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Netanyahu speech could allow Obama to ‘take on the Jewish lobby’ as he took on Cuba lobby — Indyk

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Martin Indyk, the former peace negotiator for the State Department, says that the invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress and rebut Obama’s policy on Iran threatens to drive a wedge between Obama and “the Jewish lobby,” turning the battle into “the President versus Israel and its supporters.”

After all, the president has taken on the Cuba lobby, Indyk said. So this is the true danger of the invitation, that it will turn Israel lobby in the U.S., which Israel needs for its survival, into an open political issue in the U.S.

Indyk made his comments on Day 1 of the scandal, in a January 21 conversation with New York Times columnist (and author) Roger Cohen at the 92d Street Y in New York. Indyk, a longtime supporter of Israel who served under Obama, already saw that the invitation was generating rage in the White House, and this was a terrible strategic error by Netanyahu, endangering the “precious” US-Israel relationship:

So it’s an approach which is bound to create a good deal of anger in the White House. So why would you do that? I mean the president is going to be there for two more years. He’s just taken on the Cuba lobby. And he’s basically saying that I’ll veto any effort to impose new sanctions. So there’s a potential here for him to take on the Jewish lobby. Because I assume that AIPAC and the pro-Israel community will get behind the Prime Minister. And so we’re going to move from a kind of what was– a Democrat versus Republican argument with some Democrats supporting the Republicans on this issue of sanctions, to the President versus Israel and its supporters, and that’s not a place where we want to be. Anybody  who cares about the Israel US relationship should not want to be there.

This is the wisest analysis I’ve seen about the fiasco. “Anybody who cares about the Israel US relationship should not want” this speech. It is why so many segments of the lobby, centrists, liberal Zionists, even neocon Robert Kagan now in the Washington Post, have thrown themselves into opposing the speech. The only ones who want the speech are diehard neocons who seem to think this is the only way to get a war with Iran– and the left and national interest types, people who want the speech to come off so that America will have to watch as the Congress jumps up and down to give repeated standing ovations to a foreign prime minister who opposes our president, so that America will ask why? As Scott Horton tweeted:

Dang. After reading Robert Kagan this morning, I’m afraid Netanyahu will cancel and all those terrible consequences won’t happen.

But let’s get to continuing developments in the story. There is more and more pressure to cancel the speech.

At Haaretz, Barak Ravid reports that Nancy Pelosi called Netanyahu urging him to put off the speech, and a group of congresspeople have launched a campaign to get Boehner to postpone the speech till April. The last thing that the liberal Zionists want is the fracture that Indyk described. It politicizes the special relationship, and invites progressive candidates to run against the Israel lobby in U.S. races. Notice that Democrats are now lining up behind Obama on sanctions. Ravid:

The 10 Democratic senators who were considering supporting the sanctions are now toeing the White House’s line

Ravid has the best detail on the story yet. The White House is seething. There’s a rupture between Kerry and Netanyahu. Obama may never meet with Netanyahu again (after 12 times in first six years).

Senior Israeli and American officials say the White House is seething with anger against Netanyahu. Following the trick he concocted with Republican leaders in Congress, Netanyahu is said to be “toast” as far as Obama is concerned. An Israeli official said the strong words he heard American officials use against Netanyahu convinced him that even if
 Netanyahu is elected on March 17 for another term, Obama wouldn’t meet him before he leaves the White House in a little less than two years.

Another man to whom Netanyahu is “toast,” at least temporarily, is Secretary of State John Kerry… Netanyahu’s maneuver over the Congress speech was the last straw for Kerry.

He felt personally affronted. His announcement that he wouldn’t meet Netanayhu in Washington was perhaps even more significant than the president’s. For Obama, such a move was almost self-evident. With Kerry it reflected a real rupture.

Indyk said much of this at the 92d Street Y last week: that Netanyahu has contempt for his relationship with Obama, and Kerry has been incredibly close to Netanyahu.

He speaks to Secretary Kerry every other day, sometimes twice, three times a day…. And [Netanyahu] didn’t tell Kerry [about his plans], he didn’t tell the White House.

Two or three times a day. Did you hear that, Americans?

I expect Chris Matthews to keep up the drumbeat against the speech tonight. Last night Matthews asked again with a wicked smile, Who came up with this idea? Matthews seems to be hinting at some conspiracy that would drag the (rightwing) Israel lobby down. But Barak Ravid says the answer is in plain sight:

White House officials think Dermer was the one who concocted the invitation of Netanyahu to Congress, together with the Republicans.

Then Ravid urges Dermer to walk the plank:

The damage Dermer has done to himself and to U.S.-Israel relations is irreparable, as long as he runs the embassy in Washington.

More from Indyk last week. At 26:30, Roger Cohen asks if we are on the “eve” of a very big clash between the US and Israel. And Indyk speaks frankly of the importance of American support and, implicitly, about the lobby, before he comes out and calls it the “Jewish lobby.”

I worry about that a lot. I believe that the US Israeli relationship is  critically important to Israel’s future… A strong US Israel relationship is Israel’s second line of defense. It’s Israel’s force multiplier when it comes to deterring those that would seek to destroy Israel. And it’s just critically important for Israel’s survival.

So it’s precious. It needs to be nurtured by both sides, since both sides have an interest in it. And it needs to be protected. And I worry a great deal about what we’re about to go into now as a result of this invitation…. behind the back of President Obama.

Indyk then says that the Congress will give the Prime Minister “repeated standing ovations,” and this will be Netanyahu’s way of signalling to Israelis, Everything’s fine with my relationship with the U.S. The Congress has my back. But in fact it will damage the precious relationship by pitting the White House against the “Jewish lobby.”

By the way, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got in a lot of hot water for calling it the Jewish lobby. Everyone told him that not all Jews are in the lobby, etc. But Indyk is Jewish, so he can get away with that phrasing.

Indyk suggests that the speech could be a Trojan horse for an Isaac Herzog-Labour-led government in Israel. 1, Netanyahu has so damaged the “precious” relationship that Israelis will reject him. 2, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin is Netanyahu’s real opponent. It is Rivlin’s job post-election of asking someone to form a governing coalition. Rivlin could well turn to Labour. So hope springs eternal among liberal Zionists! Though as Indyk notes, most of Israel’s fragmentary parties are right wing. So it is hard to imagine a government committed to abandoning the colonies across the Green Line.

