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Ohio treasurer fights divestment from the ‘beacon of American values’ in the Middle East

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More fallout from the Ohio University “blood bucket” challenge, in which student senate president Megan Marzec, a strong supporter of Palestinian human rights, dumped a bucket of fake blood over her head and called for divestment from Israel, causing outrage among Israel supporters.

A week ago, Ohio University student senate treasurer Carter Phillips resigned, blasting the “environment” of the student senate. It’s given to “dogma.” What did it for him was the September 10 meeting at which supporters of Israel refused to end a filibuster and were ultimately arrested. Phillips:

It becomes our turn to listen to our constituency, and what do we do? We disrupt them when they’re speaking; we chant when they sit down, and we have them arrested for speaking out All legitimacy we had as the student government of this university went out the door in handcuffs last Wednesday. This is no longer a government, it is a circus. and it breaks my heart to see an organization that has the ability to help every student on campus destroy itself.

Well, Phillips has gotten back up from a prominent Ohio politicians, state treasurer Josh Mandel, who is now running for reelection and writes a letter to the Post, the student newspaper of Ohio University, applauding Phillips for taking a stand against radical Islam on campus:

And to the small group of students and faculty at OU who are so out of touch with most Americans that they actually side with radical Islamic groups like Hamas over democratic allies like Israel, my message is clear:

Not only do I reject your call for divestment from Israel, but to the contrary, I proudly stand by the millions of dollars that Democratic and Republican Ohio Treasurers have invested in Israel Bonds over the past decade — including the $105 million in the current Ohio Treasury portfolio.
Israel Bonds have not only been a strong investment for Ohio taxpayers, but these investments also send the message that as American policy leaders, we recognize Israel as our friend, ally and beacon of American values in the Middle East.
For instance, in many locations in the Middle East, equal rights and democracy are not the standard. However, in Israel, women are treated equal to men, democracy is embraced and celebrated like in America, and the justice system operates with the same independence and rule-of-law that we cherish here in the United States.
In Israel, Arab citizens are protected, do not have to fear for human rights aggressions, and can live in a society that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and beliefs. Moreover, Arab families in Israel have one of the highest standards of living in the entire Middle East…
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that values the same level of freedom of speech and freedom of religion that we hold dear in America. As Dwight Eisenhower said in 1952 and still holds true today, “Israel is democracy’s outpost in the Middle East.”
As a proud American and a father, I want my daughter to grow up in a country that continues to cherish our First Amendment rights and that inspires the next generation to stand up for those rights when they are being trampled. Last week in Athens, Ohio, Carter Phillips did just that.

Megan Marzec never endorsed Hamas. She said that Israel’s slaughter in Gaza demonstrates the importance of schools in the U.S. divesting from Israel.

Demagoguing in support of Israel comes naturally to Josh Mandel. He ran for Senate in Ohio in 2012 and got crushed by Sherrod Brown, and at the time said that J Street, which supported Brown, was a pro-Palestinian organization, and that Obama had “lost the faith of Jewish Democrats.” Per Wikipedia, Mandel used Islamophobia to defeat an opponent for the state treasurer’s job in 2011, by implying that the man was a Muslim when he was not.

Mandel got married in Jerusalem in 2008:

the bride and groom insist the result was well worth the 11-month effort. Ilana says the country is “a special place” for both of them — she lived there for a time, and Josh has visited twice. The catering-hall patio where they were married proved to be a truly spectacular location. “The sun was setting in the Old City behind us,” says Josh, a 30-year-old former Marine, whose contribution to the wedding was arranging for Marines from the U.S. Embassy to perform a sword ceremony after they said, “I do.”

Philip Weiss

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

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30 Responses

  1. seafoid on September 25, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Mandel is a type of nut in German, of course.

    And the sword at the wedding- a pity he didn’t fall on it.

    • marc b. on September 25, 2014, 5:15 pm

      I believe it’s the word for tonsil too. this one’s a bit inflamed.

  2. just on September 25, 2014, 5:04 pm


    reminds me of a younger version of Eric $$$ Cantor.

  3. michelle on September 25, 2014, 5:57 pm

    Israel is a like fairy tale
    at first it sounds wonderful
    but sooner or later reality
    seeps out and the pretend is spoiled
    G-d Bless

    • Chu on September 25, 2014, 10:37 pm

      a dystopia. the rubber never met the road in this case.

  4. Krauss on September 25, 2014, 7:27 pm

    The only thing that surprised me was that he chose to do his army service in the U.S., and not in Israel, otherwise he would have fit the profile perfectly.

    But don’t worry, aliyah is probably just around the corner. Of course, what holds him back is likely money. I think his current job gets him good money, can he get that kind of cash if he moves? I doubt it.

  5. ckg on September 25, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Mandel says in Israel women are treated “equal to men”. I am reminded of article from this afternoon’s Telegraph:

    An El-Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv was turned into an “11-hour nightmare” after hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women.
    According to those on board the flight descended into chaos because of their demands.

    One passenger described the entire experience as an 11-hour nightmare.

