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Ann Lewis and Bill Kristol do ‘playful banter’ at AIPAC summit

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Ann Lewis

Erika Schupak Neuberg reports in a Phoenix Jewish publication on an AIPAC summit in Scottsdale, AZ (h/t Max Blumenthal):

Proud. Energized. Alarmed. Exhilarated. These are just a few of the words that describe my experience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Summit - our premier foreign-policy conference held Oct. 30-31 at the Fairmont Princess Resort….
We were soberly reminded of the overwhelmingly dangerous and unpredictable threats to Israel’s safety and security, yet also armed with strategic tools to make a difference. We felt collective pride and awe as we saw a few examples of the amazing technology coming out of Israeli companies, including the Iron Dome missile-defense system and ReWalk, a powered exo-skeleton technology that actually enabled a paraplegic woman to rise from her wheelchair and walk.

We were entertained by the playful political banter among Paul Begala, Bill Kristol, Mike Murphy and Ann Lewis.

I think this is an important point. One difficulty with the Israel issue is that American Jews of my generation and older tend to close ranks in support of anything Israel does. And really there’s no difference between liberal Jews and rightwing ones, let alone Democrats and Republicans. Thus all the liberal Jewish Democrats who voted for the Iraq war, in part because Tom Lantos was calling Saddam “Hitler” because he backed suicide bombers. Thus Barney Frank, a big liberal, says he privately opposes settlements but he won’t go public unless Jeff Halper can find 5,000 Jews in his district who will support him.

The AIPAC anecdote explains Frank’s problem. His own sister Ann Lewis is a big liberal Democrat, close to Hillary Clinton, and she does a lot of work for AIPAC. She has said, “The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties.”(per Dana Milbank).

Really is there any difference on this issue between Ann Lewis and Bill Kristol? Israel is the royal road to neoconservatism.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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41 Responses

  1. annie on November 29, 2011, 2:00 pm

    The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel.

    argh. wasn’t this romney’s line recently? if the role of the US president is to follow the instructions of the israeli government just say it like that. what’s this ” decisions that are made by the people of Israel” beating around the bush?

    • RoHa on November 29, 2011, 7:15 pm

      “The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel.”

      Remind me. Is this in the U.S. Constitution, or the Presidential Oath of Office?

      • Philip Munger on November 30, 2011, 2:43 am

        Don’t give Congress any ideas…

  2. Sand on November 29, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Just found out via JTA – Ann’s brother Barney is saying bye bye! Wondering who we will be taking his place — another Shelley Berkley? A politician to make sure Zionism lives on, and Israel is the number one foreign policy priority — regardless what is good for the United States security and interest?

    — Barney Frank won’t run again
    By Daniel Treiman · November 28, 2011

    • pabelmont on November 29, 2011, 5:31 pm

      “Thus Barney Frank, a big liberal, says he privately opposes settlements but he won’t go public unless Jeff Halper can find 5,000 Jews in his district who will support him.”

      Let’s see if he will “tell it like it is” after he exits Congress. He said (radio) he had other things to do in life before his career is over. Hunh? Another career? Supporting Israel? Making money (from the 1%)? Combining things and Making money (from the 1%) by supporting Israel?

      I used to live in Mass. and respected him, but not recently. And not on Israel.

  3. patm on November 29, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Thus Barney Frank, a big liberal, says he privately opposes settlements but he won’t go public unless Jeff Halper can find 5,000 Jews in his district who will support him.

    Yesterday I heard Bernie Frank announce his intention not to run in 2012.

    Perhaps now we’ll hear his real views on Israel.

  4. seanmcbride on November 29, 2011, 2:23 pm

    “Liberal” pro-Israel militants (an absurd oxymoron) like Ann Lewis and Haim Saban have destroyed the Democratic Party. They are completely unconscious of the self-contradictions in which they are enmeshed. This is your brain on ethnic cultism.

    When it comes to foreign policy there is really not a dime’s worth of difference between Ann Lewis and Michele Bachmann — both of them are completely under the thumb of the most extreme right-wing regime in the history of Israel.

