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Does Obama have Booker? Boteach desperately plays race card and Jewish donor card

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One of the most crucial senators on the Iran Deal is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. He is still studying the deal and is under considerable demands to support it from the Obama administration and his own constituents.

A lot of the pressure on Booker to vote against the deal is coming from an old friend of his, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the outspoken supporter of Israel who has Sheldon Adelson’s considerable support (and is also an expert on lust in marriage). But Boteach says that “tensions” have developed in his friendship with Booker and the “strain” has led to many “tough” conversations about the matter.

The rabbi’s latest newspaper ad and column are both so desperate they suggest that Boteach can’t get his old friend on the phone, and he’s reduced to addressing his old friend in the press, and even playing the race card, and the “Jewish donor” card.

First, check out this full page ad in the New York Times urging Booker to show courage and join Chuck Schumer against the deal. It is so over the top that it could make Booker’s support for the deal more likely. Boteach says Booker will have “blood” on his hands if he approves the deal, because it will fund Iran’s terror activities, and states that Iran wants to kill millions of Americans. Huh?

Senator Booker, at this grave moment we implore you to act with courage and vote to kill the castastrophic deal with Iran. Before Iranian nukes kill millions of Americans.

Does anyone really believe such a thing? No. And the ad barely mentions Israel, which is Boteach’s chief concern. This kind of appeal is so illogical it will make it easier for Booker to walk away from the friendship. Just read Schumer’s reasoning for opposing the deal. It was sophisticated –and straight out of AIPAC, according to White House officials cited in the Times.

Even more bizarre is Boteach’s article in the New York Observer assuring Jews that his old friend Cory Booker will never vote against Israel. Well at least Boteach is being more straightforward now about his concerns. But the article violates the friendship it claims to memorialize. Boteach publishes a lot of old pictures of himself and Booker; and he says that “tensions” have developed in their friendship since the days that the two friends epitomized black-Jewish amity.

Some of that friendship, Boteach says, involved money:

Cory and I spoke at countless Synagogues together and through these evenings, as well as my bringing him to speak at the AIPAC summit in Chicago, he won over significant Jewish donors to his cause, eventually becoming one of the largest recipients of support from pro-Israel donors in the United States. I arranged for Cory to travel to Israel, a country he has now visited three times.

The second racial reference in the piece seems a warning about black-Jewish relations.

Wherever I speak around the United States today Jewish audiences ask me, “What’s happening with your friend Cory?… We’ve always been there for him.”

Many are not as charitable. “You duped us, Shmuley. You vouched for Cory. You persuaded us to get behind him and support him, promising he’d be the best friend Israel ever had in elected office.” I explain to them they have to understand the kind of pressure Cory is under. The Administration surely knows that if the sole African-American democratic Senator, who is a great lover of Israel and the Jewish people, comes out against the deal, it’s game over. What will Jewish senators like Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut do then? What excuse would other supporters of Israel like Kirsten Gillibrand have if Cory came out against the deal? So they are subjecting my friend to a level of pressure that those of us outside of elected office can scarcely comprehend.

Rather than judging Cory, the Jewish community should empathize with the difficult choice ahead of him. And still, I know that Cory will do the right thing.

Somehow I don’t think Booker is going to do the right thing for Boteach. The rabbi’s desperation suggests that Booker is basing his decision about the deal on support for his president and not on donor pressure. The signal is, Booker’s in Obama’s column.

Philip Weiss

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

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54 Responses

  1. phylliprezzel on August 16, 2015, 1:43 pm

    I certainly hope Senator Booker is in Obama’s and America’s corner . . . after all, he is an American elected to the United States Senate, not an Israeli elected to the Knesset!

  2. chet on August 16, 2015, 2:15 pm

    The desperation of Rebbe Shmuley Glick — if he fails to deliver Booker on this key issue, his influence will drop and Adelson would question whether he was worth spending more money on … hence the almost-hysterical campaign to try to force Booker’s vote.

    • a blah chick on August 16, 2015, 3:24 pm

      Shmuley’s been striking out lately. I read that he was one of the people behind Adelson’s new campus crusade against BDS but didn’t get the job to head it. He’s always been a joke I doubt few people take him serious.

      Perhaps he and Booker could return to Hebron and recapture their mojo.

    • Ellen on August 17, 2015, 12:26 am

      Didn’t Shmuley recently run for Congress and loose by a big margin?

  3. lysias on August 16, 2015, 2:33 pm

    Booker won’t get many Jewish votes if he opposes the Iran deal, to judge by this Washington Post opinion piece today: On the Iran deal, American Jewish ‘leaders’ don’t speak for most Jews.

