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Israeli soldiers can’t win war for ‘Israel’s survival’ without American friends fighting with computers and checkbooks

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The Israel Project is a neoconservative organization that threw itself into the fight against the Iran Deal, and lost. Maxwell Woolley is director of Digital Communications at the organization. He sent out a fundraising email the other day that described a meeting with soldiers recently in Israel.

[A] few IDF soldiers who served in Gaza last summer came to thank me and express how much it meant to know that people were working to tell the world the truth — that Israel wasn’t isolated as they had feared. I told them, they had no reason to thank me —they were the ones risking their lives; I was just doing what was right.I was fighting back tears when they told me: “You were fighting the same as us. You don’t have to risk your life to be a part of the fight. Moreover, they said they couldn’t win the fight without the kind of work we do at The Israel Project.

It was one of the most meaningful things any one had ever said to me. These soldiers put their lives at risk to defend Israel. I sit behind a computer desk in DC. But to them, I was fighting the war just as they were.

And if I was fighting so were you. Without your contributions, The Israel Project wouldn’t exist and I couldn’t do my job. We are fighting every day to tell Israel’s true story in the face of lies and hate that demonize the Middle East’s only democracy… [to] fight for Israel’s survival.

I am proud to be part of that fight. When you contribute to TIP, you become a part of that fight.

Thank you for supporting a country I love.

A couple of points. Woolley’s email expresses the core idea of the Israel lobby: Israeli soldiers could not fight without the support of American lobbyists (who corrupt US policymaking; we give that country more than $3 billion a year in military aid).

The American government throws Palestinian-Americans in jail when they give to charities that are said to have some kind of connection to Hamas, a Palestinians resistance group that arose because Palestinians were thrown out of their homes and villages, etc. But Woolley gets to raise money happily on behalf of a military force that killed 2300 Palestinians in Gaza, including 500 children, just a year ago (and that executed 18-year-old Hadeel al-Haslamoun at a checkpoint in illegally occupied territory last week). At the very least the U.S. ought to be neutral in this conflict. But we’re on one side.

Woolley’s comments are reminiscent of Harvard professor Ruth Wisse, who told the Center for Jewish History several years ago that young American Jews had to be in Israel’s army, serving in their schools against Israel’s attackers. The appeal was considered over the line by even Eric Alterman, who found it amazing, and wrote:

It reminded me of the time that Norman Podhoretz insisted, years ago, that “the role of Jews who write in both the Jewish and general press is to defend Israel,” period. Talk about your dual loyalties. Talk about your intellectual dishonesty. … Scary that these kids were hearing this stuff from a Harvard professor.

The American special relationship with Israel won’t end until American Jews split over this scary question, and actually call out such appeals as contributions to a foreign, militant racist state that only hurts the American interest in the Middle East. (I believe this confusion is built into Zionism; Alterman has himself said that he has “dual loyalty” to Israel.)

Philip Weiss

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

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15 Responses

  1. Krauss on September 29, 2015, 3:13 pm

    I love that attack on Alterman. This quote is surreal:

    It reminded me of the time that Norman Podhoretz insisted, years ago, that “the role of Jews who write in both the Jewish and general press is to defend Israel,” period. Talk about your dual loyalties. Talk about your intellectual dishonesty.

    How is this dishonest? It’s refreshingly honest because it spells out what Zionism entails.

    Alterman doesn’t really attack the notion per se, he attacks talking out loud about it. When Blumenthal released his first Israel book, we all saw the crazied frenzy with which Alterman went after the book.

    When pushed into a corner, people show their true colors. Alterman can write whatever claptrap he wants, but when the chips are down he is absolutely a soldier for Israel in the media. The only difference between him and Podhoretz was that Podhoretz was transparent about his wishes.

    We need more of that.

    • annie on September 29, 2015, 5:10 pm

      How is this dishonest

      there’s a difference between dishonesty and phil’s term “intellectual dishonesty.”

