Israeli ambassador Michael Oren gets hero’s welcome in liberal enclave of Brooklyn

Oren Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren (center) poses with Rabbi Andy Bachman, on the right. (Photo: Alex Kane)

Last night, Congregation Beth Elohim seemed to leave its grounded place in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and zoomed its way into another universe. The universe of Michael Oren, that is–a place where Israel can do no wrong.

It was a jarring contrast for me. Just two weeks ago, I attended the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, where I listened to testimony of the daily indignities that Palestinians suffer under the yoke of Israeli occupation and apartheid. But if you were to live in Michael Oren’s universe, you wouldn’t know that an occupation even existed.

The tall and lanky New Jersey-born Israeli ambassador to the United States spoke to a packed house at Congregation Beth Elohim, a historic Reform synagogue with a politically active rabbi. The crowd was mixed, but trended middle-aged and older, though young folks were certainly there as well. Oren was flanked on both sides by flags: stage right was the Israeli flag, and stage left the American one. It was a fitting atmosphere for Oren, who was born in the United States and immigrated to Israel in the 1970s, and served in the Israeli Defense Forces when they invaded Lebanon.

A small group of protesters standing outside in the rain attempted to insert some reality into the night, but the message didn’t enter the shul.

The talk, titled “Israel: Achievements, Threats and Beyond,” was wide-ranging but not very deep. You could tell Oren’s given the speech before. The event was sponsored by a host of organizations, ranging from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York to other Brooklyn synagogues. Also sponsoring the talk was J Street–the rapprochement between Oren and the liberal Zionist lobby group completed. Throughout the talk, Oren painted a picture of a blameless Israel, where a belligerent occupation, radical and racist settlers and the crippling blockade on Gaza didn’t exist.

Rabbi Andy Bachman opened the night by giving Oren a t-shirt with the word “Brooklyn” emblazoned on it and went on to thank the Jewish Community Relations Council for its efforts to defeat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) drive at the Park Slope Food Co-op.

“Having the ambassador here is an honor,” said Bachman, who later explained to an attendee that it took a two-year long lobbying effort to bring Oren there. Bachman is a well-known liberal Zionist rabbi who is vehemently against the BDS movement. He was one of the signatories to a letter from Brooklyn rabbis that denounced the boycott of Ahava products, which are made in illegal West Bank settlements.

Bachman then gave way to the star attraction: Michael Oren, who received a large round of applause as he took to the podium as the inscription “Love thy neighbor as thyself” shimmered above him.

He began his talk with an exhaustive list of Israeli achievements, from touting the fact that Arabs serve in the Knesset to hailing Tel Aviv’s status as a gay haven. Oren also spoke glowingly of the Israeli doctors who rushed to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. And of course, the alleged threat from Iran was played up.

But before long, Oren’s stump speech was over, and the night gave way to what the synagogue promised was a “substantial” question and answer session. Congregation Beth Elohim overpromised, though.

Bachman gushed over Oren and Israel throughout the discussion. Bachman may be a liberal Zionist who acknowledges Palestinians, but when given the opportunity to really question a man with some power and influence in Israel and the U.S., he balked.

“We have a responsibility to strive for peace,” said Oren, in response to a question from Bachman about the stalled peace process. The Israeli ambassador then played up his relations with Palestinian officials in Washington, adding that he attends American Task Force on Palestine events. “We hope that our Palestinian neighbors accept their responsibility to make peace,” he added.

Oren downplayed the impact of settlements on the negotiations process, saying that they only constitute 2 percent of the West Bank. This is true, but wholly misleading, which Oren was throughout the night. According to B’Tselem, settlements “control 42 percent of the land area of the West Bank.” The 42 percent number comes from not only the physical construction of settlements but the entire settlement apparatus, which includes the area of their jurisdiction. In other words, the area the settlements control reach far beyond their physical limitations.

The one topic where there was some dispute between Bachman and Oren was over the issue of African migrants in Israel. Oren praised how Israel treated them, relaying how he went down to the border and saw the IDF’s state of the art facility for holding African migrants. Bachman referred to the Africans in Israel as “refugees,” but not before Oren pushed back hard. Oren claimed that only 2% of the Africans in Israel were refugees, with the rest looking for work. Oren also said that “about 40 percent of them are Muslim, which creates a security concern for us,” as The Daily Beast‘s Open Zion blog reported.

