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The lobby blinks! Democratic insiders throw Josh Block under the bus

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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josh block
Josh Block

In the last 24 hours, a giant battle has taken place at the gates of Washington, and the Israel lobby has lost.

Former AIPAC operative Josh Block’s attempt to crush critics of Israel inside the Democratic Party has failed miserably. Block has issued an apology for calling those writers “anti-Semites,” and Block’s own business partner, former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, has categorically rejected Block’s views. 

Today the prospect of open debate inside the Democratic Party is stronger than ever. As Lanny Davis says, “Israelis debate the subject. We debate the subject.” My dear, even that much would be a breakthrough.

The story so far:

On Wednesday, Ben Smith published a piece on Politico headlined, “Israel rift roils Democratic ranks.” It pointed out that two thinktanks with connections to the Democratic Party now had writers working for them who are critical of Israel– Matt Duss, Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib at John Podesta’s Center for American Progress (CAP), and M.J. Rosenberg at Media Matters.

The article was at once a worthy journalistic effort to chronicle a trend and an effort to damage those critics (Smith is an avowed conservative who has shlepped water for neocons).

The piece drew blood; Smith got Ken Gude, the frightened national security director at CAP, to throw Gharib and Duss under the bus:

“There’s a distinction here that we have between the policy work that we do and the blogging work that we do,” [Ken Gude] said.

And Gude specifically rejected the bloggers’ assertion that the absurd Iranian assassination conspiracy the Justice Department has discovered is not serious.

Smith also quoted Josh Block attacking the critics:

“There’s two explanations here – either the inmates are running the asylum or the Center for American Progress has made a decision to be anti-Israel,” said Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC who is now a fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. “Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff” – a reference to what he described as conspiracy theorizing in the [Eric] Alterman column – “and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.” [A reference to liberal Zionist Eric Alterman, who scoffed at the charge]

And Smith ended the piece quoting Ali Abunimah celebrating the change in mood. Abunimah is a friend of our website, we promote his views all the time; but his advocacy for one democratic state in Israel and Palestine has made him persona non grata for establishment organizations.

Leaders at the Center for American Progress reacted swiftly to Smith’s story, by genuflecting to Zionist sensibilities– we are not anti-Israel, they declared that same day in an official statement.

But Smith’s story was quickly upstaged. A day later Justin Elliott at leftleaning Salon broke a bigger story: Josh Block, the very same Josh Block who works at a “progressive” thinktank, had sent out Smith’s story to a neoconservative listserv (a private internet community) with many journalists on it, urging them to “AMPLIFY” Smith’s piece and call Democratic leaders, including Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, about the critics– whom he smeared as anti-Semites.

“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal – clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah [sic] and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ – to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,” Block writes. “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”

Elliott’s piece contained a 3000-word “opposition file” on the bloggers/critics compiled by Josh Block– basically a dirt file– and it set off a firestorm bigger than the Smith story. (I covered it here.)

Josh Block’s big error was smearing Establishmentarians as anti-Semites. That is a libel, and it hurt Block more than the Center for American Progress. There must have been a lot of frantic telephone calls around Washington yesterday, we can only imagine how high the rage went. But when I say “the lobby blinked,” it’s because Josh Block went crawling back to Ben Smith yesterday afternoon with this truculent apology:

I’ve been accused of leveling the charge of anti-Semitism against the Center for American Progress. That is not true, and suggesting so is an attempt to distract from what I am actually saying.

As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling… [jabs follow]

Sort of like Newt Gingrich calling for tighter divorce laws.

Then at 7 o’clock, Block’s own business partner, Lanny Davis, himself a relentless defender of Israel’s right to colonize the West Bank (and formerly a consultant to an African dictator), talked to Eli Clifton, and threw Josh Block under the bus:

He’s done this all independently without any input from me. I respect Josh Block but I 100 percent disagree with much of his language. People can disagree about Israel’s policies without being anti-Semites. In fact I think it’s a terrible mistake to blur the two. We should be able to debate Israel’s policies. I am very pro-Israel. I believe the onus for negotiations is on the Palestinians but both Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility. However, that’s all fair debate. Israelis debate the subject. We debate the subject. Impugning motives of people at the Center [for American Progress] and impugning [that] those motives are driven by anti-Semitism is, in my opinion, wrong. I respect John Podesta and the Center greatly.

That’s where the story is right now. Josh Block, once an eminent member of the self-claimed progressive pro-Israel establishment, has been revealed as a sleaze-merchant working with neocons and has had to hobble off the field. I wonder how long his association with the Progressive Policy Institute and Lanny Davis will last….

Most importantly, the Israel critics inside Democratic Party thinktanks are more entrenched than ever. They have won this battle. Even Lanny Davis has said, We must debate this subject.

In a word, Ben Smith set out for scalps, but Justin Elliott got the scalp.

That raises the issue of Ben Smith’s role. Smith is a wonderful journalist who gave me help when I started this site, but the question arises of whether he allowed himself to be used by Josh Block, and why.

Smith has admitted under battering on twitter that he received the oppo file from Josh Block before he wrote the story. Did Smith know how virulent Josh Block’s view of the Center for American Progress was– that he viewed it as a nest of anti-Semites? And given the weakness of the Block quotes Smith actually used (“borderline anti-Semitic,” with respect to one article, when Block was about to unleash an email accusing many people of being anti-Semites), was Smith protecting a political operative from himself? Was the Abunimah quote a setup? Justin Elliott has suggested that Block was shopping the oppo file for a client. And the natural question is, Was that Block’s former shop, AIPAC?

