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Edward R. Matthews

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A few weeks back Chris Matthews of MSNBC went on a tear against the “neocons and the piggish money behind them” in response to a scare ad saying that Sen. Rand Paul’s support for a nuclear deal with Iran is “dangerous.” In an angry populist speech, Matthews said:

The cloth-coat regular Republicans who send their kids to war are not the ones who pay for these ads. They are totally different people. The ones who send their kids to war and come home maimed, and wondering what they hell they were doing it for — those people are not impressed by these goddamn ads.

Matthews was roundly blasted by neoconservatives for sounding such a populist message. But Matthews isn’t going away. Now that the Iraq war is being reviewed and re-embraced, he is taking on the neoconservatives hammer and tongs. Last night he was at the porcine theme again, talking about big “pig” donors who “want wars.”

What I see… is an auctioning of souls. I’m watching politicians saying what they’re supposed to say in order to win the backing of some wealthy bullying benefactor, someone who wants politicians to do what they tell them to do, do everything they tell them to do – a person we would have called back in the sixties – a pig….

All the people we used to call “pigs” want is what they wanted back in the Vietnam era: they want wars….

I’d like to see some character out there, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t it be great for some of the Republican candidates to stand up to the money guys and say: “If you want a presidential nominee who will do what the Bushes did, go from war to war – look elsewhere.”

Matthews has hinted at the role of the Israel lobby in this mess. Last week, for instance, he said that Jeb Bush was trying to please “a Jewish group with a lot of hawks in the room” when he celebrated the Iraq war.

While it is important to separate Jews from neoconservatives (physically, spiritually and intellectually), Alex Lazar at the Center for Responsive Politics says what Matthews does in a report on Lindsey Graham’s backing: “Jewish Conservatives Form Infrastructure of Graham’s Potential 2016 Donor Base.” Two names figure prominently:

Before launching his 2016 exploratory committee, known as Security Through Strength, Graham benefited from some big contributions to West Main Street Values, the super PAC set up by Graham allies to help him win re-election in 2014.

Those who gave big bucks to the super PAC include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as businessmen from Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.

Two individuals to keep an eye on from this list going forward are Larry Mizel and Sam Fox. Fox, a former ambassador to Belgium during the George W. Bush administration, gave $50,000 to the super PAC. Mizel, a Colorado businessman, ponied up double that amount at $100,000.

Mizel is also chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group; a board member on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the country’s largest pro-Israel lobbying group; and a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) board of directors. Fox, for his part, is a former chairman of the RJC.

Lazar also says that several board members of the Republican Jewish Coalition have given to Graham, including the “big kahuna” Sheldon Adelson, who wants to nuke Iran.

Adelson, in fact, co-hosted a fundraiser for Graham’s exploratory committee in February; Mizel and Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the RJC, were among the attendees.

Lazar and Matthews aren’t the only ones bringing religion into this political discussion. Graham himself quipped that he will have an “all-Jewish cabinet” given all his pro-Israel support.

Then of course there’s Marco Rubio. His $10-25 million backer is Norman Braman, who has said that the U.S. must stay strong economically and as a military power in order to sustain Israel.

Eli Clifton notes Graham and Rubio are rivaling one another as hawks:

Graham may be challenging Rubio’s position as the most hawkish candidate in the GOP’s primary field and the recipient of millions of dollars in RJC-affiliated campaign contributions. Given his expected campaign kickoff next month, however, he may have already raised the required $15 million.

I emphasize Chris Matthews because I sense he’s reached a breaking point on the media silence around these issues. He’s now repeatedly bashed the moneyed neoconservative push for war and also brought Jewishness into it, by which he surely means Zionism. I don’t think he’ll lose his job. He’s too careful, which is to say, vague. He has made it a point to stress American popular support for Israel, or distinguish the Republican support for the settlement project from the Democratic support for Israel, or describe the wonders of his own trips to Israel, or say that no American president can allow Iran to get a nuclear weapons. But he seems to have snapped on the general hypocrisy surrounding the political question of US support for militarism in the Middle East; and we can hope that in weeks/months/the year to come when the Democrats also disappoint him, he will begin to explain the differences between Zionism and Judaism, and begin to advance the idea that democracy might be a good thing for Israel and Palestine.

One other point re Matthews. Last night he said that Johnny Carson broke his own vow of silence on talking politics after his neighbor Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968; he came out for laws against handgun sales on the Tonight Show. Chris Matthews surely loved Bobby Kennedy. I’d make this challenge to him: Bobby Kennedy died in part because our policy in Israel and Palestine maddened a Palestinian American– 20 years after George Marshall, the secretary of state whom Matthews honored for “character” on his show the other day, said that US recognition of Israel would lead to endless unrest. It’s now been almost 70 years of unrest in that region, extending into neighboring countries in part because of neoconservative warmongering, with a massacre in Gaza just last summer. Maybe it’s time for our country to go back to the drawing board?

