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Leaked e-mails show that Israeli consulate, StandWithUs tried to thwart Northwestern divestment (Updated)

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The Israeli consulate and other pro-Israel groups teamed up to try to thwart a divestment campaign at Northwestern University, according to e-mails obtained by Mondoweiss.

Their efforts ultimately failed, though. Last night, Northwestern University’s student government voted to recommend divestment from corporations linked to the Israeli army. The resolution passed with 24 student senators voting in favor, and 22 against.

Northwestern Divest Logo

Northwestern Divest Logo

The leaked messages are from a listserv for the campus’ Hillel. They provide insight into the inner workings of how pro-Israel groups, many of them from outside campus, are banding together to fight divestment resolutions on campus. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on U.S. college campuses has become a major focus for pro-Israel groups over the past few years.

The campaign, spearheaded by a coalition of pro-Israel groups, was started in response to a push to have the student government at Northwestern adopt a resolution to divest from corporations linked to the Israeli military. The student coalition includes J Street, Wildcats for Israel, Hillel and AEPi, a Jewish fraternity.

The divestment campaign has sparked some intense debate on the Illinois campus. Posters advocating pro- and anti-divestment positions have been ripped and taken down.

The e-mails from late last year and early this year focus on messaging and strategy in response to a mock separation wall and the divestment campaign. Here are the most important items from the cache of e-mails I’ve obtained:

-Outside groups, including the Israeli consulate, are involved. In one e-mail, Michael Simon, the executive director of Northwestern’s Hillel, writes: “I want to express how grateful I am to the fantastic student leaders of the NU Coalition for Peace, to the Hillel staff, and to our wonderful community partners (including Emily Briskman at the Israel Education Center, Assaf Grumberg at Stand With Us, Stacy Rudd and Consul General Roey Gilad at the Israeli Consulate, and many others) for coming together to support our efforts to combat NU Divest’s anti-Israel activity.”

Another e-mail, from the Jewish United Fund, a communal organization in Chicago, contains an attachment to a 25-page document titled “Pro-Israel Messaging for Campus Allies.” It largely directs students to focus on messages of peace and dialogue.

Yet another message is from Lynn Schusterman, a major pro-Israel philanthropist. She thanks Simon for his anti-BDS efforts, and says she will be sending a “Soda Stream starter kit” for his office.

Some of the students involved in the campaign are interns at outside pro-Israel groups. One student, Tina Umanskiy, interns for the Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center. Another student, Jonathan Kamel, interns for the Israel on Campus Coalition.

-Celebrated Israeli author Ari Shavit’s views are informing how the NU Coalition for Peace works. Shavit recently spoke at the university. An e-mail from Rabbi Aaron Potek, who also works from Hillel, reads: “In light of Ari Shavit’s challenge to not just be reactionary but to share our own narrative, have we thought at all about an ‘Israel 101’ session? An hour with an audience would give us the change to share more nuance than a flier.”

-Pro-Israel campus groups want to court Black students. The Jewish United Fund’s Emily Briskman wrote an e-mail about messaging after a mock separation wall went up on campus. She suggests they should respond by, among other things, hosting “a co-sponsored event with the Black Student Union or Northwestern equivalent.”

-The coalition’s strategy is focused on saying that the BDS movement wants to abolish Israel and that it is against a two-state solution. One e-mail on strategy from Maddie Kriger, a student and member of Hillel, instructs students to say things like Israel has a “strong record on human rights (esp war).”

-Members of the coalition debated about whether to include a call to “end the occupation” in their statement of values. Ultimately, they decided against it, though they encouraged individual students to voice that anti-occupation messaging if they choose to.

Update: Below is a statement from Northwestern Divest announcing that the Associated Student Government has passed the divestment resolution:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northwestern Divest
February 20, 2015

Northwestern University’s Associated Student Government Passes Divestment

For the last month, Northwestern Divest (NUDivest) organizers have campaigned and mobilized the student body in order to pass their resolution through the Associated Student Government (ASG).  At nearly 1:30 AM yesterday, one day after Stanford’s student senate passed divestment, Northwestern University’s ASG senators voted in favor of this resolution by 24-22-3.  NUDivest’s resolution asks the university to establish transparency, develop a socially responsible investment policy, and divest its holdings from six corporations: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, G4S, and Hewlett-Packard, all of which are actively involved in fueling and profiting from the military occupation of Palestine.