Bachman also brought up the Arab Spring and what it means for Israel. “There is a situation in the Middle East that’s not conducive to peace,” said Oren, noting the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, cold relations with Turkey and Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran came up in the question and answer session, too. An audience member’s question that Bachman picked from an index card read, “can Israel defeat Iran without the U.S.?” Oren answered it by saying that “nobody is talking about defeating Iran,” but that Israel needed to “defend itself.” Israel bears “no animus” towards the people of Iran–only its leadership. And Oren acknowledged that while Israel reserves the right to protect itself, the Israeli military’s capabilities didn’t match the U.S. military’s.

And the last question concerned the American elections; Oren played it safe. “I get a certain amount of gratification” when candidates debate who is more pro-Israel than the other, remarked Oren. The ambassador also emphasized that “we don’t interfere in American elections.”

Oren’s time was up. The synagogue gave him a standing ovation. I remained seated, my small act of defiance at least making myself feel better after I witnessed the spectacle of liberal Democrats applaud a man who puts a pretty face on an ugly system. Oren is a good propagandist.
 

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Arab Spring, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Politics | Tagged ,

{ 33 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    Is this one of those synagogues that flies the flag of a foreign state?

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Is this one of those synagogues that flies the flag of a foreign state?”

      So do a lot of Catholic Churches.

    • “Oren was flanked on both sides by flags: stage right was the Israeli flag, and stage left the American one.”

      If the reporter is using the terms “stage right” and “stage left” correctly, this is a violation of flag etiquette. The US flag should be positioned to the speaker’s right (that is, stage right) and to the audience’s left. Any other flag should be to the speaker’s left.

      I don’t know if this is intentional.

  2. seafoid says:

    “Oren downplayed the impact of settlements on the negotiations process, saying that they only constitute 2 percent of the West Bank.”

    They vomit the same hasbara everywhere
    link to irishtimes.com

    Sir, – A number of points must be made in response to Israeli ambassador Boaz Modai (Opinion, October 11th).

    The ambassador states, “the last thing the West Bank needs is damage to its cohesion and stability”. If anything is a threat to cohesion and stability it is the military occupation by his own government. Indeed, the construction of the separation wall and the policy of house demolitions and land confiscations are surely the greatest threats to the West Bank’s cohesion and stability.

    The ambassador’s attempts to minimise the number of settlers by quoting the figure of 350,000 settlers does not take into account the estimated 190,000 Israeli settlers living in Palestinian east Jerusalem, which is considered occupied territory under international law. Claims that Israeli settler houses occupy just 2 per cent of the West Bank ignore the vast areas of land set aside for settlement use and expansion as well as “closed military zones”, which, according to the highly respected Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, brings the total area allocated to settlements to 42 per cent.

    References to Area C as “a largely barren area that incorporates a mere 4 per cent of the Palestinian population” are also misleading, not only due to the fertile agricultural land in the Jordan Valley, but also due to Israel’s deliberate attempts to depopulate the area of Palestinians, which include the demolition of 560 Palestinian houses and other structures last year, resulting in 1,006 people losing their homes.

    The ambassador’s claim that the Palestinian Authority does not support a ban on trade with settlement goods is simply untrue. Just last June, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called for a worldwide ban on settlement goods.

    Finally, ambassador Modai condemns the “politicisation of charity”. Pope Benedict says of charity, “If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Justice is the primary way of charity”.

    Our call for a ban on trade with illegal settlements is not motivated by political bias but by the very essence of charity itself. We make no apologies for calling for justice for the Palestinian people according to international law and human rights principles. – Yours, etc,

    JUSTIN KILCULLEN,

    Executive Director,

    Trócaire, Maynooth,

    Co Kildare.

  3. Thanks very much Alex for a great report. We need public figures willing to strongly debunk Oren’s propaganda. Sadly no such public figures were present at Hofstra University last night.

