Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Rage of John Feffer

John Feffer is a veteran Huffington Post blogger who has published dozens of articles for them about all sorts of topics. Which only makes his latest article all the more puzzling, as I can only describe at as a screed that practically drips hatred for Israel, it's supporters, and the American government that dares to be allied with it. Like many Huffington Poster bloggers before and since he literally just starts throwing attacks at Israel hoping that at least one will land, and ignores any information that doesn't fit his prejudices. It's hard to know where to start because pretty much the whole thing is out of line, but I guess the beginning will work:
"The bully came to Washington. The American president told him in no uncertain terms that the United States would not support a military attack on Iran at this moment. The bully met with 13,000 of his U.S. supporters in an effort to pressure the White House. It didn’t work."
At least we know right from that the start that this is an article motivated by Mr. Feffer's prejudice and not by any kind of fact-based analysis. I don't really have much to say about this paragraph except to note that according to Mr. Feffer, the people who went to the AIPAC conference are supporters of Netanyahu, not the US-Israel relationship. Because if there is one tactic that's sure to win over people who disagree with you, it's the fabled ad hominem combined with a strawman.

He continues with talking about the Netanyahu visit, and nothing of interest shows up until we get here:
"During Netanyahu’s visit, the Obama administration reportedly offered Israel a package of advanced military technology, including bunker-busting bombs and long-range refueling planes, as long as it postponed any attacks on Iran until 2013. In other words, Obama wasn’t only buying time, he was bribing Israel to prevent the kind of October surprise -- or even July surprise -- that might derail his reelection bid."
Uh huh. Now assuming this is true (and I don't see why it wouldn't be) you'd think Obama would be the target of Mr. Feffers' rage, not Israel. But that isn't the case, as you will see in the next paragraph. His second complaint is the accusation of "bribery." America gives aid, weapons, food, etc, for all kinds of reasons. Do you remember when North Korea supposedly agreed to give up their nuclear program in exchange for food? Was Mr. Feffer there complaining about "bribery" then? How about when America made the biggest weapons deal in history with Saudi Arabia, selling $30 billion worth of weapons and vehicles? But when Israel gets involved, suddenly American aid becomes a "bribe." How fantastic. And in fact the bribery accusation is the main thrust of his article, see?
"Bribery is deeply embedded in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Half of all U.S. overseas military assistance, after all, goes to Israel. That’s $3 billion a year....[the rest of the paragraph goes on to describe U.S. aid to Israel.]"
I feel like we have discussed this issue before. But I'll just go with what I usually say: Is that America gives aid to many different countries (not to mention political, technological and diplomatic support) and sometimes uses it to their own advantage. Do you remember UNESCO? Maybe Mr. Feffer doesn't but I do. I don't think he would call that bribery though. He also might be inclined to mentioned where the other half of U.S. overseas military aid goes, and how well that works out for us. And of course if he were honest he might point out the Israeli technological advances that saves the lives of American soldiers and makes the lives of Americans easier. But you can't stop him now, he's rampaging.

Still I have to give him some credit. Most Israel haters wouldn't even characterize the US-Israeli relationship as a "bribe" because they delude themselves into thinking they don't get anything in return for our money. They instead choose to believe that Israel somehow tricks America into giving something for nothing, those tricky devil. Oh wait, sorry, Mr. Feffer believes that too:
"But with rare exceptions, the United States has not exercised this leverage. Israel, as I have argued elsewhere, is to the United States what North Korea is to China. These client states take everything from their putative benefactors except advice. Indifferent to international law, armed to the teeth, and isolated in their respective regions, Israel and North Korea dance to their own tune, however discordant it might be for everybody else."
There's no point in demonstrating how wrong this is. The haters of Israel always like to believe that Israel's only friend in the entire world is the USA but their trade with Europe increased greatly last year, leaving the "isolation" as just another talking point. As for international law, that's another HP unfunny joke, considering we give aid to Iraq, Egypt, and Afghanistan, not to mention the Palestinian Authority. Real bastions of international law those guys. At this point Mr. Feffer removes his mouth from the haterade bottle and turns instead to making assumptions:
"That Israel has been cutting its military spending -- an otherwise admirable decision -- means that the United States is increasingly picking up the slack. It also means that Israel, in theory, has increased its dependence on the Pentagon, which should translate into more U.S. political leverage over Israel."
Is that what it means, Mr. Feffer? After all you explained in your earlier paragraph that American aid to Israel is stable and will not change. Now, maybe if you had some kind of evidence that US aid is increasing in response to these military cutbacks (echoed by American military cutbacks I might add) then your point might make some kind of sense. If you didn't assume things it would really help you make your argument.

