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Trump’s climbdown on Iran is a defeat to the Israel lobby

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Since Donald Trump decided not to attack Iran Thursday, it has been stated again and again that the American people don’t want another war in the Middle East. NPR says so, PBS says so, the Washington Post says the Congress is “war-weary,” the Times notes the considerable support Trump has gotten from Republicans; and even Lindsey Graham has backed Trump’s decision. So do Democratic liberals and centrists and Nancy Pelosi.

Trump himself said a war with Iran is unpopular when he told his Orlando rally Thursday that great nations don’t fight “endless wars,” and he was removing troops and putting “America first.”

The reasonable question here is, Who wants a war with Iran, and why do they want it? The answer is, far-right Republicans like Adam Kinzinger, Tom Cotton, and Liz Cheney who say it’s a sign of weakness not to attack Iran. And the Israel lobby, which wants the U.S. to take on Israel’s regional rival.

The media write about those rightwing Republicans, “Tom Cotton wages lonely campaign to attack Iran,” Politico says. But they tend to avoid the Israel angle. So here we go again. Let’s look at some of the data.

Two days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu rallied support for Trump’s efforts to “stop Iranian aggression.”

“In the last 24 hours Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us. And I repeat my call for all peace-loving countries to stand by the United States in its effort to stop Iranian aggression,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel stands by the United States on this.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition gave Netanyahu a megaphone. And when Trump declined the advice, the Jewish Democratic Council of America all but slammed Trump for indecision.

Eli Clifton writes that Trump has a $259 million reason to attack Iran, and cites three pro-Israel donors to Republican campaigns (echoing my view that Trump’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, has driven the hawkish policy on Iran). It’s a mystery why news organizations don’t bring this up. “News coverage of Trump’s slide toward war frames the discussion as a competition between his better instincts and a national security advisor and secretary of state who, to varying degrees, favor military action,” Clifton writes. “But the $259 million that helped elect Trump and Trump-friendly Republicans must loom large over the president.”

Those funds  came from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Paul Singer and Bernard Marcus, donors who have made no secret, both through public statements and funding think tanks that support military action against Iran, of their desire for the United States to destroy the Islamic Republic.

Adelson, who alongside his wife Miriam are the biggest donors to Trump and the GOP, contributed $205 million to Republicans in the past two political cycles and reportedly sent $35 million to the Future 45 Super PAC that supported Trump’s presidential bid. His role as the biggest funder of Republican House and Senate campaigns makes him a vital ally for Trump—who relied on Adelson’s campaign donations to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate and curb Republican losses in the House in the 2018 midterm election—and any Republican seeking national office.

Unfortunately, Lobelog never mentions Israel; but protecting Israel is the central concern of Adelson, Singer and Marcus.

Many of the pundits who pushed for war are also Israel focused. Bill Kristol– who helped promote Tom Cotton to the Senate with funding from the Emergency Committee for Israel —  is deeply disappointed in Trump’s decision. Bret Stephens has been the leading “warmonger” at the Times, writes Andrew Bacevich.

The teaser for a recent Bret Stephens column in The New York Times accurately summarizes its contents: “If Iran won’t change its behavior we should sink its navy.”…

“Nobody wants a war with Iran,” writes Stephens. Actually some people do want war, almost surely including President Trump’s secretary of state and national security adviser. So, too, does Stephens himself. The deceptive history that he chooses to propagate can have no purpose except to promote armed conflict and to impede any understanding into America’s role in planting the seeds of forever war.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this week in foreign policy is the critical mass that exists inside the establishment against war. David Brooks looked sheepish last night on the PBS News Hour. He approved Trump’s decision before arguing that he has to do something– and so what if he kills people.

They could do cyber-warfare. They could attack Iranian forces that are spread around the Middle East.

They can, as earlier presidents have done, gone after the Iranian navy. There are lots of different things they could do. Some of them would kill people. Some of them wouldn’t kill people.

So we should take on Hezbollah and go further into Syria? Remember that Brooks supported the Iraq war that has been an unmitigated disaster (surely in part out of his “gooey-eyed” fondness for Israel). In 2015, he wrote that the Obama Iran deal was a strategic defeat of the U.S. on a par with Vietnam and Iraq, and typically distorted Iran’s behavior. “Iran is a fanatical, hegemonic, hate-filled regime. If you think its radicalism is going to be softened by a few global trade opportunities, you really haven’t been paying attention to the Middle East over the past four decades.”

Back in 2015, President Obama had to defeat a $40 million campaign by the Israel lobby against the Iran deal. As Ben Rhodes wrote, you couldn’t really talk about that.

Even to acknowledge the fact that AIPAC was spending tens of millions to defeat the Iran deal was anti-Semitic. To observe that the same people who supported the war in Iraq also opposed the Iran deal was similarly off limits. It was an offensive way for people to avoid accountability for their own positions.

Obama mentioned Israel 24 times in a climactic speech he gave to win the deal. He said Israel was the only country to speak up against the Iran deal, but it would be an abrogation of his constitutional duty to take Israel’s side.

[B]ecause this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support….

as President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.  I do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the United States.