    • Krauss on August 16, 2015, 3:33 pm

      It’s not Jewish votes that is on the line, it’s Jewish money. That is clear from the good ol’ rabbi’s ramblings.

      And anyway, all of this is irrelevant anyway because even if AIPAC and the rest of the Israel lobby got their way, the rest of the negotiating countries have already said that they are lifting the sanctions.

      This is to some extent just kabuki theater, although kabuki theater with consequences for the repuation of the Israel lobby. If they can’t muster a veto-proof Congress, then their reputation as invincible will take a further hit. It will become progressively easier to repel them and to even run against them.

      And the prospect of that is probably what AIPAC is fightning against as much as the deal. This is what happens when you are a foreign lobby organisation. When the foreign country makes a really dumb strategic decision, you can’t really say no.

  4. JLewisDickerson on August 16, 2015, 2:50 pm

    RE: “You duped us, Shmuley. You vouched for Cory. You persuaded us to get behind him and support him, promising he’d be the best friend Israel ever had in elected office.”

    IN OTHER WORDS: You (i.e., Shmuley Boteach) said Cory Booker was a ‘sure thing’ and it turns out he is another Bernie Madoff. We invested a hell of a lot of money in Cory and now he’s not paying off! ! !

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Pay to play]:

    [EXCERPT] Pay to play, sometimes pay for play, is a phrase used for a variety of situations in which money is exchanged for services or the privilege to engage (play) in certain activities. The common denominator of all forms of pay to play is that one must pay to “get in the game,” with the sports analogy frequently arising.[1]

    • In politics [See also: Political corruption]

    In politics, pay to play refers to a system, akin to payola in the music industry, by which one pays (or must pay) money to become a player.
    Typically, the payer (an individual, business, or organization) makes campaign contributions to public officials, party officials, or parties themselves, and receives political or pecuniary benefit such as no-bid government contracts, influence over legislation,[2][3] political appointments or nominations,[4][5] special access[6] or other favors.
    The contributions, less frequently, may be to nonprofit or institutional entities,[7] or may take the form of some benefit to a third party, such as a family member of a governmental official.[8]
    The phrase, almost always used in criticism, also refers to the increasing cost of elections and the “price of admission” to even run[9] and the concern “that one candidate can far outspend his opponents, essentially buying the election.”[10]
    While the direct exchange of campaign contributions for contracts is the most visible form of Pay to Play, the greater concern is the central role of money in politics, and its skewing both the composition and the policies of government.[11][12] Thus, those who can pay the price of admission, such as to a $1000/plate dinner or $25,000 “breakout session,” gain access to power and/or its spoils, to the exclusion of those who cannot or will not pay: “giving certain people advantages that other[s] don’t have because they donated to your campaign.”[13] Good-government advocates consider this an outrage because “political fundraising should have no relationship to policy recommendations.”[14] Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington called the “Pay-to-Play Congress” one of the top 10 scandals of 2008.[15]
    Incumbent candidates and their political organizations[16] are typically the greatest beneficiaries of Pay-to-Play. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been criticized for the practice. Many seeking to ban or restrict the practice characterize pay-to-play as legalized corruption. . .

    SOURCE –

  5. John Douglas on August 16, 2015, 3:19 pm

    The Iran deal is obviously in US strategic and security interests. It seem to me there are three reasons that, either singly or conjoined, impel American politicians to oppose the agreement. The first is opposition to anything Obama proposes, a largely racist motive. The second is a fear of being deprived of or losing Zionist campaign and other money. The third is supporting Israeli interests – as articulated by the Israeli right wing – over US interests, being an Israel-firster. If we look at the Schumer case, he has more campaign money that God and he generally supports Obama’s initiatives so there’s only one motive left. This ought to disqualify him in voters’ minds from elected office.

    • annie on August 16, 2015, 3:30 pm

      opposition to anything Obama proposes, a largely racist motive.

      not sure if i agree with that. the gop does a pretty good job of voting in a block when they set their mind on it. i’d imagine they’d do the same thing opposing any dem president. this doesn’t mean there are not racists in the gop who have a racist motive. but i wouldn’t assume that’s the main reason for all of them.

      • Les on August 16, 2015, 4:32 pm

        Early anti-Semitism included the depiction of Jews with swarthy complexions and big ears which is identical to the depiction of Palestinians and Arabs in today’s media to stress their difference from the pale white Jewish Israelis. Why it’s wrong to call that anti-Semitism, including when done by Jews, is a mystery to me. Israeli Jews go out of their way to present themselves as white, not so surprising when just about 100% of their leaders are of European origin. As if to underline that it is the great white hope in the Middle East, Israel’s fifth column within the US put Israel in Eurocom leaving a gaping hole in the Centcom map. Such are the roots of Jewish racism against Palestinians and Arabs all too common in the US media.

