Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Still Wrong, Paul

One of Paul Mirengoff's recent pet projects is viciously smearing Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Powers. In the wake of no less of a conservative voice than Max Boot telling Mirengoff-source Noah Pollack to chill, Paul hesitated a half-step before reiterating the same bogus claims he's forwarded the last several go-arounds.

The first two points of contention -- the ones Power now describes as "weird" -- came out of a 2002 interview where she was asked about the Israeli/Palestine situation. Here's her quote:
Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing -- or investing, I think, more than sacrificing -- billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence.

Paul says that this shows that she wants to invade Israel and cut off all funding to its military.

I have two jabs and a haymaker here. My right jab is that, as Boot himself notes, many Israelis would be pleased if a NATO protection force was available to actually protect them from Palestinian intrusions. It'll never happen, because the international community will never put its own bodies on the line to protect Jews, but Power takes seriously at least as a moral matter this obligation to protect. My left jab is simply that Power is not saying we should cut Israel's military aid. She's saying that we should invest billions in creating a Palestinian state, as opposed to simply beefing up Israel's security yet more. I read her statement as saying we need to do both -- sure, Israel needs to be secure, but that's not going to fix the problem short- or long-term. Long-term, we need to invest in state building, not in giving Israel the option to occupy indefinitely.

But here's the haymaker: Look at the question she was asked!
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine - Israel problem, let's say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

Notice anything peculiar? Like, say, the the last clause? If a genocide breaks out, then damn straight I think an international military presence should move in on the scene, and I don't care whether its the Israelis, Palestinians, Iranians, or Sudanese perpetuating the slaughter. This may be why Power finds this whole discussion "weird" -- aside from the most fervent anti-Zionist contingent, it's weird to think of Israel suddenly engaging in genocidal rampage. If Paul's point is that even in the face of genocide we should leave the Israelis (or Palestinians, for that matter) be, then I think we depart company, and he departs civilized company.

The second set of allegations stem from a 2007 interview where Power is accused of saying that Israel is responsible for the war in Iraq. This is maliciously false, as demonstrated by looking at the full text of the question and answer, where she says nothing of the sort, although if you cherry-pick the parts where she talks about Iraq and Israel, and omit the parts where she talks about broader structural forces these are examples of (along with Halliburton, which is the clearer link to Iraq), maybe it can look that way. This is not a matter of interpretation. This is a matter of Paul Mirengoff lying through his teeth without the slightest sense of guilt about it.

The final two cases are Power quoted a UN leader calling Israelis "bastards" without, apparently, swearing to personally desecrate his grave for it, and Power wondering why, if the New York Times believed there were war crimes in Jenin (and she doesn't say who committed then), why didn't the NYT lead with that as its headline? The last one doesn't come with any link to original source material, which is something Paul's friends have played fast and loose with before. But in any event, this is thin gruel for Mirengoff to say someone is reviving "the blood libel", but there you go.

Concludes Paul: "To me, it seems clear that, collectively, these positions overwhelmingly show Power to be anti-Israel."

Concludes me: "To me, it seems clear that, collectively, these statements overwhelmingly show Mirengoff to be a party hack who is willing to lie without compunction."

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