Israel and the Blame Game


“No excuses and no more in your face about what can’t be proven”


by Ken Smith

I admit upfront that I know even less than you do (the reader), about the twisted and fragmented history of Israel and it’s interactions with Arab and non-Arab neighbors in the middle east.

However, what I have recently seen on TV, read online and listened to over the past year in respect to that region, what most are calling the “Arab Spring” makes me wonder about all the journalists who say “Israel’s fingerprints are all over this, Israel is behind this” yet as I dig and I look and I research, I find that mostly what is behind this phenomenon of protest are youngsters and technology. Yup, technology.

Now, that is a very simplistic view on my part, and makes me look naive and dopey about the geo-politics involved behind the scenes, so I am talking here about how the people, the average protester, those we see marching in the streets of Arab capitals, yeah, those kids, it explains how they are getting the word out or getting messages out that today’s march at XYZ square is at 3pm, etc.

Now, I know protesters are also getting messages out at prayer services on Friday’s, and there are probably foreign intellegence operatives and secret agent services, including the US and others, behind the scenes trying to excite and take advantage of this, but mostly, its technology and youngsters protesting with a schedule and an agenda.

Now, Israel didn’t invent Twitter, or Facebook, or Linkedin, and its mostly these social sites (and many more by the way), that have galvanized the youth populace of each of the countries involved to demand freedoms, change leaders and most importantly, get jobs, all in an attempt to throw off the yoke of oppressive rulers. What I found interesting in my research is that almost 50% of the protesters are women. Yup, women, and this from a culture where women are supposed to stay at home and let men handle these kinds of matters. Go figure.

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Al Jazeera is also a big player in this Arab revolution. I can remember back when the American administrations were “Steaming hot” at this Arab news service, as they thought the bias that they brought to their reporting was anti- American. Al Jazeera’s success prompted the US state department to develop, fund and launch its own Arab news channel, and yet, the citizens of Arab countries still flock to Al Jazzera, just as we Americans flock to CNN or the FoxNews channel. So, in a strange kind of way, Al Jazeera has played a role in this “Arab Spring” movement too.

What perplexes me is how the conspiracy theorists still find ways to blame Israel and point fingers at a nation that may or may not not even benefit from this Arab revolution. I think what has happened in Egypt as an example would make those in Israel real nerveous. What is happening in Syria right now must keep some in Israel up all night. And yet, the drum beat, even from writers on this site is that Israel is responsible, they are the ones behind the scences, somehow manipulating a whole Arab populace.

Is that true? Not according to what I have found, and as I mentioned in my first sentence, I am not that connected to some of the sources that others are reporting. But lets be fair here, really, lets for once say what is evident. Arab countries, with histories of dictators, are changing right in front of our eyes. Did that come about because Bush went into Iraq? Is this happening because Israel is funding some secret training camp for protesters somewhere in Africa? I don’t think so. I do think that its refreshing to see regular ordinary citizens of countries, countries that are difficult to get visa’s too, countries with represive regimes, buckling under the weight of their own people.

I do know that I make sure that all the facts I use in any of my stories have at least two sources and when possible, maybe more. I see all kinds of references to Israel this and Israel that online, so it makes me wonder. Are these stories sourced, opinions of the writers, factual references or made up?

I know that somehow I will be tagged as a columnist who is soft on Israel and ignorant of the facts of what is really happening, but come on, is it just me? I don’t see any hard hitting stories coming out of Yeman, or Syria about how brutal the leaders there are handling the protesters. Today I read that over 250 children have been killed in Syria by its own Army. You have to be pretty brutal to kill the children of your own country, and yet, somehow, Assad’s brutality is somehow “News Jacked” to appear as if Israel is behind the scences pulling strings in Damascus . Now, is it me? Am I that naive? I don’t think so, I think that I echo what other Americans are thinking and wondering.

Now Barbara Walters recently interviewed Assad for American TV, so, is this interview propaganda from the west or is it real? Watch this interview, in it Assad says he doesn’t think that anyone’s being killed by the Syrian Army. Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of superman bizarro world playing out here in Syria? I read that 20 of the 22 Arab League members have sanctioned Syria. What if Canada’s prime minister had his Army kill 250 Canadian kids, and slaughter 4,000 Canadian citizens. Would we as Americans stand by and watch that and do nothing? Where are the Arab countries in all this? How come no Arab country is pressing charges in the Hague against Assad for war crimes? Where is the real outrage from Arab countries?. The only country that has shown any real gumption is Turkey. Why is that? What about the others?

