Jared Kushner fired me over Israel ten years ago

US Politics
on 65 Comments

Donald Trump has now named his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior adviser, notably on Middle East/Israel issues, and as Kushner fired me ten years ago over these issues, it seemed a good time to review my memories of our (limited) interactions and do what journalists do, make a prognosis about his future efforts.

Kushner was 25 when he bought the New York Observer from investment banker/artist Arthur Carter in 2006, and as all such transactions do, the move set off panic on the editorial side of the paper. The editor, my dear friend Peter Kaplan, now deceased, was at once engaged in a struggle with his new boss over the paper’s news budget and independence. For my part I had been a columnist for a few years, protected against attacks and my own ineptitude by my Harvard chum Kaplan (yes, Virginia, that’s how media works), and had lately started Mondoweiss there as a personal blog, and because I was vehemently against the Iraq war and beginning to connect that tragedy to the US relationship to Israel in my postings, I was apprehensive about Kushner’s view of the blog and me. I knew that he had been a big supporter of the orthodox Jewish Chabad House at Harvard and had lauded Alan Dershowitz there. Not a good sign — when I was discovering Rachel Corrie and The Israel Lobby.

Peter Kaplan was a great student of character; it was his chief delight in life (after a cigar, a turkey leg, and a Preston Sturges film in the middle of the night); and my understanding of Kushner’s character was formed by closed-door conversations with Peter. He told me that Kushner was smart, ambitious, and full of hubris. The two statements Peter made that resonate down through the years are: “Jared has ice in his veins.” And: “He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.”

For a little while the clear-skinned young owner took Kaplan on as his grizzled guide to the world of journalism, but that interval was short-lived. It was somewhat shocking to Kaplan that a guy who had no experience of journalism, and was a boob about literature, wasn’t a very good reader, had spent his college years doing real estate deals, etc., was eager to make decisions about the paper’s values. But such is the way of the world, and after an agonizing couple of years Peter went back to Conde Nast.

I didn’t last as long. Jared and I had a few polite conversations in the year that we cohabited on Broadway, and two very uncomfortable meetings over Israel and Palestine. One was before I went out there in July 2006 on his dime to see the country for the first time, during the Lebanon War, and the second one was after I got back that August. In the first, Kushner told me about his Holocaust background, his grandparents who barely survived, and his regard for Israel. When I got back, Kushner and Brian Kempner, the newspaper’s publisher who had worked at the Israel lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), couldn’t wait to hear what I had seen out there, they said. But when I started talking about the occupation, the room went cold as the poles, and Kushner gazed right through me with those unsmiling dark little eyes. Kaplan was even more uncomfortable than I was, and thankfully brought the tortuous meeting to a close.

But I managed to get a frank description of apartheid in Hebron into the pages of the Observer.

This couldn’t last. In February 2007 Kaplan closed his office door and said he was a Zionist, Kushner was a Zionist, Kempner was a Zionist, and the janitor was a Zionist, too, and the newspaper would not pay for me to blog, as I was demanding (at that time I was only paid for published columns). It was fitting; I was gone.

My interactions with Jared were limited, but they don’t give me hope about his ability to achieve peace in the Middle East. He lived in a deeply-Zionist-patriarchal mental space then; I never saw him take a step out of it. There was a provincial element to his commitment. As Peter said, he didn’t know what he didn’t know. The guy who replaced Kaplan was even more of a Zionist than Kaplan, while the nimble-footed Kempner went on to work in the Kushner real estate firm. Kushner’s ambition and political shrewdness were evident to us, but I never saw any worldliness or largeness of spirit. He was very impressed by his own family. The big asterisk is that he was 25 and 26. I wouldn’t want anyone to judge me on the basis of stuff I said at that age . . .

Lastly, I bear no ill will to Jared Kushner. He paid for my first trip to Israel and Palestine (at 50!); he paid for me to see the occupation. My firing was also a blessing; he cut me loose from the paternalist mainstream media, and I was forced to sink or swim on the internet. To some smaller or bigger degree, I can thank Jared for this website, and the wonderful relationships I have formed through the internet with people of strong hearts and principle, qualities prestige media culture does not select for. For the sake of all of us, I can only hope Kushner gets to enter a larger world too.

About Philip Weiss

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

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65 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    January 10, 2017, 3:25 pm

    Fascinating profile of a real life kapo. I have to wonder if they actually want to live in Israel or if they just want to scare everyone else into moving. (Nothing wrong with wanting to live there, except if your motivation is not feeling safe where you are.)

