Marty Kaplan at Huffpo: “I take Israel personally.” Further proof that the left is permeated by the Israel lobby. Further proof that Zionism has produced a giant IQ drop in what I grew up thinking were the smartest people in the country. Note that Kaplan hadn’t been to Israel in 40 years till he visited lately; but he regards the wall there as his wall. And note the 3000-year-old artifacts of Jewish civilization Kaplan sees at the Israel Museum that combined with genealogical records at the Holocaust museum justify Zionist land claims for him and the rest of the “Jewish people.”
If Christians said this kind of stuff, Huffpo would scream that they are religious nuts. When Shlomo Sand tried to contest this type of racial thinking, he was eviscerated in our country as being “political,” when his only politics are trying to save Jewish minds from mythology that blinds them to the facts before them.
Re mythology, note the “competing narratives” claim at the end of this excerpt. Tony Kushner once said to me that most American Jews have an idea of Israel that is a delusion on top of a fantasy; and that’s what we see here. A guy who hasn’t been to a place in 40 years, who is happily making his life as an empowered minority in the U.S., declares that a western “narrative” about a Jewish right to the land is equal to the Palestinian narrative of 63 years of actual dispossession. I am not saying there is not an Israeli narrative; but it is shot through with all sorts of diaspora projection on the part of people who haven’t been there in decades and whose ideas of Jewish powerlessness are fed by a visit to the Holocaust museum, and who can thereby elide the plain history of Palestinian expulsion/discrimination. Young Jews will have to save us from these ideas… Kaplan:
[T]his is the point where I have to, leap to, declare my love and support for the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. I think the international campaign to delegitimize Israel is based on a malicious misreading of history, abetted by a level of naïveté, ignorance and racism that would surprise me if I hadn’t just lived through the past two years of media and politics. I reject the contention that Zionism is racism, colonialism or any other -ism designed to steal land, disenfranchise citizens or exterminate enemies. The 3,000-year-old artifacts of Jewish civilization that I saw in the Israel Museum and the Nazi Who-is-a-Jew? genealogical charts that I saw at Yad Vashem and the secular Israeli majority I saw in the streets and know from the Diaspora, reminded me that Israel’s nationhood derives from its existence as a people, not as a religion.
I actually came back from Israel more of a hawk than when I left. I am more respectful of the security fence — my security fence — than I was before. Yes, I know the case against it, but I’ve returned convinced that its designers are motivated by fighting terrorism, not by appropriating land or humiliating Palestinians. I haven’t concluded that a pre-emptive strike on Iran is a good idea, but I’m less inclined to think that the threat Iran poses is only a politically pumped-up neocon job. I no longer think that “settlements” is a useful, or necessarily pejorative, term; it encompasses too wide a variety and history of dwellings to be deployed as a shorthand for obstructionism. Like everything else in Israel, it’s complicated.
But don’t get me wrong: I’m closer to J Street than to AIPAC. When Netanyahu acts as though the status quo can go on indefinitely, I not only despair at his delusion; I wear it as my own albatross, whether I want to or not. When he catastrophically bungled the response to the Gaza flotilla stunt, I was unable to prevent myself from feeling personally soiled….
Israel is a battleground between two competing narratives. The Palestinian account of history, its assignment of right and wrong, is a mirror image of the Israeli version; just about everything is flipped. No negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians can settle the matter of which narrative is right. No historian, journalist, political figure or international tribune can sort through the dueling accounts and create a composite that either side will accept.
As the Transportation Security Administration faces a barrage of criticism, some indignant Americans are calling for the “Israelification” of US airports — as though the security procedures used in a tiny Middle Eastern ethnocracy with one international airport could easily be scaled up for America.
Ironically, Israelification is not what we need — it’s what we already have.
Consider the real outrages of the last decade that, simply because they were done in the name of national security, the majority of Americans found tolerable:
- a global war on terrorism that led to massive increases in defense spending, the creation of multiple new intelligence and security agencies, and Washington’s enslavement to fear-based politics — that was OK;
- with disregard for international law, the invasion of Iraq on a false pretext — that was OK;
- the kidnapping, secret imprisonment and torture of individuals most of whom had nothing to do with 9/11 — that was OK;
- the authorization of warrantless wiretaps — that was OK;
- the implementation of a remote-controlled assassination program — that was OK;
- in short, the normalization of war crimes all of which were deemed justifiable because of 9/11 — that was OK;
- but “don’t touch my junk” — there are limits to what Americans will tolerate.
TSA administrators are no doubt frustrated by the fact that had the new pat-down procedures been implemented in late 2001, they would probably have been welcomed by a population that widely supported the idea of doing “whatever it takes” to stop “the terrorists.”
The problem, then and now, is that air transportation security is imagined to be about catching terrorists. On this count, the TSA seems to have a poor record.
At Slate, Juliet Lapidos notes:
In May, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that SPOT’s ["Screening of Passengers by Observational Techniques"] annual cost is more than $200 million and that as of March 2010 some 3,000 behavior detection officers [BDOs] were deployed at 161 airports but had not apprehended a single terrorist. (Hundreds of illegal aliens and drug smugglers, however, were arrested due to the program between 2004 and 2008.) What’s more, the GAO noted that at least 16 individuals later accused of involvement in terrorist plots flew 23 different times through U.S. airports since 2004, but TSA behavior-detection officers didn’t sniff out any of them.
Does this imply that the TSA’s BDOs have yet to pinpoint the way a terrorist walks, talks, or dresses? The TSA’s “failure” in this instance might simply mean that the individuals who escaped their attention were not at those times actually doing anything suspicious.
The point is, there are justifiable and unjustifiable grounds to turn a person into an object of suspicion. A system that simply on the basis of religion, ethnicity or nationality, regards a person with suspicion, is unjust and will be ineffective. Indeed, a system which even regards its targets as “the terrorists” conjures up the false notion that it is dealing with a class of people rather than a class of behavior.
Which brings me back to my initial claim that the Israelification of America is already deeply entrenched. Israel’s fear of the Arab world has been transplanted into American consciousness to such a degree that we are moving toward the absurd conclusion that if this country operated even more like Israel than it already does, then we would be able to feel as safe as the Israelis do.
Living inside a fortress and defining ones existence in terms of threats posed by eternal enemies, is a good way of justifying spending more and more on increasingly elaborate fortifications. But those who invest deeply in this mindset and who profit from its perpetuation, have the least interest in exploring what we need to understand most: why our enemies think the way they do. Delve into that question, and the notion of eternal enmity quickly evaporates — thus the perpetuation of the myth that we are under threat not because of what we do but because of who we are.
Meanwhile, next time a TSA officer offends your dignity, spare a thought for the Palestinians who while passing through IDF checkpoints suffer vastly worse when attempting no more than to travel from one town to the next.