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David Brooks’s romance of community

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Yesterday I listened to David Brook’s interview at the Aspen Ideas festival back on July 1 in which the New York Times columnist revealed that his son had entered the Israeli army. Friends had pointed out to me the audience’s reaction– some were evidently aghast. Interviewer Katie Couric looked gobsmacked.

“What is it like to be David Brooks’s kid?” someone asks from the audience at about 52:00. “We could call them,” Brooks quips, then says he’s enjoyed fatherhood more than anything else he’s done, and tells the ages of his children, three of them, “so far.”

Couric: What’s your 23-year-old doing?

Brooks: He’s joining the Israeli army, he’s in Israel.

There’s a sort of gasp from the audience. A couple of people make surprised harrumphing noises. Couric freezes, then says, “Really– well that must make you pretty nervous…”

Brooks, arms folded:

He believed in the cause and knew he needed one hard thing to complete his trip to full adulthood. And he was right, and I appreciated his wisdom about himself, and he’s one to do that and he believes in serving Israel.

As William McGowan points out here, there was no shortage of smart journalists at Aspen—not to mention Richard Haass of the CFR and Jane Harman of the Wilson Center —and none of them got this factrino into print till Haaretz broke the news in Hebrew in September, two months later. At which time we jumped all over it, averring that the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the public editor of the Times said that the son’s service is an “extreme” case and ought to have been disclosed by the Times.

But no one says anything about it coming out of Aspen.

McGowan thinks people were quiet because the non-Jewish members of the audience didn’t want to be accused of anti Semitism “for even sensing that Brooks’ disclosure had significance” and because a “kind of post patriotic, post national sensibility that regards questions of ‘allegiance to country’ as kind of quaint.” I see it as an emperor’s new clothes moment.We all know that dual loyalty is inherent in the idea of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation and the Israel lobby; well here it is before our eyes, and everyone is stunned then turns away. The blinding flash of the obvious, as Lawrence Wilkerson said of the Walt and Mearsheimer book. And let’s not forget, Brooks pushed the Iraq war.

I must say that Brooks is thoroughly charming in the interview: full of cracks and self-loathing, dwelling on how many people hate him and how easily their views affect his self-esteem, and doling out thoughtful parenting advice. But I was also struck by his romance about community. He runs down Washington, DC, where he lives, as a place where people ask “What do you do?” as the first question, as opposed to small towns where that question never comes up and people judge you by your character. He praises those small communities for their “moral ecology,” for valuing cohesion and stability over mobility and achievement. He makes snarky comments about Aspen and Vail. This small-town conservatism comes off as a bit cheap to me (who lives in one of those places). It’s clear that Brooks doesn’t want to live in one of these towns he praises. Because he values ambition too much. And as he acknowledges, he likes the Establishment. Which is why he disparages his late mentor William F. Buckley Jr. and Rand Paul as anti-Establishment figures, and praises Hillary Clinton to the skies. Brooks belittles the fact that he meets every six weeks with the president, along with other columnists, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. (I bet he whispered, Baghdad, to George W. Bush.)

As for Israel, Brooks seems to love its “moral ecology,” the Jewish part anyway. A day before the Aspen interview, the three Israeli teens had been discovered dead on the West Bank; and Brooks says that all of Israeli society, from West Bank settlers to Tel Aviv sophisticates (Jewish anyway), pulls together in a crisis. He obviously approves of his first son’s choice. Brooks once confessed himself “gooey-eyed” about Israel, which he has visited more than a dozen times.

Back in September a friend said that Israel was Brooks’s chief source of meaning. I see that in this interview. He’s self-loathing about ambition and achievement, the forces that have animated his life, seems to regard them as selfish and shallow. A lot of the jokes he told in Aspen were at the expense of his own work, but Israel seems to be his idea of a small town: a community in which he can locate his need for unity because it’s Jewish (unlike an American community with few Jews where he wouldn’t be able to plug in), the place where his son can grow up and do a hard thing (enforcing a colonial occupation, arresting children in their homes in the middle of the night).

I’ve always liked Brooks because he’s actually interested in meaning and he’s such a clear writer. He should drop the piety about Burke and little American towns and write more openly about Israel.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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64 Responses

  1. Donald on November 2, 2014, 12:13 pm

    David Brooks in a November 4 2003 column–several months before Abu Ghraib hit the news, though there were already stories about the US using torture–
    —————————————————————————-
    “No. Iraqification is a strategy for the long haul, but over the next six months, when progress must be made, this is our job. And the main challenge now is to preserve our national morale.

