Bill Kristol celebrates Republican Party purge of ‘oldfashioned Arabists’ Scowcroft, Baker and Bush I

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 85 Comments

Every time I go into the Jewish community to hear a discussion of the issue, I am reminded that the Jewish community on its own is incapable of moving forward. This week I am still reeling from seeing Bill Kristol hold forth at a debate at Bnai Jeshurun synagogue on the Upper West Side last Tuesday [a short portion of which is above]. He came off as what he is, a Republican Party warlord; and he was treated like royalty. The rabbi said he was proud to host Kristol, and Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street said he wanted to take Kristol with him to the West Bank, and moderator Jane Eisner of the Forward was very respectful, though she got in a jab at Kristol’s “smear” tactics at the Emergency Committee for Israel.

When Kristol gave the self-congratulatory riff from which I’ve gotten my headline—about how all the elements hostile to Israel inside the Republican Party were purged over the last 30 years – no one dared to question the power of the Israel lobby.

Or when Kristol lectured Ben-Ami for being outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party, no one pointed out that Kristol is a Republican, and who is he to enforce a pro-Israel line inside the Democratic Party? Well because he has power in the Jewish community, and support for Israel in our community transcends party, that’s why.

There was a sense that we are all on the same side because we are communal Jews and everyone in that community is a Zionist. “We’ve won the war, we won the war” Jeremy Ben-Ami proclaimed; 99 percent of Congress now has “deep” support for the special relationship between Israel and the U.S.

But as for the war that Bill Kristol pushed, the Iraq war, no one was so impolite as to bring that up, let alone Kristol’s counsel to George W. Bush to remove Saddam Hussein because “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.” The words neoconservative, apartheid and Peter Beinart also were not uttered. 

Kristol was the most charming figure on the dais. He had the line of the night when he said, “I hope the organization [J Street] continues to flourish and to have no effect on actual US policy.” I walked out feeling like I’d just seen the Knights of Columbus having a party for Tony Soprano.

The news coming out of the event last week was that Kristol endorsed Obama’s Middle East policy—that is, once Obama abandoned the Cairo speech of 2009 for the AIPAC speech of two months back.

“I can mostly support the Obama administration of the last two years after they gave up their foolish efforts…. to cause a huge diplomatic crisis… I think the Obama administration has moved to the center… After the terrible failure [to support the Green revolution in Iran in 2009]…he’s come down on my side…I’m happy to sit here and agree with President Obama to a considerable degree at least as the policy has moved in the last two years with respect to Israel and the middle east..”

And why did Obama capitulate? Because of people like Bill Kristol. Kristol was freaked out by Obama’s early stances, and particularly by Obama’s belief that he had the support of the Jewish community. This was Ben-Ami’s “great achievement,” Kristol said: creating a perception that the whole Jewish community was moving to the J Street position. The Emergency Committeee for Israel was born to exert pressure the other way.

Here Ben-Ami offered his strongest criticism. After saying that “We’ve won the war” and only “far outliers” in Congress criticize Israel, he said that Bill Kristol was too much of an enforcer for Israel with American politicians. They are “live in fear” of speaking out. There’s an “atmosphere of fear” and “intimidation” that has caused hundreds of congresspeople not to speak their true minds.

“You’ve pushed the debate too far, you have the impact of silencing people on a policy question.”

He explained this in communal terms. You have, Ben-Ami said, “turned criticism of policy into a question of whether someone is anti-Israel,” and this tactic blurred an “important line in the Jewish communal conversation”– the line where “criticism” crosses into “delegitimization of Israel.” So when Kristol attacked a congressman as anti-Israel for opposing Israel’s ban on coriander entering the Gaza Strip, he was signalling to the community that the politician was delegitimizing Israel, and serious people believed him, a form of hysteria that is bad for America and bad for Israel and bad for the Jewish community too.

Kristol fought back. Those coriander Congressmen were “trashing Israel” and the J Street position was outside the “mainstream of the pro-Israel community.” When 54 members of Congress sign a critical letter, or 30 members vote against the overwhelming majority of Congress on a pro-Israel resolution, “we are entitled to say that as a matter of fact this person took a position that is not in the majority position of the Democratic party and a lot of serious people think would be a position that would damage the security of the state of Israel.” 

Ben-Ami said Kristol is trying to “quelch debate.” Those 50 members who dare to criticize Israel are the courageous ones. “Another 200 are scared to do it…”

Kristol laughed and dared him to name names. Ben-Ami said he can’t give names because the politicians are afraid. Kristol said it was the New York Times and NPR and J Street on one side and “little old ECI” on the other.

Ben-Ami: “I very seriously and absolutely do believe that a significant percentage of American members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are intimidated on this issue… They worry about the ramifications of speaking out…. They are worried about the attacks that they will receive.”

So the Israel lobby has gone too far, Ben-Ami is saying. This is the same man who when Walt and Mearsheimer wrote about the Israel lobby’s hammerlock on US policymaking in the Middle East, said it smacked of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Because they weren’t Jews. Because by and large, Jews are afraid to share our “communal” conversation. Eisner said that some in the audience had written on their question cards that maybe the Jewish community should be more “circumspect” about having this debate, because it would arm the anti-Semites. Sp a journalist suggests that we should be more circumspect. But what is the truth? What is making US policy? What are the “ramifications” of a politician criticizing Israel? Aren’t Jews strong enough here to have this conversation? It would have been nice if Ben-Ami or Eisner could have asked Kristol about how he derives his power– how he buys a full-page ad in the Times to say that Obama whom he agrees with is using Israel as a punching bag. No one mentioned hedge funder Daniel Loeb, who funds the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Ben-Ami rationalized the “communal” conversation because American Jews have a curious national status:

“Every Israeli Prime Minister says that Israel is the state of all the Jewish people, and it does represent us and we do have a stake in what goes on there… we’re asked to send our kids, and we have a right to speak out and say that the way that the country behaves is deeply reflective of the values of the Jewish people….”

He and Eisner were very good about talking about conditions on the West Bank. Ben Ami said that people of a different skin color than ours don’t have any rights and that we are about to see a new phase in the conflict, in which this becomes a worldwide issue, the battle for equal rights between the river and the sea. That was clear-sighted, and though Ben Ami wants to do everything to put off that struggle, he said the destruction of Palestinian rights was at the top of the agenda wherever Hillary Clinton goes and is hurting the U.S.’ strategic national interest.

Kristol sniggered. He said that it’s a “myth” that the Palestinians are important even to Arab countries. The status quo is sustainable for another 45 or 60 years. There is no Palestinian majority between the river and the sea, because Kristol doesn’t count Gaza—1.5 million people wiped off the political map.  

Some of these statements sounded like defensive lies from a party boss. When Ben-Ami said the settlement regime is threatening the rule of law in Israel, Kristol said with a petulant tone that it was “cavalier” for comfortable Americans on the Upper West Side who face no risks at all to “berate” Israel and “second-guess” the ”tough calls” that Israel has had to make.

“I’m not sure I’m capable of judging all these extremely complicated legal and political issues within the state of Israel. I believe that as Americans what we can do… is above all stand with Israel against existential threats, terror threats.”

This is Kristol’s most important role in life, being Israel’s guardian in the U.S. He  spoke proudly about the ways the Republican Party had purged critics of Israel in the last 30 years.

I think the good news is [Ron Paul] didn’t do well…I mean, the big story in the Republican Party over the last 30 years and I’m personally very happy about this as a Republican is first the eclipsing of I’d say the [George H.W.] Bush [Brent] Scowcroft [James] Baker traditional—it’s unfair to say– hostility to Israel– but lack of closeness and warmth for Israel … I say this as someone who served in the first Bush White House and has high regard for the first president Bush, but it was an Arabist, oldfashioned Republican Party, which was certainly very concerned about relations with Arab states that were not friendly with Israel and skeptical about the case for Israel. They have really been eclipsed by the Reagan George W. Bush McCain kind of tradition of a more sympathetic attitude toward Israel, greater support for Israel.

The other thing that for 20 years now that has been a worry for many of us on the Republican conservative side, was the rise of — the return of the Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul type of hostility to Israel. The good news is that doesn’t have much support in the Republican Party or the presidential field or Congress….”

How did this happen? What is the relationship of this political transformation to the Jewish rise inside American society? 

Kristol kept saying that Americans support Israel, but does he trust them to do so without some influence? I don’t think so. In 2008, I reported on a Kristol speech at AIPAC urging Israel’s friends to cultivate up-and-coming politicians: Kristol said that Hart Hasten, a Holocaust survivor and successful Indianapolis businessman, had been crucial to shaping Dan Quayle’s view of Israel, having “spent a lot of time” with Quayle when he was still a congressman.

