Neocons, wearing jackboots, are suddenly on the defensive over Hagel

Israel/Palestine
on 72 Comments

The Chuck Hagel debate has moved into a new phase: the neoconservatives are completely on the defensive. NYT op-eds by Tom Friedman (“Give Chuck a Chance“) and James Besser (“Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel”) have now successfully positioned Hagel as a centrist being attacked by extremists. And the neoconservatives have got their back up, as you will see below.

This is what MJ Rosenberg– who framed this mainstream debate as much as anyone by sticking to his guns on Israel-firster, thereby calling out the Iran-war neocons for dual loyalty, a strategy that played out in the presidential election– always said: the minute that politicians begin to get sharp questions at press conferences (from mainstream reporters) about their reflexive support for Israel, the debate will change. This new phase suggests that even if Obama, subject to his usual “invertebracy” (as Idrees Ahmad puts it), doesn’t put Hagel’s name forward, the neoconservatives have become a punching bag in the discourse. Though of course many of those delivering the blows supported the Iraq war, as Hagel himself did.

The American Jewish Committee has responded angrily to James Besser’s “Pro-Israel Extremists” article in the New York Times. Note ahead of time that Besser was the Washington correspondent for The Jewish Week from 1987 to 2011 and was a syndicated columnist for several Jewish newspapers. AJC’s David Harris wants to portray him as a nutjob. But Harris is himself shrill:

Essentially, the author argues that a group of wealthy right-wing zealots now call the shots in American Jewry. They have either taken over or, at the very least, intimidated mainstream groups like AJC into supporting, openly or quietly, their extremist agenda. This includes settlement expansion and seeking to silence anyone who doesn’t yield to their political orthodoxies. To be blunt, this is absolute and total rubbish. ……..

Decision-making and direction are determined by AJC’s Board of Governors through discussion and debate, involving close cooperation between lay leadership and staff. We welcome different points of view among our leaders and outside speakers who inform our thinking, a long-standing hallmark of AJC.

David Harris, please show me any meaningful statements the AJC has made against settlement expansion.

Here are some more defensive misleading statements, which culminate in Harris’s real concern, Hagel won’t support a war on Iran:

Third, our stance on Israel-related issues is staunchly centrist and non-ideological. An incredibly long paper and voice trail underscores that point, as do the daily examples of our diplomatic and political advocacy……

Project Interchange, AJC’s educational initiative bringing leaders from different sectors in the U.S. and other countries to Israel, visits Ramallah regularly to meet with the Palestinian Authority. AJC’s Board of Governors, during its upcoming visit to Israel, also will meet with PA leaders, as it has consistently done on previous trips….

There are good reasons to be concerned about Hagel in the Pentagon, and one need not be a “zealot” or “extremist” to hold such views….. Hagel’s voting record and statements on Iran-related issues alone should give pause to anyone who wonders what message his appointment could send to Tehran.

At the neoconservative Weekly Standard, Daniel Halpern is also on the defensive. The attacks are hitting a nerve:

Instead, these articles (and many more like them) just attack those concerned that Hagel is not the right man for the job.

No one, I believe, is actually making the argument that Hagel is well qualified to be secretary of defense

Let’s move on to the Hagel supporters. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council has a prominent op-ed at Huffington Post that begins by stating that the right is now on the run over the Hagel possibility:

The right wing pro-Israel forces — described by the New York Times today as “extremists” — seem to be falling on their swords. They are learning that Senator Chuck Hagel is the wrong guy to pick a fight with…

Hagel’s detractors appear to be motivated by two factors. First, vengeance over Hagel’s push to have the U.S. leave Iraq and end the neoconservatives’ pet project. Second, fear that Hagel’s independence and insistence on asking tough questions and ensuring that force is only used as a measure of last resort will complicate the neoconservatives’ other pet project: preventive war with Iran.

Hagel is no pacifist. There is nothing in his record that suggests that he would categorically oppose using force. After all, he did vote in favor of the Iraq war. But on Iran, his presence in the Obama administration would inject a much-needed dose of clear-sighted realism and strategic thinking. He would provide Obama’s national security team with the patience needed to ensure that America doesn’t commit another strategic mistake such as Iraq. Precisely because of his own military background, he knows full well the cost of impatience and ill-conceived wars.

I’m glad that Parsi brought up Hagel’s Iraq war vote. Hagel tries to rationalize it in his 2008 book, but it’s completely inconsistent with the antiwar mindset he supposedly brought, wounded, out of Vietnam.

At Al Jazeera, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad marvels that the Israel lobby, “an interest group lobbying on behalf of a foreign state,” has been able to impose a rigid litmus test on White House appointments. First he surveys the anti-Hagel forces:

The ECI [Emergency Committee for Israel], a relatively new actor, has not been alone in targeting Hagel. It has been ably assisted by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the National Jewish Democratic Council, The Israel Project, and the Zionist Organisation of America. Affiliates from both within and outside the government have gone on the offensive. 

The op-ed pages of the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal have all helped amplify the smears. The chorus has been joined by the familiar cast of Israel apologists in Congress, led by Chuck Schumer, Joseph Lieberman and Eliot Engel. Besides accusing Hagel of “endemic hostility towards Israel”, one of them, Engel, has also detected a “prejudice”.

Then he laments the influence of the lobby.

“Every appointee to the American government”, [Natasha Mozgovaya of Haaretz] wrote, “must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community.”

This is a curious position for a democracy to find itself in where an interest group lobbying on behalf of a foreign state can exercise veto power over government appointments based on ideological litmus tests. The distortion it engenders has been obvious in the disastrous course of recent US foreign policy. 

For the majority of Americans who are tired of perpetual war, the battle over Hagel’s appointment presents an opportunity to check this decline. They can finally confront the forces of militarism and restore much-needed sanity. It is not a coincident that the line-up of Hagel’s detractors looks remarkably similar to the line-up that promoted the Iraq war and is eager to bomb Iran. Hagel is far from a perfect candidate but he has many qualities that make his candidacy worth defending.

(P.S. If Haaretz reports that the “Jewish community” is vetting appointments, then isn’t Hagel excused for speaking of the Israel lobby as the “Jewish lobby”?)

It’s interesting that J Street, the kinder gentler Israel lobby, is now fundraising using the Hagel possibility as a benchmark battle against the neocons– “Extremism in our community”:

We’re pushing back hard against fierce, personal attacks against Senator Chuck Hagel’s possible nomination to be Secretary of Defense – the kind that intimidate politicians and policy makers into silence. Now, Washington knows that a serious pro-Israel lobby will have their back if they’re attacked for refusing to take only the most hawkish positions on Israel.

