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Why did it take 6 years to talk about the Israel lobby?

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Walt and Mearsheimer’s 2006 article

Six years ago when Walt and Mearsheimer published their landmark paper on the Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy in the London Review of Books, I thought there was going to be a vigorous democratic debate of their assertions, including a lot of investigative reporting on campaign donations. I ran around my house shooting off an imaginary six-gun and shouting, It’s high noon! Boy, was I wrong. It didn’t happen then– no, the two prestigious professors got smeared as anti-Semites.

But it’s happening now.

Today Tom Friedman writes, “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” By echoing Walt and Mearsheimer’s title, he upped the ante on his statement of a few weeks back that a “powerful pro-Israel lobby” holds Obama “hostage” on settlements. The other day Andrew Sullivan had a big post about whether the lobby is Jewish or Christian at its core. (Sullivan and Spencer Ackerman said Christians; Jeffrey Goldberg said, No it’s Jews, and Goldberg is right. One proof: When has Obama or the Democratic Party ever cared what rightwing Christians had to say about abortion? Yes, and why are Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic fundraising principals?)

Another item: the Center for American Progress this week stood by journalists who are critical of Israel despite a smear campaign by a former AIPAC staffer. That former staffer’s own fancy appointments are now at risk; and even a lobby stalwart, Lanny Davis, is calling for open debate of our Israel policy.

And New Yorker editor David Remnick, who scoffed at Mearsheimer and Walt back in ’07, has lambasted the Republican “panderfest” in one interview with an Israeli journalist and in another interview averred that American Jews are no longer going to be “a nice breakfast at the Regency” smiling at the Israeli occupation. I think we can count on Remnick to publish investigative pieces about the lobby in months to come. 

So why did it take so long for the media to surround this whale of a story? And will the men who threw the harpoon ever get the credit?

The answer to the first question is that the Walt and Mearsheimer criticism was a radical one, in that it upended the entire MSM establishment. It accused these journalists of going along with the occupation and going along with the Iraq war plans because of the influence of the Israel lobby in their ranks. So were these same journalists going to pat the scholars on the back for developing a theory about their own corruption? No way.

But over the last six years the political-journalistic establishment has at last split in the way that Walt and Mearsheimer and J Street wanted it to split; there are finally two sides over the occupation. One side is for Greater Israel, the other side is against the settlements. And the Republican Party is almost completely on the Greater Israel side. Having the Republican Party as an antagonist is something good liberal meritocratic journalists like Tom Friedman and David Remnick like. Both these men can say with some honor that they were against the settlement enterprise. And many other journalists will join them, including I am sure, Hardball commentators Howard Fineman and David Corn. Eric Alterman has been there for a long time. So has Peter Beinart. Jeffrey Goldberg has also sometimes come out hard against the settlers (sometimes not).

So the struggle that Walt and Mearsheimer and later J Street called for– to give Obama support in opposing the settlements– is at last forming inside the Establishment. The issue will surely arise in the presidential campaign, and if Obama wins, he will come out against settlements bigtime. 

All those prominent journalists I named who will take this issue on are Jewish. That was another part of the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis that hurt them. The authors made the horrible mistake of not being Jewish. Many brave honest Jews came to their side, including Tony Judt, Jerome Slater, Uri Avnery, Jack Ross, and M.J. Rosenberg, but our pack was not very big, we weren’t the establishment, we were never the conferrers of prestige or handmaidens of conventional wisdom; and smeared by Jeffrey Goldberg and Richard Haass, the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis was labelled a discussion of Jewish influence. As someone who believes that Jews are highly influential, I had no problem with this part of the thesis, but it made Establishment Jews uncomfortable. Bill Kristol seemed actually fearful of the argument. Dana Milbank at the Washington Post slurred Walt and Mearsheimer by saying they were white-knuckled and had Germanic names.

When the sad inescapable truth six years ago was that the Jewish establishment was monolithically supportive of Israel, including journalists. As Alan Dershowitz said, American Jews regarded it as their sacred mission in the wake of the Holocaust to protect Jewish lives in Israel. At AIPAC, Chuck Schumer bragged that his name means Guardian in Hebrew, and he was Israel’s guardian.

That has been the most significant change of the last six years. Maybe because their own children are rejecting Israel, maybe because Israel has swung so far right and crazy, maybe because of Gaza, the Jewish establishment has at last shown some diversity on the Israel/Palestine issue. And no one can say, as they could a few years ago, “The Jews support Israel.” No, American Jews are finally having the beginnings of an open conversation. We’ve seen this at the grassroots with many synagogue debates–  replacing debates that used to take place at Lutheran churchs, featuring excommunicated Jews. In the weeks and months to come we are going to see more and more angry political clashes between pro-occupation Jews and anti-occupation Jews in the Establishment. And this long-awaited Jewish diversity will license the media to take the issue on. Already this morning Elliott Abrams has gone haywire against Tom Friedman, saying he’s talking about the “Jewish lobby.” Memo to Chris Matthews: you have political cover to jump in now, from Jews. 

We are also going to see prominent Jews oppose the Iran attack plans, and other prominent Jews support the Iran attack, on the ground of the American people’s interests. These Jews will thereby wave a wand and disappear the most embarrassing aspect of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis: Jewish organizations and journalists lined up to support the Iraq war, surely in some measure because they regarded it as ensuring Israel’s security (Saddam was funding suicide bombers, they wrote in their manifestos; Israel’s war is our war). Now many of the journalists who supported the Iraq war a long time ago can come out righteously against the war on Iran, and feel like leaders.

The issue is being stripped of the monolithic-Jewish-influence-and-confused-loyalty analysis and at last becoming another American debate, hard-core Zionists versus liberal Zionists. Newt on one side, Tom Friedman on the other.

And that’s the problem. Let’s be clear, Walt and Mearsheimer were once liberal Zionists. They believed in the need for a Jewish state and the right of Israel to be that place, and their article and book were designed to save both the American interest but also the Israeli one, to preserve a Jewish majority behind the 1949 Green Line. Jimmy Carter too. They all mounted their arguments five and six years ago, trying to save the two state solution. And they were ignored. Walt and Mearsheimer were smeared as the latter-day Protocols, their book never reviewed in the New York Review of Books. While Terry Gross and Wolf Blitzer were all over Jimmy Carter for using the word apartheid. Bad boy. And since then Charney Bromberg and Stephen Robert, two good Jews, have used that word openly– Robert in a landmark Nation piece, Apartheid on Steroids.

But history doesn’t sit on a bench whittling. No it’s a horse running by the window, as some Zionist leader used to say. And the refusal by the media to take on a serious argument when it was framed, urgently, means that when historians ask Who lost Israel? they will have to look at the American media. So much has changed in Israel and Palestine and the Arab world, I don’t think John Mearsheimer believes in a two-state solution any more. The guy is a realist, he’s been to the West Bank. Realism has brought Daniel Levy to urge J Street to at least talk about a single state, and realism has brought Peter Beinart to call for voting rights for Palestinians under the unending occupation.

As the two-state paradigm dies, the battle between liberal Zionists and hardcore Zionists, in essence another scene in the Israel lobby rondelet, is going to fade away into larger and deeper questions: Why is there a need for a Jewish state when western Jews are faring so well in liberal democracies? Why should western Jews devote so much political energy to a militant discriminatory country that they would hate to live in themselves, as a majority let alone a minority? By what right do we maintain the American commitment to a faroff Jewish homeland if it means that promising young men like Mustafa Tamimi have to be murdered because they dedicated their lives to the right of an occupied village to have access to its water supply? The Arab spring means Palestine too.

In short, the question of the Israel lobby will at last morph into questions of Jewish political identity. And because we are so influential in American politics, inevitably, this will become a conversation about how Jews see our role in western society. Are we safe here? And why, daddy, did you support those endless wars in the Middle East?

As to the second question at the start of this piece, I don’t think Walt and Mearsheimer will ever get the credit they deserve. People are vain, even strivers in the Establishment who you’d think would have secure ego structures. They don’t like being told that they are wrong, they don’t like having their motives questioned, they don’t like having to own up to a stupid decision on the most important question of their time (Iraq). No. They want the Iraq war to fade over the horizon. 

They love these new battle lines on settlements and Iran that allow them to be righteous. They like to be at the head of the parade! 

Thanks to Peter Voskamp, Scott McConnell, Mike Desch and Alex Kane for help on this post.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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178 Responses

  1. Bill in Maryland
    December 14, 2011, 11:54 am

    Beautiful exposition- thanks so much Phil and viva Mondoweiss.

  2. split
    December 14, 2011, 11:55 am

    ‘That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby’ – Someone who thinks that anyone who’s forced to do something (including those ass-kissing lawmakers) and loves it should check if his elevator goes all the way to the top floor ,…

  3. Richard Witty
    December 14, 2011, 12:01 pm

    I have a different view on the significance and manner that Walt-Mearsheimer approached their topic.

    First, their thesis was not new, not original, not hidden.

    Second, they presented their thesis in polemic terms in the London Review of Books article, and moderated that tone in their book. The article is what people remembered.

    The concern about the book was more of the potential political uses of the thesis, than the work itself. The evidence to support the concern was the appearance of supportive articles of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis on overtly anti-semitic, reactionary blogs and publications, and included copies of articles by yourself on some of the blogs.

    The communities that used the work for less than kind partisan political purposes included the anti-semitic fanatic fascist communities in the US and Europe, but also extended into the Arab, Islamic, and far leftist anti-Zionist communities.

    In New York, there is not much remaining evidence of anti-semitism. In Idaho there is. In Europe there is. In the moderate American Islamic world that engages in inter-faith reconciliation, there is not. In the radical Islamic world there is.

    The thesis does potentially fuel anti-semitism, and we are lucky in the world, that their thesis has not spurned much more than it has.

    The theme “I will not hate” is the dividing line. Those that adopt “I might hate”, or “I do hate” have no qualms as to ethnic, political or religiously motivated violence. They desire that the thesis be conveyed more widely.

    The anti-Zionist community includes both, and should cause a great deal of discomfort to those that are principled non-violent dissenters.

    It is J Street that succeeded, the alternative argument, the better argument.

    • Mooser
      December 14, 2011, 12:27 pm

      So Richard, if I understand you, we should never have entered WW2, because while some people had principled opposition to the Nazis, quite a few people just hated Germans and Japanese people.

      But of course, may God strike me dead if I ever think that the Zionists had any but the most principled and pure intentions in Palestine. Nothing would ever induce me to think that some of them just thought ‘here’s a weak people we can take something from, with the help of and under the auspices of the colonial powers’. That, of course, can’t happen, as everyone knows, because the Zionists were Jews.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 12:32 pm

        Oh, BTW, Richard, what happened to all the citations or quotes you meant to send in to substantiate your contentions? If you forgot them, it’s not too late to get them in as an edit.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 2:43 pm

        “The thesis does potentially fuel anti-semitism, and we are lucky in the world, that their thesis has not spurned much more than it has.

        Richard, try looking up “spurned”. What is so irresistibly hilarious about this is, yeah, somebody has been “spurned” and bears hell’s own fury about it.

      • lysias
        December 14, 2011, 3:01 pm

        “Spurred” would work, I think.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 5:42 pm

        “Spurred” would work, I think.”

        Okay, “spurred” was the word he wanted. But notice, in the first phrase “the thesis does potentially fuel anti-semitism” (my bold). Sure, that’s so nebulous it’s hard to deny. By the end of the sentence “we are lucky in the world, that their thesis has not spurned (sic- should be “spurred”) much more than it has”.
        So in the space of one sentence the potential for anti-Semitism, never substantiated, becomes actual anti-Semitism, without one incidence being cited, let alone a trend or number of events. Typical Witty. You could drain pasta with his logic.