The answer to these questions is simple: Ben Smith knew about Josh Block’s political activities, but Block was Ben Smith’s source, and good journalists protect their sources. But that’s the problem, too: Why was Ben Smith relying on a smear artist former AIPAC lobbyist who veers from progressive to neoconservative in a New York second?

Because he thought it wasn’t the story. Well last week it wasn’t the story, and this week it is. And we’ve won this battle: The Democratic Party is committed at some level to debate these issues fairly. And so progressive is beginning to mean progressive on Israel/Palestine, too.

About Philip Weiss

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85 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    December 10, 2011, 11:35 am

    “progressive pro-israel” – oxymoron

  2. Annie Robbins
    December 10, 2011, 11:38 am

    , has been revealed as a sleaze-merchant working with neocons and has had to hobble off the field, damaged goods.

    FANTASTIC coverage phil. you have been on this story from day one and the questions you raise at the end re smith are right on.

    • American
      December 10, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Agreed….good tight outline of exactly what went down by Phil.

      But I won’t get too excited until some “politician in office’ actually raises a ‘debate’ on Israel in front of the public.

  3. jewishgoyim
    December 10, 2011, 11:41 am

    Do we know of anyone “infiltrated” in liberal circles, even pro-palestinian circles, whose real loyalty turned out to be to the Israel Lobby? Anyone over the years?

    Not that Josh Block would fit that description as he seems to be your run of the mill PEP who just hid the level of his pro Israel radicalism, but I was just wondering…

  4. Ramzi Jaber
    December 10, 2011, 11:46 am

    Thanks for this Phil. After seeing AIPAC’s and the Zionists’ machinations for all these years, I am a certified skeptic and die-hard cynic! Lanny Davis I do not trust. Heck, he’ll throw his mama under the bus if it serves the Zionist cause.

    I certainly hope that the “PEP wall” is starting to crack. But as Thomas in the New Testament, I need to put my finger in it.

    What truly puzzles me is this: why, after all these years, we still do not have a true AIPAC whistleblower with documented proof of how AIPAC is a foreign agent working AGAINST the interests of the USA? Why??

    • Annie Robbins
      December 10, 2011, 11:57 am

      why, after all these years, we still do not have a true AIPAC whistleblower with documented proof of how AIPAC is a foreign agent working AGAINST the interests of the USA? Why??

      grant smith and many others would argue that we already have documented proof. the question becomes why the feds are not doing anything about it.

      and while he wasn’t doing it in the capacity of ‘whistleblowing’ Steve Rosen in his lawsuit against aipac (working from memory here) which was thrown out of court, would have revealed aipac is working as a foreign agent.

      • Kathleen
        December 10, 2011, 12:14 pm

        All that documented proof that Aipac and some of their officials have undermined US National security and has and is working as a foreign agents of another country is in the case files of the Aipac investigation, 9 time delayed and eventually dismissed USA vs Rosen /Weissman
        USA v. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman (“The AIPAC Case”): Selected Case Files

      • irmep
        December 10, 2011, 2:09 pm

        The AIPAC registration complaint submitted November 4, 2009 to the head of the Foreign Agents Registration Act section, Heather Hunt, is available online at:

        It documents AIPAC’s emergence from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign agent activity in great detail.

        Eric Holder turned down an opportunity to meet with a delegation to discuss it during AIPAC’s confab in May, so there was a protest at the Justice Department instead.


      • American
        December 10, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Grant Smith has proved it 10 times over…..the reason nothing is done are the reasons we all already know……Israel First dominated politics and government….including most if not all government agencies.

      • irmep
        December 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

        Thanks. For an analysis on selective FARA enforcement (Pakistan v Israel) please see the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs at:


      • American
        December 10, 2011, 5:05 pm

        Thank you for your work Grant..I know it’s a uphill thankless battle but I believe eventually it will pay off. When the day comes that US-Israel is put on the table for examination your evidence will be there, indisputable and already done.

      • Kathleen
        December 12, 2011, 10:22 am

        And thanks for all you have been doing to bring these issues into the light for a long time

    • Chu
      December 10, 2011, 12:39 pm

      great question. Steve Rosen was close to spilling the beans
      after AIPAC threw him under the bus saying he liked to watch
      porn and surf for gay sex in AIPAC’s offices.
      Did they give him enough hush money?

      • Kathleen
        December 10, 2011, 1:22 pm

        Reading the case files you will really get how serious this was and how once again the I lobby (Jane Harman etc helped) has and is successful at shuttting down very serious investigations of individuals and organizations that should be broken up or at the very least required to sign up under the foreign agents registration act

  5. Annie Robbins
    December 10, 2011, 12:00 pm

    smith’s tweet:

    Ben Smith
    @benpolitico Ben Smith
    @thinkprogress Ah, better yet: Source tells me he doesn’t mind my saying he did send doc. Sinister mystery solved.
    8 Dec via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

    strange, smith could have written a more ‘balanced’ article instead of essentially promoting block’s ptv.

    • American
      December 10, 2011, 1:20 pm

      Can’t say for sure but my “impression”, just impression, has always been that Smith leans toward the Israel first crowd for some reason.