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 10, 2017, 3:57 pm

    what an incredible article phil. also, your ’06 observer article is so good.

  3. Maghlawatan
    January 10, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Phil Weiss looks very like Trump in the photo.

  4. Keith
    January 10, 2017, 4:39 pm

    PHIL- “My interactions with Jared were limited, but they don’t give me hope about his ability to achieve peace in the Middle East.”

    What makes you think that he has any desire to achieve peace in the Middle East? How do his views compare to Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson? Does he want to bomb Iran? Is he Russophobic?

  5. a blah chick
    January 10, 2017, 4:49 pm

    Like many of his ilk Kushner would do anything for his beloved Israel except go and live there.

  6. talknic
    January 10, 2017, 5:03 pm

    In recent years Jewish son in laws seem to abound amongst presidential candidates

    • rosross
      January 11, 2017, 5:41 pm

      And if Jewish were replaced by Moslem or Hindu there would be hysteria.

  7. Maghlawatan
    January 10, 2017, 5:09 pm

    Kushner reminds me of a few bosses I have had. They only know what they know which means SFA . Zero interest in the wider world. He probably knows loads about NY real estate and not much else

  8. pabelmont
    January 10, 2017, 5:18 pm

    And Trump. who likewise (IMO) doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but thinks he does — he knows GWCC is a hoax and probably “knows” many other lies — is surrounding himself with yes-men and others who don’t know what they don’t know and DON’T CARE EITHER. People who are so filthy rich they live in a bubble that excludes any sight or sound or thought or sympathy for people outside that bubble should not be allowed to hold public office. IMO.

    But who am I? I doubtless live in my own bubble. I, for instance, know the slogan “Black Lives Matter” but I know very little of Black lives.

  9. Nevada Ned
    January 10, 2017, 6:34 pm

    If Phil doesn’t resent being fired by Jared Kushner… then he ought to!

  10. JWalters
    January 10, 2017, 8:22 pm

    Successful business people must, to a good degree, pay attention to the numbers, the ultimate facts, the amounts in the recipe, in the mix. The relations between these numbers make or break the deal.

    That should be the way to a deal with a numbers-oriented person. But a strong emotion can overpower reason, it’s well-known. It can steer the attention away from certain facts, key facts. Ignoring key information is a certain path to a poor decision. Strong emotion can also inflate certain priorities, to make the decision fit the feelings. Only by consciously guarding oneself against these mistakes can a person avoid them.

    Justice for All is a guideline the human race as a whole has attained, even though pockets of people cling to a variety of ethnic-supremacy theories. It’s pretty obvious that America, of all nations, should stand strongly for Justice for All, disregarding racial, religious, gender and other needless discriminations.

    In his election night speech Donald Trump said he would be “fair”. I deeply hope he puts Fairness as his top priority in all his presidency’s deals.

    • eljay
      January 11, 2017, 7:25 am

      || JWalters: … In his election night speech Donald Trump said he would be “fair”. I deeply hope he puts Fairness as his top priority in all his presidency’s deals. ||

      I have a feeling that Trump will be as “fair” as he is “neutral”.

    • Mooser
      January 11, 2017, 11:46 am

      “In his election night speech Donald Trump said he would be “fair”. I deeply hope he puts Fairness as his top priority in all his presidency’s deals.”

      You bet! And since Trump is a new-born babe, without any record, who knows what he might do! Maybe the opposite of what he’s done his whole life. If the Presidency can elevate an Obama to the Presidency, just think what it will do for Trump!

      • rosross
        January 11, 2017, 5:31 pm

        Trump is also rat cunning and he has only one side, his own, and even his son-in-law might find that.

        And he has a generally simple approach which has a place for ‘fair.’

    • kalithea
      January 12, 2017, 2:06 am

      In his election night speech Donald Trump said he would be “fair”. I deeply hope he puts Fairness as his top priority in all his presidency’s deals.

      An he’ll sell you swampland too, and pretend that’s fair.

  11. Mivasair
    January 10, 2017, 9:37 pm

    Very good profile, Phil. One thing struck me, as it did Keith. The only “peace” that Kushner and people like him want for Israel is the “peace” of total domination and rule over others with no disturbance. So, talking about him bringing “peace” makes no sense whatsoever. That’s not at all what he or anyone around him wants.