And at Bnai Jeshurun, Kristol admitted playing a role in expelling members of the Republican Party he doesn’t agree with. There were some Republicans you had to “repudiate,” people 

of whom I disapprove so much that I wont appear with them. That I’ve encouraged that they be expelled or not welcomed into the Republican Party. I’d be happy if Ron Paul left and ran as a third party candidate. I was very happy when Pat Buchanan was allowed– really encouraged I would say by George Bush and others [unintelligible name, possibly Tony Martin] in 1998 or 1999 to go off and run as a third party candidate. And he simply left the Republican Party. I’m happier to have a Republican Party without Pat Buchanan than with Pat Buchanan. But everyone’s got to make up their own mind about where they draw that line.

I again despair of the Jewish community. They called this a “robust” debate, but the “communal conversation” is a conversation foreclosed by Jewish fear–that criticism of the need for the Jewish state will bring about a rise in anti-Semitism. So Bill Kristol is empowered because of fears, because he is more of a communalist even than Ben-Ami. And no one in our community will force Kristol to reflect on his push for the Iraq war, which many Jews have still not had to reflect on – a war that the Reform Jews supported (even as Chris Matthews bragged the other night that the Vatican was against it). This is about what the poet Robert Lowell called our transformation from doves into hawks under the influence of Jewish nationalism, and in the end the issue is whether Ben Ami will allow his Jewish communal fears to override his genuine respect for human rights. 

The only way to beat Kristol is to build a coalition outside the Jewish community, to turn to the realists whom Kristol purged. Ben-Ami won’t do that. No, he is busy trying to calve Jews off the Kristol iceberg. He said again that he is not against AIPAC. This is a fight for influence, a fight for the center of the power structure. He and Kristol smiled when Eisner said that they both went to Collegiate, the fancy prep school nearby.

Meantime, I wonder who will follow up the great generational American Jewish stories I heard in Bnai Jeshrun. Who will chart the purge of the Realists from the Republican Party? Who will tell what Bill Kristol did to crush J Street? Who will tell what AIPAC did to elevate Bill Clinton and defeat that oldfashioned Arabist George Bush? Alas the Democratic establishment is not interested in these stories because it is just as corrupted; the smartest guy on this subject, MJ Rosenberg, left the Democratic Party-aligned thinktank Media Matters following Bill Kristol’s frontal attack on him in a full page New York Times ad– Bill Kristol who is a Republican Party boss but speaks for the mainstream Democratic Party too.

85 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    May 21, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Bill “bloody” Kristol is a war criminal. If there were ever Nuremberg type trials having to do with the “pack of lies” in the run up to the invasion and the invasion of Iraq. Kristol would be convicted for being complicit for war crimes

  2. American
    May 21, 2012, 1:02 pm

    “The only way to beat Kristol is to build a coalition outside the Jewish community, to turn to the realists whom Kristol purged. Ben-Ami won’t do that. No, he is busy trying to calve Jews off the Kristol iceberg. He said again that he is not against AIPAC. This is a fight for influence, ….”

    Yeah it is a fight for influence…AIPAC claimed credit for latest Iran bill, then J-Street claimed credit for influencing the congressmen who got a “don’t take this as right to attack Iran” amendment attached to it.
    J-Street is the ‘lesser’ of two evils but still……no matter what the differences between AIPAC and J-Street are, they both work the US government for a foreign country’s benefit.

    • seafoid
      May 21, 2012, 2:08 pm

      Age will kill Kristol and the rest of the neoturds. Same as per the Dersh.
      Are the young generation so foaming at the mouth rabid?

      • CloakAndDagger
        May 21, 2012, 4:11 pm

        Age will kill Kristol and the rest of the neoturds. Same as per the Dersh.

        Not fast enough, I am afraid. Witnes John McCain and Joe Lieberman. Even though Joe is retiring from the senate, his voice and influence as a lobbyist will continue far into the future.

        Hope there is something still left to salvage of this world by then.

    • Hostage
      May 21, 2012, 2:29 pm

      J-Street is the ‘lesser’ of two evils but still……no matter what the differences between AIPAC and J-Street are, they both work the US government for a foreign country’s benefit.

      There’s nothing wrong with acting as an agent for a foreign country’s benefit. It’s the fact that neither America nor Israel can be considered “a Shining City upon a Hill” these days.

      Bush senior was Reagan’s number 2. Those of us who witnessed the closeness of Regan’s relations with Israel were also treated to the bombings of the Beirut Embassy and the Marine barracks that resulted from our being joined at the hip in its misadventures. We’re glad that Bush senior and Secretary Baker had the good sense to feel —it’s unfair to say– hostility to Israel– but a lack of closeness and warmth for Israel. I suppose the Democrats have purged people like George Ball too. But when you ignore good counsel from people like these, you end up getting bogged-down in wars in places like Indochina, Afghanistan, and Iraq that have bankrupted us morally and financially as a nation.

      • CloakAndDagger
        May 21, 2012, 4:14 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with acting as an agent for a foreign country’s benefit.

        Well, I wouldn’t dispute that if they were declared as such, as opposed to being an American institution, and subject to the same restrictions and monitoring as other foreign agents.

      • Kathleen
        May 22, 2012, 10:51 am

        “There’s nothing wrong with acting as an agent for a foreign country’s benefit. It’s the fact that neither America nor Israel can be considered “a Shining City upon a Hill” these days. ” I actually believe this is a federal offense if not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But of course we never see the FARA applied to agents for Israel or organizations like Aipac

      • Citizen
        May 22, 2012, 1:38 pm

        See James Shanahan, Propaganda without propagandists?: six case studies in U.S. propaganda, Hampton Press, 2001, p 108: “The DOJ’s search for those who fail to disclose accurately their relationship with foreign groups and enforcement of FARA is selective.”

        PS: A new law has been proposed , though not in the news–in the context here, which is that while JFK & his brother Bobbie tried to make the Zionist Organization of America register under FARA; it’s now the historical reality that said organization eluded registering under FARA by reorganizing as AIPAC. The analogy is to a criminal group directly paying folks for crimes, but then when caught, they learn the lesson, and devise a way to only indirectly paying the same folks. AIPAC is no longer funded directly by the Israeli government as its predecessor American Zionist organization was; now Israel First donors merely support AIPAC directives without direct financial linkage. They do this individually, and through a plethora of Jewish Establishment organizations, many with American Patriot names. We need to support a new law requiring all lobby organizations applicable to register as a lobby acting in behalf a foreign government/state, regardless if it’s not a direct agent paid for by the foreign government.

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2012, 7:25 pm

        I actually believe this is a federal offense if not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

        Agency includes a lot more than just speaking or publishing materials. There’s noting illegal about being a registered agent of Israel and there are some listed in the FARA database. Our domestic PAC organizations are not listed among them. People with diplomatic credentials working in one of the Israeli consulates or missions don’t have to register either.

      • American
        May 22, 2012, 12:30 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with acting as an agent for a foreign country’s benefit. It’s the fact that neither America nor Israel can be considered “a Shining City upon a Hill” these days.”

        I would have to disagree with that. ..since they aren’t registered as foreign Lobbies.
        Although it’s all gone so far into Orwell Land it wouldn’t matter to congress if they were recognized as foreign lobbies or not.

        I”m just gonna say again, and live long enough I hope to say I told you so, any county that makes it’s policy dependent on the interest of a foreign country instead of it’s own is asking for ruin.

        The US could probably handle a ‘special relationship’ with a country or countries that really are “like us” as people, such as Britain, who are at least somewhat equal to us as established powers and nations and don’t have a parasitic dependency on us.
        But with zionist Israel?…. they aren’t “like us”, never will be…will never be a two way street of responsibility in that relationship.

      • Hostage
        May 22, 2012, 8:28 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with acting as an agent for a foreign country’s benefit. It’s the fact that neither America nor Israel can be considered “a Shining City upon a Hill” these days.” . . . I would have to disagree with that. ..since they aren’t registered as foreign Lobbies.

        I think you are comparing apples to oranges. J Street is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation and registered lobby. link to jstreet.org

        So far as I know, it has never had permission from the government of Israel to act as its agent. Hell, the government of Israel refuses to even carry-on a polite conversation with J-Street.

        It is not a representative, employee, or servant, or any person who acts in any other capacity at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal. See Title 22, § 611. Definitions. ‘‘agent of a foreign principal’’.

        So I was discussing hypotheticals. There have been Israeli agents registered with FARA that were attorneys and consultants who did not function as Lobbyists. There’s nothing wrong or illegal about that sort of thing. Here are some names from the historical FARA database: ACTS for Israel; American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel; Israel Communications, Inc.; Israel Consult, Inc.;, Israel Government Tourist Office;Israel Information Services; Israel Philatelic Agency in America, Inc.; Kossowski, Yisrael (Sroel) Mereminski,; and Schwimmer, A.W, Israel Aircraft Industries,Ltd.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 9:49 am

        Well Hostage, that’s the legal definition, but as we know our laws and definitions don’t even come close to dealing with the fact that these orgs are dedicated to one thing—Israel.
        If it were up to me I would expand the legal definitions of treason to reflect current political realities….that would get rid of a large percentage of our congress.

