Israel lobbyist denies he called Jimmy Carter ‘anti-Semitic,’ then Al Jazeera host confronts him


Jaw dropping. Here’s an Al Jazeera English interview (on the show The Stream) a day or so back with Kenneth Marcus, who founded the Brandeis Center “to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism in American higher education.” The Brandeis Center includes in its definition of anti-Semitism, speech against Israel. Marcus has been a leading advocate for using Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to file lawsuits against university campuses claiming there is a climate of anti-Semitism on campus. 

Host Josh Rushing says, at 15:26:

You believe that [Jimmy] Carter is an anti-Semite

Marcus says that’s not true:

I would not say that. Generally saying, I prefer not to say that individuals are anti-Semitic because I think that it’s counterproductive. What I prefer to do is look at certain tropes or memes, certain ways of speaking, and ask… Are you conveying a classic kind of Jew-hatred, intentionally or not.

Then Rushing produces Marcus tweets declaring Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic. “Is Jimmy Carter selling out his anti-Semitic principles…” Etc. Watch Marcus’s nonplused response. “The date of that is 2009, I don’t recall that.” You can see the tweet in question here:

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30 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 8, 2013, 12:01 pm

    this was a really good program. huge shout out to EI’s Nora Barrows Friedman who totally slams marcus’s bs with reality calling him out for being a “pioneer in trying to criminalize palestinian solidairty activist” with fact based info (19:30 in the video).

  2. Kathleen
    January 8, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Marcus opens up his comments by stating anti Jewish comments that he has no real evidence of and then a few minutes later basically admits that. Too bad Univ of California is trying to act like the Palestinian Solidarity movement has started on UofC campuses. That is a myth many of these campuses have been slow to respond to these human rights abuses. Hampshire and other campuses have been far out in front of UofC campuses. BDS has been far more effective on campuses back east

    Phil/Annie think you are going to be interested in Chris Matthews coverage on the Hagel nomination from Hardball last night Jan 7. Had Clemons, former Senator Kerry on to talk about the issue. There was a clip of Senator Kerry’s comments on about Hagel’s nomination. Kerry bent over and kissed Bibi’s ring questioning some of Hagel’s comments and allegiance to Israel. So pathetic that these hearing may be a “litmus test” in whether Hagel’s gets through these hearings

    • pabelmont
      January 8, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Kerry “kissed Bibi’s ring” on the Hagel issue? OK, then let’s mount attack on Kerry. I know SecDef is FAR more important in F/P than SecState, but still ***

      • Kathleen
        January 8, 2013, 4:50 pm

        Go ahead if you please. I was just pointing out his kiss. I actually think Kerry feels much like Hagel on these issues just not brave enough to say..

      • pabelmont
        January 8, 2013, 6:48 pm

        Being brave enough to “say” is of the essence.

        “I am a closet pro-Palestinian, closet pro-rule-of-law,closet pro-humanitarian-international-law kind of guy” doesn’t buy it for me. The “closet” part is a spoiler. Otherwise we have a guessing game, and, please remember, we guessed about Obama and seemed to guess wrong. Good intentions are not enough. Promises are not enough, and implied maybe-promises are nothing much.

      • Kathleen
        January 9, 2013, 7:57 am

        I agree that if Kerry does believe as Hagel clearly does that Israel is way way out of line with the continued expansion of illegal settlements etc then he should say it. But clearly he is not brave enough. But I do think we have two Vietnam Vets who will be reluctant if not against using our military in unnecessary ways based on unsubstantiated claims. I really believe this.

        Both are better than Hillary Clinton who is a real warmonger and a huge I lobby and Israel ass kisser

  3. Cliff
    January 8, 2013, 12:26 pm

    nice interview. hasbarists are such liars

    • seafoid
      January 8, 2013, 4:23 pm

      Or as Marcus would say, they are not all liars but some of them lie even if they don’t realise it and they end up delivering classic historical mendacity tropes

  4. seafoid
    January 8, 2013, 12:27 pm

    “The date of that is 2009, I don’t recall that”

    And he remembers everything that happened in AD 70
    Just fancy that.

  5. LanceThruster
    January 8, 2013, 1:32 pm


    Lying Liars Lie About Their Lying Lies!


