Breaking “America’s Last Taboo”

Original source: MERIP | Nov. 27, 2013 | 3 Responses

This article was taken over from MEPIR to bring it into attention of Informed Comment community for discussion.

American Zionism has made any serious public discussion of the past or future of Israel -- by far the largest recipient ever of US foreign aid -- a taboo. To call this quite literally the last taboo in American public life would not be an exaggeration. Abortion, homosexuality, the death penalty, even the sacrosanct military budget can be discussed with some freedom. The extermination of native Americans can be admitted, the morality of Hiroshima attacked, the national flag publicly committed to the flames. But the systematic continuity of Israel’s 52-year-old oppression and maltreatment of the Palestinians is virtually unmentionable, a narrative that has no permission to appear.

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3 Responses

  1. It is telling how the Snowden revelations provided documentation that Israel was EXPLICITLY told they were under no legal obligation if they choose to rummage through the emails of US citizens the NSA made available to them, regarding which the NSA is nominally supposed to access only with a FISA warrant. In all fairness, I suppose, Israel was told they shouldn’t do so.

    Mearsheimer & Walt provided chapter and verse documentation of Israeli influence over American foreign policy, but if you pay attention to the volume of public discourse that is managed by Jewish-American spin control, you can get a sense of how deep this influence runs in swaying public perceptions in the US domestically. There are an incredible number of individuals in positions of power in the media, as producers, executive producers, and content executives of different stripes, so that any comments against the underlying righteous of the Israeli cause will not be heard, except for the stray comments of Oliver Stone or Glenn Greenwald on Bill Maher’s comedy hour.

    I’ve come to watch Charlie Rose regularly, and there are constantly interviews about what form American support should take for Israel, as well as a few Israeli leftists who will handwring about the Palestinian issue, but I have never heard a semi-articulate voice with the perspective that Israel has effective control (and responsibility) for any positive progress toward a just and equitable peace (paradoxically, Israel’s only route to the lasting security they would claim to be seeking).

    The premise from the onset is that Israel has a right to exist on its terms as it defines them, and it is the obligation of the US to support them, however they may decide to proceed (through their domestic politics). There is tacit if not active support for this proposition from the US jewish community, and although they may disagree dramatically on the details, anything to the contrary will make such a remark little more than anti-Semitic.

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