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2012, 11:12 am

        Well Hostage, that’s the legal definition, but as we know our laws and definitions don’t even come close to dealing with the fact that these orgs are dedicated to one thing—Israel.

        Well, the Congress can’t just up and criminalize pure political or religious speech without violating the 1st amendment. If there’s no mundane agency relationship between these registered lobbyists and a foreign principal, there’s no nail for the Congress to hang their statutory hat on. Treason is narrowly defined by the Constitution as waging war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies. Realistically, Congress isn’t about to designate Israel as an enemy state just yet.

        Being rabidly pro-Israel or pro-Jewish doesn’t mean that the government of Israel has you on its payroll; has reached out and requested that you legally represent them; or asked that you take direction from an Israeli official on an unpaid basis. No one can seriously suggest that AIPAC or J-Street are covertly lobbying Congress on issues, related to Israel, when they are both legally registered to do that very thing. The question is whether or not they are taking their marching orders or money from the government of Israel. In the case of J-Street, nobody is even suggesting such a thing as far as I can tell.

  3. Krauss
    May 21, 2012, 1:29 pm

    “Bill Kristol who is a Republican Party boss but speaks for the mainstream Democratic Party too”

    The single best and most powerful line.
    This is also why I sneer when people keep dredging up “the influence of Christian Evangelicals”. Really? CUFI, nominally the largest “pro-Israel” organization in the U.S. by membership can’t even get Republicans like Romney to headline their events.

    AIPAC on the other hand is an organization which can easily give any politician of any background at the highest levels(including presidents, like the ‘Arabist’ Bush Sr) the kiss of death.

    But I get why people are uncomfortable with this debate; they have to deal with the sociological aspects of Jewish ascendance to power. That’s why Maddow stumbles why U.S. has gotten more and more bogged down in the Middle East the last 20 years.

    She knows why but it’s career suicide. That’s also why Walt/Mearsheimer were smeared by everyone, including Ben-Ami and the Forward. So as long as these people hypocritically slam Walt/Mearsheimer because they weren’t Jewish and then suddenly turn around and express doubts about the hardliners in the Jewish community, their influence on the progress of the peace process, can someone hand me the sick bucket? Hypocrites doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    As long as these people are not willing to openly debate these topics with everyone, and attack everyone who isn’t Jewish as anti-Semites, then how can they even bring about change? Fear is what governs them. Deep down, despite all the happy talk about the ‘pro-Israel American public’ they don’t trust the gentiles at all. They probably know that the pro-Israel polling is what it is because these people work day and night to keep them there via political and media pressure.

    So opening up the debate means losing control for these people. And Ben-Ami for all his posturing on the 2SS, is actually enforcing this situation just like Eisner and the Forward when they smear Walt/Mearsheimer. Even Beinart threw them under the bus.

    Also, remember who initiated the ‘dual containment’ strategy, something completely new post-WWII? Martin Indyk, one of the lobby’s top men. Suddenly the U.S. had to have ‘permanent’ military presence in Saudi Arabia, which angered a lot of people – including Osama bin Laden – together with the ‘peace process’ sham which did nothing except advance more and more settlements.

    After the dual containment strategy was in play, suddenly it was much easier to launch wars in the Middle East and then the letters pushing Clinton to invade Iraq began to come in, but people forget that Bush Sr was also under pressure from the same forces but resisted(part of the reason they detested him, he actually said no to the lobby). But Bush Sr was actually the last president to seriously challenge the lobby.

    Obama has tried, but meekly and as Kristol notes has slowly but surely moved to the right because he wants to get re-elected. He doesn’t push for war outright with Iran but the history on economic sanctions are very clear: they often lead to war, something AIPAC chairs have even confirmed giddily. And the more draconinan sanctions(especially on the people), the more tension, the more likely it is that you get confrontation. The lobby has learned that outright push for war won’t sell itself this time, it’s better force Iran into a corner where it will be almost impossible not to see a conflict and then the lobby can claim ‘self-defence’ and at that point a war will be inevitable.

    Obama knows this, or at least he should know via his national security advisers, but he plays along. He can maintain an air of innocence to the American public by selling them down the river for campaign donations and possible re-election. All while the enforcers like Kristol are smiling, privately agreeing that Obama actually very craven to the lobby but publicly slamming him in ads to keep the pressure up.

    In the end, no matter what Obama does it will never be enough. Eli Valley’s cartoon was accurate in this sense:

    link to 972mag.com

    • Citizen
      May 22, 2012, 1:55 pm

      Krauss, I could not agree more. I will only add, that what keeps Obama going in this respect, unless he is totally bereft of any altruism at all except for black Americans, is his notion that when he gets his second term, maybe he can make a dent in Israel’s domination of the US via AIPAC connections at the expense of the USA’s once favorable impression in the world, based on facts he intends to establish in his second term. This is exactly what people like Sheldon Adelson suspect about Obama.
      They may be giving Obama too much credit, but there it is. If Americans like Dick and Jane don’t get that America’s future is tied to the I-P situation more than to anything else, there’s no hope for the USA. I don’t think Dick and Jane have a clue. That’s why people like Bill Kristol live the high life, knowing they are secure. You can see his confidence all the time. Why should he not be so?

  4. Dan Crowther
    May 21, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Why do you despair [for] the jewish community, just because Bill Kristol is an asshole?
    Sht man, if every “community” had to account for its assholes, we’d be in much worse shape than we’re already in.

    I’ll tell you what community you should be in despair over – The Trust Fund Baby, Collegiate School, Harvard University community – thats what community cats like Kristol really belong to.

    For all he does to defend Israel, hes certainly not calling for a better welfare state there, he isnt running around talking about social justice issues; no, hes defending Neo-liberal Israel, state capitalist Israel – this guy doesnt care about the health and living conditions of jews in Israel, he only cares about the rights of the ruling class there, same as here in the US. If you want to say these guys (ben-ami and kristol) are indicative of the “jewish community” with out any qualifying statements, thats your right to do so, but in my opinion, it reveals a sort of authoritarianism and elitism on your part. If every “community” had its conventional wisdom dictated by trust funders speaking to passive audiences, again, we would be in much worse shape than we’re already in. You need to find yourself some working class jews phil – they’re out there, I promise.

    • libra
      May 21, 2012, 2:59 pm

      DC: “You need to find yourself some working class jews phil – they’re out there, I promise.”

      They are indeed out there, Dan. In fact it was only yesterday we saw them eating pastrami sandwiches in a Long Island deli. But Phil himself wouldn’t be seen dead in such a place. And it’s not because of nitrates in the pastrami.

      But I suspect that yesterday’s video wasn’t entirely unrepresentative of the views of this rather overlooked contingent of Phil’s community. And their views weren’t a million miles from those of Kristol. Unconditional support for Israel is the key consideration even (or perhaps even more so) amongst those who lunch for less than 10 bucks.

    • Citizen
      May 22, 2012, 2:07 pm

      Dan, look at the demography of wealth in the USA; what group has less working class members than US Jews? And, further, to the extent you find actual working class Jews in the USA, aren’t they the biggest Israel First type of folks? Dan, do you actually live in the USA? Where, exactly? Your ideas here regarding American Jews seem to me very idealistic, not realistic. But that’s just me, and my nearly 70 years of living in the USA, and with in-laws Jewish.

      • Dan Crowther
        May 22, 2012, 5:05 pm

        You want my GPS coordinates?? haha

        Yeah, Im an American, I live in Boston. Im from a college town in western mass originally. Me and you have been down this road before, where you try and out American me, on a Ron Paul thread you said I could never hold my views if I ever actually lived among ethnic and racial minorities, that stereotypes exist for good reasons etc then I told you I live in Roxbury.

        I grew up in a white collar working class jewish community – most of my friends parents were social workers, local store owners, tax attorneys and psychiatrists — not blue collar, but not “elite.” My point is that Phil is making his case to people with not only ethnic or religious solidarity reasons for supporting israel – but also a financial/political reasoning for supporting israel as it is. And he is criticizing the “jewish community” as a whole, when he spends all his time (or a whole lot of it) with the upper crust.

        Im in my late twenties, so I think I have a different perspective – the jewish kids I grew up with, and their families (and maybe my experience is unique, who knows) dont view their jewish identity as important as their grandparents do. dont be a cranky old fart. :)

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2012, 3:28 pm

        RE: “I grew up in a white collar working class jewish community – most of my friends parents were social workers, local store owners, tax attorneys and psychiatrists — not blue collar, but not “elite.”