      • bintbiba on August 16, 2015, 6:47 pm

        @ Les ,

        This might be of interest to you and others!

        “Semites and anti-Semites, that is the question

        Today the real victims of Western anti-Semitism are Arabs and Muslims, argues Joseph Massad *
        There is much misunderstanding about the term “anti-Semitism” among Jews, Arabs, and European Christians. The term is bandied about as a description of attitudes deemed anti-Jewish, and on occasion anti-Arab, but much of its use is anachronistic and ahistorical. While Zionists and their supporters have been using the charge of anti-Semitism against any and all who oppose Israel and its policies, especially, although not exclusively, in the Arab World, Arabs have taken offense countering that they are “Semites” and therefore by definition cannot be “anti-Semitic”. What are the merits of such arguments?

        Perhaps some history will help: The term “Semite” was invented by European philologists in the 18th century to distinguish languages from one another by grouping them into “families” descended from one “mother” tongue to which they are all related. In this context, languages came to be organised into “Indo-European” and “Semitic”, etc. The philologists claimed that Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, etc., were “Semitic” languages, even though philologists could never find a parent Semitic language from which they all derived.

        In the 19th century and with the rise of European biological racism, those who hated Jews could no longer rely on religious difference to mark out post- Enlightenment Jews as objects of their hatred. As religion was no longer part of the argumentation that could be used in a “rational and scientific” Europe, a new basis for the hatred of Jews had to be found. This did not mean however that certain religious ideas could not be rationalised. They often were. In keeping with the Protestant Reformation’s abduction of the Hebrew bible into its new religion and its positing of modern European Jews as direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews, post- Enlightenment haters of Jews began to identify Jews as “Semites” on account of their alleged ancestors having spoken Hebrew. In fact the ancient Hebrews spoke Aramaic, the language in which the Talmud was written, as well as parts of the bible. Based on this new philological taxonomy and its correlate racial classifications in the biological sciences, Jews were endowed with this linguistic category that was soon transformed into a racial category. Accordingly, haters of Jews began to identify themselves as “anti-Semites”. Thus the object of hatred of European anti-Semitism has always been European Jews.

        The claims made by many nowadays that any manifestation of hatred against Jews in any geographic location on Earth and in any historical period is “anti-Semitism” smacks of a gross misunderstanding of the European history of anti- Semitism. While oppression of, discrimination against, and hatred of communities of Jews qua Jews are found in many periods of European history, the basis for this hatred is different from modern anti-Semitism, as its inspirational sources are not rational science and biology or Enlightenment philology, but religious and other political and economic considerations that scapegoated Jews. This may not be important for those who want only to produce a lachrymose history of European Jews, but it is crucial to the understanding of how the identities produced since the European Enlightenment are different from preceding periods, and that they function as new bases for nationalism, racism, oppression, discrimination, and liberation, and for the modern mechanisms put in place to institutionalise such identities and categories of humans.

        The defensive claim made by some that Arabs cannot be “anti-Semitic” because they are “Semites” is equally erroneous and facile. First, I should state that I do not believe that anyone is a “Semite” any more than I believe anyone is an “Aryan”, and I do not believe that Arabs or Jews should proudly declare that they are “Semites” because European racists classified them as such. But if the history of European Christian anti-Semitism is mostly a history targeting Jews as objects of discrimination and exclusion, the history of European Orientalism and colonialism is the one that targeted Arabs and Muslims, among many others. This does not mean that Arabs are not considered Semites by European racialist and philological classifications; they indeed are. Nor does this mean that much of the hatred of Arabs today is not derived from a prior anti- Semitism that targeted Jews. Indeed it is. The history of European Orientalism is one that is fully complicit with anti-Semitism from which it derives many of its representations of ancient and modern Arabs and of ancient Hebrews and modern Jews. As Edward Said demonstrated a quarter of a century ago in his classic Orientalism, “what has not been sufficiently stressed in histories of modern anti-Semitism has been the legitimation of such atavistic designations by Orientalism, and… the way this academic and intellectual legitimation has persisted right through the modern age in discussions of Islam, the Arabs, or the Near Orient.” Said added: “The transference of popular anti-Semitic animus from a Jewish to an Arab target was made smoothly, since the figure was essentially the same.” In the context of the 1973 War, Said commented that Arabs came to be represented in the West as having “clearly ‘Semitic’ features: sharply hooked noses, the evil moustachioed leer on their faces, were obvious reminders (to a largely non- Semitic population) that ‘Semites’ were at the bottom of all ‘our’ troubles.”

