The Obama administration has been, so far, admirably firm in the face of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to soften the administration’s position that settlement construction in the West Bank has to be stopped. Yet some ultra-conservative pischers think that they’ve stumbled upon a useful way of changing President Obama’s mind, according to Ha’aretz. A fringe protest of 130 outside the American consulate in Jerusalem featured such gems as this:
Far right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who attended the protest, told Channel 10 that "it appears that we’ve arrived at a red line, which has already been crossed by the most anti-Semitic American president."
Yes, apparently opposing the expansion of settlements is enough to make you an anti-semite. This makes, according to one recent poll, 60 percent of American Jews anti-semites. And we’re not even talking about the destruction of existing settlements yet. To get a sense of how asinine this position is, consider that if a hypothetical U.S. administration made the end of settlement expansion the centerpiece of its Israel/Palestine strategy, it would still be conceding hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, with all the Israeli military and other infrastructure that goes to support them, which all but forecloses the prospect of an independent Palestine. And now if you give the settlers that, you’re a Jew hater. Oh, and these racists are distributing the flyer you see accompanying this post.
Again, these demonstrators are a fringe phenomenon. But it should be clear to Israelis by now that these people are going to lead them into an abyss of international isolation at a time when demographic trends among Palestinians between the Mediterranean and the Jordan favor a future in which they outnumber Jews, heralding the real destruction of the state of Israel. Calling the leader of Israel’s major international patron an antisemite for possessing more foresight into the future than they do is more than just a disgusting slander, it demonstrates frivolousness with both history and with the future of Israel itself. Conservative American Jewish commentators who parrot this despicable and craven line of assault will also demonstrate their own irrelevance and idiocy. Who’ll be the first? Bob Kagan already has a head start.
Update: Obama in Cairo. Rank anti-Semitism:
America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.