Though the statement is also aimed at the likes of me, for being too critical of the blessed Jewish state in the face of sensible moderate liberal Zionists, the impact of the statement lands almost entirely on neocons, who are “in our community.” I.e., inside the Jewish establishment. 

In that vein, Robert Naiman, another two-stater, has a list of all those supporting Hagel against the “jackboot of the neocons.”

What do we want the next four years to be like? Do we want to spend the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons, even though we beat them in the last three presidential elections, starting with the 2008 Democratic primary?

If we don’t want to spend the next four years under the jackboot of the neocons, then we have to stop the neocons from blocking the nomination of diplomacy advocate, war skeptic and decorated Vietnam combat veteran Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.

Oh and here’s a CNN panel trashing Hagel, mostly over his “aggressively gay” slur (14 years old, for which he’s apologized) and featuring Republican pundit Ana Navarro saying that a Hagel appointment would be “obtuse,” offending critical constituencies, including the pro-Israel crowd, and is therefore “DOA.” She also says that Israel advocates are not a “special interest.” Huh.

Thanks to Annie, and James Wall.

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72 Responses

  1. seanmcbride
    December 28, 2012, 11:45 am

    The ECI [Emergency Committee for Israel], a relatively new actor, has not been alone in targeting Hagel. It has been ably assisted by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the National Jewish Democratic Council, The Israel Project, and the Zionist Organisation of America. Affiliates from both within and outside the government have gone on the offensive.

    Can we stop pretending that all of the above organizations are not formal and official components of *the Jewish lobby*? Can we get real for once and stop checking our brains at the door? Reality is our friend.

    But it is also true that the Jewish lobby may be undergoing considerable restructuring at the moment, and in positive directions. Prominent progressive Jews are beginning to push back effectively against neoconservative Jews.

    If Hagel does manage to secure the appointment (highly iffy at this point, thanks to the chronic spinelessness of Barack Obama), I am sure that their efforts will not be forgotten.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2012, 12:34 pm

      “But it is also true that the Jewish lobby may be undergoing considerable restructuring at the moment, and in positive directions. Prominent progressive Jews are beginning to push back effectively against neoconservative Jews.”

      That doesn’t sound good, American. Those “progressive Jews” are well known for supporting diversity, affirmative action, the gay agenda, and women’s rights to their own bodies. And oh, yeah, strict gun control. Is that good for America?

      • seanmcbride
        December 28, 2012, 1:20 pm

        Mooser,

        Why did you address that comment to American? You completely missed the target. You need to read more carefully.

        I support most of the Jewish progressive agenda but I describe myself as a “progressive libertarian” — I am especially focused on civil liberties (like Glenn Greenwald).

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 2:09 pm

        Oh please, sean, we all know Theosophy is a club from which you can’t resign.

        But please, sean, tell us more about the “progressive Jewish agenda”! Sounds fascinating. Is it different from a “Christian progressive agenda”? Cause I’d much rather blame them for all that stuff.

        “Progressive Libertarian?” ROTFLMSJAO!!! Sure, anything you say, Sean. Is that a Republican who wants the government to supply pot, not just legalise it?

        And a guy who is so concerned with civil liberties he spends all his posts trying to differentiate American as Jews? How many G’s you figure you can stand?

      • American
        December 28, 2012, 3:57 pm

        @ Mooser

        Huh?

        I don’t know anything about progressive Jews..are they different from regular progressives?
        Have to say though I don’t particularly like progressives….although I have supported AA and gay rights and etc. myself…..those people are too, too single issue social issues for me and don’t seem to have a clue about anything that isn’t about them and their pet personal issues…so in that sense they are as bad as the ….’you will take my gun from my cold dead hands”..idiot me-me-me crowd.
        I actually saw a “moderate gun owner” using the tired excuse that citizens have to have have guns ‘to prevent government tryanny’……..ROTFLMAO.!….government tyranny is already here and the 300 million guns owned by gun “hobbyist” who claim they own them to prevent tyranny didn’t do a f’ing thing to stop it. What an excuse….”I’m gonna prevent gov tyranny with my guns!”…I can’t quit laughing at the idiotic things people tell themselves..and others to justify their me-ism.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 4:25 pm

        “I don’t know anything about progressive Jews..are they different from regular progressives?”

        Ask Sean.

      • seanmcbride
        December 28, 2012, 5:44 pm

        Mooser,

        I mentioned “progressive Jews” (or “Jewish progressives”) in the context of Jews on the left within the Jewish lobby beginning to push back with some force against neoconservatives and Likud Zionists within the Jewish lobby — especially with regard to the ugly smear campaign against Chuck Hagel.

        With regard to my progressive libertarian values, here you are:

        # progressive libertarian values
        1. anti-censorship
        2. anti-ethnic nationalism
        3. anti-hereditary oligarchy
        4. anti-racism
        5. anti-radical wealth inequality
        6. anti-religious fundamentalism
        7. anti-religious nationalism
        8. anti-torture
        9. pro-alternative energy
        10. pro-animal rights
        11. pro-checks and balances
        12. pro-civil liberties
        13. pro-civil rights
        14. pro-climate change activism
        15. pro-corporate accountability
        16. pro-corporate transparency
        17. pro-creative capitalism
        18. pro-due process
        19. pro-entrepreneurialism
        20. pro-environmentalism
        21. pro-foreign policy realism
        22. pro-free speech
        23. pro-freedom of choice
        24. pro-government accountability
        25. pro-government transparency
        26. pro-great public works
        27. pro-human rights
        28. pro-international law
        29. pro-meritocracy
        30. pro-privacy rights
        31. pro-public interest
        32. pro-reason
        33. pro-rule of law
        34. pro-science
        35. pro-separation of church and state
        36. pro-tolerance
        37. pro-whistleblowers
        38. pro-women’s rights

        All of these values and policy positions are fully compatible with Jewish humanism as I understand Jewish humanism — and even with important branches of Judaism that have taken care to maintain some distance from Zionism (Jewish ethnic nationalism).

        Zionism possibly had the potential to become a Jewish humanist movement (and Israel a Jewish humanist state), but that opportunity was blown a long time ago and won’t be coming back ever. Water under the bridge. It could have been a great thing.

        The current face of Zionism: Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett. They couldn’t care less about what I care about and most of the world doesn’t care very much about what they care about. Ethno-religious nationalism is innately self-ghettoizing since it is relentlessly selfish and self-obsessed — oblivious to the most important issues that concern most of the human race.

