STANLEY HELLER: When Criticism of Cluster Bombs is “Anti-Semitic”


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Weekend Edtion
September 2 / 3, 2006
Blanket Immunity from War Crimes
When Criticism of Cluster Bombs is "Anti-Semitic"

The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reports that the head of Germany's Jewish community 
accused a minister in Angela Merkel's German government of "anti-Semitism" 
because of the minister's statement on Israel's use of cluster bombs. 
Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had asked for a United 
Nations probe into Israel's use of cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of German Jews, complained 
about what she terms a growing "anti-mood [sic] against Israel and the Jews" in 
Germany. [Ha'aretz August 30] Merkel, who made absolutely no criticism of Israel
during the fighting, immediately met with Knobloch to "soothe Jewish ire" 
according to Deutche Welle [August 31]

The U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland revealed this week that of the estimated
100,000 unexploded cluster bombs lying in Lebanon almost all of them were fired 
in the last few days of the fighting when the terms of the ceasefire had already
been set. The Guardian (UK) reports Egleand said, "What's shocking--and I would 
say to me completely immoral is that ninety per cent of the cluster bomb strikes
occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a 
resolution," he said.

It was known that in the last days of the war the Israeli army was engaged in a 
desperate attempt to have some "victory" and rushed troops here and there in an 
attempt to have a photo shoot near the Litani River. What was not known until 
now was the blind spite that sowed the ground of South Lebanon with a massive 
number of bomblets.

Cluster bombs are delivered by a large canister and disperse over a wide area, a
sort of lethal piñata. The bomblets come in many sizes. Some are tiny, even 
smaller than 2 inches in diameter. Kids are constantly trying to kick them or 
pick them up with the result in the loss an arm or leg or even death. "Every day
people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnance," said Egeland. The 
UN official based his estimate on the reports of the UN Mine Action Coordination
Centre which has traveled through 85% of Lebanon. The casualty figures as of 29 
August from unexploded ordnance rose to 59 people, including 13 killed and 46 

Responding to U.N. reports of cluster bombs being found in Lebanese civilian 
areas the U.S. government has begun an investigation to determine if cluster 
bombs have been responsible for civilian casualties. It seems far fetched that 
the Bush Administration would do anything other than shower Israel with more 
money, but the Reagan administration did ban export of cluster bombs to Israel 
for six years for its misuse during its 1982 Lebanese invasion.

The Zionist Ultras have been circling the wagons on this issue, not giving an 
inch. They hysterical statement by the German Jewish leader was typical of many.

Responding to a report by Human Rights Watch charging Israel with war crimes in 
its conduct of the war in Lebanon that was written by its director Kenneth Roth,
Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel has called Roth "loathsome." An editorial in
the New York Sun accused Roth of "de-legitimization of Judaism" because his 
group condemned Israel's strategy as "an eye for an eye." Rabbi Aryeh Spero in 
Human Events Online referred to Roth as a "human rights impostor," and likened 
him to "Nazis and Communists." On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post published an op-ed 
by NGO Monitor's Gerald Steinberg titled "Ken Roth's Blood Libel." [quotes from 
Kathleen Peratis, Washington Post August 30] The fact that Kenneth Roth is 
Jewish and his father fled Nazi Germany makes no difference to the Ultras. If 
you are do not support Israel 110% you are a Jew-hater, a renegade, a 
self-hater, and a holocaust denier. Get it?

In a very competitive field Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League took the 
prize for the comment showing the most utter stupidly. In attacking Human Rights
Watch he said if Hezbollah was not made to pay an "overwhelming price" for 
rocket attacks "the Holocaust would be in the works". [Peratis, Washington Post]

Jewish Disgust with Israel

In a very encouraging development hundreds of U.S. Jews are calling for strong 
measures to be taken against the Israeli government including a cut off of U.S. 
aid and U.N. sanctions. Over 800 have signed the statement calling for "U.S. 
Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples of the Middle East". It states 
"we are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and 
as U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the United States 
who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Gaza and Lebanon". 
It includes the statement, "There is no Jewish safety in a country that 
rehearses the violence and persecution which Ashkenazi Jews experienced for 
centuries through the annihilation of the Palestinian people and their 
homeland." The signers are collecting money for a full page in the New York 
Times and are just $800 away from their goal. The petition can be found at

It was after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon that U.S. Jews in significant numbers 
began open and trenchant criticisms of Israel. Chomsky's watershed "The Fateful 
Triangle" was published that year. Hopefully there will be even bigger shows of 
outrage this time around.

Stanley Heller is chairperson of the Middle East Crisis Committee in 
Connecticut. It's website is and he can be reached at 

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