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  1. #1
    dchristie's Avatar
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    Mar 2005

    In The Land Of "Free Speech", Better Not Criticize Israel

    [B]A Warning to Those Who Dare to Criticize Israel in the Land of Free Speech

    Another Case Study: Mary Robinson


    04/24/04 "The Independent" -- Behold Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, would-be graduation commencement speaker at Emory University in the United States. She has made a big mistake. She dared to criticise Israel. She suggested--horror of horrors--that "the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation". Now whoah there a moment, Mary! "Occupation"? Isn't that a little bit anti-Israeli?

    Are you really suggesting that the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israel, its use of extrajudicial executions against Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli gunning down of schoolboy stone-throwers, the wholesale theft of Arab land to build homes for Jews, is in some way wrong?

    Maybe I misheard you. Sure I did. Because your response to these scurrilous libels, to these slurs upon your right to free speech, to these slanderous attacks on your integrity, was a *****-cat's whimper. You were "very hurt and dismayed". It is, you told The Irish Times, "distressing that allegations are being made that are completely unfounded".

    You should have threatened your accusers with legal action. When I warn those who claim in their vicious postcards that my mother was Eichmann's daughter that they will receive a solicitor's letter--Peggy Fisk was in the RAF in the Second World War, but no matter--they fall silent at once.

    But no, you are "hurt". You are "dismayed". And you allow Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University to announce that he is "troubled by the apparent absence of due diligence on the part of decision makers who invited her [Mary Robinson] to speak". I love the "due diligence" bit. But seriously, how can you allow this twisted version of your integrity to go unpunished?

    Dismayed. Ah, Mary, you poor diddums.

    I tried to check the spelling of "diddums" in Webster's, America's inspiring, foremost dictionary. No luck. But then, what's the point when Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines "anti-Semitism" as "opposition to Zionism: sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel".

    Come again? If you or I suggest--or, indeed, if poor wee Mary suggests--that the Palestinians are getting a raw deal under Israeli occupation, then we are "anti-Semitic". It is only fair, of course, to quote the pitiful response of the Webster's official publicist, Mr Arthur Bicknell, who was asked to account for this grotesque definition.

    "Our job," he responded, "is to accurately reflect English as it is actually being used. We don't make judgement calls; we're not political." Even more hysterically funny and revolting, he says that the dictionary's editors tabulate "citational evidence" about anti-Semitism published in "carefully written prose-like books and magazines". Preposterous as it is, this Janus-like remark is worthy of the hollowest of laughs.

    Even the Malaprops of American English are now on their knees to those who will censor critics of Israel's Middle East policy off the air.

    And I mean "off the air". I've just received a justifiably outraged note from Bathsheba Ratskoff, a producer and editor at the American Media Education Foundation (MEF), who says that their new documentary on "the shutting-down of debate around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"--in reality a film about Israel's public relations outfits in America--has been targeted by the "Jewish Action (sic) Task Force". The movie Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land was to be shown at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

    So what happened? The "JAT" demanded an apology to the Jewish community and a "pledge (for) greater sensitivity (sic) when tackling Israel and the Middle East conflict in the future". JAT members "may want to consider threatening to cancel their memberships and to withhold contributions".

    In due course, a certain Susan Longhenry of the Museum of Fine Arts wrote a creepy letter to Sut Jhally of the MEF, referring to the concerns of "many members of the Boston community"--otherwise, of course, unidentified--suggesting a rescheduled screening (because the original screening would have fallen on the Jewish Sabbath) and a discussion that would have allowed critics to condemn the film. The letter ended--and here I urge you to learn the weasel words of power--that "we have gone to great lengths to avoid cancelling altogether screenings of this film; however, if you are not able to support the revised approach, then I'm afraid we'll have no choice but to do just that".

    Does Ms Longhenry want to be a mouse? Or does she want to have the verb "to longhenry" appear in Webster's? Or at least in the Oxford? Fear not, Ms Longhenry's boss overrode her pusillanimous letter. For the moment, at least.

