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As NY primary approaches, Clinton and Sanders separate, somewhat, on Israel

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As attention turns to the NY primary, the Democratic candidates are beginning to separate on the Israel issue. Let’s hope that their very real differences on the Palestinian question become politicized over the next three weeks, and voters are urged to choose between reflexive Israel support (Clinton) and criticism of the occupation (Sanders). Let’s hope the media points out that Clinton is to the right of even Donald Trump on this issue.

Some news on the New York race. The Times of Israel reports on a private gathering of rabbis with Bill Clinton earlier this week:

Former President Bill Clinton met with over 20 leading rabbis in the New York area to discuss his wife Hillary’s presidential campaign.

The meeting Tuesday in Midtown Manhattan was off the record and lasted for two hours, twice the amount of scheduled time. Participants would not discuss the content.

Bernie Sanders told a New York TV station that “we cannot continue to ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.” (Thanks to Jewish Insider).

“I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, I have lived in Israel, I’m a strong defender of Israel,” he told NBC 4. “But let me also say this, I think we cannot continue to ignore the needs of the Palestinian people and I would hope very much that I could move us forward in what has been so intractable over the years, bringing Palestinians, bringing Israelis together, bringing peace finally to the Middle East.”

Two days ago Clinton sat down with Rachel Maddow and threw in a gratuitous Israel reference, and an Iran one too, in repudiating Donald Trump’s bigoted idea of barring all Muslims from coming to the United States:

We know if we’re going to defeat ISIS, which is a very high priority for us, for our partners in Europe and the Middle East, especially Israel and others. We have to form coalitions with predominantly Muslim nations.

I know how hard it is to form a coalition, I formed the coalition that imposed the sanctions on Iran. Got Russia, and China, and others to be part of it.

PS Israel is not all that concerned about ISIS; ISIS just confirms its contention that it lives in the most dangerous neighborhood in the world, and it compares Hamas to ISIS frequently.

Clinton has a high-profile downtown surrogate: playwright Tony Kushner is supporting her and defends her appearance at AIPAC. He appeared on Chris Hayes’s MSNBC show, and Hayes prompted Kushner, saying he has been “quite outspoken on Palestinian self-determination” and that Clinton’s AIPAC speech was “hawkish.” Kushner:

It was pretty much the speech that I would expect a Democratic serious nominee for the presidency to give to AIPAC. I suppose she might have not shown up as Sanders did… It’s enormously important I believe for the Jewish American vote to stay 75 percent Democrat, as it has for many many many decades, and I think that this is an enormously fraught issue and she is avoiding getting caught up in a debate that might do damage to her candidacy. I think she believes in diplomacy and she’ll pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the Middle East.

(Kushner expresses an interesting idea of Jewish political solidarity. I would guess that Kushner thinks that the liberal Jewish political presence on countless domestic issues, which has helped change the country in the last 50 years, outweighs its reactionary effect on Middle East policy. Many in the Palestinian solidarity camp would disagree, and would welcome a new left coalition of great diversity.)

Now here are two great attacks on Clinton’s pandering. Sandy Tolan in Truthdig says Clinton has gone “radical right” on Israel, to Donald Trump’s right. Some of his items, familiar to folks on our site but worth repeating:

An attack on Donald Trump from the right by denouncing Trump’s once-expressed wish to remain “neutral” over Israel/Palestine. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” Clinton told the AIPAC gathering

Unilateral condemnation of recent Palestinian aggression that has killed 28 Israelis. “Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home,” she said at AIPAC. “Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence.” Yet she had not one word for the 188 Palestinians killed during the same period, some of them in extrajudicial executions by the Israeli military, including here, here and here.

Equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, largely through condemnation of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a nonviolent movement to confront Israel’s human rights abuses through direct economic and political pressure. (Would she prefer suicide bombers and rockets?)…

Clinton’s big bankroller Haim Saban is teamed up with Sheldon Adelson to oppose BDS, and Clinton does his bidding:

with Saban’s $6.4 million destined for Clinton’s campaign war chest, the candidate wrote to her benefactor to express her “alarm” over BDS, “seeking your thoughts and recommendations” to “work together to counter BDS.”

She is attracting neoconservative donors:

it is not only Saban and fellow Hollywood titans Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg who are pouring their millions into Clinton’s campaign. Now neoconservative money is increasing for Clinton as well. Her hardline stance on Israel, combined with her history of advocating military intervention in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, has brought early endorsements from prominent neocons Robert Kagan, one of the architects of the Iraq war, and Max Boot, the superhawk who called Clinton “a principled voice for a strong stand on controversial issues.” This from a man who believes the U.S. should “unambiguously embrace its imperial role” around the world.

Henry Siegman echoes many of these criticisms in the National Interest. Then he explains that the stabbings are a consequence of the occupation that Hillary Clinton defends. No one has done more than Siegman to change the culture of the establishment when it comes to Palestinian human rights:

[Clinton] spoke at great length about Israeli fears and needs, and assured her audience that a White House meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be one of her first acts as president of the United States, should she win the coming presidential election.

Among the dangers from which Clinton promised to protect Israel is the “threat” of a Security Council resolution demanding an end to the half-century occupation of the West Bank….

In Clinton’s speech, in which she touched all the necessary pro-Israel buttons, she managed to avoid even a single sentence that acknowledges the subjugation, disenfranchisement and humiliation Palestinians have been subjected to in the half-century of Israel’s occupation…

Of course, Israel’s government must protect its citizens from such attacks. But if these “lone wolf” stabbings, mostly by young teenagers, are the consequence of the Palestinians’ endless imprisonment and Israel’s unrelenting theft of Palestinian territory, then Israel’s “obligation to protect” can be met only by ending the occupation.

Philip Weiss

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

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72 Responses

  1. Kay24 on April 1, 2016, 1:38 pm

    Hillary does not realize how much she keeps embarrassing herself, and disappointing Democrats, who disagree with her eternal love for Israel, and the fact that she has to take the contributions from wealthy American Jews, whose first love is always for apartheid land.

    Be prepared, the pandering will go on and on.