      • RoHa
        December 14, 2011, 7:30 pm

        I suspect “spawned” was the word that was trying to fight its way past the anti-English filter in Witty’s brain.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 9:58 pm

        Okay, “spawned”, I’ll take “spawned” So we should be thankful Mearshimer and Walt didn’t “spawn” more anti-Semitism? Did it “spawn” any?

        But instead, his little fingers typed “spurned”

        Richard Witty Aug 24, 2009:
        “If Richard and Phil won’t talk to me directly about these issues, that is their failing.”

        Richard Witty, Aug. 23, 2009:
        “Again, much of my participation here is an attempt to dialog with Phil on these issues.
        He won’t speak with me directly.

        Yup “Spurned”! He should keep a hammer near his keyboard. I wouldn’t let my fingers betray me like that without punishing them

      • Duscany
        December 15, 2011, 1:30 am

        Typical Witty. You could drain pasta with his logic.

        That’s a terrible (terribly true) thing to say about 40 watt member of the Mondoweiss community.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 6:26 am

        Actually Witty typed while he had not sorted out his feelings. His “logic” meant “spawned” [my original take too] or “spurred,” but he also felt “spurned” by Phil, as usual. And so we got what we got from him. I put logic in quotes–Mooser captures why:

        “But notice, in the first phrase “the thesis does potentially fuel anti-semitism” (my bold). Sure, that’s so nebulous it’s hard to deny. By the end of the sentence “we are lucky in the world, that their thesis has not spurned (sic- should be “spurred”) much more than it has”.
        So in the space of one sentence the potential for anti-Semitism, never substantiated, becomes actual anti-Semitism, without one incidence being cited, let alone a trend or number of events. Typical Witty. You could drain pasta with his logic.”

    • split
      December 14, 2011, 12:49 pm

      ‘included the anti-semitic fanatic fascist’ communities – Anti-semitic fanatic fascist? Declared by whom ??? ,…

    • Shingo
      December 14, 2011, 2:54 pm

      I have a different view on the significance and manner that Walt-Mearsheimer approached their topic.

      You had a thesis about the Goldstone report too Witty, but you never read that either.

      So why should anyone give any regard to your uninformed opinion?

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 6:31 am

        Witty never read the book, The Israel Lobby. He read the original short article which had to be published overseas due to Zionist pressure here, which was a most courageous article, especially by two American gentiles.
        Afraid he’d get whiplash from the 100 pages of supportive footnotes in the much more comprehensive book, a whole lot of them from established Jewish sources and mainstream sources .

      • Richard Witty
        December 16, 2011, 8:25 am

        Stop lying Citizen.

        You lie in two ways.

        First, you don’t have a clue what I’ve read or not, but you willingly declare that I’ve not read.

        Second, factually, I have read the entire Israel Lobby book.

        How does this get through?

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Witty, please show us in the book, The Israel Lobby, some examples of what you say is not truth. Otherwise, for anyone who actually read the book, it’s very difficult to conclude, from what you say about it, that you actually read it.

      • James North
        December 16, 2011, 2:35 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘Citizen, I’m hiding over on one of the Hitchens threads. You are a real sucker if you think I will spend even one nano-second looking up your polite request for examples. I’m just counting on you to forget you even asked.’

    • MRW
      December 14, 2011, 3:21 pm

      “In New York, there is not much remaining evidence of anti-semitism. In Idaho there is. In Europe there is.”

      Whoa. When were you last in Idaho? There is no more anti-semitism in Idaho than there would be anti-gentilism if you had to live there. And it’s neither in both cases. So you can run that one down the pike. I haven’t been to Europe in the last three years, so I wouldn’t know. Shmuel can tell us. He lives there.

      • Shmuel
        December 14, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Two Senegalese immigrants were murdered in Florence yesterday and a Roma camp in Turin was set ablaze by a rampaging mob last week. Ask me a serious question about racism in Europe.

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Is it the economy that’s roiling that?
        __________________________
        Witty was making proclamations about Anti-semitism. Has that risen?

      • Shmuel
        December 14, 2011, 4:43 pm

        The economy is related (the chronic ills more than the acute), but racism against certain groups has been tolerated and even fomented in recent years, primarily as a convenient vote-getter and distraction.

        Anti-Semitism is a marginal phenomenon in Italy (although there is certainly some prejudice and a good deal of ignorance), often confused with criticism of Israel (as in the US), and combated on every level. Despite a sham parliamentary report and a few screaming headlines (one in today’s news), there has been no significant rise in anti-Semitism in Italy in recent years.

        The level of racism against Roma, Africans, Muslims, Albanians, Romanians and immigrants in general, on the other hand, has reached alarming proportions. All racism is abhorrent and should be condemned, but to focus on anti-Semitism in Italy (and most of Europe) today is frivolous. That was the point of my above remark about this week’s murders and pogrom.

      • droog
        December 14, 2011, 10:18 pm

        maybe I missed the talking points doing the rounds,
        why are we hating Roma people? do they even get a mention on an officially approved hate-sheet, did I miss something?
        I know they get regular waves of general abuse over here in the UK, especially since their way of life was made practically illegal nearly two decades ago.

      • hophmi
        December 15, 2011, 9:20 am

        Who’s focusing on antisemitism? All we ask is that you acknowledge its existence as a serious problem, which most polling and incident reporting says it is.

        As far as general racism, yes, absolutely, lots of racism in today’s Europe. Please tell me when the states of France, England, Belgium, and Holland will be dismantled as a response and what right states with serious problems like these have to talk to Israel about how to run its society.

      • Shmuel
        December 15, 2011, 10:35 am

        Hophmi,

        There is a serious problem of racism in Europe, one of the least serious, least widespread, least accepted, most monitored, most combated forms of which is anti-Semitism. Ambassador Gutman has ably addressed its two basic types and outlined how it should be dealt with.

        Your second paragraph is just plain nonsense. Unlike Israel, the current regimes in the countries you mention are neither systemically nor ideologically racist, although some of the people and some of the political leadership may harbour racist views. For the most part, racist lawmakers in Europe actually support Israel – either sincerely, because they identify with its racist policies against Arabs, or as a way of “kashering” their own racism by showing they are not anti-Semites. So what’s your problem?

      • Shmuel
        December 15, 2011, 10:59 am

        As a European Jew, I do not, at present, fear for my personal safety or for that of my family. Apart from the issue raised by Amb. Gutman (see link in my previous comment), I believe that the greatest threat to Jews in Europe comes from the widespread tolerance of racism against other groups – particularly Roma and immigrants. Unless all forms of racism and discrimination are unequivocally rejected, all minorities (and even some majorities – such as women) are at risk. This is a lesson that the Israeli left, for example, has failed to learn, at its own peril.

      • American
        December 15, 2011, 11:00 am

        Who’s focusing on antisemitism? All we ask is that you acknowledge its existence as a serious problem, which most polling and incident reporting says it is”……hopi

        Nope, racist don’t get to complain about racism.
        Let us know when Israel quits being racist and then we will look into your complaint…if there’s any anti semitism left to complain about .

      • hophmi
        December 15, 2011, 11:00 am

        “There is a serious problem of racism in Europe, one of the least serious, least widespread, least accepted, most monitored, most combated forms of which is anti-Semitism. ”

        I’d like some substantiation that the problem of antisemitism is “one of the least serious.” The statistics are available, and it is bad enough that in many communities, people are afraid to walk around with their heads covered.

      • Bumblebye
        December 15, 2011, 11:13 am

        What reparations were ever made to the Roma people post-WWII?
        How do we in the UK even tell the difference between our Gypsy or Irish Traveller minorities? I don’t even know which my son’s Ma-in-Law is! She has a lot of racism herself towards most minorities, so I don’t approach the subject. Surely those two groups are the longest established & least understood in this country.

      • Shmuel
        December 15, 2011, 11:23 am

        it is bad enough that in many communities, people are afraid to walk around with their heads covered

        How widespread is that and to what extent is that fear justified? It is certainly far more dangerous in far more places to walk around (or stay at home) if you are Roma, black, wearing a Muslim headscarf, or are a woman of any colour or religion. I’ll leave it to you to look up the statistics – real stats please, compiled by people who know the difference between criticism of Israel and racism against Jews, and know how to distinguish between murder and a provocative swastika or misspelled German word.

      • Cliff
        December 15, 2011, 11:25 am

        People can be afraid all they want hophmi. That doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t correlate to a substantial amount of attacks/instances of discrimination.

        So the only thing that should matter is data on actual acts of antisemitism.

      • Donald
        December 15, 2011, 11:45 am

        From what I’ve heard the current government in Hungary is anti-Roma and anti-semitic. So the bad old days aren’t completely gone.

      • American
        December 15, 2011, 12:02 pm

        I’d like to see the data on anti semitic incidents prior to 2001 for comparison.
        What were they in the 80 and 90’s?
        Official stats, not ADL stuff.
        Anyone have those?

      • hophmi
        December 15, 2011, 2:27 pm

        “Your second paragraph is just plain nonsense.”

        No it isn’t. It’s called a double standard.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 6:41 am

        In the USA we have top GOP POTUS candidates stating on prime time TV that all Palestinians are invented and terrorists, and that Iran is a terrorist and Islamic fanatic state with an agenda of establishing an Islamic caliphate world; one even stated all Muslims in the world are working towards this, and as soon as Iran get’s a nuke it will hurl it at Israel, and later, at the US. The mainstream media does not blink an eye in the face of such hate speech; it’s the norm.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 2:28 pm

        The Roma culture does not foster claiming victimhood, even when this works against them as a practical matter. In this respect they are, and live, the exact contrary to the Jewish culture. Two extremes in this regard, although they share 1st place in Nazi persecution based on tribal origins.

    • American
      December 14, 2011, 3:36 pm

      “In New York, there is not much remaining evidence of anti-semitism. In Idaho there is. In Europe there is..”…..witty

      Really? There have been Jews killed, evicted from their homes and barred from certain streets and neighborhoods in Idaho and Europe? I must have missed that in the news. Got any links?

      • hophmi
        December 15, 2011, 2:25 pm

        I know, nobody cares until Jews are killed in large numbers. That’s why it’s easy to dismiss the rocket attacks in Sderot – not enough dead people.

      • American
        December 15, 2011, 3:15 pm

        Witty was talking about anti semitism in Idaho and Europe, not Sderot.

        Stick to the subject.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 6:44 am

        hophmi, rest easy; most of our GOP candidates for POTUS explicitly stated that the Palestinians were hurling rockets day and night into Israel–without any context at all except Israel has a right to defend itself (and Obama is appeasing a la Chamberlain).

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 2:51 pm

        Witty, as usual did not get specific. Perhaps he’s talking about the Christian Identity movement? Randy Weaver was and his family were Idaho members. We all know what happened to them, ostensibly because Randy sold a couple of shotguns to secret federal agents. If this is Richard Witty’s idea of the dangers of anti-semitism in the USA, I want to know the last time any Jewish family was killed by federal agents because they belong to a dangerous cult like Zionism. Perhaps Witty is concerned because only 80% of HMS funds to protect American communities from terrorism go to the less-than-2% Jewish American community? Witty does not say. Or maybe Witty thinks its not enough to have a whole federal agency devoted to nothing but monitoring anti-semitism here and around the world, paid for by the 98% American goy taxpayers with nobody on The Hill putting this spending on the cutting block? Gee, hard to tell.

  4. pabelmont
    December 14, 2011, 12:23 pm

    TF: “That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?”

    I like the reference to money. However, it would be better if TF had managed to convey that the money Israel gets from the USA’s ATM is America’s money, not Israel’s.

    But a trio of 1000 miles starts with a single step (and further small steps).

