The crisis of the Israel lobby

Israel/Palestine
on 110 Comments

All around us are signs that the Israel lobby is about to take it on the chin in November. Netanyahu injected himself into our presidential race, and Romney accused Obama of throwing Israel “under the bus.” I thought the alarmism would work. It hasn’t. Obama defied Netanyahu, and he’s not paying a political price for it.

The American Jewish Committee’s poll says that Romney is capturing 27 percent of the Jewish vote– not much more than the 22 percent McCain got. In Ohio, neoconservative challenger Josh Mandel is about to be crushed by Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown, Amy Schiller at Daily Beast reports, despite Mandel’s pro-Israel appeals:

His campaign claimed that “Sherrod Brown and President Obama have lost the faith of Jewish Democrats.” Mandel told me that Brown’s extensive support from J Street made him “more of a Palestinian sympathizer than a true friend of Israel.”

Ohio Jews aren’t buying that. As the AJC poll says, most American Jews put Israel at a distant third or fourth among the issues that they vote on. 

OK, so the lobby has stumbled. What does the future hold? A few observations and predictions:

–The lobby didn’t dissolve, it split

This is not the end of the lobby. No, this is a victory for J Street and the liberal Zionist community, which fervently believes in the U.S. continuing to give tons of money to Israel and overlooking the atrocities of the occupation.

–The rightwing lobby is already regrouping for a battle royal on Iran.

Yes the lobby has lost, but it’s not as if Obama has shifted his policy on Iran, he’s just put it off by a few months. Israel supporters Martin Indyk, David Brooks, Dennis Ross, and Jeffrey Goldberg have all assured us lately that Obama is ready to attack by next spring. Even “Bomber boy” Bill Kristol has embraced Obama’s Iran policy, surely anticipating that Obama is going to win. And Tony Karon and David Bromwich have both warned that Obama has painted himself into the corner on such an attack.

So the next battle with the lobby will unfold in months to come. Goldberg has warned shrilly that Obama could change his mind. He fears that all the talk of deterrence from sober pundits like Bill Keller and Trudy Rubin will take hold. As it should. And will the new liberal wing of the lobby endorse such a shift? I doubt it.

–The handshake on the White House lawn

Three years ago J Street and the liberal Zionists said that they would drive a wedge in public opinion on the settlements issue, and Obama could come out against settlements and hold the majority of the Jewish community. They were wrong. Obama had to fold on settlements because the rightwing Jewish community organized against him and the liberal Zionists, and neoconservative appeals found a sympathetic audience even among liberal Jews (the ancient issue; the same liberals rationalized Jewish terrorism in the mandate period). 

I believe J Street and Americans for Peace Now were just ahead of their time; that they will be able to drive that wedge now, and Obama will come out against settlements.

Indeed, if Obama had any guts he’d be teeing this issue up now, so that he can claim a “mandate” come November 7. To what end? Antony Loewenstein said lately that there could be a handshake on the White House lawn in the second term, between Abbas and an Israeli counterpart– to produce a Bantustan state.

And if you give Palestinians a Bantustan state, nothing is going to change. There won’t be peace.

So the lobby has cracked, I agree. But the real battle is over Zionism itself. When will American Jews form a political bloc against an ideology that fosters discriminatory policies in the Middle East that they would never tolerate in the U.S.? Until that process happens, the lobby will just keep regrouping. The liberal Jewish community will continue to frame the issue as an argument between neocons and liberal Zionists. No anti-Zionists allowed!

The best news from this election is that if you politicize this issue– allowing it to be debated– public opinion will drive the politicians’ conversations to the left because Americans don’t like our tilted policy. That debate has a long way to go.

110 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    October 3, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Three years ago J Street and the liberal Zionists said that they would drive a wedge in public opinion on the settlements issue, and Obama could come out against settlements and hold the majority of the Jewish community. They were wrong.

    hmm, i am not sure they were wrong. he did come out and he did hold the majority of the jewish community. i just don’t think the majority of the jewish community has the power and influence of the rightwing elite or the big contributors. sure, they probably could have peeled off even more votes than the 5% (22%-27%) but a majority? another 20%? i doubt it,but i could be wrong.

    even if the lobby ‘takes it on the chin’ in november, the bomb iran mantra still dominates the discourse surrounding israel which is of course their goal. but ordinary people are more interested in news about palestine than iran. this is how the media serves the lobby, by keeping iran front and center.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 3, 2012, 12:10 pm

      Indeed, if Obama had any guts he’d be teeing this issue up now, so that he can claim a “mandate” come November 7.

      in my dream of dreams obama told abbas to hold off on the UN vote until after the election and the ‘pressure’ we’re hearing about now link to mondoweiss.net will evaporate and palestine will be in a stronger position after the election. this would involve a ploy by obama to evade the issue til after the election. there would still be lobby pressure and threats no doubt, but of a different nature than pulling election funds.

      • Les
        October 3, 2012, 3:24 pm

        Obama, the “great capitulator,” also wants to be known as the “great evader.”

    • Bruce
      October 3, 2012, 3:59 pm

      J Street and the Liberal Zionists were not necessarily wrong on holding the majority of the Jewish community. J Street and Obama folded without a struggle, each for their own reasons.

      This is a consistent pattern with Obama that we have seen throughout his term.

      The Jewish majority was never tested to see who they would ultimately support. Obama has never trusted any of his grassroots supporters. He shut all of them down as soon as he was elected, preferring to deal with the elites with money.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 4, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Obama has never trusted any of his grassroots supporters. He shut all of them down as soon as he was elected, preferring to deal with the elites with money.

        yeah, not smart. as a result he may not have the door to door pavement pounders in critical states getting people to the polls.

  2. seafoid
    October 3, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Palestinian sympathisers are true friends of Israel. It’s very hard to stomach Ha’aretz articles about how to observe the Jewish high holy days while Israel is running Gaza into the ground.

    link to haaretz.com

    “The mission of Jewish leaders in the 21st century should therefore be how to ensure the continued, significant renaissance of the Jewish people, ensuring a sense of belonging by every Jew to his people, its heritage, its values, its State, and its dreams and aspirations to work as Jews to make this a better world for all.”

    Note – we need to be careful in our judgment of others. As we judge, so we are judged.) Rather, it is G-d’s attribute of rachamim, of mercy, that we need individually and collectively, to gratuitously receive another opportunity to do better the next time.2

    link to haaretz.com

    “Rosh Hashanah, he believed, with its focus on memory, remains an opportunity for us each year to use our brains to reflect, while Yom Kippur he taught, was an opportunity for us to open up our hearts to God and others. He believed that Sukkot, with its building projects and the grasping of the Lulav and Etrog, speaks to the way that our hands help us to connect to God and the world around us. And he also felt that on Simchat Torah it was our feet, through dancing and parading around synagogue with the Torah, that allowed us to worship God with our entire being.”

    link to haaretz.com

    “The Hebrew, “v’ahnitem et nafshoteichem”, often translated as “you shall afflict yourselves,” more precisely means, “you (plural) shall impoverish, make humble, your souls.” The prescription of the rabbis to achieve this through physical denial still holds, but the metaphysical focus is shifted to achieving a state of being. Fasting is the means to collectively participate in an empathetic process. ”

    Respecting the dignity of the Palestinian people is what Judaism is all about, actually.

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2012, 1:39 pm

      @ seafoid
      You conclude: “Respecting the dignity of the Palestinian people is what Judaism is all about, actually.”

