Do wonders never cease? From the Washington Post, a piece by Jenna Johnson:
Scott Walker is headed to Israel for the first time as part of a crash-course in foreign policy ahead of a likely run for president.
The Wisconsin governor is spending Saturday morning in South Carolina, where he is expected to give a speech at a freedom-focused forum for Republican presidential contenders and potential contenders, and then head overseas for a multi-day “listening tour,” according to his political organization, Our American Revival, which is footing part of the bill. The Republican Jewish Coalition — whose board includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and other major donors — is also pitching in financially.
This is about rightwing Jewish money. Walker needs to demonstrate his love of Israel in order to win out over other Republicans in the race for billionaire conservative Jewish support that is vital to any presidential undertaking these days. He wants Sheldon Adelson. He wants Paul Singer, who has given money to Marco Rubio.
Will he spend a minute in Palestine? Yes but he won’t know it; he’s sure to visit the occupied Old City of Jerusalem.
Politico has a piece up about the American Israel lobbyist who will guide Walker thru the fiery sands:
When Republican politicians want to make their first pilgrimage to the Holy Land, there’s but one person to call: Larry Mizel. That’s why he’s arranging Scott Walker’s first-ever trip to Israel next week.
The billionaire homebuilder and Republican Jewish Coalition board member isn’t in the same league of political kingmakers as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson: He’s given only $600,000 in political contributions since 1998 compared to the $100 million Adelson spent in 2012. But Mizel has become the minder of choice for GOP governors, senators and presidential aspirants traveling to Israel. He opens doors, arranges meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of Israel’s ruling class, and provides the kind of guidance that helps his party’s candidates avoid the gaffes that can befall politicians abroad.
“He has become a go-to person for Republicans looking to understand Israel and demonstrate their support for it,” said Ken Toltz, a longtime activist with The American Israel Public Affairs Committee who has worked closely with Mizel for decades. “For Larry, it’s about building relationships and giving elected officials or aspiring elected officials that powerful on-the-ground experience that connects them to Israel and to him,” Toltz said.
As if Walker really needs a guide to open Netanyahu’s door.
Politico says that Ben Carson kind of screwed up on his first trip to Israel earlier this year, not knowing how the Knesset worked, but that Walker is in good hands:
“He’s got to build up his foreign policy experience and be able to talk about U.S.-Israel relations because it’s going to come up in the primary,” said Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations, who plans to meet with Walker while he’s in Tel Aviv to give a previously scheduled speech.
It’s not just the Republicans, by the way. Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl hosted Hillary Clinton for lunch in LA with Israeli food and she pulled in over 2 million.
When will Americans get sick of this pandering or see through it? When will other politicians be able to run against these feverish Israel positions? (Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, Bernie Sanders, are you listening?)
When will US media begin to do straightforward front-page investigations of the Israel lobby and seek to explain the sources of its power?