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Where’s the debate?

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A friend sends along the graphic above, which asks a good question (click on it to view it larger). The presidential foreign policy debate is next week, in Florida. Maybe the issue will come up then? And the presidential candidates will battle one another to get closer to Israel? Surely no one will address the American collateral costs, from the deaths of Rachel Corrie, Furkan Dogan and Bobby Kennedy to the attack of 9/11. The issue won’t go away, but it cannot be openly debated…

Philip Weiss

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

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29 Responses

  1. flyod on October 19, 2012, 10:28 am

    most used on monday night; “no daylight” or “unshakeable ally”. any wagers?

    • Donald on October 19, 2012, 11:37 am

      “most used on monday night; “no daylight” or “unshakeable ally”. any wagers?”

      The tradition on some other blogs is to make a drinking game out of repeated phrases during political debates or speeches, but in this case I’d be afraid of causing deaths from alcohol poisoning.

      • Scott on October 19, 2012, 1:48 pm

        I think Obama would do well to tout all the goodies he’s given Israel, and say he’s ultra committed to Israel’s security–but to emphasize that there can be differences of perspective and interest, phrased very carefully. I think there is a considerable “Netanyahu is a jerk” vote out there somewhere, and stressing American independence likely to win him more votes than he loses.

      • David Doppler on October 20, 2012, 1:24 am

        I concur Scott. Netanyahu is an unbalanced, right-wing leader, using American Jewish support of Israel to pursue policies that have been thoroughly established as both wrong-headed and dangerous. He’s totally overplayed his hand by forcing the US Congress to give him repeated standing ovations, and by directly seeking to interfere in the US presidential election. The avoidance of discussion of these issues is an embarrassed silence. Obama is savvy and nuanced enough to see both the dangers down the Clean Break pathway that Netanyahu is blind to and the mine field set for anyone who challenges Netanyahu’s leadership as he charges down it. “No daylight” is a foolish concept that won’t stand up to the “light of day.” While “enlightened frat boys” (pardon my oxymoron) may chug every time certain hackneyed phrases are repeated, the real interest will be in the phrasing Obama might utter charting a course through the minefield, with daylight between his and Netanyahu’s path. With illuminating daylight between his phrasing and Romney’s. If Obama wants a second term, he needs to do for this challenge what he did with his Reverend Wright speech. If Romney wants the Presidency, he better grow some nuance fast, because neither McCain nor Palin got very far parroting their neoCon advisors.

      • flyod on October 20, 2012, 8:37 am

        have to respectfully disagree david, though i wish that be true. recent history says otherwise;

  2. Dutch on October 19, 2012, 11:53 am

    This is a great graphic that would fit nicely in all those subway and train stations and would work well as a full page ad in NYT and WaPo.

  3. Dan Crowther on October 19, 2012, 12:29 pm

    It “can’t be openly debated” because the two big political parties have identical stances. Who’s going to do the debating, Phil? Are you saying Barack Obama wants to have the debate?

  4. seafoid on October 19, 2012, 12:30 pm

    97bn would have paid for a lot of medical coverage for the 46 million who have no insurance

  5. radii on October 19, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I expect israel to dominate the debate Monday night … during this past Tuesday’s debate I kept saying to myself here comes the israel question and was truly shocked when we got through the entire 90 minutes with ZERO mentions of that tiny, troublesome country !! Victory in our time. But the victory is short-lived … the slavish and disgusting kowtowing to israel will return with a vengeance during the last debate – but fortunately it won’t matter in terms of the election outcome

  6. Christopher Federici on October 19, 2012, 3:02 pm

    The death of Bobby Kennedy?

    That’s a bold allegation, Phil. Not one that I necessarily disagree with, but bold nonetheless. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • annie on October 19, 2012, 3:17 pm

      here’s a good place to start


      AIPAC is an organization that has long “had it both ways.” It first functioned as the unincorporated lobbying division of a parent organization called the American Zionist Council or AZC. The AZC was ordered to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on November 21, 1962.2 AIPAC incorporated just six weeks later on January 2, 1963 and took over the AZC’s activities without ever registering as a foreign agent.3 Since that day AIPAC engaged in many of the activities that originally triggered the Justice Department’s AZC registration order.

      he was dead 5 months later

    • Scott on October 19, 2012, 4:49 pm

      Phil means, I’m pretty sure, that Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian pissed off at Kennedy’s knee jerk support of Israel (as well a being an unbalanced murderer, or course).

      • RoHa on October 21, 2012, 2:22 am

        “Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian pissed off at Kennedy’s knee jerk support of Israel (as well a being an unbalanced murderer, or course).”