  4. radii says:

    disappointing that American Jews there -and in that setting- are still content to live in the self-made bubble of unreality and wish to endlessly propagandize the situation … it just delays the inevitable fact-check of what is actually going on intruding into their lives at some point and having to be dealt with judiciously … living in a world of fantasy and bluster will make the deal so much worse for them when it comes time to make it

  5. seafoid says:

    There is a really strange contrast in Israel between adherence to what is moral/correct and the fact that the law is so unjust. Oren typifies it but so too did Ariel Sharon’s dog.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    At this point, a peculiar snuffling sound issues from the far side of the room. Schwartz, the alsatian, has deftly lifted a piece of cake from a china plate on the coffee table and thrown it down his throat. Sharon stiffens. He speaks sharply to his assistant in Hebrew. “It’s a terrible thing,” he says. “He never did that before.” The dog is dragged off by the scruff of its neck. “Bad manners,” mutters Sharon furiously

  6. RE:
    “We [Israelis] have a responsibility to strive for peace,” ~ Oren
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ VERSUS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “We hope that our Palestinian neighbors accept their responsibility to make peace,” ~ Oren

    FROM MERRIAM-WEBSTER:

    strive (intransitive verb) \ˈstrīv\
    Definition of STRIVE
    1 : to devote serious effort or energy : endeavor
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ VERSUS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    make (verb) \ˈmāk\
    Definition of MAKE
    (transitive verb)
    2 a : to cause to happen to or be experienced by someone
    ·· b : to cause to exist, occur, or appear : create [make a disturbance]

    ALSO SEE: “Is There a Way Beyond Israeli Madness?” [Will the Chosen People and the Exceptional People Go Down Together?] ~ by John Grant, Counterpunch, 8/31/12

    [EXCERPTS]
    “The patient, by the name of Israel, walks into the room and instantly bursts into a tirade of arguments conclusively proving his credentials, and says that he is better than everyone else.” ~ Ofer Grosbard, ‘Israel On The Couch: The Psychology of the Peace Process’

    Americans have an Israel problem. . .
    . . . The problem Americans have with Israel is that the region it exists in is in the midst of a major political sea change, while Israel is frozen in time and holding on to its militarist, right-wing policies of extending settlements in the West Bank. It’s a policy that harks back to the ideas of the British-trained militarist Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall, which is based on the idea a live-and-let-live policy between Jews and Arabs is impossible and, thus, Jews must militarily control and repress Palestinians [i.e. the mindset of the "pale" - J.L.D.] . . .

    . . . How does a people turn back a racially-oriented demonization program with roots that extend back many decades? How do you ratchet down a nation’s narcissism so people are able to simply see the other as a human being? . . .
    . . . On our part, Americans and the United States need to stop being a permissive yes-man [i.e. a habitual "enabler" ~ J.L.D.] and begin to show Israel some tough love. We need more US criticism of Israel. No doubt this approach will be received with gales of cynical laughter from hardliners . . . but so what?
    In my mind, the Israeli narcissistic and arrogant mindset would benefit from a little Buddhist detachment, more of the posture that sees the world not of separate individual selves and egos but of human beings as part of a larger flow of life. The Buddhists call the self-obsessed, separatist state-of-mind [i.e. the "pale" of Israel surrounded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall - J.L.D.] that Israel thrives on and defends with weapons as “the illusory self.”
    “Once one identifies with a permanent self-concept, the pride and craving adhering to this become the pivot from which an egocentric world arises,” writes Gay Watson, a psychotherapist attuned to Buddhism.

    David Loy puts it this way: “To become completely groundless is also to become completely grounded, not in some particular, but in the whole network of interdependent relations that constitute the world.”
    I’m not suggesting Israel become a Buddhist nation. The point is for Israelis, and more important Americans, to figure a way out of the worsening condition of “us versus them” to avoid the need to obliterate them and set off a war that no one really wants. The point is to re-shape our minds to make “the other” less threatening to permit talking.
    I’m not holding my breath that Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are going to become peace activists. But I’m done as an American being a silent stooge while Israeli militarist madness fuels hatred and sets the stage for war.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  7. Ellen says:

    What is a “a liberal Zionist?”

    What does this mean that Bachman is a Liberal Zionist????

  8. pipistro says:

    All this is inconceivable in the era of the internet.

    (Trinity: “The answer is out there, Neo, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.”)

    • Dutch says:

      @ pipistro
      ‘All this is inconceivable in the era of the internet.’

      Amazing, right? And how come there was just a handful of protesters? Where was the rest?