      Well, no. That’s the issue: What is Judaism all about in the context of the nuclear hegemony & occupier Israel in the ME post Shoah & post Nuremberg?

      • seafoid
        October 3, 2012, 2:38 pm

        What is Yom Kippur about ?

        Torture and home demolitions?

      • Citizen
        October 12, 2012, 4:18 am

        @ Seafoid

        That’s what it should be about. The day revolves around the theme of communal repentance for sins committed during the past year. How long have those home demolitions been going on now, how many Yom Kippurs during that time?

    • hophmi
      October 3, 2012, 4:54 pm

      Another blatantly antisemitic comment gets through…

      • Mooser
        October 3, 2012, 8:00 pm

        OH wow, so all the comments about the Palestinians “making war on Israel” are allowed, and Phil is taking advice from Hophmi on what is anti-Semitic.

        Oh yeah, the Jews are gonna straighten out that Israel thing. As long as nobody says anything which gets them upset, in which case, screw the Palestinians, we gotta stick together.

      • seafoid
        October 4, 2012, 3:09 pm

        You’re on a roll these days, Mooser.

      • Eva Smagacz
        October 3, 2012, 8:11 pm

        Actually, what White man’s burden is all about has always been to despise and denigrate non-whites – covertly when in polite society and openly when in privacy of their own homes.

        Actually, what Catholic missionary zeal is all about has always been to despise and denigrate pagans – covertly when in their countries and openly when collecting for missions.

        Now that is blatant anti-Aryan and anti-Catholic comment and it should never get past Phil.

        When Musulmans are outraged by the Islam-insulting video we denigrate them for their inability to accept that pinnacle of civilisation – freedom of speech. When someone says something insulting (or unflatteringly true) about Jews, that sacred freedom of speech gets tossed out of the window.

        Go figure.

      • AlGhorear
        October 10, 2012, 11:12 pm

        “When Musulmans are outraged by the Islam-insulting video we denigrate them for their inability to accept that pinnacle of civilisation – freedom of speech. When someone says something insulting (or unflatteringly true) about Jews, that sacred freedom of speech gets tossed out of the window.

        Go figure.”

        Eva, you are also on a roll these days.

      • Citizen
        October 12, 2012, 4:06 am

        @ AlGhorear

        Eva is always on a roll.

      • Cliff
        October 4, 2012, 7:15 am

        Hoppy said:
        Another blatant antisemitic comment gets through…
        ——————————————————————-

        Pot, kettle, etc.

        You are a rabid anti-American, Jewish supremacist/nationalist and card-carrying member of the Orwellian watchdog group, the ADL.

        When racists like you stop slurring the Palestinian people (‘Pallywood’, the Grand Mufti meme, etc.) then maybe rational and politically informed individuals (not the imbeciles with an XBOX-Live level of intellectualism) will take you cry-wolf b.s. seriously.

      • seanmcbride
        October 4, 2012, 9:52 am

        Cliff wrote:

        You are a rabid anti-American, Jewish supremacist/nationalist and card-carrying member of the Orwellian watchdog group, the ADL.

        Is that a fact? Is hophmi a member of the ADL?

      • Cliff
        October 4, 2012, 12:15 pm

        Was apparently according to some other commentators and he has said that he was for a fact, a member of the AJC.

      • hophmi
        October 4, 2012, 12:31 pm

        “Is that a fact? Is hophmi a member of the ADL?”

        The ADL doesn’t have members. I have attended ADL events before, as have others, like, say, Debbie Almontaser, and I do know a number of people there in who participate in the ADL’s renowned Sheket Bavakashah Ultra, Ultra Secret Moshe Dayan Memorial Spy Division (ADL-SBUUSMDMSD). You can recognize them at ADL headquarters, which is inside a little building in Washington known as “the Pentagon,” not, as is popularly assumed in the MSM, in New York) by their distinctive black eyepatches. The spy division is funded by Sheldon Adelson’s fourth cousin’s fifth wife’s ex husband’s college roommate, which makes it a true-blue neo-con project.

        I can confirm that they’re watching Sean McBride really, really closely. Like outside his residence with binoculars. I think they may have bugged his phone. Oh wait, that’s the CIA. No wait, it’s the FBI. No wait, I think it’s Major League Baseball. No wait, it’s . . .

        Well, anyway, Sean should just be really, really careful.

      • hophmi
        October 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

        “Was apparently according to some other commentators and he has said that he was for a fact, a member of the AJC.”

        I am, in fact, a member of the AJC, the American Jurassic Communion. We offer post-mortem baptisms to dinosaurs as part of our deeply religious belief in the spiritual elevation of the fossilized. Our religion, as they say, is set in stone.

      • seanmcbride
        October 4, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Which ADL events did you attend?

        Hasn’t the ADL been involved in illegal spying against Americans? That is a fact, right? Google [adl spying].

        Pro-Israel activists often deliver threats as sarcastic “jokes” — it is one of their most notable behavioral patterns. Anything remotely resembling a threat from pro-Israel activists should be taken seriously.

      • hophmi
        October 4, 2012, 2:47 pm

        “Which ADL events did you attend?”

        The ones targeting that guy Sean McBride. I’ve been to many ADL events. Most have to do with the ADL’s civil rights, civil liberties, and First Amendment work; ADL has a very active amicus practice on church-state issues.

        “Hasn’t the ADL been involved in illegal spying against Americans?”

        To my knowledge, accusations of the ADL’s illegal spying arise from two incidents. The first is the Bullock case, which led to a lawsuit, which the ADL settled without accusation of wrongdoing. The ADL has long denied it was involved in Bullock’s targeting of left-wing organizations and the Arab-Anti-Discrimination Committee. The Southern Poverty Law Center defended the ADL’s practice of using confidential sources to gather information on neo-Nazi and white supremacist individuals, and said that their use of confidential sources was par for the course in the anti-discrimination world.

        The other case you usually hear about is the Quigley case in Denver, when the ADL, acting on a tip from Quigley’s neighbors, the Aronsons, wrongfully accused the Quigley of engaged in antisemitic acts. The two families were involved in a series of petty disputes, and the Aronsons apparently, on their own, illegally recorded phone conversations they had with the Quigleys. They then reported to the ADL that the Quigleys were engaged in a campaign of antisemitic activity against their family, and the ADL held a press conference accusing the Quigleys of antisemitism.

        The ADL was sued for defamation, not invasion of privacy, and were guilty of not investigating the Aronsons’ claims before slamming the Quigleys, but not of breaking the law, which the Aronsons did on their own. The tapes came to light when the Aronsons tried to use them in a separate federal civil suit against the Quigleys.

        These are the two claims I’m familiar with. The first involves a rogue who went too far, and the second involves an independent person who broke the law, but not the ADL.

      • hophmi
        October 4, 2012, 2:49 pm

        “Pro-Israel activists often deliver threats as sarcastic “jokes” — it is one of their most notable behavioral patterns. Anything remotely resembling a threat from pro-Israel activists should be taken seriously.”

        LOL. Don’t worry Sean, the Illuminati will not be coming to get you, though the DHS – the Department of Humorless Services – may knock at your door.

        By your standards, Mooser must be the CIA’s greatest spy.

      • libra
        October 4, 2012, 5:42 pm

        hophmi: Most have to do with the ADL’s civil rights, civil liberties, and First Amendment work; ADL has a very active amicus practice on church-state issues.

        Church-state issues. Now that from a Zionist is pure comedy gold.

        Keep them coming hoph, you’re on a roll.

      • seanmcbride
        October 4, 2012, 7:32 pm

        hophmi wrote:

        I’ve been to many ADL events.