  6. Kathleen
    December 10, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Lanny Davis “We debate the subject.” More hooey. Granted the situation has shifted the last five or so years. But the majority of Jews in the US have not been discussing the issue at least publicly. Many non Jews like Carter, Tutu, Barghouti etc have been bringing the issue up for decades. Along with peasants who have been meeting with Reps for decades about the I/P conflict. Again many Reps we have held meetings with have expressed their questions, feelings about this issues”off the record”
    A few Jewish individuals like Norman Finkelstein, Chomsky have been out on the firing line with the issue for years. But Weiss and others know that the conversations/open debate has grown at warp speed over the last five year

    • Kathleen
      December 10, 2011, 12:09 pm

      And Phil and others here have written a great deal about the pressure, denial etc that somewhat explains many Jews unwillingness to really look at the facts on the ground for decades. Things are clearly changing

      But Lanny Davis saying “we debate the subject” is clearly an effort to spin that this has always been the case in the US. We all know that has not been the case

    • hophmi
      December 10, 2011, 8:49 pm

      “But the majority of Jews in the US have not been discussing the issue at least publicly.”

      The majority of the entire country does not discuss any issue publicly. Read Jewish newspapers like the Forward and you’ll find plenty of discussion.

      • Kathleen
        December 12, 2011, 10:29 am

        Some have been bringing this issue publicly for decades. Carter, Tutu, former Congressman Findlay, Bryzinski, Finkelstein, Gish, and many others. The majority of folks have been bringing this issue up for decades have been non Jews. I can not stand when Phil or others try to spin this fact. There have been a few Finkelsteins but not many. Now Phil has tried to explain some of the reasons for so many Jews keeping their head in the sand on this critical human rights issue for decades. Pressure from family, denial, guilt, some just do not give a rats ass etc. But lets not pretend that the reality has been any different. The majority of American Jews have “gone along” with the apartheid situation in Israel and the occupied territories for literally decades. Although things have changed a great deal amongst the American Jewish community the last five or so years. Healthy!

  7. Kathleen
    December 10, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Phil/All think you might be interested
    over at huff po
    Lowe’s Among Companies That Have Pulled Ads From TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ Reality Show

    • ToivoS
      December 10, 2011, 5:22 pm

      Of course you must know, the owners of Lowe’s are right wing Zionists and are major donors to Israel.

      BTW, didn’t find the story at HuffP.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 10, 2011, 8:07 pm

        “Of course you must know, the owners of Lowe’s are right wing Zionists and are major donors to Israel.”

        I happened to look up my doctor on the Internet and found that he was one of the people who send money to these Israeli vermin who are spreading like cancer across the West Bank. They’re everywhere. It’s insidious. You can’t spend one damned dollar any more in the US, without risking that it is going to end up fortifying these occupying scum.

  8. Bill in Maryland
    December 10, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Great story and writing Phil- “In a word, Ben Smith set out for scalps, but Justin Elliott got the scalp.”. Every once in a while slimeballs like Lanny Davis whom you quote here or Elliott Abrams, quoted in the WP about Gingrich’s comments to The Jewish Channel, say something for which I must give my grudging respect.

  9. Dan Crowther
    December 10, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I’m just gonna pretend I didn’t see “Ben Smith” and “wonderful journalist” in the same sentence. Smith writes a gossip column for the cool kids in DC. full stop.

    wonderful journalists don’t hand over their columns to “anonymous government officials” on a daily basis, which is exactly what Smith and his crew at Politico do. I have to say, being surprised that Smith and Politico would give voice to “liberals” spouting blatant right wings views leads to me ask, have you ever read Politico?

  10. tommy
    December 10, 2011, 12:58 pm

    Do not give too much credit to the Democratic Party for wanting to debate Israeli policy. Some individuals within the Party may be allowed to debate an attack on Iran is foolish, but they are not allowed to propose ending subsidy of Israel’s aggression, or even calling it aggression.

    • Kathleen
      December 10, 2011, 1:08 pm

      or restricting US aide used to expand illegal settlements or illegal housing in E Jerusalem

    • Chu
      December 10, 2011, 1:26 pm

      the democrats have been the quiet enablers of Israel for decades.
      They deserve most of the blame.

      • Kathleen
        December 10, 2011, 2:00 pm

        not so quiet…many have been aware of this for decades

        Phil/All this is a must watch and listen. Unable to link. Appreciate if someone would link this for me
        Col Wilkerson
        Col. Wilkerson: US War w Iran ‘3 yrs. Away’
        “Israel is going to go this route”

        you tube
        Col. Wilkerson: US War w Iran ‘3 yrs. Away’

      • Bill in Maryland
        December 10, 2011, 4:38 pm

        Kathleen- I think this is the video you are encouraging us to see entitled “‘Col. Wilkerson: US War w Iran ‘3 yrs. Away'” from the Alyona Show on RT (the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel).

      • Krauss
        December 11, 2011, 1:32 am


        “The democrats have been the quiet enablers of Israel for decades.
        They deserve most of the blame.”

        There are parallels here to the way progressive taxation has been slowly eroded over the last 30 years.

        Democrats use rhetoric of liberalism but has an actual agenda which is the opposite. It’s akin to the ‘shoot and cry’ response. Democrats attack Republicans for barbarism but slowly, and belatedly, adopt their positions.

        There is a genuine progressive element in the Democratic party, particularly the base, which is increasingly restless and cynical. I think the way Obama has disappointed has been proved an important point. Young people today are simply without illusions to a large extent.

        Even if one takes a very benevolent view of Obama as essentially trapped and tricked by his neoliberal advisers like Summers, one has to ask why he chose them to begin with? Or the fact that Wall St supported him big time in 2008, more so than even Bush. Or that his original administration was filled to the brim with Wall St people to a larger extent than any other administration before him.

        This goes back to the view that politicians are by nature reactionary.
        People who make genuine progress are always outside of party politics where you only get elected by playing by the rules and pandering to everyone.

