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On the defensive, Barney Frank accuses Clemons and Kornacki of ganging up on him, and Israel

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments


From Steve Kornacki’s MSNBC show, Up with Steve Kornacki. Guest Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation was critical of the Gaza onslaught for the killings of civilians, and former Congressman Barney Frank bridled, defending Israel. He then said the two others were ganging up on him. I’ve never seen Frank so on the defensive in his support for Israel. He accuses Clemons of being “anti-Israel” and is angry that Kornacki is taking “the other side.” Some excerpts:

Frank:

“You talk about Israel saying, Let’s make the West Bank look good. To a great extent they’ve done that… Life in the West Bank has gone on much more normally….If you’re critical of what Israel is doing, what should they be doing?”

Clemons says that the “vast majority” of Israel’s 319 victims in this campaign are “innocent” and that such actions empower Hamas.

Frank:

Do I get a chance to talk? The two of you are on one side. I understand that. Please [to Kornacki] don’t pretend to neutrality. Do I get a chance to talk?

Kornacki: “You tell me I’m ganging up on you and I’m not.”

Frank:

“Yes you are. You clearly have the other side’s viewpoint… Can I have a breakdown of how much time I’m getting?”

Kornacki: “You’d get more if you didn’t accuse me of not being objective.”

Frank:

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know the rules were that no one gets to criticize the host… He [Clemons] gives the anti-Israel position.”

Clemons: “I’m not anti-Israel. I’m pro-Israel.”

Frank:

“Do I get a chance to talk here? This is ridiculous.”

Update: Post originally stated that clip is from Kornacki stand-in for Chris Matthew. Nope. Apologies.

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38 Responses

  1. chinese box
    chinese box
    July 19, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Life is “normal” in the West Bank? What world is he living in?

    He’s no longer in office so he doesn’t have to shill for Israel anymore, so he must actually believe this crap.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      July 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

      yeah-the sheer volume of luxury cars, luxe apartment complex’s, villas, fine restaurants , new construction projects and shopping areas can give one a pretty skewed view of how much dire poverty and suffering is going on in the west bank. that frank must be smoking the hash hooka

      • chinese box
        chinese box
        July 19, 2014, 3:14 pm

        @DaBakr
        Really? Is that how the average Palestinian lives in the WB? Or the PA and some elites in Ramallah? Is having your freedom movement severely restricted and your houses bulldozed what passes as normal in your mind? Being stoned and attacked by settlers in Hebron, or “price tag” attacks?

      • Qualtrough
        Qualtrough
        July 20, 2014, 3:35 am

        Similarly, the sheer volume of luxury cars, luxe apartment complex’s, fine restaurants, new constructions projects and shopping areas [sic] in Grosse Pointe can give one a pretty skewed view of how much dire poverty and suffering is going on in Detroit.

  2. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    July 19, 2014, 1:40 pm

    There’s always more than one side to every story but not all sides carry the same moral weight, that’s why Frank was whining. He sounds like a petulant high schooler getting riffed by the other cool kids.

  3. Donald
    Donald
    July 19, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Poor baby. He was a congressman forever, part of the government of the world’s only superpower that backs Israel no matter what, and the pro-Israel side dominates coverage, and he doesn’t get enough time on a cable show. Help, help, he’s being oppressed.

  4. Donald
    Donald
    July 19, 2014, 2:07 pm

    That jackass pretends that Israel and the US weren’t involved in the Palestinian civil war.

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      July 19, 2014, 2:11 pm

      Thanks Donald. Very good point.

    • Blownaway
      Blownaway
      July 19, 2014, 8:44 pm

      Exactly. Hamas figured out that Bush was about yo engineer a coup and got a jump on em…that’s a fact that anyone who wants to can look up. But franks is counting on speaking to the choir which is uncritical. The world us fed up with Israel even in the US except for Congress

  5. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    July 19, 2014, 2:19 pm

    We know the felling Frank. We feel that through our all 5 senses all the times. The West has been ganging against Palestine for as long as you have been breathing your fire against Palestine .
    The difference is that your 6 th sense provides you with the feeling. We feel it through our regular five senses.

