Raimondo: ‘Israel firster’ did not originate with neo-Nazis as Kirchick and Ackerman claim, but rather with an anti-Zionist Jew

Israel/Palestine
on 53 Comments

Justin Raimondo with a useful corrective in Antiwar.com. While James Kirchick and Spencer Ackerman claim the term “Israel Firster” comes from an anti-Semitic newspaper in the 198os, it ends up it was coined several years earlier by anti-Zionist writer Alfred M. Lilienthal:

Today’s war propagandists have figured out a way to make the issue of American interests, as opposed to Israeli interests, go away, and that is by policing the language of the debate. Are you calling someone who wants to pursue Israeli interests over and above those of his or her own country an “Israel firster”? Well, then, you are “anti-Semitic,” you are employing the oldest “anti-Semitic tropes” and echoing “neo-Nazis,” who – James Kirchick assures us – are the originators of the phrase. This is the argument made by “progressive” Spencer Ackerman in a recent issue of the Tablet, in which he joins the neoconservative assault on Glenn Greenwald, M.J. Rosenberg, and four bloggers over at the Center for American Progress who got slapped down for daring to wield (or imply) this supposedly “toxic” phrase.

There’s just one problem with this argument: it isn’t true. Ackerman cites Kirchick as the authority in this matter, but as a researcher the man Time columnist Joe Klein called a “dishonest prick” and a cheap “propagandist” leaves much to be desired. Kirchick claims the phrase originated with Willis Carto’s Spotlight newspaper, a cesspool of anti-Semitism, but this is false: it originated, as one can see here, with Alfred M. Lilienthal, an anti-Zionist Jew who wrote several books in the early 1950s and 1960s, notably What Price Israel?

Raimundo continues:

It wasn’t any neo-Nazis, but Lilienthal, a political conservative and a devout Jew, who was the first to raise the question of “dual loyalty.” The “Israel Firster” meme originated, not with the neo-Nazi fringe, but with conservative Jews who, like Lilienthal, objected that:

“My one and only homeland is America. I am proud of my belief in the age-old Judaic concept of one God in Heaven and one Humanity here below. But my faith does not pull me into a feeling of narrowly tribal kinship with all others who worship God in this way. Whenever I read of Americans singing the Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, or see youth groups raising Israel’s flag beside the Stars and Stripes. I am outraged. For Israel’s flag and anthem are symbols of a foreign state; they are not mine.”

The Kirchicks, the Ackermans, the Goldbergs – and also the Cartos – want us to forget this heritage, which has been buried under the landslide of pro-Israel propaganda, because it challenges the premises of both the Israel-Firsters and the anti-Semites.

Lilienthal was no fringe character: a diplomat who worked in the State Department during the war, he served in the US Army in the Middle East, and was later a consultant at the founding conference of the United Nations. His opposition to Zionism as a political movement was initially shared by many if not most American Jews: see Jack Ross’s new book, Rabbi Outcast, for a biography of the most well-known figure in this movement, Rabbi Elmer Berger, which also serves as a detailed history of the American Council for Judaism, the organizational expression of this tendency. These Jews did not think it extraordinary that they would oppose the claims of a foreign government on their loyalties, and they warned – presciently, as it turned out – that American Jews would face charges of harboring dual loyalties because of the Zionists’ insistence that all Jews somehow owed allegiance to Tel Aviv.

In short, the “neo-Nazi” origins of the “Israel Firster” meme is a myth that depends on ignorance of the real history of American Jewish opposition to Israeli nationalism. Like all war propaganda, it is based on blanking out whole portions of the historical record in favor of a black-and-white version of events.

53 Responses

  1. Les
    January 30, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Thanks very much for the information. Those who are unfamiliar with his writings may appreciate that Lilienthal was actually quite conservative though he was a strict adherent of anti-Zionism. I remember reading his relatively kind words for the Saudi royals. He also wrote openly about Jewish influence in the US and named names, including the Lilienthals!

    • teta mother me
      January 30, 2012, 9:59 pm

      In “The Middle East Crisis in Biblical Perspective, written in 1983 by [at 16 min] Dr. F. Furman Kearley the label “Israel-firster Millenialists” was used to refer to Christian zionist dispensationalism as it was taught in the Scofield Bible. Kearley, head of bible studies at Abilene Christian University, was able to connect the distorted teaching of the Scofield bible with the warring habits of US politicians and Christian zionists who supported them.

  2. pabelmont
    January 30, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Everyone wants to swim with the (correct) current. USA’s Jews were once persuaded that the correct current to swim with was ethical Judaism and patriotism to one’s own country.

    Somewhere the ethics got lost, the sense that being realistic or honest about Israel was somehow anti-semitic (or self-hating) replaced it, an being pro-Israel came to seem the “current” that American Jews should swim with. Oddly, it came about most strongly in 1967, when (to all seeming) Israel showed itself safe against attack and thus LESS needful of American support.

    At a more recent post, here, more of the same: “Freddie say[s] Ackerman is a man obsessed and his “social positioning overwhelms his moral and philosophical understanding”. There’s so much more where that came from.” EXACTLY. Ackerman is swimming in a social stream rather than an ethical stream.

    Sad. Sad when good people are misled.

    • teta mother me
      January 31, 2012, 1:19 pm

      I used to participate with a group at a local synagogue that hosted guest speakers (ie Izzeldin Abu Laish), discussion groups on where the boundary lines should be drawn, etc. The woman who chaired the group was impressive — a young woman (she’s about 45 yrs old, German Jewish, professional) but with “old Jewish” sense of Judaic ethics, etc.