      Intellectual dishonesty is a failure to apply standards of rational evaluation that one is aware of, usually in a self-serving fashion. If one judges others more critically than oneself, that is intellectually dishonest.

      • inbound39 on September 29, 2015, 6:09 pm

        Have to agree Annie. Take Obama’s accusation to Russia this week when he stated that Russian use of the veto at the UN is just a license to kill. Given Americas more frequent use of the veto in Protection of Israel does he not therefore agree that Americas use of the veto in Protection of Israel is a license for Israel to kill more Palestinians……..with American supplied weaponry and ammunition?

  2. Boomer on September 29, 2015, 4:34 pm

    Years ago I saw on TV a speech by one of the top female politicians from California. It may have been Pelosi, it may have been one of the senators; I don’t recall who it was. (It doesn’t matter: on I/P they run together.) She was eliciting applause by rejecting an “even handed” policy regarding I/P. “We don’t want even handed; we want pro-Israel,” she said, or words to that effect. I don’t know the audience, but it was clear where their sympathy lay. No danger for her of suffering Percy’s fate.

    It seems that at least since ’67, and probably since ’48, most (not all) American Jews have regarded Israel as La Cosa Nostra: our thing, our operation. It is entirely legitimate to use American resources and power to support it; it is entirely legitimate to demean and destroy anyone who would impede their doing so. Maybe things are changing, but I have not seen evidence of that manifesting in official Washington.

  3. Keith on September 29, 2015, 4:43 pm

    PHIL- “The Israel Project is a neoconservative organization that threw itself into the fight against the Iran Deal, and lost.”

    Don’t get carried away with the illusion of an Obama ‘victory’. Our actual relations with Iran are significantly determined by Obama’s anti-Iranian, pro-Israel, Zionist appointees who remain in office. That he hasn’t fired them says volumes about his real intentions. The sanctions against Iran are likely to get worse before they get better. A quote followed by a link:

    “Iranians believe that some trade between Iran and the west will no doubt occur in the coming months. Economists tend to agree. But it won’t amount to much anytime soon if AIPAC and its partner, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) succeed in their continuing their anti-Iran campaign which has been revered up since this summer’s Congressional vote in favor JCPA.

    Also engaged in keeping the pressure on Iranians is Adam Szubin, AIPAC supporter and former director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which enforces sanctions. Mr. Szubin has recently been appointed the U.S. Treasury’s acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. He has made plain this past month that pressure on Iran will intensify and those who fantasize about doing business with the Islamic Republic, with or without sanctions, will face more hurdles. The latter includes for example, that any foreign banks who knowingly or unknowingly engage in and transaction with any firm doing any business with Khatam al-Anbia (the Iranian construction company owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC), they will be barred from U.S. markets.” (Franklin Lamb)

  4. JWalters on September 29, 2015, 6:09 pm

    “IDF soldiers who served in Gaza last summer came to thank me and express how much it meant to know that people were working to tell the world the truth”

    The “truth” for them is that Jews have a right to drive non-Jews from their homes and lands at gunpoint. This “truth” derives from their core belief that Jews are superior beings and non-Jews are inferior beings.

    The U.S. should not support this belief and its barbaric policies any more than it supports the supremacist beliefs and policies of slavery. They are the same at their core. They share this core with the Nazi belief in Aryan supremacy. They are all bullsh*t, even if they are in the Bible.

    The only reason this OBVIOUS point is not made on EVERY talk show discussing Israel’s war is Israel’s tyrannical grip on the U.S. mainstream media. It must be a bummer being a true reporter and not be able to report on your country’s free speech and democracy being squashed by barbarians.

  5. Kay24 on September 29, 2015, 6:55 pm

    We are definitely complicit in many of Israel’s crimes against unarmed civilians. In fact after the Iran deal, we will be giving the war criminals even more:

    Article by Josh Rueben

    “Israel is likely to get recompensed for the Iran nuclear deal in two ways.

