Blacklist: 4 Israel critics have now been purged from Democratic Party-linked orgs

Israel/Palestine
on 60 Comments
Last week’s announcement that Ali Gharib was going to work at the Daily Beast means that four writers have now left Democratic-Party-linked thinktanks in the months since neoconservatives launched a smear campaign against these writers for being critical of Israel.
Gharib had made the terrible mistake while at the Center for American Progress (which has close links to the Democratic Party) of calling Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk the senator from AIPAC and mocking him for the idea that he should care about “*anyone* other than Israel.” 
The others purged: 
–Zaid Jilani left CAP last winter for Republicreport. Jilani had used the term “Israel firster.” 
–MJ Rosenberg also used the term “Israel firster.” He left Media Matters last spring, not long after Alan Dershowitz said he was going to Obama to make sure 
Rosenberg’s head was displayed on the White House fence. Rosenberg now has his own blog.
–Eli Clifton left CAP earlier this summer. He now works at the American Independent News Network. Clifton is notable for this genius post of last summer saying that AIPAC’s push for war on Iran mirrored its conduct leading up to the Iraq war. CAP issued a lengthy correction of that post after the neocon campaign was launched, four months after it was published.
–Now Gharib. Gharib duly apologized for his remarks (calling them flippant and crude), but he seemed to be operating with a muzzle after the neocon campaign began. (Just look at his output at Open Zion in the last week, including this important piece saying the Jerusalem platform fight is a fight between Romney and Obama for Jewish money.)
So: the blacklist worked.
Only Matt Duss among those named in the original smear campaign of last November is still in his job at the Center for American Progress.
I find it shocking that no one has written about this important story. No; Israel lobby beheadings are common. Move along now.
I can only hope that Peter Beinart and Gharib tell their readers what’s going on. And though all these writers are my friends, indeed I regard them as the bright future of foreign-policy journalism, the only one of them I could get a comment from was MJ Rosenberg
There is no issue like the Israel issue on which deviation from the line will likely get you fired unless you are big enough, like Tom Friedman, that you are untouchable. Look at Congressional Democrats like Al Franken and Barbara Boxer pretending to be Likud zealots out of fear. (The Republicans don’t have to fake it! ) Look at MSNBC which never even mentions the lobby that is  controlling US Mideast policy– with the great exception of Chris Hayes the other night at DNC. Look at the big name bloggers with the exceptions of Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan.
Not even the NRA exerts this kind of control and, in any case, it represents a domestic not a foreign issue. The good news is this. The lobby is terrified by us. That is why the Israel Firster meme caused them to go into purge overdrive. 

But it’s too late. We have succeeded in making them self conscious and nervous. And it has affected the drive to war with Iran because they know that this time there will be no argument about who coerced us into war. Everyone knows it is them.

As Rosenberg says, the heart of the matter here is that he, Gharib, Jilani and Clifton all had the temerity to question the Israel lobby’s role in pushing a war. Joe Klein also used the verboten term “Israel Firster” because it expresses an important idea– this war is not in the American people’s interest.
And let’s be clear about the partisan political element of this blacklist: neoconservatives set up a guillotine inside the Democratic Party, and the Dems brought the suspects up to the platform.
Just as the Democrats are now trying to run to the right of Romney on Israel/Palestine. It’s tragic.
Last spring neocon Bill Kristol, who participated in this smearfest, bragged that he had purged the Republican Party of “Arabists” and “realists” back in the 1990s. The same thing seems to be happening to the Democratic Party — even as the rank and file of the party rebel at the orders, to judge from the floor’s angry reaction to the Jerusalem plank last week at the Democratic convention. 
Now here’s the backstory, in case you’ve forgotten it.
As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling, like ‘Israel Firster or ‘Likudnik’, and policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel, or suggests that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has no place in the mainstream Democratic party discourse. I also believe that when it occurs, progressive institutions, have a responsibility not to tolerate such speech or arguments

Block paid for the campaign by losing a job of his own– he had to resign from a thinktank because of his tactics. (Though he keeps landing on his feet; he is now head of the rightwing Israel Project.) His smear campaign was soon joined by Commentary magazine and Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel, which published a full-page ad in the New York Times attacking the Center for American Progress as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

After that Block’s antisemitism charge was echoed by another “liberal” Democrat, Spencer Ackerman in Tablet.