        I’ll bet you have. Duly noted.

      • chinese box
        October 4, 2012, 2:27 pm

        Could you point out what’s antisemitic in that statement because I don’t see it? Are you referring to something in seafoid’s post? It helps to be specific when making such serious accusations.

      • hophmi
        October 4, 2012, 2:54 pm

        “Could you point out what’s antisemitic in that statement because I don’t see it? ”

        No, it was taken down. It was Jeff Klein’s comment that Judaism is about hating everybody else.

      • chinese box
        October 4, 2012, 11:04 pm

        OK.

    • Newclench
      October 3, 2012, 5:24 pm

      Hey Phil, did you catch what Jeff is writing here? Just don’t say you didn’t know….

      • thetumta
        October 3, 2012, 7:09 pm

        Apparent censorship failure. Guess Phil’s not a technology guy? Interesting site link though, Gore Vidal, no less! Weekend reading.
        Hej!

      • seafoid
        October 4, 2012, 3:11 pm

        Does Jeff refer to Goldberg?

    • Sumud
      October 3, 2012, 6:43 pm

      Agree, Jeff’s comment is an example of actual anti-semitism.

      • Mooser
        October 3, 2012, 8:02 pm

        Yes, only anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab comments are allowed to stand on Mondoweiss. And anybody says anything bad about Jews and all that ethical consciousness and all-encompassing soul stuff, it’s out the window, baby!

  3. American
    October 3, 2012, 12:21 pm

    ”When will American Jews form a political bloc against an ideology that fosters discriminatory policies in the Middle East that they would never tolerate in the U.S.? ”

    And the answer is …When they have something to lose if they don’t.

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2012, 1:44 pm

      Yes, no US leader is talking about using sticks re Israel, not just carrots, as leverage to attain peace in the ME re I-P conflict. OTOH, US sticks are used constantly against Iran and the Palestinians, Syria, etc. Big move to use US sticks against Egypt too.

      • ColinWright
        October 4, 2012, 1:15 pm

        Sticks are unnecessary.

        Just yank the plug. There’s no legitimate rationale for giving aid to Israel in the first place.

    • seafoid
      October 4, 2012, 3:13 pm

      When it is too late and the religion is too far into the mess. There will be one redemptive Yom Kippur. But a lot of people will have turned away by then. This is WAY bigger than child abuse in the catholic church.

  4. seafoid
    October 3, 2012, 12:38 pm

    “Indeed, if Obama had any guts he’d be teeing this issue up now, so that he can claim a “mandate” come November 7″

    Obama is a borg. If there are any guts around him that’ll be the intestines of Drone executed pakistani peasants.

    link to dailykos.com

  5. Theo
    October 3, 2012, 12:40 pm

    “This is not the end of the lobby.”

    If not, then let´s hope it is the beginning of the end!
    We can be now almost assured that Obama will win again and in that case he has a year to make a few adjustments in our relationships with AIPAC and Israel. He missed this in his first term and hopefully he earned the leasson.
    Personally I would like to see a few dozen arrests and charges of treason and aspionage, however that hope may be just too much to expect.
    Obama was and always will be a puppet of the Wall Street and we all know who reside in those headquarters of financial crime.

    • seafoid
      October 4, 2012, 3:17 pm

      Jeffrey Blankfort said recently that the Zionists don’t have a lobby, that it is more like a hotel. I would add to that and say it is a hotel chain. Very shoddy. With a monopoly.

  6. MarkF
    October 3, 2012, 12:45 pm

    While the lobby may lose a little influence in the executive branch, they still have congress locked up tighter than a two headed drum. When 400+ members of the house sit and stand and sit stand (sort of like what we were doing for the high holidays!) for Bibi’s speech, it shows they’re very much in the driver’s seat. Hey, is cheering allowed during the Amidah??

    JStreet is a great start, but man, it’s going to be a long tough slog to break these guys free from AIPAC, NORPAC, etc. Too well organized at the local levels.

    So Mitt might peel 5% from Obama? That’s not too shabby. Damned shame, but scare tactics work. That be enough to sway Florida, VA or PA.

  7. subconscious
    October 3, 2012, 12:57 pm

    Meanwhile, yet another anti-Obama video with the familiar “liberal American Jews who care for Israel and believed Obama’s initial rhetoric, now disillusioned about his support for Israel” line, titled “Absolutely Uncertain”:
    link to absolutelyuncertain.com

    • MarkF
      October 3, 2012, 1:43 pm

      Slick video. My aunt should be emailing me a link to in in 5, 4, 3, 2, ahh, thar she blows…

      What a line – “Supporting Israel is an American value”

    • Ellen
      October 3, 2012, 1:57 pm

      This video is a scream. Everything is based on what she feels like and she lives in fear!!! Keep ‘em afraid you you got them in your hands.

      The propaganda tactics thicker than those of Joe McCarthy on his Red Scare purges of the State Department’s Communists (read Arabists).

      But to whom is this speaking? Ill-educated middle aged and elderly? The young who might find the narrator NY hip?

      Fear demagogues and their narratives eventually self destruct. Has the hysterical Zionist narrative attempting to push the US election finally overstepped?

      Not sure about that. But it will happen.

      The search meta tags are:

      Obama,Israel,Liberal Agenda,Iran,Middle East,Innocence of Muslims,Islam,Terrorism,Threat,Pakistan,Nuclear Arms,US Economy,National Security”

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2012, 2:07 pm

      @ subconscious
      Poor Israel, she’s always a victim of intentional rape by the eternal goy monster man. And, as her pretty spokeswoman says in that video you link us to, what can poor widdle Israel girl do? All she can say is real Americans always support Israel. She does not even mention the Palestinians in that video, nor suggest, even a tad, that US and Israeli interests are not always the same. I got disgusted in viewing that video, and cut it off before it ended; so who paid for it?

      • subconscious
        October 3, 2012, 3:29 pm

        The video’s been posted by RightChange, a right-wing US group supported by some pharma & health industry moguls:
        link to en.wikipedia.org
        link to rightchange.com
        But the nonchalant plug for Birthright Israel towards the beginning of the clip by the narrator, suggests that RightChange may have partnered up w/ Birthright supporters.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 3, 2012, 3:55 pm

        i posted it subconscious, it deserves it’s own thread.

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • flyod
        October 3, 2012, 3:37 pm

        “so who paid for it?”

        probably fred eshelman

    • subconscious
      October 3, 2012, 2:09 pm

      The video was posted on YouTube on 9/26/12 and it’s already showing more than 1,800,000 hits. The “likes” are outnumbering the “dislikes” by a factor of over 20.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 3, 2012, 2:38 pm

        thanks subconscious. slick production.

      • sandhillexit
        October 3, 2012, 3:58 pm

        maybe. it’s like taking advice on foreign policy, war and peace from Snookie.
        at least it answered my biggest question of 2012, which has been why, with someone as qualified as Bob Gates standing there, did the GOP tap a neophyte and neophyte jr. to manage foreign policy.

    • piotr
      October 3, 2012, 9:28 pm

      I have difficulties slogging through a page of drivel, and this video is more than 15 minute. When it got to a crazy (and senile) former mayor of a large American city, I switched off.

  8. seanmcbride
    October 3, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Phil — more brilliant and lucid analysis, written in your usual fluent style — right on the money. You are my go-to guy for trying to figure out the deeper dynamics of the Israel lobby.

