Top 10 warning signs you may be a ‘Guardian Left’ anti-Semite

H/T Seumas

The Guardian’s associate editor Seumas Milne – who, in case it needs reminding, worked for the pro-Stalinist communist publication ‘Straight Left’ earlier in his career – was kind enough to Tweet a link to a piece in Foreign Policy Magazine by Stephen Walt.

The piece is titled ‘Top 10 warning signs you are a liberal imperialist‘.

The essay itself, written by the co-author of a book widely condemned for its shoddy scholarship and for arguing that Jews wield too much power in Washington, D.C., is unintentionally quite comical – a kind of ‘Western Guilt-Driven Guide to the Universe for Dummies’ – and includes, as #1, the following:

You frequently find yourself advocating that the United States send troops, drones, weapons, Special Forces, or combat air patrols to some country that you have never visited, whose language(s) you don’t speak, and that you never paid much attention to until bad things started happening there.

Whilst I don’t speak fluent academic-ese like the esteemed Harvard professor, I have become adept at deciphering an even more obscure dialect – the language of the Guardian Left.

So, in the spirit of Walt’s mockery of those who ‘unknowingly’ are compromised by a deep-seeded imperialism lurking in their subconscious, here is CiF Watch’s own ‘Top 10 warning signs you may be a Guardian Left anti-Semite – a list, per the links below, inspired by real life Guardianistas!)

1. You claim the mantle of human rights yet find yourself running interference for anti-Semitic world leaders and helping to spread the propaganda of Islamist extremists - and even terrorist leaders who openly call for the murder of Jews.

2.  You claim to condemn racism at every opportunity yet are strangely silent or seriously downplay even the most egregious examples of antisemitic violence.

3. You claim to be a champion of progressive politics yet often use terms and advance tropes indistinguishable from classic right wing Judeophobia - such as the argument that Jews are too powerful, use their money to control politics, and are not loyal citizens.

4. You support nationalism, and don’t have a problem with the existence of more than 50 Muslim states, yet you oppose the existence of the only Jewish state in the world.

5. Even when putatively condemning antisemitism you can’t help but blame the Jews for causing antisemitism.

6. You condemn the Holocaust yet also obsessively condemn living Jews for their alleged ‘inhumanity’ and even argue that Jews haven’t learned the proper lessons from the attempt to annihilate their co-religionists from the planet.

7. You not only support Palestinian rights, but support their “right” to launch deadly terrorist attacks on Israeli Jews, under the mantle of anti-imperialist “resistance”.

8. You characterize extremist reactionary Islamist movements as “progressive“.

9. You accuse Jews of cynically misusing the charge of antisemitism to “stifledebate about the Jewish state.

10. You champion diversity and multiculturalism of all kinds, yet suggest that Jewish particularism represents an inherently tribal, ethnocentric and racist identity.

I’m sure there are more than ten – so please feel free to add to our list in the comment section below.

(This post was revised at 15:15 EST to correct a mistake concerning Seumas Milne’s work at Straight Left.)

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.  

Glenn Greenwald admits that “anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel”.

Glenn Greenwald

There are two things Glenn Greenwald and I have in common – which is two more than I realized only an hour ago.

He has the flu, according to his latest ‘Comment is Free’ post, and I have flu-like symptoms due to a recent ill-advised flu shot.

The other more substantive commonality pertains to one acknowledgement in his post – one of seven miscellaneous observations by the Guardian’s new U.S. blogger.

In the context of complaining about the alleged recent smearing of Matt Stoller (former Democratic staffer and MSNBC producer) as a racist, Greenwald pivoted to make a broader point:

“There are few things more reckless and disgusting than publicly smearing someone as a racist – easily one of the worst things you can say about someone in America, for very good reason – purely for partisan gain. That’s especially true when you are well aware that you have no basis for the accusation.

