More on SNL’s fellate-a-donkey for Israel skit

Israel/Palestine
on 85 Comments

A “cultural breakthrough” is Sullivan’s description of the Saturday Night Live skit in which Senator John McCain challenges Chuck Hagel to agree to fellate a donkey on the orders of Benjamin Netanyahu for the security of Israel:

After being banished from earnest Washington discussion for decades by various press gate-keepers, the absurdly overblown power of the Greater Israel lobby is now seeping into the popular culture.

Good point. Even friends of mine who don’t know the issue are fulminating about the Hagel hearing. And remember that those gatekeepers and lobby pooh-poohers included the Atlantic Magazine, David Remnick, Leon Wieseltier, Leslie Gelb, Walter Russell Mead, Jeffrey Goldberg, among other eminent journalists.

Lots of folks have asked why the skit did not run in the actual broadcast last Saturday night. I am told that the dress rehearsal goes on two hours and that a lot of material gets cut– not always for time reasons. Here is one explanation of the SNL method:

The SNL dress rehearsal begins at 8:00pm with an [audience] arrival time at the studio of 6:30pm. The SNL live show begins at 11:30pm with an arrival time at the studio at 10:00pm. Each show has a different studio audience. The rehearsal is recorded to tape and is used for backup in case the live show cannot air. Many skits in the rehearsal do not make it into the live SNL show. Many fans prefer to see the rehearsal because it’s more relaxed and enjoyable and some of the best skits have been cut-out in the live show because they are too risque for NBC execs.

Thanks to Peter Voskamp.

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85 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    February 11, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Who do we email to request that the skit be SHOWN next Saturday Night?

    maybe *** [email protected] ***

    I think that anyone who watches that and knows of the Hagel hearings will quickly conclude that the good Senators (real life and in skit) are not asking Hagel (skit) to do anything they haven’t already done themselves (real life).

    This skit should be shown in every high-school and college “civics” class in the USA (if they still have such things, along with an analysis of the transcripts (or videos) of the actual hearings.

    • piotr
      February 11, 2013, 8:36 pm

      This is unfortunate that educators shy away from sexually explicit material, even in college and even more so in schools.

      Never mind that nowadays the kids may know more about fellatio than the educator, the vicious brats would feign ignorance and ask to explain the difficult foreign word. So we would need some slides. 1. Donkey unaroused. 2. Donkey aroused, no, this is not a fifth leg. 3. Senator with mouth that is opened sufficiently wide. 4. After replacing 2. and 3. with oblique outlines, we do some animation.

    • Taxi
      February 12, 2013, 4:56 am

      Hold on a sec here: I’m very friendly with a couple of ‘real’ donkeys and I’m offended on their behalf! They most certainly do NOT want any ‘lip-servicing’ from ANY human! Why don’t you guys pick an ugly and grotesque human (plenty of them around!) and dare congressmen to fellatio them in the name of israel’s so-called security. I think I speak on behalf of donkeydom when I say: no human groins in our faces puleeeeze!

      Or do I have to start wearing a T-Shirt that says: Save The Donkey From DC Fellators!

  2. pabelmont
    February 11, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Sorry, contact NBC here:

    link to nbc.com

  3. gingershot
    February 11, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Laughing at the Israel Lobby and Israel is the thing that will destroy it – taking it seriously, like Scowcroft said of George Bush being as if mesmerized by Sharon and Israel, is precisely how Israel is able to get away with manipulating the US so easily

    William Kristol and netanyahu are only one good journalist away from someone laughing in their faces and their existential evaporation.

    Candy Crawford came close with netanyahu last year

    This is such a good thing – and the metaphor of doing the donkey for Israel is so apt and fitting

    • American
      February 11, 2013, 3:37 pm

      ”are only one good journalist away from someone laughing in their faces and their existential evaporation. ”

      The general public you could say is only one good blockbuster movie on Israel to blow them away.
      The problem with 5 Broken Cameras and similar imo is they don’t get wide enough distribution throughout the country.
      There is plenty of money outside Hollywood studio execs to finance movies……some movie stars have almost as much money as the studios do and have made more money making their own films.
      The only problem there is you would have to out mafia the Hollywood mafia to get it shown in movie theaters around the country.
      And of course someone brave enough to do it.
      The good thing though is when it comes to the Lobby and Israel the truth is far more explosive than almost any thing you could make up….you wouldn’t need much imagination to write the script.

    • MarkF
      February 11, 2013, 4:05 pm

      “This is such a good thing – and the metaphor of doing the donkey for Israel is so apt and fitting”

      Yup. And if they could show the donkey telling us to get out, light a smoke, and then roll over falling asleep. That about sums it up.

    • HPH
      February 12, 2013, 12:13 am

      I think your phrase, “doing the donkey for Israel,” is the most memorable way to state what the lobby wants from politicians. I think that it is a great phrase because it is vague at first, but memorable when one knows what it means.

      I hope that some demonstrators get into the hearing room and start shouting “Stop doing the donkey!” over and over.

  4. lysias
    February 11, 2013, 1:30 pm

    They should do a skit about the Congresspeople giving Netanyahu all those standing ovations.

  5. Annie Robbins
    February 11, 2013, 1:38 pm

    the rehearsal shows the public mood. it’s obviously no longer fringe to think of the lobby massively powerful and manipulating congress. that impression or understanding didn’t begin with hagel. it had to have already been there for a large percentage of americans. what the hagel confirmation did was empower lots of people to not be afraid to voice that publicly.

    but you don’t get this kind of reaction to humor (either by the comedians or the audience) unless there’s already a societal agreement of sorts. that can’t materialize in one week of hearings. what’s clear is the press doesn’t reflect the mainstream view.

    in some instances, like for example remnick, it could be they are so inside their press bubble and have so internalized what’s ‘acceptable’ and PC they don’t even realize how far the public has moved. in other cases the reason journos have their msm jobs to begin with is not because they are the cream of the crop,but that they are the cream of the crop within the acceptable bubble, which is zionist.

    so what happens when all the lionshare of msm is zionist, or keep the silence? when the gatekeepers can’t keep the gate shut? the people’s voice comes out. lotsof americans don’t even know what zionism means. the more they know the more they won’t/don’t like it. rambling.

    • MRW
      February 11, 2013, 2:31 pm

      You’re right, annie. NYC is about 18 months behind the interior of the country. Minimum. Print isn’t dying because the net took over; the net took over because the MSM couldn’t do its job. That realization broke in the public’s head with the Iraq War. For some it was 2002. Others, much later, 2007. And “how you goin’ to keep ‘em down on the farm after they’re seen Paree?” The spectacle of grilling Hagel over his allegiance to Israel did not do the Lobby any favors, which they will not hear for all the usual reasons.

    • Shegetz
      February 11, 2013, 3:12 pm

      I’m not so sure that it’s ever been ‘fringe’ to think of the lobby as being manipulative and working against the best interests of Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, but it certainly has been fringe to discuss it in public for the obvious reasons.

      Once the illusion of the lobby’s power is broken, it’s all over boys and girls. Money and influence peddling only get you so far – when people turn against you and you start losing traction in public opinion all the gold and diamonds in the world won’t save you, as South Africa noticed.