Back to the issue of the Israel lobby. I’d point out to you that Martin Indyk states, “both sides have an interest in” that special relationship. But he never actually describes what the U.S. interest is here. If you read his statements, the relationship really only flows one way. The U.S. supports Israel. What does Israel do for the U.S.? Except destroy our reputation across the Arab world, and kill Rachel Corrie and the 34 men of the USS Liberty, etc? Don’t Americans get to make that assessment? If Americans actually questioned the precious relationship, according to Indyk’s analysis, Israelis would turn on a dime toward actual reform.

Robert Kagan is guilty of the same logical error as Indyk. He writes in the Washington Post that Netanyahu should back out of the invitation to speak, because it will hurt Israel and the U.S. But actually again, the damage is to Israel, and to the lobby, by politicizing the issue:

It will damage Israel’s image in the United States. Israel enjoys a great deal of sympathy among Americans, but there is such a thing as overplaying a hand. Even among those who may be enjoying the spectacle of Obama being defied (and, by the way, patriotic Americans should not be enjoying that spectacle, no matter how they feel about Obama), when all is said and done, Netanyahu’s visit may leave a sour taste…

It is not good for Congress. Congress already suffers from an image of excessive deference to Israel on matters of foreign policy. But Israel has no monopoly on strategic wisdom…

This issue isn’t going away. When will Netanyahu dump the speech?

I say, On Super Bowl Sunday, when everyone is distracted by The Beast and Gronk, Katy Perry and Tom Brady.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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64 Responses

  1. hophmi
    January 30, 2015, 12:36 pm

    “The White House may never speak to Netanyahu again.”

    C’mon. Use your head. There is anger, and there is low-level functionary rhetoric. The White House is not making the Israeli Prime Minister persona non-grata anytime soon, and neither is the Secretary of State. Newsflash: We have a deep and abiding alliance with Israel, including security and intelligence cooperation. It’s not going to change, regardless of the posturing.

    John Kerry knows Netanyahu since the 1970’s. He’s not a political novice, and he’s not going to stop speaking to Netanyahu over something like this.

    Ditto your childishness about what the US interest is. The US interest is both is maintaining an alliance with the only state in the region that shares any of our values, and in drawing on Israeli intelligence and security cooperation to fight terrorism in the Middle East and to deal with Iran. Honestly, this is something I will never understand – somehow, your hatred of Israel impedes your ability to understand the most basic facts about the relationship; your need to see only bad things about Israel makes you a dumber person.

    • Cliff
      January 30, 2015, 2:19 pm

      Phil is a good person and is nice to you, hophmi.

      Show him some respect and stop acting like an entitled douche.

    • Mooser
      January 30, 2015, 3:37 pm

      “the only state in the region that shares any of our values”

      Gee, and we used to be soooo close. What happened?

      “drawing on Israeli intelligence and security cooperation to fight terrorism”

      So don’t expect anything more than false or self-serving information. And don’t expect anything more than that!

      Gee, and I remember when Hophmi used to give out all that “staunchest ally” and all the “common values”. But now simply not being Arabs, and maybe some Hasbara should be enough? Price of Israel just keeps on going up.

    • Frankie P
      January 30, 2015, 7:13 pm

      Actually, Phil seems rather dismissive of people whose main interest is the national interest of the US. Just the language he uses to describe them is condescending: “national interest types”. Look at the quote:

      “The only ones who want the speech are diehard neocons who seem to think this is the only way to get a war with Iran– and the left and national interest types, people who want the speech to come off so that America will have to watch as the Congress jumps up and down to give repeated standing ovations to a foreign prime minister who opposes our president, so that America will ask why?”

      I have a few questions. Of the three groups who Phil cites as wanting this speech to go down – namely diehard neocons, the left, and national interest types – which group is the largest in number? the most influential? the most likely to support actions in the US interest? the most supportive of continued blank check support from the US for Israeli intransigence?

      Next question: Is cooperation among two of these groups – the left and the “national interest types” possible on Middle foreign policy? For here lies the true potential for the dismantling of the apparatus that currenly exists in US politics to support the criminal actions of the State of Israel. And make no bones about it, all those “liberal Zionist” voices chiming in about the danger to the special relationship are really worrying about their ability and the ability of the American Jewish organizations that Sean lists so frequently to lobby and control this foreign policy.

      I post this comment under Hophmi’s comment because his view of the US interest lies entirely in relation to the good of Israel, and this is the main problem that is facing the US: a cheering section of special interests who have conflated the interests of two separate nations in totally different circumstances and tried to present those interests as being the same.

      Hophmi: The US interest is both is maintaining an alliance with the only state in the region that shares any of our values, and in drawing on Israeli intelligence and security cooperation to fight terrorism in the Middle East and to deal with Iran.

      First: Israel, judging by its oppressive laws concerning non-Jews, murderous actions against an oppressed people that it holds in limbo, and total disregard for international law and opinion, DOES NOT share the values of the US. I agree that the US has slipped considerably in implementing the values traditionally held dear by many Americans, but that too can be attributed to the special interests mentioned above.

      Second, it seems that Israeli intelligence and security is currently cooperating with Sunni takfiri in Syria – the same that the US is fighting against. Netanyahu, in his desperation about the upcoming election, decided to bomb key Hezbollah and Iranian officers involved in the fighting against these takfiri. And we should draw on their cooperation? Please.

      Third and most ridiculous: dealing with Iran. This is the greatest example of the amusement park-like fantasy that passes for news and commentary in the US. The best way to deal with Iran is to leave them alone. Stop demonizing them, it’s clear that they have no nuclear weapons program, and even if they do develop a nuclear weapon, (and I’m with Professor Chomsky on this one: by seeing the way that the US deals with weaker states, I’d be working hard on an effective deterrent, too.) they would never use it. How many nukes does Israel have? 200 – 350? Delivery systems? Israel certainly could turn the key cities of Iran into parking lots. No, it’s all a facade, a house of cards.

      The American “liberal Zionists”, a misnomer if ever I saw one, are afraid of more than the downgrading of the special relationship; they are worried that fingers will be pointed in their direction when the American people do actually wake up to how they have been used.