For years, neocons did the same thing with “anti-Semitism” charges. They seized on a real and serious problem – anti-Semitism – and converted it into an exploitative, opportunistic weapon to punish those who deviated from their political views, particularly on Israel. The worst part of that behavior – aside from ruining people’s reputations by casting them as bigots without any cause – is that it dilutes the power of that term and makes it no longer effective to use when it actually appears.

That is precisely what spouting knowingly baseless accusations of racism achieves. Obviously, racism plays a substantial role in motivating some of the hostility toward the first African-American president, just as anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel. That’s precisely why it’s so vital to avoid casually exploiting those terms for gross partisan opportunism: because people will stop taking the terms seriously when they genuinely arise.

Few things are lowlier than tossing around those accusations purely to discredit someone for partisan gain. It happens often, but this case is particularly egregious given the accuser’s admissions in the comment section combined with the total lack of retraction or correction by that blog.

While I was shocked to read Greenwald acknowledge that “anti-Semitism plays a role in some hostility toward Israel”, I gather from his additional complaint about those who “exploit” the term “anti-Semitism” to “discredit” people that he may have been stung by criticism about his own record of advancing Judeophobic narratives concerning ‘dual loyalty’ and the danger of ‘Jewish power’.

I’ll leave you with a brief selection of quotes by Greenwald and you can judge for yourself if he has been unfairly smeared as a commentator who subscribes to anti-Semitic calumnies. (These quotes were documented in a report I wrote about antisemitism on progressive blogs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in 2010.)

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
  • “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
  • “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
  • “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
  • “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
  • “It is simply true that large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
  • “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
  • “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”

 Glenn, the floor is yours. 

The Guardian-approved American Judeophobic Paleo-Conservatism of Glenn Greenwald

Pat Buchanan's extreme right magazine, The American Conservative

In contextualizing the Guardian daily, among the most troubling dynamics we’re continually commenting on is not, per se, their explicitly antisemitic commentary.

Rather, their supreme hypocrisy, an egregious moral blind spot in the context of their claim to represent anti-racist values, is their licensing of commentators purportedly advancing a “liberal” agenda (consistent with their left-wing political brand) who possess an unambiguous antipathy towards Jews – those who advance tropes indistinguishable from what is normally associated with far-right Jew-hatred.

Examples of the Guardian’s tendency to issue a political stamp of approval to exceedingly illiberal figures abound.

Such commentators granted the media group’s progressive kashrut license are typically of the Islamist variety – those who fully endorse values which are inherently incompatible with even the broadest understanding of progressive values yet are given a pass by virtue of their cynical use of the language of human rights in the service of demonizing Israel.

What else could explain their editorial decision to grant members of terrorist groups, or their supporters, space at ‘Comment is Free‘? 

However, the Guardian-approved socially acceptable anti-Israel brand of reactionary politics isn’t limited to those of the Islamist persuasion.

Ben White, who penned an appalling apologia for antisemitism for the extremist publication CounterPunch, is routinely published at ‘Comment is Free’ –  given a platform to advance his malign obsession with the Jewish state. 

The Guardian even offered space, in their letters section to Alison Weir - accurately characterized as one of the few modern day promoters of the ancient antisemitic blood libel.

Gilad Atzmon, who has literally endorsed the conspiracies advanced in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, has been the subject of quite laudatory profiles at the Guardian – and also had a letter published.

I’m not going to fisk Glenn Greenwald’s recent essay at ‘Comment is Free’, Afghanistan and American Imperialism, March 19, but, rather, provide a glimpse into the American blogger’s politics.

Greenwald (who blogs at Salon.com) advances an anti-imperialism, much in the tradition of Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne, informed by a seemingly insatiable loathing of America, a nation he sees a dangerous force of evil in the world – a malice so intense he even once compared the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

But, more consistent with the mission of this blog, here’s a sample of his musings on the villainy of organized Jewry.