        Well, I grew up in various working class American communities more representative of America IMO, very few had a college education giving them the advantage of being social workers, tax attorneys or psychiatrists. Crowther, you have no clue, from what you say, what it means to be born and bred average American. For starters, were you a common soldier drafted into the Vietnam War? Your “not blue collar, but not ‘elite'” leaves a vast unaccountability. Nobody here says you were ever part of the 1%, but we deduce you are not either Dick or Jane. Are we misguided? Explain.

      • Dan Crowther
        May 23, 2012, 4:08 pm

        My dad worked for the railroad, like his father and brothers, and my mother was a nurse, the daugher of an electrician — i am the first crowther male to finish college.

        No, I wasnt drafted, I enlisted in the Marines – went to boot camp in oct. 2001 – u can do the math.

        I grew up in a college town that was half ex urbanites and half appalachia, with a large gay population. I got a basketball/baseball scholarship to a prep school, where i met the upper crust for the first time – i didnt like them all that much.

        when you grew up, there were a lot less people who had gone to college across the board – again, its more than possible to be “working class” while having gone to college in this day and age.

        Semper Fidelis,

        Dan

    • American
      May 23, 2012, 10:03 am

      Dan, I think you are mixing apples and oranges again. There is financial elitism and then there are Israel firsters……not all financial elites support Israel and one doesn’t have to be a financial elite to support Israel.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 11:01 am

        American,

        You wrote:

        “Dan, I think you are mixing apples and oranges again. There is financial elitism and then there are Israel firsters……not all financial elites support Israel and one doesn’t have to be a financial elite to support Israel.”

        When it comes to analyzing the operations of the Israel lobby, Dan is still very much a novice.

        Whenever Phil takes his best shot at prodding the Jewish community to challenge the Jewish establishment on its Likud Zionist ways, Dan often tries to defuse and undermine the effort with generalized Chomskyian platitudes.

        Actually, Noam Chomsky perfected the technique of distracting attention from the Israel lobby (and its dominant Jewish establishment component) by diverting attention to a vague and misty corporate/financial elite whose members are rarely named and whose particular activities are never described.

        Yes, we all know that many Jews are not strident Zionists. Many of them are non-Zionists or anti-Zionists. But they have had zero impact on the Jewish establishment, the Israel lobby and the Israeli government. They might just as well not exist when it comes to understanding Israeli politics.

        And many Fortune 500 CEOs couldn’t care less about Israel — they are not Jewish nationalists or ethnic nationalists of any kind.

        American policy towards Israel and Mideast politics is being driven predominately by Jewish nationalists within the Israel lobby — NOT by the corporatocracy. Large American corporations have important financial interests all around the world and in many cases with Israel’s adversaries. Probably quite a few members of the American financial elite are tired of hearing about Israel — they do not live in an Israel-centric world.

        Ethnic, religious and national communities get the establishments they deserve.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 2:03 pm

        Sean,

        Totally Agree.

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2012, 3:34 pm

        Yep, American. Me too. How anyone can argue that Big Oil is onboard with Israel First is beyond my comprehension. Why would not Big Oil favor a more balanced American foreign policy in the Middle East? Despite Big Oil power, obviously, that vital interest has no power regarding US foreign policy in the ME.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 3:53 pm

        The Israel lobby is much more powerful than the oil lobby in American politics — that fact of life has been demontrated many times.

        The oil industry overall was highly skeptical about the Iraq War, and some oil industry leaders predicted that the war would be a disaster from the standpoint of the American interest — they were right.

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2012, 3:56 pm

        Don’t we need a new legislation that requires all organizations that agenda a foreign country’s agenda to register as lobbyists for a foreign state, regardless if they get paid by that foreign country? When Bobby Kennedy went after the Zionist organization of America to register as agent of a foreign government, that Zionist organization eluded the US statute by reorganizing sans direct employment from Israel. I agree with whomever advocates new legislation that requires any entity operating to enhance a foreign state’s agenda, to register as an agent of a foreign government, even if they don’t get paid directly by the foreign state, which is, of course, Israel.

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2012, 7:34 pm

        How anyone can argue that Big Oil is onboard with Israel First is beyond my comprehension.

        He has said that the US government wants to keep other countries from having access to cheap Middle Eastern oil reserves, but that it doesn’t necessarily want to secure them for the US. He says that it has used the oil companies as instruments of its foreign policies. The oil companies in-turn have gone along with that, because the government pursues policies that generally favor capitalists and lets them operate an international cartel that would otherwise run afoul of the US antitrust laws.
        *http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/197703–.htm
        *http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20080708.htm
        *http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=278:libya-and-the-world-of-oil

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2012, 8:20 pm

        Don’t we need a new legislation that requires all organizations that agenda a foreign country’s agenda to register as lobbyists for a foreign state, regardless if they get paid by that foreign country?

        I don’t know what that sort of registration would accomplish, since organizations that lobby are already required to register under state of federal law.

        On the other hand, there’s no reason to reward AIPAC or other organizations with a tax exempt status for promoting the social welfare of a foreign power. I don’t think the Citizens United decision requires that.

        501 (c) (4) organizations are allowed to intervene in political campaigns as long as their primary activity in doing so is the promotion of social welfare. But they are strictly prohibited from intervening in a political campaign for or against a particular candidate for public office. There’s ample evidence that AIPAC and tax exempt Christian lobbying organizations routinely violate that prohibition. link to irs.gov

        501 (c) (4) organizations are not barred from engaging in grassroots political efforts connected with legislative activities like their 501(c) (3) tax exempt brethren. Once again, I don’t see why promoting the social welfare of a foreign power through legislation should be rewarded with a tax exemption.

      • Dan Crowther
        May 23, 2012, 2:18 pm

        I really want to be able to give American and McBride credit for being able to read English – but its becoming hard to do so.

        I realize there is “financial elitism and then there are Israel firsters” My point was to say people like Kristol and Co. who fall into BOTH categories should be taken with a grain of salt and that Phil would do well to spend more time with people who dont have both tribal sympathies for israel and a want/ financial interest in israel being a right wing country – like Kristol.

        As for Mcbrides comments – I am still not sure what the Chomsky obsession is about, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the lobby – I dont want to get into a protracted debate about it – my general thought is its a symptom, rather than cause, of the problem. And the same I think is true of Kristol, Ben Ami and Co. The guys phil mindlessly bestows leadership status to. Whatever else is true about them, they come from money, had exclusive upbringings and educations and benefitted from being “in the club” – people who are “in the club” hold all sorts of repugnant views and face no sanction for them, across the board. kristol is jewish, so he holds repugnant views regarding israel, but hes no different from his collegiate school/harvard buddies who champion all sorts of other horrors around the world. I very much consider our problems -really across the board- to be the ” work of our “leaders” and “elites” – and I think phil is wrong to feel bad that he cant change their minds

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Crowther, what “horrors around the world” do ivy league spawn in government champion that are equal in negative blowback to USA & humanity generally than Israel First?

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 3:49 pm

        Dan,

        I would be more confident that you could read English if you gave evidence that you could write it.

        If you want to apply classical Marxist class analysis to world affairs in general, be my guest. But any discussion about Israel and the Israel lobby has to take into account that ethnic nationalism, religious nationalism and ethno-religious nationalism are self-generating syndromes and often trump financial, economic and class factors in motivating human behavior — they emerge from the deepest and most primal wellspring of human psychology.

        If we are discussing the policies of the Israeli government and the Israel lobby here — and I think we are — the ethnic and religious nationalist motive in driving the thinking and behavior of neoconservatives like William Kristol, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Michael Ledeen should be front and center. Their privileged class background does not provide the best explanation for their behavior and ideological agenda. With regard to ethnic and religious nationalism, they are true believers — their zealous Zionism is not a cover for some other motive or agenda — it’s the main show.

        With regard to Noam Chomsky: when the subject of the Israel lobby comes up, his brain shuts down and he starts doddering on in a vague and abstract way about tangential issues. One runs into that kind of diversion quite often in discussions about the Israel lobby.

      • Citizen
        May 23, 2012, 4:08 pm

        Re: “…my general thought is its a symptom, rather than cause, of the problem. And the same I think is true of Kristol, Ben Ami and Co. The guys phil mindlessly bestows leadership status to.”
        :
        Crowther, symptom of exactly what problem? Kristol is on TV prime time cable news all the time, trotted out as a font of wisdom. Same as Bolton, Rove, Sen Lieberman, and Chaney, Krauthammer, for example. Fox News reaches a lot of Americans, more than any other TV news show!
        So, Crowther, tell us what you see as “the problem”?

      • Dan Crowther
        May 23, 2012, 4:17 pm

        “what “horrors around the world” do ivy league spawn in government champion that are equal in negative blowback to USA & humanity generally than Israel First?
        ——————————————–
        Is this a serious question?

