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It’s Not about Israel or Grandmothers, It’s about US

Marc Thiessen asks a fair question in his Washington Post column of August 20: “If Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib can boycott Israel, why can’t Israel boycott them?” It can, and it did. Predictably, most commentators resorted to default mode and blamed Israel. Even Thiessen argues that “it has given [Omar and Tlaib] a much bigger platform from which to attack Israel.” As if that were possible.

Just as predictably, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) upped the ante: She asked Israel’s interior minister Aryeh Deri to be allowed to visit her grandmother, now in her nineties, because “this might be my last opportunity to see her.” Deri called her bluff: Tlaib could go.  His only condition was that she not engage in activities supportive of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Since on July 23, the U.S. Congress had condemned BDS in a 398-to-17 majority, as “destructive of prospects towards peace,” this didn’t seem too much to ask.

But of course, Tlaib’s trip wasn’t about her grandmother. She immediately tweeted: “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in” – whereupon some grand words follow, none of which include any reference to familial affections.

Nor was the congresswomen’s trip about “visit[ing] and experience[ing] our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” as AIPAC (the American Israel Political Action Committee) argued in the their defense. Having just sponsored a congressional delegation in early August consisting of 41 Democrats and 31 Republicans, AIPAC knew that the two could easily have “experienced Israel” alongside their colleagues.

But the militant lawmakers had another agenda: meeting with Palestinian Authority officials. Both Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and former Israeli Deputy UN Ambassador Arye Mekel described their itinerary, organized by the Palestinian organization Miftah which also sponsored the trip, as a “BDS circus.” There is no mystery surrounding Miftah’s role in promoting BDS as “a broad movement, threatening the very legitimacy of the Zionist state.”

And who, you may well ask, is Miftah, the organization that was to have facilitated Tlaib and Rep. Omar’s (D-Minn) visit to Israel? The answer is extremely troubling.

Miftah and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

An article posted on its website, for example, exhorts Palestinians to escape “the trap of denial and self-deception that prevents us from freeing ourselves from the devastating bear hug of the blood ritual” – a reference to the age-old libel that Jews use Christian (or, in the Middle East, Muslim) blood in the Jewish Passover matza. It gets worse: “The Jewish control of the American mass media is the single most important fact of life, not just in America, but in the whole world today. There is nothing — plague, famine, economic collapse, even nuclear war — more dangerous to the future of our people.”

Anyone familiar with the history of antisemitism will recognize here echoes of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, published in 1903 under the auspices of the Russian Secret Police, the Okhrana. Purportedly “minutes” of a secret speech among the Elders, or Sages, of Zion, it allegedly demonstrates their conspiracy to run the world by dominating money and communications. Though in 1921 The London Times exposed it as a rather crude forgery, by then it had already been translated into every European language and sold widely – including, indeed especially, in the United States.

Starting in 1920, Henry Ford financed an enormous international campaign to publicize the shameless rag, along with sympathetic commentaries, in a compilation called International Jew, which he had translated into sixteen languages. Though he eventually apologized in 1927, after recognition of its fraudulent origin, irreparable harm had been done. Adolf Hitler kept a photograph of the “heroic American, Heinrich Ford,” and Alfred Rosenberg, the “official” philosopher of the Nazi party, published his own commentary on the Protocols in 1923. When the Nazis took power in 1933, some version of the forgery, with or without comments, was easily available.

The USSR Steps In

After Hitler’s demise, it did not take long for Stalin to take over. He fully understood the propaganda value of the Protocols and was ready to use it against the West, especially once it became clear that after its founding in 1948, Israel would not become a Soviet satellite. With solid backing from Karl Marx, who in his 1844 essay on the “Jewish Question” argued that “the God of the Jew is money,” Stalin declared American capitalism and Israel as ideological Siamese twins.

By 1951, the Soviet international campaign had started in earnest. Soviet General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, who became the first chief of the KGB’s foreign intelligence unit, brought the Protocols to Bucharest, for Romania’s secret police, the Securitate, to translate and disseminate throughout Western Europe. But “it had to be done secretly, so no one would know that the publications came from the Soviet bloc.”  Before long, writes former Romanian chief of foreign intelligence General Ion Mihai Pacepa, “the Securitate was spreading the Protocols around the Middle East as well.”