      FPM

      • American
        January 31, 2015, 8:54 pm

        First we need a leader who will Define for the people what the national security interest of America are.

        https://twitter.com/jimwebbusa

        Jim [email protected] · Jan 20

        Any great nation’s foreign policy must begin with a clear and understandable statement of our national security interests. #webb2016 #SOTU

        And its not complicated.
        And Israel is not part of the US national security interest, quite the opposite.

      • pjdude
        February 1, 2015, 3:41 pm

        exactly Iran would never use nukes offensively and i doubt they would ever use them defensively. there are only 2 countries in my opinion that bring sufficient crazy to the table to use nukes offensively. north korea and Israel.

    • joemowrey
      January 31, 2015, 10:44 am

      I have to agree with hopmi on two points. First, “We have a deep and abiding alliance with Israel, including security and intelligence cooperation. It’s not going to change, regardless of the posturing.”

      Second, as to the matter of Israel and the U.S. and shared values. Indeed, both countries share many of the same values, such as a complete disregard for international law and even the most basic standards of human rights and social justice when it comes to advancing their own interests. And both countries share a willingness to kill vast numbers of innocent men, women and children by dropping bombs on them and starving them using barbaric economic and political sanctions. Both countries also engage widely in extrajudicial assassinations. Both countries imprison people indefinitely without charge or trial. Both countries share a core notion of exceptionalism which has poisoned the moral underpinnings of their nation’s society and culture.

      We share lots of values we can be proud of.

      • Doubtom
        January 31, 2015, 11:05 pm

        You said a mouthful Joe and it’s all accurate, though I ‘m till trying my damnedest to understand this “special relationship” we’re suppose to have and which no one has ever defined. I’d like to know who ever voted for this ‘special relationship’. Can we have their names? Was anyone ever sent to Washington to represent Israel?? Isn’t it time we find out exactly what this ‘special relationship’ entails, beside a constant drain on our tax dollars?

    • Krauss
      January 31, 2015, 4:27 pm

      The panic in hophmi’s words is real.

      We all know that the so-called ”deep alliance” is driven by money. The Israel lobby is 100% top-heavy. They have no grassroots support. (Most Americans want to remain neutral between the two, and will only choose Israel if forced to).

      The fiasco of this speech is awesome, and I hope it goes ahead. Also, throwing dermer under the bus looks like a naked lie. Is Ravid thinking here not for Netanyahu but more along the lines of a Zionist? He certainly covers for him.

      The notion that Dermer cooked this up on his own is bizarre. Netanyahu is the boss and he directs what he should do. Throwing Dermer to the wolves is the easy thing to do, but Im disappointed in Ravid for spreading those kinds of lies.

      Its a Netanyahu/Obama showdown. And if people have not noticed already, Obama is winning these encounters the further on in his administration as he goes and Bibi is getting weaker.

      • American
        January 31, 2015, 8:05 pm

        Krauss January 31, 2015, 4:27 pm

        The panic in hophmi’s words is real.

        We all know that the so-called ”deep alliance” is driven by money. The Israel lobby is 100% top-heavy. They have no grassroots support. –
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        I am not sure who you mean when saying the Lobby has no ‘grass roots’ support…are you saying among the general US public or among the US Jewish community?

    • pjdude
      February 1, 2015, 3:33 pm

      thats a load of crap. there is a reason the state department practically revolted when truman recognized Israel. the Us interest would be have a palestinian state. Israel hurts US interests. Israel is actively inimical to US interests. You will never understand it because your incaopable of putting the US interests ahead of Israel’s. you think its a good thing because it benefits your terrorist state. your a typical zionist. crying about people saying bad things about your war criminals. whats good about Israel ? I can’t thing of one damn thing. because everything they do is su[pported by the bad things. a good thing done through evil is evil hop. why can’t you get threw your thick skull.

  2. John Douglas
    January 30, 2015, 12:38 pm

    Walt and Mearsheimer earned the anti-Semite charge for “Israel Lobby” and Indyk gets a pass on “Jewish Lobby”. But note his claim that the US is a “force multiplier” for Israel. What is that, an “army in waiting”?

    • SonofDaffyDuck
      January 31, 2015, 9:16 am

      Yah, Martin!
      “Jewish Lobby” is kinda….maybe…well..forgive me for saying…you could say,…anti-semetic…?
      Walt and Mearsheimer were…well… a little more specific. They didn’t include ALL Jews.
      Howaboutit Martin?

  3. Philip Weiss
    January 30, 2015, 12:38 pm

    You’re right Hophmi. I’m going to revise to reflect what Ravid actually said.

  4. Johnsen
    January 30, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Iran is not the problem! Israel is the problem as it occupies, murders and steals land and resources as the West looks on occasionally saying, “Naughty, naughty,” and not backing up their mouths with action against the brutal force of Israel.

  5. just
    January 30, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Oh, be still my heart~ this is an awesome article indeed, Phil!

    “He speaks to Secretary Kerry every other day, sometimes twice, three times a day…. And [Netanyahu] didn’t tell Kerry [about his plans], he didn’t tell the White House.

    Two or three times a day. Did you hear that, Americans?”

    Sing it! This is what Americans need to know, and coupled with:

    “Back to the issue of the Israel lobby. I’d point out to you that Martin Indyk states, “both sides have an interest in” that special relationship. But he never actually describes what the U.S. interest is here. If you read his statements, the relationship really only flows one way. The U.S. supports Israel. What does Israel do for the U.S.? Except destroy our reputation across the Arab world, and kill Rachel Corrie and the 34 men of the USS Liberty, etc? Don’t Americans get to make that assessment? If Americans actually questioned the precious relationship, according to Indyk’s analysis, Israelis would turn on a dime toward actual reform.”

    it’s way past due.

    Let him holler, let him roar, let him show stupid cartoons. Let the Congress applaud and grin. Let the WH and Foggy Bottom go silent.
    America needs this wake- up call.

    (Go Pats!) ahem.

    • CloakAndDagger
      January 30, 2015, 2:43 pm

      @ just

      Two or three times a day. Did you hear that, Americans?”

      Loud and clear.

      Why should our government be spending time worrying about all the problems that beset our nation, when they could be spending time being sychophants to the leader of a foreign nation that wants to take us to yet another war on their enemies, when said enemies are no threat to us. Meanwhile, our tax dollars pay for both the government and Israel.

      From Phil’s article:

      national interest types, people who want the speech to come off so that America will have to watch as the Congress jumps up and down to give repeated standing ovations to a foreign prime minister who opposes our president, so that America will ask why?