  5. American on November 29, 2011, 2:27 pm

    “AIPAC – our premier foreign-policy conference ”

    Yep, keep sticking your hand in the US cookie jar and one day you will draw back a bloody stump.

  6. Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 2:43 pm

    hahaha!! holy sht, i didnt know frank and lewis were brother and sister – my first response to her pic was “man, she looks like barney frank.”

    Not for nothin’ Phil, but “liberal democrat?” – c’mon.

    Any word or update on Barney’s ” Im gonna set the record straight on Israel” tour? I wonder if his retirement is a sign that he knew becoming a full time hasbaraist was going to be required, and couldn’t bring himself to do it…….

    • philweiss on November 29, 2011, 3:11 pm

      cmon Dan, if you take away liberal Democrat label next thing I know you’ll be asking me not to say liberal Zionist!

      • Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 3:46 pm

        speaking of, i heard our friend Norman Finkelstein made an ass of himself the other day – max blumenthal has had some stuff about it on his twitter feed……anything on this?

      • on November 29, 2011, 4:26 pm

        hey, cut out your dissmissive tone ,when you are talking about prof. Norman Finkelstein. First of all , he is not “your friend” or “our friend”.
        Secondly , do not insult him using ugly expletives. He deserves some respect.
        Thirdly, you are suggesting/accusing him of something ,without being specific, without referring to reliable sources.
        Very low blow.

      • Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 4:45 pm

        While there is life, there is hope,

        Take it easy. There has been a buzz about Finkelstein at the recent Palestine Conference, brushing aside talk of the Lobby’s influence etc. – I was curious if Phil had seen or heard the same….

        I’ll call the guy whatever the F I want, chief. Phil replied to me, I replied to Phil – i didnt see any mention of “famous quote from Cicero” anywhere

      • Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 5:03 pm

        and c’mon “ass” is an “ugly expletive”?

      • on November 29, 2011, 5:34 pm

        yes, you “can call the guy whatever you want” and everybody can write “whatever they think ” about it.
        Cicero’s quote would be wasted here.

      • on November 29, 2011, 5:35 pm

        He is not your “beer buddy buddy”. Am I mistaken??

      • on November 29, 2011, 5:39 pm

        Listen ,my dear friend and listen well.
        You are dealing here with Prof Norman Finkelstein cheerleading squad so …watch out:).

  7. on November 29, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Mr. Finkelstein has enough of ugly,demeaning rhetoric and biased , empty, unfounded accusations thrown on his head by ADL’s type of people and organisations, that he doesn’t need it here, on mondoweiss.
    Here is a sample of the newest propaganda created by “defenders of free speech and humans rights, ( only for the Chosen ones)”.

    • annie on November 29, 2011, 5:34 pm

      ha! i love norm and i love his SOH.

      First Northeastern University, now Boston University: Hillel Braces for Second Holocaust

      • on November 29, 2011, 5:38 pm

        Hey, what’s not to love about Norm??:)

      • RoHa on November 29, 2011, 7:13 pm

        His irritating voice. I love the things he says, but I wish he could sound like Richard Burton.

      • Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 7:53 pm

        hahahaa!! I wasn’t trying to bash Finkelstein at all – i was asking a question!!!/search?q=%23palestineconference

        According to Max Blumenthal, Finkelstein said the “jewish neo-cons” had “no role” in taking the country to Iraq….. ive heard him brush aside questions of “dual loyalty” in regard to jewish neo-cons, but specifically having “no role” in the country attacking Iraq? That’s nuts.

      • Dan Crowther on November 29, 2011, 8:04 pm

        I am gonna see the guy speak tomorrow the 30th, so………there.
        My main man Big Norm is gonna be in Beantown Tomarah!!

