Why “Pick On” Israel? Here’s Why

by John Spritzler
June 13, 2006


Israel’s defenders have a stock argument that goes like this:

"Why do people pick on Israel? Sure, Israel has its faults, just like any country. Its government is not perfect and sometimes it does bad things. What government doesn’t? But how come some people seem to focus only on Israel? Boycott Israel, divest from Israel, they say; but never boycott Russia or China or Saudi Arabia or a host of other countries that do bad things. Israel, they say, violates human rights of Palestinians. If they’re so concerned about human rights, how come they’re not bothered by China’s attack on Tibetans, or Russia’s attack on Chechnians, or Saudi Arabia’s attack on women’s human rights? Hmmm. Why would people want to just pick on tiny little Israel, a Jewish state? Only one reason...they’re anti-Semites."

Nice try, but this defense of Israel is easily refuted. There are a lot of excellent reasons for singling Israel out, and none of them have anything to do with anti-Semitism.

#1. Jesus put it this way. “Why do you behold the mote in your brother’s eye but consider not the beam in your own eye?” For Americans, Israel's crimes are the beam in our own eye. The crimes of China and Russia and Saudi Arabia etc. are the motes in the eyes of others. Our government supports Israel with virtually unconditional diplomatic support and vastly more military and economic aid than it gives to any other nation. Israel gets this overwhelming U.S. aid because it serves the aims not of ordinary Americans but of our ruling upper class (see #4 and #5 below.) No other country plays this role and receives this kind of support from our government today.

#2. Israel is not the only nation that carries out ethnic cleansing, but it is the only nation that is founded on the principle of ethnic cleansing. Israel defines itself as a state of the Jews. Unlike every other state on the planet, which all at least purport to be a state of the people who live in it, Israel adamantly insists it is not a state of the people who live in it, one fifth of whom are not Jewish. Israel is not a state of its residents. It is a state of “the Jews.” And by “the Jews” Israel means Jews wherever they live, including Jews who never lived inside Israel and who have no intention of ever living there. Israel insists that its population must be overwhelmingly Jewish and so it drove out 80% of the non-Jews in 1948 and continues to this day to carry out a brutal ethnic cleansing to get rid of the Palestinians by making life so unbearable for them that they will leave Palestine. No other country does this today.

#3. Israel is the only nation that self-righteously accuses any critic of its ethnic cleansing of being a bigot (anti-Semite.) It is the only nation that insists that its racist policies are “a light unto the nations.” If we let Israel get away with this we are contributing not only to its actual ethnic cleansing, but to its glorification of the principle of ethnic cleansing, which aids and abets this crime everywhere in the world. No other country, not even ones that engage in it, glorify ethnic cleansing this way today.

#4. Israel is the only nation that spreads contempt around the world for the idea of democracy by defining it to mean the government choosing the people instead of the other way around. Israel boasts that it is the “only democracy in the Middle East.” Democracy is an extremely good thing. It is a valuable idea that humanity needs to embrace and that elite rulers try to discredit. But democracy means that the people who live in a state choose its government. In Israel, on the contrary, the government, in the name of democracy, has chosen the people–“the Jews”–and has driven 80% of the un-chosen people out of its borders and made the remaining 20% of them second class citizens completely excluded from the category of people who are officially the sovereign authority over the state. No other country does this today.

#5. No other country surpasses Israel’s polarizing of the entire world, between Muslims versus non-Muslims, by carrying out vicious and gratuitous attacks on the same mainly Muslim population for more than five decades without let up. Israel thereby foments not only a regional ethnic war but a global "War on Terrorism" that serves the same Orwellian social-control needs of all world elites (from the U.S. to China to Russia to Saudi Arabia) that the Cold War served in the past. No other country does this today.

#6. More can be learned about our own United States, and about the source of our own domestic problems and how to solve them, by understanding why it is right to divest from and boycott Israel than by understanding why it might be good to divest from and boycott Russia or China or any other country. The reason is that our domestic problems, like job insecurity, illegal immigration, war, lack of health care, extreme inequality and so on are caused by our corporate and government leaders for the purpose of making us easier for them to control. These same leaders have singled out Israel, unique among all other nations, to enjoy their unwavering and overwhelming support for the same reason–Israel helps to foment the global war that makes the world population easier to control. To understand why our leaders support Israel, and why they pretend to seek peace in that region but never put real pressure on Israel to stop its unjust ethnic cleansing, is to gain insight into how these same leaders control us by deliberately creating the very domestic problems they claim to be trying to solve. We need that insight to build a revolutionary movement to create a real democracy in the United States instead of the fake democracy we have now, controlled by a wealthy and privileged upper class. Of all the foreign nations that we have been lied to about how wonderful they are and how deserving of our support they are, the lies about Israel are the ones that our rulers have used most effectively to get us to support a foreign policy of warmongering designed to strengthen upper class control over working people around the world. No other nation plays this role today.


John Spritzler is the author of The People As Enemy: The Leaders' Hidden Agenda In World War II, and a Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.


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