Israel as Conservative Funding Ideal

John Bolton Israel Survey

This image was part of a John Bolton “promoted tweet” on Twitter that I saw. Basically, it is just a way for you to give Bolton your email address so he can ask you for money for the important work that he does on behalf of protecting corporate interests in the name of ending abortion or saving the Israelis. I know this is the case because the only thing I could do with it was click on a button that read, “Vote Yes for Israel!”

One person replied to it, “Israel is justified. Anyone who says no…let them have rockets sent to them & smile…” It strikes me as being funny. It isn’t a real question. I think the whole situation is a muddled mess, but I think Israel has a right to self-defense. And I think the Hamas rocket attacks are self-defeating, although I’m not sure exactly what the Palestinians are supposed to do. As they are oppressed in silence, the world just ignores them.

The question is, are these rockets really a question of self-defense? I understand that they are terrible for individual people. But they certainly are no kind of an existential threat. And the question has never been whether Israel has a right to respond. The question is whether their response makes sense. And the question for us is just how long are we going to support Israel. One would think that with all their advantages, they would be the “adults in the room.”

By this, I’m talking about coming to a reasonable settlement. But instead, Israel seems far more interested in making the situation worse. They seem to see the Israel-Palestine situation the way that King Richard III would have. The people don’t like rockets fired at them, but I’m not at all clear that the Israeli leadership doesn’t. The rockets give them more political power, just as they give the Hamas more political power. Meanwhile, the people on both sides lose.

But the John Bolton ad is a good example of why we can’t have a reasonable discussion about Israel-Palestine. The framing has less nuance than a Marvel superhero comic:

There is Hamas — a terrorist group. They have absolutely no reason for anything they do. Then there is Israel — the poor country with the eleventh most powerful military in the world that has nuclear weapons and the largest military in the world (ours) as its staunchest ally. They have never done anything that would upset anyone. They just mind their own business and people hate them for no reason whatsoever.

Do even the biggest supporters of Israel think this? Actually, I think not. The problem is that the average American who barely thinks about sees it this way. And people like John Bolton are more than willing to use that fact. His tweet now has 1,948 retweets and 1,259 favorites. And again: he isn’t interested in helping Israel. This is just a way to get people on his mailing list so he can make money.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

5 thoughts on “Israel as Conservative Funding Ideal

  1. From what I gather the Israeli left has become really marginalized on this issue as the treatment of Palestinians has become more vicious. The centrists have swung over to the right, the right’s gone over the cliff into pure craziness.

    Familiar! Race relations in America are as bad as they’ve been in 20 years. The “PC” era had its silliness and annoying sense of moral superiority (even if you’re doing something morally superior, you shouldn’t be smug about it) but common courtesy was always a laudable goal, and I thought some real progress was made. (I remember the “black jokes” common then, and so do you.) Things now are far worse, kids are being shot, adults are being demonized/disenfranchised/starved, and what’s our reaction? The centrists think racial issues are talked about too often, while the right is loudly and proudly racist about everything.

    One of Vidal’s favorite Maugham quotes: “Most of us when we do a caddish thing harbour resentment against the person we have done it to, but Roy’s heart, always in the right place, never permitted him such pettiness. He could use a person very shabbily without afterward bearing him the slightest ill-will.” Pretty astute, those first words.

    • Actually, I don’t especially remember black jokes. I more remember things like “Catch a n-word by the toe…” Things that are actually far more offensive — and dangerous. The only black joke I can remember is, “What would they call the Flintstones if they had been black.” And the joke to that it isn’t even a joke — the “joke” is that it is purely nasty and racist.

      You are absolutely correct about hating those we sin against. And this has become quite explicit among conservatives. It isn’t just racism. Look at how they talk about the poor. Feudal lords talked about the poor with more compassion.

      • Honestly, I don’t remember those jokes either. I do remember everyone was telling them. The ones involving gay people usually played on the double meaning of the word “fruit,” and it was so long ago I don’t recall what the point of the “black jokes” were. The only one I can summon to mind, and this was a real knee-slapper in 1990, is “why do black people have white-colored palms?” The punchline had to do with something about being arrested and having your hands palm-down on a car. But I don’t recall why we thought it was funny. Not even funny/offensive; I don’t remember the punchline. That kind of joke was common in 1990, like jokes about teepees/sqaws were probably common in 1890.

        (As to the gay jokes; they were on the level of calling a car race involving gay drivers a “fruit loop.” That level of wit.)

        You may have been sheltered from this. I attended a rich-kid high school. Even in 1990 you could see the really foul future of rich-people totalitarian mania rearing its delightful head. And, of course, I tried my best to fit in, and, of course, failed abysmally.

  2. Part of me thinks all this hatful discourse, as bad as it is, ultimately is a good sign. For this level of hating is a sign of desperation (similar to the ratcheting-up of attacks on homos, on women, and on other groups that have gained some recent political success).

    How long can a plurality of the American people keep up the pretense that Isreal has zero blame for every issue, and Hamas hates Jews just because? There always will be such people, and I personally have literally been shocked to hear people I once respected claiming the Palestinians just hate Jews because they are dark-coloured animals. Yuck. But how long can any reasonable fraction of Americans keep believing this, after meeting Palestinians, working with Arabs, etc.?

    Israel is playing the long game of course. They actually don’t want to commit genocide on the Palestinians. If they did, it would not take long, and World War III would start almost immediately. Yum. No, Israel wants them to leave, and be taken in by other countries. In this aim, they perhaps are succeeding.

    • I tend to agree with you. The trend in the US has been toward a more nuanced view of the situation. And something that I think Israel should be concerned about is that in the US, there isn’t much antisemitism. For most Americans, Jews are just “white.” So on the most basic level, Americans wonder what the whole thing is about.

      What bothers me is that the leaders on both sides really can get extra power by doing what is in the worst interest of the people. I noticed when I was in graduate school that Israelis and Palestinians were the best of friends. That’s because they are the same people. Their differences were dwarfed by the differences they have with America. This has nothing to do with religion.

      The greatest sin is with all of us. The Palestinians have been practicing non-violent resistance for decades and we just don’t care. We only tune in when there are rockets being fired. And I still believe that Bush the Younger could have brokered a settlement in the conflict after 9/11 if he had wanted to. But the very real American political capital we had at that time was used to invade Iraq. That is the huge opportunity cost of that war.

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