    But where does this end? Last Sunday, I was invited to talk on Irish television's TV3 lunchtime programme on Iraq and President Bush's support for Sharon's new wall on the West Bank. Towards the end of the programme, Tom Cooney, a law lecturer at University College, Dublin, suddenly claimed that I had called an Israeli army unit a "rabble" (absolutely correct--they are) and that I reported they had committed a massacre in Jenin in 2002.

    I did not say they committed a massacre. But I should have. A subsequent investigation showed that Israeli troops had knowingly shot down innocent civilians, killed a female nurse and driven a vehicle over a paraplegic in a wheelchair. "Blood libel!" Cooney screamed. TV3 immediately--and correctly--dissociated themselves from this libel. Again, I noted the involvement of an eminent university--UCD is one of the finest academic institutions in Ireland and I can only hope that Cooney exercises a greater academic discipline with his young students than he did on TV3--in this slander. And of course, I got the message. Shut up. Don't criticise Israel.

    (continued here)
    Last edited by dchristie; 07-05-2006 at 05:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Don't Criticize Israel In The Land Of "free Speech"

    Hopefully more people, even gutless wonders like Grim, will come to the realization that Israel is the single most destabilizing factor in the world today. Only occasionally will you find an article that shows just how terrible Israel is and the atrocities they are capable of. This article is the exception, not the rule.....

    Rights abuses by Israel 'being ignored'
    05/07/2006 - 16:59:41

    A UN human rights expert today criticised the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations for effectively punishing the Palestinian people by ignoring countless Israeli violations of human rights, international law and other standards.

    John Dugard, a South African lawyer responsible for investigating alleged human rights abuses by Israel in Palestinian areas, said the United States and other international powers who make up the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators have done nothing to rein in Israel.

    "Israel's conduct is morally indefensible," Dugard told an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council.

    "I am concerned with the law, and here it is clear that Israel is in violation of the most fundamental norms of humanitarian law and human rights law."

    Dugard said he had "every sympathy" with Israeli Cpl Gilad Shalit, whose capture by Gaza militants sparked the latest Israeli military reprisals, but he said Israel's response has only increased its violations of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of occupied people.

    It is difficult to convey the scale and effect of Israel's abuses of Palestinian lives through statistics alone. But these are horrifying enough: since 2000, nearly 4,000 Palestinians killed, and 30,000 injured, 400 were assassinated, and 25,000 homes were demolished. In addition, hundreds of acres of farmland were destroyed. No state on earth, except Israel, could get away with these atrocities, now routinely justified as "defence" against Palestinian "terrorism".

    Maybe it's time for a few sanctions against Israel. But we all know the Republicans will never do anything, they might lose a vote. It seems Jewish votes are more important to Republicans than innocent Palestinian lives.
    Last edited by UserName; 07-05-2006 at 08:35 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Don't Criticize Israel In The Land Of "free Speech"

    Quote Originally Posted by UserName
    Hopefully more people, even gutless wonders like Grim, will come to the realization that Israel is the single most destabilizing factor in the world today. Only occasionally will you find an article that shows just how terrible Israel is and the atrocities they are capable of. This article is the exception, not the rule.....
    That's not a good bet. These rabid racist Zio-Nazis and their cult of "Israel can do no wrong" enablers will never acknowledge their crimes against humanity. The only time we'll ever hear any condemnation of the conduct is if they someday find themselves in the Palestinian's shoes. Then the sniveling, whining and incessant cries of "persecution" will be louder and more shrill than the Concord taking off next to your ear.
    Last edited by dchristie; 07-05-2006 at 10:05 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Don't Criticize Israel In The Land Of "free Speech"

    Even here at SCAM, where some of the most rabid Bush supporters defend his policy of hate, their silence on this matter is deafening. Their silence defends the repulsive reality of everyday events when a "policy of starvation, assassination, and systematic killing is imposed - when people are brutalized in the streets, when schools are raided by Apache helicopters, when F16s erratically bombard villages and towns, when a whole nation is collectively abused and violated with almost no protection. Even when children are indiscriminately shot in the head by Israelis they still say nothing.
    Not a single one of them will speak out. Not one of them. Why?

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