        This is important, as many people in the Arab world and outside it think that European Jews are the ones who called themselves “Semites”, rather than European Christian racists who invented the term. Of course this misunderstanding is understandable given the fact that Zionism, which adopted wholesale anti-Semitic ideologies, would also call Jews “Semites” and would begin to consider Jews as Semites racially from the late 19th century to the present. In this sense not only do many Arabs think that “Semites” is a Jewish-invented category but so do many European Jews who were (and in some contexts remain) victims of this anti-Jewish designation.

        But this is different from the spurious claim that “Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are Semites.” There are Arabs today who are anti- Jewish, and they borrow their anti-Jewish rhetoric not from the Palestine experience but from European rhetorics of anti-Semitism. The point is that Arab Christians and Muslims can be anti-Jewish just as Jews can be, and American and Israeli Jews often are, anti-Arab racists, even though many among these Jews and Arabs use the category “Semite” for self-classification. Indeed a large and disproportionate number of the purveyors of anti- Arab racism in today’s United States and Israel as well as in Western Europe are Jews. But there is also a disproportionate number of Jews among those who defend Arabs and Muslims against Euro- American and Israeli racism and anti-Semitism. The majority, however, of those who hate Arabs and Muslims in the West remain European and American Christians.

        It is often pointed out by Zionists and their supporters that holocaust denial in the Arab world is the major evidence for “Arab anti-Semitism”. I have written elsewhere how any Arab or Palestinian who denies the Jewish holocaust falls into the Zionist logic.

        While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly “moral” argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else’s homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.

        Anyone who believes in social justice and opposes racist oppression must be in solidarity with all holocaust victims, especially European Jews, 90 per cent of whom were exterminated by a criminal and genocidal regime. Such a person must equally be against the Zionist abduction of the holocaust to justify Israel’s colonial and racist policies. The attempt by holocaust deniers to play down the number of holocaust victims is obscene, as whether one million or 10 million Jews were killed, the result is still genocide and this would never justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Such obscene number games on the part of holocaust deniers are hardly different from Zionist Jewish denial of the Palestinian nakba and are also similar to the continued Zionist attempts to play down the number of Palestinian refugees. While the nakba and the holocaust are not equivalent in any sense, the logic of denying them is indeed the same. I should stress here that the Palestine Liberation Organisation and most Palestinian intellectuals have spoken and written since the 1960s of their solidarity with Jewish holocaust victims and have attacked those who deny it took place. Unlike the official and unofficial Israeli denial of the expulsion of the Palestinians and the numbers of the refugees, those who deny the holocaust among Palestinians have no position whatsoever inside the PLO nor any legitimacy among the Palestinian intelligentsia.

        Today we live in a world where anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred, derived from anti-Semitism, is everywhere in evidence. It is not Jews who are being murdered by the thousands by Arab anti- Semitism, but rather Arabs and Muslims who are being murdered by the tens of thousands by Euro- American Christian anti-Semitism and by Israeli Jewish anti-Semitism. If anti-Semites posited Jews as the purveyors of corruption, as financier bankers who control the world, as violent communist subversives, and as poisoners of Christian wells, the Arab and the Muslim today are seen as in control of the oil market and therefore of the global financial market, the purveyors of hatred and corruption of civilised Christian and Jewish societies, as violent terrorists, and as possible mass murderers, not with some Semitic Jewish poison but with Semitic Arab nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (which are nowhere to be found). Thus Michael Moore feels vindicated in telling us in his recent film, Fahrenheit 9/11, about the portion of the American economy controlled by Saudi money while neglecting to mention the much, much larger American share of the Saudi economy. Anti- Semitism is alive and well today worldwide and its major victims are Arabs and Muslims and no longer Jews. The fight should indeed be against all anti-Semitism no matter who the object of its oppression is, Arab or Jew.”

        * Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York.

      • italian ex-pat on August 16, 2015, 9:30 pm


        Excellent point – one I’ve often made, until now, only in my own mind.

        Judging by what most NYT’ commenters write, many people believe that Republicans are always attacking Mr. Obama ONLY because of his race. This is especially true in the case of the Iran deal, although I’ve seen it in other instances. They believe, or want to believe, that Republicans are against this deal, or anything Obama proposes, just because they hate the black President, and automatically reject anything he supports.
        As you say, it’s true that many are racists, but in the case of this agreement with Iran, does anybody believe they would be for it if the President was a white man? Or, to put it another way, would they still be against it if Netanyahu and AIPAC were in favor of it?