    By the way: how crazy must pro-Israel activists be to aggressively and abusively inject Israel into a presidential election during an era in which so many Americans are suffering so much economic distress? Only cult programming explains the monumental lack of sane and good judgment.

    My prediction: the Israel lobby is going to take itself down. Just give it a bit more rope. It is already seriously out of control, spinning wildly like a top on the axis of its bizarre cognitive dissonance.

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2012, 2:14 pm

      @ seanmcbride
      No. Dick & Jane will not notice the “cognitive dissonance.” Our leaders our sure. There’s a history they can rely on.

    • American
      October 3, 2012, 8:16 pm

      @sean

      Nope. Doubt the lobby will out of business till Israel causes something to happen. Something either to the US or something so horrific the world overrides the US.
      Some insiders, like Birnbaum suggested the other day, are saying that the Americans within the ‘establishment’ are engineering a gradual pull away from Israel. I don’t doubt that some are working on that, heard it 2 years ago from Steve Clemons, but I don’t think they can do it fast enough or throughly enough to prevent Israel from blowing something up and dragging us with them. If it’s not Iran it will be something else. The US is going to be blamed for whatever Israel does because we are after all it’s enabler.

  9. pabelmont
    October 3, 2012, 1:49 pm

    “This is not the end of the lobby. No, this is a victory for J Street and the liberal Zionist community, which fervently believes in the U.S. continuing to give tons of money to Israel and overlooking the atrocities of the occupation.”

    Phil: Brilliant description of the horrible J-Street.

    “Yes the lobby has lost, but it’s not as if Obama has shifted his policy on Iran, he’s just put it off by a few months.”

    Comment: If Obama really wants to DO something he must begin doing it on Nov 7. (Today would be better, but he wants to ensure this ONE election — at lest). After Nov 7, he is either trapped (or not trapped) depending on how much he wants support from Congress (which still seems trapped) and how much he wants the democratic candidate in 2016 to have AIPAC’s help. He can be a powerful actor (at UNSC for example) if he is willing to go it alone.

    We used to have a joke, a “not in my lifetime” joke, in which three voices are heard, one American, one Israeli, and one god’s. Each is asked a question to which the answer is “Not in my [My] lifetime”. The final question is “When will there be peace in the middle east?” and the question is, of course, directed to God.

    With global warming coming at us like an express train (this is far from universally recognized as true, BTW)

    (but consider the melting of arctic ice, the release of frozen methane from arctic tundra, etc.) (and the floods and droughts) (and the fires) (and the locusts in Texas and the pine bark beetles in Colorado, both due to tiny warming during winter which allows insect eggs which would formerly have frozen to remain viable into the next year)

    we may have a new definition of god’s “Not in My lifetime.”

    • seanmcbride
      October 3, 2012, 2:06 pm

      pabelmont,

      Global warming and climate change issues reduce Mideast political issues to inconsequence. Sometimes I wonder how crazy we must be to be spending so much time worrying about the inconsequential when we are on the cusp of a true apocalypse inadvertently engineered by the entire human race.

      One reason to truly resent the Israel lobby is that is has taken our eye off the ball of much more important issues than Israel’s apparently eternal wars with its neighbors and the world at large.

      • MRW
        October 3, 2012, 3:18 pm

        What apocalypse? This is the observable data for global mean temperature for the past 32 years. Not the model. The observed and measured data. CO2 at 390 PPM. Tenths of a degree C in temp rise.
        link to wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com

        Dr. James Hansen published the following 2000 in a PNAS peer-reviewed paper. What happened between 2000 and 2012 to amount to produce a potential apocalyptic catastrophe, especially since the global mean temperature has fallen (measured data) since 1998? What? What happened to produce this hysteria?
        link to pnas.org

        A common view is that the current global warming rate will continue or accelerate. But we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH4, and N2O, not by the products of fossil fuel burning, CO2 and aerosols, the positive and negative climate forcings of which are partially offsetting. The growth rate of non-CO2 GHGs has declined in the past decade. If sources of CH4 and O3 precursors were reduced in the future, the change in climate forcing by non-CO2 GHGs in the next 50 years could be near zero. Combined with a reduction of black carbon emissions and plausible success in slowing CO2 emissions, this reduction of non-CO2 GHGs could lead to a decline in the rate of global warming, reducing the danger of dramatic climate change.

      • Keith
        October 3, 2012, 6:37 pm

        MRW- “What apocalypse? This is the observable data for global mean temperature for the past 32 years. Not the model. The observed and measured data. CO2 at 390 PPM. Tenths of a degree C in temp rise….the global mean temperature has fallen (measured data) since 1998.”
        link to wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com

        The global mean temperature has fallen (measured data) since 1998? You need to review how to read a graph. Every temperature on that graph after 1994 has a positive temperature anomaly, that is, is greater than the historical average, that is, every year is contributing to global warming. There is no cooling. The low points represent a reduction in the rate of increase, that’s all. You are using a typical global warming denier trick of using a record breaking year as a starting point, then claiming future non-record breaking years as indicative of cooling, even when they are above the global mean average. We have had this discussion before.

        A couple of comments about your Jim Hansen quote. First, what is the point? Unless you are a climatologist engaged in research, discussing a particular paper concerning potential consequences in the reduction of non-CO2 forcings is pointless. As the paper states: “If sources of CH4 and O3 precursors were reduced in the future, the change in climate forcing by non-CO2 GHGs in the next 50 years could be near zero.” So what? This was written in 2000, what has transpired since? Have non-CO2 emissions been dramatically reduced? If you want to keep abreast of recent developments, I suggest following the RealClimate: Climate Science from Climate Scientists website- link to realclimate.org

      • ColinWright
        October 4, 2012, 3:47 am

        MRW says: “What apocalypse?”

        Certainty is unnecessary. By all means, we should continue to verify exactly what changes are taking place — but it seems self-evident to me that so long as it’s even likely significant global warming is occurring, it would be a really good idea to start doing everything we can do without totally twisting our economy out of shape — and as some of the European countries have demonstrated, that’s quite a bit.

        It’s not like all things being equal, it’s good to burn lots of coal or consume all of the world’s oil as quickly as possible. There’s not really a major downside to acting.

        Suppose I thought it was fairly likely my room mate was planning to kill me. Should I wait to see if he actually does, or should I move out?

      • Keith
        October 4, 2012, 10:59 am

        The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.
        link to nasa.gov

      • Keith
        October 4, 2012, 11:10 am

        The link to realclimate.org reference is link to realclimate.org

      • seafoid
        October 3, 2012, 3:34 pm

        Climate breakdown is going to be worse than the Nazis. Dysfunction will be back in a big way. We won’t know how to deal with the crises that will emerge. I can’t see Israel pulling through either if order breaks down.

      • RoHa
        October 3, 2012, 10:43 pm

        “Climate breakdown is going to be worse than the Nazis”

        If it happens. So far the indications are that the biggest climate threat is another ice age.

      • ColinWright
        October 4, 2012, 3:56 am

        seafoid says: “Climate breakdown is going to be worse than the Nazis. Dysfunction will be back in a big way. We won’t know how to deal with the crises that will emerge…”

        I’m inclined to disagree — and that’s actually why global warming is such a threat.

        If there was a sudden catastrophe, then everyone would say ‘oh shit!’ and we would act.

        But that’s not what I think we’re going to get. We’ll get an ambiguous, often gradual series of changes — generally for the worse. It’ll be like aging. It’ll just slip up on us.

        One day we’ll just realize we’re screwed, and it’ll be too late to do anything about it. We can’t even say when that day will be.