    • Mooser on September 26, 2014, 1:13 pm

      “after hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women.”

      I shouldn’t wonder! The Talroh, the Mishmosh, and several other pachysandra go into excruciating detail concerning girl cooties. It’s enough to convince you that sex is never safe.

      • Pixel on October 4, 2014, 7:03 pm


  6. Jeff Klein on September 25, 2014, 7:55 pm

    Of course, Mandel isn’t against Divestment in general. As a state rep he pushed for an Ohio bill to drop all state pension fund stock holdings in companies which did business in Iran as part an “anti-terror investment bill.”

    Documents and correspondence released by their offices show that Mandel and Jones… were aided by an array of outside groups and individuals, including Israeli and Jewish lobbyists, hawkish research groups and a growing cadre of money managers who profit from shifting money from “tainted” companies. Those groups have successfully lobbied 10 other states to divest their pension holdings in companies that invest in hostile countries. And yet another 20 or so states are considering doing so.

    This was part of a national campaign cooked up by Benjamin Netanyahu and Mitt Romney, as I reported in Mondoweiss in 2012:

  7. American on September 25, 2014, 8:46 pm

    Nothing insults me more than people like Mandel calling themselves Americans…wrapping themselves in the flag while undermining the US.
    Pretend patriotism–last refuge of scoundrels

  8. JLewisDickerson on September 25, 2014, 10:37 pm

    Josh Mandel has the really creepy “cheerful” look I associate with the fundies.

  9. David Doppler on September 26, 2014, 12:50 am

    On the broader topic of media treatment of the issues covered here, John Oliver’s latest last week tonight episode is 1) a hilarious routine on the Miss America pageant, 2) an excellent example of the fading art of investigative journalism, by which they put the lie to the pageant’s claim that they are the largest provider of scholarships for women ($45M, NOT) , and 3) a segment on the questions asked of competitors, a whole series of which seem to have been from the war on terror playbook. It’s even hilarious in what it leaves out, the obvious question of why it is the contestant from New York has now won three years in a row, a subject addressed on multiple other sites as demonstrating obvious rigging, complete with a follow-up scandal in which it appears the winner was thrown out of her sorority for excessive hazing at Hofstra, and the pageant was well aware of this issue. Oliver is very smart, and very funny, and, by obviously not touching the question of who’s manipulating the pageant, while skewering them in three dimensions, shows how “over” the existing media power structure is. Some of them just don’t know it yet.

  10. Talkback on September 26, 2014, 1:57 am

    More about Joshua Mandel in Wikipedia:

    “Mandel was a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at The Ohio State University.[55] In 2008, he attended the 2008 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C, where he gave an address, and was quoted as saying “It was inspiring, the young people so motivated and gung ho about strengthening the Israel-United States relationship… Israel is our best friend and ally in the Middle East and it’s important that we maintain a strong and lasting relationship with them.”[55]

    At this conference, Mandel stated Iran was a threat, and discussed his divestment initiatives as a legislator in Ohio.[56]

    In February 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli government issued a statement thanking Mandel for his support of the operation.[57]”

  11. eljay on September 26, 2014, 6:39 am

    >> … we recognize Israel as our friend, ally and beacon of American values in the Middle East.

    Are Americans aware that their values include terrorism, ethnic cleansing, oppression, land theft, colonialism, torture, and Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”?

  12. Dan Crowther on September 26, 2014, 6:46 am


  13. Kay24 on September 26, 2014, 7:32 am

    “we recognize Israel as our friend, ally and beacon of American values in the Middle East.”

    Typical hasbara words we see ad nauseam on websites.

    Question for Mandel – if Israel is such a precious friend and ally, why isn’t one of the most powerful military nations in the world, and the recipient of top American aid and weapons, joining the rest of the Middle Eastern countries, and helping the US fight ISIL?
    Why has Israel NEVER sent their troops to fight with the rest of the world in Afghanistan and Iraq?
    Beacon of American values? Bullshet.

    Mandel and his bride should just move over to zio land they truly belong there.

    • oldgeezer on September 26, 2014, 9:48 am

      I can’t recall the exact wording of the statement I frequently but it goes something like, Israel is the front line of defense for western democracies against Islamic terrorism.

      Yet, somehow, it never seems to be involved in either the fighting or funding of such efforts. Odd that.

      • seafoid on September 26, 2014, 10:05 am

        Most peculiar, isn’t it?

      • Kay24 on September 26, 2014, 12:32 pm

        They do sometimes brag about logistical help, but really they seem to be afraid of facing Islamic extremist and don’t want any of God’s chosen to be killed or physically risk life or limb helping their ONLY protector. Attacking those under occupation? Now that is a breeze, especially when it is unarmed women and children. Shame we send our tax money to these ingrates, but cannot depend on them to fight with us.

    • Rusty Pipes on September 26, 2014, 1:26 pm

      Israel may be our BFF, but is not technically our ally — because we havent signed treaties with Israel, because Israel has not defined its borders.