        Our (US) population believes global warming and climate change are a problem – our elites dont, as evidenced by their actions – I would say they are somewhat alone among world elites (at least in the developed world) — in their collective “denial” — and it could cause the extinction of the species. So, thats pretty significant. Just one example.

        I would also go into the economic policies championed by these elites, and other non ME dictatorships and tyrannies these elites support (and educate at the same institutions they go to) but that would just get me shouted down as a Chomskyite loser or whatever………….

      • Dan Crowther
        May 23, 2012, 6:58 pm

        Sean,

        You bash away at me on threads regarding “the lobby” and “Likud Zionists” like Kristol here, saying I cant write- but just the other day you were in full agreement with me:

        seanmcbride says:
        May 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        Dan Crowther,

        You nailed it. Barack Obama has been a more effective and sinister neocon tool than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Most Democrats don’t have a clue.

        But despite all that, I will be forced to vote for him in November over Mitt Romney. Damn. We’ve been completely backed into a no-win corner by Likud Zionists in American politics.
        link to mondoweiss.net

        So, Im an illiterate idiot when I stake out a different POV – but when we agree, I “nail” it. Hmmmm…. My post above had NOTHING to do with the lobby – you guys always say Im an apologist, chomskyite or whatever – nothing could be further from the truth, I am largely in agreement with you all regarding the lobby. I just happen to think, in this case (phils post on ben-ami and kristol) phil is wasting his time with the elite israel firsters, for the reasons i state above. if hes gonna spend his time in the jewish only community, I think he would be better served spending it with non elite types, who arent dependent on the status quo for their position in life, I dont understand how thats such a controversial idea.

        As for everything else – until I get acknowledgement on some of the accusations made against me here being incorrect, im not going to continue – Ive been labeled a quasi trust funder who hasnt had a regular experience in america and a host of other things, its all bullshit. I am a former Marine who put himself (along with uncle sam) through college, I live and work in a “Big City” – my values and beliefs are based on the same working class values and beliefs my parents hold, and their parents held. But I dont think that “my country” is being taken away from me, like a lot of older white people (some here) seem to think – I dont believe that US foreign policy is based solely on the positions of “Jewish Ethnic Nationalists” – or other nefarious cabals. And if I did, I would focus on what they advocate, rather than who they are. The US will be bombing another country, and you all will discussing what jewish actors were involved in the plot, thats just not that interesting to me, it used to be, but not so much anymore.

        One last thing: ARMY stands for Aren’t Ready (to be) Marines Yet.

        OOORAH!!

      • Hostage
        May 23, 2012, 7:19 pm

        what “horrors around the world” do ivy league spawn in government champion that are equal in negative blowback to USA & humanity generally than Israel First?

        Richard Holbrooke graduated from Brown and was a Fellow in the Wilson center at Princeton. So he had solid Ivy League credentials. He was a member of the White House team that helped author the Pentagon Papers and he shaped US policy on Vietnam, East Timor, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. His parents were atheist and Jewish, but he attended Quaker services, so I don’t think his policies were attributable to Zionism or the Israel Lobby. link to democracynow.org link to democracynow.org

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 7:21 pm

        Dan,

        It’s not our reading comprehension. It’s that on the Israel issue you want to enlarge it to apply to ‘Elitedom’ in general…and that the Kristols are for Israel as part of their elite interest. The fact is very few US elites are materially profiting from the US-Isr relationship. It’s made some Israeli business men rich and some War on Terriers defense contractor consultants rich but elite Jewish Israel firsters pour more money into influence for Israel they they get in any personal return or enhanced eliteness from.
        Now if you want to conflate elite Israel-firsters as a symptom of overall US Political Corruptism I will go along with that.
        We are discussing this one specific issue and you want to discuss overall inequity by the elite powers….you always springboard Israel influence into things like climate warming and economic policies and elitedom in general…that’s the disconnect…for instance what does denial of global warming by elites have to do with Israel firsters?….are you saying they think global warming is good for Israel?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 9:35 pm

        dan, i have not been following this thread although i scrolled up a little. i avoid the chomsky wars because i found out a long time ago the people invested in them were very invested, and i’m not.

        just wanted to say i don’t think you should stop posting here. i don’t know who started the you can’t read and write rhetoric but if i were you i would avoid it and not add to it. one thing:

        My point was to say people like Kristol and Co. who fall into BOTH categories should be taken with a grain of salt and that Phil would do well to spend more time with people who dont have both tribal sympathies for israel and a want/ financial interest in israel being a right wing country – like Kristol.

        my hunch is phil went to this event as a journalist and i am glad he did. both of these people are at the pinnacle of their genre, kristol reminds be of a huge pimple ready to be popped. i hope i’m alive to witness that.

        anyway, don’t stomp your feet and leave. and i do think we can have a conversation about israel and the lobby without it always veering off into the psychological but there’s room here for everybody to engage in what interests them.

        so don’t go.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 10:00 pm

        Dan,

        I apologize for snapping at you in an earlier comment. I found your brief bio to be interesting and enlightening and thank you for your service in the Marines on behalf of our country.

        Phil in his critiques of the Israel lobby has been focusing on the most powerful players in the lobby, which seems sensible to me. This is precisely the territory that conventional leftists like Noam Chomsky refuse to investigate or discuss.

        We all know that there are many Jews out there who are not members of the lobby, but they are irrelevant. They have permitted pro-Israel activists and militants within the Jewish community, like those associated with AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to seize control of the Jewish establishment. They have no voice in defining Jewish or Israeli issues.

        Of course there are other important issues out there besides Israel and the Israel lobby and there are appropriate forums to discuss those issues. But many important issues these days intersect with and are greatly impacted by Mideast politics. American foreign *and* domestic policy these days is largely being driven by “Global War on Terror” neoconservatives and neoliberals in both the Republican and Democratic Parties for whom Israeli interests outrank all other interests in importance.

        Regarding class interests and the trend towards increasingly radical wealth inequality, pro-Israel activists and Israel lobby leaders loom large on the annual Forbes billionaires list. I don’t think this pattern is the product of coincidence. A few dozen pro-Israel billionaires (like Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch) seem to have acquired dominating influence over both major political parties and the mainstream media. No matter how much wealth and power they acquire, they want more and more. Compared to these oligarchs and plutocrats, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush are really not a big deal.

      • Dan Crowther
        May 24, 2012, 2:08 pm

        No worries Sean.

        Just once more for the record – this post, and my original comment were not about the lobby. What I was saying to Phil was, you will never be able to convince the upper crust (like these cats) – BECAUSE they are perfectly happy to have the same kind of inequality that exists among americans, exist among jewish israelis. Personally, I think the idea of jews being poor and brutish kind of turns Bill Kristol on – my point was to say, Phil might do well to take his project, as he calls it, to yes, places like the Deli on Long Island – where he can say to the Tribalists Without Resources, “This occupation you support so much is making your fellow Jews live under worse and worse conditions, and is causing some to leave the country”

        Guys like Kristol will hear this and wont be bothered – hes never been interested in anyone elses standard of living, and he loathes social justice – but I think Phil can be productive among non-elite jews, jews who actually have to live among regular people; they are probably feeling the pinch of the plutocrats as well; Bill Kristol and is ilk would be perfectly happy to just hire gunmen and build walls around their mansions if it came to it in the US, and again, im sure he dreams of the day he has to have armed guards with him in israel, thats so third world tough guy-ish.

        My personal view is that Phil is sort of wasting his time at these things anyway – whatever is going to happen to Israel and Palestine, american jews, and probably world jewry in general will not be on the side of justice, thats just what I think. I am not a lobby denier, quite the opposite – but I do think there is a tremendous amount of navel gazing that takes place around this issue – and some of the journalism about the lobby falls into that category. And I think here at MW, lobby related posts and other identity based posts have overtaken what I thought was the original intent of the blog – “the war of ideas in the middle east” – I understand its from chiefly a jewish perspective, whatever that means, but I feel sometimes MW is still in the “proving it” phase – as if there is any serious argument about whether or not the israel lobby has undo sway. all the analysts i read take it for granted, and so do i. i keep coming back to “self evident” and thats really I how I try and view the world – if something is obviously true, move along – its better to work on something new, rather than focusing on established facts. Just my opinion.

      • Dan Crowther
        May 24, 2012, 2:13 pm

        american – i was asked a direct question about what other issue aside from I/P has the same potential for backlash to the US and humanity – I said the US elites stance on Climate change. Im not conflating anything or jumping or sprinboarding around – I was responding to a question.

      • seanmcbride
        May 24, 2012, 2:43 pm

        Dan,

        I understand your overall position much better now — and I find much in it that makes sense. Thanks for hanging in there and getting these issues clarified.

      • American
        May 24, 2012, 3:00 pm

        Dan,

        O.K…. I’m honestly not intending to pick on you and didn’t see you were responding to a question.. ..my bad…pardon, pardon.
        Your comment .. May 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm above is well explained and makes it crystal…kudos.

