Get free daily email updates

Syndicate this site - RSS

Recent Posts

Blogger Menu

Click here to blog

Jon Fleischman

Gaza In Context – An Interview With Arnold Steinberg

Periodically I have the opportunity to interview respected, longtime California pollster and political strategist Arnold Steinberg.  I have known Arnie for a quarter century and his political observations are always worth sharing.  This interview is about the situation in Israel and Gaza.  Be advised this is a lengthy interview, but if you have any interest in this topic, I urge you to read it through.

Before it begins, let me share some background on Steinberg.  He served as chief political aide to Sen. James L. Buckley (New York) where he worked on transforming the U.S. military from conscription to an all-volunteer force.  He also dealt with foreign policy issues, particularly undermining the Soviet Union and Soviet Jewry.  Over many years, he was involved with the U.S. Information Agency (U.S.I.A.) and has been on U.S. delegations to various nations, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.  He has  served on the board of the National Defense University (NDU).

The first part of this interview runs today, the second part tomorrow.

Flash: What is the meaning of the on-again, off-again cease-fires?

AS: After Israel dealt with the tunnels, its troops left Gaza, on its own terms.  Israel never wanted a ground war.  It’s challenging for Israel to sustain a protracted ground conflict, because it’s a citizen military, which includes the nation’s best and brightest.   Its economy suffers with a long mobilization.

As Charles Krauthammer noted, John Kerry had undercut the Egyptian proposed ceasefire (which would not reward Hamas) and instead became a “lawyer for Hamas” by involving only Qatar and Turkey, both pro-Hamas, and excluding the anti-Hamas Arab states and the moderate Palestinian Authority (PA).  Kerry’s ceasefire would have met Hamas demands and marginalized moderates.

If Arabs were prevailing against Israel, there would have been no calls by the Israel-bashing Turkish prime minister for a ceasefire, and certainly no demonstrations in London or Paris against “genocide” of Jews.  It’s only when Jew-hating terrorists are under siege.   Even so, why would Hamas keep sending rockets, falling short or intercepted by Iron Dome?  Because, as Krauthammer eloquently explained, Hamas wanted gory footage of “civilian” casualties.

Hamas miscalculated —believing Israel would not invade.   But Israeli intelligence had underestimated the tunnels, and Israel had to pursue a ground operation.   We now find  the tentative Hamas plan was for a coordinated invasion of southern Israel, possibly Rosh Hashana [the Jewish High Holy Day) this year, with mass killings and kidnappings.   That threat is now gone.

Flash: So does that justify the casualties?

AS: Entire city blocks in Gaza stored armaments.  You had tunnels accessed through homes and underneath densely populated areas.  The Israel Defense Force (IDF) contacted people to leave targeted areas, and Hamas urged them to stay.  The rocket capacity had to be degraded, but the tunnels had to be destroyed.

Flash: Why now?

AS: Just as Jimmy Carter in 1979 enabled the fall of the imperfect but pro-U.S. Shah of Iran and the reformist Shah’s replacement by the Ayatollah — who ushered in the Islamist revolution still with us, so Barack Obama enabled the fall of the imperfect Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, replaced by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi.  Obama and Kerry then opposed the overthrow of Morsi by the pro-Western Egyptian military.  Now, finally, a moderate Egypt is controlling the Sinai-Gaza border to prevent more armaments into Gaza.    Obama’s policy had led to a Gaza with more rockets to go greater distance with more power.  Indeed, many rockets are from Iran.   Iran acts boldly, because Obama is soft on its nuclear program.  Obama opposed stronger sanctions, Congress pushed back, and just as the sanctions were starting to work, he ended them.    Many non-interventionist in our country are understandably weary of the U.S. attacking Iran, yet they do not support heavy sanctions to lessen the chance of that military engagement.

Flash: Isn’t Iran potentially the real existential threat to Israel?

AS: Absolutely.  But moderate Arabs oppose Iran and they can’t understand Obama’s love affair with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the U.S. allowing visas to  Muslim Brotherhood supporters into our country.   There was, there is, a window to defang Hamas, because (a) Egypt now opposes Hamas and won’t allow rearming Gaza, and (b) Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and other Arab countries oppose Hamas; (c) Syria is chaotic, so Hezbollah is not threatening Israel.    Suppose all this were not the case, and, simultaneously, a new Intifada was launched in the West Bank, that Israel faced Hezbollah from the North, that the Islamist Isis was going from Iraq to Jordan toward Israel from the west, and Iran was about to merge nuclear bomb capability with a delivery system, and… at the same time  — legions of terrorists from Gaza  invaded from the south through tunnels, while even more advanced rockets were launched from Gaza.   Israel cannot fight wars on every border at the same time, especially with an Iranian nuclear threat that is running out the clock.  Gaza had to be defused, for now.