        It’s piling up. The summer arctic ice pack was smaller than ever this year — it may melt completely next summer. It used to snow here about once every other winter — that hasn’t happened for maybe twenty years now. Happen to notice the drought that wiped out two-thirds of the American corn crop this summer?

        Here, there, and everywhere. It’ll probably keep being deniable for another twenty years — even as it eats away at us.

      • bilal a
        October 4, 2012, 4:14 am

        Global warming has had net positive effects on food production, and C02 is plant food used in commercial greenhouses. But regulation of C02 and the trading of global permits will be a huge new trading profit center for Big Oil and Wall Street. But most of the warming data is from thermometers close to growing cities, mean temp is just the average of temp highs and lows, and temp lows are clearly influenced stgrongly by urbanization as concrete stores heat which dissipates during the night.

        But the main difficulty we face is global cooling, recall the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, with huge chunks of ice -yes it used to freeze over. This is the climate normal for North America, and a return to it will have huge negative effects on global food production.

      • bilal a
        October 4, 2012, 4:41 am

        SEE

        Today, Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, believes his earlier prediction was wrong. Rather than hitting a peak of 160 sunspots, and possibly 185, as he predicted in 2006, he now believes that the Sun’s activity will decline dramatically. The current prediction, to less than half that of 2006, “would make this the smallest sunspot cycle in over 100 years,” he now states.

        All this comes amid a flurry of other reports, including from scientists at the U.S. National Solar Observatory (NSO) and U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, indicating that global cooling, and perhaps even a new Little Ice Age, is on its way.

        link to opinion.financialpost.com

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 4, 2012, 11:20 am

        “But the main difficulty we face is global cooling,”

        Nonsensical bullshit.

        “…recall the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, with huge chunks of ice -yes it used to freeze over.”

        Don’t be stupid. Leutze wasn’t painting from life. For pete’s sakes, he painted it in Germany and supposedly used the Rhine as a model. Further, the Delaware still freezes over at Trenton, but it freezes in sheets, not in chunks. (Again, the Rhine freezes in chunks, apparantly.)

      • Keith
        October 4, 2012, 11:32 am

        BILAL A- “All this comes amid a flurry of other reports, including from scientists at the U.S. National Solar Observatory (NSO) and U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, indicating that global cooling, and perhaps even a new Little Ice Age, is on its way.”

        Nowhere do climate scientists suggest that global cooling is on its way. This is a typical misrepresentation by a numb-nuts columnist for the Financial Post website. Sunspot activity will have a negligible effect on anthropogenic global warming. This is a scurrilous misrepresentation of climate reality by someone with a vested interest in downplaying global warming. I have, once again, included the link to realclimate.org, run by climate scientists to counter all of the misinformation being promulgated by industry friendly climate change deniers. The articles have a section for comments and questions. Feel free to ask about the climate science indicating a new “little ice age.”
        link to realclimate.org

      • seafoid
        October 4, 2012, 11:35 am

        It is happening already, Roha. Glaciers are melting. Arctic ice is melting.
        I just don’t believe you.

      • Philip Weiss
        October 4, 2012, 11:36 am

        Thanks Seafoid

      • seanmcbride
        October 4, 2012, 11:45 am

        Colin,

        This isn’t the forum to get into a debate about global warming and climate change, but I will say that I follow these issues on a daily basis with Prismatic here:

        link to getprismatic.com

        From my perspective, the authoritative evidence for making the case that global warming and climate change is a strategic issue of the utmost urgency is overwhelming.

        Prismatic popped up this as the lead article on global warming this morning:

        article; AUTHOR Glen M. MacDonald TITLE Climate-change denial getting harder to defend PUBLICATION The Los Angeles Times DATE October 4, 2012 URL link to latimes.com

        I find many climate change deniers to be — strange. Not rational (sort of like hophmi on Zionism). I apologize to any climate change deniers here, but those are my honest views.

        MacDonald’s credentials, by the way: “Glen M. MacDonald chairs UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and is a professor of geography and of ecology and evolutionary biology.”

      • MRW
        October 4, 2012, 1:57 pm

        @seafoid,

        It is happening already, Roha. Glaciers are melting. Arctic ice is melting.
        I just don’t believe you.

        All glaciers, of course, except the Hubbard Glacier and seven others in Alaska, which according to the USGS, are unaffected by climate. Hubbard is the largest calving glacier on the North American continent. According to the USGS, “Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing.”
        link to pubs.usgs.gov

        Also appears to be happening in Pakistan and China (Hindu-Kush–Karakoram–Himalaya glaciers), thanks to two new NASA satellites that are far more sensitive and accurate at measuring high altitude glaciers. Previous measurements were ground-level, or as the scientists wrote, they “suffer from a severe lack of observations.” Reported in Nature GeoScience, April 2012.
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2171434/Satellite-study-Asian-mountains-glaciers-NOT-melting–actually-gaining-new-ice.html
        link to nature.com
        link to nature.com

        The Antarctic sea ice extent is at a record high right now; in fact, according to the data, September 22, 2012 was a record day. It appears that when the arctic ice is low, the antarctic ice is high. The cross-over in this mirror effect last occurred in 1997. Previously, the arctic ice was high, antarctic low. It’s cyclical.

        NOAA’s National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Center has issued a statement today (October 4, 2012) about a storm to hit the Canadian-US border in the high plains “dropping temperatures well below normal” and continuing on into the southern and eastern states. Yesterday, NOAA said it would be 25 degrees below normal. So we’ll see.
        link to hpc.ncep.noaa.gov

      • seafoid
        October 4, 2012, 4:31 pm

        There is too much happening now to buy that denial nonsense any longer. India’s monsoon is changing. Drought in the US. More natural disasters. Acidification of the oceans. Melting ‘permafrost’ . What is the point of pretending nothing is happening?

        Modern capitalism is a suicide machine. Even the plutocrats have children.

      • ColinWright
        October 4, 2012, 4:44 pm

        MRW says: “…NOAA’s National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Center has issued a statement today (October 4, 2012) about a storm to hit the Canadian-US border in the high plains “dropping temperatures well below normal” and continuing on into the southern and eastern states. Yesterday, NOAA said it would be 25 degrees below normal. So we’ll see…”

        Well in the nature of things, this is exactly the sort of random event that will always occur and allow people to say ‘you see, global warming isn’t happening.’

        …and that’s my point. There will never be an ‘OMG’ moment. The concrete evidence will always be ambiguous, and provide ammunition for those who prefer to doubt.

        At the same time, almost everyone who actually has credentials in this field agrees that global warming is happening — which leads us to the inescapable conclusion that quite likely it is happening.

        And as I pointed out, that’s sufficient. If it’s likely that it’s happening, any sane cost/benefit analysis says we should do all we can to reverse and/or offset it — starting now.

        By all means, keep demanding more conclusive studies and further investigation. But in the meantime, the appropriate response is to act, not to simply continue making matters worse. If I’m in a leaky boat, and the evidence suggests that water is coming in faster than I’m able to bail, I don’t keep heading out from shore pending more conclusive data.

      • libra
        October 4, 2012, 7:38 pm

        SM: MacDonald’s credentials…

        Sean, were you equally impressed by Dr. Stanton’s academic credentials?

        As for climate change advocates, their proposed solutions are usually hopelessly irrational.

      • MRW
        October 5, 2012, 1:32 pm

        Who’s pretending nothing is happening? The climate changes all the time.

        But to ascribe it all to global warming and CO2 as if there were a unitary cause is lazy, not to mention inaccurate. Scientists are pushing back at this.