  6. Kathleen
    January 8, 2013, 1:34 pm

    The host really boxed Marcus into a corner. Marcus “don’t recall” Good discussion. And clearly Univ of California has cultivated the chilling factor. Trying to shut the conversation down. No way to turn the BDS movement back now

  7. radii
    January 8, 2013, 1:38 pm

    blowback’s a bitch, isn’t israel? … it seems the Hagel nomination and the histrionics by the lobby in response is finally tripping the spring-loaded, pent-up energy the world has in terms of its disgust with israel … this will be delicious to watch as it plays out

    • Donald
      January 8, 2013, 2:49 pm

      My impression is somewhat different–I think the smarter Israel supporters are backing away from accusations against Hagel and instead are emphasizing all the votes that he has cast in favor of aid to Israel. His mainstream defenders are all taking that same line–that Hagel is pro-Israel and it’s unfair to say otherwise. His smarter opponents are claiming to oppose him for other reasons. Some might even be sincere. The dummies (and presumably Congressmen who are especially vulnerable) are pushing the “anti-Israel” line.

      But I don’t really see anything in the MSM discussion about the I/P conflict. Rather, it’s the usual level of stupidity that one sees on almost any political issue–all personalities and who is “mainstream” and who isn’t and who supports Hagel and who doesn’t, and whether this or that one-liner gives us insight into his character.

      You’re not seeing or hearing anything about how the lobby has pushed most American politicians into supporting Israel as it continues to build settlements and practice a form of apartheid. In place of some detailed discussion (I’d settle for three minutes, which would be an eternity in television news) about this, instead we hear about how Hagel once said “Jewish lobby” and how this was or was not a disturbing choice of words, which might or might not show he is a bigot.

      It’s still early and the debate might get more interesting, but I think most of Hagel’s defenders in the political arena are going to do their best to prevent it from becoming interesting. They don’t want to see the huge debate that Mondoweissers are itching for and so far, the debate that is occurring isn’t about the injustice done to Palestinians and the role of the lobby in pushing US support for Israeli settlements, (I haven’t heard words like “Palestinian” or “settlement” mentioned in this context) but about whether Hagel is or isn’t pro-Israel. There’s been a little bit more about war and sanctions and Iran, but even there, not as much as you’d expect in some place where politics was reported and discussed in a rational manner, rather than as some branch of celebrity journalism.

      • Kathleen
        January 9, 2013, 8:00 am

        Donald there have been really serious discussions about the I/P issue on MSNBC’s UP with Chris Hayes program. Go check out his show. Has really stepped out on the edge on this critical issue. Also Glenn Greenwald was on Dylan Ratigan’s two or so years ago and the two of them wiped up the floor with Cliff May’s lies on Iran and on the I/P issue. Unable to link but if you google you will find

      • Donald
        January 9, 2013, 12:12 pm

        I watch Chris Hayes fairly regularly and have seen the shows you’re talking about. And Chris is (to his great credit) way out of the cable TV mainstream on this. I didn’t watch Ratigan, but heard a few good things about him. And again, obviously this is out of the mainstream.

        I’m making a simple point–if Hagel is confirmed as appears likely then the lobby types who are smart are going to spin it as no big deal, because they will say Hagel is a strong supporter of Israel. (Which in a way is true, depending on what one means by supporting Israel. If it means trying to avoid some future catastrophe for Israelis and Palestinians, then it would mean opposing Israeli policies. But most of the time “supporting Israel” means supporting them no matter what disgusting policies they follow.)

  8. talknic
    January 8, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Lies and more lies, against the most basic common sense tenets of Judaism.

    Odd isn’t it …. especially on behalf of the Jewish State, which appears to be emerging as the most divisive issue in Jewish history

  9. Stephen Shenfield
    January 8, 2013, 4:15 pm

    I didn’t clearly understand Marcus’ argument because I didn’t know what “tropes” and “memes” are, so I resolved to remedy this defect. It turns out that a trope is a word or expression used in a figurative sense, i.e., a metaphor. A meme is a self-replicating unit (like a gene) that carries a cultural idea or symbol. It doesn’t seem to me that any essential meaning is lost if we replace both “trope” and “meme” by “symbol”.

    At first glance the demand to avoid anti-Semitic symbols seems reasonable (unless you’re an anti-Semite, I suppose). The problem is: how can Zionism or the State of Israel be condemned in symbolic language — cartoons, let us say — without using anti-Semitic symbols? After all, Zionism has hijacked all the traditional Jewish symbols. Its flag is the Star of David wrapped in a prayer shawl. So how can anyone tell whether a Star of David in a cartoon symbolizes the State of Israel (from the flag) or Jews and Judaism?