Flash: How important were the tunnels?

AS: A bold plan by Hamas to score a “victory” by surprising Israel with a massive terrorist attack.  Imagine Rosh Hoshana with packed dining halls in the farm villages near Gaza.  Thousands would have been killed, thousands others taken as hostages.

Flash: Why doesn’t the media cover the background?

AS: Most reporters don’t know that when Israel declared independence, Arab nations expelled Jews and seized their property.  They buy into the leftist mythology that Israel expelled Palestinians and seized their land.  They don’t even know that Israel in 1948 was only on a portion of the land allocated to it, and that all the Arab nations told Palestinians to leave Israel, and then they declared war on Israel.   Reporters act like history started with the 1967 war.  One Member of Congress once insisted to me that Israel even  started that war. He had no idea that Israel surprise-attacked the Egyptian air force to pre-empt a coordinated and potentially devastating Arab attack about to occur.

I don’t blame  journalists  in Gaza for reporting what they see or hear.  Maybe some are intimidated or have the Stockholm syndrome.    But the anchors here should be interpreting and providing context.

Flash: They report the success of Iron Dome…

AS: CNN wants you to know what we spent on it.  Without, Israel would have invaded Gaza long ago, and with more force.  This is yet another technology that Israel is key to developing – we fund it, and we – the U.S. , as is often the case with Israel – get real time, real war testing.   The media uses Iron Dome interdiction of Gaza rockets as a reason Israel should not strike Hamas.  Do you think the people of San Diego would coexist with running in and out of shelters within 60 seconds to protect against  constant missile threats, even if most are intercepted?  Indeed,  do a computer simulation – eliminate the Gaza rockets that fall short, the rockets with the wrong trajectory.  Take just the ones on target for interception.  Absent Iron Dome, you’ll come up with heavy Israeli casualties.  That’s the number that CNN should be using, but there are no photos or video.  A U.N. official said Israel is acting immorally because it defends its civilians and the same system was not provided to Gaza.  How Orwellian!

Bibi Netanayhu may lose the media war, but he can’t lose the real one.   If a threat to Israel is trumped by media, the bad guys win.

Flash: The Left, and even some Ron Paul supporters well might take issue with your characterization of “bad guys.”

The Left is anti-Israel because Israel is pro-Western.  Remember, the Soviet Union not only persecuted Jews internally but armed the Arab world.  Putin was involved in Syrian mischief; now he’s suddenly sympathetic with Israel.  The American Left opposes values, so it celebrates moral equivalence.  The Left exploits pacifists.   The Left has historically attacked Jews – in the Soviet Union, Cuba, East Germany and the satellite nations, because Jewish identity threatened the communist state.   Nazis were “national socialists.”  Fascist Mussolini was the “corporate state” akin to the corny capitalism and “public-private partnerships” pushed by the left.  But how do you explain why so many American “progressives” are anti-Israel, when they claim to be feminists and for gay-rights?  Do they think Islamists are “pro-choice”? The Left favors Islamist countries that mutilate girls and women.  A generation ago, I was 45 minutes outside of “cosmopolitan” Amman in Jordan and learned a teenage girl was stoned to death for having sex.  You have to question whether the anti-Israel sentiment of the Left trumps its whole other agenda.

Flash: Many non-interventionists criticize our making war in Iraq…

AS: Ask anyone at a high level in Israel – they stay out of internecine Arab tribal and religious wars and wondered at the clumsy American war in Iraq.   Iraq was supposed to be about our self-interest, not nation-building. Liberals like JFK and LBJ do stupid wars.  The rationale was questionable, the strategy flawed, and the tactics were off.   After our quick “victory,” instead of cutting deals to bribe the bad guys – that’s the way things work in the Mideast, we expanded our objective and went into a quagmire.