    • oldgeezer on April 1, 2016, 1:56 pm

      I don’t have a bone in this election and have refrained from commenting on the candidates. Not that it won’t have an impact on me, mind you. As the saying goes up here, when the US sneezes Canada catches a cold. It’s not my government and not my election.

      Regardless of who wins I don’t see how US citizens don’t feel incredibly embarrassed during election cycles. Certainly zionists and Israel have an impact on elections in many countries, arguably even my own. That admission aside I know of no other state where one of the primary requirements seems to be the making of overt and public declarations of loyalty to a foreign state. If someone isn’t embarrassed then they should be. Our previous governments pandering to Israel was certainly embarrassing to me regardless of the rights or wrongs of a situation. To see a sitting PM performing as an organ grinders monkey at a JNF dinner was demeaning to his office.

      The other thing that strikes me is the seeming competition to prove ones religious credentials in a supposedly secular state but that part is off topic here. While I voted for our current Prime Minister I don’t know if he has ever publically stated his religious affiliation nor if he has any at all.

      • Kay24 on April 1, 2016, 10:35 pm

        I know of no other state where one of the primary requirements seems to be the making of overt and public declarations of loyalty to a foreign state. @Oldgeezer

        I do not think you will find this embarrassing feature in any other country either. It is hard to believe that the world’s biggest superpower have politicians who must bow down to Israel FIRST, show their unwavering support, and vow to protect it forever. Strange our more closer allies are never mentioned, yet this parasitic nation get mentioned at every opportunity by Presidential candidates.

      • El Cazador on April 2, 2016, 10:25 am

        Justin Trudeau was «kind of forced to accept» (he has/had influent members of the B’nai Brith in his Liberal Party) the private motion from a re-elected Harper conservative making the BDS promotion movement in Canada ILLEGAL. I’m a Canadian as well and that troubled me seriously, and I’m not going to comply, certainly not until Israel changes its occupation, genocide, apartheid actions against the ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED PALESTINIANS AND PALESTINE, against the League of Nations and the UN Resolutions, therefore a real confirmation of ILLEGALITY on the part of zionist Israel.

  2. eljay on April 1, 2016, 1:43 pm

    Like all Zio-supremacists, Hillary is hateful, immoral and a hypocrite.

  3. Citizen on April 1, 2016, 1:57 pm

    She’s so deep in Israel First pocket not even a speck of lint can get in.

    • Krauss on April 2, 2016, 12:02 am

      Yet notice how Bernie will not mention her slavishness to the Israel lobby, which pushed for the Iraq war and pushes for regime change in the Middle East today.

      He slams her on Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, but he stays shamefully silent on the Israel lobby and its disastrious effects on American foreign policy.

      Now tell me, which lobby is the most powerful in Washington? It’s not even close.

      • Jon66 on April 2, 2016, 10:09 am

        Bernie also doesn’t criticize her support for the concept of Social Security or minimum wage. This is not because he is afraid of the lobbies, but rather because like support of Israel, these are consensus positions amongst mainstream Americans.

      • DaBakr on April 2, 2016, 5:32 pm


        in terms of money spent and sheer power and influence your truly a fool if you believe that aipac
        is more powerful then:
        big oil
        big pharma
        big insurance
        big banking
        big auto

        while you can choose to believe whatever you like about influence you -if american-have likely felt in your actual pockets: insurance, bank, oil and pharma industries much more then aipac.
        and to those they go on to claim that apiece is the only lobby advocating for a foreign nation i would point out that big oil lines the pockets of many a tyrant and dictator from the former chavez to who-knows-who in the oil rich middle asia.

      • Mooser on April 2, 2016, 7:09 pm

        ” if you believe that aipac is more powerful then:”

        With every one of those Lobbies arrayed against Israel and taking a solid antizionist stance, how does AIPAC manage to prevail on policies related to Israel?

      • talknic on April 2, 2016, 7:23 pm

        @ DaBakr “in terms of money spent and sheer power and influence your truly a fool if you believe that aipac
        is more powerful then:
        big oil
        big pharma
        big insurance
        big banking
        big auto

        The Zionist Federation has had far more practice at gathering the dirt on people than big oil, pharma, insurance, banking, auto, nra, etc

      • hophmi on April 4, 2016, 10:09 am

        Well, Israel is supported by the vast majority of Americans. Wall Street and coal isn’t. So it has nothing to do with lobbying, and the notion that the Israel lobby is stronger than the lobbying of the financial industry just shows how your obsession with Israel makes you stupid.

      • Atlantaiconoclast on April 5, 2016, 12:02 pm

        And Bernie also seems to have no issue with Israel’s actually racist immigration policy and ITS wall!

  4. Keith on April 1, 2016, 4:17 pm

    PHIL- “As NY primary approaches, Hillary Clinton ramps up the Israel pandering”

    It was reported that in showing her support for Israel, an overly enthusiastic Clinton got carried away and injured the donkey. Clinton later apologized saying that her love of the Jewish state simply got the best of her.

    • Boomer on April 1, 2016, 7:39 pm

      There was a time when one had to visit certain disreputable establishments in Mexico to see that kind of performance.

      Sorry to hear about the donkey. I wonder if PETA and the SPCA will get involved?

    • hophmi on April 4, 2016, 10:10 am

      More misogyny on Mondoweiss.

      • eljay on April 4, 2016, 11:25 am

        || hophmi: More misogyny on Mondoweiss. ||

        Misogyny, nothing. Men are just as good as women at fellating the Zio-supremacist donkey.

      • Keith on April 5, 2016, 10:54 am

        HOPHMI- “More misogyny on Mondoweiss.”

        Stand back, Hillary, Hophmi loves Israel more than you and wants to prove it! He’s gonna show us what a REAL lawyer can do!

  5. Donald on April 1, 2016, 4:38 pm

    I happened to catch that Kushner quote on the Hayes show–he sounded like an idiot. Anyone who says he is a socialist and supports Clinton is living in a sort of dreamworld, but that seems to happen a lot with celebrities and politics. The idea that Clinton will pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict is probably true, in a completely meaningless sort of way. She probably will urge peace talks. But she has already praised Netanyahu and Israel to the skies, so she can’t put any real pressure on him without flatly going against everything she has said so far. Kushner probably imagines she is just playing a very clever game, but I don’t think so. A diplomatic solution is just more “peace process”–it’s just a fig leaf for the occupation.