        Nontheless, there is some ructure. The Ron Paul wing in the Republican party is very strong among it’s youth.

        The youth of America are war-weary. Tired of lies and false promise.
        People want the concept of a leader who will solve all their problems.
        It’s much harder to be the change you want to happen by making it happen in your own life. It’s much slower and less gratifying – and no clear scapegoat if nothing much happens. But I think people, at least the intelligent and independent parts of the young in both parties, are slowly coming to grips with this.

      • teta mother me
        December 11, 2011, 12:49 pm

        Krauss wrote: The youth of America are war-weary.

        that formulation makes me sick. “Youth of America” are WAR WEARY? How many “youth of America” have had their faces erased by a tear gas bomb, for the crime of defending their land and home against armed theft and destruction? How many “youth of America” have witnessed their Iraqi mother forced to prostitute herself in order to provide food and shelter for her children, her husband having been killed by American forces? How many “youth of America” include the six-year old daughter of an Iranian scientist who was assassinated by US/Israeli forces, in her presence, for the crime of applying his knowledge to the wellbeing of his nation?

        The “youth of America” have not begun to experience that war that is being waged “over there.”

        But your next phrase is, perhaps, THE major toehold by which anti-war activists can gain leverage over the PTB:

        “The youth of America are . . .Tired of lies and false promise.”

        Dana, a young Israeli-raised Jewish woman now a student at University of Maryland, told an audience that she resents being lied to in the education she received in Israel.

      • dahoit
        December 11, 2011, 12:29 pm

        Ah,both parties are equally complicit.Share the blame.

  11. Oscar
    December 10, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Is it just me, or does the great Ali Abunimah seem to be on a phenomenal batting streak here? He seems to win every debate with @RJC, gets racist @HotChulo fired from Telemundo for shockingly bigoted tweets, now the noxious Josh Block gets his nose bloodied for trying to take him down. Abunimah started the #IsraelHates hashtag that became a Twitter phenomenon, now he’s leading the #BoycottLowes and #LowesHatesMuslims charge in the blogosphere that has the retail hardware giant knocked back on its heels for its racist, bigoted decision to pull advertising from TLC’s “All-American Muslims” reality show. Go, Ali, go.

    • jimbowski
      December 10, 2011, 2:04 pm

      It’s not just you! He’s a good dude. Glad I found him on twitter, along with MJayRosenberg and Mondoweiss!

    • mudder
      December 10, 2011, 2:39 pm

      No consensus on #IsraelHates hashtag… Here is MJ Rosenberg:

      #Israelhates campaign is ugly. It rejects even Israelis who fight the good fight. I HATE all bigotry.

      • MRW
        December 10, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Rosenberg: love his ass.

    • mudder
      December 10, 2011, 8:04 pm

      Shopping at Home Depot now, I guess

      • dahoit
        December 11, 2011, 12:31 pm

        Home Depot is also controlled by Israeli firsters,sorry.

      • mudder
        December 11, 2011, 9:42 pm

        You’re absolutely right, dahoit. Innovative Minds says

        …founder, and Co-Chairman of the Board Bernard Marcus is an active zionist. He is on the board of directors of Emet, the Pro-Israel Media “War Room” whos function is to ensure that all media in the US stays biased in favour of Israel.

  12. jimbowski
    December 10, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Israel Firsters are turning the word “antisemite” into a big joke. The other day I was quoting Albert Einstein’s critical comments about Menachem Begin in 1948 and an Israel Firster told me to stop spreading “pro-terrorist” propaganda. LOL. Almost fell out of my chair laughing.

  13. American
    December 10, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Related to the topic. The Dems need to start that Israel debate soon.
    Pay attention to what Obama said about his having no power deterring Israel from attacking Iran.
    Reporter Richard Sale, for those not familiar, is very reliable.

    What Israel’s War Against Iran Would Look Like
    Thursday 8 December 2011
    by: Richard Sale,

    (a few excerpts)

    “According to one former senior US military official with personal knowledge, all through the late spring and the summer of 2011, “Israel wanted to start something and drag us in.”
    This correspondent first heard of the threats of a preemptive Israeli strike as early as last May, when Department of Defense (DoD) officials told me of classified DoD drills being conducted in support of an Israeli attack on Iran. All summer long, the drills continued – supervised by teams of senior former and serving CIA and DIA officials who were personally opposed to any such attack.”

    “American resistance to any Israeli strike spiked recently when two senior US military leaders bridled at the scheme. Only a few days ago, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, and CENTCOM chief Gen. James Mattis (who commanded the battle of Fallujah in 2004) told President Obama about his seeming lack of firmness in letting Netanyahu know the “lay of the land” – how deeply the US military was opposed to a strike by Tel Aviv. The president’s reply was not what the generals expected. Two US officials close to the exchange say that Obama said that he “had no say over Israel” because “it is a sovereign country.”

    Could They Do It?

    “The boasts of Tel Aviv’s invincibility prompted Prof. Paul D. Williams of the National Defense University to comment to me, “The Israelis are not invincible. Pride goes before the fall.”

    “A former senior DoD official with firsthand knowledge of Israel’s attack plains said that Pfeffer’s (of Rand corporation) estimate (that a strike could be successful) “ignores all the space-time considerations, Iranian air defense, Israel’s fuel limitation, etcetera.” Another former CIA official said, “Israel would have huge losses from fuel starvation.”

