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‘NYT’ runs article about US Jews abandoning Israel that calls two-state solution ‘a cruel joke’

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Tomorrow’s New York Times contains a long article titled, “American Jews and Israeli Jews Break Up,” that lots of people are passing around. Author Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor, avers that increasingly American Jews regard Israel as another rightwing foreign country that is aligned with “their existential threat” Donald Trump; and so the Israel lobby is losing its hold in Jewish life.

Some of Weisman’s revelations in the piece — stark for a newspaper readership that is usually fed Zionist propaganda — are:

[T]he movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS) grows stronger on American campuses, and new voices are emerging in the Democratic Party, such as Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who are willing to speak openly about Palestinian rights and autonomy where other lawmakers have declined to do so.

and

[by] scuttling the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal…  in moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, [Donald Trump is] basically doing whatever the government of Benjamin Netanyahu asks

and

The two-state solution is increasingly feeling like a cruel joke. American Jews’ rabbis and lay leaders counsel them to be vigilant against any other solution, such as granting Palestinians full rights in a greater Israel, because those solutions would dilute or destroy Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

So: equal rights might be a solution! Many of the comments on the piece are critical of Israel, and many are from Jews.

Weisman even says a word about Palestinian conditions (!) and states accurately that younger Jews see Israel as a bully.

Older American Jews, more viscerally aware of the Holocaust and connected to the living history of the Jewish state, are generally willing to look past Israeli government actions that challenge their values. Or they embrace those actions. Younger American Jews do not typically remember Israel as the David against regional Goliaths. They see a bully, armed and indifferent, 45 years past the Yom Kippur War, the last conflict that threatened Israel’s existence.

He relates Rabbi Daniel Zemel’s appeal to American Jews to act to counter nationalism and racism in Israel before it is too late. But American Jews don’t care, Weisman says. Not everyone is a Zionist!

Zionism divided American Jewry for much of the latter 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Those divisions remained in the early decades of the Jewish state, fading only with the triumph of the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and the peril of the Yom Kippur War.

Now many American Jews, especially young American Jews, would say, Israel is Israel’s problem. We have our own.

There are roughly 6.5 million Jews in Israel. There are roughly 5.7 million Jews in America. Increasingly, they see the world in starkly different ways.

The Great Schism is upon us.

Weisman’s report is echoed by the Union for Reform Judaism, whose annual letter to the Congress has almost nothing to say about Israel. Refugees, health care, voter suppression, LGBTQ rights, the Rohingya Muslims, women’s rights are the good liberal Asks, and there is just one line about “the security of a Jewish state in Israel” and the two-state solution. The Reforms know the young Jews are not keen on Zionism.

Weisman’s article is most noteworthy as a mate to Michelle Goldberg’s recent column saying that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. There is a non-Zionist bloc at the very-pro-Israel New York Times, and it’s putting its head above the trenches at last. Anti-Zionism is finally getting mentioned by the mainstream press.

Though to be sure, this article is now the millionth story to appear on the divorce between American and Israeli Jews, and years after other writers proclaimed it. Jewish spaces are holding weekly frets on the topic. With nary a Palestinian to be seen, of course; Jewish organizations are afraid of Palestinians. And anti-Zionist Jews too! A friend writes, and I can’t disagree:

[N]otwithstanding Jonathan Weisman, I don’t think the Turning Point is upon us. Just like every disastrous revelation or catastrophic misstep supposedly presages Trump’s imminent collapse. The headlines from a year ago look just as urgent as the ones today.  And yet it never happens. The same is true about the end of Zionism.

[The Union for Reform Judaism’s Rick] Jacobs couldn’t even denounce the embassy move for more than a week before he had to eat his own words. All it would take is another war in Gaza to get Eric Yoffie et Jacobs 1,000% behind Israel.
.
…Put a Dem in the White House and all will be forgiven and forgotten. On the Israeli side, part of Netanyahu’s problem is he’s been there too long and he’s corrupt. But a fresh, new face will change that Certainly enough for Jacobs to rally around him even if it’s a right-winger.