    • echinococcus
      January 11, 2017, 1:52 am

      I suppose the peace of cemeteries is the best quality of peace if you’re the undertaker.

    • eljay
      January 11, 2017, 7:30 am

      Kushner likely desires the same sort of Zionist “peace” that jon s advocates, one which:
      – allows Israel to remain a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – allows Israel to keep as much as possible of what it has stolen;
      – absolves Israel of responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – absolves Israel of its obligations under international law (including RoR).

    • rosross
      January 11, 2017, 5:29 pm

      Israelis and their supporters are forever talking about peace, when anyone of sound mind knows that the issue is not peace but justice for the Palestinians who have had their land stolen by European colonists.

      Justice first and then peace is possible. Israel pushes the peace line because it knows the issue is not about peace and that a subjugated people like the Palestinians have not a snowball’s chance in hell of wielding any sort of power which might contribute to peace.

      • hungrydave
        January 14, 2017, 2:44 am

        Brilliant. I will remember this. I’ve had the same thoughts but never realised how to enuncia it so clearly.

  12. Marnie
    January 11, 2017, 1:04 am

    I read somewhere that the soon to be FLOTUS (ivanka kushner) is scared s#%&less of israel. That’s good. I don’t imagine her husband has any plans to make it one of his homes.

    Lack of experience/knowledge in the positions being filled is the hallmark of the tRUMP administration, especially wrt tRUMP himself. I have no idea what the next 4 years are going to be like, but i imagine the worst.
    http://pre04.deviantart.net/5b05/th/pre/f/2016/272/2/7/end_of_the_world_by_alexiuss-dajaesc.jpg

    • Pixel
      January 11, 2017, 5:27 pm

      ” [Ivanka} is scared s#%&less of israel.”

      Marnie, can you say more? I’m not sure what you mean

      • Marnie
        January 12, 2017, 12:39 am

        No, I can’t find the article I’d read about her fear for husband traveling to zioland. I shouldn’t have brought it up without backup. Sorry everybody.

  13. Citizen
    January 11, 2017, 7:17 am

    Is there an air of Reinhard Heinrich around him?

  14. Citizen
    January 11, 2017, 8:30 am

    Jared Kushner made the New York Observer complicit in the Trump campaign: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/11/how_trump_son_in_law_jared_kushner_ruined_the_new_york_observer.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_ru via @slate
    Hey Phil, did you know this guy?

  15. broadside
    January 11, 2017, 11:24 am

    Was expecting more with this.

  16. casaananda
    January 11, 2017, 12:08 pm

    Very interesting piece, I think. I find it fascinating your first trip to Israel was a decade ago! I was in a kibbutz for a summer in 1969 and I am not much older than you. And not Jewish. Then there was Gaza in 1975, and much more since. All my life it’s been painful to be a journalist trying to get word out about the Occupation.

  17. YoniFalic
    January 11, 2017, 1:28 pm

    While the appointment of Kushner is clearly nepotistic, it does not seem much worse than JFK’s appointment of his brother. The historical record indicates that Robert Kennedy was if anything much more vile on Israel Palestine issues than Jared Kushner is.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 11, 2017, 2:32 pm

      Robert Kennedy was … much more vile on Israel Palestine issues than Jared Kushner

      wasn’t kennedy investigating the israel lobby wrt FARA at the time of his assassination? i don’t see kushner going after the lobby.

      • YoniFalic
        January 11, 2017, 3:07 pm

        @Annie, Are you perhaps thinking of JFK? JFK & RFK differed quite strongly on Israel-Palestine issues. While JFK was worried about Israeli theft of nuclear secrets and intent to build a nuclear bomb, RFK was a pro-Zio reporter, who was in Palestine during 47-8 and who covered up Zio atrocities, mass murder, and genocide.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 11, 2017, 5:49 pm

        no, i was talking about robert kennedy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Agents_Registration_Act

        In the 1950s President Eisenhower’s administration repeatedly demanded the leaders of the American Zionist Council register as “agents of a foreign government.”[35] In November 1962 Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s Department of Justice ordered the American Zionist Council to register as a foreign agent because of FARA violations alleging it was being funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel and acting on behalf of Israel. The Department of Justice later withdrew its demand.[27]

        i believe the justice dept later withdrew its demand after rfk had been assassinated. the wiki source says doj dropped it under pressure (from israel lobby) during the runup to johnson’s reelection bid. i’d have to check. i’m not sure where i first read that (about it being dropped after rfk died), maybe it’s not true. rfk only served as attorney general til sept 64, so he couldn’t have been investigating it at the time of his assassination… i take that back. but the justice department was still investigating or the case wasn’t dropped til a later date.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 11, 2017, 6:05 pm

        here by grant smith https://pulsemedia.org/2009/08/28/the-kennedys-vs-israels-lobby/

        Details of the JFK-RFK duo’s effort to register the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) parent organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC) as an Israeli foreign agent were shrouded in mystery until declassified in mid-2008.