    • Donald on April 1, 2016, 4:47 pm

      Kushner also wrote the script for “Munich”, which I gather was a sort of ahistorical shooting and crying look at what the Israelis did after the PLO attack at Munich.

      He also wrote the screenplay for “Lincoln”, which is another based on a true story but largely made-up account of what happened when the 13th amendment was passed. I think I read somewhere that it was really Kushner defending Obama’s record when the left was starting to criticize him, which I can well believe.

      Exactly the sort of person I would imagine who sees himself on the far left and then campaigns for Clinton.

      • wondering jew on April 1, 2016, 5:46 pm

        Donald- You didn’t see “munich” but read a review by Angry Arab and therefore you can figure out the kind of person Kushner is? you’ve been hanging out at mw too long, sir. See the movie before you criticize it. Otherwise you sound like a know nothing.

      • Donald on April 1, 2016, 9:39 pm

        Thanks for the advice Yonah, but I read quite a few reviews of Munich, and from critics on both sides and they all give a consistent view of what the movie was about. I also read Kushner’s defense. It all sounds like the standard liberal Zionist approach, where you focus on the inner turmoil of Israelis who kill Palestinian terrorists. ( ( Nevermind that, btw, there is no evidence the actual Israelis involved felt those emotions.). The Zionist right hated it for showing ambivalence about the killing of terrorists. The liberals liked it because it showed ambivalence about the conflict. The reviewer I linked hated it because it was shooting and crying and really wasn’t about Palestinians at all, but about the beautiful souls of Israeli Mossad members.

        So if the movie was anything at all like what I have read from all sides– fans and critics from left and right– it doesn’t sound like it is worth a couple hours of my time, though if I ever see it pop up on cable I might watch.

        I would love to watch a movie that humanized both sides, believe it or not. That’s why I liked Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree. ( a book, not a movie). But Munich sounded like crap.

      • eljay on April 1, 2016, 9:41 pm

        I enjoyed both “Munich” (the movie) and “The Lemon Tree” (the book).

      • Donald on April 1, 2016, 10:12 pm

        I thought about why I didn’t see the movie when it came out (had t do something while folding laundry) and it was this–almost every review I saw in the MSM focused on Israel’s ethical dilemma–how can a civilized country fight terrorism without losing its own soul. And given the choice of topic for a movie about the I-P conflict, that was utterly predictable. Conservatives thought the movie was too critical, while liberals all gushed over it. Of course the Palestinians are at best simply a challenge for the Israeli conscience and there is no hint at all that maybe American movie goers as citizens of a country that supports Israel might have some blood on our hands.

        So no, I wasn’t about to pay money to Spielberg for this tripe. Maybe all the reviewers completely missed everything that was good about the movie, but I doubt it.

      • wondering jew on April 2, 2016, 1:58 am

        Donald- spend your money and your time on movies of your own choice. But fill your comments with citations of movies that you’ve seen, not movies you’re proud you haven’t seen or else find yourself considered a loudmouth.
        if I said, spike Lee is exactly the kind of antisemite who I would expect to support Bernie Sanders and cited movies of his I had never seen but only read critiques of. You would treat my comment with disdain. As I would deserve. The level of this comments section is usually improved by your comments, but this “I refused to see it. Now let me tell you why it shows that it’s creator sucks” is self indulgent gossip that is right in line with the know nothing attitude all too prevalent here without your adding to it.

        (Just to be accurate: spike Lee who I think is supporting sanders is not an antisemite, though his movies have contained more than a smidgen of antisemitism. But if I heard someone condemning him or his movies without having seen them I would think of them as unserious loudmouths. Just for the record Lee has made one truly great movie, do the right thing, and a handful of very good movies, but a fair amount of low quality movies as well.)

      • Donald on April 2, 2016, 12:26 pm


        I might enjoy the movie if I ever see it– a movie could be well done and I can separate its politics from its other qualities. To take an extreme example, Birth of a Nation is supposed to be a masterpiece, and also deeply racist. I’m not saying Munich is on that level in either category, but just that someone can separate the quality of a movie from its politics.

        But every single review on Munich is consistent in how they talk about its content, both pro and con. And there are actually three categories there, because people disliked it from opposite viewpoints. Every reviewer talks about how the lead character agonizes about his mission, some talk about the little girl in one scene, they tak about Golda and her talk about defending the country while compromising, and about the discussion with the Palestinian terrorist and his views. And in the end, the discussion all revolves around the Israelis and whether they are civilized and about the terrible decisions they have to make and their personal agony and so forth. The Palestinian viewpoint comes through the mouth of a terrorist. Gee, how original. The choice of subject matter here guaranteed that this is how the discussion would go. Someone who wanted to make an interesting movie about the I/P conflict which humanized both sides could have chosen any number of specific incidents to fictionalize. Spielberg and Kushner chose to do one which would fall exactly in the comfort zone of, say, the NYT editorial page. It guaranteed liberal acclaim and conservative condemnation without moving the level of the conversation in the US one millimeter off its usual pro-Israel bias.

        Yonah, , it might be interesting if you explained how all the reviews of the movie I’ve seen were a total misrepresentation of what the movie was actually about, but you are obviously not interested in the content of the movie, so I am not interested in what you have said except to the extent that it annoys me to be insulted. I do not have to have seen Birth of a Nation to have an opinion of it. To repeat, I am not saying Munich is on that level. I have seen Gone With the Wind, but reading a few reviews of that movie would also have told me all I needed to know about the politics of that film and where it fits in the discussion of Southern history. Actually seeing it added nothing on that score, because by and large, reviewers usually do give a fairly accurate summary of what a movie was like. So again, if you have something specific to tell me about Munich which shows that what I have read is wildly inaccurate about the content of the movie, then tell me. I don’t think you can or you would have. You simply don’t care about that– in fact, if I am right about the content then it undermines your argument, so if you want to insult me and defend Kushner then avoiding the content seems like the smart move here.

