Trending Topics:

David Brooks plays his readers about Israel — McGowan

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments

Three weeks ago, veteran journalist William McGowan started a new blog with a lengthy criticism of neoconservative columnists David Brooks and Bret Stephens for subterfuge: hiding the true importance of Israel to them in making arguments about US policy in the Middle East. McGowan is an independent who was once embraced by neocons and who has been staggered by the lack of transparency in the aftermath of the Iraq War. And Scott McConnell, a former neocon who left the movement in part over the neocons’ lack of charity toward Palestinians, sent the piece along to me, saying, “Another neocon has a Kronstadt moment.” Here is a substantial portion of McGowan’s piece.

 

The American discourse on Israel…. is often dysfunctional. And at points, it is even deranged.

 

It is a discourse riddled with intellectual dishonesty and double standards, with more sacred cows and straw men than any other political debate I’ve seen. Perfectly legitimate criticism of Israel, or completely valid questions about the nature of the US-Israel relationship that seek to identify discreet American interests, are unwelcome; those who voice them are often vilified, run out of town (Washington DC, usually) on ideological or political third rails.

 

 

Reasoned discussion has long given way to bullying and demagoguery, with the fear and intimidation at points descending to the level of McCarthyism. In fact, when it comes to Israel, the debate can take on decidedly un-American qualities, witness the unfounded charges of anti-Semitism flung from the shadows at Chuck Hagel last winter during his confirmation for Secretary of Defense. Anonymous smears and character assassination are the norm, with little to no professional damage incurred on the part of the assassins. A crush of pieties and platitudes overwhelm plain truths; historical candor represents a threat, especially if it challenges preferred historical myths.

 

Controlling the debate is an overly expansive definition of anti Semitism that mirrors the “racism” and “nativism” invoked in other political contexts but is often even more overwrought.  There’s also a level of ethnic hypersentivity that has encouraged language policing where historical “anti-Semitic tropes,” are seen lurking in words and expressions that are largely lacking in ill-intent and would be fine to use in any other political context where plain English is preferred.

 

And I’m saying this as a supporter of Israel, although like many Americans I am a bit perplexed at how a secular democracy like the US came to be the chief benefactor of a nation which has become, functionally speaking, a religious ethnocracy —a country where, I might add, significant portions of the population believe in a Biblical mandate to land captured in the Six Day War and which has repeatedly humiliated American presidents, vice-presidents and diplomats in the process of brokering a peace with Palestinians despite the $3 billion in annual aid the US provides. I’m also weary of all the spin, what the Israelis call hasbara, which often makes me feel like I’m being played, even gaslighted. (Lobby? What lobby? Congressional intimidation? What Congressional intimidation?) Is it possible to support Israel and still think the way we Americans talk about her is profoundly skewed—and in desperate need of correction, both in tone and substance?  I hope so.

 

My sense of being played is fed by journalism that shows a failure—or refusal– to acknowledge certain sensitive angles in a context where they should be acknowledged, as well as a failure to connect the dots where the implications of doing so may raise inconvenient questions about the pro-Israel party line.  Propaganda is as much a matter of what is left out as of what is actually being said, Orwell thought. In other words, acts of omission can be just as manipulative as those of commission; what’s missing can be just as important as what’s there.  Of course, we’re not talking propaganda per se. But we are talking about the avoidance of things that really should be included in the discussion or analyses at hand—and often underscore their importance by their omission. At the very least it represents disingenuousness, in the service of an agenda.

 

I’ve noticed that two influential neoconservative columnists—David Brooks of the New York Times and Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal—who have had a difficult time in the last month or so acknowledging the Israel angle in their analyses, even though it is both logical and necessary for them to do so. In fact, neither uses the “I” word at all.  I find it reductive on the part of some critics of Israel who see it as being behind everything its American neoconservative supporters say and do. But in these two columns, where the Israel factor should be more out in the open, Brooks and Stephens seem to be hiding the ball. What’s up with that? As the crises in both Egypt and Syria continue, it’s a question worth asking. A pattern is emerging in which Israel’s role, not small in either, is being obscured.