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    July 19, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Watched live. Frank was an arrogant ass. What else is new? Frank had plenty of time to go on and on making Israel’s illegal actions out in the West Bank seem like mild mannered theft going on. All is good out there in the West Bank.

    Then Frank uses the traditional bait methods “you are on the other side” you are “anti Israel” to Clemons. Kornacki took the bait Clemons did not. Too bad Kornacki did not have the testicular fortitude that he has demonstrated towards Christie the bully and leashed that inner journalist on Israel or Frank the bully..by pounding him about the theft of the land in the West Bank, persistent humiliation, beating, imprisonment of Palestinian young, destruction of homes, agriculture, water usage etc. GET TO THE ROOT CAUSES OF THIS CONFLICT.

    Wish that Koracki and others would also get to the reality of so called progressives like Frank or for decades stands on the radical wrong on the I/P conflict, Iran etc. When will Kornacki , Melissa Harris Perry etc shine the spotlight on the right wing foreign policy stances of Frank and others.

    Melissa Harris Perry’s coverage of this issue was outstanding. Had Hillary Mann Leverett on for the third time in a row. So worth the watch.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      July 19, 2014, 6:28 pm

      I watch MHP’s coverage and was very impressed too. It was a more balanced coverage, and that Hillary M Leverett was great. I wish I could watch that again, as I was in a hurry to go out, and could not really watch the entire thing.
      I think members here should watch it too, if possible.

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 19, 2014, 6:35 pm

      “hen Frank uses the traditional bait methods “you are on the other side” you are “anti Israel” to Clemons. Kornacki took the bait Clemons did not”

      Yeah, I watched the segment Phil linked here and unfortunately I think Frank “won” the debate. I don’t mean that the facts and morality were on his side–clearly not. But he managed to frame the issue his way and got one of the two–Clemons, I think, but I forget–to say that Israel had the right to defend itself and that left Frank the opening to say that it boiled down to how hard it was to fight without collateral damage and gosh, it’s tough to do. And Kornacki let Frank distract him and waste precious time (there’s too little of it on most shows to do any serious discussion) on defending himself. I think that was Frank’s intent. Frank also got to use the line that Israel offered a ceasefire and neither of his opponents knew or bothered to point out this meant Israel would keep the blockade on Gaza under the Israeli version of the ceasefire. We heard once again about Israel’s right to defend itself against a rain of rockets and nothing about the Palestinian right to defend itself against occupation, blockade, and Israeli violence even during so-called ceasefires.

      On the old version of “Up with Chris Hayes”, there would have been at least an hour given to this topic and whoever got to offer the hasbara side of the issues would not have been allowed to get away with this. Chris would have had knowledgeable Palestinian or Arab guests, and probably some J-Street type and then a Barney Frank. And Chris himself would have known quite a bit.

      Phil thought Frank was on the defensive. I think he was being his usual arrogant bullying self and the average person watching who didn’t know the details might very well have thought that he won the argument. Frank did this sort of thing for a living and he’s good at it. He’s also a creep, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a smart debater.

  7. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    July 19, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Steve Kornacki sat in for Chris Matthews last night.

    This sentence doesn’t make sense in this context. The video and the article deal with “Up with Steve Kornacki”. That’s a morning show on Saturdays and Sundays.

  8. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    July 19, 2014, 3:03 pm

    What is your take away from this, Phil? I heard someplace before that Barney Frank is pushed into his position on IP because of political pressure, and that he told a Solidarity activist that he needed 30,000 signatures on an IP petition for him to take a human rights position.

    So it sounds from this that Frank is really personally a PEP?

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      July 19, 2014, 3:04 pm

      It sure does. And his sister is Ann Lewis, who has said that the U.S. president must get policy from the Israeli P.M.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        July 19, 2014, 3:38 pm

        As with many governments that approve abuse, part of the legislators like Frank agree out of conviction while others like DeBlasio know better and go along with it for expediency.

