CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction over Iran Sanctions Bill claim

Earlier this month we criticized a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship, March 2) that included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran Sanctions Bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

We noted that this represented a significant mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, was designed to increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers failed to produce an agreement, or if Iran failed to abide by the terms of any agreement.

Following our communication with Guardian editors, they agreed to revise the relevant passage. It now reads:

But the failure of Aipac to garner enough support in the Senate to oppose the Obama administration over its nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

Additionally, the following addendum was added to the article, noting the change:

amended

Though we are not totally satisfied with the revised passage – which still fails to clearly state the intent of the legislation  - it nonetheless represents an improvement over the original, and we commend Guardian editors on their positive response to our complaint.

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Guardian report on IDF rocket seizure includes gratuitous reference to ‘powerful Jewish lobby’

We’ve commented previously on the Guardian’s tendency to see the nefarious machinations of AIPAC (and the broader pro-Israel lobby) in a myriad of US foreign policy decisions which run afoul of their far-left ideology.  Usually, their contributors don’t go as far as blaming Jews as such – instead, merely characterizing this political force, which evidently wreaks havoc on the US and the world, as merely AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, or the Israel lobby. 

However, they typically aren’t shy about imputing the worst motives to the organized pro-Israel community, often suggesting their members have a thirst for war.  At times, there’s even the thinly veiled charge that Americans who associate with such lobbies are more loyal to Israel than their own country.

Here are a few examples:

elements of the lobby vilify Jewish critics of Israel and intimidate the media – ‘Comment is Free’, Antony Lerman, Nov. 20, 2009 (Affirming comments made by Peter Oborne, presenter of Channel 4′s Dispatches documentary Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby)

“Just as important is the pressure that pro-Israel campaigners put on the mainstream US media. They warn people off the very word Zionist as though only antisemites use it and demand Israel be treated as a special country whose politics deserve more sympathy than others….In fact US publishers, editors, and reporters carry the biggest responsibility for the rotten state of US policy in the Middle East. The pro-Israel lobbies are powerful and Obama weak mainly because Americans rarely get an alternative view.” - Guardian, Jonathan Steele, Aug. 10, 2010

What do Nebraska and Iran have in common? Not much – but enough to cause big trouble for former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, whose possible nomination to be secretary of defense is being challenged by the powerful bomb-Iran-yesterday lobby.”…Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyistsare trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East.” - Comment is Free, Stephen Kinzer, Dec. 31, 2012

The Israel lobby has a “stranglehold” over the American debate about Israel – Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 22, 2012 (You can see Greenwald’s history of scaremongering about ‘the lobby’ here)

Obama…established a position his critics may find hard to assail. He forced those many members of Congress and beyond who have conflated America’s interests with Israel’s on to the back foot by saying that on Iran there are differences – and he will serve US interests first. – Guardian, Chris McGreal, March 9, 2012

“President Obama must show America’s pro-Israel lobby that he is tough somewhere in the Middle East - Guardian, Simon Jenkins, Jan. 3 2012 (On why Obama imposed economic sanctions on Iran)

But the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security. - Guardian, Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts, March 2, 2014

Interestingly, not only did the Guardian manage to slip in a negative reference to ‘the lobby’ in a March 5 story, by Ian Black and Martin Chulov, on the IDF’s interception yesterday of an Iranian shipment of rockets destined for Gaza, but let the veil of respectability slip in neglecting to use the familiar euphemism:

The high seas interception is the fourth of its kind by Israel in the past 12 years and the first since the start of the Syrian civil war three years ago. It comes after a spate of air attacks on weapons warehouses and arms convoys in the past 18 months that officials in Tel Aviv had hinted were destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The seizure follows a visit this week by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington, where he used a meeting with Barack Obama and a stump speech to the powerful Jewish lobby AIPAC to underscore his reservations about a nuclear deal with Iran.

Of course, AIPAC is not a Jewish organization, as anyone familiar with their racially, ethnically and religiously diverse membership - which includes African-Americans, Latinos, and evangelical Christians - would understand. Moreover, it’s telling that even the most prolific promoters of ‘AIPAC root cause theory, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, use the term ‘Israel lobby’ (and not ‘Jewish lobby’) when speaking of AIPAC and other assorted groups they claim are distorting US foreign policy.

More broadly, writers who chronicle the evolution of political thought may one day look back at our era and marvel over the popularity, among presumably “enlightened” voices, of narratives which impute to organized Jewry both immense power and disloyalty – those characterized by Leon Wieseltier as “the herd of fearless dissidents who proclaim in all seriousness, without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea, that Jews control Washington”.  

Perhaps such intellectual historians will explain how Judeophobic tropes typically associated with the far-right became politically fashionable at a paper which – no matter how risibly – continues to claim the mantle of the ‘world’s leading liberal voice‘. 

Finally, it’s worth recalling an article titled ‘Averting accusations of antisemitism‘, published in 2011 by Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott, which in many ways vindicated the work of this blog, and included explicit warnings to their reporters and commentators to stay clear of “language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control”.

Evidently, Black and Chulov didn’t get the memo.

(UPDATE: The Guardian revised the article early this afternoon, and deleted the original reference to “powerful Jewish lobby”.)

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Harriet Sherwood completely mischaracterizes Iran sanctions bill

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

The bill (sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources:

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program. 

Politico:

The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.

CNN

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

If you still have doubts that the Guardian misled readers about the nature of the bill, you can read the full text at the site of the US Congress, here.

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Did the Guardian once again cave to intimidation from ‘the lobby’?

We recently learned that the Guardian changed the headline to a Feb. 26 ‘Comment is Free’ op-ed by , of the far-left group J Street, arguing that the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC should do more to back John Kerry’s efforts to promote a two state solution.

