Thursday, December 22, 2011

Josh Ruebner's Obvious Agenda

There are three kinds of anti-Zionists: Those who try and pretend that they don't have anything against Israel, but merely are devoted to some cause which comes into conflict with Israel. Often they pretend to care about "human rights" or "democracy" or "freedom," or the even so common cause: "my tax dollars." Then there are those who come right out and admit that they have an ax to grind against Israel. They generally claim their motivations are personal, such as that they are Palestinians who have been mistreated by Israel in the past, or Jews with bleeding hearts. And then finally we have the third, which in my opinion are the lowest kind. These are the people who pretend to be the first kind of anti-Zionist but really are the second. These sorts of anti-Zionist pretend that their interests are humanitarian or moral but it doesn't take long at all before their true colors come out.

Some of them certainly hide it better than others, and Josh Ruebner does not hide it well at all. We can see right at the top of the page that his title is Advocacy Director (aka Head Propagandist) for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. I like these guys, because they are honest, i.e. they admit that they don't want peace only a weakening of Israel. The same cannot be said of Ruenber, however. Listen to how quickly he goes to the lowest common denominator, pretending to actually care about American livelihoods:
"With the annual average $3 billion appropriation of U.S. military aid to Israel, the United States could provide instead each year 350,000 low-income families with affordable housing, or 500,000 unemployed workers with green jobs training, or 900,000 at-risk youth with early reading education, or 24 million uninsured people with access to primary health care, according to, a project of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation."
Did you notice how he advertised for his own organization there at the end? You'd better get used to it because he does it the entire article, including referencing himself to backup his own claims. Very typical anti-Zionist behavior. As for this article itself, it's nothing we haven't seen before it but it remains dishonest in two ways:

First of all, I'm not sure if Ruebner has noticed but the American government does not very often go around handing out large (i.e. in the billions) sums of money. And if they do it's usually to bail out banks and automakers, not pet left-wing causes designed to make gullible Huffington Post readers swoon. So really Ruebner has no proof at all that should aid to Israel end hundreds of thousands of at risk youth will suddenly be handed education programs. That doesn't stop him from implying it, though. Hey if he were honest he never would have gotten where he is today.

Secondly is the fact that even if he is right, and that America does in fact need the money at home more than abroad, why does Israel alone need to be cut off? Again, Ruebner probably doesn't know this, but we give almost as much money to Egypt every year as we do to Israel, along with millions of dollars to other Arab nations that (unlike Israel) hate us and want us dead. So go on Mr. "Pro-America," explain to me why we have to keep financing the Arabs (and by extension your organization) and not Israel. Don't worry, he's actually going to try...eventually. First he has to whine about the aid some more.

Having finished skipping over the dollar amounts, we can finally get somewhere with another unsubstantiated conspiracy theory type claim from our local "advocacy director:"
"Questioning military aid to Israel has long been a taboo topic in U.S. politics, a third rail issue even more electric than abortion and guns. Led by a cadre of Congressional true believers and backed by the fearsome power of the Israel lobby to reward acquiescence and punish deviance, Congress has, for the most part, unquestioningly toed the line that saturating Israel with weapons will conjure up peace."
We actually see this a lot. Military aid to Israel is not a "taboo topic," it's just that all Americans feel the same way so why discuss it? A clear majority of Americans support Israel and want to continue American aid to it so why should politicians lose votes reason other than to make Josh Ruebner happy? Isn't that little easier to believe than a tiny country can somehow blackmail the most powerful nation on earth to give money against its own interests? But oh right, I forgot that it's one of the staples of anti-Zionist rhetoric that one must blame the lobby rather than face one's own lack of popularity. That's to be expected at this point, but since every time someone says it it becomes less believable, I say go right ahead.

Next we get a rare admission of truth from Ruebner:
"From 2000-2009, the United States gave Israel more than $24 billion in military aid, from which the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered more than 670 million weapons valued at nearly $19 billion. (The remaining money was gobbled up by Israel's own weapons industry due to a unique budgetary provision that allows Israel to spend up to 26 percent of its U.S. military aid domestically.)"
Now this sounds kind of confusing (probably intentionally) because it sounds like America gave Israel aid and 600 million weapons. But no, what really happened was that Israel took the aid and spent it on American products and jobs, and kept $5 billion of it. Which means that 19 of the 24 went back to those American causes that Josh Ruebner pretends to love so very very much. Finally we get to the meat of his argument, and where the dishonesty begins:
"During this same period, Israel killed at least 2,969 unarmed Palestinian civilians, according to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, while enforcing its illegal 44-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. "
Obviously we don't have to go over how there's nothing illegal about Israel's occupation. No, the dishonest here is in Ruebner source, which is his own organization. If you follow the footnotes trail it will eventually take you back to B'tselem, where that claim that that number of Palestinians were designated as:
"Did not take part in the hostilities - These are persons who were not participating directly in hostilities at the time they were killed."
That's a much more vague definition than what Ruebner wrote in his article, and he must be aware of it. What this means is that if a senior leader of Hamas was taking a ride in the car with three of his lieutenants, and Israel blew up the car, his lieutenants would fall under this category. What B'tselem calls "did not take part," and what Reubner calls "unarmed civilians." You can make the case that B'tselem's definition is too vague to make statements, but I'm no the one drawing conclusions and use them as a source: Ruebner is.

