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Secrecy of de Blasio’s AIPAC conclave fuels anti-Semitic tropes — Sullivan

Israel/Palestine
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Andrew Sullivan has a wonderful post up on Bill de Blasio’s shocking and private speech to AIPAC two nights ago, titled, “The Selective Secrecy of Bill de Blasio.”

Two excerpts, first on the secrecy of AIPAC, and the degree to which traditional anti-Semitic tropes are fulfilled by the group’s professions and actions.

If you were to describe the Israel lobby as a secretive group that enforces the policies of the Israeli government on American politicians in private gatherings, you would be called an anti-Semite. The idea that the Israel lobby is secretive and underhanded plays into ancient anti-Semitic tropes. If you were to say about AIPAC that “a lobby is a night flower, it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun,” you would be regarded as an anti-Semite for the same reasons. If you were to note that an AIPAC official once responded to the idea that the lobby had been weakened by pushing a napkin across a table and said “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin,” you would be called an anti-Semite. If you were to claim that AIPAC was “the most effective general interest group … across the entire planet,” you would be suspected of anti-Semitic tendencies. (The source for these varied quotes is here.)

And if you were to say that AIPAC was so powerful it could get a left-liberal mayor of New York to give a speech so fulsome in its cravenness and excess it adds whole universes of meaning to the word “pander” and also insist that it be kept secret, even to the extent of hauling a reporter out of the hall, then all bets would be off.

Sullivan meditates on this de Blasio line: “No greater ally on earth” to describe Israel.

Just ponder that remark for a bit. How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Iraq? None. Forty other countries did, led by the UK, Australia, and Poland. How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Afghanistan? None. Fifty-nine other countries helped, also led by the UK. In both cases, this “greatest ally on earth” would have been extraordinarily counter-productive if it had been involved. That’s how useful an ally the country is in confronting our common enemies. Which allied defense minister recently publicly said of an internal security plan for the West Bank, shared confidentially among allies, that it was “not worth the paper it was written on” and that “the only thing that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.” Israel’s. Which allied prime minister in recent years took the extraordinary step of lecturing the American president in front of the world press in the White House itself? Israel’s. I cannot think of any allied prime minister ever thinking about doing the same.

But this preposterous bullshit is what a left-liberal mayor felt obliged to serve up.

This idea needs to be stated often– including the assertion by Israel lobbyist Daniel Abraham that Israel has ignored US national interests for a long time.

Sullivan then quotes George Washington’s famous speech against a nation growing too fond of another: “A passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils.” Etc.

The de Blasio speech– along with Peter Beinart’s statement that “The new Iran sanctions effort, claims a well-placed congressional aide, is ‘totally and completely Jewish-community run’–” confirms everything that Walt and Mearsheimer said about the Israel lobby, including that it fostered the Iraq war. They were smeared for saying what they said; I was smeared for championing their ideas. But others will continue to make these assertions, and one day they will be commonplace; and the purveyors of conventional wisdom will write books on the topic and earn laurels for the insight. As it should be.

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About Philip Weiss

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

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30 Responses

  1. Krauss
    Krauss
    January 25, 2014, 11:43 am

    The fact that this video even got leaked, through a major media organization, says a lot about the mood inside established media organizations.
    Not even liberal organizations, either. Capital NY is a centrist publication from the same people behind Politico.

    Even 5-6 years ago, this would have been buried and suppressed.
    (Also, would this have happened before the internet?)

    • lysias
      lysias
      January 25, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Politico types are pretty Republican. They probably enjoy publicizing anything that discredits de Blasio.

      Not that I object to publicizing this particular outrage.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    January 25, 2014, 11:56 am

    “adds whole universes of meaning to the word “pander” and also insist that it be kept secret, even to the extent of hauling a reporter out of the hall, then all bets would be off.”

    Well, yes. And beautifully put!

    But ‘pander” already had a fair meaning, didn’t it? Hasn’t Biden done almost the same? Hillary? Bill (you all remember Bill, surely)?

    But what fun we’re all having. Has this remark (about “pandering”) made it into MSM?

  3. January 25, 2014, 12:39 pm

    I am speechless – the most honest and articulate words on Israel that I have ever read – I will definitely renew my subscription to Andrew’s website – Wow !!!!! No more pandering please. Enough !