    “There appear to be three major targets in Israel’s strike plan: the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan, the fuel-enrichment plant at Natanz, and the heavy-water production plant and heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak. Even if Israel’s Air Force reached those targets, their position deep underground would make them hard to hit. “It would take thousands of sorties,” said a former senior Pentagon official. And given the range, the Israeli planes couldn’t stay at the area for very long. “The Israelis have no idea of the scale and complexity of this kind of operation,” said a former senior US intelligence official.”

    “In the case of an attack on Iran, Israel has a vast array of weapons, including neutron bombs, nuclear weapons and fuel-air explosive (FAE) bombs. But if Israel used an FAE weapon in an attack, Iran and its allies in Lebanon would fire thousands upon thousands of scud missiles armed with high explosive (HE) warheads “at every Israeli population center down as far as Tel Aviv,” according to one former DoD intelligence official.

    The Syrians, using larger and more actively guided missiles, could shower Israel with high explosive warheads (or even WMD payloads) while Israel would attempt to use its Green Pine radar system, and a combination of US and Israeli anti-missile missiles, to shoot down these salvos. Former CIA and DoD analysts told this reporter that Israel, in the beginning, would have good success in knocking down many incoming missiles, but the sheer number of incoming missiles would “totally overload all and any defensive measures.”

    (BTW——Re Syria…..
    Russia sends ship-killer missiles to Syria‎ – 5 days ago
    (UPI) — Russia, a key backer of the beleaguered regime of Syrian President delivered supersonic Yakhont SS-N-26 anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria.

    • MRW
      December 10, 2011, 4:33 pm

      Holyshitjesusmotherofgod. “Russia, a key backer of the beleaguered regime of Syrian President delivered supersonic Yakhont SS-N-26 anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria.”

      The Yakhont SS-N-26? !!! This is true? (American, add a link here at MW for the record.) The missile no one has an antidote to?!? The Israeli submarines could never surface because ONE of those could take out two docked side-by-side subs in a nanosecond and keep on going to obliterate whatever coastal Israeli city is on the other side of it. For that matter, a Syrian ship could dock in Cyprus or cruise anywhere in the immediate Mediterranean and wipe out Tel Aviv in less than five seconds.

      I am so glad to see Richard Sale publishing again. He is without doubt one of our finest journalists, and trusted by his intel and defense sources. He’s just so damn smart on top of it, which of course makes a good journalist greater. Good writing is good thinking.

      • American
        December 10, 2011, 8:02 pm

        Here you go MRW

        Lots of info in it…..says the missiles have to do with Russia’s planned navel base on Syria’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean.

        As far as I have been able to find there is no defense to the Yakhont. supposedly it skims above the water at just a few feet making it almost impossible to detect until it’s too late and giving counter missiles only 12 to 20 seconds to target and coordinate in it’s positon and react. I am not expert on this –this may be the same as the Russian Sunburn missile or a variation on it. Raython claims they have an intercept for it but never tested so I tend to doubt it.

      • MRW
        December 11, 2011, 2:34 am

        Thanks, American.

        It’s the
        Mach 2.2 Moskit [SS-N-22 Sunburn] Missile (cruising altitude 60 feet above water or land)
        and the later (2003)
        Mach 2.9 [2,100 mph] Yakhont [SS-N-26 Onyx] Missile (cruising altitude 45 feet above water or land)
        Here is an image of the Onyx. It should read 26, not 25.

        Joe Vialls described the power of the lesser bomb, the Sunburn, like this:

        Each Sunburn can hurtle out of its launcher riding on the white-hot tail of a booster rocket, while its special ramjet lights and cycles up to full thrust. Then rapidly sinking back to an undetectable cruising altitude of approximately 60 feet, each missile will accelerate to Mach 2.2 [1,520 mph] in less than 30 seconds, with a total flight time from Damascus to Tel Aviv of around three minutes. When the end finally comes for Israel, it will all be over in microseconds.

        Flying faster than rifle bullets, the Sunburns will approach Tel Aviv and Haifa at twice the speed of sound, detonating in blinding white 200 Kiloton flashes designed to instantly transform animal vegetable and mineral into heat and light.

        The US military admitted three years ago in Bloomberg that they had nothing to stop it. I read something in the past six weeks that the military had developed something that could stop it, but there have been no tests, and I would think this is something that the US would want to brag about with proof.

        The Onyx can pulverize a US aircraft carrier. The problem for the Admiral or commander onboard is that it’s so fast that by the time they see it in the distance they have less than three seconds to react. (It goes 35 mp/min or 3,062 ft per sec.)

      • American
        December 11, 2011, 12:40 pm


        No wonder they call it the ship killer. 3 seconds to react? Holey s****.

    • MRW
      December 10, 2011, 5:12 pm

      Sale’s article is a must-read.

    • dahoit
      December 11, 2011, 12:35 pm

      Shouldn’t Obomba be impeached,first for lying about the Iranian plot,then fast and furious and then for murdering American citizens and their children?(Among other things)Talk about a teflon POTUS,this guy has the media watching his back.(Or at least until Newt(Allah forbid)gets in there.

  14. lobewyper
    December 10, 2011, 2:37 pm

    I am shocked, SHOCKED by the tone of the comments here re: Josh Block! I have heard he loves cats and small children, and always pays his taxes on time…

  15. gazacalling
    December 10, 2011, 3:02 pm


    Winds are changing, you feel it?

    • MRW
      December 10, 2011, 4:17 pm

      You’re right, gazacalling. I think this is huge. I think this is the crack. We’re not seeing the results or consequences yet, but this is the crack in the bell.

  16. eGuard
    December 10, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Ben Smith, in the link What’s ‘anti-Semitic’?, refers & links to the EUMC’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism (a draft really).