      Yup. That describes me to a ‘T’ .

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2015, 11:50 pm

        How many times a day does Kerry speak to

        Xi Jinping
        Vladimir Putin
        David Cameron
        Shinzo Abe
        Stephen Harper
        Enrique Peña Nieto
        Angela Merkel
        Narendra Modi
        Tony Abbott
        François Hollande
        Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
        Joko Widodo
        Prayut Chan-o-cha
        Nawaz Sharif
        Najib Razak (Sorry about the planes)
        Stefan Löfven
        Abdelaziz Bouteflika
        Dilma Rousseff

        ?

        To name but a few people with whom it might profitable to chat.

    • American
      January 30, 2015, 8:02 pm

      “both sides have an interest’….

      In the money….and not being kneecapped in their next election by the zio press.

  6. Tom Callaghan
    January 30, 2015, 1:21 pm

    Netanyahu and Dermer assume they’re the smartest guys in the room. They forget that there are a lot of people in this country who are not being paid to love Israel. They get our attention when they go out of their way to remind us of how stupid we are.

    http://www.wednesdayswars.com

    • Rodneywatts
      January 31, 2015, 7:29 am

      Hello Tom
      Although I’m from across the pond, and there are occasions when I have said ‘those stupid Americans’; I am still mindful that not all Americans are stupid and certainly not all the time! We Brits have shown lack of wisdom too. It is sad and irksome that zionists (and I include Christian zionists) because of degrees of brainwashing and scriptural understanding support the awful activities of the State of Israel. I have read your blog with interest and agree that it is very co-pertinent with Phil’s above.

      Only time will tell how it will pan out, but I go along with those who hope the speech will occur as currently scheduled. However the charge of stupidity of Congress will remain, and the clear rift between official European and US attitudes to Israel is already widened. Thank God for websites like yours and MW, that actually give hope for our shared futures, and more than that – hopes for the Palestinians future.

  7. Les
    January 30, 2015, 2:42 pm

    So far the Republicans have failed to compliment the penny pinching Mrs. Netanyahu’s good sense to save so much of her bottle deposit money.

  8. italian ex-pat
    January 30, 2015, 3:03 pm

    Yesterday I received an email from a Kevin Martin (from an org . named Peace Now) urging me to contact my Representative and ask/beg him to sign a letter from various Reps to J. Boehner to persuade him to postpone Netanyahu’s speech. My answer to Mr. Martin was that, much as I cringe at the thought of Bibi speaking to Congress, postponing the event at this time would be letting him off the hook too easily. He would jump at the chance to appear as an innocent pawn dragged into a plot concoted by Boehner and Darmer, when I suspect that not only was he aware of the plot, but probably came up with the idea himself. I said “let him come, and if the members of Congress – at least the Dems – have any shreds of pride and dignity, they will walk ohut en masse when he steps up to the podium. At least, that’s what I’m praying for.

    • italian ex-pat
      January 30, 2015, 3:52 pm

      Correction:

      The organization I mentioned in my comment is “PeaceAction”not Peace Now.

  9. Mooser
    January 30, 2015, 3:31 pm

    “I say, On Super Bowl Sunday, when everyone is distracted by The Beast and Gronk, Katy Perry and Tom Brady.”

    There is actually another team in that game besides the “Patriots”. And a team, I might add, whose escutcheon remains unsoiled (or unsullied, if you wish) by even the merest hint of bad sportsmanship, only a little excessive taciturnity. I mean c’mon, fining a sports figure who will shut up? Anyway, they’ll be repeating, as they won it last year, too. Not that anybody remembers.

    • amigo
      January 30, 2015, 3:51 pm

      Joe montana. gerry rice. roger craig. Bill wálsh.

      dose were the days.

      Go Niners.

    • Philip Weiss
      January 30, 2015, 4:21 pm

      Hey Mooser I mentioned the Beast.
      Does this mean that Mooser hangs his antlers in the Great North West?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2015, 6:46 pm

        yes i think mooser does live in the pacific northwest phil, that’s old news.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2015, 10:18 pm

        Right by Putrid Sound, in Kidnap County!

        Of course, if was really assimilated, I would know which Seahawk was called “the Beast”. I’ll ask my wife. She’s such a baleboosteh, and a big Seahawks fan, too!

    • chet
      January 31, 2015, 2:54 pm

      Even though Richard Sherman can’t be accused of “excessive taciturnity”, nothing close to the cheating stink of “Spygate” or “Ballghazi” can be foisted on Seattle.

      Go Hawks!!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2015, 6:50 pm

        i’m with you chet! my son is a huge seahawks fan and flew up to seattle for the weekend to be with his friends. i don’t think he has tickets to the game but seattle will be going wild, he’ll be wearing his #24 marshawn lynch jersey!

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2015, 10:23 pm

        “#24 marshawn lynch jersey!”

        Is there some rule about a player can’t be taciturn?
        Tomorrow will be pretty exciting. Did you know it was the Patriots who campaigned, back in 2011, I think, to let the teams bring their own balls for offense? They used to be supplied by the league. And after that, the Patriots got a lot better at certain things.

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2015, 1:44 pm

        Marshawn Lynch is the too-taciturn on. He got fined for not talking to the press at “Media availability” sessions.

        So here we have a sports figure who wants to keep his own counsel, and not bang out ill-considered remarks, and they fine him? Can you imagine the effect this is having on the young kids who look up to football players? This was overheard at a local high-school practice, I think:

        Coach: “Hey, you, No. 23, a little less back-talk, and more effort, pay attention to the play-call please!”
        No. 23: ” Stop mouthing off? Coach, do you want me to end up like Marshawn Lynch, it costs him thousands every time he shuts his mouth!”

  10. bilal a
    January 30, 2015, 4:07 pm

    Giraldi Find the Foreign Agents, time for AIPAC to register?

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/finding-the-foreign-agents/

  11. MRW
    January 30, 2015, 4:30 pm

    Get a load of this: a correction at the bottom of the NYT’s story on Netanyahu calling Harry Reid:

    Correction: January 30, 2015

    An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.

    Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting from Washington, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem.

    I say bullshit. What’s this statement for? The record? So people in the future can rewrite what happened?

