December 28, 2001

That 'shitty little country' is dangerous – to its allies, and to Jews everywhere

As Israel prepares to expel its Arab helots from Palestine, its "amen corner" worldwide is also on the march, excoriating anyone who looks cross-eyed at Ariel Sharon as an "anti-Semite." The latest front in this campaign is England, where Barbara Amiel, wife of media magnate Conrad Black, went on a rampage in the Telegraph, claiming that, at a recent dinner party, the French ambassador referred to Israel as "that shitty little country," and wondered why the world had to be dragged to the edge of World War III on account of it. On the basis of evidence gleaned at ritzy cocktail parties, says Ms. Amiel, the world is experiencing a revival of anti-Semitism, which is now "respectable" again.


Oh, please! Does she really expect us to believe that Osama's infamous videos denouncing the "Jews and Crusaders" are the "in" thing with the hip cognoscenti? Lay off the crack pipe, lady, and get real: anti-Semitism is less respectable than pedophilia. After all, hordes of people aren't buying The Protocols of the Elder of Zion the way they're snatching up those Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, now are they? Amiel's essay is just one breathtaking inversion of reality after another. Getta load-a this:

"For the past 25 years, I've watched sad-faced Israeli activists trudge around Western capitals with heavy hearts beating under ill-fitting suits. They carry folders of transcripts and videotapes to document the misrepresentations in the press and the moral hypocrisy of the world towards Israel. They want to win the war of ideas on its merits. Their attention to detail in translating the hate literature of the Middle East and the hate-filled speeches of its leaders is commendable."


One can only wonder what "Western capitals" she means: surely not Washington, D.C. Everyone acknowledges that the Israel lobby is among the most powerful in the Imperial City. How else have they managed to get their hands on a grand total of $90 billion-plus in American military and economic aid since Israel's inception?


Aside from US exporters, Israel is the single largest beneficiary of our "foreign aid" program: US tax dollars paid for a booby-trap bomb planted near an Arab elementary school, which blasted a group of Palestinian children – children! – to bits. American tax dollars also pay for Israeli "settlements" inhabited by violent, fanatical fundamentalists intent on provoking war no matter what. This image of sad bedraggled little underdogs making their rounds, desperately fighting an uphill battle against overwhelming odds, is nothing but a bad joke – either that, or it is meant to be ironic.


If the Israeli lobby is so powerless, then why this American largesse? We not only arm Israel, but we also prop up their shitty little socialist economy with constant infusions of cash. Whatever those Israeli "activists" are carrying around in their folders, whatever is on those videotapes, it must be some pretty powerful stuff. Given the Fox News revelations about the extent of Israeli spying in the US, I don't even want to hazard a guess as to what's in them.


They want to "win the war of ideas on its merits"? Tell that to Jean Ryan, former managing editor of the Oneida (NY) Daily Dispatch, and city editor Dale Seth (a 15-year veteran of the paper), who were both fired when a delegation of Israel Firsters approached the editor and then the owner demanding the paper retract an allegedly "anti-Semitic" post-9/11 editorial written by Seth. Seth's crime was to recall the terrorist origins of the Jewish state – as if no one had ever heard of the Irgun and the Stern Gang, both of which waged war on the Arab civilian population – and without which the state of Israel would never have come into existence. He also made the true but politically incorrect observation that the whole region is rife with religious fanaticism, and Israel is no exception to the rule:

"The United States, through its close association with Israel since its inception, has now been dragged kicking and screaming right into the middle of that centuries-old Middle Eastern conflict. From that position, it would behoove that party in the middle to consider the hearts of the warring parties. Neither can be simply beat into submission."


A local attorney, Randy Schaal, demanded a meeting with Ryan to protest the editorial: Ryan refused to meet with him, pointing out that that if the staff met with everyone who disagreed with an editorial, they would never get a paper out. She told him to write a letter to the editor, which he did. But Schaal also contacted local politicians, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, and it wasn't long before pressure was brought to bear on the paper's management, which then ordered its editors to come up with a "clarification." This was published alongside Schaal's letter, a letter from Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), and a missive from the mayor of Oneida. Still, Schaal and his fellow Ameners weren't satisfied. They went to the President of the Journal Register Co., and demanded a retraction and an apology: it was unconditional surrender, or nothing.


