From the recent muted response to the IDF attack on the Gaza relief ship to the OUTRAGE at some words about Jews in Israel expressed by the dean of the White House Press Corp, one thing is certain. The first rule about Israel is not to talk crap (true or not) about Israel.
The Gaza flotilla disaster couldn’t have come at a worse time for Obama’s image among Muslims and Arabs. After all, 9 Turks died, when Israel stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza in an attempt to break a 3-year-old Israeli blockade.
The Muslim world turned to the White House hoping for a stand that mirrors President Obama’s promises to the Muslim world.
“The White House is trying to understand the circumstances of what happened,” is what they heard.
Comparing this reaction and U.S. efforts to block a U.N. resolution against Israel and how other countries and nations around the world responded to the Israeli raid on the flotilla, many Arabs and Muslims found it easy to draw the conclusion that Obama’s Muslim love fest is over.
For Arabs wooed by Obama’s Cairo speech, flotilla response frustrating
And then last week Helen Thomas, veteran White House reporter had some strong words about the Middle East issue at a public event:
OFF-CAMERA: “Any comments on Israel?”
HELEN THOMAS: “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, not Poland.”
OFF-CAMERA: “so where should they go?”
HELEN THOMAS: “Home. Poland. Germany. America. And everywhere else.”
On the surface it doesn’t sound that bad but the Pro-Israel lobby exploded to the point that today – June 7th – Thomas retired effective immediately.
Crooks and Liars noted the pile on:
ADL rejects her apology because it does not “go far enough”. Craig Crawford and her agent dump her. Lanny Davis, always right in front whenever possible, condemns her. Ari Fleischer cries “Off with her head! (And her job).” Rick Lazlo piles on. Joe Klein wants her sent to the back of the bus room. Sarah Palin tattoos her as racist. A local high school replaces her as their graduation speaker. Red State froths. NewsMax has a field day. Winger blogs everywhere are blessed with outrage and attendant traffic. The din is so loud everyone misses her apology. The right continues to bearhug anti-semitic Pat Buchanan, who is routinely applauded for his support of right-wing causes. He doesn’t have to apologize.
Meanwhile, Hearst has not made a decision on whether she will keep her place as part of the White House press corps.
I am not going to defend what she said. I understand that it is hurtful and offensive to many. However…
She apologized, folks. This pile-on looks to me to be opportunistic and driven by RedStaters and Freepers out there who have a long-standing hate on for Helen.
Where Helen Thomas’ 57-year career is tossed under the bus alongside her apology–UPDATED
That essay makes important point. Pat Buchanan has made far worse anti-semitic remarks – actual anti-semitic remarks – and he has never been forced to apologize or forced to quit his job.
The same goes for people on the right like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh make nasty anti-semitic and racist remarks all the time and the media yawns.
Not only is Thomas the victim of the strong pro-Israeli lobby it is also because the right – who controls the media – don’t like liberal views and will pounce on any gaff – no matter how minimal – and throw the person under the bus.
A reader of Talking Point Memo said it better than I could:
The fact that Jews were relentlessly persecuted by European Christians for seventeen hundred years by no stretch of the imagination gave them the right to go and do exactly the same thing to another innocent people. If Americans are so passionate about such a relic of the nineteenth century as the ethno-religious state, then by all means let us give New York to the Jews; Palestine was never ours to give away.
But what has been happening for the past seventy years is the Palestinians have been paying for the antisemitism of Americans and Europeans. Eight hundred thousand people were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in order to create the right population for a “Jewish liberal democracy” in the Middle East by quite your standard grade Ameropean imperialists. And the people of that colonialist state have been psychotically trying to get rid of the rest of the Palestinians ever since, in the name of their evil deities or whatever.
The Jews getting kicked out of Iran, Iraq, etc. was all a response to that original horrific example of Ameropean hubris. So the solution is not “along the green line” as you suggest, especially since the Israelis themselves have proven over and over again that they will never settle for this. The solution needs to be paid for by us imperialists, not our victims. If you really want to do some good, let’s start talking about U.S. government programs to resettle Jews in America.
As I posted on my twitter feed after the bloody raid:
Israel is like that crazy little brother or friend who knows you will defend him, so they will pick fights for fun.