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the U.S. Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
  • “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
  • “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
  • “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
  • “[Eisenhower] told Israel that “we handle our affairs exactly as though we didn’t have a Jew in America” – and [this] was then likely an uncontroversial sentiment. Today, if an American politician said anything remotely like that – that American interests would take precedence over Israel’s…how many seconds would elapse before the full-scale and permanent destruction of their political career was complete?”
  • “If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.”
  • “Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
  • “Those [American Jews] who favor the attack on Gaza are certainly guilty…of such overwhelming emotional and cultural attachment to Israel and Israelis that they long ago ceased viewing this conflict with any remnant of objectivity.”
  • “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be President of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?”
  • “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”
  • “It is difficult to find someone with a more psychopathic indifference to the slaughter of innocent people in pursuit of shadowy, unstated political goals than Charles Krauthammer.” 

As you read these quotes tell me one thing. How is such reactionary rhetoric dissimilar from the paleoconservativism of Pat Buchanan?

In fact, Greenwald has been published at Buchanan’s magazine several times, once on the topic of undue Jewish influence on American politics.

Glenn Greenwald, whose blog was initially called “UNCLAIMED TERRITORY,” styles himself as a bold new thinker, and a brave dissident who is willing to explore “taboos” about the national loyalty of Jews and their corrosive effects on the American body politic that others dare not go.

His narrative, however, full of poisonous, old, lethal tropes about the dangers of collective Jewry to the body politic is as ancient as the Jewish diaspora itself.

Greenwald’s toxic, Judeophobic ideological territory, absurdly framed as liberalism by the Guardian, has been claimed before.

The Big Lie Returns

The following piece by Ben Cohen, published at Commentary Magazine, is one of the more thoughtful meditations on contemporary antisemitism I’ve read in a while, and strongly recommend following the link below to read the essay in full.

A blurb on a book jacket would seem an unlikely vehicle for the introduction of a new and sinister tactic in the promotion of an ancient prejudice.  But in September 2011, a word of appreciation on the cover of The Wandering Who launched a fresh chapter in the modern history of anti-Semitism. And when the dust had settled—what little dust there was—on the events surrounding the blurb, it had become horrifyingly clear that the role of defining the meaning of the term anti-Semitism did not belong to the Jews. It may, in fact, belong to anti-Semites.

The flattering quotation came from John Mearsheimer, the University of Chicago professor and co-author, with Harvard’s Stephen Walt, of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Mearsheimer’s 2007 bestseller, which contends that Israel’s American supporters are powerful enough to subvert the U.S. national interest, has been controversial for its adoption of anti-Semitic tropes—tropes Mearsheimer danced around cleverly. But in endorsing The Wandering Who and its Israeli-born author, Gilad Atzmon, Mearsheimer crossed the boundary.

The man whose book Mearsheimer called “fascinating and provocative,” a work that “should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike,” is an anti-Semite, pure and simple. A saxophone player by trade, Atzmon was born and raised in Israel but subsequently moved to London. He proclaims himself either an “ex-Jew” or a “proud self-hating Jew” and was quoted approvingly by Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Davos conference in 2009: Denouncing Israel in vociferous terms before a horrified Shimon Peres, Erdogan quoted Atzmon as saying, “Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty.”

Atzmon fixates upon the irredeemably tribal and racist identity he calls “Jewishness.” The anti-Gentile separatism that compels Jews to amass greater power and influence is manifested, he preaches, in any context where Jews come together as a group. The Wandering Who finds Atzmon on territory well-trodden by anti-Semites past and present: Holocaust revisionism (one chapter is entitled “Swindler’s List”), the rehabilitation of Hitler (he argues that Israel’s behavior makes all the more tempting the conclusion that the Führer was right about the Jews), the separation of Jesus from Judaism (Christ was the original proud, self-hating Jew, whose example Spinoza, Marx, and now, Atzmon himself, have followed).