After a series of meetings with various self-appointed representatives of the Jewish community, the owners of the Daily Dispatch caved and published a groveling mea culpa: "We understand many felt [the editorial] expressed anti-Semitic sentiments," it said. "We will not further offend our readers by attempting in any way to justify what was written; we can only assure readers that The Dispatch is not anti-Semitic and that we acknowledge the editorial should not have been published."

So much for the Israeli lobby winning the war of ideas on the "merits" of their case. Clearly, another strategy is at work here: not debating their opponents but silencing them.


The rest of Amiel's essay is really a kind of paean to the efficacy of brute force. While those poor bedraggled Israeli "activists" may have been fighting an uphill battle, according to Amiel, in the post-9/11 era the tide seems to be turning, and she can hardly keep herself from gloating that now the Arabs are really going to get it:

"Powerful as the truth may be, it needs a nudge from 16,000lb daisy cutter bombs once in a while. The Arab/Muslim world's intransigence comes into sharper focus when we see the Americans liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban in six weeks and a cornered Arafat unable to go to the bathroom without the risk of being blown into the next world."


Here is the kind of Zionist who clearly enjoys the brutality and indignity of the Israeli occupation. Such people now feel free to publicly exhibit and even flaunt their perversity, which seems like something straight out of Kraft-Ebbing. What else can one call Amiel's odd interest in controlling Arafat's bowel movements other than a shitty little perversion?


"Nothing succeeds like powerful bombs," exults this war goddess, "as bin Laden explained in his latest video release. 'When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse,' he said." How natural for her to approvingly cite bin Laden on the terroristic imperative: but then that is what tribal warfare is all about, no matter which side one fights on.


Yes, it is force, not reason or negotiation, that is decisive, avers Ms. Amiel, who gleefully predicts that "All those people badmouthing the Jews and Israel will quieten down." Or else be quieted down, involuntarily, like Jean Ryan, Dale Seth, and now perhaps Carl Cameron, of Fox News. "You are looking," Amiel continues, "at the tail end of the train but the engine has already turned a corner and is going in the opposite direction" – and anyone who shows up at one of those ritzy parties she's always attending had better get on board, or else.


No one would think to label denunciations of, say, Robert Mugabe, as the equivalent of anti-black racism: but we are expected to just accept that virtually all criticism of Israel and Ariel Sharon is due to "anti-Semitism." Amiel's blatantly dishonest and self-serving jihad is naturally bound to cause resentment among all thinking people – an emotion that could, easily, turn into genuine anti-Semitism. But that, I believe, is the point: anti-Semitism serves the interests of the most extreme wing of the Zionist movement, and always has.


Founded as it is on the permanence of Jewish victimology, and the idea that anti-Semitism is inevitable, Zionism thrives when Jewish persecution grows. It is a natural tendency of Zionist propaganda to exaggerate hostility to Jews. The founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, was confirmed in his opinion that it was "futile" to combat anti-Semitism when the infamous Dreyfuss case was at the center of a storm of controversy. Today, however, with the rapid decline and marginalization of anti-Semitism everywhere but in the Middle East, the pressing need for a Jewish state requires more justification.


Anti-Semitism in the West, as "hate crime" statistics and other research has shown in recent years, is practically nonexistent. This good news was hailed by Jewish organizations in the US when it was first announced, but the extreme Zionists were no doubt made uneasy. For if anti-Jewish prejudice is distinctly beyond the pale, at least in the civilized world, i.e., the West, then what do we need a Jewish state for? This is a question many Jews, when faced with an appeal to emigrate to Israel, must ask themselves, and, at least up until Ms. Amiel's outburst, the Zionists have had no good answer. Now they appear to have solved the problem by simply redefining "anti-Semitism" to mean any criticism of Israel's expansionist policies and its current radical right-wing government.


