Saturday, September 2, 2006

When Criticism of Cluster Bombs is "Anti-Semitic"

Blanket Immunity from War Crimes


"The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reports that the head of Germany's Jewish community accused a minister in Angela Merkel's German government of "anti-Semitism" because of the minister's statement on Israel's use of cluster bombs. Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had asked for a United Nations probe into Israel's use of cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.

It was known that in the last days of the war the Israeli army was engaged in a desperate attempt to have some "victory" and rushed troops here and there in an attempt to have a photo shoot near the Litani River. What was not known until now was the blind spite that sowed the ground of South Lebanon with a massive number of bomblets.

Responding to a report by Human Rights Watch charging Israel with war crimes in its conduct of the war in Lebanon that was written by its director Kenneth Roth, Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel has called Roth "loathsome." An editorial in the New York Sun accused Roth of "de-legitimization of Judaism" because his group condemned Israel's strategy as "an eye for an eye." The fact that Kenneth Roth is Jewish and his father fled Nazi Germany makes no difference to the Ultras. If you do not support Israel 110% you are a Jew-hater, a renegade, a self-hater, and a holocaust denier. Get it?

In a very encouraging development hundreds of U.S. Jews are calling for strong measures to be taken against the Israeli government including a cut off of U.S. aid and U.N. sanctions. Over 800 have signed the statement calling for "U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples of the Middle East". It states "we are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the United States who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Gaza and Lebanon". It includes the statement, "There is no Jewish safety in a country that rehearses the violence and persecution which Ashkenazi Jews experienced for centuries through the annihilation of the Palestinian people and their homeland." The signers are collecting money for a full page in the New York Times and are just $800 away from their goal. The petition can be found at

It was after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon that U.S. Jews in significant numbers began open and trenchant criticisms of Israel. Chomsky's watershed "The Fateful Triangle" was published that year. Hopefully there will be even bigger shows of outrage this time around."

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