In February Alan Dershowitz said that Media Matters should fire MJ Rosenberg, and he was going to the president about it.

“I don’t know whether President Obama has any idea that Media Matters has turned the corner against Israel in this way,” he said. “I can tell you this, he will know very shortly because I am beginning a serious campaign on this issue and I will not let it drop until and unless Rosenberg is fired from Media Matters, or Media Matters changes its policy or the White House disassociates itself from Media Matters.”
Andrew Sullivan denounced the effort to blacklist Israel’s critics. So did The New Yorker and writer Connie Bruck, who took the bloggers’ side in March:

First, in a full-page ad in the New York Times—featuring an image of a particularly malevolent-looking wolf, attired in a suit and tie, and holding a sheep mask—E.C.I. attacked two liberal advocacy organizations, the Center for American Progress (closely aligned with the White House) and Media Matters. It quoted the American Jewish Committee; the Anti-Defamation League; Alan Dershowitz, of Harvard Law School; and others, denouncing the groups’ work as anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic. Listing some of CAP’s and Media Matters’ donors, and their phone numbers, E.C.I. demanded, “Call these foundations and ask them: Why are you funding bigotry and anti-Israel extremism?”

Ms Bruck, time to follow that up!

About Philip Weiss

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

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60 Responses

  1. Krauss
    September 10, 2012, 11:10 am

    Great piece of journalism, Phil.

    There are very, very clear echoes of the early nineties but when it came to conservatives. As Kristol alluded to, he and his friends(like David Frum, who these days try to pretend to be a wounded moderate wanting a sensible GOP, instead of the extremism we have today, an extremism he worked overtime to bring about) purged significant numbers of paleoconservative writers.

    Some of them were clearly reactionary, but that isn’t the point. The point is that their reactionary politics had the wrong angle. On issue after issue, various pretexts were being trumped out but there was a common thread: they weren’t buying the Likudnik line. Back then, William Buckley was the useful tool of the neocons, doing their dirty work.

    This time, there is no such easy tool. Sure, Podesta is spineless, but he isn’t eager about this. Second, the radicalism of the Likudniks today are far more clearer. It isn’t as theoretical as it was back then, the Oslo sham process had just begun.

    Today we know what happened – settlements increased by a record amount – and the 2SS is all but dead. Second, even if those conservatives were paleocons, they weren’t exactly human rights activists. They were moderate realists, concerned with the welfare of the U.S, rather than Israel and didn’t buy the propaganda line of “idenitcal interests”(they were too smart to fall for that obvious crap).

    Today, you have not only moderates but genuine liberals. People who aren’t only mostly looking out for the U.S. but want a just and peaceful solution for it’s own sake.
    Because it is the liberal position.

    And these people know who the true liberals are – and it sure hell ain’t Spencer Ackerman, Dershowitz, Goldberg and their neocon alliance with Kristol and the other Likudniks.
    Despite a few tactical noises employed, when it chips are down, you know which side they are going to take and sure enough, they lined up exactly how we thought – together with the neocons.

    The second part is that the internet allows people to stay relevant, MJ is a case in point. People read him because he’s smart and he knows those people. You can’t quote him, he’s too toxic for that, but people do read him.

    The campaigns are very similar in structure. The neocons(who are in both parties and draw considerable support from ‘liberal’ organizations like the ADL – which never bats an eye to support Christian fundies if they are pro-Likudniks – and other mainstream Jewish organizations) never believed in open discussion.

    They never have. They may have rejected the Stalinist left’s politics but they never forgot to use the Stalinist methods of silencing dissent.

    I don’t think it will work this time around for the reasons stated above, Israel is today much further along the Apartheid line and it’s very hard to protect Apartheid in the name of anti-Semitism; the counter-question becomes obvious: are Jews and Apartheid naturals together? If no, then why do you treat it like that?