    • Philip Weiss
      January 30, 2015, 4:35 pm

      MRW I think that in piont of official fact that may be true; that Netanyahu publicly accepted the invitation a day or two or some hours after the invite was announced Wed morning, when everyone knew about it. Which isn’t to say that he hadn’t been in the kitchen when it was cooked up. Phil

      • MRW
        January 30, 2015, 7:02 pm

        I don’t think so, Phil, otherwise Kerry would have known. Raimondo reports this exchange:

        The shock waves are extending in all directions in response to this act of political sabotage, reaching even the far-right shores of Fox News, where anchors Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith engaged in a most unusual dialogue, pillorying the usually sacrosanct Israelis. In response to a reading of the above Indyk quote, Wallace averred:

        “And to make you get a sense of really how, forgive me, wicked, this whole thing is, the Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States for two hours on Tuesday, Ron Dermer, the [Israeli] ambassador, never mentioned the fact that Netanyahu was in negotiations and finally agreed to come to Washington, not to see the president, but to go to Capitol Hill, speak to a joint session of congress and criticize the president’s policy. I have to say I’m shocked.”

        Digging the dagger in a little deeper, Smith commented that “it seems like [the Israelis] think we don’t pay attention and that we’re just a bunch of complete morons, the United States citizens, as if we wouldn’t pick up on what’s happening here.”

        http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/01/29/bibi-netanyahu-and-the-myth-of-the-special-relationship/

        When it was publicly announced, it was a fait accompli as I recall. He had accepted.

      • MRW
        January 30, 2015, 7:24 pm

        Phil, okay, found this:

        Chris Wallace says in this clip that he was at the White House on Wednesday morning when Boehner announced that Netanyahu had been invited and “had accepted this.” Wallace said a top White House official told him they found out when Boehner announced it to the press. Starts at :35 sec.

        The invitation and the acceptance were announced at the same time.

      • W.Jones
        January 31, 2015, 10:47 am

        This is a very important point. If the NYT Times is right, then all the talk about Net. being an obstructionist here is out the window. Poor guy, someone invites you over publicly, everyone knows about it, and then after you accept, the entire administration is mad at you because they made up a lie that they never knew about it. The AMERICAN THINKER blog is already saying that after the blog owner read the NYT “correction”.

        BUT MRW is making a good point here by quoting Chris Wallace. Wallace’s story contradicts the NYT. Wallace says in Fox News that he was there when Boehner announced publicly that Netanyahu had been invited and had accepted. And Boehner concluded that this was bad form.

      • MRW
        January 31, 2015, 7:17 pm

        And Boehner concluded that this was bad form.

        You mean Wallace, right?

  12. Keith
    January 30, 2015, 5:42 pm

    PHIL- “This is the wisest analysis I’ve seen about the fiasco.”

    Gag me with a spoon! This whole Netanyahu business is nothing but political theater and a distraction from actual policy and actions.

  13. rensanceman
    January 30, 2015, 6:58 pm

    I say let him come and show the world how our Congress has been corrupted and how Netanyahu’s message is not in keeping with our national interest. And what a wonderful teaching moment where Code Pink could greet him as they did to Kissinger. And a few survivors of the USS Liberty talking to the media; signs calling attention to Netanyahu’s involvement in smuggling nuclear bomb triggers into Israel; “America is easily led”; and a few placards showing some of the “telegenically” dead babies”.

  14. David Doppler
    January 30, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Here’s an interesting wrinkle: 54% of Americans, when told Netanyahu was identified as part of an illegal smuggling operation that moved nuclear triggers from the US to Israel, 54% of respondents opined he should be investigated by the FBI. Let the FBI question him under oath while he’s here. http://antiwar.com/blog/2015/01/29/poll-netanyahu-should-be-investigated-for-nuclear-weapons-tech-smuggling-before-us-visit/

    Don’t know how I missed that poll . . . .

    The Israelis are going after Netanyahu’s wife’s for keeping bottle deposits, on bottles paid for by the state (thousands of shekels!), with Haaretz editorial board calling for a criminal investigation today.

    Maybe the US should go after slightly larger crimes.

  15. JWalters
    January 30, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Thanks for this great reporting on this important developing story.

    I suspect the MIC bankers calculated that with Congress in Republican (their) hands, Obama would be politically weak. Therefore this would be a good time to slap down Obama for having the uppityness to mention stopping the war-provoking settlements, and other acts displaying inadequate subservience to them. And they could score a twofer by simultaneously derailing his moves to achieve peace for the ordinary people in the Middle East, to prevent further massive slaughters and infrastructure destruction.

    As this article so well reports, the big worry of many Zionists is that the US-Israel relationship might come under inspection and discussion. The danger there is that the facts might come out. The cover stories and deceptions will dissolve in the light of day. Further, the financial control over American media and politics that has enabled these deceptions will also come to light.

    Jewish Americans of goodwill would be shocked at these revelations, at learning they have been duped all these years, at realizing that Israel has been good for the MIC and some religious supremacists, but not good for Jews in general.

  16. JLewisDickerson
    January 30, 2015, 10:16 pm

    RE: “Dang. After reading Robert Kagan this morning, I’m afraid Netanyahu will cancel and all those terrible consequences won’t happen.” ~ Scott Horton

    MY COMMENT: Netanyahu cancelling would be political suicide for him (i.e., looking weak would be the kiss of death) as far as the right-wing in Israel is concerned. He is probably praying for a major terrorist attack to solve the problem.

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 30, 2015, 10:31 pm

      P.S. In the absence of a major terrorist attack, a war with Hezbollah in early March might do the trick (assuming a credible pretext can be “arranged”).

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2015, 11:53 pm

        It certainly looks as though they are getting ready for that.

    • Pixel
      January 31, 2015, 2:54 am

      @JLD

      LOL!

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 2, 2015, 6:05 pm

      P.P.S. RE: “In the absence of a major terrorist attack, a war with Hezbollah in early March might do the trick (assuming a credible pretext can be ‘arranged’).” – me, above

      SEE: “Israel and Lebanon: Is a 3rd War in the Offing?” ~ By Rola El-Hussein, Informed Comment, February 2, 2015

      [EXCERPT] On January 18, 2015 an Israeli military operation lead to the death of Jihad Mughniyah in Quneitra, in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. According to a retired Israeli general, the timing of the operation that led to the death of Jihad Mugniyah, several other Hizbullah Operatives and an Iranian general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is linked to upcoming elections in Israel. The retired general also insinuated that an assassination in 2012 of a Hamas leader was similarly motivated. These allegations were denied by government officials in Israel, yet historical precedent seems to support the idea that Netanyahu is engaging in warmongering in an effort to shore up his popularity.