        Between 1962 and 1963 Senator J.W. Fulbright uncovered a massive network of financial “conduits” moving funds directed by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem to Israel lobby startup groups across the United States. Even as JFK attempted to place Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons program under US inspection, RFK ordered the AZC to openly register and disclose all of its foreign funded lobbying activity in the United States.

        The DOJ and AZC fought their secret battle as Fulbright’s hearings disclosed the immense proportions of the Israel lobby effort. Nathan B. Lenvin, a DOJ attorney who had been after AIPAC’s founder Isaiah Kenen since 1951 to continue registering as a foreign agent after he left the employ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took copious notes of the many meetings, AZC’s offers of limited registration and the DOJ’s counter offers.

        But the law enforcement effort ended in tragedy. JFK’s assassination on November 12, 1963 in Dallas meant RFK’s political cover for the prosecution was gone and his days at the DOJ were numbered. He left to run for a New York senate seat. In 1965 the DOJ allowed the AZC to file a highly redacted and non-standardized FARA declaration in secret. The AZC then shut down and transferred lobbying activity to AIPAC, which refused to register.

        RFK’s assassination in 1968 was followed a few months later by the quiet death of the 58 year old Nathan Lenvin during a DOJ recruiting trip in Chicago. Low level DOJ officials involved in the AZC registration battle such as Irene Bowman were gently eased out, while high officials willing to defer to the lobby, such as Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and J. Walter Yeagley, moved on to stellar careers.

        re the kennedy brothers, you might find this interesting (very) too: http://mondoweiss.net/2009/08/alternative-endings-department-obituary-edward-m-kennedy-77/

      • RoHa
        January 11, 2017, 8:26 pm

        “the quiet death of the 58 year old Nathan Lenvin during a DOJ recruiting trip in Chicago. ”

        Quiet and unassisted?

      • Sibiriak
        January 12, 2017, 12:03 am

        FWIW, and not to contradict anything Annie Robbins has written, here’s an excerpt from “Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance by Bass Warren (pp. 41-42):
        ——————–

        The future president’s closest adviser, his younger brother Robert, was actually present at the moment of Israel’s birth. Amid the chaos of 1948, Bobby drew markedly warmer conclusions than his skeptical older sibling. 4 On Good Friday in March 1948, amid another paternally mandated postcollege trip to see a bit of the world, Bobby ignored his anxious father’s orders to steer clear of trouble and flew from Cairo to Lydda, the town outside Tel Aviv that still houses Israel’s major airport.

        On assignment for the Boston Post, Bobby interviewed his way across the war-torn Palestine Mandate, visiting Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Tel Aviv. (As RFK roved around Jerusalem, scribbling down his impressions, he could not have known that, in the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Musrara, there lived a four-year-old boy named Sirhan Sirhan.) 5

        The spring of 1948 was hardly a safe time in Palestine: according to Bobby’s diary, the Jewish convoy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that directly followed his was “cut to ribbons,” and the future attorney general’s stroll around Jerusalem ended with his being arrested, blindfolded, taken to Haganah headquarters, and ordered to keep off the streets. “They are different from any Jews I have ever know[ n] or seen,” wrote an impressed Bobby. “I just wish [the Arabs] didn’t have that oil.”

        On June 3, a few weeks after the Mandate expired, the Boston Post’s man in Israel filed a piece bearing, as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., dryly noted, “a headline guaranteed to sell papers in Boston: BRITISH HATED BY BOTH SIDES.” 6 Bobby dismissed talk that the Jewish state might turn communist as being “fantastically absurd.” Indeed, America and Britain might soon “be looking to a Jewish state to preserve a toehold in that part of the world.”

        Some of Bobby’s enthusiasm seems to have ultimately rubbed off on Jack, who ran successfully for Congress in 1946. The young congressman applauded Truman’s decision to recognize Israel in May 1948.

