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Needing a ‘crash course in foreign policy,’ Scott Walker heads to [Guess which country]

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?

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss

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23 Responses

  1. just on May 9, 2015, 2:02 pm

    It’s gross.

    Why Israel? Israel shares nothing at all with the US except some benighted soldiers choosing to serve in the IOF, too many illegal settlers, and way too much military hardware. The US and Israel have NOTHING in common, and this parasitic, hypocritical and crazy relationship puts US national security at risk. The US will rue the day~ one day.

    Voters really need to wake the heck up and see who their candidates serve first. Hint: it’s not them or the US, and it’s definitely not going to get them first in line at the Pearly Gates. To encourage Israel’s ethnic cleansing and daily torture of the Palestinians might guarantee them an extra- special place in Hell, though.

    Thanks for this piece, Annie and Phil.

    • annie on May 9, 2015, 2:07 pm

      It’s gross.

      that was my exact phrasing (in email) to phil this morning about this story – except i didn’t capitalize.

      • just on May 9, 2015, 2:19 pm

        “except i didn’t capitalize”.

        Heh, Annie! As I told Kris yesterday, I am running out of words at this point. I’m getting back to basics now.

        While the US candidates are falling over themselves at the trough of Israel and its supporters, there is this from Pfeffer:

        “Cameron’s victory limits U.K.’s global standing

        The U.K. prime minister will be too busy dealing with Europe and Scotland to provide anything other than moral support for Israel.

        …One government very happy with Cameron’s victory is that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not only is Cameron seen as one of the most pro-Israel prime ministers in Anglo-Israel relations – quite possibly the most ever – he is now back in power without the much more critical Liberal Democrats. The few Israeli officials who stayed up on Thursday night to watch the results coming in were particularly satisfied to see Business Secretary Vince Cable lose his seat. The most influential Lib Dem minister after Clegg had been the one who, during last summer’s Gaza war, issued a warning that Britain might reexamine the export licenses for British arms to Israel, against Cameron’s express wishes.

        Netanyahu was quick to call Cameron on Friday morning and congratulate him on his victory, even before the final count that ensured his majority. Unlike the leaders of other major Western nations who often have harsh words for Netanyahu – including the United States, France and Germany – Cameron is in the tiny group of “true friends” (along with India’s Narendra Modi and Canada’s Stephen Harper) who rarely, if ever, criticize Netanyahu, and share much of his conservative outlook.

        But Netanyahu can expect little more than a sympathetic ear from Cameron, who is stuck in his European conflict and with little diplomatic capital to invest anywhere but in negotiations with the EU. He won’t want, or be able, to make a major effort for Israel in United Nation votes or the nuclear talks with Iran. Britain may still have a seat in the front row due to its permanent membership of the UN Security Council, but it’s gradually becoming little more than an onlooker.”…

      • annie on May 9, 2015, 2:28 pm

        me too. and here’s something else i said

        “literally, i am repulsed.”

        it’s just — how long can this go on? how blatant? this traipsing to israel for the anointment. this pandering to jewish billionaires. i mean really! and then the howls and screams of “anti semite” if one suggests rich jews are virtually ruining the election process in this country when getting on the ballot requires this pandering. then the commercials phase where no normal person can compete with the millions poured into the coffers of israel supporting competitors. it’s sick and disgusting. it’s exhausting and repetitive. i feel like it’s a rerun everyday almost reading the news.

      • just on May 9, 2015, 2:42 pm

        You hit the nail squarely on the head, Annie.

        It is exhausting and dispiriting. For the Palestinians who have to endure so very much more than we do because of US intransigence and complicity, we must and will prevail. After all, they teach life and they teach Sumud.

      • just on May 9, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Check this out, via Max B.:

        “Downing Street now”

      • amigo on May 9, 2015, 3:53 pm

        Hi Annie /just, Cameron is calling for a referendum on Britains membership in the EU.It is slated for next year.As you may well know , Britain is not in the Euro zone so their voters will decide if Britain will opt out of the Eu completely.This will damage the Eu immensely especially if Greece decides to get out. From the perspective of the I/P issue this will be a positive outcome as there will be one less pro Israel nation in the Eu arguing Israel,s case at Eu meetings and holding up action on sanctions against Israel.

    • just on May 9, 2015, 4:06 pm

      Thanks, amigo! How do you think it will go?