        Obama, Kerry, and others are in the latter category.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 19, 2014, 6:32 pm

        @ W.Jones
        Why not just say it? American Jews supporting Israel right or wrong think they are doing what’s best for the Jews worldwide, while American goys doing the same are just greedy opportunists supporting Israel right or wrong because they like a nice pay check and job perks? (Christian Zionists support Israel right or wrong because they think God told them to do so, and it’s their insurance policy to go to heaven).

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        July 19, 2014, 11:12 pm

        Citizen,

        I will not make that kind of dividing line, even if it were a factor. I think that Pelosi is a serious PEP for example, and yet she is not a Christian Zionist evangelical either, I assume. Also, I am not sure that McCain knows better. I doubt he really sympathizes with Palestinians.

        DeBlasio I think was probably someone who knew better. Obama may have some sympathy with what Palestinians are going through. Hagel and Powers are people who have made statements that imply they think privately that something is very wrong. I had thought that Barney Frank was in that “silent” category too, until I heard this statement.

        Anyway, I would not divide people so clearly, since sympathies can cross national and religious lines, although they can be major factors in affecting people’s views.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      July 19, 2014, 8:29 pm

      “The officer, Reginald A. deGueldre, accepted a gold Rolex wristwatch valued at $8,000 in return for “unspecified favors” from Mr. Spence, for whom he arranged at least four middle-of-the-night private tours of the White House for high-ranking military officers, well-known figures in the news media and male prostitutes. ”

      Frank does not want to go the way of Craig J. Spence

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_J._Spence

  9. American
    American
    July 19, 2014, 3:05 pm

    ” former Congressman Barney Frank bridled, defending Israel. He then said the two others were ganging up on him. I’ve never seen Frank so on the defensive in his support for Israel.”

    GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!

    Remember this?

    It’s time to stop the bully’: Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn on Occupy Wall Street, the Israel lobby and the New York Times

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/11/it%E2%80%99s-time-to-stop-the-bully-adbusters-editor-kalle-lasn-on-occupy-wall-street-the-israel-lobby-and-the-new-york-times.html

    ”Yeah. When I see Israel acting so arrogant and so tough—here’s one of the most powerful military forces in the world, they have nukes—and when I see them cordoning off Gaza the way they do and when they attack Gaza the way they did, it just fills me with rage because this is a powerful bully that is basically turning Gaza into kind of a turkey shoot. I really see it in this kind of very visceral way, like how could they possibly get away with doing this? For me, it’s almost a very black and white battle where, let’s stop arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, let’s just take sides and start fighting for the human rights and the other rights that the Palestinians should have, and let’s not allow the bully to always win. I mean, it’s time to stop the bully.

    So defending yourself against anti-Semitism is really a game, and I played that game for the first few months, and years after that article came out, I always lost. So I’ve decided I’m not going to play that game anymore. I would like to now go on the offensive, and I would like to talk about AIPAC, and I’d like to talk about the New York Times and Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner and David Brooks, and I’d like to, above all, start popping these three bubbles.”

    Play Offence –Dont Play Defense.
    Go after the bullies and their mouthpieces and put them in the hot seat.
    Dont play their game and Dont apologize for the f–king truth.

  10. American
    American
    July 19, 2014, 3:10 pm

    ” former Congressman Barney Frank bridled, defending Israel. He then said the two others were ganging up on him. I’ve never seen Frank so on the defensive in his support for Israel.”

    GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!

    Remember this?

    ”It’s time to stop the bully’: Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn on Occupy Wall Street, the Israel lobby and the New York Times”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/11/it%E2%80%99s-time-to-stop-the-bully-adbusters-editor-kalle-lasn-on-occupy-wall-street-the-israel-lobby-and-the-new-york-times.html

    kalle lasn…

    ”Yeah. When I see Israel acting so arrogant and so tough—here’s one of the most powerful military forces in the world, they have nukes—and when I see them cordoning off Gaza the way they do and when they attack Gaza the way they did, it just fills me with rage because this is a powerful bully that is basically turning Gaza into kind of a turkey shoot. I really see it in this kind of very visceral way, like how could they possibly get away with doing this? For me, it’s almost a very black and white battle where, let’s stop arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, let’s just take sides and start fighting for the human rights and the other rights that the Palestinians should have, and let’s not allow the bully to always win. I mean, it’s time to stop the bully.