    The shooting down of the Chinook helicopter near Fallujah over the weekend was a shock to the body politic. The fact is, we Americans do not like staring into the face of evil. It is in our progressive and optimistic nature to believe that human beings are basically good, or at least rational. When we stare into a cave of horrors, whether it is in Somalia, Beirut or Tikrit, we see a tangled morass we don’t understand. Our instinct is to get out as quickly as possible.

    It’s not that we can’t accept casualties. History shows that Americans are willing to make sacrifices. The real doubts come when we see ourselves inflicting them. What will happen to the national mood when the news programs start broadcasting images of the brutal measures our own troops will have to adopt? Inevitably, there will be atrocities that will cause many good-hearted people to defect from the cause. They will be tempted to have us retreat into the paradise of our own innocence.

    Somehow, over the next six months, until the Iraqis are capable of their own defense, the Bush administration is going to have to remind us again and again that Iraq is the Battle of Midway in the war on terror, the crucial turning point where either we will crush the terrorists’ spirit or they will crush ours.

    The president will have to remind us that we live in a fallen world, that we have to take morally hazardous action if we are to defeat the killers who confront us. It is our responsibility to not walk away. It is our responsibility to recognize the dark realities of human nature, while still preserving our idealistic faith in a better Middle East.

    —————————————

    Much of what is contemptible about David Brooks is in this piece. He’s a “nice guy”–his whole career is based on being a nice guy. But he’s a nice guy to people like himself and he’s a flatterer–tells Americans we’re too good and innocent to be able to face evil. What planet does he live on? Only propagandists talk like this. (Samantha Power says the same thing in her overpraised genocide book). Then he approves of harsh measures the troops will “have” to adopt, and then tells us to steel ourselves against the atrocities that will result.

    Probably every society has people like this–they hang around the powerful, tell them how good they are, and urge them to be as brutal as they need to be. He never has to raise his voice, he’s always polite, wants everyone in his social class to like him, and cheers for war and its accompanying brutality in the nicest possible way.

    Also, this is probably one of the early appearances of the “Friedman Unit” in Iraq War cheerleading. I assume Tom F had already started talking about the crucial importance of the next six months in the Iraq War, unless of course, as sometimes happens, the cliche is named after the wrong person.

    • joemowrey on November 4, 2014, 12:57 pm

      Donald, thanks for pointing this out. As much as I admire Phil Weiss and appreciate the amazing work he does with this site, he still has a tendency to fawn over guys like Brooks.

      “I’ve always liked Brooks because he’s actually interested in meaning and he’s such a clear writer.”

      The only “meaning” Brooks is interested in is the meaning of his pay check. He’s a pandering yellow journalist (though one hates to use the word journalist in conduction with Brooks), at best. At worst, he’s a scheming propagandist. Why anyone would give him even a moments encouragement or suggest that he has any legitimacy at all is beyond me.

  2. Philip Munger on November 2, 2014, 12:59 pm

    What happens at Aspen stays at Aspen……?

    Brings to mind Scooter Libby’s cryptic poem to Judith Miller:

    It is fall now …
    Out West,
    where you vacation,
    the aspens will already be turning.

    They turn in clusters,
    because their roots connect them.

    • just on November 2, 2014, 1:10 pm

      memories……

      yeouch!

    • Boomer on November 3, 2014, 6:14 am

      Thanks. I think of Scooter’s wisdom often. I’m reminded when I see a photo or painting of golden aspens. They remind me of a time of “shock and awe,” a time when I lost some lingering childhood illusions about America. But my childhood was a long time ago; America was a different country then. Perhaps they were not all illusions then, even if some ideals were imperfectly realized.

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 10:15 am

        “But my childhood was a long time ago; America was a different country then. Perhaps they were not all illusions then, even if some ideals were imperfectly realized.”

        Gas, oil and food, not to mention house prices, were a lot cheaper.

  3. just on November 2, 2014, 1:09 pm

    “clear writer” or not, Brooks cheer- led this country into war and condoned torture.

    “He believed in the cause and knew he needed one hard thing to complete his trip to full adulthood. And he was right, and I appreciated his wisdom about himself, and he’s one to do that and he believes in serving Israel.”

    I am sorry, but any American parent that raises their American child to think that serving a foreign country/religion is the right path to “full adulthood” has more than a screw loose.

    • bilal a on November 2, 2014, 10:03 pm

      He described himself in Haaretz as an Israeli parent, not an American one. I hope he and his family find peace and happiness in their country, and leave mine alone.