  9. RE: “Oren downplayed the impact of settlements on the negotiations process, saying that they only constitute 2 percent of the West Bank. This is true, but wholly misleading, which Oren was throughout the night. According to B’Tselem, settlements ‘control 42 percent of the land area of the West Bank’.” ~ Alex Kane

    MY COMMENT: This brings to mind the vaunted Abrams Principle (and perhaps an Abrams principal* or two)! ! !

    FROM ELLIOTT ABRAMS, The Washington (Neocon) Post, 04/08/09:

    [EXCERPT] . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE – link to washingtonpost.com

    P.S. Elliott Abrams has totally convinced me [by the sheer power of his (il)logic and his very impressive math skills] to wholeheartedly support the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank.
    As I understand it, the ‘Abrams Principle’ stands for the proposition that more Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank will result in a larger area for the Palestinian state. That’s why I say: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the settlement actvity; so as to result in the largest Palestinian state possible (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River). Fiat justitia! ( “Let Justice Be Done!” )

    * Mondo Exclusive – Gambling with Conflict: How a neocon casino king from California funds the Israeli settler movement, by Max Blumenthal, Mondoweiss, 5/22/09
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

  10. RE: “Oren claimed that only 2% of the Africans in Israel were refugees, with the rest looking for work. Oren also said that “about 40 percent of them are Muslim, which creates a security concern for us,” as The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog reported. ~ Alex Kane

    AS I UNDERSTAND IT: In the 1930s, Germany’s National Socialists essentially claimed that Jews were a “security concern” (a threat to the German “Volk”).
    “Hitler cited the Jews as being the single, most-powerful threat to a superior, pure or ‘Aryan’ German race.” – from below

    FROM Film & History – The Holocaust on Film:

    · · · · · · · · · · · Hitler’s Philosophy · · · · · · · · · · ·

    Hitler joined the National Socialists soon after the end of the First World War. His rise to prominence was rapid and his extremely anti-semitic ideas appealed to many within the party.

    In a letter written in September 1919, Hitler says the following about the Jews:

    “anti-Semitism as a political movement neither can nor should be based on fleeting emotions, but on the acceptance of fact. And the fact is that Judaism is a matter of race and not religion … reasonable anti-Semitism … must lead to a systematic and lawful campaign for the removal of those privileges which the Jew enjoys, unlike other foreigners in our midst who are subject to the law applying to aliens. The final aim of such anti-Semitism must be unquestionably the removal of the Jews.”

    In his book ‘Mein Kampf’ (‘My Struggle’) published in1923, Hitler set out quite clearly his political ideas. They can be summarised as follows:

    • The inequality of races is inevitable, and the Aryan race is the chief creative element of mankind.
    Mankind’s natural unit is the Volk, or people, of which the German Volk is the greatest.
    The state only exists to serve the Volk, and both morality and truth are to be subservient to this principle.
    • The Volk must be headed by a Fuhrer, or leader, who must have absolute authority.

    Hitler’s opinion was that the Jews were not equal to the Germans, being an ugly, subversive people whose main aim was to take over the world. Hitler cited the Jews as being the single, most-powerful threat to a superior, pure or ‘Aryan’ German race. . .

    SOURCE – link to academic.sun.ac.za

    • RE: “Hitler’s opinion was that the Jews were not equal to the Germans, being an ugly, subversive people whose main aim was to take over the world.” ~ from above

      I AGREE: The Jews were not equal to the subversive Germans, whose main aim was apparently to take over the world!

      • RE: “the subversive Germans” ~ me (above)

        EXPLANATION: When I referred to “the subversive Germans”, I was referring to Germany’s National Socialists and the Third Reich (“Nazi Germany”).

    • RE: “AS I UNDERSTAND IT: In the 1930s, Germany’s National Socialists essentially claimed that Jews were a ‘security concern’ (a threat to the German ‘Volk’).” ~ me (above)

      ALSO SEE:

      Origin of the Holocaust in Germany | Suite101, Feb 8, 2007
      link to suite101.com
      . . . The Jew stood outside the metaphysical entity of the German Volk-soul. To Volkish proponents, the Jew was at once materialistic, urban, cosmopolitan, and rigidly intellectual, all in direct opposition to the Volk. They were, in short, a threat to German society. . .

