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After Gaza slaughter, Buttigieg praised Israeli security responses as ‘moving’ and faulted Democrats for easy judgment

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Last May, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg went to Israel with the American Jewish Committee and two weeks later discussed his trip with that organization. At the time Israel was killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence– 60 on one day within days of Buttigieg’s visit, getting global attention — yet after those killings, Buttigieg repeatedly praised Israel’s security arrangements as “moving” and “clear-eyed”, said the U.S. could learn something from them, and blamed Palestinians and Hamas for the “misery” in Gaza.

He also faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”

Buttigieg, 37, a former Navy intelligence officer, is today a rising star in the Democratic presidential field as a midwestern mayor with a reputation for intelligence and pragmatism. In his 22-minute discussion with the AJC’s Seffi Kogen last May ten days after the slaughter at the fence, Buttigieg never mentioned the Gaza protests directly. But he said that if you only visited Israel, you’d see what wise judgments Israelis are making.

He went to Israel last May for the first time at the behest of strong Israel supporters, the Jewish Federations of Indiana and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange. “I’d always been interested [in going]. But when the Jewish Federation reached out and told me how special this opportunity was, I thought ‘Now’s the time.'” (It helps to be planning to run for president.)

Rockets fell from Syria on his visit and Buttigieg was impressed that Israeli society did not “grind to a halt.” He went on to justify every choice Israel has made on its security in a “challenging neighborhood,” offered those choices as a “moving” model for the U.S., and said the U.S. is not doing enough to pressure Egypt and the Palestinians.

Seeing the way that a country can be on one hand very intentional, very serious and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allow concerns about security to dominate your consciousness– I think there’s a very important lesson in that that hopefully Americans can look to as we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us…

I was in a very modern city surrounded by people going about their lives. Seeing how people fit those things together was illuminating and in many ways moving. There’s a sense there that no matter what challenges there are in the community or in the society,  they can’t wait for security issues to be resolved. People live their lives, they’re pretty clear-eyed about what is going on around them. And at the same time, you don’t let that take over… The sense that we were in a very safe and very peaceful place– some of the numbers we’ve been  shown on violence of any kind in many of the cities we visited, even in Jerusalem, whether you’re looking at political violence or petty crime, those statistics would frankly be the envy of a lot of our midwestern cities….

Kogen asked what Buttigieg would want Americans to understand about Israel. The mayor said, How exciting Israel is, not the cable TV images:

Certainly just understanding the complexity and nuance of the issues. Also understanding the level of modernity there….So often you only see coverage of international tension. You only see what’s maybe going on with the prime minister and the Palestinian Authority and you’re not seeing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation that’s happening at the local level and how some of that is also feeding up to the national context in a positive way.

He spoke of keeping Israel a bipartisan cause, and keeping the focus on Iran.

I think there’s  a risk that Israel could come to be regarded as a partisan issue, and I think that would be  really unfortunate.

One of the first things you realize when you get on the ground is this is not a left versus right issue. At least it shouldn’t be. We met a lot of people from the Israeli left who have complicated and nuanced views of what is going on [including the]…. relationship with Iran. Unfortunately these things are reduced into a black and white picture sometimes in the American media.

Buttigieg also visited the occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. And he faulted Palestinian leadership and Hamas for Palestinian misery, and said Democrats just don’t get it cause they’re watching cable news:

[We got] a more nuanced idea of what is happening on the Palestinian side. So one of the first things that was very clear to us was the extent to which there really is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian … people. Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there but also totally different than an environment where you would have a negotiating partner across the table is really important. I don’t think that’s widely understood and I think if it were you would see more Democrats would be asking more questions as we face these kind of 90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.

Remember that many progressives responded to the shock of the May 14 slaughter by pronouncing it a massacre. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.

In his interview, Buttigieg issued one mild criticism of the Trump administration policy, as consisting of “sweeping gestures that may move public opinion, but not so committed to peace.” Everyone over there wants peace, but people here reach easy judgments, he said.

Those who seem to have the most clearcut answers and the most strident opinions seem to be the one on the outside looking in. That’s another reason the trip was so valuable.

Buttigieg says the region needs for the U.S. to be an “honest broker” of peace, but we’re losing “credibility.” But when asked how we’d go about doing that, it’s building the alliance with Israel and putting more pressure on Palestinians and Arabs.

I think the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests.

