My Dinner Partner Hates Israel

Last night my wife and I went to a sophisticated dinner party in the Hudson Valley. Pheasant, a lavish cheese plate with dessert. There was grace before the meal; thank god no reference to Jesus Christ. A very liberal crowd. More gays than Jews. Mostly Obama, a few Hillaryites. 

I was seated next to a woman I’ve met before and like. A 60-ish professional in NY, married to a Jewish guy. She asked what I was working on, and then her rage toward Israel just came spilling out. I of course found it fascinating. Some of the stuff she said:

–She once figured we give the Israelis $35,000 per capita in foreign aid. (I have no idea whether this figure is accurate.) That’s why their society is prosperous. We maintain a friend, but create a score of enemies. If Israel didn’t have our unconditional support, it would have to learn to live with its neighbors…

–She first became uncomfortable with Israel when because of her job in the 80s, around the time of Lockerbie, she learned that Israelis were trying to gain financing for arms sales to Libya. We’d never tolerate such behavior from France or England.

–She hears a lot of young people who say, What the hell are we doing supporting Israel like this, when look at the way they treat Palestinians. This is against American interests! they say. Older people are more discreet.

–When I said that Trita Parsi writes that Israel came up with "radical Islam" as the glue to hold Israel and the U.S. together post-Cold-War, after Israel lost its role as our ally against the Soviets, she said, "Absolutely. They’ve pushed this." My point is that this is an idea she has on her own.

–This is never going to change. The politicians are afraid. Lincoln Chafee and Ned Lamont both lost over this issue.

–She can never bring these ideas up with her Jewish relations, they go haywire. She never talks about these ideas in company…

I told her it is going to change, because too many people like herself now are this angry. The natives are restless. America is too strong a democracy not to have this conversation. And it will. You watch…

Later, driving home with too much red wine in me, I reflected that the essay Tony Judt wrote a couple of years ago, warning Israel to grow up, it was acting like a spoiled adolescent, and the U.S. was about to stop indulging it, was true. As I remember, Judt published that piece in Israel, not here. Demonstrating once again that our politics are broken because our journalism is broken. This too will change. As I told my dinner partner, "I’m a cockeyed optimist."

[P.S. Peter Voskamp, editor of the Block Island Times in Rhode Island, corrects my dinner partner and me for comments re Lincoln Chafee:

I really don't think we can hang Chafee's loss (as  
opposed to Lamont's) on the lobby. If he had declared as an 
independent, he'd still be in the Senate.  Rhode Islanders love their 
Chafees, but a chance of returning the Senate back to the Democrats 
was just too important. Many agonized over their vote for Sheldon 
Whitehouse
(after all, they did want to reward Chafee for his brave 
vote against the war).]

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 50 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. MM says:

    Actually my intelligent and inquiring friend Mac, the Hamas shiek didn't just "happen" to be the leader of a terrorist organization.

    It was hardly, how you say, happenstance?

    Yassin came from a place called al-Jura, a village near Majdal, which in '48 was ethnically cleansed, supposedly when he was just a wee lad, allowing his family the opportunity to relocate to wonderful nearby Gaza city, after liquidating all their non-portable holdings, in preparation for the several days' walk ahead of them.

    Today Majdal has a Hebrew name, and very few Palestinian peasants, though I hear it isn't quite the paradise Zionists envisioned.

  2. the Sword of Gideon says:

    Wow, Phil Weiss is given to attending dinner parties where the fellow attendees hate Israel. STOP THE PRESSES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Clara says:

    He's trying to tell you it isn't only the poor "ignorant" folk who are getting sick and tired of paying Israels way. They have health care, I pay for their health care at the time of struggling to pay my families health care. Millions of Americans have no health care. Welfare is a bad word, Americans are lectured to be self reliant this while we pay for Israel's welfare. Anyone objects are labelled anti Semites. I don't fool myself that so many Jews are only just aware of the problem, they're aware now most of us don't give a damn any more. When the economy crunch gets worse, you wait and see the response to your ADL and your AIPAC when they start yelling names.

  4. Andrew Sommers says:

    "Later, driving home with too much red wine in me"

    Phil – I do hope your wife was doing the driving.

  5. peters says:

    This happens to me all the time. First you check each other out to see if either is crazy or Jewish and then it comes spilling out. There is a mountain of resentment. However this may only apply in urban centers on the coasts, mid-Americans who get the news in the papers probably aren't this way. After all, Israel is approved by 70% of Americans. Israel can probably get away with more years of doing damage but it WILL eventually stop. How long did it take for the Soviet Union?
    I wonder if the woman at the dinner party talked to her husband of her ideas?

  6. Richard Witty says:

    Every loyal progressive American simultaneously loves and hates America. Although you infer that you are now "loyal", I expect that you too have a love/hate relationship with America.

    There are obviously aspects of permanent American foreign and domestic policy that make you and me so damn angry as to consider leaving. Permanent war. Redistribution of wealth from working to owning classes. Suppression of civil liberties. Absence of venue of genuinely respectfully open discussion on issues of merit.

    Every liberal defender of Zionism experiences similarly. We hate many of Israel's policies, constructed of odd coalitions of neo-religious and nationalist that ignore agreements, invent law, block fully democratic institutions.

    And yet, we KNOW that Zionism has been necessary and likely is necessary, and has been and is desirable.

    The $3 billion/year given to Israel is not large relative to other permanent military and other aid given to allies on the frontier of conflict.

    The invocation of hatred towards Israel, as distinct from anger and rational criticism (you do know the difference?), is repulsive, no matter where it is stated.

  7. ed. says:

    "There is a mountain of resentment. However this may only apply in urban centers on the coasts…"

    Isn't it ironic that before middle America got Zionized by the media, the opposite would have been true.

    It seems urbanites are today embracing fundamental hard truths (look at Obama's unapologetic Christianity) and rural whites are now the ones being played for fools by Jewish Zionist charlatans. And it seems like only yesterday that Jews were considered so hip by the cosmopolitan set.

    The long-in-tooth chameleon Zionists' eternal search for fresh blood and useful idiots always sends them far and wide.

  8. Richard Witty says:

    Also Phil,

    Are you accurately presenting Trita Parsi's view?

    The way you present it sounds like the old CANARD that Israel created Hamas.

    You don't believe that radical Islam exists, and is very violent, and conducts terror?

    Or, are you just objecting to Israel and the US regarding it as enemy and organized?

    Certainly the defense industries WANT (rather than acknowledge) a new enemy. But, what does that matter, so long as their wants are tempered, by other more important objectives that are KEPT in one's face.

    I really dislike your anti approach these days. I think it conflicts with your assertion that you want the "truth to be out". I think you've concluded to be a partisan journalist rather than an informative one.

  9. samuel burke says:

    Israel doesnt need to be hated, but the issues arent being addressed in keeping with the traditions of the jews. unless you say so of course.

    and not only that but, allowing the palestinians a voice in the discussions might be translated as an act of fairness on behalf of the parties involved.

    the continnuation of this 60 yr old building project ought to be brought into focus, and to start to take into consideration the human costs in terms of lives lost or taken.
    and to look into the not so distant past and seeing a great crime commited against a peoples, the balance between the scales needs to be reset.
    Fairness and consideration of quality of life should be part of the settlement.

    today being the anniversary of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the Christ, a heartfelt happy holyday (hag sameach) to the christians in the room. and may peace rule and his name be known on the earth.

  10. ed says:

    "And yet, we KNOW that Zionism has been necessary and likely is necessary, and has been and is desirable."

    So Jewish nationalism is necessary and desirable. Then so to is Christian nationalism, Islamic nationalism, white nationalism, black nationalism, etc, etc,…fine, just don't ask Americans to subsidize any of them.

    "The $3 billion/year given to Israel is not large relative to other permanent military and other aid given to allies on the frontier of conflict."

    If only that's all it amounted to. But the Iraq war (which would never have been fought but for Israel) has cost America 4,000 lives and a half trillion (so far); the 9/11 attacks, which never would have occurred but for US blind support for Israel cost the US economy at least the same amount; and billions more have been paid due to skyrocketing oil prices, which before the Neocon Bush regime were relatively modest.

    All your liberal pleadings for Zionism are very svengali-like, reasonable-sounding and soothing, Witty. Fortunately, they help to demonstrate why no American should ever trust Zionists of any stripe, be they Christian, Jewish, Washington establishment or left-liberal. The vampire-class is attracted to Zionism like flies to sh**.

  11. I think the point Phil is making in this piece is that, since we all know perfectly how a few glasses of red wine at dinner affect our own mood, he is inviting us to consider how few glasses it takes to wash away the american zionist fixation.