Four Democratic senators voted against the Iran deal, and Chuck Schumer said he did so because of “the threat to Israel.”

The “threat against Israel” was also the reason that the U.S. got into the Iraq war, according to 911 Commission director Philip Zelikow. But that threat was one you couldn’t talk about.

this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell

The media are still not speaking its name, but Trump’s climbdown represents a real defeat for the Israel lobby. Clearly Israel and its rightwing supporters wanted an attack on Iran and they did not get it.

And yes, one reason that the lobby has lost power is because it is divided. The liberal branch of the Israel lobby, J Street, was firmly against any hostilities with Iran and firmly supportive of the Iran deal, and they rallied Democrats against Trump’s provocation. The lobby wasn’t divided before the Iraq war; then liberals went along with neocons, or didn’t put up much opposition. This is yet another argument for politicizing U.S. support for Israel. An open debate over the militant and discriminatory policies of our closest ally can only improve U.S. foreign policy.


Philip Weiss

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

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90 Responses

  1. Kay24 on June 22, 2019, 1:23 pm

    Bret Stephens will say, write, and do anything for the country he is loyal to first, the one that his son has fought for, and the one he puts above his own. A refined Hasbara perhaps?

    • JWalters on June 22, 2019, 10:41 pm

      David Brooks’ son, too. And Sheldon Adelson has said he wishes he had been in the Israeli army instead of the U.S. army.

      • Kay24 on June 24, 2019, 7:53 am

        Strange, no one mentions all this in the media, and no American calls them unpatriotic.
        Imagine if an American had a son or daughter working for the Iranian Revolutionary guard, and said they wished they had been in the Iranian military instead of the US military, the words “traitor” and “unpatriotic” would have been hurled at them.

      • Misterioso on June 24, 2019, 9:39 am


        You can bet that Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have been constantly phoning and visiting Trump demanding that he carpet bomb Iran in exchange for the well over $100 million they pumped into the Republican’s election coffers.

  2. mijj on June 22, 2019, 2:02 pm

    > “Trump’s climbdown on Iran …”

    is there no better term than “climbdown”? I would have thought the image ought to be positive.

  3. Don on June 22, 2019, 4:29 pm

    “It’s a mystery why news organizations don’t bring this up.”

    Very mysterious.

    • JWalters on June 22, 2019, 10:38 pm

      One has to wonder how the entire mainstream U.S. press corps, and all their astute professional editors, could miss the quarter billion dollar Zionist elephant in the room. Why has Frontline or 60 Minutes not done an investigation of this? Or Rachel? Somebody?

      • Tuyzentfloot on June 24, 2019, 5:31 am

        Rachel has responsibilities. If she doesn’t a good job msnbc ratings plummet and people are going to be out of a job. You want her to tell these people ‘sorry but I had ethical concerns and these are more important for me’? So more Russiagate it is.

    • chet on June 23, 2019, 12:18 am

      If it is taken that the US media take the lead of the NYT that NEVER discusses the impact of ‘Jewish money’. one can partly understand why the rest of the US media are reluctant to do so … in that context, one must consider that the Jewish population of NY and NJ is 2.5 million and that a very significant number would be subscribers and advertisers.

      (FWIW, it came as a surprise the Jewish population of the entirety of Europe and the NY-NJ area are almost the same)

  4. Rob Roy on June 22, 2019, 6:56 pm

    Anybody here read the Brookings Institute paper, “Which Path to Persia” which describes in 170 pages how a war with Iran can be justified? It’s sickening. First we make a “good deal” with Iran. We look good to the world. After a time, when Iran breaks the deal, that will be the created false flag and we can bomb the hell out of it. This ugly plan didn’t work out because the US broke the deal and Iran didn’t.
    Iran, truth be told, is always more honorable than the US and Israel.
    Never trust the Brookings Institute….nor most American “think tanks.”

    • Kay24 on June 23, 2019, 5:09 pm

      Israel has made sure they have their loyalists embedded in these think tanks, media, Congress, and various institutions that shape American thinking. They also spy on us, and is worse than Russia overall.

      • RoHa on June 24, 2019, 12:42 am

        There are Russians spying on me? I can’t see any under my bed, or lurking behind the bottlebrush tree in the garden. Maybe that car parked down the road…

      • Mooser on June 25, 2019, 1:29 pm

        ” Maybe that car parked down the road…”

        Much, much more likely they spy on you through your Internet connection.

      • Kay24 on June 25, 2019, 3:06 pm

        You make a lot of sense, Mooser.

      • Mooser on June 25, 2019, 4:43 pm

        Thanks, “Kay24”

      • RoHa on June 25, 2019, 6:58 pm

        The fiends!

        I thought that was just Google and the CIA. But now the [shudder] Russians are at it too. Australia will be doomed once they have all my secrets.

      • Mooser on June 26, 2019, 6:36 pm

        “Australia will be doomed once they have all my secrets.”

        That’s what Buckminster Fuller used to say. You just added another “o” .

      • RoHa on June 26, 2019, 8:36 pm

        You’re right! The Russians are spying on me. We are in the middle of kitchen renovations, and they knew that last night we were so exhausted nothing would wake us, so, no doubt on Putin’s direct orders, they broke into my garage and stole my car.

