Blumenthal opens his article with a half-truth, no surprise there:
"Four days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to place thousands of migrant workers from Africa and Southeast Asia in a prison camp deep in the Negev Desert because, as he claimed, they pose a "threat to the character of [the] country,...."If you actually go to that link you will find that there are no plans for anything, the Israeli cabinet is voting on a proposal. It is a housing facility for illegal immigrants, the kinds of which already exist in Australia, the Netherlands and Italy (not exactly known for their problems with illegal immigration). But of course ol' Mr. Blumenthal can't help himself from spinning the facility into a "prison camp" and a vote into "plans to build." And yes, it only gets worse from there.
After cursorily describing the Carmel fire, Blumenthal mentions that it "lays bare the myths of Israel's foundation," whatever the heck that means, though I'm sure he'll get to it later. But then I thought that his line from the third paragraph was informative:
"Israelis are treating the fire as one of their greatest tragedies in recent years."I find the phrasing here to be interesting. Is Mr. Blumenthal saying that the fire is not one of Israel's greatest tragedies, which seems to be imply that they should not be treating it as one? After all, who would disagree with that label of the fire? Is he saying that it is not that big of a deal, or that something else should be considered more tragic? Or is he is saying that Israel is exploiting the fire for gain, rather like he is doing with this article? I'm not sure of any of this but I thought it was a little odd.
In the next couple of paragraphs he makes statements that I take no issue with: Namely that Israel dropped the ball massively in this situation and should be criticized for it, and lasting changes ought to be made. But then like many of Israel's critics, he tries to make a mountain out of a molehill and bites off more than he can chew.
I'm referring to this section here:
"Israel is a wealthy country which boasts to the world about its innovative spirit -- its US-based lobbyists market it as a "Start-Up Nation" -- but its performance during the forest fire revealed the sad truth: its government has prioritized offensive military capacity and occupation maintenance so extensively that it has completely neglected the country's infrastructure, emergency preparedness and most of all, the general welfare of its citizens."Classic anti-Zionist behavior here: Take an inch and try to stretch it until it becomes a mile. Israel has external enemies that have killed more Israelis in the last decade than fires, and I find it difficult to believe that any other government in their situation would have done anything different. Furthermore, every nation no matter how wealthy on occasion finds itself losing ground to mother nature. Does anyone remember the Gulf oil spill? How about Hurricane Katrina? The effects of which are still being felt today, and that is America that we are talking about! Israel may be wealthy but it still isn't in the G20. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Blumenthal would not try to make the case that America's government has "completely neglected the country's infrastructure and the general welfare of its citizens" just because they were struggling to deal with Katrina and the BP spill. Unless he has some kind of fact sheet to back up his words about the Israeli government's failings in which case I will rescind my comments. But I don't think he does.
The rest of this article, as you might expect, has absolutely nothing to do with the fire or Israel's preparedness for it. It is just another really long rehashing of the Palestinian narrative of 1948, completely with interviews with the eeevil Israelis and the noble innocent "Palestinians" (aka Israeli Arabs). Mr. Blumenthal does his usual spinning in which he declares that Israel not teaching "the Nakba" is silencing an honest Palestinian and a proposed law by guess who means Israel is "in the process of criminalizing [the Palestinian narrative]."
Eventually, of course, he does get back to the fire but as I mentioned before, only to viciously exploit it against Israel:
"The pine trees themselves were instruments of concealment, strategically planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) on the sites of the hundreds of Palestinian villages the Zionist militias evacuated and destroyed in 1948. With forests sprouting up where towns once stood, those who had been expelled would have nothing to come back to."Sure, okay. Everything those Israeli Jews has a machination against the Palestinians, right Mr. Blumenthal? The thing is: Even if this is completely true, it is still incredible tacky for Mr. Blumenthal to be writing it (and the Huffington Post for publishing it) before the bodies have even finished cooling. It would be like writing a recap of Haiti's dirty laundry within 48 hours of the earthquake there.
And of course there is the usual turning to the issues with Bedouin Arabs, which are Blumethalled into "ethnic cleansing," and misplaced accusations (without evidence) that Israeli lawmakers are racist and are calling for "the Arab" who burned the forest down. All in all, it is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the guy whose self-proclaimed mission in life is to try and convince the world that Jews are racist. Sorry that the recap is cut short, but feel free to take a look at the article and point out anything I might have missed. By the way, the moderation on that article is locked down tighter than a snare drum, it's been up for hours and only one comment has gotten through. Can't imagine why.