The gun lobby, the Israel lobby, and the double standard

on 17 Comments

The other day I pointed out that one difference between the Israel lobby and the gun lobby is that Democrats bash the gun lobby all the time, but they shut their pie hole when it comes to the Israel lobby. In “the Gun Lobby, the Israel Lobby, and Double Standards,” Andrew Sullivan makes the same point and takes it further. He says that Chuck Hagel used the same language about the Israel lobby that the NYT uses about the gun lobby every day, but that the anti-Semitism card has silenced critics.

My point is simply that talking about the Israel lobby in exactly the same way that everyone talks about the gun lobby is not and never has been ipso facto anti-Semitism. It is simply using very familiar rhetoric to bemoan the overweening influence of special interest groups in distorting public policy. The gun debate, it seems to me, proves this definitively, revealing the cynical, calculated wolf-crying behind the usual charges of anti-Semitism.

Imagine an op-ed in the New York Times which used exactly the same language about AIPAC as used about the NRA. Let’s look at those examples again.

“Americans are puzzled by the growing gap between popular opposition to West Bank settlements and Washington lawmakers’ obeisance to the Israel lobby …” “The pandering to the Israel lobby is ferociously competitive” … “Freezing Israeli settlement growth is being suffocated by thralldom to the Israel lobby” … “Polls show that Americans support an end to the West Bank settlements by 2 – 1 …  but where are those Americans in this debate? The best-organized voices that officials have heard are those thwarting common sense, forcing lawmakers to curl up and cower” … “A Senate In The Israel Lobby’s Grip.”

Bret Stephens would find all this self-evidently anti-Semitic. The truth is that it is simply anti-special interest group. Yes, language describing nefarious lobbies behind the scenes pulling strings to get their way has been used in the past by anti-Semites. But if that kind of language is barred with sole respect to the Greater Israel Lobby, then the debate is effectively crippled – which is, of course, the point. For so long, the anti-Semitism card has been disgracefully, cynically played so that we can be stopped from debating the undemocratic distortion of our politics by special interest groups – in this case arguing for a foreign country’s brutal pounding of a de facto refugee camp.

Two other points are remarkable here. Sullivan repeatedly emphasizes Israel’s brutality against Gaza. Remember that Israel slaughtered nearly 400 children in Gaza 4 years ago and the president-elect was silent–during “Israel’s pulverization of Gaza’s people,” as Sullivan states.

Also, he says that careers are destroyed by the lobby, which includes “Bill Kristol’s ludicrously titled ‘Emergency Committee for Israel.’” But the internet is making a difference. I wonder how much Sullivan self-censored as he made his way. I wonder if he’s been to Gaza. He should go, and honor those amazing people. (h/t Peter Voskamp).

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17 Responses

  1. Citizen
    May 1, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Cynthia McKinney has made the obvious point that the Israel Lobby is like a ball team that shows up to play in expensive new uniforms, and with the best equipment available to buy, while the peaceniks and anti-Zionist team does not even show up. The Gun Lobby, in comparison, shows up with good uniforms and equipment, but so does the other team. Effective opposition. the game can actually be played at least.

    The Black Caucus has, like the white members of congress, rubber-stamped Israel’s wishes for over two decades now. But, just as there has been a few white congress critters who did not do so, and paid the price, their black peers were also booted out of office by the Israel Lobby, for example:
    1.) Gus Savage, Member of Congress from Chicago, Illinois was targeted for defeat by the pro-Israel Lobby because he dared to engage in foreign relations within the purview of a Member of Congress on the African Continent, in Egypt among other places. He recounted his ordeal on the Floor of the House of Representatives and revealed the secrets of the pro-Israel Lobby on the Congressional Record where students and others interested in this topic can find his words today:

    2.) Earl Hilliard, Member of Congress from Birmingham, Alabama was the first Black Member of Congress to serve the people of Alabama since the U.S. Civil War’s Reconstruction Era. He was ejected from the Congress by the pro-Israel Lobby because he, like Gus Savage, traveled to Africa, and in particular to Libya. He also traveled to Lebanon and learned of new weapons for that time, that had been used there by Israel. For this transgression, Earl Hilliard had to go. He is interviewed in a Dutch documentary that is available on youtube ( where he describes the vicious campaign that was run against him by the pro-Israel Lobby.

    3.) Cynthia McKinney, who has published a book entitled, “Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom,” ( in which she describes a few of the tactics that were used against her by the pro-Israel Lobby to destroy her career in Congress.

