web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

A Neglected Anniversary

Israel’s metamorphosis in the eyes of the media – from valiant underdog to regional bully – stands out as the lasting legacy of the 1982 Lebanon war.
LebanonWarGirlS

With all the media attention paid to the recent 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympic massacre, another anniversary – this one related to something far more consequential in terms of Israel’s history – slipped by relatively unnoticed.

It was thirty years ago this past June that Israel invaded Lebanon in an attempt to deal the PLO a death blow and thirty years ago last month that Lebanese Christian militiamen slaughtered Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. The two events, fairly or not, will forever be linked in the public mind. But even if Israeli troops had prevented their Lebanese allies from entering the camps, the Lebanon War would have become Israel’s Vietnam and – again, fairly or not – changed the way much of Israeli society viewed itself and the way much of the world viewed Israel.

Like Vietnam, the Lebanon war became increasingly unpopular in elite media circles. Both wars became rallying cries for forces eager not just to protest the conflict but to disparage the country, its leaders, its history. And both were initiated or inherited by politicians who had long been anathema to liberal journalists.

First and foremost there is the Nixon-Begin parallel and the question of perceived legitimacy. Mainstream American liberals had begun souring on the Vietnam war in 1965 and 1966, but it wasn’t until Democrats lost the 1968 presidential election and Richard Nixon took office a few months later that antiwar sentiment exploded in establishment circles.

Suddenly it was Nixon’s war, not John Kennedy’s or Lyndon Johnson’s, and Democrats were acting as though the 500,000 American troops already on the ground in Vietnam had appeared there at the instant of Nixon’s inauguration.

As difficult as it was for many of Nixon’s ideological foes to swallow the notion of Nixon as a legitimate commander in chief, so too did Menachem Begin’s political enemies view Begin as an unworthy interloper when in 1977 he broke the Labor Alignment’s long electoral hegemony in Israel.

That sense of illegitimacy remained largely under the surface during Begin’s first term in office, when the only two military operations of consequence were a limited incursion into Lebanon in 1978 and the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

But when Begin, a year into his second term, signed off on the invasion of Lebanon, his opponents dropped even the pretense of civility. For many Israeli leftists, inside the media and out, the very thought of the reviled Begin presiding over the largest Israeli military operation since the Yom Kippur War was nothing short of intolerable. Israeli newspapers were filled with indignant letters from parents, many of whom openly identified themselves as Labor loyalists, cursing Begin because their sons were now at mortal risk in Lebanon.

A month or so into the fighting, with Israeli soldiers still engaged in battles in and around Beirut, Yitzhak Rabin and other Labor politicos could be seen on television newscasts around the world voicing open disparagement of the Begin government.

Another parallel between Vietnam and Lebanon involved the emergence or reinvigoration, in both the U.S. and Israel, of movements hostile to the prevailing social and political order. In the wake of Lebanon, left-wing Israeli academics (relying heavily on concepts and terminology popularized by their American counterparts 15 years earlier) began to formulate the negative interpretation of Israeli history that by the middle of the following decade would come to be called post-Zionism.

The wars were also similar for the hostile international media coverage they inspired. The Europeans had been vicious to Israel since the late 1960s, but it took Lebanon to bring out the animosity that had been building for a number of years in the American media, as witness the syndicated columnist Nicholas von Hoffman’s statement that “atrocity by atrocity, Americans are coming to see the Israeli government as pounding the Star of David into a swastika”; or the Chicago Tribune columnist Vernon Jarrett’s claim that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon “seems designed to make civilized man forget or depreciate the Holocaust”; or the print and television pundit Carl Rowan’s insistence that “Israel’s leaders are imitating Hitler.”

Three decades later, Israel’s metamorphosis in the eyes of the media – from valiant underdog to regional bully – stands out as the lasting legacy of the 1982 Lebanon war.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Neglected Anniversary”

  1. Ethan Perks says:

    I remember when Begin became PM. My rabbi denounced him, frothing at the mouth. I am NOT making that up. He frothed at the mout h and denonced him at every sermon. It only lightened up a bit when the rabbi also had Reagen to denounce.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and the Temple Mount: "It's mine, all mine. No Jews allowed.
Abbas Declares Closure of Al Aqsa Mosque a ‘Declaration of War’
Latest Indepth Stories
Which glass has the poison?

The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies

Adolf Hitler and the representative of the Palestinian Arabs, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, December, 1941.

Palestinian anti-Semitism in 2014 is more extreme and mainstream than German A/S in the 1930s.

Sheldon Silver

Woven deeply through it all is the Jewish obligation to fight injustice.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Only in the inverted world of academia would Jewish professors denounce the AMCHA Initiative report.

Many poskim were and are adamant about the responsibility of every individual to vote.

Individuals who may have been abused are the “clients” in need and receiving care and protection.

An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor

The fact that the United States government after World War II sought to take advantage of the expertise of German scientists, even those known to have contributed to the Nazi war effort, is well known and largely accepted as having been necessary for America’s national defense. (Wernher von Braun is perhaps the most famous and […]

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

To say he was beloved because of the way he loved his students does not sufficiently capture the reality.

The birth I speak about is to give birth to ourselves, to our full potential.

The extreme hypocrisy, contempt & vulgarity of the attacks indicate more than a policy disagreement

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/a-neglected-anniversary/2012/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: