Aaron David Miller: ‘Palestinians Fired at Israelis, Leaving 85 Palestinians and 16 Israelis Dead’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 50 Comments

Jacob Heilbrunn’s book on neocons teased the public with boldfaced back-cover suggestions of a neocon cabal and then Heilbrunn soberly denied he meant any such thing when he was at forums. I feel I’ve been taken in by the same bait-and-switch by Aaron David Miller, whose book The Much Too Promised Land I got yesterday and began eagerly last night.

Miller’s website is filled with frank descriptions of the Israel lobby, notably Chuck Hagel’s statement that it "intimidates" a lot of senators, and John Sununu’s statement that candidates are bought and paid for as soon as they announce for statewide office. I wish the book contained that sort of intelligence. So far (I’m 90 pages in) it issues the usual disclaimer from Walt and Mearsheimer as some sort of fringies and then asserts that the  Israel lobby has 5 elements: "[1]a well-organized, affluent, and disproportionately politically active and influential Jewish community…[2] a sophisticated congressional lobby….[3] millions of conservative Christians are increasingly finding their political voice…" [4] The alleged American interest gang: "both governments foster the vision of democracy under threat from radicalism and terror…" [5] The Israeli P.M.

This is unconvincing. The assault on Walt and Mearsheimer, or on Juan Cole, or Norman Finkelstein, or on the Rachel Corrie play, or on Jimmy Carter, came from 1 & 2. You did not see millions of Christians rising against Carter, or denouncing Walt and Mearsheimer’s book. Almost all the harsh critiques of Walt and Mearsheimer were written by Jews. This seems to me obvious and central. Yes, the Christians for Israel are important, but is Israel a core issue for them, the one they write letters about and go crazy about? No. I don’t think the Times worries about them when it covers Israel, or that a congressman worries about them when he’s thinking about saying we should talk to Iran and Hamas.

Putting the lobby off on poor evangelicals is a way of putting off the necessary and inevitable battle within the Jewish community over these issues.

When that battle comes, Miller will be on the right side. His book is welcome for its rich store of data.  I’m learning something about policy-making on every page. The guy was a smart, fair, hardworking peaceprocesser for 25 years, he wants to tell all. He is a reasonable guy who acknowledges his own bias–that he didn’t believe in a Palestinian state till ’88, that he grew up in a rich Cleveland real estate family that gave so much to Israel he was going to Passover with Israeli Prime Ministers. He made the famous statement that the U.S. was Israel’s "lawyer" at Clinton’s Camp David; sometimes his insights gleam. 

The problem is that Miller is an apparatchik and a middling writer and lacks the vision/overview of Henry Siegman. His general theme is that these two people are so at each others’ throats, and this is such a tough neighborhood, that there’s nothing the U.S. can do about it. Just as he cannot see the true strength of the lobby, he cannot see the essential role that the U.S. has played in giving Israel the go-ahead on the settlements and expansion for three decades. He says that little states push big states around. He says that under Reagan, who opposed the settlements, he, Miller, undertook to measure and divide the main street in Hebron for the use of two peoples. Then he notes what I saw for myself, this street is now completely engulfed by the religious settlers. What does that failure mean? Miller would seem to blame it on forces beyond our control. When it is actually political: a failure of American politics to enforce even a minimal sense of justice here.

I feel as if Miller is ensnared by his own identity issues. He is a Jewish American prince who though he has tried mightily and honorably as a policy guy to see things from the other side doesn’t really break thru. As he observes, Israel has flourished economically and as a place for Jews to make their dreams for 40 years; and meanwhile Palestinians are utterly denied their dreams in statelessness. Yes, there is violence and misery on both sides; still, Israeli kids can dream of growing up to be scientists and real estate guys and Palestinian kids face deprivation and prison. What does that terrible state of affairs mean? I want some larger analysis. Maybe it is coming. So far there is this regrettable language:

In September 1996 Israel’s opening of the Hasmonean tunnel in Jerusalem triggered a major crisis. That act resulted in the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence since Oslo; Palestinian security forces fired at their Israeli partners, leaving 85 Palestinians and 16 Israelis dead.

Wait. Did the Palestinian security leave 85 Palestinians dead? Or did Israelis do that? Where is the basic moral and military responsibility in that lazy language? It’s nowhere.

And what is the significance of the fact that, according to the JTA, that religiously-laden tunnel in a city holy to three religions was opened by Jerusalem’s latest conqueror in part at the urging of an American benefactor of Netanyahu–Dr. Moskowitz? Or that Moskowitz also funded David Wurmser at AEI when Wurmser plotted Saddam’s decapitation–and the next thing Wurmser is at Dick Cheney’s elbow and we are invading Iraq? No it’s not a conspiracy, it is a religious extremist faction that is politically well-connected.

O.K., maybe I just haven’t gotten to that part…. To be continued.

50 Responses

  1. Crimson Ghost
    April 4, 2008, 5:15 pm

    Time to End Aid to Israel

    link to counterpunch.org

  2. Richard Witty
    April 4, 2008, 5:21 pm

    "Almost all the harsh critiques of Walt and Mearsheimer were written by Jews. This seems to me obvious and central. "

    Jews KNOW more of their history than the rest of the general world, who gets its news from biased sources.

    I strongly disagree with your implication that Walt/Mearsheimer or Finkelstein present an "enlightened" presentation. I've seen numerous videos of all three, and they make almost predictable mistatements of Israeli/Palestinian history, all of the same sort, of generalization when REALITY is not accurately characterizable in that way.

    I KNOW you have a better bullshit detector than to be taken in by only considering Pappe's or Finkelstein's versions of Israeli history.

    Don't you?

  3. Richard Witty
    April 4, 2008, 5:28 pm

    The 1996 tunneling was for many the last straw of Oslo.

    Netanyahu was prime minister and gave permission for the digging in spite of three decades of acknowledgement that TO dig would be an enormous provocation, more than Sharon's walk.

    I've met Israeli officers (peace advocates) that previously were working on joint development projects with Palestinian officers prior to the firefights ("massacre is a loaded word that may or may not be true"), who described that the same people that were collaboratively building electric infrastructure and hospitals, began shooting each other.

    The Al Aqsa Martyrs formed as a result of that last straw.

    Others besides Walt/Mearsheimer, Finkelstein, Chomsky, Pappe describe the history in critical but mutually humanizing terms.

    Why do you imagine that all Jews should be liberals. Not all are. Its their right, as it is your and my right not be conservative.

  4. MM
    April 4, 2008, 6:20 pm

    Richard is right on top of the vast goy media conspiracy to distort Israel's image for the worse. There must be billions, nay trillions, floating around in anti-zionist thinktanks and media welfare streams. Obviously no one writing a book or an article in those circumstances should say anything too critical about the Israel lobby; that would just be piling on the underdog.

    With the way the anti-zionist side has dominated the narrative in media coverage, the way the mass media wantonly labels all zionists as terrorists and is saturated with ideological anti-zionists, one can hardly blame the outmatched Israelis to resort to violence on their Palestinian oppressors, in desperation.

    Sometimes I wonder if justice will ever come for the Jewish nation, Rich. Is there any other groups of humans who will not victimize Jews given the first opportunity?

  5. Charles Keating
    April 4, 2008, 6:50 pm

    It's simple. Look at what the presidential candidates say and don't say about American foreign policy.

  6. Jim Haygood
    April 4, 2008, 6:57 pm


    "There must be billions, nay trillions, floating around in anti-zionist thinktanks and media welfare streams."

    So, so true, Dr. MM. And it can pile up in a hurry, let me tell you:


    WASHINGTON – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 and more than $109 million since 2000 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years. Almost half the former first couple's money came from his speeches.

    The former president's speech income since he left the White House totals $51.85 million and his income from his two books — "My Life " and "Giving" — totals $29.6 million.

    link to news.yahoo.com


    "Giving." Help me, I've fallen on the floor laughing, and I can't get up. The Beverly Hillbillies seek your vote. For Awwwlllll, that is — TEXAS TEA!

    Let me offer a counterexample to these gilded philistines — a soi-disant Virginia redneck named Joe Bageant. Listen to what he said yesterday:


    Living as I do much of the year in a Third World village, watching daily the cost of the American lifestyle on the village's people, the technocultural cheapening of their lives, physical hunger, I feel guilty even being in such a posh hotel as the Omni [for a book festival]. I should be back in Central America finishing up the water and sanitation project I recently started there (and probably would be if I were not out of money).

    Yet, through the patio's glass door I can see the people round my table, the Northumberland librarian, the writer Tom Miller whose moving testimonies of Latino immigrants open up worlds unseen by white Americans, my own good wife who brings to life the truth of slavery by excavating memories in an amnesiac America. These are people who understand that human life is short and history is long, and that their humanly elegant efforts will not only go unheralded by that history, but mostly go unacknowledged in their own darkening time, and be all but eradicated by the sheer impoverishment of language and literacy in their native country during a New American Dark Age that comes cloaked in glittering technology instead of a coarse woolen cowl. Such unassuming and dedicated people are among our best.

    link to counterpunch.org


    I thought Joe was fishing for a donation, and offered him one. This is how he replied today:

    "I do appreciate your kind thoughts. But I see my job as an American and a human being is to give to the world, not take from it. So I voluntarily live on about $5,000 a year. All the proceeds from my my magazine articles, speaking engagements, my book, "Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War," (Random House Crown) go to Third World human development projects.

    "Also, as a born and bred redneck, I could never bring myself to ask anyone for money, for any reason whatsoever. I believe we are supposed to give entirely of ourselves, not from what belongs to other people. There should be no middle men in acts of charity. (It only leaves the door wide open to con men.)"

    Chew on that, Clinton, you phony-ass plutocratic populist. $109 million would buy enough trailers to house everybody in Arkansas … hell, the whole country … and give 'em an education besides. The audacity of Hope, as it were! Gag me with a watermelon.

    link to hopechamberofcommerce.com

  7. liberal white boy
    April 4, 2008, 7:27 pm

    "I KNOW you have a better bullshit detector than to be taken in by only considering Pappe's or Finkelstein's versions of Israeli history."

    Wait a minute now Witty, now your talkin about my main man Norman. You show me the conclustions of a Zionist historian, DNA scientist or archaeologist pulling crap out of Palestinian dirt and I'll show you how to wear out the batteries of bullshit detector quicker than a fat women's vibrator.

    Is It Time To Let A Jew Out Of The Box?

    link to homo-sapien-underground.blogspot.com

  8. Charles Keating
    April 4, 2008, 7:30 pm

    Go Jim, go.

  9. Arie Brand
    April 4, 2008, 8:42 pm

    " … they make almost predictable mistatements of Israeli/Palestinian history,…"

    Tell us which ones you have in mind, Richard.

  10. Todd
    April 4, 2008, 8:55 pm

    Yeah, the evangelical Chritians are running the government. Give me a break! What issue do they get their way on? Abortion? Prayer in school? What's their influence? Where does middle America win? Immigration? Taxation? Talk about a canard!

    I once lived in a small (large on the map) county with 30,000 people, and found it strange that members of Israel's government, along with obedient local politicians, were visting the churches in the area to drum up support and donations for Israel. Of course the local paper had a few holocaust stories too. Yeah, the fundies are running the show.

    What a bunch of shysters! If a backlash comes, who can say that it isn't deserved?

  11. MM
    April 4, 2008, 11:12 pm

    Jim, this one's for honest, awake, compassionate Americans like Mr. Bageant, and for you, for bestowing on me my first and surely only doctorate of my life (My resume thanks you, can you tell me the name of your organization again?):

    Well a rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)

    Her face and arms began to swell.
    (and Whitey's on the moon)

    I can't pay no doctor bill.
    (but Whitey's on the moon)

    Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
    (while Whitey's on the moon)

    The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
    ('cause Whitey's on the moon)

    No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
    (but Whitey's on the moon)

    I wonder why he's uppi' me?
    ('cause Whitey's on the moon?)

    I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
    (with Whitey on the moon)

    Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
    Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
    The price of food is goin' up,
    An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)

    Her face an' arm began to swell.
    (but Whitey's on the moon)

    Was all that money I made las' year
    (for Whitey on the moon?)

    How come there ain't no money here?
    (Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)

    Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
    (of Whitey on the moon)

    I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
    Airmail special
    (to Whitey on the moon)

    link to youtube.com

  12. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 12:25 am

    Richard, I know you are not deterred by name-calling, but the stuff you post here looks to me more and more like mere apologetic and evasive blather.

  13. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 1:43 am

    It isn't just you, Richard : Justin Raimondo is also adopting a blustering, showman's style to disguise his lack of ideas, his latest effort being entitled "A Tragi-Comic Cavalcade of Chicanery."

  14. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 2:39 am

    generally speaking, all this rubbish and irrelevant posing is the result of the fact that the US Jews have themselves systematically destroyed their own cultural heritage in order not to be sent to the electric chair as the Rosenbergs were. Fear, as many have said before, is the key.

  15. KC
    April 5, 2008, 2:49 am

    We know that America's Houses of Worship are places infused with nationalism, more than any kind of moral virtue. That is why Americans of all faiths who frequently attend religious services are more likely to support capital punishment, the War in Iraq, and vote Republican in general. We can suppose that the leaders of these communities–Ministers, Priests and Orthodox Rabbis–share these views, as well.

    On the 40th anniversary of MLK's death, Charles Krauthammer contributed his weekly installment of Obama hate to the Post and, in the spirit of CK's logic, that we share the values of our spiritual leaders, a question arises: who were the religious figures in Krauthammer's life responsible for this moral degenerate of a man?

  16. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 7:30 am

    I agree that the Jewish community needs leadership that has backbone to bring itself to an integrity that is so solid, so confident in its basis that it is unassailable.

    And, that takes the substance to manifest the Torah promise, "If you follow my commandments, I will give the rain in its time…"

    As an alegory of integrity. "the rain in its time". Good things deriving from good character and good action.

    The politically correct (any) version of that integrity is NOT IT. The foundation of Jewish community with integrity, is righteous individual life, righteous intra-communal life, and righteous inter-communal life.

    The litmus of trivially defined inter-communal life exclusively, often set up as a game that no one can in fact play successfully (even a "new game" – "Play hard, play fair, make sure nobody gets hurt")

    The inter-communal is rightly understood by the prevailing Jewish community as occurring after the individual righteous, and intra-communal righteous emphasis. Its close after.

    It is a requirement for a state or definable community (to the extent of an entity), to pay attention to inter-communal righteousness.

    And, it can cause an otherwise jewel to fail.

    But, it is NOT constructed on the basis of the trivial values of the radical left, and DEFINITELY not constructed on the similarly trivial values of the right/left.

  17. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 7:40 am

    The above is gibberish, Richard, without even the advantage of incidental resemblance to the power-talk of our rulers.

  18. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 7:52 am

    i don't think it will serve any useful purpose to continue the slanging match. All I can suggest is that you read the new Arendt collection, and that somewhere along the way you may grasp what the terms 'left' and 'right' really mean.

  19. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 8:02 am

    "I feel I've been taken in by the same bait-and-switch by Aaron David Miller, whose book The Much Too Promised Land I got yesterday and began eagerly last night."

    Podhoretz is an extremist (a word dismissed from overuse), but Aaron Miller is a fraud ("bait and switch" still carrying teeth).

    Aaron Miller is a good-hearted man seeking a way to achieve peace and mutual respect.

    link to washingtonpost.com

    How can anyone distinguish on the basis of the language that you use?

  20. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 8:46 am

    Well, Richard, I must admit you have landed on something at last. Note the co-author : "Robert Malley is director of the Middle East program at the International Crisis Group."

    It is ONLY the ICG who have the guts to contradict the hasbara and state that not all rockets are somehow 'hamas authorised'.

  21. Jim Haygood
    April 5, 2008, 9:02 am


    Alison Weir writes that she participated in an April 1st debate in San Francisco which "raised the question of US aid to Israel." SFO is a world to itself; I wish we could have those debates in America, or even pokey ol' New York. But in any case, she went home from the debate, confronted her keyboard, and delivered one furious whomping to the status quo of U.S. aid for Israel, et al. Take a back seat, Walt and Mearsheimer; Alison's on fire:


    It was highly appropriate that this debate was held two weeks before tax day, since in Israel's sixty years of existence, it has received more US tax money than any other nation on earth.

    During periods of recession, when Americans are thrown out of work, homes are repossessed, school budgets cut and businesses fail, Congress continues to give Israel massive amounts of our tax money; currently, about 7 million dollars per day.

    On top of this, Egypt and Jordan receive large sums of money (per capita about 1/20th of what Israel receives) to buy their cooperation with Israel; and Palestinians also receive our tax money (about 1/23rd of that to Israel), to repair infrastructure that Israeli forces have destroyed, to fund humanitarian projects required due to the destruction wrought by Israel's military, and to convince Palestinian officials to take actions beneficial to Israel. These sums should also be included in expenditures on behalf of Israel.

    When all are added together, it turns out that for many years over half of all US tax money abroad has been expended to benefit a country the size of New Jersey.

    It is certainly time to begin debating this disbursement of our hard-earned money. It is quite possible that we have better uses for it.

    link to counterpunch.org


    The populist case against aid to Iarael (why aid rich Israel, when a fifth of the people in Ohio and Michigan are on food stamps?) is a killer.

    Politicians know that once this rock rolls over the edge, the whole side of the mountain will give way. PUSH!

  22. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 9:41 am

    "The above is gibberish, Richard, without even the advantage of incidental resemblance to the power-talk of our rulers."

    The power talk is the surface of the waters.

    I want the depth.

    "It was highly appropriate that this debate was held two weeks before tax day, since in Israel's sixty years of existence, it has received more US tax money than any other nation on earth."

    This is a lie. Germany (including former West Germany) and South Korea have received FAR more military aid than Israel.

    And, somehow Iraq and Kuwait are out of your equation?

  23. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 9:42 am

    If you have questions about what I mean, you can ask.


  24. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 9:46 am

    i don't have questions about what you mean, the cant phraseology you use, such as the term "righteous", speaks for itself quite clearly thank you.

    as for me, I have now reached arendt's napoleonic phase (circa 1943), and I suspect i am in love again.

  25. Arie Brand
    April 5, 2008, 10:58 am

    "This is a lie. Germany (including former West Germany) and South Korea have received FAR more military aid than Israel."

    Give us the figures, Richard. Incidentally, Israel is not just receiving MILITARY aid. I am also still waiting for your information regarding the "predictable misstatements" on Israeli history by Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer.

  26. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 12:05 pm

    "i don't have questions about what you mean, the cant phraseology you use, such as the term "righteous", speaks for itself quite clearly thank you."

    You think so? I'm sure that you don't have a clue what I mean.

  27. Jim Haygood
    April 5, 2008, 12:11 pm


    "Germany (including former West Germany) and South Korea have received FAR more military aid than Israel."

    What they have received is payment-in-kind via free military protection — not CASH payments as Israel receives.

    And the bad idea of keeping U.S. occupation troops in allied foreign countries decades after hostilities ended, doesn't justify the even worse idea of sending cash payments to Israel, which is not a treaty ally at all.

    Please don't attempt to justify aid to Israel ex nihilo with your own unaided powers, Richard. Have a lifeguard standing by, before you disappear in the awful glub-glub-glub sucking sound of engulfment by intellectual quicksand.

  28. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 12:58 pm

    "What they have received is payment-in-kind via free military protection — not CASH payments as Israel receives."

    So now, only budget line categories named "military contribution" are the only thing that is military aid, in your mind?

    I've worked with accountants like you. In accounting theory, there is a statement "substance over form", meaning it is the auditor's responsibility to NOT buy into what management presents in the form that it presents, but to ask "what really happened?"

    Just for reference, I don't attempt to justify unqualified military aid to Israel. I think it should be conditional, but definitely present, and I am not sufficiently informed to be able to determine what of the aid should be conditional versus unconditional.

    I attempt to criticize CARELESS conclusions, and particularly reactionism, rather than thought.

    While the term "Islamo-fascism" is overused and carelessly applied, there is some substance in it as a descriptor. I doubt very much that the posters here would be very comfortable in a true Islamic theocracy. For reference, in Iran, leftists WERE chased out and killed en masse following the revolution. At times the zeal relaxes, but then at times revives. Purges, thankfully unlike we've seen in the west (except around PC).

    My son is at a very politically correct university currently. He is very Jewish, moreso than I in many ways, in identification particularly. He is taking a class on middle east history, which is challenging him. It should challenge him. He has been told some embellishment.

    On the other hand, his teachers and students have also been told some embellishment.

    He also spoke about the republican club on campus, as provocative, abusive, dirty tricks, right out of the Nixon -> "tradition".

    Both are loud, contemptuous, willing to undertake defamation and misrepresentation, at war. But defaming liberals and centrists, and in the crosshairs, not just the crossfire.

    He survived harrassment for being Jewish and later for being assertively liberal, at his first high school, and assumed that his university would be a safe haven.

    Its not, and he now conveys that he felt more welcome in Israel, than in the US. Hopefully, its a mood on his part, passing.

    In "civil" US.

  29. Todd
    April 5, 2008, 1:44 pm

    I thought that the topic is whether or not there is an Israel lobby. Seeing Israeli officials wandering the backroads lobbying for money and support for Israel, where there wasn't a Jew to be found, is convincing.

  30. bondo
    April 5, 2008, 2:51 pm

    "Jews KNOW more of their history than the rest of the general world, who gets its news from biased sources."

    'biased' meaning historical. jewish 'history' is myth. jews do know a lot of myth – much of this myth of recent creation.

  31. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 3:00 pm

    I have arrived now at the Arendt texts that were in fact published as a collection once before ; in "The Jew As Pariah" (Grove, NY, 1978, ed. Ron Feldman).

    Totally trippin', would be my assessment

  32. Jim Haygood
    April 5, 2008, 3:06 pm


    "I've worked with accountants like you. In accounting theory, there is a statement 'substance over form' …"

    I'm not an accountant, Richard, though I impersonate one on the internet.

    What started this discussion was Alison Weir's assertion that half of foreign aid has gone to Israel, when related aid to Israel's neighbors is considered. Foreign aid, whether bilateral assistance through USAID (Agency for Intl. Development), or military aid through DOD, is allocated to specific countries. The total for each country can be calculated.

    No such allocation is possible for U.S. troops overseas. The costs are not broken out by country. Moreover, the U.S. CHARGES some countries for protection. For example, the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) with South Korea requires the ROK to cover 50 percent of the non-personnel stationing costs for U.S. forces. The theory is that South Korea PAYS for its military protection, and the rest of the cost is borne by the US to support its own strategic objectives in Asia.

    Bottom line, this is not an empty debate over form. The U.S. foreign aid budget is regularly debated, in isolation, in Congress. I quote from a report titled "Foreign Aid: An Introductory Overview of U.S. Programs and Policy":

    "In 2004, the U.S. is providing some form of foreign assistance to about 150 countries. Israel and Egypt continue, as they have since the late 1970s, as the largest recipients."


    In other words, the dominance of Israel and Egypt in U.S. foreign aid is regularly acknowledged in government budget documents. Your quarrel is with your government's accountants, not with me. I don't know why AIPAC hasn't slotted its sympathizers into there to stop these embarrassing disclosures. Why not volunteer your services, Richard?

  33. 5ds
    April 5, 2008, 3:41 pm

    Did you read this or the many other cases in the MSM? Why not?

    Michal Lando, the Jerusalem Post, New York , THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 2, 2008

    A Brooklyn yeshiva and its head administrator are being sued for $10 million over alleged sexual abuse by a rabbi who taught there for several decades.

    The lawsuit is the FIFTH to be filed against Yeshiva Torah Temimah and administrator Lipa Margulies alleging sexual abuse by RABBI Yudi Kolko.

    Kolko was arrested for a SECOND time in September for allegedly molesting a boy at the yeshiva, and then released on bail.

    He was previously charged with four counts of sexual abuse, including two felony counts, and with endangering the welfare of a child.

    The latest case involves the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, identified as John Doe No. 6, who was enrolled at Torah Temimah between the ages of 11 and 13.

    Lawyers say he was sexually abused by Kolko on a number of occasions at several locations, including inside the rabbi's car, and at the yeshiva in his office at the yeshiva and in the basement.

    According to the lawsuit, John Doe says that often, when Kolko would press himself up against him in a sexual manner, he would ask, "Does it hurt?"

    Attorneys Adam Horowitz and Michael Dowd allege that Margulies knew of allegations that Rabbi Kolko was sexually abusing boys at Torah Temimah years before John Doe No. 6 was a student there.

    "Despite the fact that Rabbi Margulies knew of allegations that Rabbi Kolko was sexually abusing children and was unfit to be a Rabbi or teacher at Torah Temimah, he took no action to protect the young male students at his school and continued to give Rabbi Kolko unfettered access to young children," the lawyers said in a press release.

    The alleged abuse dates back to the 1980s, and the lawsuit claims Margulies engaged in "tactics of intimidation, threats and coercion and misrepresentations" over years with the "intent of squelching any complaints."

    "In this case, our contention is that there were countless instances of notice to Rabbi Margulies about the conduct of Kolko," Dowd said. "His response has been threatening people who made complaints."

    Such cases could be compared to recent allegations against the Catholic Church, said Jeffrey Herman, a lawyer involved in previous lawsuits filed against the yeshiva.

    "It's similar in the sense of an insular community where these things, unfortunately, allegations that have been around for a long time, never made it to the judicial court system outside the community," Herman said.

    What was different in the yeshiva case, according to Herman, was the lack of an "institutional" cover-up.

    "This is one yeshiva, which has no connection to other Jewish institutions," he said.

    The attorney for Yeshiva Torah Temimah, Avraham Moskowitz, told The Jerusalem Post he had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

    In the past, Moskowitz has denied all allegations against the yeshiva. Regarding an earlier lawsuit in 2006, Moskowitz told JTA that the yeshiva "adamantly denies the allegations in the complaints and is sure that when the cases are over, the yeshiva will be vindicated."

    "What was different in the yeshiva case, according to Herman, was the lack of an "institutional" cover-up."


  34. Charles Keating
    April 5, 2008, 3:42 pm

    Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. CRS Issue Brief for Congress, Updated July 12, 2004. Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance, by Clyde R. Mark.
    link to fas.org and
    link to usembassy-israel.org.il

    Excerpt below is from the above CRS report. Emphasis added.
    "Israel is not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy. Since 1985, the United States has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Since 1976, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. In addition to U.S. assistance, it is estimated that Israel receives about $1 billion annually through philanthropy, an equal amount through short- and long- term commercial loans, and around $1 billion in Israel Bonds proceeds."

  35. Charles Keating
    April 5, 2008, 3:50 pm

    Witty is an accoutant, remember. He has honestly stated on this blog that he has at times been less than forthright in the service of a client if it meant, in his opinion, the welfare of his family in whatever style they wanted to be accustomed to; with that in mind, you can start here regarding accounting for the American tax dollars going to Israel: link to hotpolitics.com

  36. Charles Keating
    April 5, 2008, 4:03 pm

    Substance over form? An accounting principle, says Witty. I say it is similar to Spirit of the law over substance of the Law. Case in point: "Loans" always forgiven, versus "Grants" which require transparency. The true aid to Israel is so disproportionate, if any average American got the full picture they would be outraged. So, what's new? Meanwhile the average American joes keep dying "over there", the average American can't save a penny. No democracy is real if it average citizens are kept in the dark.

  37. Richard Witty
    April 5, 2008, 4:59 pm

    Question your own assumptions please.

    Israel does NOT receive more foreign aid than anyone else in history.

    Its a lie.

    Be content to say "Israel gets a lot", or "Israel gets $3 billion annually" if that is primary to your argument.