        On August 7 NOAA’s Dr. Martin Hoerling carped to the NYT about Hansen’s NASA/GISS August 2012 paper that claimed global warming and extreme heat were causing the US droughts and other global events. Hoerling is an extreme event scientist. Check out his bio.

        Dr. Hoerling has published research suggesting that the 2010 Russian heat wave was largely a consequence of natural climate variability, and a forthcoming study he carried out on the Texas drought of 2011 also says natural factors were the main cause.

        Dr. Hoerling contended that Dr. Hansen’s new paper confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves.

        “This isn’t a serious science paper,” Dr. Hoerling said. “It’s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper’s title. Perception is not a science.”

        link to nytimes.com

        Six months ago, 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts wrote a scathing letter to Charles Bolden, the NASA Adminstrator that opened with this:

        We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS [James Hansen], that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

        Read the rest of it here, and see the heavyweights who signed it:
        link to livescience.com

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 5, 2012, 2:24 pm

        “Read the rest of it here, and see the heavyweights who signed it:”

        And in other news, cigarettes aren’t addictive and doesn’t cause cancer. See my list of tobacco company executives, hired scientists and assorted cranks that say so…

      • RoHa
        October 6, 2012, 12:58 am

        @ Woody.

        Irrelevant.

      • dbroncos
        October 12, 2012, 2:23 am

        The “debate” put forward by those who say that global warming could be a good thing should be reminded that every coastal city on the planet could be under water, or atificially maintained below sea level, in 100 years time. Billions of people will be on the move to higher ground.

        But who cares, right? “What has posterity ever done for me” as they say…

  10. Citizen
    October 3, 2012, 2:17 pm

    So, you are saying a tree hugger or not sees Israel as a tree? But they don’t see any Palestinian trees or vineyards?

    • Les
      October 3, 2012, 3:29 pm

      They certainly don’t see many Palestinian olive trees since Israel’s policy is to destroy them along with the Palestinians themselves.

  11. Ellen
    October 3, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Jeffrey Blankfort gave a talk on this last week in D.C. at a workshop

    link to washington-report.org

    It is a good watch when time allows.

    One important point he makes is that the public discussion may want to move away from discussions of the Occupation/dispossession, as most Americans don’t care. And instead to the outsized amount of money sent to Israel every single year and growing.

    • seafoid
      October 3, 2012, 4:56 pm

      It’s a great video. I think it’s a real pity he was hounded out of Mondo.

    • American
      October 3, 2012, 8:24 pm

      ” And instead to the outsized amount of money sent to Israel every single year and growing”…Ellen quoting Jeff

      Been trying to everyone it already has…been going on now for some time….it’s the US ‘street’ ‘s rant against Israel (and our politicians). Lately the critics have added Netnayhau and who do the Israelis think they are to interfer in US elections.

  12. Blake
    October 3, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Henry Siegman: ‘The end of Israel is near’
    In a September 24 interview with Forward, Henry Siegman said: “If Israel believes that in this part of the world it can permanently deprive millions of Palestinians of their rights, that is absurd. Israel is signing its own death warrants,” he said, calling the policy of Netanyahu’s government “suicidal”.
    link to rehmat1.com

    • American
      October 3, 2012, 9:11 pm

      @ Blake

      Good catch, thanks for link.
      I think Seiglman is 100% right.
      Except I don’t think Israel has 50 more years, Kissinger may be closer with his 10 prediction….maybe 12 years.

      • yourstruly
        October 4, 2012, 12:53 pm

        1-2 years, if only us american anti-zionists intensify our attacks on israel-firsters for the traitors they are, at the same time demanding that our government end its special relationship with the zionist entity.

  13. Kathleen
    October 3, 2012, 2:25 pm

    “That debate has a long way to go” Especially right in public earshot the Dems totally manipulated that vote on the Dem floor having to do with Jerusalem/God issue. When you have Wasserman Schultz and other Israeli firsters at the helm of the direction of this issue within the party and being willing to lie right in the public’s faces about that vote looks like there has not been much change.

    But Phil as you have so articulately pointed out Obama has not folded to the neo-cons on the Iran issue… yet. If he does in the next term he will sacrifice not only the national security of Israel (I think Israel’s national security will be more shaky with an attack on Iran) but create far more problems for the U.S. If Obama goes along with an attack he will also sacrifice his presidency. Will not go well at all if he supports an attack on Iran based on questionable intelligence.

  14. Kathleen
    October 3, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Love Senator Brown on so many issues. Have worked literally hundreds of hours for him as he ran for that Senate seat. On domestic issues there is no one better. Well Kucinich, Kaptur etc. But on the I/P conflict Brown has lined up with the I lobby over and over again. Never steps out of line ever. On Iran he lines up with the I lobby.

    Mandel was no real threat to Brown but the millions pouring in to Ohio from Rove’s pac put Mandel in the running. But Brown and his field team etc have so far rolled right over them. Brown is a wonderful person and really cares about America’s working class and those less fortunate. Brown is a gem of a person with many admirable facets

  15. Ellen
    October 3, 2012, 2:47 pm

    If the Republicans take a serious defeat this November there will be some soul searching for survival. Why do they keep loosing??

    And since the NeoCons/Israeli firsters have put all their chips into demonizing Obama and playing the desperate fear card, a loss might crack the fear driven allegiance Congress pays to “The Lobby.” It will have no clothes.

    And maybe the Republicans — again to survive at all — will listen to the words of one of their own, the late Senator Charles McC. Mathias Jr. of Maryland who said in 1971 concerning playing the race card in politics…but it fits today.

    “We cannot rally a responsible political majority by appealing only to the fears and insecurities of a group that is all white and prematurely aged,”

    And about Israel he also said:

    “Traditionally, Washington has never linked aid to Israel with Israeli cooperation, but it is contrary to historical experience for one country indefinitely to help finance policies carried out by another country that conflict so fundamentally with the donor’s values and policies. “

  16. hophmi
    October 3, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Your assumption is that those pushing for Romney’s election are the lobby. It is a small part of the lobby pushing for Romney. Most of the lobby rejects the use of Israel as a wedge issue, and has been unmoved by the hectoring of organizations like the Emergency Committee for Israel, which has been Kristol’s arm for pushing Romney’s case.

    I’m still really not sure how much politicking of this was driven by Netanyahu. There are good arguments to be made that he had a lot to do with it, and good arguments to be made that he had little to do with it. The conventional knowledge is that no Israeli leader wants to be seen as taking sides in an American election, because at the end of the day, he’s got to work with whomever is elected. But Netanyahu seems to be different, and in general more reckless.

    You are right to say there is something of a split, but it is a split that existed before this election between a few hard-right members of the Jewish community who yell loudly and the rest of the Jewish community who understands that Israel should not be politicized in this way. These same hard-right folks were around in 2008, but they weren’t as well organized. The bottom line is that as in previous Presidential elections, Jewish voters are not voting on the basis of Israel, and it’s simply incorrect for anyone here to assert that they do.

    • Ellen
      October 3, 2012, 5:25 pm

      Hophmi, There are no assertions that Jewish voters are voting based on Israel. And yes, there are concerns among some of the Jewish political class that Israel has is introduced as a wedge issue. And likely disgust by many Jewish Americans.

      But it has been thrown into the ring as a wedge issue. It IS now there. This is not an assumption.

      The interest behind this is rich, well organized, tenacious and everywhere. And really dedicated. I’ve worked on other issues around the Capitol and seen it in action.

