Biden: America’s Middle East Fixer?

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This article originally appeared at Al Jazeera English.
Joseph Biden, the US vice president, left on Sunday for a head-scratching trip to the Middle East and many are wondering what he is up to.
After all, the vice president has a lot on his plate already.
Biden has been the person behind the White House scenes who has helped nudge forward the tenuous deals between Shia, Sunnis and Kurds which secured Sunday’s historic elections in Iraq.
Almost as hard for Biden was brokering a truce between Ray Odierno, the commanding general of US forces in Iraq, and Christopher Hill, the US ambassador to Iraq, who had more than a few turf scuff-ups.
He has also been working hard on the less sexy parts of President Obama’s national security vision – tying together key international stakeholder agreements to help contain the spread and actually reduce nuclear weapons materials and other WMD relevant assets globally. Obama will host a summit in April built on work that Biden has done.
Biden and his team have also done a great deal of prep work on the Obama economic plan’s jobs and infrastructure components – topics that for the first year were largely ignored by key economic policy architects Timothy Geithner, the treasury secretary, and Lawrence Summers, the national economic advisor.
Biden and his chief economist, Jared Bernstein, have struggled hard on the employment challenge and offered suggestions on small business financing, a variety of hiring incentives for firms, smart grid infrastructure development, high speed rail investments, and have done some very good work advocating a new 21st century, jobs and infrastructure-focused “industrial policy” (two words which seem to be taboo in government now).
Showing face?
Of all Obama’s senior level cabinet members and advisers, Biden has exceeded expectations and performed better than virtually any other member of the team in generating ideas and pushing the policy needle.
And now he is off to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.
Why is he adding this issue to his plate when there is a specific presidential envoy, George Mitchell, tasked with working to get the Palestinians and Israelis back on a credible negotiating track towards a two state solution?
Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and Obama tried hard to kick-start an arrangement that would get some sizzle by forcing the Israelis to stop all new settlement construction in the Occupied Territories. That did not work out so well.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, General Jim Jones, the national security adviser, Robert Gates, the defence secretary, and others have been giving the Israel-Palestine portfolio a lot of time and have made many a trip to the region.
Nothing much has happened as of yet – so it makes one wonder whether dispatching Biden to the region is just doubling down and throwing more of America’s diminishing credibility at a failed approach.
Is Biden just a big personality to “show face” in the region and to try to assure regional leaders that the US still cares?
Alternatively, Biden may be there to really do something, or at least try.
Biden is emerging as the Obama administration’s fixer – the person who can quietly walk into a situation and survey it in a dispassionate, smart way in order to think about a new approach.
As James Traub wrote in a recent New York Times Magazine profile about Biden, quoting this writer in part, Biden straddles two worlds of foreign policy – that of the values-driven idealists, on one hand, who want to do good in the world and who tend to ignore realistic assessments of interests and the costs and benefits in securing those interests; and on the other, the pragmatic, do what it takes approach to foreign policy that focuses on the prioritisation of hard policy choices.

Global fault line

The Israel-Palestine process has broken down. And George Mitchell does not understand that the time he keeps asking for is time the region does not have.
Behind closed doors, Mitchell tells foreign leaders and ministers about his experiences negotiating with the parties in Northern Ireland. What he does not realise is that that terrible conflict could have lasted through a couple more centuries of his patient deal-making and the world would still be getting on.
The Israel-Palestine standoff is a globally consequential fault line that will blow sooner rather than later if the problems and pressures there are not seriously addressed.
Biden gets this. But I have no idea which direction he will go in his discussions during the trip.
Ultimately he knows that resolving the Israel/Palestine situation is a necessary requirement to confronting Iran and robbing Iran of room to run and meddle in the Middle East.
A deal on an Israel/Palestine two track reality is also a vital part of demonstrating to a doubting world that the US can achieve the objectives it sets for itself and is able again to be a sculptor of global affairs.
Obama did not mention much about foreign policy in his State of the Union address this year and did not mention Israel-Palestine at all. We hope that “Biden as fixer” is the mission – rather than using Biden to just put in face time with a region that doubts Obama’s commitment as of late.
Hopefully, Biden can help create opportunities and momentum in a region that poses a defining challenge for the US – even though most of his Obama administration colleagues seem for all of their efforts to be out of ideas and out of steam.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

219 comments on “Biden: America’s Middle East Fixer?