    UEMC (European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia) does not exist any more since 2007, and is now called ” Fundamental Rights Agency”, Vienna.

    Also, it is NOT a “formal European definition”. It is a “working definition (draft)”, and has been degraded not promoted since.

    JSF has even pointed out that this “Working definition” is anti-Semitic in itself.

    • American
      December 10, 2011, 4:58 pm

      I looked at that working draft…most I agree with, some I don’t.

      But I think what the world needs in addition is a working definition of anti-others for Jews to be held to also. Let’s not be one sided—hold Jews responsible for their anti-isms. If someone like Ackerman for instance were to call someone a anti semite for criticizing a specific Israeli action, or do as he frequently does and lump all non Jews together in accusing the world of being anti semitic then I want him subject to the same standard, label and punishment for hate speech as a anti semite would be. I would want the AIPAC man kathleen gave example of saying Jewish lives are worth more than others to be considerd a racist hate statement.
      I’ll agree to “all” definitions of anti semitism as soon as they agree to apply “all” the same definitions to Jew’s antis.
      That would soon end the food fight.

      • Taxi
        December 10, 2011, 11:42 pm

        I’ve been saying for years that it should be a crime to falsely slander a person with the tag of antisemite.

        In fact it should be a crime to deny ALL FACTS, not just the holocaust.

        All creationists in other words should be behind frigging bars.

        Selective superstition is the blight of human progress – without adhering to FACTS there is no progress for humanity.

      • dahoit
        December 11, 2011, 12:44 pm

        Do you have absolute proof that God does not exist?Please share it with us.
        Freedom is untidy and some’s belief might not pass ones muster,but to forbid their speech is a sign of Nazis and Commies.(And Zionists)

      • teta mother me
        December 11, 2011, 1:58 pm

        Taxi wrote:

        In fact it should be a crime to deny ALL FACTS, not just the holocaust.

        The implication is that the holocaust narrative as received and enforced is indisputable fact. If that is the case, why is holocaust singularly protected by threat of criminal sanction against the usual tests and revisions when new facts become known? Even Israeli historian Benny Morris argues that all history should be subject to revision.

      • patm
        December 11, 2011, 2:19 pm

        “I’ve been saying for years that it should be a crime to falsely slander a person with the tag of antisemite.”

        I’ve got some good news from Canada on this subject, taxi.

        Frist paras from Is criticism of Israel or Zionism anti-Semitic?

        “London Immigration lawyer Ed Corrigan said his libel case against Will Hector for calling him “one of the worst anti-Semites in Canada and an idiotic spammer,” in an email to the Law Union of Ontario (LUO) List forum, will be a precedent setting legal decision on the question: “is criticism of Israel or Zionism anti-Semitic?”

        Mr. Corrigan is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration and Immigration and Refugee Protection. He has had extensive experience representing Palestinian refugees, winning around 88 per cent of those refugee claims.

        The Law Union of Ontario is an organization of lawyers and law students which is active on legal issues and human rights issues in the province of Ontario and across Canada. Mr. Corrigan participated in Israel-Palestinian debates through the LUO List forum.

        Mr. Hector, who has practised law as a private lawyer, was a member of the LUO when he sent the email, as part of an ongoing debate about Israeli-Palestinian issues.”


        This is a libel lawsuit involving a highly-regarded lawyer and a serious slander in a respectable venue. The suit has backing from heavy-hitters in Canada. Mr. Corrigan may very well make history with this suit.

        Many Canadians are fed to the teeth with ill-mannered Zionist goons, and mad as hell at our Israel Firster PM Stephen Harper.

        I have to give a hat-tip to my husband for bringing this to my attention.

      • patm
        December 11, 2011, 2:33 pm

        Drat, I forgot to include the url to the Corrigan libel suit article.

      • Sin Nombre
        December 10, 2011, 11:44 pm

        AMERICAN wrote:

        “I’ll agree to “all” definitions of anti semitism as soon as they agree to apply “all” the same definitions to Jew’s antis.”

        And the instant anyone formally/officially proposed this, they be the subject of a deluge of intricate, outraged, thundering condemnations of antisemitism for entertaining any such a formulation.

  17. DanMazella
    December 10, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Barghought supported and Eilat massacre and lies that soldiers were killed when it was Israeli civilians who were murdered.
    Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the ‘National Initiative’ movement, in PA TV telephone interview:
    “Of course, there is the operation which took place in Eilat – that is true. This operation harmed soldiers and people from the Israeli army, and was not directed towards civilians.”

    • Shingo
      December 11, 2011, 7:43 am

      Barghought supported and Eilat massacre and lies that soldiers were killed when it was Israeli civilians who were murdered.

      Rubbish. Barghouti is right. Those targetted were Israeli military personel, and some civlians were killed.

      And please explain why Israel keeps lying about the fact that Palestinains were not responsible for it.

    • dahoit
      December 11, 2011, 12:46 pm

      And Ben Gurion,Sharon,Begin,Meir,Barak and all the rest have innocent blood on their hands too.Sheesh.Give it up.

  18. bijou
    December 10, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Times they are a changing.

  19. DICKERSON3870
    December 10, 2011, 6:28 pm

    I just don’t understand it. Josh Block has such a nice smile!