      (you’ll not be surprised if I support anything that proves positive for the Palestinians! ;-o)

      • amigo on May 9, 2015, 4:49 pm

        Thanks, amigo! How do you think it will go?

        Just , I am not sure at this point.Officially the referendum cannot be held until 2017 but Cameron said if he was re-elected he would push for a referendum in 2016.He must have some level of confidence as referendums can be very expensive.Opting out is a slow process.A member cannot just run away.There are rules.

        Ireland will be hurt economically by their exit as we are large trading partners and the only two English speaking nations in the EU.

      • just on May 9, 2015, 5:48 pm

        Thank you, amigo.

        As for the Israel- first, Islamophobic, nutsy & fearmongering Republicans:

        “When Scott Walker took the stage at the South Carolina Freedom Summit on Saturday, it was not the usual rallying conservative causes – social issues such as the sanctity of life and railing against government dependency – that brought the crowd to its feet.

        Instead, the roughly 2,000 grassroots activists who had gathered to see 2016 GOP hopefuls roared the loudest and rose to its feet when the governor of Wisconsin lambasted Barack Obama’s foreign policy and invoked the threat posed to the US by the Islamic State.

        The moment was emblematic of the role foreign policy will play as candidates court primary voters in early voting states. Republicans are teeing up a debate over America’s standing as a global leader and seeking to cast the presidential election as a seminal moment in the nation’s history.

        Conservatives howled and hooted as Walker, who was criticized by Obama for his lack of foreign policy expertise, went after the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, its handling of terrorism and its relationship with Israel.

        “We need a commander in chief who will once and for all call it what it is, and that is radical Islamic terrorism,” Walker said. “We need a president who will affirm that Israel is our ally and start acting like it.

        “We need a leader who will have the courage to look the American people in the eye, and to tell them what might not be easy to say, and that is this will not take a day, it might not take a week, it might not take a month or even a year … but it’s not a question of it another attempt is made on our soil, it’s a question of when.”

        Moments after Walker spoke, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum was up. The former Pennsylvania senator, who is expected to formally declare his candidacy on 27 May, opened his speech on foreign policy and largely touched upon the same themes as Walker.

        “Heck, I would just be happy if the president would be able to tell the difference between our friends and our enemies,” Santorum said. “Let me give the current president a little primer. Iran: enemy. Israel: friend.”

        Let me give the current president a little primer. Iran: enemy. Israel: friend
        Rick Santorum
        He added that Obama lacked a plan to confront Isis and even cast doubt on whether the US was actually engaged in a bombing campaign against the terrorist group.

        “What the president has is a public relations stunt,” Santorum said. “If these people want to bring back a 7th-century version of Islam … then let’s load our bombers up and bomb them back to the 7th-century.”…

        …Florida senator Marco Rubio argued as much when concluding his own remarks later in the day, in a speech that centered on American exceptionalism. As he has done since launching his campaign last month, Rubio drew on his experience as the son of Cuban immigrants to contrast the America of the 20th century with the climate today.

        “Everything feels so different,” he said. “There’s questions about whether America is still the most powerful country of the world.

        “Vladimir Putin invades his neighbors, Iran continues to carry out its efforts to dominate the Middle East and radical Islamists behead Christians and even conduct attacks in Texas.”

        Rubio, who has sought to position himself as the most qualified Republican candidate on foreign policy, said it was essential to accept “the mantle of global leadership” in order to change course.

        Speaking to his own view of how to combat terrorists, Rubio borrowed a line from Liam Neeson in the movie Taken.

        “We will look for you, we will find you and we will kill you,” he said.

        The crowd erupted into a standing ovation.”

  2. ckg on May 9, 2015, 7:08 pm

    “What the president has is a public relations stunt,” Santorum said. “If these people want to bring back a 7th-century version of Islam … then let’s load our bombers up and bomb them back to the 7th-century.”…

    just, this recalls Gen. Curtis LeMay, who ran on the same ticket as Gov. George Wallace:
    —“My solution to the problem would be to tell the North Vietnamese Communists frankly that they’ve got to drawn in their horns and stop their aggression or we’re going to bomb them into the stone age.”
    —“If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”
    —“Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”
    —“I think there are many times when it would be most efficient to use nuclear weapons. However, the public opinion in this country and throughout the world throw up their hands in horror when you mention nuclear weapons, just because of the propaganda that’s been fed to them.”