Here’s the headline as it currently appears, with AIPAC being characterized the America-Israel lobby:

now

However, here’s how it looked a few hours earlier, with AIPAC originally being characterized as the American-Jewish lobby:

earlier

There is no footnote or editor’s note on the page to indicate why they made the change, but – in the view of many faithful Guardian Left readers – they may have tried to ‘avert charges of antisemitism‘ and thus, in effect, caved to intimidation from the Jewish lobby  Israel lobby CiF Watch.

Finally, in case anyone thinks our characterization of J Street as “far-left” is unfair, you may want to watch the following clip of attendees at the group’s 2011 national conference telling us how they really feel about Israel, the Palestinians, Hamas and the greatest impediments to peace in the Middle East.

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The Economist: We do not believe Jews control Congress

Last week we posted about the following cartoon by Peter Schrank published at The Economist – used to illustrate an article about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – which evoked the antisemitic narrative on the supposed injurious influence of Jewish power on U.S. foreign policy.

cartoonOur blog post included the following headline:

headline

Later in the day we learned that The Economist had removed the cartoon from the online edition of the article, and issued the following addendum:

Today, we noticed that they revised their editor’s note and addressed the specific question posed by this blog and several other commentators:

update econ

While it’s unclear what Peter Schrank believes about the criticism directed towards his cartoon, we’re of course glad that editors at The Economist distanced themselves from such racist (and increasingly prevalent) beliefs about the ‘corrupting influence’ of Jewish power.

h/t Gidon 

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The UK media again show their obsession with the ‘Israel lobby’

Just yesterday, we posted about a cartoon published at the Economist on Jan. 18 (which they later retracted) with imagery suggesting that pro-Israeli (or Jewish) interests control US Congress.  We noted that such narratives, on the injurious influence of organized Jewry (and their money), have become something akin to an enforced orthodoxy within many circles, especially among the “enlightened” British opinion elite.

Additionally, Donald Macintyre (Jerusalem correspondent for the Independent) published a report on Jan 21 titled ‘William Hague swims around the fishy issue of Iran‘, which began thus:

To contrast the attitudes of the US Congress and the British Parliament, start with Iran. Today, the palpable welcome by MPs for Tehran’s suspension of high-level  uranium enrichment was matched only by anxiety about the UN excluding Iran from the Syria talks that start today in Switzerland.

The unease emanated not only in Labour but on the government benches. John Baron, who pressed William Hague for early “normalisation” of UK-Iran diplomatic relations after an “encouraging start” to nuclear negotiations, is his own man. But he was backed by fellow Tory Phillip Lee who deplored the “overnight debacle” of the cancelled invitation and wanted “a Gorbachev-like” approach to “reform-minded Iranian politicians”.

Many MPs, in other words, want to go further, faster in rapprochement, with Iran. Contrast that with Congress, where many members have been pressing for sanctions to be tightened. All of this makes it hard not to conclude that one difference is the much greater power wielded by the Israel lobby in the US legislature than in its British counterpart.

First, the Indy journalist conflates two separate issues: talks taking place in Switzerland today aimed at resolving the Syrian Civil War (known as Geneva II) on one hand, and an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers (the P5+1) on the other.  While the role played by the ‘Israel lobby’ in influencing Congressional support for increased US sanctions against Iran is itself far less than clear, there is no evidence of any such lobbying on either side of the Atlantic to scuttle Iran’s participation in Geneva II.

More importantly, it’s quite remarkable that Macintyre – a journalist known for his exclusive investigations - failed to provide even a hint of evidence to back up his claim that only the contrasting strengths of the US and British ‘Israel lobbies’ could explain the differing government approaches to issues related to Iran. It’s as if, for Macintyre and those similarly subscribing to “the party of Mearsheimer and the clique of Walt“, no other explanation is even conceivable.  

A more astute observer of the American political scene, however, would of course recognize that the “power” of the lobby is primarily merely a reflection of the organic popularity of the issues they’re campaigning for. In fact, polls of American public opinion consistently demonstrate that Israel is extremely popular among all groups, while Iran is consistently disliked.  The following poll of Americans conducted by Gallup in 2013 reveals that Iran is in fact the least popular foreign country, while Israel is the sixth most popular foreign country.

gallup

Such data indicating that Iran is extremely unpopular would of course help contextualize more recent polls indicating that a plurality of Americans disapprove of the agreement between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program due, it seems, to their skepticism that Tehran would actually abide by the terms of any such deal.  Gallup reported that “62% of those polled believe that Iranian leaders are not serious about addressing international concerns about their country’s nuclear enrichment program compared with just 29% who think they are serious.”

It should be clear to the Indy journalist that Congressional support for Iran sanctions accurately reflects American public opinion on the issue, and, more broadly, that the conventional wisdom about supposed ‘root causes’ of US policy – which risibly often passes as ‘progressive’ political thought – is facile, often tinged with bigotry and empirically inaccurate. 

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AIPAC root cause theory: ‘CiF’ again blames Israel lobby for…stuff they don’t like

Anyone who follows this blog would surely know that blaming the Israel lobby for the decisions of US political leaders is a frequent theme at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’.  So, it was not at all surprising when ‘Comment is Free’ contributor  published a commentary on Jan. 13 titledInvading Iraq was dumb enough. Now Congress wants to derail the Iran deal‘, which included the following:

This week’s accord with Iran, which was signed by five other powers in addition to the US [P5+1], is the first step in what could become a process that will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and allow it to work with the west in confronting serious security threats. Beyond that, it lays the basis for a process that could turn Iran into a normal country that respects basic human rights at home and exports stability instead of instability. There is no chance that America’s longstanding Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, could evolve that way. Yet this deal has evoked passionate opposition in Washington. Why?