      • philweiss on November 29, 2011, 8:12 pm

        i agree with you re norm here on neocons. the crucial issue here is: if someone burns down a building and cops find out that someone else had been writing articles urging that person to burn down the building, and the guy who burned it down had even read the articles, can anyone say, they have no role? i dont get this

      • on November 29, 2011, 9:01 pm

        Say Hi to him from mondoweiss’s “N.F.’s cheerleading squad” (me and Annie).
        If he really said this thing about Jewish neo-cons not playing ……then you should ask him about it ,in the QA section of the lecture, if it really bothers you.

        On the other hand, I remember prof. Mearsheimer saying that “Jewish people do not fall for propaganda”. Those people/intellectuals/experts have a right to say some not-so-great-things as well, from time to time.
        They are not alpha and omegas. There is always a room for a small margin of error. We are only human beings.
        Prof Finkelstein did , said and wrote so many great things that he is automatically forgiven for potential , small mistakes.
        He is wonderful human being, not too many are like him.

      • on November 29, 2011, 9:26 pm

        “His irritating voice. I love the things he says, but I wish he could sound like Richard Burton.”
        ….and look like Shakira?
        His voice isfperfectly fine. Why people always focus on such a trivial, superficial ,unimportant stuff? It is beyond my understanding.

      • RoHa on November 29, 2011, 9:57 pm

        “and look like Shakira”


        “His voice isfperfectly fine. ”

        It grates on me. High pitched and nasal.

        “Why people always focus on such a trivial, superficial ,unimportant stuff? ”

        Depressing, isn’t it. But the sad reality is that such things are influential, and I think Finkelstein would have greater impact if he had a better voice.

      • annie on November 29, 2011, 10:06 pm

        if it really bothers you

        dumvi, it’s rare that i agree w/all the opinions of anyone i admire. i’m a huge fan of norm’s but that doesn’t mean he speaks for me. there are many people in the movement whom i support but part ways with over many issues the main one being that i don’t self identify as an anti zionist (largely because of my personal feelings about self identifying as an ‘anti’ person, read the last page in norm’s ‘this time we went too far’ for more on that, although this was my opinion before that book came out..more here).

        norm really thrust the door wide open in terms of discourse. he’s a passionate thoughtful man and an amazing courageous american. but i don’t agree with all of his opinions and i don’t think it is necessary too. furthermore parting ways with one opinion of someones doesn’t imply it’s warrants being ‘really bothered’ about it. it doesn’t really bother me in the least norm said this. it might make me curious but it doesn’t bother me. i respect him, period.

        also, one can email him directly. he is very accessible. you can email him too if you want.

      • on November 29, 2011, 10:26 pm

        It’s not depresssing .It is just annoying. Superficiality is not someting that I admire or cater to.
        If he had better voice, bigger smile, and bigger muscles, he could be as popular as Brad Pitt or Jon Stewart??
        And.. if he said things that please Big Kahunas, he could live in a nice mansion, publish books that automatically become best-sellers on Oprah’s list ,and be a well known face on all TV channels.
        Bummer. He did not choose to do it. He went the other way.
        He decided to follow not-that-easy Truth, and be loyal to the values he was taught.

      • on November 29, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Trust me . I do not agree with prof. Finkelstein on some things as well.
        I perfectly understand it. Nobody has to agree with him on everything,
        ( many people do not agreee with him on anything).
        That’s not the point. I was writing more about a respect.
        I’m from the Old Continent, and I have a great respect for smart, honest, courageous people. I address them in a proper ways. I can gladly call “an ass” my enemy,my opponent, but not somebody, whom I admire, or who is on my side.

      • Dan Crowther on November 30, 2011, 9:26 am

        I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like the “people as works of art” kind of idolatry. I think it kind of sucks, and it’s a real indictment on all of us, that someone who merely tells the truth, like Finkelstein often does, deserves such reverence. But I guess that’s new continent in me; when “truths are self evident” why laud the messenger?

