The “12 Commandments” of the Israel Lobby
Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania is the latest to take heat from the Israel Lobby, mainly because he once attended a meeting with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and also refused to sign a letter written by AIPAC. So they created a TV ad that tries to tie him to terrorism. Never mind the fact that Sestak acted on his conscience in both instances—anybody who flaunts the dictates of the Israel Lobby has to be punished.
The people who are promoting this latest experiment in intimidation are pretty open about what they’re doing, and why. “We’re the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community,” exults neo-con godfather William Kristol. So here’s the crazy part—we’re not supposed to acknowledge that there’s an Israel Lobby, even though its main players talk openly about their activities! No, as Abraham Foxman pointed out in his book “The Deadliest Lies,” the existence of an Israel Lobby is a scurrilous falsehood made up by anti-Semites.
Got that? There’s no Lobby, but you’d better do what the Lobby says.
To help readers with this Orwellian dilemma, I offer these “12 Commandments of the Israel Lobby,” to be memorized if possible in a venue featuring the theme song of “The Twilight Zone” in the background.
1. The Israel Lobby does not exist. In those cases where it does exist, its conclusions cannot be questioned.
2. All criticisms of Israel are false. They are invented by anti-Semites, self-hating Jews, and terrorists. Also by crypto-Nazis, apostates and liars.
3. All critics of Israel must be punished by extracting a public apology. Some offenders may be required to apologize more than once, if they do not grovel sufficiently the first time around.
4. Those who criticize Israel and do not publicly apologize must be endlessly harassed, and fired from their jobs if possible. In academia they must be denied tenure.
5. Any Arab or Muslim that criticizes Israel is a terrorist, and deserves to die.
6. To praise anybody who ever criticized Israel is the same thing as criticizing Israel. Just as all things Israeli are good, anybody that criticizes Israel is bad.
7. In any conflict involving Israelis and Palestinians, the Israelis are always the victims. If an Israeli hurts a Palestinian, the Israeli is still the victim because the Palestinian is trying to make the Israeli feel bad.
8. Israel/Palestine is never debated. That implies another side to the issue, and there is only one side. Therefore debate is suppressed or disrupted.
9. The United Nations, the World Court, the various UN agencies, every human rights organization and non-governmental organization in the world that isn’t approved by the NGO Monitor [an Israeli screening operation] is anti-Semitic. That is because these organizations are likely to criticize Israel’s human rights record—and as any fool knows, that means they’re anti-Semitic.
10. The interests of the US are exactly the same as the interests of Israel. If they aren’t, the interests of Israel take precedence.
11. Any war that the US is likely to be involved in must be evaluated from the point of view of its helpfulness to the current government of Israel.
12. Anybody who threatens to make sense while criticizing Israel must be immediately shouted down. If shouting doesn’t work, screaming and crying are recommended. As a last resort, one must declare that criticisms of Israel are making one feel “unsafe.”
These rules, while meant to be humorous, reflect a reality that is petty, tiresome and essentially undemocratic. Thereore let us answer them by answering the call from Palestinian civil society for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid. The purpose is to end the longest and most brutal military occupation of our time, and in so doing resolve the one issue most likely to cause religious war. But there is another reason to support BDS. The Israel Lobby operates as a thought police, spending millions of dollars to stop anybody in public life who would have a candid discussion of American interests in the Middle East. For this reason, we must counter the intimidation of the Israel Lobby in order to restore free speech and freedom of association to American discourse.
* IFN is circulated nationally, and is the largest Muslim newspaper in the US.