P.S. A year ago NPR’s Ailsa Chang did a report on Lindsey Graham’s support for Sheldon Adelson’s gambling interests, without saying a word about Israel. I think that Israel is the real game here, for Adelson and Graham, which would make that NPR report disinformative.

 

Philip Weiss

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

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18 Responses

  1. pabelmont on May 20, 2015, 5:45 pm

    Phil: ” I’d make this challenge to him: Bobby Kennedy died in part because our policy in Israel and Palestine maddened a Palestinian American– 20 years after George Marshall, the secretary of state whom Matthews honored for “character” on his show the other day, said that US recognition of Israel would lead to endless unrest. It’s now been almost 70 years of unrest in that region, extending into neighboring countries in part because of neoconservative warmongering, with a massacre in Gaza just last summer. Maybe it’s time for our country to go back to the drawing board?”

    Glorious idea. Not to the drawing board just yet, but if “Edward R” wants to recite that little bit of history and his enormous respect for G. Marshall and love for Bobby K, and point up the connections and history, all 70 years of “unrest”, and point as well to today’s Zionist moneyed war-mongers busy renting the Republican Candidates and tying them to war with Iran, the American public would get a valuable history lesson and maybe respect State Department folks a bit more who give good advice.

  2. JWalters on May 20, 2015, 7:09 pm

    The situation reminds me of the controversy that led to the resignation of Trent Lott. The controversy would have died without internet discussion keeping it alive and growing, until finally the mainstream media could no longer ignore it.

    I sense numerous people in the media would like to go to the whole truth here. But they all feel they must step carefully, inching forward together so as to not stand out too much and get fired.

    I wonder if Matthews may be willing to show more courage because of his study of JFK, including JFK’s efforts to block the war industry Ike had warned about. That took courage.

    (I finally got the “Edward R” Matthews reference; nice.)

  3. ckg on May 20, 2015, 7:15 pm

    Phil, I hope you just watched tonight too. I’ve enjoyed your recent posts on Matthews.

  4. Boomer on May 21, 2015, 8:59 am

    Re NPR’s disinformation, that could be a big topic. Yesterday they had a reporter from Israel who said something that surprised me. She said that there are roads reserved for the exclusive use of Palestinians, but none for Israelis. In other words, the implication was that Palestinians are free to drive where they wish. Is this true?

  5. ckg on May 21, 2015, 10:37 am

    Boomer, Here is the transcript:

    NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Lahav Harkov, Knesset reporter for the Jerusalem Post, about the politics around a plan to require Palestinian laborers from the West Bank to ride Palestinian-only buses.
    ….
    SIEGEL: This is a case of Palestinians who have jobs in Israel going home in the same bus on the West Bank as settlers. How common is that degree of closeness between settlers and their Palestinian neighbors? I thought the highways even were separated on the West Bank.

    HARKOV: Well, it’s interesting. There are highways that Israelis can’t go on, but there aren’t really highways that Palestinians can’t go on. So the separation is usually the opposite of what people might think it would be…

    Siegel, of course, did not challenge her.

    • Boomer on May 21, 2015, 10:46 am

      ckg: thanks for the transcript. Is what she said true?

      • ckg on May 21, 2015, 10:59 am

        My understanding is that there are road restrictions based on license plate color. Israeli citizens get yellow Israeli license plates. Palestinians in the West Bank get green PA license plates. Adam displayed a map of roads that are restricted by plate: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/where-the-color-of-your-license-plate-dictates-which-roads-you-can-drive-on

        Also, the Israeli government restricts Israelis from entering Area A, but that restriction is imposed by Israel.

      • Boomer on May 21, 2015, 12:08 pm

        ckg: thanks for the map. It appears, as I suspected, that she was “economical with the truth.” Of course, things may have changed since then, but I doubt that any change has been to the benefit of the Palestinians.

      • ckg on May 21, 2015, 1:22 pm
  6. RobertHenryEller on May 21, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I came to a decision the other day. I will no longer refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Jews. At best, I will refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Israelis and/or Zionists. At worst? Well, at worst, I will not refer to them as Jews.

    I would hope that people like Chris Matthews, who I hope will continue to call out militarist ideologues, profiteers and opportunists, will henceforth refer to those among them who claim to be Jews, not as Jews, but as Israelis, pro-Israelis and/or Zionists. I clearly don’t have to explain to Mr. Matthews that these people are not people who love the United States, or care for their fellow citizens.