      Operations in Lebanon are often governed by internal Israeli concerns and are often aimed to support an ailing Prime minister or one trying to secure his position. For example, in 1996, then Prime Minister Shimon Peres was facing elections, and wanted to change his image as a “dovish” politician and show Israelis he could be tough in a war situation. He launched operation Grapes of Wrath, which ironically spelled the end of his campaign and led to the elevation of Benyamin Netanyahu to the premiership. Indeed, the Qana massacre (which has come back to haunt another Israeli politician Naftali Bennett) and its 102 civilian deaths was the nail in the coffin of Peres’ campaign.

      A decade later, in 2006, Ehud Olmert, recently promoted to the premiership after Ariel Sharon’s stroke, and trying to prove he was tough despite his lack of military background, launched the so-called Second Lebanon War. The war was a total failure and spelled the end of Olmert’s career. His approval ratings plummeted after the war and remained low, and he finally announced his resignation in July 2008, a resignation that was confirmed in September 2008. Benyamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister in 2009 and has since remained Israel’s premier after the 2013 elections.

      Yet Netanyahu is facing today an uphill battle in his re-election. The most recent scandal his administration faces is one that one his wife is intimately implicated in, the so-called “bottle” scandal. It involves petty corruption and possibly criminal behavior in addition to abuse of authority. It is not surprising therefore to see him engage in diversionary tactics on three fronts: in the Golan heights after the operation against Hizbullah and Iranian operatives; in the US Congress where Netanyahu is supposed to speak on February 11 to a joint session of Congress on Iran; and in Israel’s relationship with the US and Europe after declaring his government’s intention to build 450 new settlement units in the West Bank.

      Indeed each of these arenas represents “a different aspect of the same propaganda front: On the Golan Heights, Netanyahu sought to demonstrate his military leadership; in Congress, his ability to stand up to a president he views as hostile to Israel, and in expanding the settlements, his determination to meet the right’s demands. Netanyahu is removing all the brakes that guided him in office, cruising at full throttle in an election race in which Israel’s interests are considered marginal compared to his lust for victory.” . . .

      CONTINUED AT – http://www.juancole.com/2015/02/israel-lebanon-offing.html

  17. Kay24
    January 31, 2015, 5:05 am

    That part about Kerry having to speak to him on the telephone thrice a day, is not surprising. Most probably that open mic conversation Obama had with Sarkozy, where he answered to Sarkozy’s remark about Bibi being a liar, that he (Obama) had to deal with him every day, must have been true. He would have passed that horrible task of dealing with Bibi and his demands, to Kerry, when Kerry was appointed Secretary of State. I am sure Kerry must be dreading those calls, and meditating in between them. Bibi must be a very irritating person, who throws a major tantrum when he does not get is way.

  18. [email protected]
    January 31, 2015, 9:02 am

    I love it. Petards for both long time lovers.

  19. American
    January 31, 2015, 9:05 am

    IMO getting the Israeli Fifth Column out of America will take a president who will go to the bully pulpit and put it before the American people…then the American people will turn on I-First congress with a vengence and the I- lobby will be political posion.
    Find another Eisenhower. Obama isnt going to do it. Obama was adopted, cultivated and put in office with the help of the Jewish Chicago crowd and he wont go against the Jewish Lobby because of that no matter how he personally despises Netanyahu. As a man he personally and emotionally identifies with minorities and victims of the anglo/white man’s abuse. As a politician he serves the Elites. There are no inbetween Americans to Obama–they dont exist. He does not identify with ordinary Americans at all and has no faith in the American street so he will not appeal to them for support.

    Its going to take a different president to rid us of Israel influence—I am hoping it might be Jim Webb—thats where I am puttiing my efforts.

    ”In the winter of 1956, during the Suez crisis, Israel, France, and Britain attacked Egypt, with the Israelis occupying great swathes of Egyptian territory, including the Sinai peninsula. President Dwight Eisenhower reacted swiftly, pressuring both the French and the British to withdraw, which they did: Israel, however, was adamant. They would keep most of the Sinai, and that was that. Eisenhower responded by having the US representative vote for a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly condemning the Israeli occupation: only France and Israel dissented.

    Still the stubborn Israelis persisted, refusing to give up their conquests. When the President went to Congress to gain support for pressuring Israel, he was met with a Boehner-esque wall of resistance: the Israel lobby was hard at work shoring up its congressional defenses, and it worked. Congress wouldn’t go along with Eisenhower, and so the President went over their heads, straight to the American people. In a nationally-televised address he informed his audience of Israel’s refusal to withdraw and engaged the Israel Firsters directly:

    “This raises a basic question of principle. Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal?

    “If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order. We will, in effect, have countenanced the use of force as a means of settling international differences and through this gaining national advantages.

    “… If the United Nations once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the very foundation of the Organization, and our best hope of establishing a world order. That would be a disaster for us all.

    “I would, I feel, be untrue to the standards of the high office to which you have chosen me, if I were to lend the influence of the United States to the proposition that a nation which invades another should be permitted to exact conditions for withdrawal.

    Eisenhower also opened up another front in the battle against the Israel lobby: he threatened then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion with the prospect of a presidential directive which would have cut off all private assistance to Israel, including the sale of Israeli state bonds.

    This did the trick. Ben Gurion caved, the Sinai was evacuated, and the prospect of a regional war was averted.”

  20. SonofDaffyDuck
    January 31, 2015, 9:10 am

    Thank Heaven! Now, when I see all those Senators and Congressmen slobbering at the next AIPAC meeting, I can utter the word “Jewish Lobby” and say that Indyk made me do it. (But, please, Martin, let’s say” Zionist Lobby” for clarity).

    But I say, Let him (lower case “H”) come! Play his speech on every channel and App! Let everyone see that he does speak for the Republican Party and that the Republican party is Likud.

    If you read all the recent comments on this subject in the NYT you will see how much benefit there is in this whole kerfuffle in shinning light on “America’s most important relationship(as a white house spokesman said last week).

    • Kay24
      February 1, 2015, 5:16 am

      Honestly, it is the Jewish lobby and, they are there to make sure Israel’s interests are taken care of in a very rabid way. They actually do not give a hoot about American interests. In fact they make sure the aid keeps going smoothly to Israel, and they lobby hard when they feel it may be stopped. The problem is, people are afraid to call it so.