  5. J. Otto Pohl
    December 14, 2011, 12:24 pm

    Because some fringe anti-Semites with no political power might cite the work of legitimate scholars that criticize the role of the Israel lobby we must censor any and all attempts by such scholars to address the very negative effect of that lobby? That makes no sense at all. I know that at least in one case an article on Storm Front approvingly cited my first book, The Stalinist Penal System, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997). Or rather it cited the chapter on the deportation of the Crimean Tatars that SOTA (A Dutch based organization dealing with scholarship on Turkic peoples) had put up on the internet with McFarland’s permission. So what? The fact that Nazis also don’t like Stalin does not make Stalin a good guy. By the same token the fact that they don’t like Israel does not make Ben Gurion and Netanyahu good guys.

    • Hostage
      December 15, 2011, 5:08 am

      Because some fringe anti-Semites with no political power might cite the work of legitimate scholars that criticize the role of the Israel lobby we must censor any and all attempts by such scholars to address the very negative effect of that lobby?

      Witty is a creature of habit. He adduces things from “evidence” that doesn’t really exist, and then moves on to a new thread when he is challenged and can’t provide any citations or links.

      Witty claimed “The evidence to support the concern was the appearance of supportive articles of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis on overtly anti-semitic, reactionary blogs and publications, and included copies of articles by yourself on some of the blogs.” Please define “overtly anti-semitic”. I don’t think that the Mark of Cain crowd at Stormfront is going to get much mileage out of a book that says there is no grand overarching Jewish conspiracy or waste their own bandwidth serving-up Phil’s thoughts about Jewish identity.

      • Richard Witty
        December 15, 2011, 6:44 am

        David Duke’s blog, citing Phil Weiss supporting the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis.

        Please don’t sugarcoat the process by which anti-semitism arises. Oppose it consistently.

        Establish your social justice credentials on a color-blind manner, rather than in a selective manner.

        I certainly never implied that Walt-Mearsheimer should be censored. I appreciate their revision of tone in the book, in contrast to the more polemic article, and their acknowledgment that the Israel lobby is diverse, and adopts almost exclusively legal and morally justifiable modes.

        The uses of their thesis here particularly by commentators asserted that Zionist advocacy should be censored, rather than argued against. (You know, the better argument.)

      • eljay
        December 15, 2011, 9:15 am

        >> Establish your social justice credentials on a color-blind manner, rather than in a selective manner.

        RW on ethnic cleansing:
        >> I cannot consistently say that “ethnic cleansing is never necessary”.

        RW on Zionist terrorism and the creation of a religion-supremacist state:
        >> If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.

        RW on excising non-Jewish Israelis from their own country (a.k.a. “bureaucratic ethnic cleansing):
        >> … I personally don’t see a conflict with intentionally adjusting boundaries if the demographics change considerably to create a smaller Israel that is Jewish majority.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 6:52 am

        Witty, face it, you were just engaging in guilt by association. Common cheap Zionist tactic.

      • Cliff
        December 16, 2011, 7:05 am

        How do you David Duke cites Phil Weiss supporting W&M?

        You clearly looked at David Duke’s blog to know this. Hence, you support David Duke. Hence, you are a Holocaust denier!

        See what I did? I pulled a Witty.

        You are disgusting Witless – an on-going joke.

      • James North
        December 15, 2011, 8:33 am

        Richard Wity said, ‘Hostage, you are missing the point. Although I do have a sneaking admiration for your vigorous and informed use of sources, the Jewish people are my only priority. If anyone says anything anywhere that could be twisted by someone somewhere into even a minimal threat to Israel, the original statement should not have been made.’

      • hophmi
        December 15, 2011, 9:23 am

        Witty provided a cite. That’s better than providing fifteen voluminous cites which most people here don’t bother to read, because if they did, they would see how you and others simply distort the truth.

        Hope your graduate studies are going well.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 7:00 am

        I for one read those “voluminous cites,” which are usually hot linked, and I am sure I am not the only one here who does, hophmi–you are projecting your own custom on to the rest of us here. Witty referenced David Duke’s blog site. He did not quote from it or hot link it. We should be thankful for his first baby step towards supporting what he says after all these years? Witty did nothing but do a feeble guilt by association to support his comment.

        hophmi, hope your marbles bag is in a safe place.

      • patm
        December 16, 2011, 9:13 am

        Newcomers to mondo may be interested to know that hophmi is a lobbyist for the Israel Lobby. He accuses me of “playing dirty” by announcing this on Mondoweiss. My answer to him: We are not engaged in a game on this site.

        The Israel Lobby is a cancer that must be excised from the body politic in countries around the globe. The ill-conceived Zionist colonial project in Palestine has put people everywhere in grave danger.

        You’ll find another Israel lobbyist (“eee”) on this thread. Phil and Adam might consider insisting that all lobbyists identify themselves as such in their commenter profiles, and that they make a donation to Mondoweiss before they start spewing their lies.

        I encourage all newcomers to make a donation. In the short time I’ve been here, Mondoweiss has grown by leaps and bounds, and as Phil states in his fundraiser appeal “it doesn’t run on fumes.”

  6. Scott
    December 14, 2011, 12:33 pm

    What a great post! I suspect the split with children might be very important in causing the establishment to question themselves–certainly it was so in the sixties, where major liberal hawks (WASPs this time) couldn’t bear the contempt of their sons and daughters. I’ve seen nothing written on this, except here.

  7. dbroncos
    December 14, 2011, 12:38 pm

    “Memo to Chris Matthews: you have political cover from Jews.”

    But Matthews won’t have the cover of the the Jews he works for – the Roberts family. The Roberts’ Comcast/NBC/Universal empire refuses to carry the Al Jazeera English channel, saying that there’s not enough room in the channel spectrum for the Arab Network. Matthews, Maddow et al are on a short leash.

  8. American
    December 14, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Almost perfect.

    I have a question:

    “Today Tom Friedman writes, “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

    ‘Paid for by the Lobby’ is a real bomb throwing statement.
    Sounds like Israel supporters like Friedman, I guess he’s still a supporter…..are worried about the US zionist and the Lobby having “overstepped” here in America (as well as in Israel). Then again maybe I am reading it wrong and it’s not the
    ‘lobby influence’ he is addressing as much as he’s saying the lobby is on the ‘wrong side’ for Israel. Maybe it is both?

    • Bandolero
      December 14, 2011, 7:09 pm

      I suppose the main motivation is that the Israel lobby is just destroying American supremacy over world. While the US is bleeding fighting sanction battles and wars for Israel, China is on track to take over world affairs soon.

      Instead of propping up some terrorist groups who will bring China and south east Asia down, the US is stucked in western Asia. So, for people who want to preserve the US world hegemony too much support for Israeli hegemony is a conflict of interest. As it was that the US was rich bankrolling Israel was no problem, but now that the US is becoming poor, they ant Israel to become a profit center instead of a cost center.

  9. Exiled At Home
    December 14, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Phil, good article, mostly valid points, and I’m glad that you wrote it. But, being the cynic that I am, I must point out some glaring problems.

    First, “And the Republican Party is almost completely on the Greater Israel side. Having the Republican Party as an antagonist is something good liberal meritocratic journalists like Tom Friedman and David Remnick want. Both these men can say with some honor that they are against the settlement enterprise.”

    The same is entirely true of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has always supported Israel, and its Greater Israel vision. It’s not as if suddenly the Republicans have went just far enough for Democratic-leaning politicians to pounce on the issue. No, sir, there is no day-light between these parties on this issue. The debate will come not between Democrats and Republicans, but rather between politicians and journalists, activists and establishment elites.

    Next, “The issue will surely arise in the presidential campaign, and if Obama wins, he will come out against settlements bigtime.”

    If Obama does, he’ll be a hypocrite. He’s already blasting GOP candidates for “zeroing down” foreign aid, which will include our beloved ally, Israel! Oh, no! Any politician who would ever support Israel, or use pro-Israel positions to wedge against other politicians is a scumbag, despite whatever true feelings they harbor inside.

    Finally, “…good liberal meritocratic journalists like Tom Friedman…” and …hard-core Zionists versus liberal Zionists. Newt on one side, Tom Friedman on the other…” You’re not serious, are you? Friedman, a good journalist? Friedman anything other than a defender of American empire and Israeli intransigence? Have you read “The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work” by Belén Fernández? I suggest you drop what you’re doing and do so, now.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      December 14, 2011, 2:22 pm

      very good remarks. I agree.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 7:09 am

        Me too.

    • chet
      December 14, 2011, 2:24 pm

      The interview with Ms. Fernandez, in which she summarizes her views of Mr. Friedman, makes an interesting read:

      http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/2926/new-texts-out-now_belen-fernandez-the-imperial-mes

      • Exiled At Home
        December 14, 2011, 3:07 pm

        Thanks for the link, Chet.

    • ritzl
      December 14, 2011, 5:03 pm

      If Obama does, he’ll be a hypocrite. …”

      Since Obama is all about reelection and politics, has reneged on his aversity to Bush’s policies, and doesn’t seem to care about Dem team-building (re: his Republican cabinet appointees), it’s entirely reasonable to anticipate that he will NOT care about the Israel lobby and Jewish mega-donor fundraising should he win in 2012. With policies toward Israel to match. There is antipathy toward Netanyahu. Netanyahu and/or Lieberman are likely to outlast this term of this admin. Let the games begin…

      That is, he’s already a hypocrite. Maybe he’ll be a hypocrite in a constructive way for a change, on this issue, maybe.

      This is my one of two reasons for considering voting for Obama again.

      Who knows.

    • Patrick
      December 14, 2011, 6:21 pm

      I read that line as intended to mean Friedman can be identified as a ‘good liberal’ (i.e., by NYT standards). I didn’t think Phil was saying that he is good journalist.

      However, I agree with your point about Barack Obama. I expect that he will be re-elected. However, I doubt very much that he will change course on Israel/Palestine, or anything else for that matter.

    • anonymouscomments
      December 15, 2011, 12:06 am

      very true about where both parties lie (currently). however, i just read this little bit, about reagan and israel, which gives me hope about how the winds can change-
      http://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2011/12/would-reagan-have-passed-the-gops-israel-test-107334.html

      of course, the dems are to the right of reagan these days in many ways, and more supportive of israel. but times, they are a-changin’.


      Come writers and critics
      Who prophesize with your pen
      And keep your eyes wide
      The chance won’t come again
      And don’t speak too soon
      For the wheel’s still in spin
      And there’s no tellin’ who
      That it’s namin’.
      For the loser now
      Will be later to win
      For the times they are a-changin’.

      Come senators, congressmen
      Please heed the call
      Don’t stand in the doorway
      Don’t block up the hall
      For he that gets hurt
      Will be he who has stalled
      There’s a battle outside ragin’.
      It’ll soon shake your windows
      And rattle your walls
      For the times they are a-changin’.

  10. dbroncos
    December 14, 2011, 12:53 pm

    “Memo to Chris Matthews: you have political cover from Jews.”

    I hope so, but Matthews still won’t have political cover from the Jews he works for – the Roberts family. The Roberts Comcast/NBC/Universal empire refuses to carry the Al Jazeera english channel, saying that there’s not enough room in their cable spectrum for the arab network. Matthews is still on a short leash.

  11. gazacalling
    December 14, 2011, 12:57 pm

    This was an action-packed post. I love these little glimpses into the future, ’cause you know it’s going to play out pretty much in this way. People as smart and knowledgeable as Phil Weiss can see the contradictions in the present and then predict the future. The way Martin Feldstein predicted the current EU mess, for instance.

    Contradictions can be endured for a little while, even a good long while because it takes time for the dissemination of information and the reforming of stereotypes. But fundamental contradictions (Separate But Equal; Democratic Jewish State) can’t last forever.

    By the way, the dissemination of information and the refashioning of stereotypes based on new information is exactly what journalists are supposed to do. Phil Weiss sleeps soundly at night; I don’t know how the Establishment “journalists” do though.

