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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 1, ducks question on Gaza, 2, plans trip to Israel, and 3–

on 26 Comments

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

Liberal Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential-maybe, is going to Israel. Matt Viser at the Boston Globe says she needs to pad our her skimpy foreign policy brief:

A Warren aide said the freshman senator is planning to join a congressional trip to Israel, but given her aggressive schedule campaigning on behalf of Senate Democrats it likely will come after the midterm elections in November.

That trip could raise speculation that Warren is trying to add to her foreign policy portfolio ahead of a potential presidential run, but it also could be seen as her playing catch up to other freshman senators who have already traveled abroad.

Here is a defining moment: Senator Warren running away, at Netroots on July 18, when a reporter asked her about the Gaza slaughter.

This goes in the same file as Hillary Clinton throwing Obama under the bus on his Israel policy and Andrew Cuomo standing there like a potted plant with Netanyahu yesterday and Rand Paul throwing his old self under the bus on his former criticisms of Israel. I believe that it’s about money, pure and simple, campaign contributions. The perspicacious Tom Friedman explains the Israel lobby’s efficacy:

if you and I were running from the same district, and I have AIPAC’s stamp of the approval and you don’t, I will maybe have to make three phone calls and I can raise my whole– I’m exaggerating but I don’t have to make many phone calls to get all the money I need to run against you. You will have to make 50,000 phone calls. So that pulled the whole spectrum to the right

P.S. Steve Israel just went to Israel, too. Since he got back, he’s been working the phones, trashing Hamas, and going round to the Jewish Federations, the pro-Israel group. Again, I believe this is about money. He’s the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He has to raise a lot of money in that job. And as Willie Sutton said…

Philip Weiss

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

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26 Responses

  1. Scott on August 14, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Here’s Zephyr Teachout doing a similar wimpout. Fred Dicker of the Post was giving her the opportunity to criticize Andrew Cuomo’s blatant pandering, and she refused to take the bait. (The right wing Dicker is probably pro-Likud, but also a good journalist with a taste for a good controversy).

    • philweiss on August 14, 2014, 2:17 pm

      Yes and here’s Ned Lamont of CT visiting Gaza — after he’s outgrown his Senate ambitions. Maybe such outreach is in Teachout’s future.

      • lysias on August 14, 2014, 2:51 pm

        The powers that be sure made sure that Lieberman beat Lamont in the general election in 2008, after Lamont won the primary. And then Obama made sure Lieberman (Obama’s mentor when Obama took his Senate seat) kept his seniority with respect to committee assignments, so that he even kept a committee chairmanship, so that Lieberman could do the dirty work Obama wanted (like blocking single payer in the health bill), and take the blame for it. Plausible deniability.

      • just on August 14, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Maybe we should start a petition to get Lamont back into the fray…

  2. Reds on August 14, 2014, 1:08 pm

    I got zero response from her office in regards to anything on Israel but get weekly emails from her staff requesting aid,support or money.

    Funny how that works.

  3. MHughes976 on August 14, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Well, I suppose ‘No comment’ is better than ‘No daylight between me and Netanyahu’, though it’s still a bit depressing. A considerable section of public opinion in the United States seems, on the poll evidence, not to be lapping up the Israeli story uncritically but things will hardly progress until someone with some prominence and a voice that is listened to is prepared to give a lead. I suppose that they know that if they do this early their nascent careers will be snuffed out and that if they think of doing it later they find that they’re too committed to draw back without looking dishonest for what they said before.

    • jenin on August 14, 2014, 3:52 pm

      the problem is, as I see it, that ultimately what the public in this country thinks or wants doesn’t really matter, on this or any other issue. politicians simply cater to the lobbies, those with the money that are funding them, whether it’s the NRA or the Israel lobby. Thus, even if the American public in large part comes around, political support for Israel won’t wane until either A) money is out of politics (unlikely with the recent SC decisions) or B) a lobby rivaling the monetary power of the Israel lobby exists (also unlikely). I hope I’m wrong about this and that I’m missing alternatives, but unfortunately don’t see any other possibilities in this country.

      • MHughes976 on August 15, 2014, 6:16 am

        We have advanced in the last decade from a situation where the cause of justice in Palestine was negligible in the West – the Generous Offer story had full run, there was no other – to a situation where our lot are at least noticeable. The responses of the Zionist media representatives, with their offended tone, are sufficient indication of this. It must be said that enormous credit goes to a courageous handful of Jewish journalists and academics, not least Phil Weiss, for this change. What we need now are political people. Even one or two could create a body of opinion – those people who say something like the right thing in opinion polls must, at least quite a few of them must, be ready for joining in that opinion – that would move us from being noticeable to being significant. At that point the thing that has hitherto been our only advantage, that we’re in the right, would become something very strong, and could not be negated by (if that’s the word) machine politics with its loud reiteration of the same talking points. Loud talking points aren’t the same once they’re being loudly answered.
        Of course the personal attacks on anyone who tried to take a political lead on our side would be of the most incredible intensity. Anyone might quail.

      • michelle on August 15, 2014, 3:53 pm

        don’t the people who face off against Israel or the Israel agenda die
        isn’t the American government (via tax dollars) funding the Israel Lobby(s)
        billions to Israel each year
        how much is given to the other lobbys by the government
        G-d Bless

  4. Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Money is part of it, but equally important is the awareness that (especially for someone who isn’t Jewish) any sign of being less than full-out, no-questions-asked, pro-Israel will incur the eternal wrath of countless pundits, network executives, and other opinion shapers.

