Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Unprecedented Numbers of Americans Question Israel's Actions in Gaza
By Max Blumenthal, Huffington Post. Posted January 6, 2009.

Almost as soon as the first Israeli missile struck the Gaza Strip, a veteran cheering squad suited up to support the home team. "Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life," Charles Krauthammer claimed in the Washington Post. Echoing Krauthammer, Alan Dershowitz called the Israeli attack on Gaza, "Perfectly 'Proportionate.'" And in the New York Times, Israeli historian Benny Morris described his country's airstrikes as "highly efficient."

While the cheerleaders testified to the superior moral fiber of their team, the Palestinian civilian death toll mounted. Israeli missiles tore at least fifteen Palestinian police cadets to shreds at a graduation ceremony, blew twelve worshipers to pieces (including six children) while they left evening prayers at a mosque, flattened the elite American International School, killed five sisters while they slept in their beds, and liquidated 9 women and children in order to kill a single Hamas leader. So far, Israeli forces have killed at least 500 Gazans and wounded some two thousand, including hundreds of children. Yesterday, the IDF blanketed parts of Gaza with white phosphorus, a chemical weapon Saddam Hussein once deployed against Kurdish rebels.

"It was Israel at its best," Yossi Klein Halevi declared in the New Republic.

By New Year's Day, Israel's cheering squad had turned the opinion pages of major American newspapers into their own personal romper room. Of all the editorial contributions published by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times since the Israel's war on Gaza began, to my knowledge only one offered a skeptical view of the assault. But that editorial, by Israeli novelist David Grossman, contained not a single word about the Palestinian casualties of IDF attacks. Even while calling for a cease fire, Grossman promised, "We can always start shooting again."


But while Israel's PR machine cranked its Mighty Wurlitzer to full blast, drowning out all opposing voices with its droning sound, a surprisingly substantial portion of the American public decided to dance to its own tune. According to a December 31 Rasmussen poll (so far the only measure of US opinion on the Gaza assault), while Americans remained overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, they were split almost evenly on the question of whether Israel should attack Gaza -- 44% in favor of the assault and 41% against it. The internals are even more remarkable.

While Republicans supported the assault on Gaza by a large margin, a predictable finding, only 31% of Democrats did. Members of the Democratic base thus stood in sharp contrast to most of their elected representatives (freshman Rep. Donna Edwards is a notable exception), who backed the latest Israeli assault in lockstep, and seem to support Israel no matter what it does. The rift between the progressive base and the party played out on Barack Obama's Change.gov site, which was deluged in recent days with demands for a statement condemning Israel's assault on Gaza...


Post a Comment

<< Home