    By stealing Jewish symbols, the Zionists have made it impossible for us to use the powerful language of symbolism to criticize Zionism from a Jewish point of view. It allows only two choices — support us or be exposed as an anti-Semite. Catch-22.

    My conclusion is that we have to avoid symbolic means of expression. Rely on reasoned arguments, maps, photographs, etc., but abandon cartoons.

    • MRW
      January 8, 2013, 4:52 pm

      It allows only two choices — support us or be exposed as an anti-Semite. Catch-22.

      You’re right, Stephen, and it exposes us to all this pilpul. Effrayant. Oy.

    • seafoid
      January 9, 2013, 3:40 am

      “Trope” and “canard” are two of the most common words used in discussions of antisemitism.

      It is very interesting that Marcus was actually challenged on TV . The arguments he uses are hasbara default. The Dersh uses them too. A few years ago it was enough to mention antisemitism to shut the debate down.

      It seems we are nearing the end of a media era.

    • mcohen
      January 9, 2013, 5:30 am

      stephen shenfield

      i just finished a painting of jesus walking through a town carrying a cross.a friend of mine asked why a jew would want to paint that .i told him that some people would see a carpenter carrying some timber on a work site while others might say……….

      “My conclusion is that we have to avoid symbolic means of expression. Rely on reasoned arguments, maps, photographs, etc., but abandon cartoon”

    • Kathleen
      January 9, 2013, 8:10 am

      Agree. I believe this is the case with the term anti “semite” “a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Alkadians, Phonecians, Hebrews, and Arabs” By referring to the racism or bias towards Jews as “anti semitic” instead of as “anti Jewish” it would seem you eliminate the other semites from having access to calling themselves semites. An odd but seems purposeful capture of the term semite

      • yonah fredman
        January 9, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Kathleen- Jew haters came up with the term antiSemitism to describe the nonreligious hatred of Jews that they were developing to replace the religious hatred of Jews that no longer made sense to those who were tossing religion on the ash heap. The persistence of the term is maybe as ridiculous as the persistence of the typewriter’s qwerty set up, but that’s the way things go sometimes. Phrases persist, until they no longer persist. No one captured the phrase in order to deprive Phonecians and Akadians of their right to call themselves Semites.

        Good luck in changing the use of the phrase.

  10. MRW
    January 8, 2013, 4:50 pm

    Marcus is tedious and tendentious. The girl at 20 minutes makes interesting points.

    • Kathleen
      January 9, 2013, 8:15 am

      He is so full of it at the beginning of that interview. Makes really inflammatory claims but never ever backs those claims up with specific incidents, dates etc..just throws out one hateful claim after the next. And then the host nails him when he tries to seem reasonable about Carter. Although in the end I thought it was an interesting discussion and I actually support documenting any type of “anti semitic'” including those towards Jews, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia etc students attending US schools. Then the discussion about the “chilling effect” on Univ of Cal campuses after the prosecution of the Irvine 11. This needs to be out there in the MSM being discussed in a big way

  11. James Canning
    January 8, 2013, 7:18 pm

    What a lovely scam! Label as “anti-Semitic” any criticism of Israel.

    Great piece.

  12. Kathleen
    January 8, 2013, 7:51 pm

    Chris Matthews hitting the Hagel issue hard. Banging on the Iraq warmongers. “The folks who quaked for Iraq” are fighting the Hagel nomination.

    • Kathleen
      January 8, 2013, 8:07 pm

      Chris Matthews in above clip “for a war with Iran if we have to” to Peter Beinart who was on the program. If Israel or the US attack Iran Chris Matthews will later say “I was against an attack on Iran”

  13. thetumta
    January 8, 2013, 9:54 pm

    “You believe that Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite”. Well of course he is, in your Lexicon and he’s a “Race Traitor as well”. 50’s and 60’s were tough on all of us. It seems we just can’t leave those times behind?

    CONTROVERSIAL: America still has to have a Nigger don’t we? There appears to be no end to it?


  14. thetumta
    January 8, 2013, 10:44 pm

    Perhaps, Kenneth Marcus needs to lay awake at night pondering his actions? They are hitting hard, aren’t they? Maybe their talk is just 10 days too late?

    You’re deluding yourselves. I know, I’m an expert.

    Hej! Tumta

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