 

*****

 

 

In an August 1 column headlined “The Neocon Revival,” Brooks wrote nostalgically of neconservativism, which he says, reached its zenith of ideological vigor and political influence during the 1980’s but still represents a force for rebuilding the GOP today:

 

“Neocons came in for a lot of criticism during the Iraq war, but neoconservatism was primarily a domestic policy movement. Conservatism was at its peak when the neocons were dominant and nearly every problem with the Republican Party today could be cured by a neocon revival.”

 

Brooks is right to say that neoconservatism was a vital intellectual force that brought a lot to the table back then. I certainly recall being attracted to its bracing intellectual and moral astringency.  It saw the need for hard choices in a tragic, imperfect world where there was little room for sentimentality. I found it especially appealing in its recognition of potent and often unpalatable truths that liberals often denied.

 

But Brooks is certainly reversing himself from 2004 when he suggested that the mere use of the phrase “neocon” was an ethnic slur and that “If you ever read a sentence that starts with ‘Neocons believe,’ there is a 99.44 percent chance everything else in that sentence will be untrue.” Such reversals of categorical statement no doubt, will be addressed in his forthcoming book on “Humility,” after a course he taught at Yale.

 

My real complaint though is the intellectual dishonesty involved in characterizing neoconservatism as a primarily domestic movement. For better or worse, neoconservatism has become most identified as a school of foreign policy. And it’s a foreign policy school that has left a far bigger and much more controversial footprint on American politics than anything it has achieved in its domestic heyday—which Brooks exaggerates anyway— with Israel very much a part of that, though not all of it to be sure. In effect, Brooks is trying to set the lines on the court in a way that favors the game he wants to play, making it intellectually convenient for him not to deal with the elephant in the neoconservative living room.

 

It’s not that Brooks is ignoring the elephant altogether. His elliptical reference to neocons coming in “for a lot of criticism during the Iraq war,” is a nod to accusations that the neocon motivation for going to war against Saddam was overly influenced by their devotion to Israel. As Joe Klein put it at the onset of the Iraq War, the idea of a producing a stronger Israel “was a fantasy quietly cherished by the neo-conservative faction in the Bush Administration and by many leaders of the American Jewish community.”  In fact, Klein said, it was “the casus belli that dare not speak its name.”  Klein took this analysis even further in 2008 when he suggested that the neocons had plumped for war on behalf of Israel which “raised the question of divided loyalties,” in effect “Using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.“ And it got even uglier when, as Israel began lobbying the US to join it in confronting a nuclear Iran, he wrote:
“I believe there are a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who are pushing for war with Iran because they believe it is in America’s long-term interests and because they believe Israel’s existence is at stake. They are wrong and recent history tells us they are dangerous. They are also bullies and I’m not going to be intimidated by them. “

 

Many neocons rejected Klein’s broadsides as a form of scapegoating. Among them was Brooks, who pointed to the many non Jews in the necon war “cabal,” in the 2004 column, calling people who thought like Klein “full- mooners.”
But for Brooks to ignore that Israel’s security was not a factor at all in the bid to get Saddam, which he is doing by making such a glancing, offhand reference to “the Iraq War,” especially after he defined neoconservatism as “primarily” domestic, seems ideologically and ethnically protective on his part. It’s a reference that lets him cover his ass but at the same time exposes it.  He may not like that necon concern for Israel was a factor in their war thinking. He might also be right that too much emphasis has been put on it. But to refer to it so obliquely makes me feel he’s trying “to get over.”

 

It’s also ignores the neocon historical record, in which Israel does have a definite centrality. It was “an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States,” Irving Kristol wrote in 1973. Democratic Party efforts to weaken the defense budget were “a knife in the heart of Israel.”  Kristol’s intellectual and political heir William Kristol took the centrality of Israel to an almost metaphysical level just this Thanksgiving. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Kristol declared that:

 

“The US and Israel are “joined at the hip in a brotherhood that is more than a diplomatic or political or military alliance. Everyone senses that the ties are deeper than those of mere allies. Israelis know that if the United States fails, so shall Israel. Americans sense, in the words of Eric Hoffer, “’as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.’”