      The gatekeepers can still keep their gates shut, but now with all the myriad forms of recording technology (“oh noes, the cameras are our kryptonite!” – thanks Emad) and modern media communications we no longer need the gate. In fact, there’s barely a wall for the gate to attach to anymore. So they can guard that gate all they like while the rest of us walk right past them on either side of their rusty contraptions.

      So, yes. Here we go. It’s even going to be hastened by the arrogance and entitlement of the ‘usual suspects’ in the drama who will become more and more frenetic as the feedback from the real world no longer matches their self-deceptions. No-one is going to really believe they’re losing traction until it’s way, way too late. I’d even venture to say that we’ve crossed that line awhile ago and we’ll see it all accelerate from here.

    • NickJOCW
      February 12, 2013, 4:10 am

      It probably also reflects the mood of the team that made it. I imagine they have a lot of fun dreaming up and working out stuff, some pretty outrageous ideas must fly around never to see the light of day.

  6. Eva Smagacz
    February 11, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Annie,

    There is a level of consciousness that must be reached by population for that magic “everybody knows” point to be reached: it has been researched and is considered to be 10% of the population.

    So you only need to convince 10% of Americans that their Congress will do ANYTHING for Israel while allowing Americans to be screwed. That point, so distant when Mondoweiss started, is fast approaching.

  7. irmep
    February 11, 2013, 1:56 pm

    One problem that may have caused the cut: the skit simply wasn’t funny, at least as far as SNL goes. It was close to the bottom and even wasted their top talent.

    Watch any 20 second clip of Fred Armisen on “Portlandia.” Laugh riot. Look at the lines he dropped in this sketch with a blank stare. Creepily uncomfortable and not funny.

    It’s too bad it couldn’t have been groundbreaking AND funny. Hope they keep trying and actually get funny stuff onto the air. Maybe they need Franken and Davis back.

  8. Linda J
    February 11, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I wonder if the pope resigned to give SNL an excuse not to show this next Saturday.

    BTW, I just heard a rabbi on To the Point defending Ratzinger for giving some holocaust denier priests a second chance.

  9. Les
    February 11, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Two points.

    1) It was not a Republican elephant that McCain asked if Hagel would fellate, but a Democratic donkey.

    2) What are the possiblities of a transcript being entered into the Congressional Record, with our without the video?

  10. Citizen
    February 11, 2013, 4:23 pm

    I watched one skit of the last SNL show and it was just terrible, not even remotely funny; the Hagel skit (first take) was not very funny; it seemed tedious and way awkward, but it sure was better than at least one of the skits that made it onto the last show. I don’t for a minute think the Hagel hearing skit did not make it on because of its quality–it was the subject matter.

  11. kalithea
    February 11, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Uh, according to an uber-racist Zionist cleric, the goy Hagel would be considered part of the donkey herd in a perfect Zionist world. I wonder if SNL writers chose the donkey haphazardly or if they had the cleric in mind when searching for the most contextually-effective animal imagery? IMHO, the fact that they chose “donkey” is hardly coincidental.

  12. Kathleen
    February 11, 2013, 4:27 pm

    I don’t buy it did not make it because of a time thing. Deeper digging would more than likely show that there was pressure/phone calls etc to cut. Hey but looks like the fact that they even did that incredible skit that Lorne Micheals has decided to join the better late than never crowd. That skit was so good that based on quality and humor it should have been at the top of the list to make it.

    Link the skit every where you can

  13. Kathleen
    February 11, 2013, 4:34 pm

    That Super Bowl skit that opened the show on Saturday sucked. Had to be a filler. Can not come close to the Hagel skit. Had nothing to do with time. Another article I read said the Hagel skit was going to be the opening instead the Super Bowl skit. No comparison. Pressure cut. Shows congress people totally sucking up exposes so much
    “Israel has the best food, the best beaches, most beautiful women, tallest mountains” so funny. And then Bernie Sanders

  14. Kathleen
    February 11, 2013, 4:52 pm

    I challenge anyone to find an SNL skit in all of these decades that criticizes or makes fun of the Israel lobby Israel or Israeli leaders. You will not be able to because there aren’t any. This was the first and was great and did not make the show instead a bad skit (not that funny or clever) made the cut. That was not a time issue it was the content issue..more than likely pressure. Lorne Micheals and from what I have read Seth Meyers has done his part in keeping this issue off that program. Jon Stewart and team have just started criticizing Israel and the I lobby in the last four or so years. Off topic on that program also up until recently.

  15. LanceThruster
    February 11, 2013, 5:14 pm

    So good to finally see “cultural breakthrough” and “fellate a donkey” in the same sentence.

    xD

    • piotr
      February 12, 2013, 2:24 am

      At long last our culture accepts homoerotic themes. Thank goodness, there were no female Senators on the committee, one taboo at the time.

  16. John Douglas
    February 11, 2013, 5:58 pm

    NPR reported today (in Boston at least) the scheduling of the committee vote on Hagel and noted opposisition to Hagel “even from Democrats” based upon some of his foreign policy statements ABOUT IRAQ. (Emphasis added)

    What happened to the NPR of David Mamet’s claim that NPR stood for National Palestinian Radio?

    • Kathleen
      February 11, 2013, 10:53 pm

      “National Palestinian Radio” dominated by Jewish host…right. So absurd

  17. crone
    February 11, 2013, 10:53 pm

    NPR stands for National Propaganda Radio…

  18. Cliff
    February 12, 2013, 1:21 am

    As mentioned by a commentator in another thread, the ADL’s Abe Foxman has played the antisemitism card in response to this video. LOL

    I’m thinking the more visible the Lobby is, the more people will lampoon its control and paranoia.

    And between nutcase a like Abe and Dersh, Brand Israel will get some great press.

  19. NickJOCW
    February 12, 2013, 3:14 am

    Just watched this over here in Spain, thanks to Annie. My impression is there wouldn’t need to be direct external influence not to show it, just consideration that simply came out that way on balance. Anyway, ditching it and then having it out on You Tube with the attendant implication that there may have been pressure seems to me a double whammy.

  20. gingershot
    February 12, 2013, 4:07 pm

    There’s just something about Zionists using the goyim and donkeys that rings true – that Israelis/the Israeli Lobby think Americans are their donkeys is certainly part of it

    Zbig Brzezinski just last fall said the US doesn’t just have to follow Israel into a war against Iran like we were ‘stupid mules’ – and now this snl skit rings the bell again

    I think there really is justifiable resentment for being used by Israel as mules for Israel’s desire for devastation of Iraq, Iran or the rest of the ‘Clean Break’ – and then to have netanyahu brag about it or the Israel Lobby brag and say America will just study what the neocons did, historically, as they continue to act and get away with murder.

    The neocon godfathers were full of these elitist manipulative theories – as well as the well known Rabbis echoing these ideas of using the goyim ‘as cattle’/beasts of burden of their Jewish owners

    • Annie Robbins
      February 12, 2013, 4:37 pm

      There’s just something about Zionists using the goyim and donkeys that rings true

      don’t forget about the messiah’s donkeys
      link to mondoweiss.net

      • seanmcbride
        February 12, 2013, 8:54 pm

        Annie,

        don’t forget about the messiah’s donkeys

        A refresher, from Wikipedia:

        In Jewish tradition, The Messiah’s Donkey … refers to the donkey upon which the Messiah will arrive to redeem the world at the end of days. In Modern Hebrew the phrase “the Messiah’s donkey” is used to refer to someone who does the ‘dirty work’ on behalf of someone else.