      Also, this is a distrubing trend in many States of buying Israel bonds. The legality of investing American public money in the state bonds of a foreign country should be challenged.

      • Rusty Pipes on September 26, 2014, 1:27 pm

        [sic] disturbing.

      • Kay24 on September 26, 2014, 1:54 pm

        Before that the power of alien nations over our congress, the buying of elections by alien nations who contribute to candidates, and alien nations having the power to write our foreign policies should be challenged. We have to blame our spineless leaders who continue to be controlled by alien nations, and do their bidding.
        The rest will be easy.

  14. seafoid on September 26, 2014, 10:05 am

    Israel is a beacon of the worst American values- colonialism, plutocracy, militarism, short sightedness, manifest destiny and ignorance.

    Thankfully Americans have moved on. Zionism continues to move backwards.

  15. jahan on September 26, 2014, 12:52 pm

    A recent column in a community newspaper on Josh follows:

    Congrats, to Josh Mandel for further instilling the AIPAC’er ideology in Ohio government. Now, Ohio municipal and school administrators will quit complaining about the cessation of state funding. The cessation of local funding has created surpluses in the Ohio treasury. Consequently, Josh Mandel has increased transfers of Ohio money to Israel. The 2013 transfers amount to $26,000,000; the 2014 transfers exceed $48,000,000. Ohio holds $109,000,000 of Israeli bonds which have a significant default risk. Ohio administrators should now be placated, with the knowledge that their lost revenue has gone to Israel, our allied ethnocracy.

    In an August 8th Washington Times advertisement for Israeli bonds, Josh Mandel adroitly explains why Ohio is holding the $109,000,000 of Israeli bonds. Cynics may question why Josh is promoting investment in Israel, instead of investment in Ohio. For Josh, that question is unfair, since it goes to the essence of his AIPAC ideology.

    Mandel’s decision to benefit Israel instead of Ohio, was a knee jerk decision. To benefit Israel overshadows all other considerations. Josh is unable to consider– that Investing $109,000,000 of Ohio’s money, in Ohio, would grow Ohio’s economy.

    In the Washington Times ad, Mandel boasts that Ohio holds more Israeli bonds than any other state, that the bonds are earning a comparable interest rate and that it is good for Ohio. The Israeli bonds do generate income; for example, it is about 1/5th of the dividend rate of P&G. Plus P&G stock appreciates in value; the bonds do not appreciate. There is no market for the bonds. The bonds cannot be redeemed. AIPAC is entrenched in Ohio, these Israeli bonds will be rolled-over, time and again. The bond purchases will increase.

    Israeli bonds may have AAA ratings, but keep in mind that the rating firms were wrong before. Iceland and Ireland central banks tanked because of the AAA ratings of mortgage backed securities.

    Mandel and his AIPAC cohorts believe that Israeli full faith & credit will prevent default. Yet, in contradiction, their hasbara asserts that Israel is a small country surrounded by enemies that are committed to the destruction of the Jewish state, and that nukes may be traded with Iran (not at the table, of course, but in the skies). Assuming the contradiction is even partially true, it is clear that Israeli bonds carry a significant default risk.

    But if there is peace, does the default risk diminish? Not really. American and universal principles require that compensation be paid for Arab real estate, factories, and businesses that were expropriated, or that the properties be returned. Payment of compensation has been a part of comprehensive peace plans. The resultant liability could easily exceed the sum of Israeli assets. The repayment would take priority. In such harsh times, plausibly a rabbinical ruling could issue, that God’s will is to not repay the bonds. Or Ohio may simply forgive the $109,000,000 bond liability.

    In conclusion Ohio’s $109,000,000 Israeli bond holding will continue to increase, will earn token interest, and the principal will never be repaid. If your loyalties lie with Ohio, write your state representative urging a repeal of foreign bond buying authority, under Ohio Revised Code 135.143(A)(10).

  16. SQ Debris on September 26, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Mandel crows over lifting $105 million dollars out of Ohio taxpayer’s wallets to send to his country .. the country where he preferred to get married. The question he presents us with is, is he ignorant or a liar? It’s not like this is a purely ethnic issue. There are piles of money attached to maintaining the fraud necessary for Israel to continue to access the American wallet. Mandel has a track record as a liar, and from this article it seems he’s got his shoulder into bucking for Abe Foxman’s gig.

    • Kay24 on September 27, 2014, 8:24 am

      It is indeed a huge scam. Americans are being told by the media that Israel is THE victim, suffers from occupied people attacking it, and have to “defend” itself from unarmed civilians, while exaggerating the damage done by rockets that go astray. The dollars must keep going to dear long suffering Israel. The naive Americans keep buying the narrative. Mandel is one of the Israeli devotees, who mind and heart are over in zio land, while his body is here in the US, because he is trained to keep the scam going, and work for the cause. Israel’s American slaves do lie, and obey AIPAC’s commands. From Barbara Boxer to minions like Mandel, they all do the devil’s work at the expense of US tax payers and gullible Americans.

      Aren’t we supposed to be the land of the free?

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