        So unbalanced that he managed to shoot RFK in the back even though Sirhan was in front of Kennedy.

      • seanmcbride on October 21, 2012, 11:49 am


        So unbalanced that he managed to shoot RFK in the back even though Sirhan was in front of Kennedy.

        Open and detailed discussion about the RFK assassination is welcome here:

        Or feel free to start your own thread.

  7. annie on October 19, 2012, 3:03 pm

    great graphic. i agree with dutch, it would go well in train and subway stations

  8. Memphis on October 19, 2012, 11:34 pm

    bobby Kennedy?

    could someone please explain, thank you :)

    • Hostage on October 20, 2012, 3:44 am

      — RFK’s death now viewed as first case of Mideast violence exported to U.S.

      Sirhan, a Christian Arab born in Jerusalem, had moved to California as a teenager and was 24 when he shot Kennedy. “My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel and his deliberate attempt to send those 50 bombers to Israel to obviously do harm to the Palestinians,” he told David Frost in 1989.

      That would have been largely unfamiliar to Americans as a political cause at the time of Kennedy’s murder. U.N. Resolution 242, passed in the fall of 1967 in the wake of the Six-Day War, does not include the word “Palestinian” at all, and Middle Eastern issues were barely mentioned in a presidential campaign dominated by the Vietnam War.

      • Ellen on October 20, 2012, 5:01 am

        Hostage, do note that is an assertion by Alan Dershowitz.

        The prosecution of Sirhan also put this motivation forth. But there was never ever credible evidence for this at all. It was a claim.

        The so-called writing by Sirhan Dershowitz talks about were never validated to be penned by Sirhan. Nor does it seem he was even capable of writing a single coherent sentence.

        There were never Proper ballistics tests done to confirm that the bullets came from Sirhan.

        The other gun on the scene held by a guard never went under ballistics testing.

        Sirhan was charged and convicted for life on conspiratorial evidence.

        Make of it what you will.

      • Hostage on October 20, 2012, 1:12 pm

        Hostage, do note that is an assertion by Alan Dershowitz.

        No those are his own words during an interview with David Frost. He said that he was incensed because the Jewish community of LA was celebrating the Six Day War, that he had been drinking, and that he was in a mental fugue and not fully aware of his actions as a result. He explained that he looked up to RFK as a protector and defender of the downtrodden and that he felt betrayed and sad when RFK announced that he would send 50 F-4 Phantoms to Israel to bring more death and destruction on the Palestinians. He also spoke about growing up in the aftermath of killings, ethnic cleansing, and mass population displacement – and about his hopes and disappointment when RFK and others like him had not restored Palestinian rights and had not looked after the weak and defenseless.

      • Ellen on October 21, 2012, 12:51 pm


        That is an interesting, even fascinating interview. But as a careful person you must also recognize it is clipped, edited and incoherent.

        Just because he grew up witnessing ethnic cleansing, death and destruction and that he was disappointed in Kennedy, does not mean he killed Kennedy.

        He may have been troubled or preoccupied by the 67 War, etc., but to say his murdered Kennedy is just as much of a conspiracy as to say he did not and someone else did it.

        As Sirhan says in his own words, “I didn’t even know what was happening there that night.” He went there “for the party” as he says.

      • Hostage on October 22, 2012, 10:53 am

        That is an interesting, even fascinating interview. But as a careful person you must also recognize it is clipped, edited and incoherent.

        I thought he was coherent enough. Starting @ 16 minutes and 30 seconds Frost noted that Sirhan had admitted at trial that “I killed RFK with 20 years of malice of forethought”. When he replied, he was choosing his words very carefully. He started to speak, stopped, then started over again, but his reply was not edited or incoherent. He said his explanation was not intended to diminish the significance of the killing and that what he had done was not done out of personal malice, but out of concern for others. He goes on to explain that RFK became the focus of his anger towards the American people as a result of their response to the Six Day war and RFK’s intention to send the 50 F-4 Phantoms. At about 23 minutes and 18 seconds he expresses his regret and “total remorse for causing the death of Robert Kennedy”. None of those exchanges were edited.

      • seanmcbride on October 22, 2012, 12:40 pm


        It is easy to coerce anyone into making a false confession. In the case of the RFK assassination and Sirhan Sirhan (and in the case of *all* historical events and situations), one needs to analyze systematically and exhaustively the complete field of data, the total available dataset, to try to understand the truth.