      • lyn117
        December 29, 2012, 2:06 pm

        @Sean,
        Not that I have any quarrel with your list of ideals, but I doubt everything on your list is actually a libertarian value. For example, anti radical wealth inequality, pro-environmentalism. In general, wealth equalization and environmental safeguards are accomplished by government policies, which libertarians are very much against. And on the other side of the coin, foreign policy realism and entrepreneurism aren’t so much progressive ideals. Maybe you’re saying you aren’t a libertarian?

        Anyway, I personally doubt that any ethnic nationalism has a real potential as a humanist movement, Zionism especially. Many ethnic nationalisms arise from people who are native to a particular place, if they’re the only ethnicity inhabiting it all well and good, but if not they seem to turn on minorities or “foreigners” for mass murder or expulsion. Zionists didn’t even have the excuse of being native to the land they targeted for their state. Zionism isn’t just Jewish ethnic nationalism, it’s a settler-colonialist movement predominantly. From the get-go, mainstream Zionists were considering how to clear the land of the native people.

      • seanmcbride
        December 29, 2012, 6:08 pm

        lyn117,

        I understand that “progressive libertarianism” is an oxymoron — it’s a term I use deliberately to try to define a political center of gravity that suits me and quite a few other people I know who are uncomfortable with conventional political labels.

        Progressive libertarians are suspicious of the concentration of too much power in the hands of both governments and private oligarchies — they are neither pure progressives or pure libertarians — but they appreciate certain values in both traditions.

        Regarding the future of Zionism — it’s all downhill from here, for the reasons you mentioned. It surprises me that there are still people who can’t see the handwriting on the wall. The more that ethno-religious nationalists engage in confrontational behavior with cult outsiders, the more they sink into the quicksand. It’s a no-win political position in the contemporary world.

        It’s a safe bet that most Jews will see the trap and seek out new political directions that are in their self-interest.

  2. Annie Robbins
    December 28, 2012, 12:05 pm

    parsi’s finale is superb:

    But at this stage, this is about much more than just Hagel. The extremist pro-Likud circles opposing Hagel — and whose ideological cohorts in Israel have accused Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey of serving Iran’s interests and even accused President Barack Obama of being an anti-Semite — are seeking to establish a veto on US national security policy. Only policies and personnel that they approve of shall pass. Those who differ from them will be preemptively eliminated through McCarthyite witch-hunts. (And Obama, of course, cannot begin his second term by twice being bullied and humiliated by this crowd.)

    It goes against the fundamental principles of the U.S. constitution — with its emphasis on checking powers — that any single group would have a veto on any policy. But for a group that hasn’t even won a major U.S. election since 2004 to act as if they have a right to veto candidates and polices, begs the need to have the group checked and balanced for the sake of U.S. national security.

  3. gingershot
    December 28, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Netanyahu is fully behind the desperate William Kristol/Israeli Lobby attempt to stop the Hagel nomination

    William Kristol is Netanyahu’s ‘second’ – trying to salvage the battle for a war against Iran that Netanyahu was thwarted on earlier this Fall

    What Netanyahu failed to do this Fall – William Kristol and Netanyahu’s Israeli Lobby in the US are trying to do right now

    Why is pushing the US into a war on Iran so important?- why is stopping the Hagel nomination to preserve the momentum they have so carefully generated over the last decade to do precisely that?

    Can everyone imagine where Netanyahu will be once the Hagel nomination goes thru?

    Banging his shoe on podium at the UN saying Israel has a RIGHT to exist as an Apartheid state, a RIGHT to ethnically cleanse Palestine, and that Israel will keep Apartheid no matter what the UN or world does about it to try to help the Palestinians – that’s where

    This is Netanyahu’s problem that he is so desperately trying to avoid – without a war on Iran, Israeli Apartheid has no cover (precisely as we are witnessing this last couple of months)

    Without Netanyahu successfully hoaxing/m*usetrapping the US into a war against Iran, Israeli Apartheid is over

    Stopping the Hagel nomination is really just Netanyahu’s next bite at the apple

    • piotr
      December 28, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Netanyahu is in somewhat of a bind. He got into a spat with Israeli Home party, a new umbrella party of the far Right. He will either eat crow, make a government with Israeli Home and proceed toward a diplomatic cliff, or eat crow, make a government with the centrists, and try do moderate at least some excesses.

      What he will do may depend on the situation in Washington. If Israel can maintain full American support while having Right/far Right government, this is what will happen. And that prospect drives many non-extremist Zionists to despair.

      Hagel nomination is just a skirmish. Yes, Hagel is just a conservative member of Establishment, although with more spine that most. To a degree, the Lobby went reflexively to scuttle his nomination to maintain the supremacy: if you let forget past slights, pretty soon you will loose all respect, any punk will be able to badmouth you! And this is a leverage control structure, and as such it may collapse.

      Of course, liberal Zionist have to face the fact that merely prevailing on few Cabinet appointment changes nothing. It is only a prelude for real steps, and barring that, nothing will check the extremist rule in Israel. Sanctions (even if only relative) have to be on the table.

    • justicewillprevail
      December 28, 2012, 8:42 pm

      Yes, I have always believed that a disastrous Iran war would be the cover for ‘finishing the job’ of destroying any form of Palestinian state or autonomy, crushing any hope of equal rights or democracy for Palestinians, and leaving a shrinking, charred empty wasteland for Palestinians to slowly find impossible to inhabit (see Gaza). It appears Bibi and his fascist cohorts are rushing to do that anyway, as if time might be their enemy, and as you rightly say they are utterly exposed in building an apartheid, separatist state which will blight the region for decades and be a constant source of violence and tension. An interminable, quagmire of war with Iran would suit them down to the ground. Everybody else is expendable.

  4. W.Jones
    December 28, 2012, 12:51 pm

    The AJC article claims:

    Essentially, the author argues that a group of wealthy right-wing zealots… have either taken over or… intimidated mainstream groups like AJC into supporting… their extremist agenda. This includes settlement expansion and seeking to silence anyone who doesn’t yield to their political orthodoxies.

    AJC does not have such donors. Our donor list is made public in each annual report. I invite anyone to review the list.

    Wouldn’t the claim be easy to check? I couldn’t find the donor list online though.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 28, 2012, 12:59 pm

      it’s a diversion wjones. AJC says its Board of Governors sets the agenda. not the donors.

      • W.Jones
        December 28, 2012, 1:15 pm

        That’s perceptive: as you point out, it’s not like a corporation that can get bought out and thereby “taken over” by people who put money into it.