      Then J Street rose to prominence, and this group became involved with J Street, and I watched this woman turn into an uber zionist right before my eyes. In one meeting she introduced herself as having grown up in the ethical tradition of Judaism; in the next meeting she introduced herself, “I grew up in Washington, DC and I know how Jews have been discriminated against there; I know about entrenched antisemitism. That’s why we need Israel. ”

      I don’t participate with the group any more.

  3. lysias
    January 30, 2012, 4:35 pm

    Lilienthal’s Wikipedia entry gives 1953 as the date of publication of What Price Israel?.

    It was published by Regnery, which shows how far the conservative movement in America has strayed since those days.

    • lysias
      January 31, 2012, 10:14 am

      Reading the full Raimondo piece, I see he made all my points.

    • lysias
      February 1, 2012, 2:18 pm

      Hey, What Price Israel? is in print! Amazon sells a 50th anniversary new edition of the book.

  4. radii
    January 30, 2012, 4:55 pm

    anti-semite is the only tried-and-true word weapon the zionists have in their grab-bag, and even it is losing its effectiveness to freeze discussion and end debate … it is too late to police and control any other words and phrases after the zionists got the US into the Iraq war and their ongoing decades of crimes against the Palestinians … the feeble attempts to ban the phrase “israel-firster” only disseminates it far-and-wide and it has true words that have that magical ring of truth so no chance of shutting it down

  5. yourstruly
    January 30, 2012, 5:07 pm

    i met alfred lilienthal circa 35 years ago at his office in nyc. he was the most prominent jewish anti-zionist back then, absolutely fearless in his condemnation of the zionist entity. having just written an anti-zionist article in a newspaper of record, i felt it would be worthwhile to hear what advice he might have on how best to get the word out. the trip was kind of a waste, because he didn’t have much to say on the subject other than something like it’s difficult and are you sure you want to get into this mess? he came across more as an introverted bookworm than the fierce anti-zionist of his writings, but no question about it, he was a pioneer.

    • flyod
      January 30, 2012, 5:28 pm

      cool story. sounds like sound advice… reading ‘what price israel?’ way back when had a huge impact on me. always thought highly of that guy.

  6. Keith
    January 30, 2012, 5:46 pm

    To a degree, I have a problem with how the term “Israel Firster” is frequently employed. All too often, the term is used as a label to imply a reality which does not exist. It is somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy. The obvious pro-Israel bias of the mostly Jewish neocons is transmuted into a simplistic mono-dimensional decision making whereby the relationship of the neocons to the military-industrial complex and to empire is effaced. Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement. Proof by labeling. Other causative factors are dismissed, imperial geo-strategy scoffed at.

    • radii
      January 30, 2012, 6:03 pm

      yes, it’s a bit of a wide-band label, but it fits and does not exclude other factors – it clearly asks someone specific with whom you are debating an issue where is your priority – the USA or israel? … if they are an American citizen there can only be one answer: America first … we all know the Elliot Abrams view and hence he is suspected to be an agent for a foreign power

    • yourstruly
      January 30, 2012, 6:10 pm

      yes, but the squirming and agony that the use of the word elicits from zionists suggests that even though much is left unsaid, israel firster strikes them hard & deep.

    • jewishgoyim
      January 30, 2012, 6:32 pm

      Well, from Irving Kristol (taken from mondoweiss). How monocausal is all this, Keith?

      Senator McGovern is very sincere when he says that he will try to cut
      the military budget by 30%. And this is
      to drive a knife in the heart of Israel… Jews don’t like big
      military budgets. But it is now an
      interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States…
      American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we
      don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military
      budget big, so that we can defend Israel.

      It is oh so very complex and multi dimensional, Keith. Is Keith another troll saying there is nothing to see here? Because it’s so multi dimensional and stuff? “These are not the neocons you are looking for ?” (for Star Wars fans).

      Now Keith you should read some stuff about the lead up to war. I suggest the clean break report to start with. Just trolling mondoweiss saying neocons also care about their dogs and their cats is not very helpful. And it is not true: they don’t give a dime about their cats and their dogs. And they hate puppies.

      Keith, were you like Witty so surprised that Adelson could be so concerned about Israel? Do you have a hard time believing that Sabban “is a one-man issue and that issue is Israel”. But the world is so complex, and multi-dimensional that actually thinking and organizing against neocons is a waste of time. Well, Keith, I’m a “one-man issue and that issue is that neocons are pissing me off”. How about that?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 30, 2012, 6:41 pm

      It is somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy.

      could you give us an example of this please. because i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’.

      after all, it should be reeeeal easy since, according to you, it is somewhat common

      • Keith
        January 30, 2012, 9:09 pm

        ANNIE- As I said, “Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement. Proof by labeling.” That the neocons were instrumental in pursuing this policy is obvious. That this is a sufficient explanation of why the empire undertook this action is simplistic. You might care to read today’s thread on the battle for the control of energy resources. The notion that Israel is dictating policy to Wall Street and the military industrial complex is ludicrous. I am not going to spend a lot of time providing quotes and examples to show you that which you don’t want to see. The reality is that there is an empire and it is being run from New York and Washington, not Tel Aviv. Which is not to take away from the strong Zionist bias in US Middle East policy. Of course, nothing I have said or could say would disabuse you of the notion that Israel and “the lobby” is the fount of all evil. Furthermore, anyone who suggests that the US empire bears some responsibility for it’s actions is dismissed as an apologist for Israel, a “troll” in jewishgoyim’s irrational screed above.