    This time they’re forced to rely more on brutal power, donor power and organizational heft. It can carry them some way, but something that has changed now is the soft alliance between realists(from both parties) and the left on foreign policy and especially on I/P.

    You have a good chunk of writers from the Atlantic writing on Israel as it is(the Atlantic was always too WASPish to follow the Likudnik line, is that partly of the reason why Goldberg diversified to Bloomberg?). You have people from the National Interest writing about Israel as it is. The American Conservative mag, still on the margins, but less so among the young.

    It’s a broader coalition. The targets may be specific, but the sentiment around Israel, it’s obvious Apartheid(just today the government officially approved Ariel University and cemented it further) is simply too large an issue to hide.

    The RNC never had a moment like the DNC had last week.
    This time, there are simply too many targets to shoot.
    And the fortress to defend is uglier than ever – with no improvement in sight for embattled.

    • lysias
      September 10, 2012, 2:18 pm

      Back then, William Buckley was the useful tool of the neocons, doing their dirty work.

      Did Buckley do this because of his association with the CIA?

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2012, 2:52 pm

        Other possibilities: blackmail, bribery, financial manipulation, psychological manipulation, social manipulation, etc.

        Another possibility: Buckley thought the neocons would be a useful tool and ended up becoming their tool — he miscalculated the power balance.

        In any case, the neocons invaded and infiltrated National Review and now totally dominate it. National Review, like the Washington Post, is a propaganda arm of the Israeli government and Likud.

      • Krauss
        September 10, 2012, 3:11 pm

        Buckley did it for much more selfish reasons than fear or blackmail; that would imply a man with principles but who is under duress.

        The story of William F. Buckley is far more banal and mundane, I’m afraid. But the conspiracy theory of a man with great secrets is more appealing; I’ll grant you that much.

        In the end, we have to view Buckley the same way we have to see Henry “Scoop” Jackson; political henchmen serving higher interests. Both were favourites of the neocons for similar reasons.

  2. Annie Robbins
    September 10, 2012, 11:23 am

    grrrreat post phil

  3. seanmcbride
    September 10, 2012, 11:50 am

    It’s a political disaster for Israel, and for American Jews, that controversies over Israeli politics have escalated to this level of noisiness and ugliness in American politics. It will be all downhill from here for the Israel lobby, which needs to operate entirely in the shadows to survive.

    Alan Dershowitz and William Kristol bragging, boasting and gloating before the entire world about the power of the Israel lobby to crush its political opponents strikes one as being quite mad. Pro-Israel militants, as they have become increasingly strident and shrill, have gradually lost their bearings and situational awareness.

    If the American Jewish community doesn’t cut loose from the Israel lobby, the Israel lobby will severely damage the American Jewish community.

    • tear-stained uzi
      September 10, 2012, 11:18 pm

      “…the Israel lobby, which needs to operate entirely in the shadows to survive.

      Alan Dershowitz and William Kristol bragging, boasting and gloating before the entire world about the power of the Israel lobby to crush its political opponents…”

      This parallels the recent stunningly hubristic behavior of the ‘triumphant’ settlers. First, Dani Dayan in the NY Times (“Worldly and Pragmatic,” says Jodi Rudoren) and now this new one in Ynet (WARNING: People with high blood pressure: consult your doctor before reading this.)

      Israel is just one giant, smug gloatfest now, as it begins circling — faster and faster –the porcelain bowl.

  4. American
    September 10, 2012, 11:54 am

    Good putting together Phil.
    Now why doesn’t the Media corner of Garfield and Gladstone on NRP do this story….like to see a media interviewing of the character assassins and their victims re journalism and the media.

  5. American
    September 10, 2012, 12:06 pm

    If Dershowitz, Block, Kristol and the rest of the rest of the gang go ballistic over the I-Firster designation wonder how they’re gonna like being designated Anti- American.
    The Neos and Zios are Anti American– censorship, war, torture, empire, I-First, racism, elitness– all of it Anti American.

    Obama needs to kick it up a notch and introduce ‘ Anti American’ into the debate, put it into play against Romney and the zio -neos, so we can have that national conversation about what America is suppose to be and what it’s real interest are.