  38. Crimson Ghost
    April 5, 2008, 5:25 pm

    Rabbi Eliyahu: Life of one yeshiva boy worth more than 1,000 Arabs :

    "Even when we seek revenge, it is important to make one thing clear – the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs.
    link to tinyurl.com


  39. Arie Brand
    April 5, 2008, 6:06 pm

    "Israel does NOT receive more foreign aid than anyone else in history.

    Its a lie."

    So now we have progressed from Germany and South Korea to "anyone else in history".

    And still no numbers – only more of the verbiage that has become your trademark Richard.

    And what about those 'predictable misstatements' on Israeli history by Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer?

  40. Charles Keating
    April 5, 2008, 7:11 pm

    Jul. 9, 2007 – 2:57 PM EST

    The Real Cost of US Support for Israel: $3 Trillion
    By Christopher Bollyn

    While it is commonly reported that Israel officially receives some $3 billion every year in the form of economic aid from the U.S. government, this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many billions of dollars more in hidden costs and economic losses lurking beneath the surface. A recently published economic analysis has concluded that U.S. support for the state of Israel has cost American taxpayers nearly $3 trillion ($3 million millions) in 2002 dollars.

    “The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion” is a summary of economic research done by Thomas R. Stauffer. Stauffer’s summary of the research was published in the June 2003 issue of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

    Stauffer is a Washington, D.C.-based engineer and economist who writes and teaches about the economics of energy and the Middle East. Stauffer has taught at Harvard University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Stauffer’s findings were first presented at an October 2002 conference sponsored by the U.S. Army College and the University of Maine.

    Stauffer’s analysis is “an estimate of the total cost to the U.S. alone of instability and conflict in the region – which emanates from the core Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    “Total identifiable costs come to almost $3 trillion,” Stauffer says. “About 60 percent, well over half, of those costs – about $1.7 trillion – arose from the U.S. defense of Israel, where most of that amount has been incurred since 1973.”

    “Support for Israel comes to $1.8 trillion, including special trade advantages, preferential contracts, or aid buried in other accounts. In addition to the financial outlay, U.S. aid to Israel costs some 275,000 American jobs each year.” The trade-aid imbalance alone with Israel of between $6-10 billion costs about 125,000 American jobs every year, Stauffer says.

    The largest single element in the costs has been the series of oil-supply crises that have accompanied the Israeli-Arab wars and the construction of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. “To date these have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion (2002 dollars), excluding the additional costs incurred since 2001,” Stauffer wrote.

    The cost of supporting Israel increased drastically after the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. U.S. support for Israel during that war resulted in additional costs for the American taxpayer of between $750 billion and $1 trillion, Stauffer says.

    When Israel was losing the war, President Richard Nixon stepped in to supply the Jewish state with U.S. weapons. Nixon’s intervention triggered the Arab oil embargo which Stauffer estimates cost the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost GDP and another $450 in higher oil import costs.

    “The 1973 oil crisis, all in all, cost the U.S. economy no less than $900 billion, and probably as much as $1,200 billion,” he says.

    As a result of the oil embargo the United States created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to “insulate Israel and the U.S. against the wielding of a future Arab ‘oil weapon.’” The billion-barrel SPR has cost U.S. taxpayers $134 billion to date. According to an Oil Supply Guarantee, which former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger provided Israel in 1975, Israel gets “first call” on any oil available to the U.S. if Israel’s oil supply is stopped.

    Stauffer’s $3 trillion figure is conservative as it does not include the increased costs incurred during the year-long buildup to the recent war against Iraq in which Israel played a significant, albeit covert, role. The higher oil prices that occurred as a result of the Anglo-American campaign against Iraq were absorbed by the consumers. The increase in oil prices provided a huge bonus for the leading oil companies such as British Petroleum and Shell, who are major oil producers as well as retailers. The major international oil companies recorded record profits for the first quarter of 2003.

    The Washington Report seeks to “provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.” The monthly journal is known for keeping close tabs on the amount of U.S. taxpayer money that goes to Israel and how much pro-Israel money flows back to Members of Congress in the form of campaign aid.

    The journal’s website, http://www.wrmea.com, has an up-to-date counter at the top that indicates how much official aid flows to Israel. While the counter currently stands at $88.2 billion, it only reflects the minimum, as it does not include the many hidden costs.

    “The distinction is important, because the indirect or consequential losses suffered by the U.S. as a result of its blind support for Israel exceed by many times the substantial amount of direct aid to Israel,” Shirl McArthur wrote in the May 2003 issue of Washington Report.

    McArthur’s article, “A Conservative Tally of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: $97.5 Billion – and Counting” tallies the hidden costs, such as interest lost due to the early disbursement of aid to Israel and funds hidden in other accounts. For example, Israel received $5.45 billion in Defense Department funding of Israeli weapons projects through 2002, McArthur says.

    Loans made to Israel by the U.S. government, like the recently awarded $9 billion, invariably wind up being paid by the American taxpayer. A recent Congressional Research Service report indicates that Israel has received $42 billion in waived loans. “Therefore, it is reasonable to consider all government loans to Israel the same as grants,” McArthur says.

    Support for Israel has cost America dearly – well over than $10,000 per American – however the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been extremely costly for the entire world. According to Stauffer, the total bill for supporting Israel is two to four times higher than that for the U.S. alone – costing the global community an estimated

    $6 to $12 trillion.

    Previous WRMEA estimates of U.S. aid to Israel, most recently in the April 2005 issue, relied heavily on Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, which used available and verifiable numbers, primarily from the foreign operations bills. Although the CRS reports do include such items as the old food for peace program, the $1.2 billion from the Wye agreement, the subsidy for “refugee assistance,” and money from the ASHA account, they do not include monies from the DOD and other agencies, nor do they include estimated interest on the early disbursement of aid funds.