There may be some opportunities perhaps not under the present administration but over time to be a constructive voice in inducing some of the other players in the region to accept greater responsibility. You think for example about the Egyptian role when it comes to the situation in Gaza, and you think of some of the leverage the US has over Egypt. Before you even get to the Iran issue and what’s going on in some of the Gulf States, there’s certainly a chance for the U.S. to exert influence and be a constructive player when it comes to a lot of states in the region that frankly just haven’t lived up to their responsibilities.

So Israel has lived up to its responsibilities, but Egypt hasn’t.

Buttigieg is a quick study; and what leaps out from these remarks is how completely the Rhodes Scholar imbibed the official pro-Israel version of events, and showed contempt for Palestinian understanding. There is no sense in Buttigieg’s remarks that Israel is a militarized, rightwing country that adores Donald Trump and that is led by a strongman and that answers resistance to the existing order with overwhelming force that international human rights organizations said at the time of his remarks were likely war crimes.

Buttigieg did not meet with AIPAC last week; but we can expect Buttigieg to take a centrist pro-Israel position in opposition to the Democratic base, which is highly critical of Israel.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz. 

 

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37 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay on April 2, 2019, 2:22 pm

    … So often you only see coverage of international tension. You only see what’s maybe going on with the prime minister and the Palestinian Authority and you’re not seeing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation that’s happening at the local level and how some of that is also feeding up to the national context in a positive way. …

    Pete says, So often you hear rumours that Joe kidnaps women, chains them in his basement and rapes them. But you’re not hearing nearly enough I think about the energy, the dynamism, the creativity, the innovation of his awesome dinner parties and how some of that is feeding up to the municipal context in a positive way.

  2. ckg
    ckg on April 2, 2019, 3:19 pm

    Buttigieg did not meet with AIPAC last week

    The Washington Post’s David Weigel, who publishes the Trailer newsletter, had some insight into Buttigieg’s absence at AIPAC:

    Two of them reached directly by The Trailer, Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard, explained that they simply were not invited and wouldn’t rule out going in the future.

    “We’d entertain any serious invitation to engage in an issue that matters to people in our country,” Buttigieg said. “We should be able to have different views represented without saying something that belittles someone’s right to be in the debate.”

    Buttigieg is open to going in the future. He isn’t even trying to appeal to AIPAC’s critics.

    • eljay
      eljay on April 2, 2019, 5:56 pm

      || ckg: …

      … … Buttigieg said. “We should be able to have different views represented without saying something that belittles someone’s right to be in the debate.”

      … ||

      Wait for it…wait for it…almost there…and here it is:

      … “People like me get strung up in Iran,” said Buttigieg … without mentioning Omar by name. … “So, the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.” …

      Misrepresentation and belittlement in one short paragraph. The Zionism is strong in this one!

  3. ckg
    ckg on April 2, 2019, 3:36 pm

    Also, on ABC’s The View, Buttigieg engaged in pinkwashing when he blasted Ilhan Omar for comaparing Israel to Iran. “People like me get strung up in Iran… So, the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong.”

    • JWalters
      JWalters on April 3, 2019, 2:44 am

      People like Omar get shot in Israel. Like all Zionists he entirely omits half of the story. This is how he reveals the COMPLETE lack of seriousness in his “analysis”. He’s a parrot, singing in the Zionist Parrot Choir.

      • genesto
        genesto on April 3, 2019, 1:18 pm

        He omits half the story, and embraces the fictitious hasbara narrative for the other half.

  4. Brewer
    Brewer on April 2, 2019, 6:19 pm

    Buttigieg is obviously allowing his World-view to be formed by a corrupt media.
    I strongly recommend this film, its the real deal:
    https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/03/30/the-veto-film-exposing-cnn-al-jazeera-channel-4-and-the-western-media-propaganda-war-against-syria/

    Irrefutable proof exposing CNN, Al Jazeera, Channel 4 and the western media propaganda war against Syria.

  5. Keith
    Keith on April 2, 2019, 7:52 pm

    PHIL- “Buttigieg is a quick study; and what leaps out from these remarks is how completely the Rhodes Scholar imbibed the official pro-Israel version of events, and showed contempt for Palestinian understanding.”

    The pro-Israel version of events is also the imperial version of events. The intent of the Rhodes Scholarships is to recruit and encourage bright, ambitious youth to follow a career consistent with Anglo-American imperialism. Bill Clinton, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg. Cecil Rhodes original language has been modified, but not the intent. Essentially, Rhodes Scholars find it easy to identify with wealth and power and against the 99%. After all, that was Cecil Rhodes intent.

