Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
Here's the drill -- and understand the jeopardy in which you place yourself if you do not follow it.
Criticism of Israel is allowed only under certain circumstances, terms, or conditions. In the US there are myriad organizations whose sole function is to keep careful watch over whatever criticism -- as little as there it to begin with -- makes it into mainstream media. Such criticism is immediately parsed, examined, and carefully critiqued to see if any part of it contains an anti-Jewish phrase or allusion, or the possibility that someone exposed to the criticism might respond with an inappropriate anti-Jewish comment or thought.
If the criticism can indeed be found to contain a real or imagined slur, the agencies whose duty it is to respond do so immediately. And somewhere in the response -- particularly if the criticism has to do with Israel's horrific actions towards the Palestinians -- will be the assertion that Israel has a right to exist, a right that includes taking whatever action is seen as necessary to protect its occupation of Palestinian land.
The US Congress -- both House and Senate -- have learned their lessons, too. No sooner does an incident arise that -- if committed by a country other than Israel -- would clearly be identified as at best a human rights violation, and at worst a war crime does the House and Senate suddenly find a cohesion that otherwise simply does not exist.
Quickly, and with a stupefying willingness to turn away from even a hint of justice, even-handedness, honesty or courage the legislative branch of our government passes a resolution declaring unwavering support for Israel and a breathless condemnation of any force that might question the legitimacy of whatever action Israel may have taken. Members of Congress understand the power of the Israeli lobby and know their remaining in office depends on total, unqualified support for any action taken by Israel.
How did it come to this? Why, for example, can President Obama utterly condemn the slaughter of innocents in northern Iraq by the Islamic terror organization ISIS and yet remain silent on the slaughter of innocents in Gaza by the powerful, nuclear-armed military of Israel?
The answer may be three-fold. First the geopolitical alliance between the US and Israel; second, the now almost genetic guilt built into the US political system because of our failure to respond to the Holocaust; and third, a possible anti-Arab attitude in the US that has historic roots dating back to the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796. No matter. The pro-Israel stance is cast in stone and shall not be abridged.
However, criticism of Israel's mad policies against the Palestinians can be offered by the right people -- or person. Such a person is Rabbi Michael Lerner. In a recent lengthy piece for Salon Lerner wrote the following:
" ... While claiming that it is only interested in uprooting tunnels that could be used to attack Israel, the IDF has engaged in the same criminal behavior that the world condemns in other struggles: the intentional targeting of civilians (the same crime that Hamas has been engaged in over the years, which correctly has earned it the label as a terrorist organization). Using the excuse that Hamas is using civilians as 'human shields' and placing its war material in civilian apartments, Israel has managed to kill more than 1,000 civilians and wounded thousands. The stories that have emerged from eyewitness accounts of hundreds of children being killed by Israel's indiscriminate destructiveness, the shelling of United Nations schools and public hospitals, and finally the destruction of Gaza's water and electricity, guaranteeing deaths from typhoid and other diseases as well as widespread hunger among the million and a half Gazans most of whom have had nothing to do with Hamas, highlights to the world an Israel that is rivaling some of the most oppressive and brutal regimes in the contemporary world."
If only the political and media class in the US had half the respect for truth as does Rabbi Michael Lerner.