        One final point. In general I am suspicious of movies about moral and political issues precisely because they fictionalize and cherrypick and if the filmmaker is good at his craft, he or she will persuade the average viewer without having to back anything up with hard facts. This apparently happened with Lincoln, it apparently happened with Zero Dark Thirty, and with Birth of a Nation. And Munich.

      • Mooser on April 2, 2016, 12:42 pm

        “Otherwise you sound like a know nothing.”

        “Yonah” that’s not a problem you ever have!

      • Donald on April 2, 2016, 12:52 pm

        ” you are not interested in the content of the movie”

        And yes, I typed that fully aware of the irony, but you aren’t interested in the political content of the movie or you would tell me why I was wrong.

        The political slant of a movie can be conveyed by an accurate review in exactly the same way the scientific content of a paper can be summarized by another author. Nobody needs to read Newton’s Principia to learn Newtonian physics and if you want to know what Darwin said, there are quite a few books about Darwin which accurately convey the contents of the Origin of Species. You won’t learn Darwin’s writing style and you won’t get Newton’s no longer fashionable geometric proofs, but you can get the content secondhand. I can’t have an opinion about whether the movie would personally move me or hold my interest without seeing it, but if numerous people all give the same outline of a movie’s content, you can have an accurate opinion of its political meaning without being able to rate its quality purely as a movie.

      • wondering jew on April 2, 2016, 2:29 pm

        Donald- I have heard people waxing eloquent regarding books they haven’t read and movies they haven’t seen somewhere between 30 and 167 times , and each time I think: loudmouth.

        If I felt you were trying to give a fair assessment of Tony kushner’s politics I might have given you a benefit of the doubt, but your animus towards hillary and whatever kushner said on that talk show really rubbed you the wrong way and you were devoted to classifying kushner as someone who is unworthy.

        I think Munich had many aspects and deserves a viewing. And guess what? People who talk about birth of a nation without bothering to see it really don’t do it for me either. You’re not willing to give Spielberg your money but I’m supposed to listen to you in silence? Nope. No can do. You want to have an opinion give Hollywood their ten bucks. Or better yet steal it , intellectual property wise, on the world wide web.

      • tree on April 2, 2016, 4:00 pm

        Exactly the sort of person I would imagine who sees himself on the far left and then campaigns for Clinton.

        Quotes from Tony Kushner on Israel and ZIonism:

        “[Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing, and that today is behaving abominably towards the Palestinian people.”
        — Yale Israel Review (winter 2005)

        “I’ve never been a Zionist. I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”
        — The New York Sun reporting Kushner comments made at a conference in NY (10/14/02)

        Kushner: Establishing a state means F****** people over. However, I think that people in the late 20th century or early 21st century – having seen the Holocaust, having seen the 20th century and all of its horrors — cannot be complacent in the face of that. Ha’aretz reporter: But you are saying that the very creation of Israel as a Jewish state was not a good idea.
        Kushner: I think it was a mistake.
        — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

        “Zionism aimed as the establishment of a national identity is predicated on a reading of Jewish history and an interpretation of the meaning of Jewish history I don’t share. Insofar as Zionism is an idea that the solution to the suffering of the Jewish people was the establishment of a Jewish nation, I think it is not the right answer.
        — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

        “I am not a Zionist in case you haven’t noticed.” Kushner cited “the shame of American Jews” for failing to denounce Israel.”
        — Chicago Tribune (4/10/02)

        “The existence of the state of Israel, because of the terrible way that the Palestinian people have been treated, is now in great peril and the world is in peril as a consequence of it.”
        — In These Times interview (3/4/02)

        “Israel is a foreign country. I am no more represented by Israel than I am by Italy.”
        — Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

        “The Israeli-built security wall should come down, the homeland for the Palestinians should be built up, with a strictly enforced peace, not enforced by the Israel Defense Forces, but by the United Nations.”
        — Baltimore Jewish Times (6/4/04)

        “I deplore the brutal and illegal tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories. I deplore the occupation, the forced evacuations, the settlements, the refugee camps, the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people; Jews, of all people, with our history of suffering, should refuse to treat our fellow human beings like that.”
        — London Times (5/7/02)

        “[Israel is involved in] a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.”
        — New York Sun (10/4/02)

        “To avoid facing up to such atrocity, to sustain the refusal of any Israeli share in culpability, Zionism has produced a long, shameful, and debilitating history of denial…”
        — Wrestling with Zion – Introduction p.5

        Quotes are from a ZOA letter condemning Kushner, posted by Norman Finklestein. As far as I know they are accurate quotes. Kushner is not a Zionist, and he is farther to the left than Bernie Sanders on Israel. He is also a surrogate for Clinton. I assume that is because he thinks she would make a better President than Sanders, despite her hawkishness on Israel. I’d agree with him on that point.

        Mondoweiss has covered Kushner’s views here in the past in quite a few posts. See here:

        I haven’t seen Munich and don’t have an informed opinion on it, other than having read some reviews of it. However, it certainly isn’t the end all and be all of Kushner’s political views.

      • wondering jew on April 2, 2016, 4:28 pm

        Munich’s message was that Israel had gotten too deep into “an eye for an eye” and therefore had lost its justification for existence. The mosad killer had abandoned zionism and moved to Brooklyn because zionism was too tainted by its “eye for an eye” mode of operation. Because angry Arab thinks that the Munich massacre was viewed without proper context, that is the first eye of the eye for an eye for an eye for an eye dynamic was Israel’s fault, therefore it is an evil movie because it tells a story which considers Munich as the first act of violence rather than a reaction to Zionist violence. I accept angry Arab’s critique, yet I wonder how he thinks ideas change over time. Not every movie is “Battle of algiers” (did you see that one or just read the reviews?). In fact many people in the audience begin with the same false presumptions as kushner and kushner was arguing that Israel was no longer worth it. I think that sight unseen I would guess that the screenwriter of Munich would back Bernie Sanders and not hillary. Yes the screenwriter of Munich would not back hamas or Abu mazen or fatah, but nothing in that movie would indicate support for neoconservative hillary over let’s empathize with both sides Bernie sanders, so your use of Munich as proof of kushner’s backwards thinking is really off base. I bet you if Bernie Sanders had been running against Joe Biden instead of against the potential first woman president ever that kushner would be backing Bernie and not Biden and this speculation that we can see what a conformist conservative thinker kushner is due to his Munich screenplay is just pure silliness.

