Friday, October 12, 2012

HP Returns to College to Find Israel Hater

The Huffington Post will publish any college student no matter how unqualified as long as they will write something anti-Israel. We covered already the blog posts of Louie Dane and Matthew Schneider, and now a third college student has made it to the Huffington Post. His name is Mike Shammas and he's, according to his bio, a "Trinity senior at Duke University." His article is titled "No, I Love Israel More," and the Huffington Post loved it so much it made the headline its top Israel article:

Let's take a look, shall we?

Shammas leads off with a criticism of PM Netanyahu (really courageous stuff) and a reminder about all the things the United States does for Israel (grants, intelligence, etc.). Apparently, Shammas doesn't like Netanyahu's "suggestion" that President Obama could do more of Israel. So he responds with this paragraph:
"This raises two questions: First, how much are we expected to give? Second, has Israel taken American support for granted? The answer to the latter question is yes. And the reason is simple: In the United States, you cannot criticize Israel and still hold public office. To criticize Israeli policy is to commit political suicide. Netanyahu knows this, and as a shrewd politician it is only natural that he is taking advantage of it."
Immediately, right out of the gate, Shammas agrees with anti-Semitic reporter Helen Thomas, who echoed his claim that "you cannot criticize Israel and hold public office." Forget the fact that it's not true, Obama for example criticizes Israel over settlements and is still President. That statement, devoid of explanation, implies that the Elders of Zion control the US government and snuff out dissent. But it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that a college student would take the easy, and bigoted, explanation for US support for Israel over the more accurate, if confusing for Israel haters, explanation. After all actually learning about the issues is hard, and who has time for that?

Next, Shammas moves on to whining about the election:
"No doubt, Israel will feature heavily in the Oct. 22 foreign policy debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. As in previous debates, the candidates will strive to surpass one another on two criteria. First, who can bash China the most? And, second, who loves Israel more? For many, whoever scores highest on these scales will be the "winner."
What a tragedy."
An intelligent, honest blog writer would look to the recent Foreign Policy poll which stated that 70% of Americans view Israel "favorably." I can't think of any other issue that Americans are so united on. Presidents represent their electorates, and if you're running for public office and 70% of your electorate likes something, you would be an idiot to oppose that something. Apparently, Mr. Shammas considers presidential candidates representing their people's wishes to be a "tragedy."

But here we come to the heart of the matter, why American support for Israel is such a bad thing:
"The greatest tragedy of this all-or-nothing support for Israeli policies is that it hurts Israelis, Palestinians and Americans by delaying a solution to the Israel-Palestine problem. Like our national debt, social security and tax reform, the proverbial can is kicked down the road because the risks of picking the battered thing up and actually examining it are too large. Even though very large numbers of American Jews do not support the continued construction of settlements on Palestinian land, or the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, there is a false perception in the U.S. that to even talk about these issues is to be "anti-Israel" or even anti-Semitic."
 As I said earlier, President Obama criticized Israel's construction of settlements. So much for "all or nothing support of Israeli policies." I don't feel like I even need to say that settlements aren't on Palestinian land and that the only delay to the solution to the I/P conflict is the Palestinians. Those things should be obvious to anyone reading this blog by now. It certainly appears that Shammas goes to the settlements because (once again) they are easy to criticize and don't require any actual thinking.

Shammas continues his whining:
"Thus, although current Israeli President Shimon Peres can call for "territorial compromise" with Palestinians, and can even say things like "the settlements must be evacuated; the [Israeli] settlers cannot remain," our own president must remain silent on such issues or risk political suicide. The irony is palpable.
Israel is an important and valued ally. It faces a great number of threats, and like any good ally we should work to neutralize those threats. But precisely because we are allies, we should not hesitate to point our problems. We certainly should not allow our president to be bullied by a foreign leader."
 Again, I already pointed out how President Obama criticized settlement construction, Shammas repeating lies over and over again don't make them magically come true. But Mr. Shammas is right, the irony is palpable. Apparently our president can tell Israel how to handle its conflict with the Palestinians, but any pushback from Netanyahu is "bullying." Poor President Obama, head of the most powerful country on Earth! How could he possibly stand up to mean old Israel?

So the standard anti-Israel talking points, tinged with anti-Semitism, long on rhetoric, short on facts. I would say Mr. Shammas should stay in school, but I have a feel that's exactly where he's learning these things. What a "tragedy."

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