  4. bilal a on November 2, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I dont get it, why doesnt his son join a Ranger or Marine battalion, isnt that a lot more courageous, where is the honor in being a prison guard of an occupation force ? Answer: Service in the US MIlitary is dishonorable in the Brooks crowd?

    not so for Bll Kristol’s son Joe who served in afghanistan
    photo
    http://www.advocatesforrotc.org/harvard/commissioning2009photo4.html

    yes for romneys: Whoopi Presses Ann Romney On Sons’ Lack Of Military Service
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/whoopi-presses-ann-romney-on-sons-lack-of-military-service-does-mormonism-not-allow-it/

  5. Marshall on November 2, 2014, 2:08 pm

    Goodness, they call us “self-hating??”

  6. Horizontal on November 2, 2014, 2:10 pm

    How many bad things in history have been done by “nice guys?” Systems can do great evil even though the individuals within those systems aren’t personally evil. Brooks to me represents our elite, inside-the-Beltway clan, whose values only extend as far as their own self-interests will allow. And if you ain’t in the club — though luck.

    This view doesn’t strike me as romantic in the least, although I understand the use you’re making of it here.

    I think the important thing is how no one attending this shindig thought this was news worthy, or perhaps was a conflict of interest for someone occupying such a high perch in the opinion formation business as Brooks obviously does. But, as I said, he’s in the club, and when you’re in the club, others in the same club are loath to point out things which are pretty damn obvious, otherwise.

    These American/Zionists are ruining us, and those that support & enable them are anything but nice.

  7. Kay24 on November 2, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Any journalist or media personnel, who has made it very clear that their loyalties are first with Israel, over his own country, and sends his kid to fight for that nation, should NOT give his opinion, nor write about the Middle East conflict, nor get involved in discussions about US foreign policies, for obvious bias. In my book, they have lost credibility, and should stop being given the opportunities to spew propaganda for an alien nation.

    • gracie fr on November 3, 2014, 2:12 pm

      But underlying this debate is a profoundly painful process that many liberal Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, are undergoing: They feel like let-down lovers. They wonder, what place can they give in their emotional lives and their identity to an Israel that does not correspond to their core values of universal human rights? Can they remain attached to a country that violates these principles, primarily through an occupation that has now lasted for two-thirds of Israel’s history?

      http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/strenger-than-fiction/.premium-1.612716

      • peeesss on November 4, 2014, 1:56 am

        But underlying this debate is a profoundly painful process that many liberal Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, are undergoing: They feel like let-down lovers. They wonder, what place can they give in their emotional lives and their identity to an Israel that does not correspond to their core values of universal human rights? Can they remain attached to a country that violates these principles, primarily through an occupation that has now lasted for two-thirds of Israel’s history?
        So the violation of “their core values of Universal Human Rights” only began in 1967 , not in 1947-48 when the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian people began . Throughout the entire history of the State of Israel an ethical humane person would find it hard to believe that “core values of Universal Human Rights” was ever in the mind of the leaders and decision makers of this Zionist State.

  8. MichaelSmith on November 2, 2014, 4:04 pm

    “I’ve always liked Brooks because he’s actually interested in meaning and he’s such a clear writer.”

    I’m not sure I agree with your assessment, but it’s hard not to have at least a small soft spot for somebody who manages to be so hated and despised by both the right and the left.

    Without ever expecting very much from Brooks, it can be fun to see just how much he sets some people’s teeth on edge.

    • Donald on November 2, 2014, 11:34 pm

      “I’m not sure I agree with your assessment, but it’s hard not to have at least a small soft spot for somebody who manages to be so hated and despised by both the right and the left. ”

      That’s a soft spot in your thinking. I suppose Brooks is hated by some on the far right because he liked the establishment Republicans who used to be able to keep the crazier people to their right in line. To some degree I agree with him on this–the Republicans have gotten increasingly nutty and he is aware of the fact.

      He’s hated by the left, or some of it, because he’s a warmonger and also sides with the 1 percent on domestic issues most of the time.

      But having a soft spot for someone because they anger both sides is silly, unless you happen to have specific ideas in mind where you think Brooks is right and his critics on both sides are wrong.

      • annie on November 2, 2014, 11:54 pm

        donald, regarding all the left right stuff reminded me of something brooks said in the interview about friedman (paraphrasing) they agree on most things but friedman is coming from the left and he was coming at it from the right. and it really crystalized what it is about the both of them that irks me so much (and i am not an expert on either of them albeit friedman pisses me more off in print and brooks more as as a pundit- because i rarely read brooks). when brooks said that i thought how interesting the times would have two “middle men” holding up the status quo (or creating/molding an america status quo) who essentially are in the same place only one as a ‘liberal’ and another as a ‘conservation’. both of course establishment zionists when it comes to israel.

        i found the interview interesting, brooks is personable..etc. but as a pundit he’s completely milk toast boring and predictable. i have not watched him in awhile, it’s been years since i watched the sunday morning talk shows or npr or wherever it was i would watch him. at least w/bill kristol one could regurgitate w/a passion. brooks not so much.just so in the establishment non creative thinking,

        anyway,not important. so bland. of all the people to hire,why him? safe?