    • Frankie P
      December 14, 2011, 5:45 pm

      Speaking of “little glimpses into the future”.

      Phil Weiss:
      “In short, the question of the Israel lobby will at last morph into questions of Jewish political identity.”

      Fess up, Phil. You HAVE been reading Gilad Atzmon’s website regularly. Now interview him on Mondoweiss and do the right thing. Six years from now, maybe the ideas in The Wandering Who will be as mainstream as W&M are today.

      Frankie P

  12. iamuglow
    December 14, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Yeah, that was spot on, over the top, great.

    ” When has Obama or the Democratic Party ever cared what rightwing Christians had to say about abortion?”

    As always describing the world as it is…while the mainstream news sticks to narratives that ” that allow them to be righteous.” Bully for you Phil & thanks.

  13. eee
    December 14, 2011, 1:09 pm

    Yes! Another “game changer”! Jews discussing settlements and the lobby, how novel. What is J Street all about anyway if not exactly the same things and that one proved also to be a “huge game changer”.

    Instead of asking if American Jews are confused about Israeli politics, how about asking them if the Tea Party confuses them? Or Bachman? Or Gingrich? Both the US and Israel have moved to the right and Friedman does not like it. Fair enough. But why blame Bibi or Israel and not the US and US voters, the real culprits?

    • Exiled At Home
      December 14, 2011, 2:04 pm

      Yes, good point, eee. Why should we blame Bibi or Israel for Bibi and Israel’s actions? Why blame them for anything?

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 2:07 pm

        Yeah really just go into the regular MO. Deny and project…flip the script

    • Annie Robbins
      December 14, 2011, 2:42 pm

      Instead of asking if American Jews are confused about Israeli politics, how about asking them if the Tea Party confuses them? Or Bachman? Or Gingrich?

      yeah, anything really..but let’s move the conversation away from israel.

      Both the US and Israel have moved to the right and Friedman does not like it. Fair enough. But why blame Bibi or Israel and not the US and US voters, the real culprits?

      sorry, come again..i thought friedman was blaming the israel lobby. or is that code for ‘Bibi or Israel’? i thought the israel lobby was part of the US and US voters? according to your ilk of course. but hey, if we got eee here claiming the israel lobby is ‘Bibi and Israel’ let’s join together and request they register under FARA cuz i’d be totally down with that.

      • eee
        December 14, 2011, 3:07 pm

        Annie,

        Friedman is not blaming the lobby for Israel’s policies, he is blaming Bibi. Why not just blame the Israeli voters? What is he scared of? Same with the US Congress. It was elected by you Americans. Why is he blaming the lobby (though it is not clear that he is)? You get the governments you vote for.

        And where did I say that the lobby and Bibi are the same? Only in your imagination.

        The crux of the matter is simple. Israel has moved right, just like the US. Friedman, a liberal, does not like it. I have no problem with that. But why obscure the issue with all the BS about Jews being “confused”?

      • Annie Robbins
        December 14, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Friedman is not blaming the lobby

        “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby“ Friedman, September 18, 2011.

        “[T]he U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership [is] a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s” – Friedman, September 18, 2011.

        sounds to me like he’s blaming the lobby.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:11 pm

        Friedman has his finger in the wind

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Yup.

      • eee
        December 15, 2011, 11:21 am

        Kathleen,

        Friedman said the same things 14 years ago. He has his finger somewhere else.
        http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/12/14/tom-friedman-dual-loyalty-american-jews/

      • Kathleen
        December 15, 2011, 12:30 pm

        That piece is from 2011. Show us where Friedman said anything like this 14 years ago

      • eee
        December 15, 2011, 1:09 pm

        Just read the piece, it quotes Friedman from 1997. He said basically the same thing.

    • Mooser
      December 14, 2011, 6:56 pm

      “not the US and US voters, the real culprits?”

      Gosh, I’m sorry for you Israelis, who can do no more than follow the dictates of American politicians and voters. If only you had your own sovereignty, your own self-determination, what a different situation would obtain!

      At any rate, “eee”, thanks for printing all those ballots in English for us to vote on, my Hebrew is terrible. And I hope Israel gets its own political agency some day, and can be something other than a slave to US Gentiles.

      • eee
        December 15, 2011, 11:23 am

        Mooser,

        Oh the irony! Aren’t you the one always complaining about how you lack sovereignty because your congress is controlled by Israel? So clearly the problem is with the US voters who send those “Israel firsters” there.

    • thankgodimatheist
      December 14, 2011, 9:05 pm

      eee’s knee-jerk reaction has always, ALWAYS been along the lines of “why going after Israel? Why not going after the US?” It’s so predictable now that there’s no more need to read his comments to know the gist of it. And since he’s basically addressing Americans, in his pathetic mind, he’s guaranteed, he thinks, of getting them to shut up and mind “their own business” and let the genocidal enterprise in Palestine continue unabated.
      It’s really very easy to figure you out eee.

      • eee
        December 15, 2011, 2:40 pm

        Isn’t the “Zionist controlled Congress” an American problem? Of course it is. Solve that “problem” and according to your theory all other problems will be solves. As an American, shouldn’t you deal with that first? Not only is it an American issue, it is the core issue according to you. So what are you waiting for?

      • American
        December 15, 2011, 3:04 pm

        Isn’t the “Zionist controlled Congress” an American problem? Of course it is. Solve that “problem” and according to your theory all other problems will be solves. As an American, shouldn’t you deal with that first? Not only is it an American issue, it is the core issue according to you. So what are you waiting for?”…..eee

        Be patient, we are working on the problem. Part of the program it is giving you enough rope to hang yourselves.

      • eee
        December 15, 2011, 4:13 pm

        “Be patient, we are working on the problem. Part of the program it is giving you enough rope to hang yourselves.”

        I see, so the way you solve your problems is to wait for a miracle. Since according to you the “Zionist controlled Congress” is a decades old problem, shouldn’t you get a little proactive or admit you are doing nothing?

  14. Kathleen
    December 14, 2011, 1:36 pm

    Phil “I thought there was going to be a vigorous democratic debate of their assertions, including a lot of investigative reporting on campaign donations.”

    I thought so too But clearly the cracks in the wall of silence are wider than they have been in a long time.
    ————————————————————-

    Phil “So why did it take so long for the media to surround this whale of a story? And will the men who threw the harpoon ever get the credit?”

    A much bigger and more effective harpoon. But congressman Findlay, Carter, Finkelstein Said, Vanessa Redgrave, Tutu, Art Gish, Pappe, had all been throwing harpoons for decades. Carter has taken a real beating at times. Hope you will do a bang up blog on his history of harpoon throwing on this issue.
    ———————————————————

    Weiss “The issue will surely arise in the presidential campaign, and if Obama wins, he will come out against settlements bigtime.”

    He has and was clearly beaten back. Having Ross on his team sure could not have helped.
    —————————————————–
    Weiss “All those prominent journalists I named who will take this issue on are Jewish”

    Better late than never. Just hope they do not try to beat the “we’re so great so brave drum.
    ————————————————————-
    Weiss “And no one can say, as they could a few years ago, “The Jews support Israel.”

    But you can say that the majority of Jews in this country support Israel no matter what. Did you see those lines outside of the congressional buildings during and after the Aipac conference. I have read about the meetings with congresspeople that Aipac members set up. I have been in DC during a previous Aipac conference (I even mad it in one day). But seeing with my own eyes the huge lines of Aipac attendees standing in long lines to meet with their congressional Reps really put it in perspective.
    —————————————————————
    Weiss “We are also going to see prominent Jews oppose the Iran attack plans, and other prominent Jews support the Iran attack, on the ground of the American people’s interests.”

    Not seeing this yet. Any examples?
    ——————————————————————————–

    Weiss “Now many of the journalists who supported the Iraq war a long time ago can come out righteously against the war on Iran, and feel like leaders.”

    I have been listening and watching the MSM as closely as I did before the invasion of Iraq. Just not hearing MSM journalist opposing a military strike on Iran. In fact have heard Bob Schiefer allow McCain, Clinton and Obama repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran during the campaign on his program. NO CHALLENGES.
    Have heard Diane Rehm allow Reuel Marc Gerecht and others to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran on her program. NO CHALLENGES
    Have heard NPR’s Neal Conan allow John Bolton on several programs repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran on his program. NO CHALLENGES
    Have heard Christiane Amanpour, George Stephanpolous, Wolf Blitzer, Fareed Zakaria and others allow guest to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran on their programs. NO CHALLENGES.

    NPR’s Terri Gross and Rachel Maddow have been two of the worst. They have not only allowed guest to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran. They repeat those false claims themselves. Gross being the absolute worst.

    Just do not see journalist taking their jobs anymore seriously than before the invasion of Iraq. They have not asked any challenging questions about claims that people repeat about Iran ,
    I think they have helped set the stage for a military attack on Iran for eight long years
    —————————————,

    Weiss “The Arab spring means Palestine too”

    And Rachel Maddow, Richard Engel and the rest of the MSM skipped right over the Palestinians everyday. All the while keeping their cameras turned towards Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and then jumped over to Iran, Syria….never ever turning their cameras or their words towards Palestinian protest. NOT ONCE

  15. Kathleen
    December 14, 2011, 1:44 pm

    With Wolfowitz, Addington, Bolton, Ledeen, Pollack, Feith, Woolsey, Kagan etc all pushing hard for a covert military intervention in Iran not looking good. Just wish to hell our media would do their fucking job and ask some simple challenging questions

    Neocons & the GOP National Security Debate
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/11/neocons_the_gop/

    Comments on the influence of neoconservatives on GOP foreign policy establishment.
    Former Dick Cheney chief of staff and now Heritage Foundation vice president David Addington dropped his strong aversion to the public spotlight and offered one of the questions to GOP presidential candidates at the national security/foreign policy debate last week sponsored by CNN, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. AEI adjunct visiting fellow and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz also offered a question as did several other prominent neoconservatives.

    Clearly, the foreign policy wing characterized by Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, even Henry Kissinger deserves endangered species status.

    I shared some thoughts on the resurrection, yet again, of neoconservatives in the foreign policy establishment on The Rachel Maddow Show. Clip above.

    Colonel Wilkerson thinks there will be a covert attack on Iran within 3 years.

    • MRW
      December 14, 2011, 2:52 pm

      These people don’t matter anymore, Kathleen. There will be 65,000,000 Millennials of voting age in 2012.

      90,000,000 in 2016. Of voting age. And they’re getting their teeth cut on #OWS. They don’t have jobs. They’re living at home. They’re watching their parents suffer in quiet desperation.

      Maddow and Matthews talk to 535 congressmen over the airwaves and their own paymasters. They don’t get off their asses and walk the streets of El Paso or Kansas or Syracuse. They don’t have an effing clue what’s going on between the Atlantic and the Pacific. They don’t sit alone in MacDonalds or El Pollo Loco and listen to the conversations of families discussing what’s going on, and how they can’t pay bills. They don’t go to worker’s bars and spend the night shooting the shit. They don’t have to avoid going into certain places because there are proud neighbors or friends working there who have fallen on hard times and are earning under $10/hr and going into these places would only embarrass them. (I went to a hotel when my air conditioning broke, and there was someone I knew working as a night porter; he was mortified and my heart broke for him.)

      I know the lives they live in NYC and DC. I lived it in Manhattan. Cars waiting for them. Take them to dinner or drop them off at their doorman buildings. The only thing they experience is high-energy fatigue. It’s all relative. But it’s not relative to what is going on in this country. And there is major bigtime hurt out here.

      30,000,000 people out of work. And another 15,000,000 that gave up. One out of four on food stamps! I didn’t know what this card was that each store said it would honor. Something like ECB or something. When I asked, they said it was the food stamp card. It’s everywhere.

