The idea that Israel's Lebanon offensive had "nothing to do with Hezbollah" is "nothing short of demented."

| Tue Aug. 8, 2006 1:39 PM EDT

In response to an interview with frequent MJ contributor Robert Dreyfuss on Mother Jones Radio, a listener/reader writes:

To the Editors of Mother Jones:

I was in the past an occasional reader of Mother Jones and have recently re-engaged with the magazine through your podcasts, which, up until recently, I have quite enjoyed. This changed when I heard the July 30, 2006 interview with Robert Dreyfuss, which was truly shocking. My impression was that Mother Jones had embraced a moderate leftist political stance, but Mr. Dreyfuss' hateful diatribe against Israeli and U.S. policy was anything but moderate, anything but reasoned. [Rather, it was] the rant of an ill-tempered ideologue.

I think the crux of the matter was reached when Mr. Dreyfuss claimed that Israel's attack in Lebanon had "nothing to do with Hezbollah" and "nothing to do with Syria", but was only an attempt to drag the U.S. into conflict with Iran. Mr. Dreyfuss seems driven by a theological hatred of the Bush administration, and while it is unlikely that Mr. Dreyfuss despises Bush et al. more than I do, that is not an excuse for the public articulation of unsupported, near rabid attacks on his political enemies, in which clearly Israel has equal footing [with] the Bush administration.

The fact that Hezbollah has been attacking Israel for years on a small scale, dictating the terms of the conflict, killing people here and there, while supporting Hamas and engaging in various terrorist excursions is not in dispute. Many critics would advocate a "measured response". That is, when Hezbollah sends over a few rockets, injures or kills the odd Israeli, Israel should be expected to do no more than respond in kind. In other words, Hezbollah gets to set the terms and the timetable of the conflict, justify[ing] its belligerent existence to Lebanon in a never-ending conflict with Israel, while giving courage and leadership to those who would attack Israeli and Jewish targets around the world. The fact that Iran trained and largely armed Hezbollah is also not in dispute. So that when Israel, or more or less anyone, says that Hezbollah is an arm of Iranian foreign policy, it does not follow that Israel's desire to wipe out this incessant threat on its border is a ruse intended to steer the U.S. toward confrontation with Iran.

Whatever you might think of the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, the idea that it had nothing to do with Hezbollah is nothing short of demented. For Mr. Dreyfuss to portray Israel as the bully of the Middle East, leading the U.S around on a leash, while he expresses sympathy for the "poor" (Mr. Dreyfuss' word) Syrians is utterly repellant and entirely immoral. It is true, as he says, that Syria does not want a war with Israel, but this does not stop them from funneling, along with (and largely from) Iran, huge quantities of state-of-the-art weaponry to Hezbollah in order to conduct a proxy war.

One final note: in the absence of substantiating claims for his wild theories, Mr. Dreyfuss in the July 30th interview repeatedly justified his views by saying the "whole word" shares his views of Israel and the U.S. Apart from that not actually being an argument of any kind, the whole world he refers to is overrepresented by Muslim countries who constitute a billion people, and who in most cases have been steeped in long-term propagandist hate-mongering against Israel. Many in Western Europe also share Mr. Dreyfuss' anti-Israeli feelings, but between the ever-growing acceptance of anti-Semitism in Western Europe (presumably, hopefully, not an issue for a man named Dreyfuss), and the large representation of Muslim populations in Western European protests, Mr. Dreyfuss has put himself in some very distasteful company indeed.

What do you think? Comment below or write in to backtalk@motherjones.com