Israel Moves to the Right — Will Have Fragile Government

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IsraelVote.jpgMy New America Foundation colleague Daniel Levy, who is in Tel Aviv and voted today, is quoted in the segment below and offers two take-aways from the results of Israel’s elections, the winner of which is still being sorted out and will be disputed no matter the outcome.
Levy suggests that whether Livni or Netanyahu leads the next government, either coalition will be more fragile than what we have had under Kadima-led coalition these last several years. Avigdor Lieberman’s party which wants to racially disaggregate Arabs and Jews is a considerable factor.
And that progress on Israel-Palestine talks can no longer rest with divided Israelis and divided Palestinians but depends on the heavy engagement of the U.S. and other key regional stakeholders.
From Jonathan Freedland’s coverage in The Guardian:

A clearer winner is surely Avigdor Lieberman, the ultra-nationalist who leads Israel’s third largest party. At a victory celebration he said he held “the key” to Israel’s next government. And he does. Last night both Netanyahu and Livni put in calls to Lieberman, confirming his status as the kingmaker – one who will try to extract a high price. He suggested his priorities would be the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas, and the “toppling” of Hamas in Gaza.
As neither Livni nor Bibi can rule without him – unless they create a unity government excluding him – he may get what he wants.
The losers are easier to count. Labour was once Israel’s natural party of government, ruling from 1948 to 1977. Yesterday, it trailed in fourth, Ehud Barak – once prime minister – barely polling ahead of the sectarian religious parties. The dovish, civil rights party Meretz was reduced to a handful of seats.
But there are more substantial losers. First, the Israeli political system is confirmed as dysfunctional. When a ruling party cannot muster a quarter of the seats in parliament, something has gone badly wrong. It means any government will be formed only after protracted horse-trading. Strikingly, all the main leaders – including Lieberman – spoke of the need to reform the political system.
The second serious loser is the Middle East peace process. According to Daniel Levy, analyst at the New America Foundation: “We will now have a weak, unstable government in Israel to join the weak governments in the Palestinian territories. They are not going to be able to make progress by themselves.” With both sides hobbled, they will simply lack the strength, says Levy. “It will have to be driven from the outside.” And that means Washington.

. . .That means Washington — and London, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Moscow, Riyadh, Cairo, and Amman.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

50 comments on “Israel Moves to the Right — Will Have Fragile Government

  1. Kirsten20 says:

    I think that there’s not a pretty good idea to accomplish the essay topic by your own efforts! As for me, it would be more comfortable to order the essay thesis at the classification essay service, just because it can save time.

    Reply

  2. arthurdecco says:

    “Michael Scheuer’s hypocrisy is stunning. He assumes that he has a right to say or write anything he wants to, but the Directors of the Jamestown Foundation don’t have the right to contribute to whatever organization they choose or hire whomever they want.” Wig Wag
    Spoken like an unapologetic Totalitarian.
    I’ve been trying to stay out of these ridiculous and ultimately futile discussions lately but these latest lies from Wig Wag have put the push to my intention to stay above the fray.
    Wig Wag is still slandering Professor Kevin MacDonald, (web site: http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/ )
    Professor MacDonald’s published research must be powerful and convincing truths for Wig Wag, Sweetness and the rest of the usual suspects to constantly lie about him in their shrill efforts to discredit him rather than choosing to carefully read his well researched books and then respectfully rebut his opinions and well-documented statements of fact with their own well researched and provable points of view.
    The Third book in Professor MacDonald’s series, entitled, “The Culture of Critique, An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements” should be required reading for every single interchangeable Wig Wag in the Diaspora. It’s a damning, yet utterly convincing indictment of the status quo. As a matter of fact, it should be required reading for every sentient citizen who cares about the future of their collective social structures.
    But of course that won’t happen will it? When have the Wig Wags of this world ever let facts get in the way of a good “treatment” designed to obscure the truths being discussed and lead our attentions away from what’s real towards their own ungenerous and deliberately dishonest inventions?

    Reply

  3. Paul Norheim says:

    “Wigwag can be as smug as he wants about organizing to
    defend rights, but when the pendulum of elite opinion swings, it
    won’t be pretty for the wigwags of the world–unless
    consitutional provisions of free speech are honored so that all
    voices get heard.”
    “Like I said, instead of applying all their efforts to suppress
    criticism of indefensible behavior, the Lobby ought to be
    promoting an impartial press and Congress to mitigate the
    effects of the inevitable pendulum swing against Israel. It will
    happen. And unless something changes, McCarthy-like folks
    will once again demonize Jews.”
    Very important points, JohnH. I`ve said something similar
    several times. Too much “pro” may suddenly or slowly turn to
    fierce “anti”. Promoting an impartial press is a preventive
    medicine against that. And I wouldn`t bet on the demise of USA
    and the rise of China and India, as WigWag does, to prevent this
    from happening. The modus operandi of AIPAC will hurt not
    only Israel, but also Jews in the long run.

    Reply

  4. JohnH says:

    Wigwag (the Lobby Intimidation Denier)–you can trivialize each and every instance of someone losing his job, but you can’t deny the pattern–if you oppose the Lobby, you lose your job. It’s what happened to Scheuer, Finkelstein, Findley and many, many others. It’s what McCarthyism was about, too.
    Like I said, instead of applying all their efforts to suppress criticism of indefensible behavior, the Lobby ought to be promoting an impartial press and Congress to mitigate the effects of the inevitable pendulum swing against Israel. It will happen. And unless something changes, McCarthy-like folks will once again demonize Jews. Will Wigwag support their right to deny jobs to Israel-supporters, or will Wigwag simply whine about anti-Semitism?
    Wigwag can be as smug as he wants about organizing to defend rights, but when the pendulum of elite opinion swings, it won’t be pretty for the wigwags of the world–unless consitutional provisions of free speech are honored so that all voices get heard.

