Has the ‘Forward’ gone into the bunker?
Posted: 23 May 2010

Moshe Yaroni has an attack on the “bunker mentality” of American Zionists who are helping Israel to commit suicide, in Zeek, a publication of the Forward. Yaroni makes these wise observations:

Most Jews are liberal. They are uncomfortable with the Jewish state holding millions of Palestinian Arabs under occupation, without giving them the rights of citizenship. They are uncomfortable with the Jewish state holding a million and a half more under siege.
They are uncomfortable with the devastation Israel wreaked on that same population a year and a half ago. They are uncomfortable with the Jewish state saying it is helpless to stop settlement expansion. They are uncomfortable with valuing East Jerusalem (aside from the Western Wall area) over peace.

Most Jews in the West have not personally experienced anti-Semitism.

Oh but Moshe Yaroni also writes this:

Author’s Note: This will be my last article for Zeek Magazine. I want to thank the many readers out there who have been following my articles every week. I hope you will continue to follow my work at my blog, Realistic Peace In Israel-Palestine.

And here is Richard Silverstein saying that Zeek has purged leftleaners and gave a platform to John Hagee, the Christian Zionist and nut:

The paper’s op-ed editor, the right-leaning Daniel Treiman commissioned this [Hagee] piece and he should have his license to practice journalism suspended. Did he do any fact-checking before publishing this? Or did he feel his author was of such impeccable reputation that such rudimentary editorial review was unnecessary?
Furthermore, the Forward deleted comments posted by Rachel Tabachnick and Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action, Jewish opponents of Hagee, in the thread for this article. Their contributions offered Hagee quotations like the ones above [antisemitic/weird stuff Hagee has said] to rebut the claims he made. I’m assuming that Treiman as op-ed editor made the decision to excise these perfectly reasonable comments. Did he or did someone higher in the food chain? If so, why?
Until recently, Rachel Tabachnick contributed articles twice a month to Zeek, a progressive Jewish publication which shares a website with The Forward, about Hagee and Christian Zionism. Her work on this subject has been suspended by Zeek’s editor, Jo Ellen Kaiser. No one can now write for Zeek about either matter.

Possibly another data point: JJ Goldberg, in the Forward/Haaretz, describing England as a country “where left-wing anti-Zionism is increasingly indistinguishable from old-fashioned Jew-hatred.”

Thinly-attended neocon event at American Enterprise Institute mocks ‘Princess Obama’
Posted: 22 May 2010

On CSpan earlier today they showed a panel at the American Enterprise Institute from a couple of weeks back, featuring neoconservatives Richard Perle and Melanie Phillips, discussing her latest book. Perle looked snowy-haired and grandfatherly. Phillips has a severe look, sharp cheekbones, short hair. She said that traditional religious belief makes people more rational and moral and that only deracinated Jews criticize Israel, and the left hypocritically embraces Islam even though Islamic societies would kill homosexuals. The lines are so tired that I feel funny even passing them along. Weirdly, she referred to Obama as “Princess Obama.”
But the real pleasure for me in the event was that there was hardly anyone in the room. It looked like a thinly-attended talk at the Des Moines library. AEI typically set out good food and nice cookies, but the cookies weren’t even eaten. I’m guessing there were 20 people in the room. Some seemed slightly odd. The world has passed these people by; even Washington seems to have registered that fact. I’m not sure just what’s taken their place though.

Benny Morris suggests Israel had a military aim in destruction of 31,000 Gaza chickens
Posted: 22 May 2010

A battle between Norman Finkelstein and Benny Morris on Russian television, I wish we could see it here. “Dr. Morris, you’re wearing many different hats,” Finkelstein says and Morris comes off as a propagandist more than a scholar, damaging himself at the end by stating that Israel did not attack “any hospital” in Gaza.
 And as for the chicken farm that Israel destroyed with tanks, we don’t know if there were “Hamas gunmen” inside the chicken coop, Morris says in a mocking tone. As if it’s funny. The Goldstone Report demonstrates that Israel attacked two hospitals, al-Quds and al-Wafa Hospitals. And as for the Sawafeary chicken farm, Israel wantonly destroyed 31,000 chickens and many coops when its army controlled the farm, and doing so served no military purpose.
Finkelstein takes the appropriate tone about the Gaza horrors, describing white phosphorus that burns at 1500 degrees. And he stands up for the right of return at minute 15:00 or so, says that all the world is for it except for the US, Australia, Israel and some banana republics.