    • seanmcbride
      September 10, 2012, 12:40 pm

      American,

      Some of the ways in which pro-Israel militants like William Kristol are anti-American:

      1. anti-civil liberties
      2. anti-conservatism
      3. anti-due process
      4. anti-foreign policy realism
      5. anti-free speech
      6. anti-government and corporate accountability
      7. anti-government and corporate transparency
      8. anti-liberalism
      9. anti-privacy rights
      10. anti-tolerance
      11. anti-US Bill of Rights
      12. anti-US Constitution
      13. pro-apartheid
      14. pro-assassinations
      15. pro-censorship
      16. pro-collective punishment
      17. pro-ethnic cleansing
      18. pro-ethnic nationalism
      19. pro-ethnocracy
      20. pro-hate speech
      21. pro-police state methods
      22. pro-racism
      23. pro-radical wealth inequality
      24. pro-religious fanaticism
      25. pro-religious nationalism
      26. pro-segregation
      27. pro-state terrorism
      28. pro-theocracy
      29. pro-torture
      30. pro-warrantless wiretaps

      And of course they are the ringleaders of endless bankrupting foreign wars on behalf of Greater Israel that greatly injure the American interest.

      • Kathleen
        September 10, 2012, 1:53 pm

        anti health care for all
        Kristol led the attack against Hillary care

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2012, 2:53 pm

        anti-health care
        anti-environment
        anti-rule of law

    • seanmcbride
      September 10, 2012, 2:07 pm

      American,

      Check out:

      BEGIN ARTICLE
      TITLE How We Became Israel
      AUTHOR Andrew J. Bacevich
      PUBLICATION The American Conservative
      DATE September 10, 2012
      URL http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-we-became-israel/#
      COMMENT author=entre nous
      Most Americans still consider torture, assassination, indefinite detention and mass surveillance to be not just repugnant but deeply un-American.

      Working through neoconservative intellectuals and other agents of influence, Israel clearly intends to hurry us on from the residual republican, Christian America that condemned such practices, to the post-Christian, post-moral empire that they believe is required for the defense of Israel. It is also very important to them that if Israel does it, then we must do it also, so that we cannot say “we would not do that; we are better than that”. And so we are groomed, accustomed to doing things that would have aroused disgust and contempt in our forefathers.
      END ARTICLE

      • American
        September 10, 2012, 4:15 pm

        @ sean

        Link doesn’t work…something going on at TAC site..but here is cache page if anyone wants to read it..

        http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-we-became-israel/

        ”What’s hard to figure out is why the United States would choose to follow Israel’s path.
        The process of aligning U.S. national-security practice with Israeli precedents is now essentially complete. Their habits are ours. Reversing that process would require stores of courage and imagination that may no longer exist in Washington. Given the reigning domestic political climate, those holding or seeking positions of power find it easier—and less risky—to stay the course, vainly nursing the hope that by killing enough “terrorists” peace on terms of our choosing will result. Here too the United States has succumbed to Israeli illusions.”

        Although I don’t know why he bothers to ask why or how the US got “Israelified”. …he knows how, he just doesn’t want to make a point about it I guess.

      • piotr
        September 10, 2012, 10:34 pm

        It is not like the naive American virgin was seduced by “national-security practice” from “Israeli precedents”. Read about School of Americas, this is pretty serious stuff. Now USA is preoccupied with “Islamic terrorists”, before it was Latin American leftists. The main difference is that we cannot outsource as much to death squads anymore (who got some training in School of Americas). So we have this cultural strain that allows to ponder on a religious TV show “why we can’t simply assassinate Hugo Chavez?” What would Christ do to secure oil supply? http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-08-22-robertson-_x.htm

        And exactly same Christian clergy forms the core of “Christian Zionists”. Are these people at the margin, like skinheads, or smack in the middle of Establishment?

        It is true that USA has a Constitution and some cult of Founding Fathers, and they have some tempering efffect. But while nobody will say outright loudly that Founding Fathers were well meaning idiots, in effect this is the popular sentiment: inalienable rights of ALL people? even terists? You can’t be serious!.