    Reply

  5. ... says:

    it seems democracy and money are very connected… they don’t make for a happy couple as the one always wants to buy the other… some are perceptive enough to recognize this is the type of democracy the usa has – it’s called plutocracy, not democracy… will be interesting to see what the money buys next time around….

    Reply

  6. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag (the Lobby Intimidation Denier)–If you don’t like the Paul Findley article, maybe you should read his book about how he was drummed out of Congress by the Lobby.”
    Drummed out of Congress? We have elections in this country. Americans have the right to examine the views of the candidates on any issue they consider important. American’s who disliked the Congressman’s position on Israel spoke out against him and supported his opponent. They raised money for his opponent and they urged the Congressman’s constituents to vote against him.
    It’s called democracy JohnH. You don’t like it because the voters in Findley’s district and in districts all over the United States have repudiated candidates who share your point of view.
    Organize more effectively, raise more money and make more articulate arguments and perhaps people who think like you will prevail more often.
    If it happens, it will only happen because supporters of those candidates whom you prefer availed ythemselves of precisely the same opportunity that “the Lobby” avails itself of.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Note that Wig-wag and Sweetness have not even remotely addressed McDonald’s commentary, nor rebutted a single one of his statements, premises, or opinions as presented in the essay.
    Unfamiliar with McDonald, I read the essay, and did not find any damning evidence that would brand McDonald as anti-semitic, or racist. Of course, these two jackasses Sweetness and Wig-Wag are certainly welcome to specifically rebut any of the points, premises, or opinions expressed within McDonald’s essay. But I won’t hold my breath.
    It is not my intention to question, or validate, Wig-wag’s contention that McDonald is anti-semitic. Truth is, I couldn’t care less, as it is the grist of McDonald’s essay on the intent and motivation behind the “Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004” that prompted my citation of the essay, and his alleged anti-semitism is irrelevant to my own interpretation of his essay.
    How does this bit of legislation represent the interests of the citizens of the United States? And where is the parallel legislation outlawing the undeniably racist hate mongering of these bigots like Leiberman, or the blatant and commonplace incendiary anti-arab propaganda posted on hate inducing and fear mongering websites such as the one maintained by AIPAC?

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    JN, you are quick to comment on the nature of others souls..
    would you care to comment on israels latest excusion into gaza where they used white phosphorous and murdered innocent civilians? p it doesn’t fit with your comment about a ‘peace-loving Israel’…. now don’t let facts get in the way of your slandering others souls here, or anything else for that matter…

    Reply

  9. JohnH says:

    Wigwag (the Lobby Intimidation Denier)–If you don’t like the Paul Findley article, maybe you should read his book about how he was drummed out of Congress by the Lobby. Besides the Scheuer incident, it is part of a pattern of anti-democratic intimidation orchestrated by the Lobby. Or you might enjoy reading about how Norman Finkelstein was drummed out of CATHOLIC DePaul Univeristy:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/abraham09052007.html
    It’s all part of an atmosphere of intimidation similar to McCarthyism.
    One day the pendulum will swing. For whatever reason, elites will tire of supporting Israel right or wrong. When that happens, I’ll be asking those who supported Israel, right or wrong the following question:
    “What did you do to oppose anti-semitism against Palestinians?”
    “If nothing, why do you expect me to oppose anti-Semitism against Israelis? I mean, isn’t what was good for the goose now good for the gander?”
    Israel firsters should be trying to protect their interests by promoting an impartial free prees. First, it would force Israel to clean up its act. Then, when the pendulum swings, Israel would benefit from impartial press coverage instead of being demonized, like the Palestinians are today. Jewish history is full of stories about being demonized. It is that pattern of demonization that should be addressed instead of wasting time trying to suppress criticism of the indefensible.

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  10. JN says:

    The fact that so many here blame tiny, democratic, peace-loving Israel and take the side of murderous barbarians who persecute and execute even their own people on the slightest of pretexts shouts volumes regarding the blackness in their souls.
    Plain and simple.

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  11. Sweetness says:

    “Wiggie is correct. I have no idea who McDonald is. Which is why I
    am able to consider McDonald’s comments about the “Global Anti-
    Semitism Review Act of 2004″ without the jaundized
    presuppositions that Wig-wag has about the veracity of
    McDonald’s comments on this issue.”
    Ignorance makes you…smarter!
    So, so…American.

    Reply

  12. WigWag says:

    “Anyway, here’s further evidence that Scheuer’s situation was not an isolated event…”
    I looked at your article JohnH, it’s evidence of nothing.
    Only someone who had already made up his mind would consider it evidence.

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Wigwag–I’m sure there are no fingerprints pointing to the government of Israel relating to Scheuer’s firing”
    Nor did anyone claim there was direct evidence of the Israeli” government” being involved. This is just one more of Wig-wag’s straw diversions, just like his inane blather about this being a First Amendment issue.

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  14. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–I’m sure there are no fingerprints pointing to the government of Israel relating to Scheuer’s firing. They don’t need to be directly involved. They have wealthy supporters who help them create a McCarthy-like atmosphere of intimidation. Who knows? Maybe these wealthy supporters got their wealth in part by doing Israel’s business for them?
    Anyway, here’s further evidence that Scheuer’s situation was not an isolated event, though you like to pretend that the pattern of intimidation is mere coincidence:
    “The pro-Israel groups subvert democracy when they engage in smear campaigns that intimidate and silence critics. America badly needs a civilized discussion of the damaging role of Israel in U.S. policy formulation.”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/findley10162007.html

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yes, POA, opposing “illegal immigration” does make you a racist”
    Hmmmm. Just can’t stop digging, can you Wig-Wag?