      • Donald on April 2, 2016, 5:04 pm

        I just read the script, or one version of it. What I expected, of course, because the reviews portrayed it accurately. A movie about soulful Israeli assassins, Israeli determination, agonizing over their mission, just exactly what all the reviews said. A handful of token moments given to the Palestinian viewpoint, as expressed by PLO members. There is nothing here outside the comfort zone of the NYT editorial page, as I said before. I suppose, Yonah, at this stage you will have to say that reading the script is not seeing the movie, so all that ineffable stuff still won’t make it into my consciousness until I do. This, btw, shows why I get disgusted with myself if I go online too much–I learned not a freaking thing in this discussion and read a stupid script for no good reason at all. I argued with someone who had nothing to say on substance, because I was right about the substance. An utterly stupid waste of time.

        Tree, I’ve read some of that before and it was mentioned on the Hayes show. The problem is that as a writer, “Munich” is what he has produced on this subject, and then when he defends Clinton’s AIPAC performance and says she will bring about a diplomatic solution it makes it sound like he is living in some dream world. I know you were angry at the Clinton bashing here, but there really is a big difference between Clinton and Sanders in their AIPAC speeches and I would have expected any reasonable non-Zionist to admit Sanders was better than Clinton on this issue, whatever one might think about who is more electable or who would be more effective or better on other issues. Kushner didn’t do this– he sided with Clinton on one of the rare occasions where some even people in the mainstream press admitted that Clinton disgraced herself. He just assumes that her abject pandering to Netanyahu and her near total adoption of the Israeli view will translate into a determination to bring about a solution Palestinians would be happy to accept.

      • Donald on April 2, 2016, 5:21 pm

        What I think about Kushner more generally is that he reminds me of people who imagined in 2008 that Obama would be far more progressive than he actually was. In fact Obama was clearly a very moderates center- leftist. Clinton is roughly the same, except significantly more hawkish. So yes, Kushner sees himself on the far left and no doubt takes far left views, but there is a type of far lefty who seems to daydream about politicians being on their side when there is little or no evidence that this is the case. Clinton gets wild cheers from AIPAC, consistent with what she has been saying for years, and Kushner thinks this is just campaign rhetoric. It is a bad sign when public intellectuals defend their favorite candidate by assuming that they are pandering and saying disgusting things to win.

      • Donald on April 2, 2016, 5:34 pm

        Last comment in this thread–you didn’t pick up on the other Kushner film I didn’t watch, which was Lincoln. You can google and find that Kushner wrote that film in part to push forward his view of politics and how passing the ACA was like passing the 13th Amendment, because it was messy and involved compromise. One problem is tha according to the link I provided way upthread, Kushner largely invented the details,showing once again how little trust one should place in films as modes of discussing serious issues.

        So that’s a theme with Kushner– he really is a far lefty who in practice identifies with politicians who are far more conservative though in Lincoln’s case it is utterly silly to make analogies between the aftermath of the Civil War and now. And Kushner seems to be using a discredited view of Reconstructuon, which blames the rise of the KKK on Northern thuggishness and not on southern racism.

      • DaBakr on April 2, 2016, 5:40 pm


        spike lee is an excellent analogy. to listen to his public statements-anything from racism to particular parts of movies-he can come off like a smug, pretentious a-hle. but then see his films and they are highly nuanced, difficult and often angry portrayals of a pov that americans had not heard enough of before he started his career. in other words: a brilliant and honest filmmaker-mediocre public figure.

      • hophmi on April 4, 2016, 10:11 am

        You know how it is Yonah. You can, like Kushner, edit an entire volume of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist essays, but if you don’t toe the anti-Zionist activist line, you’re an “idiot”.

    • Donald on April 2, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Again a response with no content from you Yonah. Because you have nothing to say about the political slant of Munich, which is what I’ve been talking about. I’ve never seen a movie whose political slant I didn’t know before I saw it. The reason is obvious. Take Gone With the Wind as an example, I read it when I was a child with pneumonia and I have seen it a few times. And you could summarize its racist perspective in a paragraph. You could illustrate its perspective citing examples in a few paragraphs. You won’t know why people have loved the story for better or worse without seeing it but you will know what its politics are, because that is easy to convey without being filmmaker or a novelist.

      I have explained this several times now and you have said precisely nothing in response so far as the content of the film is concerned. So far as I can tell, in your view the political content of a movie is some ineffable thing that can’t be conveyed by mere propositions–it exists on a plane of reality that transcends mundane concepts that could be conveyed in a summary. It’s like describing color to a person blind from birth. That would explain why you have had nothing factual to say about Munich’s pov. All the reviews I’ve read–I might as well try to experience a symphony by reading a review.

      Needless to say, I think this is horse***t.

      • wondering jew on April 2, 2016, 4:30 pm

        Your answer is above, sir.