All I’m saying is that despite the unchanging orthodoxy on Israel, the reality is that – sans a crisis like a war with Gaza – people don’t care about Israel. Certainly, the days since the time where Zionism and social justice were interchangeable are long gone. That’s why most synagogues have ditched the Israel signs.

The fact that people don’t care could also be taken as proof that the Palestinians have been defeated. Israel rules the whole land. There is no threat. Sure, BDS is a pain but the reality is that, as Gideon Levy says, the settlers won.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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44 Responses

  1. Mooser on January 5, 2019, 5:17 pm

    ” There are roughly 5.7 million Jews in America”

    Jeez, I thought there was closer to 8 + million. Where did we all go?

    • RoHa on January 5, 2019, 11:39 pm

      That’s what comes of marrying out. You were warned.

      • Mooser on January 6, 2019, 5:16 pm

        “That’s what comes of marrying out.”

        Gee, seems to me that marrying out should increase our numbers, if anything. I’m sure I don’t understand it.

        And gosh economic success and well-assimilated, why would the numbers go anywhere but up?

      • RoHa on January 6, 2019, 8:38 pm

        I don’t understand it either, but the rabbis said that marrying out would lead to the End Of The Jewish People. Or words to that effect.

    • Citizen on January 6, 2019, 3:33 am

      Seems it’s more like 7 to 12 million: How many Jews live in the U.S.? That depends on how you define ‘Jewish.’ http://wapo.st/2ojwmsC?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.b6dc11674ab2

      • Talkback on January 6, 2019, 8:54 am

        The deciding factor may be how many Jews have the right to “return” (ROFL) to Israel.

        It seems that the number in the article are from this study:
        https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313885052_World_Jewish_Population_2016

        Regarding the “return” of people that weren’t even exiled:
        “The twisted logic of the Jewish ‘historic right’ to Israel
        Our political culture insists on seeing the Jews as the direct descendants of the ancient Hebrews. But the Jews never existed as a ‘people’ – still less as a nation.”
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/the-twisted-logic-of-the-jewish-historic-right-to-israel-1.6654428

      • Mooser on January 6, 2019, 12:55 pm

        “That depends on how you define ‘Jewish.’”

        It’s all a matter of percentages, ain’t it? If there’s, oh, 12 million Jews in the US with a ‘diversity’ of views among them really as good as 4 million or so which are nearly 100% Zionist, or near enough?

      • Mooser on January 7, 2019, 2:05 pm

        But, then again, why shouldn’t the Zionist use the same techniques on Judaism which produced a ‘majority’ in Palestine?
        Zero-sum Judaism.

  2. hophmi on January 5, 2019, 5:56 pm

    Weisman’s book was almost universally panned as uninformed nonsense that seemingly had little clue about the American Jewish community, its constituent bodies, or the work it had done to fight antisemitism. He’s also the moron who thought that it was appropriate to report in the Times in an infographic which opponents of the Iran Deal were Jewish, so of course, Mondowess loves him.

    • bcg on January 6, 2019, 1:53 pm

      @Hophmi: ad-hominem.

      If you had something to say about the piece he wrote, what would it be?

    • annie on January 6, 2019, 5:53 pm

      because nobody else noticed israel pounding the war drums over the iran deal. spare us hophmi!

    • Talkback on January 7, 2019, 8:25 am

      hophmi: “Weisman’s book was almost universally panned …”

      Which one? Both have 4 stars on Amazon. And universally? You mean in the Kahane Continuum?

      hophmi: “He’s also the moron who thought that it was appropriate to report in the Times in an infographic which opponents of the Iran Deal were Jewish, …”

      What a gentile hater. Now anybody can deduce which opponents were Gentiles. Soooo inappropriate!

    • Misterioso on January 7, 2019, 8:49 am

      @hophmi, etal

      For American Jews, when it comes to Israel, the “bloom” is definitely “off the rose” as it is with other Jews around the world:

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-45-percent-increase-in-number-of-russians-moving-to-israel-in-2018-1.6786876

      “Number of Russians Moving to Israel Sees Dramatic Rise, American Aliyah Figures Drop”

      Haaretz, Dec. 27/18, by Judy Maltz.