        The Kennedy brothers, along with their sister Patricia, traveled together to Israel in the fall of 1951 as part of a seven-week congressional trip through the Middle and Far East. For all of Kennedy’s robust image, his Addison’s disease and chronic back pain made foreign trips an ordeal. JFK kept a journal as they traveled, jotting down vignettes and observations in his inimitable (and virtually impenetrable) scrawl. 7 This time, Kennedy’s tone, while still skeptical, had more warmth in it. Arriving in Tel Aviv, the young representative was struck by the pace of construction, the dangers of using the roads at night, and the rugged Israelis. “Soldiers tough, rugged, cocky,” he wrote. 8 “[ Israelis] very aggressive— confident. Arabs fear expansion-say it is inevitable.” 9

        During their meetings with JFK, Israeli officials bragged of their policy of unlimited aliyah, or Jewish immigration, telling Kennedy that a group of baffled, backward Yemenite immigrants taking their first airplane ride started a fire on board to cook lunch. 10 The U.N. envoy to the region, Ralph Bunche, sounded a less enthusiastic note, remarking that “the greatest mistake of the Jews was their handling of the Arab problem.” 11

        But Kennedy seemed to like the young country’s toughness. “You can feel sense of dedication— especially in young people— willingness to endure hardship …,” he scribbled. 12 “Life for people very hard and tough after exhilaration of war,” he added, especially for the elderly. 13

        One of the highlights of the trip was dinner with Ben-Gurion at the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence, accompanied by several Israeli ministers and some other Americans

        […]

      • Sibiriak
        January 12, 2017, 1:02 am

        Warren Bass gives a mainstream liberal historian’s take on JFK/Israel:
        ————————-

        The Kennedy administration, we can now see, constitutes the pivotal presidency in U.S.-Israel relations, the hinge that swung decisively away from the chilly association of the 1950s and toward the full-blown alliance we know today. Kennedy was the first president to break the arms embargo blocking U.S. sales of major weaponry to Israel; after his term, Washington was deciding which arms to sell the Jewish state, not whether to sell any arms in the first place. By expanding the limits of what was thinkable with Israel and reaching the limits of what was doable with Egypt, Kennedy set the parameters for America’s Middle Eastern policy for decades to come.

        The Kennedy administration marks not only the end of America’s last serious pre-Camp David attempt to court Egypt but also the true origin of America’s alliance with the Jewish state. JFK did not make such moves out of altruism. In his inaugural, he avoided the term “ally,” suggesting instead an association that was more than kind but less than kin. Kennedy was not seeking friendship for friendship’s sake; he sought compatriots to advance his wider Cold War strategy— ensuring, as he put it, “the survival and the success of liberty.”

        * * *

        […]That said, many readers friendly to Kennedy, Israel, or both may be surprised by much of what they find herein— JFK’s insistence on sending U.S. inspectors to Israel’s Dimona reactor, the Pentagon’s willingness to exclude Jewish soldiers from the American mission to defend Saudi Arabia, the frequent exasperation of the White House with Ben-Gurion and Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir, the commitment by both Kennedy’s State Department and his National Security Council to trying to improve relations with Israel’s nemesis in Cairo, and so on. […]

        Kennedy[…] [was] as determined a foe of Israel’s nuclear arms program as has ever lived in the White House. We have grown used to the idea of eternal U.S.-Israeli friendship, even if historically speaking, it simply was not so.

        * * * *

        […] when looking at Kennedy’s own Cold War in the Middle East, it is striking to note the way in which his deepening friendship with Israel did not preclude outreach to Arab progressives, his attempts to avoid signaling that America stood reflexively with the Arab world’s reactionaries, and his hope that modernization in the Levant could improve both the Arabs’ lot and the West’s standing.

        Progressivism did not contradict principle. Kennedy was capable of deploring French colonialism in Algeria and of denouncing terrorism by those who sought to end it, of trying to help Egypt modernize and of trying to force Saudi Arabia to ban slavery, of befriending Israel and of exploring ways to alleviate the misery of Palestinian refugees.

        * * * *

        The context for the origins of the U.S.-Israel alliance is, in a very real sense, Suez. The shadow of Israel’s aggressive protection of its security interests still fell heavily upon the Eisenhower administration.

        It was only the newer Kennedy appointees, less encumbered by the memory of 1956, who were willing to move closer to a post-Suez Israel. Arguing that the Hawks were simply defensive weapons worked only if one assumed that Israel was not an aggressor state. Kennedy made that assumption, even if Eisenhower did not.

