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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:45 PM


Has Support For Israel Become A Narrow Ideological Litmus Test?

One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking. Republicans focused on Israel more than anything during his confirmation hearing, but they weren’t seeking to understand his views. All they cared about was bullying him into a rigid position on Israel policy. Enforcing that kind of orthodoxy is not in either America’s or Israel’s interest.

Brooklyn College is facing a similar trial for scheduling an event on Thursday night with two speakers who support an international boycott to force Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. While this page has criticized Israeli settlements, we do not advocate a boycott. We do, however, strongly defend the decision by the college’s president, Karen Gould, to proceed with the event, despite withering criticism by opponents and threats by at least 10 City Council members to cut financing for the college. Such intimidation chills debate and makes a mockery of the ideals of academic freedom.

Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator, has repeatedly declared support for Israel and cited 12 years of pro-Israel votes in the Senate. But that didn’t matter to his opponents, who attacked him as insufficiently pro-Israel and refused to accept any deviation on any vote. Mr. Hagel was even forced to defend past expressions of concern for Palestinian victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the Brooklyn College case, critics have used heated language to denigrate the speakers, Omar Barghouti, a leader of a movement called B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, that espouses “nonviolent punitive measures” to pressure Israel, and Judith Butler, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, who is a member of the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that supports divestment and boycotts. Alan Dershowitz, a Brooklyn College graduate and Harvard law professor, has complained that the event is unbalanced and should not be co-sponsored by the college’s political science department. On Monday, Ms. Gould said other events offering alternative views are planned.



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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:51 PM

1. Not in hagel's case, it is pure hatred of the president in this case.

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Response to still_one (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:15 PM

2. That is part of it, but a small part of it. Any critic of israel draws the 'big guns'. Fortunately


that cannon has been fired too many times and becoming nothing but a 'pop-gun'.

None to soon, imo. Cold war is over and israel provides no real strategic use for the USA and in fact it is a liability in this day and age.

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Response to Purveyor (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:19 PM

3. I am not going to debate your views on Israel, because I know we will disagree on that. However, I

do not disagree with your statement in most cases there is a litmus test. The reason why it does not pertain in hagel's case is because they have actually distorted his position, and they know it. Right or wrong, hagel supports Israel.

Better questions to be asked is should their be support for Israel no matter what they do, and the answer should be no.

The President has already come out against the settlements, and ironically in the last Israeli election, the results indicated that the most of the Israeli populous do not agree with it either.

I suspect the President will push for negotiations to resume something, that had not been done since Clinton left office. I also believe in spite of the issues, we are probably closer to a two state solution than we have ever been, even closer than when Jimmy Carter was President.

President Obama had to clean up the mess left by the bush administration in his first term. The second term has the potential to produce some extraordinary things.

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Response to still_one (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:31 AM

4. No man can serve two masters. The US and her best interests should be first and


foremost to US politicians - Not Israel. It's our government's job to do what's right for America for a change.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:47 AM

5. By all appearances, the zionist government of Israel is both insane and genocidal


making them perilously close in ideology to the monstrosity done to them in the 1940s. I have no idea why any part of our government would support the zionists except in having Israel as sort of our own Cuba per the cold war. The mind boggles.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 03:53 AM

6. Because we are sensitive to Israel's issues since we have had an anti-semitic history

and even though we praise ourselves as being an inclusive open-minded society, there are still remnants of it. (just as there are still Jim Crow devotees around)..

Our government was slow to respond to WWII atrocities and there is a sense of guilt over it that lingers, so once Israel was created, we set out on our atonement path.

The creation of Israel was one of the early tasks of the UN too, and it was kind of up to us to to take the lead...

I don't think that people thought through all the ramifications when they started the thing, and are now so mired in it, no one can figure out how to resolve the unresolvable..

There are lots of Jewish people here in the US, who do NOT support the right wingers like Bebe N., but the lobbyist arm of the state of Israel is very vocal and well funded..(like our own right wing entities)..

As in any sensitive issue, every utterance is blown into gargantuan proportions whenever it "fits" the occasion.

I cannot help but feel that if there were ever a true plebiscite, the issues could be resolved.

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