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National summit to re-assess the special relationship — Friday in D.C.

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Just when Washington is calming down from the AIPAC circus, on Friday critics of the Israel lobby will be holding a national summit to re-assess the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. at the National Press Club.

It’s an all-day affair, and among the speakers are Janet McMahon; Karen Kwiatkowski; Mark Perry; Stephen Walt; Grant Smith; Michael Scheuer; Cynthia McKinney; Justin Raimondo; Paul Pillar; Scott McConnell; Ray McGovern; Allan Brownfeld; Jeff Blankfort; and Geoffrey Wawro…

It’s quite a lineup of writers and thinkers who have been unsparing critics of the lobby’s influence over US policymaking. And I’ll be on a panel myself, talking about the media, how it’s changing and why.

I know that some in the Palestinian solidarity camp aren’t enthused about this gathering, regard it as American nationalist; for my part, this is how I came to the issue. Folks like Raimondo, Walt and McConnell forced me to look at Israel/Palestine from an antiwar national-interest perspective. That’s still an important part of my perspective; as Pete Seeger told HUAC, “I love my country very deeply.” Though I wish there were Palestinians on these panels, I am sure that human rights will be an important theme.

It’s going to be a fascinating day. And Washington should be hungry for us after the locusts of AIPAC have carried off so many congresspeople. Let’s see how much press we get. I will be sure to report on the event myself.

Philip Weiss

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

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25 Responses

  1. CitizenC on March 4, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I know that some in the Palestinian solidarity camp aren’t enthused about this gathering, regard it as American nationalist; for my part, this is how I came to the issue. Folks like Raimondo, Walt and McConnell forced me to look at Israel/Palestine from an antiwar national-interest perspective

    Our system of govt expresses the democratic sovereignty of the American people, however corrupt and attenuated that principle is. Israel’s influence is fundamentally a usurpation of our sovereignty as US citizens. The foreign policy establishment and
    left democrats can agree on that. The establishment may or may not be allies in the class struggle, but they are allies in the medieval-modern struggle where Zionism operates, and their insights and influence are essential.

    The real story here is the failure of the left to develop any critique
    of the “Israel lobby”, by the same people who sniff at “nationalism”

  2. Pamela Olson on March 4, 2014, 1:23 pm

    Wish I could be there! If I hadn’t just moved, I would be.

    Tear ’em up.

  3. Krauss on March 4, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Make sure to record video. Transcripts, especially incomplete second-hand ones, are not great. Summaries are even less attractive.

    I think most people would be most interested in what you, McConnell and Walt have to say.

    • irmep on March 4, 2014, 5:14 pm

      Professionally recorded embed-capable video of all panels/speeches will be posted at after the event. Nobody will miss anything.

      We’re kinda hoping attendees, rather than doing only “social media”, actually do some “socializing.” Many interesting attendees signed up…

      • Pamela Olson on March 4, 2014, 6:44 pm

        That’s great to hear! Please do let us know how it goes — hopefully there will be more than one write-up on Mondoweiss.

      • Susie Kneedler on March 6, 2014, 10:35 pm

        C-SPAN3 will show the Summit live:

        “FRIDAY March 7, 2014 9:00AMNational Press Club: Re-assessing U.S.-Israel Relations 8 hours, 0 minute
        A diverse panel of experts examines the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and the impact of lobbying groups on U.S. policy in the Middle East.”
        Hooray: thanks, C-SPAN.

      • Susie Kneedler on March 7, 2014, 5:44 am

        C-SPAN3 will also stream the Summit here:

        Thanks very much, C-SPAN3–and to host Alison Weir, If Americans Knew, for confirming C-SPAN3’s live coverage and streaming.

      • just on March 7, 2014, 5:51 am

        Many thanks to Susie and to CSPAN.

        (I hope that it is archived– I have to/am lucky enough to work! )

        Go get ’em Phil et al!

  4. Citizen on March 4, 2014, 2:44 pm

    I fail to see why any Palestinian would not be in solidarity with this first American national summit to reassess the US-Israeli “special relationship,” wherein they have been the biggest factual victims and the world’s only super power’s highest values proclaim the top priority of liberty and equal rights for all under the law. Will somebody explain this?

  5. kma on March 4, 2014, 3:08 pm

    AlJazeera’s Ukraine live blog has live tweets from a Haaretz journalist in Crimea that shows footage of unarmed (uniformed) Ukrainians marching up to a military base and confronting soldiers guarding it with guns that they fire above their heads….
    How can it not make you wonder why Haaretz journalists can’t live tweet footage to AlJazeera of protests in the West Bank being met with shooting soldiers EVERY WEEK?
    Especially ironic is that Israel wants this Crimea confrontation to spark a western conflagration with Russia SO THAT Israel can CONTINUE to violently occupy and ethnically cleanse what’s left of Palestine without any significant political entity (Iran/Syria/etc) to so much as provide moral support to the Palestinians.
    The two images of soldier-protest confrontation are welded together by entirely opposite treatment by Israeli journalism and western press.