      • annie on August 16, 2015, 9:57 pm

        thinking it’s all because of race is a pack mentality and a cop out. same w/rampant accusations of anti semitism. usually it’s political strategizing. lots of people (strategizers) have no qualms with this because it can flip an election (yes racists exist and charges of racism can also bring out the opposition: ie anti anti semitism ); remember what netanyahu appealed to right before the election. but i’d posit the american masses (in the majority) are not primarily motivated by racism. i choose to believe (hope) the opposite (anti racism) is more prevalent of the two.

      • RoHa on August 17, 2015, 4:31 am

        Off topic technical note.

        I don’t understand why, after “philologists claimed that Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, etc., were “Semitic” languages”, he says, ” even though philologists could never find a parent Semitic language from which they all derived.”

        Nor do we have a common Indo-European language, a common Bantu language, or a common Uro-Altaic language. The similarities between the languages justifies them being grouped into the families.

        Those similarities also suggest that each family derived from a common language, but even if some alternative explanation for the similarities could be found, it would not mean that the groupings were unjustified.

      • Mooser on August 17, 2015, 10:02 am

        I do believe we Jews and whoever else are called “Semites” because we are the sons, the descendants of Shem, on of Noah’s sons, who repopulated the world after the Flood.
        Of course, as we all know “Ham” was the other son. And he fathered the other peoples and languages.

        I wish we could just drop the word “Semite” It is simply a spurious term. It has no meaning at all, unless you are a certain kind of Biblical literalist.

      • John Douglas on August 17, 2015, 10:39 am

        I agree, Annie, when it comes to the classic, slur-slinging racist. And I think there are commonalities between the overuse of the charges of anti-Semitism and those of racism. However these Republicans as a group are incredibly intolerant of difference. Obama, who is smarter, more dignified, freer of scandal, more analytical, more open to dialogue than they are is still different, he’s Black. I think there’s a pervasive idea among these politicians ( some Dems too) that he doesn’t belong in the (very) White House. It’s still hard for me to understand the level of insult of the 29 standing ovations and later invitation to Netanyahu, which in this case was not only a Republican phenomenon. Jackie Robinson stood bravely and with great dignity in the outfields of America as fans shouted insults and threats to his life. Obama is the Jackie Robinson of presidents.

      • annie on August 17, 2015, 2:27 pm

        ok john, i will consider your argument, thank you. in all honesty i have not spent much time investigating the navels of the gop and perhaps my basic assumptions are wrong. i know it’s the white party, that part i know. thank you.

      • Les on August 17, 2015, 10:55 am

        We should give Phil credit for the very valuable educational tool he has created with this website.

      • Mooser on August 17, 2015, 12:22 pm

        BTW, speaking of Noah and his two swingin’ sons, anybody who shows the slightest sign of antisamitism will have to fight with me.
        Let’s not be “L7”!

      • echinococcus on August 17, 2015, 1:23 pm

        No! A thousand times! We must keep that “Sons of Shem” name at any price!
        Can you imagine the abomination if we were confused with the “Sons of Ham”?

      • RoHa on August 17, 2015, 1:58 pm

        “Can you imagine the abomination if we were confused with the “Sons of Ham”? ”

        I have seen a number of Jewish actors for whom that would be a suitable appellation.

        “Hamitic” was a term applied to a number of North African languages. As I understand it, the term was dropped when it was shown that they did not form a family

      • echinococcus on August 17, 2015, 4:03 pm


        In its infinitely progressive outlook, linguistics continues to use the biblical names for language families. They may be obsolete anywhere else but the phylae continue with the old names –no matter if some branch or the other is shown to belong somewhere else, and others like good old unbiblical Uralo-Altaic to have never existed. Hamitic is still around, though.

      • RoHa on August 18, 2015, 4:24 am

        Yes, I believe the Uralo-Altaic family was abandoned when it was decided that the Altaic branch wasn’t a family. I thought the term Hamitic was dropped when the Semitic languages were subsumed into the Afro-asiatic grouping. Is it still in use somewhere?

      • piotr on August 18, 2015, 6:41 am

        I agree, Bill Clinton was white and it did not do him much good in that respect.

        “Resolute opposition”, conceived (or put in action) by Newt Gingrich is simply a good political strategy. A large segment of voters values resolute politicians, while following details is genuinely hard. If Mr. X says somewhat boringly that doing Y is better than not doing, and Mr. Z says vehemently that doing Y is a disaster, that would sway many toward the position of Z.

        The only limitation to that method is that real life provides some information to the voters as well.