  12. samuel burke says:

    by the way phil, i just noticed this remark on the responses.

    ""Later, driving home with too much red wine in me"

    Phil – I do hope your wife was doing the driving."

    after reading that, i fully expect you to run down and surrender yourself to the police if you were driving the vehicle with alcohol in your system.
    everybodys doing it, dont you know?

    mind your p's and q's ladies and germs you must be sure to speak correctly not truthfully.

  13. David Seaton says:

    One of your best posts in some time

  14. Richard Witty says:

    "the continnuation of this 60 yr old building project ought to be brought into focus, and to start to take into consideration the human costs in terms of lives lost or taken."

    THIS is actually the important message of content, that needs to be expressed.

    That is NOT the subject of this blog, not the blog itself and not the comments.

    Phil is NOT bringing attention to the Palestinian experience sufficiently, even though he has the ear of many.

    He is evoking resentment towards those that "should" be caring for their neighbor. That is a DIFFERENT beast entirely.

  15. MM says:

    "The way you present it sounds like the old CANARD that Israel created Hamas.

    Richard, you've still neglected to tell us, what do you know about the relationship of Golda Meir's administration to Shiek Yassin? Have you read anything about it? Why don't you enlighten us to the truth behind this CANARD of which you vaguely speak?

    "You don't believe that radical Islam exists, and is very violent, and conducts terror?"

    Radical Islam exists and is a much smaller problem that radical jewish and christian fundamentalist zionism. Is it radical Islam that has led to the deaths of more than a million Iraqis since 2003? You would love for us to think so. Radical Islam has grown into a monster mostly in response to ZIONISM and American (superpower) backing of ZIONISM and corrupt, oppressive client regimes.

    "Certainly the defense industries WANT (rather than acknowledge) a new enemy."

    And your zionist jewish paranoia about forthcoming pogroms, the "necessity of zionism", creates the perfect narrative to "necessitate" ever-rising defense expenditures, in Israel and the U.S. Coincidence?

    "But, what does that matter, so long as their wants are tempered, by other more important objectives that are KEPT in one's face."

    Unh?

    Islamic radicalism is a bogeyman that the zionist propaganda effort has exaggerated to achieve blind American support for Israel in the post-cold-war era, exactly as Parsi posits.

    You think, Richard, like most zionists, that your fixation on Islamic radicalism will let us all ignore the total lack of progress in zionist reconciliation/compensation to the palestinians for the theft of their land. As long as Islamic radicalism is being trumpeted, zionism's moment of accountability for the murder of palestinian national aspirations and way of life can be infinitely postponed.

    The moment of reckoning is fast approaching, Rich. And no amount of zio-schmooze will be able to save this disastrous, genocidal dream.

  16. Julia says:

    That woman could have been my twin. Except that my husband is not Jewish but we do have Jewish friends.

    I recently asked a Jewish dinner companion at a large party his take on the latest Pal-Isr and ME conditions. He pretended to drop his napkin and dived under the table. I kid you not, he disappeared under the table. And he's not even a zionist or involved with any support for Israel as far as I know. Even so he was obviously afraid to give an opinion on it or have the subject brought up.

    The "Jewish problem" in the US, and it is a problem as evidenced by this Jew's fear of expressing his opinon, I assume mostly because he is a Jew, can be laid directly at the feet of those Jews who brought a "foreign" country's interest into the US government and policy. If not for that, would there be any discussion of Jews going on? I doubt it.
    Nor would there be any discussion of Israel if not for the amount of aid we give them while they are carrying on an illegal occuption and collective punishment in Palestine. Seen rightly by the rest of the world, to be possible only because the US supports these Israeli actions.

  17. David says:

    "$35,000 per capita in foreign aid. (I have no idea whether this figure is accurate.)"

    Your friend's figure is pretty accurate. The cumulative total amount of aid sent to Israel over the years is about $160B (through 2007, in today's dollars, per M&W). Although there are 6.5 million people in Israel, it's really only the 5 million Jews who run the show and decide who gets what. So on a per-capita basis our congress has sent Israel $32,000 per person. (And this is only the direct, easily quantified, aid. A little digging reveals much more.)