      Modern Anti-Semitism
      link to remember.org
      . . . During the Enlightenment, there was a rise in nationalistic feelings. People with a shared culture, language, history, race and value systems, bonded together into political, economic, and social entities with distinct continuous geographical boundaries which we refer to today as nations. A nation was a group of people united politically and militarily under a single flag and a single leader to ward off the domination of foreigners. The group had a shared loyalty to the nation.
      Jews, as outsiders who did not share the common language, culture, religion, and values, were seen as a threat by extremists in the nationalist movement. As such, they became the targets of anti-Semitic persecution. . .

      Establishing the Nazis’ Intellectual Bona Fides – H-Net Reviews
      link to h-net.org
      . . . Apparently no compelling scholarly reason existed to support the claim that science had proven Jews posed a “hereditary threat” to the German Volk. . .

      Kristallnacht and Its Aftermath within the German Protestant Church – Jewish Quarterly
      link to jewishquarterly.org
      . . . The academic director, Walter Grundmann, professor of New Testament at the University of Jena, used the Institute to publish the dissertations of his students while also using it as a forum for his own pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic theology. In his lecture at the Institute’s inauguration, he claimed that the Jews had destroyed Germans’ völkisch thinking, and, with help from Bolshevism, they were now striving for world conquest, the Weltherrschaft des Judentums (world domination of Jewry). The Jewish threat to Germany was grave; the war against the Jews was not simply a military battle, but a spiritual battle: ‘Jewish influence on all areas of German life, including on religious-church life, must be exposed and broken.’ . . .

      Wilhelm Marr – CFCA – The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism
      link to antisemitism.org.il
      . . . Marr took these philosophies one step further by rejecting the premise of assimilation as a means for Jews to become Germans. . .
      . . . According to him, the struggle between Jews and Germans would only be resolved by the victory of one and the ultimate death of the other. A Jewish victory, he concluded, would result in finis Germaniae (the end of the German people). To prevent this from happening, in 1879 Marr founded the League of Antisemites (Antisemiten-Liga), the first German organization committed specifically to combating the alleged threat to Germany posed by the Jews and advocating their forced removal from the country. . .

      • RE: “. . . According to him (Wilhelm Marr), the struggle between Jews and Germans would only be resolved by the victory of one and the ultimate death of the other. A Jewish victory, he concluded, would result in finis Germaniae (the end of the German people).” ~ CFCA, The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (from above)

        IN OTHER WORDS: To Wilhelm Marr’s “way of thinking”, “the Jews” were an “existential threat” to the German people (the German “Volk”)! ! !
        “An existential threat!”
        “An existential threat!”
        “An existential threat!”
        AND “BOY HOWDY”, THERE’S NUTTIN’* WORSE THAN AN “EXISTENTIAL THREAT”, BY DINGHIES! ! !

        * Nuttin’ But Stringz – Thunder (Classical Mix) [VIDEO, 03:45] – link to youtube.com
        Nuttin But Stringz – Thunder [VIDEO, 02:48] – link to youtube.com

      • P.S. RE: “AS I UNDERSTAND IT: In the 1930s, Germany’s National Socialists essentially claimed that Jews were a ‘security concern’ (a threat to the German ‘Volk’).” ~ me (above)

        SEE THIS EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY: The Architecture of Doom (Undergångens Arkitektur) 1991, NR, 119 minutes
        This chilling documentary explores how artistic, cultural and historical trends forged the National Socialist aesthetic, which in turn contributed to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. Swedish-born filmmaker Peter Cohen, whose parents escaped the Nazis, examines Hitler’s failed career as an artist, his fascination with Wagner, the Nazi obsession with cleanliness, the paradoxical link between “beauty” and evil in the Third Reich, and more.
        Netflix formats: DVD and streaming
        • Netflix listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
        • Internet Movie Database – link to imdb.com
        ON YouTube, Architecture of Doom [VIDEO, 1:54:01] – link to youtube.com
        The Architecture of Doom at Google Video [VIDEO, 1:54:00] – link to video.google.com

  11. Les says:

    Not everyone knows about this “liberal” enclave. When the Times reported on the Park Slope Co-op boycott vote, the paper noted that members who were Jews opposed the resolution because they supported Israel. That members on the other side were also Jews went unmentioned by the Times. By now, Jews, like supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace, must be getting used to being whited out of our media because they are unmentionable Jews.

  12. eljay says:

    >> Oren downplayed the impact of settlements on the negotiations process, saying that they only constitute 2 percent of the West Bank.