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    Yes, POA, opposing “illegal immigration” does make you a racist.

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Making an anti-semitic comment is a “hate crime”, but making an anti-negro statement isn’t?
    Where is the legislation that outlawed you from branding Iranians as “lunatics”, Wig-Wag?
    And, if I was you, I’d drop the mexican thing, Wig-wag. You’re making an ass of yourself. Opposing components of trade agreements does not make one a racist. Nor does opposing illegal immigration. But excusing the use of white phosphorous on women and children, by denying it is a war crime, is racism in its most ugly form.
    You’re a transparent little dissemblin’ bigot, arencha?

    Reply

  18. WigWag says:

    So now POA, like the white supremacist whom he sites as an authority, is against hate crimes legislation. He thinks legislation designed to increase penalties for hate crimes like beating up gay people (think Matthew Shepard) lynching black people, or attacking Jewish people is really just another “Jewish Conspiracy.”
    It never occurred to you, did it POA, that maybe you should take something written by an avowed racist with a grain of salt. Instead, POA accepts the word of “one of the 13 most dangerous racists in America” as gospel truth.
    I wonder what Dr. McDonald thinks of Mexicans. Never mind, I can figure it out. Take it to the bank; McDonald doesn’t like Mexican truckers any more than POA does; but e-verify he surely loves. The only thing is McDonald would probably like e-verify to apply to all Americans who aren’t white Christians. So far, POA hasn’t weighed in on that.
    When he does, you can be sure that he will tax his vocabulary to find the perfect expletive.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wiggie is correct. I have no idea who McDonald is. Which is why I am able to consider McDonald’s comments about the “Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004” without the jaundized presuppositions that Wig-wag has about the veracity of McDonald’s comments on this issue.
    Note that Wig-Wag does not comment on this legislation, but instead, attacks the messenger. Whether or not the attack is justifed is a separate issue than the actual intent of the legislation, is it not?
    Can Wig-Wag cite any other comparitive legislation, that makes it a crime to voice views that may be considered racist? Is it a crime to use the word “nigger”? How about “spick”? Or “wop”? But doesn’t this legislation, in a broad sense, illegalize the use of the slur term “kike”? For a staunch defender of the First Amendment, one would think Wig-Wag would, at least in this case, have cause to agree with McDonald. Silly me, perish the thought.

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  20. WigWag says:

    “In fact, it was a single battle in a broad war on dissent organized by the Lobby in cahoots with the Israeli government. Its goal is to suppress any criticism of Israeli government behavior…”
    I will be interested to hear your evidence that the government in Israel had anything to do with the sacking of Scheuer; if you have it, show it; otherwise it’s just one of your fantasies.
    As for the Jamestown Foundation, here’s a list of their Board of Directors:
    Glen E. Howard, President
    Zbignew Brzezinski
    Clinton Smullyan
    James Gidwitz
    James Burnley, IV
    Marcia M. Carlucci
    Peter Cook
    Willem F.P. Devogel
    Diana Denman’
    Edward O Gaylord
    Marshall Goldman
    Patrick Gross
    Ralph Hauenstein
    James Hauslein
    Artemis A.W. Joukowsky
    Woody Peterson
    Funny, don’t you think, that the Board of Directors of the Jamestown Foundation would sack Scheuer for expressing similar views to those expressed by their Board member, Dr. Brzezinski on many occasions? In case you haven’t noticed, Zbig is no card carrying member of the “Lobby” in fact he’s had quite a few run ins with it himself.
    It’s quite interesting that he acquiesced in the firing.
    I wonder what that’s about. Maybe Zbig works for AIPAC now.

    Reply

  21. WigWag says:

    So now POA is quoting Kevin McDonald. To give POA the benefit of the doubt, perhaps POA doesn’t know who Kevin McDonald is.
    McDonald is a Professor at California State University at Long Beach who claims that Jews possess a suite of traits including higher-than-average verbal intelligence and a tendency towards ethnocentricism that have been eugenically derived throughout history to enhance the ability of Jews to out-compete non-Jews for resources while undermining the power and self-confidence of the white majorities in Europe and America. To put it simply, McDonald actually thinks that Jews are genetically different from other white Americans; he thinks African Americans are of lesser genetic stock.
    He has called for political rights for Jews and African Americans in the United States to be curtailed.
    He is cavorts with neo Nazis and white supremacists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called McDonald one of the 13 most dangerous racists in America.
    Although he can’t be fired because he has tenure, his colleagues at California State University have branded him as a racist and Anti-Semite and have repudiated him and his views.
    Is Kevin McDonald really someone who should be sited as an authority about anything at the Washington Note?