  18. David says:

    On Chafee's loss in Rhode Island: of course there were probably many factors which influenced the election, but if your journalist friend was suggesting that Jewish organizations were not trying to remove him, he's wrong–

    link to wrmea.com
    PRO-ISRAEL PACS PUTTING ALL THEIR CHIPS ON SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE’S DEMOCRATIC OPPONENT

  19. Richard Witty says:

    A copy of an e-mail I sent Phil

    Phil,

    Do you honestly believe that the Iraq War was objectively started to protect Israel solely, or primarily? Or, for a mix of reasons?

    How do you see that mix of reasons constructed, in fact?

    There have been many publications of the process of the origination and marketing of the war, conscientious investigations (and popular), most of which don’t characterize protecting Israel as primary motivator (even seeing through the pr frauds presented by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld).

    Not to secure the supply chain for oil?

    Not as payback to the specific oil industry insider contributors to the Bush campaign?

    Not as fulfillment of his father’s unfinished business?

    Not to secure a permanent military base in the region?

    Not to protect Saudi, Kuwaiti, and UAE interests power?

    Not as an attempt to implement a Middle East free trade zone?

    Not to protect from prospective weapons of mass destruction? (pretty obviously a fraud)

    Not to redeem the Kurds, Shiites, Marxists, homosexuals, women? (pretty obviously secondary, if a motivation at all)

    Not to conduct a Middle Eastern experiment in imposed republican democracy? (pretty obviously a fraud)

    Not as a training site for new weapons technology?

    Not as a training site for new war strategy? (that fits with the “for Israel” thesis though)

    Not as internal lobbying parry for increased defense spending and domestic police powers?

    Not as a strategy to “starve the beast”, reducing the possibility of domestic discretionary spending?

    Those seem like a more descriptive list to me, than just “for Israel”, even though some Israeli strategies and parties would also benefit. (Opportunism. But Iran also opportunistically benefited from having its primary enemy obliterated.)

    I wasn’t convinced by the decades long neo-conservative agitation to remove Saddam. The Clinton administration (state department, defense, executive) wasn’t either. The Bush administration was.

    Why is Israel and/or the Israel Lobby the focus of responsibility, in your analysis, AND in your emphasis?

    Is your emphasis objective, or partially or dominantly personal?

    Just some questions.

    Richard

  20. David says:

    Richard, most people would concede that a decision to launch a war is influenced by many arguments. What we are concerned about on this blog is the contribution of just one of that constellation of forces — the Zionist community.

    I happen to think it's contribution was decisive. But even if you think that the Israel-first crowd is weak and ineffectual, why are you not concerned by its very existence?

  21. peters says:

    Let us retire the word CANARD. And I also would like to jettison SHODDY SCHOLARSHIP and BAD BOOK. Who sends out these bullet points that every critic then repeats?

  22. All of Richard's suggested rationales for US mid-East policy have this in common – they would all be more easily achieved by the US if Israel was not there at all.

  23. the Sword of Gideon says:

    We get to the heart of the matter. Obviously what you think we need is another "final solution" to the Jewish problem. eh Rowan

  24. Mac says:

    There are only be two possible ways that the powerful Jewish state could have been established:

    a) It is the result of the Zionist/Jewish conspiracy. It seems this is the dominant viewpoint here. Or option b,

    b) It is the fulfillment of G-d's promise to His chosen people.

    Why would anyone expect the anti-Israel camp to accept option b? And who cares? After all, there needs to be someone to drown in the Red Sea after the chosen people have crossed…

  25. Ed says:

    Rowan wrote: "All of Richard's suggested rationales for US mid-East policy have this in common – they would all be more easily achieved by the US if Israel was not there at all."

    Which proves that Washington's #1 priority is Zionism (and not any of the other interests listed by Witty). If Washington really cared about any of the other interests, it would have, at the least, distanced itself from the Zionist state prior to and during the Iraq war instead of continually rubbing Islamic noses in the fact that it is "committed to Israeli security" to this very day (which Cheney just recently reiterated for the umpteenth time since the Iraq war started).
    link to seattletimes.nwsource.com

    Mac wrote: "There are only be two possible ways that the powerful Jewish state could have been established: a) It is the result of the Zionist/Jewish conspiracy. It seems this is the dominant viewpoint here. Or option b, b) It is the fulfillment of G-d's promise to His chosen people."

    This is how Jewish Zionists are framing the issue in apocalyptic ("there needs to be someone to drown in the Red Sea") Manichean terms: Either one is with God, or one is a crank. The problem is, ever more people don't equate the Zionist movement with God's will, and ever more people understand that Jewish Zionism isn't a conspiracy theory, but rather a living, breathing, fascist-hued mass political movement.