        “because i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’.”

        If I am reading you correctly, you are suggesting that I am setting things up to level the charge of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel and the “lobby”? Are you serious? What an outlandish assertion! If I am interpreting you incorrectly, I apologize, however, as it stands, you should be ashamed of making such a preposterous assertion. What is it with you people who share a myopic obsession with the “lobby”? Why is it that anyone who takes a strategic perspective is considered an enemy? Now that you are an official representative of Modoweiss, you would do well to assume a more professional attitude.

        • American
          January 31, 2012, 1:03 am

          “Furthermore, anyone who suggests that the US empire bears some responsibility for it’s actions is dismissed as an apologist for Israel, a “troll” in jewishgoyim’s irrational screed above. “…Keith

          Keith if you had followed the US path to invading Iraq (as it was happening)as those of us did who were so opposed it you could see the bread crumb trail.
          First, we had the village idiot as President. Second, he let Cheney the neo stack his adm with every neo and neo zio from the WH to the pentagon he could dig up…Feith, Wolfowitz, who let the whole cabal of other zio ‘advisors, the Clean Break and PNAC guys thru the 911 War on Terror gate.
          So after 911 little George was pumped to the be ‘wur’ President and avenge America.
          All the court zios and all the court neos played little George to go get Iraq, which he was more than willing to do.
          The zios had been trying since 1990, even before their PNAC, to do the domino thing from Iraq to Syria to Iran.
          Their time came with 911, the perfect storm for implementing their plan and they did with false intel, false Israeli intelligence about WMDs, yellow cake fake stories from Ledeen, figures like Chaliba —during that time the AIPAC site had a story a day on why we should ‘conquer Iraq , spread democracy to the ME. Then they attacked Bush for not putting more troops in Iraq at one point cause Israel had said the whole thing was going south and it would be bad for them if the US didn’t completely control Iraq. Not controlling Iraq meant the US wasn’t going to use it as a launching pad to go get Syria and Iran.
          Then after ‘publicly’ denouncing Bush Jr. AIPAC sort of backed off- publicly at least—probably they realized they better shut up cause all of a sudden Jim Baker, Bush Sr.’s hit man who had no use for Israelis, appeared on the scene and did some Iraq summarizing for Jr…if you don’t remember Baker coming in look up that time period.
          The Israelis were stewing because they saw their plans going down the drain
          in what turned out to be a total FUBAR in Iraq. They weren’t going to get their US cakewalk war to Kurd oil and a US installed Israel friendly ruler in Iraq.
          So did the Israel Lobby alone get the war on? No, but they were the “driving force” and instigators that brought the US Empire Neos to the bonfire and kept throwing fuel on it. The US neos would have been just as happy to make war on some other country or region. Iraq, Iran the ME as a region to be “realigned” wasn’t on anyone’s front burner except the Israelis.
          NOW, that Iraq is totally useless to them and the ME isn’t getting ‘realigned’ by US as Israel wanted, the Isr firsters and Israel are going straight for Iran with the Nuke Hype. ..still pursuing their plan.
          De ja vu all over again.
          The US hasn’t batted an eye over India having nuclear facilities, we even helped them, or Turkey holding our NATO nukes or bombed Pakistan for their nukes.

          There is no war to control oil between US/EU and India/China. Everyone was getting whatever oil they needed. In fact the ONLY time oil was ever disrupted was in ’73 when they embargoed us because of ISRAEL.
          Only Israel who has only nukes and no oil and wants to have both, and access to oil they “use to have” before the US Shah in Iran who gave Iran favors to Israel for the US was deposed, is the core agitator in this Iran thing.

        • American
          January 31, 2012, 1:13 am

          Keith …

          BTW.
          Google ‘Netanyahu touring US to rally Jews for attack on Iran’…or similar words…..Netanyahu was doing this several years ago. Literally traveling around the US meeting with Jewish groups to get their backing and get them to pressure the US govt on Iran.

        • jewishgoyim
          January 31, 2012, 8:03 am

          “in jewishgoyim’s irrational screed above.”

          I must admit my post was of very low quality. Lazy, inarticulate and all over the place. Granted. Thankfully, American made points that explain to you most of what I would have wanted to add or explain better.

        • Annie Robbins
          January 31, 2012, 8:26 am

          keith. i ask you for an example not an elaboration. either it is “somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy” or it is not.”

          either you can find an example of this alleged commonality or you cannot. link to something or quote someone don’t go all bloviatin’ on me.

        • dahoit
          January 31, 2012, 9:43 am

          And you know what amazes me is that the shrub didn’t let the Zionists walk all over him like this Obomba clown.He sucked,but this bozo is ten times worse,as they dictate to him,and his fear of electoral politics make him a less than the shrubs zero.Change we can believe in indeed.