      • DaBakr on April 2, 2016, 5:54 pm

        what exactly was the political slant of munich? written by a well known critic of israel- some even accuse him of being a jew-hating jew. it tells a specific story about the plan to seek vengeance in the murderers of the jewish israeli athletes at munich ’72. nobody is disputing the munich murders -or- disputing that the goi coordinated a plan of vengeance. it was the story of the agents selected to carry out a difficult task – just strategic, let alone any psychological implications from a drawn out assassination campaign. the primary draw of the movie was not its political ‘slant’ however but the exciting cat-and-mouse suspense of it. that there were psychological impact on the assassins added some layers to a familiar genre. were some of the agency official involved impacted? probably. but with a kushner script who knows how much license he took with the facts.

        typical of anti-israel zionist-hating fanatics to see any film about the i/p conflict in terms of slant.

        was ‘the lemon tree’ slanted? yes. but it was a beautiful tale, well acted. the palestinian movie about the two hapless suicide bombers in black suits (name forgotten) of 5-7 years back was a difficult subject for israelis (muslim, christian and jews) who were victims of these type attacks but it was still a well made movie representing an actual state-of-mind that hadn’t been shown before.

        continue to remain closed to works representing ‘slants’ you don’t approve of will keep you locked in your narrow anti-zionist, narrative swapping mindset without any danger of you seeing a fresh pov

      • Donald on April 4, 2016, 5:28 pm

        I came back, just to see replies. So one last post after my last post. Hophmi’s reply is silly as usual, so will be ignored. Debakr—

        When I mentioned “The Lemon Tree”, I was speaking of a book, not a film, unless they somehow made a film about it. I will have to look that up. The book I read was a true story of two families, one Palestinian and one Israeli Jew, which told the history of the I/P conflict from both points of view in a way that made you empathize with both. “Munich” the movie was an intellectual spy thriller which basically stuck to the shooting and crying cliches about liberal Zionism. I probably would enjoy it as a film, if treated as complete fiction, but as a movie supposedly based on reality and intended to spark discussion I saw the discussion it sparked and it was predictably stupid. I read discussions in magazines and the newspaper and even heard one or two in real life. The discussions were about whether it made the Israeli assassins the moral equivalent of the Palestinian terrorists. That was inevitable. The Israelis had a variety of views–the Palestinians were seen one-dimensionally. Worse, as a story based on true events it was of dubious accuracy and I just don’t think that’s at all helpful. If you want to make a movie of this sort, just invent a country and don’t pretend you are making one that is based on true events and then change things for dramatic license.

        Which makes me question why Kushner wrote such a thing. He also seems to have written some bad misleading history with “Lincoln”. That’s a problem with this kind of film. My biggest point here–films which are put forward as “serious” examinations of historical or political issues are usually not worth the effort, except mainly as pure entertainment. The writer has an agenda and the truth gets bent for dramatic or agenda-pushing purposes. There may be exceptions–“Munich” was not one of them. And yeah, I read the script and it was exactly as the reviews portrayed it.

  6. Kathleen on April 1, 2016, 5:31 pm

    Great piece Phil. Saw that segment with Kushner…rang hollow.

    MSNBC Morning Joe opened this morning (Friday) focused on Bernie for around 15 minutes. Remarkable. Talking about the crowds. What is motivating people. Katy Tur reported about the enthusiasm. Although she did say something about Clinton being a “historic” figure given the woman piece. However failed to include the historic value of Bernie being Jewish and being this close to the Presidency.

    Went to Morning Joe fb page encouraging them to get their media team out there talking with the tens of thousands going to the Bernie rallies. I was so moved by what the many people I talked with had to say at the Denver rally. How Bernie had “never sold out his values” Inspired by his commitment to social justice and human rights (especially domestically).

    Phil have you been to a Bernie rally. Would be great for some on the street reporting there in New York. People are so inspired and articulate. When Mika ask “what is going on?” They need to get out there and find out.

    Richard Haas was on promoting Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy “expertise” Lord have mercy how can anyone consider her Iraq, Libya, Syria stances as foreign policy “expertise?” Her bloody fingerprints are all over the hundreds of thousands of people dead, injured and millions of refugees in Iraq, Libya, Syria.

    • annie on April 1, 2016, 5:46 pm

      i’m listening now to morning joe, just incredible coverage kathleen.

    • JWalters on April 1, 2016, 6:52 pm

      Saw Jeffrey Sachs on Morning Joe recently telling how Hillary pushed hard for war in Libya that both Obama and Sec’y of Defense were dubious about. She won and we lost. Wondered if that might be partly why she’s no longer Sec’y of State? Hard to imagine her putting the effort into the Iran peace agreement that Kerry did, given her slavish, mindless obeisance to Israel. She would be an Israeli agent.

      • Kathleen on April 2, 2016, 12:12 pm

        Yes put that up here at MW the day Sachs was on Morning Joe again. Not as frequent as he used to be. And they sure did not keep him on long this last time….they have to go cover Trump aud nauseum which they have been doing for months.

        I think I heard during that segment that Sachs is a foreign policy advisor for Sanders. Did I hear that?

        Wish Sanders would take on the Leverett’s as advisors. Clinton and the rest of the neocons would flip out.

    • Boomer on April 1, 2016, 7:07 pm

      re “However failed to include the historic value of Bernie being Jewish and being this close to the Presidency.”

      I didn’t hear the program, so can’t assess the intent, but it strikes me that it may have been a slight to Bernie, or it may have simply been the reality that it isn’t seen as a big deal by most Americans today. After all, it didn’t seem a big deal in 2000: the Gore-Liberman ticket got more popular votes than Bush-Cheney (but not more votes on the Supreme Court).

    • Krauss on April 2, 2016, 12:04 am

      Morning Joe has actually been one of the few media outlets that has not treated Bernie with outright hostility. Props to Joe and Mika.

  7. MHughes976 on April 1, 2016, 5:41 pm

    I think that Clinton is very intelligent but difficult for everyone, even for Israel, when it comes to placing full confidence. Her remark about the need for cooperation from Muslim countries may be quite significant. It is of course quite true. There may be facts and necessities that Netanyahu finds himself facing as President C’s first and most honoured guest that he does not really like.

  8. JWalters on April 1, 2016, 7:02 pm

    “Clinton’s big bankroller Haim Saban is teamed up with Sheldon Adelson to oppose BDS, and Clinton does his bidding”

    Clinton partakes in Saban’s bloody profits from the occupied Palestinian land. No wonder she wants to shut down freedom of speech on BDS. She could not survive an honest debate with a knowledgeable opponent on this topic. She and Zionism would be shredded. She and the well-known criminals backing her are probably hoping this storm can be contained through the election, and they can regain their grip on power. Otherwise a great many of them could wind up on trial.

  9. Citizen on April 2, 2016, 7:10 am

    “She could not survive an honest debate with a knowledgeable opponent on this topic.”