        The Messiah’s Donkey

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Again, it is impossible to understand contemporary Zionism without understanding ancient and classical Judaism. Contemporary Zionism draws heavily on myths, symbols, archetypes and themes from that tradition.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2013, 9:34 pm

        sean, as per your ‘refresher’, did bother to open my link?

        Again, it is impossible to understand contemporary Zionism without understanding ancient and classical Judaism.

        i disagree, but then you already know that.

      • seanmcbride
        February 13, 2013, 10:23 am

        Annie,

        Regarding my statement:

        Again, it is impossible to understand contemporary Zionism without understanding ancient and classical Judaism.

        you wrote:

        i disagree, but then you already know that.

        I know that you think that, and you know I disagree with you. I can’t think of any serious scholars on Mideast and Israeli politics who don’t think that religious ideologies (including Judaism, Christianity and Islam — Abrahamic ideologies) are an important factor driving events in that region — perhaps even the most important factor.

        I took the trouble to dig into some of your past posts on this subject in an effort do understand your point of view, and the key term that kept popping up was “colonialism” — see:

        link to mondoweiss.net

        The following statement seems to express your basic point of view:

        religion is not at the core of the conflict, colonialism is.

        link to mondoweiss.net

        Why do you think that? What authors, experts, scholars, books, etc. have persuaded you that “colonialism” is the key to understanding the behavior of the Israeli government, the Israel lobby and the entire “Greater Israel” project — and the support provided for it by Christian Zionists?

        I see at least a dozen articles a week from the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Ynet News, the Times of Israel, the Jewish Press, Israel National News, Forward, Tablet Magazine, Commentary Magazine, Jewish World Review, Algemeiner, Failed Messiah, JTA, etc. which implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) reject the “colonialism” conceptual framework for interpreting Israeli behavior.

        The Jewish and Israeli media are perfectly upfront and direct about describing the role of religion (Judaism specifically) in Israeli politics and Zionist ideology.

        How is it possible in the real world, in which these issues are discussed so openly and exhaustively by Zionists themselves, and by leading Mideast scholars all across the world from all ethnic and religious traditions, to construct a “Berlin Wall” (an unfortunate phrase that) between Zionism and Judaism?

        Also, colonialism and Western monotheism are not disjunct phenomena — colonialism, imperialism, racism and related attitudes and behaviors are completely enwound with the ideological foundations of Abrahamism, as anyone knows who has read the Old Testament carefully.

        You are aware of these issues, I know. For instance, on May 24, 2010 you wrote:

        so tell me rachel, the fanatic settlers..the one’s burning mosques and assassinating rabin and writing books about killing gentiles, does that have something to do w/judaism?

        link to mondoweiss.net

        But here is the problem: the entire Zionist project (and the worldwide Jewish establishment) is being dragged along by the messianic religious dreams of the vanguard settlers and their determination to build *biblical* (Old Testament) Greater Israel. This is not a fringe phenomenon. And many leaders of the American Israel lobby, like Dennis Ross, Michael Ledeen and Eric Cantor, are religious Zionists. Their religious Zionism explains their beliefs and policies better than “colonialism,” in my opinion.

        Certainly most Americans have no interest in “colonizing” Palestine. Most Americans barely think about Mideast politics at all.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2013, 1:14 pm

        I see at least a dozen articles a week from the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Ynet News, the Times of Israel, the Jewish Press, Israel National News, Forward, Tablet Magazine, Commentary Magazine, Jewish World Review, Algemeiner, Failed Messiah, JTA, etc. which implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) reject the “colonialism” conceptual framework for interpreting Israeli behavior.

        i am shocked. how could they? you mean zionists do not openly admit they are colonizing the land. wow, this is an amazing revelation,i will have to reassess.

      • seanmcbride
        February 13, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Annie,

        One shouldn’t assume that Old Testament ideological beliefs and colonialism are disjoint or disjunct — this is not necessarily the case.

        The Bible — especially the Old Testament — has often served as an inspiration, justification and blueprint for modern Western racism, imperialism and colonialism.

        See this book:

        book; AUTHOR Michael Prior TITLE The Bible and Colonialism: A Moral Critique DATE 1997 PUBLISHER Bloomsbury T&T Clark AMAZON link to amazon.com

        BOOK DESCRIPTION

        The biblical claim of the divine promise of land is integrally linked with a divine mandate to exterminate the indigenous people. The narrative has supported virtually all Western colonizing enterprises (e.g. in Latin America, South Africa, Palestine), resulting in the suffering of millions of people, and loss of respect for the Bible. According to modern secular standards of human and political rights, what the biblical narrative calls for are war-crimes and crimes against humanity. In this provocative and compelling study, Prior protests at the neglect of the moral question in conventional biblical studies, and attempts to rescue the Bible from being a blunt instrument in the oppression of people.

        END BOOK DESCRIPTION

      • Annie Robbins
        February 13, 2013, 5:17 pm

        One shouldn’t assume that Old Testament ideological beliefs and colonialism are disjoint or disjunc

        they’re not, they’re seamless for those who believe in them. you keep lecturing me about stuff i already know about sean.

      • seanmcbride
        February 13, 2013, 5:55 pm

        Annie,

        I apologize if I seem to be lecturing you — that isn’t my intent. I know that you are well-informed about these issues. Where we apparently disagree is where to focus in the effort to change hearts and minds on Israeli issues. My approach is to yank out failed or misguided ideologies by the roots — seek to change fundamental beliefs.

        By the way, this Google search is effective in pulling up interesting documents concerning Bible-based colonialism:

        Google [bible torah old testament judaism zionism colonialism racism]

        link to google.com

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2013, 3:02 pm

        sean, i noticed you had nothing to say about this:
        link to mondoweiss.net

        In the seventeenth century, English settlers in America found inspiration for a theology of ethnic cleansing and racism in the Old Testament. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Jewish settlers in Palestine have invoked the same scripture to craft a parallel theology.

        i figured you missed freeman’s speech.

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Annie,

        Thanks much for bringing that Freeman quote to my attention — he makes a very important point.

        You know, I had a great professor who was an expert on Puritan literature and the intellectual history of American religion, and he first introduced me to the fascinating role of Old Testament myths and symbols in forging some key strains of American Christianity. American Christian Zionism in the broadest sense long preceded the founding of Israel (by several centuries). I wonder if Freeman had the same professor. :)

        Freeman certainly doesn’t hold any punches in that entire paragraph:

        In the seventeenth century, English settlers in America found inspiration for a theology of ethnic cleansing and racism in the Old Testament. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Jewish settlers in Palestine have invoked the same scripture to craft a parallel theology. The increasingly blatant racism and Islamophobia of Israeli politics, the kafkaesque tyranny of Israel’s checkpoint army in the occupied territories, and Israel’s cruel and unusual collective punishment of Gaza have bred hateful resentment of the Jewish state in its region and throughout the Muslim world. One has to look to north Korea to find another polity so detested and distrusted by its neighbors and with so few supporters among the world’s great powers.

        These are the kinds of truth that the mainstream media don’t dare touch. Chas Freeman is an intellectually courageous person. And thanks for posting that speech on MW.

      • American
        February 14, 2013, 3:47 pm

        I think Freeman is being a tad sly there….not wanting to say the whackos Isr settlers are the only religious whackos.

