Letters on the Israeli war against Lebanon
2 August 2006
The following is a selection of articles sent to the World Socialist Web Site in response to coverage of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.
I can’t thank you enough for your pointed and insightful analysis of US/Israeli policy and war on the Arabs. I starve in Canada for a public response, as people are cowed to voice their outrage for fear of the anti-Semitic tag.
I’ve written my complaints to the prime minister and to CBC. It’s as though there is a blanket of silence around public outrage. All the interviews on television focus on what I call pap: Tell us your story of evacuation. All reference to a political response is carefully edited out, as if the victims are just soft putty for this barbaric experience.
Finally, I’ve found your site as I tossed around for some meaningful commentary to assuage my soul’s anguish concerning this atrocity in 2006. You give me hope that the rest of the world sees, understands and speaks to this crime. Two bloody soldiers justify this carnage? They must be godlike.
31 July 2006
Thank you or your forthright article. When the media blitz dies down, hopefully many other voices will join yours and help bring more balanced truth to us.
31 July 2006* * *
I just watched John Seigenthaler on NBC News and was astonished at the quality of the coverage. There were long segment of photos, broken bodies, interviews of Arabs from various parts of the world, even some history. The coverage included Haifa scenes shown after and much shorter, with the contrast between levels of suffering obvious. The Bush interview was given short shrift, and Rice looking overwhelmed. I don’t remember ever seeing this before, even in 1982 when Israel committed much worse crimes. I don’t study the US media as you do, but I think we may be seeing a sudden and dramatic shift.
31 July 2006
Dear Mr. Van Auken,
Very nicely done. Just the usual modus operandi for MO I guess. If he/she is so concerned about anti-Semitism, I would wonder how he feels about the Neturai Karta. They are a group of orthodox Jews that support Hezbollah and claim that Israel has no right to exist...
It is interesting to note the Zionist and Christian right’s perspective on what’s happening in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. It’s no different than the atrocities inflicted on the indigenous peoples of this land, called Ame kekia. (Oh, I mean the United States of America—never mind what the indigenous people called it).
How can the Christian right be so “devout” in their beliefs and be so willing to do exactly the opposite of what their messiah taught them? So one hundred years from now, should there be any Palestinians, and Lebanese left? How about Muslims? How about anybody outside of the Christian Right or Zionist perspective? Does anybody outside the US sphere of influence have the right to exist in peace, and in control of their own future? When does it end?
Or would Israel and the US government rather that whatever’s left of tomorrow’s Muslim population find themselves left in impoverished reservations or ghettoes throughout the Middle East and North Africa, rallying for voting rights extensions, undoing the evils of slavery, and standing up against English-only laws? Funny how history repeats itself
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, US
31 July 2006
P.S. Next time you run for president, make sure you are on the ballot in Pennsylvania.* * *
Thank you, Bill, for the clear and thorough response to your critic. It eases some of my own frustrations regarding the “anti-Semitism” slur and the ignorant, knee-jerk responses it elicits. There is an irony as well, in the use of the term by Israelis and Zionists. The term, “Semite,” means any member of an Arabic-speaking people. Therefore, if anyone could be classified as anti-Semitic, it would be the Israelis and Zionists.
31 July 2006* * *
Thank you from the depths of my heart. The tidal wave of lies you all at the WSWS are up against is unfathomable, yet you persist in telling the truth. May it prevail!
Peterborough, New Hampshire, US
31 July 2006
Sorry to find no space for a reference to the USS Liberty and the King David Hotel. Both of these are unforgotten Zionist crimes.
Glen Cove, New York, US
29 July 2006
Editor’s note: Please see “The case of the USS Liberty: anatomy of an Israeli provocation”* * *
Thanks so much for your article. It is tragic that the people who need to read this never will, or if they do they will reject it. In any case you have done a great job.