      And their message is clear: if you care about Israel, you will vote against Obama. If you are not pro Israel, you are an anti Semite (what ever that now is) and UN-American and a danger to the world.

      this message is growing louder and more hysterical the closer we get to election day. Just look at the video on absolutely uncertain.com.

      How ugly will it get when things do not work out as hoped for the fanatical Israeli lobby walking the halls of Congress?

      The reckless Israeli PM is not one for compromises and to work with others to find a way.

    • ToivoS
      October 3, 2012, 6:27 pm

      Hard to believe that I agree with Hop twice in one day.

      Of course the split in the lobby goes back many years. What is different is that it has become more visible to the public. A crack in the united front kind of event.

      It is irrelevant if Netanyahu initiated placing extreme Israeli views into the US election, he willingly went along with it and put himself dead center in the debate. You are right no Israeli PM until now has done so, but it has now been done. I think there must be many Israeli leaders and many American backers of Israel that are right now trying to figure out how to remove that fool from office. Without doubt he has damaged the Lobby with his reckless actions. I hope he stays on, it certainly is much easier to sit back and watch your enemy self destruct rather then trying to take it down yourself.

    • piotr
      October 3, 2012, 9:57 pm

      In American political brawl Netanyahu has a misfortune of being the sock puppet of Sheldon Adelson. Who went bonkers.

      However, if Adelson went bonkers, he did it as the richest member of quite numerous group, not exactly Jews, but surely most of neocons are there, “hojotoho heiaha” brigade of Jewish wannabe valkyries is there, and so on. Mainstream Zionist have to put “some daylight” between them and the crazy (and well funded) crowd of right wingers.

      Right wing Zionists indeed have a problem. They invented an excellent changer of public focus from “support oppression and settlements”, not a good seller (Geller wants to market “colonialism”, this is what I call “hojotoho” brigade) to “defend Israel against Iranian hordes”. This actually worked. But instead of counting their blessing, they want “next logical step”, the war. You can analyze back and forth if such a war would be an utter disaster or “not so utter at all”, but American public already got the taste of trillion-dollar price tags for ill advised military adventures, and (to most) the after taste is not good at all. Right wingers have this tendency that once they convince themselves, they think that with a bit more ads and other efforts they will make the case to the public and their boychiks will win elections. Because this works SOMETIMES, they do not understand why it does not work ALL THE TIME.

      The mainstream Zionists like Saban and Zuckerman also have a problem: how to separate themselves from the right wingers? They do not have the ability to do so. (The liberal companion of Dorothy was singing “If I only had a spine”, but that scene was removed from “Wizard of Oz”). Some of them already started contradicting fetishes like “the unity of the community” and, indirectly so far, “no daylight between America and Israel”.

      • Philip Weiss
        October 4, 2012, 9:06 am

        hojotoho heiaha. elaborate?

      • piotr
        October 4, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Hojotoho heiaha is the battle cry of Walkuren from Walkuere, Der Ring, Wagner. Therefore it is the singing you hear during the dawn attack in Apocalypse Now, check 1:57 of

        I use it as preaching war madness.

  17. American
    October 3, 2012, 10:23 pm

    Bit by bit…piece by piece. More and more think tankers know it’s gone too far. Cooke is a sly fellow. There will be more.

    link to blogs.cfr.org

    Council on Foreign Relations

    The U.S.-Israel Relationship: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
    by Steven A. Cook
    October 3, 2012

    (excerpts)

    If it is “unbreakable,” “unshakeable,” and “a common commitment,” the United States and Israel are sure to share it, at least that is what American politicians of all stripes have been telling the American people for as long as anyone can remember. There are, of course, influential voices who question the premise of these ties, but for a variety of political, strategic, and moral reasons, Washington and Jerusalem have what is known as a “special relationship.” This is essentially a fact of U.S.-Middle East policy, which is why the current conversation about relations between the countries is so curious.

    It is odd that American presidents are supposed to have an emotional attachment to Israel. Some may, but some may not. Does it matter if Jerusalem is Washington’s strategic partner? It shouldn’t, but the emphasis on what a president feels in his heart suggests perhaps that even as folks make the case for Israel’s strategic benefit to the United States, they understand that this may not actually be a strong enough argument.
    Others have told me that even though the President has said all the right things, they simply do not believe that this administration would come to Israel’s defense. I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of these feelings, but tension between American and Israeli leaders is nothing new, though the complaints lodged against President Obama reveal a certain skittishness about the arguments marshaled to justify special relations with Israel.

    I am not saying that Israel is of no strategic benefit—the prepositioning of equipment (which can be used by the IDF in the event of a crisis), intelligence cooperation, and joint development of weapons systems like the Arrow and Iron Dome are all valuable to the United States, but they are not necessarily decisive.

    This is why, for pro-Israel groups, it is imperative to know that American presidents feel Israel in their hearts. It makes up for the fact that when you get down to brass tacks, the U.S.-Israel relationship is not as strategic as some might suggest.””

  18. Nevada Ned
    October 3, 2012, 11:14 pm

    American Jews have some small amount of power in this election by voting (2-3% of the vote), but much more in campaign contribution, and also activism in the media. Left and liberal activism in the US has benefited from the participation and leadership of American Jews, well out of their proportion in the population.

    Are American Jews willing to face up to what Israel has done (and is doing) to the Palestinians? Some are, some are not.

  19. Liambrown
    October 4, 2012, 12:01 am

    Interesting thesis. But how about this: There Israel Lobby doesn’t control U.S Foreign Policy?

    Israel dances to Obama’s tune, which is why Netanyahu was just put in his place. A strike on Iran will seriously hurt U.S interests, which is why Obama won’t give the green light.

    Recall a series of events earlier this year. The Mossad were working with a Kurdish terrorist group to bomb Iranian scientists. This threatened to escalate the tension and so Obama got Bibi on the phone and told him how it was going to be played. The next day Bibi comes out and says that we shouldn’t strike Iran and there it is time to give sanctions another go.

    If you bother to look at U.S responses to Israeli policies then you’ll see this pattern occur all the time. Israel commits its crimes ONLY when the U.S gives the word and not the other way around.

    If the U.S does decide to strike Iran it will be because the military hardware and oil industries decide it is a safe enough bet. Their spending is literally a thousand times greater than the Israel lobby. No exaggeration.

    The problem with the Israel Lobby thesis is that it stems from a liberal analysis of geopolitics. Most of the people who are now involved either as a commentator or as an activist in this conflict now have no understanding of capitalism or imperialism and how they function to shape global conflicts. The interests of the U.S are the interests of private capital since the centers of economic power are also the centers of political power – this is political economy 101 – and so only political actors whose policies fit that mould are likely to be allowed to come to power.

    Since U.S control of the region is in the interests of oil companies, military hardware companies and gas companies it follows that a government that supports such control will come to power and it follows that they will support those who help them control the region. This is why America’s support for Israel is very similar structurally to their support for Indonesia in the 70s when it invaded and occupied East Timor. There are countless other examples.

    So what happened to Bibi this past week is that he got the snub from Obama. Not because Obama was emboldened to take on the lobby. Rather, Obama is simply aware of what is at stake in striking Iran.

    • seanmcbride
      October 4, 2012, 10:59 am

      Liambrown wrote:

      If the U.S does decide to strike Iran it will be because the military hardware and oil industries decide it is a safe enough bet. Their spending is literally a thousand times greater than the Israel lobby. No exaggeration.

      Do the arms and oil industries account for 50% of contributions to the Democratic Party? Do you have any hard numbers and authoritative cites on this?