  5. Les
    May 21, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Calling someone an Arabist is no different than calling someone a Jew lover.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 21, 2012, 2:13 pm

      hmmm, not so sure about that. i thought kristol was referencing something closer to the opposite.

      • seanmcbride
        May 21, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Annie,

        Here is the rhetorical logic:

        Calling someone an Arabist is like calling someone an Arab lover.

        Calling someone a Jewist would be like calling them a Jew lover.

        Similar language was used with regard to African-Americans to attack white supporters of the civil rights movement in the 1960s — except they used a much nastier word than “African-American.” You know the word.

        The language is disgusting.

        These foreign policy leaders that Kristol attacks from the standpoint of Jewish nationalism were Americanists — they were making their best effort to calculate and pursue the American interest — a matter about which William Kristol cares not a whit.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 10:05 pm

        Calling someone an Arabist is like calling someone an Arab lover….The language is disgusting.

        i’m parting ways with you on this sean. i think the way kristol uses it is disgusting but the word arabist has a long and distinguished history and used properly it is not an insult in the least.

        webster dictionary

        Definition of ARABIST
        1: a specialist in the Arabic language or in Arabic culture

        it used to be that ME specialists in our state department were referenced as Arabists. it required speaking the language and understanding the culture. something one might aspire to after years of study, usually entailing years of living overseas. it was not generally used in a derogatory way. so we do not have to turn it into a dirty word just because the kristol’s of the world would like us to. he was using it in this fashion, i will not. it is pathetic our state department is stuffed full of neocons who know nothing of arab or islamic culture. ridiculous.

        i have never even heard of a jewist. is that even a word? people made careers of being arabists, a noble endeavor.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 10:18 pm

        Annie,

        As you noted, “Arabist” was originally an objective, neutral and respectable term to describe foreign policy experts who specialized in Arab affairs, but in the overheated rhetoric of neoconservatives in recent decades it has acquired a very nasty intonation and become a term of abuse.

        Look up the word as used in context by pro-Israel activists and militants and you will see what I am talking about. Many of them are as viciously racist in their views towards Arabs as an ethnic group as they are towards Muslims as a religious group. In private, terms like “camel jockeys,” “ragheads” and “sand niggers” will roll trippingly off their tongues.

        When neocons use that term, we know full well what they mean.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 10:26 pm

        Annie,

        I just Googled [site:israpundit.com arabist] and these choice phrases appeared at the top of the search results:

        1. “Paul’s an Arabist idiot, which is probably why he’s allowed anywhere near the political process. The stupidity of these types”

        2. “Arabist pompous ass. Giscard D’ Estaing – Anti-Semite and Soviet arse licker, not to mention Arabist who along with Chirac gave Iraq”

        3. “Obama is a pro-Palestinian/Arabist bully.”

        And so on. You catch the drift. It took less than a minute to turn up these statements. There are many thousands more like them out there on the Internet.

        The hate behind the word is palpable when used by people with this agenda, as is the spittle that accompanies its utterance.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 10:37 pm

        When neocons use that term, we know full well what they mean.

        yes, i am well aware of that sean. that is why my first reaction was i thought kristol was referencing something closer to the opposite. and as i pointed out to les…i didn’t know jew lover was a derogatory statement. why would i know that? can you go to [site:whatever.com jew lover] in less than a minute to turn up those statements?

        my point, one you might consider..is do we let these neocons permanently smear the term arabist to the point we buy into this framing? it’s not a dirty word. what’s next? muslim? how many offensive statements can you find at[site:israpundit.com muslim] in one minute? does that mean using the term is disgusting? NO, it is an opportunity to show the racism of the neocons, but don’t smear the term. it has a long long long distinguished history. i would be honored to be an arabist, in my wildest dreams. of course i would have to study for a few decades! NOT DIRTY WORD.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 10:41 pm

        btw, as a side note..arabist has only become ‘dirty’in the last 10-15 years. in fact when jewish weekly first wrote that story about all the new jews in the state department(bragging) during clintons term they referenced them as the new arabists, proudly. this is calculated propaganda, and it’s relatively fresh. we need to grab the term, dust it off and use it with pride…that is..if there are any arabists left.

        it takes more than hanging your sign up and claiming to be a middleeast specialist to be an arabist. you have to actually understand the culture and speak the language. and i do not think it counts if you’re originally from the region/ arab. it’s a (positive) designation for non arabs.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 11:00 pm

        Arabist didn’t have any negative connotation until the Zions started using it as an insult when describing the US State Department.

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 11:10 pm

        A bit more on this topic:

        BEGIN ARTICLE
        AUTHOR Robert D. Kaplan
        TITLE Tales from the Bazaar
        MAGAZINE The Atantic
        DATE August 1992
        URL link to theatlantic.com
        BEGIN QUOTE
        The more it gained ascendancy as a term of political abuse, the more indiscriminately “Arabist” came to be applied. During the Gulf crisis the New York Times columnist William Safire and the Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland frequently described John Kelly, who was then the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs, as an Arabist, even though Kelly, with his limited Middle East experience, was distrusted by real Arabists as a politically imposed outsider. By war’s end anyone who was vaguely sympathetic toward Arabs was being called an Arabist, even if he or she didn’t speak the language and had never lived in the Arab world. I asked a senior Arabic-speaking diplomat at the State Department about the word “Arabist,” and he frowned, his chin slumping to his chest, as he muttered, “The word has become poison; nobody uses it around here anymore.”
        END QUOTE
        END ARTICLE

      • Citizen
        May 24, 2012, 7:16 am

        Marginalization of the Arabists: link to wrmea.com

        Inside the Arabist locker room, and looking back circa 1993:
        link to eaazi.org

        Truman’s decision re Israel resulted mainly from domestic politics, that is, Zionist pressure (literally) at the WH door (Zionist $, NY jewish votes, NY jewish influence in media). Nearly everyone in US Foreign Service and State Department was against it : link to ifamericansknew.org

      • Les
        May 21, 2012, 3:51 pm

        The point being that a non-Arab who doesn’t like Arabs calls non-Arabs who don’t have that same point of view, Arabists. Jew lover sounds old fashioned today, but it hasn’t always been so. There was a time when anti-Semitic non-Jews referred to other non-Jews who did not share their prejudice, Jew-lovers.

      • lysias
        May 22, 2012, 2:38 pm

        Does anyone who uses the word “Arabist” like this have any right to complain about people saying “Israel Firster”?

      • seanmcbride
        May 22, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Actually, “Israel Firster” is a much milder and less controversial term — it carries no racist baggage.

        Not all pro-Israel activists are Israel Firsters, but some are — and they are easy to spot: they have only one issue: Israel. Jeffrey Goldberg is a perfect example. It’s all Israel all the time for obsessive-compulsive ethnic nationalists like Jeffrey. The rest of the world doesn’t exist.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 9:54 pm

        There was a time when anti-Semitic non-Jews referred to other non-Jews who did not share their prejudice, Jew-lovers.

        les, i didn’t know that. i thought it was more along the lines of what phil’s references as philo-semite or an anglophile (wrt the british). the neocons have turned the word arabist into an insult but it has a history and a meaning and i refuse to have the neocons reframe arabists into something derogatory, and that is exactly what they want.

      • libra
        May 21, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Annie, I don’t know how you took the meaning of the word Arabist but in this context Kristol was referring to the fact that the Bush 1 crowd were very close to the Saudis.

        That’s what gives the lie to the idea that Israel is essential to US interests in the Middle East, especially as regards oil. Under the old WASP-led establishment, the key relationship was with Saudi Arabia. Those WASPs might not have been very bright but at least they knew were the oil actually was.

      • American
        May 23, 2012, 10:50 pm

        I can see it coming now…soon we will have a new word…”Jew-ist” for those fellows down at Ayran Nation to use…..of course they don’t like Arabs and Arabist either but they will pounce on “Jewist” to add sophistication to their rantings….soon we won’t be able to tell them from the zionist intellectuals. LOL

      • seanmcbride
        May 23, 2012, 11:27 pm

        “Islamist” is now in common usage as well as “Christianist” (see Andrew Sullivan). “Jewist” would be no more intrinsically offensive than “Islamist” or “Christianist.”

    • piotr
      May 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Well, Jew lovers have many famous names to their credit, like Ahaseurus, Mussolini or Guliani.

      And many Arabists were indeed experts on Arab culture etc. The adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan were perhaps doomed, but who knows what could be achieved with more knowledge-based approach.

  6. pabelmont
    May 21, 2012, 2:36 pm

    Crowther has a good point, I’d like to amplify. Power is a behavioral-aphrodisiac, and it is exercised (as is so often the power given by an sexual-aphrodisiac) without much thought, the mere pleasure of exercise seeming an excuse for action.