      • MichaelSmith on November 3, 2014, 4:19 pm

        I do share Brooks’s dislike for the direction Republicans have taken, but my “specific idea” was that the country is getting torn apart by intemperate opiners. As I implied, I don’t have a very high opinion of Brooks as a thinker or a writer, but seeing all the rhetorical heavy artillery unleashed on his books, out of proportion to the offensiveness about he actually says about social stratification or neuropsychology, makes me have a certain sympathy with somebody who gets caught in the crossfire, something which has happened to me and people I know often enough. If we’re not allowed to express a little human sympathy sometimes, things are worse than I thought.

  9. Peter in SF on November 2, 2014, 4:07 pm

    But no one says anything about it coming out of Aspen.

    What happens at Aspen stays at Aspen……?

    Actually it seems that the video has been on YouTube ever since July 1. It appears to have been public since the very beginning, as evidenced by the presence of random people’s comments that are 3-4 months old.

    I think the lesson here is that someone should have been following David Brooks’s online presence the way Ali Abunimah did with Ethan Bronner. :-) Seriously, probably a lot of us on this site wish we had happened upon the video and had the scoop long before Haaretz.

  10. Kay24 on November 2, 2014, 10:32 pm

    No surprise, but seems ole Chickenshit is rooting for the Republicans this Tuesday.

    Analysis || Netanyahu rooting for Republican victories in U.S. midterm elections
    White House staffers don’t need the National Security Agency to guess what results the Israeli prime minister would like to wake up to on Wednesday morning.

    The lights will be on very late Tuesday night in the Prime Minister’s Office, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be glued to Fox News as he waits for a call from Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer about the results of the midterm U.S. congressional elections.

    We all know it is a win- win situation for Chickenshit, whatever the outcome will be.
    The only benefit I can think of, is that the Republicans will support to the wars he will try to start, more easily.

    • American on November 4, 2014, 8:35 am

      A MESSAGE FROM AIPAC

      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

      The leaders you elect tomorrow will be affecting decisions in Washington this
      winter.

      You can ensure from day one, they are ready to tackle the most pressing
      challenges facing the U.S. and Israel, from the growing threats of a nuclear Iran
      to the peace process and more.

      Dear Friend of Israel,

      I have no way of knowing who you will vote for tomorrow. I don’t know whether
      you’ll vote Democrat, Republican or Independent.

      But one thing I am confident in is this:

      You want every leader you elect to share your support for a strong U.S. – Israel
      friendship, because helping ensure Israel’s security is just as important as any
      other issue this election.

      That’s why I’m writing to ask you to make a choice now that will be as important
      as the one you will make tomorrow.
      Join AIPAC

      • just on November 4, 2014, 11:27 pm

        “because helping ensure Israel’s security is just as important as any
        other issue this election”

        again with Isr “security”!!!

        they need to register as a foreign lobby/agent right now.

  11. just on November 2, 2014, 11:07 pm

    O/T, but about US citizens ‘serving’ Israel first:

    “The United States is facing an unconventional challenge as it seeks to project credibility as a neutral peacemaker between the Israelis and Palestinians: a case before the supreme court involving a 12-year-old boy.

    On Monday, the nine justices will consider whether the administration of President Barack Obama must follow a law enacted by Congress that allows US citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on passports.

    What appears to be a dry legal question is a foreign policy minefield for the US government, which has refused to enforce the law ever since it was enacted in 2002. The concern for the United States is that the law could be interpreted as an endorsement of Israel’s hotly disputed sovereignty claim over Jerusalem, a holy city for Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

    The case was instigated by the parents of a Jerusalem-born US citizen, Menachem Zivotofsky, because they want his passport to state that he was born in Israel. Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky sued on behalf of their then baby son in 2003.

    The legal fight has bounced around the US court system for a decade, an odyssey that included a previous trip to the supreme court that led to a ruling in 2012 on a more technical procedural issue.

    The legal question is whether the law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the president’s exclusive right on whether to recognise a foreign nation and under what terms.

    …..

    “It’s hard to imagine Muslim countries doing anything but object strenuously,” said Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, one of several US-based Jewish groups that have backed the Zivotofskys by filing friend-of-the-court briefs.

    The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is the only pro-Palestinian group that filed a brief in support of the US government, saying the law discriminates against Americans of Palestinian heritage because it does not allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Palestine as their place of birth.

    “The law benefits some Americans, but not others,” said Abed Ayoub, the group’s legal and policy director. ”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/02/jerusalem-passport-supreme-court-us-middle-east-role

    • RoHa on November 2, 2014, 11:40 pm

      Pssst, just.