    “In his last will and testament, he provided for the establishment of the Rhodes Scholarships. The scholarship program enabled students from territories under British rule, formerly under British rule, or from Germany, to study at the University of Oxford. In his last will and testament, Rhodes said of the British, “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”[5] Rhodes included Americans in the Rhodes scholarships and said that he wanted to breed an American elite of philosopher-kings who would have the USA rejoin the British Empire. Rhodes also respected the Germans and allowed Germans to be included in the Rhodes scholarships. He believed that eventually Great Britain, the US, and Germany together would dominate the world and ensure peace together. However, the scholarships for Germany were eliminated during World War I and subsequent years until 1930, and again when World War II began. Rhodes’ efforts failed to bring about the peaceful world he anticipated.” http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Rhodes_Scholarship

    • RoHa
      RoHa on April 3, 2019, 12:54 am

      “Rhodes included Americans in the Rhodes scholarships and said that he wanted to breed an American elite of philosopher-kings who would have the USA rejoin the British Empire.”

      On condition that they pay the back taxes and learn English, I hope.

  6. CigarGod
    CigarGod on April 2, 2019, 8:16 pm

    Anyone can be an “intelligence” officer, these days.
    You don’t even need to interview both parties to a conflict to come to an “intelligent” conclusion.

  7. Truthbug
    Truthbug on April 2, 2019, 10:30 pm

    Where did Pete Buttigieg learn English grammar? I’ve never read worse jumbling of phrases, modifiers, loose and roundabout connections, hanging participles, split infinitives and the likes. I think it’s significant, meaning that he could be a very sloppy thinker. He reminds me of Bush senior. They both had careers in “intelligence”? Interesting. Notice the difference between Pete and OAC, and how clear and direct OAC communicates.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on April 3, 2019, 1:08 am

      “I think it’s significant, meaning that he could be a very sloppy thinker.”

      You will get into trouble for saying that grammar is important. The old trivium of logic, grammar, and rhetoric is, like, so out of date, you know? Like, totally uncool. I mean, you’ve just got to, like, you know, tell it how you feel it. As long as other people, like, know what you mean, then that’s all you, like, need, right?

      • Truthbug
        Truthbug on May 1, 2019, 9:25 am

        RoHa, thanks for your method of putting into your grammar an attempt to illustrate your point, but your writing is very clear and fluid, with focused phrases, and it’s certainly not the jumbled, disconnected blurbs of Buttigieg. Your careful illustration is mis-applied. I agree that one’s grammar doesn’t have a strong correlation with intelligent thinking, yet on the other hand, we should be open to any clues that it might, and I’m giving only a possibility, and I can’t decide on Buttigieg’s thinking ability solely by these quotes. I agree that the most important thing is to perceive the message. At the same time, don’t you agree that many politicians hone the ability to talk in roundabout ways, because when they don’t want to make clear statements about some issues?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on May 1, 2019, 11:45 pm

        “I agree that one’s grammar doesn’t have a strong correlation with intelligent thinking,”

        I don’t agree. I think bad grammar often indicates bad thinking.

        ” don’t you agree that many politicians hone the ability to talk in roundabout ways, because when they don’t want to make clear statements about some issues?”

        Most of the time they don’t want to make clear statements because they have no ideas, clear or otherwise. But, yes, sometimes the obfuscation is deliberate.

    • JWalters
      JWalters on April 3, 2019, 2:46 am

      Very good point. He could be, like Bush 2, not very bright, and very accommodating to those who will put him in the big chair. That would help explain why he’s going absurdly all in on Israel right as Israel is starting to get exposed.

      • lonely rico
        lonely rico on April 3, 2019, 10:59 am

        > JWalters

        … like Bush 2, not very bright, and very accommodating to those who will put him in the big chair.

        Variously known as “Old Sparky” or “Old Smokey”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Sparky

        Still‘n all, that seems a tad radical simply because he’s accommodating and not dealing from a full deck.

      • Marnie
        Marnie on April 4, 2019, 12:02 am

        Just another Great White DOPE.

    • captADKer
      captADKer on April 3, 2019, 9:02 am

      i assume ur referring to mayor pete’s late father
      joseph, who served as William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame until 2017, when he then became professor emeritus, as the source for his deficient grammar?
      i think pete’s italicized comments more likely have been butchered by the mw editors.
      pete speaks cogently and thoughtfully- racists and bigots beware!

  8. Brewer
    Brewer on April 2, 2019, 11:46 pm

    Couple of fundamentalist Roman Catholics from South bend who knew Buttigeig well tear him apart. Some religious nonsense (Buttigeig is God’s punishment for contraception) but funny as hell and a view of this upstart that is not too far off the beam.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on April 3, 2019, 7:34 pm

      There’s something interesting here. I think this neighbor from hell is trying to tell us that Buttigieg hired an Israeli headhunting firm to replace the black police chief he fired. If true, that would be highly unusual and very interesting.