‘Ir Amim’ comes to the US to smash Jewish ‘myths’ about Jerusalem
Posted: 22 May 2010

Two months ago Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington to lecture Obama from AIPAC’s stage that Jerusalem is not a settlement, Jews have been building there for 3000 years and in his defiance he helped to invalidate the Israel lobby. Who is this thug to be defying our president and using a religious right wing audience to do so? I bet Rahm Emanuel went ballistic. And that even Malcolm Hoenlein told Netanyahu, you can’t do this to us.
But all that is going on behind the scenes.
Yesterday Yudith Oppenheimer of Ir Amim (City of Nations) came to New York to try and correct Netanyahu’s garbage. She didn’t meet with AIPAC, she met with the New Israel Fund, then me and Jared Malsin (of Palestine Note) at the Metro Diner on the Upper West Side. She’s on a cross-country tour. I don’t know why this passionate, articulate woman isn’t speaking at Jewish community centers and synagogues, but as I told her, it’s just a matter of time.
The Jewish community in the US is waking up to the horrors of the Israel project, maybe too late for anyone to do anything about it, but it is at last paying attention to Jews (Peter Beinart), as it ignored Jimmy Carter.
“We would like to change the discourse about Jerusalem among the Jewish population,” Oppenheimer said, and promptly smashed three “myths” about Jerusalem– that it’s above politics, that Israel has only been doing in Jerusalem what it’s done there for 43 years, and that Muslims have equal access to the holy sites.
They don’t. They need blasted permits. They can’t get into Jerusalem, most of them.
Oppenheimer set out a map that showed us how much of East Jerusalem is being colonized by nutjob settlers and the colonialist government, and for about half an hour we tried to figure out how things could work per the two state solution. The spaghetti bowl of red and green and blue lines that is greater Jerusalem was as bad as any gerrymandering in the racist American past or present. And the Jewish line has kept moving east for 100 years, and Palestinians have been the losers and the dispossessed and the sequestered again and again.
Lately, as Oppenheimer showed, Israelis have started destroying Palestinian neighborhoods. Silwan is being taken over by the Jews just to the east of the Old City and Walaje is being taken over to the southwest. Oppenheimer said the settlers and government have been working overtime to prevent the possibility of Palestinians ever creating a true capital in East Jerusalem.
I asked her how the Clinton Parameters could still even possibly work in this situation, and with hope in her eyes, Oppenheimer dragged her pen around Silwan and Ramat Shlomo and Bustan and Gilo and the Maale Adunim corridor and every other part of the hilltop colonization of East Jerusalem (that Jeffrey Goldberg defends) and tried to show me.
The meeting got emotional when I asked her when her people came to Israel. During the Holocaust, after Kristallnacht, in one case. She believes in the need for a Jewish state. I told her I did not. But she’s not here to convince me, she’s here to strip the myths from American Jews who share her belief. That is the ballgame for liberal Zionists: to wake the stupid complacent American Jews up to the apartheid reality before the window completely closes on the idea of two states for two peoples. 
Oppenheimer said that she and Palestinian counterparts are “working together to separate… [to imagine] how peace should look like; separation needs some cooperation.” Well I don’t like that word separation. But she says Palestinians want a Palestinian state, still.
“Each side would like to wake up and find that the other side is gone. … Personally I would like to live like in Europe, with open borders. This is not possible in the Middle East at the moment. We must either have separate political entities or become one big political entity. … For most Israelis, the existence of an Israeli majority is very important. They want to remain a Jewish state.” (Fear of an Arab majority!)
Then Oppenheimer said she thinks that Obama and Netanyahu have made a secret deal. “There is a huge gap between what Netanyahu declares and what he does. ‘We will always build in Jerusalem,’ he says. But everything is stopped. The local planning committee doesn’t even meet… There is some kind of deal, I’m saying this very very cautiously,” she said. “Some deal between the American administration and the Israeli government. House demolition is stopped.”
Since Biden’s visit, she went on, Israel has approved no building in East Jerusalem, everything has to go through the Prime Minister’s office.
Malsin gave Oppenheimer a printout of Peter Beinart’s article in the New York Review of Books and I got the periodical out of my knapsack, and we explained to her that this piece has changed the ballgame, it is waking up the stupid American Jews four years after Walt and Mearsheimer said the same thing. Then JJ Goldberg from the Forward came in to the Metro Diner and said Hi to her and went to sit down at a back table. He had a Hebrew newspaper with him and I told Oppenheimer I didn’t want to keep her from talking to him. JJ can do something for her, Beinart can do something for her.
Still, Oppenheimer’s despair tore at my heart. “We cannot afford this conflict any more. It tears the Israeli society apart. It tears the Palestinian society apart. It turns the world against us.” Truly. Stupid American Jews are waking up, and they need to hear from Yudith Oppenheimer. Some day they will have her in synagogues and Jewish community centers, when they try and figure out who has lost Israel. They had better get a move on–working together to separate.
Malsin and I both wished Oppenheimer luck and walked up teeming Broadway in New York.