 

And Brooks certainly mentions Israel whenever can do so in a flattering light and has been lauded for it, especially by the ethnic Jewish press.  According to the Algemeiner, which put Brooks on to their “Jewish 100” list, “Brooks uses his pulpit to promote, under-the-radar, fundamental universal Jewish values. As a regular op-ed columnist in The New York Times, a newspaper whose stance on Israel is oddly hostile or misinformed, Brooks serves as a counterweight. You can find him going to bat for the Jewish state, and he has even said in the past that his love for the country is one of his core values.”

 

But here, Brooks sees no Israel, hears no Israel and speaks no Israel. His formidable powers of delineation, which often offer his analysis on other topics an impressive granularity, don’t clarify here, they obscure.  Despite being at the center of much of neoconservatism’s political and ideological action—even if it’s not the center, as some conspiratorialists would tell you— Israel is MIA.

 

*****

 

Like Brooks, the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens has gotten a nice bouquet from the Algemeiner too where one columnist, a self described owner of a “Zionist PR agency,” put him on a list of the “Top Ten Living Spokespeople for Jews and Israel.”

 

In an August 19 column, “A Policy On Egypt: Support Sisi” Stephens shows why.  He seems to be very purposefully avoiding the “I” word too, ducking all mention of the Israel angle in the contest between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military. And according to credible news reports he is also dodging a backstage effort to stymie a US diplomatic bid to forestall the bloodshed there when the military went after Brotherhood and other Islamists after its coup.

 

The thrust of Stephens’ column was that the threat to suspend $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt, as voiced by the Obama administration and Senators such as Patrick Leahy, Rand Paul and Lindsay Graham, might be more about projecting an attitude than “realistic and desirable” policy.

 

Attitudes can be “gorgeous” but a policy cannot be, Stephens exclaims:
“An attitude has no answer for what the U.S. does with or about Egypt once the finger has been wagged and the aid withdrawn. When Egypt decides to purchase Su-35s from Russia (financed by Saudi Arabia) and offers itself as another client to Vladimir Putin because the Obama administration has halted deliveries of F-16s, will Mr. Graham wag a second finger at Moscow?”

 

This is a fair point to argue. But by framing the question of Egyptian military aid US in a strictly bilateral fashion as he does, Stephens can ignore the Israel factor, despite the fact that the only reason we even have such the kind of robust—and expensive— bilateral relationship with Egypt to begin with is the peace treaty Egypt and Israel signed as part of the 1979 Camp David Accords, the Islamist abrogation of which was an underlying Israeli fear.  The bilateral framing also allows him to ignore how both AIPAC and the Israeli Foreign Ministry were putting a behind-the-scenes full court press on lawmakers in Washington to maintain the Egyptian aid flow, even as Stephens was preparing his column.  In fact, this framing lets Stephens skip the direct mention Israel altogether. Instead he makes an allusion to dreams for “Peace in the Holy Land,” and elliptical references to the need to “settle the diplomatic landscape” so that “the neighbors know what’s what.”

 

Of course, Stephens could be writing as a consummate insider, and from the kind of overly insular point of view that makes him feel like he doesn’t have to acknowledge the background factors because we are all so familiar with them. And he could think Israel’s role in the Egypt situation isn’t central enough to warrant the space in the limited space available.

 

But given the disproportionate number of weekly columns he has devoted to Israel or to things that have implications for Israel, even when they are quite subsidiary, I’m dubious.  Israel was far more of a subordinate concern than a central one for judging whether Chuck Hagel was a suitable nominee for Secretary of Defense. Yet from the time Hagel’s name was first floated in mid-December 2012 to the time Hagel won confirmation in late February 2013—a space of a bit more than eight weeks— Stephens devoted five of those eight columns to the Hagel fight, his grounds for opposing Hagel almost exclusively focused on what Stephens said was his disdain for Israel and prejudice against American Jews. Suffice it to say that this is a columnist who has rarely passed up the chance to include Israel in his analysis and when he does, it’s worth noting.