      • piotr
        September 10, 2012, 10:53 pm

        I just wonder, and perhaps someone can investigate that: you can survive in outfits like CAP while criticizing US “bipartisan policies” like assassinations and killing with drones, but not while criticizing Israel? Or serious critiques must find platforms that are not related to either of the major parties, like personally run blogs or columns in non-traditional media like Salon Magazine?

      • tear-stained uzi
        September 10, 2012, 11:55 pm

        Thanks for posting this. Bacevich is always a good read. A smart realist/paleo-con who really soured on American imperial adventurism after his son was killed in Iraq.

        The Israelification of the US means that we no longer “speak softly and carry a big stick.”

        Instead, like the Zionist State, we shriek loudly and act like a big dick.

  6. Kathleen
    September 10, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Phil/Annie you are going to be very interested in the last hour of the Diane Rehm show focused on Israeli perspectives on Iran like our MSM is not always sharing Israel and the I lobbies focus on Iran we need another whole hour. Diane allowed one inaccuracy after the next to be repeated. Read the comments and facebook comments. The Rehm team continuing to do their part in normalizing an attack on Iran based on unsubstantiated claims. When will they have a truly opposing views on this issue as well as helping the American public to become far more educated on the issue based on facts? By having the Leveretts on the program. When. Diane said some very pathetic things like” If Israel has nuclear weapons” What a kiss ass she has turned out to be

    • American
      September 10, 2012, 1:44 pm

      I just made a polite comment over there. However I did call Rehm Anti- American for constantly promoting the one sided Israeli war propaganda to the US listening public.
      Probably won’t stay up long..:)

      • Kathleen
        September 10, 2012, 2:52 pm

        the truth. Hope you will contact them and ask them to have the Leveretts on. Great interview with Flynt over at Race for Iran. Clear and concrete. Unlike the inflammatory rhetoric Diane allowed to be repeated on her program about Iran. She is helping set the stage for an attack. Normalizing the demonization of Iran. No challenges just goes along

    • Kathleen
      September 10, 2012, 1:52 pm

      Really something how the Diane Rehm show’s title was “Israeli Perspectives on Iran” as if Americans hear any other perspective on Iran in our MSM. The Rehm show has been continually getting worse by promoting the normalization of an attack on Iran. Their were no opposing views on this program. Just opinions on when not if

      • chinese box
        September 10, 2012, 2:57 pm

        Thanks for letting us know what’s going on out there Kathleen, but I’m not sure why you continually torture yourself by listening to crap like NPR, Rachel Maddow, etc.

      • Kathleen
        September 10, 2012, 3:42 pm

        We have to know where, when, why and by who these falsehoods are being repeated. And apply pressure to stop this very dangerous rhetoric. We are talking about lives on the line

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2012, 3:47 pm

        I found that I became much better informed about the world after I stopped watching ALL cable TV news a decade ago. Cable TV news is intolerable. I can scan and absorb much more high-quality information on the Internet in an hour (especially using smart news readers like Prismatic and My6sense) than I can watching cable TV news for a month.

        Rachel Maddow is what passes for an independent and skeptical mind on cable TV news. Hilarious.

      • Kathleen
        September 10, 2012, 6:05 pm

        Hound and pound the warmongers where ever they go and whenever they repeat unsubstantiated claims. Hammer them as well as the host who have them on and often like Diane did today allow them to get away unchallenged. Again this is not the first time Diane has allowed this type of warmongering to go on her program unchallenged. And it more than likely will not be the last. Shine the light

      • marc b.
        September 11, 2012, 8:45 am

        I found that I became much better informed about the world after I stopped watching ALL cable TV news a decade ago. Cable TV news is intolerable.

        there was a study some time back that found that factual knowledge of events surrounding the first gulf war (i believe) was negatively correlated with the number of TV news hours watched. (i think got that right) iow, the more TV ‘news’ ingested, the less you knew. this would seem to be the case with most issues, as a significant number of americans still believe that sadaam hussein had something to do with 9-11, or, and this is just friggin’ depressing, the recent poll in which 6% of persons polled believe that romney had more to do with the death of bin laden than BHO, which is probably the result of some psychopathological ‘bounce’ from televised BHO is a muslim rhetoric. (just as depressing is the 31% who are ‘not sure’ if romney had more to do with the death of bin laden than the sitting president. yes, i am assuming that BL was assassinated in 2011 for the sake of argument, although even my pre-teen doesn’t believe that.)

        http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_OH_9912.pdf

      • manfromatlan
        September 11, 2012, 5:41 pm

        Your pre-teen is very wise, marcb. OBL was in the advanced stages of kidney failure in 2001, and the ghost they show looking at the TV in Abbotabad looks nothing like him.