One would think this was categorically indefensible stuff. Yet, when the blogger Adam Holland e-mailed Mearsheimer to ask whether he was aware of Atzmon’s flirtation with Holocaust denial, as well as his recital of telltale anti-Semitic provocations, Mearsheimer stood by his endorsement of the book. Holland duly published Mearsheimer’s response: “The blurb below is the one I wrote for The Wandering Who and I have no reason to amend it or embellish it, as it accurately reflects my view of the book.” A number of prominent commentators—among them Jeffrey Goldberg, Walter Russell Mead, and even Andrew Sullivan, up to that point a dependable supporter of Mearsheimer—rushed to confront and condemn the professor. But Mearsheimer maintained in various blog posts that Atzmon was no anti-Semite and those who said otherwise were guilty of vicious smear jobs. He wrote on the Foreign Policy magazine blog of his co-author, Stephen Walt: “[Jeffrey Goldberg’s] insinuation that I have any sympathy for Holocaust denial and am an anti-Semite . . . is just another attempt in his longstanding effort to smear Steve Walt and me.”

And that was that. No affaire Mearsheimer unfolded.

The fact that a controversy did not erupt, that the endorsement of a Holocaust revisionist by a prominent professor at a major university did not lead to calls for his dismissal or resignation or even a chin-pulling symposium in the pages of the New York Times’s “Sunday Review,” represents an important shift in the privileges that anti-Semites and their sympathizers enjoy. Now, it appears, anti-Semites are being given additional power to define anti-Semitism by stating that it is something other than what they themselves represent—before rising in moral outrage to denounce anyone who might say different. Their views are not offensive, not anti-Semitic; no, it is the opinions of those who object to their views that should be considered beyond the pale.

Read the rest of the essay here.

Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill sees Obama’s Israel support, in State of Union, reflecting need of Jews’ money

Ewen MacAskill is far from the first commentator to evoke the specter of the influence of Jewish money on American politics.

Unapologetically antisemitic sites often complain that Jewish money distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and warn of the broader danger posed by Jewish influence in politics – narratives which can be found on the extreme left, the Jewish far left, the extreme right and Islamic sites.  (And, the Arab world is simply saturated with such antisemitic displays.)

Such a narrative could reasonably be seen as having been popularized over the last several years by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book on the harmful influence of the Jewish lobby, and the manner in which, they claim, it “distorts” U.S. foreign policy.

Within the respectable far left of the American political spectrum, Glenn Greenwald trades in classic antisemitic stereotypes about the injurious effects of organized Jewry, and the associated charge that Jews aren’t sufficiently loyal, with abandon.  In a blog post in 2007, Greenwald wrote:

It is simply true that there are large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups which are agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests and they perceive it to be in Israel’s interests for the U.S. to militarily confront Iran

However, such memes have recently become so mainstream that, on Dec. 13, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in attacking Israel and its supporters, wrote: “The standing ovation (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) got in Congress this year was … bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

Here’s E in today’s Guardian, commenting on Obama’s State of the Union address: 

On foreign policy, a president who has been at loggerheads with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over a Middle East peace process promised unflinching support for the state. With an election looming and in need of votes and funds from American Jews, some of whom have been unhappy over his approach to Israel, Obama referred to “our iron-clad, and I mean iron-clad, commitment to Israel’s security”.

First, such tropes about of the centrality of Jewish votes (and money from the Jewish lobby) typically ignore the fact that Jews make up merely 2% of the American population, and that strong support for Israel among the non-Jewish electorate has been demonstrated in annual polls conducted by Gallup going back to 1967. 

The degree that Obama is sounding more pro-Israel merely reflects something of a pro-Israel consensus across the American political spectrum. 

Moreover, Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, and current polls show that Jewish support for the President is considerably higher than the national average.

More importantly, the notion that Jews manipulate the levers of power in Western societies, through their money, is probably the most enduring of all the West’s Jew-hating myths, and it seems that a genuinely liberal paper would strenuously avoid even the suggestion of such historically dangerous stereotypes.

But, it seems that MacAskill’s Judeo-centric analysis reflects a deeper issue at the Guardian: their failure to understand why others don’t share their institutional hostility towards Israel, reflecting, perhaps, the broader tendency among a percentage of the Western electorate to seek simple (and, at times conspiratorial) answers to complex problems, and any political phenomena they find disagreeable.