    The first is through Congressional authorization of the transfer to Israel of advanced weaponry such as bunker-buster bombs. For example, Cory Booker, the Democratic senator from New Jersey who broke with his former mentor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach by supporting the deal, stated that the “US should provide Israel with access to the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) to help deter Iranian cheating.”

    And Obama appears amenable to upping the quality of weapons the US provides Israel. In a letter to Jerrold Nadler, a Democratic representative for New York, Obama pledged that “Our support for Israel is also an important element in deterring Iran from ever seeking a nuclear weapon.”

    Thus Israel is likely to receive from the US the weapons it would need to threaten or actually carry out the attack on Iran the US just potentially avoided with the nuclear deal.

    Second, Israel will likely reap an enormous windfall from the United States by negotiating a new 10-year deal for additional military aid. During the George W. Bush administration, the US signed an agreement to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid from 2009 to 2018.

    Ever since he visited Jerusalem in March 2013, Obama has repeatedly made clear that he wants to extend — and even increase — military aid to Israel.”

    • Citizen on September 30, 2015, 1:00 pm

      The only bomber that delivers the MOP is the B2. Israel has now asked the US to include some of those along with the MOPS. Not to worry, just some more spare US pocket money.

  6. Les on September 29, 2015, 8:31 pm

    This fails to give credit to the critical role of the US media. Who else convinces us that the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were brave when they took the guns from their secret tunnels to shoot at the Nazis compared to the savage terrorist Palesinians who shoot their toy rockets against their occupier. Who else paints the image of Israel as the land of Jews as white as their American counterparts. Israel with its total domination by European Jewish immigrants is so white our Defense Department moved Israel from CENTCOM to EUCOM leaving a gaping hole in the CENTCOM map. Who is a greater supporter of Israel’s white power and its status as our great white hope in the Middle East than our racist media? Name just one of our major print or broadcast outlets that is in oppostion!

    • Boomer on September 30, 2015, 5:54 am

      ” our Defense Department moved Israel from CENTCOM to EUCOM”

      Did not know that. Seems politically significant. I wonder when it happened, who was responsible? Not that it matters now.

  7. lonely rico on September 29, 2015, 8:32 pm

    >Maxwell Woolley

    I was fighting back tears ..
    fighting every day to tell Israel’s true story in the face of lies and hate
    that demonize the Middle East’s only democracy…
    [to] fight for Israel’s survival.

    Woolley’s crocodile tears. Of course, Israel’s racist “democracy” was not at risk.

    What (I hope) is at risk is the cruel subjugation/dispossession of the Palestinians –

    Daily violence, maiming and murder,

    men women and children,


    I fight back tears for the Palestinian children.

    • just on September 30, 2015, 7:38 am

      Me too, lonely rico. Me too.

      I just read this about the IOF:

      “One Mother’s Fight to Address the Needs of Struggling Israeli Soldiers

      The IDF is one of Israeli society’s biggest problems today, says Shifra Shahar, head of an NGO devoted to helping poverty-stricken soldiers.

      Too many Israeli soldiers have to desert in order to work for a living — of the 22,000 soldiers jailed every year, 20,000 are imprisoned for this reason, says Shifra Shahar, chief executive of A Warm Home for Every Soldier.

      “About 1.5 million Israelis fly abroad several times a year, but opposite them are 1.5 million Israelis who don’t have anything to eat. We receive hundreds of calls a week. Sometimes commanders approach us because they feel they have no solution,” Shahar says.
      “I’ve seen very difficult things in my seven years in this business. So many lives are miserable, with debts and frozen accounts; they don’t even have a few shekels to spend on the holiday.”

      Shahar says poor soldiers seek donations like store vouchers and warm meals; many of them are of Ethiopian or Russian origin, or come from single-parent homes or poor neighborhoods in the country’s outskirts.

      “Many of these soldiers’ parents are working people. Some of them have children who fight in the army but can’t live in dignity. Every IDF unit, including commandos, has too high a rate of poor soldiers who have great needs that the army can’t address.”