  1. TMorrison says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that Israel is the most visited foreign country by US politicians?
    I’m not talking about Joe Biden going there as VP, which is clearly part of US foreign policy. I’m talking about trips that are not part of policy, more like meet-and-greet/networking affairs. And it’s not just congressmen. It’s also various lobbyists, and lawyers connected with federal and state government departments, etc.
    This used to be a mainly Democratic party phenomenon, but over the last couple of decades it’s increasingly being done by Republicans also, especially the neocons and the evangelicals.
    The thing that confuses me is this: Why?
    Our trade with Israel is minor, compared to our trade with many other countries. Israel is not nearby. It’s not part of NATO. Etc, etc, etc. We’re stuck in no-win wars in the Middle East, but Israel can’t help us there. In fact, our relationship with Israel probably harms us more than it helps us, in that regard.
    We do have poor relations with some of the people Israel has a quarrel with, but one of the reasons for that is that we get lumped in with Israel because we provide cover for their policies. We’re not the ones grabbing Palestinian land, the Israelis are. But our support for Israel lumps us in with them and creates enemies for us. That, by the way, was why Israel announced that they’re building 1,600 new residential units on confiscated Palestinian land DURING Biden’s trip.
    They WANT to make that US-Israel connection in people’s minds. Who here is stupid enough to believe that the timing was a mistake. Really? And was it a mistake when they used to do the same thing to Condi? They keep dragging us into their arguments with their neighbors and we end up getting it in the neck.
    And for this privilege, we pay them over $6 billion a year directly, and quite a bit more when you count the value of our UN veto, arms technology, financial links, etc etc etc. Can someone explain again why we do this to ourselves?
    I like Ron Paul’s solution to this issue: You guys want to grab other people’s land and blow each other up? Fine. But do it on your own dime and stop dragging us into your stupidity. We have enough of our own problems. We don’t need your help and we’d really like it if you’d stop calling us for help.

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  2. nadine says:

    So, David, are you nostalgic for the days of Saddam Hussein on environmental grounds? Saddam Hussein who set the oil wells of Kuwait on fire, and drained the swamps of southern Iraq? Not to mention gassing the Kurds. Oh, he was a great one for the environment, was Saddam.

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  3. questions says:

    Nadine, think of it this way, since we don’t know the meanings of all those terms in the Constitution without our referring to things outside the Constitution, which actually is the case, then suddenly, even the originalists have to accept extra-Constitutional sources for Constitutional understanding. THAT’S the point.
    One possibly legitimate source is Thomas Jefferson’s stating that a wall of separation is a damned good thing.
    And that phrase has been taken in, added to precedent, has had laws shaped around it and is really part of our system.
    As soon as you admit that extra-Constitutional sources are necessary for our understanding the Constitution, then T-Jeff is a source. What the T-Board guy was doing is ignorantly denying that one ever goes outside the Constitution in order to understand it. But of course, though it makes some kind of sense at the junior high history book level (not really, but I’ll grant it), it’s an unknowing thing to hold to once you’re an adult.
    And as soon as you step outside the Constitution, a necessary step, you are in the world of interpretation, boundary setting, agonistics, arguing for years and years (couple hundred of them) what things mean. And once you’ve decided, sometimes you still step back and redecide and sometimes you don’t.
    We’re still working on speech issues, we’re still working on gun issues, we’re still working on religion issues. And these are all matters of interpretation, argumentation, and strife. It’s not clear in the Constitution, it’s not clear what a “wall” is, and so we’ll go round and round.
    The real underlying point is that there isn’t a fixed text that has a clear meaning. Ummm, Derrida’s point? The one the conservatives have made fun of for forever and a day? The Constitution is not transparent, author’s intentions are not the easiest thing to discern, and I personally hope Congress has found a way to regulate neighborhood nukes! Even though there’s nothing in the Constitution AND nothing in the daily experience of the Founders regarding this kind of armament.