      But you know something? I think these people are going to vote.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:05 pm

        I don’t agree. These policy analyst are embedded in think tanks all through out DC. They are brought on the Diane Rehm show, Washington Journal, Rachel maddows etc. They have been repeating these claims about Iran that have gone almost completely unchallenged for a solid 8 years. Attacking Iran is not off the table for Israel or those in congress or warmongers who were in Bush administrations and are now in think tanks and in Republican candidates campaigns. This agenda is not going away

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:05 pm

        Kathleen,

        But Barak said last week or the week before that it was off the table. “For now,” he said. Why? Because the Israeli military, the ones who count, are against it. It’s suicide for Israel. The only way they can get into Iran is via the western section of Pakistan, where there would be a supply line from the sea. The Israelis dont have those refueling planes for their aircraft to even get home. They’ve never fought anything of this magnitude before. They’re going to take on a country of 75 million (Iran) with a million man army of highly trained and disciplined men? You ever see them on manoeuvres? Iran is light years ahead of Iraq and Israel in military-preparedness.

        Pakistan just gave the US/CIA two weeks to get their drones out of the country.

        Israel can’t fly in from the west; no country can because
        (1) the mountain range is 1/3 in going NW to SE. Peaks 14,000 ft.
        (2) the targets are east of the mountain range
        (3) those mountains, according to Scott Ritter and others, have anti-aircraft missile sites buried in them pointing at the west, and they have a Yakhont (Onyx) bomb
        (4) The Russian fleet is stationed in the Caspian Sea to the north
        (5) Take a look at what they would have to go through to get to Iran
        http://www.balochistan.gov.pk/

        Panetta told the Israelis not to do it.

        This is a money play to get more dough out of us for “Israel’s security.”

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:07 pm

        “These people don’t matter anymore, Kathleen.”

        Here are the people who did not count and will never count in the majority of American peoples minds or hearts. And Iran is next if these same individuals have their way

        link to npr.org

        During Jackie Northrums report about the most recent meeting between President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. I found President Obama’s words describing how everyone should ” turn the page, begin a new chapter in the history between our countries” so dismissive and offensive, Thousands of Iraqi people are dead, injured, millions displaced all as a direct result of an invasion based on a “pack of lies” In fact those horrific results are barely ever mentioned in the MSM. This is shameful

        The dead, injured and displaced in Iraq just a bloody bump in the road for the warmongers. Sickening

        Can only imagine how those arrogant dismissive words would sting if I were an Iraqi and had lost a loved one

        —————————————————————————————

        Here we go Chris and Team some are counting. When will MSNBC start telling the truth about what has really happened in Iraq? Chris you have more than anyone else on MSNBC scratched the surface.

        ———————————————————————————————————

        When are you and your producers going to grow some and have Professor Juan Cole on your program?
        Post-American Iraq by the Numbers

        Posted on 12/14/2011 by Juan

        http://www.juancole.com/2011/12/post-american-iraq-by-the-numbers.html#comment-83788

        Moreover, the American public still for the most part has no idea what the United States did to that country, and until we Americans take responsibility for the harm we do others with our perpetual wars, we can never recover from our war sickness, which drives us to resort to violence in international affairs in a way no other democracy routinely does.

        Population of Iraq: 30 million.

        Number of Iraqis killed in attacks in November 2011: 187

        Average monthly civilian deaths in Afghanistan War, first half of 2011: 243

        Percentage of Iraqis who lived in slum conditions in 2000: 17

        Percentage of Iraqis who live in slum conditions in 2011: 50

        Number of the 30 million Iraqis living below the poverty line: 7 million.

        Number of Iraqis who died of violence 2003-2011: 150,000 to 400,000.

        Orphans in Iraq: 4.5 million.

        Orphans living in the streets: 600,000.

        Number of women, mainly widows, who are primary breadwinners in family: 2 million.

        Iraqi refugees displaced by the American war to Syria: 1 million

        Internally displaced [pdf] persons in Iraq: 1.3 million

        Proportion of displaced persons who have returned home since 2008: 1/8

        Rank of Iraq on Corruption Index among 182 countries: 175

        Iraqi government budget in 2010: $72.4 billion

        Budget deficit in 2010: $19.6 billion (27%)

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:08 pm
      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:07 pm

        “I found President Obama’s words describing how everyone should ” turn the page, begin a new chapter in the history between our countries” so dismissive and offensive”

        Me too. They are supposed to forget it, but the Israelis are allowed to have a 2,000 year memory.

      • kalithea
        December 15, 2011, 2:20 am

        Neoziocon crimes against humanity. However, the list is longer than that.

      • CloakAndDagger
        December 14, 2011, 4:52 pm

        @MRW

        You are absolutely right, of course, but my faith in the election system has been waning. I can no longer say with confidence that our elections are fair. The cases of (under-reported) election fraud must surely daunt the strongest of us with faith in our so-called democracy.

        To quote Stalin:
        It’s Not the People Who Vote that Count; It’s the People Who Count the Votes

        Ron Paul can’t just win, he has to win with a significant enough of a margin to overcome the rigged electronic voting machines. Tell me again how our system is so much better than that of the third-world…

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 5:09 pm

        “Tell me again how our system is so much better than that of the third-world…”

        I can’t.

  16. Kathleen
    December 14, 2011, 1:47 pm

    “the battle between liberal Zionists and hardcore Zionists,z”

    Still do not get this one. How can you put liberal and zionist together? When Zionism is fundamentally exclusivity and the rejection of the identity of the Palestinian people?

    Can’t you be a supporter of Israel based on the 67 border without calling yourself a “Zionist”

    • Exiled At Home
      December 14, 2011, 2:29 pm

      Not really. By supporting Israel, even along the ’67 lines, you’re implicitly supporting the legitimacy of Israel. If you think that Israel is legitimate, then you’re a Zionist, you believe that European Jews had a right to immigrate to Palestine and violently supplant the Arabs who lived there for centuries.

      • lysias
        December 14, 2011, 2:48 pm

        I’m not saying I agree with the view, but I don’t think there’s any inconsistency in believing (1) that the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1947-8 was wrong but (2) that, now that Israel exists, it should, for the sake of peace, be allowed to continue to exist (although perhaps not to continue to occupy the Occupied Territories).

      • Exiled At Home
        December 14, 2011, 3:03 pm

        Lysias,

        It depends on exactly what we’re talking about here. Are we talking about supporting Israel within the 1967 lines, or merely acceding that Israel within the 1967 lines is a fact of life?

        I, for example, will never support Israel, never see anything worthy of admiration or respect in Israel. However, even though ideally I would like to see the dissolution of the state of Israel (not it’s people) to be replaced by a single Palestinian state encompassing all the people of the land, I do acknowledge that Israel is a fact of life, and its people at this point in time have a right to be secure and free from violence. That’s about as much “support” for Israel as I can muster. That doesn’t make me a Zionist, even though I agree that Israelis individually now have a right to live where they live, for the most part. Actively supporting Israel, though, within the 1967 lines is to accept the legitimacy of the state within those lines, and thus, is Zionism.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:10 pm

        Israel exists and has international recognition (no matter how manipulated that UN vote was)…”right to exist” is hooey. Exist based on the 67 border…does that make me a Zionist?

      • MHughes976
        December 14, 2011, 5:53 pm

        All of us make compromises for the sake of a quiet life. We can’t simply correct all injustices. We have to make new beginnings. But accepting the daily expression and slow intensification of a screamingly unjust partition of power and resources – it was already that before 67 – seems more like refusing serious compromise and staying on the existing track rather than beginning anything new.
        Rights can’t be created by might or war but they can be created by an agreement that brings a war to an end. But it has to be an agreement within reason, in touch with justice.
        Not that I want any more blood shed or anyone driven out or Nakbaised.

      • W.Jones
        December 14, 2011, 7:08 pm

        Kathleen,

        Whether you are a “Zionist” in the common sense of the term probably depends on whether you think it is important for the state to remain dedicated to one particular nationality.

        In the theoretical sense of the term, I think it should merely mean that you favor the people returning to their historic homeland, and this doesn’t necessarily mean having a government a certain way. As Finkelstein pointed out, Chomsky the anarchist is actually a Zionist.
        But the modern Zionist movement has basically taken on the idea of having the government dedicated to one ethnicity.

        Now maybe you can say that you think a two state “Zionist” solution is the most practical, but you could say that it is not something you are personally committed to, and should political realities change, as I suppose they probably will at some point, that you won’t propose this as something permanent. In that case, I am not sure proposing a two state solution makes you a Zionist anymore than proposing a divided Ireland as the best solution makes you a supporter of either side’s government, or of “continued British control”. But maybe in effect you would be favoring continued British control of part of the island.

        Perhaps with a two state solution, a supporter is both a Palestinian nationalist and a Zionist at the same time.

      • kalithea
        December 15, 2011, 2:30 am

        Zionism negates the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees wherever they presently live and it’s an ideology that began with an injustice and was and is being secured through undemocratic and unjust means. This is why Zionism should be banished and condemned. No one wanted to admit out loud that securing Zionism would require the unconscionable.

      • American
        December 15, 2011, 12:13 pm

        “I think it should merely mean that you favor the people returning to their historic homeland”

        Well, that thinking where all this went wrong to begin with.
        If you favor the Jews returning to their historical homeland that means you would also support a movement for all Christians and Muslims around the world “today” to also return to Palestine and claim their religious historic land…..it’s the same holy land of them all.

    • Frankie P
      December 14, 2011, 6:10 pm

      @Kathleen: ” “the battle between liberal Zionists and hardcore Zionists” Still do not get this one. How can you put liberal and zionist together? When Zionism is fundamentally exclusivity and the rejection of the identity of the Palestinian people?”

      It’s a gate-keeping attempt. By constantly drumming that there is a schism in the debate, but both sides are firmly Zionists, you marginalize and ignore voices that fall outside of the Zionist narrative.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 6:50 pm

        you marginalize and ignore voices that fall outside of the Zionist narrative.

        Well that sure has been going on for decades

      • Exiled At Home
        December 14, 2011, 8:19 pm

        Exactly, Frankie. Those voices who are not decidedly Zionist are marginalized. It doesn’t matter if one is hardcore Zionist or liberal Zionist, so long as at the end of the day they do not question the legitimacy of the state Israel. They may squabble over particular policies and debate the extant that certain actions by theory state are advisable, but there are certain unquestionable tenets that one simply must parrot to be granted any credibility, chiefly that the Jewish people, all Jewish people, around the world have a universal right to a homeland Zion and that the state of Israel is the realization of that right. Everyone else an anti-Semite. What a glorious world we live in.

  17. atime forpeace
    December 14, 2011, 1:52 pm

    it’s certainly NOT because we have a BIG problem here in the U.S.A.

  18. MRW
    December 14, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Two more points, Phil.

    (1) Your blog was the creek that ran through this issue on the web these past few years keeping the banks of these two disparate groups (pro/con) oxygenated and hydrated. There was absolutely nowhere else you could go on the web where it could be discussed openly, even if it did get out of hand at times (and I know I contributed to that). You never treated this blog like your own private Carnegie stage and you were its only conductor.

    (2) Dont forget the Gentiles in this equation. The people who smeared Octavia Nasr, Rick Sanchez (he’s Cuban, it hit Miami and a lot of Latinos hard; I heard it), and Helen Thomas overplayed their hand with those anti-semitism charges and the virulent and lightning fast destruction of their careers.

    The arrogance of victimhood voiced by the rich and protected in this country–after the US fought five wars since WWII, we did slaughter 3,000,000 Vietnamese who never uttered a peep–now falls on deaf ears. And if you want anecdotal proof of it, scan the comments of any major blog that carries a story about Israel these days. Gloves are off. There’s plain speaking. And it’s not anti-semitism. The Hagees and the Parsleys may still want to lead their flock to a Messiah Meltdown on Masada, but unexcitable mainstream Christians are repulsed. Political independents want their Congress to fix this country first. There’s nothing like survival and a bleak retirement future for a huge boomer population to focus the attention and cut the crap. I’ve been listening to a lot of 180s in the past 12 months.