      • echinococcus on August 18, 2015, 9:03 am


        Yes, Afro is much in fashion as you observe but the Sem-Ham differentiation hasn’t been argued out of existence –so the sons or daughters of each seems to remain when their own specialists are referring specifically to those subgroups

      • Mooser on August 18, 2015, 10:23 am

        “Yes, I believe the Uralo-Altaic family was abandoned when it was decided that the Altaic branch wasn’t a family. I thought the term Hamitic was dropped when the Semitic languages were subsumed into the Afro-asiatic grouping. Is it still in use somewhere?”

        Gee, so they still date the development of language starting from the Biblical Flood? That was only a couple thousand years ago, wasn’t it?

      • RoHa on August 18, 2015, 11:17 am

        “Afro is much in fashion as you observe”

        Actually, I haven’t seen an Afro since the seventies. And, as you have probably guessed, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to historical linguistics since then, either.

      • RoHa on August 18, 2015, 11:24 am

        A bit longer than that, actually, Mooser. It is the length of the time span that has put us into the current linguistic situation.

        Human beings only need one language, and that language is, of course, English. However, for a very large chunk of human history, English did not exist. This meant that early humans faced the prospect of either sitting and staring blankly at each other for thousands of years, or cooking up some sort of language to be going on with. Sensibly, they chose the latter course. I say “sensibly” because, whilst having languages undeniably led to arguments with one’s spouse, it also made possible poetry and the development of civilization.

        And that, I think you will agree, is at least partial compensation.

        The multilingual world we have today is the result of the ingenuity and effort of those ancient pioneers, and I say we have cause to be grateful to them. They faced a tricky situation and dealt with it brilliantly.

        But the situation has changed. English – invented by G. Chaucer, enriched by W. Shakespeare, and perfected by C. Lamb and P. G. Wodehouse – now exists. The other languages are no longer necessary, and, in fact, present obstacles to communication.

        I recognize that there is a certain geeky pleasure to be gained from learning them and comparing them (I do it myself) but I cannot persuade myself that there is any real value in maintaining them, especially when we have other, vital, problems to solve. So I am not really enthusiastic about these movements to preserve other languages. They have served their purpose. It is time to let them go.

      • RobertHenryEller on August 18, 2015, 12:39 pm

        Just for clarity, regarding bintbiba’s very worthwhile piece below:

        The piece by Columbia U. Professor Joseph Massad appeared apparently appeared in 2004.

        Thank you, bintbiba, for a piece which certainly eliminated not a few of my own misperceptions, and filled some important holes in my knowledge. One suggestion, if I may: In the future, please provide links to such pieces, if you know them (Perhaps you got Professor Massad’s piece from a printed source, and transcribed it here.)

  6. piotr on August 16, 2015, 5:00 pm

    Boteach is not the only person who is afraid for millions of fellow citizens.

    Jul 21, 2015 – Ted Cruz’s worst fear about the nuclear deal with Iran? That “millions of Americans will be murdered by radical theocratic zealots.”

    However, the easiest way to kill millions of Americans with a smallish nuclear bomb is not 100% terrifying: bomb Social Security Administration.

    The inspector general did not say how many benefit checks were sent to the 6.5 million Americans whose Social Security accounts should have been closed out years ago.
    But the IG’s report, just one page in length confirms only that payments have been ‘terminated’ for 410,074 of the affected accounts.
    Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told Daily Mail Online in a telephone interview that he was outraged by the possibility ‘that there are dead people getting government checks.’
    ‘Now we’ve got 6.5 million walking dead,’ he said, ‘and frankly – are these Zombie Americans voting? are they working? Are illegal immigrants using their SSNs to get jobs?’

    So one can believe that more than six million Zombies walk around cities, towns and villages and get Social Security payments to boot, with the only consolation that they do not use Medicare. But some of them eat brains, which is another explanation for Rav Shmuley and Sen. Cruz.

    • annie on August 16, 2015, 5:17 pm

      are they working? Are illegal immigrants using their SSNs to get jobs?’

      i don’t know if they are using dead people’s names but either way thousands are working and faking SSN and dumping millions into the IRS that they will never see as beneficiaries down the road. todays social security recipients are depending on that money from illegal workers. the state has something like a 6 month window to inform a business owner an employee is illegal so many of these workers change jobs every six months. it protects the employer and keeps that money flowing into the IRS. the employee gets screwed over but that’s the price you pay working in the US as an illegal. the gov takes the money out of your paycheck.

      they have no problem collecting money from faux dead people (otherwise known as illegals) , they just bitch when a glitch in the system gives it back to dead people.

    • bintbiba on August 18, 2015, 1:15 pm

      RobertHenryEller at 12.39 pm.

      Thank you for your kind comment .