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    Wigwag claims that “there is nothing comparable about the [McCarthy] situation with Michael Scheuer. There was no pressure from any government agency.” He should have said, “no overt pressure.”
    In fact the two cases are disturbingly similar. Wigwag wants you to believe that the Scheuer incident was an isolated one, taken solely at the discretion of the Jamestown Foundation and a few of their underwriters. In fact, it was a single battle in a broad war on dissent organized by the Lobby in cohoots with the Israeli government. Its goal is to suppress any criticism of Israeli government behavior, just as McCarthy’s intent was to silence anyone remotely sympathetic to Communism. Both McCarthy and the Israeli government with their Lobby created a climate of fear in the media. Firings of Jewish Hollywood writers sent a message to America, just as the firing of Michael Scheuer sends a message (one of many) to critics of Israel–your job is at stake if you oppose the Israeli agenda.
    In another historical parallel, the Spanish Inquistion created such a climate of fear that former Jews made sure they cleaned their houses on Saturdays to make it obvious that they were not observing the Sabbath. In America, the purity police scan the news media and academia to enforce allegiance.
    Promoting and advancing your point of view is one thing. Waging a campaign of suppression against others’ points of view is totally anathema to American ideals. McCarthy was repudiated, but his tactics linger in the Lobby, defended by the likes of Wigwag.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As for your question, “why is Israel terrified of honest and open discussion about it?” My guess is that they’re not terrified. In fact, given the nature and extent of support in Congress and the Obama Administration for Israel, concern about the Middle East debate in the United States is probably way down of the list of things Israel is worried about”
    Pro-Israel media: Bloggers join media war
    Some 1,000 new immigrants and foreign-language-speaking Jews volunteer to army of bloggers set up by Absorption Ministry and Foreign Ministry with the stated objective of flooding blogs with pro-Israel opinions
    Sharuz-Shalicar is one of the front-line soldiers in the Ministry of Absorption’s new “army of bloggers” that was recently established in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry’s public relations department following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
    The Absorption Ministry is recruiting new immigrants and Jews living abroad who have access to a computer and who speak a second language to a volunteer effort to improve public relations for Israel on the internet. The campaign was launched last week.
    In the cross hairs are problematic blogs, talkbacks, online social networks, online polls, Youtube videos, and more.
    continues….
    http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3663679,00.html

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  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Organized Jewry Opposes Free Speech
    by Professor Kevin McDonald January 29, 2009
    It is something of an axiom of Jewish life that “Is it good for the Jews?” remains the litmus test of Jewish communal activity – in other words, interest over principles. A good example is free speech. There can be little doubt that the organized Jewish community sees free speech as a problem because it may be used to criticize the behavior of Jewish organizations and especially Israel.
    In Canada the response of the organized Jewish community to recent demonstrations against Israel was to attempt to invoke Canada’s restrictions on free speech in order to silence their critics. The Canadian Jewish Congress complained that protests against Israel’s incursion into Gaza contained images that were “uncivil, un-Canadian, that demonize Jews and Israelis.” They are asking the police to investigate the matter, for referral to the Canadian Human Rights Commission which is in charge of enforcing laws that infringe on free speech. Although the organized Jewish community in Canada has strongly supported the thought crime legislation (see below), Bernie Farber, the head of the CJC, stated “we are firm supporters and believers in the need to be able to demonstrate passionately in free and democratic societies.”
    Because of the First Amendment, we are still a ways from situation in Canada here in the US. Nevertheless, the ADL has been in the forefront of promoting hate-crime legislation in America, and there can be little doubt that they see the First Amendment as a barrier to their interests in suppressing thoughts and speech critical of Israel and other Jewish interests.
    An example of the efforts of the organized Jewish community in the direction of thought control is the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. This law created an office of “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” within the State Department, headed by Gregg J. Rickman. The act not only requires the State Department to document acts of anti-Semitism, but also to “combat acts of anti-Semitism globally.”
    The act does not say what the U.S. must do to combat anti-Semitism around the world. I assume combating anti-Semitism wouldn’t require any more in the way of lives and money than, say, the war in Iraq – another project spearheaded by Jewish activism on behalf of Israel. But that may be wishful thinking as the same activists are avidly promoting a war with Iran which would likely be even more disastrous.
    In any case, the office issued its most recent Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism Report (GASR) in March of last year. The document is an excellent example of Jewish activism that would be unremarkable except that it is now officially ensconced at the highest reaches of the U.S. government. As we shall see, it goes beyond criticism anti-Jewish actions to anti-Jewish attitudes, such as statements about Jewish influence. The report performs the by now familiar casuistry on Israel as a cause of anti-Semitism.
    The reader is led to believe that the allegations of Israeli atrocities are overblown propaganda – when the real question is just how Palestinians manage to survive at all in the occupied territories. The recent horrifying incursion into Gaza is only the most recent example. Not only did Israel carry out a starvation-inducing blockade during a ceasefire and an assault that finally provoked Palestinian retaliation, there seems little doubt that Israel committed war crimes – particularly the use of white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas.
    continues……
    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/opposefreespeech.php

    Reply

  25. WigWag says:

    JohnH, I remember the McCarthy Period and the blacklist; maybe you do too. The blacklist was the result of explicit and implicit pressure placed on Hollywood movie executives by members of the House of Representatives and United States Senate (as well as agencies like the FBI) not to hire writers who it was claimed were in some way affiliated with the Communist Party of the United States.
    There is nothing comparable about the situation with Michael Scheuer. There was no pressure from any government agency to fire Scheuer (at least none was suggested in the article). He simply made remarks that the Foundation who supported his activity found objectionable. Being under no legal or ethical obligation to subsidize views that they disagreed with, they sacked him.
    Only a person unaware of the nature and extent of Joe McCarthy’s work in the Senate or the work of HUAC would find the two situations even remotely similar.
    As for your question, “why is Israel terrified of honest and open discussion about it?” My guess is that they’re not terrified. In fact, given the nature and extent of support in Congress and the Obama Administration for Israel, concern about the Middle East debate in the United States is probably way down of the list of things Israel is worried about.
    If you’re referring to AIPAC and other members of the “Israel Lobby” they’re using every legally available tactic to advance their point of view. They aggressively advocate for Israel and, to the extent they can, they seek to monopolize the debate. They use the same freedoms that are available to Jimmy Carter, Tony Judt, Stephen Walt, Steve Clemons and even you and me.
    Using the freedoms that are available to everyone, they have been far more successful in convincing Congress and the American public in the correctness of their positions than Israel’s critics have been.
    I know you don’t like it, but it’s called democracy.