        But I keep seeing the ‘fringe’ religious of the US colonial days campared to the ‘fringe’ religious of the current Israel days.

        The mistake is both cases is implying that religion had some ‘big’ part in US ethnic cleansing of Indians and has some ‘big part in Isr cleansing of Palestines.

        US colonialism was and Israel colonalism is now both driven by conquering for expansion for commerce and greed……whatever religous “justifications” or whacko religious ‘reasons’ for it were miniscule and ‘ fringe’.

        People should read official history and documents not books by religious writers wanting a new gimmick to sell books by.

        The US wasn’t settled or formed for religious reasons and the nut case Puritians didn ‘t represent much of a segment in the colonies. Israel wasn’t formed for ‘religious’ reasons either. ..although it might have some religious zealots just like the colonies had the Puritian zealots.

        The US didn’t get taken over by the witch burning Puritians…it remains to be seen if Isr gets taken over by theirr religious zealots.

      • MRW
        February 14, 2013, 4:40 pm

        My approach is to yank out failed or misguided ideologies by the roots — seek to change fundamental beliefs.

        Beliefs in what?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2013, 7:33 pm

        probably my fundamental belief israel is primarily a colonization project.

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 7:56 pm

        MRW,

        Beliefs in what?

        Ideas and ideologies rule history and can often produce enormously destructive effects on the human race.

        Two major ideologies and belief systems of the 20th century — Nazism and Communism — were responsible for murdering as many as 100 million innocent civilians. Communists wrought economic ruin on the societies they tried to manage and perfect.

        I am talking about beliefs and belief systems on that level and scale.

        Currently the two most dangerous belief systems in the world are arguably religious Zionism and neoconservatism, and they are closely linked and tangled up. Christian Zionists in particular are agitating for Armageddon, as soon as possible, and some of them occupy high positions in the military-industrial complex and have access to WMDs. Jewish religious Zionists are demanding that America go to war against Iran as soon as immediately and have been egging on and enabling Christian Zionists.

        Nothing is more important in politics than the war of ideas. Ideas can move mountains and much more — for good or ill. Bad ideas need to be defeated in open and democratic debate.

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 8:00 pm

        Annie,

        probably my fundamental belief israel is primarily a colonization project.

        Annie: I wasn’t referring to you. :) I agree with you that Zionism is partially a colonial project. But I think that religion is the more powerful driver of Zionism — and especially of Greater Israelism. For the most part the people who are fanatically pushing that project forward are completely irrational and subject to mysterious and mystical gusts of God only knows what. They hear the voice of the Old Testament God in their heads. Look at the faces of the religious settlers when they are worked up and seething with divine rage — are they really about rational colonialism?

        Most Western capitalists have little motivation to “colonize” Palestine. Why would they? What’s in it for them? One rarely hears Fortune 500 CEOs ranting about Mideast politics — they have other and more important issues on their mind. Many oil company executives would probably be happy to see Israel removed as a factor in their dealings with oil-producing nations — from their standpoint, Israel is just a headache.

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 8:21 pm

        Annie,

        When I hear John Hagee, James Inhofe, Mike Huckabee and other Christian Zionists talk about Israel, they don’t sound like rational imperialists and colonialists to me — they come across as deranged religious crazies, hyped up on Armageddon mind candy. Colonialists are usually calculating and greedy folks — they aren’t embarked on messianic and self-destructive projects that are likely to blow up in their faces and bankrupt them.

        That is why European nations largely got out of the colonialism business — it was no longer profitable. Rational economic self-interest is the name of the game.

        To the extent that Israelis are exploiting Palestinian resources and labor (not to mention stealing their land), that definitely has a classical colonialist feel about it — much like apartheid South Africa. But keep in mind that white Afrikaners were also largely driven by a religious and racist ideology that was inspired by Old Testament chosen people memes. Ditto for Southern Confederates.

        Religious ideologies have often been used as a cynical cover for raw human greed — if that is your point, I couldn’t agree with you more.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2013, 8:29 pm

        so what bad ideas have you been debating here?

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 9:02 pm

        Annie,

        so what bad ideas have you been debating here?

        Number one *good* idea: get religion out of politics. That’s a very Enlightenment/American idea — separation of church and state, freedom of and from religion, free inquiry, individualism, science, etc. Mixing up religion and politics, in the style of Israeli and American religious Zionists, is an extremely bad idea that has already caused enormous damage to American interests.

        Other bad ideas that need to be confronted with maximum intellectual force: the Global War on Terror, the Clash of Civilizations, the Iraq War (John McCain and his neocon puppet masters are still defending it), the Afghanistan War, an Iran War, Greater Israelism, Islamophobia, warrantless wiretaps, torture, government assassinations, the loss of due process, etc. Neocons and Christian Zionists have been the prime movers behind all these incredibly bad and destructive ideas.

        Their bad ideas need to be pulled up by the roots — their beliefs don’t even make sense by the rules established by Old Testament magical thinking. Jewish and Christian theologians who understand these issues need to join forces and completely dismantle the nonsense being spouted by both Jewish and Christian religious Zionists. If their theology fails in their own minds, the wind will go completely out of their sails and perhaps we can get them off our backs and out of our lives.

        I care about many issues more than Mideast politics, by the way. My real issues are here:

        link to friendfeed.com

        and here generally:

        link to friendfeed.com

        Thank God there is so much interesting and exciting stuff going on in the world that has absolutely nothing to do with Mideast politics.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2013, 9:20 pm

        i guess i’m not really recalling you debating any of the neocons. have you thought about debating this guy:

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • seanmcbride
        February 14, 2013, 9:31 pm

        Annie,

        I’ve read some of his comments — they don’t rise to the level that would inspire me to debate — really low-grade hasbara that very few people will listen to. He can say whatever he likes — none of it will move minds.

        I came to the same opinion about hophmi quite some time ago — let him say whatever he likes. He is not winning hearts and minds for his cause.

        The truth of the matter is that ethnic nationalism is a losing game from the get-go — the more that ethnic nationalists propagandize and agitate for their cause, the more they turn off ethnic outsiders — basic human nature in play.

        Ethnic nationalists don’t understand human nature — they are much too self-obsessed and self-involved to grasp how others think and feel about the world. They almost always self-destruct.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 14, 2013, 11:31 pm

        i was just curious, MRW cited your comment My approach is to yank out failed or misguided ideologies by the roots — seek to change fundamental beliefs.

        and asked ‘what beliefs’. your response about separation of church and state…so who are you yanking them out of? who’s your target w/the ‘ancient judaism’ stuff? none of the neocons i presume because you do not engage them. so who here has the failed or misguided ideologies you’re going to yank out and change?

        and hypothetically, say if you ‘changed us all’ and everyone agreed with you re your ‘core’ judaism what then? how does that translate into transforming or ending zionism? vs having a concept of zionism as colonialism?

        how does targeting judaism serve your purpose?

      • MRW
        February 15, 2013, 1:30 am

        Sean,

        Currently the two most dangerous belief systems in the world are arguably religious Zionism and neoconservatism, and they are closely linked and tangled up.

        Hardly. I would say financial capitalism is destroying more people and societies than anything else. Real harm. Look at the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008. Look at the middle class in the USA. Look at Greece, and Spain, and Ireland. Look at the effect austerity imposes on societies to maintain a financial index, which 98% of the society does not understand. You need only observe that one-half of the world’s population still earns under $1/day.

