Maligning critics by Jewish groups to “protect” Israel only damages their credibility

The Star of David which was marked by Jews during the Second World War;  Jacek Proszyk, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

In a 2002 interview the former Israeli government minister Shulamit Aloni was asked by Amy Goodman: “Often when there is dissent expressed in the United States against policies of the Israeli government, people here are called antisemitic. What is your response to that as an Israeli Jew?” Shulamit Aloni replied “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country [the US] people are criticizing Israel, then they are antisemitic.” She added that there is an “Israel, my country right or wrong” attitude and “they’re not ready to hear criticism.” Antisemitism, the Holocaust and “the suffering of the Jewish people” are exploited to “justify everything we do to the Palestinians.”

Currently Israel is involved in a conflict with Hamas in Gaza that it has described as a “war” though the disparity in force levels involving a country with a modern fully equipped army, navy and air force versus something more like a militia armed with small arms and home-made rockets suggest that a different label might be more appropriate. The fighting has been constant apart from a six day pause to exchange hostages and prisoners and promises to continue into the New Year, and possibly much longer, due to the difficulty in engaging in anything like conventional warfare in a bombed out and devastated urban environment that favors the defense.

Israeli extreme brutality has been on display for all the world to see. Last week, Israeli soldiers shot dead three Jewish hostages who had escaped from their Hamas captors under cover of an Israeli bombardment. The hostages took most of their clothes off so it could be clearly seen that they were unarmed and they were carrying a white flag with their hands in the air, but the soldiers reacted by shooting two of them immediately. The third took cover in a building while calling for help in Hebrew, but he too was pursued and killed. In another incident two Catholic women, mother and daughter, taking shelter in Gaza’s only Catholic church were targeted and shot by Israeli snipers. This produced a rebuke from the Pope.

However it turns out, the conflict in Gaza will be Israel’s longest “war” by far since the creation of the country in 1948. Israel’s intention is to force the Gazans to leave whether by forced resettlement in neighboring countries, in Europe or in the United States, or by killing them all. The deputy mayor of Jerusalem has recently labeled the Palestinians “subhumans” and has recommended rounding them up and burying them alive. He is not alone in that viewpoint and, at a minimum, many government ministers believe that the best outcome of the Palestinian problem is to get rid of the Palestinians in Gaza and also on the West Bank completely, whatever that takes, to establish once and for all “Eretz” or Greater Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River and possibly even expanding into southern Lebanon and Egypt’s Sinai.

Israeli willingness to use bombs, starvation and even disease against the Palestinians in what is now being frequently referred to as a genocide has meant that the Jewish state’s list of friends around the world has shrunk dramatically and is limited to several European states and the US under self-declared Zionist President Joe Biden. A UN Security Council motion calling for a ceasefire was blocked by a US veto even though the ten other council members voted for it with one abstention by the UK. A subsequent call for a ceasefire, ignored by Israel, obtained 153 “Yes” votes in the UN General Assembly against 10 “Nos” two of which were Israel and the United States plus US “freely associated” micro-states Micronesia and Palau which always align with Washington. And even in those mostly European countries nominally supporting Israel’s attacks in Gaza, there have been large demonstrations supporting the Palestinians. As the death toll among civilians approaches and almost certainly has already exceeded 20,000, many governments have begun to hedge their bets and wobble in their assertions that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Defense does not apparently include targeting hospitals, schools, churches and apartment buildings full of fearful civilians seeking shelter from the explosions. Even Joe Biden is calling for restraint in the “indiscriminate” bombing though he is also expediting providing the Israelis with more bombs to do the killing.

As the crisis in Gaza worsened, the UN responded with yet another Security Council resolution, which was introduced by the United Arab Emirates on December 18th. The vote was subsequently delayed three times until the 21st primarily to allow time for debate over the exact wording so as to make it acceptable to the United States in order to avoid another veto by Washington. Cynics have been quick to observe quite plausibly that the Biden Administration is seeking to vote in favor of or abstain on a document that is completely toothless, allowing Israel to do whatever it wants, as is usually the case. The vote on “urgent humanitarian pauses” was expected on Thursday December 21st, but the US again forced a delay for further discussion after aligning its position with that of Israel and claiming, falsely, that UN involvement in the monitoring of assistance would actually slow down relief efforts.

