Friday, July 23, 2010

Right! Right! Right! Right? Wrong.

Check out the introduction to MuzzleWatch's July 16 posting. Anything stick out? (It will, because I'll bold the relevant text!)

Fenton Communications is a well-known liberal, Democratic public relations firm that caught the “adoring” eye of the Israeli Likudnik crowd because liberal Zionist lobby group J Street founder Jeremy Ben Ami is a former Senior Vice President. Back in March, 2009 Fenton signed a contract with the Qatar based Fakhoora campaign to advocate for accountability over Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Accountability and Israel-now that’s a no-no for the pro-settler lobby. But back then, the right wing echo chamber couldn’t do anything with that information, Ben-Ami had left the year before and denied any connection.

Fast forward over a year and The Israel Project and their right wing buddies are after Fenton (and Ben Ami) again. Amazingly, this time, they were successful and Fenton dropped the account. Completely.

Yes, it's the smoke-and-mirrors technique that casts anyone opposed to demonization and other types anti-Israel bigotry as a loyal minion of Dick Cheney. MuzzleWatch's version (though, to be fair, they're hardly the first anti-Israel activists to try this) is a subset of the practice by extremists of all stripes who act as if they represent the sober mainstream while everyone else represents the fringe.

So let's clear something up: The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. It encompasses our national security interests, our strategic interests, but most importantly, the bond of two democracies who share a common set of values and whose people have grown closer and closer as time goes on.

Actually, those aren't my words. They are the words of well-known Likudnik, pro-settler, right wing echo chamber member President Obama.

Republicans support Israel, yes. And so do Democrats. In a January 2009 poll, a convincing plurality of liberal Democrats sympathized more with Israel than with the Palestinians or "neither." Liberal Democrats. During the Gaza War. Over twice as many Democrats of all stripes expressed sympathy with Israel vs. the Palestinians in that same poll.

So MuzzleWatch can pretend that people like me — pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-environment, pro-gay rights and pro-Israel — don't exist. But we very much do. On the other hand, MuzzleWatch types — pro-Norman Finkelstein, pro-Stephen Walt, pro-BDS, and staunchly anti-Israel? Not so much.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blue and Whitewash

Muzzlewatch seems incapable of letting the whole issue of gay rights go, possibly because they realize what might happen to their self-anointed characterization as progressive heroes if the fact that they are allied with the most murderous anti-gay forces on the planet becomes widely discussed. Alternatively, they may simply be giving the latest term in the anti-Israel lexicon “pinkwashing” a drive around the block.

“Pinkwashing” refers to Israel’s alleged scheme of demonstrating its progressive cred (vs. that of its adversaries including, or should I say, especially, with those forces in the Middle East – such as Hamas - most beloved by Muzzlewatch’s Jewish Voice for Peace masters) by pointing out that Israel is the only place in the Middle East with genuine gay rights.

In the area of gay rights, similar to women’s rights, there is such a glaring contrast between Israel and its neighbors that any direct discussion of the matter must be avoided at all costs by JVP and its allies, and so they come up with creative terms (such as “pinkwashing”) to make the discussion of the reactionary attitudes of JVP friends and allies seem like a nefarious plot.

Under the circumstances, their choice is understandable, especially since their entire endeavor is an attempt to “blue-and-whitewash” the atrocious human rights record of those societies most at odds with the Jewish state. After all, JVP’s pose as humanitarians doesn’t hold up quite so well if they stated honestly that – in their opinion – the rights of gays, women, religious minorities and (in the cases of places like Sudan) ethnic minorities must all be thrown under the bus in favor of their holy cause of Palestinianism, regardless of how many gay (or female, or Christian) Palestinians find themselves forced to flee into Israel to escape death at the hands of their clansmen.

The thing I find most amusing about Cecile’s latest post on the subject is the notion that she and members of the fringe Queers Against Israel Apartheid (QAIA) group they’ve allied with are now involved with “Healing the Gay-Jewish Divide.” After all, there was no Gay-Jewish divide, at least in Toronto, until the QAIA group pulled out all the stops to ensure its divisive message was inserted directly into Toronto’s gay pride parade.

And so the divide they are trying to bridge is one they have created, a conflict they have chosen to cause through their own single-minded, selfish, obsession. And if the rest of the gay community in Toronto has to suffer for JVP/QAIA actions, they can at least comfort themselves with Muzzlewatch willingness to heal the breach they were responsible for opening.