It is a safe bet that many of members of Congress, including more than a few of the 59 senators now trying to kill the US-Iran peace process, would struggle to identify Iran on a map. Many, however, cling to the belief that the only true test of any American foreign policy is whether Israeli leaders support it. The Israel lobby in Washington has turned the Iran deal into a life-or-death struggle.  It is no accident that leaders of the war party, like Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, have received huge amounts of campaign money from that lobby.

First, in addition to the fact that Kinzer grossly mischaracterizes the intent of the bill (which ties sanctions relief to Iranian compliance with their nuclear deal with the P5+1) he’s just plain wrong on the role of the “Israel lobby”.  As Elder of Ziyon noted in a recent post about another false characterization of the pro-Israel lobby’s influence, AIPAC evidently hasn’t put any pressure on lawmakers over the

Politico reports:

Despite growing support in the Senate for Iran sanctions legislation, Democratic leaders have yet to feel insurmountable pressure to bring the measure to the floor.

One major reason: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is mostly keeping quiet.

The powerful pro-Israel lobby has not engaged in a shoe-leather lobbying campaign to woo wayward senators and push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote on the bill, according to several key senators and aides. While the group supports the bill — authored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) — it is not yet putting its political muscle behind a push for an immediate vote.

“I don’t know where AIPAC is. I haven’t talked to anybody,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who opposes any vote for additional sanctions at this time.

As of now, the Menendez-Kirk bill has 59 public supporters, including 43 of 45 Senate Republicans. But dozens of Democrats remain publicly undecided on the bill and seem unlikely to cross the Obama administration and openly back the legislation at this time. And AIPAC isn’t yet twisting Democratic arms.

A number of senators on both sides of the sanctions debate said they’d heard little from AIPAC on the issue, suggesting that wavering lawmakers are feeling little pressure from the group. With its clout on Capitol Hill and ties to deep-pocketed Jewish donors, the group’s muscle could be enough to change the political calculation over how to proceed on the contentious issue.

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading defense hawk and strong supporter of getting a vote on the bill.

…California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Jewish Democrat, said she’s met with AIPAC “many times” on the issue of Iran. But asked if the group had been pressing her to support the Iran sanctions measure, she replied “not at all.”

“They respect my position, which is that sanctions are totally appropriate if this fails,” she said, referring to the diplomatic talks.

But other senators have not yet heard from the group and indicated they were entirely unaware of AIPAC’s activities on the Hill.

“I really have not talked to AIPAC about it,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, a Jewish liberal and one of the few Senate Democrats publicly backing the Kirk-Menendez legislation.

Further, as a Washington Post foreign policy analyst recently argued in the context of dismissing AIPAC root cause theories:

it [is]  likely that senators are supporting Iran sanctions because doing so is squarely in their political self-interest. Iran is very unpopular in the United States. Republicans are already signaling that they may use the Obama administration’s Iran outreach as a weapon in coming elections. Any lawmaker who votes against new sanctions, even if it is for very sound foreign policy reasons, is taking a big political risk. That’s doubly true if the Iran deal fails. And if the Iran deal succeeds, all the credit will go to the Obama administration, so there’s little political incentive for individual members of Congress to support diplomacy.

Indeed, if Kinzer would see past his characteristic Israel lobby obsession, he’d note recent polling data which shows that “lopsided majorities of Americans from both political parties” are distrustful of Iran’s intentions during the nuclear talks, and “overwhelmingly favor deepening sanctions against the Iranian government, regardless of current negotiations.” That is, the support in Congress for the proposed sanctions bill is thoroughly consistent with US public opinion on the issue.

But, of course, who needs empirical research and critical thinking when you can fall back on lazy, disproven arguments which assign blame to the usual suspects.

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Glenn Greenwald and Israel’s booming anti-Zionism tourism trade

Glenn Greenwald’s ‘Comment is Free’ post on April 13 concerns a bill circulating through the US Congress which would allow Israel into America’s “visa waiver program”, permitting Israel to join with 37 other countries whose citizens are permitted to travel to the US without a visa.  The bill evidently includes a clause which would allow Israel’s entrance into the visa waiver program with the stipulation that Israel won’t have to allow in US citizens who may “jeopardize the security of the State of Israel”, while otherwise ensuring that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all.

Greenwald’s antagonists in the tale are AIPAC and the bill’s supporters in Congress, who he accuses of prioritizing the interests of Israel over those of US citizens. His protagonists, opposing the bill, include Mike Coogan of the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, and Mitchell Plitnick, former Director of the US Office of B’Tselem, 

Greenwald characterizes the bill as “pro-discrimination”, and quotes Ron Kampeas claiming that the clause will allow Israel to continue the ‘practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country’.  However, other than one anecdotal example of a Palestinian-American evidently being denied entrance into Israel, neither Greenwald nor Kampeas cite statistics to demonstrate a pattern of such discrimination, nor explore the question of how many were denied entry for legitimate security reasons.  

Instead, Greenwald cites this passage from a US travel advisory:

Some US citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank.

Not content with the advisory’s carefully worded message regarding the “difficulties” which “some” US citizens have evidently faced “in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank”, Greenwald further claims that “Israel also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights“.

Greenwald provides exactly two examples, in the links embedded in the text, to back up his definitive statement that “Israel bars” critics of Israel – a 2008 case involving Norman Finkelstein (which was related to his contact with Hezbollah) and a 2010 case involving Noam Chomsky.

Note that Greenwald didn’t merely claim that “Israel has barred some who are critical of Israeli actions”, or similarly restrained language, but rather suggested a pattern of barring critics of Israel – a claim which is contradicted by, among other factors, the fact Israel is saturated with pro-Palestinian activists (and critical journalists) from other countries.   