    Maybe Palestinians should downplay the impact of total Palestinian destructiveness on the negotiations process, saying that it constitutes only ?% (where ? = a small number) of the total destruction and carnage wreaked by military forces.

    Then again, that might make Zio-supremacist Israelis and non-Israelis feel good about themselves…

  13. RE: “He [Oren] began his talk with an exhaustive list of Israeli achievements, from touting the fact that Arabs serve in the Knesset to hailing Tel Aviv’s status as a gay haven. Oren also spoke glowingly of the Israeli doctors who rushed to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.” ~ Alex Kane

    MY QUESTIONS: Was Oren by any chance reading from a “binder”? Does Oren remind anyone else of Mitt Romney? Or is it just “me”?
    You can tell me the “truth”.
    I can handle “it”.
    At least, I think I can.
    I think I can.
    I think I can.
    I think I can.
    Then again, perhaps not.
    It all depends on the “truth”.

    • P.S. RE: “It all depends on the ‘truth’.” – me (above)

      ONE VERY BITTER “TRUTH”:
      Cook County, 2009, R, 93 minutes
      In this searing cautionary tale, Sonny returns home after serving time in prison and tries to reestablish a relationship with his downtrodden son, Abe, who is overcoming a methamphetamine habit while living in a house harboring other addicts.
      Cast: Anson Mount, Xander Berkeley, Ryan Donowho. . .
      Director: David Pomes
      Netflix formats: DVD and streaming
      Netflix listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
      Internet Movie Database – link to imdb.com
      Cook County (Official Trailer) [VIDEO, 02:12] – link to youtube.com

  14. Sin Nombre says:

    Les wrote:

    “Is this one of those synagogues that flies the flag of a foreign state?”

    I’m with you, Les. Amazing that you have here a supposed house of religion hosting an ambassador of a foreign state with whom we obviously have differing political interests, with that ambassador then indeed going on and talking extensively if not exclusively on political issues, and only Les found this worthy of remark.

    Rather amazing too the silence about this sort of thing, or the Israeli flag-flying by synagogues, from those typically hair-trigger groups or people—often jewish—who perceive violations of church/state separation at the drop of a hat. E.g., the Catholic church considering excommunicating some self-alleged Catholic candidate who supports abortion, typically spurring all kinds of negative commentary and reportage in the mainstream media. And that doesn’t even involve such religions plumping for some foreign country.

    Back to basics, I say. The Israeli partisans want everyone to immediately jump into the endless minute substantive details of this and that and to forget things like this.

  15. RE: “Oren claimed that only 2% of the Africans in Israel were refugees, with the rest looking for work. Oren also said that ‘about 40 percent of them are Muslim, which creates a security concern for us,’ as The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog reported.” ~ Alex Kane

    MY SUGGESTION: America can send a hoard of our vaunted missionaries over to Israel in order to resolve these “security concerns” by converting the 40% who are Muslim to the very, very bestest religion of Christianity (“perfecting them”, as Ann Coulter would say). I’m certain that “Reverend” John Hagee would be delighted to take on this mission. He will see to it that these pesky, African “Mooz-Lums” git “washed in the blood”! ! !
    There now, “security concern” problem solved!
    That wasn’t so difficult now, was it?!?!

    • RE: “America can send a hoard of our vaunted missionaries . . .” ~ me (above)

      CORRECTION: Hoard is a homonym of the word I meant to use. I meant “a horde of our vaunted missionaries . . .” I wish I could pass it off as some kind of a “Freudian slip”, but it is most likely a simple case of misspelling.

      FROM GrammarBook.com [homonyms]:

      hoard – stockpile, amass
      horde – a large group, crowd

      Of course, “hoard” as a noun might be an interesting alternative to “horde”, but I probably would have used “our hoard of vaunted missionaries . . .”

      FROM Merriam-Webster [hoard]:

      1. hoard (noun) \ˈhȯrd\

      Definition of HOARD
      : a supply or fund stored up and often hidden away

      Examples of HOARD
      • a squirrel’s hoard of nuts
      • keeps a hoard of empty yogurt containers in his basement workshop for storing whatnots [Damn, this sounds just like me. Poor guy! - J.L.D.]