    The plutocrats and oligarchs who appear to rule so much of USA’s politics (and the power-centers of official American Judaism as well) have power, exercise it with relish and a grand unconcern for the ill effects of that exercise.

    What is especially missing are [1] a long-range time-line and [2] concern for the rights, desires, and general “good” of anyone outside the power-group.

    So we will have a dreadful, dreadful world-wide punishment from global warming because those in power cannot be bothered to change their ways due to long-range (and universal) problems. And we have a collapse of business and banking arrangements (and perhaps of pension funds and such-like) at least in the Anglophone and EU worlds because the bankers (BIG-BANKS) have seized power and refuse to relinquish it, and the national legislatures have not yet seen fit to throw the BIG-BANKS overboard (but keep your eyes alert for it in the EU!).

    It’s not a pleasant thing to be driven on a joy-ride in a bus whose driver, drunk as a skunk, has no thought for anything else but to get more to drink. Such is governance by raw power owned by special interests whose custom (or legal responsibility) is to secure the best temporary interest of that special interest and to hell with any other concern whatever.

  7. GJB
    May 21, 2012, 2:37 pm

    “… by and large, Jews are afraid to share our “communal” conversation. Eisner said that some in the audience had written on their question cards that maybe the Jewish community should be more “circumspect” about having this debate, because it would arm the anti-Semites. ”

    I’m sick and tired of hearing how this sort of debate “arms the anti-semites”. To my mind, it’s the likes of Kristol and his ilk that are arming the anti-semites. It’s the same argument that the Orthodox community uses to sweep child molestation under the rug because they think it will harm the image of Jews. Whether it’s sexually abusing kids or physically abusing Palestinians, such perversions of Jewish values can only aid the case of those who are truly anti-semitic.

    • pabelmont
      May 21, 2012, 4:20 pm

      More to the point, “arming the anti-Semites” is not the only — nor the most important — value in the world. “Truth, justice, and peace, and in that order” is a pillar of the Jewish world — or so I have read somewhere — and I do not find “disarming the anti-Semites” among those. these people give themselves and other carte blanche for ANY crime evidence of which can be hidden merely by reciting the magic formula: “we must not arm the anti-Semites”.

      It is of course also the argument of the anti-terrorism and national-security folks of every police-state, including the USA, which disarms justice so that “national security secrets” will not be revealed — making themselves the sole judges of the necessity (or is it merely at best a slight advisability?) of protecting those secrets.

    • Hostage
      May 21, 2012, 4:59 pm

      I’m sick and tired of hearing how this sort of debate “arms the anti-semites”. To my mind, it’s the likes of Kristol and his ilk that are arming the anti-semites.

      Well the view that he promotes of Israel as a vehicle for the salvation of the Jewish people removes it completely from the category of a Westphalian state. It’s raison d’état is not to look after the well being and security of its own citizens, or else Mr. Kristol would not be the one setting the agenda. It’s obvious that he doesn’t want to live and work in Israel, he just enjoys looking like some sort of makher. In the end, his warmongering policies are ruining both countries.

      Kristol reminds me again of the comment made by Norman Finkelstein in Yoav Shamir’s film “Defamation”:

      “It’s the best thing that will ever happen to Israel if they get rid of these American Jews who are warmongers from Martha’s Vinyard; and the warmongers from the Hamptons; and the warmongers from Beverly Hills; and the warmongers from Miami. It’s been a disaster for Israel. It’s the best thing if it can ever get rid of this [warmongering] American Jewry. It’s a curse.”

      • piotr
        May 21, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Armenia is a vehicle to save Armenian people, but we are perfectly happy to leave the protection of the oldest Christian nation to Iran and Russia. Do we care if Armenians can mold their destiny rather than suffer the assimilation in the diasporah?

        Didn’t we read that Jews of Israel should not rely on ANYONE?

        By the way, when and where did small Westphalian states exist?

  8. Citizen
    May 21, 2012, 2:40 pm

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear Bill Kristol comment on the Shas party or this party, which is also part of Bibi’s coalition government: link to israelhayom.com

    I mean, what the f&*% is wrong with Americans who totally support without criticism an Israeli regime coalition party/religious leader that spouts from the mountain top that all non-Jews in the entire world are murders , thieves, and humans without any sense?

    • seanmcbride
      May 21, 2012, 5:06 pm

      Here is FailedMessiah.com on this story:

      BEGIN ARTICLE
      TITLE Haredi Leader Calls Non-Jews “Murderers, Thieves [and] Brainless People”
      AUTHOR Shmarya Rosenberg
      PUBLICATION FailedMessiah.com
      DATE May 21, 2012
      URL link to failedmessiah.typepad.com
      BEGIN QUOTE
      Defacto haredi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman told haredim in Beit Shemesh that non-Jews are “murderers,” “thieves,” and “brainless people.”

      The city, which serves as a bedroom community for both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, has been the site of conflict between extreme haredim on one hand and Modern Orthodox and secular Jews on the other.

      “There are eight billion people in the world. And what are they? Murderers, thieves, brainless people…” Steinman said. “But who is the essence of this world? Has God created the world for these murderers? For these evil-doers?…The nations of the world have no redeeming qualities.” …

      In January, Steinman said secular Jews are the “erev rav,” the “mixed multitude” of non-Jews who escaped Egypt with the Israelites and according to rabbinic thought, caused trouble thereafter for the Israelites.

      “…[T]heir ways are not like our ways,” Steinman said then, “and we certainly must distance ourselves from them, for their inside is not like their outside [i.e. their internal state is not like the appearance they put on]. They are a mixed multitude who hate the Jews.”
      END QUOTE
      END ARTICLE

      First reaction: recoil in disgust at the over-the-top racism.

      Second reaction: where do these ideas, beliefs and attitudes come from?

      Third reaction: how deeply does this mentality permeate religious Zionist culture?

      Fourth reaction: might these beliefs have the potential to provoke antisemitism?

      A new term for the religious Zionist lexicon: “erev rav”. You learn something new every day.

      Will we see Sacha Baron Cohen do a parody of Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman? Probably not.

      • piotr
        May 21, 2012, 6:07 pm

        What does it mean “Haredi leader”? They have many smaller communities that disagree with each other. Also, they tend to be non-Zionist or outright anti-Zionist.

  9. radii
    May 21, 2012, 3:00 pm

    America and the world will celebrate when we purge the Neocon Thirty from free society and march them off to The Hague for their war crimes trials and then off to prison

  10. seanmcbride
    May 21, 2012, 3:07 pm

    1. Kristol sniggers a lot. Many neocons do. It’s what passes for argument for them. And most of them are petulant, often in an infantile way.

    2. Isn’t there the appearance here that William Kristol, as a Jewish nationalist, is gloating about the triumph of Jewish nationalists in American politics over Old Guard WASPs (Scowcroft, Baker and Bush 41)? He’s promoting a Kulturkampf in American politics between Jews and the dwindling WASP establishment. Is he certain that this is a war that he can successfully finish once that establishment begins to take stock of the situation and pushes back hard?

    3. Re: Kristol complaining about the “lack of closeness and warmth for Israel” — this kind of sentiment that one often hears expressed by pro-Israel activists always strikes me as crazy and self-destructive.

    How many Italian, Irish, French or German nationalists does one see on the American political scene demanding perpetual assurances of “love” and “warmth” for Italy, Ireland, France or Germany? It doesn’t happen.

    Most human beings (and certainly most Americans) understand that you don’t crowd and harangue ethnic outsiders with emotional demands for emotional expressions of devotion for your ethnic nationalist cause. It’s a huge turnoff. Most Americans are not emotional about their *own* ethnic nationalist identity and interests, not to mention William Kristol’s. But ethno-religious nationalists like Kristol (the meeting occurred at a synagogue) simply can’t help themselves. They demand, with an obsessive-compulsive urgency, total and unstinting loyalty to their narrow cause, which has all the trappings of a tribal cult.

    4. Phil wrote:

    “Deep down, despite all the happy talk about the ‘pro-Israel American public’ they don’t trust the gentiles at all. They probably know that the pro-Israel polling is what it is because these people work day and night to keep them there via political and media pressure.”

    Kristol has good reason to be worried. Every move he makes couldn’t be better calculated to turn most Americans against him and his fellow zealots. One might remember the barrage of hostility that greeted him in online comments at the New York Times during his brief stint there as an op-ed columnist. It is certain that he remembers.

    • seanmcbride
      May 21, 2012, 3:46 pm

      William Kristol is far more emotional about Jewish nationalism than American nationalism. In fact, I don’t think he has the slightest idea of what Americanism is all about. Americanism at its best is rising above narrow ethnic and religious tribalism and building a culture based on universal excellence and trans-ethnic and trans-denominational integration..