  26. "She once figured we give the Israelis $35,000 per capita in foreign aid."

    Absolutely not. The figure is around $500 per capita annually.

    Phil, it's very disappointing you didn't do the simple math required to figure this out.

  27. Richard, my answer to the following potential reasons for waging the war in Iraq is "Yes, I think so.":

    'Not as a training site for new weapons technology?

    Not as a training site for new war strategy?

    Not as internal lobbying parry for increased defense spending and domestic police powers?

    Not as a strategy to “starve the beast”, reducing the possibility of domestic discretionary spending?'

  28. Oarwell says:

    Phil opined, "The natives are restless."

    What is this, Zulu Nation?

  29. observer says:

    "Phil, it's very disappointing you didn't do the simple math required to figure this out."

    Michael Blaine, read the post by "David" just a few above yours.

  30. sword of gideon says:

    Even I know that's not the real Joachim Martillo posting there. Come on guys, your making the tribe look bad.

  31. Andrew Sommers says:

    Mr. Burke – based on your flippant remark I'm guessing you have never had a loved one killed by a drunk driver. Perhaps exercising some empathy for those who have been killed and those they've left behind might save future lives.

  32. jorge999 says:

    Lincoln Chaffee's 2006 senatorial defeat was not because of Israel.

    I am a former longtime Rhode Island resident who moved to Virginia in 2006 (just in time to vote for Jim Webb for senate, incidentally).
    Although I wasn't in RI to vote against Lincoln Chaffee, had I been there, I would have.

    A little background: I am a lifelong democrat who has only voted for one or two repubs in my entire 65 years.

    One of them was Lincoln Chaffee.

    I voted for him first for mayor of Warwick RI (the state's second city)and later for U.S. Senate. My vote for him was NOT due to any 'coattail's' of his famous father.
    I actually liked Linc Chaffee MORE than I had his father.
    As Warwick mayor he had been very honest, moderate, and not an idealoque. He was a good compromiser with a democratic city council and personality-wise he was a modest, decent man. He was also a committed environmentalist.

    I knew very few people in that heavily democratic state who DIDN'T like Linc Chaffee!

    No one I knew wished to vote against him, and if he had done as Vermont senator Jim Jeffords had –ie. changed to an independent and caucused with the democrats– he could have kept his senate seat for life.
    Many people, myself included pleaded with him to do just that.
    For some reason, like his father, he couldn't bring himself to leave the republican party…even though that party had, during John Chaffee's career, become a hard right party with little tolerance for moderates.

    With the democrats only one vote short of a majority in the Senate and that senate 'enabling' a despised Bush administration and his Iraq war, Rhode Islanders could no longer afford to vote for a republican Lincoln Chaffee.

  33. Andrew Sommers says:

    $3 Billion a year – Amount of aid given to Israel

    301,139,947 population of the United States

    Averages to roughly $10 to Israel per capita

    Averages to almost $500 per Israeli

    Assuming this aid has been flowing for 50 years

    50 * $10 = $500 cost per American
    50 * $500 = $25,000 aid per Israeli

  34. the Sword of Gideon says:

    Actually that wasn't me but why couldn't that be Martillo. After all he is a classic anti-semite, why not a racist also. It would fit into his lunatic ravings would it not.

  35. americangoy says:

    Simple question:

    Why is McCain campaigning for president of USA in Israel?

    link to americangoy.blogspot.com
    or
    link to tinyurl.com

    Ta!

  36. Mac says:

    ed: at 10:51 on March 23rd you wrote:

    "rural whites are now the ones being played for fools by Jewish Zionist charlatans"

    and

    "The long-in-tooth chameleon Zionists' eternal search for fresh blood and useful idiots always sends them far and wide."

    But then after my comment you changed your tune somewhat:

    "…Jewish Zionism isn't a conspiracy theory…"

    Now, I've never heard any Zionist anywhere confess to being on the search for fresh blood and useful idiots. These are not goals that the Zionist movement has ever FORMALLY endorsed. Therefore, if you are correct, and they do endorse them in secret, then it seems clear your intent was on pointing us towards a textbook example of a …. CONSPIRACY!!

    I called you on it and you responded by quickly denying it but the standard ingredients are there.