        Funny how not producing a body leads to ‘conspiracy theories’, eh?

  7. gracie fr
    September 10, 2012, 1:05 pm

    More under belly dirt…
    “Anti-Islam groups in America have provided financial support to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an anti-immigration campaigner who is seeking re-election to the Dutch parliament this week”
    …. And who might that be? Noneother than Daniel Pipes and his sidekick David Horowitz
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/10/us-dutch-wilders-us-idUSBRE8890A720120910

  8. marc b.
    September 10, 2012, 1:51 pm

    There is no issue like the Israel issue on which deviation from the line will likely get you fired unless you are big enough, like Tom Friedman, that you are untouchable.

    is that it? friedman’s too big to fail. or is it that his trained nose for the *ss of authority seemlessly led him to serve in some other capacity after he was thoroughly discredited on matters of ME politics? he is now an expert on the environment and the economy, no small issues, but thankfully for friedman there is an internet’s worth of material to crib from. (i am personally grateful for his recent series of articles on technology and education where i’ve learned that it is important to be able to ‘adapt’ to a rapidly changing work force, and that robots will eliminate jobs, just as the PC did . . .. that’s quite a hypothetical limb to step onto in 2012, but our nostradamus is a naturally fearless prognosticator.)

  9. Kathleen
    September 10, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Flynt Leverett has a great interview up about Israel/Iran/U.S. over at Race for Iran

  10. seanmcbride
    September 10, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Definition of “Israel Firster”: someone who is more preoccupied with the Israeli interest than with any other issue. Many pro-Israel activists (not all) are obviously Israel Firsters.

    How to spot Israel Firsters? Content analyze their public writings — how much attention do they pay to promoting the Israeli interest and attacking Israel’s enemies compared to discussing other issues?

    Jeffrey Goldberg, William Kristol and Alan Dershowitz, for instance, are clear-cut Israel Firsters — they leave no room for doubt on the matter. And for them it is all a matter of ethnic self-interest — the larger public good plays little role in their political calculations.

    • pipistro
      September 10, 2012, 2:39 pm

      I wrote that being he a lawyer, Dersh has to be of course – so to say – a professional liar. And maybe he’s even proud of that. Moreover, that as legal counselor he makes his job, and he’s capable of advocating any crap in order to defend his case, whatever.

      But I must say that as tenacious slanderer, he is even better. A first prize firster. So, irrational, unworthy of trust. Pure garbage on the net and anywhere.

      Recalling Norman Finkelstein when the latter was trying to get his tenure, his argue – against full evidence – he did not try to influence Schwarzenegger was even laughable.

      Insofar as he is a famed lawyer, though, and people are well aware of any legal trickery, it is amazing the fact he’s able to talk in public (let alone look at himself in the mirror) without blushing to death.

  11. ColinWright
    September 10, 2012, 2:29 pm

    “… Barbara Boxer pretending to be Likud zealots out of fear…”

    …Barbara Boxer being one of my senators.

    I suppose it’s some consolation that she’s faking it. Is it?

    • tear-stained uzi
      September 11, 2012, 12:08 am

      She used to be mine, and I never got the impression it was fake. Like Feinstein — two zio-peas in a pod…

      But maybe MJ speaks the truth. As you imply, though, it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of difference — not as long as they’re all afraid to stop faking it.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 3:00 pm

        tear-stained uzi says: “…Like Feinstein — two zio-peas in a pod…”

        Actually, both failed to vote for or sign or whatever that last ‘let’s bomb Iran’ resolution or letter. I wasn’t surprised that Feinstein refused; it was a pleasant surprise — and perhaps a straw in the wind — that Boxer refused as well.

