Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ira Chernus Lies His Way Through a Post

"Blogger" and professor of religious studies Iran Chernus has written another blog post for the Huffington Post, not about religion of course, but about Israel and America's relationship. He believes that Washington and "Jerusalem" (thank goodness for small favors) are heading towards a confrontation. And he's not unwilling to post numerous lies in order to get there. The blog post is very long, so I'm not going to go through the whole thing. I'm just going to quote the dishonest things he posted and fisk them. If you think they are out of context and I'm being unfair, just go through the link above to the original.

Lie #1: Who is to blame for the peace process failure?
"It’s true that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process appears dead in the water. No matter how much Barack Obama might have wanted that prize, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuffed him at every turn.  The president appears to have taken it on the chin, offering more than the usual support for Israel and in return getting kloom (as they say in Hebrew).  Nothing at all....

In the end, the U.S. had no success; the stronger resolution passed overwhelmingly. Israel promptly retaliated by announcing that it would build 3,000 additional housing units in various settlements on the West Bank. To make the response stronger, the Israeli government indicated that it would also make “preliminary zoning and planning preparations” for new Israeli settlements in the most contentious area of the West Bank, known as E1. Settlements there would virtually bisect the West Bank and complete a Jewish encirclement of Jerusalem, ending any hope for a two-state solution."
Naturally, the evil Jews building in Jerusalem are to blame for the "death" of the two state solution. Not Hamas leadership calling for Palestine from the river to the sea, oh no. Jewish apartments that apparently "cut off Palestinian territories from Jerusalem," because for some reason that kills the two state solution when Meshaal calling for Israel's destruction doesn't. Why can't the Palestinians just have their capital not be in Jerusalem? Settlements are only an obstacle to peace if they choose to make them one. Like most Palestinian apologists, Mr. Chernus apparently expects us to believe whatever whoppers he tells wholeheartedly. But I'm not buying it.

Lie #2: Israel started the recent Gaza war
"The latest well-masked U.S. intervention came in the brief November war between Israel and Gaza. It began when Israel assassinated a top Hamas leader deeply involved in secret truce talks between the supposedly non-communicating foes."
 First of all, his source for the "secret truce talks" is a Ha'aretz article (strike 1) citing a "peace activist" (strike 2) which has no actual proof that these secret talks ever actually existed (strike 3). But beyond that, the statement of the war starting when Israel killed Jabari is simply a lie. It's the classic Palestinian talking point, "It all started when Israel struck back." Israel's Pillar of Defense operation started with taking out Jabari, but the conflict had been going on long before then. In the month of October, the month before Pillar of Defense, 171 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel and there was numerous conflicts back and forth. Why wouldn't Chernus mention this truth? Because it interferes with his narrative of big mean war mongering Israel, of course! What kind of academic would write such a thing?! Unbelievable.

Lie #3: The myth of insecurity
"Israeli political life has always been haunted by a fear of weakness and a conviction that Jews are condemned to vulnerability in a world full of anti-Semites eager to destroy them. The hawks’ worldview is built upon this myth of insecurity. It demands instant retaliation so that Jews can show the world -- but more importantly themselves -- that they are strong enough to resist every real or (more often) imagined threat."
Why would Israel be worried about being insecure? It's only fought six wars with its neighbors (that Chernus would probably say are all its fault), Hamas is vowing to destroy them, and inconveniently enough there are still Holocaust survivors around reminding us of the horrors of the past. Withdrawals from Southern Lebanon and Gaza have only made wars there more likely, not less. Chernus links to himself about why Israel being insecure is a "myth" and if you're a masochist you can read his arguments. But suffice to say Chernus living comfortably in Colorado is far more comfortable calling Israel's security concerns a myth than anyone actually over there. I guess he was asleep when rockets were landing in Tel Aviv.

Lie #4: Netanyahu campaigning for Romney
"Obama owes the Israeli prime minister nothing after the recent U.S. election season in which Netanyahu practically campaigned for Mitt Romney and publicly demanded that the U.S. threaten an attack on Iran –- a demand that the administration publicly rebuffed.  The president might finally be fed up, and so in a mood to ratchet up private pressure on the Israelis."
 Any time you see the words "practically" "essentially" or "for all intents and purposes," it's code for the thing to follow to be a lie. Chernus makes the case that Netanyahu "practically campaigned for Mitt Romney" and links to a New York Times article. What does the article actually say?

1. Netanyahu's statement where he "seemed to chastise" (more weasel words) Obama for Iran's bomb was used in a Romney campaign ad.
2. Netanyahu's congratulations to President Obama for winning was described as "several observers detected more than a little awkwardness" and "he seemed to force a smile". Seriously.
3. Olmert accused Netanyahu of "interfering with US elections".
4. There were some Israeli (left) memes about it.
5. Sheldon Adelson supported Romney and also supports Netanyahu. Adelson funded an attack ad which had some American Jews criticizing Obama's treatment of Netanyahu. 

That's it. That's the case Chernus makes for Netanyahu "practically campaigning for Romney". Netanyahu doesn't actually do anything in any of the NYT's points except for number 2, which happened after the election. What kind of person, much less an academic, would tell such a blatant lie? What kind of newspaper would cover it?

The rest of the piece doesn't have any more blatant lies, but it does have a lot of incorrect analysis and naivety. But this has gone on too long already, so I invite you to read the rest of Chernus's tripe yourself. Just don't say I didn't warn you.


  1. Chernus is a frequent contributor to the professional historians website (of sorts) HNN.US. In his 'Mythic America' series he fairly closely follows the Howard Zinn belief system that not only is the US the worst thing to ever blight the world, but that the US and by extension, the perfidious Israelis lie coiled at the heart of every bad thing in the world. In fact his entire Mythic America series is an attempt, one he freely admits, to construct a new politically agendized 'mythology' about America separated from fact and history. Again, this is precisely what Zinn often said himself, that (to paraphrase) "I'm not interested in the validity of truth or facts or history but in my own political agenda".

    It's no wonder his book is the most frequently used college level 'history' textbook in America.

  2. By the way, an interesting quiddity:
    If you click on the link, heading to Chernus' personal blog, discussing the so-called: "myth of insecurity"(blah-blah-blah),you would find a commentator making the following observation:
    "...I applaud Professor Chernus’s intellectual honesty and ability against all odds to stand up for the truth. One day the truth will prevail, and Zionist parasites that are sucking blood of the people of the world will inevitably meet divine justice destined for them..."(Emphasis added. it should be noted that this comment has stayed there for months(since January of this year), and has yet to be removed, or even opposed in any way)
    Now, if there ever was a succinct rebuttal of Chernus' lunacy, and deranged ideas, it's proffered up in that neat, heat-filled post.
    As long as people like the above moron exist, the Jewish people have every right to fear those who try to placate them before those seeking their destruction by "divine justice".


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