Flash: The leftist spin is Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state guilty of Nazi-like tactics…

AS: It’s like Oprah’s The Butler  movie depiction of Ronald Reagan, who was depicted as condoning South Africa’s apartheid.  In fact, he appointed Ed Perkins, a black man, as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa who directly confronted real apartheid, with Ronald Reagan’s full backing.   To say to Jews or Israel they are acting like Nazis is not merely insensitive, it is anti-Semitic.  Look at what the U.S. did in Dresden in World War II – now that was indiscriminate bombing against German civilians.  But it was not genocide.  And Israel, unlike the U.S. then, did not target civilianw.

As for European history, Jews in Europe  were not launching rockets or terrorizing others; to the contrary, they contributed greatly to European civilization.  They were persecuted and murdered solely they were Jewish.  Talk to nearly anyone in Israel and they will tell you their quarrel is with Hamas, not with Palestinians.  Surely, there are racists in Israel as in any society, but it is not a racist society.

When Jewish thugs killed a Palestinian boy in Israel, they were apprehended, and Jews in Israel and around the world condemned this barbaric act.

Flash: And the U.N.?

AS: UNRWA, the United Nations Work and Relief Agency was termed by someone  as the United Nations Rocket Warehousing Agency.  U.N. centers in Gaza for years have been embedded with terrorists and armaments.  Even the U.N. Secretary General, when confronted with evidence recently admitted three separate rocket caches in U.N.  Gaza facilities.  The U.N. Human Rights Council has included Syria, Iran, China, North Korea.  They stand in judgment of Israel?  How odd to see this anti-Israel chorus among the Left, the pacifists and the paleo-conservatives (who suddenly quote the U.N. they otherwise disparage).

Flash: And the neo-libertarians?

AS: They have little in common with the classic libertarians or even with some of their heroes, like Ayn Rand, who believed in self-defense.   Rand Paul seems to have the good points of his father’s libertarianism without the baggage, but we’ll see.   If Ron Paul had been president in the 1980s, the Soviet empire would still be here.  It takes years to develop, produce, deploy weapons systems.  We can’t retroactively rearm at the revelation of an imminent threat.  The neo-libertarians not only lack any religious views, they have no moral center – even Rand claimed to have one.  And they are wildly ignorant of Mideast history.   .

Flash: Such as…

AS: They think the U.S. has always been pro-Israel.  In recognizing Israel, President Truman went against the State Department which still tilts Arabist.  Eisenhower opposed the Israel-British-French military move against Egypt in 1956.  LBJ was hardly supportive of Israel in the 1967 war..a mere spectator.   All your readers should get the fascinating Six Days of War by Michael Oren . I also  recommend From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters, the definitive study on “Palestinian refugees.”

Back to our discussion — Nixon  had to unilaterally overrule the Pentagon to airlift supplies during the 1973 war.  Jimmy Carter is anti-Israel and, I believe, anti-Jews.  When Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, even the Reagan Administration opposed Israel, though President Reagan himself strongly supported Israel, again over the State Department.

The reality is that Mideast policy, long before Israel existed in 1948, and certainly for at least a generation after, tilted U.S. policy toward the Arab oil monarchs.

Flash: Some  claim criticism of Israel is misrepresented as anti-Semitism...

AS: Consider the widespread “genocide” canard.  In Gaza, we have had many innocent people killed and maimed.   But do you know how many Arabs and Muslims and Palestinians have killed each other in recent decades?  Millions.  Sunnis, Shites.  Iraq.  Afghanistan. Pakistan.   Syria. Right now, today all these numbers dwarf what’s happening in Gaza, and the casualties are because Hamas stores rockets in and around hospitals and schools and uses places as staging areas and rocket launching sites.  When you single out Israel and hold it to a higher standard (not because you think Israel has a higher moral standard, which it does, but because you are anti-Israel), then it’s fair to inquire about motivation.    If a pacifist condemns all war, I get it. If a libertarian opposes any foreign aid, I get it.  We don’t see consistency among many Israel bashers.

These people say they are not against Jews, just against Zionists and Israel.  How do they explain why they opposed Israel before 1967 when Israel responded to the attack from Jordan and, in the process, took over the West Bank?  And how do they explain the rampant anti-Semitism before Israel was ever founded?

Flash: It’s not anti-Semitism in government, perhaps just incompetence sometimes?

AS: Absolutely.  Clinton was a bumbler—after the first Persian Gulf War when the corrupt pedophile Arafat backed Saddam and was marginalized, a Mideast settlement was possible; but Clinton ineptly resurrected Arafat.  Clinton’s incompetence set in motion what would become the Intifida years later.  The Obama Administration is in bed with the Turkey’s Jew-hating prime minister and with Qatar, which hosts Hamas and funds Hamas.    Under Obama, we did arms deals with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, We just did a huge arms deal with Qatar, where Hamas political leaders are protected.   What message does this send to the Arab world?