 

The failure to use the “I” word is also somewhat suspicious on another level too since AIPAC has been lobbying furiously in Washington against the withdrawal of aid, working the Hill where its record for using its money and its powers of persuasion have a certain reputation…

 

The missing “I word” is again odd because the core of the case Stephens makes to keep aid going lines up almost exactly with the “spin” that Israeli diplomats were employing that week in their worldwide effort to get the major western powers to accept the military takeover—and withhold punishment (aid dollars) for the bloodshed against the Muslim Brotherhood…

 

Stephens’ column, of August 19 echoes both the basic thrust of the AIPAC drive on Capitol Hill and the world-wide diplomatic drive. “Politics in Egypt is a zero-sum game,” Stephens wrote. “Either the military wins or the Brotherhood does. If the US wants influence, it needs to hold its nose and take a side.”  Yet there’s no mention of AIPAC’s congressional lobbying or the diplomatic push.  Stephens is totally wired into the Likudnik right—his sister works for AIPAC in Israel and his brother-in-law is a well-placed right wing columnist for the Jerusalem Post, where Stephens was editor from 2002 to 2004. So its highly unlikely Stephens wasn’t in the loop. He could at least have mentioned that the Israel government was saying exactly the same thing.

 

At the same time Stephens ignored something else that makes his Israel-free analysis suspicious: the country’s behind-the-scenes, some would say underhanded, role in convincing the Egyptians that the US would not follow through on threats to withdraw the $1.5 billion annual US-Egyptian military aid.  According to the August 18th Sunday New York Times, available the night of August 17th, the Obama administration had been close to an agreement to avoid bloodshed but that those hopes were undercut by Israeli operatives “who were in contact with the Egyptians in a way that appears to have undermined the American threat of an aid cutoff. “ The piece was headlined: “How American Hopes For A Deal In Egypt Were Undercut.”

 

This was not small news, involving a major initiative that appeared to be subverted by our most important Middle Eastern ally at a critical moment when violence might have been forestalled. It also represented an illustration of a problem vexing the American-Israeli alliance in other areas: Israel’s penchant for putting its parochial interests above the shared interests of the partnership and to act on those parochial interests unilaterally. Yet Stephens did not see fit to note it even though the Times was available to him for almost 48 hours before the usual time his column went up Monday night.

 

The Times report was produced by a team of reporters that included the paper’s top national security, intelligence and military correspondents in Washington, in addition to Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick. (NB: See the additional reporting credits at the bottom of the story.) This seemed, at least in part, to be an effort to bulletproof the story against any charges of anti-Israel bias.

 

According to the report, Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain as well as Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, the State Department’s top foreign service officer were all involved in a frantic, 11th hour effort in Cairo to get the Egyptian military leaders to agree to release two imprisoned opposition leaders and to let the Brotherhood remain part of the political process, which might have defused what was then a still non-violent standoff. The effort, which was clearly using the issue of continued aid as leverage, was bolstered by 17 personal phone calls from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to the Egyptian General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. The initiative collapsed when the Egyptians, apparently convinced the US would not make good on its threats, issued a statement announcing that diplomatic efforts had been exhausted, and that the Brotherhood was responsible for any ensuing violence. As the Times put it: “A week later, Egyptian forces opened a ferocious assault that so far has killed more than 1,000 protesters.”

 

The Times noted that both the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Saudis, were supporting the takeover. But the Israeli role stood out:

 

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

 

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

 

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

 

While the Israelis did protest the Times characterization, the Times did not issue a correction or a clarification. The Obama administration did not issue any denial either. A report in the news pages of Stephens’ own paper echoed what the Times reported. “Allies Thwart America In Egypt” was the Journal’s hed.

 

The reference the Times made to the “heavy communication” between the Egyptian generals and the Israelis could mean that the CIA or NSA was listening in.  The fact that the information was attributed to “western diplomats” suggests to me that the information came in a sanctioned leak probably from the US diplomats mentioned in the story or the Euro-diplomat also noted. Whatever its origin, the leak itself speaks to Israeli interference and official US awareness of and frustration with it—part of a pattern that has made many American diplomats and intelligence officers quite jaded about their Israeli counterparts as well as the much-vaunted US-Israel “brotherhood.”