    So we get Joe & Mika & their guest pundits. LOL

    • Kathleen on April 5, 2016, 12:13 pm

      Mika has been demonstrating some distance from hawking for Hillary. They have been putting a tiny spotlight on Bernie and his supporters. about 15 minutes on him the other morning. In the opening of the show. Shocking

  10. RobertHenryEller on April 2, 2016, 8:09 am

    Clinton the Democratic Marco Rubio.

    One way or another, Likud is determined to get its U.S. drone.

    • Kay24 on April 2, 2016, 8:34 am

      Well, it seems after all that insulting and disrespect for Obama, and trying to sabotage our foreign policies, the butcher of Tel Aviv still wants Obama to okay their charity. These zionists have no shame. It is take, take, take.

      “Netanyahu Seeking to Close U.S. Aid Deal Before Obama Leaves Office
      PM tells visiting senators he hopes to sign deal before January 2017, relays same message to White House as well, but crucial disagreements remain unresolved; his renewed push to appoint spokesman harshly critical of Obama may complicate matters further.
      read more:

      • just on April 2, 2016, 9:33 am

        The bigger problem is that the US keeps giving, Kay24…… Just the other day I saw a commercial by the “International Fellowship of Christians and Jews” begging for $25 bucks a box for food for all of the *starving and impoverished Jewish Israelis* that Occupy Palestinian lands, etc.


        An interesting article:

        “What Drives US Policy Toward Israel?

        In early March Professor Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, wrote an essay explaining that American foreign policy generated by Democratic Party presidents has been much to blame for the disastrous fate of the Palestinians. The Democrats have allowed themselves to be suborned by Zionist special interests for reasons we will explore below. It is Democratic officials who also verbally attack any American who stands up for the rights of Palestinians, and do so, if anything, more strongly than their Republican competitors.

        Falk worked tirelessly from 2008 to 2014 to bring about justice for the Palestinian people – something that, if achieved, would have raised the esteem of both the U.N. and the U.S. among millions of Arabs. Officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama, including national security advisor Susan Rice and current U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, repaid Falk for his efforts with insulting ad hominem attacks. For instance, Power celebrated Falk’s departure from his post by asserting that, “his publication of bizarre and insulting material has tarnished the U.N.’s reputation and undermined the effectiveness of the Human Rights Council. The United States welcomes Mr. Falk’s departure, which is long overdue.” It is to be noted that at no time did Professor Falk issue a report, or even make a public statement, that was not based on documented fact and a clear understanding of international law. One suspects that Ambassador Power knew this to be so and that her vitriol against Falk was the act of an amoral political agent of an amoral government.

        Professor Falk sees much of the U.S. government’s policy in the Middle East as a consequence of a State Department long populated by Zionists along with the power and influence of an Israeli-directed bloc of special interests. President Obama’s own efforts at Middle East policy formulation began, according to Falk, with the rhetorical assertion that the United States is “different because we adhere to the rule of law and act in accord with our values in foreign policy.” Yet this claim to has always been false, and very quickly, the president’s words lost meaning as lobby pressure bent policy (with the singular exception of the Iran nuclear deal) to the will of the Zionist cause.


        Watching the distressing kowtowing this past week to that same lobby by Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has proven Richard Falk undeniably correct.

        In her speech to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organization which, in truth, functions in the U.S. as the agent of a foreign power (Israel), Clinton proclaimed the following:

        *That as president she will take the U.S.- Israeli relationship “to the next level,” which entails lavishing on that state most of America’s latest defensive and offensive weaponry and the negotiating of yet another defense treaty – a “ten-year defense memorandum of understanding.” …”

        More @

      • Kay24 on April 2, 2016, 12:11 pm

        Well I guess when it comes to Israel beggars can be choosers. They have come to depend far too much on the aid we keep doling them, despite having very wealthy diaspora, who can afford to pay millions towards Hillary’s Presidential run. They have absolutely no shame when it comes to interfering in our affairs, yet will demand and throw a tantrum, when they reach out with their greedy hands for aid. I agree with the perspective that the US has enabled this occupation, and even help with the building of illegal settlements. Shame on us for being used as a zionist tool.

        This parasitic nation gets the MOST aid from us, whatever hell they give us, or even the Palestinians. WHY?

  11. HStrumm on April 2, 2016, 9:47 am

    Here’s a movie plot: Presidential election season. One candidate, while professing his everlasting fealty to Israel, says that upon being elected, he will ensure Israel’s eternal security by making it the 51st state. Before Israel and AIPAC can mobilize to kill the idea, it immediately takes on a life of its own. Why wait for a new President? Legislation is introduced, Congressmen rush to pledge their states to ratification, and Governors pile onto the bandwagon. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Likud figures and Neo-cons are frantic, squawking among themselves about all kinds of dire consequences. There goes $3-billion in aid. How will ethnic privilege and Jim Crow justice fare under the Constitution? “Will the Pentagon mow the grass for us?” moans one. But the train rolls on as a bi-partisan juggernaut with Christian Zionists and the media pitching in.

    • JWalters on April 3, 2016, 8:07 pm

      Very funny idea! A video could go viral. Would be a great service! Much info could be introduced to the public.

      By the way, there’s an old Israeli joke on this. The Israeli PM is asked about being the 51st state. The PM replies, “Why would we want that!? Then we would only have two Senators!”

      (I heard that joke told by an Israeli on the Charlie Rose show a few years ago.)

  12. Kathleen on April 2, 2016, 12:13 pm

    Listened to Obama’s overview of the Nuclear security summit. Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons brought up. However once again Israel’s massive (un-inspected by the international over sight bodies) nuclear and chemical weapons stockpiles were not brought up at all. Hmmmm

    Obama brought up the use of inflammatory nuclear language by candidates. We know he was talking about Trump. MSM host are doing the same. However no one talking about how candidate Clinton used “dangerous” and “inflammatory rhetoric” having to do with Iran’s alleged nuclear weapon program. She said she would “totally obliterate” Iran. another HMMM.

    No one in the press brought up any of these facts up.

    Hell just awhile back even Obama brought up how complicit the MSM continues to be. Once again right there in the press conference having to do with the Nuclear security summit they all keep they all roll over so easily. Pathetic. Where was Matt Lee?