        Curse you, Vladimir!

      • Mooser on June 27, 2019, 5:51 pm

        ” and stole my car.”

        Ouch! That’s too bad. Those Subaru Outbacks are nice. I hope you get it back.

      • RoHa on June 28, 2019, 3:09 am

        And Fuller can stick to his brushes. We don’t want a wave of geodesics invading our country.

      • Mooser on June 28, 2019, 12:27 pm

        “…invading our country.”

        You ain’t got nothin coming. Do you have any idea how many times we sang “Waltzing Matilda” in school? We even spent classroom time annotating the Aussie slang (“billabong”, is an Australian hookah, etc.)

      • RoHa on June 28, 2019, 7:36 pm

        And do you have any idea how much effort we have put into keeping the country free from the scourge of geodesia?

        We want to keep all those foreign disorders away from our pristine shores.

      • Mooser on June 29, 2019, 2:40 pm

        “We want to keep all those foreign disorders away…”

        It’s too late. You’re domed, I tell you. Domed!

  5. James on June 22, 2019, 8:11 pm

    thanks phil.. good overview on the situation…

  6. Citizen on June 23, 2019, 7:14 am

    I bet his son-in-law is disappointed.

  7. Sibiriak on June 23, 2019, 8:14 am

    “And from the heart of The Blob…”

    David Rothkopf:

    Even though Trump blinked re: Iran–not a sign of restraint so much as evidence of indecision and bumbling–the situation remains very dangerous and prone to accidental escalation and/or spinning out of control.

    * * *

    That said, Trump went with the Putin line in Syria and Venezuela. Went with it again last night re: Iran. When you’re not sure which way the Trump blows, look to Putin for your most important clue.

    • RoHa on June 24, 2019, 12:31 am

      I hope Trump keeps following the Putin line. Putin is far more intelligent, educated, knowledgeable about the world, and sensible than Trump and all his minions.

      • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 9:59 pm

        That’s true. Then again, a stillborn iguana is far more intelligent, educated, knowledgeable, and sensible than tRump & Cie.

      • Rob Roy on June 24, 2019, 10:22 pm

        RoHa, absolutely right. I never cared much for Ash Carter but he did say something true: Putin says exactly what he thinks and means exactly what he says. I for one appreciate that. I’ve listened to Putin speak for hours…wish we had a president half that intelligent and clear headed.

      • Mooser on June 29, 2019, 2:44 pm

        “wish we had a president half that intelligent and clear headed.”

        Sure! Here’s an example, Putin praising US President Donald Trump’s efforts to limit the flow of immigrants and asylum seekers crossing the US’ Southern border:

        “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected,” Putin said to the Times, adding that “every crime must have its punishment.”

      • Tuyzentfloot on June 30, 2019, 5:05 am

        Getting your executive summary on Russia from cable news again Moose? That is not ‘ just an example’, it is a quote out of context to make him look as bad as possible.

      • echinococcus on June 30, 2019, 9:02 am


        You’re deliberately introducing “praising US President Donald Trump’s efforts” where no such thing is mentioned, and selectively forgetting key elements of the context. Read again. Use a translator, too (you never know, the original might be just as you said, in which case I’ll owe you an apology.)
        If I were in your shoes, I’d do a better job of hiding my full allegiance to the USZionist Empire and its administrative organ. Rule #1: never get caught using directly Propaganda Department material.

      • Mooser on June 30, 2019, 5:50 pm

        Okay, here’s some more of Putin’s intelligent good sense.

        “You know, first of all, we do not have oligarchs anymore. Oligarchs are those who use their proximity to the authorities to receive super profits. We have large companies, private ones, or with government participation. But I do not know of any large companies that get preferential treatment from being close to the authorities, these are practically non-existent.”” Vlad Putin.

      • Mooser on June 30, 2019, 6:08 pm

        I wonder, is it possible to live in a world in which Donald Trump and Vlad Putin are both evil? Or is that an existential impossibility?

      • echinococcus on July 1, 2019, 1:36 pm


        You’re trying to obfuscate your distorting propaganda tactics by inane, irrelevant questions.

      • Mooser on July 1, 2019, 3:29 pm

        Okay, Commissar! I’ll hew to the Party line from now on.

      • Keith on July 1, 2019, 4:33 pm

        MOOSER- “I’ll hew to the Party line from now on.”

        Heil Hillary!

      • echinococcus on July 1, 2019, 6:30 pm


        You mean you’ll hew even closer to the Party line? I see no daylight, as they say, in your current oneness with the Party line –except, let’s be fair, your uncharacteristic opposition to Zionism.

      • Keith on July 1, 2019, 9:20 pm

        MOOSER- “I wonder, is it possible to live in a world in which Donald Trump and Vlad Putin are both evil?”

        Ah, a Yeltsin supporter! Hillary, Bill, George and Lloyd are pleased that they can take your steadfast support for granted.

      • RoHa on July 1, 2019, 10:10 pm

        “I wonder, is it possible to live in a world in which Donald Trump and Vlad Putin are both evil? Or is that an existential impossibility?”