      Yes , I had lost the link and had just kept the text that I had forwarded to my friend.
      Sorry about that . Originally the link had been posted within one of the commenters’ posts on the ‘marathon ‘ about Alison Weir .
      I waited for a better moment to post on MW , as the comments were coming in so fast and furious.. I felt it wasn’t the best time .

      I’m still learning many of the tips and tricks on the internet. So I hope in Future I shall be more proficient in tracing links / comments etc…with some help !

      • RobertHenryEller on August 18, 2015, 1:46 pm

        No apologies necessary, bintbiba. You were kind to bring Professor Massad’s piece to our attention. I’m no internet wiz either. I used to think I was not too bad with information technology. I was even manned a tech support desk in a large law firm in Philadelphia, PA, once. But that was at least 30 years ago. I’m 66 now, and the technology has raced ahead of me. I’ve given up trying to keep up.

        I was surprised at the volume of reader responses to the debate about Alison Weir (I was a supporter of Weir before, and remain so.).


  7. just on August 16, 2015, 5:55 pm

    “The signal is, Booker’s in Obama’s column.”

    I hope so, Phil.

    Speaking of donors:

    “Huckabee headed to Israel to discuss nuclear deal: Iran ‘not to be trusted’

    …“We’re doing some fundraising,” Huckabee said, “but, more importantly, I will also be visiting with a number of officials and discussing the Iranian deal, because I think it’s the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, in a long time. …

    … Many evangelical Christians in the US view Israel as the modern iteration of the Old Testament Israelites designated as God’s chosen people. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, noted Sunday that he has traveled to Israel “dozens and dozens of times” since his first trip in 1973. …”

    So will he “visit” the illegal squatters in the illegal ‘settlements’ again in order to fundraise, oppose this President, advocate for more war, meet with foreign officials, and vie for AIPAC/Adelson and alien money?

    Sure sounds like it.

  8. traintosiberia on August 16, 2015, 10:31 pm

    Since 2001, not a war nor a policy unless we include the Hondurus coup ,has shown a constructive or pro American outcome . Why does Botox or his agent of poisioning think that endeavor this time against Iran will produce any different result either domestically or internationally.
    If the deal falls through America will be facing rest of the world not Iran in its attempt to make sanction meaningful . This could have been a lot easier earlier but nt this time . America has to engage in various false flags to shape European and Asian mind to bring back Russia,Germany,,India,China and UK in line .
    Here lies gravity of the full spectrum of the nefarious game plan the Zionist are engaging . The Zio knows that unilateral sanction will have no teeth after the deal fails to pass US House.
    So they will burn the house lighting fire to American economy ,Euopean economy in order to desyroy Iran . Why this collective hate,anger,and blood thirst against Iran ? So that their children can siphon more water,clean air,and till more fertile land in Paestine,Syria,and Lebanon.

  9. Kay24 on August 17, 2015, 12:32 pm

    Cory Booker is disappointing to say the least. Chances are high he will do the bidding of AIPAC and go against Obama, since they bought his devotion for a large sum of political contributions:

    AIPAC contribution to Booker:

    Cory A. Booker $333,376

    That is a lot of devotion.

    • piotr on August 17, 2015, 1:06 pm

      Dear Kay24, in American politics, 333,376 is peanuts. Arguably, it is a tip of an iceberg, but a campaign in NJ requires 10-20 millions in my estimate. If there were no business interests supportive of the deal, Obama would not go for it. I can imagine Obama mentoring Booker: with your looks you can be in my seat one day, and it is OK if you whore to business, but you must have some memorable progressive votes. Place your bets wisely.

      • Kay24 on August 17, 2015, 1:08 pm

        Maybe, but it is not only the money. It is the support and maybe getting the help to run against another candidate. It seems American politicians cannot run and win without the aid and support of an alien nation.

      • annie on August 17, 2015, 1:51 pm

        the price on elections has been shoved up to the mega billions thanks to big donors. it was already bad before the supreme court ruling and it’s just going to go up up up. but a cheap election can still be done in small states. think of that guy who uprooted cantor, as entrenched in the system as any sitting congressperson until SPLAT! that was so fun to watch happen. and the guy was a nobody coming outta nowheresville. so it can be done.

  10. piotr on August 17, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Booker is an old friend of Boteach, back to years when he was a student in Oxford. But he has to think about climbing in Democratic ranks and about his primary, while “Jewish donors” are currently busy propping legal defense fund of Sen. Menendez. Booker clearly benefited from the friendship and donations, but his re-election comes in 2019, and perhaps he does not plan to have major legal problems before that time.