    • Keith on April 2, 2016, 4:29 pm

      KATHLEEN- “Listened to Obama’s overview of the Nuclear security summit.”

      Kathleen, you need to remove your liberal blinders. Obama is a hypocrite and a liar. The US has been in continual violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s requirement that nuclear powers work to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons. For an honest appraisal of Obama’s efforts to “reduce and eliminate” nuclear weapons I quote and link John Pilger.

      “In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the centre of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons”. People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

      It was all fake. He was lying.

      The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.” (John Pilger)

      • Kathleen on April 5, 2016, 11:48 am

        Clearly I communicated questions about Obama’s delivery and lack of important questions by the press. Thanks for your input

  13. El Cazador on April 2, 2016, 6:25 pm

    Would she go as far as «ramping up» on her knees? Your guess is as good as mine, and I say YES!

  14. SonofDaffyDuck on April 2, 2016, 11:23 pm

    So…I arrive from another planet and I read this and I say, “I know that Earthling make jokes on April 1…” and I read this article and I say, “so this IS a joke….powerful Country duped by land greedy little back-water…this must be a joke!”

    Then I read earthling newspapers on other days and say, “MY G–, it is not a joke!…even though it sounds like a joke.”

    Then I say, “If this is not a joke, then I don’t understand their Jokes”
    And then I wonder if the difference between truth and jokes even matters to them…
    So I leave!!!!

  15. Ossinev on April 3, 2016, 11:11 am

    A spokesman from Senator Clinton`s campaign team has described as “the stuff of fantasy ” and “totally bizarre” claims in the Daily Beetroot that Ms Clinton is planning to offer Israeli Prime Minister the job of Vice -President if elected to the office of US President . He said “These allegations are absurd and malicious. It is a well known fact that due to the ongoing ministerial talent shortfall in Israel Mr Netanyahu has had to take on a range of extra cabinet portfolios from Foreign Minister to Minister for Sewage Dispersal. As much as Ms Clinton would like it to happen there is absolutely no way that Mr Netanyahu for all his energy and deep empathy with the American people could take on the extra commitment of the US Vice President”

    The Beetroot reported however that Ms Netanyahu was ” very keen on the idea”

  16. Dan From Away on April 3, 2016, 11:31 am

    @ yonah fredman

    What is your definition of antisemitism?

    How do you detect it?

    Can anyone learn that skill?

    (Just to be accurate: spike Lee who I think is supporting sanders is not an antisemite, though his movies have contained more than a smidgen of antisemitism.

    • wondering jew on April 3, 2016, 4:24 pm

      Definition of antisemitism: anti Jewish rhetoric, anti Jewish stereotypes.

      In “Do the right thing”, though there were no Jewish characters, someone, (maybe the Korean store owner?) let loose a string of anti Jewish rhetoric. (this was part of a montage of anti black rhetoric from the pizzeria owners and anti white rhetoric from the someone from the hood, but since these were part and parcel of the plot of the movie the rhetoric was part of the plot, whereas there was no jew who was part of the plot of the movie so the anti Jewish rhetoric was gratuitous.)

      In “mo better blues” the two jewish characters, Mo and Josh Flatbush, were jewish stereotypes, cardboard characters without personality who had only greed and avarice without any redeeming features.

      in fairness: Lee was given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge of antisemitism, i think in an nyt op ed, and he has said that he likes stereotypes, finds them amusing and useful. but surely the use of such stereotypes qualifies as more than a smidgen of antisemitism and although it must be measured in the context of the rest of lee’s oeuvre and public statements, I don’t think my statement is unfair and your ‘how do you detect it? can anyone learn the skill?” is just a bunch of bull.

      so tell me, dan walsh, was der sturmer anti semitic in its stereotypes. was hitler antisemitic in his rhetoric. do i need to train you to pick up the antisemitism of david duke or of father coughlin?

      • Mooser on April 4, 2016, 1:34 pm

        “so tell me, dan walsh, was der sturmer anti semitic in its stereotypes. was hitler antisemitic in his rhetoric. do i need to train you to pick up the antisemitism of david duke or of father coughlin?”

        “Yonah” please. I can stand it if people say we are no smarter than anybody else. I know I’m not too smart. I can even stand it if people say we are less honest than others.
        But Jeez, “Yonah” please don’t make us look so goddam pathetic. And bathetic, and so maudlin. And so full of self-pity.
        Why do you feel such a need to embarrass yourself? Stop it.

  17. Ossinev on April 3, 2016, 1:36 pm

    What is your definition of antisemitism?

    Yonah may not have a go but I will.

    “Anyone( including Jews ) anywhere anyhow who is against anything said,done,created by a Jewish person anywhere anyhow in the world including Jewish Israeli extra judicial executions and Jewish Israeli war crimes in general”

    • Mooser on April 4, 2016, 1:39 pm

      I’ve got my own definition: ‘Antisemitism is when anybody accuses a Jew or Jewish organization (even if imagined) of doing anything antisemites have ever accused Jews (or J.O.E.I.I.) of doing.’

      That one is ironclad, and gets me out of anything.

  18. Talkback on April 3, 2016, 2:33 pm

    Meanwhile in the state of the US’s biggest ally:

    Netanyahu revives bid to appoint spokesman who called Obama anti-Semitic

  19. just on April 4, 2016, 9:09 am

    Don Futterman:

    “The Obama Doctrine and How America Is Disengaging From Israel

    Forget the candidates’ AIPAC love-in. With the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, they’re all in basic agreement with Obama: pulling back from the Middle East is crucial for America’s future.

    The Obama Doctrine, Jeffrey Goldberg’s remarkably candid delineation of the reasoning behind President Obama’s major foreign policy decisions in the April issue of The Atlantic, should be required reading for all Israelis and supporters of Israel. …”

    read more:

    uh- huh.

  20. Atlantaiconoclast on April 5, 2016, 11:24 am

    I’ll believe that Sanders is separating from Clinton on Israel once Sanders applies the same standard to Israel’s immigration laws, and wall as he does to the far less restrictionist US immigration policy.

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