Israel had previously insisted, with US support, that UN direct involvement in monitoring and coordinating the massive humanitarian effort needed to help the Gazans should not be permitted. Israel demanded that only it should be responsible for inspecting incoming goods for “threats,” which, as the Jewish state is a party to the conflict, will itself inevitably and intentionally slow down assistance dramatically and will result in many unnecessary deaths. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also objected to the possibility that some wording in the resolution might suggest transformation of the “pause” into a lengthy ceasefire rather than a temporary “suspension” of hostilities with fighting resuming after a short period. Netanyahu has vowed that the military action will continue until all Hamas leaders and followers have surrendered or are dead. He is also demanding the immediate release of all Israeli hostages as a sine qua non for further deliberations on what might come next.

More important to Americans than dishonest parliamentary maneuvers at the UN should be the fact that defending Israel has meant that there is underway a wholesale assault on the First and Fourth Amendments of the Bill of Rights relating to freedom of speech and association. The attacks are being conducted by the Israeli Lobby and its assets and allies in both of the major political parties, the mainstream news media, Zionist-dominated American social media, and the American National Security apparatus. This has distorted what has happened in Gaza and why by turning the narrative of the conflict into a totally false bit of propaganda claiming alleged Arab terrorism and irredentism directed against the poor Jewish Israelis, who are once again serving as the featured victims. In America, universities are being described as hotbeds of surging antisemitism because students are protesting against Israel’s ethnic cleansing in Gaza while the heavily Jewish-influenced media and Jewish billionaires are working overtime to do whatever it takes to block any and all such criticism. Interestingly, the drive to ban or shut down protests and gatherings has had some major success directed against Arab or Muslim groups in a number of states with no Jewish groups on campus or in the community being interfered with in spite of their often robust support of Israel’s killing spree in Gaza.

The interference of Israel in both American domestic and foreign politics will only get worse in the upcoming year due to national elections. A number of Jewish groups are currently raising money and organizing to go after critics of Israel more aggressively, most particularly the few progressives in the Democratic Party who have spoken up about the genocide of the Palestinians that is taking place. Since the Israel Lobby already controls the White House, its aim is to make the Congress a 100% loyal cheerleader and protector of Israel and all its works, to include the continuing flow of billions of taxpayer dollars annually. Some major American Jewish organizations have, for example, just launched “The 10/7 Project” which will feature centralized communications to promote bipartisan support of Israel. “The 10/7 Project” will be sponsored and managed by the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish committee explained “The 10/7 Project’s” purpose, saying that “Since October 7, there has been a concerted and consistent effort from Israel’s enemies to draw a false and dangerous equivalence between Hamas’ deadly rampage to destroy the Jewish state and Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists. ‘The 10/7 Project’ will be a trusted and timely source of accurate information to set the record straight and combat false narratives perpetuated by Hamas terrorists and their anti-Israel allies… At this critical juncture, it is imperative that we separate fact from fiction regarding America’s most important Middle East ally and remind people that the vast majority of Americans understand that Hamas is our common enemy.”

What Deutch is really saying between the lies and misinformation is that there will be a well-funded and staffed effort to stifle criticism of Israel’s slaughter of the Palestinians using a narrative that portrays the Israelis as victims of Arab terror, an assertion which might well be described as Zionist propaganda and fact twisting. The attacks on free speech at universities will definitely be on the agenda, in a campaign that started several months ago, when students at a number of public and private universities began protesting over Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians, leading to a death toll that is almost certainly currently approaching or exceeding 20,000 when all the corpses are dug up from the rubble of bombed buildings.

As the anti-Palestinian narrative took shape in political, media and Zionist circles, it adopted a familiar line, which goes something like this though with slight adjustments to reach target audiences: Israel is the Jewish state. If you criticize the Jewish state and/or Zionism you are therefore by the definition accepted by the US government State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism an antisemite. Antisemitism is a “hate crime” since it is by the same logic based on hatred of Jews. If you advocate or argue for any Palestinian group like Hamas, which the US government has conveniently labeled “terrorist” even though it has never threatened Americans, you are providing “material assistance to terrorism” which is a crime for which you can be fined or imprisoned. The end result is that Israel, which is immune from the consequences of its own actions internationally, also increasingly cannot be criticized at all without serious consequences for the critic, which have included posting the names of protesting students on lists of alleged antisemites so they will be unable to find work after they graduate. In other words, freedom of speech in the United States and also in some European countries including France and Germany only exists, insofar as it does, if you are not disparaging Israel or even its friends due to their easily demonstrable “war criminal” behavior.