      It started seven years ago when her oldest son was a young platoon commander in a company-commander course at the Engineering Corps.

      Her son was shocked on the first Shabbat — some soldiers requested to stay on base; he realized they had nowhere to go. He visited a soldier living not far from his family in Jerusalem and discovered he lived in the kitchen with his grandmother and slept on a mattress on the floor.

      “I started checking how to help him, and it grabbed me. Later, a lone soldier in the course whose father was in jail asked to leave the course because he had nowhere to go on Shabbat,” Shahar says.

      “My son realized that the kid was talented — sure enough, he later became an officer. So my son found him an adoptive family through another soldier in the platoon. He still lives with them and is now out of the army and studying at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.”

      Shahar met the mother of that family at the ceremony ending the course, and they established the nonprofit group together. A Warm Home for Every Soldier’s first goal was to find an adoptive family for every lone soldier who wanted one, and to help soldiers hungry on weekends.

      We give financial help to soldiers’ families and treat wounded lone soldiers,” she says. “A wounded or ill lone soldier who needs long-term recovery is sometimes expelled from the system without any accompaniment or financial support. Our involvement is really critical at this stage because we make sure he’s released from the IDF only after financial assistance is arranged.”

      How much is he supposed to receive?

      “About 5,000 shekels ($1,272) per month. They receive this stipend from the Defense Ministry. If it’s not arranged before release, they hit the street wounded and sick, without an apartment or ability to work. It’s a systemic failure, but if they turn to us in time we manage to fix it.

      “It’s one of the great disgraces. Officers of the wounded call me because they know they’re lost without our help. There were lone soldiers wounded in Operation Protective Edge [the 2014 Gaza war] who had nowhere to go because their rent wasn’t paid, so they stayed in hospitals.”

      Poor combat soldiers

      Many lone soldiers arrive with a sense of mission and financial support from their families; it’s just that the family is far away and there’s a need to ensure that the soldiers are comfortable in Israel. But you’re describing a much more difficult situation.

      “True, there are outstanding people who move to Israel and serve in significant positions. There was a lone soldier from Connecticut who a day after his release came to our office with his mother and offered to help fundraising abroad in appreciation of our help. But these kind of people are few.

      “Out of 6,300 lone soldiers, about a third are from abroad. The rest are Israeli — orphans, former ultra-Orthodox, soldiers from broken families who are drafted by the Compulsory Service Law. In general, lone soldiers are also an economic burden. Sometimes they suffer language difficulties and they’re a big challenge for the army.” …

      …No air conditioning in August

      You’re really angry at the IDF.

      “I don’t have many good words to say about the manpower directorate as an organization. I really love the soldiers and I chose the tough fight to battle the unreasonable bureaucracy and the corruption in the IDF. It can’t be that we’re an army with a country attached.

      “But they sometimes get angry with me. For example, a few weeks ago when I discovered that there were no air conditioners in all IDF apartments for lone soldiers, nearly 600 lone soldiers suffered in the terrible heat we had in August and had no one to turn to.

      “First I wrote letters, but when they were ignored, as I expected, I went to the media, so they got angry. They have half a million shekels for a goodbye party for the chief of staff but don’t have half a million shekels for air conditioners for lone soldiers. …

      … “That’s how it is. The one who doesn’t care much about the soldiers’ low salaries or air conditioners in their apartments also sends soldiers in broken armored personal carriers to Shujaiyeh. That’s how they act in their missions as well. Chaos reigns and egos are inflated.

      “Our only luck is that the enemy is worse than us, and we also, thank God have supervision from above. You really think we’re here thanks to the IDF? Both my sons are combat soldiers, and I’m for everyone being fighters, and I know we need a strong army. But the IDF, as it is now, is one of Israeli society’s biggest problems today.”…”

      read more:

      Boo- hoo- hoo. Cry me a river. That last paragraph made me shout out loud and it was preceded by other invective. All that donated money raised by the hasbara brigade, Haim Saban, and other foreign or dual lunatics, etc. and this is the result? All with 3+++++ billion a year from US taxpayers? Really???