In searching for common denominators which explain the U.S. War in Iraq, or the threat of war with Iran (or even the 2008 American financial meltdown, in which nearly 1/3 of all Democrats polled blamed Jews for the crisis) citing the disproportionate political influence of U.S. Jews provides a convenient and increasingly acceptable explanation.

MacAskill’s passage is far from the most egregious example of such calumnies about excessive Jewish control, but the odious pedigree of such a charge demands that such rhetoric simply can not be taken lightly.  

The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman and the Guardian’s increasing notoriety

Isi Leibler recently commented on the increasingly shrill, arrogant and remarkably naive New York Times correspondent, Thomas Friedman.

[Friedman] accused Netanyahu of choosing to protect the Pharaoh rather than support Obama who aided the “democratization” of Egypt. He went so far as to say that Netanyahu was “on the way to becoming the Hosni Mubarak of the peace process“.

Last February, after being in Tahrir Square, Friedman exulted that the “people” had achieved “freedom” and were heading towards democracy. He dismissed concerns that the Moslem Brotherhood would become a dominant party.

In his latest column he wrote: “I sure hope that Israel’s Prime Minister understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That motivation was bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby”.

For a Jew, purporting to be a friend of Israel, to effectively endorse the distorted thesis relating to the Israeli lobby promoted by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer is unconscionable. Friedman is effectively parroting a hoary anti-Semitic libel asserting that Congress has been “bought” by American Jews who represent 2% of the population and that the vast majority of the American public supporting Israel and Congress are simply stooges, manipulated or bribed by the Israeli lobby.

It places him on a par with the anti-Semitic attitudes promoted by Pat Buchanan and one may rest assured that Israel’s enemies will fully exploit his remarks as a means of discrediting American support for the Jewish State.

Added Leibler:

[Freidman's commentary] highlights the [NYT's] increasing hostility against Israel. Today, it would not be an exaggeration to state that the editorial policy of the NYT towards the Jewish state is virtually indistinguishable from the blatant anti-Israel hostility promoted by the UK based Guardian or the BBC.

While I don’t necessarily think that the NYT’s bias is quite egregious enough to make such a comparison, it’s always refreshing when the Guardian is accepted as representing the nadir of bias and dishonest reporting about Israel. 

Is Stephen Walt Blind, a Complete Fool, or a Big Liar?

From the blog of Martin Peretz, writing for The New Republic:

I’ve been trying to add to my knowledge of the Arab countries now in the “massacring-their-people” stage. All of the big powers have both rewarded and connived with Colonel Qaddafi to keep him and his family in power for 42 years. Not, by the way, that he is a king or anything. Moreover, he is not the first of the military colonels in the Arab world to take control of the state and turn it into a “revolutionary socialist” regime, so-called. More formally: the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It’s been in power since 1969, which makes it the oldest continually ruling one-man regime in the world.

Anyway, in my search for new viewpoints on the Arab world, I came across an article by Stephen Walt, who is the Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard (his chair was donated to the Kennedy School by a good Zionist family; so much for the control bought by Jewish money) and co-author with John Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago, of The Israel Lobby,in which I play a supporting role. I’ve written about this book on The Spine and so have others in TNR like Jeffrey Goldberg.

Walt’s Libya article was published in Foreign Policy barely a year ago. So it has the reassuring quality of being up-to-date. In the few hours he had in Tripoli, the capital city, he had the opportunity to talk with various high officials and get a real feel for the country. Here’s part of what he had to say on January 18, 2010:

My own view (even before I visited) is that the improvement of U.S.-Libyan relations as one of the few (only?) success stories in recent U.S. Middle East diplomacy. Twenty-five years ago, Libya and the United States were bitter antagonists: U.S. and Libyan warplanes clashed on several occasions in the Gulf of Sidra, and Libyan agents bombed a discotheque in Germany that was frequented by U.S. soldiers. U.S. aircraft attacked Libya more than once, targeting Qaddafion at least one occasion (and killing his adopted daughter Hannah). Libya was also held responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 (though some recent accounts have questioned its culpability) and it had an active WMD development program and received substantial nuclear weapons technology from the illicit A. Q Khan network.

