The Jewish Daily Forward recently published two articles, one by Naomi Zeveloff was a profile of Ali Abunimah, the other more recent piece is an interview of top Hamas official Abu Marzook by Larry Cohler-Esses. The articles are worth reading for anyone interested in the Palestine situation, but what caught my eye was the respective reception of each piece in certain, shall we say, pro-Israel media circles.
On the one hand you have a profile of Abunimah, a man who advocates peaceful non-violent resistance to the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. He is an advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), he is also an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and will not tolerate it within the Palestinian solidarity movement.
On the other hand, the interview piece with Marzook, a top Hamas official reveals that he believes Hamas will not honour a peace treaty with Israel if it is signed by the Palestinian Authority, at the most he claims, Hamas would agree to a hudna (ceasefire). It illustrates Marzook’s and indeed Hamas’ antisemitism by highlighting the anti-jewish rehtoric in the Hamas charter. In it Marzook also peddles The Protococls of the Elders of Zion lie.
Of the two pieces, it is very revealing the anger (or lack of) each one raised in certain quarters. The Jewish Daily Forward was lambasted by senior editor at Commentary magazine Jonathan Tobin for daring to give a platform to…, no, not designated terrorist and evident anti-semite Abu Marzook but rather, Ali Abunimah…
That this apologia for Rosenberg ran in the same issue of the paper that also contained a flattering profile of Ali Abunimah, one of the leading advocates of the campaign to boycott Israel in the United States, only reinforces the impression that some on the Jewish left are so deeply invested in the effort to undermine backers of the pro-Israel consensus that they are seeking to erase any boundary between mere criticism of the government in Jerusalem and activity whose aims are clearly more sinister.
Get that? Tobin (a man whose lies and falsehoods I have previously written about) takes issue with the Jewish Daily Forward for giving a platform to a non-violence advocate and vocal opponent of antisemitism. Tobin was actually quite happy with the platform the JDF gave to noted anti-semite and designated terrorist Abu Marzook.
Why is that? Why would a man like Tobin be happy with the JDF to give voice to Hamas, an organistaion dedicated to violence towards Israel, but be vehemently opposed to offering a similar platform to a man who resolutely abhors antisemitism and advocates peaceful non-violent resistance and equality for all before the law? Indeed because of the vitriol spat by Tobin at them for daring to profile Abunimah, the JDF felt the need to post a response.
Its plain to see what Tobin’s motivations are here, as further revealed by this tweet of his…
You see, for the likes of Tobin and the folks at Commentary the only Palestinian that should be seen or heard is the sort that reinforces their view of them as ‘antisemitic savages’, only negative coverage of Palestinians is acceptable to such people seeking to maintain support for Israel. I have written before about the ‘Red Injun’ nature of much of the MSM portrayal of Palestinians and this is a perfect example of someone seeking to maintain the scaffolding round that archaic colonial mentality. Tobin’s anger at the JDF bucking the trend and demonstrating that Palestinians are not a hive mind of ‘savages addicted to violence’ reveals quite a bit about how he thinks the debate should be shaped.
Quite obviously it is easier to argue the Israeli case if you think you can pick the opposing team, opting for those who are easier to holdup and exclaim loudly – “look at this savage”. It also demonstrates the hollowness of the call we routinely hear from Israel’s supporters – “If only they abandoned violence and pursued peaceful means”. Which is a crock anyway as Palestinian non-violent resistance long pre-dates the creation of Israel in 1948, and not to mention the silence from the same quarters when Israel kills or imprisons non-violent activists.
To be fair, Tobin is by no means the only one to reveal this mindset. His reaction does however raise a number of issues, not only as already highlighted, his desire to frame the debate, pick the teams and keep the stucco on the ‘Palestinian savages’ trademark looking fresh, but also the contradiction evident at Commentary. Others at the magazine believe BDS to be a complete failure, yet the anger evident in Tobin’s broadsword against the JDF for daring to profile Ali Abunimah, suggests otherwise. So the question arises, who is the real threat to Zionism’s ethnocentric sovereignty over the land of Israel/Palestine…judging from some reactions, it isn’t the guys with the guns and rockets.