Flash: What’s the big story here?

AS: That the Arab countries are in disarray.  Among much of the press in Arab countries, during the start of this current Gaza conflict, there was silence or near-silence.  It never took this long for the obligatory Israel bashing to kick-in, even now it’s mute in many Arab countries.   The Egyptian press even reports on the corruption among high-living Hamas leaders who luxuriate in Qatar while Hamas uses kids as human shields.   Oddly, Hamas is getting more support on some American campuses than among Arab leaders.   For example, Saudi Arabia has  tacitly supported Israel in Gaza and would likely permit overflights on its airspace if and when Israel attacked Iran to degrade its nuclear program.   We hear no talk about Arab oil boycotts of Europe.

Flash: But isn’t there anti-Israel unity now?

AS: Yes, mainly because so many buy into the moral equivalence/cycle of violence argument.  The State Department and ‘progressives’ and the Left believe the way to encourage ‘moderation’ in the Arab world is to accommodate the latest supposed iteration of ‘Palestinian moderation.’  That was the rationale for Arafat – that others would be worse.  Now, CNN “analysts” say that if Israel destroys Hamas, we will contend with ISIS which will be worse.

Flash: What happened with the Federal Aviation Agency?

AS: It’s unlikely the F.A.A. would unilaterally suspend U.S. flights to Tel Aviv, a foreign destination, without liaisoning with the State Department, which would involve the National Security Council.   If John Kerry did not instigate this, he knew about it.    Prohibiting U.S. flights to Tel Aviv was a victory for Hamas and sent the wrong message to the rest of the world, much of which already is open to isolating and boycotting Israel.   Sen. Ted Cruz began asking some tough questions, and suddenly the FA.A. suspended the suspension..  Consider the paradox – if U.S. would not fly into an airport supposedly vulnerable to terrorist missiles, why would the U.S. not support measures to eliminate that threat? A related factor, I suspect, is that if the Obama Administration persisted in denying flights due to concerns about Hamas rockets, then Israel could use that denial as the rationale for a staggering escalation, and Israel possibly telegraphed that to the Administration.

Flash: What about the commercial implications?

AS: The F.A.A. ban on flights, if it were sustained, would have impacted.  Israel depends – for its ethos and its economy – on a foreign travel and vibrant summer tourism season.   The Israeli economy is strong — that’s why Warren Buffett and American high tech is investing in Israel.  And Israel is expanding its relationships with India,  South Korea, China.  But, effectively, a U.S. boycott of the nation’s main airport would be symbolically negative and, left to stand, would have significantly hurt the economy.  And if Gaza had used its resources and concrete for infrastructure, and Hamas was not in control, there would have been economic development.  Palestinians have the most to gain with economic growth.  The Arab countries kept the refugees in squalor for a half century.  Now moderate Arab countries want to help, and our president, our secretary of state and our media elevate Hamas.

Flash: What does it mean when the press reports the White House is “upset at Israel’s disproportionate response”?

AS: A double-standard.  We would not look to kill an identical number of people who died on 9-11 – we would look to destroy the terrorist base.  Such rhetoric  rewards Hamas by distracting attention from it as the reason for the civilian casualties.  As Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer has said, the world should be angry at the deaths of Palestinian children, but its anger should be directed solely against Hamas – not at Israel or even partly at Israel, but entirely against Hamas.  The Obama Administration’s posture is full of fallacies.

Flash: Such as…

AS: There are terrible casualties, really disheartening, awful, but read the analysis by Richard Kemp, who commanded British forces in Afghanistan.   He reminds us that in Operation Cast  Lead (2008-09), Hamas asserted 1166 Palestinian deaths, nearly all civilian.  Turned out 709 were Hamas fighters.   They also remove terrorist bodies before cameras come.   Terrorists not in uniform are “civilians.”  Kemp has written of the elaborate IDF protocols for minimizing civilian casualties – all the warning systems, and he has documented how Hamas then urges the women and children to stay in targeted areas.   When Israel went into Jenin years ago, the biased and incompetent journalists relied on what turned out to be phony photos – some posed, some recycled, and they reported casualty numbers that turned out to be wildly inflated.