        Still, donors could reflect the reality of an organization’s positions. If it has strong right-wing donors, that could reflect rightwing positions or those could strongly influence the Board. For example, a group of donors could demand certain positions be taken for continued funding. Nonprofits are often influenced by their donors (among others).

      • seanmcbride
        December 28, 2012, 1:21 pm

        The AJC’s (American Jewish Committee’s) motto: “Global Jewish Advocacy” — which brings to mind the concept and term: worldwide Jewish lobby.

        Now, there is nothing wrong or suspect in building a global ethno-religious nationalist lobby focused on the interests of a single nation (and that a foreign nation from the standpoint of all the other nations in the world except itself). But let’s be honest and factual in describing the character and agenda of this lobby. Call it by its proper name. Don’t be evasive or obfuscatory about its core identity and program. Don’t insult our intelligence.

        From the AJC’s website:

        AJC maintains nine overseas posts and over 30 international association agreements with Jewish communities and organizations around the world.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 2:01 pm

        seanmcbride, are sitting down? I mean in a nice comfy chair with proper lumbar support, so you can’t fall out when your entire psychological world falls to pieces? Okay then, here goes:

        Zionists lie a lot. I know that hard for you to believe, you seem to have an extraordinary belief in Jewish truthfulness, and Zionist verity. Why is that? Anyway, Zionist lie, all the time, and Jews, well, they lie as much as anybody else.
        Why can’t you absorb…..Oh, i forgot, you come from a culture which never lies, or even misrepresents itself, so find it hard to believe it, shocking, when somebody else does it.
        Is it in return for something nice they do for you?

      • seanmcbride
        December 28, 2012, 2:34 pm

        Mooser,

        What lies do you think I have failed to discern? My bullshit detector is first rate. Enlighten me.

      • American
        December 28, 2012, 2:44 pm

        “Now, there is nothing wrong or suspect in building a global ethno-religious nationalist lobby focused on the interests of a single nation (and that a foreign nation from the standpoint of all the other nations in the world except itself).”…Sean

        I would argue that is there is something wrong with building a global/ethno/ religious nationalist lobby.
        In fact I think you yourself have argued against ethnic and religous nationalism…….particulary when it goes to extremes and is oppressive of others.
        Ethno religious nationalism is the US complaint about radical Islam and the hypocritical Israeli complaint against it.
        Nationalism in itself though is not bad if it is about the ‘common good’ of a nation’s population irregardless of the different ethnic and religious groups that make it up.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 4:42 pm

        “Don’t be evasive or obfuscatory about its core identity and program.”

        Well, there’s no denying that, is there Sean? Yes, and I bet that if you asked AJC yourself, they would be very quick to tell you the AJC’s (American Jewish Committee’s) motto is: “Global Jewish Advocacy”. That is probably what they would say. And if you suggested they were an “Jewish Lobby” I bet they would lower their eyes, and say, ‘oh I bet you say that to all the girls, don’t you’ while their hand shyly sought yours.

        Sean, do you happen to have a list of the organisation which were denied entry into the Jewish Lobby, and for what reasons?

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 4:58 pm

        “Is it in return for something nice they do for you?”

        There’s my answer:
        “Now, there is nothing wrong or suspect in building a global ethno-religious nationalist lobby focused on the interests of a single nation (and that a foreign nation from the standpoint of all the other nations in the world except itself). “

        Now I get it.

      • peeesss
        December 29, 2012, 2:55 am

        ” Now there is nothing wrong or suspect in building a global-ethno religious nationalist lobby focused on the interests of a single nation”. I would have to think about that. Quite hard. Top of my head , wouldn’t a global-ethno religious nationalist lobby in the US directed and funded by US citizens for a foreign nation be suspect in ,possibly, working against stated US positions . Would the US hesitate in not taking action against such an entity if it were working for say China, Russia, Cuba or even Iran? Why is such an organization as you describe it properly, “The Jewish Lobby”, allowed to exist, quite frankly?

      • Rusty Pipes
        December 29, 2012, 4:39 pm

        Or at least, why is such an organization allowed to exist in America without registering as an agent for a foreign state?

    • seanmcbride
      December 28, 2012, 1:41 pm

      W.Jones,

      Wouldn’t the claim be easy to check? I couldn’t find the donor list online though.

      This is the list we need to analyze:

      Sort top 100 donors to the AJC (American Jewish Committee) from 2000 through 2012 by total amount of donations.

      What are the political views and affiliations of those top 100 donors?

      And the same data crunching exercise needs to be performed on the RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition), NJDC (National Jewish Democratic Council), ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel), etc. There are at least a few dozen organizations in play, acting as integrated components of a single network and political machine.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 2:04 pm

        “What are the political views and affiliations of those top 100 donors?”

        But if they donated to AJC, don’t we already know what their “political views and affiliations are”?

        Apparently, you get don’t dizzy easily, do you Sean?

        No, maybe you are right, Sean. Maybe the best thing for an organisation who wished the support and donations of Jewish people is to call it the “American Christian Committee” or maybe “The New Nazi Party” That’ll bring the shekels showering down into the coffers, huh?

      • thetumta
        December 28, 2012, 9:21 pm

        Have you filed FOIL request for records?
        Hej!

    • seanmcbride
      December 28, 2012, 2:00 pm

      Regarding the pyramidal/hierarchical funding structure of the AJC:

      link to ajc.org

      The National Leadership Council

      1. The Ambassadors Society: minimum annual gift of $250,000

      2. The Consuls Society: minimum annual gift of $100,000

      3. The Diplomats Society: minimum annual gift of $50,000

      4. The Delegates Society: minimum annual gift of $25,000

      5. The Advocates Society: minimum annual gift of $10,000

      What percentage of the AJC’s total funding is provided by members of these five groups? To what degree do members of these five groups influence AJC policies?

      Who are the members of the Ambassadors Society? How many of them are Likud Zionists? Liberal Zionists? Progressive Jews?

      When is the last time someone provided Mondoweiss with a minimum annual gift of a quarter of a million dollars? :)

      • seanmcbride
        December 28, 2012, 2:43 pm

        One can get to the heart of the Jewish lobby with a single sorted list:

        sort top 100 Jews worldwide by total funding of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations from 2000 through 2012

        That would do the trick.

        Then apply a microscope to understanding that social network. What is it all about? Core ideological beliefs? Dominant strategic objectives? Leading methods and techniques for exercising political and social control?

        One could apply the same approach for getting a handle on the lobbies for Roman Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Christian evangelicals, etc. — by all means do it.

        The only reason that the Jewish lobby has come under such intense scrutiny is because Israel has become such a controversial, inflammatory and divisive issue in American politics. The Chuck Hagel uproar — particularly the vicious smear campaign directed against Hagel — brought it all to a head.