“Progressive” tours for foreigners wishing to see Israel through a pro-Palestinian perspective include the following:

  • Alternative Tours: “Operating out of the Jerusalem Hotel (near Damascus Gate), Alternative Tours offers trips in and around Jerusalem as well as to various West Bank cities, including Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, Nablus and Qalqiliya. The tours include stops at religious and historical sites and visits with local institutions and people”.

Here’s the image on their home page to get a sense of their priorities:

firstpage3

  • Alternative Tourism Group (ATG): “ATG is a Palestinian NGO that specializes in touring that critically examines the history and politics of The Holy Land.  ATG is founded on the tenets of justice tourism, which are based on the goals of economic benefit for the local population, environmental protection, productive exchanges between host and guest through one-on-one interactions, and political/historical education.  Tours visit Palestinian and Israeli cities and villages, settlements, refugee camps, and/or Bedouin camps, and can include conversations with leading activists and educators, as well as interfaith encounters”.

ATG also explains on their website that foreign tourists will see Israeli ‘Apartheid’ and ‘Colonialism’ first hand.

On ATG’s page with ‘Practical Info‘ for foreign participants, there’s no warning for travellers on restrictions imposed on their entry by Israeli authorities, and the following photo appears on their site, showing a group of ATG participants in a Palestinian village planting olive trees:

DSC_8315-copia

  • Breaking the Silence: BtS, active in promoting “war crimes” charges against Israel after the Gaza war in 2009, is “comprised of veteran Israeli soldiers, and leads tours to Hebron as well as to South Hebron Hills”.

Here’s the image on the website of BtS (an Israeli NGO generously funded by the European Union) advertising their Passover tour of Israel.

passover

  • Holy Land Trust: HLT “offers study tours of the West Bank and Israeli cities, including: Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Beer Sheva, Nazareth, Israeli settlements, and Palestinian refugee camps.  You will have the opportunity to meeting with community leaders, politicians, and activists on both sides of the conflict”.

Registration is now open for Holy Land Trust’s 2013 Summer ‘Palestine Encounter’.  

Evidently, these 2012 participants of the summer ‘encounter’ had no difficulty entering the country:

western_wall

  • Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD): ICAHD, an NGO which uses rhetoric including accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid” against Israel, “offers tours that trace the separation barrier and the roads and tunnels separating the settlements from Palestinian cities and villages, and visit the sites of demolished homes in East Jerusalem”.  Twice a year, “ICAHD offers an intensive ten-day study trip in which participants have the opportunity to meet people from both sides of the divide and gain in-depth knowledge on the latest analysis of the conflict”. 
Jeff Halper leads an ICAHD Jerusalem Tour

ICAHD director Jeff Halper leads a tour

  • Palestinian Solidarity Project (PSP): “PSP offers “one-day trips focusing on settlement, land confiscation, nonviolent resistance, and prisoner issues in the Beit Ommar area.”

The page at PSP where the following photo of pro-Palestinian activists planting olive trees appears notes that “a group of 25 internationals accompanied by two farmers went to the farm land of Ali Ayad Awad, which lies beside the barrier fence on the north side of Karmie Tzur settlement.”

DSC_0195

  • Zochrot: Zochrot is an NGO which promotes the unlimited Palestinian ‘right of return’ and,through tours of destroyed Palestinian villages in Israel (from 1948), aims to introduce the Palestinian Nakba into the collective consciousness.  Tours are led by Palestinian refugees and their families in conjunction with Zochrot staff.”
zochrot

Zochrot tour in the West Bank

ism

Here are two ISM activists who got past Israeli border control and arrived ‘safely’ at their destination (posing with Palestinian terrorists):

book3

While it’s impossible to know how many of the record 3.5 millions tourists who visited Israel in 2012 (who brought $4.6 billion into the Israeli economy) were anti-Zionist activists, it seems that, contrary to Greenwald’s claims, foreign travelers who are “critical of Israeli actions” or “supportive of Palestinian rights” don’t have too hard of a time gaining entry into the state.  

If there is a concerted effort by Israeli authorities to bar anti-Zionist activists from entering the country, they’re obviously doing a very poor job.

(This post was updated several hours after publication, and an incorrect statistic originally cited was removed. – A.L.)

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Is the Guardian awol at #AIPAC2013?

Last year, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal, their Washington correspondent (previously assigned to Jerusalem) who was singled out by the CST in their 2011 report on antisemitic discourse in the UK, covered the annual AIPAC conference, published several reports and tweeted his contempt for the ‘power’ of the pro-Israel lobby with abandon.

Here’s one of his tweets:

Here’s one of his retweets:

This year, however, there has been no sign of the Guardian’s journalistic/activist footprint at the 2013 AIPAC Conference in Washington.  (McGreal is still reporting on US politics, but now appears to be stationed in Portland, Oregon. However, a quick glimpse at his Tweets indicate he still has Israel on his mind.)

I’ve scoured the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ and couldn’t find a thing. I placed “AIPAC” in their search engine and came up with seven hits for January, but nothing since Jan. 20 – a piece by Harriet Sherwood.

One possibly complicating factor may be the fact that Glenn Greenwald, one of those who, even by Guardian standards, most acutely suffers from Israel-lobby-phobia, is on vacation.  Similarly, Harriet Sherwood appears to have been away from her desk, as she hasn’t published since Feb. 17.

The conference, which began on March 3, ends tomorrow so it’s possible there’s something in the works but, given the Guardian’s fixation on Jewish power, it’s surprising they’ve been silent until now.