 

There’s also something unseemly about Israeli officials reassuring the Egyptians that the US would not pull its aid money even as the US was threatening to do so, like siblings scheming with one another over their parental allowances. (NB: the $3 billion in aid the US gives Israel is largely a consideration for its participation in the Camp David Accords.) And there’s something deeply off-putting, at least to this American’s ears, about the AIPAC letter and the defeat of the Rand Paul bill being referenced in the context of all this. You can almost hear the Israeli reassurances:  Don’t worry, they’re only bluffing. We’ve got the lobby behind us on this one, so. They won’t pull the plug.” Memo to Mearsheimer and Walt: Here’s one for an updated edition.

 

To be sure, the effort might have been miscast from the beginning, with no guarantee that the US effort would have prevented bloodshed from happening, even without the Israeli whispering behind our backs. And it’s at least conceivable that the Americans leaked the story to cover for their own insufficient diplomatic muscle, in effect putting undue blame on the Israelis, as some in the American neocon press have suggested.

 

But the Israeli subterfuge does represents the undercutting, mid-stroke, of a significant American diplomatic initiative—an initiative that might have stayed the violence and, perhaps, kept Egypt on a more politically inclusive track.  As such it should have been at least been noted in Stephens’ brief. To do so however, would have required him to concede that our alleged “most important ally in the region” can sometimes operate in a way that brings to mind words other than “ally,” although be careful not to make any references to snakes no matter how appropriate here.  You don’t want the language police on you. 
philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

24 Responses

  1. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    September 25, 2013, 11:10 am

    Another great article! The internet is the true democratizer of information. Pre-internet, such articles and blogs like MW would never see the light of day (or night) as the pro-zionist chokehold on information and news would have blocked it. Nowadays, the truth is out there for those who seek it. The tide is turning as the arc of history bends towards justice and my cause is just.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      September 25, 2013, 2:45 pm

      It was well-reasoned but a bit too obvious at times. It also contained some sense of resentment at Jews, or rather the way Jews have shaped public discourse to favor Jewish interests. I don’t see this unnatural; Jews have had and still do have a very important place in the American media landscape and Israel is for most Jews a sacred place to defend any way they can.

      In the long run, it’s not good for objective news gathering when it comes to issues regarding Israel/Palestine, that much is true, but you could also say that since the media is even more filled with white people, issues that are close to the hearts of, say, blacks are also underreported like the overpopulated prisons. Only now is it slowly but surely going mainstream. My point is that he seems to credit deliberate malice and cunning to what happens by default as an ethnic group and/or race gains significant influence over the media. And it’s done in tone that’s reeking of ‘those typical Jews’.

      But on substance, I agree with most of what he said. If anything, he’s too mild.
      I would shorten the argument, because it can be shortened without losing its complexity, but that would also mean it would become much more direct and less going round-about a lot. I would also work on that subtle subtone throughout the article. Maybe I’m oversensitive? Maybe not.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        September 25, 2013, 5:48 pm

        Agree Krauss. Moreover, anyone that can say this about David Brooks:

        His formidable powers of delineation, which often offer his analysis on other topics an impressive granularity, …

        has an odd perspective on things. That makes the somewhat obvious “what” of this article maybe less interesting than the why and how McGowan got to this point (as a supporter of Israel as well, unless that was just the obligatory disclaimer).

      • Walker
        Walker
        September 26, 2013, 7:18 am

        I don’t believe our pro-Israeli media is something that has just “naturally happened” due to the unconscious bias of those in charge. I see it as a carefully constructed and maintained artifact, with severe penalties for those who go outside the limits. Over the years I’ve seen excellent journalists who published consistently critical views on Israel get marginalized and eventually lose their jobs. (William Pfaff is an example. Once a regular columnist at the LA Times, his work began appearing less and less frequently before disappearing completely).

        Black journalists don’t lose their jobs because they publish a critical article on prisons.

        I’m sure that it’s true that pro-Israeli Jews in the media aren’t always consciously aware each and every time they favor Israel. At the same time saying that the media’s pro-Israel bias is an innocent accident is like saying that the misleading information produced by the US government prior to the invasion of Iraq was an unconscious byproduct of it’s desire to invade.