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I can already see the emails coming my way saying. “You don’t know squat about what is happening in Israel”, “Israel has been plotting this for years” “Israel is actually doing this to draw attention away from its plan to weaken Iran”, “Stop defending Israel” come on, lets all be adults and be real. Israel is kinda involved, just like Washington is kinda involved, and Iran is kinda involved and the house of Saud is kinda involved, and for sure, the Kremlin is actually involved. But make no mistake about it, this “Arab Spring” is something built by youngsters using technology. Good for them. I wish I could do more than just write about the bravery and sacrifice I have seen and read in half a dozen Arab countries, I wish I could help change the outcome and let those who hunger for a country with Freedoms have a taste, and just once, have a day without killing.

Author Details
For more than twenty-five years Ken Smith has been a leading advocate for veterans. A combat Vietnam veteran, Ken served during 1971-72 as a paramedic and an infantry squad leader with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. After his discharge, Ken continued his work as a paramedic in New England. On the streets of Boston he encountered growing numbers of homeless Vietnam veterans, and he became determined to both assist them and draw attention to their plight. In 1989, Ken founded the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, located in a former VA hospital at 17 Court Street in downtown Boston. One of the first facilities designed for homeless veterans and now a national model, the shelter has served over 35,000 of America’s veterans who, for whatever reason, find themselves living on the streets. In 1992 Ken was awarded Point of Light #142 by President George H. W. Bush, and later that same year received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, considered the “Oscar” for American veterans. As one of America’s foremost veterans service organizations, AMVETS (or American Veterans) has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Ken was awarded this honor along with Peter Coors, with whom he still maintains a personal friendship. Over the years Ken has appeared on many national media programs including Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN, 60 Minutes, and The Geraldo Show. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and numerous international newspapers, magazines, and websites. In 1992, Ken had the distinction of addressing both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions as a keynote speaker on the subject of veterans. Ken recently left his last assignment with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, where he was the chief technology architect of the Veteran’s Vocational Technical Institute, Purple Heart Car Donation program, Purple Heart Call Center, Purple Heart Radio, Purple Heart Tech Support, Purple Heart Services, and over thirty new Purple Heart websites. Ken Smith provided the vision and has overseen the implementation of innovative, virtual, work-at-home training programs for veterans with combat disabilities. Ken has designed, upgraded, and supervised the integration and installation of Purple Heart Service Foundations computer and telephony systems, upgrading features from legacy POTS phones to SIP-trunked communications systems including establishing new VPN networks for teams of remote virtual employees. An adventure sports enthusiast, Ken enjoys extreme skiing, competitive sailing, flying, and travel. He has traveled extensively worldwide, delivering his positive message to the veterans of other countries that a paraplegic veteran of the United States suffers the same as a paraplegic veteran of India; that an amputee veteran of Nepal suffers as much as an amputee veteran of France. Ken’s mentor was Harold Russell, the two-time Academy Award winner who starred in the 1946 film Best Years of Our Lives. A World War II veteran, on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Harold lost both of his hands. This ghastly misfortune did not stop him, and he went on to become the chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Disabilities. For over fifty years he served US presidents from Truman to Clinton. Ken was humbled and grateful when Harold agreed to serve as the best man at Ken’s wedding. Ken has been instrumental in the planning stages for the Veterans Workshop, a new nationwide veterans’ advocacy group building a new “Veterans Hotline, and the development of special programs for those who have lost their sight or their hearing, or who have suffered spinal cord injury, as a result of their military experience. The Veterans Workshop provides a forum where new technology and advancements in the fields of prosthetic and orthotic solutions, many designed by Ken, are shared along with virtual training and employment programs. A 1970 graduate of De La Salle Academy in Newport, Rhode Island, for the past twenty-five years Ken has continued his education with extensive college courses in computer technology and related social service fields. He resides in his native state of Rhode Island with his wife and children.
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