      • piotr
        December 28, 2012, 3:22 pm

        I actually looked at the Annual Report and I did not see a list of donors. There are two pages “Honoring Civic Concern” showing ordinary workers, teachers etc. who contributed their effort (or corporate fat cats to the last person, make your guess)..

        I checked 990 statement, i.e. tax return. Only one donor listed, Klarman Family Foundation, with 1 million. But the other 42 million presumably came from donations under 5000? So no Ambassadors, Consuls, Diplomats, Delegates and Advocates? This is not arithmetically possible (given the number of donations in “kind”, farmers giving their produce and investors their securities, and their total value).

        I venture a guess that out of 25 directors who work pro bono, all are either personal donors or represent foundations like Klarman.

      • W.Jones
        January 8, 2013, 3:03 am

        I know. It’s funny: “Just check our donors list and you will see we are not right-wing.”

  5. fillmorehagan
    December 28, 2012, 2:09 pm

    I suspect there is quite a bit of overlap in the membership and donors of the various ultra right Jewish organizations. Not nearly as big a group as some might think.

  6. radii
    December 28, 2012, 2:14 pm

    This one quote is what is turning the tide: “I am a United States Senator, not an israeli senator” … it says everything

  7. Les
    December 28, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Don’t hold your breath but any moment now you can expect to hear from Hagel that he has requested Obama to not consider him as a candidate. And the same media mavens joining in the push against Hagel will expect all of us to believe that the White House did not pressure Hagel to withdraw his name.

  8. Kathleen
    December 28, 2012, 2:23 pm

    I think it was Tuesday when Chris Mattews had Steve Clemons on to say a few things about the possible Hagel announcement. Clemons (love his rational mind and stances) mentioned that Friedman had finally come around to Hagel. Something about better late than never. Can not figure out why Matthews is always kissing Bill Kristol, New York Times and Friedmann’s asses? He referred to Friedman as “the great Tom Friedman” Matthews talked about this Hagel issue on Tuesday and Thursday evening. He said something about not being a “warmonger” but we had to do something about Iran. Chris Matthews still trying to pass himself off a some kind of Amy Goodman on Iraq. Anyone see him have any of the experts questioning the validity of Iraq pre war intelligence before the invasion. Hell no he did not. Trying to paint himself as asking the tough questions before the invasion. Bull

    Richard Haas on Morning Joe was standing up for Hagel the other morning. And then of course Chris Hayes really covered the issue last weekend. There really is some push back for Hagel. Hope folks keep contacting their Reps and Obama pushing for Hagel’s nomination

    • piotr
      December 29, 2012, 11:38 pm

      I would not underestimate Friedman. Like Watt, Coulomb, Curie, Joule, Volta etc. he has a unit to his name, Fu or “how much time it takes for a FUBAR situation to improve”, which is 6 months from now (after 6 months the meaning of “now” is different, so it is still 6 more months).

  9. mcohen
    December 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

    seanie
    these 2 guys cliff and bagel are in fact one person whose name is jerry mcguire famous for his “show me the money” line.
    could even be related to the mcbride,s
    anyway you seem to forget that jewish wealth does not only exist in america but worldwide and the ajc is only an american thing
    now if obama wants a little help with the fiscal then he waves the hagel and deep pockets are emptied a little
    its only business and it all has to be paid for
    thats why your questions about how much are those of a noddy the nobody

    • Annie Robbins
      December 28, 2012, 3:56 pm

      jewish wealth does not only exist in america but worldwide and the ajc is only an american thing
      now if obama wants a little help with the fiscal then he waves the hagel and deep pockets are emptied a little
      its only business and it all has to be paid for

      oh that’s really advancing your cause.

      • Mooser
        December 28, 2012, 4:29 pm

        “oh that’s really advancing your cause.”

        Yessirree, Annie when that +15IQ spits on its hands (if not on you or me), rolls up it’s kippah and goes to work, all you can do is stand back and marvel at the results, huh?
        Yes, the fight against anti-Semantics never ends!

      • mcohen
        December 28, 2012, 11:02 pm

        dear advancing your cause
        many american jews are fast becoming a lost cause taking a complacent view of the world that the fight for survival is over because the first amendment says so
        how about you take a walk around any european country with a kippah on
        what some american jews need is a taste of the whip that my grand parents used to talk about when they lived in lithuania
        inter marriage breeds racial forgetfulness
        hows that for an anti sematic

      • Annie Robbins
        December 29, 2012, 12:36 am

        what some american jews need is a taste of the whip

        little bite of anti semitism is good for the soul huh.
        what.ever.

      • RoHa
        December 29, 2012, 12:55 am

        “inter marriage breeds racial forgetfulness”

        That’s why we need more intermarriage.

      • mcohen
        December 29, 2012, 1:09 am

        dear what.ever
        it is indeed
        it is the flame that keeps you alive

      • Citizen
        December 29, 2012, 5:47 am

        “inter marriage breeds racial forgetfulness”

        David Duke

      • libra
        December 29, 2012, 9:04 am

        mcohen: what some american jews need is a taste of the whip…

        And, as I’m sure you’re well aware, there are perfectly respectable establishments in Tel Aviv that discreetly cater to such needs.

      • chinese box
        December 29, 2012, 1:35 pm

        @mcohen

        I wouldn’t be so quick to ascribe the kippah reactions (if they actually happen as you claim) to anti-semitism. Some euros seem to be uncomfortable with any public display of religious garb (witness all their debates about the hijab).

      • mikeo
        December 30, 2012, 8:15 am

        “how about you take a walk around any european country with a kippah on”

        Typical comment from paranoid ethnic nationalist – probably never visited Europe…

        Much of Europe is equally or more tolerant of diversity than the US.

        Why do you think so many young Israelis are emigrating to Berlin etc?

      • German Lefty
        December 30, 2012, 9:04 am

        “how about you take a walk around any european country with a kippah on”

        It’s the Zionists who put the Star of David on the Israel flag and declared Israel a “Jewish state”. If anyone mistakes a Jew for a Zionist and verbally or physically abuses him, then Israeli propaganda is to blame for this misconception.

      • Ellen
        December 30, 2012, 10:39 am

        how about you take a walk around any european country with a kippah on…

        WOW!…..what an ignorant statement. Ever been to Berlin, Vienna, Frankfurt, Zurich or even Krakow? Obviously never.

        In my neighborhood, here in Europe, men who do NOT wear a kippa stand out….and are also avoided by those who do.