Anti-Semitism used to mean legal and cultural proscriptions directed against Jews. In medieval Europe, Jews were forced into ghettos, in Nazi Germany they were branded with the yellow star and exterminated, and, in America and Europe, it used to be that some establishments, both high and low, would not do business with Jews. Certain hotels and men's clubs would not admit them, and anti-Semitism was especially rife in the universities where an unofficial Jewish quota kept their numbers and influence limited. This is real anti-Semitism, and, today, it is not only illegal but socially and politically unacceptable: anyone deemed an anti-Semite in this, the original sense, is in effect a pariah, and rightly so.


This, however, has nothing to do with the French ambassador's purported "hate crime." To begin with, in describing Israel as "a shitty little country," Ambassador Bernard is at least half right in that it is little. That, after all, has been the chief complaint of the more extreme Zionists, who dream of a Greater Israel and claim such a small sliver of a country is militarily indefensible. As for being "shitty," perhaps the ambassador was referring to the attitude of Israel's leaders, and, again, who can contest this?

Wasn't it Ariel Sharon who compared the President of the United States to Neville Chamberlain, and declared that he would not let the US sell out Israel like Chamberlain sold out Czechoslovakia? Isn't it the Israelis who are openly wielding a nuclear stick, threatening the whole region with annihilation if anyone dares stand in Sharon's way? Wasn't it the Israelis Carl Cameron was talking about on Fox News last week when he said that a certain foreign intelligence agency had been watching the hijackers or their associates closelyand may have failed to tip off the US to their plans?


I think Ambassador Bernard has chosen just the right word: shitty. This is not an ethnic slur, but an entirely accurate description of Israeli government policy. The New Anti-Semitism, however, as unveiled by Ms. Amiel, would forbid the public expression of such obvious truths, because it has nothing, really, to do with dislike of Jews or Jewishness per se. The way Ms. Amiel means it, the charge of anti-Semitism is a smokescreen that conceals a campaign to delegitimize all critics of Israel, and rule them out of order.


Speaking of the Israeli spy operation uncovered by Fox News: when Carl Cameron turned over that rock, what wriggled out wasn't pretty, and it didn't take long for the drumbeat to start: has Fox News gone "anti-Semitic"? A JTA story on the response of some Jewish organizations and the Israeli government reiterates their contention that the story is "totally baseless," and notes that "virtually no other American media organization has run a piece on the Fox allegations – a sign that the story lacks merit, Jewish leaders say." Oh, really? This defines the idea of a "scoop" out of existence, and reduces journalists to a pack of conformists, ruled not by a desire to discover and report the truth but by a primitive herd instinct. If not for the scoop, we would never have known about Watergate, Cointelpro, Monica-gate, or any other news stories that erode blind faith in government and the wisdom of our glorious leaders.


The JTA piece slyly raises the subtle suggestion of anti-Semitism when the author avers that "American Jewish and Israeli officials are baffled about what might have led Fox or Cameron to pursue so controversial a story on the basis of evidence they regard as so flimsy," especially because Fox has been seen by Jewish groups as "fair in its reportage on Israel." The clear implication being that the problem is Cameron, not Fox. Ominously, the article also reports that "American Jewish leaders and Israeli officials said they are holding conversations with Fox News representatives." Will Cameron meet the same fate as Dale Seth and Jean Ryan?


A Fox News spokesman is quoted as saying, "We stand by the story" – but apparently not enough to keep it on their website. As I reported the other day, all four parts of the Cameron piece were summarily pulled from the Fox News website: visitors to the previous url get a smiling picture of Carl Cameron and the Orwellian message: "This story no longer exists." Indeed.


This, of course, is what Israel's amen corner in the US and Great Britain would ultimately like to see: they want to make it a "hate crime" to criticize Israel, even as that evil dwarf Sharon drives us to the brink of World War III. In Tony Blair's Britain they've gone to great lengths to outlaw and prosecute "hate speech," and are now going after the anti-Muslim neo-Nazi British National Party with new proposals extending "anti-racist" defamation laws to include religion. But there is nothing to prevent this kind of left-wing political correctness from being used against critics of Israel, and the Israeli lobby, so that the dinner party conversation Babs Amiel so avidly denounces could be grounds for legal prosecution. For the new definition of "anti-Semitism," if it is to be properly enforced, requires a political police, and this is really the role Amiel and her fellow Israel Firsters in the US are ideally suited for: police spies.