        He is an outstanding scholar, with incredible integrity and moral courage, “deeply human” (as he is described in american radical) – but he’s not above making an ass of himself. And he’s certainly not above- nor is anyone- being called one. I can have respect for the guy while mentioning he “stepped in it”

        And yea, I might ask Stormin’ Norman about all of this tonight!!! Maybe a lil MW post about “Wednesday’s with Norman”

      • on November 30, 2011, 11:51 am

        Many,many people choose to sell the Truth , just to get more moolah or climb up the career ladder. People, who tell the Truth and stand by it are/were often persecuted, laughed at, destroyed. It is a choice, and it ‘s not an easy one. That why it’s so rare, especially nowadays.
        So there is something to admire in the man ,who made his choice of following the road of honesty, integrity, truth, honor ,etc.
        Mr. Finkelstein doesn’t want and doesn’t like to be treated like some kind of and “icon, idol, saint”. He is fully aware of his weaknessess and his faults.
        He is a human being after all. Wonderful, but still just a human being.
        He does posseses one extra great merit that many people do not.
        He is a very humble man. That is often a” feature” that great minds and great people possess. Being humble.
        Life comes and go. We come and go. Nobody knows how and when. So many things are bigger than us. We barely have control over our own lives , our fate, destiny. Being humble means, that we are aware of this, we are aware that life is not only about us, OUR wants, dreams and desires, but also about people/environment around us.
        We should be a part of it , respect , take care of it, be responsible for it, fight to protect it ,if there is such a need.

        A great , recent, very personal interview with prof. Finkelstein.
        He actually talks above things mentioned above.

      • Sand on November 30, 2011, 1:12 pm

        I really do think Prof. Finkelstein is a decent person – and v. knowledgable. But this stuff he’s coming out with now — it makes him look like (sorry to be blunt) he’s living in fairy land. I’m just a little shocked is all.

        Here’s a recent exchange with John Mearsheimer. I don’t know where to start — just read it.

        Pathbreaking scholars Norman Finkelstein and John Mearsheimer speak out about the precarious future of the Jewish state. Greater Israel-or Peace?

      • LanceThruster on November 30, 2011, 2:00 pm

        I actually relish his voice tones and mannerism. It’s so gentle and calm while discussing severely troubling issues and masterfully eviscerating the opposition.

        It reminds me a little of if Mr. Rogers delivered George C. Scott’s speech at the beginning of “Patton.”

        [mildly] America loves a winner. Can you say that word? “Winner”?

        When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do. Good-bye boys and girls.

        It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

      • Sand on November 30, 2011, 8:56 pm

        Thanks John h! — that was weird. :)

      • john h on November 30, 2011, 9:43 pm

        Sand, I put that link in because you hadn’t and it was needed.

    • Sand on November 30, 2011, 1:53 am

      “…According to Max Blumenthal, Finkelstein said the “jewish neo-cons” had “no role” in taking the country to Iraq….. ive heard him brush aside questions of “dual loyalty” in regard to jewish neo-cons, but specifically having “no role” in the country attacking Iraq? That’s nuts…”

      Wow! If true — (I haven’t listened)– I never put him down as one of those that ‘circle the wagons’? I mean, does this mean he is completely dismissing, even belittling what Lawrence Wilkerson & Karen Kwiatkowski had to say (at great risk to themselves and their future careers when they told their story — and THEY WERE THERE!). Give me a break.

      I wondered when he made a slip-up when during a Democracy Now interview with J-Street Jeremy Ben-Ami said that the UN was not part of the Quartet — maybe something was going on? I hope he responds and explains himself?

  8. on November 29, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Praying for military coup, that’s the only way to get rid of this cancer ,…

  9. DICKERSON3870 on November 29, 2011, 6:26 pm

    RE: “…Frank’s…sister Ann Lewis is a big liberal Democrat, close to Hillary Clinton, and she does a lot of work for AIPAC.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I was vaguely aware of this, but I still can’t help liking Ann Lewis (my own consequent cognitive dissonance be damned)! Such is life. Woe is me!

    P.S. ALSO SEE: Subconscious Mind, A List of Defense Mechanisms

  10. atime forpeace on November 29, 2011, 8:19 pm

    Kind of makes me want to puke for some reason.

    God bless america and all that sort of stuff.

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