Gaza is dense.  You can’t have this kind of  military operation without civilian casualties.  But Hamas has a history of firing rockets that land in Gaza itself, or their own munitions blowups.  The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has resorted to calls, leaflets, loudspeakers, flares to warn people to leave areas, even specific buildings, and Hamas urges even children to stay, while their own military leaders are in bunkers under a hospital.   They claim to love death, as Lela Gilbert pointed out, but then are indignantly furious when extolling high Gaza body counts.  Meanwhile,  their political leaders are in 5-star hotel suites in Qatar.   Oddly, the three sisters of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, have lived in Israel for 30 years.   Why would they live in an “apartheid” state?

Flash: The media is complicit in reporting from Gaza without context…

AS: Still, it looks like Israel is losing the media war…

Israel’s first responsibility is to exist, not satisfy bumbling or even leftist journalists.  CNN for decades keeps trotting out Hanan Ashwari, who has made a career about speaking of Israeli “massacres” of Palestinians.  How did the Palestinian population grow significantly with all these massacres?  Israel has overwhelming military power; if it were immoral, it could pursue genocide with ferocity – not because the other side tells people to stay in a targeted area, or because of military error.  When Peter Jennings of ABC was in the Mideast, Ashwari was his girlfriend.  And she’ll keep talking about occupation, and reporters seem unable to point out that Ariel Sharon forcibly evicted Israeli settlers from Gaza and unilaterally left Gaza nine years ago.  Gaza is occupied – by Hamas thugs.  Indeed, Israel and Jewish philanthropists left Gaza with greenhouses to help with economic viability, which the thugs destroyed.  And our tax dollars went, directly and indirectly, along with other world aid, to subsidize terrorists.  Obama and Kerry should have been calling for a demilitarized Gaza.  How can you end a blockade when Hamas wants to import more weapons?

Flash: Reporting from a war zone is difficult….

AS: Especially if the bad guys – Hamas – are in charge..  In these days of social media – Facebook, Twitter – do you, as a reporter, want your family exposed, if you question the veracity of Hamas?  On top of that, many have the Stockholm syndrome – these reporters in, say, Gaza, begin accepting the Hamas spin.   They show graphic footage. I get that.  But what about the amateurish on-the-air people here?   Because they don’t have video of Israeli destruction since the rockets are intercepted, they can’t – as Ron Dermer said – follow the dots? Are they idiots or anti-Israel or incompetent? Take your choice.

This sounds insensitive:  but the best way to help the Palestinians is to stop publicizing the casualties that Hamas is creating.  We are enabling the death of more innocent people by showing the graphic pictures, without context or without reporting in perspective, and thus feeding into the Hamas game-plan of trying to maximize the death of noncombatants to give Israel a black eye.

But Israel must destroy the rocket capacity, because Hamas was getting more and bigger rockets from Iran, and any defensive system, including Iron Dome, has a finite capacity.   If present trends continue, then eventually Iran would supply Hamas with even more powerful rockets capable of greater range.  Currently, each intercept costs perhaps $30,000-40,000, which is why the Israelies use them sparingly, after quickly evaluating whether the pathway of the Hamas rocket is threatening..   Also, if Iron Dome were not present, Israel would have taken out Hamas a long time ago, and far more violently; Iron Dome bought some time.  But the tunnels are another matter.

Flash: What about condemnation of Israel from the United Nations?

AS: Barry Goldwater was right a half century ago in questioning, even then, the legitimacy of the United Nations.  Its ‘zionism is racism’ refrain is based on inherent hostility to Israel, plus the large number of Arab nations within it.    Probably 50 countries have a Muslim-majority. Recall that Jordan killed five thousand Palestinians. No protests.  Of course, that’s when the “West Bank” was part of Jordan.  Then, there was no worldwide protest against Jordanian “occupation” or the need for a Palestinian state.   The pitch then  only was to destroy Israel.  When that has become impossible, the “two-state solution” has emerged.   You can’t have a two-state solution without a demilitarized “Palestine.”

Flash: Protesting the ‘occupation’ is not new…

AS: When Israel was established, Jews agreed to the proposal, then detailed by the U.N.,  to give to Palestinians part of the land that was originally designed by the British to be a Jewish state, but the entire Arab world rejected that generous two-state solution and declared war against Israel.  The media covers each conflict or use of force or each war as if it can be reported without any context.  They make it sound like Israel seized the “West Bank.”   That land was gained only because Israel responded in 1967 to an invasion by Jordan, after it had warned Jordan to stay out of the war.  Only Israel, among nations, is asked to give back territory that was won in a war.