29 July 2006
The letters praising Bill Van Auken’s astute and reasoned reply to the hate-mail letter (more like an ignorant, bigoted, rant than a letter) are gratifying. I would like to point out, however, that Van Auken’s response was clearly not intended to convince this deluded, bitter person or conduct a dialogue with him/her, but to take the opportunity to clarify and educate for the larger Marxist purpose of developing a socialist leadership in the working class. Let those de-classed, hysterical ranters spew forth their venom; they will be best answered—not in kind, which they would delight in—but by this sort of reasoned argument in the best traditions of Marxism and Trotskyism.
No other organization or publication has done as outstanding a job in explaining the role and history of Zionism, while pointing out the dead-end of Arab nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism, as the WSWS. I speak as a committed socialist who also happens to be a Jew who detests the equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. By the same token, I abhor the backwardness of those—mostly fundamentalists—who denounce not just Israel and Zionism, but “Jews.” Difficult as it may seem at times, the struggle for the unity of the working class of the Mid-East, inclusive of all ethnicities and religious identities, a necessarily socialist struggle, is the only road.
I would just note that those correspondents who commend the WSWS for its principled stand but say they do not consider themselves socialists, might re-think their philosophical and political differences. They might ask themselves why it is that the high level of integrity they admire comes from a movement that could only arrive at this point as a result of assimilating the lessons of the more than 150 years of the Marxist movement?
New York, New York, US
1 August 2006
You write: “Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper ... reaffirming his government’s contention that Hamas and Hezbollah bear sole responsibility for the undeclared war now raging in the region and advancing arguments to justify the horrific loss of civilian life at the hands of the Israeli military.”
Why is it that despite massively clear evidence of continual oppression and aggression by Israel prior to the taking of two Israeli soldiers as prisoners, the mainstream media speaks of Israel as if their very first act of aggression toward Lebanon occurred only after the two soldiers were taken captive?
Mainstream media constantly speaks as if Israel is totally innocent and is some sort of underdog when they are, in actual fact, the strongest military power in the area. Their modern military and weapons of war make what Hamas and Hezbollah have look like plastic water guns in comparison.
Why is it that Israel can bomb the crap out of her neighbors, wall them off for years from access to food, water, medical supplies, freeze their funds, destroy their homes, farms, hospitals, schools, electrical plants, bridges, airports ... and mainstream media says it’s ok because the Arabs are all “crazy terrorists”! After all, everyone knows that any two Israeli soldiers are worth the deaths of any hundreds of innocent Arab civilians.
Oops, I forgot ... it’s acceptable to criticize Arab aggression because that’s not anti-Arab but to criticize Israeli aggression is to be anti-Semitic! If an Arab fights to free his people from acts of aggression and oppression he’s a terrorist, but if an Israeli kills it’s acceptable because after all everyone knows the Israelis are God’s chosen so whatever they do must be right.
Whatever happened to honesty and unbiased reporting by the media? If it wasn’t for alternative news reporting what is happening on both sides, the whole world would be convinced that “black was really white” by the perpetual, deliberately warped distortions of the truth expounded by today’s mainstream talking heads.
20 July 2006
I want to thank you and also the correspondents in France for bringing to us the news of the demonstrations in Germany and France against the ongoing outrage and slaughter by Israel of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. There has been no hint of a whiff of a sniff about these protests, or of the ones in Australia, in the US’s mainstream media that I have seen or heard. This news blackout, along with the censoring by this same media of images of the death and destruction occurring hourly in Lebanon, demonstrates once again the subservience of the US popular media to the wishes of the Bush administration in its despicable defense of the Israeli war crimes and its support of those crimes both in words and deeds.
It has long since become clear that any news worth learning is to be found on the World Socialist Web Site.
I would advise my fellow readers in the United States to inform themselves by reading the WSWS and also by going to the sites on the Internet where pictures of the horrors in Lebanon are to be seen. These are your tax dollars at work, my fellow citizens! Dollars that could be feeding, clothing and educating your children and providing medical care for millions.
San Francisco, California, US
31 July 2006