NUDivest is a grassroots, student-led campaign, consisting of a wide range of student organizations and student activists, calling on Northwestern University to divest from corporations that are profiting off of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. The resolution passed yesterday was a response to the call for Boycott Divestment Sanctions from Palestinian civil society and aimed to hold Northwestern University accountable for its investments in corporations profiting off of the occupation of Palestinian lands. The student movement for Palestinian human rights has grown in recent years with national student organizations such as MEChaUnited Students Against Sweatshops and Dream Defenders endorsing BDS.

While NUDivest is proud that ASG has taken this step, we also know that the struggle is not over.  It is now incumbent on the entire student body to continue to pressure the administration to divest from these corporations and end its complicity in the occupation of Palestine. Though the University never fully divested from apartheid South Africa, it is completely within our realm to divest from the six aforementioned corporations, and any corporation found to be complicit in human rights violations of Palestinians in the future. Northwestern University lags behind other institutions on socially responsible investment, and although ASG took a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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38 Responses

  1. just
    just
    February 19, 2015, 5:30 pm

    Great news, and thanks Alex!

    wow, they must be frightened/scared/terrified of BDS.

    All of the anti- BDS efforts are nutsy, but this one is particularly tone-deaf, among other things:

    “-Pro-Israel campus groups want to court Black students. The Jewish United Fund’s Emily Briskman wrote an e-mail about messaging after a mock separation wall went up on campus. She suggests they should respond by, among other things, hosting “a co-sponsored event with the Black Student Union or Northwestern equivalent.””

    • steven l
      steven l
      February 20, 2015, 4:34 pm

      In March 2013, the Appeal Court of Versailles (France), in a case brought by the Palestinians, concluded that the sole and legal owner of Judea and Samaria was Israel. The French courts are NOT known for their pro-Israel standing. The Palestinians DID NOT appeal and therefore did not contest the conclusions and decision of the court.

      • annie
        annie
        February 20, 2015, 10:39 pm

        concluded that the sole and legal owner of Judea and Samaria was Israel.

        steven, that’s a completely lie. the court did not say israel was the legal owner of palestine, they said as the occupying power they had jurisdiction to run the light rail. whether one agrees with that is another story, but the conclusion of the court was not that israel owned the land.

        http://www.alstom.com/press-centre/2013/3/jerusalem-tramway-french-justice-rules-out-the-legal-action-against-alstom/
        Jerusalem tramway: French justice rules out the legal action against Alstom

        12/06/2014

        The French association “France-Palestine” started in February 2007 a legal action in France against the Jerusalem tramway project and decided to sue Alstom on the motive of a violation of the international law for having provided the rolling stock of this tramway system. “France-Palestine” lost its case in first instance in front of a French court and finally lost again its last legal recourse on 22 March 2013 in front of the Versailles court of appeal.

        In its ruling, the court states that “France Palestine” was not allowed to bring an action for challenging the breach of the international rule in the case. In addition the Court determined that Alstom, Alstom Transport SA and Veolia Transport was not responsible for breach of international rules, including human international rules or UN Global Compact, whilst performing their contract for the construction of the tramway of Jerusalem.

        Alstom reminds that it has signed, within a consortium, the Jerusalem contract in November 2002, following a call for tenders launched in June 2000. It is only in February 2007, about 5 years after the signature of the contract that “France-Palestine” decided to initiate its legal challenge which has been eventually rejected. Alstom always refused and still refuses that the company could be used to feed disputes in which the company is not concerned. Alstom is an ethical company, complying with all its obligations, including the respect for the international law.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 21, 2015, 3:40 am

        The Israeli high court of justice has ruled it is occupied territory. It has order the GoI to remove the apartheid wall from occupied territory although the state has refused the orders on security grounds. Granted… The HCJ did not refer to it as an apartheid wall but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….

  2. JWalters
    JWalters
    February 19, 2015, 6:51 pm

    The so-called “anti-Israel” movement is, to be more accurate, an anti-injustice movement.

    So why focus on Israel with all the other injustices around? Aha! It’s anti-Semitism!

    No it’s not. The injustices perpetrated by the “Zionist project” have had exceptionally devastating consequences, in the form of blowback against those injustices.

