Roger Cohen thinks Europe is being too hard on Israel and the U.S. too forgiving, and wishes for a happy medium. I don’t have a feel for what’s going on in Europe now regarding violence in Gaza, but here’s the part I find interesting.

Views of the war in the United States can feel similarly skewed, resistant to the whole picture, slanted through cultural inclination and political diktat. It is still hard to say that the killing of hundreds of Palestinian children represents a Jewish failure, whatever else it may be. It is not easy to convey the point that the open-air prison of Gaza in which Hamas has thrived exists in part because Israel has shown a strong preference for the status quo, failing to reach out to Palestinian moderates and extending settlements in the West Bank, fatally tempted by the idea of keeping all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Oppressed people will respond. Millions of Palestinians are oppressed. They are routinely humiliated and live under Israeli dominion. When Jon Stewart is lionized (and slammed in some circles) for “revealing” Palestinian suffering to Americans, it suggests how hidden that suffering is. The way members of Congress have been falling over one another to demonstrate more vociferous support for Israel is a measure of a political climate not conducive to nuance. This hardly serves America’s interests, which lie in a now infinitely distant peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and will require balanced American mediation.

Something may be shifting. Powerful images of Palestinian suffering on Facebook and Twitter have hit younger Americans. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that among Americans age 65 or older, 53 percent blame Hamas for the violence and 15 percent Israel. For those ages 18 to 29, Israel is blamed by 29 percent of those questioned, Hamas by just 21 percent. My son-in-law, a doctor in Atlanta, said that for his social group, mainly professionals in their 30s with young children, it was “impossible to see infants being killed by what sometimes seems like an extension of the U.S. Army without being affected.”

For a host of complex reasons, for many years the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been presented to Americans as a kind of morality play of good guys versus bad guys, and Israel’s many controversial actions and policies have been airbrushed out of public view. In conservative circles especially unwavering support for Israel has become part and parcel of what it means to be American, but I have to say a lot of Democrats aren’t much better.

I’ve thought for a long time that the U.S. – Israeli co-dependency has benefited Israel a lot more than it has benefited the U.S., but I’m thinking now maybe in the long run it has hurt Israel also. If Israel didn’t have the U.S. to lean on the status quo probably would have become untenable a long time ago, and Israel may have been forced into more moderate and conciliatory policies. And maybe Hamas would be just some fringe group of malcontents, and there’d be no bloodbath in Gaza now.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 3, 2014 @4:26 pm

    Israel has called the US asking for more money, bullets and arms.

    And we’ll give them.
    We always do.

    We are an enabler.
    No wonder the other countries in the Middle East have whole populations who hate us and Israel.

    We’re like the big-shot drug dealers here, providing drugs of choice for our local dealer(s) of death in the Middle East. *

    Sure, Hamas is hardly blameless – and neither are the other Arab countries – but I’ve always felt that if Israel wanted to, it could find an accommodation – like the “Two State Solution” – to create some sort of possibility for peace.

    Instead, the Israeli Neo-cons call our Neo-cons, who have their lobbyists pressure Congress, and off we go, sending more money and arm to Israel.


    *Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but it’s all I’ve got on a late Sunday afternoon.

  2. moonbat  •  Aug 3, 2014 @4:44 pm

    Something may be shifting. Powerful images of Palestinian suffering on Facebook and Twitter have hit younger Americans.

    This is the same thing that inspired the Arab Springs of a couple years ago. An interesting, modern corollary to the “bigger asshole theory”.

