I Was Wrong About Israel

Occasionally, there are exchanges in the letters-to-the-editor section of our local newspaper concerning Palestine. The usual sequence of events begins with the publication of a letter either critical of Israel or supportive of the Palestinian people. Then one or more of our local hard-core Zionists weighs in with the usual talking points in defense of the indefensible crimes being committed by Israel. They launch ad hominem attacks on the writer, deny or ignore any factual assertions, then move on to accusations of anti-Semitism. Usually, they find it important to remind us that Palestinians, or “Arabs,” as Zionists often prefer to reference the indigenous population of Palestine, are all terrorists who hate Jews and want to destroy Israel.

We’re lucky to have a letters editor here in Santa Fe who doesn’t shy away from the subject of Zionism; our local paper is otherwise very conservative in its news coverage. I have never had a letter refused despite the fact that I speak plainly when expressing my views. There is a 150-word limit on letters to the editor and a thirty-day waiting period between letters from any individual, so I don’t waste time on subtleties.

It can be a tricky business though. Having to put the first foot forward leaves one open to vicious personal attacks and libel in response. The thirty-day waiting period makes it impossible to refute such attacks in a timely manner. Sometimes the outcome is encouraging, other times, not so much. Ya’ writes your letter and ya’ takes your chances, so to speak.

In March I wrote a letter pointing out the gross hypocrisy of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center building its $150 million Museum of Tolerance on top of an ancient Muslim cemetery, the Mamilla cemetery in Jerusalem. Several days later, there was not one, but four vitriolic responses published, each attacking me by name. I won’t go into detail about the Hasbara techniques employed in these letters, but it often seems there is a group of Zionists in Santa Fe who are getting their talking points from the same source or else are consulting with each other before writing responses.

In this case, though I can’t know for certain, I suspect that two of the four letter writers may have been coached by a third, more informed and skilled writer who is one of our well-known local Zionist fanatics. All four letters contained common talking points, but three of the four used strikingly similar language to claim the Museum of Tolerance is not being built over the ancient grave site but rather “adjacent to it.” This is patently false. The fact that the museum is being built on top of portions of the cemetery is not in dispute. But I presume the writers knew they had strength in numbers, so they decided to go for the Big Lie.

The effect was compelling. With three letters referring to me by name and appearing to refute the central fact in my commentary, uninformed readers were most likely convinced I was wrong in my assertion. Several acquaintances of mine contacted me to question the validity of my claim. I have to admit, after reading the letters, even I was momentarily taken aback and found myself asking, “Did I get this wrong?”

The fourth letter writer in the group, though she didn’t use the “adjacent to” lie, did compare me to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She also insisted I hate Jews, substantiating this claim by informing the reader that, “Everyone knows when non-Jews use the word Zionism it is secret code for anti-semitism.” No kidding. Secret code. She must use a magic-decoder ring to decipher the newspaper.

There are some supporters of Israel with whom one can at least engage in reasonable dialog. We should do so with as much respect and understanding as possible. Educating the misinformed is the most important work we do. But many pro-Zionist zealots have abandoned rational thought when it comes to Israel. They embrace a type of fanaticism which in essence is a new religion called Israelism. Any lie or any denial of the truth is justified, as long as it is in support of Israel. Defense of the Jewish state takes precedence over even the most basic concepts of human rights and social justice. Israel is a benign, infallible entity and the evil Arabs are to blame for any transgressions which may occur when Israel reluctantly exercises its “right to defend itself.”

In my view, these individuals deserve nothing from us but disdain. They should be rebuked and excluded from the conversation. Their sole objective is to derail the discussion whenever possible. We can’t counter their illogical assertions with any rational argument because they are extremists who have moved beyond reason. Hence, my use of terms such as “nut-balls” and “crazies” to refer to them. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit mean spirited, but really now, secret code words?

The next letter exchange which occurred involved the same alleged organizer of the previous campaign against me. I wrote a piece decrying the illegal siege of Gaza. It turns out I was wrong about a point of fact in my letter. Dang. One hates to be caught in an error by these loonies. But I have to fess up. I was relying on three different news sources when I stated that the recent shipment of clothing allowed into Gaza by Israel was the first such commercial shipment of clothing in three years.