Some of those consequences of not rolling over for the Israel Lobby were experienced recently by three presidents of prominent American universities, responding to a congressional December 7th grilling that was set up to address concerns over allegations that colleges are hotbeds of antisemitism and are responsible for major increases in incidents targeting Jews. The presidents of the University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill, Harvard Claudine Gay and MIT Sally Kornbluth were grilled by Congress but were afterwards trashed because they were unwilling to agree with the congressional interrogators that Jews were being terrorized on campus, observing that words must have a physically threatening or harassing “context” if they are to be banned or blocked.

The responses of the three women suggesting that speech should remain free on campus were found to be unacceptable by Congress and the largely Zionist media. Magill has since resigned, joined by the chairman of the university board of trustees Scott Bok, who was immediately replaced by Julie Beren Platt, head of the Jewish Federations of North America, who has been named interim board chair. But politicians joined by prominent commentators and philanthropists still continue to call for the others to resign as well, though Harvard’s Gay has received a vote of confidence from her board and also from faculty and students. Many major Jewish donors have coupled those “calls” with threats that their multi-million dollar gifts would be withdrawn if the presidents stay on. In one example, Penn lost a $100 million donation from Ross Stevens, who pulled it after the hearing. Those seeking to punish appear to be undeterred by the fact that their actions have already sparked discussions about unacceptable levels of Jewish power, often including the observation how promise of money or denying it is used as an instrument to obtain what Israel and its Lobby want.

There is a certain irony in the allegations since Jews in America are the wealthiest, best educated, most politically powerful, most prestigiously employed and most protected by Homeland Security of all ethno-religious demographics. And there is not much real evidence that Jews are in any way increasingly “victims” in the United States or in Europe. The antisemitic incidents that are “surging” are frequently based on criticisms of what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians and often consist of a Jewish college student being offended or annoyed by a poster or a speaker criticizing Israeli behavior. Instances of actual physical confrontation are few and far between and are immediately reported in the accommodating mainstream media to heighten the sense that Jews in America and even worldwide are threatened. Certain groups like the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are heavily into the promotion of the narrative of Jew hatred as it is in their bottom line to do so given their donor base which likes to hear exactly that.

In other words, what one reads and hears about “surging antisemitism” is largely a contrivance to obtain political and economic benefits as well as a free pass on bad behavior both by Israel and domestically that might not otherwise be forthcoming. And it should be noted in passing that the Israel Lobby groups have somehow avoided registering with the Department of Justice, as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, which would require them to maintain transparency over their funding and political activity. The last American president who tried to register what became the Israel Lobby and also sought to stop Israel’s illegal secret nuclear weapons program was John F. Kennedy. Some suspect that Israeli interests might have played a part in his assassination as a result.

Some congressmen have been particularly incensed by student pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanting “Intifada” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” interpreting both expressions being calls for the destruction of Israel, which they are not. Intifada is “shaking off” in Arabic and is a call for liberating the Palestinian people and their land from the Israeli tyranny. The “river to sea” is somewhat similar, a call for a Palestinian state with actual sovereignty and neither is an explicit call for killing Israelis or Jews. They might be considered generic cries for freedom.

But the real mystery in this is why is it happening at all? Jews are supposed to be smart but is it smart to reveal how much power you have, particularly when you are prepared to wield it ruthlessly to suppress people who just might begin to wonder if there is something going on that is being deliberately contrived to benefit a tiny percentage of the US population and a foreign government? And if that kind of thinking catches on, which I believe it already has, there might be serious discussions of ways to counter the efforts to limit free speech and association for citizens who are not comfortable with the way Israel behaves and the way the US Israel Lobby silences critics. Instead of trying to criminalize what people are thinking, wouldn’t it be smarter and even more ethical for American Jews to call on Israel to stop the killing and work out some formula that allows the Palestinians at least a modicum of self-government and freedom? That would seem to make sense and many Jews in the US are actually making that argument. The problem is to also convince the hard core and well financed Jewish groups that support Israel no matter who it has to kill that learning to live together with equal rights is the way to go. And then we must convince the know nothings in the Biden Administration and idiots in Congress like Senator Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio…

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

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