If any of our fellow ‘hasbarafia’ friends see any sign of the Guardian at the ‘Zionist Lair’ in DC, in the social media (or anywhere in print or online), please let us know.

The power of the mythical ‘Israel lobby’ on Michael Cohen’s political imagination

‘Comment is Free’ analyst Michael Cohen seems to be cut out of the same ideological cloth as Glenn Greenwald, imputing enormous power to the ‘Israel lobby’ – an evidently quite dangerous network of Americans who are more concerned about the interests of a foreign country than those of the United States.

The lobby’s use of smears and intimidation to coerce the US Congress into towing the pro-Israel line explains, for Cohen and his fellow political travelers at the Guardian, the difficulties Chuck Hagel has experienced during confirmation hearings in the Senate over his nomination to be Defense Secretary. 

Cohen, who’s been contributing to CiF since December, 2012, has already penned two pieces at CiF on the Hagel nomination, and the alleged hold the pro-Israel lobby has exerted on the process.  And, in his most recent post, Chuck Hagel’s confirmation and the orthodoxy of US debate on Israel‘, Feb. 14, Cohen positively cites the sage analysis of Stephen Walt, who noted that the Hagel row proved ‘the lobby’s iron grip on Congress – an influence which grossly distorts the debate over important foreign policy debates.

Cohen writes the following:

“Part of what is going on here is obviously politics. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt has repeatedly argued, this is demonstrative of the extraordinary power that the Israel lobby holds over Congress and official Washington.”

Walt, in the Feb. 1 post linked to by Cohen, crows that the Hagel debate proves the wisdom of what he wrote – in a book on the ‘Israel Lobby’ –  when he warned “that AIPAC…has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress“.

So, is it true that Hagel’s troubles during the confirmation hearings prove AIPAC’s suffocating control over congress?

Interestingly, Cohen, in the very next line of his CiF essay, does a 180.

“But in the case of Hagel, the strongest pro-Israel lobby, Aipac, has been silent on the nomination.”

So, Cohen, over the course of two consecutive sentences in the same passage, approvingly cites Walt’s argument on AIPAC’s power over the Hagel process, and then makes an admission which completely contradicts Walt’s thesis.

How can an organization which has been “silent on the [Hagel] nomination” concurrently be exercising an “unchallenged hold” on the process?

Since it is uncertain, based on the passage, whether Cohen thoroughly read the short blog post which he cited, my guess is that he’s likely also unaware that Walt has defended John Mearsheimer, the co-author of his book on the Israel lobby, from charges of endorsing antisemitism.

Of course, the “smears” against Mearsheimer are based largely on his endorsement of a quite well-known Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier:

atzmon

Perhaps critics of the ‘Israel lobby’ would cause pro-Israel Jews a bit less “anguish” if they would not impute such a farcical degree of power to Americans who support the Jewish state and, at the very least, studiously avoid associating with those so clearly compromised by such deep-seated Judeophobic antipathies.  

CiF contributor suggests Obama administration’s sanctions against Iran are result of Israel lobby

Jasmin Ramsey’s profile at the Guardian

The contemporary manifestation of classic antisemitic narratives regarding the injurious effects of Jewish power often include the suggestion that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Such commentary also typically imputes enormous power to Jews who typically represent a tiny fraction of the overall population.

Such a synthesis of disloyalty on one hand and exaggerated power on the other allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community (or those lobbying on behalf of Jewish interests) of working to undermine their nation.

You don’t have to believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to see the hand of Jewry behind undesirable political developments, such as the suggestion (popular several years ago) that Jews working in various positions for former President Bush were responsible for his administration’s decision to invade Iraq.

As Lee Smith observed:

“According to this theory, administration principals like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and the president—policymakers with actual decision-making power—were merely instruments in the control of vast Zionist networks.”

In many European countries the percentage of citizens who believe Europe’s Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country, and/or have too much power, often exceeds 50%.

The following (Washington’s war of words against Iran, May 8) by CiF contributor Jasmin Ramsey, is a textbook example of the increasing tendency of the Guardian style left to blame organized pro-Israel Jewry for any political phenomena they find displeasing in the United States.

Ramsey, it should be noted, blogs at LobeLog.com the site of Jim Lobe.  Lobe writes about a number of topics but “exposing” the Israel lobby is a special focus of his, as can be seen by his posts at sites such as Electronic Intifada.  Ramsey herself has posted at Mondoweiss and routinely opines on the threat posed by the Israel lobby at publications such as Al Jazeera.

Ramsey suggests, in her CiF essay, that the President of the United States is not responsible for his own policy regarding Iran, assigning blame instead to a more desirable target.

Her essay, which argues against both economic sanctions and military intervention, includes these passages:

“No single influential figure has made [a U.S.] war with Iran seem like a prospect more than Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu… who inspired more standing ovations during a May 2011 hardline speech to Congress (29 in total) than Obama did during his state of union address in January of that year, and it has been Congress that has been pushing forward the harshest measures against Iran.”

“…discussions of sanctions by the administration remain heavily focused on the punitive element – in response to ongoing pressure from Israel and a seemingly pro-Netanyahu Congress.”

...In the face of intense pressure from Israel and Congress during the influential Aipac conference in March, Obama bragged about imposing “unprecedented, crippling sanctions” on Iran which he said is now “feeling the bite”. [emphasis added]

Ramsey’s argument: Obama’s punitive measures against Iran were enacted not as the result of a rational policy debate within his administration regarding what’s in the best interest of the U.S. but, rather, in response to pressure from the Jewish state and its pro-Netanyahu supporters in Congress.

The commander-in-chief of the strongest nation on earth is putty in the hands of the Jewish state and it’s American “amen corner“.