Zuckerman insists Israel is strategic asset
Posted: 22 May 2010

Mort Zuckerman at US News:

“Finally, there is Israel’s strategic location on the Mediterranean. It provides a port of call for U.S. troops, ships, aircraft, and intelligence sources, and a place where arms, fuel, munitions, and other supplies can be stockpiled and accessed when America needs them in the region. The country also offers access to the Red Sea. One analyst has described Israel as a “strategic aircraft carrier” in a chaotic part of the world.”

What is interesting is that this is essentially the same position taken by Chomsky, Zunes, and most recently, Stephen Maher, and yet it is virtually impossible to find anyone outside of the pro-Israel encampment who is qualified to make such judgments who would agree with that statement. Certainly, it is not the opinion of those former CIA analysts Robert Baer, Bill and Kathy Christison, Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, and Michael Scheuer, who have spent quite a bit of their lives dealing with the Middle East and are in a better position to assess the Israel-US relationship than any of our left academics.
Does the US need Israeli stockpiles to wage its wars or are they their for Israel’s use? And does Zuckerman really think that the US needs Israel to have access to the Red Sea?

I guess Mikey needed a pick-me-up
Posted: 22 May 2010

Truly pathetic. Sometimes the Israel lobby gets lonely. On his twitter feed, Martin Kramer is hyping Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s invitations to speak to US colleges. (Thanks to Adam, who’s on the road).

‘JPost’ says fear of losing Jewish money drives Obama shift re Israel
Posted: 22 May 2010

This article by US transplant Herb Keinon says it all. Israel is a domestic issue. Of course we never see a story that connects the dots so explicitly in the American press, for anyone to read: that Obama’s arduous “charm offensive” on Israel (do you really want to have lunch with Elie Wiesel?) is all about domestic considerations, including Jewish money.

The tone of these meetings and speeches was markedly different than the tenor of the US-Israeli relationship over the previous few months, with Emanuel telling the rabbis that the US had “screwed up” the messaging about its support for Israel over the last 14 months.
So what happened? Why the sudden change of heart and tone?
Which brings us back to Kissinger’s observation about domestic policies being the engine behind Israeli foreign policy. What’s true in Israel is also true in the US.
As one source that was on the receiving end of the Obama administration’s outreach put it, the administration has changed its tone because it is “worried about losing the Jews.”
Recent polls show why. Despite J Street surveys which, if the Obama administration relied exclusively on them, would conclude that the majority of US Jews were just fine with Obama’s polices on Israel, two polls released a few days after each other last month demonstrated the opposite.
A national Quinnipiac University survey released on April 22 found that 67 percent of American Jews (and 44% of the general public) disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, with only 28% approving (35% of the general public).
And a McLaughlin & Associates poll from April 14 found that only 42% of Jewish voters said they would re-elect Obama, while 46% said they would consider voting for someone else. This is significant considering that, according to exit polls from the November 2008 election, 78% of Jewish voters voted for Obama.
But beyond voting, Jews are also huge contributors to the Democratic Party. The Hill, a Washington-based newspaper that covers Congress and political campaigns, quotes sources as saying that Jews make up 25%-50 percent of those who give $25,000 or more to the party each election cycle. While obviously Israel is not the prime issue for all or even most of these heavy contributors, if it is a determining factor for even five or 10 percent, that is a significant amount of money.
…beyond the “message problem” there are indeed fundamental conceptual differences between how the Israel and the US view regional reality.
While the Americans genuinely seem to believe that if you solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, you will take a club out of the Iranians’ hand which they use to instigate the Arab world; Israel feels that you cannot solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue without first neutralizing Iran.

The domestic aspect of our foreign policy has been true since Harry Truman invited Clark Clifford into a meeting with Secretary of State George C Marshall to discuss recognizing Israel as a state, which enraged Marshall since Clifford had nothing to do with foreign policy.
 Marshall, of course, opposed recognition and told Truman he would vote against him in the next election if he went ahead and did, since Marshall was concerned about the Arab backlash. As payment for that, the Zionists have done what they could to erase Marshall’s name from history and it is hard to find any reference to him outside of the Marshall Plan in today’s high school textbooks. That he was Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff in WW 2 is now but a footnote in history.


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