    I will not recognize as Jews people who habitually violate three of the Ten Commandments, let alone even one. They were delivered as a set, not as a menu.

    I will not recognize as Jews people who do not honor the teachings of Rabbi Hillel. Particularly those who dishonor Rabbi Hillel by cynically co-opting his name for their exceedingly un-Hillel-like organizations.

    Jews died in the Holocaust. Israelis and/or Zionists do not deserve to claim the Jews who died in the Holocaust as their ancestors. Israelis and/or Zionists desecrate the fate and the memory of the Holocaust victims. Israelis and/or Zionists bring no honor to the fate and the memory of the Holocaust victims.

    Israelis and Zionists do not act as Jews. I used to think of them, I used to call them Jews. I thought incorrectly. I misspoke. I will no longer think of them as Jews. I will no longer call them Jews.

    • eljay on May 21, 2015, 12:46 pm

      || RobertHenryEller: I came to a decision the other day. I will no longer refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Jews. At best, I will refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Israelis and/or Zionists. At worst? Well, at worst, I will not refer to them as Jews. ||

      To my mind, Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis are Israelis – just as Jewish and non-Jewish Americans / Germans / Italians / Canadians are Americans / Germans / Italians / Canadians.

      Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis and non-Israelis who advocate, justify and defend a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” are Zio-supremacists.

      • Kris on May 21, 2015, 1:34 pm

        @RobertHenryEller: “I came to a decision the other day. I will no longer refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Jews. At best, I will refer to Israelis and/or Zionists as Israelis and/or Zionists. At worst? Well, at worst, I will not refer to them as Jews.”

        But Israel is the self-proclaimed “Jewish” nation and claims to speak/act on behalf of all “Jews,” though it is not at all clear what “Jew” is supposed to mean, since it doesn’t seem to be about believing in God or Judaism.

        I think it is very useful to identify Zionist Jews as Zionist Jews, and Israeli Jews as Israeli Jews, because having to face what is done in their name is making Jews in the U.S. think about what they are supporting.

  7. lysias on May 21, 2015, 12:24 pm

    There are strong cases to be made (1) that Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the shots that killed RFK and (2) that Sirhan was hypnotized into doing whatever he did do.

    Which does not eliminate the connection between the assassination and I/P policies. If Sirhan was a patsy who was framed, like Oswald, then whoever was responsible probably chose a Palestinian to be the patsy because he wanted a Palestinian patsy to be blamed.

    • catalan on May 21, 2015, 1:20 pm

      “Sirhan was hypnotized into doing whatever he did do. – ” Lysias
      Perhaps we are all hypnotized. I always wondered how they convince living and breathing Homo sapiens, the heir to the proud Cro-Magnon, to spend 10 hours a day sitting in front of a screen and counting numbers (substitute dig ditches, cut hair, etc.)
      Now I get it. The question is, who is doing the hypnosis. Let’s find them and stop the travesty (One flew over a cookoo nest theme music).

      • lysias on May 21, 2015, 2:27 pm

        Project MKUltra:

        Project MKUltra — sometimes referred to as the CIA’s mind control program — was the code name given to an illegal program of experiments on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control.

        Organized through the Scientific Intelligence Division of the CIA, the project coordinated with the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps.[1] The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and officially halted in 1973.[2] The program engaged in many illegal activities;[3][4][5] in particular it used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy.[3](p74)[6][7][8] MKUltra used numerous methodologies to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.[9]

      • Walid on May 21, 2015, 2:43 pm

        “in particular it used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects..” (lysias)

        Very shameful, the testing of the drug was LSD as a truth serum that could be used in the Cold War interrogations. the American subjects on which the testing took place were inmates at penitentiaries, those in Montreal were mentally retarded patients of the Allan Memorial Institute that was the psychiatry ward of the prestigious Royal Victoria Hospital. One can imagine the horror that mentally sick patients went through during the testing. .

  8. ckg on May 21, 2015, 2:32 pm

    A year ago NPR’s Ailsa Chang did a report on Lindsey Graham’s support for Sheldon Adelson’s gambling interests, without saying a word about Israel.

    It’s not just NPR, just read this Think Progress description of Scott Walker’s trip to court Adelson (at the RJC meeting):

    As Walker considers a potential 2016 presidential run, he reportedly traveled to Las Vegas and met Adelson for dinner as the magnate considers which hopeful to back. Adelson is pushing for an online gambling ban, fearing Internet gaming could hurt his industry.

  9. Stateless American on May 22, 2015, 10:15 am

    It will be interesting to see how far Matthews goes if his wife does indeed run for Congress, which apparently is a good possibility.

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