  3. Swami  •  Aug 3, 2014 @5:53 pm


    Yeah, a news story about one Israeli soldier when there’s been hundreds of Palestinian children slaughtered without even an once of concern from the American media. Even Americans killed in Afghanistan don’t get as much play in the media as one poor little Israeli soldier. The reality is that he fix is fucking in.
    I watched a segment of Hannity where Geraldo Rivera was speaking of the imbalance and injustice of the situation in Gaza.. In order for him to voice his dissention of Israel’s policy and actions in Gaza he had to affirm his undying love and belief in Israel. His exact words were.. ” I would die for Israel”. So, really…What the fuck does that say? Why would any American be so dedicated to the State of Israel that they would eagerly pledge their life for Israel’s defense?
    Personally I don’t think Geraldo has enough courage to give his life for America, let alone Israel. Maybe he should go back to reexamine Al Capone’s vault. He’s just like the rest of those maggots who follow the crowd but have no sense of understanding their supposed convictions and values.

  4. moonbat  •  Aug 3, 2014 @6:07 pm

    ” I would die for Israel”

    That’s one of those statements where 1) he’s nuts if this is what he really believes (I assume he’s not Jewish) or 2) he’s a complete doofus for making a statement like this, if he doesn’t believe it. And yet this is the crazed world of Faux Noows, where saying nonsense like this is required.

  5. Swami  •  Aug 3, 2014 @6:27 pm

    Moonbat.. That was just his qualifying statement to ante up in the world of Wingnuttia . No difference between SS troops placing their hand on the German flag and pledging their lives to Hitler than modern wingnuts pledging their love and allegiance to Israel minus all the ceremony. It’s what they have to do to be in the tribe.

  6. Yastreblyansky  •  Aug 3, 2014 @7:16 pm

    I’m thinking now maybe in the long run it has hurt Israel also

    I think it’s literally destroyed Israel, though it might take decades for it to die. Allowing Sharon and Netanyahu to defer the formation of the Palestinian state forever has made it finally impossible, and the status quo is too much like South Africa to survive.

  7. JDM  •  Aug 3, 2014 @7:29 pm

    It is still hard to say that the killing of hundreds of Palestinian children represents a Jewish failure, whatever else it may be.

    A) it’s not hard at all to say its a failure. It’s a massive failure.

    B) it’s not “a Jewish failure”; it’s an Israeli failure. Just as pointing out that it’s a failure, and harshly criticizing that failure, is a criticism of Israeli policy and politics, not antisemitism.

  8. Swami  •  Aug 3, 2014 @8:38 pm

    it’s not “a Jewish failure”; it’s an Israeli failure

    JDM…Point well taken. The only problem is that they’re so intermeshed that its near impossible to distinguish a difference. Judaism isn’t the problem.. Zionism is.

  9. Swami  •  Aug 3, 2014 @10:00 pm

    Israel, which has lost 63 soldiers and 3 civilians to the fighting, says it has done everything possible to avoid harming innocents and that Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists invite such casualties by operating in densely populated areas.

    Gee, should I put on my thinking cap or take off my thinking cap to figure out what to make of that statement?

  10. Zam  •  Aug 3, 2014 @10:06 pm

    It’s absolutely horrible that the same “right to exist” that must be stated every single time about Israel is not extended to Palestine which has the same right as Israel

  11. JDM  •  Aug 3, 2014 @11:11 pm

    “JDM…Point well taken. The only problem is that they’re so intermeshed that its near impossible to distinguish a difference.”

    It’s important to remember, and to continually point out, that this didn’t just happen to be; they are intermeshed due to a concerted campaign to conflate them to make shouting down criticism much easier.

  12. uncledad  •  Aug 4, 2014 @10:08 am

    “for many years the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been presented to Americans as a kind of morality play of good guys versus bad guys”

    The American media is so overwhelmingly pro-Israel it is laughable, since I can remember Palestinian fighters have been referred to as “militants” while the Israeli fighters are “soldiers”. Our media left, right, center gleefully repeat bb’s talking points: human shields, rockets in schools and hospitals, again it is laughable. There seems to be to be a genuine intimidation of our political leaders and our media by the Israeli lobby. We condemn the bombing of a UN school in the morning and by early afternoon we announce the replenishment of motors, artillery shells, etc, there really seems to be no line that Israel could cross, it is truly shameful.