    “…You can shine your shoes and wear a suit.
    You can comb your hair and look quite cute
    You can hide your face behind a smile
    One thing you can’t hide
    Is when you’re crippled inside…”
    ~ John Lennon

    John Lennon: “Crippled Inside” (VIDEO, 03:56) –

  20. NickJOCW
    December 10, 2011, 6:36 pm

    There is a piece in the LA Times about Israeli super rich which is worth a read, particularly for the balance in the comments.,0,7450485.story

    • American
      December 11, 2011, 1:58 am

      Didn’t look balanced to me, there was one ziobot calling people anti semities and telling them they wouldn’t have generic pills if not for Israel all the rest were anti Israel…LOL

      *BTW…for future reference most generics imported into the US are made by Cipla in India at plants approved and inspected by the US FDA. Some US drug makers even have their lower cost over the counter drugs manufactured there and shipped to the US.
      I was curious and looked it up. Another Israeli myth bites the dust.
      In fact they make generics of still under patent brand drugs but aren’t allowed to sell them mass market in the US, but a lot of people order them thru the Canada pharmacies.

  21. iamuglow
    December 10, 2011, 7:44 pm

    Nearly simultaneous to the Smith article, the loathsome Rubin at Wapo had an article about it…

    There is collusion there..whether with Block and Rubin and/or Smith.

  22. hophmi
    December 10, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Sorry, but how was that an apology, again? Seems like Block is correctly saying that using terms that connote dual-loyalty like Israel-firster is the definition of Father Coughlin-style antisemitism.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 11, 2011, 2:15 am

      “Seems like Block is correctly saying that using terms that connote dual-loyalty like Israel-firster is the definition of Father Coughlin-style antisemitism.”

      Then Block is an idiot. If a person, in fact, has dual loyalty or has loyalty to Israel before his native country, then the labels are truth and not “antisemitism” (whatever that term even means any more, given the bastardization it’s been subject to by zionists). It merely leads to the question of whether the description of a person as dually loyal or as an Israel-firster is accurate. If it is, it is absolutely not antisemitic and is, in fact, a great service to a society to make the fact that public personages in a particular country has dual loyalties or put his loyalty to a foreign state first.

    • MRW
      December 11, 2011, 4:12 am


      If dual-loyalty is a reality, or exists in a person or situation, then it is dual-loyalty, not anti-anything, including anti-semitism.

      • Cliff
        December 11, 2011, 4:52 am

        hophmi knows that dual loyalty exists as a concept and reality

        it’s just that he cannot function properly and think through these situations without applying a narcissistic framework wherein everything has an antisemitic angle to it

      • hophmi
        December 12, 2011, 5:31 pm

        To advocate a strong US-Israel relationship is not dual-loyalty anymore than advocating a relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is. The claim of “dual-loyalty” is reminiscent of Father Coughlin’s idea that because Jews in the US cared about Jews in Europe, they were less than loyal to the United States. Same thing here – because Jews in the US care about Jews in Israel, we’re somehow less loyal to the United States.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 12, 2011, 6:51 pm

        “To advocate a strong US-Israel relationship is not dual-loyalty”

        Sure, if an American believes that a strong US-Israel relationship is good for the US, then there is no problem. But what if someone is advocating a strong US-Israel relationship because they care more about the Jews in Israel than they do about the wellbeing of the United States?? What if they viewed the US as nothing more than a source for cash and for military protection and that person would abandon it the moment it abandoned Israel’s “friendship”?? If someone holds those views then they should be called on it, especially if they are in position of government.

        And, yes, one can have dual l0yalty regarding Saudi Arabia, Mexico or any other country. And, if someone does, in fact, have dual loyalties, there is nothing at all wrong in pointing it out, regardless of what the country to which they hold dual loyalties is.

        “Same thing here – because Jews in the US care about Jews in Israel, we’re somehow less loyal to the United States.”

        If someone were to make a blanket statement, sure, that’s a problem. But if you’re talking about a particular person, and they, in fact, have dual loyalties, it’s nothing more than the statement of a fact.

    • dahoit
      December 11, 2011, 12:50 pm

      Father Coughlin has been reborn,thanks to those Zionist wackos who give him credibility.

  23. dbroncos
    December 10, 2011, 9:06 pm

    A chunk of Fortress Israel crashes into the sea…

  24. American
    December 10, 2011, 10:23 pm


    I am listening to the repub debate….it’s all about Israel. The amount of lies is unbelievable. Newt is unbelievable…..he is spouting the exact hasbara lines, even the historical revisions….it’s astounding. The Palestines don’t exist, they are ALL TERRORIST, the land is all Israel’s…..on and on. Perry and Romney when questioned if they agreed with Newt tried to slightly back off what Newt said and got tongue tied but then stumbled on to agree with him.
    There are either Jewish zios or Chrisitan zios in the audience cause every time Newt says death to Palestine they clap.

    Really it is unbelievable how Newt is parroting EXACTLY ….word for word… what we hear from Zio central, ADL and the hasbara team…kid you not word for word…on the Palestine, on the zio myth history. They must have sent him a complete package of info to repeat verbatim.

  25. Peacefan
    December 11, 2011, 12:19 am

    A bit of topic, but check this “Zionist Organization of America urges dismissal ‘without delay’ of US Ambassador Gutman for his comments on anti-Semitism in Europe and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” those guys never sleep!

  26. Kris
    December 11, 2011, 7:28 pm

    I think that the conversations we need to hold are with the Jewish-Americans in our communities. Jewish-American “progressive” support of Israel is the last taboo subject. When that taboo is broken, our Jewish friends have to listen to themselves explaining that because Jews were victims of the Holocaust carried out by the Germans, Jews are therefore entitled to benefit from inflicting ethnic cleansing, murder, torture, etc., on the Palestinians.