    I think you’re absolutely correct in saying that the schism had to happen within the Jewish community first. It like a ship on the ocean splitting in half. But I think you’re going be surprised at how quickly the ocean current of Gentiles beneath is going to carry those two pieces in different directions. The Jesus Zios one way, and the rest going with the–well, of course I would call them this–the smart Jews. What Friedman wrote today was smart. (And I’m not one of his fans.) The one thing he can do is pick up prevailing winds. The Josh Block affair was the crack. Friedman stepped in to take credit for it. The eminence grise. (He doesn’t want Remnick to beat him to it.)

    • Annie Robbins
      December 14, 2011, 3:00 pm

      (1) Your blog was the creek that ran through this issue on the web these past few years keeping the banks of these two disparate groups (pro/con) oxygenated and hydrated. There was absolutely nowhere else you could go on the web where it could be discussed openly, even if it did get out of hand at times (and I know I contributed to that). You never treated this blog like your own private Carnegie stage and you were its only conductor.

      thanks mrw, for opening that chain of thought. i was literally tongue-tied when i read this post. overwhelmed really.

      phil has taken such a beating, and while it is completely true Walt and Mearsheimer’s groundbreaking book has been radically important it was not a continuous conversation going on they were hosting. nor were they documenting events as they played out on the world stage day after day with some of the best vital commentary on the net focusing around this issue.

      it was not a place that we could be and voice our opinions. it was not a place the world could listen in while ordinary people could contribute and so many new writers….

      i pretty much spilled my guts the other day expressing what this site means to me and means for our community, so i won’t bore anyone with it again (not that it seemed as tho many visited that thread).

      so phil, you and adam have been the men with the harpoons for many of us. and you may never get the credit you deserve from the ‘pundit class’ but in your own comment section..well. i’d like to give you credit.

      thanks

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 3:14 pm

        annie,

        “phil has taken such a beating.” Well, he’s in hog-heaven today. ;-)

      • Annie Robbins
        December 14, 2011, 3:33 pm

        ;)

        i hope so!

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:19 pm

        The issue opening up has been six decades of brave and honorable individuals stepping up to the plate. All should be acknowledged, appreciated, supported and thanked. Thank you Phil, Adam, Mondoweiss team and the Nation that originally supported this effort.

        Phil took your challenge over to Chris Matthews. Have been challenging him for years
        http://hardballblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/13/9423604-matthews-people-want-to-see-the-country-at-its-best?threadId=3295662&commentId=60738007#c60738007

        Welcome anyone who want to pile on over there and any other MSM outlet who have a wall of silence up about this critical issue. Lots of places to challenge

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:09 pm

        You have been dogged on Matthews, Kathleen. I was during the 90s. His producer’s name then was Dominick. I never let up. ;-)

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 6:48 pm

        I first met him at the Libby trial. Politely hammered him about the absence of honest I/P coverage. His response ” I do not control the programming” Yes that is what he said. We talked about other issues as well. Let him know then that he needed to be reading Marcy Wheeler’s (Emptywheel) research and blogging on the Plame outing. This hotshot was totally approachable.

        Met him again at the Dem Denver convention was able to put a plug in for the Leveretts and Juan Cole at the time. He still is too chicken shit to have them on his program. The only one out of the MSNBC crew who came and mixed it up with the peasants. The only one. Think the dude is actually interested in what the peasants think

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 6:49 pm

        pile on when ever you feel moved over there

      • American
        December 14, 2011, 3:24 pm

        I’ll ditto that for you.

  19. lysias
    December 14, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Lorna Fitzsimons, the CEO of the British version of AIPAC, BICOM, told the Herzliya conference on the state of the Jewish nation in 2010 that “public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue.” She went on to say, “Our enemies are going to international courts where we are not supreme.”

    Ex-MP’s pro-Israel speech condemned.

  20. Matthew Graber
    December 14, 2011, 2:45 pm

    From Friedman’s article today in the NYT:
    “As for Newt, well, let’s see: If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?”

    My response:
    This feels like an absolute slap in the face of the Palestinians in Gaza, ’48, and living in exile. As if the Palestinians living in the West Bank are the only ones who matter because its their land that is currently being stolen by Israel. I’d love to see Friedman go to Gaza and wake up to reality.

    How ironic that Friedman, by denying the lives and experiences of the other Palestinians, engages in the exact same negation that he is denouncing.

    • MRW
      December 14, 2011, 2:56 pm

      He has to mete it out.

    • W.Jones
      December 14, 2011, 3:39 pm

      It is like saying the main problem we need to focus on is what to do with Pals in the West Bank. It is going to be very hard to run an occupation and Separation System if there is not any space allowed for any of the Palestinians in the West Bank. So the liberal (practical minded) Zionists see this as making it untenable.

      Another comment- we can look at the hypocrisy of our own American history. The liberal American “enlightened” leaders like Jackson and northern Civil War generals like Custer pushed out the Indians. Meanwhile, the Southern Slaveowners kept the enslaved and brutalized blacks living in the south. There were states where blacks outnumbered whites. So which was worse?
      Indians on a reservation might have more everyday freedom than slaves, but they would probably be alot worse off materially, because they don’t have to be worked.

      One socialist who used to work on a kibbutz complained that with the right wing kibbutzes a long time ago the Palestinians were given menial tasks or treated bad. But he also complained strongly that the left kibbutzes were not having Palestinians at all. (I am sure there were exceptions to this rule of course and there were integrated kibbutzes).
      So what is worse? A two state Separation System that denies contact with the walled-off West Bank Palestinians living in tough conditions or a right wing one state one that puts one group above the other, living in the same area (the West Bank with settlements in the direction it’s developing)? The low-income West Bank Palestinians are used to build the settlements there and the walls that isolate those very Palestinians.

      If the situation with the refugees in the surrounding nations is a guide, a two state situation could be even more impoverished, although it might not be as closely occupied.

      Perhaps this is the contradiction of having a state strongly dedicated to one group and also democratic and egalitarian. The only way to have the egalitarianism is to avoid having any of the seen-as-“inferior” group. Otherwise they wouldn’t be treated equal if the state is dedicated to a different group, like in Animal Farm.
      Separate But Equal is not really equal, as the US S.Ct. found.

      As a result, people who care less about egalitarianism and democracy may actually be more willing to allow another group stay, so long as they “submit” of course.

      This perhaps is part of the key to the contradiction where liberals of one group( the strongest pro-group ones) could be less tolerant of people staying in the same land than unfair supremacist autocrats of that group.

      Of course, there is also the group of people who do not value having a state or national society dedicated to their certain group.

  21. ritzl
    December 14, 2011, 2:52 pm

    Mondoweiss is making a difference. A big difference.

    Greenwald had a post up at Salon about the castigation of “heretical” (as if it’s a religion) “anti-Israel” thought. Justin Elliot is on a roll. This article by Friedman is the second installment on the theme (though marginally equivocal, but less so than his previous reflections on the theme of Jewish mega-donor involvement supporting the status quo in the Occupation). Remnick’s acknowledgement of Finklestein’s influence. Etc. …

    Greenwald aside, I don’t think any of them would risk doing that independently, without a Mondoweiss frame and cover.

    People and/or Jews are fed up with what Israel has done and is becoming. The US reflected upon our founding myths in the ’60s and ’70s and came to grips with them, to make some corrections and strive to be better for all its citizens. It’s still an imperfect and ongoing process, but Israel, imo, as a colonial state has to do so as well, if they are to have peace. The hard part is that that has to happen in real time (as anachronistic and historically refuted as Israel’s founding mythology is).

    Impunity doesn’t help.

    • MRW
      December 14, 2011, 3:08 pm

      I agree, ritzl. I’ll bet the moderators can tell us that there are a lot of heavy hitters who read this blog and the comments. But they can’t be caught dead participating.

      What is really adding to this fedupness is time wasted on Israel congressionally. All this Iran War horseshit.

      Congress is in session for about 120 days/year. I counted up the number of days spent passing bills in 2009 that affected Israel or Zionist causes in various districts. Forty days. And the summer of 2009, 60 congressmen went to Israel for two weeks in August instead of going home to their constituents.

      When I tell people that they are flabbergasted.

      • W.Jones
        December 14, 2011, 3:42 pm

        I like Mondoweiss because it posts several articles a day, so it is very lively. Plus, the articles and coments are insightful and particularly newsworthy.

      • Kathleen
        December 14, 2011, 3:56 pm

        “I’ll bet the moderators can tell us that there are a lot of heavy hitters who read this blog and the comments. But they can’t be caught dead participating.”

        I’ll bet the moderators don’t even know. One thing for sure many of sure have linked to this site at many other more main stream outlets. So if the so called heavy hitters are not coming here it is not for lack of many of us trying to get the word out

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 4:29 pm

        “I’ll bet the moderators can tell us that there are a lot of heavy hitters who read this blog and the comments.”

        Why would “the moderators” know who is reading the blog? Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me (and I hope it does happen) if “heavy hitters” are reading Mondoweiss, and/or the comments, and communicating with the writers and/or the blog owners privately, by phone or mail.
        But how would “the moderaters” know who is reading at any given time?

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:56 pm

        Mooser, because if this is a WordPress site, and I believe it is, then they can see the IP addresses, and email addresses.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2011, 5:10 pm

        Thanks, MRW. Yes, IP addresses and more so e-mail addresses can give you a pretty good clue to who is using the computer.

      • Richard Witty
        December 15, 2011, 12:19 pm

        On heavy hitters reading the blog.

        Everyone knows about Mondoweiss.

        I’ve corresponded with many prominent liberal journalists, all of whom know of the site.

        A few have told me that its a rats nest, editorial and commentary. A few like some of the content. A few are very sympathetic with the editorial content, and condemn the commentary. A very few that I’ve communicated with regard the editorial and commentary as impressive and important.

      • James North
        December 15, 2011, 12:27 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘I forgot to add that the “many prominent liberal journalists” that “I’ve corresponded with” about Mondoweiss unanimously agree that the clear, persuasive comments by one Richard Witty are the site’s single redeeming feature.’

      • Richard Witty
        December 16, 2011, 8:26 am

        I’ve received that comment from a couple, North.

        And, some have criticized some of my comments.

    • Bill in Maryland
      December 14, 2011, 4:15 pm

      Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post up today on the Josh Block/ CAP/ Media Matters affair, and at the heart of Greenwald’s post, the meolla as the Spanish might say, he links to a great Mondoweiss post from the other day on the same theme.

      • MRW
        December 14, 2011, 4:42 pm

        Where did he link to MW?

      • Bill in Maryland
        December 14, 2011, 7:09 pm

        In this sentence halfway down: “But Block also created an even larger backlash against himself, from the Democratic Party players whom his accusations were intended to rile up and who are normally supportive — or at least perfectly tolerant — of these types of smear campaigns.”

      • Rusty Pipes
        December 14, 2011, 9:03 pm

        Excellent post by Greenwald, especially insightful:

        Now, let’s be clear about one thing: the only reason this has become such a problem for Block is because he made the over-reaching mistake of targeting an organization that is extremely well-connected in D.C.: CAP is the closest think tank ally to the Obama White House and filled with major Democratic players and Clinton veterans, such as its long-time chief, John Podesta. Does anyone think Lanny Davis or Will Marshall would have piped up in opposition had this been the typical neocon/AIPAC-type smear campaign: directed at those with far less institutional weight than CAP (note the last line of Davis’ statement: “I respect John Podesta and the Center greatly”)? “Anti-semitism” is still a radioactive accusation in our political discourse (though it’s getting less so thanks to this sort of politically opportunistic game-playing with it); ordinarily, the same type of baseless smears can destroy the reputations and careers of people who don’t have the institutional protection of a group like CAP.