  13. uncledad  •  Aug 4, 2014 @12:06 pm

    “Instead, the Israeli Neo-cons call our Neo-cons”
    The sad thing is that many of our so called “Liberal” politicians are in on the scam as well. What really needs to be conveyed by both our media and moderates is that this conflict is a conflict between right wing extremists. Israel’s Likud’s are right wing extremists and so are Hamas. If moderate voices here and in Israel / Palestine could grasp that concept we’d be on our way to resolution?

  14. Barry  •  Aug 4, 2014 @4:47 pm

    Swami: “Gee, should I put on my thinking cap or take off my thinking cap to figure out what to make of that statement?”

    I have to give them this – they’ve managed to retire the ‘neutral’ term ‘collateral damage’ in favor of the favorable term ‘human shields’. This means that we’re not sorta accidentally killing people, but that it’s their fault?

  15. Swami  •  Aug 4, 2014 @11:13 pm

    I posted several “extremely” brilliant comments that just disappeared into space.. It gets discouraging that so much wisdom can just vanish into the cosmos. Tis a shame! I guess that a lesson might be learned from that though.. after all, with all the suffering and brutality visited upon the innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza it seems that all concerns and calls for justice are just going to vanish into the cosmos also. Life will go on like nothing ever happened, and America will go on loving their Israel because Israel can do no wrong.
    God bless Israel and the United States. And may the blessings of the Lord be upon them and establish the work of their hands.

  16. erinyes  •  Aug 5, 2014 @5:36 am

    I have reached the point where I think nothing will change, except the expansion of “greater Israel” in the foreseeable future. There was a quip on facebook about how the mightiest nation on earth sent the man WHO couldn’t beat George w. Bush to Israel to get people fighting for generations to stop. That’s a bloody hoot. Today, I see Obama has signed a bill for more iron dome money.
    Here’s the thing, our politicians have sworn unconditional support for Israel. Its a done deal, get used to it. Nothing is going to change, the “real owners”, as George Carlin called them, won’t allow that. If that sounds antisemitic, I’m so sorry; the truth is hidden in plain view.

  17. Swami  •  Aug 5, 2014 @6:20 pm
  18. erinyes  •  Aug 5, 2014 @7:36 pm

    The link, swami, provides some things to ponder, but is a fantasy. Nothing good will come out of what I now call “Satan’s sand box”. Too much religious fanaticism, too much hate.
    There’s a short story about the death of the world’s last Palestinian in an Israeli zoo; the end of the story has Israel handing the bill for the care, feeding, housing, and burial of the pathetic soul to America. You can find the story by doing a Google image search ” last Palestinian dies in an Israeli zoo”. The author hit the nail on the head.

  19. uncledad  •  Aug 5, 2014 @10:36 pm

    “Too much religious fanaticism, too much hate”

    Yep the right-wing kooks on all sides have been playing the long game. Strong fundamental Jew/Christians ganst the underdog but well funded Jihadist! If both sides play the cards right this could go on for some time!

  20. Swami  •  Aug 6, 2014 @12:03 am

    erinyes ..I agree that the author’s solution is a fantasy, although in theory it is a correct fantasy. What impressed me was that he clearly explained the fallacy of even entertaining the notion of a negotiated peace process or a two state solution. I’ve always been one to think that a two state solution was a possibility to achieve peace, but after reading that article I’ve gained a clearer understanding that as things stand now and into the future that peace will never come in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict until the last Palestinian is driven from the land the Israelis consider theirs.
    I think of Obama and Kerry carrying on a charade of working toward a Middle East peace process when reality says its never gonna happen. It can’t happen.
    I’ve got to admit that I’ve always thought that there must be some workable solution, but now I know I’m just spinning my wheels in delusion by holding on to that thought.
    Also the phrase ” Israel’s right to exist” has taken on a new meaning in my mind.. for obvious reasons after reading that article.
    I’ll check out the story about the last Palestinian dying in an Israeli zoo. 🙂

  21. Swami  •  Aug 6, 2014 @12:28 am