Ramsey continues with her case that neocons and/or the Israel lobby exercises a dangerous degree of influence over U.S. foreign policy:

“Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative-dominated thinktank composed of well-known hawks, has been analogizing sanctions as “silver shrapnel” that that can “injure” Iran for years. Frequently quoted in the media, Dubowitz recently boasted to a Canadian newspaper that the FDD has shared six reports exclusively with the Obama administration and congressional committees advocating harsher sanctions on Iran.”

“[Grecht was] Formerly a director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which is best-known for its influence over the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.” [emphasis added]

Conspiracy theories, whether antisemitic or not, are often motivated by intellectual laziness and the need to find a common thread (or root cause) that explains complicated (often unrelated) political problems.

Just as critics of the Israel lobby fail to note that support for Israel among the American electorate is overwhelming (demonstrating that support for the Jewish state in congress merely reflects mainstream public opinion on the issue), those who see the lobby’s influence in Obama’s tough sanctions against Iran similarly don’t consider that such policies reflect the views of most Americans. 

Ramsey’s logic, so typical of those who advance such calumnies, can be boiled down to this:

A) A Non Jewish political leader in the U.S. or Europe supports a foreign policy position.

B) Jews, Zionists and/or the Israeli government previously advocated or lobbied for that same position.

Therefore, (A) must be the result of (B).

However, as the Guardian is continually demonstrating, the absence of facts, evidence or even a coherent argument has never been an obstacle for those committed to the pseudo science of Judeophobic logic.

Scott Wilson, The Washington Post’s anti-Israel attack dog: Slouching towards Harriet Sherwood?

A guest post by AKUS

I first noticed Scott Wilson specifically when he managed to have a three page article published in the Washington Post about the role of drones used by Israel over Gaza: The Washington Post’s coverage of Israel: Slouching towards the Guardian?

The theme of the story was one of poor innocent Gazans fearing assassination by Israel when spotted going about their daily business by Israeli drones. Strangely enough, this article was followed by numerous articles in the WP that covered America’s use of drones in various countries, but never mentioning the effect, if any, they have on civilians.

Wilson’s specialty in his articles is slipping in nuanced misrepresentations about Israel that are probably overlooked by the majority of Washington Post readers. They help to paint a subtly inaccurate picture of Israel. For example, drones are not used to detect and deter terrorists – they are there to terrorize the innocent Gazans.

CAMERA  caught Wilson out in an attempt to avoid naming Israel’s capital as Jerusalem when he wrote in an article headed Obama to Iranian people in holiday message: ‘Americans seek a dialogue:

Obama’s more aggressive message this year reflects the increasing concern in Washington, Tel Aviv and other capitals about Iran’s enrichment program, which Israel believes will be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

The Washington Post amended the article with a rather lame and excessively detailed apology:

Correction:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel. Israel designated Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, although many countries maintain embassies and other diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv because of the Palestinians’ competing claim on Jerusalem as their capital. This version has been corrected.

They corrected the text of the article to:

Obama’s more aggressive message this year reflects the increasing concern in the United States, Israel and other countries about Iran’s enrichment program, which Israel believes will be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

Thus the editors avoided the heinous sin of actually acknowledging that Jerusalem is, in fact, Israel’s capital. (But perhaps their real purpose was that by removing the equally disputative term “Washington” they avoided a confrontation with the 500 survivors of the Patawomeck tribe that once lived in the area now occupied by 2.6 million “settlers” in the Northern Virginian suburbs alongside the Potomac River, and perhaps even the grounds on which their own office now stands in the District of Columbia).

Of course, Jerusalem-avoidance is a popular sport these days in Washington, at least when the subject is Israel (or Jews) and Jerusalem. This was demonstrated at the State Department press briefing on March 28, 2012 by Victoria Nuland when she refused to say that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital:

QUESTION: Does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

MS. NULAND: Jerusalem is a permanent status issue; it’s got to be resolved through negotiations.

QUESTION: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?

MS. NULAND: I have just spoken to this issue –

In any event, Mr. Wilson needs watching. Once I became interested, I found that although I had noticed in his drone article how closely the Post’s former Jerusalem correspondent hews to the line laid down in the Guardian and followed by the likes of Harriet Sherwood, his track record of Israel bashing is lengthy. It has not gone unnoticed, though never garners the notoriety that it deserves.

Here’s one example of Wilson’s bias. 

March 16, 2010: Scott Wilson, Washington Post: For Israeli leaders, snubbing the U.S. may not be a political win attacks AIPAC with the toxic narrative that AIPAC controls the political process in the U.S.:

the Obama administration shows no sign of cooling off, despite the sense that only masochistic U.S. politicians pick fights with Israel because the powerful Jewish lobby punishes anyone who does so at the polls.

Here are two exposes by Leo Rennert, who has also noticed Wilson’s bias:

November 10, 2010 – Leo Rennert: A WaPo reporter’s anti-Israeli bias stretches from Sderot to Jakarta

When Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson did a stint as the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, he earned a well-deserved and well-documented reputation for anti-Israel bias, shading and spinning his copy to portray Israel in the darkest of hues while swallowing Palestinian narratives hook, line and sinker.  Wilson spared no effort in writing lengthy up-close and personal features about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, but studiously avoided chronicling the plight of Israeli residents of Sderot when they were prime targets of thousands of missiles launched from Gaza.

 March 4, 2012: Leo Rennert: On Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, And How Israel Is (Mis)Represented To Readers

Obama said he’s confident that Israel takes him at his word.  “The Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” he remarked.  “Both the Iranian and the Israeli government recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapons, we mean what we say.”