        Financial capitalism is not industrial capitalism. Employed human resources are not the buffer stock of financial capitalism. Financial capitalism doesn’t need full employment; they’re a cost. It only needs ownership and control over the country’s full collection of real estate assets—raw land, as well as oil and gas, mines and forests and other resources supplied by nature, as Michael Hudson describes them—and the means to collect the rent on them, which is a souped up version of the feudal and aristocratic societies of the medieval ages under the guise of “free markets” or some other bullshit.

        Industrial capitalism is based on our ability to create the goods and services that society needs to create prosperity for everyone living in it. Industry. Real people doing real work. Employed human resources are the buffer stock of industrial capitalism, or should be, although the Federal Reserve under the truly heinous Greenspan chose unemployment as a monetary policy buffer stock (1999?) under his misbegotten and sad obeisance to the failed thinking of Ayn Rand. Full employment is not a cost, but an input to the economy of a sophisticated society, which we no longer are.

        Nothing is more important in politics than the war of ideas.

        No. It’s knowing how our public systems and the economy work operationally. The nuts and bolts. Ideas about what to do with them come later.

        Ideas can move mountains and much more — for good or ill.

        Not if you’re flapping your mouth about things you don’t understand at a foundational level. Example: the US monetary system. If you don’t understand that the US is a monetarily sovereign government and what that means, then you can’t understand that the current debt crisis is bogus, and that what Obama is proposing by imposing $4 trillion in spending cuts will remove $4 trillion from the economy, harming everyone but the super rich. By understanding that the federal government is monetarily sovereign (and how sectoral balances work) you would know that we can afford to spend $4 trillion to put the country back on track.

        Look at the faces of the religious settlers when they are worked up and seething with divine rage

        It’s called the amygdala, the Lizard Brain. No need to mythologize them back to the Bible. It’s stupidity ruling the brain, and stupidity exists in 2013. Biblical justification is inappropriate; you’re letting them off the hook, and giving them permission.

        One rarely hears Fortune 500 CEOs ranting about Mideast politics

        Move to New York City and you will.

      • MRW
        February 15, 2013, 1:52 am

        I just saw this. I rest my case:
        Financial Crisis Cost Tops $22 Trillion, GAO Says
        link to huffingtonpost.com

        This was caused by fraud at the CEO level and our ‘nation of laws’ failed to call them to account because it’s bought that financial capitalism is appropriate for the USA.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 10:45 am

        MRW,

        So “financial capitalists” have been behind the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the Global War on Terror, the Clash of Civilizations, Islamophobia, the campaign to attack Iran, Greater Israelism, etc.?

        Can you name a few of these financial capitalists?

        I doubt that James Inhofe, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have been motivated by “financial capitalism” in their campaign to destroy Chuck Hagel and push Americans into a war against Iran.

        Me: “One rarely hears Fortune 500 CEOs ranting about Mideast politics.”

        You: “Move to New York City and you will.”

        Which Fortune 500 CEOs in particular are you thinking of? Name them.

        I agree with you that one should draw an important distinction between creative capitalism and crony or vulture capitalism.

        Industrial vs. financial capitalism: that binary categorical contrastive works for me. I like that terminology.

        But most financial capitalists don’t get drawn into self-destructive messianic ideologies like religious Zionism — they are too focused on making money in pragmatic ways.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 10:48 am

        Annie,

        Do you have any thoughts on how your own ethnic and religious background has affected your views on Mideast politics and the world in general?

        You may have replied and I missed it — my email notifications from MW have been spotty in recent weeks — some comments are going missing — I spot them only by accident when browsing the MW website.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 10:49 am

        Annie,

        I notice that you regularly put the phrase “ancient Judaism” in quotes as if it were an odd or quaint phrase.

        Its meaning is quite simple: it refers to any aspects of the Old Testament that are used by Jews or Christians to justify Israeli behavior or Zionist ideology. One sees the invocation of ancient Judaism all the time by Jews and Christians, both religious and secular. The language of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is loaded up with myths, symbols, archetypes and themes from ancient Judaism and the Old Testament (or Torah).

        The reliance on ancient Judaism and the Old Testament by leading Zionists like Netanyahu seems like a pretty big issue in contemporary Israeli and Zionist politics to me. I can’t think of a more important issue. Romantic beliefs about ancient Judaism are the main driver of the settlements movement which is turning Israel into an international pariah.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 10:50 am

        Annie,

        I think the main line of argument now should be directed at self-professed liberal Zionists, progressive Zionists and anti-Zionists who are providing cover for neoconservatives, neoliberals, Christian Zionists and the entire Greater Israel enterprise of ever-expanding settlements in biblical “Judea and Samaria.”

        How are they providing cover? By obstructing a serious investigation into and discussion about the ideological and organizational drivers of Greater Israelism (the settlements movement) within Israeli and Jewish culture.

        There is quite a lot of that going around. Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher are good examples.

        Bill Maher, for example, claims to be a fearless intellectual warrior against religious fundamentalism, but he clams up when it comes to discussing the role of important streams of Judaism in inspiring and propping up the on-going and apparently unstoppable project of the Israeli government to build biblical Greater Israel.

        These “progressive Zionists” have a great deal of influence on American culture on the left and seem to be playing the same double game as old school “liberal Zionists” like Chuck Schumer, Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller and Martin Indyk in the Democratic Party.

        The neocons by now have been seriously bloodied (not to mention thoroughly humiliated by the failure of the Iraq War) and are in full retreat. Still a threat — but not as much a problem as liberal and progressive Zionists, who are more skilled at putting a pretty face on Zionism and making themselves presentable to reasonable people.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 11:21 am

        Annie,

        how does targeting judaism serve your purpose?

        Since Israeli leaders and pro-Israel leaders in American politics regularly invoke Judaism and Old Testament themes as a justification for Israeli policies — especially the settlements movement and the grand plan to build biblical Greater Israel — how is it possible NOT to discuss Judaism in relation to Zionism? That position makes no sense at all.

        Furthermore, the mainstream Jewish religious establishment — the leaders of contemporary Judaism — have themselves merged Judaism and Zionism into a single ideology in recent decades.

        I respect Judaism at its best, as I respect Christianity and Islam at their best. But I think that enlightened Jews, Christians and Muslims need to take a strong stand against the perversion of their religions by violent nationalists, fundamentalists and extremists.

        Hasn’t this been one of the main themes of Marc Ellis, whose writings Mondoweiss has prominently featured? Jewish visionaries like Ellis are trying to reclaim authentic Judaism from Jewish religious Zionists. So far they have been fighting a losing battle.

        I don’t recall anyone on Mondoweiss ever objecting to the critique of the perversion of Christianity by Christian Zionists — and that topic comes up frequently here. They don’t immediately jump to the false conclusion that a critique of Christian Zionism is an attack on Christianity as a whole.

      • seanmcbride
        February 15, 2013, 11:31 am

        MRW,

        Hardly. I would say financial capitalism is destroying more people and societies than anything else. Real harm. Look at the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008. Look at the middle class in the USA. Look at Greece, and Spain, and Ireland. Look at the effect austerity imposes on societies to maintain a financial index, which 98% of the society does not understand. You need only observe that one-half of the world’s population still earns under $1/day.