        While I don’t pretend to follow domestic politics with rapt fascination, Boxer has always struck me as a twit, while Feinstein has exactly the sort of sense of responsibility for her actions that we could use more of among politicians today. I don’t necessarily agree with her specific views — particularly on Israel — but she’s an example of a species we could use more of.

    • rws450
      September 11, 2012, 12:35 am

      Its questionable that she is “faking it”. Zunes had a good article detailing Barbara Boxer’s horrible record on foreign policy and not just the Middle East.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/a-progressive-hero-time-t_b_770509.html

      Most Californians have no idea her foreign policy votes are so bad.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 3:03 pm

        rws450 says: “Its questionable that she is “faking it”. Zunes had a good article detailing Barbara Boxer’s horrible record on foreign policy and not just the Middle East.

        link to huffingtonpost.com

        Most Californians have no idea her foreign policy votes are so bad.”

        I imagine Boxer diligently does what is in her political best interest. That’s precisely why her refusing to participate in the last exercise in ‘let’s get Iran’ was so significant.

        When it is no longer politically advantageous for American politicians to support Israel, Israel will be over.

  12. lysias
    September 10, 2012, 2:37 pm

    OT, plenty of speculation about the murder of the Iraqi/British family in the Swiss Alps up on Craig Murray’s Web site: The Al Hilli Conundrum. The predominant view among the commenters seems to be that it was the Mossad.

    • Bumblebye
      September 10, 2012, 2:45 pm

      I’ll go read that. Must admit my thoughts went that direction too. Engineer, satellite company, etc. Seems too professionally carried out to be the ‘family’ element.

    • marc b.
      September 10, 2012, 2:53 pm

      i don’t know if you remember, but there was a woman, a swiss national i believe, who was a nuclear engineer and wound up dead somewhere in switzerland or s.germany under similar circumstances back in the early 90s. i tried doing a search on lemonde where i think i saw the story originally, but no luck.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 10, 2012, 3:08 pm

      omg i am going to be so glued to that for awhile. thank you lysias

    • lysias
      September 10, 2012, 3:40 pm

      Correction: the murder was in the French Alps.

  13. American
    September 10, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Semi related–

    http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/10/clinton-us-not-setting-deadlines-for-iran/

    Clinton: US ‘Not Setting Deadlines’ for Iran
    Israeli war hawks seem to have buckled to a firm US position of favoring talks and sanctions over military action

    However, since it appears I-firster aren’t going to be able to push the US into a military attack on Iran — a slow starvation and regime change is the next best thing according to the democrats.
    Press full of news of Dem leaders demanding another third round of ‘crippling’ sanctions on Iran.

    Perhaps enough of the world is tired enough of ISR’merica to ignore many of the sanctions…as some are already doing.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 10, 2012, 3:10 pm

      Clinton: US ‘Not Setting Deadlines’ for Iran

      american, i just happened to post this on another thread w/wapo link

      http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/haaretz-columnist-gets-to-talk-about-dual-loyalty-and-israel-dragging-us-into-war.html/comment-page-1#comment-496394

      • American
        September 10, 2012, 3:39 pm

        @ annie

        o.k. didn’t see it before.

      • ColinWright
        September 10, 2012, 3:45 pm

        Annie says: “american, i just happened to post this on another thread w/wapo link “

        My — and so did I.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/iranpalestine-keep-your-eye-on-the-ball.html#comment-496260

        I realize this ‘long-lost twin’ thing might make you nervous — but were you adopted?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 10, 2012, 8:24 pm

        no i wasn’t colin and i share the same blue eyes with all my siblings and we all have the same speaking voice so i’m pretty sure i know from whence i came.

        but hey! were you? maybe my parents they left another by the side of the road. we were a handful.

      • ColinWright
        September 10, 2012, 9:36 pm

        Annie says: “…but hey! were you? maybe my parents they left another by the side of the road. we were a handful.”

        It’s possible, I suppose. The ‘handful’ bit fits. I ran into a former baby-sitter of mine — and the memory still made her shiver. That would have been forty years or so after the fact.