  2. DICKERSON3870
    May 1, 2013, 3:39 pm

    RE: “Yes, language describing nefarious lobbies behind the scenes pulling strings to get their way has been used in the past by anti-Semites. But if that kind of language is barred with sole respect to the Greater Israel Lobby, then the debate is effectively crippled – which is, of course, the point.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

    MY COMMENT: And the sad irony here is that as a consequence of the debate being effectively crippled with respect to the Greater Israel Lobby, the “two state fakers”* are able to dominate both the discussion and US policy. This buys time for Israel’s continued settlement/colonization of the West Bank, foreclosing the possibility of a two-state solution; with the ultimate outcome of this process being the demise of Israel as a democratic, Jewish nation-state. Apartheid, here Israel comes (if they are not quite there already).

    * REGARDING “TWO STATE FAKERS”, SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman,, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me. . .


  3. DICKERSON3870
    May 1, 2013, 4:49 pm

    ● RE: “The other day I pointed out that one difference between the Israel lobby and the gun lobby is that Democrats bash the gun lobby all the time, but they shut their pie hole when it comes to the Israel lobby.”

    ● SPEAKING OF THE NRA AND THE ‘ISRAEL LOBBY’, there appears to be a “mature, symbiotic relationship” between the these two lobbies. Specifically, the NRA is making common cause with Israel and the Israel lobby in the wake of the (the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting). I saw David Keene, “El Presidente” of the NRA on the boob sh-t screen, and he said that when the December shooting at the school in Newtown, Connecticut occurred he just happened to be (surprise, surprise**) in Israel. It was from Israel that he got the idea that there should be a policeman at each and every school in the U.S.* (like they have in Israel).
    This is yet another reason I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment.
    I do not want to live in a police/garrison state like Israel! ! !
    Give me liberty, or give me death.

    * ● SEE – NRA President’s Report: David Keene on the Push to Protect Our Children [VIDEO, 12:10] –

    ** ● FOR A NICE EXAMPLE OF THIS (A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER), SEE: “Israel Project brags on planting story in CNN and taking 38 journalists on helicopter trips in Israel”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 4/18/13
    LINK –

    ● THE BLOG ‘GUN WATCH’ (Note the Israeli flag to the right) –

    AND HERE’S THE NRA’S CHIEF ‘HIRED ASSASSIN’ “LUCKY (LA) PIERRE” : “NRA calls for armed police officer in every school”, By Phillip Elliott and Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, 12/21/12

    [EXCERPT] . . . The nation’s largest gun-rights lobby broke its weeklong silence on the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School with a defiant presentation. The event was billed as a news conference, but NRA leaders took no questions. Twice, they were interrupted by banner-waving protesters, who were removed by security.
    Some had predicted that after the slaughter of a score of elementary-school children by a man using a semi-automatic rifle, the group might soften its stance, at least slightly. Instead, LaPierre delivered a 25-minute tirade against the notion that another gun law would stop killings in a culture where children are exposed daily to violence in video games, movies and music videos. He argued that guns are the solution, not the problem.
    ‘‘Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else; as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work,’’ LaPierre said. ‘‘And by
    that I mean armed security.’’

    He said Congress should immediately appropriate funds to post an armed police officer in every school. . .


  4. gingershot
    May 1, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Andrew Sullivan’s article is great and I was similarly (and independently) struck with the same contrast of the current popular backlash against the NRA-paid Senators as contrasted to the kid gloves with which AIPAC-paid Senators are handled

    It goes without saying that AIPAC is more dangerous than the gun lobby and the media/popular backlash is more terrified of them

  5. RoHa
    May 1, 2013, 8:14 pm

    Who is Andrew Sullivan?

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2013, 11:34 pm

      google is your friend

    • valency
      May 2, 2013, 5:55 am

      Boy, you’ve been out of the loop. He’s the rich white gay guy and self-professed “Blog Queen” who was a liberal during the early nineties, a gay conversative morals scold during the late nineties, a Bush-boosting “cut taxes for the rich, productive class” republican during the early 2000s, and a liberal again after Bush crossed him on gay marriage.

      This swerve into Israel-Palestine is the bravest and least blatantly self-interested thing he’s ever done, but I’m not sure if I will ever quite trust the guy after all his ideological flip-flops.

      • RoHa
        May 5, 2013, 8:15 pm

        “you’ve been out of the loop. ”

        You mean the American loop?

  6. Kathleen
    May 1, 2013, 11:47 pm

    Have thought about this one for a long time. Hypocrisy gone wild

  7. gingershot
    May 2, 2013, 12:15 am

    Citizens at, outraged by Senate’s refusal to pass gun legislation, put together an advertisement to shame the Senators on the NRA payroll who voted down the legislation. It’s a terrific campaign

    They work for the NRA, who
    works for the gun industry,
    whose sole purpose is to
    sell more guns.


    Here’s my take on another public education, Senator-shaming, anti-Lobbying campaign:

    They work for the AIPAC, which works for Israel, whose sole purpose is to hoax the US into wars in the Middle East and against the Palestinians to prop up Israeli Apartheid.

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