        That said, it could be very significant if Block ends up losing his affiliation with one or both of those think tanks. It’s been a very long time in Washington — if it has ever happened — when someone suffered any consequences for launching a baseless McCarthyite campaign of “anti-Semitism” to punish critics of Israel. As Sargent astutely put it: “the question of whether the think tanks will remain affiliated with Block will be seen as a referendum on the larger issue of whether demeaning Israel critics as anti-Semitic will be considered acceptable discourse among foreign policy experts.” Block has backed off some of his most incendiary accusations, but has apologized for nothing and continues to insist that the views he targeted should not be tolerated in any mainstream institution (including questioning whether Iran has a nuclear weapons program (what the last NIE did) or “policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel”: those views, insists Block, are strictly off-limits).

        This episode reveals yet again just how pernicious is this manipulative use of “anti-Semitism” to intimidate people out of questioning U.S. policy toward Israel. Block targeted CAP because he knows full well that its two most important organizational resources — its White-House/Party access and its donor base — can be harmed even from the innuendo that it is committing heresy on Israel. Unsurprisingly, while the targeted writers have not been expressly admonished, CAP has engaged in blatant, public efforts to distance itself from their own writers’ commentary and to assure everyone that they are not heretics when it comes to Israel.

        But I question Greenwald’s speculation about what the bloggers have learned from this:

        Given all this, is there any question — no matter what the outcome is — that this will have an effect on how CAP commentators write about Israel? Here you have their institutional employer under widespread attack for being anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic because of what they’ve written. You have a Washington Post columnist fueling those accusations repeatedly. You have your own organization’s officials publicly, expressly and repeatedly distancing themselves from what you’ve said by making clear that it’s not the organization’s views, all while specifying what the acceptable boundaries are for your commentary on these matters (namely: nothing to the left of the Obama administration’s official position). You now know that your writings on this topic are being monitored by the Josh Blocks of the world.

        Are the bloggers really surprised to find that their writing is monitored by the Blocks of this world? Maybe they are enlightened by the extent to which their every utterance on Israel is catalogued and shopped around by folks like Block. What is more of a jolt is the reality that one employer, Media Matters, backs Rosenberg entirely while CAP doesn’t support its bloggers well. Bloggers get used to handling all sorts of trollish responses to their writing, but public distancing by one’s employer sends a different message.

      • Kathleen
        December 15, 2011, 12:35 pm

        http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/

        The link for that post. Rip roaring

  22. DICKERSON3870
    December 14, 2011, 3:00 pm

    RE: “Six years ago when Walt and Mearsheimer published their landmark paper… I thought there was going to be a vigorous democratic debate… I ran around my house shooting off an imaginary six-gun and shouting, It’s high noon!” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Might we call that fairly typical Weissglossian exuberance? That said, it’s not nearly as bad as Dickersonian dyspepsia.

    P.S. Dr. Pangloss sez – http://www.pangloss.com/

  23. yourstruly
    December 14, 2011, 3:07 pm

    the battle won’t be between liberal zionists and hardcore zionists, it’ll be between revolutionaries (ie the eventual unfolding of the occupy movement) and those who support the status quo. zionists of whatever persuasion will descend into insignificance as the great awakening that began with the self-immolation of a tunisian peddler spreads to europe and then to north america. what will become of the zionist entity israel? outside of its racist settlers and a few of its hard-core supporters in the usa, few people will give a damn. no way will a tiny entity of a few hundred jewish fanatics be able to control the destiny of humankind. most likely those jewish israelis who agree to live alongside palestinians on the basis of one equals one with liberty and justice for all, will be embraced by the palestinians as partners in the new nation of palestine.

    • Kathleen
      December 14, 2011, 3:20 pm

      Between the truth and lies…that is where the battle is

      • yourstruly
        December 14, 2011, 6:43 pm

        like “hey, what’s this about ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’, when we’ve been here for at least a millenium?

  24. American
    December 14, 2011, 3:52 pm

    I ran off a copy of Friedman’s article, put big blocks around the……
    “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
    …. wrote short comment and was about to fax it to my Dem Senator and my Republican congressman.
    And then…I got hit by a lightening bolt….what am I doing ?…the last thing I want to do is warn them off ……..I want this humiliating to Americans fight over which US leaders supports a foreign country the most to continue….for them to expose themselves to the nth degree and publicly in the pig pen fight over who loves Israel.

  25. Dan Crowther
    December 14, 2011, 4:10 pm

    “good liberal meritocratic journalists like Tom Friedman and David Remnick want.”

    Tom Friedman? Meritocratic? I gotta say Phil, this kind of praise for Freidman, Ben Smith – and dont think I didnt notice the Donna Nevel shout out the other day- is first, radically untrue and second, legitimizes what these people have to say on other issues as well. “newt on one side, tom friedman on the other” – newt representing “the right,” friedman “the left”? – Holy Geez. So now the debate can go as far left as Tom Friedman?

    What is really problematic about all of this is how opportunistic this all seems – there isnt a shred of morality in, “They love these new battle lines on settlements and Iran that allow them to be righteous. They like to be at the head of the parade! ” Not a shred. There also isn’t a shred of morality in, “Israel is bad for the Jews” or “israel is starting to affect american jew’s opinion of themselves.” which has been the theme here lately. I mean not for nothing, but the “take until you can’t” model has been tried by many – including some members of the tribe, going pretty far back into history. I’ll let you in on a little secret: This model sucks.

    Have the debate because the zionist project in Israel is intolerable, not because some members of the american jewish community are worried about not getting invited over to their neighbors for a BBQ.

    • lysias
      December 14, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Sometimes you use an argument from expediency because you think that’s the only thing that can persuade the people that you’re trying to persuade.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 14, 2011, 8:16 pm

        Right. I mean, I get it – but man, ick! :) “Dan the Moralizer” haha.
        But seriously, solving a conflict should mean a moral understanding of where the counter party is coming from. It can’t be from self interest. I don’t think Phil is making this argument, I think he wants a real moral understanding among the people – the opportunism of others, I thought, was worth mentioning.

      • yourstruly
        December 14, 2011, 9:48 pm

        justice for palestine because it is the right thing to do

        + liberating palestine changes the world

        with oppressive governments falling like dominoes

        of their own weight

        including the government of the u.s. of a.

        despite (better, on account of) its socalled exceptionalism

        in its place?

        government that’s of, for and by the people

        based on one equals one

        with liberty and justice for all

        by popular demand

        who can ask for anything more?

      • Dan Crowther
        December 15, 2011, 8:35 am

        haha! yes! that’s the ticket!…..

  26. Kathleen
    December 14, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Bingo just got this one through the BBC World Service news hour
    “While I do not question that young American soldiers sincerity. Julian Marshall allowed that young soldier to repeat that 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq were linked He did not even politely challenge him with the facts So disappointing”

    • lysias
      December 14, 2011, 5:11 pm

      Of course 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq were linked. They were both the doing of our national security state.

  27. American
    December 14, 2011, 5:10 pm

    I freaking knew it!
    I heard about the 2012 Defense Bill having 118 earmarks so thought I’d take a look at the appropriations bill, it’s on the House Armed Services Committee web site. Right off the bat:

    ‘Increase of $110 million (from $106.1 million) for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense, including the Arrow Weapon System, Arrow-3, and David’s Sling.”
    http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/press-releases?ContentRecord_id=19BCB813-F422-4DEA-BC86-A0A23E885411

    We just gave Israel $250 million last Spring for this…so what now, we have to pay them every year to keep it up ? This is all over and above their regular billions btw.
    There are probably more for Israel in there, I haven’t even gotten to the ear mark amendments yet, just the main bill. The ‘Stockpile” of US weapons is being increased so that no doubt means the ‘stockpile’ we keep in Israel will also go up….again….it went up some millions last year.

  28. Abu Malia
    December 14, 2011, 5:14 pm

    “[T]he U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership [is] a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s” – Friedman, September 18, 2011.

    Wow! Ever since his “suck on this comment”, I’ve had this fantasy that Mr Friedman, while touring Iraq would run into a well aimed Thermobaric, dual warhead round from an RPG – there suck on it. May be i can begin to forgive the guy, just like I forgave Andrew Sullivan for his momentary insanity over at TNR

  29. ritzl
    December 14, 2011, 5:15 pm

    When does the two-state solution officially die?

    When does that enter the counter-narrative as THE reality-based “polemic”

    I’ve seen for years that it is “increasingly” dead, but when is it really and truly dead?

    I think it’s dead. Israel has declared it dead through its incapability to change, and ongoing deeds. Time to move to what’s next.

    But I realize that this is hard to take (i.e. requires the proverbial paradigm shift in the diaspora Jewish community) and will require maybe years to embrace as the reality.

  30. radii
    December 14, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I hate to throw cold water on the enthusiasm over the israeli lobby’s influence finally reaching mainstream status, but I fear it is too late – entrenched interests and a growing sense of desperation now grip those in charge (Likkudniks, settlers)

    … it exactly parallels what I went through in fighting the environmental battle – the outlines of the problem have been clear forever, and the solution(s) known – but the powerful, entrenched interests (fossil fuel industries and related groups) want to extract as much profit from their dirty fuels which they essentially monopolize through a global cartel until they introduce their own clean energy products to market (thus keeping market share) … and as the growing violence of the settlers and more extreme policy statements of the Netanyahu gang reveal – there is an escalation of the concern and the danger, not a lessening due to the open discussion and frank assessment of issues

    … recent Russian studies show that the methane monster may already be unleashed – vast sinks of methane are trapped in tundra and in the ocean, kept in check by ice sheets and the cold … with huge numbers of new upwellings of methane being found – in volumes beyond what models predicted … and methane is over 20 times more volatile than CO2

    … the same is going on is israel: rather than rational minds, voices and leaders brushing aside the extremists and imposing a peace deal all know the contours of, a retrograde militarism is manifesting and making the problem worse … outside forces (American Jews) don’t seem to have the power or willingness to intervene and create a better leadership that can reach a solution in time before a new round of needless violence and conflict explodes just as the environmental movement and its supporters could never muster the needed political influence to counter the control of the fossil fuel industries

    We humans so often see a problem, see it manifesting, see it approaching, make calculations for how to deal with it, plan for it, budget for it, put the pieces into place … then do nothing out of disbelief, procrastination, lack of leadership, or simply being mesmerized by the catastrophe to come

    sad

    • yourstruly
      December 14, 2011, 10:56 pm

      the difference between the struggle to save planet earth and the struggle for justice in palestine is that the former is waged by dedicated people more or less scattered around the world, but with no vital center, whereas, the latter, in addition to a worldwide movement, has the the palestinian people as its vital center, its energizer, its inspiration, its raison d’etre. quite an advantage, to say the least. not to worry, though, being that with one seemingly impossible victory all the walls gonna come tumbling down, and what could be more impossible than liberating palestine?

  31. Daniel Rich
    December 14, 2011, 6:46 pm

    I could not believe my eyes when I read this Japanese op-ed in the Asia Times online http://www.atimes.com/atimes/asian_economy/ml14dk01.html

    It seems Israel is losing friends faster than a cat in distress loses its hairs.

    • RoHa
      December 14, 2011, 8:13 pm

      I’m not sure that Japan ever regarded Israel as a “friend”.

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.*

      Far Eastern countries feel absolutely no interest in supporting Israel beyond the requirements of realpolitik. They have no more concern for Jews than they have for anyone else, and accusations of “anti-Semitism” or invocations of the Holocaust mean nothing to them. The influence of Zionists on Far Eastern politics is barely a fraction of the influence on Western politics.

      And the Far East (especially China) is more and more becoming the decision maker for the world.