        • teta mother me
          January 31, 2012, 1:30 pm

          Keith, you will have to explain away Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements, advice, and demands of a US Congressional committee on numerous occasions. They are on the record. He advises US to stand behind George Bush and wage war on “Iraq FIRST,” then the other members of the “Al Qaeda terror network.” He says, on the record, that “9/11 was needed, like Pearl Harbor,” to move the masses of Americans to go to war.**

          ** interesting, tho — John Mearsheimer wrote a book, “Why Leaders Lie.” He says that FDR lied to get US into WWII “because the people were isolationist and would not agree to enter war in Europe.” FDR lied in the context of the Greer incident, Mearsheimer explained, but it didn’t work out to get US involved in war. “It took Pearl Harbor to get the American people to go to war.” But FDR had been working with Churchill for years to get US involved in war; it was a matter of when, not if, and FDR was determined to go to war with or without the writ of the American people. In other words, democracy be damned, and this relative to the most important act a nation undertakes.
          Similarly — with ALL the similarities, LBJ lied to get US into Viet Nam — ignoring the will of the people; and also with all the similarities, Bush ignored the expressed will of the people to wage war on Iraq.

          It’s more than just an exercise of unitary executive power, it’s a total abrogation of the essentials of government by the people.

          And Bibi influenced and persuaded the Congress to take that undemocratic step. THAT is what Bibi thinks of ‘democracies.’

        • Keith
          January 31, 2012, 4:36 pm

          ANNIE- “…either you can find an example of this alleged commonality or you cannot. link to something or quote someone don’t go all bloviatin’ on me.”

          Are you implying that you are unaware of all of the discussions we have had on Mondoweiss concerning the cause(s) of the Iraq invasion? That you are unaware of the majority opinion expressed ad nauseam that the war was mainly the consequence of noecon and Lobby pressure, hence, a war for Israel? That you are unaware of discussions concerning the strategic importance of resource control in which it was maintained that the Iraq war had little or nothing to do with oil, which is fungible and can be obtained on the market, therefore, the war was primarily for Israel, imperial geo-strategy irrelevant? Are you questioning my applying the term Israel Firster to the neocons? That my depiction of these discussions substantially misrepresents the situation? That Jewishgoyim and American’s comments aren’t exactly what I am talking about? Then why the request for quotes to substantiate what you should be well aware of if not a rhetorical gambit to divert the discussion to whether or not Keith can dig up quotes to prove he is not bloviating? If you assure me that you are unaware of all that I mentioned, then I will provide one link to a discussion involving this topic.

          Here is an interesting quote: “Professor Mearsheimer and I made it clear in our article and especially in our book that the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government. But as the neoconservative pundit Max Boot once put it, steadfast support for Israel is “a key tenet of neoconservatism.” Prominent neo-conservatives occupied important positions in the Bush administration, and in the aftermath of 9/11, they played a major role in persuading Bush and Cheney to back a war against Iraq, which they had been advocating since the late 1990s. We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq. However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation” that would eventually include Iran.” (Stephen Walt)

          Let us evaluate this comment. “…the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government.” Seems to me that he is saying that the idea originated in the US, and not with the Israeli government. “We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq.” Ah, Israel was reluctant to support an Iraq invasion. “However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation” that would eventually include Iran.” Seems like the Bush administration sold Israel on invading Iraq because it would eventually include Iran. Once sold, the Israel lobby kicked in and the rest is history. And because it was the neocons doing the selling and pushing, it is now claimed that the invasion of Iraq was for Israel as evidenced by the claim of neocon “steadfast support for Israel.” All other motivations and strategic considerations effaced by the de facto labeling of the neocons as Israel Firsters. Which is exactly what I said in my one paragraph lament.

          Now if Israel was initially reluctant for the US to invade Iraq, what could be the US motivation? God forbid that imperial geo-strategy should enter the discussion. “…Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation”. “…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.…” (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).

          I am not going to pursue the Iraq war disagreement any further. We have already beaten this horse to death, your lack of memory notwithstanding. Time for you to address your allegation that “i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’. You ignored my comment regarding this serious misrepresentation of my motivation. It would be most enlightening if you could provide some documentation or otherwise some sort of rational explanation as to why you believe that I am trying to create an anti-Semitic trope? You think I am preparing to charge other commenters with anti-Semitism? It is one thing to disagree with me, quite another to malign me. You have already had one chance to clear this up which you let pass to continue your attack on me.

        • Annie Robbins
          January 31, 2012, 5:16 pm

          keith, to repeat: i ask you for an example not an elaboration. either it is “somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy” or it is not.”

          i take it that would be a great big fat ‘no’. you have no example. none of your quotes even got close to utilizing the term ‘israel firster’ not once.

          Are you implying that you are unaware of all of the discussions we have had on Mondoweiss concerning the cause(s) of the Iraq invasion?

          i am not implying anything keith. i am saying straight up you’re full of crap. i am accusing you of bloviation and allegations sans one itty bitty piece of evidence any of those conversations even approached the topic of utilizing ” the cause(s) of the Iraq invasion” or “Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy” ” as the definition of ‘israel firster’.

          no implication there whatsoever. put up or you know what. you aint got nuthin’. you’re on a mission to divert and all these quotes of yours mean diddley-squat because you can’t connect the argument to the definition of israel firster.

          I am not going to pursue the Iraq war disagreement any further.

          i can understand why, since you’ve completely failed to back up your statement with even one example or link.

          you lost. there are probably a bunch of little ol ladies hanging out in resting homes in florida who are israel firsters. doesn’t mean they got us into iraq. (shocking i know but it’s true, they also probably don’t control the US government).

          iow, neocons are called israel firsters because they put israel first or hold a rightwing likud supporting worldview. that’s what it means. the fact me or anyone else might think Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy is a different topic. the fact me or anyone else might think there are definitely neocons who got us into the war is irrelevant to that. there is no implication calling someone an israel firster means one is implying Israel is in charge of US policy. two different things.

          you are connecting them so you can load up on the term israel firster to support demonizing it as anti semitic. that little christian teenager crying over the ron paul book is an israel firster. do i think she runs the government? no. am i implying israel runs our government when i call her that? no.