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  4. David says:

    POA, Hillary has to speak at the AIPAC conference. What she says is what matters. There is no more difficult tightrope for Democrats in Congress or the White House than Israel-Palestine. I think I remember Hillary saying, while First Lady, that Palestinians had to be treated fairly. Same shitstorm as when Howard Dean said same during the 2004 primary. Biden and Clinton are our best bets for smackdown instead of backdown, if same is in the offing. I do not know which it will be, but Biden and Clinton have already said things that were previously anathema for a national Democrat. They got said, but they also got whoever said them essentially crucified (cf. Jimmy Carter). I still suspect Likud and other Israeli reactionaries, who want nothing to do with peace because it will interfere with their “Manifest Destiny,” have finally gone too far even for Biden, Clinton, Obama, and the national Democratic team. I certainly hope so. The United States has been billeted on a train to nowhere worth going in the Middle East for as long as I can remember.
    It would be refreshing for the United States to do something right in the Middle East. We reached new heights for doing the wrong thing when we invaded Iraq, the previous high being the overthrow of Mossadegh. What makes Iraq special is the number of deaths and the poisoning of the environment. We did neither of those when we overthrew Mossadegh. I see Fallujah is experiencing a huge spike in birth defects. Gotta love white phosphorus and even more so “depleted” uranium -especially when atomized so that it can be easily breathed and absorbed. What part of This is criminal continues to escape us?

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  5. Sweetness says:

    Dan, I’m not sure you’re quite right about all of this…
    Dan: The European Union is not just a single isolated diplomatic achievement, but a whole series of diplomatic achievements that have been the work of two generations.
    SN: Yes.
    Dan: The enemies of European unity are indefatigable and legion, and number particularly some hard line zionist provocateurs around the world who, motivated by a program of tribal self-interest coupled to a spirit of vengeance and destruction, constantly work to identify potential sources of discord and conflict in Europe, and then provoke, exploit and intensify those conflicts. We see that same program carried out here in the comments section of The Washington Note on a daily basis.
    SN: This is old school and paranoid. First, whatever Pipes et al may do, their impact on Europe is too small to even measure, Geert Wilders and all. And I don’t think you’ve shown otherwise.
    The forces of disunion and even old fashion nationalism are alive and well and need no help from the Zionists. From the Basques to the Baltics to the Balkans to the former Soviet Republics you see folks wanting to separate often based on ethnicity and language other retrograde factors. I’m sure I’ve left out more than a few. This isn’t some Zionist plot and it doesn’t get its impetus from Zionism.
    In fact, I’d wager that if one were to study this and list all the causative factors, Zionism would be a vanishingly small factor–if it appeared at all. In any event, you’re far from making your case, IMO.
    Just scroll back a few threads to Nir Rosen’s piece where he speaks glowingly (I don’t think that’s too strong a word, though I’m working from memory) of Persian nationalism–not even Iranian nationalism, but Persian nationalism.
    (It’s funny how nationalism is okay, even praiseworthy, when its Persian nationalism or another nationalism, but horribly retrograde and racist and so 19th century when its Jewish nationalism. But I digress…)
    Dan: It hasn’t always been this way, since Jewish intellectuals have also historically been among the chief promoters of unitarian, anti-nationalist and universalist ideals.
    SN: Yes. I tend to fall into this group myself. But it’s worth noting that “rootless cosmopolitanism” was ALSO a problem for many of the Jews who held to these views. In fact, if you read MacDonald, whose views were espoused here by our very own arthurdecco, you’ll see he makes a form of this critique. Jews are TOO critical of the native culture and political structures. And they try to dilute the native culture by liberalizing immigration laws.
    I’d argue that many of the arguments held here about dual loyalty and treason have had SOME of their roots in this same nativist viewpoint.
    But the anti-nationalist, universalist tradition is alive and well among Jews (though, naturally enough, they don’t make a big deal of their Jewishness–how could they?): Sy Hersh, Glenn Greenwald, Tony Karon, Marcus Raskin and others at IPS, many of the folks at tpmcafe, Arthur Waskow (in his own way) and others I can’t bring to mind right now. Probably most of the Jews in academia, with some exceptions of course.
    Dan: But there are those who appear to believe that the solution to the problem of Jewish weakness in the world is to divide *everyone else* into weak, conflict-ridden and small tribal blocs, and those people appear to be in a political ascendancy.
    SN: There are those who believe this, but how powerful they are, how much impact they have on, for example, European union and disunion, is something that remains to be seen. Do you really think the former Yugoslavia shattered into a million pieces because of Zionist intrigue? I don’t.