    That is why there is a conference on “violent extremism” going on. And every problem Obama specified regarding “violent extremists” also described the Jewish supremacist squatters (aka “settlers”), and the modern miitary that backs them up.

    Shutting down the debate is a key tactic for those with no case, or even worse, something to hide.

    These people need to learn how they have been emotionally manipulated to ignore an entire side of reality.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/palestine-zionist-education/

    • philadelphialawyer
      philadelphialawyer
      February 19, 2015, 9:41 pm

      Yes.

      And beyond the practical, “blowback” considerations you mention, there is also the fact that Israeli injustices have been underwritten and bankrolled by the USA. The USA not only finances and arms Israel, but also provides it with political and diplomatic cover, intelligence, and so on.

      Thus, unlike injustices perpetrated by some random government or country, injustices perpetrated by Israel are in no small measure also “our” (ie the USA’s and all Americans’) doing. We, as individuals and as citizens, have a responsibility for those injustices that we don’t have for, say, injustices perpetrated by the Russian, Chinese, Sudanese, Zimbabwean, etc, governments.

      Even leaving aside nations that are rivals to or hostile to the USA, no allied or “friendly” foreign government or country, not even NATO or ANZUS members, or South Korea and Japan, or any in Latin America, is as subsidized, coddled, and enabled in its wrongdoing by the USA as is Israel. The US/Israeli relationship is uniquely close, and that, rather than the facile, preposterous, and transparently self serving claims of “anti Semitism,” explains why the USA, and its citizens, have a unique responsibility when it comes to Israeli injustices.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        February 20, 2015, 3:57 am

        Greetings phil. lawyer,

        …..We….have a responsibility for thoses injustices……..

        Very succinct & very well put.

        Might i add…
        All our allies share that responisibility.

        I’m confused that we & are allies all share & shed a tear
        for Kiev & their losses, None for the 65 yrs. of atrocities
        against the Falesteeni & the horrendous futile struggle
        of the Greek Citizens after 5 yrs of Austerity to pay the
        Euro Banks monies that their political elite grabbed for
        themselves! The Military Budget was not on Austerity
        measures all this time.
        ziusudra

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 20, 2015, 9:12 am

        @philadelphialawyer

        How is the USA / Israeli relationship closer than the USA / Japan or USA / South Korea relationship? The USA army was the group that pushed the North out and essentially created the country. We spend far more on South Korean defense than on Israel. We fought a major war for South Korea. We have tens of thousands of troops permanently stationed in South Korea. We have directly harassed their antagonizer for 3 generations.

        With Japan the dollar figures in terms of trade are staggering. Our Japanese imports last year were over 1/2 the size of the entire Israeli economy, about 6x our level of trade with Israel. Our exports (which include the weapons) to Japan are about 4x what they are to Israel.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        February 20, 2015, 6:45 pm

        Thanks for those related and equally relevant points. By enabling Israel’s wrongdoing, America becomes a party to the crime. Blowback anyone?

        The job of the PR department in the Israeli government, and most of the Jewish organizations in America supporting Israel, is to lie. It’s an unfortunate fact, but it is, in fact, a fact.

        And they work intensely to drag America into this lie, this very large lie. But the lie is becoming gigantic, and getting harder and harder to sustain. To paraphrase Monty Python, no one expects the internet. Nor websites like this one spreading facts and understanding like seeds on the wind.

      • philadelphialawyer
        philadelphialawyer
        February 21, 2015, 10:55 am

        Jeff B:

        The war in South Korea was fought over a half century ago. And it was fought not for S Korea’s sake, but as part of the Cold War. Ditto all the other aid, military presence, etc, you mention. Israel, on the other hand, really had very little to do with the Cold War. And, with the Cold War over, it certainly has nothing to do with it now. Israel is aided and coddled for Israel’s sake, not as part of overall US policy. And, indeed, Israel is a millstone around the neck of the USA, when it comes to its FP overall. Which South Korea is not.

        Even at that, the US government is nowhere near as close to S Korea as it is to Israel. The US shares virtually all of its intelligence with Israel. The US gives its latest military technology to Israel. (Something, by the way, that it has never done for S Korea.) S Korea also does not need, and does not get, the blank check that Israel gets from the USA in terms of diplomatic and political cover. The US does not routinely veto measures in the UNSC for S Korea’s sake. Nor does the US work against boycotts and sanctions against S Korea.