        Serious question: why does it seem that goys are mostly avoided as lepers?

    • talknic
      December 30, 2012, 11:39 am

      mcohen “anyway you seem to forget that jewish wealth does not only exist in america but worldwide and the ajc is only an american thing
      now if obama wants a little help with the fiscal then he waves the hagel and deep pockets are emptied a little

      LOL. Israel is focused on maintaining the US Veto vote in the UNSC for the simple reason that were it to be held accountable to its legal obligations to the UN Charter, International Law and the GC’s, (which ALL rule in favour of the Palestinians) it would be sent completely bankrupt for decades as it attempted to pay the Palestinians their rightful reparation$.

      Furthermore Israel would be burdened with the expen$e of re-locating hundred$ of thou$and$ of Israelis back to its Internationally recognized sovereign territory and hou$e them link to wp.me

      All those incredibly lucrative illegal settlement contracts, incl those for infrastructure et al, would disappear and the Jewish wealth you’re so proud of would be a very very small drop in a very very big and fast emptying bucket.

      Added to which, in attempting to relocate it’s illegally settled citizens from the comfort of their illegal settlements ( Israel has never legally annexed any territory it has acquire by war since declaration ), it is highly likely to break out in a civil war which would be fought primarily in “territory outside the State of Israel” (ibid) wherein the other Regional Powers would have the legal right to intervene as they did in 1948.

      Reparations, relocation and war all at once. That is the threat Israel’s arrogant illegal ‘facts on the ground’ have created over 64 years and it is the reason Israel is so desperate to maintain the US veto vote in the UNSC while continually demanding a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.

      The only way out of the ghastly legal sh*t hole Israel has created for itself, is to plea bargain. But even in negotiations, the Palestinians have no legal obligation to relinquish ANY of their legal rights.

      The truth of the matter is, Israel’s survival is entirely dependent on Palestinian generosity.

      Yet despite the Palestinians 2011 offer of accepting only 22% of their rightful territory for peace, in front of the world at the UN and again in 2012, Israel has no intention what so ever of stopping its illegal activities. It’s one sick lil’ pup.

  10. Stephen Shenfield
    December 28, 2012, 5:05 pm

    “If Haaretz reports that the ‘Jewish community’ is vetting appointments, then isn’t Hagel excused for speaking of the Israel lobby as the ‘Jewish lobby’?”

    Certainly not. All sorts of things can be openly said in Israel, but the United States is held to a higher standard of censorship.

  11. gracie fr
    December 28, 2012, 7:39 pm

    ……”Iran more than any other single issue is at the core of the opposition to Hagel, and that issue is closely linked to the question of the extent to which the US should be allied with the aggressive policies of the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Iran, as well as other issues, such as the settlements and a Palestinian state. And Iran has been among the policy differences Hagel has had over the years with the strongly pro-Israel organizations that are trying to influence US policy, the most politically powerful one being, of course, AIPAC. While still a senator, Hagel spoke out against using military force against Iran, was more circumspect about imposing sanctions, and refused to sign some of the more robust letters that AIPAC circulated on Capitol Hill, an extra-legislative way of trying to impose policy. The most vocal opponent to Hagel is Bill Kristol, an architect of the neocon policy that led to the Iraq war. Kristol set the tone for the opposition to Hagel by equating his criticism of some Israeli policies to “a record of consistent hostility to Israel,” and his caution about a possible military strike on Iran as “anti-Israel-pro-appeasement-of-Iran.” Hagel has been labeled “anti-Israel” by his opponents, and even “anti-semitic,” a monstrous and preposterous charge.”

    The opponents of Hagel weren’t content to fight his nomination in the Senate, where they were expected to lose, so they have tried something different, with long-term significance to the power of the presidency. They have been attempting to dissuade the President from nominating Hagel, which he was on the verge of doing before this fight broke out. These forces counted on Obama’s caution, his oft-displayed lack of stomach for a fight, and set out to convince him that Hagel was “controversial”—that if he were nominated there would be a difficult set of confirmation hearings, so it wasn’t worth it.

    In Washington it’s quite simple to get someone labeled “controversial.” All it takes is an attack by a prominent person, followed up by similar arguments by allies; throw in a couple of senators whom the press loves because they make controversial statements—John McCain has been the reigning champ for years—and, voila! someone is seen to have “a lot of opposition.” In the absence of a statement of support by the president, some elected politicians hide under their desks. Before you knew it the word in Washington was that Hagel was controversial and his nomination faced strong opposition.
    link to nybooks.com

    • Citizen
      December 29, 2012, 5:52 am

      Obama defended Rice, practically spitting at her detractors.

  12. Dan Crowther
    December 28, 2012, 7:56 pm

    Just gonna throw it out there: So what happens when Chuck Hagel goes full Colin Powell at the UN? Gotta believe him then, right? If Chuck says bombs away, its gotta be for a good reason. Man, Barry’s got a lot of people right where he wants them.

    I’ve said it for a while, by the time O signs off on bombing Iran, most “liberals” will be on board, Phil included.

  13. ritzl
    December 28, 2012, 9:13 pm

    I’m not so sure Naiman’s a “two-stater” (more evolving realist, imo), but he sure got trashed at dKos for using the term “jackboots.”

    Such is the enforced, glib nature of the discussion there in many respects (Palestinian viewpoints/anger not allowed), and probably more importantly, such is the narrow and exclusionary nature of the discussion in notionally Dem advocacy sites.

    • seanmcbride
      December 29, 2012, 1:37 pm

      ritzl,

      I’m not so sure Naiman’s a “two-stater” (more evolving realist, imo), but he sure got trashed at dKos for using the term “jackboots.”

      Such is the enforced, glib nature of the discussion there in many respects (Palestinian viewpoints/anger not allowed), and probably more importantly, such is the narrow and exclusionary nature of the discussion in notionally Dem advocacy sites.

      Markos Moulitsas is as lightweight and inside the box as Rachel Maddow — all dull blah, blah, blah with not an unpredictable or original thought. I don’t know any smart people who pay any attention to Moulitsas, or to Daily Kos, at all. Definitely not on my reading list.

      • Rusty Pipes
        December 29, 2012, 6:48 pm

        Moulitsas wasn’t doing the trashing — he avoids the subject like the plague and keeps it off the frontpage of the site. The trashing is done by hasbarists who are as entrenched among the site membership as they are within the Democratic Party establishment. A site which claims to be Progressive, anti-Bush wars, anti-DLC, anti-neocon, anti-Lieberman, pro-small donor, pro-grassroots, pro-50 State Strategy has marginalized itself by refusing to deal with the Israel Lobby and America’s “special relationship with Israel.” After the Democrats took back the House in 2006, Moulitsas was on the Sunday morning talk shows frequently and every single Democratic Presidential hopeful came to Yearly Kos in 2007. But now? Hasbarists at DKos convinced its admins to forbid links to Mondoweiss, which is more of a reflection on that site than on this. The pundits are reading Mondoweiss and progressives are forwarding and linking to its articles. How often does DKos get a nod these days?