      It’s past time to cut them off. Sanctions are in order. BDS. Cut the cord!

      Do you remember August? How about May? Remember this report from Dan Cohen?

      “… Two-year-old Ahmad Najjar scooted on his rear end across the dirt in front of the shipping container he and his family live in the Gaza farming village of Khuza’a. Unable to walk because of a genetic condition and lacking a wheelchair, Ahmad resorts to dragging himself by his hands. His grandmother, who also can not walk and is blind, sat and wailed inside the container in sweltering heat. “I’m so hot! God help me,” she moaned while rocking back and forth. The Najjar family’s stately home in Khuza’a was one of 100,000 homes damaged or destroyed during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014 that killed more than 2200 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians. Eight months after the final ceasefire reconstruction in Gaza has not begun, and the Najjar family is is forced to live in a donated shipping container just across the street from the four-meter-high mound of rubble that used to be their home.

      Ahmad’s father Youssef Najjar, 46, mostly blind and afflicted with nerve damage, stood over his mother and broke into tears. “In this caravan, our life is all about suffering,” he sighed.

      Seventy-four other families, mostly from the larger Najjar family live in the caravan as well. Makeshift pathways have been cleared through the rubble, and the biggest chunks were piled up to form a massive hill where a tent sits on top and overlooks the grey moonscape of destruction. In the distance one can see Khuza’a’s farmland and Israeli towns across the border, as well as intermittent Israeli pillboxes equipped with remote-control machine guns aiming into Khuza’a.

      With their lives hanging by threads, the families living in the caravan are among the most vulnerable Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. Every day is a crisis, and each season brings new difficulties which the residents are ill-equipped to confront.

      I first met the Najjar family during a severe winter storm in January. The day before my visit, their container was flooded with rainwater and sewage nearly a meter high. Unable to walk, Ahmad was trapped inside and nearly drowned before being rescued. The day after my visit, heavy rains again flooded the caravans.

      Throughout the winter, the uninsulated containers were iceboxes. In freezing temperatures with heavy rains and hail, families had no choice than to build fires in the containers in order to stay warm. “At night, I can’t get warm with eight blankets,” Youssef Najjar told me in January.

      Now as summer approaches, the Mediterranean heat is turning the poorly ventilated containers into sweltering boxes. The caravans are unsanitary and cramped — sometimes with a dozen people per container — and makeshift additions built from wood and scrap metal have been attached. “We used to live in a big house and we suffered from the heat,” Youssef Najjar said. “But that doesn’t compare to what we live through now.”…”

      – See more at:

      What A/C, what clean water, what shelter, what electricity?

      What did the IOF and GoI and the world do here????? What have they done since to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza? How many ceasefire violations is the IOF responsible for? How many more dead are there?

  8. Accentitude on September 30, 2015, 7:33 am

    “We are fighting every day to tell Israel’s true story in the face of lies and hate that demonize the Middle East’s only democracy…”

    And yet, the Zionists and their minions, have so far failed to tell the world what is exactly Israel’s “true story”. What is true is what happens on the ground here everyday.

  9. Curatica on September 30, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Some decent American-Jewish commentators, like Prof. Norman Finkelstein, have maintained for quite some time that there is a downtrend in the support for Israel among young American Jews.

    Is this true? I am quite skeptical about such a generalization.

    • Accentitude on October 1, 2015, 2:11 am

      I stand by the belief that not every Jew is an Israeli and not every Israeli is a Jew. For all his talk, Netanyahu knows that Israel cannot and will not ever be the “homeland of the Jews” because there are Jews all over the world from dozens of different countries that maintain that they are citizens and nationals of those countries. The problem with Zionism is that it attempts to remove the distinctions between Jewish identity and Israeli identity. Unfortunately, they’ve consistently failed to recognize, or maybe they have recognized but fail to admit, that Jews come in every flavor and not all of those flavors are aligned with the Israeli Occupation or Israeli Nationalism.

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