    [email protected]#%k the US State Department and their “special relationship”.

  6. American on March 4, 2014, 5:07 pm

    You can relay my position on US-Israel–which is treat Israel just like we would treat any other country like it.

  7. seafoid on March 4, 2014, 5:54 pm

    Is Jeffrey Blankfort still persona non grata here ?

    “Special relationship” is BS.
    Power doesn’t have relationships. It has interests
    The US will shaft Israel after it outlives its usefulness.

    • Ellen on March 4, 2014, 6:07 pm

      During the Cold War Israel was perceived as useful — to maintain a sphere of influence in that part of the world, or a land-based US Aircraft carrier as Gen. Haig referred to Israel (or something like that.)

      Is Israel useful at all?

      Qatari and Saudi puppets, and the Egyptian military provide greater strategic support than a nuclear armed theocracy run by Russians.

      • seafoid on March 4, 2014, 6:20 pm

        Israel has no oil

        It’s very like Violet Elizabeth

        You do like me don’t you ? You’re making me cwy

      • JeffB on March 5, 2014, 5:12 pm


        Is Israel useful at all?

        Yes. The last decade has been terrific for Israel. Its been running the MEK in Iran, setting off a virus in Iranian reactors and assassinating Iranian scientists. That’s rather strong pressure on a major objective. In Syria the ties with the Kurds have been a useful source of access for the CIA. And of course in Kashmir the USA and India are very happy to have people who can capture and kill Al-Qaeda members without the internal blowback that India would suffer.

        Israel is becoming an effective extension of the CIA. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt can’t be trusted to that extent. Obviously Saudi Arabia has oil and is more important. The Egyptian military has greater influence but outside of Egypt it can’t really be deployed. And I’m not sure why you think Qatar is a big player.

    • CitizenC on March 5, 2014, 7:38 am

      Jeff Blankfort is alive and well. See this in re his presentation at the summit

      See the several Mondo items on John Judis’s new book showing (after Michael Cohen et al) the quasi sovereign power of the “Israel lobby”

  8. mjordan on March 5, 2014, 12:18 am

    There’s not one Palestinian on any of the panels? Were any Palestinians invited? I thought it was a bad thing when The Nation and NYT didn’t have representation.

    And no – what to do about it/plan of action/role of BDS type of panel? Would seem to be a lot more relevant than anything supreme rendition chief Michael Scheuer would have to say.

  9. DaBakr on March 5, 2014, 1:04 am

    Cynthia McKinney….oh what a “thinker” she is. not a dyed-in-the-wool politician and now anti-Israel lobbiest/consultant…and ‘statesperson’ as well. you lie down with dogs and you get fleas. you also loose credibility among those you hope to persuade…big time. not the fence-sitters who are suckers for the big billion dollar Palestinian PR campaign that MW, EI, and other BDS proponents are part of. the people you really need to convince are going to be assured that their opposition to your views are continued and with vigorous support. at least thats how i see things.

    • talknic on March 5, 2014, 3:11 am

      DaBakr “the big billion dollar Palestinian PR campaign that MW, EI, and other BDS proponents are part of”

      Evidence? Any? I’ll wait ….

      • RoHa on March 5, 2014, 4:42 am

        Where’s my share of the billion dollars? I’ve been posting pro-Palestinian comments here for years now! C’mon, pay up, Phil!

    • Citizen on March 5, 2014, 9:38 am

      @ DaBakr

      Re “big billion dollar Palestinian PR campaign that MW, EI, and other BDS proponents are part of. ”


      I don’t see any evidence of pro-Palestinian dollars here, in this

      list of #AIPAC-orchestrated zionist $ going to specific US congress persons in 2011-2012:

      Where’s the pro-Palestinian (aka anti-Zionist) version of George Soros or Sheldon Adelson?

  10. on March 5, 2014, 8:16 am

    What is there to reassess. Cut off the welfare queen, outlaw AIPAC, demand repayment of the tens of billions of dollars in gifts from the US taxpayer to Israel, and put sanctions on Israel to she conforms to international law and UN Resolutions. Sixty-five plus years of this crap is enough data to see what needs to be done.

  11. Nevada Ned on March 5, 2014, 10:05 am

    Ali Abunimah should have been invited.
    Here’s his take on Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC.

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