Even NPR believes that Trump’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization was a gift to the embattled Benjamin Netanyahu, who said it was one of his “requests” to Trump. How many other “requests” has Trump followed through on? He is surely doing so at the urging of his biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson.
Category Archives: Neocons
Five Democratic presidential candidates criticized Netanyahu for his election tactics, and Israel lobbyists have jumped into the breach to prevent the two countries from dividing politically. Elliott Abrams calls on Democratic Party leaders to break bread with Netanyahu if he wins. And you thought Abrams was a Republican!
Liberal Zionists have set out rules for how to criticize the Israel lobby without offending them. They are trying to obscure a 70 year pattern of Zionists influencing U.S. policy, from the recognition of Israel’s establishment by Truman, who depended on Zionist donors, to Trump trashing the Iran deal in deference to Sheldon Adelson.
Amid attacks from Democratic colleagues in the House, Rep. Ilhan Omar says that she finds it “problematic” that “I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel.” And she knows many Americans agree with her. “I just happen to be willing to speak up.” The progressive base of the party is behind her, in a sign that the party is dividing on Israel.
Ilhan Omar is accused of antisemitism in fostering a “hoary myth of dual loyalty” to Israel. But Jews from Joe Klein to Eric Alterman to Melissa Weintraub to MJ Rosenberg say that allegiance to Israel is actually an important factor in the support for Israel in the United States, to the point that some support Israel’s interests over America’s.
Jewish Broadcasting Service hosts a hot-tub of xenophobia and Islamophobia, as Jonathan Mark of the Jewish Week says immigration is the “nurtured baby issue” of the Democratic Party and Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez host districts of “new” people who come from “anti-semitic” countries, and Thane Rosenbaum of NYU says that 70 to 90 percent of Muslim Arabs believe in sharia law and therefore don’t belong in a pluralistic, constitutional democracy.
Bari Weiss recycles old pro-Israel talking points. Her line, “if you were an alien that landed from outer space, you would think that the greatest oppressor in the world” is Israel sounds a lot like Alan Dershowitz in 2002: “If a visitor from a far away galaxy were to land at an American… university… he would probably come away with the conclusion that the Earth is a peaceful and fair planet with only one villainous nation.”
The essential dynamic at the core of the Israel lobby’s activities is American Jews’ belief that they are lesser than Israelis because they have easy lives and their kids don’t serve in the army in a tough neighborhood. So they must buy US political support for Israel no matter what it does. That guilt trip is finally coming to an end.
Bret Stephens’s long opinion piece in the New York Times equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a boon to the anti-Zionist movement. His claims that it is anti-Semitic to see “wickedness” in unending occupation and that all American Jews are Zionists are debating points he will only lose. The piece makes anti-Zionism a topic for every dinner table and turns BDS into a household word.
Why do Americans take such a racist view of Palestinian rights without even realizing it? One reason is that New York Times writers deploy Eliot Engel and Bret Stephens as honest critics of the new congressional class of Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez when they are ideologues who do not see Palestinians as equals.
Jimmy Carter said he’d ‘commit suicide’ before he abandoned Israel, but American Jewish leaders did not trust him because of his parallel commitment to a “Palestinian homeland” and opposition to Israeli settlements, Stuart Eizenstat writes in a detailed memoir. Carter always underestimated the power of the Israel lobby. He came to believe that it helped cost him a second term, a lesson politicians have heeded ever since.
Sheldon Adelson says that assimilation has stopped Jewish greatness. “We should have been equal to Catholicism, to Islamists– we should have been a billion and a half people.” While his wife Miriam says her mission is to protect Israel because it makes Jews around the world safe.
Just when anti-Zionism is becoming mainstream, Bari Weiss reads the pro-Israel hasbara playbook and says that all anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic, because they demonize the Jewish desire for a homeland and apply a double standard to 6 million Jews as opposed to the other 7 billion people on the planet. But the New York Times columnist is powerful and important.
Progressive politicians are silent about Palestinian human rights because of the power of the Israel lobby, and “civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well… because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism,” Michelle Alexander writes in a groundbreaking piece in the New York Times. Guided by MLK, she says she will be silent no longer.
The Israeli Knesset’s Deputy Speaker (from the left Zionist Union) has invited Roseanne Barr to speak to the parliament about BDS. Barr is known for her outrageous racist statements, which are just fine for Israel as long as she’s a Zionist.
Jeffrey Goldberg, Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, Bret Stephens and the other American Bibi-ists went from All Netanyahu all the time to No Netanyahu ever, Yakov Hirsch explains. Because they can’t be leading the moral charge against Trump’s “evil plan to crush the press,” while offering obfuscation about Netanyahu’s actual evil plan to crush the press, as they once did, when they were empowering the now-run-amok prime minister.
The Senate bill punishing support for BDS against Israel failed again yesterday. Israel has never been so openly politicized before, and many Democratic supporters are expressing the fear that the issue is going to divide the party leading up to the 2020 election.
Trump tore up the Iran deal for Sheldon Adelson and moved the embassy to Jerusalem. But the megadonor’s millions in the midterm elections had none of the magic they did in 2016, as even Republicans in his home state of Nevada were crushed. And the transactional president is expressing his displeasure by taking some key moves against Israel’s interests.
Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria is “foreign policy malpractice,” says Michele Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s would-be defense secretary, echoing the D.C. establishment’s horror at Trump’s fulfillment of a campaign promise. Sadly, the realists and leftwingers who have an alternative vision for US foreign policy in the wake of the Iraq disaster and the Syrian civil war have been exiled by the media.
Bari Weiss’s said last night “you better believe” that the insurgent leftwing non-Zionist Jewish group IfNotNow welcomed rightwing Israeli officials flying in to Pittsburgh to express condolences in the wake of the Oct. 27 massacre at the synagogue because they were expressing the spirit of “Am Yisrael,” the people of Israel. Nothing could be further from the case.
NYT columnist Bret Stephens says American Jews won’t abandon Israel because “everyone’s attractive” there. Birthright is “fantastic” because “not only do you go, but you hook up! So it’s like a twofer, and that’s the explicit purpose. It’s like, Discover your Judaism, and she’s hot!”
Last night’s midterm elections saw a historic opening for critics of Israel. Three women stars of the Democratic Party who have openly criticized Israel’s human rights record were elected to Congress. But the new Democratic faces include many big backers of US Israel special relationship: Max Rose in Staten Island, Mikie Sherrill in northern New Jersey, both in the Congress, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
The day before the midterms Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran and Israeli PM Netanyahu lavished praise on him as “courageous, determined” in an embrace that is sure to aggravate American Jews growing distance from the Jewish state.
David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, seems to think of himself as an ambassador for Zionist Jews only. In a speech today in Tel Aviv, he described Israel as the “land of our national history,” and distinguished between the “country of our citizenship,” the U.S., and the country “we love so much,” Israel. He never mentioned Palestinians, nor the Christians and Muslims who feel a connection to Jerusalem.
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.