        Since they are both presidents, I think that is probably the reality.

        But I must admit that I am a bit baffled by the quotations you mentioned.

        Putin might be misrepresenting the views of some versions of liberalism, and I don’t know whether it is true that there are now no oligarchs in Russia.

        But with those caveats, I have to say I can’t see anything unreasonable about either of them.

      • Mooser on July 2, 2019, 1:38 pm

        “and I don’t know whether it is true that there are now no oligarchs in Russia”

        Nope, we only have that stuff in the US.

  8. Ossinev on June 23, 2019, 2:16 pm

    There must be a record out there or waiting to be created out there of high profile Jewish American citizens whose sons or daughters have enlisted in the IDF. Don`t know whether it is a legal requirement for US citizens to declare this in some way. Would be fascinating to know how many there are/have been amongst US politicians and journalists. Obviously the details would be something which AIPAC and the other Israel First groups would want to suppress and they would probably shriek “Anti – Semitism”. I think that the significant proprtion of the Trump “base” which is genuinely Anti Semitic would have a field day along the lines of “Jewish traitors declining to serve in the American Forces and opting instead to serve in a foreign army”.

    • Rob Roy on June 24, 2019, 10:26 pm

      Ossinev, I think sons of David Brooks, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer all have been in the IDF, but can’t swear to it. Why does the US let this happen (except they are lapdogs for Israel)…can citizens go from one country to another and join that army?

  9. hophmi on June 23, 2019, 4:06 pm

    It’s another antisemitic post by Phil Weiss blaming Jews for anything that happens with Iran that he doesn’t like.

    • annie on June 23, 2019, 6:37 pm

      no he didn’t just blame jews. you can’t read:

      The reasonable question here is, Who wants a war with Iran, and why do they want it? The answer is, far-right Republicans like Adam Kinzinger, Tom Cotton, and Liz Cheney who say it’s a sign of weakness not to attack Iran. And the Israel lobby, which wants the U.S. to take on Israel’s regional rival.

      The media write about those rightwing Republicans, “Tom Cotton wages lonely campaign to attack Iran,” Politico says. But they tend to avoid the Israel angle. So here we go again.

      (embeds highlighted in italic but not included)

      note how he mentioned a few others (cheney and cotton are not jewish), offered access to the press covering them, noted how they skipped over pro israel folks, and then spilled the beans.

      shorter hops: 100’s of millions over the years and constant pressure to bomb iran means nothing, be silent or be accused.

      • RoHa on June 23, 2019, 8:31 pm

        But he did blame some Jews, your Majesty.

        Suggesting that any Jew has ever done anything even the teensiest bit wrong is very anti-Semitic, regardless of how guilty that Jew might be.

      • Mooser on June 23, 2019, 10:11 pm

        ROTFLMSJAO!!! “Hophmi” knows that when somebody says “right-wing Republicans” they are really talking about Jews!

      • RoHa on June 24, 2019, 12:12 am

        Of course, Mooser. It’s anti-Semitic to talk about anyone else.

      • annie on June 24, 2019, 2:04 pm

        it must be true RoHa, what a revelation. both of you, thanks so much. and i suppose hops should take a bow too for enlightening us with his rare analysis.

      • hophmi on June 26, 2019, 12:58 pm

        He mostly blamed Jewish donors. But what else is new? You never admit that there’s antisemitism on this site and you never have.

      • annie on June 27, 2019, 3:27 pm

        speaking of “blamed jewish donors”, this might interest you hops. last month i started noticing this idea cropping up that, wrt war with iran, israel is “actively trying to stay out of the fray”. i thought that was rather hysterical.

        do you think if this message got repeated over and over and over for months americans would forget or not notice that israel (netanyahu in particular) has been agitating for the US to make war on iran for decades? i just thought it was funny.

        it’s happened before but i think it’s a hysterical talking point. maybe in this day and age with so much media american memories are this short. but how could we forget the ‘making a list’ of politicians voting on the iran deal or attending netanyahu’s bomb iran speech.

        anyway, i feel for you over this jewish donor thing. i mean adelson suggesting we nuke iran, bummer. it would be such a pity if americans got the impression we were heading into yet another disastrous middle eastern war because of israel or the israel lobby.

        so, they’re staying out of the fray. hahaha

    • eljay on June 23, 2019, 7:26 pm

      || hophmi: It’s another antisemitic post by Phil Weiss blaming Jews for anything that happens with Iran that he doesn’t like. ||

      It’s another anti-Semitic post by hophmi anti-Semitically conflating Zionism, Zionists and Israel and their war-mongering with all Jews.

      With anti-Semitic “friends” like hophmi, Jews don’t need enemies.

      • Misterioso on June 24, 2019, 9:29 am



      • hophmi on June 26, 2019, 12:59 pm

        Consistent with Annie’s moderating approach is allowing Eljay’s endlessly silly rubber-glue comment that every Jew who raises concerns about antisemitism is actually an antisemite, which is itself a form of antisemitic gaslighting.

      • Mooser on June 26, 2019, 4:12 pm

        “Consistent with Annie’s moderating approach…”

        Annie is not a moderator.