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  6. nadine says:

    “No, it’s not there. You’d have to look extra-Constitutionally to find out what “establish” meant to them. So suddenly you’re not a total originalist because you have to look outside the document. ”
    Um, questions, if you don’t know what the word means, you have to look outside the Constitution for every single word in it. What does ‘representative’ mean? What does ‘militia’ mean? And so on.
    But having defined the words, certain phrases are IN, and certain phrases are NOT IN, the Constition. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” is IN. “separation of church and state” is NOT IN.
    If it is an interpretation to read the phrases that are IN, then it is an interpretation of an interpretation to add in phrases that are NOT IN.

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  7. questions says:

    “By the way, what’s your hang up with what an “established church” means? It was not an ambiguous term to the Founders. An established church meant a church like the Church of England: an official state church that is funded by the government. In England the monarch is the head of the Church of England. Other churches might be tolerated but they don’t get funding and were often constrained regarding their freedom of worship. For example, for a long time Catholics were not allowed to build churches in England. The Bill of Rights said, none of that here, all churches stand on a level footing in the USA.”
    A thousand bucks says you can’t fine “An established church meant a church like the Church of England” in the Constitution!
    No, it’s not there. You’d have to look extra-Constitutionally to find out what “establish” meant to them. So suddenly you’re not a total originalist because you have to look outside the document. Then you have to wonder how many steps away from “establishing” Congress can go. So they can’t declare, but can they implicitly recommend? Can they reward those who participate even if they don’t punish those who refuse? Can they take turns every day on C-SPAN praising a particular denomination? Can they send money? Can they task a church to do state business?
    There are lots and lots of spaces for interpretive contention. It’s none of it in the Constitution itself. We must do interpretive work and draw lines all over the place. I think Newdow was right, but unsupportable anyway because of the level of contention. I think the Texas Board is wrong. The wall of separation is Jefferson’s phrase, and if it’s okay to use a dictionary to figure out what “establish” meant to them, then probably Jefferson’s letter is ok too. Besides, there’s a whole helluva lot of precedence.
    Let’s face it, the Texas Board people are ill-educated and not in a position to set nationwide standards for text books.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We give billions to the Palestinians too, Tom…”
    During Fiscal Year 2009, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $7.0 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians.
    http://www.ifamericansonlyknew.org/stats/usaid.html#source
    Nadine, you lying sack of shit.
    Please supply us with credible evidence that “We give billions to the Palestinians too”.
    Excerpt from above….
    $225 million have been appropriated for economic aid to the Palestinians and $75 million for support of PA police training, etc. for FY2009. The U.S. also provided just over $61.5 million (as of February 13, 2009) in emergency humanitarian aid through USAID, UNRWA, and the International Committee of the Red Cross following Israel’s assault on Gaza.
    Another excerpt from above…
    The source for US military aid to Israel during Fiscal Year 2009 is the Congressional Research Service’s “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, updated February 3, 2009. According to this report, by early February 2009, the US had already given Israel at least $2.55 billion ($2,500,000,000) in military aid for Fiscal Year 2009.
    What Nadine doesn’t seem to understand….
    Advancing easily discredited lies in presenting your case actually destroys the credibility of EVERYTHING you say, and destroys any chance of your arguments being considered moral or coming from a respectable character. If you have to lie to advance an argument, then the argument is obviously not worth advancing. Most people learn this by the time they are adolescents. This lying bigot Nadine will NEVER get it, apparently.