        Trade with Japan is even more attenuated. The USA trades with lots of countries, including China, but that hardly means that the USA is as close to them as it is to Israel. On the military side, Japan pays for its weapons, Israel gets them for nothing. Beyond that, unlike Japan, and even South Korea, these days, Israel would basically not exist but for the USA. Japan is a nation that has existed for centuries, if not millennia. Korea, although colonized, also has a long history as a nation (with its division being merely a part of the Cold War, as mentioned above). Israel, despite the dubious claims of Zionists, is a recent creation, and it would be a world pariah, boycotted and sanctioned, were it not for the USA.

        The USA bankrolls and enables and protects Israel. Thus, the USA is morally responsible for Israel’s actions in a way that it is not morally responsible for Japan’s actions (or Great Britain’s, or Germany’s, etc). As for S Korea, I agree that, in the beginning, its government was a creature of the USA, and so, yeah, in the Forties, Fifties and maybe even up to 1980 or so, the USA had a share of the moral blame for its actions. But those days are long since over with.

        This was my original point, which I did not articulate very well. That, beyond the practical issue of Blowback, the USA is morally responsible for Israel’s bad actions. That, even if there were no Blowback, the USA still, as a moral issue, has an obligation to stop doing what it has been doing in supporting Israel and to undo what it has helped Israel do. The USA did not have a similar obligation when it came to, for example, Darfur or Kosovo. Because the USA was not the Sugar Daddy of Sudan or Serbia (just as it is not the Sugar Daddy of S Korea or Japan). But it is the Sugar Daddy of Israel.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 22, 2015, 8:16 pm

        No question the factors show Dick and Jane are morally and practically responsible for what Israel does. Biggest dump in world history. It’s a true horror show going on endlessly, which no end in sight. Yet Israel supports it ideologically by saying Dick and Jane are part and parcel of eternal anti-semitism. Lewis Carrol could not make this up.

  3. just
    just
    February 19, 2015, 7:59 pm

    “UC Davis student court overturns Israel divestment resolution

    Court rules that legislation passed by student senate – which voted for the divestment resolution in January – must primarily concern student welfare.

    ………..The court ruled 5-0 with one abstention in favor of Jonathan Mitchell, who had filed a case with the court contending that the Associated Students U.C. Davis had failed to adhere to its own constitution in passing the Israel divestment resolution 8-2 with two abstentions on January 29.

    The court ruling found that any legislation passed by the senate, even those on politically related issues, “can and must be primarily concerning student welfare.” The court found the divestment resolution “to be PRIMARILY a political document and did not deal with student welfare to the extent that allowed the ASUCD Senate jurisdiction to pass.””

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.643358?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    what the heck??? I don’t think that’s the end of it…not by a long shot.

    • ckg
      ckg
      February 20, 2015, 10:02 am

      Perhaps the UC Davis student court feared getting nuked by Roseanne Barr.

  4. annie
    annie
    February 19, 2015, 8:16 pm

    Members of the coalition debated about whether to include a call to “end the occupation” in their statement of values. Ultimately, they decided against it

    that’s hysterical.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      February 19, 2015, 11:34 pm

      annie that is not just hysterical but it is quite possible for Israeli partisans to support “end the occupation”. After all J Street can adhere to that slogan. We all know where that slogan ends — i.e. more peace process that can drag on for even more decades.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 20, 2015, 2:04 pm

        I still can’t get an answer on exactly what Hillel does. Make patsies out of Jewish students?

  5. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    February 19, 2015, 9:36 pm

    Lynn Schusterman, a major pro-Israel philanthropist –

    says she will be sending a “Soda Stream starter kit” for his office.

    Oh my god, no,
    please Lynn, please,

    NOT THE SS STARTER KIT !

    You think you’ll be able to control Simon when he’s got a SSSK ?

    Signed,

    WORRIED

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 20, 2015, 2:04 pm

      She’d be better off sending a program enabling them to tend their “CC” lists. Some operatives!

      I’m flabbergasted by the willingness of the pro-Israel organizations to use students like that.