    1) Control of the media. (…"middle America got Zionized by the media…")

    2) A "bloodthirsty" motivation. ("…eternal search for fresh blood…")

    3) Control of the government. ("…the Iraq war (which would never have been fought but for Israel)")

    I guess you'll never publicly state that there is a Zionist conspiracy. And if you do, you'll be tripping all over yourself to explain you don't conflate Zionism with Jews. Even though Israel was created one hundred per cent by Jews, for Jews. And even though you must know that for thousands of years Jews in the diaspora have solemnly prayed for G-d to "gather the exiles from the corners of the earth" and "restore His presence on Zion". (These are chanted in the Amidah, the most sacred of the daily Jewish prayers).

    But if you could ever bring yourself to publicly state that there is a Zionist conspiracy you would certainly deny the religious and historical Jew/Zionism connection. This is because any suggestion that it is primarily Jews who are responsible for the Zionist conspiracy comes dangerously close to exposing your position for what it actually is. And then noone of any import would ever listen to you again.

  37. qt says:

    mac wrote: "Now, I've never heard any Zionist anywhere confess to being on the search for fresh blood and useful idiots."

    Either you've got an incredibly literal mind or you haven't been paying attention. To pick just one example, listen to William Kristol talk about the "usefulness" of the Christian Zionists at this Yivo klatch–
    link to yivo-online.org

  38. Ed says:

    Mac, I like you and your earnestness. You seem like a decent guy with a semi-political bent. Some advice if you have universal aspirations: don't waste your life carrying water and playing the Talmudic fool trying to impress a bunch of pathetic old long-beards. The Jews have their place, in the corner, arguing, but Christians and their offspring have their place too, at the helm. Either stick with the Talmud, or go with the bigger quest. But don't try to have it both ways. It's unnatural, and will only result in hatred of the long-beards. Graduate, or incubate. It’s called Free Will. And no one or no thing will hold whichever choice you make against you.

  39. MRW says:

    According to the Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?" ("When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?"; Resling, in Hebrew), the Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the Kingdom of Judea during the First and Second Temple period. Their origins, according to him, are in varied peoples that converted to Judaism during the course of history, in different corners of the Mediterranean Basin and the adjacent regions. Not only are the North African Jews for the most part descendants of pagans who converted to Judaism, but so are the Jews of Yemen (remnants of the Himyar Kingdom in the Arab Peninsula, who converted to Judaism in the fourth century) and the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe (refugees from the Kingdom of the Khazars, who converted in the eighth century).

    Read the entire interview here.
    link to haaretz.com

  40. Steve says:

    "There is a mountain of resentment. However this may only apply in urban centers on the coasts, mid-Americans who get the news in the papers probably aren't this way."

    Posted by: peters | March 23, 2008 at 10:32 AM
    __________________________
    Gee, a little coastal elitism there?

    I live in Iowa/Minnesota, and the locals are probably some of the best educated in the US, at least based on national test scores.

    And why on earth would you say that we probably get most of our news from newspapers as opposed to other media?

  41. Jim Haygood says:

    .

    "'She once figured we give the Israelis $35,000 per capita in foreign aid.' Absolutely not. The figure is around $500 per capita annually. Phil, it's very disappointing you didn't do the simple math required to figure this out."

    Throwing out results without citing the input figures is not very convincing math either.

    At a minimum, not only the $3 billion a year in aid to Israel, but also the annual $2 billion paid to Egypt ever since Jimmy Carter's peace deal should be counted as direct aid. That's $5 billion total.

    Divide by 5.5 million Jews in Israel, and the result is just over $900 per capita.

    Factor in the distortion of all U.S. middle eastern policy on behalf of Israel, and some larger numbers result. If 50% of the responsibility for starting the $200 billion-a-year Iraq War is assigned to the Israel Lobby, that's another $100 billion a year we're paying because of Israel.

    $105 billion a year divided by 5.5 million Jews in Israel results $19,000 a year in effective per capita aid — an amount almost equal to Israel's per capita GDP of $22,000.

    Walt and Mearsheimer pointed out the moral problem: most of sub-Saharan Africa, and numerous other poor countries, have per capita GDPs of under $1,000 per year (e.g., Ethiopia, $206).

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Where is the moral justification for lavishing aid on relatively rich Israel, while tossing stale table scraps to the truly needy countries? Only a supremacist doctrine which holds that "to the Chosen People who have, more shall be given; while from the goyim who have little, even what they have shall be taken away."