        With that view, Kennedy made considerable changes. He sold major arms to Israel for the first time, paving the way for America to become, as it were, the arsenal of Jewish democracy; he began security consultations, paving the way for full-blown military-to-military joint planning; he gave Israel its warmest security assurances to date, paving the way for even more formal American commitments to repel Arab aggression; and he even replaced Marshall’s old refusal to even think about domestic political constraints when handling Israel policy, paving the way for the misty-eyed invocations of eternal U.S.-Israel friendship that are staples of any modern presidential aspirant’s standard foreign policy speech.

        Warren Bass, Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance

      • broadside
        January 12, 2017, 9:14 am

        Sibiriak: “During their meetings with JFK, Israeli officials bragged of their policy of unlimited aliyah, or Jewish immigration.”

        Not quite right. In every other country it’s called immigration, or emigration. In Israel it’s called “ascension.”

        So you see the problem.

      • YoniFalic
        January 12, 2017, 10:56 am

        As AG RFK carried out JFK’s policy. I doubt that RFK would have carried out such policy without explicit direction from JFK.

        In 1948 when he covered genocidal Zio aggression against the native population, RFK was highly biased in favor of the white racist European genocidal invaders. He did not make the slightest attempt to disclose that obvious truth to his readers that a bunch of white European racists had manipulated the UK (and indirectly the League of Nations) in their effort to steal a country from the natives.

        http://jcpa.org/article/robert-kennedys-1948-reports-from-palestine/

        Nothing in any of RFK’s subsequent statements or writings indicates that he backed away from support of the European invader population. During the 1968 presidential primaries RFK was probably the most extreme of the candidates in supporting Israel, its aggression against neighboring states, and its brutality toward the native population.

        [McCarthy was later attacked as anti-Israel. The accusation was not true, and McCarthy similarly pandered racist American Zios during the 1968 campaign.

        http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1998-06-26/news/9806250727_1_eugene-mccarthy-robert-f-kennedy

        I believe in retrospect McCarthy retconned his personal history, but RFK’s support of transferring the planes to Israel was certainly sleazy.]

        Johnson courted the US Jewish population to support the Vietnam War. JFK may have had some ignorant view of fairness, but RFK was a genuine fan of the colonial settler invaders of which my relatives and nuclear family were examples.

        I am working on a funded project to determine the real cost of Israel to the USA since its founding. We are in some ways building on the work of Thomas Stauffer, but in fact I think we are probably mostly correcting his analysis. Our current estimate of the cost of Israel to the USA is approximately $30 trillion. It is a side issue to our work, but I have not seen any evidence that Israeli state money was put into the AZC, which seems to have been funded almost entirely by wealthy American Jews.

        I suppose that one could risk accusation of antisemitism to discuss the AZC and AIPAC (correctly in my view) in terms of a Zionist-mobilized transnational Jewish plutocracy, whose members found organizations in each state where they reside and whose government they wish to manipulate.

        I would not call AZC/AIPAC and similar organizations throughout the world foreign agents. They are agents of the wealthy Jewish funders. The organizations deserve analysis as an evolved form of shtadlanut and should probably be viewed as the high-end counterpart to saya`nim (סייענים). In the case of post-Arab oil embargo hyperwealthy Zio plutocrats like Adelson and Saban, I have seen evidence that they (and a good number of others) received assistance from the Israeli state at various times in the amassing of their fortunes so that they would be able to act as shtadlanim (שתדלנים).

        The question of AIPAC’s status as a foreign agent almost looks like a distraction from far more serious Zionist corruption of the economic, political, and legal systems of various states throughout the world.

        As for the trials of AIPAC/AZC, I don’t quite understand why there is such focus on the Eisenhower/JFK effort to register AIPAC as a foreign agent when the USA v Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman is far more disturbing from a legal standpoint . (I have a JD.)

        Judge TS Ellis III, who is member of the Bush family (JEB in JEB Bush stands for John Ellis Bush), seems to have collaborated at the behest of GWB with both the prosecution and also the defense to gut the law under which the defendants were tried. The 4th Circuit chided him for his behavior in a footnote in an appeal decision but did not reverse him because the government did not put the issue before the appellate judges. (It is fairly obvious why executive branch personnel did not make that appeal.)