Yet a fortuitous combination of multilateral sanctions, patient diplomacy and Libyan re-thinking has produced a noticeable detente in recent years. In a rare display of policy continuity, the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations managed to simultaneously keep the pressure on and keep the door to reconciliation open. (Great Britain played a key role here too, and the effort may have succeeded precisely because Washington remained in the background). This effort paid off in when Libya agreed to dismantle all of its WMD programs in 2003 and to re-engage with the West. (A key part of that deal, by the way, was George W. Bush’s decision to explicitly renounce the goal of “regime change,” in sharp contrast to his approach to some other countries.)

Libya has also been a valuable ally in the “war on terror” (having had its own problems with Islamic radicals), and Ghaddafi’s son Saif reportedly played a key role in persuading a Libyan-based al Qaeda affiliate to renounce terrorism and to denounce Osama bin Laden last year. Overall, the remarkable improvement in U.S.-Libyan relations reminds us that deep political conflicts can sometimes be resolved without recourse to preventive war or “regime change.” One hopes that the United States and Libya continue to nurture and build a constructive relationship, and that economic and political reform continues there. (I wouldn’t mind seeing more dramatic political reform—of a different sort—here too). The United States could use a few more friends in that part of the world.

What an insightful man Walt is.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

On the Palestinians, Israel, and American moral clarity

I was tempted to simply post the following image created by Elder of Ziyon without comment.

However, upon reflecting on the significance of the message Elder was conveying, it seemed more fitting to provide a bit of context.

Much of the American hard-left intelligentsia always seem so baffled by the fact that the U.S. has historically been so steadfast in their support of Israel.  They simply can’t understand why, in poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel over the Palestinians.

Some, in an effort to “understand” this dynamic, resort to answers which call upon historic anti-Semitic tropes – such as the injurious “power” of organized Jewry (their control of Congress, the media, etc.)

However, for the overwhelming majority of Americans – who don’t read the Guardian, aren’t smitten with Walt and Mearhsheimer, and aren’t seduced by the vitriol of Glenn Greenwald – the answer is a simple one.

Though Israel, like every Western democracy, of course isn’t perfect, most average Americans instinctively know the difference between a democracy under siege and a reactionary movement whose values simply do not reflect their own.

Per Elder of Ziyon:

Americans are, far more than Europeans, a proudly and passionately patriotic lot, aren’t crippled by moral relativism and, most importantly, know the difference between a friend and a foe.

Yes, some things in life really are that simple.

CiF “Israel lobby controls U.S. foreign policy” comment of the day

Kieron Monk’s CiF post, “Let Palestinian Police control Area C“, elicited this comment:

As someone who’s a member of the “global team of internet hasbara writers”, and as someone who also is part of a lobby who undermines democracy in America, I have to say to John and Stephen (sorry, I mean, JRKidd), damn…you really saw through me.  Unlike the rest of the great unwashed, you didn’t fall prey to our malevolent designs.  No, you’re too sophisticated for that.  And, you’re brave, oh so brave, to confront such a large community (2/10 of 1% of the world’s population)  - one which exercises so much control over the world.  I gotta admit, you exposed us for who we really are.



CiF commenter anti-Semitic tropes of the day (Jewish power and dual loyalty)

Sometimes even a single comment by a CiF reader needs to be analyzed to better understand and contextualize the frequent manifestations of ant-Semitic tropes employed by the largely progressive readership who post on the CiF comment thread.

From Simon Tisdall’s Obama faces humiliation over Middle East Talks“, Oct. 4, there was this comment, which has not been deleted.

Translation: Obama is no match for the power of Jewish Americans to subvert efforts at bringing peace to the Middle East.

It is important to understand the history of this idea: that Jews (representing less than 2% of the American population) can single-handedly thwart the desires of the President of the strongest nation on earth; and, that such American Jews are in the pockets of Israel – meaning, more loyal to a foreign power than to the country where they are citizens.