    • Stern Gang on August 15, 2014, 2:01 pm

      Chomsky, one of the smartest men on the planet, framed it very succinctly: The US sanctions it and Europe tolerates it. Pro-Israel people debate that it is unfair and Israel is held to different standards. Well, simply put, they classify themselves in a highly edified, humanitarian, progressive, democratic, stratosphere. They are part of western civilization. This makes their actions more immediate whereas conflicts in other parts of the world don’t have the same “impact” (and I am not condoning them). Hence, given their impressive and recurring tendencies they are going to get hammered internationally. America’s global policies are more reprehensible than any other country. They meddle in eveyone’s business and are the most aggressive nation. Their Middle East policies are put forth with the notion that the war is in a permanent state. When their three goals are economic, strategic and military gain that is a poisonous cocktail that they have proven has not limitations. Orwell is smiling.

  5. Jon66 on August 14, 2014, 4:23 pm

    No one here seems to entertain the possibility that intelligent well-meaning people could look at all of the facts and arrive at a difference of opinion. Let us imagine for a moment that these politicians have examined the situation in the ME and agree with the Israeli position predominantly. Is that a possibility? Have you found in life that every time someone disagrees with you that they are mentally ill or controlled by outside nefarious sources? The latest polls show higher support for Israel in those Americans with more education and more life experience.

    • just on August 14, 2014, 4:33 pm

      No, it’s not a possibility! If they do, they are addicted to Ziocaine.

      “The latest polls show higher support for Israel in those Americans with more education and more life experience.”

      har-har-har! Please provide evidence.

      • Jon66 on August 14, 2014, 4:57 pm

        I guess I travel in broader circles. I have often met people I disagree with whose opinions are valid. As to “Ziocaine” , I consider myself well versed in the medical literature and have not come across it. Is it possible it’s a misspelling of another word? For example, sometimes patients will say “flea bites” when they mean “phlebitis”.

        As to the evidence.

        This is the same poll that was featured in an article in MW about three weeks ago.

      • Abierno on August 14, 2014, 6:43 pm

        That poll doesn’t exactly say what you imply it says (also has some statistical problems as well) A repost of a former comment:

        @Donald. You are absolutely correct. Most people have forgotten that Gallup is the group that predicted a Romney win in the 2012 election. Nate Silver statistics these are not. The sample size is very small – 1016 people, representing 50 states and DC – about 20 per state. The stratification into age and education groups, if equal (no numbers of group size given) are approximately 250 per group, again stretched across 50 states. You have approximately a consistent 20% of those surveyed stating, “No opinion” this is a high percentage for such a small sample. Trending in this data should be worrisome to Israel given the changing voting demographics in this country – women, nonwhites, individuals under 50 appear to find Israel’s actions unjustified. Both independents and Democrats find Israel’s actions unjustified by substantial percentage points. Again, group size is omitted. While this wobbly data may not translate into support for Gaza and Palestine, the trend would suggest that there are substantial subsections of the US demographic wherein Israel’s “brand” is problematic. It would also suggest that those subsections represent demographic patterns which constitute a substantial part of the electorate.

        Finally, without group size numbers the educational statistics cannot be interpreted with any degree of validity. With reference to post graduate, it would be important to note that Unjustified and No opinion constitute 47% of the responses as compared to 53 % seeing it justified – This could not be expected to produce a strong correlation.

      • just on August 14, 2014, 7:00 pm

        Thanks Abierno!

      • Jon66 on August 14, 2014, 7:24 pm

        And yet it is the best we have.

    • Shingo on August 14, 2014, 5:29 pm

      Let us imagine for a moment that these politicians have examined the situation in the ME and agree with the Israeli position predominantly. Is that a possibility?

      No not possible. Because the only way to agree with the Israeli position predominantly is by ignoring the evidence or being ideologically blinded to it.

      The latest polls show higher support for Israel in those Americans with more education and more life experience.

      In other words, people over 65. That would include a lot of senile and those suffering dementia right?

      • Jon66 on August 14, 2014, 7:23 pm

        I think that is an unreasonable and closed minded position.

    • Another Steve on August 14, 2014, 7:46 pm

      “higher support for Israel in those Americans with more education”

      In other words, support for Israel is an elitist opinion. Education level is a proxy for race. In the US, those elites tend to be white, and are therefore less likely to find fault with a state whose foundation is white racism. People of color, not so much.

      • Jon66 on August 14, 2014, 11:10 pm

        Education level also correlates with acceptance of evolution, global warming, and other theories. Are these also racist? Might one option be that as people acquire more knowledge they become less Manichean, more able to comprehend the complexity of issues, and less willing to dismiss the possibility that others may have validity in their stance. Ask yourself, if the poll results were opposite and showed opposition to Israel, would you dismiss it as elitist?

      • michelle on August 15, 2014, 4:18 pm

        to better access/validate the poll results
        there should be more questions’
        like what is your main source for news
        how closely do you follow world news
        how often do you use the internet as a news source
        and so on and so forth
        otherwise the poll stats are much too vague
        unless it is to mark a path for sheep
        G-d Bless

      • Stern Gang on August 15, 2014, 8:42 pm


        How does one gain objective, impatial, transparent information? Are you taking into account the emotion based variable with this equation? Your theory is suspect, but more importantly arrogant and presumptuous. Being a member of the downtrodden, I apologize for being so ignorant.

    • Stern Gang on August 15, 2014, 4:32 pm

      Could you please expand? Particularly around the education and life experience piece. Which “facts” would you say that people disagree about? Are you talking numbers, events, or who did what, when and why, type of facts? As for your comment on disagreeing, if one is outwardly critical of Israel; how are they labeled?

  6. ckg on August 14, 2014, 6:01 pm

    If she’s going to market herself as the un-Clinton, I think she needs to come clean on foreign policy. The dailykos faction of the party may be enthralled with her, but the firedoglake faction doesn’t want a Clinton clone.

  7. Qualtrough on August 14, 2014, 10:40 pm

    Like Obama, she’s a huge disappointment.

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