      *And again, and again, and again. I’ve reached that age.

  32. lobewyper
    December 14, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Great and heartening post, Phil! I disagree with you on one point, however. That’s your conviction that Mearsheimer & Walt will never receive the credit they deserve. When this history of this tragic period is written, there is no way that M & W will not be credited. Increasingly, people both in Israel and here will see them as heroic for their courageous, tenacious, and principled leadership for human rights in I-P. (Not to mention for their fierce anti-war efforts). So, if I were you, I wouldn’t worry any more about this.

  33. lobewyper
    December 14, 2011, 7:39 pm

    One other thing that is very encouraging is that it’s not just Friedman changing his opinion and calling out the Lobby (and, by implication, the entire US government from Obama on down), but it’s the NEW YORK TIMES signalling a potentially dramatic change for the better in the US MSM! (Time to do some drillin’).

  34. atime forpeace
    December 14, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Ron Paul 2012

    John Stewart (Daily Show) is having fun with Ron.

    • Bandolero
      December 14, 2011, 10:30 pm

      Jon Stewart seems to me a perfect example of a propaganist of the Israel Lobby, unpleasing, hysterical and aggressive. I wonder how they manage to bribe the American public to not switch off their TV sets when Jon Stewart appears.

      Why the lobby takes on Ron Paul is clear to me. Ron Paul is dangerous to the interests of the zionist power configuration. The Zionist lobby wants to keep Obama in place, because he served them well.

  35. dbroncos
    December 14, 2011, 9:09 pm

    Congress doesn’t work for the voters, it works for the lobbyists -including the Israel lobby.

    • lobewyper
      December 14, 2011, 10:08 pm

      dbroncos: Congress “works for” the voters mainly by avoiding legislation that would be hugely unpopular. For example, cutting Social Security benefits by 25% starting Jan. 1, 2012. Anyone voting for such would be either recalled or thrown out at the next election.

      Generally, I agree with you, but the Lobby’s power comes from money, influence in MSM, and high levels of commitment from relatively small numbers of folks that are tremendously dedicated and skilled at letter-writing, fund-raisers, etc. The truth is–as you imply–our Congress is for sale to the highest bidder, which happens not to be us average citizens. And don’t forget the Lobby’s power within the MSM!

  36. kalithea
    December 15, 2011, 1:36 am

    First, I want to say this:

    My heart CRIES OUT for that tender warrior and hero, Mustafa Tamimi, who demanded WATER! for his people, and for every other victim of Zionism’s cruel and barbaric injustice, especially Palestinian children born into this enslavement STILL, this very day! I condemn the savagery that compels Zionism to prevent the family and friends of Tamimi to bury their loved one with DIGNITY. I condemn the media for making Neda’s death a viral phenomenon on every cable news station, on Youtube and all over the web, when in PALESTINE, there have been scores of female and male Nedas! And why is this? Why were Palestinians demonized, banished and blacked out in the media for DECADES?

    Again, I ask, what kind of “people” commit this type of outrage, denying millions of people their basic rights and even a dignified funeral? What kind of system enables and encourages this inhumanity? There are not TWO answers to this question, people! This fact makes the ONLY possible answer the undeniable truth:
    Z I O N I S M! enables all this.

    This article makes some resounding points, and demonstrates a boldness and insight that makes this site unique amongst all others. But I have just a couple of issues that bother me.:

    “So the struggle that Walt and Mearsheimer and later J Street called for– to give Obama support in opposing the settlements– is at last forming inside the Establishment.”

    First of all, J Street and W & M shouldn’t even be in the same context here. J Street is pure Zionism and part of the “greater” LOBBY promoting the SHAM, unending peace process and illusory two-state solution and enabling this very injustice.

    “The issue is being stripped of the monolithic-Jewish-influence-and-confused-loyalty analysis and at last becoming another American debate, hard-core Zionists versus liberal Zionists. Newt on one side, Tom Friedman on the other.

    As the two-state paradigm dies, the battle between liberal Zionists and hardcore Zionists, in essence another scene in the Israel lobby rondelet, is going to fade away into larger and deeper questions:”

    Why not honestly address how “liberal” Zionists furthered the injustices that Zionism produced and in my opinion the injustice that IS Zionism? It’s true that SOME “liberal” Zionists are starting to change the narrative BUT as long as you refer to them as “liberal” when they allowed the injustice to happen for so long; you’re in essence, giving them a PASS. It may be because you don’t want to be antagonistic while they’re starting to be honest with themselves and are finally showing signs of a conscience, but taking first “liberal” out of the equation (just labeling them ZIONISTS) may end up eliminating “Zionist” from the equation alltogether, if they realize that Zionism is what made them indistinguishable from right hardliners; that it’s the shared warped Zionist objective that makes both the Republicans and the Democrats ONE on “Israel first and anything Israel does or says, goes!”.

    “And because we are so influential in American politics, inevitably, this will become a conversation about how Jews see our role in western society.”

    You see THAT’S the problem. Why can’t Jews behave like everyone else??? In my opinion, wanting to CONTROL and manipulate is not integrating or blending or respecting democracy, and despite the arrogance that goes along with that influence, Jews are THE most protected demography in the Western Hemisphere. So why the need to create animosity with such behavior??? It’s like many Jews need a justification to keep that victim card alive and sustain their status – they need a little hate their way to keep them at the top of the victim list so they deliberately generate it by trying to impose their will through powerful venues, which creates resentment. It’s about time Jews stop with the tribal or herd mentality and get their priorities in order: LOYALTY TO HUMANITY ABOVE AND BEYOND TRIBE.

    And so the article should have ended with this paragraph:

    “Why is there a need for a Jewish state when western Jews are faring so well in liberal democracies? Why should western Jews devote so much political energy to a militant discriminatory country that they would hate to live in themselves, as a majority let alone a minority? By what right do we maintain the American commitment to a faroff Jewish homeland if it means that promising young men like Mustafa Tamimi have to be murdered because they dedicated their lives to the right of an occupied village to have access to its water supply? The Arab spring means Palestine too.”

    WHY??? Because maybe Jews are their own worst enemy. It’s time for Jews to join the rest of the human race WITHOUT special distinction; stop being so defensive and controlling, and time for one’s “jewishness” or tribal loyalty to stop being THE obstacle to one’s HUMANITY. Just LIVE wherever you’re at AND LET LIVE for God’s sakes and PUT THE PAST WHERE IT BELONGS: BEHIND YOU and leave the “choseness” to God instead of wielding these as weapons to control others!

    • lobewyper
      December 15, 2011, 7:21 am

      Great post and totally from the heart, Kalithea!

    • American
      December 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

      Time for my true life monkey story again.

      When I was a young kid in the 50’s a friend of my father rescued an abused monkey from one of those traveling animal shows. The man loved this monkey, took the monkey everywhere he went, told the story of the abused monkey’s rescue to everyone in town. Store and restaurants made a exception for the monkey and and allowed him in where animals were not usually allowed. Everyone was quite taken with the cute monkey and the story of his rescue and made a big fuss over him, givng him treats and so forth. All the monkey had to do was point and chatter at something and the man would buy it for him. He dressed the monkey in child’s clothes, had a room at home done for him and treated monkey like a spoiled son.
      One day my father made the remark that he though the monkey was becoming dangerous. The man had brought him into the office and the monkey was jumping on people and throwing things all over and the man couldn’t control him.
      Some time after that we heard the man was in the hospital. He had trained the monkey to do things like get drinks and things from the kitchen and while sitting on his porch one day had told the monkey to go get two cokes from the fridge.
      The monkey came back with two coke bottles but didn’t want to give one to the man. The man tried to take one from the monkey and the monkey attacked him.
      Almost bit his ear off and bashed him on the head with the bottle. Some neighbors heard the yells and screeching and managed to get the monkey contained and the man to the hospital. I don’t remember hearing what happened to the monkey but the man didn’t keep him after that.

      This illustrates what has evolved from the US people’s original sympathy and generosity toward the Jews and Israel because of the holocaust to what overindulgence and no limits to behavior or demands has turned that relationship into now. Monkeys, humans, this is what can and frequently does happen when it’s all give from one and all take by the other.

  37. kalithea
    December 15, 2011, 3:04 am

    It really is ironic that this biased, owned, f…cked-up media we have has avoided creating a Palestinian poster child, hero, heroine, or martyr of the Occupation like Neda became the viral poster child for the media blitz surrounding the Iranian revolt following their last elections when there’s such a vast number of victims to chose from.

    The list of victims of Zionist Occupation is endless. There’s just so many to choose from, like the little Palestinian girl shot 17 times by an Israeli officer, or Rachel Corrie, or Tamimi, or Jawaher and Bassam Abu Rahma, sister and brother killed two years apart, or the countless others who tragically died demanding the rights of all Palestinians, or any of the hundreds of nameless Gazan children whose charred, mangled bodies are seared in our minds forever thanks to the images that escaped the media blackout of Cast Lead.

    This stark, blinding disparity of media coverage is the rotten fruit of Zionism.

  38. Justice Please
    December 15, 2011, 4:56 am

    This was a nicely written article. I hope the optimism is well-founded. Because as of now, what Obama does is not using this alleged cover provided by reluctant adherants to the Lobby thesis, he’s not pointing out how pro-Israel Republicans sans Paul are. No, Obama put out an ad trying to paint them as not pro-Israel enough.

    Obama is of no help, here. He can’t even fire Tim fucking Geithner when Geithner openly disobeyed Obamas order to not help Citibank.

  39. snowdrift
    December 15, 2011, 9:00 am

    That has been the most significant change of the last six years. Maybe because their own children are rejecting Israel, maybe because Israel has swung so far right and crazy, maybe because of Gaza, the Jewish establishment has at last shown some diversity on the Israel/Palestine issue.

    This focuses exclusively on Jewish agency; I think you overlook the effect of the Arab Spring. The Jewish establishment is a part of the larger establishment and has always sought to accomodate it, and I think the Arab Spring has made them all realize the game is up when it comes to Israel doing what it wants in the region without provoking severe backlash. That is also what motivates our Sober Liberal Journalists and others who carry water for the establishment.

    As for Jews in general turning against Israel, I’d wager the Arab Spring has had as much of an effect as what Israel itself is doing: Israel used to be “the only democracy in the Middle East,” this dynamic, open-minded, high-tech Western country that just happened to be in the Levant, and it contrasted so favorably with the stultifying Arab dictatorships and their languishing people; now all of a sudden the situation is reversed and young Arabs are tweeting their various revolutions while it’s Israel that looks like an anachronistic backwater full of religious fanatics backed by a brutal military. That’s got to be embarassing, especially for younger Jews.

  40. Memphis
    December 15, 2011, 9:05 am

    I always thought Walt and Mearsheimer were Jewish

    • Bandolero
      December 15, 2011, 11:01 pm

      No, no way it’s possible that Walt and Mearsheimer are jewish. In case of opponents of the Israel lobby, there is a very simple test to find out who is jewish.

      Whenever an opponent of the Israel lobby is jewish, the person is labeled a “self-hating jew”, a “mooser”, “anti-zionist” or just “scum”. Whenever an opponent of the Israel lobby is not jewish the person is labeled “antisemite” or “antijewish”.

      And now the “jew test” for Mearsheimer and Walt by the highest authority on jewishness:

      ADL: Mearsheimer and Walt’s Anti-Jewish Screed: A Relentless Assault in Scholarly Guise

      “Anti-Jewish Screed?” Bingo. Walt and Mearsheimer are not considered jewish. The highest moral authority over the tidiness of jewishness confirmed it. If Walt and Mearsheimer were jewish, the headline would have been something like:

      An Obsessive Anti-Zionist Shows his Stripes

      It has never been easier to find out who is considered “a jew” than today. Just look which name-calling scheme today’s “guardians of jewishness” use.

      :-)

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