      I hope someone can look into this and identify the headhunting firm that Buttigieg hired. It should be public information.

      This is a direct link to that part of the discussion.
      https://youtu.be/T8hXpTKgTXY?t=2600

      • Citizen
        Citizen on April 5, 2019, 2:45 pm

        Jones family lived on the same street, but had no contact growing up, if memory serves, and both went to the same university but ten years apart.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS on April 5, 2019, 6:39 pm

        I got around to doing a little research on this. I don’t know what this “neighbor from hell” was talking about when he referenced “Israeli”. I couldn’t finding any Israeli connection between either the headhunting firm that Buttigieg hired or the technology the new police chief acquired for the city.

        The headhunter he hired, Strategic Policy Partnership, LLC., was certainly far more connected with the Washington power structure than the usual hunt hunter for such a search would be, which isn’t surprising given Buttigieg’s deep establishment connections and ambitions.

        Robert Wasserman, the founder and principle of the headhunting firm, had worked for both the State Department and the White house.

        He served as a senior adviser for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at State Department and Chief of Staff on the White House Office of National Drug control policy.

        Every job Buttigieg has taken, every move he has made, has been geared toward ingratiating himself with the establishment, and particularly with the military/intelligence end of it. But I didn’t find an Israel connection in this particular instance as was alleged.

  9. brent
    brent on April 3, 2019, 12:05 am

    It is not “all” about the Benjamins. Quite a few people buy the line it’s not Israel’s fault and has a lot to do with Palestine not having a single political leadership ready to negotiate.

    I reason a determined and sustained campaign for equality by Palestinian citizens of Israel or by Palestinians under occupation moving for a single secular state with equal civil and human rights across the board would challenge all the conclusions Buttigieg, as well as the American political establishment, arrive at. Either campaign entails acceptance of Jewish presence and I’m not sure Palestinians are quite ready. Hope I’m wrong about that.

    • gamal
      gamal on April 3, 2019, 10:44 am

      “I’m not sure Palestinians are quite ready”

      Fortunately Steve Salaita is here to help you out with all that nonsense if you can think out of the bowl for a moment.

      It was his “Those arguments are boring bromidic delusions of a self-obsessed culture” which made me think of you of course.

      “Find Me Someone Better

      A rant about the stupidity of electoral discourse in the United States”

      “I’ve long deployed what I consider a simple viewpoint about US elections (congressional and presidential): if leftists choose to participate, they should do it without making certain people disposable. In other words, don’t commit to movements that require the downtrodden anywhere in the world to remain in states of hardship or dispossession. US electoralism, by design, assiduously elides the needs and aspirations of communities whose freedom would disrupt imperial and colonial accumulation. Few groups are more familiar with this culture of disposability than Palestinians.

      Many leftist advocates of electoralism conceptualize Palestinians not as a colonized people in need of relief, but as impracticalities best relegated to the periphery of grown-up politics. (Any talk about freeing Palestine is meaningless if the Westerner’s gratification comes first.) Support of Palestine certainly impedes electoral success. It’s a serious problem. But a greater problem is prioritization of electoral success at the expense of a decolonial politics.

      Relief for Palestinians is coming, we’re told. Just wait until this person with a history of selling out Palestine acquires an obscene amount of power. The narrative is neither praxis nor analysis. It is petulant grotesquerie. No oppressed person wants to hear more nonsense from the white moderate.

      Purveyors of this grotesquerie have a plan: they’ll “educate” the candidate. This plan has an unacknowledged problem, though: the candidate doesn’t listen. When Palestinians express dismay about congressional aspirants or congresspeople who affirm ethnic cleansing (directly or implicitly), it’s hard to imagine a more vacuous, callous response than “you need to educate them!” It shifts the onus of moral negligence from elites articulating a fundamentally violent position onto the recipients of that violence.”

      https://stevesalaita.com/find-me-someone-better/

    • Mooser
      Mooser on April 3, 2019, 11:27 am

      “I reason a determined and sustained campaign for equality by Palestinian citizens of Israel or by Palestinians under occupation moving for a single secular state with equal civil and human rights across the board would challenge all the conclusions”

      Gee, maybe it would be possible for the Palestinians to convince Israel they want equality instead of domination. That would help a lot.

