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Mondoweiss Exclusive: One on One with Rep. Steve Israel

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on 14 Comments

Readers should bear in mind that this post appeared on April 1, 2015.

Mondoweiss was lucky enough to score an interview with Steve Israel, the former head of the DCCC and one of the State of Israel’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.  Below is a transcript of our brief exchange:

Mondoweiss: Congressman, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.  Congressman, it goes without saying that you are one of Israel’s key advocates in Congress.  Do you take such a strong pro-Israel stance because of the demographics of your district or is something else going on?

Congressman Israel:  Thank you for the question and let me first say that it is an unexpected treat to talk to Mondoweiss, I lose sleep over what you say on your blog.  To the question, something else is definitely going on – what’s going on is an uncanny convergence, I’d say a beshert convergence, between AIPAC and my undying love for The State of Israel. You see, I really really love Israel, and AIPAC doesn’t need to pressure me one bit to take the positions I take. But it works really well because I still benefit from their political support and I get to be a stout advocate, some would say a clueless one, for all sorts of Israeli misdeeds.

Mondoweiss:  What do you mean by clueless?

Congressman Israel:  Well I completely miscalculated on the Bibi speech a few weeks ago.  If I had acted rationally I would have spoken out against the speech and skipped it.  This would have sent the message that though I support Israel through and through, no matter what atrocities it commits, that I am an American first and as a member of Congress I couldn’t take part while the Hill was reduced to a political circus, not to mention the abhorrent treatment shown to President Obama by the Speaker and Bibi. Also, after the war last summer I traveled to Israel to show my undying fealty to the Jewish State. I took a picture on the beach in Tel Aviv with then President Shimon Peres.  Some said this image, juxtaposed with the carnage only a short distance down the coast in Gaza, was in bad taste. I’m still not sure what they meant.

Mondoweiss: Yeah, the picture with Peres was sad but I want to go back to the speech for a minute. You attended the speech.

Congressman Israel:  Not only that, I escorted Bibi onto the House floor!

Mondoweiss:  Why would you go that extra mile?  

Congressman Israel:  Because I’m not so bright.  Did you read my incoherent oped in the NY Daily News shortly before the speech?  Basically I thought that that would give me enough political cover to attend the speech and I probably was right about that.  But I couldn’t leave well enough alone and I overreached.  I got caught up in all the excitement that Bibi, he’s really a magnetic figure, elicits.  I just had to walk down that aisle behind him, and I just had to tap him on the back while the cameras snapped away.  I had to upstage Debbie [Wasserman-Schultz] and Eliot [Engel].  They think they love Israel more than I do and they’re wrong.

Mondoweiss:  Was it worth destroying your relationship with President Obama?  Some say that he is furious with you and is personally offended by your actions and that he’s written you off for the rest of his term in office.

Congressman Israel:  I always had a queasy feeling about Obama anyway.  His middle name is Hussein.

Mondoweiss:  But was it worth trashing your relationship with the President?  After all you are still part of the Democratic House leadership?

Congressman Israel:  I don’t know, but if it strengthens my pro-Israel bona fides, then it was probably worth it.

Mondoweiss:  Last week you organized a dinner with Ambassador Dermer and several other House Democrats. What exactly did you hope to accomplish?

Congressman Israel: That was another reckless act.  I thought I’d be able to repair the ruptured relationship between the administration and Bibi.  But I overreached again.  You see, the Obama-Bibi breach is now way bigger than me, I can’t do anything about it.  I’ve heard that the president had some very unkind things to say about me after he heard about that stunt.

Mondoweiss:  We’re just about out of time, but I have one more question.  Given how you’ve blown up your relationship with the president and given that you remain a member of congress at least until January of 2017, what do you see your role as being now?

Congressman Israel:  I don’t think recent events have caused me to rethink my role; my job as congressman from NY district 3 is to advocate for Israel at all costs. People argue that I harbor dual loyalty. They’re totally wrong, I’m just loyal to Israel. We share a name after all! (Editor’s Note: Rep. Steve Israel’s birth name was Steve Westbank but he had it legally changed to Israel in 1967.)  So far, I have helped create a wedge between Israel and my president and helped get its fascistic prime minister reelected. I’d say I’m doing pretty darn good!

I say in public that I believe a strong Israel means a strong America, as if our two country’s interests are one and the same.  Of course that’s not true but I have to keep the military aid flowing. Israel can never have enough white phosphorus, am I right?!

Thanks for the interview, but I think our time is up. I’m late for a meeting with the Speaker.  We are planning a fundraiser for Jeb Bush.

Scott Roth
About Scott Roth

Scott Roth is publisher of Mondoweiss.net. Follow him on twitter at scottroth76 .

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14 Responses

  1. just
    just
    April 1, 2015, 9:48 am

    Very well done, Scott. There are more than 500 interviews to go!

    “Mondoweiss: Yeah, the picture with Peres was sad but I want to go back to the speech for a minute. You attended the speech.”

    Kerpow!

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      April 1, 2015, 11:14 am

      “I support Israel through and through, no matter what atrocities it commits ” Sadly …accurate.