        I want to emphasize that I think you are raising extremely important issues about financial capitalism — I agree with you about its destructive effects.

        But what precisely does it have to do with Israeli and American Mideast policies, which are the focus of discussion on Mondoweiss?

        What would be the effects of an Israeli/American war against Iran on the American and global economy and on the fortunes of financial capitalists?

        Why would financial capitalists be more concerned about non-existent Iranian nuclear threats to Israel than existing North Korean nuclear threats to the United States?

        There are ideological factors in play here that have little to do with pure financial capitalism.

      • MRW
        February 15, 2013, 6:18 pm

        Sean,

        What would be the effects of an Israeli/American war against Iran on the American and global economy and on the fortunes of financial capitalists?

        Fortunes through the roof.

        Why would financial capitalists be more concerned about non-existent Iranian nuclear threats to Israel than existing North Korean nuclear threats to the United States?

        There are no North Korean nuclear threats unless N. Korea wants to be annihilated the moment a nuke heads our way. Matthew Aid reports:

        Estimates vary somewhat, but the North Korean is estimated to have be[twee]n 60 and 70 submarines, all of which are diesel-powered coastal subs unsuited for deepwater operations. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the North Korean Navy possesses 4 1960s-vintage Whiskey-class attack subs that rarely go to sea these days, 22 Chinese-made Romeo-class submarines(1,800 tons) which were delivered in the 1970s, 40 domestically produced Sang-O class small coastal submarines (300 tons), and 10 midget submarines used for the clandestine infiltration of agents into South Korea.

        Aid’s reports:
        What Is Known About the North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program
        Satellite Imagery of North Korean Nuclear Test Sites
        North Korea Conducts Nuclear Weapons Test
        In the latter, According to South Korean officials, their initial assessment is that the North Korean weapon tested yielded approximately 10 kilotons. 150 kilotons was the upper limit for Operation Plowshare(s?) during the 70s, the joint USA-Russia program to allow small nukes to clear harbors, demolish skyscrapers, build dams, and other peacetime activities.

        The “non-existent Iranian nuclear threats?” Apart from tribalism, there are still lucrative defense contracts for the imagined scare, not to mention the overblown bullshit security crap for our GWOT. But didn’t Israel say recently that war with Iran was off the table?

      • MRW
        February 15, 2013, 6:29 pm
      • MRW
        February 17, 2013, 9:41 am

        Me: “One rarely hears Fortune 500 CEOs ranting about Mideast politics.”

        You: “Move to New York City and you will.”

        Which Fortune 500 CEOs in particular are you thinking of? Name them.

        Apart from the fact that there seems to be a 24-hour delay on some of my comments showing up here, you’re the one who needs to name names. You’re the one who made the claim initially and you’re the list guy. I don’t have the time. In the meantime, here’s the link to play with. Luckily, Fortune makes it easy. It lists its Fortune 500 alphabetically. You’ll notice Sheldon Adelson is at the top of the list, under the letter A, as the 278th CEO. Leslie Wexler (256) is featured in the graphic. I’m surprised a Lauder or Bronfman didn’t make the list.
        link to money.cnn.com

      • MRW
        February 17, 2013, 10:00 am

        But most financial capitalists don’t get drawn into self-destructive messianic ideologies like religious Zionism — they are too focused on making money in pragmatic ways.

        Not pragmatic, Sean. They’re thieves. Financial capitalists are thieves, taking advantage of a monetary system the hoi polloi don’t understand. You don’t understand what I mean by financial capitalism.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 10:22 am

        MRW,

        Nearly all the leading agitators for an Iran War that I’ve noticed have been pro-Israel militants, like Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch. Among those members of the American power elite who are not pro-Israel militants, I have noticed strong opposition to going to war against Iran. The American national security community has been especially hostile to all the warmongering propaganda flowing from the Israel lobby.

        I can’t think of any Fortune 500 CEOs or billionaires who have been clamoring for a war against Iran who are not pro-Israel militants. Perhaps you can come up with a few names to support your theory that “financial capitalism” in general in responsible for spearheading the campaign for an Iran War.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2013, 10:41 am

        how is it possible NOT to discuss Judaism in relation to Zionism? That position makes no sense at all….

        sean, i was looking for a more direct answer when i asked how targeting judaism served your purpose. something along the lines of

        “by targeting judaism and concepts embeded in the old testament i feel are at the core of zionism/zionist thinking it will radically change people’s outlook and actions regarding dealing with israel because xxxx and it will provide xxxx tools to change xxxx…” etc.

        what if we opened up a section here on mondoweiss where everyone could discuss these old testament things (24/7 and in every thread), in what way do you think this will serve our activism? bds? have you thought about contacting barghouti and bds and informing them they are really missing a golden opportunity to free palestine by not focusing on the biblical aspect of their oppression?

        also, do you feel religious zionists will change course if they are exposed?

        also, if the exposure of this ‘ancient judaism’ issue which you feel is at the core of zionist expansion (as opposed to colonialism wrapped in religious justification) do you think it’s more valuable to focus on this rather than hagel? are we wasting out time here even talking about current events? is there any topic surrounding israel palestine you feel would not benefit from looking at the religious aspect.

        also, do you feel this conflict would be better understood as a holy war? is this something you would advocate the blog promoting.

        thanks

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 11:36 am

        Annie,

        also, do you feel this conflict would be better understood as a holy war? is this something you would advocate the blog promoting.

        I think Mondoweiss should pursue discussions on Mideast politics from many points of view and analytic frameworks, including the colonialist approach, the religious ideological approach, the international legal approach, etc. All of these lines of analysis provide valuable insights into what is really going on and they are in fact richly entangled — not easy to neatly separate out into clear conceptual boxes.

        I encounter the religious/ideological line of analysis every day in the Jewish and Israeli mainstream media, and among leading Mideast scholars — much more so than Chomskyite analysis, in fact. I can easily pull up dozens of articles written from this point of view that have been published in Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, Forward, the Times of Israel, Israel National News, etc. during just the last month. These issues are on my mind and on the minds of many other people who are well-informed about Mideast and Israeli politics.

        You have your point of view on these matters; I have mine; MRW has his; Hostage has his; Dan Crowther has his; and so on. We are all individuals with unique and sometimes conflicting viewpoints here, not members of a unified political party or a single ideological group. We all have much to learn from one another. I have certainly learned a great deal from you.

        As you know, I happen to think that fair, open and informed debate is the heart and soul of the democratic process and of human progress in general.

        also, if the exposure of this ‘ancient judaism’ issue which you feel is at the core of zionist expansion (as opposed to colonialism wrapped in religious justification) do you think it’s more valuable to focus on this rather than hagel?

        I am trying to understand WHY Chuck Hagel’s opponents, like James Inhofe, are so emotionally excited and fanatical in their campaign to destroy him. Many of them are Christian Zionists (religious Zionists), not pragmatic imperialists and colonialists. I think we need to understand the irrational ideology that is driving their holy crusade. We need to rebut and discredit that ideology.

        Would you prefer that the kind of issues that Philip Giraldi raises here:

        article; AUTHOR Philip Giraldi TITLE Towards a Christian Zionist Foreign Policy PUBLICATION Antiwar.com DATE February 14, 2013 URL link to original.antiwar.com

        not be discussed on Mondoweiss? I happen to be a big fan of both Philip Weiss and Philip Giraldi (the two Phils). I try to pay attention to the best minds on Mideast politics from a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives. Each of them is seeing an important part of the big picture.