        Bias in Middle East reporting due to the views of publishers and editors has been an obvious subject for investigation for decades. I don’t expect the CJR to undertake it any time soon.

        Your post brings up a subtle point, having to do with how I (a non-Jew) and you (a Jew) perceive the same thing. Perceive each other, in fact, because I somewhat identify with McGowan in your post. I do agree that it’s important not to slip into a “those typical Jews” attitude. That’s not something I saw in McGowan’s article.

        I view discussion of this as simply talking about what goes on in an arena that has a powerful effect on all Americans. Something that has deeply affected the country.

  2. bilal a
    bilal a
    September 25, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Can we explain the behavior of Beltway pundit chicken hawks, or of Israel and its Lobby itself, unless we understand the very grave economic consequences of peace to these actors? Its not just lobbying and think tank fees, its the rotating door through industry . War is a welfare program to certain constituencies, foreing and domestic, for example, Israel builds much of the equipment the Pentagon buys, not just for Israel, but for the American DOD, paid for by captive US taxpayers. War is a huge subsidy to the Jewish state:

    The intention is to establish a local branch of Lockheed Martin in Israel in the field of information systems,” said Lockheed’s vice president for global solutions, Robert Eastman, according to UPI.

    Bynet’s CEO said the complexity of the project necessitated hiring Lockheed because no Israeli company knows how to do it.

    In April, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries was hired to build the wings for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Production is scheduled to being in 2015 under the 10-year contract, which could be worth up to $2.5 billion, UPI reported.

    Israel Aerospace Industries already produces wings for the Lockheed-produced F-16 and the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 trainer aircraft.

    http://www.jta.org/2013/07/05/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/lockheed-martin-opening-branch-in-Israel

    Birthed in war, maintained in war, can it ever be weaned off the milk of death and destruction?

    • ivri
      ivri
      September 25, 2013, 2:10 pm

      Right, war indeed became central to Israel but would you be honest enough to answer why? Wasn`t it forced on it by its Arab neighbors from Day 1. You bet that had Israel embraced at its birth it wouldn`t want to spend so much energy and blood on warring and on military production, training etc. Now that it has become specialized in that, as a result of all of that, it is a bit strange to hear those that brought that about to complain about that. Just reaping what was sown and as the bible says you can sow wind and reap storms.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        September 25, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Yes, most Israelis and Americans did not choose the path of expansionism, ethnocentricism, and erhnic cleansing; but there exists a transnational special interest group that profits from its perpetuation.

        REPORT: Israel is an Example of an Economy Hijacked by Military-security Interests, Although the U.S has the world’s largest military industrial complex, Israel has the largest ratio of its economy dedicated to the military and security industry – July 28, 13

        http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10497

      • American
        American
        September 25, 2013, 4:45 pm

        “ivri says:
        September 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        Right, war indeed became central to Israel but would you be honest enough to answer why? Wasn`t it forced on it by its Arab neighbors from Day 1. “>>>>>

        You stole their land. You’re theives. No one forced you to do it.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 26, 2013, 5:59 am

        @ American
        Yes. The cobbled-together Arab nations invaded the UN partition Palestine side right after Israel declared itself a state in 1948, and fought the Zionists there in 1948 to prevent the Zionists from their continued operation, which had already terrorized 350, 000 Palestinians out of the UN partition Israel side commencing in November of 1947 and were hell-bent on taking over the partition Palestine side too. By 1949 the new Zionist state had dispossessed a total of 700,000 Palestinians.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        September 25, 2013, 6:35 pm

        Israel invited, nay demanded! hostility from its Arab neighbors from Day 1 – because it ethnically cleansed three quarters of a million of the Palestinian population, because it determined to steal not just the land within the UN partition borders, but yet another vast swath, and ethnically cleanse that too. And for all the tens of thousands of Days since, it has refused to re-admit the victims of its crimes, or to offer the least reparations for those crimes (while demanding for itself, reparations for crimes comitted against non-Israelis in Europe and beyond during the war). And all those Israeli created refugees have been left as a drain on the resources of the neighboring nations (despite UNWRA). There y’are. That’s some of the “why”.