Flash: Is there any other context missing from the media?

AS: For example, we Jews do not see the Hamas Covenant to kill Jews as empty rhetoric.  It is regrettable that Mein Kampf was not taken seriously.  We know the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was involved with the Third Reich.   If all this [Mideast]  was just a dispute about real estate, the situation would be resolved.  Bibi Netanyahu is right – if the terrorists threw away their weapons, there would be peace.  If Israel threw away its weapons, its people would be destroyed.

Flash: Why do the polls show Republicans much more supportive of Israel than Democrats, and why are Jews so pro-Democrat?

AS: You cannot explain why people who supposedly favor womens rights and gay rights  support the most reactionary Islamists who truly have declared war on women and who would imprison or even kill homosexuals.     Only Barack Obama has claimed, despite the historical record of significant Christian and Jewish influence for our Founding Fathers, somehow a Muslim heritage in America.  I have studied how the Hebrew bible and Christian new testament affected our founders, some of whom knew Hebrew.   We are a pluralistic society, and freedom of religion is valued.  But let’s not rewrite history and photoshop the American revolution to include Muslims and put a mosque into the colonies.

The polls on Dem-Rep divide on Israel reflect underlying numbers.  Christian fundamentalists now are more likely to be Republican, and they support Israel.  Conservatives support the Western tradition, and they see Israel as a cornerstone of the Judaic-Christian heritage.  National security conservatives see Israel as an ally that also helps our Pentagon develop and test weapons..

Democrats are more likely to be leftists who oppose moral clarity, and these relativists disregard history, certainly the fact that Jews had a continued presence in Israel over the millennia.   Black voters are almost entirely Democrat, and blacks tend to be less supportive of Israel.  The Congressional Black Caucus is hostile to Israel and singles out aid to Israel (and not aid to Egypt or other countries) as money that could be spend on (unproductive) government social programs here.

Jews are overwhelmingly secular, and for many do not identify with Israel or see it as   an issue.  Some are so eager to reject their Jewish identity that they gush about Palestinians as victims.   Jewish liberal Steven Spielberg produced “Munich” written by a self-hating Jew, and the movie rationalized the killing of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.  The film distorted the Golda Meir plan to assassinate those who planned and funded the attack by suggesting her motive was revenge, which is not a Jewish value.  The reality is she wanted to kill the higher-ups to deter future benefactors of terrorism.  In short,  many Jews in Hollywood are not supporters of Israel.

Some say the deaths of the Israeli teenagers started all this. Of course, critics say Netanyahu never proved Hamas was behind their kidnapping and was looking for an excuse for war.

Israel hardly wanted to put boots on the ground in Hamas.   I agree with an Israeli observer who said these teenagers – Gil-ad Sha-er, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yirch — saved the Israeli people because their deaths set-up a chain of events that led to finding the scope of the network of tunnels before waves of terrorist could commit massacres and kidnap many hostages.

Flash: Why has Gaza triggered violence against Jews in other countries?

AS: It’s fashionable to say,  “I’m not against Jews, just against Israel, Zionists, or…Gaza.”  Before Israel was founded in 1948, we had anti-Semitism.

Violence against Jews in France has been going on for several years – just not covered by our media.   French Jews are emigrating to Israel in record numbers.  Gaza is just an excuse – the  hatred of Jews is already there.   In Europe, especially, the anti-Israel line is a surrogate for anti-Semitism.  Otherwise, why would you vandalize synagogues or stores owned by Jews?  Would you ever hear of Jews in London or Paris or Chicago vandalizing a mosque or the stores owned by Muslims?

Richard Cohen, an opponent of Israel policies, nonetheless wrote in the Washington Post, “When did thousands gather in Europe to protest the Syrian slaughter…the torture and murder of …ten thousand dissidents…a mass murder that..deserves the Nazi analogy.”  Cohen quoted Israeli psychiatrist Zvi Rex:  “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”  Cohen explains that since many Europeans were complicit in the Holocaust, the current righteous indignation is this:  “Why did Grandpa kill the Jews? Look at what they have done in Gaza. Now we know.”

A friend wrote me:  “In a world cluttered with evil and mayhem, it astounds me when the Jews are held to a standard applied nowhere else on the earth.  The Arabs were pro Nazi in the Second World War [before Israel].    Seeing enlightened Europeans once again claiming their moral superiority to the Jews would be farcical if it were not so sickening.”