      • seanmcbride
        December 30, 2012, 8:55 am

        Rusty Pipes,

        Moulitsas wasn’t doing the trashing — he avoids the subject like the plague and keeps it off the frontpage of the site.

        Markos Moulitsas is responsible for the editorial policies of Daily Kos. He’s a weak personality, and Daily Kos reflects that weakness. And he is an uninteresting mind — boilerplate progressive — no originality — completely forgettable.

        There is a lot of that going around on the conventional left. The term “liberal Zionist” almost encapsulates the entire syndrome: talk progressive, run interference for fascist policies, and sleepwalk through your self-contradictions.

      • ritzl
        January 1, 2013, 6:49 pm

        @sean Yes, dKos is a grindstone of Dem conventional wisdom/conformity, but the objective there for diarists is different. dKos is a platform where good, insightful, characterizing, and informative (even outraged or angry) points can be raised to a vastly larger receptive audience of Dem activists (outside the PePs) than here (no criticism, at all), or maybe anywhere else.

        Given that, this issue can be raised and discussed there, within the known boundaries of “acceptability,” with more broad-based effect.

        So, imo, it’s not so much a matter of “deep thinking” (though that’s certainly part of navigating and generating effect there), it’s more a matter of platform and reachable audience.

        There are some really, really good people that post there under those constraints, and with that effect. Their efforts are a critical part of the total effort required to gain traction on this issue, again, imo.

      • seanmcbride
        January 1, 2013, 7:07 pm

        ritzl,

        Thanks for the expanded information on Daily Kos. Markos Moulitsas turned me off so much (in much the same way that Rachel Maddow turned me off) that I stopped visiting his site a long time ago. Perhaps some of the diarists there are indeed worth reading. I’ll keep that in mind.

        Basically I am turned on by independent vanguard thinkers — not by party apparatchiks, who bore me to tears. And one can spot those characters a mile away.

  14. HPH
    December 29, 2012, 12:47 am

    Here is a short supportive article by Jon Soltz (On Hagel, Neocons Go Off the Sanity Cliff (Again)) at the Huffington Post. He makes the issue to be the military and the veterans versus the neocons. This is not a good development for the neocons and the other warmongers.

  15. jimmy
    December 29, 2012, 1:15 am

    go to any of these members sites…does it represent the USA or something else
    link to conferenceofpresidents.org

    Hagel is the Wrong Choice to Lead the Department of Defense

    says…. link to jinsa.org

    and we re constantly told how brilliant the Borg are

    fyi the Borg were a group thinking alien on star trek

    Even during difficult economic times, most Americans still want our nation to maintain a credible national defense, support the welfare of its troops, and assume a leadership role for America in an increasingly chaotic world. The President’s choice of a new Secretary of Defense is crucial to our nation during trying times. Unfortunately, the widely-rumored frontrunner for this position, falls short on all three counts.

    also the jewish lobby has been alive and kicking in the USA for over one hundred yrs..

    George Washington

    “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.

    Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into aparticipation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification…

    said long before there was an israel

    The beginnings

    The Israel Lobby is just the tip of an older and far larger iceberg known as “political Zionism,” an international movement that began in the late 1800s with the goal of creating a Jewish state somewhere in the world. In 1897 this movement, led by a European journalist named Theodore Herzl[3], coalesced in the First Zionist World Congress, held in Basle, Switzerland, which established the World Zionist Organization, representing approximately 120 groups the first year; 900 the next.[4]

    While Zionists considered such places as Argentina, Uganda, and Texas,[5] they eventually settled on Palestine for the location of their proposed Jewish State, even though Palestine was already inhabited by a population that was 95 percent Muslims and Christians, who owned 99 percent of the land.[6] As numerous Zionist diary entries, letters, and other documents show, Zionists planned to push out these non-Jews – financially, if possible; violently if necessary.[7]

    link to councilforthenationalinterest.org

  16. Citizen
    December 29, 2012, 8:42 am

    Chuck Hagel And Israel: The Wrong Question link to feedproxy.google.com
    The slot open is US Secretary Of Defense, not Israeli secretary of defense.

    • doug
      December 29, 2012, 11:34 am

      Citizen,

      That is a great, dead on, article.

      “The Human Rights Campaign also recognized Hagel’s apology as significant and closed the book on the issue, but that has not made it go away. No one in Washington, whatever they might say in public, believes the controversy over Hagel has anything to do with his beliefs on LGBT rights any more than anyone here believed that the controversy over Freeman had anything to do with China. This is all about Israel, and, more to the point, the far-right Likud agenda which drives not only the majority in the Knesset but virtually the entirety of the Israel Lobby in the United States.”

  17. Les
    December 29, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Imagine for a moment, “non-ideological” Zionism. Will wonders never cease?

  18. hophmi
    December 29, 2012, 5:00 pm

    As usual, Phil, you’re disingenuous and dishonest. You know nothing about the AJC, and did zero journalistic work in actually talking to people active in the organization or looking at their extensive website. In fact, the AJC is centrist. At their annual meeting in Washington, B’Tselem was represented and Uri Zaki, the head of B’Tselem’s North American office, has given multiple presentations in past years. Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now has been featured during the past two years, as has Ben Murane of the New Israel Fund. The members are largely left of center, and most are highly critical of Israeli settlement policy. I challenge you to come to AJC’s ACCESS conference in Washington this year and make your voice heard rather than sitting on the sidelines like a coward.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 29, 2012, 6:31 pm

      hophmi, instead of freaking out about stuff you know nothing about (admit it, you have no idea how much journalistic background phil’s ever done wrt AJC) perhaps you can fulfill this simple request since it’s unlikely harris will comply: David Harris, please show me any meaningful statements the AJC has made against settlement expansion.

      btw, mj rosenberg’s got a doozy up on ajc. he apparently knows a thing or 2 about harris. worth the read: link to mjayrosenberg.com

      Precisely none of the points Harris makes are true. Decision-making at the American Jewish Committee is now entirely the province of David Harris. The organization is not right-wing or in love with Netanyahu, Harris is. In fact, it is well-known that there is growing discontent within the organization because Harris has essentially turned it into a one-man show, reflecting Harris’ paranoia and ethnic chauvinism rather than the nuanced (and often progressive) stands of the organization’s lay leadership and donors.