Yet, in its March 3 … main front-page article  [“Obama to urge Israel’s patience – A Caution Against Strike On Iran – Plans to ask Netanyahu to let sanctions work” by Scott Wilson] , the Post cast the summit not as a meeting of two allies about how to confront the Iranian threat, but instead about Obama grappling with a possibly premature Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.  Reading the Post, you’d think the main danger comes from Israel, not from the mullahs in Tehran.

And in a revealing peek into Wilson’s animus against Israel, there is his description [in the March 3 article] of  AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, not as a U.S. group, which it is, but as an Israeli one, which it isn’t – in his words, “the Jewish state’s most conservative and politically influential U.S.-based advocacy group.”

Thus, when Obama addresses AIPAC this weekend, according to Wilson, he will be the guest of an influential subsidiary of the state of Israel.  In one swoop, Wilson strips AIPAC of its U.S. identity.

For media monitors who followed Wilson’s stint as a Mideast correspondent, the bias is all too familiar.

Unfortunately the Washington Post, which still has relatively frequent articles from columnists like Jackson Diehl and blog extracts from right-wing bloggers like Jennifer Rubin and even occasional editorials that fairly represent Israel, seems to be unaware of Wilson’s tilt towards a Guardian-like view of Israel and the Palestinians.

We should keep an eye open for more of his nuanced prejudices surfacing in that paper, and call him out when needed.

Guardian “reporter” Chris McGreal & the socially acceptable antisemitism of the Left

Guardian “reporter” Chris McGreal has finally answered the question I posed after his Tweet while covering the AIPAC convention.

My question:

My Tweet to McGreal was just one in a long exchange with him, in response to a series of Tweets by the paper’s Washington correspondent simply dripping with contempt for Israel, and the Israel lobby – whose convention he was “objectively” covering as a “journalist” for the Guardian.

Among his opinions, suggested by his Tweets, are that Israel is “psychotic”, and the charge that Israel’s supporters at the AIPAC convention are adolescent, “testosterone-soaked”, dim-witted teenage boys.

Well, on March 9, McGreal – whose characterization of the U.S. (in a Nov. piece) as “subservient” to Israel was even deemed antisemitic by the Guardian  (and later removed by editors) published, “Obama emerges from Israel talks with precious commodity“, which clarifies his view of the Israel lobby.

Regarding Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu, McGreal writes:

Obama…established a position his critics may find hard to assail. He forced those many members of Congress and beyond who have conflated America’s interests with Israel’s on to the back foot by saying that on Iran there are differences – and he will serve US interests first.

Graphic from Guardian partner blog, The Arabist

This is truly a remarkable passage. A Guardian Leftist like McGreal, an ideology which typically holds American nationalism in contempt, is accusing members of Congress of putting the interest of a foreign nation (the Jewish state) over that of the United States – implicitly questioning the patriotism and national loyalty of Congressional supporters of Israel.

McGreal also adds:

Netanyahu was confident. At his back was the US’s most influential pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), which had been instrumental in whipping up demands in Congress for stronger sanctions against Iran and resolutions that looked mighty close to authorisations for war.

Another graphic on site of Guardian partner blog, The Arabist

For McGreal, democratically elected U.S. Congress and Senate members are being manipulated to support policies by the unimaginable political and financial power of the Israel lobby.

Such conspiratorial narratives about the power of the Israel lobby to shape public policy – which fly in the face of polls demonstrating that Israel is wildly popular among the American public – have taken on an almost religious intensity within McGreal’s Guardian-Left style of politics.

Such commentators, a few years ago, were convinced that non-Jewish leaders (President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, etc.) of the most powerful nation on earth invaded Iraq due, not on what they believed to be the national interest, but in service of Israel – a policy dictated by the sinister dealings of Jewish (Israel-Firster) “neocon” under-secretaries like Richard Pearl and Paul Wolfowitz.

Such classically antisemitic arguments about Jewish power, and its injurious effects on the U.S. body politic, typically associated with the far right, and conspiratorial far left, at first took root on the extreme fringes of the American media.  But, eventually it became something approaching conventional wisdom, especially after publication of the best-selling book on “The Israel Lobby” by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer (which contends that Israel’s American supporters are powerful enough to subvert the U.S. national interest).  Such arguments can be found both below the line at ‘Comment is Free’, as well as above the line, often by veteran Guardian journalists.

Other mainstream “Left” proponents of this charge include MJ Rosenberg (of Media Matters), and bloggers associated with Center for American Progress. Mainstream liberal Journalist Seymor Hersch goes even further, contending that “Jewish money” is driving the war against Iran.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asserted that the standing ovation Israeli PM Netanyahu received from Congress in February was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby”. Time columnist Joe Klein weighed in against sending “American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.”

Writes Ben Cohen in his masterful diagnosis of the mainstreaming of the new antisemitism on the Left:

Bistro anti-Semitism [as opposed to a cruder, often fascist inspired Jew hatred] sits in a higher and outwardly more civilized realm, providing what left-wing activists would call a “safe space” to critically assess the global impact of Jewish cabals from Washington, D.C., to Jerusalem. Anyone who enters the bistro will encounter common themes. These include the depiction of Palestinians as the victims of a second Holocaust, the breaking of the silence supposedly imposed upon honest discussions of Jewish political and economic power, and the contention—offered by, among others, Mearsheimer’s co-author, Stephen Walt, of Harvard—that American Jewish government officials are more suspect than others because of a potential second loyalty to Israel.

The Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Chris McGreal, to be clear, has essentially argued that US policy towards Iran, including possible military action, is being driven in large measure by a Congress which is subservient to an all-powerful lobby – one which puts interests of Jews, and the Jewish state, ahead of the national interest.

A Left which can’t agree that McGreal’s conspiratorial assertions about the dangers of Jewish power represents antisemitism is a movement simply no longer worthy of its progressive, anti-racist mantle.