    • dbroncos
      dbroncos
      September 25, 2013, 10:49 pm

      @bilal a

      Israel’s wars also provide a satisfactory test market for US munitions. Is there any doubt that IDF and DOD brass compare notes as to the effects of white phosphorus on human flesh?

    • dbroncos
      dbroncos
      September 25, 2013, 11:19 pm

      On the PBS Newshour, Mark Shields and David Brooks have an uneasy nervousness in the dynamics between them. David Brooks puts on an awkward smile and scrunches his shoulders when he’s making a point that seemingly makes him uneasy. The smile appears only after he has nervously looked at Shields. For his part, Shields stammering commentary is punctuated with nervous glances at Brooks. The look in their eyes is noticably different, more nervous, when they look at each other than when they look at the host. When the subject is Israel Brooks is reticent and brief in his commentary unless he feels confident that Israel is on the moral high ground. Shields’ quirks become even more exaggerated when discussing Israel, he stammers more and he looks more nervously and more often at Brooks. On the Newshour viewers have the benefit of seeing the faces of of both Brooks and Shields, who clearly make each other nervous, and who make each other even more so when the subject is Israel. An illustration, of sorts, of the kinds of tap dancing around the Jewish state that McGowen refers to in his piece.

  3. annie
    annie
    September 25, 2013, 1:34 pm

    great article. i’m going to start checking McGowan’s new blog on a regular basis.

  4. Les
    Les
    September 25, 2013, 3:56 pm

    On today’s NPR On Point program, “Diplomacy With Iran,” host Tom Ashbrook failed to point out that guest, Patrick Clawson, Director of Research for the Washington Insititute for Near East Policy, speaks for this AIPAC spinoff, which Clawson did his very best to represent on this morning’s program. NPR remains a proud member of the Israel Lobby’s media unit.

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    September 25, 2013, 4:10 pm

    I guess that every point Mr.McGowan makes had been made seven times, and illustrated effectively every time, on Mondoweiss. I don’t know whether to find this heartening or depressing.
    I don’t think I detect any anti-Jewish prejudice – rather it seems to me that McG struggles to remain ‘a supporter of Israel’ (in what sense and why? I’d like to ask) because he thinks that to abandon that support, for all his dismay at Israeli behaviour, would show anti-Jewish sentiment on his part.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 26, 2013, 6:01 am

      @ MHughes976
      I had the same impression.

    • just
      just
      September 26, 2013, 9:40 am

      Me three.

      What does being an “Israel supporter” really mean anymore? Is it the requisite method of establishing bona fides in advance of any criticism of the current state of Israel?

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 25, 2013, 4:43 pm

    RE: And Scott McConnell, a former neocon who left the movement in part over the neocons’ lack of charity toward Palestinians, sent the piece along to me, saying, “Another neocon has a Kronstadt moment.” ~ Weiss

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Kronstadt rebellion]:

    [EXCERPT] The Kronstadt rebellion (Russian: Кронштадтское восстание, tr. Kronshtadtskoye vosstaniye) was a major unsuccessful uprising against the Bolsheviks in the later years of the Russian Civil War. Led by Stepan Petrichenko[1] and consisting of Russian sailors, soldiers and civilians, the rebellion was one of the reasons for Vladimir Lenin’s and the Communist Party’s decision to loosen its control of the Russian economy by implementing the New Economic Policy (NEP).[2][3]
    The rebellion originated in Kronstadt, a naval fortress on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland that served as the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet and as a guardpost for the approaches to Petrograd, 55 kilometres away. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt_rebellion

  7. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 25, 2013, 4:50 pm

    RE: “The American discourse on Israel…. is often dysfunctional. And at points, it is even deranged.” ~ McGowan

    SPEAKING OF DERANGEMENT, HERE IS AN EXCELLENT OBSERVATION BY JOEL KOVEL FROM 1-20-13:

    [EXCERPT] . . . As with everyone I know of in official political culture, [Thomas] Friedman [probably like Kerry and Obama – J.L.D.] assumes that Israel is a rational actor on the international stage who will obey the calculus of reward and punishment that regulates the conduct of normal states.
    The presumption is that if you tell it the truth, and even pull back US support, it will get the message, reflect, and change its ways. But Israel is not a normal state, except superficially. It will make adjustments, pulling back here, co-operating there, making nice when necessary, crafting its message using a powerful propaganda apparatus employing the most up-to-date social science. But this is simply tactical and no more predicts or explains the behavior of the Zionist state than an individual sociopath can be explained by the fact that he obeys traffic signals while driving to the scene of his crime. . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/israel-nominaton-hagel.html

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 26, 2013, 6:03 am

      Thanks for the Kronstadt refresher, Dickerson.

      • DICKERSON3870
        DICKERSON3870
        September 26, 2013, 7:41 pm

        No problem. I had to check on it anyway. Russian/Soviet history is definitely not my ‘strong suit’! ! !

  8. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 25, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Financial Times blog (ft.com/theworld) observed today that Ted Cruz called Hagel and Kerry “anti-American”. Apparently because they question endless war in “support” of Israel?

  9. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    September 25, 2013, 8:46 pm

    “Among them was Brooks, who pointed to the many non Jews in the necon war “cabal,”
    This fact is often offered to counter some hidden ideas that these neoocns dont share but one can guess that they are trying to say that it is nothing about Isreal but about what is right or good for Isreal but it is actually way more good and essential for US supported by people irrespective of bias or attachment.
    The neoocns has never offerd any evidences that it is or was good for US or the World. Neither it has shown that its course of action is right in terms of either the result or the means

    So why does it get the support from the non Jewish faith?
    Before jumping to this , one needs to do a poll on informed people seperated along ethnic lines about the support they have for AIPAC,JINSA,ZOI and Israeli governemnt’s policy.
    This will expose the gaps between what politicans do and what citizen want them to do and will expose the the religion based support these organizations enjoy.
    Trust in media and in Congress have never been lower but persons populating these niche are the same group who are making rules,giving speeches,and utterring lies in support of Israel day and night. How valid these people’s actions are?

    But also
    1- In a system as complex as I-P , there are many interested folks who have fame , opportunity,job,and sometimes survival at stake from personal level and what they do are what good for their own immediate interest .
    2-Then there are who have no genuine interest but sees an opportunity of being recognized,accepted or sees an opportunity of being promoted or elected by simply uttering some blatherings as asked by the benefactor would happily do when again there is no down side or rsik involved.-
    3- These guys would do it with much more gusto and passion, if they figured out that not doing so meant losing out to opponnets, not getting the job or being shut out of any public domain on the basis of that one piece of behavior.
    4- In a sytem where one side is absent from debate ( Palestine or Arab since the documneted admission by Truman ) as conducted in Congress,Senate,Town Hall meeting,media, TV and for so long, it does not hurt to say what the person who is present in the discussion wants to hear , more so if that behavior also pays off with desirable results.
    5- Even the gang members though ethnically or geopgraphically conncted , always have members outside the area and outside the clan.
    4 Iraq war has shown how diverse countries can engage in collective madness and illegal behaviors out of the possibilities of joing EU,NATO,Arms,Money or fear or stay out of protesting the war out of fear .
    5 The lobby does bring other faces not out of any need for discussion but to make sure that the it’s view is presneted as a consensus by expert to the public while fiercely hiding the punitive,tribal,dictatorial ,and unethical side of the process that goes into making it look like as a bipartisan consensus.

    Unless action has any inbuilt accountability of moral or legal or financial nature also known as moral hazard , man/woman will suck up to anybody and lend his or her name if money to be made by the exercise or power to be reached at by that kind of behavior.
    Acomplex system like this that has broad distribution but pointed goals and aims ,one has to look at the to the consistent beneficary ,the financiers, the connections among the financiers and not at the persons who are benefitting by working for them and who are always prodcuing only one same idea or ideas related together for one aim all the time .

  10. RoHa
    RoHa
    September 25, 2013, 9:48 pm

    “run out of town (Washington DC, usually) on ideological or political third rails.

    A lovely example of a mixed metaphor that becomes even more powerful as a result of the mixing.

Leave a Reply