      “it infringes on the president’s exclusive right”

      should be

      “it infringes the president’s exclusive right”

      No “on” for infringement of rights, laws, liberties, etc.

      “Infringe on” means trespass on territory.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 6:54 am

        I’ll let The Guardian know…

        :-) thanks RoHa– that’s a good tip!

      • RoHa on November 3, 2014, 6:44 pm

        When I work out how to resurrect the dead, my first batch will be old-style editors and proof readers.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 8:14 pm

        i’m holding you to it! i’ve become sloppy.

      • RoHa on November 4, 2014, 5:42 pm

        Couple of B movies there.

        Attack of the Zombie Proofreaders!

        The Editing Dead!

    • annie on November 3, 2014, 12:01 am

      yeah this is a real nightmare. they are trying to lock down american law wrt jerusalem (and our embassy there, everyhting) thru a case of a 12 year old boy. this is a ruse,a heavily invested ruse intended to make it all the way to the supreme court. this is really not about the boy. and they are banking on this court. w/judge roberts..this is really a nightmare, the implications. and we’re not supposed to notice we’re being manipulated. we’re supposed to think, that poor little boy who just wants jerusalem on his passport. gag a me w/a friggin spoon. actually, gag me with a forklift.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 7:01 am

        agreed, Annie.

        the Zivotofskys and their consorts appear to be committed to their carefully woven, histrionic, and entitled supremacist nightmare.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 7:13 am

        it will be disastrous if the SOTUS legislates foreign policy from the bench.

        bye- bye America.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 8:47 am

        If you’re interested in the case, you might want to read this article in The Guardian by an apparent guardian of Israel, Erwin Chemerinsky:

        “In September 2002, the US Congress passed a bill, one controversial part of which is titled “United States Policy with Respect to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel”. Among other things, the section directed the State Department to record as the place of birth on a passport, if the parents or guardians of a US citizen born in Jerusalem so requested, one place: Israel.

        President Bush signed the bill into law, but – this being George W Bush, who saw his office as above the law on issues from going to war to torturing during an endless war and even spying on his own citizens – he also issued an adjoining statement expressing his view that the statute is an unconstitutional encroachment on presidential power. The Obama administration has taken the same position, in reasserting the White House’s official neutrality as to which sovereign controls Jerusalem – and in resisting the power for Congress to keep the president’s power in check.

        In October 2002, Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem to parents who are United States citizens. Zivotofsky’s mother applied for a US passport, listing his place of birth as “Jerusalem, Israel” – exactly as the federal statute allows. But the State Department issued a passport listing only one word as Zivotofsky’s place of birth: Jerusalem.

        On Monday, the US supreme court will argue Zivotofsky v Kerry in the context of a decades-long dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, and in a moment when the symbolism of statehood matters as much as ever. But the case’s underlying issue is of profound importance: can a law passed by Congress and signed by the president still control how an American president meddles with the world? Or will the most powerful person in the world’s disturbing claim to power over foreign policy go unchecked?

        ….
        And if it takes a symbolic line on a passport to finally get us back to where we began, so be it. Because no one – not even the American president – is above the law.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/03/american-president-power-supreme-court-case-jerusalem#comment-43129745

  12. Citizen on November 3, 2014, 5:01 am

    I’m surprised our main media talking heads are not outright rote-saying to Brooks and his son, and those in our midst like them, “Thank you for your service.”

  13. Boomer on November 3, 2014, 6:05 am

    The president meets with pundits every 6 weeks? I did not know that. I wonder, who are the favored ones? Are they selected because the favor the Pres, . . . or do they favor him because they get access?

    • just on November 3, 2014, 7:54 am

      worse, he talks to Netanyahu every day… at least he used to. it’s mind- boggling that he demands/gets so much from the POTUS and our government. hopefully, those days are over.

      “2. French connection, November 2011. After a G20 summit in Cannes, then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, thinking his microphone is off, tells Obama that Netanyahu is a “liar.” Obama, thinking the same about his own mic, replies, “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!””

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.623422

  14. eljay on November 3, 2014, 7:28 am

    Brooks, arms folded:

    He believed in the cause and knew he needed one hard thing to complete his trip to full adulthood. And he was right, and I appreciated his wisdom about himself …

    It’s a shame that the cause Brooks’ son believed in – the “one hard thing” he needed to do to “complete his trip to full adulthood” – was to join the army of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state which, for over 60 years, has been stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land and oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians.

    It’s a shame that Brooks is proud of his son for fighting to uphold, defend and promote Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”, rather than fighting for justice, accountability and equality.

    • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 10:25 am

      What do you think David Brook’s son will do in the Israeli Army? For all the danger he will be in, for all the responsibility he will bear, he might as well be on a Birthright trip.