    So defending yourself against anti-Semitism is really a game, and I played that game for the first few months, and years after that article came out, I always lost. So I’ve decided I’m not going to play that game anymore. I would like to now go on the offensive, and I would like to talk about AIPAC, and I’d like to talk about the New York Times and Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner and David Brooks, and I’d like to, above all, start popping these three bubbles.”

    Play Offence –Dont Play Defense.
    Go after the bullies and their mouthpieces and put them in the hot seat.
    Dont play their game and Dont apologize.
    Just tell the f–king truth about Israel..and them.

  11. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    July 19, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Here’s a better answer than what the speaker said:
    “Sure, a country has a right to defend itself. However ideally it should look to peaceful ways to resolve conflicts, and should it take the road of war, it must be defensive only.

    The conflict is sparked to a large degree because of the brutality to which Palestinian have been exposed. They are reacting against it when they voted for Hamas. Historically Palestinians have been the more moderate of Muslims, so it’s the way they have been treated that explains their vote. The Israelis should look to address the human needs of Gazans and their rights, and sought a cease fire in international forums to avoid fighting. Only then when it’s a last resort can they attack, and even then it can only be military targets, not kids playing on beaches and UN supervised hospitals.”

    The speaker only got the first sentence of that reply right and the very last part right about military targets.

  12. American
    American
    July 19, 2014, 3:59 pm

    Excellent Greenwald—

    Glenn Greenwald: Why Did NBC Pull Veteran Reporter After He Witnessed Israeli Killing of Gaza Kids? | Democracy Now! – http://www.democracynow.org/2014

    “GLENN GREENWALD: Interestingly, you know, from working in the last several years in media, I’ve gotten to know a lot of journalists. I’ve gotten to understand a lot more about how these large media outlets function. I’ve worked with some of them over the last year in the reporting I’ve done. And it really is remarkable, and not hyperbole, that there is nothing that makes major media figures and news executives more petrified than reporting on Israel. I mean, the way in which they become so frightened to do any sort of reporting that could make what they call Israel’s supporters inside the United States angry really can’t be overstated.”

    “And that’s the reason why this ABC, quote-unquote, “error” resonated so greatly, is because one of the things that you almost never see in major American media reporting is anything that shows the suffering of the Palestinians, that shows the brutal savagery of the Israeli military inside of Gaza. It was almost like they showed it by accident there and then just misreported it as being Israeli suffering because that’s what they’re so accustomed to showing, even though Israeli suffering is so much less than the havoc that is wreaked on the Palestinians.”

    “But the one thing I will say that I think is actually encouraging is this is one case where social media really does make a difference. You have now Gazans inside of the worst attack zones that are able to go onto Twitter, that are able to go onto Facebook, that are able to upload video imagery, that are able to be heard in their own voices. And you have lots of pushback on social media, as well, toward media outlets and their unbelievably just grotesque pro-Israel bias, in a way that I think has really kind of improved the coverage this time, so that we are now seeing more of the reality of Israeli militarism and aggression. And they’re not being able to get away with calling every victim a Hamas terrorist or a Hamas supporter or a human shield, because social media enables the stark reality of what the Israelis are doing to be seen. It’s just part of the overall trend where major media outlets are losing their monopoly on how we understand the world, but it is still the case that nothing puts fear into the heart of American journalists—and American politicians—like the word “Israel.” It’s really remarkable to watch.”