        • MRW
          January 31, 2012, 6:43 pm

          annie,

          either you can find an example of this alleged commonality or you cannot.

          Here you go, darlin’. ;-)

          “Neocons: Dual Loyalties Or Just One
          By M.J. Rosenberg – July 14, 2010, 4:07PM”
          link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

          “Pro-Israel” Neocons Go Global
          By Ira Chernus
          link to blogs.alternet.org

          ANP’s “Israel, Iran and the New Neocons”

          JANUARY 5, 2012 4:00 A.M.
          The U.S. and Biblical Israel
          Instead of the “two-state solution,” restore what God gave Abraham’s people.
          By Barbara Lerner (neocon)
          link to nationalreview.com

          “The Neocons Have Finally Snapped”
          by MJ Rosenberg
          link to huffingtonpost.com
          also:
          link to aljazeera.com

          “Meet The Neocons: Max Boot”
          link to deskofbrian.com

          “Israeli Invasion Stage-Managed By Neocons & Israel Govt”
          By Wayne Madsen
          link to rense.com

          “After Iraq Success, Neocons Push Iran War”
          by MJ Rosenberg
          link to huffingtonpost.com

          “Israel and the Neocons, The Libby Affair and the Internal War”
          By James Petras
          link to informationclearinghouse.info

          “The Bush Administration’s Dual Loyalties”
          By Kathleen and Bill Christison
          Former CIA Political Analysts
          CounterPunch
          December 13, 2002
          link to counterpunch.org

          “Israel Firsters?”
          December 12, 2011 2:00 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg
          link to politicalcorrection.org

          “One of these slurs is not like the others”
          link to economist.com

          “Neocon Israel Mouthpiece Writes Syrian Opposition Intervention Paper”
          link to moonofalabama.org
          also
          link to informationclearinghouse.info

          “Turmoil in Egypt Divides Neocons Over ‘Democracy First’ Agenda
          link to forward.com

          “Obama Fulfilling Neocon Agenda & GOP Supports Israel First Policy”
          link to gordspoetryfactory.blogspot.com

          “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel”
          Dr. Stephen Sniegoski
          link to america-hijacked.com

          “When Neocons Ruled Washington”
          By Michael Flynn
          link to ipsnews.net

          “The Long Fuse of the Iraq War”
          By Philip Weiss
          link to theamericanconservative.com

          Neocon Pink Slips And The Fall Of America
          By Kurt Nimmo
          Online Journal 2004
          link to onlinejournal.com
          also
          link to rense.com

          “How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War
          by Michael Lind
          April 10, 2003
          link to antiwar.com

          “What Is a Neoconservative? — & Does It Matter?”
          December 2005
          By Dale Vree
          link to newoxfordreview.org

          Deadly Dogma #1 Strike “First”
          Grant F Smith
          link to irmep.org

          “OUR HIJACKED FOREIGN POLICY
          Neoconservatives take Washington – Baghdad is next” March 25, 2002
          Justin Raimondo
          link to antiwar.com

          “Neocons Attack Iranian-American Progressive Organizations
          Setting the Record Straight On NIAC”
          link to iranianneocons.com
          also
          link to payvand.com

          “Letter From Herzliya, Neocon Woodstock”
          by Matthew Duss
          link to thenation.com

          “Foolish Suspicion of Political Islam”
          by Paul R Pillar
          link to consortiumnews.com

          “The Southern Avenger: Is Palin a Neocon Puppet?”
          with video
          link to dailypaul.com

        • Keith
          January 31, 2012, 8:10 pm

          ANNIE- “you can’t connect the argument to the definition of israel firster.”

          Philip Weiss writes that “The new battleground in the argument over Israel’s influence on American policy is the idea that some of those pushing an attack on Iran are “Israel Firsters.” Who does he have in mind? For starters “…Neoconservative Elliott Abrams….” He quotes Joe Kline at Time: “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives–people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary–plumped for this [Iraq] war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”
          link to mondoweiss.net

          If the neocons cannot fairly be described as “Israel Firsters”, then the phrase has no meaning. Neocons have been referred to on Mondoweiss as examples of “Israel Firsters.” Neocons are claimed to have been the primary cause of the Iraq war and the push for a war against Iran, both of which, it is claimed, are primarily for the benefit of Israel, imperial considerations scoffed at. My statement that “Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement.”, seems pretty clear to me as an accurate description of the arguments which appeared on Mondoweiss, and which you avoid dealing with by rhetorical gamesmanship, saying that “there are probably a bunch of little ol ladies hanging out in resting homes in florida who are israel firsters.” Say what? The notion that my comment refers to little old ladies in Florida is a joke.

          You continue: “you are connecting them so you can load up on the term israel firster to support demonizing it as anti semitic. that little christian teenager crying over the ron paul book is an israel firster. do i think she runs the government? no. am i implying israel runs our government when i call her that? No.”

          What an outrageous, irrational comment. My comment quite clearly referred to use of the term “Israel Firster”/neocon to describe high government officials as a way of incorrectly imputing Israeli primacy in US Middle East war-mongering thereby effacing imperial strategy and culpability through labeling. I thought I had made that clear, but you seem to have a way of seeing only what you wish to see. As for crying little girls, obviously they have nothing to do with US Middle East policy or imperial geo-strategy, your point strange to say the least.