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  26. ... says:

    johnh – thanks for taking wigwag to task.. he is unable to address the main points in your comments… i always find it amazing the amount of time and energy wigwag puts into obfuscating a reality he is unwilling to acknowledge.. not acknowledging the meat of johnh’s comments reveals wigwags nature.. clouding johnhs main points also reveals wigwags nature…

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  27. JohnH says:

    So, Wigwag, I guess you have no particular problem with Joe McCarthy’s getting Jewish writers fired. After all, someone else could have stepped up and hired them, even few did. Many had to leave the country to find employment.
    What you are advocating is dangerous, extremely dangerous, more suited to a totalitarian state than an democracy that thrives on the free exchange of information and ideas.
    BTW: you didn’t answer my question–why is Israel terrified of honest and open discussion about it? So I’ll answer it for you–because most Americans would be appalled at Israeli behavior if they were permitted to know what is going on. The British press, unlike the American one, has allowed their readers and viewers to see what is happening, and Britains are appalled.
    So we have the Lobby employing McCarthy-like techniques to suppress an impartial reporting in America.

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  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Scheuer’s voice resecieves far more attention because of his recent role as the head of the effort to fight the alleged Al Qaeda monster. Israel cannot afford to have an expert dismantling the myth “they hate us for our freedoms” mantra that they have fabricfated to mask the tremendous threat our support for Israel poses to our national intersts and security.
    This jackass Wig-wag, totally misapplying the premise behind the First Amendment, only does so because he can’t apply the argument of “anti-semitism” against Scheuer. Lacking any substantive rebuttal to Scheuer’s position, he instead concocts this asinine diversion.
    “Stupid” obviously isn’t Wig-wag’s affliction, because he is constantly weaving ingenious webs of diversion. But he sure is a dishonest little back door schmuck, isn’t he?

    Reply

  29. WigWag says:

    “An independent, free press is vital to democracy”
    Yes, but the donors and Board members of the Jamestown Foundation are under no legal or ethical obligation to subsidize Scheuer; why don’t you subsidize him?
    American democracy may depend on a marketplace of ideas but no one in particular is required to pay for it.
    As I said, you could pay for it. If you can’t afford it; get together with 100, 1,000 or 10,000 like-minded people, pool your resources and subsidize Scheuer yourself.
    There’s nothing stopping you; you see you’re as free as the Jamestown Foundation, AIPAC, the ACLU, the National Rifle Association or anyone else to express your ideas.
    If you don’t do it, stop complaining about others who have banded together to express their ideas. The fact that you may disagree with them means nothing at all.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    I think it might be worthwhile to refresh Wigwag’s memory on McCarthyism. Joe McCarthy specifically targeted the entertainment and communications industries. Screenwriters (many Jewish) were specifically targeted, and many lost their jobs. Journalists and novelists were also targeted. Because many of the blacklists in the communications and entertainment industries were secret, the number of playwrights, script writers, novelists, and journalists who were forced to stop writing permanently is unknown.
    Michael Scheuer’s experience with Jamestown is but one blatant example of exactly the same phenomenon. Most other incidents, which are almost certainly widespread, are handled with more tact and kept secret.
    The issue here is not whether the Jamestown Foundation has rights, but whether the American entertainment, communications, and media industries should be subject to McCarthy-like intimidation.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    February 11, 2009
    Will Obama Break the Law
    for Israel’s Sake?
    by Grant F. Smith
    Since entering office, President Barack Obama has promised sweeping changes in three aspects of governance: transparency, law enforcement, and stewardship of American tax dollars. For a public weary of law enforcement forever prosecuting street but never elite crime, Obama’s many statements about holding all individuals accountable under the law have been encouraging. He also called for government-agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a White House mandate for transparency. Obama swore any bailouts of financial institutions and industries will hereafter avoid secretly funneling taxpayer funds into bloated Wall Street bonuses, executive junkets, and private jets.
    But does Obama intend to follow these rules himself? Probably not. Obama’s entire facade momentarily crumbled under a single withering question – “Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” – launched by veteran reporter Helen Thomas during the president’s first evening press conference on Feb. 9, 2008.
    Obama dodged the substance of the question:
    “With respect to nuclear weapons, I don’t want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally, I think that it’s important for the United States in concert with Russia to lead the way on this, and I’ve mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversations about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way, so that we then have the standing to go to other countries to start stitching back together the nonproliferation treaties that frankly have been weakened over the last several years.”
    The evasion inherent in Obama’s reply coupled with actions already taken may reveal the new administration’s true framework for Middle East policy: deception, wastefulness, and lawlessness.
    Fortunately, Americans don’t need Barack Obama to “speculate” on what former President Jimmy Carter already confirmed on May 25, 2008: Israel possesses an arsenal of at least 150 nuclear weapons. Why does Obama trot out the discredited policy of “strategic ambiguity” – in which Israeli and U.S. officials officially refuse to confirm or deny the existence Israeli nuclear weapons – at this early moment? For one reason alone: to break the law. The 1976 Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If U.S. presidents complied with the Symington Amendment, they would not deliver yearly aid packages to Israel totaling billions of dollars. Presidents make-believe that Israeli nuclear weapons don’t exist so Congress can legally continue shoveling the lion’s share of the U.S. foreign aid budget to Israel. But this thin pretense is now over. Since Carter’s revelation, press outlets such as Reuters chat openly about how Israeli’s nukes mean that it does not qualify for U.S. aid. But like Harry Markopolos incessantly nagging the SEC about Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, fourth-estate and nuclear-activist calls for compliance continue to be rebuffed by government agencies. Denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about Israeli nukes has always been an integral tactic in preserving this hoary old ruse.
    continues….
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/gsmith.php?articleid=14229
    Of course Obama will continue the tradition of ignoring the 1976 Symington Amendment. Why would he have any respect for the law when Congress has shown the President that they will abide and ignore crimes committed by the President and his cabinet members?
    Rice and Gonzales, KNOWN perjurers. But we only indict baseball players for perjury before Congress.
    Waterboarding. A KNOWN crime. But we only indict the general populace for violent crimes against fellow human beings.
    And Israel’s crimes? Well, we only decry the crimes of Muslim nations. We only decry violations of UN resolutions if Muslim nations are in defiance or violation.
    Besides, if Obama placed contingencies on the billions we piss away to these murderous monsters in Israel, where would Israel get the funds to bribe our public officials, clusterbomb civilians, incinerate Palestinian kids, buy rockets to sink our ships, and pay the army of operatives they have spying on us?