The narrative of a worldwide capitalist-Zionist conspiracy helped the Soviets, eager for Arab clients, no less than Osama bin Laden and his ideological father Sayyid Qutb, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. But “this belief in the fantasies of the Protocols is not limited to Qutb and his fundamentalist believers, writes the great historian of antisemitism Robert Wistrich. “To this day, it remains absolutely mainstream in the Muslim world.” Indeed, “the Protocols reach an Arabic-speaking mass audience of hundreds of millions through popular television series, sermons, the press, and the Internet.”

The Real Target

The antizionist campaign is not only, perhaps not even primarily, about Israel and the Jews. The ultimate target is American constitutional, democratic liberalism. Explains Robert Wistrich: “Israel increasingly became a surrogate target for those reluctant to take on the might of the United States,” resulting in “a growing convergence in the demonization of both nations.” “In the minds of their adversaries,” he continues, “the United States and Israel have come to symbolize in recent years a whole cluster of threats – including globalization, neoliberal capitalist exploitation of the Third World, ethnic intolerance” and other assorted evils.

Miftah’s website is a good example. For even while conceding the Protocols’ fraudulent origin, “in a way, the lies have fulfilled themselves.” The author warns that “if America gets into a really deep economic depression, might not Jewish names… come up?” Another article adds that while “it seems that even though the document has been repeatedly condemned as counterfeit, no one has ever denounced the ideas, and tactics exposed in the document or its purported aims,” praising Henry Ford for having “risked his life and reputation to warn his country about what he believed was an evil taking root in the United States named Zionism.”

Make no mistake: Ilhan and Rashida’s trip was not about experiencing our democratic ally first hand, about aged grandmothers, or even about the hapless Palestinians. Ultimately, it is about America.

Reader Discussion

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on September 11, 2019 at 08:46:46 am

[…] ally, about aged grandmothers, or even the Palestinians. Ultimately, it’s about America. It’s Not about Israel or Grandmothers, It’s about US syndicated from […]

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It’s Not about Israel or Grandmothers, It’s about US | Best Legal Services
on September 11, 2019 at 12:05:15 pm

Nice essay on the Protocols. Strained effort to make it topical.

“If Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib can boycott Israel, why can’t Israel boycott them?” It can, and it did.

"Boycott" refer to an appeal to private individuals to refrain from exercising their private discretion to associate with someone else. In contrast, Netanyahu used state power to block the free speech and free association of people who had a message that Netanyahu disliked. The word for that is not "boycott"; it's "censorship."

When Netanyahu sought to come to the US, Obama knew that he would not like the speech he would give or the associations he would have. Obama let him come anyway. That’s how Western democracies are supposed to work. That's clearly not how Israel works.

[T]he militant lawmakers had another agenda: meeting with Palestinian Authority officials. Both Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and former Israeli Deputy UN Ambassador Arye Mekel described their itinerary, organized by the Palestinian organization Miftah which also sponsored the trip, as a “BDS circus.”

Yup. Or, as we say in the US, free speech and free association. Alas, it appears there is no equivalent translation in Hebrew.

Look, we all get it: Israel faces three major challenges. First, it faces hostility from neighbors—although this has moderated over time. A powerful military helps.

Second, it faces internal hostility from its occupied territories. The primary remedy is a form of perpetual ghettoization and collective punishment. Collective punishment always looks terrible. Yet nations regularly resort to it out of necessity.

And Israel cannot adopt the alternative remedy—integration—due to its third, and most intractable, problem: Israel wants to profess to be a democracy, but it also wants to maintain a “Jewish identity” even if the population gradually adopts a different identity. Balancing these interests requires Israel to engage in some more-or-less explicit discrimination on the basis of race/religion.

Israel has my sympathies. As do the Palestinians. I thought the two-state solution made the best of a bad situation. But now, it appears that we’re stuck with apartheid.

That said, I never thought we’d see reconciliation in South Africa or Northern Ireland. It’s amazing what people of good will can do. But in Israel, I suspect we'll have to abide until one generation passeth away and another generation cometh....

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nobody.really
on September 11, 2019 at 12:46:54 pm

An excellent piece. These nutty congresswomen are a menace.

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David Frisk
on September 11, 2019 at 14:10:43 pm

Islam is no "religion" in the western sense. It is not merely about rituals to please the deity. Instead, it is a totalitarian ideology with a prescribed lifestyle and proscription of alternative lifestyles, in the Messianic quest of a Global Caliphate. "nobody.really" opines in denial of these facts and leaves his opinion feckless and wreckless - particularly on this Day of Remembrance. Never Forget 9/11!