      Hope Mondoweiss shines their spotlight on Senator Schumer becoming the new public addition to the S47 (Senators actively undermining the P5+1) How about S47+1 for the title of a piece on Schumer who we know has always supported Israel no matter what they do

      And on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning Mika has been silenced about the interference by Netanyahu and Israel lobby team in the p5 +1 negotiations. On Joe’s return she seems to be reduced once again to one word or raising her eyebrows on all of the pledge allegiance to Israel comments. This morning Mike Barnacle basically put his cowardly lip prints smack on the ass of Netanyahu during his pledge of allegiance to Israel linked to Iran negotiations. Howard Dean too

      Andrea Mitchell sure has softened her tone while reporting from Switzerland during the P5+1 negotiations. Andrea has been part of the repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran’s nuclear program for years now. Have heard her refer to the Iran’s nuclear weapons program instead of what is accurate Iran’s nuclear program so many times I lost count. She has helped build the Iran is bad bad bad stage.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 1, 2015, 10:28 am

    Send it to the ONION, they’re running short of good stuff! And, before I forget it, Happy April 1.

  3. annie
    annie
    April 1, 2015, 10:48 am

    go scott! wonderful interview!!!

  4. Walid
    Walid
    April 1, 2015, 10:58 am

    Wish there were more April 1st during the year to help us unwind.

  5. Amar
    Amar
    April 1, 2015, 1:25 pm

    I wonder, was he aware of mondoweiss before or did he only check it out after being asked for an interview? If before, then its a good sign. Well done MW.

  6. Chu
    Chu
    April 1, 2015, 6:30 pm

    That was a joke by the Congressman I suppose – Jewish humor at its best. The more he got into the interview it was like watching another personality evolve like Sybil rearing her multiple personality disorder. Even it were a joke to him, he basically laughed in the interviewer’s face.

    But, joke or not he sounded like two faced Congressman of the highest order. Probably a phony Liberal Zionist, but a Likud-bwoy at heart. First he’s apologizing for his Israel-First positions and then at the end he’s calling the USA president (of his own party) ‘Hussein’, and then concludes that he’s only loyal to Israel.

    Watch your back Obama, Chuck Shumer and his Mensheviks are sharpening their blades while your trying to make a peace with the Persians to avoid another Neocon War.

  7. unverified__5ilf90kd
    unverified__5ilf90kd
    April 2, 2015, 9:32 am

    I assume that this is an April 1st spoof – but it comes closer to the truth that prior reality and is where Mondoweiss is heading – derision is the only suitable adjective to describe our honest attitude towards the domination of the Democratic Party by rabid, irrational Zionists like Israel, Schumer and Wasserman – Shultz etc – and she is aptly named as someone who is only carrying water for the cruel, self-destructive policies of her beloved State of Israel and its despot Netanyahu.
    It would indeed be funny if it was not so bizarre and pathological in all its inept corruption and disingenuous hasbara. Money has corrupted our system and at least half of that money comes from fanatical and irrational Jews who are well-meaning in their blind support of Netanyahu but are setting Israel on a path to failure due to their thoughtlessness.

    • Chu
      Chu
      April 2, 2015, 10:46 am

      Agree, I could see how Adam’s article about Netanyahu was clearly satire, but is this interview?

      I don’t know much about Steve Israel, but did this interview take place, because it could
      sort of come off as slander, putting false words in his mouth, etc.

      Anywho – can Scott clarify if the interview is truth or not?

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra
      April 4, 2015, 2:47 am

      Greetings unverified….,
      ….irrational Zionists……..
      Those that you have mentioned are Zionists, but irrational, i think not.
      They rationalize in their favorite game of Heuristics (inventing), Syncreatism ( borrowing) & Diklum, Hebrew ( state & repeat).. They parce on the never ending talk shows & Internet.
      The fact is , is that they always get a platform!!!
      Do we ever hear of Palestinian political speakers? The Zionists seem to have legions! PR – PR – PR is everything.
      ziusudra
      PS Paraphrase: For all the artocities that Israel commits, i’m still loyal to Israel.
      A Mother: my son just killed 35 People, but i love him…..
      Ad Nauseum .

  8. Boomer
    Boomer
    April 2, 2015, 1:17 pm

    Is this a joke?

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      April 3, 2015, 9:41 am

      Yes, this is a spoof, a joke. Mondoweiss has an international readership and when a joke interview (parodying truth) is published on April 1st (April fools day) not all immediately see it as a joke.

      But nicely done!

  9. unverified__5ilf90kd
    unverified__5ilf90kd
    April 3, 2015, 9:59 am

    I too thought that these April 1 joke articles were magnificent. Thank you all for the clever irony and humor. My mother used to do thing like that to me and then say “April Fool”.

    But it is interesting because the humor becomes more biting this year due to the burgeoning consensus of calling a spade a spade (after Bibi’s excesses of late) and actually almost reaches the level of reality. If you weren’t already familiar with the false propaganda you would think a lot of these Zionists are actually criminals or psychopaths, the extent of their distortions and irrational logic is so egregious. It is amazing because many of the pieces I now read in Mondoweiss would have been rejected as anti-semitic, only a year ago. Of course, the pieces were not anti-semitic but in those days if a famous Jew thought any particular statement might be anti-semitic, then he/she remained unchallenged. No longer, thank God.

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