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 19, 2015, 9:42 pm

    RE: “The leaked messages are from a listserv for the campus’ Hillel. They provide insight into the inner workings of how pro-Israel groups, many of them from outside campus, are banding together to fight divestment resolutions on campus.” ~ Alex Kane

    SEE: “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics”, by David Theo Goldberg & Saree Makdisi, Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009

    [EXCERPT] . . . It is an extraordinary fact that no fewer than thirty-three distinct organizations – including AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, the American Jewish Congress, and the Jewish National Fund – are gathered together today as members or affiliates of the Israel on Campus Coalition. The coalition is an overwhelmingly powerful presence on American college campuses for which there is simply no equivalent on the Palestinian or Arab side. Its self-proclaimed mission is not merely to monitor our colleges and universities. That, after all, is the commitment of Campus Watch, which was started by pro-Israel activists in 2002. It is, rather (and in its own words), to generate “a pro-active, pro-Israel agenda on campus.”
    There is, accordingly, disproportionate and unbalanced intervention on campuses across the country by a coalition of well-funded organizations, who have no time for — and even less interest in — the niceties of intellectual exchange and academic process. Insinuation, accusation, and defamation have become the weapons of first resort to respond to argument and criticism directed at Israeli policies. As far as these outside pressure groups (and their campus representatives) are concerned, the intellectual and academic price that the scholarly community pays as a result of this kind of intervention amounts to little more than collateral damage. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/sept_oct_09_goldberg_makdisi

  7. Pixel
    Pixel
    February 19, 2015, 11:23 pm

    Thanks, Alex! I’m sure there are many more to come!

    a “Soda Stream starter kit” for his office.

    lol

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      February 20, 2015, 5:12 am

      It would only be polite in response to the SS starter kit to send a crate of BDS bumper stickers and keffiyahs in return.

  8. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    February 20, 2015, 2:00 am

    The regular Hasbara tag-team members that bless Mondoweiss with their presence pooh-pooh BDS as nothing to worry about. The attention they pay it negates those claims, and these leaks just confirm that Israel is really worried about it.

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    February 20, 2015, 2:28 am

    The Israeli consulates and pro Israeli groups certainly have their work cut out for them.

    They should expect to work even harder, because there are many effort to push for boycotts and divestments all over the world, and they are fighting a losing battle.

    • Steve Macklevore
      Steve Macklevore
      February 20, 2015, 3:49 am

      I agree – in over 20 years of anti-occupation activism, BDS is the only grassroots campaign that seems to rattle them.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      February 20, 2015, 6:07 am

      @ Kay24

      Get a load at the proposed US-EU trade deal; if it passes there won’t be much left of BDS: http://electronicintifada.net/content/how-eu-us-trade-deal-could-thwart-boycott-israel-campaign/14290
      It’s truly frightening.

      • annie
        annie
        February 20, 2015, 9:23 am

        citizen, here’s some background on the trade deal http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/behind-legislation-designed

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 20, 2015, 10:20 am

        “Get a load at the proposed US-EU trade deal; if it passes there won’t be much left of BDS: link to electronicintifada.net
        It’s truly frightening.” Kay 24.

        On the bright side , the EU is working behind the scenes to damage Israel,s trade with it. Of course this might be just a message to Israel,s voters, but the gist of the message is for whichever party gets into power.We will see how serious the EU is.

        http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-EU-to-test-Israels-sincerity-on-Palestine-after-elections-391646

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        February 20, 2015, 9:41 pm

        Interesting debate. I think whatever the push might be, the EU at least seems more serious about BDS and they have groups within their nations who are working hard for this.
        If I had to bet which side, EU or the US, will be successful and faster achieving some reasonable
        boycott, it will the EU. Of course, that will result in the oy veys, and accusations that it is all part of anti-semitism, but that will not fly. Some groups in the EU have been successful in shutting down stores belonging to companies that deal with illegal settlement goods, which is far better than what happens in the US. There is some hope over there.

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 20, 2015, 5:46 am

    So, has the black student group at NWU taken a stance on BDS?

  11. Snark Hunter
    Snark Hunter
    February 20, 2015, 8:30 am

    Wish that was the only Zionist issue we had to concern ourselves with. The political and monetary stranglehold the Zionist Movement has on the USA, through their apartheid front Israel is a serious, yet not talked about issue in the corporate mainstream press.