  4. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    January 25, 2014, 12:49 pm

    This is beyond pandering. This is treason.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      January 25, 2014, 2:10 pm

      Looking at this and the Glazers at Manchester United and the Koch brothers who think their money is more important than the future of humanity- Houston we have a massive problem. It is really scary.

      I was thinking about Finkelstein in Defamation- “war mongers from Martha’s Vineyard. War mongers from the hamptons ..it would be the best thing that could ever happen to Israel if they could get rid of these American war mongers”
      .

      . They don’t care about ordinary working class Jews in South Tel Aviv. They didn’t care about Poznan or Vilna either back in the day .

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        January 25, 2014, 6:11 pm

        Finkelstein is emblematic of all that is funny, charming, intelligent, and decent about the old American Jewish culture. Such a contribution to humanity.

        How the heck did it morph into Silverman / Dunham ?

        PBS to Honor Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham as ‘Women Who Make America’
        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/01/21/pbs-women-honors-sarah-silverman-dunham

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        January 25, 2014, 11:05 pm

        They financially reegineered Judaism and spun Menscheit off into an spv that was leveraged with holocaust hypocrisy and sold to the Germans. Very efficient. They didn’t need it and it freed up moral capital that could be invested more profitably in yesha.

      • Keith
        Keith
        January 26, 2014, 6:24 pm

        SEAFOID- “…war mongers from Martha’s Vineyard….etc.”

        I agree that is a great quote, however, I think my favorite (from memory) involves him looking around and asking Yoav Shamir “Do you see a Holocaust? With all of the hunger and misery in the world, I am supposed to be concerned about some idiot painting a swaztika on a wall?” I think that says it all. Real anti-Semitism is not a problem and should be of little concern to rational people concerned with the consequences of the global political economy. Allegations of anti-Semitism are politically motivated, and are usually made by those with the power to defame with impunity.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        January 27, 2014, 11:07 pm

        Keith- I agree – that was really good- there is so much insight in that 6 minutes . Finkelstein is really on top of his material.

        “And they can’t tell me nothing”

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        January 28, 2014, 2:53 am

        Greetings seafoid,
        Much tks.
        Mr. Finkelstein, a beautiful aura, a sweet, beautiful man.
        Der ist ein Mensch mit Menschlichkeit.
        ziusudra

  5. Cliff
    Cliff
    January 25, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Great post by Sullivan.

    Israel has no ‘friends’. It has the Lobby and Christian Zionists.

    It uses the US because we are the strongest country on the planet.

  6. American
    American
    January 25, 2014, 3:00 pm

    ‘’the degree to which traditional anti-Semitic tropes are fulfilled by the group’s professions and actions.’’

    ‘’Sullivan then quotes George Washington’s famous speech against a nation growing too fond of another:’’

    ‘’confirms everything that Walt and Mearsheimer said about the Israel lobby, including that it fostered the Iraq war. They were smeared for saying what they said; I was smeared for championing their ideas. But others will continue to make these assertions, and one day they will be commonplace; and the purveyors of conventional wisdom will write books on the topic and earn laurels for the insight. As it should be.’’>>>

    Thank you Sullivan for saying everything we’ve been saying.

    But everything you say has been common wisdom from the beginning of America. But we didn’t guard it ‘jealousy enough’ so now we somehow have to get it back.

    Everyone should have to read and memorize and make Washington’s warning their political bedrock. Its so appropriate to not only zionist but everything that is happening that its like Washington is living and looking at America right now.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

    Geo Washington 1779

    ‘’To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute;

    All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

    However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

    It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

    In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

    So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

    And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

    Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.

    Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.’’

  7. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail
    January 25, 2014, 5:36 pm

    It’s subversion of the US political system, manipulation of the decision-making processes away from the US population in favor of a client state which has no interest whatsoever in the welfare of the US or its citizens. It is only interested in its own messianic cultish obsession of a garrison state funded and protected by the US taxpayer

    What really lets the cat out of the bag is not just that de Blasio acknowledged and paid obeisance to the people who claim to have put him there, and thus his debt to them, but that he insisted he do so secretly. As Sullivan says, this is full acknowledgement of the lobby’s power over him and an admission of how they operate – secret pledges being made to them by elected officials. Had any other group gained such leverage and secret pledges, especially one from a foreign country, a full scale scandal would have erupted with calls to annul the election. In what sense is an election free and fair when it emerges that the winning candidate has secretly pledged to work on behalf not of the voters, but a foreign power, and put the resources of his office at their disposal? It makes democracy meaningless, and worse, de Blasio knows that the voters will be outraged, therefore he has to pay his debts in secret. Why was this not known before the election if, as these hypocritical apologists claim, the voters would go along with it?
    The lobby is crumbling, they have kept their leverage out of the public eye for decades. Now they are being exposed, they insist on secret deals and blatant lies to keep the bandwagon rolling. What have American citizens got in common with Israeli segregationist policies, aggressive unprovoked wars, and ethnic cleansing – their entire warped and self-aggrandising attitude? Nothing whatsoever, and the lobby knows it.