      What is worth more to Israel? One soldier they can easily replace, or returning Brook’s boy home healthy, happy and a mensch? The kid won’t break so much as a fingernail.

      • eljay on November 3, 2014, 10:52 am

        >> Mooser: What is worth more to Israel? One soldier they can easily replace, or returning Brook’s boy home healthy, happy and a mensch? The kid won’t break so much as a fingernail.

        Not his own, anyway. But unless he’s prepared to live life as a “liberal Zionist” – one of those Zio-supremacists who “holds his nose” while his hardier co-collectivists do the dirty work – he’ll have to break somebody’s fingernail(s).

      • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 4:12 pm

        ” he’ll have to break somebody’s fingernail(s).”

        Little David’s IDF CO: “What do you mean, he has to break somebody’s fingernails. Look, my orders are to get this little schmuck back to the Brooks’ without a hair out of place. I can’t let him get hurt. Wait a minute, I’ve got it! Is Goldberg’s old job still open….”

  15. Eva Smagacz on November 3, 2014, 8:48 am

    Brooks said: “He [Brooks’s son in IDF] believed in a course, and needed one hard thing…….”

    Imagine that American of Islamic faith was to have a son in ISIS: take Keith Ellison being asked:
    What is your son doing? “He jointed ISIS. He believed in a course and needed one hard thing……..”

    Can you imagine stampede of vultures?

    • Eva Smagacz on November 3, 2014, 8:51 am

      And before some of you indignants start being smart in your remarks that its not the same, I believe that white phosphorus eating through the flesh of children in Gaza is worse and more barbaric death than beheading of adults.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 8:53 am

        you’ll get NO argument from me on any of your comments, Eva.

      • Kay24 on November 3, 2014, 9:29 am

        Well said Eva Smagacz. I totally agree with you. It is always that feigned outrage that the Muslims are beheading people over there, but the fact that over 2000 people mostly civilians, in Gaza were massacred by precision bombs and banned weapons like DIME, is not barbaric at all, after disgusting racial and incitement statements from a so called democracy called Israel.
        Babies being blown up by US made weapons are okay since they are brown skinned Muslims.

      • seafoid on November 3, 2014, 9:41 am

        “believe that white phosphorus eating through the flesh of children in Gaza is worse and more barbaric death than beheading of adults ”

        +1

        What’s even worse is the mentality behind it. And this notion that the Israelis keep repeating to themselves- that they are civilized and that the Palestinians are barbarians.

        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.610856

        The Jewish Chronicle, a British newspaper, has apologized for running an advertisement for a charity raising funds for the crisis in Gaza.
        The weekly paper said running the ad for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Gaza Crisis Appeal was “meant as a purely humanitarian gesture,” BBC reported.
        In response to controversy over its decision to run the ad, The Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, issued a statement Thursday explaining that the ad was not an expression of the newspaper’s editorial view, which he said is separate from its commercial operations.
        “The ad was approved by the chairman of the JC, who has no involvement in editorial decisions, as an ad for humanitarian aid which nowhere makes political or partisan points,” Pollard wrote. The ad features an image of a Palestinian child and states: “Thousands of children in Gaza … are injured, homeless and living in fear. They desperately need medical supplies, shelter, food and water right away.” Pollard wrote that he and the newspaper “are entirely supportive of Operation Protective Edge, as our coverage has demonstrated.”

        http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/121492/dec-gaza-appeal
        “Both I as editor and the JC are entirely supportive of Operation Protective Edge, as our coverage has demonstrated. Almost alone in the British media the JC has stressed Israel’s right to defend herself and sought to explain why Israel was faced with no choice but to take action in Gaza.
        There is, clearly, a humanitarian cost to that action. But I do not accept the figures touted around much of the media about the level of civilian casualties – many are, I am sure, terrorists.”

        And what Mads Gilbert saw is hardly any different to what Iraqi surgeons see in towns occupied by ISIS

      • seafoid on November 3, 2014, 9:53 am

        On August 20, Mr. Netanyahu was recorded on film expressing his deep shock at the beheading of an American journalist by the knife of an Islamic State murderer. Truly, a wicked deed.

        On August 19, just one day before that horrific execution, the prime minister approved the killing of an 8-month-old baby together with his mother, in the hope that the father would be with them and also be killed.

  16. seafoid on November 3, 2014, 9:46 am

    “Back in September a friend said that Israel was Brooks’s chief source of meaning. I see that in this interview. He’s self-loathing about ambition and achievement, the forces that have animated his life, seems to regard them as selfish and shallow. A lot of the jokes he told in Aspen were at the expense of his own work, but Israel seems to be his idea of a small town: a community in which he can locate his need for unity because it’s Jewish (unlike an American community with few Jews where he wouldn’t be able to plug in), the place where his son can grow up and do a hard thing (enforcing a colonial occupation, arresting children in their homes in the middle of the night).”