    How long will it take the propaganda machine and exaggerated holocaust guilt campaign to sink our democracy?…if it hasn’t already.

    Dare ask a question and the antisemitic tags start flying.

  12. American
    American
    February 20, 2015, 2:46 pm

    Stanford president: No topic “more divisive” than BDS | Opinion | Jewish Journal

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion

    “In the nearly 15 years that I have been president, and my 30 years here as a faculty member, I have never seen a topic that has been more divisive within the university community.”>>>>>

    Great! …lets keep it divisive until the zionist crater.

  13. JeffB
    JeffB
    February 22, 2015, 9:21 pm

    @philadelphialawyer

    Your claim was that the relationship with Israel was uniquely close. I gave a lot of parameters and examples by which it was not uniquely close. For example with Japan it isn’t that we trade with Japan but the quantity of trade is so staggering. Or in the case of South Korea while it may be true the war was decades ago, we have 30k troops there today defending them and if you count Okinawa as primarily existing to allow us to beef that up military spending on South Korea that dwarfs by an order of magnitude what we spend on Israel.

    The war in South Korea was fought over a half century ago. And it was fought not for S Korea’s sake, but as part of the Cold War.

    I’m not sure there is much of a distinction.

    Ditto all the other aid, military presence, etc, you mention. Israel, on the other hand, really had very little to do with the Cold War.

    That’s not true. During the 1950s-early 1970s. Israel was key to defeating the non-aligned movement with its Soviet tilt in the middle east. It helped shift the balance of power away from Egypt / Syria / Iraq and back towards Iran and Saudi Arabia. By the 1970s Israel was involved in anti-communism all over the planet from Latin America to South Africa. It acted as an American proxy where it was politically difficult for the USA to openly support regimes.

    And, with the Cold War over, it certainly has nothing to do with it now. Israel is aided and coddled for Israel’s sake, not as part of overall US policy.

    I don’t think that’s true. I think quite a lot of hawks would argue that having a reliable military partner in the Middle East remains incredibly useful. For example when Syria invaded Jordan during Black September the USA was able to instantly deploy IDF. If in 1991 Saddam had crossed into Saudi Arabia the USA didn’t have the troops available to push him out. We probably would have needed to use Israel.

    And, indeed, Israel is a millstone around the neck of the USA, when it comes to its FP overall.

    I don’t see that. I think that’s an assumption frequently made by the left where the discount huge sections of the American foreign policy establishment. Certainly there have been Arabists who have made that case for having the Arabs slaughter the Jews for 3 generations. I’m not going to argue those people don’t exist and haven’t existed. But they haven’t been the only voices on foreign policy. But even the Arabists it is not really Israel’s value as an asset but how serious of a detriment to USA interests Israel as a free agent (or aligned with a hostile power) would be. Eisenhower who had a foreign policy team run by Arabists put the USA on a course for a hostile relationship in 1954. By 1956 he was freaked at how destabilizing an Israel not tied even remotely to the USA could be and wanted to bring them back inside the tent.

    Israel’s natural interests and the USA natural interests conflict greatly. Israel is really good at stirring the shit. Israel has foreign allies inside of the western alliance which make it very difficult to discipline. The Israeli government’s policy has overwhelming support from its people. Israel has a whorish foreign policy and can be bought cheap. It still makes sense to pay off Israel to keep them from messing things up. That’s a simply cost / benefit even assuming I’m an Arabist.

    Even at that, the US government is nowhere near as close to S Korea as it is to Israel. The US shares virtually all of its intelligence with Israel.

    No it doesn’t. There is no evidence for anything remotely like that being true.

    The US gives its latest military technology to Israel.

    In some areas, and in exchange for the Israel giving back their improvements. And a few times as specific concessions for policy. But not across the board the way you are making it sound.

    <blockquoteL S Korea also does not need, and does not get, the blank check that Israel gets from the USA in terms of diplomatic and political cover. The US does not routinely veto measures in the UNSC for S Korea’s sake. Nor does the US work against boycotts and sanctions against S Korea.

    I don’t think America’s record on the Arab boycott is quite as clear as you are making it. Plenty of USA companies were active in it when it existed. Certainly the USA has encouraged Israeli / Western European trade for generations but that’s pretty standard USA foreign policy to believe that trade encourages cultural ties and peace and thus to encourage countries to be part of of the Western Financial system.