    • just on May 9, 2015, 7:28 pm

      Good point and memory, ckg! Thanks. It sounds like too many in the Anglosphere. What’s most frightening is that they seem to be preaching to the slavering and cheering choir.

      (Sounds like Yaalon, Bennett, Feiglin, Netanyahu, Shaked, Lieberman et al, too!)

      (I apologize for the error in the quoted material above; I must have neglected to edit out a caption wrt Santorum)

  3. ckg on May 9, 2015, 9:51 pm

    Good point and memory

    just, Well, at my age it’s easier remembering what happened 47 years ago than 47 minutes ago.

    • oldgeezer on May 9, 2015, 10:27 pm


      Sadly, that is too true.

    • just on May 9, 2015, 10:42 pm

      Some days are better than others. Today, I’ve made many silly errors in my posts. Oh well.


  4. RoHa on May 9, 2015, 11:10 pm

    If he is running for president now, he’s left it a bit late to start learning about foreign policy. To get up to presidential level he should have started days ago.

    He should first learn about:

    Neighbouring countries. (E.g., Mexico, and that other one. The cold place.)
    Major economic players. (E.g., China, Japan, Germany.)
    Major rivals to US dominance. (E.g., Russia, China.)
    Major allies who actually send troops into combat. (You know who they are.)
    Countries where the U.S. military has bases or is involved in action. (Too long a list.)
    Countries too big to be ignored. (E.g., India, Brazil.)

    So which of the above has he chosen?

    • eljay on May 10, 2015, 8:58 am

      || RoHa: … He should first learn about:

      Neighbouring countries. (E.g., Mexico, and that other one. The cold place.) ||

      Cuba? C’mon, it’s not *that* cold there. Or maybe you meant Russia (what with it being within eye-shot of Alaska and all).

  5. lonely rico on May 10, 2015, 4:42 am

    He should first learn about:
    Neighbouring countries. … that other one. The cold place

    Walker shouldn’t waste too much of his limited neurological resources on the “cold place”,
    which is always willing and eager to help, entirely under control,
    having sold the farm to US/corporate interests (wrapped in NAFTA) some time back.
    Stephen Harper’s recent tweet to his close friend Netanyahoo
    that “Israel has no greater friend than Canada”
    might make Walker feel the need to reaffirm the depth of his love for the zionist state,
    but Harper’s fatuous claim is delusional
    because TRUE FRIENDSHIP needs to be backed up with billions per annum,
    and Canada just ain’t ponying up.
    The only real concern for presidential candidates will be how and when to engineer the water diversion from north of the 49th to south of the border, water sorely needed in California, Colorado etc.

  6. Kay24 on May 10, 2015, 10:09 am

    His first foreign visit and it is to that parasitic nation? How about the UK, France, Germany, or those who sent their kids to fight with us? Why should anyone be surprised? He is doing what every single American candidate for President and Congress usually does – get the blessings, promises of support, campaign contributions, and get anointed, as a favorite of the “chosen ones.” These leaders from the land of the free, are chained to the zionists from a piddly small country – their puppet master. If he is looking for experience in foreign experience, he is starting at the worst place.

  7. eusebio on May 11, 2015, 8:57 am

    Policians with his populist authority is in need of a crash curse there is no peace in Palestine because they forgot the political responsabilities the end racism and inequality in Palestine and Israel

  8. Misterioso on May 11, 2015, 12:00 pm


    The Scottish lions’ roar will be heard and felt in Tel Aviv
    Middle East Monitor

    By Yvonne Ridley – 09 May 2015

    Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was labelled “Britain’s most dangerous woman” by some sections of the tabloid media during the run up to the General Election. Some people fear that she’s on a mission to break up the United Kingdom in a bid to fulfil her independence ambitions. That may well be the case, but that soubriquet was also used by some of Britain’s most committed members of the pro-Israel lobby whose main national interests lie well beyond these shores. They saw some of their biggest political supporters fall in an astonishing electoral performance by Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP).