Wrong! My Zionist foil discovered a Palestinian source, Paltrade, which did indeed substantiate that during the months of August, September and October of 2008, Israel allowed some commercial shipments of clothing to enter Gaza. Prompted by this revelation, I did additional research and discovered another source which suggested that a shipment was also allowed in during July of that same year. I stand corrected. How could I have been so ignorant of Israel’s largesse?

The irony is, by emphasizing the error in my letter, my nemesis actually reinforced the pertinent truth of the assertion: Israel prohibits commercial importation of clothing and shoes into Gaza on a regular basis. In his zeal to discredit me, he proved my point. Also, he did not address the information in my letter concerning other types of commodities which have been denied importation into Gaza in recent years including crayons, toys, books, fabric, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, musical instruments, sheets, blankets, mattresses, toilet paper, diapers and feminine hygiene products. Yes, toilet paper and tampons.

But to his credit, on this one point he is right and I was wrong. The recent garment shipments allowed into Gaza were not the first commercial shipments in three years. They were the first in a year and a half. Oh, those generous Israelis.

The more disturbing aspect of the writer’s pyrrhic victory is that his source, Paltrade, provides indisputable proof of the punishing scale of Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza. Reports at the Paltrade site include a litany of statistics which document the devastating impact the siege is having on the people of Gaza and their economy. Yet, faced with these appalling facts, the writer spent his time combing through reports of individual month’s imports, or lack thereof, to find references to the few commercial shipments of clothing which Israel has permitted. It’s as if he went digging through piles of corpses to find a few people left alive so he could shout, “Aha! See, we didn’t kill everyone.”

I regret not being more mindful of the facts in my letter, and I apologize for trusting sources which turned out to be flawed. We have to be careful not to create an echo chamber for misinformation in our efforts to awaken people to the nature of Zionism. Plus, we can ill afford to give these nut-balls any reason to discredit us. The letter writer in question is a wizard of obfuscation and misdirection and will always attempt to find a chink in the armor of reason and exploit it. But this obsession with finding any error, no matter how substantively irrelevant, in order to obscure the actual issues is as deeply disturbing as it is commonplace in pro-Zionists’ arguments.

So, without a doubt, I was wrong. Israel is far more generous than my letter suggested. Four months’ worth of clothing shipments in three years—where did the people of Gaza find room for such a luxurious surplus?

We should be grateful for the ever-vigilant Zionists in our midst who keep us honest. Without their principled obstructionism, we might actually be able to engage in constructive dialog about the crimes being committed by the rogue regime in Israel, not to mention the funding and political cover being provided for these crimes by the United States and much of the international community.

Such discussions might lead us to conclude that respect for human dignity and the rule of law should be a benchmark for the behavior of all nations. What a terrible threat that would be to Israel’s existence.

Joe Mowrey is an anti-war activist and an advocate for Palestinian rights. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his spouse and their three radical canines as well as the fifteen-year old anarchist cat, Mackabee who now has an antithetical feline roommate, Misha, the Velvet Fog. He can be reached at: joe@palestinetruthcoalition.com. Read other articles by Joe.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Gary S. Corseri said on May 4th, 2010 at 11:25am #

    Good work, Joe! Those Zionist letter-writers did you a favor: they spurred you to write this article for Dissident Voice, disseminating your message to a wider audience than Santa Fe’s local paper.

    You’re right about “Israelism” being a new religion that incorporates most of the prejudices of orthodox religions everywhere. Call it one-way thinking that brooks no counter-arguments. Add “Holocaustism” to “Israelism”–the sense of eternal victimhood and fear, and even paranoia, about all “Otherness”–add a huge nuclear arsenal and military establishment to a rogue state and one has a witches’ brew for past, present, and future disasters.

    It’s too bad the Ashkenazis can’t take a little pride in being Khazarians! Methinks they do protest too much in their zeal to find anti-semites hiding under every olive tree in the Middle East–and in every corner of the “civilized world.”! They seem so eager to be thought of as the original “People of the Book,” that they deny the Semitism–and the humanity–of the indisputably Semitic Palestinians! Quick!–call the Genealogy Police! Who are the real descendants of Abraham anyway? (And what has that got to do with a general respect for other sentient beings?)

