Commentary Magazine

Maureen Dowd’s Repellent Slime

Maureen Dowd’s Repellent Slime
The debate about Israel’s demand for “red lines” relating to the Iranian nuclear threat was revelatory: It showed that many of those who criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeals care less about the danger Iran poses and more about the possibility of an Israeli response. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was just the most conspicuous of those who sought to demonize Netanyahu and American supporters of Israel for seeking some kind of limit to the Obama administration’s failed policy of reliance on dead-end diplomacy and loosely enforced sanctions.

That one of the Times’s star writers would be allowed to accuse prominent Jews of playing “puppet-master” to Republicans in order to give their fellow Jews room to “invade and bomb Israel’s neighbors” illustrates the way the “Israel Lobby” canard has been adopted by mainstream liberals. That some among the chattering classes are willing to promote such smears is an indication of how easily many on the left buy into anti-Israel conspiracy theories. When you combine that with the administration’s refusal to issue red lines that might help avoid the use of force, it’s no wonder that Iran believes it has little to worry about from the West.

Abbas at the United Nations
Some supporters of the moribund Middle East peace process looked to Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations in September for signs that the Palestinian Authority leader was willing to accept Israel’s legitimacy. And here’s what he did: Abbas said he did not wish to delegitimize any state. He also said the land he calls Palestine is home to three great faiths—a message that hasn’t gotten through to other branches of the PA, which routinely deny any connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel. But that was the extent of Abbas’s moderation. He repeated the usual litany of specious charges against Israel being a racist state and even offered the Orwellian claim that it promotes hatred in its schools. Israel’s curriculum requires peace education; it is the PA whose media and schools are a font of Jew-hatred. Meanwhile, Abbas’s regime continues to honor terrorists and give platforms to those who spread prejudice against Jews. His speech may have been encouraging those determined to believe against all the evidence in a Palestinian desire for peace. But the reality of the PA’s official stance of hatred is the enduring reality.

Still Attacking Gilad Shalit
It’s been over a year since Israel ransomed Gilad Shalit from five years of captivity at the hands of Hamas. But apparently, the Palestinians weren’t satisfied with forcing Israel to release hundreds of terrorists in exchange for Shalit’s freedom. Hamas and the Palestinian media, controlled by the PA, have condemned the Barcelona football club for inviting Shalit and three Palestinians to its Superclasico match against Real Madrid. The invitation has prompted a move to cancel the broadcast of the football club’s games in Gaza as well as a Palestinian news blackout on the matter. After all he has suffered and after all the Palestinians gained by that suffering, even Shalit is still demonized as a “murderer and a criminal” by the Palestinian media.

Bombs and Kippot in Sweden
Sweden has become a surprising font of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic prejudice and violence. The city of Malmo has emerged as the particular locus for anti-Semitism—to the point where Jews from around Scandinavia have been bussed in to take part in marches where they defy the security protocol, according to which Jews are advised never to wear their kippot except in synagogue or at home. The willingness of Jews to stand up for themselves in this manner is heartening, but the fact that they are forced into such measures is disgraceful.

That hateful environment was once again demonstrated in late September, when a bomb exploded at a Jewish Community Center in Malmo. Some 30 to 40 percent of its population is made up of first- and second-generation Muslim immigrants. But though the violence is blamed on Muslims, the Swedish mayor of the town, a Social Democrat named Ilmar Reepalu whose repugnant anti-Semitic statements have been condemned by Washington, bears some responsibility for them as well.

Quakers Wage War on Israel
The Quakers are famous for their opposition to war, but their vision of a peaceable kingdom does not extend to Israel. The American Friends Service Committee has long been a bulwark of Palestinian propaganda and anti-Israel incitement, and now Quakers are also taking part in the economic war against Israel. The Friends Fiduciary Corporation, which represents the investments of more than 250 Quaker communities and schools, has just divested from companies such as Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard due to their work on Israeli defense projects. Divestment and boycott measures are nothing short of economic warfare.

Professors Brag About Anti-Semitism
Academia has long been acknowledged as the one sector of American society where European-style hatred for Israel has taken hold. This alarming trend is not new but rarely have there been as many brazen examples of this sort of incitement as the ones shown on a video about Northeastern University. The film, which was produced by Americans for Peace and Tolerance, shows one Northeastern professor telling students to be proud of being called anti-Semites and shows how the school has helped inculcate hostility to Israel. While campus Israel-haters complain that exposure of their activities violates academic freedom, it is high time for universities like Northeastern to stop pretending that the promotion of lies about Israel has anything to do with higher education.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is senior online editor of COMMENTARY.

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