    When the polls closed, the dramatic count that followed saw the emergence of a new political landscape. The leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and Israel’s biggest cheerleader next to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, lost his seat by 3,000 votes. A former chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), Jim Murphy was ousted by the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald in Renfrewshire East

    As the polling dust settled, the SNP had won an unprecedented 56 of the 59 constituencies across Scotland, turning them into Zionist lobby-free zones for the first time in decades. Indeed, the Westminster lobby groups of various political Friends of Israel were heavily depleted following high profile departures from the ranks of MPs which left the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats with just one representative in Scotland each. To add to their woes, none of those left standing from the political blitz in Scotland are active supporters of the State of Israel.

    A 20-year-old student, Mhairi Black, toppled Labour’s campaign chief Douglas Alexander in Paisley and Renfrewshire South to become the youngest British MP since 1667. Alexander, who has visited Israel with the LFI, was first elected in 1997 in Tony Blair’s landslide victory. He went on to become Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs in 2004, until promoted to International Development Secretary by Gordon Brown in 2007 and ending up as Shadow Foreign Secretary under Ed Miliband.

    Back in January 2011, LFI chair David Cairns MP said of Alexander’s appointment: “We look forward to working with him and engaging with him on supporting the UK’s close relationship with Israel, promoting a negotiated two state solution, and confronting the threats to regional stability posed by Iran’s illegal nuclear programme and Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s violent militias.”

    Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who has also addressed Friends of Israel meetings, lost his seat to the SNP in Ross, Skye and Lochaber after representing the constituency for 32 years. Under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby 10 years ago he moved to sack one of his own frontbench MPs, Jenny Tonge, for saying that she could understand why some Palestinians became suicide bombers.

    Dr Tonge had said repeatedly that she understood why militant Palestinians were driven to carry out the attacks in the face of the brutality of the Israeli occupation. And she insisted that living in the Middle East might have driven her to do the same. Kennedy “asked” her to stand down as the party’s spokeswoman for children.

    “I was just trying to say how, having seen the violence, humiliation and provocation Palestinians live under every day, and have done now for decades,” explained the now Baroness Tonge. “I could understand, I was trying to understand, where they come from. If I had been a mother and a grandmother in Palestine living for decades in that situation, I don’t know, I may very well have become one myself.”

    Kennedy had been under predictable and mounting pressure from pro-Israel groups in 2004 to act and his attempts to distance the Lib Dems from her views did not pacify the Zionist groups. Lord Greville Janner, who now faces accusations that he abused children when he was an MP, was at that time a vice-chair of the British-Israel parliamentary group. “The decision of the Liberal Democrats to sack Jenny Tonge is admirable and appropriate,” he said.

    Other big hitters who lost their seats in the election included the President of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, Sir Alan Beith, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed. He was the longest-serving Liberal Democrat in the House of Commons, and while Berwick is perched on the English side of the border it was affected directly by the seismic changes in neighbouring Scotland, bringing an end to his 40-year political career in Westminster.

    The SNP’s results, which saw the party win 1,454,436 votes, and the perception that there will be calls for a second independence referendum are set to cause David Cameron a major headache as a second term prime minister. Moreover, the arrival of the new Scottish MPs is ringing alarm bells among some of the pro-Israel lobby groups in Westminster and Tel Aviv.

    To add to the woes of the lobbyists, just hours after her party’s victory, Nicola Sturgeon’s office sent a message of goodwill to the organisers of a landmark conference in Glasgow this weekend. The “Ending the Scottish Arms Trade with Israel” conference received not only the first minister’s “best wishes” but also heard that although she is “understandably unavailable to speak”, she “hopes that the event will be a success.” That wasn’t all. “As you may be aware,” added Sturgeon, “during the recent conflict in Gaza the Scottish Government wrote to the UK Government urging an embargo on arms sales to Israel. The Scottish Government is a firm friend of Palestine and we will continue to press this issue after the election.”

    The Scottish lions’ roar will continue to be heard, and felt, from Westminster to Tel Aviv. With the most pro-Israel British prime minister of all time back in 10 Downing Street, the SNP’s presence in such numbers has got to be positive for the people of Palestine.

    • just on May 11, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Thank you so much for posting this, Misterioso.

      Hurrah for Scotland, and for the Scottish people!

    • lysias on July 12, 2015, 6:55 pm

      Charles Kennedy died suddenly on June 1. His death is attributed to the effects of alcoholism. However, because there had been accusations in the days before his death that a prominent former LibDem MP had sexually abused an under-age woman, the suspicion must exist that, if his death was indeed due to voluntary excessive consumption of alcohol, that he drank himself to death.

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