Mondoweiss

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ffect of the Gaza massacre is that American Zionists have entered a bunker. As our mainstream media conveys overwhelming images of civilian deaths in Gaza, to the point that even our politicians are unnerved by the burden of service for the Jewish state, the American Zionist message is narrowing and hardening. The crisis is particularly acute for liberal Zionists. While many liberal Zionists have moved rightward, supporting Israel, others are clearly panicked by Israel's behavior. M.J. Rosenberg has said that Israel's image is "destroyed" in the U.S., and J.J. Goldberg has described the onslaught as a "massacre."

Here is a quick, and disorderly, tour of Zionist responses to the Gaza massacre.

The neoconservatives (rightwing Zionists) have doubled down. On Monday, Bill Kristol's shop, the Emergency Committee for Israel, released the following statement on the Obama administration's call for a cease-fire in Gaza and John Kerry's trip to the Middle East. Basically telling Obama to F-- off.

"Israel does not need a mediator. Israel needs an ally. Pressuring Israel to agree to a cease-fire that rescues Hamas from defeat and leaves it in possession of its missiles, tunnels, and terror infrastructure is foolish and wrong. If President Obama and Secretary Kerry want to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, they should support Israel and its campaign to end the terror threat from Gaza."

But things aren't rosy for the hardliners. MJ Rosenberg reported that AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby, called off a rally for Israel.

"Also, AIPAC & other Jewish organizations considered a national rally in DC to support Israel. Decided it would flop."

Presumably the counter-demonstration would have been far larger.

More hardliners. Yesterday, Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of a leading media company, flew to Israel on El Al to support Israel's call for an end to the Federal Aviation Administration's ban on flights to the country (that ban is now lifted). The hasty, informal appearance included Bloomberg's statement that...

"Every time I come here I'm reminded of history, of where my family comes from."

Scott Roth tweeted a smart rejoinder challenging the Zionist ideology inherent in Bloomberg's statement:

"@MikeBloomberg your family is from historic Palestine? What part?"

And NYCJulie answered that with a jab at the privileged role of being an Israel lobbyist:

"I think @MikeBloomberg is from the Upper East Side of Palestine."

Many liberal Zionists are standing with Netanyahu. Menachem Creditor, a "progressive" rabbi who opposes gun violence and engages in "social reform" in American cities, defends the Gaza massacre at Huffington Post -- which I thought was a liberal publication -- saying that Jews have a right to protect ourselves. His argument is frankly Zionist. It is about the right of self-determination of the Jewish people in historical Palestine, and he calls dead Israeli soldiers his "sons."

"I'm done apologizing for Israel...

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Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine, Mondoweiss.net, which he founded in order to foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy. He is currently working on a novel about the US in Australia during WW2.

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