          Getting back to your scurrilous assertion that “because i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’. Now joined by “you are connecting them so you can load up on the term israel firster to support demonizing it as anti semitic.” When do you plan on providing some support to your rather serious ongoing maligning of me that my intent is to create an anti-Semitic trope to demonize people as anti-Semitic? When have I ever charged anyone with anti-Semitism? As a matter of fact, I don’t consider the term “Israel Firster” as anti-Semitic, do you? I do, however, question the vitriolic overreaction to my one paragraph comment and the blatant misrepresentation of what I said. You seem to engage in charges of creating “anti-Semitc tropes” with the same reckless abandon with which Zionists charge anti-Semitism. You are one helluva spokesperson for Mondoweiss.

        • Annie Robbins
          January 31, 2012, 9:35 pm

          My comment quite clearly referred to use of the term “Israel Firster”/neocon to describe high government officials as a way of incorrectly imputing Israeli primacy in US Middle East war-mongering thereby effacing imperial strategy and culpability through labeling.

          here’s what you said: It is somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy.

          between that and stating the use of israel firsters is referred to use of the term “Israel Firster”/neocon to describe high government officials as a way of incorrectly imputing Israeli primacy in US Middle East

          i don’t agree. an israel firster could be my neighbor. it doesn’t imply the person is a high government official, at all. it doesn’t imply ‘Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy’. if you call someone an israel firster it means just what Mairav Zonszein says it means:
          link to 972mag.com

          Such people are trying to dismantle the equation between opposition to Israel’s current reckless agenda, and concern for Israel’s long-term interests and impact on American geopolitics. They are identifying those, whether Jewish or Christian, Democrat or Republican, who, as Rosenberg put it, “consistently – and without exception – thwart the efforts of U.S. presidents to achieve Middle East peace.” “Israel-firsters” are not those who put Israel first, but rather those who put an Israeli right-wing agenda first, even at the expense of American interests.

          that’s all i’m implying when i call someone an israel firster. a person who puts an Israeli right-wing agenda first, even at the expense of American interests. that could anyone from elliot abrams or dennis ross (people who do have a lot of power in the government) or it could be just any ol person with no power at all who will always take a rightwing hardline nationalist view wrt israel.

        • Annie Robbins
          January 31, 2012, 9:55 pm

          mrw, your first link was to an article from july 2010. rosenberg doesn’t even mention the name israel firster. so i’m not sure how that supports the notion

          “It is somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy.”

          nobody needs another name to say the neocons got us into a war and the lobby buys off congress or that “Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy”.

          do they? we already have neocon for that. i was talking about the ‘commonality’ of using the term israel firster to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy.

          isreal firster is just a name people use label people who who put an Israeli right-wing agenda first, even at the expense of American interests. isn’t it?

      • yourstruly
        January 31, 2012, 12:33 am

        keith, israel-firster implies only that the american so charged puts the interests of israel before the interests of his/her own country, not that the tail wags the dog, that’s a separate issue. for most americans, it’s also much easier to grasp than details about the workings of empire and the military industrial complex.

    • Les
      January 30, 2012, 9:23 pm

      What is so hard to appreciate that an American born man or woman puts some other country first, and the US second?

    • jewishgoyim
      January 31, 2012, 8:44 am

      One thing about imperial geo-strategy as a diluting factor of neocons’ influence on the Iraq war. Walt and Mearsheimer argue to the contrary that the very fact that the Iraq war was so far away from a realist imperial geo-strategy is a testament to the strength of the Israel lobby’s impulse for the Iraq war.

      You make it sound like 95% of the decision to invade Iraq could be seen as a normal course of business for the Empire. But the reason people wonder so much about the neocons’ influence is precisely that there are almost no alternative explanations that make sense (WMDs? Oil was flowing already…). The Clean Break report is the closest thing we have to a (twisted) rational explanation from people involved in the decision making process!

      Remember Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents dinner? “Why oh why did we invade Iraq?”.

      So the world is very complex, I’ll give you that. There is an empire, I’ll give you that too. But from that, you seem to draw the conclusion that singling out the neocons is foolish. The larger (unsaid) implication is that people who do are obsessive, irrational people who probably have an axe to grind (say, hatred for the Jewish people for instance but I’m putting words in your mouth now).

      Tom Friedman (!) has said that if you had sent 25 people in an island in 2002, the Iraq war would not have happened. The idea here is that the Iraq war was a war of choice and not in the natural strategic trajectory of the US. I don’t know what you were doing (or more to the point reading) in 2003 but what was clear at the time was that a lot of the people who were agitating for war with Iraq from within the US government were people who were committed to the territorial expansion of Israel and who wrote a report advocating the reshuffling of the entire Middle East in a way that could be compatible with Israeli expansionism (clean break report). You could see that along the years, many of these people had been associated with a larger crowd of people who had been pushing for war with Iraq (PNAC, the 1998 letter etc…). A lot of them could also be associated with very aggressive pro-Israel positions.