        I mentioned some key topics to Google into here:

        One should look at the following events as an organic cluster (without assuming any conspiratorial connections among them):

        1. 67 War
        2. Gulf of Tonkin
        3. JFK assassination
        4. MLK assassination
        5. RFK assassination
        6. USS Liberty attack
        7. Vietnam War

      • Ellen on October 22, 2012, 1:34 pm


        But those statements do not add up to his previous statements. That he did not know what was happening there that night …and he went for a party. ” This shows his confusion and lack of pre-medidated intent. He says more than once that at the time of the shooting he was “not in full control of his senses.”

        He seemed to be repeating what he believes he did when he, as he said “got himself in trouble.” And that he believes he shot RFK.

        He might have killed Kennedy on his own in a obsessed and deranged state. Or he was convinced that he did that. We do not know because this was never proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

        As an aside, he seemed to be medicated during this interview. His obviously dry mouth, pattern of speech, etc.

      • seanmcbride on October 22, 2012, 2:25 pm


        Two useful cites on this subject:

        book; AUTHOR1 Jonn Christian AUTHOR2 William Turner TITLE The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy PUBLISHER Basic Books DATE 2006 AMAZON

        article; AUTHOR Steve Lendman TITLE Sirhan Sirhan: in his own words DATE June 26, 2010 PUBLICATION Steve Lendman Blog URL TAGS Robert F. Kennedy assassination, Sirhan Sirhan

      • Hostage on October 22, 2012, 3:08 pm

        It is easy to coerce anyone into making a false confession.

        It’s even easier to obtain a confession from the man that eye witnesses and body guards subdued with a weapon at the scene of the crime. None of the conspiracy theories about the possible existence of an additional shooter would exonerate Sirhan – even if they happened to be true. By all accounts, he was still guilty of taking part in the murder of RFK.

      • seanmcbride on October 22, 2012, 3:30 pm


        The issue is whether Sirhan was at the scene of the crime under his own free will. And that gets into the question of what precisely was the state of the art of mind control technology in the mid-1960s.

        Quite a few people with impressive credentials have serious questions about the official story on the RFK assassination. For instance:

        Jonn G. Christian, a naval airman during the Korean War, was a broadcast newsman for the American Broadcasting Company until 1966, when he developed an interest in the John F. Kennedy assassination controversy. He soon discovered that the official version (The Warren Commission Report) was untenable and sought out the involvement of high-level political leaders—including Robert F. Kennedy.

        William W. Turner, a Navy veteran of World War II, was an FBI special agent from 1951 to 1961 when he turned to journalism. He has written for magazines ranging from Playboy to The Nation and is the author of The Police Establishment, Deadly Secrets, and Hoover’s FBI. He became involved in the assassination investigation of President Kennedy immediately after the shooting when he flew to Dallas on assignment to look into the breakdown in security.

        And Basic Books is a reputable publisher — not a sensationalist “conspiracy theory” outfit.

        It is easy to get the impression from the available information on this and related controversies that some group or special interest may have had it in for the Kennedy family.

      • Hostage on October 22, 2012, 3:44 pm

        But those statements do not add up to his previous statements. That he did not know what was happening there that night …and he went for a party. ” This shows his confusion and lack of pre-medidated intent. He says more than once that at the time of the shooting he was “not in full control of his senses.”

        That would be more pertinent if he were claiming that he had no recollection of committing the crime, or if the testimony of the witnesses contradicted his role as a shooter. You shouldn’t assume that someone who commits murder in front of witnesses is functioning as some sort of logical machine with a great deal of premeditation about the act itself. He is describing a situation in which the mood created by a parade to celebrate the anniversary of the Six Day War, the alcohol he consumed that night, and RFK’s support for Israel added up to the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

        He said that he was in a dissociated state and in a mental fugue, but that can describe a range of conditions from intoxication or PTSD, to total amnesia. He isn’t describing a blackout or claiming that he didn’t know the difference between right and wrong.

  9. Citizen on October 20, 2012, 6:42 am

    With Iran so much in the news and Israel’s PM clamoring for stronger, more definitive
    red line/action against Iran by the USA’s “best ally and democracy in the region,” and Beiden’s question to Ryan, “So whatta ya want, war?” it will be interesting to watch how both Obama and Mittens, and the moderator, handle the situation. Will the moderator ask each of the candidates, “Tell the American people how your policy differs from your opponent’s? More remote faint possibility of an issue to be raised, “How about that $97 Billion to a nuclear armed country the size of NJ sans oil? If there is ever a time to bring Israel issue out in the open before the amassed public audience, it’s next Monday evening. Who picked the moderator?

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