Monday, August 23, 2010

Pro-Israel, anti-Mosque: what's new?

Excellent stuff on Mondo by Jeff Klein on the controversy that thanks to Pamela Geller risks setting the US alight and US Muslims fearing for their existence...

Haven’t we seen this movie before? Yes, in Boston, and with nearly the same cast of characters. The fight against the Roxbury Mosque and Cultural CenterIslamic Society of Boston (ISB) was framed as a battle against “Muslim extremists” and “terror supporters.” In reality (as court documents showed) the campaign was organized by activists with the far-right pro-Israel David Project and CAMERA, spearheaded by founder Charles Jacobs, who now heads a front group with the Orwellian name “Americans for Peace and Tolerance.” Later, the story was picked up and promoted by the Murdoch-owned Boston Herald and the local Fox TV affiliate. When the ISB eventually sued its attackers for defamation, the defendants were represented by an attorney who was also a leader of New England AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee). planned by the

Likewise, the New York Islamic Community Center project in lower Manhattan was uncontroversial until it began to be labeled falsely as “the Ground Zero Mosque” and was vilified by right-wing bloggers with a pro-Israel agenda. Although the media has reported on the way the Right has used anti-Muslim bigotry to stir up racist outrage against the Islamic Center, there has been little notice of the Israel connection. Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer and Atlas ShruggedBoston. Geller is a regular commentator on the far-right Israeli radio network Arutz Sheva. Together they created a front-group to promote the anti-Muslim crusade called Stop Islamization of America. The campaign of slander against the “Ground Zero Mosque” was first mainstreamed in the Murdoch-owned New York Post and has been trumpeted relentlessly by Fox News, as well as by Neocon operatives like Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney. blogger Pamela Geller, who led the charge, are active in the same circles as the pro-Israel extremists in

Why? Because promoting a “culture-clash” between the “West” and Islam is seen as a way to bolster support for Israel and to sustain a permanent US “War on Terror.”

As early as September 12, 2001 the New York Times reported:

Israeli leaders, who have chafed at occasional American criticism of their measures against Palestinians, said the day's attacks would awaken the United States to the threat of global terrorism.

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ''It's very good.'' Then he edited himself: ''Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.'' He predicted that the attack would ''strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.''

In an appearance late tonight, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon repeatedly placed Israel on the same ground as the United States, calling the assault an attack on ''our common values'' and declaring, ''I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.''

When the Roxbury Mosque was under attack in Boston my organization, Dorchester People for Peace, and other progressives took a stand in its defense. DPP sponsored a well-attended public forum on the topic in 2006. Since then, we have worked closely with our local Muslim friends – many of whom are US-born African-Americans with deep ties to our community. Although the current furor is over a proposed Mosque in New York, the issues are much the same. Islamophobia continues to be a racist tool of the war-promoting Right and the most extremist sectors of the Israel Lobby. Anti-war and anti-racist organizations cannot remain indifferent.

Jeff Klein is retired president of a local union at the Mass Water Resources Authority, where he worked for many years as a machinist in the Deer Island facility. He is active these days with Dorchester People for Peace, a local anti-war organization.



At 11:52 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

There are also people who are pro-Israel and pro-Mosque. Mayor Bloomberg is just one example.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Gert said...

I know.

Bloomberg is pro-Israel??? Well, waddayaknow!!! ;-)

At 8:58 PM, Blogger joe90 kane said...

I'm pro-Isreali, its just that I'm not a racist like most people who describe themselves as 'pro-Israeli'.

If the majority of the people currently under the control of the Israeli regime, legally and illegaly, want Isreal to carry on existing then that is their democratic choice. It's just that they haven't been given the choice so we don't really know.

In fact, I can't think of anything more anti-Israeli than people who want the current Israeli government to carry on with its illegal racist occupations and who want the whole of the Jewish-Israeli population forced to do military service and carry out the US Establishments dirty work for it in the Middle East.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Joe, the country has been its own worst enemy for a long time now. Even though I firmly believe we have no choice in carrying on, occasionally I wonder whether BDS isn't actually making things worse and is playing into the hands of the religio-nationalist Junta.

But I see no alternative. One (well, two actually) Zionist friend of mine suggested half-heartedly and half-jokingly to 'hug an Israeli' instead. Unfortunately that too has been tried for decades with no result, quite the opposite. I used to be part of it, when I come to think of it...

At 2:08 PM, Blogger joe90 kane said...

I got this off the incomparable Richard Seymour on Facebook -
How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began
16 Aug 2010

all the best

At 2:29 PM, Blogger joe90 kane said...

Thanks Gert.

I understand your feelings.

Zionist Israelis seem to be their own worse enemies sometimes.

Prof Chomsky makes the same point as yourself Gert, as I'm sure you know, that BDS might actually be counter-productive and lead to the strenghtening of the worse of the right-wing elements within Isreali society. A kind of 'circling the wagons' against a hostile outside world which can only be agood thing for the more xenophobic nationalistic fundamentalist elements.

This is is how the international boycott, in part, affected the Affrikaners of Apartheid South Africa who wore their international pariah status as a badge of pride and honour.

Given how horrible Jewish people and their communities have been treated in Western history, such a social phenomenon of relishing 'us against the world' type mentality wouldn't be too hard to cultivate even more amonst the Jewish-Israeli population.

Tactics are never easy, are they Gert? I wish I knew what would help. I would've done it already.

There is the interesting change in Israeli society over recent decades that it has become less western-orientated, less liberal, less Ashkenazi - and more oriented towards Jewish-Arab communities and their outlook and ways of doing things. More religious. More willing to listen to religious leaders. Less secular. Hence the reason for the sizeable numbers of Jewish fundamentalists living on illegaly occupied land for no other reason than religious ones.

The bottom line as always though, to my mind, is US support and its billion dollars a year in aid to an Israeli regime, which is perfectly willing to do America's dirty work for it in the Middle East. Withdraw that crucial US support and, at the very least, the illegal occupations fall apart overnight. Israel would be bankrupt if it tried to continue its imperial-colnialist project using its own native resources.

Take care.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Thanks for the link.

BDS MUST continue, it is a multipurpose endeavour. But, as we knew from basic logic and from the SA experience, it's a 'battle of the wills'. A long process. There's no going back now...

History is on our side though, I'm sure about it.


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