      The most shocking thing to me was not that this was happening (although it was shocking) but rather that no one was talking about it. People like Feith were the poster children of conflict of interest and there was absolutely no one in the mainstream to point it out. These people were protected by the fact that they were part of the Israel lobby but also by the sheer enormity of the crime they were committing – for most people giving a cursory look to the situation, the mere idea that Israel operatives could be ambitious enough to try to remold the entire region just did (and does) not compute (and it’s true that were it not for this document, it could be quite difficult to fathom and could be easily dismiss as a conspiracy theory – you have to remember that back in 1996, it was not clear to everybody that this kind of document could be all over the internet a few years later).

      Since there was no debate at the time (try to find mentions of the Clean Break report in mainstream outlets from mid 2002 to mid 2003), it is much harder now to convey this difficult reality of the time. The hammer of antisemitism (“oh so you want to rebuild Auschwitz?”) is making this discussion extraordinarily difficult. That is why Mondoweiss is nothing short of heroic in explaining what neocons are up to.

      I called you a troll and maybe that was unfair as I can’t say you’re on Witty’s level from what I have read from you. Yet the neocons were at the time and are now on Iran a clear and present danger to the rest of us. Nothing helps them more than silence and people who’d rather look elsewhere. And that’s what you’re encouraging us to do when you try to dilute them in a sea of competing possible explanations. I’m not saying there are none. I’m saying it’s by far the least talked about compared to its impact (one book and a few websites in 10 years) and compared to its present influence on the Iranian question.

      (there were more books than one, let’s say just one book that’s been talked about (somewhat))

    • Citizen
      January 31, 2012, 9:07 am

      The term “Israel Firster” does not exclude the US military-industrial-security complex. Find me a single person using the term that does not recognize the singularly disproportionate and fully compatible enmeshment of Israel with said complex. Nor does it exclude Big Oil interests. It does point to evidence that without the very influential Israel interest, critique of our endless “war on terror” and erosion of our civil rights at home under its banner would be much more prevalent. The mainstream press would actually be discussing in depth the pros and cons of our foreign policy–even on Fox News.

    • munro
      January 31, 2012, 6:21 pm

      Prince of Darkness Denies Own Existence
      link to washingtonpost.com

    • RoHa
      January 31, 2012, 11:34 pm

      ” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy.”

      I certainly looks as though Israel is in charge of some aspects of US policy. Is there any reason to doubt that?

  7. Justice Please
    January 30, 2012, 6:24 pm

    ““My one and only homeland is America. I am proud of my belief in the age-old Judaic concept of one God in Heaven and one Humanity here below. But my faith does not pull me into a feeling of narrowly tribal kinship with all others who worship God in this way. Whenever I read of Americans singing the Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, or see youth groups raising Israel’s flag beside the Stars and Stripes. I am outraged. For Israel’s flag and anthem are symbols of a foreign state; they are not mine.””

    Jews of America, please celebrate Lilienthal’s principled stance and pay for Dennis Ross’ one-way flight to Israel.

  8. ToivoS
    January 30, 2012, 6:48 pm

    I discovered antiwar.com about 6 years back (this Raimondo’s site). He is really really conservative as opposed to an old pinko as myself. I was quite impressed with his site. Antiwar, anti-imperialism, strong belief in individual rights, fanatical defense of our Bill of Rights and supporter of civil liberties. What’s not to like (well there are some things).

    In any case I became convinced that I could work with people like Raimondo on those issues that we agreed upon. It led directly to my support for Paul. It does not surprise me at all that he has kept track of what conservative Jews may have thought of Zionism many years back. Zionism is much too powerful for small sects to try to take them on. Maybe a left-right coalition of antiwar folks could do something.

    • jewishgoyim
      January 30, 2012, 8:05 pm

      I started reading antiwar in 2002. Raimondo was quite a discovery. Back then, he had a strange picture of himself that made him look like he was telling everybody to take a hike. The all concept of “antiwar” made me feel uncomfortable. Weren’t wars useful and a necessary evil? Then came the war in Iraq and it changed my worldview quite a bit. Basically, what you could read on the internet was completely different from anything else I had ever read. Google news was also just starting. Billmon, Cursor, Greenwald, Phil Weiss and Daily Kos, Counterpuch, TPM. Those were the days!

      Anyway, antiwar is in Greenwald’s blogroll. But not in Mondoweiss’. Greenwald is not pointing to Mondoweiss and Mondoweiss is not pointing to Greenwald. Yet Greenwald made a reference to Phil Weiss in a post two days ago which is not that common and shows that mondoweiss is getting more and more mainstream. Raimondo Quotes Weiss more readily than Greenwald and Weiss can be heard every now and then on Antiwar radio (Greenwald too). Mondoweiss does not refer to Greenwald or Raimondo that often. Except Adam Horowitz did today.

      The Adelson story is bringing together this Mexican army of talented people. Mondoweiss is clearly the most daring publications when it comes to the Israel lobby with Raimondo a close second. Greenwald tries a little harder to offer no possible angle of attack to the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the world who hate him nonetheless. It works since Goldberg can only attack him on the suspicion of not loving Israel enough which is very very weak.

      I’m just wondering how many readers here would say they also read regularly antiwar and Greenwald. I bet quite a lot…

      • tombishop
        January 30, 2012, 11:10 pm

        I read Glenn Greenwald all the time. He is one of the most principled columnists on the internet. antiwar.com, I check their headlines for international news because they sometimes have good links. As libertarians, however, they are too the right of the Republican yahoos on domestic matters.

      • dahoit
        January 31, 2012, 9:56 am

        Raimondo’s pretty good,but he is still stuck on the dead irrelevant Commies and doesn’t like his views questioned,but hey,it’s good to be the king of his site neh?Rigid ideology imprisons one in a cage of their own devise.