    This belief that there is meaning elsewhere but not here is so deceptive. Israel has the same crap as everywhere else. It’s even worse in some respects. There is no Shangri la.
    there never was. There are flashes of contentment, perhaps.

    Israel has a moron consumer culture as bad as anything in the US. So what if the dopey schmucks pray more ? And Israeli unity is built on cruelty so it’s hardly worth it.

    • seafoid on November 3, 2014, 9:47 am

      Ambition and achievement in the mainstream sense are crap too but there are other ways of building meaning than torturing non Jews.

  17. bilal a on November 3, 2014, 10:26 am

    I wonder if Brooks son would follow orders to fire on us navy vessels:

    “They shot on the life rafts”

    video: The Day Israel Attacked America with Israeli audio

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JRgXie2teo

    • lysias on November 3, 2014, 10:55 am

      They were obviously under orders to see to it that nobody from the ship got away alive.

    • just on November 3, 2014, 11:23 am

      do you think that if more Americans knew the truth about the Liberty and her crew that they would change their unquestioned support for Israel?

      I do.

      • Kay24 on November 3, 2014, 12:11 pm

        I am not really sure about that just, first and foremost, the MSM will never show such a video nor have a discussion about it, bringing attention to the fact that the nation their owners revere, deliberately attacked an American ship. Even if the public questioned our support for these criminals, we will never know, the think tanks and polling companies are most probably infested with zionists. The poor survivors and families of the victims, have never been given a platform to make their concerns and conclusions known, and Americans have let them down, by watering down this horrible massacre and investigations were held without the witnesses being interviewed.
        This is why perhaps Israeli leaders brag that they control the Americans, and we know it.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 2:57 pm

        that’s just it, Kay24. we’re in a different media world now. they can scrub and protest, but the truth will out. nothing can stop it. eventually & soon, all of Israel’s many crimes will be exposed.

        it’s up to us to spread it.

    • Kris on November 3, 2014, 1:24 pm

      Thank you, bilal a, for the link to youtube. I just watched “The Day Israel Attacked America,” and am absolutely floored. I thought I knew about Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, but I didn’t know the half of it.

      This documentary will no doubt be pulled from youtube because of copyright considerations, so it should be shared as widely as possible right now. Mondoweiss editors, how about doing a comprehensive review of this excellent documentary?

      I have to say one thing in defense of the U.S. government, even though they did everything possible, including a press blackout, to defend Israel and not the U.S. sailors of the U.S.S. Liberty: the U.S. did ask Israel to compensate the widows and orphaned children of the murdered crew. The U.S. asked Israel for a one-time payment of $25,000 for each widow, and $10,000 for each child older than five years old. The U.S. government felt that the orphaned children under the age of five didn’t need any compensation. Israel generously agreed to these terms.

      • just on November 3, 2014, 8:12 pm

        I’ve watched it twice now… it gives me the willies.

        those men are haunted.

      • just on November 4, 2014, 11:24 am

        do you think that this documentary came about because someone in the US let it out?

        (I do. I think that tomorrow– no matter the outcome of the midterms– will be a new-ish day for US/Isr ‘relationship’…..)

      • Kay24 on November 4, 2014, 11:35 am

        I simply could not get over that documentary. Like you, I expected it to be about what we knew, but did not expect to learn so much, the tapes that were never heard before, and LBJ’s being blackmailed into watering it all down, allowing Israel to get away scot free.

      • lysias on November 4, 2014, 11:39 am

        They said LBJ was blackmailed? Did they say what was used to blackmail him? Was it Israel’s knowledge of what really happened in the JFK assassination?

      • lysias on November 4, 2014, 11:43 am

        And if the Israelis had to blackmail LBJ, that presumably means that Peter Hounam’s case in his book Operation Cyanide: How the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War Three that the Liberty was attacked because Israel and LBJ both wanted a casus belli for the U.S. entering the Six Day War on Israel’s side (which could have existed if Egypt had been blamed for the attack) is not true. So I have to ask, since Hounam’s case is so plausible: what’s the evidence that LBJ was blackmailed?

  18. Kathleen on November 3, 2014, 12:22 pm

    The Aspen Institute conferences (which I have attended many times) have been dominated and shut down by pro Israel speakers and participants for decades. Walter Isaacson is the new power filter and blocker for real debate on these issues at any Aspen Institute event. Couric being aghast is her Sarah Palin moment when Couric asked her about where she gets her information what she reads. Couric and her ilk have protected Israel and the I lobby for decades by not digging and widening their own scopes in regard to this conflict and the facts.