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Orson Olson
on September 11, 2019 at 17:28:22 pm

" “nobody.really” opines in denial of these facts and leaves his opinion feckless and wreckless"

I don't know about that BUT he does have lots of "freckles" - no doubt the result of the tension of trying to balance out his ever changing sensibilitiesd on WHO and When speech may be curtailed.
He calls Netanyahu a "censor". I would call it common sense.

And no, nobody, these two excrescences posing as Congress Critters are not entitled to "poop in host's home.

And again, nobody"

"Balancing these interests requires Israel to engage in some more-or-less explicit discrimination on the basis of race/religion. "

Gee, I wonder how the aptly named nobody would "compare and contrast" Israel's *discriminatory* practices with those of Omar and Talib's prefer political factions.
Can Jews be elected to the corrupt Palestinian government councils?
Can they be heard in a Court (such as they are) in a Sharia dominated society?
Are women to be taken at their word in a rape case in a Sharia court. Contrats that with Israel.

I could go on but to counter ALL the Democrat Talking points that nobody perennially puts on offer here at LLB would consume far too much time and energy.

Sound of a scratched record in the background groaning on and on as "Happy Days are here again plays over and over while images of the Great and Annointed ONE Obama dance around us).

Nobody, cut the wordsmithing. there is NO comparison between the State(s) and ideologies that these two nincompoop Congress Girls are promoting with the ONLY REAL democracy in the Middle East - Israel.

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gabe
on September 11, 2019 at 18:14:01 pm

Some people say, "I may not support what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it."

Other people say, "I demand government censor anyone who dares to disagrees with me!"

And it's clear who is in which camp.

Islam is no “religion” in the western sense. It is not merely about rituals to please the deity. Instead, it is a totalitarian ideology with a prescribed lifestyle and proscription of alternative lifestyles, in the Messianic quest of a Global Caliphate. “nobody.really” opines in denial of these facts....

Where did I say anything about Islam?

Moreover, WHO CARES? Feel free to hate Islam all you like. The issue is not the goodness or badness of Islam. The issue is censorship.

He calls Netanyahu a “censor”. I would call it common sense.

Translation: I don't support what the congressmen had to say, so I demand that government censor them!

[T]hese two excrescences posing as Congress Critters are not entitled to “poop in host’s home."

True, they have no such "entitlement"--just as Netanyahu had no entitlement to come to the US. But people who respect free speech and free association do not strive to censor people merely based on their viewpoint; that 's called "viewpoint discrimination." Obama respects free speech and free association; Netanyahu does not.

I wonder how the aptly named nobody would “compare and contrast” Israel’s *discriminatory* practices with those of Omar and Talib’s prefer political factions.
Can Jews be elected to the corrupt Palestinian government councils?
Can they be heard in a Court (such as they are) in a Sharia dominated society?
Are women to be taken at their word in a rape case in a Sharia court. Contrast that with Israel.

I could go on but to counter ALL the Democrat Talking points that nobody perennially puts on offer here at LLB would consume far too much time and energy....

[T]here is NO comparison between the State(s) and ideologies that these two nincompoop Congress Girls are promoting with the ONLY REAL democracy in the Middle East – Israel.

Great. For the sake of argument, let's say you have utterly convinced me that the congressmen's views are utterly mistaken.

Query: Why does that justify censoring them, rather than simply exercising FREE SPEECH to say why their views are mistaken?

Indeed, someone keeps dancing around, trying to avoid the issue. But it's not Obama.

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nobody.really
on September 12, 2019 at 09:11:57 am

Funny thing, nobody:

You do recognize that even in the Progressive jurisdictions of the United States, one does need a PERMIT to demonstrate for any cause. It was clear that these two nincompoops were intending to protest Israeli policies / practices. They admitted and published as much.

So why is it verboten for Israel to effectively deny them their *permit* (in this case, entry) when in the USA, localities do it all the time.

There may be some dancing going on around here, my friend but stenosis prevents ME from doing so.
How about you? Are we dancing our way around WHICH FAVORED group gets to protest?

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gabe
on September 12, 2019 at 09:42:21 am

You do recognize that even in the Progressive jurisdictions of the United States, one does need a PERMIT to demonstrate for any cause.

