“The Squad” Accuses Israel of Torture: Liner Notes

Another Monday, another column at The Federalist, “‘The Squad’ Co-Sponsors Bill Claiming Israel Tortures Children, And Parrots Other Terrorist Propaganda.” The bill is wild; the story behind it is wilder.

What got left out for space? Plenty. Indeed, this is one of the tricky parts of writing about Israel. Most are not heavily dialed into the subject, so the temptation is to explain more and more of how things are connected until one looks like the push-pins and yarn conspiracy guy. In reality, one would have the same problem in writing about German or French politics for an American audience which does not follow them closely.

For example, the column quotes Mark Mellman, but I cut out his quotation of Nelson Mandela, who was sympathetic to the Palestinan cause, yet still believed in Israel’s right to exist with secure borders. I also cut a quotation from Israel critic and former South African Justice Richard Goldstone, because to grasp his significance, I felt like I had to explain the Goldstone Report and his quasi-apology for inaccurately accusing Israel of war crimes. It’s important to demonstrate just how weak a canard it is to accuse Israel of being an “apartheid state,” but doing all of that explaining eventually distracts the reader.

This is another reason why the column remains focused on the DCI-P group and does not discuss other groups cited in the bill. For example, the manner in which Human Rights Watch addresses Israel is a story in itself, right up to the present day, with Israel refusing to renew a work visa for HRW’s Israel program director based on his past and current BDS activism.

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