  8. Keith
    Keith
    January 25, 2014, 6:58 pm

    PHIL- “…that Israel has ignored US national interests for a long time.”

    Lordy, Lordy, are you about to share with us your interpretation of the “US national interests?” Folks who talk like this are usually referring to US imperial interests, to those things which benefit the 1% as if that reflected the best interests of the American people. So, are you complaining that Israel doesn’t fully support imperial objectives? At this stage of the game, it would be nice for you to expound on this subject. For starters, perhaps you could briefly describe those things which the US government is doing which benefit the American people rather than the corporations and financial sector.

    Andrew Sullivan: “How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Iraq? None. Forty other countries did, led by the UK, Australia, and Poland. How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Afghanistan? None. Fifty-nine other countries helped, also led by the UK. In both cases, this “greatest ally on earth” would have been extraordinarily counter-productive if it had been involved. That’s how useful an ally the country is in confronting our common enemies.”

    For starters, do you think that Afghanistan and Iraq are our enemies? Do you think that all of the countries providing troops to “help” the empire in Afghanistan and Iraq are supporting the best interests of the American people? And if not, how are these wars in the “US national interests?” Seems to me that you are a little too comfortable with the American empire. Not to worry. The American empire has significantly transmogrified itself into the global corporate/financial empire. What is good for Wall Street is good for the USA. You don’t hear Lloyd Blankfein complaining, do you?

    • annie
      annie
      January 25, 2014, 7:41 pm

      Lordy, Lordy, are you about to share with us your interpretation of the “US national interests?”

      well keith, phil shares with us what’s on his mind all the time. so one would imagine if he was about to ‘interpret’ US national interests, he would have. and guess what, he didn’t. but that doesn’t seem to matter to you, because you can do it for us:

      Folks who talk like this are usually referring to US imperial interests, to those things which benefit the 1% as if that reflected the best interests of the American people.

      not really. in fact there are plenty of examples of that, for example rabbi weintraub in the post today in the dual loyalty post: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/01/loyalty-question-community.html referencing american interests re iran, i think she meant national interests. i think the iran sanctions and the bombing of syria, most people think of it against the national interests, not imperial interests.

      but let’s get back to your initial quote of phil’s:PHIL- “…that Israel has ignored US national interests for a long time.” which was actually:

      “including the assertion by Israel lobbyist Daniel Abraham that Israel has ignored US national interests for a long time.”

      and that included an embed to Abraham’s column in http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.569371 . and this is what he says:

      it’s no secret that the United States believes that the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict significantly harms U.S. national security interests.

      so that should give you an idea of what phil meant, as opposed to imperial interests.

      are you complaining that Israel doesn’t fully support imperial objectives?

      that wasn’t quite what i interpreted.

      it would be nice for you to expound on this subject.

      well you sort of did it for him. if you have any ideas and good leads on stories just send phil a tip. btw, in my linkage post hagel mentioned resolving i/p was in “the United States’s overarching strategic interests ”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/11/netanyahus-greatest-linkage.html

      do you think he’s referencing imperial interests?

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 25, 2014, 11:53 pm

        If we are not talking about “imperial interests” (global capitalist/militarist interests) then we can surely state that the U.S. is generally not acting in “U.S. national interests” and hasn’t for a very long time, if ever.

        So, Keith is fundamentally correct. When we talk about
        U.S. “national interests” that term has to be taken to mean what it has conventionally meant in foreign policy analysis–i.e. U.S. “national interests” as defined the ruling political class that actually sets the operative “national interest” agenda.

        If one doesn’t go with the operative meaning of “national interests”, one is beholden to provide an alternative definition, or else the term becomes vacuous.