        In my cursory examination of Judge Ellis’ cases, he looks like an obvious bigot that sentences white criminals far more leniently than black criminals. There may be some relevance in his racism because Israel has become an intrinsic component of the ideology of many US white racists. On the other hand, Judge Ellis’ recent GMU BDSM decision simply looks insane to me, and he may be losing his mind (another reason — possibly exculpatory I suppose — for his sympathy with Zionists and his willingness to excuse the crimes of white government officials who like Franklin violate the law to aid Zionists).

        Ellis is 75 and should retire. He may have been waiting for a Republican to succeed Obama. According to inappropriate comments that Ellis made during the trial of former black Congressman William Jefferson, Ellis seems to bear some animus toward Harvard, whose Law School Ellis attended. After looking at his comments, I have to wonder whether he was upset that he did not become president of the Harvard Law Review, which at a later time period selected Obama for that position.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 12, 2017, 11:52 am

        we just disagree then. what he wrote when he was a college student doesn’t really concern me. i think it’s more likely he agreed with his brother and his understanding changed as he matured.

      • Keith
        January 13, 2017, 12:02 am

        YONIFALIC- “I suppose that one could risk accusation of antisemitism to discuss the AZC and AIPAC (correctly in my view) in terms of a Zionist-mobilized transnational Jewish plutocracy, whose members found organizations in each state where they reside and whose government they wish to manipulate.”

        Indeed! God forbid we should discuss power: who has it, who seeks it, and how they get it.

    • Boo
      January 11, 2017, 4:50 pm

      Of course, it was precisely JFK’s appointment of Bobby as AG that a few years later was the impetus for the anti-nepotism legislation passed by Congress. (While LBJ may well have been motivated to stump for the law because he still had a grudge against the Kennedys, apparently there was sufficient merit to the bill for Congress to approve it.)

      Thus to say Kushner’s appointment “doesn’t seem much worse” acknowledges that it is in fact worse than the “index case” that resulted in passage of that law. That’s damning with faint praise indeed.

      • YoniFalic
        January 12, 2017, 10:27 am

        Perhaps you have not guessed it, but I am not a fan of Trump. I have some relatives that are NY City RE developers and have made some money in flipping stolen Pali property. I know how they think. Philip Weiss seems to have some of the same impressions that I have.

  18. DaBakr
    January 11, 2017, 2:33 pm

    i knew PW was dying to tell this ‘story’. its not much of one at that. he got in his silly attacks. he’s a harvard guy but ‘ book dumb’ . beady eyed. icey , limited intellectually , or so PW and his mentor liked to think while whispering to each other. oh, and how greatful he was to travel on kushner’s dime and still write a piece he knew would cross jk’s political views. what a jerk that jk was.

    but it is true that pw can thank JK for helping him decide wether to go all in on his blog-which he did. pw has a widely read blogsite [..] as are breitbart, EI, and other sites promoting politically extreme views and depending on who is doing the labeling .

    • Mooser
      January 11, 2017, 3:25 pm

      “pw has a widely read blogsite [..] as are”

      A mercifully muted mutter.

    • Boo
      January 11, 2017, 4:53 pm

      It’s instructive when someone becomes irritated enough to let their mask of rationality slip and speak their true feelings, because thereafter the mask is useless.

  19. brent
    January 11, 2017, 2:48 pm

    I’m guessing the best approach to Trump/Kushner is to appeal to their best angles with an appeal on behalf of the great good, a win/win accomodation on Jerusalem. … then campaign for equality in the Holy Land.

    • rosross
      January 11, 2017, 5:10 pm

      Can Zionists have a good side? And can Zionism, based on a belief that Jews are superior as human beings, ever countenance equality amongst other human beings, particularly Palestinian non-Jews who are seen as sub-human?

    • kalithea
      January 12, 2017, 2:19 am

      Aye…so naïve.

  20. rosross
    January 11, 2017, 5:09 pm

    If you grow up in a world without ethics, morals and common sense where only money talks, then you are going to apply this attitude to the world as an adult.

  21. JLewisDickerson
    January 11, 2017, 5:19 pm

    RE: “The big asterisk is that he [Kushner] was 25 and 26. I wouldn’t want anyone to judge me on the basis of stuff I said at that age . . . “ ~ Weiss

    APPROXIMATE QUOTATION: “When we’re young, we do stupid things.” ~ Jake LaMotta (on the commentary to the Raging Bull Blu-Ray)

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 11, 2017, 5:36 pm

      P.S. A COUPLE OF VERY GOOD VIDEOS FROM THIS PAST SUMMER:

      Two-State Solution Debate | Gideon Levy (who did not mince words!)