      “Despite rising anti-Semitism in the United States, the number of Jews who moved to Israel from North America dropped in 2018, according to preliminary estimates compiled by the Jewish Agency.

      “However, total immigration to Israel showed a modest increase of 5 percent in 2018, with 29,600 Jews from around the world moving to the country. The biggest factor behind the increase was a significant rise in the number of immigrants moving from Russia.

      The preliminary number of Jews making aliyah from North America – the vast majority from the United States – totaled 3,250 in 2018, down 10 percent on the previous year, according to Agency estimates.

      “However, Israel is definitely not the prime destination for those American Jews who are leaving the United States, the Agency figures show.

      “Anti-Semitism has also been on the rise in Western Europe, yet Agency estimates suggest that the number of Jews immigrating to Israel from France dropped 25 percent in 2018, to total 2,600.

      “The estimates, obtained by Haaretz, were compiled by the Agency on the basis of figures available up until the second half of December. They do not include those Israelis returning to the country after extended stays abroad, who are also entitled to many benefits conferred on immigrants.

      “According to the estimates, 10,500 immigrants from Russia will have arrived in the country by the end of 2018 – representing an increase of 45 percent from the previous year and accounting for more than one-third of the total number of immigrants.

      “By contrast, the number of immigrants from Ukraine – which in recent years had rivaled Russia as the single largest supplier of immigrants to Israel – was down 9 percent to total 6,500.

      “Most of the immigrants coming to Israel from Russia and Ukraine in recent years do not qualify as Jewish under religious law, even if they are eligible for citizenship. To qualify for citizenship under the Law of Return, an individual must have at least one Jewish grandparent, a Jewish spouse or have undergone a conversion in a recognized Jewish community (it does not have to be an Orthodox conversion). To qualify as a Jew under religious law, an individual must have been born to a Jewish mother or have undergone an Orthodox conversion by rabbis recognized by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

      “According to recent reports, many British Jews are considering leaving their country because of anti-Semitism. If so, Israel does not as yet appear to be their preferred destination. The Agency figures show that the number of Jews moving from the United Kingdom to Israel in 2018 was down 9 percent, to total 500.

      “Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett to spearhead a new campaign to lure French Jews to Israel. Between 2013 and 2015, Israel experienced a large wave of immigration from France. The exodus was sparked both by a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and a depressed local economy. Since 2015, however, when close to 8,000 French Jews moved to Israel, the numbers have dropped steadily.

      “Many French Jews who moved to Israel during the peak years have since returned to France. Difficulties with the Hebrew language and with finding work commensurate with their skills have been cited as the key obstacles to their successful integration into Israeli society.

      “The number of Jews living in France is estimated at 470,000, making it the largest Jewish community in Europe.”

  3. Henry Norr on January 5, 2019, 8:15 pm

    I’ll wager $5 that Weisman will be gone from the NYT within six months. Any takers?

  4. katesobo on January 6, 2019, 10:03 am

    “Weisman’s article is most noteworthy as a mate to Michelle Goldberg’s recent column saying that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. There is a non-Zionist bloc at the very-pro-Israel New York Times, and it’s putting its head above the trenches at last. Anti-Zionism is finally getting mentioned by the mainstream press.”
    Good to know…this non-Zionist bloc at the NYT. I am encouraged by the many justice-minded Jews who bravely speak out. Thanks, Mondoweiss.

    • Citizen on January 6, 2019, 1:25 pm

      How do the social justice warriors who are Jewish differ from those who are not? Why the distinction?