      Kristol wallows in ethnic and religious tribalism. He is a neurotic xenophobe who sees ethnic and religious enemies everywhere. One is even tempted to describe him as un-American. He and his fellow true believers have pushed America in a very dangerous and self-destructive direction.

    • Daniel Rich
      May 21, 2012, 7:07 pm

      @ seanmcbride,

      side note:

      Q: And most of them are petulant, often in an infantile way.

      R: And most of them are verbally flatulent in an obtuse senile way. I don’t want to smell thoughts, I wanna hear ‘em.

  11. HarryLaw
    May 21, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Three Muslims in new French Government Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Yamina Benguigui and Kader Arif, now Romneys being too French could have legs, ah well trust the terrorist supporting French, back to freedom fries.

    • lysias
      May 21, 2012, 7:06 pm

      New French cabinet includes three Muslims. Vallaud-Belkacem is Minister for Women’s Rights (a position long missing in French government) as well as government spokesperson, Benguigui (another woman) is Junior Minister for French Nationals Abroad, and Arif (who has been vocal in blaming Israel for French foreign affairs problems, saying Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union was blocked by Israeli actions in Gaza, and who was born in Algiers in 1959 to a harki Algerian Muslim family that remained loyal to France and went into exile from Algeria) is Junior Minister for Veterans.

      Hollande owed it to them.

      French Muslims Give Hollande the Victory:

      Ninety-three percent of French Muslims voted for the Socialist Francois Hollande in the second round of the French presidential election, giving him the margin of victory over Nicolas Sarkozy. That, according to the French website la Vie.

      The final tally had Hollande winning by only 1.13 million votes. An estimated 2 million Muslims voted. So, do the math and Hollande wins, thanks to immigrants from Islamic countries.

      It would be interesting to know what proportion of French Jews voted for Sarkozy.

      By the way, speaking of the war in Algeria and the harkis, I just finished reading an extremely graphic war narrative about that war, Pierre Leuillette’s Saint Michel et le dragon [Saint Michael and the Dragon].

  12. libra
    May 21, 2012, 4:34 pm

    PW: “The only way to beat Kristol is to build a coalition outside the Jewish community, to turn to the realists whom Kristol purged.”

    Phil, are you personally on board for this? Because you will need to step even further outside your own community. And let’s face it some of these realists are easy to smear with the anti-semitism brush, if not the racist brush.

    Indeed, we saw this all too clearly on Mondoweiss earlier in the year when it came to Ron Paul. Then you faltered, though you were positively Paulite when compared with the visceral hatred of the likes of Slater and Ratner. Nevertheless, you gave me the strong impression that you regarded staying onside with these leftist “progressives” as more important. And as the sad departure of Blankfort showed, it wasn’t just a religious issue.

    I think unfortunately your analysis is correct in one respect. The Jewish community in America is not going to use its undoubted influence to change Israel from its current disastrous course. But I’m afraid you have to face the fact that the Jewish success in America that you so often boast about was due above all to a ruthless combination of maintaining Jewish cohesion whilst shattering the cohesion of the rest of America. Now when you want this coalition outside the Jewish community it will be extremely difficult to put an effective one together.

    • Empiricon
      May 21, 2012, 5:47 pm

      “…the Jewish success in America that you so often boast about was due above all to a ruthless combination of maintaining Jewish cohesion whilst shattering the cohesion of the rest of America. ”

      I’ve come to this sad conclusion as well. After WWII, America was forced to open its eyes to anti-Semitism in Europe and at home and slowly began to work to right those wrongs. But I can’t help but feel that, in a classic example of “give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a yard”, we have experienced a real-world version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” within the power structure of our nation. This is simewhat simplsitic, but the old guard Mainline Protestant patricians of the 50s and 60s (who rightfully imposed an arms embargo on Israel) were gradually swept away and Zionism emerged to rule our foreign policy with no room for those who view all people equally (aka “Arabists”).

  13. OlegR
    May 21, 2012, 6:30 pm

    Oh i am so glad that i am not a diaspora Jew
    therefore i don’t have to deal with this
    ” Where is my loyalty ? ”
    ” What will the goyim say ? ”
    bullshit.
    And that constant group paranoia (a justified one if you look at history) the fear that never goes away that no matter how strong and influential the community is the Pogrom is just around the corner.

    You are lucky that you don’t have that in you Phil.
    But you won’t get nowhere with the Jewish community until you cure that
    sense of paranoia.

    /The only way to beat Kristol is to build a coalition outside the Jewish community, to turn to the realists whom Kristol purged/

    That coalition will be seen as antisemitic by the community and will inevitably
    draw real antisemites towards it.
    A self fulfilling prophecy.

  14. atime forpeace
    May 21, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Bill Kristol does a very good Jackie Mason imitation just before the end of that clip.

    Talented fellow isn’t he.

  15. Daniel Rich
    May 21, 2012, 6:55 pm

    I think the only way forward is to drop being Jewish [first] and to concentrate on being human [like everyone else] and stop being/becoming anal when the word Israel is mentioned. I’ve never seen, met and talked to so many intelligent individuals who throw every inch of coherent thinking out of the window the moment I suggest ‘we’re doing something wrong here and the path we’re on is leading nowhere.’ Are we our past or do we want to be/come what mankind truly can be about?

  16. GreatLeo
    May 21, 2012, 10:07 pm

    “[Ben Ami] said the destruction of Palestinian rights was at the top of the agenda wherever Hillary Clinton goes and is hurting the U.S.’ strategic national interest.”

    “Kristol sniggered. He said that it’s a “myth” that the Palestinians are important even to Arab countries.”

    OK, so Kristol implicitly admits that Palestinian rights are being destroyed. But it’s not an issue because Palestinians aren’t important. Kristol is supposed to be an American. “All people are created equal” is the sine qua non of being an American. It shouldn’t matter whether or not the people whose rights are being destroyed are important.

  17. dbroncos
    May 21, 2012, 10:52 pm

    ” Jews are afraid to share our “communal” conversation.”

    Jews I know who are out and proud wrt to their opinions about Israel are among Israel’s most tenacious critics. It seems that the real motives of those Jews who wish to be “more ‘circumspect’ about having this debate” are the ones who’re afraid of what revealing the truth about Israel will mean for the Jewish State and who’re ashamed of associating themselves with Israel’s crimes as supporters of the Jewish State. Charges of antisemitism, when it’s leveled at the like of W&M, is just jibber jabber, and they know it.

    Hiding this conversation from Gentiles is a joke. Even a cursory glance at the headlines or the evening news is enough to get the gist of the special relationship. The bipartisan chorus singing from Israel’s hymnal has been covered, ad nausium, for the last 60 years. However, our fateful allegiance to the Jewish State doesn’t register any passion with most Americans because the COST of supporting Israel hasn’t been spelled out. That’s going to change. The 9-11 Commission report and The Israel Lobby provided some of the first historical accounts of what lead up to 9-11 and the wars we waged as a result. Those books only devoted a few sentences to the motives of Osama and to the anti American sentiments in the Arab and Muslim world and beyond, which are primarily a result of our support for Israel. There will be more to come, much more, on those subjects. 9-11 was the most infamous act of terrorism against American citizens, but it was preceded by many others. Hisorians of the future who attempt to understand our enemies in the “war on terror” should preceed a discussion of Osama and Al Qaeda with with an anlysis of Sirhan Sirhan, Abu Nidal, Imad Mugniah, Ramzi Yousef and Muammar Gaddafi who were all motivated to kill American citizens because of our support for Isreal. Exposing this history will help Americans understand better the “why 9-11?” Or the “why Iraq.” Or the “why Iran?” Historians will remember “They hate us cuz we’re free” only as subterfuge.

  18. flyod
    May 29, 2012, 12:19 pm
  19. munro
    January 10, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Buchanan on Philip Weiss, Bill Kristol and Arabists. Fun to read post Hagel nomination.

    link to townhall.com

    “The big story in the Republican Party over the last 30 years, and I’m very happy about this,” said Kristol, is the “eclipsing” of the George H.W. Bush-James Baker-Brent Scowcroft realists, “an Arabist old-fashioned Republican Party … very concerned about relations with Arab states that were not friendly with Israel … .”

    That Bush crowd is yesterday, said Kristol. And not only had the “Arabists” like President Bush been shoved aside by the neocons, the “Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul type” of Republican has been purged.

    “At B’nai Jeshurun,” writes Weiss, “Kristol admitted to playing a role in expelling members of the Republican Party he does not agree with.” These are Republicans you had to “repudiate,” said Kristol, people “of whom I disapprove so much that I won’t appear with them.”

    “I’ve encouraged that they be expelled or not welcomed into the Republican Party. I’d be happy if Ron Paul left. I was very happy when Pat Buchanan was allowed — really encouraged … by George Bush … to go off and run as a third-party candidate.”

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