Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mark LeVine and Gil Hochberg's Attack on Jon Voigt for Supporting Israel

Mark LeVine and Gil Hochberg, two professors at UC Irvine and UCLA respectively, have combined their questionable talents to attack actor Jon Voigt, who recently supported Israel and criticized the comments of fellow actor, Penelope Cruz. Here is what they wrote for Qatar's Al Jazeera news outlet.

Wow. I never knew all that. Actually, one thing that the authors conveniently forgot to mention is that when Israel launched its preemptive strike against its neighbors' armies in 1967, said armies were camped on Israel's border ready to strike.

How about this "myth"?

"There are three fundamental "myths", to borrow a phrase from one of Israel's founding revisionist historians, Simha Flapan, surrounding Israel's birth and subsequent history that cohere the traditional narrative Voight is re-voicing. The first surround's the state's creation itself: "when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921... The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea... The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973."

Sorry, Mark and Gil. Your "explanation" does not make me believe that is a myth. If that is a myth then the sinking of the Titanic is a myth and we can expect her to come sailing into New York Harbor any day now after 100 years of being lost at sea.

Then there is this:

"Indeed, they provide the intellectual cover for even more extreme attacks by celebrities like Joan Rivers, who in an "epic rant" worthy of an Israeli Knesset member, declared that Palestinians in Gaza "deserved to be dead". This level of hatred mirrors the increasingly genocidal discourse against Palestinians within Israeli political and culture."

Without commenting on what the late Ms Rivers may have said about Gazans, she was in no position to carry that out. Contrast that with the terrorists of Hamas, who preach the same thing about not only Israelis, but Jews in general, and who are in a position to carry it out and who attempt virtually every day to carry it out. Maybe the two writers should read the Hamas charter, which I will gladly link for their convenience.

But this gets better.

"Like most Hollywood scripts, the narratives on which the views of Voight, Rivers and other Hollywood Israel supporters are based are far removed from the historical and contemporary realities they purport to describe. Yet their power remains secure precisely because they are the same narratives used by the seemingly reasonable mainstream media and political actors - from the New York Times to President Obama - whenever the conflict is discussed."

Yes, of course. President Barack ("I've got Israel's back") Obama and the New York Times are notorious supporters of Israel. Are you kidding me? Both ( to say nothing about John Kerry) showed during the recent fighting that they were favoring the Palestinians over Israel.

How about this?

"The fourth myth surrounds Hamas. Voight claims that "the Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel." Even the arch-conservative New York Post recognised that Hamas was elected not because of its terrorism but out of disgust with an utterly coopted, corrupt and brutal Palestinian Authority. More to Voight's point, Hamas did not begin firing missiles into Israel until after it attempted to remove the newly elected leadership by force in a US and PA-supported coup. No significant rocket fire occurred until two years after Hamas was elected, during which time Israel continued its siege on Gaza and ever-tightening stranglehold on the West Bank."

Is this a twisted justification for firing rockets into Israeli schoolyards? You can argue causal factors and construct time lines until the cows come home, but Israel was not firing rockets into Gaza until the actual fighting broke out. Contrary to trying to kill innocent non-combatants, Israel took great pains to avoid innocent loss of life-even warning civilians beforehand when locations used by Hamas fighters were going to be hit. This latest round of fighting showed even normally gullible Western journalists that Hamas was using civilians as human shields. Even so, the list of people killed in Gaza showed a noticeable trend toward males in their twenties and thirties. What does that suggest?

And there is this exercise in verbal gymnastics:

"Have Israel's actions risen to the level of genocide, as the letter Mr Bardem and others signed alleges? Given the history of genocide against the Jews - the term was invented to describe the Holocaust - it is tragic that such a characterisation can even be considered. But it must be faced, because Israel's actions, which have long been characterised as "politicide" or "spaciocide" by Israeli and Palestinian scholars, as well as the political and public rhetoric against Palestinians, have become so intense that the genocide accusation can no longer be dismissed out of hand."

"Spaciocide". That's a new one. I wonder what university professor invented that one. To even give indirect lip service to charges of genocide against Israel is absurd. Where are the death camps? Where are the mass graves? Where are the millions, hundreds of thousands, or even thousands of missing? In WW II, some 2/3 of Europe's Jews were murdered. Look at the tiny Jewish population of Europe today (where even more are fleeing due to the resurgence in anti-Semitism, principally stirred up by Muslim immigrants). In contrast, the so-called Palestinian population has more than doubled in recent decades. Genocide?

To be accurate-and most Israeli supporters acknowledge- that the Palestinians do have points to argue. Many have suffered injustices, and many were displaced in 1948. The authors fail to mention, however, that many of those Palestinians voluntarily left the area on the advice of the invading Arab forces that promised them a quick return after victory was achieved. That never happened, and those refugees sat in refugee camps in Arab lands until they died or emigrated somewhere else, a fact not mentioned.

As a final point, I will (once again) point out that Al Jazeera is a large press outlet based in Qatar, one of the most duplicitous of the Arab lands, and which claims to be moderate, but funds organizations like Hamas. Save the moralizing, please. 

This is a one-sided article on a very complex history with two sides, something not worthy of people who call themselves professors or historians. On the other hand, I don't think Mr Voigt much cares about what a couple of leftie professors think about his support for Israel.

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