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.
Category Archives: Neocons
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.
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.”