    • Misterioso on January 7, 2019, 9:08 am

      @katesobo

      Your comment brings the following article to mind:

      https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/12/12/the-pro-israel-push-to-purge-us-campus-critics/

      The New York Review of Books, Dec. 12/18

      “The Pro-Israel Push to Purge US Campus Critics” by Katherine Franke

      EXCERPT:
      “There are signs that we’ve reached a tipping point in US public recognition of Israel’s suppression of the rights of Palestinians as a legitimate human rights concern. Increasingly, students on campuses across the country are calling on their universities to divest from companies that do business in Israel. Newly elected members of Congress are saying what was once unsayable: that perhaps the US should question its unqualified diplomatic and financial support for Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, and hold it to the same human rights scrutiny we apply to other nations around the globe. Global companies such as Airbnb have recognized that their business practices must reflect international condemnation of the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Natalie Portman, Lorde, and other celebrities have declined appearances in Israel, acknowledging the call to boycott the Israeli government on account of its human rights violations. And The New York Times published a column arguing, with unprecedented forthrightness, that criticism of ethno-nationalism in Israel (for example, defining Israel exclusively as a ‘Jewish state’) isn’t necessarily anti-Semitic.

      “At the same time, discussions on college campuses about the complexities of freedom, history, and belonging in Israel and Palestine are under increasing pressure and potential censorship from right-wing entities. In fact, new policies adopted by the US and Israeli governments are intended to eliminate any rigorous discussion of Israeli–Palestinian politics in university settings. Not since the McCarthyite anti-Communist purges have we seen such an aggressive effort to censor teaching and learning on topics the government disfavors.”

  5. MHughes976 on January 6, 2019, 12:21 pm

    The opinion polls still don’t seem to be supporting the. Great Schism idea.

    • Mooser on January 6, 2019, 3:06 pm

      “The opinion polls still don’t seem to be supporting the. Great Schism idea.”

      By percentage, or by number?

      • Maghlawatan on January 6, 2019, 3:45 pm

        « The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought ». Dornbusch

        US senators such as Foghorn Leghorn aka Lindsay Graham putting Israelis before American TSA workers who haven’t been paid for 2 weeks is not natural and not fair no matter how you slice it.

        If something is unsustainable it will stop.

        @Full_On_Cynic
        ·
        15h
        Why does our govt pass anti-American laws to protect the apartheid Zionist govt of Israel and criminalize free speech by Americans? Is it the money they are given or something else? Serious question

        https://youtu.be/T3YK95jW5p0

  6. wondering jew on January 6, 2019, 2:04 pm

    It isn’t quite clear what the Turning Point is supposed to look like: The New York Times editorial coming out against aid to Israel? The role of the media in the public’s attitudes towards Israel is a primary concern to this website, but ultimately it comes down to Congress and the President. And until such time that the public is more concerned with foreign policy it seems to me that Congress and the President will be more interested in campaign contributions than some radical change in policy. I think long term damage is being accomplished by Netanyahu, specifically his friendship with Trump and this weakens the support from Democrat grass roots and over time this weakened support (or outright opposition) will percolate upwards and penetrate the thoughts of the Democratic Congress and Democratic President, but until some pro Palestinian campaign funding is somewhere near to challenging pro Israel campaign funding, that Turning Point (of a Democratic Congress supporting a Jimmy Carter-like Democratic President’s attitude towards Israel) will remain quite a distance away.

    • Maghlawatan on January 6, 2019, 3:49 pm

      I wouldn’t count on complacency. We are in an age of collapsing certainties. If the GOP collapses so will Zionism .

      The NRA, the heath insurance cartel and Zionism are 3 enemies of ordinary Americans and will be easy targets for progressives building anti polarizing Institutions after the forthcoming economic collapse.

      • wondering jew on January 6, 2019, 8:40 pm

        Magh- After the forthcoming economic collapse. Well, but of course what I am describing is based upon the past 45 years of American history. If there is to be a rift in American history, my concept of American policy can get turned on its head.

        But still when you pick 3 enemies of ordinary Americans to include Zionism shows that you believe your own arguments and are not really thinking about what is in fact on the minds of Americans. Zionism is not nearly on people’s minds like the other two. Health insurance and worries about it are part of the fabric of the lives of most Americans and the constant headlines of shootings that can be attributed to America’s gun culture is something that grabs the headlines. Compare that to Zionism. If Israel gets American into a war against Iran then fer sure, they can be seen as an enemy of ordinary Americans, but otherwise, though you might be able to prove the logic of the enmity, in fact, ordinary Americans do not deal with Zionism on a daily basis and the headlines are far far away for most Americans. Lining up these three as enemies of ordinary Americans is your concept, but not America’s concept. Sell it to America and they may buy it, but as of today, no, it’s in your mind, but not in America’s mind.