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  32. JohnH says:

    Wrong, Wigwag. The marketplace of ideas is totally controlled by the rich and powerful. You seem to approve of that. And so would Joe McCarthy.
    And independent, free press is vital to democracy. And if those who share alternative points of view can’t get space in the media, it’s a threat to democracy. Again, Joe McCarthy would be smiling in his grave. And Joe Lieberman and Lynn Cheney are smiling in real life.
    The real question for you: why is Israel terrified of honest and open discussion about it?

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  33. DonS says:

    Helena at JWN reflects on the election. Seems like the thesis Steve and other’s put forth “Give us Netanyahu” may well have been preferable to a situation where Liberman is the likely kingpin. Netanyahu, with a mandate to lead, may have moved the process. But as it looks now, its gridlock and/or moving only to the right. This Liberman character sounds scary as hell. What’s next, a memorial to Meir Kahane?
    http://justworldnews.org/archives/003382.html

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  34. WigWag says:

    No JohnH, the right to free speech and free association applies to everyone, not just the people who share your point of view. Why exactly are the donors and/or Directors of the Jamestown Foundation any less entitled to choose whether or not they want to be associated with Scheuer than he is to write what he wants?
    What might have Joe McCarthy smiling in his grave is the propostion that Scheuer’s employer is required to subsidize his speech whether they agree with him or not.

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  35. JohnH says:

    Wigwag does Joe McCarthy proud. Having eliminated all dissent in Congress, Wigwag asserts the rights of the Lobby to stamp out dissent wherever it finds it. The First Amendment is operative only for those who can afford to buy megaphones. All other voices need not be heard (but only because they can’t afford it).

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  36. questions says:

    On the Scheuer thing… (why do I bother?) Lots of people lose jobs for saying things that some donor or other doesn’t like. The Illinois legislature is after Bill Ayers, Ward Churchill lost his job, adjucts profs are dumped routinely for bothering a student who then complains to a dean, donors pull out funding for pro-choice or anti-abortion speakers, bring a Repub into a Dem space or vice versa and someone pulls out, The Nation routinely loses subscribers for editorials or ads that readers don’t like, and legislators get voted out of office….
    The real crime isn’t (cue the eerie music) THE LOBBY — it’s the dependency on donors of any sort and the concomitant need to guard oneself.
    MERCIFULLY, we still have Scheuer’s voice all over the internet. He can post here for free, he can set up his very own website and link it to heaven should he have a good connection.
    Remember this the next time you REALLY REALLY REALLY find something offensive and you decide not to support it anymore. Is it oh-so-THE-LOBBY-IST to pull support? Or do we all do this to one extent or another?
    It seems to me that there’s a lot more to Al Qaeda than merely Israeli-Palestinian-US relations. I thought there was something about US troops in Saudi Arabia and the corruption of the Saudi regime (Bin Laden’s family!) and religious purity issues…. So if Scheuer is reducing the multi-layered problems to something simple, I’d at least hope that another speaker would come and make these other points. Not sure I’d “fire” him, but I’m not sure I’d ever have hired him in the first place…..

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  37. questions says:

    Chapter n…wherein I conjure my inner screenwriter.
    Kant, in his Castro-approved brilliance, has already made the point that we are all morally equivalent as rational beings. That is, one cannot prefer oneself over another, one’s own over that of another, one’s child over that of another. Sadly, Kant demonstrated all of this in obscure language that requires several shots of espresso per reading session, and many many reading sessions, in order to begin to get through the text. (Categorical Imperative, moral maxims, rationality, ends/means, universal law, universal law of nature, merely possible kingdom of ends, phenomena, noumena, critique….YOIKS!)
    So Kant needs to be translated into a compelling narrative that runs 60 minutes at a time including commercials and credits.
    Here’s the treatment:
    Argumentum ad absurdum — there’s a hospital through which the Gaza/Israel border passes. Half the hospital is Palestinian and half Israeli. The border wall runs up the side of the building, over the roof and ack down again. Two sets of twins are born at the same time, one Palestinian and one Israeli. Two bombs go off simultaneously and the nursery rocks…. The babies are switched because the cart/cribs they’re in roll across the floor anc change places. Two Israeli Jewish babies are destined for Gaza and two Gazan/Palestinian Muslim babies are headed to a settlement right near Gaza.
    The episode plots should include the Gazan family’s bombing their own merely seemingly Israeli babies and Jewish settlers’ invading the Gazan’s home (of course, there are two really cute Jewish but seemingly Gazan children in that house). Ironies abound as they “hate” one another but are REALLY merely hating themselves. Lots of absurdities about the walls and the settlements and the roads could be made. Gaza and the West Bank can be conflated so that ALL the absurdities can be laid bare. The terror of having shells come your way, the ignorance of hatred, the social myths on all sides can come out in living color.
    And at some point each can be diagnosed with some obscure illness that proves that they cannot be who they are but must be other than who they are. Hmmm, fluidity of identity anyone? (Based on an acutal baby-switching in the US a few years ago in which as a young kid, one of the kids dies from a genetic disease that neither parent carries. The parents of the now-deceased child want their REAL child back — what do you do??) So who are we anyway?
    TV and compelling narrative make philosophical truths come alive in a way that, sadly, the texts can’t really do. People really need to see that there are serious problems with choosing sides among moral equals. (Think Sophie’s Choice and how suicide is the ONLY answer to this conundrum.) Make it clear through narrative what is really happening–fiction gives us truth in a way truth cannot.
    I hope it’s obvious enough why I’m posting this and that my inner-Hollywood soul isn’t actually off topic….

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  38. Hans says:

    “wants to racially disaggregate Arabs and Jews” Hitlers politics haven’t been described similarly “wants to racially disaggregate Arians and Jews”.

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  39. Daro says:

    Steve should write as if he’s a 100 years in the future looking back. No way the apartheid of Israel is going to stand up forever. Maybe 20 years, maybe 50… but a 100? I don’t see it. It’s immoral and all the power in the world won’t keep it up. Let’s stand up to their policies the way honest people (i.e. not the Republicans) stood up to South Africa’s regime.

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  40. kotzabasis says:

    “Israel moves to the right” but the winner might be the ‘left,’ with Tzipi Livni as Prime Minister. And paradoxically, she will have to adopt and implement the hard policies of the right against Hamas and Hezbollah and their political maestro Iran since these at the present moment and the foreseeable future are the only politically and strategically viable policies for the survival of Israel.
    Moreover, this confluence of right and left policies during critical circumstances that a country is going through, illustrates what unrelieved nonsense is to depict a government that is involved in crucial actions as right or left when the irreducible conditions of geopolitics refuse to be laid on a Procrustean bed and negate all such silly ‘dismemberments.’
    So only in appearance Israel’s newly formed government will be “fragile” and “weak” as in actuality it will be a strong government , since, by adopting and implementing astutely–in all its military, political, and diplomatic nuances—the concerns and wishes of the majority of Israelis, it will have the solid support of the latter.

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  41. Gene says:

    “That means Washington — and London, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Moscow, Riyadh, Cairo, and Amman.”
    Steve, how about Damascus?

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  42. Joe M. says:

    wigwag,
    just for the sake of clarity, the first amendment applies to the American government, not individuals or private companies. i can kick you out of my house for anything you say, the government can’t do the same.

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  43. WigWag says:

    Sorry Joe M that I’m not the constitutional scholar you are.
    The article was posted to suggest that there was something nefarious perpetrated by the “Israel Lobby” that resulted in Scheuer being sacked. I am merely pointing out that there can’t possibly be anything nefarious about his firing. He has a right to say what he wants to; donors to the Jamestown Foundation have the right to contribute to any organization that they want to and Board Members of the Jamestown Foundation have the right to employ anyone they want to.
    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Firing Scheuer was no better or no worse than allowing Scheuer to write whatever he thinks is right. Suggesting there is anything wrong with firing him (which was the reason it was sited in a comment on this thread in the first place) is simply wrong.

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  44. Joe M. says:

    WigWag,
    1) you obviously don’t even know the first thing about the first amendment.
    2) Scheuer never called it the wrong decision, in fact he implied (in the last line of his article) that he agreed with it. He was not saying something had been done wrong to him, but just explaining what happened.

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  45. WigWag says:

    Michael Scheuer’s hypocrisy is stunning. He assumes that he has a right to say or write anything he wants to, but the Directors of the Jamestown Foundation don’t have the right to contribute to whatever organization they choose or hire whomever they want.
    Surely if the First Amendment applies to Mr. Scheuer, it also applies to the Jamestown directors. Mr. Scheuer can say whatever he wants and the Jamestown directors can associate with whomever they want.
    Of course the First Amendment applies only to government action, but even based on any intelligent understanding of ethical standards, if Mr. Scheuer is entitled to write what he wants, the people employing him have an equal right to find his words objectionable and cease to employ him.
    Scheuer obviously thinks that he not only is entitled to write what he wants but he is also entitled to be subsidized to write what he wants.
    It is entirely legally and ethically appropriate for Scheuer to say anything that he wants to about US-Israeli relations. It is equally legally and ethically appropriate for the Foundation that employs him to find what he says wrong and to use the limited funds provided by their donors to support individuals with views more to their liking.
    Like I said, at least in this matter, Scheuer is a hypocrite. Anyone who finds the behavior of the Jamestown Foundation to be nefarious is equally hypocritical.