    • seanmcbride
      September 10, 2012, 3:42 pm

      The sanctions are a total waste of time. It is amazing that the American government has permitted the Israeli government to get Americans bogged down in this nonsense.

      Iran has every right to develop any technology that Israel has developed in any sphere, and it is absurd to pretend otherwise.

      At some point, Americans are going to grow weary of listening to the Israel lobby dictate to them whom to hate, punish, cripple, torture, kill, starve to death, annihilate, etc.

      We need to get refocused on rebuilding our own nation and reestablishing the values of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need to recover an America-centric (and global) outlook on the world, and free ourselves of the Israel lobby. Supporting apartheid states driven by ethno-religious nationalist messianism is a losing proposition in the contemporary world.

    • marc b.
      September 10, 2012, 3:49 pm

      this will be interesting american, since iran is not iraq, and the US does not have the same relative power it had when madeline albright was okay with starving iraqi infants to death. see this on asian interest in iranian oil:

      http://india.nydailynews.com/newsarticle/504de71cee412b141e000002/iran-finds-ways-around-sanctions-targeting-oil-sales

    • tear-stained uzi
      September 11, 2012, 12:18 am

      “…since it appears I-firster aren’t going to be able to push the US into a military attack on Iran — a slow starvation and regime change is the next best thing…” — American

      Funny coincidence, but Netanyahu’s got his heart set on regime change, too.

      — Oh, were you talking about Iran?

  14. MRW
    September 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Time to get a little angrier, Phil. So far it’s been reportage, and bringing out the facts. The results of these actions are apparent. But what is not are the consequences down the road. Think about them.

  15. Ellen
    September 10, 2012, 7:26 pm

    This is sort of related: How we became Israel by Peter Bachevich in todays “American Conservative.”
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-we-became-israel/

    The process of aligning U.S. national-security practice with Israeli precedents is now essentially complete. Their habits are ours. Reversing that process would require stores of courage and imagination that may no longer exist in Washington. Given the reigning domestic political climate, those holding or seeking positions of power find it easier—and less risky—to stay the course, vainly nursing the hope that by killing enough “terrorists” peace on terms of our choosing will result. Here too the United States has succumbed to Israeli illusions.

    Party functionaries and those in the media operate in their own echo chamber. Those who do not echo along are purged. But slowly, ever so slowly, Americans “get it” and are suspicious of their own leaders following Israel über alles as it brings us all down.

    In the end, maybe there is simply too much money involved to keep this conflict going. The most powerful and richest families in Israel are in the business of weapons. Take away war and conflict and fear and what is there to keep an essentially multi cultural society together? In this way, the US and Israel are so very similar.

  16. thetumta
    September 10, 2012, 9:15 pm

    Ah, but retribution could be sweet! They’re stepping up finally and you’re documenting it. Which put’s you in a dangerous position as it unravels. This will not end in a debate and there will be serious collateral damage. “Their habits are ours”, not at all, our leadership is compromised by massive bribes and they’ve mastered it. Nothing could be clearer after the Demo\Republican beauty pageants. If you think you can reform this situation through debate, go plant some flowers. A better use of your time.
    Hej! Tumta

  17. manfromatlan
    September 11, 2012, 11:08 am

    It isn’t just the two main parties that have been purged, or the news departments in mainstream media, but the State Department. A series of articles in The Atlantic and other media in the 80’s and 90’s led to a purge of ‘Arabists’ in the State Department. So long time career diplomats with unique experience of the Middle East were replaced by people best qualified as blindly loyal to Israel or too scared to speak up.

    I can see why.

  18. sardelapasti
    September 11, 2012, 1:26 pm

    “4 Israel critics have now been purged from Democratic Party-linked orgs”

    Right, and any of you who in the face of all the evidence still continue to vote one or the other power party are complicit.
    Repeat: by voting “Democrat” all you do is voting Likud and AIPAC. Period.

    “Not even the NRA exerts this kind of control”
    Of course not. The NRA is not supported 100% by the “Democratic” dictatorship party, with the complicity of anyone who votes for it.

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