Trying to get inside Jennifer Rene Psaki’s head is one heck of an intellectual challenge. The pearls of wisdom that habitually escape the lips of this US State Department spokeswoman are often no less than stupefying, so it must be edifying to get a handle on what inspires them.
Each time the comely redhead mounts the rostrum to deliver another of her deadpan briefings, Israeli hearts skip a few beats. Will she merely be chillingly aloof? Will she school-marmishly disapprove of our perceived misconduct? Will she actually go the whole hog and scold us for being the reprobates she serially suggests that we are?
She is the gauge of just how disliked we are. Our tendentious, left-dominated, agenda-driven media has turned Psaki into the adjudicator of our international standing. If she isn’t pleased, we are in obvious trouble. Her pronouncements open our news broadcasts and star on our front pages.
Thus we quaked the other day, awaiting her judgmental input following the deaths of two Arabs in Bitunia (near Ramallah) on May 15. They took part in irredentist disturbances to decry Israel’s Independence anniversary as a catastrophe – Nakba – their loaded characterization of our existence.
Psaki unequivocally put us in the dog-house when she encouraged “the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators.”
Ouch! We are well-familiar with that demand for proportionality. It never augurs well for us.
Presumably in the aforementioned incident, Psaki expected Israeli soldiers to arrive at the riot scene equipped with incendiary devices (like those hurled by the rioters) and toss these fire bombs around indiscriminately. If the rioters failed to inflict casualties (not for the lack of trying), the soldiers had better make sure they didn’t hit anyone either. Superior aim could be construed a tie-breaker. Such undue advantage may signify a “disproportionate” element in the equation.
Needless to say, the demand for absolute proportionality is one leveled exclusively at Israel. No other country on this globe was ever constricted by similar requirements, certainly not American forces operating anywhere and certainly not Arab terrorists of the ilk that invaded the Fogel home at Itamar two years ago and butchered parents and three children (one of them a three-months-old baby who was nearly decapitated).
But Psaki of course isn’t the wrongdoer here. She’s just the messenger and venting at the messenger kind of misses the mark.
Psaki is merely a mouthpiece for hire. She first was Barack Obama’s spokesperson and then moved to the State Department where she does her darndest to defend her boss John Kerry. His numerous gaffes and egregious blunders surely don’t lighten her load.
Essentially Psaki recites Kerry’s script. Her delivery may be as unsympathetic as his demeanor but the ill-will is Kerry’s and that of the Obama administration which he so superciliously serves. Kerry can be consistently counted upon never to miss an opportunity to blame Israel.
Nothing else could or should have been expected when surveillance footage from Bitunia surprisingly and belatedly showed up, the product of equipment purportedly installed barely a day earlier at the maybe-scene of the maybe-crime.
Any amateur sleuth, from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple – to say nothing of seasoned forensic specialists – can instantly detect what’s wrong with this picture. Why weren’t the videos immediately available, why did it take five days after the event till they were made public?
These dubious poor quality tapes were, it’s claimed, initially deposited in the hands of advocacy organizations, those with huge propaganda axes to grind. This fact on its own grossly taints the evidence to begin with. Notably, only isolated minutes remain of presumably many hours of recoded material.
The area covered by the cameras appears remarkably calm. There’s no hint of rioting. This certainly would seem to bolster accusations that Israelis fired live rounds at innocent youths with no iota of provocation. The time set on the recordings is well after the riot’s end but that may just be a minor staging slipup.
Scarcely identifiable figures appear around the corner, in an ostensibly idle saunter, as if by happenstance just within camera range. Suddenly two of them go down. One fellow noticeably stretches out his arms to break his fall. The other could use a few Hollywood coaching sessions on how to expire convincingly on camera.
No one with fatal hi-velocity bullet wounds to the head, chest or abdomen would conceivably collapse as either of these two had. No self-protection instincts persist in a state of terminal shock, loss of consciousness and acute bleeding. Moreover, one “victim” descends to the pavement carefully and deliberately, as if about to start doing push-ups.
It gets worse. No blood stains are visible on the ground and nobody attends to or treats the supposed shooting casualties at the spot. They’re carried off and again, without leaving a trace of blood splatter anywhere.
The fact that no Israelis are at all on hand is altogether negligible. This fabrication is too crude for the missing miscreants to matter much. The fact that the IDF reported no activity in that vicinity (and the use of only rubber bullets elsewhere) should further undercut the calumny of a cold-blooded execution by trigger-happy Israelis. But who cares?