    On the level of crass political calculations, GOP mastered the art of villifying worthy legislation, like Obamacare. However, when a reform works, they simply go after another issue, ACA software was initially disappoining but now the program works and it gains vested constituents etc. The same will probably happen to the deal with Iran which, if nothing else, decreases gas price at the pump by nearly a quarter, more than two bucks on each tank, and there is also a good chance that Israeli will not go to ovens before 2019 (personally, I am ready to offer 1000:1 bet). In other words, tangible benefits are certain, and promised disasters are highly unlikely.

    More on crass political calculations. My theory is that above certain income level people compete with “tchotchkes”, who has more impressive one. E.g. this is my very own US senator. In that category, majority ownership of Israeli PM is a tchotchke that causes a lot of admiration, deference, but also envy, and there is a bevy of folks who would gladly wrest that trophy from the hands of Sheldon Adelson. The deal with Iran is a good step in that direction and Booker can count on some fat Jewish contributions.

  11. Kay24 on August 17, 2015, 1:11 pm

    It seems some ex Iranian parliamentarians in exile is also pleading to Congress to get their act together and vote for this deal. We have a bunch of morons in Congress, don’t we? It seems it is them (and king Bibi) versus the rest of the world. If they manage to sabotage this, they will still look like losers to the rest of the world.

    • RobertHenryEller on August 18, 2015, 1:03 pm

      More hookers than morons in Congress. They’re smart enough to know which side of the bread the butter is on.

      • piotr on August 18, 2015, 9:40 pm

        I suggest an experiment: take a piece of metal of plastic, spread jam on half of it and check it after a week. Mold will figure out which part has more nutrients. This is roughly the level of intelligence that is required.

  12. pabelmont on August 17, 2015, 5:18 pm

    What would we hear in a debate between Zephyr Teachout and Schmuel Boteach (other than a vastly different way to pronounce “teach”)?

  13. shalom on August 17, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Its not about following the President of the United States and the leader of the Democratic Party on his signature foreign policy initiative or following the conservative leader of Israel. Its about determining whether the deal is good enough to actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon by cheating, by waiting or simply by buying one. I don’t think it is. But I am a Democrat and want to enhance the deal to make it good enough to provide the security that we all needs. The best path I see is Robert Satloff’ no is the best way to yes in the Atlantic; “A Better Deal with Iran is Possible.”

    • Mooser on August 17, 2015, 5:43 pm

      ” Its about determining whether the deal is good enough to actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon by cheating, by waiting or simply by buying one.”

      I mean, that’s how Israel did it, got the bomb, right? And refused any NPT or inspections since, too.

      And you want to talk about the chances we are taking with Iran? Gee, judging by the amount of responsibility Iran is are taking for their nuclear program, I’d trust them much more than the Israelis.

      Or is there an essential difference between the Iranians, and the country of Iran, and Israel, which makes it ho-kay for Zionists to steal nukes but not okay for Iran to enter into an international treaty about nukes? Maybe you could tell us what it is, “shalom”.

  14. Mooser on August 18, 2015, 10:27 am

    “No evidence at your link …”

    No evidence?

    “talknic” it is simply not possible to deny “Grubbers” logic. Tom Friedman alone I might be able to deny. But Tom Friedman and Tevye, and all those “biddy-biddy-boms”?

    There’s no gainsaying that!

  15. RobertHenryEller on August 18, 2015, 12:13 pm

    Shmuley Boteach is nothing but a self-promoting Hollywood Hebrew Hustler.

    What’s the difference between a Schlamiel and a Schlamazel, Shmuley?

    A Schlamiel spill soup on a Schlamazel’s tie. In other words, in your case, Shmuley, no difference.

    • bintbiba on August 18, 2015, 12:48 pm

      @ RHE

      ” Shmuley Boteach is nothing but a self-promoting Hollywood Hebrew Hustler. ”

      I’ll never forget the first exposure I had of the Boteach phenomenon…. was many years ago on the BBC he was taking part at some Oxford panel discussion or other ,I forget which…
      And he was holding forth about his latest book on ‘lust in marriage’ thingy !
      First impression … self promoting, superficial , narcissist, thinks he’s gawd’s supreme gift to womanhood !

      • RobertHenryEller on August 18, 2015, 1:06 pm

        bintbiba: Thanks for showing up! I hope you caught my thank you to you for posting the Professor Joseph Massad piece on the history of anti-Semitism. I learned a lot. Regards,

  16. lysias on August 18, 2015, 4:03 pm

    New poll shows Donna Edwards leading Chris Van Hollen by 5 points in the race for Mikulski’s Senate seat (although the poll has a 4-point margin of error). Congressional Quarterly: Edwards Touts Poll Showing Lead Over Van Hollen (requires subscription). As a registered independent, I cannot vote in the Democratic primary.

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