        Every other leading publication and blog on Mideast and Israeli politics addresses this issue (the role of religion in Zionism) on a regular basis. I would be disappointed to see Mondoweiss narrow its vision on these matters, but Phil is certainly free to impose whatever editorial policies on Mondoweiss that please him — every publication and blog does that.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2013, 11:44 am

        how does targeting judaism serve your purpose?

        ……

        sean, i was looking for a more direct answer when i asked how targeting judaism served your purpose. something along the lines of

        “by targeting judaism and concepts embeded in the old testament i feel are at the core of zionism/zionist thinking it will radically change people’s outlook and actions regarding dealing with israel because xxxx and it will provide xxxx tools to change xxxx…” etc.

        ok sean. i get it you’re not going to answer my question.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 11:48 am

        MRW,

        Not pragmatic, Sean. They’re thieves. Financial capitalists are thieves, taking advantage of a monetary system the hoi polloi don’t understand. You don’t understand what I mean by financial capitalism.

        I think I do understand what you mean by financial capitalists. Even thieves among that gang are not stupid enough to pursue foreign policies that are inimical to their own best interests.

        Many oil industry leaders opposed the Iraq War because they thought it would be “bad for business.” The Iraq War was driven primarily by the neoconservative and Christian Zionist wings of the Israel lobby — and they were motivated primarily by an irrational ideology — Zionism — and in many cases religious Zionism. (Many leading neocons, like Elliott Abrams, are Jewish religious Zionists, and their hatred of Islam is inspired by that ideology. Would you describe Rachel Abrams as being primarily a financial capitalist or a Zionist?)

      • MRW
        February 17, 2013, 12:27 pm

        Sean,

        Nearly all the leading agitators for an Iran War that I’ve noticed have been pro-Israel militants, like Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch. [...] Perhaps you can come up with a few names to support your theory that “financial capitalism” in general in responsible for spearheading the campaign for an Iran War.

        “Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch.”

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 12:28 pm

        Annie,

        Did you notice that yonah fredman just wrote the following?

        Any perusal of Jewish books and traditions: prayer books, the bible, the Talmud would reveal very quickly the attachment of Jewish tradition to a specific land.

        link to mondoweiss.net

        How would you describe the ideology that is driving his political vision and that of many pro-Israel activists and militants?

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Annie,

        ok sean. i get it you’re not going to answer my question.

        Well, I am trying to address your questions to the best of my ability.

        Let me take a crack at this:

        “by targeting judaism and concepts embeded in the old testament i feel are at the core of zionism/zionist thinking it will radically change people’s outlook and actions regarding dealing with israel because xxxx and it will provide xxxx tools to change xxxx…” etc.

        I think we need to engage in vigorous dialogue with the theological leaders of Christian Zionism and Jewish religious Zionism (almost the entire Jewish religious establishment these days) with the objective of persuading them that their views are wrong, dangerous and self-destructive.

        If we can succeed in moving the leaders of religious Zionism to a more rational position, their flocks will follow. I am suggesting a top-down, highly leveraged approach to pushing American Mideast and Israeli policies in a more sane and progressive direction, in combination with bottom-up approaches based on political activism and BDS.

        If this reply still doesn’t satisfy you, be sure to let me know.

      • MRW
        February 17, 2013, 12:54 pm

        Sean,

        Would you describe Rachel Abrams as being primarily a financial capitalist or a Zionist?

        Meaningless question.

        Similar to asking whether the USA transportation system equates to a box car racer. Illogical.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2013, 1:31 pm

        I think we need to engage in vigorous dialogue with the theological leaders of Christian Zionism and Jewish religious Zionism

        well the leaders of Christian Zionism and Jewish religious Zionism are not on this blog. but some followers of Jewish religious Zionism are, and you don’t engage them over this issue. which seems rather odd if that’s what you’re advocating.

        How would you describe the ideology that is driving his political vision and that of many pro-Israel activists and militants?

        what difference does it make how i would describe it? i want to know what one is supposed to do with that description as a form of activism. you want me to engage w/yonah differently? i’m already engaging with him and jon s exactly how i think is most effective
        link to mondoweiss.net

        which is more than i can say for you. is there a reason you don’t attempt charming yonah and jon s over your theories? they’d probably completely agree with you zionism and judaism are merged!

        are you trying to change me or them? read that link if you want to know how i would describe their mindframe. why aren’t you engaging the people over their religion if you think it’s so vital?

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 1:53 pm

        MRW,

        Similar to asking whether the USA transportation system equates to a box car racer. Illogical.

        I don’t understand your point. Please explain.

        There is a great deal of evidence that Rachel Abrams and her husband (Elliott) are Jewish religious Zionists. Perhaps you have some evidence that her mind is preoccupied with financial capitalism.

        Elliott Abrams has played a huge role in forging American Mideast policy.

        Many financial capitalists don’t think about Zionism, Israel or Mideast politics at all. Nor are they rabid Islamophobes or anti-Arab racists. Nor are they ethnic nationalists of any variety.

        Many financial capitalists are Europeans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, etc. — people who haven’t the slightest interest in getting involved in Mideast wars that are motivated by Zionism and Jewish ethno-religious nationalism.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 1:58 pm

        MRW,

        “Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch.”

        You just made my point, not yours. Both Adelson and Murdoch are emotional pro-Israel militants.

        You need to come up the names of Fortune 500 CEOs and billionaires who are agitating for an Iran War who are NOT Zionists. Who are they? Warren Buffett? Bill Gates? Nope.

        The logic here is elementary.

      • American
        February 17, 2013, 2:08 pm

        I honestly see no point in ‘dialogue’ with Jewish religious zionist or Christian religious zionist……they’re both crazy delusional and no amount of dialoguing with them will change their fantastical beliefs.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Annie,

        I engage with people who I think will provide substantive and useful pushback. I’ve had extended and useful conversations with Hostage and Shmuel on the subject of religious Zionism.

        With regard to Yonah Fredman, who remarked:

        Any perusal of Jewish books and traditions: prayer books, the bible, the Talmud would reveal very quickly the attachment of Jewish tradition to a specific land.

        I think it would be fair to say that his Zionism is largely the product of his exposure to Judaism — and this is true of most Jewish Zionists — they ground their Zionism in Judaism.

        I’ve tried debating him before on these issues, but he won’t engage. He steers clear of me.

        There is an obvious first question to ask of Jewish religious Zionists: is any human being obligated to accept the religious beliefs of any particular group? Are Jews obligated to accept the beliefs of Roman Catholics or Muslims on any particular theological or political issue?