      Since U.S control of the region is in the interests of oil companies, military hardware companies and gas companies it follows that a government that supports such control will come to power and it follows that they will support those who help them control the region.

      It has been the opinion of much of the American capitalist and national security elite for decades that maintaining good relations with Arab and Muslim nations in the Mideast was very much in their interest — that is why their feelings towards Israel have never been warm — Israel threatens to wreck American relations with every nation in the Mideast except Israel, with potentially disastrous economic consequences for Americans.

      You are serving up boilerplate Chomskyan dogma.

  20. seanmcbride
    October 4, 2012, 11:03 am

    Sin Nombre wrote:

    So maybe talking too much as if this were just a matter of Zionism is a mistake. Zionism, after all, is just a political thing, and isn’t there lots of evidence that what we have here goes deeper? “Culture-deeper” that is?

    Both Zionism and the ideology of Jewish exceptionalism have their roots in the messianic ethnic nationalism of ancient Judaism — that is how deep one has to go to understand and unravel this problem.

    Contemporary religious Zionism has made these cultural and ideological connections crystal clear.

  21. yourstruly
    October 4, 2012, 1:15 pm

    if it’s not zionism but culture-deep, how come there are so many jews who are either indifferent to or actually oppose zionism? not a majority yet, but our numbers are growing. besides, how deep was deep prior to the late 19th century when hertzl did his thing?

    • Ellen
      October 5, 2012, 11:42 am

      How deep was deep prior to Hertzle and his thing? In the really early days of Zionism it was thought to be a crack-pot Eastern European uneducated peasant Nationalist movement — an outgrowth of similar movements of the times.

      Herzle was an energetic “Hans Peter in alle gassen” in other words a journalist who had his hands in lots of things, and a master at getting attention and even sponsorship for various causes. (Attempting to organize a bizarre mass conversion of Viennese Jews to Christianity, being one of them.)

      He latched onto the Zionist gig and struck gold. But he was still regarded a nut case. He and his new movement was so disdained, that the Jewish Community (Reformed and Orthodox) in Munich refused to allow his first national Zionist conference to be held there. That is how it wound up in being held in a Casino in Basel.

      The rest is history. …

      • seanmcbride
        October 5, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Ellen wrote:

        Herzle was an energetic “Hans Peter in alle gassen” in other words a journalist who had his hands in lots of things, and a master at getting attention and even sponsorship for various causes. (Attempting to organize a bizarre mass conversion of Viennese Jews to Christianity, being one of them.)

        He latched onto the Zionist gig and struck gold. But he was still regarded a nut case. He and his new movement was so disdained, that the Jewish Community (Reformed and Orthodox) in Munich refused to allow his first national Zionist conference to be held there. That is how it wound up in being held in a Casino in Basel.

        The rest is history. …

        We seem to be looking at a classical and standard issue false messianic movement here — all the signs are there. And this won’t be the first time this kind of thing has happened. So the big question is, now what. How do we fix this in a way that causes the least harm and problems for everyone involved.

  22. ColinWright
    October 4, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Sin Nombre says: “…But maybe not. Maybe the problem isn’t “Zionist” ideology but *jewish* ideology/world-view/etc. Nothing to do with jewish ethnicity, but instead the concept of the world and the jews place in it and etc. that’s transmitted after birth…”

    …but in general at least, ethnicity is transmitted after birth. The difference between a Czech and a German isn’t a matter of genetic coding.

    …so my interest in the point is purely academic, but you are ascribing the problem to Jewish ethnicity.

    • Sin Nombre
      October 4, 2012, 4:03 pm

      No, I’m not. Or at least not in the way that you are defining “ethnicity.”

      But in the first place I wasn’t “ascribing” anything to anything definitely. I was simply wondering if, instead of the idea that it’s the ideology of Zionism that has many jews supporting—as Phil puts it—”discriminatory policies in the Middle East that they would never tolerate in the U.S.,” its some “ideology” or “world-view” or at least somewhat common understanding of jewishness itself that is responsible for same.

      I.e., the idea that it’s okay for jews to push positions on others that they themselves feel utterly free to reject.

      And in the second place by talking about some “ideology/world-view/jewish understanding” I’m obviously talking nurture, not nature.

      Whereas, at least in my conception, by talking ethnicity you are talking something immutable, in the blood, and/or etc. E.g., my slavic ethnicity.

      And indeed the more I think about this the less strong the “Zionism” explanation seems to get to me at least.

      For instance, I don’t see anything in just the simple idea of jews having homeland located in the ancient land of Israel that necessarily excludes or discriminates against arabs or anyone else, nor that requires jewish supremacy, nor even that requires a jewish *state.*

      And indeed and of course that *wasn’t* what was originally asked: It was for a “homeland.”

      And then there’s the second component which is how this is supposed to translate into the “jews telling everyone else one thing but doing the opposite themselves” question. After all Zionism originally can be seen as just about the purest expression of opposition to supremacy and discrimination: It was simply the invention designed to distance and relieve jews from same at the hands of gentiles. And it hardly said “okay, give us a homeland away from you and we’ll then applaud your continuing supremacist/discriminatory ideas.”

      So we come back to the question of … just what “ideology” or etc. *does* explain Phil’s observation about jews supporting ” discriminatory policies in the Middle East that they would never tolerate in the U.S.”?

      Now of course whatever it is it may well have *come* to be called the ideology of Zionism, but that begs the question since, as noted, the original conception of Zionism did *not* seem to support the “discriminatory policies.” So where did that *changed* conception come from? What “ideology” or “world-view” or whatever is responsible for that little addendum?

      And that’s all I was asking.

      • ColinWright
        October 6, 2012, 2:48 am

        Sin Nombre says: “But in the first place I wasn’t “ascribing” anything to anything definitely. I was simply wondering if, instead of the idea that it’s the ideology of Zionism that has many jews supporting—as Phil puts it—”discriminatory policies in the Middle East that they would never tolerate in the U.S.,” its some “ideology” or “world-view” or at least somewhat common understanding of jewishness itself that is responsible for same. ..”

        I’m perfectly prepared to grant that Jews as a group have some identifiable traits — and that those traits will be reflected in the behavior of Israel and its supporters.

        On the other hand, I think it is the objective situation rather than the ethnic identity of the perpetrators that exerts the strongest effect.

        The essential problem lies in trying to wrest away a land from a people who won’t go away, whom you refuse to even contemplate assimilating, and who you aren’t about to be assimilated by. Given those parameters, the outcome is more or less predictable. I’d say it all owes little to any ethnic peculiarities.

  23. Sin Nombre
    October 7, 2012, 3:01 am

    Colin Wright wrote:

    “I’d say it all owes little to any ethnic peculiarities.”

    Well that’s right. Indeed it owes *nothing*to any ethnic peculiarities—intrinsically/genetically speaking.

    Again it’s just … ideology. Nurture. Affiliated with an ethnicity or nationality or whatever no different than one might be affiliated with some occupation. E.g., lawyers having some particular world-view.

    Nothing anyone is born with.

    Culture culture culture; seems like it’s impossible these days to talk about same without folks immediately confusing it with race, genes, ethnicity or etc.

    • ColinWright
      October 7, 2012, 6:02 pm

      No…

      That’s not what I am saying. I am saying that while they wouldn’t be irrelevant, whatever the characteristics of Jewish culture and belief are, they are secondary to the objective situation brought about by the Zionist project.

      …the people who took this into their head could have been Basque shepherds or Filipino rice farmers. We would be confronted with much the same situation.

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