Yes, there is a glorious level of naivety that goes with thinking the “Pro-Palestinian” BDS movement is just some really fair and ivory towerish way to get Israel to moderate its actions in Palestine. That’s like saying that because Fox News didn’t actually squeeze the trigger on American guns in Iraq that it’s peaceful.
But there is also a completely batshit crazy McCarthyism amongst the self-styled “Pro-Israel” crowd that just cannot stop campus McCarthyism. They are so imprudent with their use of coercion that they are burning all of their fuel too quickly. By not picking their battles, by not limiting their career- and reputation destroying fusillades against those that might actually have some kind of effect anywhere, on anyone that matters (an academic forum? how many different ways do 99.99% of people not give an airborne copulation about one of those).
At least the attacks on Hagel are directed at someone whose views may actually matter even if they are self-defeating in the end.
The odd and slow American social conscience will eventually revolt against this, just as it has against the fanaticism of the Tea Party (just ask Mitt Romney and minority leader McConnell how that has worked out).
And the main reason why is that while these folks are connected to an anti-Israel (without scare quotes) agenda, they are, in these forums, merely speaking. They aren’t running for office. They aren’t bargaining for anything. They are just exercising Free Speech. We let the KKK exist in this country. We let Fox News exist. We let that happen. Is it always wise? I don’t know. It may not be, but it’s such a fundamentally American concept that pushing against it feels like cheating.
The Israel and Palestine debate has gotten so polarizing that someone like me who is on the militaristic side of Pro-Israel, who thinks that the separation wall is fantastic, who thinks that Palestinians are probably better off under Israeli control than their own (I mean, you know, unless by “better off” you mean being killed by your own people instead of governed by others).
But I just can’t hang with this kind of shit. Let them talk themselves stupid. Who cares? The backlash then hits them, not Israel.
The myopia is astonishing. What happens when people stop debating an issue is that it becomes black and white. And so when people change their minds, they don’t stop along any of the 1,000 possible shades of gray. They just flip. And if the American public turns against Israel because its advocates within America are acting unamerican, I fear for what happens next.