        The obvious answer is, no, and they know that. That is why they are difficult to engage in rational debate. They only thrive among fellow zealots and true believers — inside the cult bubble.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2013, 2:29 pm

        I’ve tried debating him before on these issues, but he won’t engage. He steers clear of me.

        and yet when asked how targeting these issues will “radically change people’s outlook and actions regarding dealing with israel” you say we need to engage in vigorous dialogue with .. religious Zionists. but your own experience is that they stay clear of it?

        and how is that pushback by shmuel, hostage and on this thread MRW useful for you? have you moved on the issue? have they? has there been an adjustment on the part of anti zionists either? the reason i am asking this is , as eljay suggests, is i am not sure how it will bring justice faster. i mean, isn’t the whole point of making religious claims is for people to focus on them? how does that serve us? i still don’t understand how focusing on them, as opposed to crimes or international law, moves us or moves activism closer to resolution.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 17, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Many financial capitalists are Europeans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, etc. — people who haven’t the slightest interest in getting involved in Mideast wars that are motivated by Zionism and Jewish ethno-religious nationalism.

        whether they are interested or not is rather beside the point. they simply have to be engaged if they are big business. this is why bds is so important. these fortune 500 people will do what’s good for their business and that’s how we can impact the situation, by engaging them. check this out:
        link to mondoweiss.net

        The announcement comes just four days after UN fact finding mission issued a blockbuster report calling on governments and companies to terminate business interests in the settlements. xxxx claims the move is a result of “pure business motives‘.

        Regardless of the motives the significance of this decision can not be underestimated. xxxxx, company headquartered in xxxxx, is the third-largest consumer goods company in the world measured by 2011 revenues.

        and that’s how you change facts on the ground. you bet they get involved, whether they are interested in getting involved is beside the point.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Annie,

        and how is that pushback by shmuel, hostage and on this thread MRW useful for you? have you moved on the issue? have they? has there been an adjustment on the part of anti zionists either? the reason i am asking this is , as eljay suggests, is i am not sure how it will bring justice faster. i mean, isn’t the whole point of making religious claims is for people to focus on them? how does that serve us? i still don’t understand how focusing on them, as opposed to crimes or international law, moves us or moves activism closer to resolution.

        One often engages in discussions with the purpose of mutually clarifying one’s understanding of issues and adding to one’s collection of facts and documentation. Hostage and Shmuel get that.

        Hundreds of leading experts and scholars on Mideast politics, like Philip Giraldi, have worked hard to develop an analytical understanding of the ideological roots of contemporary Zionism with the aim of helping the world at large to comprehend precisely what they are dealing with — and to help mobilize political action based on that understanding.

        With regard to focusing on international legal issues, of course this is crucial — all of these lines of analysis and activism need to be pursued simultaneously and in combination.

      • seanmcbride
        February 17, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Annie,

        and that’s how you change facts on the ground. you bet they care.

        Damned right — hit them in their pockets and bottom line. That gets their attention.

      • American
        February 17, 2013, 5:25 pm

        There aren’t any financial capitalist in the US who think they are going to make money off an Iran war except the defense & related industry…….and possibility some on WS who will play roulette with stock prices as the inflation, domestic cuts and resulting decrease in spending power in the public hits the major consumer corps. Financial capitalist are pigs but not all of them are stupid, they know they have to keep their consumers alive enough to suck the required dollars out of them.

        If we start a war with Iran it will be purely a US Necon and Israeli demanded war.

        *Jewish leader raps US for taking aircraft carrier out of Gulf
        Iran could see move as ‘a diminution’ of the American commitment to keep all options on the table, warns Malcolm Hoenlein in an unusually robust critique

        By David Horovitz February 17, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Malcolm Hoenlein
        Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
        US-Israel relations
        A top American Jewish leader on Sunday criticized the Obama administration for cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one. He said the move sent entirely the wrong message to Iran about America’s commitment to keep all options, including the military option, on the table in the struggle to thwart Tehran’s nuclear drive.
        “I’m personally very disturbed by the withdrawal [of one of the US's two aircraft carriers] from the Persian Gulf, the Arab Gulf, because of the message it sends to the Iranians,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the long-time executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization, in unusually critical comments. “We have to think about how the Iranians perceive it.”
        Hoenlein said he well understood that budgetary pressures may have necessitated the move, but feared that it would be “interpreted by the Iranians as a diminution of our commitment that all options are on the table, which is the only thing that will bring them — if anything will — to a reasonable stance” as regards their nuclear program.
        The Pentagon announced 10 days ago that it was cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, with a saving of hundreds of millions of dollars. The decision came as Washington struggles to find a way to avoid sharp automatic spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs next month. The US has maintained two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years, amid escalating tensions with Iran, as part of a US show of force in the region.
        Hoenlein, speaking to The Times of Israel toward the end of a lengthy visit to Israel during which he and his colleagues met with Israel’s key leadership, said he was one of those who considers this year to be the decisive year as regards Iran’s nuclear ambitions. As he put it, “2013 will determine if it’s Iran with a bomb or we bomb Iran… Unless there is a magic formula with increased sanctions or other means which I cannot foresee, this is the year of decision”

        If Walmart, Buffet, Gates, BOA, AFLCIO, AIG, etc.,ect. and other big US financial stakeholders —-anyone except neos, zionist and their followers –have been calling for attacking Iran please point it out to me, I haven’t seen it.

      • Keith
        February 17, 2013, 6:11 pm

        MRW- “I would say financial capitalism is destroying more people and societies than anything else.”

        Absolutely correct! I almost missed your exchange with Sean because I couldn’t have dreamed a discussion of the financial system would find its way to the donkey thread. I am pleased to see that you seem to be aware of the workings of our dysfunctional financial system. Few seem to be aware of the extent to which the US and the world is effectively controlled by the financiers at the macro level. Money is power, economic power in fluid form, the primary instrument of social control! In our highly monetized society, not understanding the fundamentals of the financial system is a dereliction of duty. Meaningful change is not possible without control of the financial system. Further, a true understanding of current reality requires an understanding of the consequences of a system based upon debt money. A bank credit system (debt money) requires continued economic growth to provide the money for interest payments on old capital. A steady state, sustainable economy is not possible with our current financial system.

        Rather than get into an extended discussion with Sean on this, I am simply going to provide a few quotes from “The Global Economic Crisis,” Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Editors, which seem to shed some light on the questions raised.

        “The architects of the CIA, designing the shape and organization of the Agency, as well as its functions were all Wall Street lawyers, largely made up of members of the Council on Foreign Relations.” (p266)

        “We are looking at an old boys’ network of officials, advisers and CEOs at the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the IMF, World Bank and the Washington think tanks, who are in permanent liaison with leading financiers on Wall Street.” (p33)

        “When viewed in historical context, the wars in Palestine, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same Cold War “military roadmap”, responding to the same strategic and economic interests.” (p185)

        “War and globalization go hand in hand. Wall Street, the oil companies and the defense contractors have concurrent and overlapping interests.” (p46)

        “Economic policy quite deliberately serves the interests of the financial elites, who in turn control the political process. Meaningful policies cannot be achieved without radically reforming the workings of the international banking system.” (p57)

        “The conduct of the Pentagon’s ‘long war’ is intimately related to the restructuring of the global economy.” (pXV)

      • Annie Robbins
        February 18, 2013, 2:55 am

        Hundreds of leading experts and scholars on Mideast politics, like Philip Giraldi, have worked hard to develop an analytical understanding of the ideological roots of contemporary Zionism with the aim of helping the world at large to comprehend precisely what they are dealing with — and to help mobilize political action based on that understanding.

        well i’m certainly aware of mobilized pro israel political action based on religious ideological roots of zionism, but not on mobilize pro palestinian political action based on religious ideological roots of zionism.

        do you have any links on these political action based on this understanding.?

  21. MLE
    February 12, 2013, 8:18 pm

    It could have been the guest- Justin Bieber attracts a different audience and they probably wanted to cater to a younger group who doesn’t follow politics as much

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