A newly created pro-Israel group, “Democratic Majority for Israel,” has been launched by congressional and other democrats. This is a welcome and encouraging development. While one might anticipate success through its strength in numbers, it will face a loud and vehement challenge from the party’s Israel detractors, whose profound lack of historical knowledge on Israel is exacerbated by their misguided moral authority and bravado.
This new group will also face opposition from many in the mainstream media, who can barely hide their resentment at its existence. Reading this week’s New York Times’ piece on the group, I noticed the tortured language used to depict the group as unnecessary. To accomplish this, the writer sets out to portray growing anti-Israel sentiment as “skepticism” that’s “nuanced” and which advocates for “rights” and not against Israel per se, but Israel’s right wing Prime Minister.
A closer look at this language manipulation:
1. “SKEPTICISM”: this is one way to label what’s “directed toward the Jewish state”. Skepticism suggests something healthy and necessary. We’re led to believe it’s not “opposition to” or “misunderstanding of” Israel, just “skepticism” of it. It would be hard to imagine the Times and many others lamenting the lack of skepticism towards the Palestinian cause, and particularly towards BDS.
2. “PALESTINIAN RIGHTS”: we’re told that arriving in Congress are a “handful of vocal supporters of Palestinian rights”. What particular rights they support remains unclear. Is it the so-called “right of return,” which would end Israel as a Jewish state, and is a linchpin of the BDS movement? Is it the “right to resist,” which is code for terrorist attacks against Israelis? Framing anti-Israel advocacy this way is designed to make it hard to oppose. After all, what sort of monster would oppose “rights”?
3. “EVANGELICAL/TRUMP” VS “INCREASINGLY LIBERAL”: we’re told Republicans support Israel because of the “rise of evangelicals” and “Trump’s close alignment” with Bibi. The uneasiness on the other side is due to the Democratic Party becoming “increasingly liberal”. If I had to choose, I and many other liberal Israel supporters identify with the latter. This is why this false choice is presented to readers.
4. OMAR, TLAIB and OCASIO-CORTEZ: Ilhan Omar’s appointment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee “drew scorn from Republicans,” but no one else? Rashida Tlaib “drew widespread attention” from a little bitty “post-it note”. See how crazy knee jerk defenders of Israel get? Video of Tlaib speaking at anti-Israel rallies, meeting with Abbas Hamideh (radical anti-Israel/anti-Semitic activist who’s praised Nasrallah) and her charging those supporting anti-BDS legislation with being more loyal to Israel than to America? Readers aren’t told any of this about Tlaib. It’s all about that “post-it”.
5. NUANCED: But these congresswomen are “hardly alone in taking a more nuanced view of Israel”. Readers are told that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has “criticized Israel’s use of force against Palestinian protestors”. Wow. That Israel shot ‘protestors’ is still the official media narrative, despite evidence these were Hamas military operatives on a cross-border mission to kill. But it gets worse. Ocasio-Cortez not only labeled Israel defending its borders a “massacre”, but she shamed other members of Congress for being silent about it. Because… Nuanced.
6. HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Besides Jeffries offering a canned talking point in support of Israel, we’re told he could be a “beneficiary” of the new pro-Israel group, which would “come to his defense” in a primary challenge. So readers are left doubting how a politician would support Israel without some self-serving political benefits in return.
7. SIMMONE ZIMMERMAN: Of course a prominent Jewish anti-Zionist is quoted. Why would readers want to hear from any one from the 90% of Jewish Democrats who are Zionist? And no, IfNowNow doesn’t merely oppose Israel’s “occupation of Palestinian territories,” as the article states. It is an anti-Zionist group opposed to Israel’s existence, period.
8. NETANYAHU OR BUST: Another anti-Israel partisan unrepresentative of the mainstream Jewish community is quoted. Jeremy Ben-Ami says it’s not in line with where American Jews are for the Democratic Party to “just support the Netanyahu government, right or wrong”. But the issue before us is not support for Netanyahu or the Israeli government. The issue is supporting Israel’s right to exist, and a fair reading of Israel’s positions and actions, which is exceedingly rare among the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party and what this new pro-Israel group seeks to reinforce.
The rhetoric and framing in this article is symptomatic of the overall problem, whereby well-meaning people are intentionally misled about the genocidal intent of Israel’s enemies. This is why the “Democratic Majority for Israel” is so very necessary.