    This current estimate is based on the same methodology, building up from the CRS January 2006 report on U.S. foreign aid to Israel, showing a total of $96.156 billion through FY ‘05. Table 1 is drawn from the summary table from that report, plus the totals from the FY ‘06 foreign operations appropriations bill, for a total of $98.7196 billion through FY ‘06.

    Direct government-to-government loans are included in the above numbers for total aid, because the U.S. has “waived” repayment of several loans. Israeli officials and their congressional supporters are fond of saying that Israel has never defaulted on a loan from the U.S. Technically, this is true, but a previous CRS report noted that from FY 1974 through FY 2003 Israel received more than $45 billion in waived loans.


  41. Rowan Berkeley
    April 5, 2008, 11:48 pm

    chris bollyn, heh heh heh … once a rebel and now an agent …

  42. Glenn Condell
    April 6, 2008, 1:43 am

    'Why do you imagine that all Jews should be liberals. Not all are. Its their right, as it is your and my right not be conservative.'

    If by 'conservative' you mean 'believes Jewish settlers have the right to steal and occupy land belonging to Palestinians', then no, they don't have that right.

    'Its not, and he now conveys that he felt more welcome in Israel, than in the US. Hopefully, its a mood on his part, passing.'

    Perhaps he ought to consider emigrating to Israel Richard. That mood I predict will not pass any time soon. Rather, maybe his mood will, but other people's won't. One of dual his loyalties, if it continues to outstrip the other, may force him to make such a decision. In some countries, it would be made for him.

    You know, I'm sure I'd have things to say abut some of your other offerings, if I could work out what the hell they meant.

  43. Richard Witty
    April 6, 2008, 7:08 am

    So respectfully ask Glenn, or do you perceive that you are at war with me and what I "represent" and therefore can't respect.

  44. Rowan Berkeley
    April 6, 2008, 8:46 am

    anyone here know hebrew. if so, I would appreciate some suggestions as to my very rough lyrics translation from Hadag Nachash here:
    link to niqnaq.wordpress.com

  45. Charles Keating
    April 6, 2008, 12:37 pm

    Re: "chris bollyn, heh heh heh … once a rebel and now an agent –Rowan Berkeley

    Rowan, do you disagree with Bollyn's estimate of the USA's support of Israel? If so, why? I'm sorry, please clue us in.

  46. Charles Keating
    April 6, 2008, 12:49 pm

    Also, Mister Rowan Berkeley. give us your opinion about this:

    Ritter says White House preparing for war in Iran

    Ed Barna – Rutland County Herald April 4, 2008

    Scott Ritter, former head of weapons inspection in Iraq who protested there were no weapons of mass destruction to justify an invasion, believes the same is true for Iran.

    But there is an 80 percent chance of war with Iran, he told about 200 people Wednesday at Middlebury College as part of a series of talks facilitated by the Vermont Peace and Justice Center.

    The pattern of preparations for such a conflict has been steadily developing and involves Congress as well as the Bush-Cheney administration, he said.

    Scott Ritter

    People ask him if he feels vindicated by the absence of WMDs in Iraq, he said, but "there isn't any vindication in being right about this one." A war with Iran would hasten the ongoing decline of American standing in the world, and afterward Russia and China would be ready to take advantage of the resulting power vacuum, he said.

    Among the war clouds Ritter cited were:

    · Preemptive strikes against the two groups most likely to erupt if the United States invaded Iran, Hezbollah (unsuccessfully attacked by Israel) and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army (unsuccessfully attacked in Basra by Iraq's central government).

    Ritter predicted a similarly disappointing showing if the American forces attacked Iran, a country 2-1/2 times as large and populous as Iraq that is much more unified culturally and did not have its army destroyed in a previous war with the United States.

    · Recent visits to Middle Eastern allies by high officials, ostensibly for other purposes, but really to prepare them for the effects of such a war.

    · The appearance of the "miracle laptop," as Ritter called it, a thousand pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian computer, which dubiously had just the sort of information the administration needed to support a hard-line stand on Iran.

    · Congressional supplementary funding for more "bunker-busting" bombs, with a contract completion deadline of April.

    · Congressional supplementary funding for the extra bombers to carry those bombs, with a contract completion date of April.

    · Cheney's order to send a third aircraft carrier battle group close to the Persian Gulf, a necessary bolstering of forces for a war with Iran.

    Admiral William Fallon, the first admiral to be head of Central Command, said that level of naval forces was unnecessary and blocked the move. Ritter said that was "a heroic thing."

    The main target of Ritter's criticisms was an American public that couldn't pass a test on the Constitution and understands little of international history and politics, and refuses to believe the life of an Iraqi is worth as much as the life of an American.

    He began his talk, not by trumpeting the danger of war, but by talking about spring, and the birds that will soon have babies in their nests. Mother birds will forage, come to the nests, see open mouths begging for food, and puke into each one, he said.

    Just so, Ritter said, people sit in front of their televisions every night and wait to be stuffed with mushy phrases like "The surge has been successful" and "Baghdad is 70 percent secure" and "We have apparently won the war."

    "The reality of Iraq is that it is a broken nation," Ritter said. Groups like the Kurds and Shia are not unified groups, there is already a civil war, and most of the opposition to our presence comes from our being the invaders, he said.

    "It is far too easy to look for people to blame," he said. For instance, "we blame the media, but the media simply give us what we're asking for."

    Everyone needs to start understanding and caring about their Constitutional rights, and everyone needs to start finding the facts for themselves and taking strong individual stands, Ritter said. If you do nothing but take in what the TV and newspapers tell you, "all you're going to get in return is puke.”
    link to rutlandherald.com

  47. Glenn Condell
    April 6, 2008, 11:01 pm

    'So respectfully ask Glenn, or do you perceive that you are at war with me and what I "represent" and therefore can't respect.'

