Jeff Halper, Facebook, June 25, 2016
This is an important piece by Ali Abunimah, posted on the The Electronic Intifada. It exposes a dark, little-known campaign by the Israel government, Israeli “human rights” lawyers and their allies in the US and elsewhere to pursue a campaign of what they call “Lawfare.” The goal is not only the usual one of “reframing” Israel as an icon of human rights, delegitimizing BDS and demonizing Arabs and Islam, but something far more subversive and dangerous: to actually change international law so that states (like Israel and the US) can kill non-combatants at will (as long as they are classified as “terrorists”) and can unleash their mighty armies against people merely resisting occupation, neocolonialism and exploitation (as Israel has done in its last three assaults on Gaza, or the US is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere it is fighting “insurgencies”).
They define “lawfare” as when “terrorists” (who can be whoever you want them to be) use international laws of human rights as weapons against democracies — those same good democracies that impoverish, conquer and exploit them — thus rendering illegitimate all resistance and permitting uncontrolled attacks by the dominant powers. In fact, just as Brooke Goldstein, the head of the Lawfare Project, explains how Israeli propaganda must appropriate the language of human rights, so, too, does it appropriate the protections international law affords innocent civilians, turning their attempts to constrain military attacks on them by appealing to the recognized Principles of Distinction (between civilians and combatants) and of Proportionality into illegitimate forms of “terrorism.” Its about as Orwellian as you can get, and the video Ali’s post contains provides a glimpse into this twisted world where everything is reduced to PR/Hasbara/Newspeak, and all in the end to justify and sell Israeli repression.
One of the people in the video that you’ve never head of — in fact, which 98% of American Jews have never heard of — is Malcolm Honlein, the Executive Vice-President of an organization called the Conference of Presidents (of Jewish organizations, an exclusive “club” that even J Street was not allowed to join). Honlein is probably the most influential Jew in the US. He appears in Congress and in the Oval Office as the “official” leader of the Jewish community, its “official” voice even though he’s never been elected and American Jews have never heard him. He is also religious, as against the vast majority of American Jews, is probably a Republican and certainly does not represent the views of American Jews, still the most liberal community in the US and increasingly critical of Israel themselves. If the vast majority of American Jews knew that their “voice” had been appropriated by the lies of Honlein, and that racist Islamophobes and apologists for right-wing Israeli governments like Goldstein are well-funded to undermine human rights, perhaps the most cherished value of American Jews, they would be outraged. Its time for a mainstream Jewish intifada against these marginal types who are dragging the name of the Jewish community into extremely dark places.