  10. VQTilley
    VQTilley on April 3, 2019, 1:06 am

    Oh crap. I really wanted to have someone to root for in this election.

    It’s not just that his views about Israel-Palestine are so warped and depressing. It’s that he went to any foreign country on a tour conducted by an NGO dedicated to promoting that country and swallowed its narrative whole. What does that say about anyone’s judgement for a job in which games of political deceit, trickery and fraud are played at such high levels, for such high stakes, and demand such perspicacity and insight? One sees this dopey behavior in rube freshman Congresspeople on their first Israeli sponsored tour. It’s not a qualification for POTUS. Nor is it consistent with Buttigieg’s promoted image as the sensible, humane liberal. Of course, it may all be just insincere talking points on his march for Lobby funding, but that’s just as bad.

    I think we have to start making it clear to Dem candidates that the usual Israel bootlicking will incur a cost – a significant bloc of votes from the very constituency he is aiming to attract.

  11. Tuyzentfloot
    Tuyzentfloot on April 3, 2019, 4:05 am

    Glenn Greenwald pointed out a few links indicating that Buttigieg is not all crap. That despite a lot of disappointing things there are some very good ones as well.

    https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/mayor-buttigieg-i-have-more-gov-t-experience-than-trump-1442499651884

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/19/how-democrats-can-defeat-trump-his-ugly-ideas-according-pete-buttigieg/

    https://twitter.com/PeteButtigieg/status/1106694962501042177

    He also saw things of value in Alexandra Ocasio Cortez. I don’t consider that naive. It doesn’t mean we can expect anything from AOC or Buttigieg on the subject of IP. Instead of pointing out the glass is half empty it is pointing out that there is some water in the glass.

  12. captADKer
    captADKer on April 3, 2019, 9:14 am

    [[at the time Israel was killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence– 60 on one day within days of Buttigieg’s visit, getting global attention]]

    u got that right! finally!!
    global attention when 53/60 dead identified as hamas members. reminder for me readers-hamas is a globally recognized terrorist organization. any problem

    • Daedalus
      Daedalus on April 3, 2019, 9:29 pm

      And, let me remind you that Israel defines ALL of the people in Gaza as being ‘Hamas’.

  13. Ossinev
    Ossinev on April 3, 2019, 11:18 am

    @captAdKer
    ” reminder for me readers-hamas is a globally recognized terrorist organization. any problem”
    Just a reminder for you old son repeating something which is factually incorrect may induce in you and your ilk a warm cosy Zionist feeling but that doesn`t make it true:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_positions_on_the_nature_of_Hamas

    And since when haves Zioland and Zionists given a monkey`s f..k about what the “globe ” thinks. Oh I know a reminder for readers – when it suits their purposes.

    Reminder for readers the Nazis considered Jews to be “terrorists” and they as you well know murdered Jews at will or as in the case of the most moral for simple live target practice. Plus ca change.

  14. pgtl10
    pgtl10 on April 3, 2019, 12:39 pm

    I don’t like the “centrists”. They are just right wingers trying to sell right wing positions to the left.

  15. HStrumm
    HStrumm on April 3, 2019, 12:46 pm

    Walter Mondale had a recent piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in which he encouraged people to visit Israel, as the mayor has done, to get a more nuanced understanding of Israel’s problems. I agree, but visitors should insist on a day in Hebron walking down Shuhada Street. It is there that the arc of Zionism is on full display.

  16. hophmi
    hophmi on April 3, 2019, 4:32 pm

    Congrats on being even more dishonest than Frontpage Mag.

  17. milx
    milx on April 3, 2019, 5:26 pm

    He speaks fluent Arabic which gives him more real insight and engagement with the topic than 90%+ of MondoWeiss writers and readers.

    • CHUCKMAN
      CHUCKMAN on April 3, 2019, 6:22 pm

      Hard to know where you’d get an idea like that. It is without any basis.

      We’ve had many instances of people who speak another language and display little sound thinking on what goes on in the country involved.

      Mrs Merkel speaks Russian, for example. She still often speaks like a parrot of Washington about that country.

      I’ve read a couple of books by Bernard Lewis, and respected scholar of the Middle East or not, the prejudice he displays in some passages is palpable.

      Prejudice and hatreds cut through everything intellectual.

      Attitudes and feelings don’t come from the same place as rational thought.

  18. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN on April 3, 2019, 6:14 pm

    This really is 1984 stuff.

    War is peace, etc.

    You wonder how anyone could say such things, but they are heard frequently from the United States, the speakers apparently having either contempt for listeners or simply confident that no one cares.

    I suspect the latter.

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