      • eljay on June 26, 2019, 8:32 pm

        || hophmi: … Eljay’s endlessly silly rubber-glue comment that every Jew who raises concerns about antisemitism is actually an antisemite … ||

        Once again, you lie. (No surprise there.) I didn’t suggest that you and Jackdaw were anti-Semitic for raising concerns about anti-Semitism. I suggested you and he were anti-Semitic for once again anti-Semitically conflating Zionism, Zionists and Israel and their war-mongering with all Jews (some you Zionists seem routinely to do).

    • Misterioso on June 24, 2019, 8:37 am


      “It’s another antisemitic post by Phil Weiss blaming Jews for anything that happens with Iran that he doesn’t like.”

      Come out of your trance man! Slowly, but surely, as was inevitable, the “Special Relationship” between “Israel” and the U.S. is coming apart.

    • Sibiriak on June 25, 2019, 5:41 am
  10. Brewer on June 23, 2019, 5:37 pm
  11. Jackdaw on June 24, 2019, 2:06 am

    More swarmy reportage from the sad mind of Phil Weiss.

    Blaming Jews while denigrating Trump’s artful brinkmanship.

    Hacknayed content.

  12. Jackdaw on June 24, 2019, 2:24 am

    With rockets, missiles, limpet mines, and now anti-aircraft missiles, Iran has for weeks, been trying to goad the United States into a skirmish, hoping that the international community will jump in and sort things out in Iran’s favor.

    Trump has proven the wiser. He knows that sanctions against Iran are biting, and that Iran is getting desperate.

    Phil. Leave the Jews out of this one.

    • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 2:42 pm

      → With rockets, missiles, limpet mines, and now anti-aircraft missiles, Iran has for weeks, been trying to goad the United States into a skirmish,

      Are we living on the same planet?

    • eljay on June 24, 2019, 2:51 pm

      || Jackdaw: … Phil. Leave the Jews out of this one. ||

      Phil didn’t bring “the Jews” into this one. You and hophmi anti-Semitically did that.

  13. Tuyzentfloot on June 24, 2019, 3:21 am

    The US imposes draconian sanctions on Iran. Iran starts a modest counteroffensive. Sanctions persist. How is that a climbdown?
    The real question is, as Iran increases the tension themselves, which way the situation will turn: sanctions which remain on course and strangle Iran, actual war or relief of sanctions. Only the last option is against the wishes of Israel.

    A lot of people want war. A lot of pundits who have been selected for their aggressiveness for commercial reasons. A lot of loony generals who are needed in peacetime to build a case for investing in weapons. A lot of politicians who benefit from warmongering. It’s a warmongering country.

    Promoting warmongers doesn’t always mean you’re in favor of war. it can mean that you just want to push things towards more conflict but short of war – until you miscalculate. Does Bolton want war? Yes. For him peace is just people fooling themselves that no war is going on. Does Adelson prefer war over sanctions? I don’t know but plausible. The Israel lobby is not the same as Israel. Does Netanyahu want war? That’s less likely.

    There’s also a lot of powerful people who don’t want war with Iran, including in the Pentagon. As long as Iran is under sanctions they can accept the situation, but if Iran starts upsetting the world they will weigh in more. Therefore, Iran decides to become a nuisance.

    • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 2:43 pm

      → Iran starts a modest counteroffensive.

      Where’s the counteroffensive? Iran defended itself against the US’s invasion of its territory. It had every right to do so. Indeed, it would have been foolish not to do so.

      • Tuyzentfloot on June 25, 2019, 4:23 am

        Indeed, simply based on an analysis of the individual incident one can still conclude it’s a case of self defense. I see it as the early stages of a counteroffensive , and it would be foolish for them not to do so.

  14. gamal on June 24, 2019, 7:52 am

    “So we should take on Hezbollah and go further into Syria? Remember that Brooks supported the Iraq war that has been an unmitigated disaster (surely in part out of his “gooey-eyed” fondness for Israel)”

    Or in the words of the president who never was speaking in 1900,

    “Even now we are beginning to see the paralyzing influence of imperialism. Heretofore this nation has been prompt to express its sympathy with those who were fighting for civil liberty. While our sphere of activity has been limited to the Western Hemisphere, our sympathies have not been bounded by the seas. We have felt it due to ourselves and to the world, as well as to those who were struggling for the right to govern themselves, to proclaim the interest which our people have, from the date of their own independence, felt in every contest between human rights and arbitrary power. . . .

    A colonial policy means that we shall send to the Philippine Islands a few traders, a few taskmasters, and a few officeholders, and an army large enough to support the authority of a small fraction of the people while they rule the natives.

    If we have an imperial policy we must have a great standing army as its natural and necessary complement. The spirit which will justify the forcible annexation of the Philippine Islands will justify the seizure of other islands and the domination of other people, and with wars of conquest we can expect a certain, if not rapid, growth of our military establishment.

    That a large permanent increase in our regular army is intended by Republican leaders is not a matter of conjecture but a matter of fact. In his message of Dec. 5, 1898, the President asked for authority to increase the standing army to 100,000. In 1896 the army contained about 25,000. Within two years the President asked for four times that many, and a Republican House of Representatives complied with the request after the Spanish treaty had been signed, and when no country was at war with the United States.