      What really ticks me off is that I distinctly recall thinking that “hoard” (in “a hoard of our vaunted missionaries”) didn’t look quite right and that I needed to check on it (which I obviously forgot to do, much to my chagrin).
      “And so it goes”, as Kurt Vonnegut was want to say.

      Billy Joel – And So It Goes [VIDEO, 03:54] – link to youtube.com

  16. seafoid says:

    “Bachman also brought up the Arab Spring and what it means for Israel. “There is a situation in the Middle East that’s not conducive to peace,” said Oren”

    There is . It’s the fact that the people of the region are under the US heel and are sick of it.

  17. RE: “Oren claimed that only 2% of the Africans in Israel were refugees, with the rest looking for work. Oren also said that “about 40 percent of them are Muslim, which creates a security concern for us,” as The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog reported. ~ Alex Kane

    MORE ISRAELI “SECURITY CONCERNS: “. . . Israel has insisted that students are a ‘high-risk’ group . . .” ~ from below

    SEE: “Israel denies West Bank permits for students on US-funded scholarships” ~ by Vita Bekker, The National, 10/23/12

    [EXCERPTS] The 18-year-old from Gaza’s Jabalya refugee camp last spring applied for a US-sponsored scholarship to study mathematics at Birzeit University in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    The two-year-old scholarship programme for academically talented but financially strapped Palestinians has become the sole opportunity for Gaza youth to enrol in West Bank universities, which are viewed to have more highly-qualified teachers and better facilities than those in Gaza, and offer more study programmes.
    Palestinians from Gaza have not been allowed to study in the West Bank since 2000, except for three students who won the US scholarship programme when it began in 2010.
    So when scholarship officials who interviewed Ms Abu Rokba indicated she had been accepted, she bought new clothes and told her family and friends about her departure from Gaza.
    In August, however, programme officials quietly shelved applications from Gazans and granted all 36 scholarships only to West Bank candidates after Israel refused to allow any applicant from Gaza to cross its territory and enter the West Bank. . .

    . . . Israel has insisted that students are a “high-risk” group and that West Bank universities are “terrorist hotbeds” that could be used for the recruitment of students.
    US officials said last week that it was Israel’s refusal to grant travel permits to Gaza students that prompted them to grant West Bank students all the scholarships. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to thenational.ae

  18. RE: “Oren claimed that only 2% of the Africans in Israel were refugees, with the rest looking for work. Oren also said that ‘about 40 percent of them are Muslim, which creates a security concern for us,’ as The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog reported.” ~ Alex Kane

    REGARDING YET ANOTHER ISRAELI “SECURITY CONCERN”, SEE:
    * Romney’s War Cabinet * Israel’s Record in Gaza and Nukes * How the World Sees the Debates ~ Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), 10/23/12

    [EXCERPT]
    ELIK ELHANAN, via Nurit Peled-Elhanan [email] YONATAN SHAPIRA [email] REUT MOR [email]
    Elhanan, Shapira and Mor, co-founders of Combatants for Peace, were among the passengers on a boat to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli military on Friday. A former paratrooper in the Israeli military, Elhanan was just released from prison and is currently under house arrest in Israel. He said today: “We were attacked by an Israeli armada — ships with hundreds of soldiers — charging us in a 100-year-old sailboat.
    “Among our passengers were six members of the European Parliament, an 80-year-old reverend and a musician. Our cargo was humanitarian aid and toys and books for children. They were armed to the teeth and used tasers and other forms of violence again us. Critically, they confiscated any form of media that might tell a different story than what nonsense the Israeli government puts out.
    “I served in the Israeli military from 1995 to 1998 as a paratrooper. Since 2002, I have publicly refused to serve as a reserve soldier.”
    When asked to comment on Obama and Romney’s repeated lauding of Israel, Elhanan said: “This is a ridiculous situation. If these candidates really supported Israel, they would object to the destructive course of its government.
    “I’m under house arrest while the government tries to concoct some charge against me. I went on the boat to get to Gaza because of the ongoing crime of the collective punishment being inflicted on the people there. This has nothing to do with the security situation Israel is facing. The siege of Gaza cannot be looked at as anything but collective punishment that entrenches Palestinians in terrible and destitute conditions, with the health and environmental conditions continuing to deteriorate. The UN is saying in eight years, Gaza will be uninhabitable.” . . .

    ENTIRE PRESS RELASE – link to commondreams.org