If, like Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA), Carl Cameron escapes a Jewish Defense League bombing, such as the one that was thwarted the other day, will his career survive this controversy? I certainly hope so, but the removal of the story from the Fox News website – and now this news of "conversations" taking place between Fox News, unnamed American Jewish leaders, and the Israeli government – does not bode well for his future in journalism. By the way, since when does an American media outlet engage in "discussions" or negotiations regarding the content of its news coverage with any government, let alone a foreign one?


Cameron's debunkers claim that the use of anonymous sources automatically discredits Cameron's work. So Woodward and Bernstein were wrong to have relied on "Deep Throat"? I don't think so. Such a standard would eliminate 95 percent of the journalism done today: there would be no "leaks" of embarrassing information by government whistleblowers, and government officials would tell us what they think we need to know, while reporters record their words verbatim. That's not journalism, however: it's taking dictation.


Cameron's story came straight from the lips of law enforcement officials who clearly have inside knowledge of the direction the 9/11 investigation is taking. These investigators are convinced that Israeli intelligence had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and Cameron's reports demonstrated that they certainly had the means to acquire it. Israeli penetration of the phone system -- and even supposedly "secure" phone lines in the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department, as well as local law enforcement -- has long been suspected: Cameron showed how it operates through Israeli hi-tech companies which are practically arms of the Israeli government.

But even this kind of penetration would hardly come as a surprise to anyone, really: the Mossad is well-known for its boldness, and the history of Israeli spying in the US is notorious. But the core of Cameron's story goes waaay beyond that. While "there is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks," Cameron avers,

"Investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"


You're not allowed to know the truth about 9/11 – why, that's classified information, sir! Now this is bound to arouse a certain amount of resentment, just like Ms. Amiel's smear campaign. But that's the idea, you see. If anti-Semitism is not a problem, then that is a problem for the Zionist project, and so the idea is to provoke it, create it where it never before existed. One way to do that is to redefine "anti-Semitism" in such broad terms that it could include practically anybody but Norman Podhoretz.


Another method is to evoke anti-Semitic sentiments and reactions by means of a deliberate provocation. Remember that the notorious "Stern gang," the Zionist equivalent of Hamas, collaborated with the Nazis on the grounds that they shared a common goal: the expulsion of the Jews from Europe. They thought this strategy would encourage emigration to Palestine and help establish the state of Israel. Chaim Weizmann, put in charge of selecting which German Jews would emigrate to Palestine – and later to become Israel's first president – made the argument that, in choosing between establishing a Jewish state and rescuing the Jews from the Nazis, the Zionist project had to come first. His intellectual and political heirs are entirely capable of justifying and executing the same tactics.


The possible firing of Carl Cameron, and/or the spiking of his story, would certainly give real anti-Semites plenty of ammunition to repeat the tired old canard that the media is "controlled by the Jews." But that is precisely what the nuttier Zionists want. They know that time is not on their side: Israel is demographically doomed if more Jews don't emigrate, and here is where the symbiotic relationship between anti-Semitism and Zionist extremism comes into play.


At its current rate, the Arab birthrate will overwhelm the Jewish state sooner rather than later, just on the strength of sheer numbers. By objectively encouraging anti-Semitism, and building it up into this looming mass movement, Zionist ideologues can appeal to their own people to come "home." What other hope do they have of holding off the rising demographic tide? Apart from whatever moral qualms one may have with this tactic, just in practical terms the great mistake of such a strategy is that it may succeed all too well – and that would be a tragedy. Regardless of her intent, Ms. Amiel's complaint of anti-Semitism could easily turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


I want to apologize for the rather intimidating length of this column, but I think the subject is important enough to merit using up so much bandwidth. This should answer, then, all those fervent letter-writers, including supporters of Israel who accuse me of anti-Semitism, and also those anti-Semites who berate me for ridiculing their psychopathology.

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.


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