  21. Citizen
    January 31, 2015, 9:34 am
    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2015, 12:21 pm

      citizen, from your article:

      The organization defines members as email-list subscribers whose addresses do not produce bounce-backs when messaged.

      i would be very weary of cufi’s claimed membership if they count everyone who doesn’t bounce back emails. many people just block orgs (so emails go directly to spam) whose emails they don’t want. many have alternate email addresses they give to people on request. many just scroll over. if i was a member of every group who sends me emails i’d be a member of lots of groups. i’ve gotten on multiple email lists merely by signing a petition at one time. i wonder what the number would be if they only counted those who signed up and paid dues or contributed to their organization at least once.

  22. American
    January 31, 2015, 10:02 am

    Here is a time saving suggestion. Instead of writting out a letter protesting the Isr fifth column just copy off some MW articles like this one and some articles like the one below on Debbie Wasserman to fax to your reps office –and in your own handwriting at the top of the page write that you will never donate a penny or ever vote for the Dems until they purge their party of every US Zionist agent in their party and in US government who wants Americans to fight wars and spend US blood and treasure for the Jews because of the Jewish state that brought any hatred that exist on itself.

    Takes less then 10 minutes to do this.

    Leaked Recording: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Goes After MSNBC for Biased Israel Coverage

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/30/leaked-recording-debbie-wasserman-schultz-goes-after-msnbc-for-biased-israel-coverage/

    Jan. 30, 2015 6:00pm Mike Opelka

    Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz went after MSNBC and others in the media for their lopsided coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict during a private breakfast earlier this month.

    AP

    According to the Florida-based Shark Tank blog, which obtained audio from the event, the Florida Democratic congresswoman didn’t pull any punches during the event with the Jewish Federation of Miami. She said she’d caught an MSNBC segment that morning about the situation in Gaza where “clearly they were highlighting what Israel had done to Gaza and the plight to Palestinians.”

    “My first thought was, where is the balance?” Wasserman Schultz said on the recording. “Where is the spotlight on what Jewish children in Israel go through, from being victims of rocket attacks in Sderot and southern Israel and the constant needing to flee into a bomb shelter?”

    But Wasserman Schultz, a frequent MSNBC guest, said it’s not just MSNBC.

    “The media’s coverage, and it’s not just MSNBC, I’ve seen it on CNN and even the broadcast media as well,” she said. “We have work to do. We have work to do to educate and to make sure that people understand that there’s a very simple solution to this: It’s called recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. Let’s make sure that we can adopt a two-state solution where you have a Palestinian state and a state of Israel living side by side in peace, and let’s make sure that we have in communities all around the world the adults not raising their children and teaching their children to hate us, to hate Israel and to hate Jews simply because of who we are.”

    The Jan. 16 gathering happened just days after the deadly Paris attacks. Wasserman Schultz, speaking about the increasing levels of anti-Semitism around the world, referred flatly to “Islamic fundamentalists” fighting in the “global war on terror” — notable because of the Obama administration’s reluctance sometimes to use those words.

    “Unfortunately what happens, particularly with the global war on terror and the Islamic fundamentalists that are combating and leading it, we [Jews] are the crux of the reason that they are engaged in that fight,” she said.

    Hear the recording:

    Neither representatives for MSNBC or Wasserman Schultz’s office immediately returned requests for comment from TheBlaze.

    • American
      January 31, 2015, 2:40 pm

      BTW, in that clip Debbie says ‘assimilation and intermarriage’ of US Jews is worrisome for jewish culture and institutions.

      What a liberal, what a democrat!

      • seanmcbride
        January 31, 2015, 6:56 pm

        American,

        “BTW, in that clip Debbie says ‘assimilation and intermarriage’ of US Jews is worrisome for jewish culture and institutions.

        What a liberal, what a democrat!”

        This liberal Democrat (and liberal Zionist) sounds exactly like David Duke or any other white nationalist (or Louis Farrakhan or any other black nationalist) — but the object of her passion is Jewish identity and Jewish interests.

        Why Americans have permitted Jewish nationalism to go mainstream and become respectable while marginalizing (or even criminalizing) all other forms of aggressive ethnic nationalism is a mystery. This is a double standard that should not be tolerated.

  23. American
    January 31, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Here’s another Zionist fifth columnist in our congress.
    Cardin wants to use the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Obama is pushing to pressure and punish any countries that don’t crack down on groups BDS’ing Israel settlements.
    This is another article you can copy and fax to your rep and write on it you will never give another dime or vote to the Dems until they get all the foreign traitors like Cardin out of their party.
    However it is really nothing new, they have been ‘using’ US trade and commerce policy to strong arm other countries economically for Israel since it was created…..which besides our stomping around in the ME is another reason the US is now hated and disrespected by so many.
    These treasonous parasites must be gotten out of our government.

    https://www.districtsentinel.com/senator-wants-use-trade-policy-undermine-palestinian-solidarity-movement-europe/

    Senator Wants to Use Trade Policy to Undermine Palestinian Solidarity Movement in Europe

    Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said this week that he wants to use trade negotiations as a means of undermining nonviolent Palestinian solidarity movements in Europe.

    Cardin asked US Trade Representative Michael Froman on Tuesday whether the Obama administration is using negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as a cudgel against peaceful attempts, through the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), to actively oppose the occupation of Palestine.

    “There’s a growing concern with our European partners that they are sympathetic to BDS legislation,” he told Froman. “I’d be interested in those discussions whether we have been raising the issues that such action by our European trading partners would be considered against our overall trading objectives and whether we are using TTIP as an opportunity to protect against such legislation.”

    Froman responded that he “is not familiar with that particular area of legislation.”

    “It’s not something that has come up in our negotiations, but we’re happy to follow-up with you and look into it,” he added.

    Any attempts to oppose BDS with state power, however, would almost certainly infringe upon freedom of speech and assembly. When news broke that the often-militaristic American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was pushing the trade tactic brought up by Cardin, Program Director at the Foundation for Middle East Peace Mitchell Plitnick pointed out that “no government is running this program, not even the pseudo-governments of the Palestinian Territories.”

    “If businesses could not engage in such activities, there would be great outrage,” he noted.