AKUS @ AIPAC Conf: Senate leader vows Congress will declare red lines for action on Iran

A guest post by AKUS

Just returning from my first AIPAC conference, one of 13,000 attendees, including 2,000 students from campuses across the nation, it appears that the press has largely overlooked the most important speech at the conference by focusing on the speeches by Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama reiterated that he wants to give sanctions time to work, especially after (if?) the Europeans make good on their promise to halt all oil purchases from Iran after July 2012. At the same time, he has repeated that his policy is not one of containing Iran, but of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. He believes that Iran is at least two years away from building its own nuclear weapons, but he made no reference to the possibility that it could acquire nuclear weapons from another state, such as North Korea or Pakistan. It is not clear if that possibility has entered his, or the USA’s, strategic calculus.

The Guardian has tried to make much of Obama’s statement that too much loose talk only helps Iran by driving up the price of oil, as if it was directed only at Israel. Obama, I suspect, regrets the statement since it was so open to misinterpretation. He was clearly referring to the endless discussions in the MSM and elsewhere, by everyone, not just Israel and Israelis.

A clearly downcast Netanyahu made a largely platitudinous speech at the conference, reiterating his responsibility to keep the safety of Israel uppermost.

He made much of Israel’s ability to strike at its enemies without needing assistance or approval, unlike 1944, pointing to a copy of a letter he has from the time when Jewish organizations begged the Allies to bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz only to be told the resources to do so would be more effectively deployed elsewhere. He was clearly drawing a parallel with existential threat posed by Iran and the Holocaust, and demonstrating his skepticism that sanctions will be effective against Iran. He stated that Israel would take steps to defend its people, unlike the situation that prevailed in 1944, before the State of Israel was founded. I for one do not believe Israel can go it alone in Iran, at least with any effect – time will tell.

But the most striking and potentially important speech was delivered by Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority leader in the Senate. He made it absolutely clear that not only is “overwhelming force”, as he repeatedly called it, an option, but that it is THE option that will be used against Iran if sanctions do not work – and he appeared to say quite clearly that he believes that sanctions have been applied too late to stop Iran now.

McConnell called for a “clear declaratory statement” from the Administration that if Iran enriches uranium to the level that it can be used in nuclear weapons, or if it acquires a nuclear weapon (presumably from a third-party), the USA will respond with overwhelming military force. Since he feels Obama is not willing to make such a statement, he intends to use the Republican majority in the House to put through such a resolution, and he believes that there is a majority in the Senate that would support the same proposal.

If this happens, it is a major new element in what has till now been largely a war of words against Iran finally accompanied with sanctions that are clearly hurting.

Perhaps McConnell, unlike others, has a clearer understanding that a government like Iran, not as strongly beholden to an electorate as fully democratic states, can allow continuing sanctions to be enforced, as such economic pressure – they believe – may only serve to inflame their population against the outside world rather than causing a change in the regime’s behavior, or a change of the regime itself.

A few quick notes about the conference:

The conference was attended by a massive 13,000 delegates, including many African-Americans, Christians, and, notably, 200 members of Congress supportive of Israel. Another notable guest speaker was supermodel Kathy Ireland. The entire cavernous Washington Convention Center was filled to capacity.

Much is made in MSM like the Guardian of the financial clout of AIPAC. The presence of the Congress-men and –women belies that. They were there, and constantly appear at the conference year after year, because of a genuine feeling that the U.S. and Israel share the same values and the same threats and concerns. Yes, AIPAC is exceptionally well-organized to lobby Congress, but those who think it can buy off hundreds of Congressmen with money simply do not understand how close and deep the ties are between the two countries. AIPAC lobbies on values and security issues shared by both countries.

The conference also showcased Israel advances in electric cars and water purification, and military coordination with the USA. Especially interesting was an enormous Humvee that has been equipped with Israeli anti-IED technology and which is used by American forces in Afghanistan, and, formerly, Iraq. The (non-Jewish) mother of a returned US veteran who used such vehicles spoke movingly about her visit to the factory in Israel where the special armor is made and how she values the assistance Israel has given to making US soldiers’ lives safer.

Finally –one of the highlights for me was an address by Yehuda Avner, former speech writer to Israeli Prime Ministers Ben Gurion, Eshkol, Meir, Rabin and Begin, promoting his book “The Prime Ministers”, which comprises memoirs of those leaders and their interactions with other national leaders. By now well into his eighties, I would think, he spoke engagingly and often hilariously of events from 1947 onwards and the words and actions of the leaders involved. I recommend the 700+ page book to all – you can download an electronic copy to your Kindle, iPad or NOOK.

Guardian readers and their inalienable right to make Israel-Nazi analogies

H/T Margie

According to his ‘Comment is Free’ profile, Ray Allott is a 66-year-old man who has commented at CiF on essays relating to such socially progressive topics as Energy, Pollution and Renewable energy. 

In his spare time, Ray enjoys cycling and motor caravanning in France.

Now for his closeup.

Ray Allott

Seems like a nice enough fellow.

However, we learned today that when he’s not cycling, enjoying the winding roads of France’s beautiful countryside, and opining on the the importance of Eco-Friendly polices, he finds time to elucidate on an all together different kind of pollutant – of the Zionist variety.   

Commenting under the Guardian’s blog on the AIPAC conference”Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu talks – as it happens, March 6, Ray wrote the following:

Ray’s comment was deleted by CiF moderators.

But, it gets better.

It seems that Ray has a Facebook profile which allows Zionist trolls like myself to see his friends, interests, photos, and status updates.  Well, evidently, Ray was none too pleased with having his inalienable right to compare Jews to Nazis curtailed, and posted this

 

Ray Allott: Yet another tragic victim of the Zionist Guardian.