    If such an army is demanded when an imperial policy is contemplated but not openly avowed, what may be expected if the people encourage the Republican Party by endorsing its policy at the polls?

    A large standing army is not only a pecuniary burden to the people and, if accompanied by compulsory service, a constant source of irritation but it is even a menace to a republican form of government. The army is the personification of force, and militarism will inevitably change the ideals of the people and turn the thoughts of our young men from the arts of peace to the science of war. The government which relies for its defense upon its citizens is more likely to be just than one which has at call a large body of professional soldiers”

    The “personification of force”, shouldn’t that be on your flag.

  15. Misterioso on June 24, 2019, 8:29 am


    “A Terrible Week for Saudi’s MBS Shows Tide is Turning”
    Human rights watch, June 23/19

    By Elisa Epstein | Advocacy Coordinator, Human Rights Watch.

    “In a powerful rebuke to the Trump administration and a strong signal to Gulf states, the US Senate voted yesterday, 53 to 45, to block arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among other countries.

    “The vote came on the heels of a landmark court decision in the United Kingdom resulting in an immediate suspension of new licenses for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and of the release of a damning UN report, earlier in the week, from the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, detailing the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was a US resident and Washington Post journalist who was killed in October 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Callamard said that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder and that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation of senior Saudi officials, including the Saudi Crown Prince himself. It’s been a cascade of bad news for Muhammed bin Salman this week and a positive step forward for human rights and accountability.

    “Human Rights Watch has documented scores of abuses, including apparent war crimes, by the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen, and has repeatedly demanded justice for Khashoggi’s murder. Despite targeted US sanctions on 17 individuals, the Saudis have proceeded with almost total impunity – on both Khashoggi’s death and on the abuses in Yemen. And despite these apparent crimes, the Trump administration has continued to sell the Saudis billions of dollars in weapons.

    “But the tide is starting to turn in Congress now. In recent months, Congress has introduced a flurry of resolutions and bills in response to both Khashoggi’s murder and Saudi’s destructive campaign in Yemen, as well as to broader human rights concerns domestically – including the detention and torture of women’s rights activists, detained merely for their rights advocacy.

    “The White House has made clear that if the Senate resolution reaches the president’s desk, as it likely will, Trump will veto it. Congress should keep up the pressure to ensure a more principled approach towards Saudi Arabia.”

  16. KarlRKaiser on June 24, 2019, 8:30 am

    It was a treat to hear Trump say that he hired Bolton to have a hawkish opinion but that he wanted to hear all sides of these foreign policy issues, and that he does not agree with Bolton on occasion and doesn’t take his advice. That’s actually “good business” and the opposite of ideological thinking (from someone who’s still practically a Christian Zionist, alas). But Bolton must be fuming to not be able to wag his President.

  17. Misterioso on June 24, 2019, 9:27 am

    Not on topic, but a good read regarding egotistical, smarmy, soft handed, spoiled rotten rich boy Jared Kushner’s phony “Deal of the Century.”

    “An Open Letter To My Fellow American, Civil Servant Jared Kushner”

    “From one American to another: Get out of the car. Go home.” By Sam Bahour, Medium, June 22/19

    “The White House today finally released the much-anticipated economic plan of what the Trump administration has infamously coined ‘the deal of the century.’ This release is being made days before the planned economic workshop called for in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The Economic Plan is three parts: a website, which has an executive summary, a 40-page narrative of the plan, and a 96-page detailed listing of the programs and projects of Peace to Prosperity. I just read them all.

    “I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so instead of doing either, I thought it would be best to share my thoughts by way of the following open letter to Jared Kushner, the architect of the plan, and President Trump’s son-in-law.

    “Dear Jared,
    “I do hope it’s okay with you that I dropped the salutation formalities. I just read in the Medium an article by Aaron Gell, their contributing editor, titled Jared Kushner Was My Boss, so I really feel I personally know you now, plus, I’ve been writing about you for several months, so let’s be friends. I just read your Peace to Prosperity Economic Plan. I must give it to you. You did it. You produced 136 pages of nothing, in full color and with photos too.

    “I read this on my veranda, the one facing the illegal Israeli settlement of Psagot across the valley. Every time I looked up to take a sip of water, I looked at the settlement lights glaring down on me and then looked down to your plan to see where it fits; I see it fits perfectly since you don’t even hint that it exists. I know, we Palestinians should not get bogged down with inconvenient facts on the ground.

    “I really liked the part of the plan’s vision which notes that it can only be achieved, ‘following a peace agreement’ and that ‘Only through peace can the Palestinians achieve prosperity.’ You are spot on here Jared, but isn’t that what the Palestinian leadership and people have been saying to you from the outset, show us the political parameters and then we can talk economy? Isn’t that how ‘business plans’ are built; you ask about the applicable laws and regulations, then you build your plan? Ahh, I understand your business experience may be different than what my Youngstown State University degree and Northwestern University and Tel Aviv University MBA taught me.

