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.