      Even more ridiculous is Harris’ assertion that the A.J.C. supports peace, specifically the two-state solution. It doesn’t. Yes, it proclaims its support on its website but has opposed every effort to implement it, most recently opposing the Palestinian effort to achieve limited recognition by the United Nations. It supported both Gaza wars and has NEVER opposed any Israeli policy. It has supported Netanyahu over Obama every time the American president tentatively applied even the most feather-like pressure. Unless one assumes that Binyamin Netanyahu is always right about everything, one has to conclude that David Harris is simply a spokesman for his government.

      • DICKERSON3870
        December 30, 2012, 3:35 am

        RE: “What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .” ~ Richard Silverstein (from above)

        MY COMMENT: This is yet another reason that I fear Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment [like "the right of free speech"] ! ! !

        OTHER EXAMPLES OF ZIONISM’S VALUES TRUMPING (OVERRIDING) THE VALUES OF THE ENLIGHNEMENT HERE IN THE U.S.
        “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
        LINK – link to theamericanconservative.com
        ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
        LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
        “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
        LINK – link to original.antiwar.com
        “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
        LINK – link to rawstory.com
        “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
        LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com
        “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
        LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

      • DICKERSON3870
        December 30, 2012, 3:45 am

        P.S. RE: “I fear Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an ‘existential threat’ to the values of The Enlightenment [like 'the right of free speech'] ! ! ! – me (above)

        MY ADDENDUM: And also the right to “due process”! ! !

        FOR EXAMPLE, REGARDING THE ADOPTION BY THE U.S. OF ISRAEL’S USE OF EXTRA-JUDICIAL ASSASINATIONS, SEE:
        “Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza”, By Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 11/15/12
        The US was once part of the international consensus against extra-judicial assassinations. Now it is a leader in that tactic.

        [EXCERPTS] Israel’s escalating air attacks on Gaza follow the depressingly familiar pattern that shapes this conflict. Overwhelming Israeli force slaughters innocent Palestinians . . .
        . . . Meanwhile, most US media outlets are petrified of straying too far from pro-Israel orthodoxies. . .
        . . . Obama had no choice but to support these attacks, which were designed, in part, to extra-judicially assassinate Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari as he was driving in his car. . .
        Extra-judicial assassination – accompanied by the wanton killing of whatever civilians happen to be near the target, often including children – is a staple of the Obama presidency. That lawless tactic is one of the US president’s favorite instruments for projecting force and killing whomever he decides should have their lives ended: all in total secrecy and with no due process or oversight. There is now a virtually complete convergence between US and Israeli aggression, making US criticism of Israel impossible not only for all the usual domestic political reasons, but also out of pure self-interest: for Obama to condemn Israel’s rogue behavior would be to condemn himself.
        It is vital to recognize that this is a new development. The position of the US government on extra-judicial assassinations long had been consistent with the consensus view of the international community: that it is a savage and lawless weapon to be condemned regardless of claims that it is directed at “terrorists”. From a 15 February 2001 Guardian article by Brian Whitaker on the targeted killing by Israel of one of Yasser Arafat’s bodyguards [emphasis added]:
        “International opprobrium was directed at Israel yesterday for its state-approved assassinations of suspected terrorists – a practice widely regarded as illegal. . .
        . . . “The United States, while also condemning Palestinian violence, made clear its disapproval of the assassinations. . .
        “State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: ‘The use of Israeli helicopter gunships, Palestinian attacks against settlements and motorists, the use of mortars by Palestinians and the targeted killings by the Israeli Defence Force … are producing a new cycle of action or reaction which can become impossible to control. . .

        . . . As the Council on Foreign Relations documented in April of this year:

        “The United States adopted targeted killing as an essential tactic to pursue those responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have employed the controversial practice with more frequency in recent years. . .

        In essence, what we find, yet again, is that the governments of the United States and Israel arrogate unto themselves the right to execute anyone they want, anywhere in the world, without any limitations, regardless of how many innocent civilians they kill in the process. . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to guardian.co.uk

  19. DICKERSON3870
    December 30, 2012, 2:55 am

    RE: “Essentially, the author argues that a group of wealthy right-wing zealots now call the shots in American Jewry. They have either taken over or, at the very least, intimidated mainstream groups like AJC into supporting, openly or quietly, their extremist agenda. This includes settlement expansion and seeking to silence anyone who doesn’t yield to their political orthodoxies. To be blunt, this is absolute and total rubbish.” ~ AJC’s David Harris

    TO BE BLUNT: “Rubbish” right back at ya, Mr. Harris! And furthermore, my message to “mission control” is: “Houston, we have a problem!”

    SEE: “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/17/10

    (EXCERPTS) What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .
    . . . The Israeli finance website, Calcalist, reports that John Hagee donated $120,000 to Im Tirzu in 2009 through the Jewish Agency. The money had been transferred to the [Jewish] Agency by the Houston Jewish Federation as part of an overall $5-million gift. $3-million of that came from [John Hagee's] CUFI and went towards its largely pro-settler Israel philanthropy. Hagee passed the gift through the Agency in order to qualify for a U.S. tax deduction. . .
    . . . A second article in the Calcalist makes this important point:
    “The Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI ~ J.L.D.] supports organization’s from the Israeli lunatic right, which are attempting to destroy the values of academic freedom in Israeli higher education.”

    The Agency, a body whose mission it is to bring new immigrants to settle in the Holy Land, instead transfers very large sums to poisonous organizations which seek legitimacy in attacking academics who’ve actually done something in their lives, having not just written propaganda exposes divorced from any reality.
    The columnist concludes by noting the absolute insanity of the Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI ~ J.L.D.] providing funding to an organization that wishes to unleash the thought police on Israeli universities. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

  20. DICKERSON3870
    December 30, 2012, 4:13 am

    RE: “Oh and here’s a CNN panel trashing Hagel . . . and featuring Republican pundit Ana Navarro saying that a Hagel appointment would be ‘obtuse’, offending critical constituencies, including the pro-Israel crowd, and is therefore ‘DOA’. She also says that Israel advocates are not a ‘special interest’.” ~ Weiss

    SOFTLY SPOKEN IN THE STYLE OF ‘MR. ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD’: “Can you say neocon? Sure you can!”

    FROM Politic365:

    [EXCERPT] Ana Navarro was born in Nicaragua. In 1980, as a result of the Sandinista revolution, she and her family immigrated to the United States. . .

    SOURCE – link to politic365.com

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