      Gideon Levy and Ilan Pappé discuss Israeli politics Westminster University, hosted by Dr Ruba Saleh

      • rosross
        January 11, 2017, 5:48 pm

        How can Israelis believe, presuming some are of sound mind, that they can keep nearly six million Palestinians under permanent military subjugation, denying them their human rights, or worse, somehow kill them all?

        Even more, how can anyone support Israel given what it has done, is doing and intends to keep doing?

  22. kalithea
    January 12, 2017, 3:03 am

    Jared Kushner wants to step right into his father-in-laws Presidential shoes and be the first Zionist Jewish President. Too bad for him, that Trump himself will obliterate that ambition by becoming the most hated President in U.S. history if he’s not forced out by impeachment first.

    You may remember that I supported Bernie over Hillary; therefore, do not misinterpret what I’m about to write: No Zionist should ever be allowed to ascend to the Presidency. I know-I know, but given the choice of a Zionist Enabler; a self-loathing Zionist and Trump (where do I start…?) Anyway, it didn’t happen, maybe for the best, Bernie would have prolonged the status quo and Obama would have kicked the resolution on settlements to him.

    Zionism is a crime and all who further it are complicit therefore they should not occupy a position where they can give Zionism legitimacy.

    Jared Kushner is riding daddy-law Trump coattails right into oblivion. He is not qualified for any position relating to the I/P issue. No Zionist is qualified. There will never be peace until justice for Palestinians is restored and I see that happening; NEVER. Not in my lifetime or future generations. If however the world acts and forces Zionists to abandon the folly of Zionism which is a supremacist crime; then I believe peace is possible, but then this is why Zionists are so powerful to prevent that from ever happening. However, the biggest lie of all is this notion that only the parties themselves can settle the issue. This is goebbel hasbara. Until the world sees Zionism for what it really is, a crime against humanity, and puts an end to this crime, then there will never be peace.

    I’m glad he fired you too. He on the other hand probably regrets it and not because he might have been unfair but because he underestimated your commitment to the cause of this site. In a Zionist-controlled environment maybe he believes that commitment would have fizzled and you wouldn’t have done as much damage to his cause as you have.

    • Keith
      January 12, 2017, 10:04 am

      KALITHEA- “Zionism is a crime and all who further it are complicit therefore they should not occupy a position where they can give Zionism legitimacy.”

      Any thoughts on imperialism as a crime? Or is the empire blemish free except for Israel? And which is the greater evil, Israel or the empire? And how would this relate to who is acceptable to be President?

    • Mooser
      January 12, 2017, 5:56 pm

      “Jared Kushner wants to step right into his father-in-laws Presidential shoes”

      And what of nuclear-family loyalty? I doubt Jared will forget the basic lesson’s imparted to him by his father on visiting days.

  23. mcohen.
    January 12, 2017, 4:32 am

    i think phil is doing a great job.pity about the clinton playbook not making it……..it would have put this site right up there…… but now it is 4 years and counting.still……..who will have the opportunity to bring about real change.

    • Mooser
      January 12, 2017, 5:46 pm

      “.who will have the opportunity to bring about real change.”

      The next four years may be one long ellipse.

  24. JLewisDickerson
    January 12, 2017, 10:18 am

    I have very little confidence in Trump, and Kushner really doesn’t help matters.

  25. Sandy Tolan
    January 13, 2017, 1:31 pm

    Phil: Is it possible Kaplan had as much to do with your firing as Kushner? From this read it seems he too was uncomfortable with what you wrote, and he delivered the word of your firing, from what I infer from this article. Seems he was an old friend, and is now departed, but perhaps you are giving him a pass?

  26. Jett Rucker
    January 13, 2017, 10:11 pm

    Fascinating profile of the new Senior Advisor.

    Will the president listen to this one? That one? Believe him/her?

  27. JLewisDickerson
    January 16, 2017, 8:30 am

    RE: “Jared Kushner fired me over Israel ten years ago”

    MY COMMENT: That’s what happens to nosy fellas*. It just doesn’t pay to question elite/official narratives. Take MLK Jr. (questioning the war in Vietnam), for instance. . .

  28. Martin Love
    June 21, 2017, 10:14 am

    Thanks for this illuminating commentary re Kushner. Very sad that Trump has thrown in with this guy.

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