    Why would the USA want a country with Israel’s level of inventiveness particularly with the military focus to not be allied with the West and say partnering with Russia, China, North Korea, hostile African regimes…? What you saying is that the USA doesn’t encourage a uniquely hostile relationship with Israel, it just treats it like any other country, and that is true.

    Now if you mean that the USA vetoes nonsense in the UN, it does do that. What if it didn’t? The UN last month passed several resolutions directly ordering the parties in Yemen to stop fighting. No one gave a damn. The UN is a nice place for countries to vent and thus it helps maintain the peace since screaming at each other is less destructive than shooting at each other. But ultimately the UN can’t do very much to Israel. Nato and the USA can. But you don’t need the UN for Nato to decide to starting being troublesome to Israel. If they wanted to they could. If Europe wanted to sanction Israel they could do it in the EU they don’t need the UN to do it. And if they don’t want to do it, the UN isn’t going to be able to make them. Similarly for the USA.

    Israel would basically not exist but for the USA.

    During the crucial stages of forming the USA was not heavily involved. Lots of countries aren’t close to the USA and they still exist.

    Israel, despite the dubious claims of Zionists, is a recent creation, and it would be a world pariah, boycotted and sanctioned, were it not for the USA.

    Israel was a world pariah, boycotted and sanctioned in the 1950s. It picked up allies and broke the sanctions. It now is vastly more powerful.

    The USA bankrolls and enables and protects Israel.

    The GDP of Israel is well over $300b annually. We toss a tip in that gets used to buy some USA military hardware and for which we get policy concessions. Our trade with Israel is much larger than the aide / military trade. And Israel’s trade with Europe is even larger still.

    • philadelphialawyer
      philadelphialawyer
      February 27, 2015, 1:21 pm

      Jeff B:

      Remind of the last time the leader of Japan or S Korea came to address a Joint Session of Congress, against the express wishes of POTUS. If you can’t see the forest, I am not going to waste any more time pointing out the trees to you. The US is a big, fat sucker for Israel, and it would overwhelmingly be in the USA’s interests to cut loose this rogue state. It doesn’t, because of domestic political reasons. End of story.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 27, 2015, 2:28 pm

        @philadelphialawyer

        Well if you want examples there are multiple ones where representatives from the Territory of Utah addressed congress over the objections of Democratic Presidents. Democrats (in the south particularly) were highly anti-Mormon and strongly opposed to Utah moving towards statehood while Northerners and thus a majority of Congress could care less about Mormon issue and didn’t want to risk the possibility of Utah territory allying with another power especially the UK who was courting them.

        I’ll agree it has been a century and a half though. Generally congress meets with foreign leaders against the express wishes of the POTUS on their soil not ours. Mostly foreign leaders hostile to the President don’t believe they can safely travel here. The best example of that recently would be at the start of Obama’s term when congressmen flew out to meet with the Honduran military leaders responsible for the coup undermining Obama’s commitment to oppose those leaders and their coup.

        Our relationship with every country is different. But the claim was that Israel was uniquely close not that there were some particulars unique to Israel. Sure on some particulars Israel is closer. OTOH lots of honors are unique to Liberia, Canada, the UK or Mexico.

      • tree
        tree
        February 27, 2015, 6:36 pm

        Well if you want examples there are multiple ones where representatives from the Territory of Utah addressed congress over the objections of Democratic Presidents.

        ROFLMAO.

        Philadelphialawyer asks for an instance of the heads of State of Japan or South Korea addressing the Congress over the objection of the US President, and JeffB comes up with the (US) Territory of Utah as an example. Gotta love the inanity of Jeff’s arguments!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 11:12 am

        “Gotta love the inanity of Jeff’s arguments!”

        You gotta love “JeffyB”! He betters Hannah Arendt two ways. Going beyond mere banality he delivers both the inanity and the anality of evil.

        And JeffyB, if you want that engraved on something marble, just let me know.

  14. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    February 23, 2015, 1:14 pm

    At the beginning of this post, there is a photograph of NW students at a pro-Israel picnic back in September 2014. Nobody has commented that the photo shows hardly any students. It looks like a grand total of 7 students. Of course it’s possible that this photo is misleading, but if the photo is representative, the picnic was a bust.

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