    Speaking of “civilized.” I caught most of Ahmadinejad’s speech at the U.N. on Al Jazeera (one could hardly expect to find it on the U.S. Mainstream Media.) Representatives of Britain, France and, of course, the U.S. walked out before Mr. A. had barely begun to lament the fact that there are any nuclear weapons in the world–let alone the fact that the U.S. has more than 5100! Ahmadinejad used the words “disgusting” and “shameful” to characterize the violence and threats of violence that the terrorist states that have actually employed and have threatened to employ such devasting weapons have uneashed upon our hapless world. We don’t hear those words enough in the assemblies of nations! It is difficult to engage in “polite” discourse when describing the monstrosities in the human psyche.

    This August we get to contemplate the 65th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki–not for the sake of ending war in the Pacific, but for the establishment of American hegemony in Asia, and in much of the world since. Our fascination with these horrendous weapons also says much about the “religions” of this Age–the concentration and love of power and wealth in a resource-hungry, over-populated world where the popular media consistently obscure and dissimulate the real centers of established tyranny and State terror.

    Thank you for setting some of the record straight. There is so much work to do!

  2. hayate said on May 4th, 2010 at 12:01pm #

    Every media site has these zionist freaks sitting on it. It’s an obvious disruption/propaganda spamming campaign with “leaders” and “followers” providing the necessary echos. It’s also been going on a very long time. On the web, it’s the same thing, with the added dimension that many of these fanatics will use several different names to bolster their numbers effect and will also pretend to be progressives in order to attack some point, or person, on the site, from a seemingly “left” pov. On some sites, such as freerepublic or guardiantalk, these zionist fanatics are practically the only ones who stay around. The author did a good job laying out their tactics.

    “In my view, these individuals deserve nothing from us but disdain. They should be rebuked and excluded from the conversation. Their sole objective is to derail the discussion whenever possible. We can’t counter their illogical assertions with any rational argument because they are extremists who have moved beyond reason. Hence, my use of terms such as “nut-balls” and “crazies” to refer to them. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit mean spirited, but really now, secret code words?”

    Exactly. They should be excluded completely, from all mediums of discussion. In my opinion, these freaks are basically a modern version of “hitler youth”, who instead of bullying people at the street level, do this through swarming tactics by mail and on the web.

  3. robert emmet said on May 4th, 2010 at 2:08pm #


    As one involved in the polemics of the Palestine issue for decades I’ve finally learned that one is prudent to not waste one millisecond arguing with the pro-Israel types who engage in the trite verbiage that so characterizes this personality with their ongoing stale jingoism. With experience one learns to recognize them once the first sentence has exited their mouths and you’re immediately clued in that further engagement is utterly pointless. I’ve always got an ego boost realizing that I know when to immediately abort any further verbal contact with these low-lifes.

  4. bozh said on May 4th, 2010 at 3:33pm #

    r. emmet,
    u’r right ab ‘jewish’ trolls. I no longer read their posts. i also do not read most of the posts replyng to these people. Some ‘jews’ like chomsky, finkelstein, klein, zinn are zionists.
    They always write what they are against or what is happening but never divulge what they are for.
    Chomsky, eg, has jsut recently admitted to me that he’s against ROR and one state solution. On the other hand ‘jewish’ posters or writers like gilad atzmon are full of anger against other ‘jews’; but not on principle, but because other ‘jews’ were mean to them.
    That is not the wayto behave. I object to warfare on a apodictic [of necessary or absolutely certain] truth that no people have the right to attack another under any known circumstance.
    And i often repeat this necessary truth because new readers come along. The eternal lament serves a purpose but giving people sensation along with causation appears a better way to go! tnx

  5. hayate said on May 4th, 2010 at 8:06pm #

    bozh said on May 4th, 2010 at 3:33pm

    “On the other hand ‘jewish’ posters or writers like gilad atzmon are full of anger against other ‘jews’; but not on principle, but because other ‘jews’ were mean to them.”

    I don;’t get that impression reading what he writes about Jewish people. I have not read everything he’s written about Jews or his experiences among them, though. In what I have read, maybe 3-4 dozen pieces, he rants mostly about Jewish cultural behaviour and zionist sludge. What I’ve read where he’s a target, it’s mostly been about the arguments involved, and the usual zionist “self-hating Jew” slander bs. What any anti-zionist Jew experiences from these modern day hitler youth.