By the way, most Americans favor an end to US aid to Middle East countries. With the exception of Israel. So go ahead and defy the will of the American people, Mr. Feffer.

After quoting Peter Beinart, Mr. Feffer makes it clear that his antagonism toward Israel is not merely based on "my tax dollars" (like some of his Huffington Post friends) he just hates Israel in general:
"Increasingly, Israel has come under mainstream media criticism for its domestic human rights as well. It’s not just the ghastly treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. It’s not just the second-class citizenship accorded to non-Jews inside Israel proper. It’s also the rampant extremism that is rising like bile in the Israeli body politic. "
At this point he quotes the usual parade of extremist Israelis that have been used by dozens of bloggers before him before concluding:
"Obviously you don’t need to be living in Afghanistan or fighting with the Taliban to have an aggressively medieval approach to women and martyrs." 
What was that about generalizing people? Apparently Israel haters can't be racists, though they can be hypocrites, as we see a perfect example of reserve discrimination here. It's perfectly okay for the Saudis to force their women to wear dehumanizing clothing, but a single ultra-Orthodox guy says soldiers shouldn't listen to women sing and it's off to the races. The Palestinians can lock up atheists for expressing their point of view, but how dare Bibi Netanyahu's son say something racist on Facebook! And Mr. Feffer can't even use the my tax dollars escape hatch because some of the most repressive regimes on earth get aid and do business with America. But of course, they aren't Jewish. That's the only possible explanation I can find to the ridiculous double standard that Mr. Feffer is deploying here to bash Israel.

For time's sake let's finish up with (after complaining about North Korea some more) Mr. Feffer puffs out his chest and makes some demands:
"But honestly, when it comes to bribing Israel, we should at least be demanding our money’s worth -- no unilateral military strikes, no illegal settlements, no human rights abuses -- or else, as China has occasionally threatened to do with North Korea, we simply turn off the tap."
The whole paragraph is ridiculous, as he is demanding that Israel ethnically cleanse five hundred thousand people and not defend itself when attacked (as for Israel-haters everything is a "unilateral military strike). But the most humorous notion of all is "no human rights abuses." What a freaking joke. Can Mr. Feffer please name me one nation on earth that has no human rights abuses? How about one that's in a state of war? This hypocrisy is especially nauseating after the massacre in Afghanistan committed by his own American soldiers. Now is no better time to sit in judgment about someone else, right Mr. Feffer? I eagerly await your article on the subject that will probably never come.

But he can go ahead and make all the demands that he wants. The American government and the American people support aid to Israel and Israel's control over it's own destiny. And if he doesn't like that, he can stay on the fringes and in the Huffington Post where he belongs. I'm sure they'll be glad to have him.

3 comments:

  1. But if we openly-secretly control the entirety of the American government, then why would we have to ask? And since we control all the banks why do we need the money. But since we also control all media why is any of this even reported?

    Here's what I don't get about the Nazis and 'progressives' - if we Jews are at the heart of the 2000 year old deepest darkest secret in the history of people - why does everyone know about it?

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  2. I'm familiar with this Feffer fellow because he runs a blog called Foreign Policy in Focus. It received an enormous amount of mainstream attention between 2005-08 because its essential message--the U.S. is evil and anyone who opposes anything the U.S. does is wonderful and deserves our full support and/or benefit of the doubt--strongly resonated with people who abhorred President George W. Bush. To be fair to Feffer and FPIF, they have become more extreme in the face of Barack Obama's election and changing world events (kind of like the Haaretz of the Hard Left blog world), so it's not as if Feffer or anyone who writes for FPIF is either committed to liberal values or gets taken seriously outside of their own echo chamber.
    In short, I'm not that surprised the HP loves this drivel, nor that it has no real-world effects. Odd how those things correlate so often, isn't it?

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  3. Speaking of UNESCO, The Daily Show cancelled their own guest tonight and dedicated the entire show to Israel bashing over the subject of UNESCO.

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