      • Maghlawatan on January 6, 2019, 11:31 pm

        WJ

        Zionism is a parasite in the US system , same as the NRA and healthcare.
        As such it is an enemy of the people, unless you can outline what benefits AIPAC and co deliver food stamp recipients in PA.

        45 years of experience don’t count when historical inflection points are involved. Parasites are vulnerable when politics are volatile.
        Zionism doesn’t look after Americans so they owe it nothing . Rupert Murdoch had this experience in 2011. Closeness to power is no guarantee

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/video/2011/jul/07/news-of-the-world-phone-hacking-nick-davies-rupert-murdoch-video

      • Talkback on January 7, 2019, 9:30 am

        Maghlawatan: “Zionism doesn’t look after Americans so they owe it nothing.”

        The VAST majority of Zionists are American Nonjews.

      • Maghlawatan on January 7, 2019, 1:30 pm

        Talkback

        Evangelicals are poorer and less well
        educated than other Americans. What does Israel do for them ?

      • Keith on January 7, 2019, 3:10 pm

        TALKBACK- “The VAST majority of Zionists are American Nonjews.”

        Are you claiming that the driving force behind the Zionism, the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, and ongoing US support for Israel are American Gentiles? And if not, how shall we interpret your comment?

      • Talkback on January 7, 2019, 3:55 pm

        Absolutely nothing. It doesn’t have to. The Evangelicals are purely driven by their own theological vision. They don’t care about politics. they don’t care if Israel is an Apartheid state or not and they don’t care if Palestinians, including Christians are suffering or not. Their version of Christiniaty is absolutely corrupted and immoral.

      • Maghlawatan on January 9, 2019, 1:14 pm

        Keith

        Money is powerful but its nemesis is people power. Tammany Hall didn’t make it. Watch any Scooby-Doo. Zionism won’t make it either. Israel bet the farm on neoliberalism. Likud took too many risks and is still anchored to the tit of the US.

        https://youtu.be/8TON3PORRDQ

      • Keith on January 9, 2019, 5:47 pm

        MAGHLAWATAN- “Money is powerful but its nemesis is people power.”

        People power is transient and short lived. Money power hires people power and replaces people as required. People burn out, money endures and eventually overpowers all opposition. Money power funds the doctrinal system which shapes perceptions. Capitalism’s profound innovation was to monetize power. This is why, in the long run, ideologically based power is defeated by money power. There is nothing more important for the health and well-being of society than the public control of money and the public distribution of money power.

    • Danaa on January 6, 2019, 4:32 pm

      I actually agree with you there – about the importance of funding. That is certainly true in the American context, where “noise’ levels about any issue can be trumped – all too easily by a well-heeled counter-propaganda.

      We saw this, I believe, with Occupy. We see this now – in general – about almost any progressive cause, say Medicare-for-all. The progressive voices may be the most erudite and well-reasoned, the supporters the most passionate, and still they get drowned by the counter-propaganda, which can go on longer and deeper. And which often has access to state apparati (such as law enforcement), deeper pockets with which to fund lawfare and support from Deep State machinations. Those counter forces’ power (which after all, include much of the existing establishment)r is substantial and I never make the mistake of underestimating it.

      However, it is possible that a day will come and the Deep State itself (whichever is the composition thereof) will turn against Israel. There are indications of splits within eg, the CIA and the FBI already, not so much about Israel, but about things like Syria for example. Or even Russia. I am already noticing (and have been for some time) that deep within the military ranks there is a growing antipathy to israel. No, you can’t get military top brass to talk about this, but go down a few levels, and strange currents of thought will become manifest. The “realist” military voices are still confined mostly to the Army, but it’s percolating.

      Anyways, I hate it when i agree with you!

