Fallows calls ‘SNL’ donkey skit a ‘significant’ political marker of lobby’s exposure

Israel/Palestine
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Jim Fallows’s steady, quiet, and urgent criticism of the Israel lobby is important because Fallows is an eminent establishment type who has long supported Israel’s public relations effort; but he is evidently concerned about the lobby as a militant, religious faction that could drag us into another war.

Fallows is indirect in his criticisms. After all, he works at a lobby shop, the Atlantic. But last month his private email was published, in which he accused “Elliott Abrams and his wife [Rachel]” of the character assassination of Chas Freeman, a longtime Israel critic. And yesterday he publicly praised the fellate-a-donkey-for-Israel segment of the unaired Saturday Night Live skit for what it tells us about our political culture.

Fallows’s own criticisms of the Hagel hearings have been indirect; neither mentioned Israel explicitly. But he takes the SNL segment as seriously as we do:

as a political marker, I think it could be significant.

By the time a habit or attitude becomes widely known enough to be worth an SNL parody, even a failed one, it is on the way to seeming ridiculous. Ridicule is generally more threatening to a public figure or a public idea than “logical” rebuttal is. That’s why Colbert and the Daily Show matter, and why Rush Limbaugh first rose to influence in his early, funny-rather-than-angry-sounding phase… In the case of the Hagel hearings, you could read all the analyses you want about the posturing and disproportion of the senators’ grandstanding. Or you could watch the 65 seconds of the clip below that start at time 4:00. [that’s the McCain parody: Would you fellate a donkey for Israel’s security]

As to a religious faction dragging us into war, Fallows quietly defended Walt and Mearsheimer back in 2007, writing that the lobby was a religious faction aimed at a militant response to Iran:

To the (ongoing) extent that AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which calls itself “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby” — is trying to legitimize a military showdown between the United States and Iran, it is advancing its own concerns at the expense of larger American interests. The people who are doing this are not from one ethnic group in the conventional sense but are mainly of one religion (Jewish)…

[M]embers [of Cuba and Armenian and Israel lobbies] claim, and probably believe, that what they’re recommending is best for America too. But in these cases they’re wrong.

When the dust settles, I imagine he will tell us how the lobby gave us the Iraq war and Islamophobia…

Oh and speaking of watching your words, the Times of Israel can’t say fellate-a-donkey. But it has a good euphemism:

Unaired Saturday Night Live skit parodies senators’ full-throated support for Israel during the Hagel confirmation hearing

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