Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ira Chernus Weeps for Obama (Part 1)

You may remember Huffington Post blogger Ira Chernus from his multiple blogs dedicated entirely to attacking Israel and tearing down what he believes to be "myths" about it. Chernus' evidence that these "myths" are exactly that mostly involved ignoring basic facts that he would rather not admit exist, and this has continued with his latest article, a companion piece to Tom Englehardt's complaining about Israel. Apparently one attack on Israel at a time is no longer good enough for the Huffington Post.

He begins with the now well-trod ground of complaining about "the occupation," and then playing the victim that no President will ever criticize it. He says that President Obama has "no clear idea" how to make peace, but fortunately our resident expert religious studies professor is here to tell him. But not before making a few moronic assumptions. Here's the most blatant, following a long rant about a "mythic President" who turns everywhere he goes into "a fantasyland." And now, Chernus wasn't talking about himself:
"But despite that reality, Obama has once again proven remarkably incapable of forcing the Israelis into serious, good-faith negotiations with the Palestinians -- mainly because he traveled to the Mideast with a stark reality in his pocket: the latest Gallup poll, showing American sympathy for Israel at an all-time high, while sympathy for the Palestinians has taken a nose-dive."
Wow, so much to say about this paragraph!

Let's start with Chernus weeping, wailing and moaning that Americans love Israel and really, really dislike the Palestinians. Can't imagine why. And rather than admit that America is a democracy, and so the American President should reflect the views of his constituents, Chernus spins like a top and portrays American love for Israel as a weight dragging down President Obama. What a perfect example of leftist logic: if the common people don't agree with you, they must be ignored.

Secondly, of course, is Chernus' self-proclaimed myth that President Obama not only wants to "force" the Israelis to negotiate, but that is he actually trying and not succeeding. This comes after a whole paragraph proving that President Obama can make Israel do all kinds of stuff, from apologizing to Turkey to release PA tax funds. But don't expect Chernus to use the brain in his head about stuff like that, that isn't why he's here on the Huffington Post.

President Obama did everything he could to get negotiations started last term. He pulled out all the stops to force Israel to comply with a Palestinian demand for a settlement freeze. They froze (though Chernus would say that the freeze "didn't count") and the Palestinians never showed up. Unlike Professor Chernus, President Obama learns from his mistakes. If we can learn anything from his trip to Israel, it is that he no longer subscribes to the left-wing logic that if only Israel can be bossed around more peace will magically materialize. It seems to me that President Obama went to Israel on a "feel good" tour, but with Syria and Iran taking precedence over the ever-intransigent Palestinians. Chernus, of course, refuses to accept this.

After complaining about the GOP some more, a Huffington Post blogger staple, he then goes into what he calls "myths." According to Chernus, the following two statements by President Obama contradict each other:
'Israel’s security “can never be taken for granted” because Israel “is surrounded by many in this region who reject it, and many in the world who refuse to accept it.”'
“Those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting Israel’s right to exist might as well reject the earth beneath them and the sky above, because Israel is not going anywhere.”
Professor Chernus claims these two statements are incompatible, as well as relying on his favorite word, "myths" about Israeli security. But that is because rather than hearing what President Obama is actually saying, Chernus is hearing what he wants to hear.

What President Obama is saying is that Israel isn't going anywhere and its right to exist is not up for discussion. However, there are people in the region and elsewhere (cough cough) who refuse to recognize this and will attack Israel accordingly.

What Chernus is hearing is that President Obama is falling for what he calls "myths," namely that Israelis are under fire all the time and their existence hangs by a thread. That is not only a ignorant, but a strawman. But because Chernus only has one card, he has to play it.

Ready for the next round of complaints before we take a break?
"Most Americans already assume that Israel is as imperiled as it claims to be. The more Obama reinforces that myth, the more sympathy he builds for Israel and the less Israeli leaders have to respond to pressure on negotiations with the Palestinians. And as long as most Americans mistakenly see Israelis, not Palestinians, as the besieged victims of the present situation, they’ll punish any president who puts real pressure on Israel to make a just peace. No president, not even in a second term, is likely to risk paying that price."
Americans being sympathetic to Israel?!?! AIEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Not that! Anything but that! The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

If the Palestinians don't like the situation, maybe they should put down the AK47s and be the ones to bring a peace plan to Israel for a change. How does that sound? Oh I'm sorry, did I bust one of Ira Chernus' favorite myths: the myth of Palestinian infantalization?

 See you in an hour for the next installment.

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