    ‘I loved how you started the narrative part of the plan, ‘Generations of Palestinians have lived without knowing peace, and the West Bank and Gaza have fallen into a protracted crisis.’ Really? I wonder why. ‘Falling’ into such a crisis is such a bummer, we must be more careful next time.

    “Now, seriously Jared, I read English well, or so I thought, but parts of your plan just left me hanging. Can you explain?

    “You say the plan has the ‘potential to facilitate more than $50 billion in new investment over ten years.’ ‘Potential to facilitate,’ is that like me having the ‘potential to facilitate’ reaching the moon on my bicycle? After all, science is moving so fast the potential is there and all I need to do is aim to facilitate so I don’t really need to leave earth at all.

    “You state that the plan can ‘fundamentally transform the West Bank and Gaza and to open a new chapter in Palestinian history — one defined, not by adversity and loss, but by freedom and dignity.’ ‘Adversity and loss,’ another bummer. I wonder how we got that to start with. I was so happy you did not go there in the report; it would have been so ‘old talk’ to explain why. Let’s just pretend an earthquake hit us and stay focused on the future.

    “The plan keeps mentioning the ‘applicable Palestinian authorities.’ Now, who could that be? Can’t be the PLO, because Trump closed their office in Washington D.C. months ago. It can’t be the State of Palestine, because although over 130 countries recognize Palestine, the U.S. does not. Please Jared, I need to know. You can’t fill your report with such words and not know who you refer to.

    “Similarly, Jared you repeat, ‘following the adoption’ throughout the report. Adoption by whom? Please tell me because I can’t wait to call them and tell them how great a plan this is.

    “You’re on target again Jared when you say, ‘no vision for the Palestinians can be realized without the full support of the Palestinian people and their leadership.’ I can kiss you for this one.

    “I was so happy that you are aware that ‘certainty and predictability for investors’ is needed and your plan promises it. The plan also promises to ‘open the West Bank and Gaza Strip.’ Only problem with these, my friend, is that you skip the how here and who is not allowing for ‘certainty and predictability’ and why are we ‘closed’ today. Jared, you’re losing me here.

    “Your plan promises to ‘provide financial and technical assistance to build the capacity of immigration and customs officials to operate and manage crossing points in coordination with neighboring states’ and will ‘construct new ports of entry.’ Excuse my ignorance here, but these require a state, that thing you have already dismissed and the U.S. ambassador to Israel can’t define, so I must ask what will the nationality of those ‘immigration and customs officials’ be and what country will these new ports belong to?

    “The plan promises to bring ‘5G telecommunications services’ to Palestinians. Cool, the U.S. doesn’t even have that, and it took 12 years to get 3G frequencies released only last year. I will not say who released them, so I stay positive like you.

    “Jared, my man, do you know ‘Rukab ice cream?’ Boy, my friends at Balanda ice cream are going to be fuming.

    “Your plan says, ‘While agriculture accounts for approximately eight percent of Palestinian employment, this sector has not met its potential due to limited access of Palestinian farmers to land, water, and technology.’ Jared, you did not mention what was the percentage before the last 25-year U.S.-run peace plan called Oslo. I know, I know, look forward, stay positive. I’m trying, really, I’m trying but when you went on to note that it’s because of ‘limited access of Palestinian farmers to land, [and] water’ I just looked up and saw that damn settlement across the valley again, but don’t worry, I pretended it was not there and actually feel good now.

    “A new university. That’s so kind of you Jared. Too bad you don’t have the slightest understanding of why we don’t need a new university, at least not like the one you suggest. But I do have a university project, let’s have coffee when you are in the neighborhood and I can pitch it to you. You have it down for $500 million, I promise you I’ll do mine for $200 million and we can split the remainder.

    “Jared, oh Jared, I was literally jumping for joy when I read this: ‘In accord with the principles of rule of law and separation of powers, the independence of the Palestinian judicial branch must be reassessed and strengthened. A strong judiciary and reliable court system allow businesses to know that their investments will be secure and that their companies and the products they create will be protected from unfair treatment. Confidence in legal matters is a critical element of business risk reduction, which attracts private capital and foreign investment. To this end, this project will partner with the Palestinian authorities to encourage laws and regulations that secure the independence of the judicial system. It will invest in building the capacity of the courts, with a particular focus on enhancing their ability to handle cases covering potential government abuse.’ YES! YES! YES, but can we agree to do this in the U.S. first, you know, as a pilot. We can start with applying all this to your office.

    “I could go on, but I know you are busy. You produced a plan for Palestine without mentioning Palestine. You spoke of the Palestinian people without recognizing that 300,000 of us are in Jerusalem and 5 million of us are waiting to go home. You did not use the word ‘occupation’ once in all 136 pages of the plan; well, you did come close by using ‘high-growth occupations’ which could be a pun but one you did not intend to make.

    “Jared, you know most will not even read your plan, they will take a glance and see all the amazing projects listed and say, give the guy a break, he’s trying. I know better Jared; I’ve been here on the ground in the private sector for 25 years. This is a nice snow job. In the management consulting world, we call it desk research, with no field work, no assumptions and definitely no agency that can make the project real. Nearly every single project you list is not original, but I have to give it to you, you even say that in the report, ‘The projects are drawn from private sector proposals, government planning documents, independent analysis, and the work of previous studies from organizations such as the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Office of the Quartet, and others.’