    Reply

  46. PissedOffAmerican says:

    February 10, 2009
    Lobby? What Lobby?
    by Michael Scheuer
    Last December, I spoke to the nonpartisan Jamestown Foundation’s annual conference on al-Qaeda. My talk was a worldwide survey of how America’s war against Islamism had gone in 2008; an analysis of al-Qaeda’s current fortunes and growth potential; and an assessment of whether U.S. policies were adequately protecting genuine U.S. national interests as the Obama administration began. I concluded that 2008 was a year of setbacks for America, and that the future appeared rather bleak.
    For the speech, I took as my text a truncated version of the introduction I wrote for the paperback edition of my book, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq. In preparing the new text I was pleased to find my predictions in the hardcover had been accurate, but saddened that Americans had not faced the fact that our Islamist foes are motivated by U.S. foreign policies and their impact. One policy I am critical of in Marching Toward Hell is the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship. I argued that unqualified, bipartisan support for Israel damages U.S. national security, and I damned those who identify critics of the relationship as anti-American, anti-Semitic, or, in my case, according to AIPAC leader Morris J. Amitay, a man who would make Mein Kampf “required reading” at the CIA.
    In the course of analyzing 2008 events, I found no reason to alter my view. And after hearing McCain and Obama during the campaign, there was no reason to expect change in Washington’s Israel policy. At the Jamestown Conference, I therefore first discussed the abject failure of President Bush and his advisers to recognize that al-Qaeda and its allies are waging war because of U.S. policies – one of which is Israel policy – and not because of our lifestyle and domestic politics.
    I next offered an estimate of Mr. Obama’s potential to change these terrorism-motivating policies. While admitting an inability to read Obama’s mind, I noted that he had given at least two strong hints – to Americans and the Muslim world – that he would be as pro-Israel as Mr. Bush. I noted that (a) Mr. Obama spent the last months of the presidential campaign “dancing the Tel Aviv two-step,” promising to protect Israel as if it were located inside the United States; and (b) Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, a U.S. citizen who during the 1991 Gulf War left America to serve in Israel’s military.
    These statements of fact suggested to me that U.S. policy toward Israel and the Muslim world would be identical to Mr. Bush’s, albeit couched in softer, come-let-us-reason-together rhetoric.
    My speech seemed well received, but in January I received a call from Jamestown’s president telling me I had been terminated as a senior fellow by the Foundation’s board of directors. Why, I asked? He responded by citing my comments about Obama doing the “Tel Aviv two-step” and my description of Emanuel’s record, both of which he said might be in a speech by Rep. Ron Paul. My remarks about Emanuel apparently sparked particular anger among the Foundation’s directors, as Jamestown’s president referred to them at least three times in a short telephone conversation. In any event, the president said several major financial donors to Jamestown threatened to withdraw funding if I remained a senior fellow, so I was getting the boot. Then he added that my every-other-week essays for Jamestown’s Terrorism Focus had attracted readers and praise for the Foundation, so the directors said I could keep writing for the journal. I declined this honor, which seemingly was a bribe made in the hope that I would not speak publicly about being terminated as a senior fellow for saying the current state of the U.S.-Israel relationship undermined U.S. national security.
    continues………
    http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=14221

    Reply

  47. Joe M. says:

    And I will add that Steve Clemons seems to be at his most colonial when talking about the Israelis and the Palestinians. Even though I am sick at the thought of Israel (A colonial, racist, theocratic state), I don’t understand why Steve Clemons thinks it is his duty to advocate American control over the world. The USA, Europe, “the United Nations”… have spent so much time and money and energy destroying the Middle East, you wonder why they believe that the destruction left behind helps anyone?
    The only reason that makes sense is that they truly believe they are a superior race that has the divine right to control any barbarians they encounter. Yet, if you look at the history of the USA, it has destroyed everything it has ever touched. It is a danger to world peace, not a productive member. If their political actions were judged in the language of economics, we would say that just create massive externalities which cause greater more harm in the long run. Eg. When the USA props a dictator in a “pragmatic/realist” effort for “peace” (read control), they create an unstable situation that must be corrected in the future. Thus, we get events like the Iranian revolution or 9/11. Those are functionally equivalent to major market corrections. The market being a market for reality. The USA uses its power to distort the supply and demand of reality. American violence can not overcome the will of the people, that is just a fact.
    It is time for Steve Clemons to get his mind out of the 18th and 19th century.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Avigdor Lieberman’s party which wants to racially disaggregate Arabs and Jews is a considerable factor”
    Amazing, isn’t it? One of the most, if not THE most, racially biased country on the planet, consistently counters criticism by accusing others of racism.

    Reply

  49. Joe M. says:

    I think Jonathan Freedland is way off. In fact, I have been pretty shocked about how orthodox the discussion of Israeli politics has been lately. The first thing I will say is that Israel is a theocratic-fascist state, that should be dismantled and replaced with a secular-neutral state for Palestinians and Jews.
    That said, I expect Likud and Kadima to join a coalition together with Shas. They will have a strong majority in parliament and also have the flexibility to replace Shas with any of the other parties if Shas asks for too much power. Likud and Kadima used to be one party anyway, and half of Kadima members are ideologically mirror images of Likud. Probably Netanyahu will be the next prime minister, and he will probably push a more explicit form of his “economic peace” plan with the help of Kadima. Obama will have almost no influence because the coalition in Israel will be pretty strong.
    Shas is the natural third party in government because it has traditionally been satisfied to look domestically and strengthen the religious sector of Israel, and allow the other parties to deal with committing war crimes and massacres and other staples of the Israelis government.
    There is hardly a difference between Likud and Kadima, except that Kadima thinks they can negotiate surrender from the palestinians, while Likud thinks they can ignore the palestinians until they surrender. The israeli political system did not fail, but it seemed to succeed in empowering the factions of Israel that are most popular. American political systems fail when they allow a candidate’s empty rhetoric to dominate an election, with no opposition parties whatsoever….

    Reply

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