Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss wrote a joint Op-Ed for the New York Times today. In their piece, they tried to call out Israel for detaining Lara Alqasem, an American citizen with Palestinian roots, but ended up blasting Ms. Alqasem’s political views instead.
In a remarkable act of admission, they plead guilty to the charges that Andrew Sullivan had leveled against them for being ‘Zionist fanatic of near-unhinged proportions’. The only correction they made to the charge was dropping the prefix ‘near’ admitting that they were in fact ‘unhinged’.
It was intended as a witty remark but that luxury is available to columnists and intellectuals who are publicly respected, which is a standard that both Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss fall well short of.
It was just last week when blasting Dr. Ford that Bret Stephens said that murdering someone might be excused. The number of times the wolves on twitter have shredded the opinion pieces by Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss is astounding yet they continue to write asinine pieces week in and week out. Why would they stop when their only claim to fame is sheer absurdity? In all honesty, I think Andrew Sullivan is just too nice.
Lara Alqasem like a lot of people who read up on the Israel-Palestinian conflict besides what is reported in the New York Times supports the BDS movement. As a student at the University of Florida, she was a part of a small group that talked about the rights of the Palestinians.
The membership of the group hardly even got into double digits. But for a sensitive state like Israel that was enough. It didn’t matter that Lara Alqasem had studied Hebrew and attended Holocaust memorial services, the fact that her name was listed on the Canary Ministry’s website was enough to shake the Israelis to their core.
From the title of their joint Op-Ed and a photo of a smiling 22-year-old, one would guess that their joint piece wouldn’t be as miserable as their solos. Well, one would be wrong!
What should have been a mockery of Israel’s thin skin, their piece lambasted the BDS movement echoing the same Hasbara points that a million other columnists had been handed over. Let’s go through their article piece by piece.
After the intended witty remark that sounds too fitting to be taken as sarcasm, they say:
Detaining you at the airport with threats of deportation is one of the nicest things Israeli forces could do. With their illegal settlements, an embargo on food supplies and drugs, bombing of hospitals, killings of journalists, and secret torture chambers, the thing that merits criticism from Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss is Israel’s refusal to let Lara study at an Israeli university.
If their concern was to suggest reforms to make Israel a liberal democracy, they wouldn’t wait until Israel detained someone at the airport. There are more pressing crimes of the Israeli state that they could be writing against—yet their only concern then is to shelter Israel from criticism.
In the op-ed that was allegedly written to call Israel out for detaining a 22-year-old girl for her past support of the BDS movement, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss begin presenting a rationale for why Israel is right to take a harsh stance against the bigots.
As I wrote in an earlier post, Zionists bring up the atrocities of other nations so Israel looks just as bad, not worse, by comparison. But when have they ever started a BDS movement against say China or Russia if they care so much?
The reason why Americans with conscious should support the BDS movement against Israel is that Israel is the biggest recipient of military aid by the United States. If it weren’t for the American taxpayer, both resident and non-resident, Israel wouldn’t be an apartheid, wouldn’t be the military powerhouse it is today and certainly wouldn’t escape the accountability for many of the same war crimes that Nazis were hanged for.
The insinuation that BDS movement specifically targets Jewish businesses is shameful. The premise of the BDS movement does not spare the Arabi Israeli businesses or those set up by non-Jewish foreigners.
Secondly, when Muhammad bin Salman visited the U.K. and the US, was it Bret Stephens or Bari Weiss that protested in front of his motorcade or were it the conscionable Americans who are informed about the atrocities Saudis are committing in Yemen with support from the US?
Russia gets slapped with sanctions every time a Russian intelligence officer with flu so much as sneezes toward Eastern Europe. Trump is mulling sanctions over China for its’ treatment of the Uighur Muslims but Israel does whatever it wants with impunity.
If BDS movement is bigoted since it holds Israel to a double standard, doesn’t the Government of the United States, Republican or Democrat, treat Israel differently to other violators of human rights as well? Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss don’t have a problem with double standards for Israel as long as they aid and abet rather than reprimand the Israeli actions.
Then the article goes on to say:
You know who else was flagged by the US for terrorist activities? Nelson Mandela and so was Fidel Castro, whom Mandela said played the crucial role in liberating Africa. Saddam Hussein was also on the State Department’s list for sponsors of terrorism, the same list that Iran is on today, until Ronald Reagan took him off it so that the United States could sell weapons to Iraq.
It doesn’t mean that Hamas fighters are the new Mandela but it does help to show the notorious erroneous judgment of the United States. Since both Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists are involved in activities that are counterproductive to reaching eternal peace, why should one party escape the punishment while the other is eternally condemned?
The article then goes on to say that we can’t really blame Israel for detaining Alqasem.
The biggest lie in the above paragraph is that Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss say that it is because Israel is a liberal democracy that American Jews and non-Jews support it. A lot of non-Jews such as the Christians support Israel because all Jews including Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss must return to Israel so the Christ could return. Then all Jews save a little over hundred thousand would be condemned.
I for one wouldn’t want that kind of support but I guess when the majority of the world nations are calling out your darling apartheid, you don’t have the luxury to disavow support. Beggars can’t be choosers you see. You must be looking for any support you can get whether it is from a Hindu nationalist government of India, Orban’s Hungary, or Duda’s Poland.
What the article omits is the opposition Israel faces from our Jewish brethren and sisters in the United States and from within Israel who oppose a state founded on occupation and racial bigotry.
Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss’ advice to Israel:
It’s not illiberal at all for foreigners to boycott Israel. This is the most liberal principle of all. Since voting in US elections is futile as politicians from both parties pledge loyalty to serve Israel, the only way conscionable folks can help Palestinians is by boycotting Israel.
It’s funny how condescending Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss are to Israel. ‘Their boycott might offend and hurt you sweetie but that’s okay’. Yes, the literal ‘least’ Israel could do is not to replicate their behavior. Stopping killings of civilians and building settlements on illegal land sounds like a bit too much to ask really.
Israel wouldn’t have any of those three things to pride itself over were it not for American dollars. Plus, they wouldn’t have the ingenious, innovative, and adaptable war technology to sell to the United States were it not for their battleground-tested or Palestinian-tested status, whichever one is the more politically correct term.
One of their last pieces of advice to Israel:
Unhinged fanatic Zionists often cite this argument that Israel needs the military strength because it doesn’t have good relations with its’ neighbors. Well, the apartheid of South Africa didn’t have good relations with its’ neighbors until it ceased being an apartheid. Why not advise that to Israel, too much effort not to produce and maintain over 400 nukes?
Interestingly enough, the United States was the last ally the apartheid of South Africa had while the majority of the world opposed it. Today, Israel also faces international isolation with few to stand by it other than the United States and a handful of other authoritarians.
Note: The same day the New York Times reported on Lara Alqasem’s detaining at the Israeli airport, it was imperative for Hasbara to run a piece defending Israel in the same paper. Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss don’t really criticize Israel in the op-ed, they put a lipstick on its’ detaining of BDS activists and denigrate the BDS movement itself.
Their advice to Israel is futile since who doesn’t know that suppressing critical voices is a hallmark of societies built on flimsy foundations? Like really, no one in the Netanyahu administration thought of allowing freedom of expression until Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss suggested it in a New York Times Op-Ed?
The aim of their op-ed was just to denigrate the BDS movement. The lack of substance and the rhetoric about a liberal democracy was just to fill up space.