    Katie Couric and Sarah Palin have something in common.

  19. Kathleen on November 3, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Brooks pro Israel stance dominates NPR. But that is nothing new with Robert Siegel with a powerful filtering position at NPR. Even the usually even handed Scott Simon, Diane Rehm and many other host of NPR shows will not touch the I/P issue honestly

  20. just on November 3, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Nina Totenberg’s report on Zivotofsky vs Kerry:

    “The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday for a second time in a case that combines Middle East policy with the dueling foreign policy roles of the president and Congress. It’s a political hot potato that asks what U.S. passports should say about the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem.

    Ever since the founding of Israel in 1948, the U.S. has taken the position that no country has sovereignty over Jerusalem until its status is negotiated in a Middle East peace deal. Israel’s supporters in Congress, however, have tried to force a different policy, passing legislation that would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and require the State Department to allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth on their passports.

    The Bush administration and the Obama administration both refused to do so, contending that the passport mandate unconstitutionally infringes on the president’s foreign policy powers.

    Enter Menachem Zivotofsky, born in Jerusalem 12 years ago to American parents who emigrated to Israel and now maintain dual citizenship. The Zivotofskys want their son’s place of birth on his passport to say Israel — not just Jerusalem. So they sued to force the State Department to let them do that.

    Three years ago, when the case first went to the Supreme Court, the justices did not issue a definitive ruling, instead opting to send the case back to the lower court for further action. But now, the case is back. And a look back at the 2011 argument gives some clues about the justices’ thinking.

    The Zivotofskys’ lawyer, Nathan Lewin, opened the argument back then by telling the Court that under the Constitution, foreign policy is a power shared by the president and Congress, but that Congress has the final say once it passes a statute, as it did here. Lewin, however, faced a blast of skeptical questions.

    “You say foreign relations is a shared power. So, if it is a shared power, why does Congress trump the executive?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy called Lewin’s view a “narrow and crabbed interpretation of the president’s foreign affairs power.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it would hobble the president.

    “It seems to me you’re not arguing for a co-equal congressional power, you’re arguing for a superior congressional power. You’re saying whatever Congress says, the president has to comply with,” Justice Antonin Scalia observed.

    Chief Justice John Roberts noted that listing Israel as the place of birth for someone born in Jerusalem could, according to the president, present serious foreign policy problems. But Lewin rejected that premise.

    “Congress has decided that saying Israel alone does not present a foreign policy issue,” he said.

    Roberts shot back: “An American citizen born in Northern Ireland doesn’t have this option just because he thinks that’s part of Ireland”

    the rest here: http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/360959682/supreme-court-to-consider-case-on-passports-of-jerusalem-born-citizens

    I really hope that SCOTUS kicks this can o’ worms out of the court where it belongs.

    • Mooser on November 3, 2014, 4:26 pm

      “I really hope that SCOTUS kicks this can o’ worms out of the court where it belongs.”

      I got four words for you: Citizens United Hobby Lobby

  21. American on November 4, 2014, 9:33 am

    ”….audience didn’t want to be accused of anti Semitism “for even sensing that Brooks’ disclosure had significance” and because a “kind of post patriotic, post national sensibility that regards questions of ‘allegiance to country’ as kind of quaint.” I see it as an emperor’s new clothes moment. [..] well here it is before our eyes, and everyone is stunned then turns away.”……..

    Canard 1.12
    A canard that Jews are more loyal to world Jewry than to their own country. Since the establishment of the state of Israel, this canard has taken the form of accusations that Jewish citizens of countries such as the United States are more loyal to Israel than to their home country.[52]

    Someone explain it to me please .
    Are Jews like Brooks mentally ill?
    Are the Jewish followers blind?
    Do they not see the canard is no longer a canard, that this lack of loyalty to their host country has not only come out in the USA, it is bragged about and pushed by their leadership and elite?
    Deranged…totally deranged.

  22. Kathleen on November 4, 2014, 10:50 am

    Brooks response to Katie about joining the Israeli army “he believes in the cause” The IDF acts as a terrorist group in the West Bank, Gaza, E Jerusalem. Committing human rights abuses and war crimes. Brooks son might want to talk to some IDF soldiers who have been willing to admit that they have and the IDF continues to commit these type of crimes against Palestinians.

    Think Brooks would ever write about these soldiers and what they are reporting? Think NPR would ever have any of the Breaking the Silence Israeli soldiers on their programming? Not. Too many facts, too much information.

    Breaking the Silence › Israeli soldiers talk about the …

    http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

    Breaking the Silence › Videos

    http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies/videos

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