So while I sit around in Cairo anxiously waiting for the Egyptian security forces to decide when or if they will permit internationals to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing–they will reportedly open the border sometime in the next 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 weeks–I need some amusement.
Thankfully, the Nation printed a few letters outlining the many obvious idiocies–every word in the piece–in Eric Alterman’s paean to Israeli cultural production, written to celebrate the one year anniversary of the meticulous bombardment of a refugee camp.
To mourn the Cast Lead Operation, Eric wrote about the introspective capabilities of the society that produced it. A few comments from readers:
Alterman assumes a referee status between right and left thinkers on the conflict, when actually he is a sweet-talker for one of the longest-running, most brutal occupations in history. Eric, cut the theme music.
To help us find the fair and balanced tipping point along the “one-dimensional picture presented by both left and right,” Alterman prescribes some Israeli movies, of which I’ve seen two. Waltz With Bashir is indeed a good flick, but it’s entirely about Jewish angst; not exactly on point.
The Lemon Tree is on point, however. It’s a moving dramatization of precisely what Carey is claiming: that occupation is at the core of existence in the territories, and that the phony “peace process” the PA has so disastrously bought into has no hope of reversing the relentless trajectory of oppression, dispossession and state violence.
Smart, cutting, astute, and unanswerable, right?
Says Eric:
I’ve been writing for The Nation for twenty-seven years now. I just turned 50, so with luck, I have another twenty-seven or so years in me. During that time I hope, just once, to read someone other than myself in this magazine observe that the Israelis do not bear responsibility for absolutely every misfortune that has befallen the Palestinian people.
And that in fact, the Palestinian leadership, and those who call themselves “militants”–but the rest of the world calls “terrorists”–bear significant responsibility as well. I guess today is not that day…With 27 years of writing experience, Eric is still upset that other writers have intellectual and literary ranges that extend beyond truism, platitude, and cliche. He also seems to be upset at the world–a Zionist motif–and so ignores it. So when Roane Carey explicitly calls the PA’s accomodationism a “mask,” and refers to “Abbas and his cohort ha [ving] already lost most of the last shreds of credibility,” Eric is unable to parse this as Carey writing that the “Israelis do not bear [total] responsibility…etc.” The problem is that Israel and American Zionism bear primary and dominating responsibility for the whole fucking mess.
And the latter, or at least the Jewish component of mainstream American Zionism, identifies tribally and culturally with the former, and Eric has woven this tribalism into the warp of his grating persona for the last 30 years or so. It’s no wonder he is eager to divert blame elsewhere, to place “significant” responsibility on the Hamas terrorists who are under illegal occupation and hermetic blockade. No wonder, but increasingly pathetic.

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