    “Jared, you are driving drunk on power and since we are now friends please listen. From one American to another: Get out of the car. Go home. You are wasting time and taxpayers’ dollars trying to whitewash 52 years of Israeli military occupation, one that is alive and well today even if you are blind to it.”

    Yours Truly,
    Sam I Am

    • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 3:11 pm

      I certainly won’t read the rich dolt’s «plan», which the media, ever faithful to their masters, styled «deal of the century» weeks before it was released.

      From what Bahour wrote, I gather that that «plan» has mainly to do with setting up capitalist political infrastructure so that the settler-colonialists and other foreigners can freely exploit Palestinians.

      My main criticism of Bahour’s admirable letter has to do with his reference to «52 years of Israeli military occupation». The correct figure is 72.

    • Rob Roy on June 24, 2019, 10:46 pm

      Sam B, GREAT entry. I suggest you actually mail this out to JK. It’s classic.

  18. Vera Gottlieb on June 24, 2019, 9:59 am

    Am I the only one to suspect israel of the attacks on the two oil tankers???

    • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 2:52 pm

      There are at least two of us.

      • Rob Roy on June 24, 2019, 10:44 pm

        At least three and more. I said it the minute I heard the tankers were hit. Israel is obvious. What better ploy to get the US to attack Iran? Trump isn’t Putin’s puppet, he’s Netanyahu’s.

    • RoHa on June 24, 2019, 6:00 pm


    • Eva Smagacz on June 24, 2019, 6:28 pm

      No Vera, you are most assuredly NOT the only one.

  19. James Canning on June 24, 2019, 11:02 am

    Bolton and Netanyahu have pressed hard for a reckless US military attack on Iran, and they will continue to do so.

  20. genesto on June 24, 2019, 12:38 pm

    The Zionist Neocons have been pushing hard for war with Iran for nearly 30 years now. It is only because of the good sense of the generals, who understand the gravity of such a tragic misadventure, that have saved us from an attack on Iran every time. It was, again, the generals that stepped in the other day to foil the Zionist Neocons Bolton, Pompeo and Haspel, from talking our idiot President into attacking, and starting a war with, Iran now.

    I’m deathly afraid we are just one false flag – or, looking a little more into the future, a takeover of our military by the Zionists – from attacking Iran and suffering dearly for what would be the worst foreign policy decision by our country ever!

    • LiberatePalestine on June 24, 2019, 9:58 pm

      Iran has suffered far too much from the Great Satan: the CIA’s overthrow of Mosaddegh, the installation of the hated shah, protracted warfare from the Iraqi cat’s-paw, œconomic warfare ever since (including disruption of international banking and other essential facilities). The people of Iran have excellent reasons to hate the Great Satan. To provoke them further would be worse than foolish.

      • Givepeaceachance on July 1, 2019, 12:00 am

        Great comment , backed by facts. The CIA installation of The Peacock Throne has led to all the hatred toward the US State Department from the Mullahs. The taking of the Embassy in Tehran and it will continue . Sanctions have pushed Th e Islamic Republic of Iran’s leaders up against a wall. Now the Zionists are standing there with the gas can, pouring it on the fire at every opportunity. I’m sure my statement fully backed by facts will be considered Anti Semitic.

        Question the ADF and AIPAC at your own peril.

  21. Kathleen on June 24, 2019, 4:56 pm

    Brooks has the audacity to discuss empathy and compassion. I think he tried to write a book about those human qualities that are absent in his own make up Absurd

    Kushner saying something about teaching people (Palestinians ) “how to fish” is insane. Israel has been restricting Palestinians fishing rights for decades.

  22. Kathleen on June 25, 2019, 3:52 pm

    MSNBC’s Ari Melber had David “Axis of Evil” Frum on Tuesday night to discuss the Iran situation. What the hell is up with Ari. I know he was young when the Bush administration invaded Iraq but he is an attorney, an alleged progressive of some sort and yet he and his producers choose to have a proven and deadly war hawk on to discuss Iran? Why?

    Frum should be on trial at the Hague for being complicit in Iraq war crimes…instead Ari and too many others on MSNBC have these deadly war hawks on to discuss foreign policy when they were purposely wrong on Iraq. Shameful and downright creepy.

    Frum went a round with one of the other guest on immigration. Frum said the alleged violent conditions in their countries is not one of the reasons they were trying to get to this country. Frum was especially arrogant last night on “The Beat”

    Sure can’t figure out Ari’s intent by having someone so deadly wrong on his program to discuss Iran.

  23. pabelmont on June 25, 2019, 4:02 pm

    USA has not, IMO, failed to make war on Iran. Israel s/b pleased.

    The sanctions against Iran escalated by USA since the multi-party agreement are themselves acts of war in my book. Causing starvation, interfering with importation of medicine, , all that sort of thing is warfare by economic means. Seems to me.

    The cyber warfare by both sides also seems warfare.

    International law may not have caught up with these forms of warfare, but nowadays, nations are not attending much to international law of war, are they?

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