Here are passages from my post at the blog, Z Word, on a similar subject – written about such dual loyalty charges by blogger, Glenn Greenwald.

Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside.  Its contemporary manifestation however almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty – a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities which 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 of working to undermine their nation – often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.

One of the earliest examples of this fusion of “Excessive” Jewish Power with Dual Loyalty was the suspicion in parts of medieval Christian Europe that Jews were in league with some Muslim powers.  The charge of dual loyalty could be seen in the Dreyfus Affair through the Nazi’s rise to power – and, indeed, this notion in large measure underlay the failure of European emancipation.  Closer to home, in the 1920s Henry Ford published The International JewThe World’s Problem where it was asserted, along with other calumnies, that Jews were pushing the United States towards war for financial reasons and to achieve world domination.

While, after WWII, manifestations of this charge often remained on the fringes of American society, Paul Findley, a former Republican U.S. Congressman whose 1985 They Dare to Speak Out, an attack on the “Israel lobby,” became a best-seller. In it, Findley maintained that many American Jews utilized “tactics which stifle dissent in their own communities and throughout America” to benefit Israel.

More recently, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, wrote of the “stranglehold” which the Israel “Lobby” exercises over Congress; of the “manipulation of the media”; and of a “Lobby” working hard to “squelch debate”.   They argued that the 2003 Iraq war wouldn’t have been possible without the influence of the Israel lobby.

While Paleoconservative commentators, not surprisingly, have championed this narrative – Pat Buchanan wrote in 2008 that “Israel and its Fifth Column in [Washington , DC] seek to stampede us into war with Iran” – some Liberal columnists have engaged in similar rhetoric.  For instance, Joe Klein assertedon Time Magazine’s ”Swampland” blog that Jewish neoconservatives “plumped” for the war in Iraq and is now doing the same for “an even more foolish assault on Iran” with the goal of making the world “safe for Israel.”  In the ensuing controversy, many progressive bloggers jumped to Klein’s defense.

The anti-Semitic nature of such charges have been codified by both the U.S. State Department and the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia - the former defining as anti-Semitic: “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

It is clear that such narratives are increasingly advanced by those who take cover behind a progressive veneer.”

People often ask where mere criticism of Israel ends and anti-Semitism begins.  I think this is a valid question in the context of CiF Watch’s ongoing efforts to expose anti-Semitism at the Guardian – one which this post, I hope, will help to clarify.

 

Cartoon by notorious anti-Israel activist, Carlos Latuff

 

You can read my whole essay, here.

The Arab Lobby

This was published by Ruth Wisse in Jewish Ideas Daily


The problem of the Arab-Israel conflict begins with the term itself, which misrepresents the unilateral Arab war against Israel as a bilateral dispute. Unilateral aggression is not unheard of—when did Poland ever aggress against Germany or Russia?—but nothing in United Nations history compares in intensity or fixity with Arab belligerence toward Israel, a UN member state.

The Arab war has less to do with the scant physical space occupied by the Jewish state than with the opportunity it offers Arab leaders to consolidate their power and prestige by organizing against an external target, especially one trailing so long and encrusted a history of religious and ethnic vilification. This same politics of blame has been no less useful to Westerners like, most recently, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in their 2006 indictment of America’s “Israel Lobby.” Had these two respected academics set out to study dispassionately the role of American special-interest groups in the making of Middle East policy, they might have unearthed a fascinating contrast in the disparate way that Arabs and Jews operate. Instead, by single-mindedly fingering the Jews, they neatly drew attention away from the larger story of Arab influence-peddlers.

Now at last comes the information missing from Walt and Mearsheimer’s screed. In Mitchell Bard’s The Arab Lobby, we see how, in contrast to the altogether transparent workings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobby supported by tens of thousands of American citizens across political lines, the Arab lobby truly does merit being called, in Bard’s subtitle, an “invisible alliance that undermines America’s interests in the Middle East.”

See the rest of the essay, here