In taking on Donald Trump today, Bill Kristol has been tweeting about the dangers of nationalism, and quoting George Orwell’s great essay of 1945, “Notes on Nationalism.” He should be careful quoting from this essay. Orwell several times criticizes Zionism and the idea of Jewish superiority in his effort to counter nationalist thinking in English politics.
Category Archives: Neocons
Israel is already a big loser in the fallout from the Khashoggi murder, which has set back the effort to work with Saudi Arabia to confront Iran and impose a peace deal on the Palestinians. Trump negotiator Jared Kushner has been hurt by his association with the Saudis, and even rightwingers are supporting sanctions against Israel’s new ally.
Israel lobbyists Josh Block and EJ Kimball smear missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a terrorist. That’s because Israel and Saudi Arabia are now allied against Iran, evidently seeking an American-led war against the country, and all the attention to the writer’s rubout is throwing a wrench in the works.
Spending a week in Ben-Gurion airport under a deportation order has surely been uncomfortable for 22-year-old American student Lara Alqasem, but the detention has done a great deal to advertise the Israeli government’s intolerance of criticism. NYT conservatives Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss plead with Israel to release her lest the case alienate American Jews; while an Israeli government minister says Alqasem can come in if she renounces her earlier ideas.
Donald Trump recently reiterated his promise to introduce a Middle East peace plan in the next few months. Ted Snider says that promise makes sense of a number of unusual and extreme events that have taken place in the region recently.
NY Congressman Eliot Engel told an AIPAC audience last night that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive Democrats who may enter Congress “need to be educated” to support Israel. The event came on the heels of a New York Times article on the new wave of progressive Democrats who have “dared to breach what has been an almost inviolable orthodoxy in both political parties, strong support for Israel.”
Trump all but called for regime change in Iran at the UN even as his secretary of state and national security adviser addressed Sheldon Adelson’s outfit, United Against Nuclear Iran. The Times has noticed Adelson’s enormous influence but it would be helpful if the press discussed the right wing Israel lobby’s push for war.
The anti-Palestinian racist viewpoint is adequately represented at the New York Times by Bret Stephens and Tom Friedman, who at least write about other things— Stephens wants war with Iran and doesn’t like Trump, Friedman loves CEO’s and occasionally says something sensible about global warming. But Shmuel Rosner can do only one thing: serve up rightwing propaganda for Israel.
Rabbi Daniel Zemel of a Reform temple in Washington, D.C., says that Jewish “anti-Israelists” are scorning their “birthright” because of Israel’s rightwing practices. And Dana Milbank in the Washington Post warns that Israel’s future is at risk because the Jewish community here is dividing over support for it.
Brandon Jetter chronicles the conservative movement’s evolution on Israel from viewing it as a “racist state” back in the 1950s and holding pro-Arab sentiments, to adopting a position where Israel is seen as a moral and strategic alley.
Financier Seth Klarman has long given to rightwing pro-Israel causes, but NYT’s Bari Weiss doesn’t mention Israel in an article on Klarman turning on the Republican Party and Trump. A pro-Israel advocate herself, she’s protecting the Israel lobby from scrutiny.
The Jewish tribalist culture that sees Jews as heirs to a sacred macho victimhood and Israelis militarism as the answer was promoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, the leading American Jewish journalist. It created Netanyahu’s Israel, which Goldberg and his friends are now trying to flee as they try to take on Trump.
If the Oslo peace process between Israel and Palestine had succeeded, Donald Trump would not have been elected, says the eminent Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar. He surely imagines a scenario in which neoconservatives did not push the Iraq war, which helped Trump defeat Clinton in 2016.
Everything that Trump is doing in Israel/Palestine, from moving the embassy to telling Palestinians to accept Jordanian sovereignty, is in line with the agenda of his biggest backer, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who thinks Palestinians don’t exist and they should never have a state. The pattern is clear. But the press ignores the story.
In his memoir The World As It Is, Ben Rhodes documents that Netanyahu and his American friends had access to President Obama at every turn. Rahm Emanuel nicknamed Rhodes “Hamas” for advocating for Palestinians, and after Netanyahu humiliated Obama in the Oval Office lecture of 2011, Rhodes had to call “leading Jewish donors” to assure them Obama still supported Israel.
A long New Yorker profile of Paul Singer, Trump’s big donor, plays down the fact that Singer’s major political interest is Israel, and leaves out the word “neoconservative,” though Singer has funded countless thinktanks that favor regime change in the Middle East and pushed that policy in Iraq.
Brian Lehrer’s legitimate question about pedophilia scandals, Why are you still a Catholic? could be asked about being Jewish in an era of Israeli massacres and being in the foreign policy establishment despite support for the Iraq war blunder. Oh but those questions are a little too close to home.
The detention of Peter Beinart, an American Zionist writer, for an hour of political questioning at Israel’s main airport yesterday is causing alarm in Zionist circles about the country they love. “This is crazy,” writes a prominent neoconservative. J Street says the Beinart treatment is part of an Israeli government pattern of targeting American Jews, which is politically dangerous for Zionism. Of course Palestinians have experienced way worse for a long time.
Bret Stephens says there’s nothing alarming in new law giving Jews the exclusive right of self determination in Israel. But as David Bromwich points out, the law is very much like Stephen Douglas’s argument in debating Lincoln, that “this Government was made. . .by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever.”
Alan Dershowitz calls the new Israeli law declaring Israel “the nation state of the Jewish people” a mistake that was unnecessary and that will give ammunition to Israel’s critics and alienate American Jews. Israel lobby groups the ADL and J Street also say the law was unnecessary, and Israel’s Finance Minister calls it a “mistake.”
Why do Democrats have to get to Trump’s right on Russia? It used to be that talking to Putin was smart, even if he is a ruthless man, because Democrats like Obama are smart and try to reduce tensions. But now it seems Putin might have stolen emails and run some Facebook ads and Russians are better at using stolen Democratic campaign analytics than the Clinton campaign was, The hypocrisy only exposes the warmongering side of the Democratic establishment.
Trump and Putin’s efforts to praise Israel and validate its interests at their Helsinki press conference caused CNN to break a taboo in its coverage, and say Trump had Israel’s interests not American ones “on his mind.” No country has ever been closer to America than Israel, Trump says.
Nick Muzin, a leading pro-Israel operative in D.C., says that Al Jazeera has “canned” its undercover investigation of the Israel lobby, completed last year, because of the intervention of Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America.
From Tom Friedman to Bari Weiss to Bret Stephens to Shmuel Rosner, New York Times opinion writers have supported Israel’s massacre at the Gaza border. Only Michelle Goldberg has condemned it outright, while David Brooks and Roger Cohen have equivocated, and blamed Hamas.
Trump once laughed at the efforts of the Republican Jewish Coalition, rightwing supporters of the Netanyahu government, to “control” politicians. But 2-and-1/2 years later the group has emerged as a hub for fundraising for Trump and for setting his foreign policy agenda on Middle East issues. A former board member, Elliott Broidy, shows up in the Mueller probe, working with Israel lobby groups and the UAE to punish Hamas.