    OOPS, I'm misquoting Phil's bete noire, Jesus. G-d forgive me!

  42. Gene says:

    Weiss: "Last night my wife and I went to a sophisticated dinner party in the Hudson Valley. Pheasant, a lavish cheese plate with dessert. There was grace before the meal; thank god no reference to Jesus Christ."

    But if someone had mentioned Christ (at Eastertime no less) would that really have thrown such a wet blanket over the whole night?

  43. observer says:

    I don't think it would have bothered the frequent commentor Richard Witty, who once said he regards Christianity as a "morphed sect of Judaism".

  44. Richard Witty says:

    You quoted me innaccurately.

    I stated that what Jesus taught was mostly from the Jewish thought of the time, and was a sect of Judaism.

    Christianity as conveyed by Jesus' disciples and Paul is something else entirely.

  45. How does one count aid to Israel?

    The aid to Egypt under Camp David is essentially a bribe not to prepare war against Israel. Should that aid to Egypt rally be considered aid to Israel?

    I think the USA is currently spending about $1 billion a day on Iraq. The war on Iraq is a war on behalf of Israel. All the charges associated with the war against Iraq (probably more than $1 billion per diem) should be considered aid to Israel.

    Because of the complexity of defining aid to Israel, I prefer to refer to the aggregate cost of Israel to the USA. According to my projections, Israel will have cost the USA about $6-7 trillion by the end of 2010.

    As for calculating the cost of aid including loan forgiveness, transfer of weapons via NATO and a whole bunch of other non-explicit mechanisms of transfering money to Israel.

    As of 2000 the US government had given about $10,000 dollars per US citizen and resident living in 2000 to Israel in constant 2000 dollars.

    2008 dollars are worth a lot less than 2000 dollars.

  46. Arie Brand says:

    Thanks MRW – a most interesting interview.

    In addition to what you reported about it I want to quote a few telling paragraphs:

    "After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom" – thus states the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence. This is also the quotation that opens the third chapter of Sand's book, entitled "The Invention of the Diaspora." Sand argues that the Jewish people's exile from its land never happened.

    "The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of 'the people of the Bible' that preceded it," Sand explains. Under the influence of other historians who have dealt with the same issue in recent years, he argues that the exile of the Jewish people is originally a Christian myth that depicted that event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

    "I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land – a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."

    If the people was not exiled, are you saying that in fact the real descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians?

    "No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents. The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-9], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled. Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"

    And how did millions of Jews appear around the Mediterranean Sea?

    "The people did not spread, but the Jewish religion spread."

    Arie Brand

  47. Jerry J. says:

    I got just plain sick with Israel when they shot the missle up the ass of the poor blind guy in the wheel chair. Talk about sicko.

  48. Zio-shmooze_Police says:

    Witty on Christianity: "The teachings of Judaism, and of Christianity as a morphed sect of Judaism (essenes and liberal Talmudic interpretations), are applicable. 'Turn the other cheek.' …"
    link to philipweiss.org

  49. Mac says:

    Thanks for the link, and the comments Ed.

    I agree with Kristol that Zionism has both non Jewish supporters and Jewish opponents. Consider though, the Canadian health care system has a lot of American who like it and a lot of Canadians who hate it. Does that mean the Canadian health care system is both an American and Canadian institution? Of course not, because only Canadians benefit from the Canadian health care system. Israel's primary beneficiaries are anyone with a Jewish spouse, parent or grandparent (whether they like it or not!). Besides, even Jews who hate Zionism would change their tune in a heartbeat given the right circumstances. Kristol might resist "psychoanalyzing people who aren't even here" but he is, as usual, dead wrong. Zionism is as Jewish as a tray of blintzes. I, personally, hate blintzes.

    And as far as my path in life, I am sure that every intellectual/academic out there would prefer that I leave my religious beliefs out of all political discussion (though I can't imagine anyone asking that of a Muslim). Well, I do generally leave my religious views out of all non-religious conversations, just not when I'm posting as Mac.

  50. Mac says:

    Jerry J wrote…"I got just plain sick with Israel when they shot the missle up the ass of the poor blind guy in the wheel chair. Talk about sicko."

    Yeah, that poor blind man in a wheelchair who just happened to be the leader of a terrorist organization. What an unfair world we live in, that a person who devotes his life to killing civilians with explosives should meet his end in such a manner!