    On Jewish and zionist subjects, I find Atzmon very interesting, though on other subjects, I find him hit and miss.

  6. JE said on May 4th, 2010 at 9:45pm #

    Woah there Bozh… Gilad Atzmon is my boy. I”m half Jewish (actually Jewish by matrilineal descent) and I am a rabid anti-zionist and I hate a lot of aspects of Jewish Culture as well …does that make me bitter too?

    Here’s a little inside secret for you as well most Jews can’t stand each other…it’s just we’ve been so indoctrinated to believe the WHOLE WORLD is against us that we are kind of stuck with each other….

    Chomsky’s been in FAVOR of a two state solution for like the last 30 some years…where have you been? I don’t agree with hm but hey nobody is perfect. He also thinks the 9/11 truth movement is a complete waste of time…I don’t agree with that either.

  7. dino said on May 4th, 2010 at 11:20pm #

    But also Haaretz wrote that was for the first time after three years that shoes and clothes were allowed to entry in Gaza.
    When most of people say “Zionists” i believe that they really mean Jews because a great majority of Jews today support Israel’s policy today.In the same way Jews say how Christians persecuted them,and how Germans persecuted them.
    But what it is mean when is said “Muslim extremist” and often times is added :”as if exist Muslims not extremists”.This is not a critique to people who live today how is the term Zionist,but it is an accusation on a religion and culture.

  8. Rehmat said on May 5th, 2010 at 5:37am #

    PITY – with millions of dollars being spent each year to keep the Zionist myth alive – according to The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank Reut Institute’s report Eroding Israel’s Legitimacy in the International Arena, submitted to the Zionist government on Thursday, has warned that Israel is “facing a draumatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state (another Zionist myth). The groups promoting this delegitimacy aim to isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state“.

    Report: Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) is failing

  9. bozh said on May 5th, 2010 at 6:50am #

    As far as i know, gilad had not declared what he’s for. He also said he wld convert to islam. To me, that intent militates against what he says or what he accurately describes.
    Islam as a science 3 is as divisive as other major sciences. And not only that, but much anti-peasant-working classes. Thus, do not promote a union nor a greater equality among all nations or people.

    JE, u may be right that chomsky wrote or said 30 y ago that he’s for a two state solution. I read most of his books but don’t recall such a declaration. However, i do recall that he said in one of his books [once before i have supplied on DV the book and p.] that what is taken by war can only be gotten back by war.

    But this view or even fact is well known. In any case, he cldn’t have been that silly then to call for a two state solution in view of the fact that they can be only wroughth by war.

    Mind u, i didn’y say that every last ‘jew’ who criticizes israel is angry with some or most jews. Some have been hurt, molested by clergy, or what have u; thus, incessant dwelling on ‘jewish’ faults yet avoiding to declare the real intent or explain why such a behavior.
    We need such an explanation. I had not been molested by priests. I have been insulted once by a catholic priest. I find ?all clergy cold, rejectful, unfriendly, etc.
    Catholics and their priests have sided with nazis and italian fascists.

    If a person comes out as baptist, muslim, catholic, ‘jew’, then, i do not take such a person seriously.
    I lose interest in what they posit. I suggest one first in toto cast away science 1, 2, 3 and adopt science 4.
    Science 4 also works for creation of an idyllic society. Other sciences devalue not only humans but also nature and biota. tnx

  10. JE said on May 5th, 2010 at 4:45pm #


    You make some good points. I dunno for sure. I’m too lazy to look it up but I too have read most of Chomsky’s work and I know after he was on a kibbutz he was espousing a binational state but at some point around the 70’s changed his mind.

    I just know a lot of jews who are seemingly obsessed with justice yet are to big of cowards to address the injustices in their own community. It ties into Chomsky’s work well actually. Insteaad of the responsibility of intellectuals I think it’s the responsibility of Jewry to renounce and fight Zionism and really any kind of “ism or schism.”

  11. Misterioso said on May 5th, 2010 at 9:31pm #

    In the grand scheme of things Israel is an historical anachronism, a blip in history. It will drown in a sea of Arabs. No one knows this better than Israeli Jews.