    I don't have the time or the inclination to pursue your every non sequitur Richard, life being short. I am ‘at war’ with what you represent I suppose, in that to me you represent the sort of complacent Zionist who imagines himself as moral and ethical as the next person but in practice is not and cannot be, because your prevaricating moral equivalences between Palestinians and the Israelis who occupy their land do not, and cannot exist. They are both human, but only one is occupying the other’s land and has been for 60 years.

    The other day you even tried to argue that the act of Palestinians ejecting Jewish settlers from their lands (an entirely imaginary situation of course) would be wrong in the same way (being virtually the same physical action, except in reverse) as the original Israeli occupation was, as if the fact that the Palestinians had owned and occupied it for centuries didn’t matter. It is this sort of moral blindness that precludes my respect for your views.

    Also, there are clear reasons for the continuation of this illegal and immoral situation and the power of American Jewry is at the heart of them, yet you baulk at acknowledging even the rather muted delineations of this that Mearsheimer and Walt provide, preferring to abet those who throw anti-Semitic mud at them. It isn’t the elevated level of power Jews enjoy relative to other sections of the populace, it is the abuse of that power by many of them to benefit a foreign country to the detriment of the US itself that is the issue.

    Even that might not cut enough mustard (let’s face it, the issue was a sleeper until the disaster of Iraq) for most people to worry about, except that the abuse of this exceptional power has led the nation to the brink of a precipice, and people can see the future for their children looking very bleak indeed. There is plenty of blame to go around for that, to be sure, but warmongering neocon Zionists in the cockpit of government, in the van of the bureaucracy and at the helm of the mainstream media, not to mention those in the Lobby who have perverted the political process by the application of massive financial incentives (and disincentives) for members of Congress, bear a large portion of the opprobrium.

    But you continue to close your eyes and block your ears to these realities, and secretly hope it all blows over as it has always done. Well it won’t blow over this time – the natives are too restless, the stakes too high, and whether the New York Slimes covers the revolution or not won’t prevent it happening. Money talks but ideas move, and all that moolah your Adelsons and Sabans throw at PR for the Lobby/Likud/neocon agenda will in the end be wasted. (Maybe that’s me blocking my ears to the realities, but we are all allowed to hope, aren’t we?)

    Last, I have actually asked you a series of questions on threads now long dead over a period of months, most of which went unanswered. Generally they asked you directly to tell us whether for example you agree that Israel ought to disband all West Bank settlements in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel, or if you agree that AIPAC ought to be registered as a foreign lobby, or whether the US would be within it’s rights to insist Israel cease the occupation on pain of having all US funding cancelled.. that sort of thing.

    If you did answer it was never directly; mostly it was the sort of quasi-philosophical, speciously reasonable cant we’ve come to expect.

  48. Richard Witty
    April 7, 2008, 7:17 am

    "Generally they asked you directly to tell us whether for example you agree that Israel ought to disband all West Bank settlements in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel"

    No. Palestine has already recognized Israel and should have.

    "or if you agree that AIPAC ought to be registered as a foreign lobby"

    Strongly NO. AIPAC is a legal political action committee advocating for a set of policies by American citizens.

    "whether the US would be within it’s rights to insist Israel cease the occupation on pain of having all US funding cancelled"

    It is within US rights to undertake whatever foreign policy it deems desirable. I think, as I stated, that US military aid to Israel should be conditional, but on specifics, not on the generalization "cease the occupation" as that means 80 different things to 40 different people.

    You are wrong that "the Palestinians were always there". If individual rights is your reference, then individuals have been their for the term of their life. There is no such thing as a community always being there, as communities ALWAYS have inter-marriage and many outside influences. Also, there WAS ethnically based exclusion of Jews from much of the area of Palestine over long periods that you claim that "Palestinians have always been there", which makes the assertion of ethnic based justice at least qualified.

    Finally, if it is wrong to forcefully remove 400,000 Palestinians (the prohibition from return in 1950-52 is the big problem, the original migration from an active war zone was inevitable), then it should also be wrong to forcefully remove 400,000 Jewish residents.

    Better that other means of reconciliation be affirmed (compensation to perfect title for example).

    For a very long time I actively proposed the literal green line as border, with any settlers that chose to remain in geographic Palestine, given the option to remain but as Palestinian citizens.

    I still hold that view predominately, though I now recognize that in locations, that is an absurdity and a mutually acceptable negotiation for the revision of some borders is desirable.

    I consider the maze-like geography of the settlement blocs to be impractical for both Palestine and Israel, for Israel because the maze is far less defensible than even the crescent of 1967 Israel.

    I strongly wish that the Israeli state and electorate would acknowledge that the fantasy of Jordan to Mediterranean Jewish state Israel will not occur, and agree to sensible borders already.

    And, that a healthy Palestine with acknowledgement of wrongs, and assistance to Palestinian health, is far more prospective of a permanent good neighbor to good neighbor relationship, than a lamed Palestine.

    I understand strongly the reluctance to jump across wide divides. They seem like the Matrix exercises of jumping from building to building, not just a psychological obstacle.

    I agree that the US should participate (NOT renounce involvement) in doing what it can to make those bridges.

    Just as Phil should COMMIT to the two-state solution (his wife) or COMMIT to the one-state solution (his lover), Israel should commit.

  49. Charles Keating
    April 7, 2008, 10:02 am

    RE: "Just as Phil should COMMIT to the two-state solution (his wife) or COMMIT to the one-state solution (his lover), Israel should commit."–Witty

    I thought Phil's wife was his lover.

  50. Richard Witty
    April 7, 2008, 11:01 am

    Its a metaphor Charles.

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