    “American media officials are incredibly subservient to American political officials. That’s been—you know, American media figures are. But when it comes to Israeli political officials, it’s virtually cringe-inducing to watch how accommodating and deferential and submissive they become. And it really is true that American media outlets play a very similar role when it comes to Israeli military operations as they played in the run-up to the Iraq War, which is that they give constant anonymity to any Israeli military or political official who request it, they launder those claims without the slightest bit of skepticism expressed, and there’s never or virtually never the other side presented, which is the views of the people living in those areas that are attacked by Israeli aggression, or the politicians or the military officials who are in Gaza or who are in the West Bank. It’s incredibly one-sided, it’s propagandistic, and it really is deliberate. I mean, it’s so overwhelming and extreme in terms of how one-sided they are. They barely pretend even to be even-handed in their coverage.”

    “And, you know, you’ve seen—I mean, I think one of the most amazing things was, the producer, the longtime producer at CNN, Octavia Nasr, she was there for 20 years, a completely competent, well-liked employee, never had any kind of disciplinary problems. A Shia imam in Lebanon, who had links to Hezbollah, died. He was beloved by millions and millions of Shia around the world. She went on Twitter and very innocuously just expressed condolences, and she was instantly fired.”

    “And this has happened over and over, where major media figures have been stigmatized or lost their jobs or had their careers destroyed for the slightest amount of deviation from pro-Israel orthodoxies. And those lessons have been really well learned, just in the same way that American members of Congress are petrified of uttering a peep of criticism of Israel, which is why you see pro-Israel resolutions unanimously passing in the U.S. Congress, even as public opinion is sharply divided around the world or even against the Israelis. I mean, the evidence is just so conclusive, so clear, about all kinds of pressure and intimidation that are put on American media and political figures, such that we have less of an ability in the United States to debate Israel policy than they even do in Israel.”

  13. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    July 19, 2014, 4:32 pm

    All you have to do is hear Barney Frank saying “Khamas Khamas Khamas” to know where he’s getting his so-called “information” from…

    • chinese box
      chinese box
      July 19, 2014, 4:46 pm

      @Helena

      LOL. I thought I heard him pronounce it “Khamas” in the video but I wasn’t sure…

      I remember hearing for years about how smart he was, one of the smartest members in congress. And yet he comes across as a brainwashed tool in this video.

  14. seafoid
    seafoid
    July 19, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Frank was one of the better US pols when it came to the financial crisis but on Israel he is hopelessly tribal and partisan. The answer to “what should israel do” is “behave honourably”. Instead they have Regev defending war crimes.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 19, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Regev was kissed on Fox News, but in England TV and Irish TV, and on Al Jeezra America, the truth was told. This was off set by Bill Maher’s latest episode, which was a Zionist circle jerk–it was embarrassing and ended with the claim Congress is not ruled by AIPAC, but Congress just represents the American people, who overwhelmingly support Israel. Not one mention of the nature of the five corporations who own and/or control 90% of all US mainstream news.

  15. MRW
    MRW
    July 19, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Frank comes across as a pompous fool,and a partisan flak. Thank god he’s out of office. He’s no better than his sister when it comes to this topic.

  16. Pat Kittle
    Pat Kittle
    July 19, 2014, 7:47 pm

    Poor Barney Frank & his Israel lobby…

    …they just don’t get their fair share of media access.

    Oy vey!

  17. Pat Kittle
    Pat Kittle
    July 19, 2014, 11:43 pm

    Few here don’t already know MSNBC is another Zionist front, and here we have Exhibit A for limiting the scope of a debate!

    When this tempest in teaspoon blew over we realize the whole stink was about whether the proper number of civilians are being killed & wounded.

  18. Marnie
    Marnie
    July 20, 2014, 12:25 am

    Frank sounds like the southerner who, standing on the porch of his plantation with one of many sharecroppers, tells a report that “We didn’t have no trouble down he’yah until all y’all northren agitators came down to our peaceful town to stir up trouble. Our negroes are happy and content, aren’t they boy?” Because he already knows the outcome and fears for the lives of his children, this poor man will nod and say yessuh. Mr. Frank talks about the West Bank like it’s Malibu. How much he is being paid (or blackmailed?) to keep telling the lie?

  19. chris o
    chris o
    July 21, 2014, 2:27 am

    Barney Frank, apparently spending all of his time complaining how he is not getting any time. Say something substantive, fool!

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