        • ToivoS
          February 1, 2012, 10:00 pm

          dahoit, I agree with what you say. Even if Raimondo is stuck on his right wing ideologies (egad to this day he supports Joseph McCarthy) he has created one very useful antiwar site. Let us try to build a political coalition that opposes another ME war. That should be what we strive for. It is also the significance of the Ron Paul campaign.

    • unVet
      January 30, 2012, 8:19 pm

      Toivo,

      Try comehomeamerica.us!

      Steering Committee of Come Home America
      George D. O’Neill, Jr., Co-Chair Come Home America.
      Kevin Zeese, Co-Chair, Come Home America.
      Paul Buhle, retired from teaching at Brown University*, lives in Wisconsin and produces radical, non-fiction comic books about Empire and other subjects.
      Eric Garris, Founder and Director of Antiwar.com.
      Bill Kauffman, who lives in his native Upstate New York, is the author of nine books, among them Ain’t My America and Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette.
      Angela Keaton, director of Operations at Antiwar.com and national secretary for Outright Libertarians.
      Bonnie Kristian, writer and editor in the DC area and Director of Communications for Young Americans for Liberty.
      Daniel McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative.
      Lewis McCrary, The American Conservative.
      Michael D. Ostrolenk, National Security Consultant.
      Coleen Rowley is a former FBI agent, whistleblower and peace activist.
      John V. Walsh, Professor of Physiology, University of MA Medical School and frequent contributor to CounterPunch.com, DissidentVoice.org and Antiwar.com.

  9. Nevada Ned
    January 31, 2012, 1:29 am

    A very useful book is Israel and the Arabs, by Maxime Rodinson, a French scholar and expert in the Middle East. Rodinson was a Jewish leftwinger (ex-Communist) and knew quite a lot.

    Rodinson says that in the early decades of the modern zionist movement, the biggest opponents of the zionists were the rabbis. Why? Because the rabbis proclaimed that the Messiah would come eventually, but on His own timetable. The zionists were planning to make it happen.

    Consider the analogy in Christianity: Christianity proclaims that Jesus will return some day, to usher in the kingdom of heaven. What if some Christian sect proposes: stop waiting for Jesus, let’s bring about the kingdom of heaven by passing a bunch of legislation or by political action.
    Either way, the traditional religion holds that sinful and miserably inadequate humanity can’t replace the hand of God.

    I think the religious Jews and the (mostly secular) Zionists ended up as allies after 1948, and became even closer after Israel’s 1967 war.

    • tombishop
      January 31, 2012, 8:22 am

      Can most Israelis be considered secular anymore? From Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

      “God rules all in 2012 Israel, even the state Israel: Not what you thought, not what the world thought, not what Israelis imagine themselves to think. Israeli society isn’t secular, it isn’t liberal and it isn’t enlightened.”

      link to haaretz.com

      • tombishop
        January 31, 2012, 12:38 pm

        Another Haaretz columnist says the problem with Israel is lack of seperation of church and state.

        “It’s time for Israel to separate religion and state
        This religious steamroller, which is financed and operated by the state, constantly subverts its sovereign and democratic foundations, and meanwhile is really channeling it into belligerent and ethnocentric ultra-nationalism.” By Uri Misgav

        link to haaretz.com

        • lysias
          January 31, 2012, 12:57 pm

          If the separation of church and state ended in Israel, wouldn’t that also mean the end of all discrimination in favor of Jews? (I suppose it’s theoretically possible to retain discrimination solely based on ethnicity — that’s what Jim Crow and South African apartheid were — but, in the context of Israel, I wonder if it would be possible.)

    • teta mother me
      January 31, 2012, 1:38 pm

      is it ok to link this? i remember it from a while ago – Gertrude Stein, The Reverie of the Zionist

      I saw all this to prove that Judaism should be a question of religion.
      Don’t talk about race. Race is disgusting if you don’t love your country.
      I don’t want to go to Zion.
      This is an expression of Shem.

  10. notatall
    January 31, 2012, 8:07 am

    Apart from having no wish to defend Israeli interests, I also question the attachment to what some call American interests. I remind people of the words of a German sage, “The workers have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got.”

    • Citizen
      January 31, 2012, 9:24 am

      There’s a good graph of what you say, notatall, in a fairly recent CBO report on the ever-widening income gap over the last thirty years–a statistically supported graphic display that there’s been no “trickle-down” theory operating for a long time in America–it’s “trickle up.” The typical OWSer has a faint grasp on all of it. And I remember back in 2008 when Ron Paul followers were complaining about some of the basic problems in our system that later found their way into the Tea Party; which was then significantly diluted by the regular GOP, although now Ron Paul’s competition has even stolen some of his sound bites. Anyway I look at it, we live in a de facto plutocracy (is there another kind?), and we basically have only one political party, the Welfare-Warfare Party–every 4 to 8 years they play musical chairs–this time around it will be Obama v Romney (Obama-Lite). Butter and Guns v Guns and Butter.

      • tombishop
        January 31, 2012, 12:44 pm

        Check out last weeks Bill Moyers Show where former Citigroup chairman John Reed explains how the big banks are rewriting the rules of the U.S. economy.

        link to billmoyers.com

        • MRW
          January 31, 2012, 8:22 pm

          tombishop, excellent link. Brilliant interview.

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