      • wondering jew on January 6, 2019, 8:46 pm

        When I drove a cab I recall a conversation with a female passenger who was serving in the military and her attitude expressed by the question, “What do the Israelians want?” And it was clear to her that the unclear/unrealistic goals of Zionism and the disruption of that part of the world was something she considered detrimental to the health of the American armed forces. There are many dangers presented by a volunteer army and this is one of them. (Danger: that they will think differently than the Congress of the US.)

      • Maghlawatan on January 6, 2019, 11:45 pm

        Galbraith :

        “The conventional wisdom gives way not so much to new ideas as to the massive onslaught of circumstances with which it cannot contend »

        ÔConnor: Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it’

        80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck

        There is going to be a massive crash within 3 years

        Druckenmiller

        https://youtu.be/HFAzZttioEk

        Roubini

        https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-behavior-causes-stock-market-drop-by-nouriel-roubini-2018-12

        Roubini perfect storm

        https://youtu.be/05kVaFnHXw0

        Taleb

        https://youtu.be/62rfLjnPxKE

        Steve Keen

        https://youtu.be/rfWVqrPEXEo

        Israel is not ready for the death of neoliberalism. ´Fuck you’ works both ways, Israel

      • Danaa on January 7, 2019, 12:30 am

        So, you drove a cab, eh?

        Do wonders ever cease among the wanderers?

      • oldgeezer on January 7, 2019, 12:33 am

        @wondering jew

        A danger she might be right? A danger to corrupt and corrupting Zionists and their supporters?

        The danger of not agreeing with slimeball politicians increases when those in service are coerced. So lost in your support for a rogue state you overlook the obvious.

      • Keith on January 7, 2019, 2:09 pm

        DANAA- “The progressive voices may be the most erudite and well-reasoned, the supporters the most passionate, and still they get drowned by the counter-propaganda, which can go on longer and deeper.”

        In the long run, money overwhelms all opposition.

      • Mooser on January 7, 2019, 2:14 pm

        “There are many dangers presented by a volunteer army and this is one of them” “WJ”

        But giving the government an unlimited, and unaccountable power to consume as many of our young people as it wishes will solve those problems? Ho-kay.

      • wondering jew on January 7, 2019, 7:44 pm

        I see my humor is a bit too dry. It is unfortunate that the US congress decides the foreign policy of the US, seemingly unconcerned with the actual opinions of those who fight the wars. Whereas the vast majority of the American public is unconcerned or minimally concerned with foreign policy, it is natural that those serving overseas are concerned and their opinions should count, but don’t. The alienation between the policy deciders and those who bear the brunt of the policy is an alienation between the government and its army and this is dangerous. One way of solving this problem is moving away from a volunteer army. The other way to solve this problem is to ensure that congress is making decisions which reflect the public’s opinions. Neither of these solutions is near.

      • Mooser on January 7, 2019, 10:11 pm

        “I see my humor is a bit too dry.” “WJ”

        “Yonah”, your humor may run dry, but your pilpul vial is never empty.

      • Danaa on January 7, 2019, 11:38 pm

        WJ making sense. Coherent too. What’s the world coming to?

        And what next? my comments getting shorter? that must be a true sign that the end times are near.

        Also, why am I starting to sound like Mooser?

        Troubling thoughts indeed……

      • Mooser on January 8, 2019, 11:19 am

        “Also, why am I starting to sound like Mooser?”

        If you do, get checked for brucellosis.

  7. davisherb on January 7, 2019, 8:45 am

    Religions are failing because they lead to wars and oppression of the non-believers and those of different myth and superstition systems. Support BDS and let religions atrophy.

  8. genesto on January 7, 2019, 1:23 pm

    “Certainly, the days since the time where Zionism and social justice were interchangeable are long gone.”

    When was this ever the case? Must have blinked and missed it!

  9. Citizen on January 7, 2019, 4:43 pm

    Whatever, most non-JewishAmericans I know never give a thought about Israel or the implications of our government so lavishly funding it and immunizes its conduct and policies at the UN. They don’t even think about the neocon-Zionist-liberal corporate interventionist strangle hold on US foreign policy.

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