True objectivity is the last thing to be expected of the Kerrys and Psakis who maintain impeccable equanimity in the face of Mahmoud Abbas’s incitement to murder. They then remain perfectly poised whenever that indoctrination to hate matures into actual slaughter of Jews.
According to the daily and strident brainwashing in Abbas’s schools, media and mosques – all of them under his aegis and control – the murder of Jews is historically justified and divinely decreed. Jews have no right to resist. That is their lot. Not only do they possess no right to avenge, they posses no right to self-defense, to at all fight. Their very existence is a provocation, a casus belli.
Therefore, Jewish survival of a concerted Arab offensive is depicted as the epitome of injustice, as a Nakba.
This is key to understanding today’s Mideast. As in yesteryear, so in the 21st century it’s axiomatic that Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews – and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways – but the Jews’ attempts to deflect such blows are evil, outrageous and deserving of merciless punishment.
Kerry’s fundamental failure to admit how selective Arab rules of warfare are precludes making sense of anything in our region and dooms his peace drive and mediation initiatives. The tragedy is that not only is the asymmetry between Jewish and Arab mindsets not comprehended in the State Department, but there’s no inclination to even consider it.
The corollary is that skewed Arab standards are commonly accepted overseas. Hence the outcry whenever Israel does anything in the aid of its self-preservation. Large-scale campaigns like Defensive Shield or Cast Lead are denounced for “lack or proportionality.” However, there’s shrill censure even for pinpointed targeting. Even the trials and convictions of murderers like Marwan Barghouti are portrayed as illegitimate.
There’s plainly just nothing Israel may do to safeguard itself. Even the most legalistically scrupulous remedies are repudiated.
When Psaki is sent out to insinuate Israeli sins she does so in the context of oblique efforts to paralyze and disallow Israeli self-defense. The mud now slung at Israel is expected to intimidate and discourage future resort to force.
It’s nothing new. This isn’t the product of what’s castigated as occupation. Neither does this arise from the shortage of suicidal concessions on Israel’s part to appease Arab/Muslim appetites or to glorify Kerry and his White House chief. Jewish self-defense, in its most rudimentary and literal sense, was anathema way before the Jewish state’s birth and subsequent cheeky survival.
In his milestone, still ever-relevant 1943 book The Forgotten Ally, Dutch-Canadian journalist Pierre Van Paassen quotes his own interview with the British Mandate’s Acting High Commissioner Harry Luke during the homicidal countrywide Arab rampages of 1929 (most notorious for the Hebron massacre).
Van Paassen told Luke: “you arrested first and foremost, in every case I investigated, the Jews who successfully defended themselves. You arrested fifty Jews in Haifa at the moment they defended themselves heroically against the attack of a mob of some 2,000 runners-amok…
“Yesterday I saw a man brought into Jerusalem by the mounted police and recognized in him an older settler from the neighborhood of Lifta, the owner of a small canning factory who had been in this country for more than fifty years – a real pioneer. I visited this man in jail. His name is Isaac Brozen… He was arrested after he had barricaded himself in his factory… Arabs from Lifta raped and massacred his old wife and two daughters and set fire to his house across the roadway.”
Luke – like Obama, Kerry and haughty EU omniscients all these decades later – argued that he was only looking out for Jews, he was trying to get them past their own intransigence, to see what’s best for them, something they were clearly incapable of doing.
According to this self-appointed ad-hoc benefactor of the Jews, Brozen and the many others Van Paassen listed were merely “placed in protective custody for their own good.” The interviewer countered: “but they were in chains and in solitary confinement… Mr. Brozen was loaded down under chains… chains on his hands and chains on his feet, old Turkish chains at that…”
*Van Paassen’s now esoteric volume is a must-read for anyone who seeks to place the Israeli-Arab conflict in perspective. It is salient precisely because it was written long before Israel could be maligned as the imperialist ogre of present-day political fashion.
Neither Kerry nor Psaki can remotely be suspected of having ever heard of Van Paassen or of having ever read a line of his output – much less of being broadminded enough to change their minds if they had.
Nevertheless, there’s no disputing that the more things change, the more they stay the same. “Impartial” Brits once sought to foil Jewish defense with chains. Now “impartial” State Department hacks strive to foil Jewish defense with different, no less restrictive and vindictive shackles.
Debunking the Bull,
Sarah Honig’s book, was recently published by Gefen.