The New York Times Editorial Board, so often an apologist for Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinians, opined (August 15, 2019) that Trump’s and Netanyahu’s actions denying two U.S. Congresswomen the opportunity to visit Israel-Palestine was a sign of weakness.
There are not many traditions of decorum that President Trump has not trampled on since entering the White House. But to put at risk, so cynically, America’s special relationship with Israel solely to titillate the bigots in his base, to lean so crassly on a foreign leader to punish his own political adversaries, to demonstrate so foul a lack of respect for the most elemental democratic principles, is new territory even for him.
“America’s special relationship with Israel” translates to $3+ Billion every year from US taxpayers to Israel; an unquestioning veto at the UN Security Council to prevent any measure critical of Israel’s occupation; a willful blindness to the undemocratic, apartheid state that flaunts its “successes” while shielding from public view its grotesque human rights violations; a mindless deference to Israel’s hasbara and security mantra; and a chilling indifference to the suffering, killing and dehumanization of the Palestinians barely surviving under Israel’s military occupation. The N.Y. Times Editorial Board asks: “What are Trump and Netanyahu afraid of?” My answer is simple.
Anyone who has lived, worked, volunteered or spent any bit of time with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem, or the occupied Gaza Strip knows that the State of Israel has been wildly successful at spinning a righteous tale of its victimhood, its struggle for survival and security in a “dangerous neighborhood,” and its “peace-loving” liberal values.
The State of Israel has succeeded in creating this mirage by carefully pushing its hasbara (promoting its version of the facts) to the exclusion of contrary facts which undermine Israel’s preferred reality. And the New York Times, as well as some other western media, have been complicit in this charade.
Israel has also succeeded in keeping the U.S. Congress duped by indoctrinating them into Israel’s version of the facts with carefully orchestrated junkets to Israel that highlight the “special relationship” between our two countries; by keeping AIPAC (Israel’s Washington lobbyist) in the offices of freshman members of Congress so they are honed to the “correct path” from the beginning; and by unseating those members of Congress who won’t follow AIPAC’s direction. (Read about former Congressman Paul Finley who died August 9, 2019).
There are so many examples, books could and have been written about it. My first education about the myths and propaganda came from one of the new Israeli historians, Professor Ilan Pappe, which I wrote about here.
My correspondence with the editors of the New York Times in 2016 is one small example of trying to break through Israel’s alternative reality. When the editors refused to label the Gaza Strip as “occupied” territory, I challenged them. I wrote about it here. After several communications back and forth, my query finally ended up in the deep, dark hole within the bowels of the New York Times. Even the Democratic National Committee has apoplexy with the term “occupation”, as I wrote about here.
The four congresswomen — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — the “Squad” as they’re known on Capitol Hill — are a threat to anyone who fears the truth. They’re challenging the powerful lobbyists, the accepted orthodoxy of the Democratic Party, and even the State of Israel’s hasbara.
I can only imagine that the New York Times Editorial Board must be sniffing the same scent that the Emperor who wore no clothes sniffed when it began to dawn on him that his reality didn’t match what everyone around him knew.