      • jayn0t
        jayn0t
        January 26, 2014, 7:37 pm

        The phrase ‘national interest’ is normally a con – a cover-up for the opposite interests of the rich and the poor. But in the case of American support for Israel, it makes sense. It is against the interests of almost all Americans, rich and poor, for the USA to even recognize Israel, let alone give it millions of dollars a day.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      January 25, 2014, 11:47 pm

      How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Iraq?

      The last thing the U.S. would want is Israeli forces joining them in its invasion/occupation of Iraq.

    • American
      American
      January 26, 2014, 11:20 am

      ‘Seems to me that you are a little too comfortable with the American empire. ‘…keith

      oh for gawds sake. There is a national interest defintion by the 1% —and then there is national interest definition by the majority.

      The 1% and the majority have different ideas about what the national interest is.
      As you should have seen in the majority public revolt over the bombing of Syria
      But you have the 1% elite, transnational, colonial, imperial, empire corn cob stuck so far up your ass that you think the 1%’s definition of national interest is ‘the only one there is’ in the nation just because its been prevailing.
      If that was true congress and government of the last two decades wouldnt have the lowest approval ratings by the public of any government in the fricking history of the US.

  9. crypticvalentin
    crypticvalentin
    January 25, 2014, 10:33 pm

    and deBlasio thought he got flak for eating pizza with a fork..#deBlasio..#NYC..#AIPAC..

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      January 28, 2014, 12:55 am

      @DR- Wow! Hard to know what to make of that article, except why would any sane person make that non-existent connection?

      Perkins redefines shrill defensiveness and desperation. He equates Jew-hatred with disgust/resistance to the downward, oppressive, and self-defeating spiral of income inequality. Why? To what possible constructive end?

      In an attempt to block legitimate protest/unrest, he trivializes, nay eviscerates, moral objections to Kristallnacht.

      Economic inequality is only getting worse. Normal, moral people object to it. By equating Kristallnacht with legitimate economics-based protest, Perkins opens the door for otherwise moral people to dismiss the evil of the former as they engage in the virtuous, self-interested (and therefore inexorable) latter.

      Perkins is wrong on every level. Deeply disturbing article. This is far worse than anything Foxman, et. al. have done piecemeal to trivialize anti-semitism.

      Scary thing is, most of the comments agree with him (though it is the WSJ op-ed page).

      Thanks, I think, for the link.

  10. Baldur
    Baldur
    January 26, 2014, 10:08 am

    How do you contact Bill de Blasio to complain about this? His contact information should be in the news post as well…

  11. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    January 26, 2014, 10:08 am

    The story here isn’t de Blasio and it isn’t Sullivan – it’s that there have been de Blasio’s and Sullivans produced, at some point or another, in every country in Europe for the last 300-400 years. The pandering elite and the voice of the “rest of us.” I should note that historically, the more obscene the pandering, the more obscene the “rest of us” have gotten. In other words, this movie has played in many a theater, and it ends shittily every time. Scary scary

  12. amigo
    amigo
    January 26, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Interesting take on Blasio/AIPAC love fest.

    “Why the self-defeating secrecy, AIPAC and de Blasio?
    Pro-Israel advocacy should be done up front and in the light of day, rather than at closed events that give off a harmful and conspiratorial air.”

    By Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie | 16:27 26.01.14 | 0

    They are being outed one by one.

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/.premium-1.570647

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      January 27, 2014, 11:20 pm

      “Pro-Israel advocacy should be done up front and in the light of day”

      That’s ridiculous.

      You have 2% of the population and you want to be able to get 70 Senatorial signatures on a restaurant napkin within 24 hours and now you say you want to be transparent.
      Would you like a pony with that ?

  13. seafoid
    seafoid
    January 27, 2014, 11:16 pm

    Here’s another message from history for the bots.

    I hope life treats you kind
    And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of
    And I wish to you, joy and happiness
    But above all this, I wish you love

    Whitney was so good. She was so talented. She was so beautiful. She had such an incredible voice. But the dynamics were against her and she didn’t make it.
    Never bet against America. Until TSHTF.

  14. seafoid
    seafoid
    January 27, 2014, 11:33 pm

    “But others will continue to make these assertions, and one day they will be commonplace; and the purveyors of conventional wisdom will write books on the topic”

    Why don’t you write your book now, Phil?
    Before TSHTF and everyone jumps on the “I told you so” bandwagon

    Let them hate so long as they fear

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