1. I recognize no such thing. Instead, I recognize free speech and free association.

Now, if someone in the US intends to occupy a PUBLIC SPACE to the exclusions of others, a local jurisdiction may choose to regulate that use. But even in that case, the local jurisdiction can engage in only VIEWPOINT-NEUTRAL time/place/manner restrictions. And I am unaware of any local jurisdiction that would bar someone from going to a place or meeting with people based only on the conjecture that someone would violate a time/place/manner restriction.

I expect a local jurisdiction could arrest a person for disorderly conduct if they violated a lawful time/place/manner restriction--but typically this occurs AFTER the violation. This isn't Minority Report; we don't punish people for crimes we predict they will commit.

2. That said, perhaps some creative prosecutor could try to arrest and prosecute someone for conspiracy to violate time/place/manner restrictions? I don't know of any instances, but this isn't my field of expertise....

3. Finally, if the Congressmen were trying to become citizens of Israel, then Israel might impose some not-quite-viewpoint-neutral tests about willingness to bear arms to defend the nation, etc. At least, traditionally the US has done this. But the US also grants exemptions to conscientious objectors, which kind of restores a bit of neutrality. It's a gray area.

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nobody.really
on September 12, 2019 at 11:26:37 am

OMG, nobody:

You really are "au courant", up to date, fashionable. in possession of current opinion!

Nobody:

"And Israel cannot adopt the alternative remedy—integration—due to its third, and most intractable, problem: Israel wants to profess to be a democracy, but it also wants to maintain a “Jewish identity” even if the population gradually adopts a different identity."

This could have been taken directly from the Senate hearing on Steven Menashi's nomination to the Second Circuit, as well as other specious claims that Israel (or for that matter other countries) may not possess, or seek to maintain a distinctly particular national identity and STILL be democratic.

In a sense, is this not what Brexit is about; or the soon to be Polexit, Hugexit, etc.

There is nothing inherently incompatible with a distinct national identity AND democratic processes. As I mentioned earlier, Islamists do sit in the Knesset and have even occupied important ministry positions.
But this aligns with the Democrat / Proggie thesis that American Populists (i.e., those vile, nasty Trumpsters) are determined to undermine our Democracy by insisting that the USA maintain its distinctly American character.

What are you a "speechwriter" for a Proggie CongressCritter or for the DNC.

My goodness, nobody: "The Dogma is strong within you." -Ha!

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gabe
on September 12, 2019 at 12:19:54 pm

There is nothing inherently incompatible with a distinct national identity AND democratic processes.

Economics teaches that at the margin, nigh unto all things are trade-offs. At some point, you may need to choose between distinct national identity and democratic process.

The US has faced this problem from time to time since its founding. We conquered Indian lands, Texas, Baja California, the Philippines, Cuba, Hawaii, etc. And each time we faced the question, What now? Is this territory a new state? Are the people living here now US citizens? Do they have the right to vote, and to representation in Congress? Do they have the right to expect the US will come to their aid in the event of foreign invasion, domestic insurrection, or natural disaster? Etc. The US has been quite inconsistent in how it answers these questions. And often (especially regarding the Philippines), the public rebelled against extending democratic processes to the citizens of the newly-conquered lands out of fear that letting THOSE kinds of people become citizens would threaten the national identity.

Likewise, US the Civil Rights movement required the nation--and especially the South--to make a choice between traditional identity and democratic process. There was a trade-off.

Likewise, apartheid South African knew that if it adopted a democratic process--that is, granting their colored citizens the same rights as their white citizens--that would irrevocably change the national identity. There was a trade-off.

In the absence of a two-state solution, Israel is in a similar circumstance. Democratic process would require Israel to frankly acknowledge that they have annexed Palestine and the occupied territories, to grant citizenship to the people there, and to begin treating any uprising as a matter of domestic law enforcement. The national identity might change as a result. So there's a trade-off.

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nobody.really
on September 12, 2019 at 17:43:05 pm

After having observed this sort of thing over the last half century or so, it occurs to me that there is a big distinction here.
The difference between having Netanyahu speak to Congress during the Obama Administration and having Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar visit the PA, is that bloodshed was highly unlikely during Netanyahu's visit.
That cannot be said for the visit by the two Congresswomen. Arab riots and worse were almost guaranteed.

Isn't Hanan Ashrawi (the PA official sponsoring their visit) still considered a terrorist by the US Govt?

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Lex Luthier

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.