    Many European governments have warned their citizens that there is litigation risk in doing business with Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    ……continued

  24. American
    January 31, 2015, 9:33 pm

    Pro-Israel Groups Target Dem Senators On Iran

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/01/31/pro-israel-groups-target-dem-senators-on-iran/

    AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    by Jonathan Strong31 Jan 2015181

    A group of 12 Democratic Senators are the subject of a new full-page ad in the New York Times from pro-Israel groups pushing them to back new sanctions on Iran, increasing the pressure on them to fellow Democratic President Barack Obama.

    “Last year, these Democratic Senators courageously supported sanctions on Iran,” the ad says, referencing their cosponsorship of a sanctions bill, “We urge them to continue to stand firm and put principle before politics.”

    The ad includes a line-up of photographs of the senators, which include Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

    The Zionist Organization of America, StandWithUs, This World: The Values Network and “America’s Rabbbi” Rabbi Shmuley organized and paid for the ad.

    In an interview, Shmuley said advocates for a new sanctions bill need to all the political pressure they can muster in the face of Obama’s vehement opposition to new sanctions, which he said will imperil negotiations with the Iranian regime.

    Shmuley said previous sanctions are what forced Iran to the table in the first place, and ripped human rights abuses by the Iranians.

    “This is a regime that brutalizes the innocent men, women and children of Iran. My father is Iranian, so this is very close to my heart. This is a vile, putrid, foul regime which is an abomination against human rights. It is not for the United States to give this regime more money so they can use that money to prop themselves up or continue to fund terrorism,” Shmuley said”

    Who is this “Rabbi’ who think its for ‘him to say’ what the Us should do ? I look forward to the day these freaks are BOI.

  25. Kay24
    February 1, 2015, 5:28 am

    Can Bibi and Sara have a huge drinking problem? They sure act like king and queen.

    Livni: Netanyahu spends more on alcohol than some Israelis earn per month
    Zionist Camp co-chair slams PM for allegedly spending 100,000 shekels over two years on alcohol. Likud politician in response: It’s a campaign of personal incitement.

    Watchdog holding back report on excessive expenditures at Netanyahu residences

    Zionist Camp co-chair Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday for the alleged excessive expenditures at the Prime Minister’s Residence, saying that Netanyahu’s monthly alcohol budget amounts to the monthly salary of one million Israelis.

    Haaretz

  26. American
    February 1, 2015, 9:12 am

    The Jews are now in a real pickle.
    I remember when we started calling zionist ‘zionist’ to distinguish them from ordinary non zionist Jews.
    But that didn’t do any good either because then we were accused of ‘really meaning Jews’ when we said zionist and just trying to cover our anti semitism.
    So now a German court has ruled that Zionist applies to ALL Jews.
    Thank gawd we live live the US where we can say anything we want and call anything anything we want to call it.
    But what are countries like Germany to do?—they will have to invent a new word for Jews and/or zionist—or Jews will become something like the Muslim Prophet—a name to sacred to be said—they will be something no one can name, nothing to describe or call them by.
    This is truly the century of Orwell.

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 9h 9 hours ago
    German Non-Charlie (NC) convicted for stuff he shouted at Gaza rally: http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/German-judge-convicts-man-for-shouting-Death-to-Zionists-at-march-389568 … Judge rules Zionism represents all Jews.

    Landmark case equates lethal anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
    Judge in Essen ruled on Friday that an anti-Israel activist incited hatred against Jews because of his calls to kill Zionists.

    “‘Zionist’ in the language of anti-Semites is a code for Jew,” Judge Gauri Sastry said in a groundbreaking legal decision.

    German Turk Taylan Can, 24, yelled “death and hate to Zionists” at an anti-Israel rally in Essen in July.

    The daily Die Welt first reported on the decision. According to the paper, a video showed Can screaming for Zionists to be killed and stoked the crowd to follow his outbursts. Germany has strict antihate incitement laws.

    The Left Party organized a rally against Israel in July and an “anti-Semitic mob” marched through the downtown area of Essen, the newspaper wrote. After the protest, anti-Israel demonstrators attacked pro-Israel supporters in the main train station. Salutes to Hitler and cries of “shitty Jews” were seen and heard. The explosion of hate resulted in 49 criminal complaints, 45 of which the Essen authorities dismissed in December.

    The authorities pursued criminal action against Can. According to German media reports, he played a key role in many anti-Israel demonstrations over the summer.

    The Jerusalem Post was not able to reach a court spokesman on Saturday familiar with the decision.

    Nathan Gelbart, a managing partner at the international law firm FPS, told the Post on Saturday that the Essen court “has delivered a very brave judgment, though legally contestable. The judge has applied sociological and political arguments which are evident: those who say Zionists mean Jews as an ethnic entity.”

    Gelbart added, “Due to German criminal procedure law the court must acquit the defendant in a case even where the slightest doubt of his guilt exists. We will have to see whether the defendant will appeal the verdict and how the magistrate’s court will confirm that there is only one interpretation of the wording ‘Zionist’ in connection with hate speech against Israel.”

    In a police decision that prompted controversy at an anti-Israel rally in Hagen, located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Can was allowed to use a police megaphone to chant, “Child killer Israel.” The police defended lending the megaphone to Can as a means to deescalate the crowd.

    According to media reports, the crowd yelled “Hamas, Hamas – Jews to the gas!” Die Welt reported that Can said at the Friday legal proceeding “I don’t have anything against Jews, I only have something against Zionists.”

    He told Sastry that because there is no group in Germany called Zionists, he had done nothing wrong.

    He argued that he certainly hates Zionists and wished their death but that is only a punishment of God.

    “We can agree that is a punishment of God, right?” asked Can.

    Sastry replied, “No.”

    Sastry said “When in the past year you called for the death of, and hate to Zionists, you mean the State of Israel and Jews. It was the State of Israel that found itself at war.”

    The judge accepted the prosecutor’s recommendation and fined Can €200 and sentenced him to three months’ probation. Can has been convicted of previous crimes.

    Sastry’s legal understanding of contemporary anti-Semitism appears to conform to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s recent statements.

    Merkel said at a September rally against anti-Semitism that “pretend criticism of Israel,” is an “expression of Jew-hatred at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.”

    Valls said classical anti-Semitism has transformed itself, and “feeds off hate for Israel. It feeds off anti-Zionism because anti-Zionism is an invitation to anti-Semitism.”

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