    Our silence allows Jewish-American “progressives” to remain in denial. The most bitter opponents to a proposed boycott of Israeli products at my local Food Coop were Jewish-American “progressives” who felt that the boycott effort was “divisive.” I think what they meant was that the boycott effort was starting to break the powerful taboo that prevents us from criticizing Israel to Jews who are our friends, and challenging their support for Israel’s crimes against humanity.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 11, 2011, 7:48 pm

      I think that the conversations we need to hold are with the Jewish-Americans in our communities.

      i think we need a larger american conversation. it’s unrealistic for us to limit ourselves by trying to get them to bend first. while it’s true what you say about that taboo being broken you’ve framed it as a taboo between themselves when really it’s a taboo held over all of us. there are so many more of us and so much more potential there. if we wait until we have influenced or changed the jewish american conscience we’ve wasted too much time. we have to have a conversation with the american people. we have to make sure we communicate in such a way that makes clear that this is a moral issue wrt american support for israel and israeli actions. i think we can do that without instigating a rise of anti semitism in our society. but we can’t limit ourselves wrt who needs to have that conversation. it is all of us.

      • Kathleen
        December 12, 2011, 12:09 pm

        I have been trying for decades to engage many of my Jewish American friends about this topic. Majority completely closed down. A few shifting.

        Remember about 15 years ago when I put together a panel of speakers in Athens Ohio about the I/P issue. Art Gish, Professor Doxsee a WWII Vet (was in prison with Kurt Vonnegut) and knows a great deal about the I/P issue) a Palestinian student studying at OU at the time all stepped up to the plate. Tried like crazy to get a more right wing Jewish perspective which there was plenty of in Athens at the time to be on the panel. But many Jewish folks in our community had such unfounded attitude about Art Gish at the time. Art who often criticized Israeli and US policy for decades and has never made an anti Jewish comment (no one ever heard him say or write an anti Jewish comment) would not be on the panel with Art. Finally a dear friend Danny Yahini (who was born in Israel, served in the Israeli army and really fair and balanced on this issue as far as I know) agreed to be on the panel. We had a good sized crowd attend (160 or so)

        I was born on Long Island, New York, on July 4, 1924, attended public schools in Freeport, NY, and graduated from Freeport High School in 1942. I enlisted in the Army Reserve on November 13, 1942 while a freshman at Hobart College, Geneva, NY, and was called to active duty June 9, 1943. I received Infantry Basic Training at For McClellan, Anniston, Alabama, during the summer of 1943 and in September of that year began ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program) at Auburn University, then known as the Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

        At the end of March, 1944, the army closed down the ASTP programs throughout the country, and most of us at Auburn were shipped to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where we joined the 106th Infantry Division and received training for combat during the following months. My 423rd Infantry Regiment was shipped to Europe aboard the Queen Elizabeth I, sailing from New York on October 17, 1944. We were housed in Britain for several weeks just outside Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, until shipped to France at the end of November. We arrived at the front, in the Siegfried Line just inside Germany, on Monday, December 11, 1944, five days before the Germans launched the Battle of the Bulge against us. Ordered to evacuate our position and go to a rendezvous point near Schonberg, Belgium, we reached our destination but were not “rescued” as planned. Our Regimental Commander surrendered the remnant of his regiment on Tuesday afternoon, December 19, 1944, to save us from death by German artillery fire.”

    • Kathleen
      December 12, 2011, 12:10 pm

      “Jewish-American “progressive” support of Israel is the last taboo subject. When that taboo is broken, our Jewish friends have to listen to themselves explaining that because Jews were victims of the Holocaust carried out by the Germans, Jews are therefore entitled to benefit from inflicting ethnic cleansing, murder, torture, etc., on the Palestinians.”

      So clear. On target

      • hophmi
        December 12, 2011, 5:35 pm

        You have got to be one of the most closed-minded, annoying people ever, Kathleen. There is nothing taboo here anymore. If it was taboo, Phil wouldn’t be discussing it here.

        You write in smug incomplete sentences as if every piece of crap you come up with is self-evident. The only self-evident thing here is that you seem to have a visceral hatred for left-wing Jews you don’t share your extremist views.

  27. patm
    December 11, 2011, 10:12 pm

    we have to make sure we communicate in such a way that makes clear that this is a moral issue wrt american support for israel and israeli actions.

    I agree, annie. And its not just Americans who need to act.

    The damage done by the Zionist project in Palestine has affected people around the globe. Here in Canada we are now lumbered with an Israel Firster Prime Minister, a right-wing evangelical Christian who is putting the rights and freedoms of Canadians in great peril.

    We need to attack this issue all fronts: moral, economic, religious.

    We need to convince Jews AND Christians of the righteousness of our cause. And we must continue to involve Muslims; they are our allies in this struggle and know well how right we are to take up this struggle.

  28. Patrick
    December 12, 2011, 2:08 am

    The Richard Sale article cited above contains this gem:

    ‘Only a few days ago, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, and CENTCOM chief Gen. James Mattis (who commanded the battle of Fallujah in 2004) told President Obama about his seeming lack of firmness in letting Netanyahu know the “lay of the land” – how deeply the US military was opposed to a strike by Tel Aviv. The president’s reply was not what the generals expected. Two US officials close to the exchange say that Obama said that he “had no say over Israel” because “it is a sovereign country.” ‘

    So, naturally expecting that the President will act to protect the national interest, top U.S. military figures approach Obama to warn of a grave danger. And the President reacts by effectively lying to them, saying there’s nothing he can do.

    I hope the generals took careful note of the important lesson in domestic politics that they had demonstrated to them.

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