Secondly of course is that Americans must feel responsibility for the Palestinians killed by Israel, but not Palestinians killed by other Palestinians or Israelis killed by Palestinians or Americans killed by Palestinians or Arabs killed by other Arabs, all of whom we finance in the exact same way. Clearly Mr. Ruebner's conscience is very specific: He only feels guilty for the crimes of Israelis. Palestinians, as usual, get a free pass to kill as much as they like with nary a peep from "Mr. America" here. He is hardly the first one to take up this hypocritical standard.

Let's finish this up, as Mr. Ruebner finally comes clean and admits that he really doesn't care about America, or American people, just wants Israel to do what he says:
"Israel's impending loss of $250 million per year in military aid should also open up a conversation about ending all U.S. military to Israel at least until it complies with its obligations under international law to end its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory."
So what was all that about how America couldn't afford the aid? I guess all that is forgotten: As long as Israel "ends the occupation" (there's that magic phrase again) Ruebner really couldn't care less about the aid, thus discrediting the whole article. Has an agenda ever been so obvious?


  1. Actually there are only two kinds of anti zionists

    There are those who oppose all types of racist ideologies

    And then there is a smaller group which has a particular disliking for jewish racism. Kind of like your stance on Islam. Why they have picked out one racist religious ideology to hate more than the others is not always clear. You should perhapsd examine why you believe the things you do

  2. My friends and I are having such a good time on Facebook at the expense of your post. It's really pretty hilarious. Check it out:

  3. Zach, could I please have my own tag? I'd be honored! I feel jealous that my friend M.J. has a tag and I don't.

  4. How nice to see that you have struck a nerve, Zach. I am enjoying the Schadenfreude.

  5. Hi Josh,

    I'd like to welcome you to HPM and thank you for the free publicity. It's always appreciated. That being said, is there anything in the post that you would like to discuss or debate about? Perhaps provide a source for your "3,000 dead unarmed Palestinian civilians" claim? I'd love to have a conversation with you about this. Or would you prefer to behave like a professional internet troll? Please let me know and have a pleasant day.



  6. So Josh has no problem discussing this on FB with his buddies or making hit and run comments here, but when people pose legitimate questions and raise serious concerns in the comment section of his article...?

    One solitary response and no followup.
    "What exactly about my piece do you consider propaganda­? Can you cite any factual inaccuraci­es? Just curious--a­lways looking to improve my writing. "

    And when that question was answered...silence.

    A little funny that his interest was in "improving" his writing, not correcting factual errors.

  7. I don't understand why Josh's focus on U.S. Policy in Israel is hypocritical just because the U.S. also has foreign policy in other countries, be they Arab or not. He has focused on this one area that he has deep knowledge about and for which he advocates. I don't seem him passin judgement or making statements one way or the other on U.S. Policies in other Arab countries, so why bring that into the mix? It's not hypocrisy, it's just drawing attention to one particular area of U.S. foreign policy that Americans should know about.

  8. Anonymous,

    Josh's position is head advocate for an anti-Israel organization. Therefore it goes without saying that everything he does and says is for the express purpose of weakening Israel.

    So when in the beginning of his article he gives us the ol, "think of the poor suffering American children," he is being disingenuous. Because he really doesn't care about American children, otherwise he would be part of an organization that helped them. What he wants is to take away money from Israel (and only Israel), and he doesn't care where it goes. Maybe it will go to the poor suffering American children, but then again maybe not. He doesn't care. It's not his job to care.

    Now for the matter of the Arab countries, Josh is again being disingenuous. As I explained in the blog post, he wants us to feel sympathy for Arabs killed by Jews using American weapons, but not Arabs killed by Arabs using Americans weapons. That's an anti-Jewish double standard that I disagree with, and because he tried to disguise his obvious agenda, it's hypocrisy.

  9. Josh's grandfather who survived the Holocaust and his other family members who perished must be looking down on him right now with such pride. I feel bad for Josh and hope he realizes the errors of his ways before years pass and he's just a lonely old man who spent his life denying himself and denying truth all in what appears to be an act to just make himself money. Sad. Just sad.


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