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  9. nadine says:

    Obama asked the Saudis, the Egyptians, and the Palestinians for cooperation on Mideast peace talks. He got nothing from them, less than nothing. The Palestinians utterly refuse to talk. (One might ask why, if they hate the occupation as much as they claim, they don’t want to negotiate an end to it.)
    Obama ordered the Israelis to make a settlement freeze. Netanyahu gave a 10 month moritoriam on West Bank settlements, not Jerusalem. The US said, thank you very much.
    Now Israel builds in Jerusalem, exactly like it said it was going to do, and suddenly it’s an insult? an affront? With Tom Friedman, apparently still sucking up to the Obama administration, talking about how Israel should get more in touch with our strategic needs?
    There used to be a Tom Friedman who understood that projecting weakness in the face of total Palestinian intransigence served only Hamas’ strategic needs. That Tom Friedman is dead and gone, only a puffy-faced apparatchik remains.
    We give billions to the Palestinians too, Tom, how about THEY show some understanding of our strategic needs? But noooo, nobody can even press them to sit down at the table. They are helpless babies who must be given candy whenever they throw a tantrum. Tom even talked about their good leadership on Meet the Press, as if Hamas and the Fatah Central Committee didn’t exist. As if Fayyad were a real leader with power, instead of a designated bagman. Incredible.

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  10. DonS says:

    Normalizing Nadine’s views as ‘conservative’ is a slippery slope. Her view as ultra-conservative, even reactionary. But it’s nice, questions, that you are so understanding.
    ****************
    As to the Friedman interpretation– and I see him as a a panderer to the conventional wisdom — Netayahu’s reaction may, too, be inside Israel politics. Bibi is quite mindful that he was last brought down as PM by a miscalculation of overstepping his affronts to the US, and he would like to pin this on on Shas if he can avoid that fate again.
    Friedman says “It is a measure of how much Israel takes our support for granted and how out of touch the Israeli religious right is with America’s strategic needs. ” What he does not say that it is a measure of how much of the non-religious spectrum of Israeli politics is likewise ‘out of touch’ with Americas strategic needs. If Friedman were to be even more honest he would say it is evidence of how disdainful Israeli politicians are of America on many levels.
    In any case it cost Bibi very little to try to insulate himself from the action, and it means virtually nothing in the face of the action itself. But of course, the US-Israeli relationships is a mere kabuki dance of words. The US stopped engaging in diplomatic relations with Israel as ‘just another country’ a long time ago. Joe said it all: “no space”.

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  11. nadine says:

    ” The Iranian president reliably played straight man: “The Americans are forced to leave the region, leaving their reputation, image, and power behind in order to escape. The U.S. has no influence to stop expansion of Iran-Syria, Syria-Turkey, and Iran-Turkey ties. God willing, Iraq too will join this circle.””
    mitch, the Obami are busy pretending that nothing is amiss and that an Islamist Turkey is still a Western ally, instead of cosying up to Syria and Iran. Iran is openly sniggering at our weakness. I bet they can’t believe their luck.

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  12. nadine says:

    questions, ssshhh, don’t tell DonS that 40% of country describes themselves as “conservative”. Let him continue to think that conservative = radically fringe. I don’t think DonS can handle the truth on this point.
    “Re-interpretation is fine if it has an argument behind it. You’re happy with the end of the separation doctrine because you agree with the Texas Board that America is a Christian nation. Fine.”
    Re-interpretation arguments can never get a hearing if everybody is taught that the current interpretation is the only possible interpretation. That is why the pushback on separation of church and state is useful. I like religion regarded as a private matter, but the current position of forcing all branches of government into a pose of pure atheism makes no sense to me, and was certainly never intended.
    By the way, what’s your hang up with what an “established church” means? It was not an ambiguous term to the Founders. An established church meant a church like the Church of England: an official state church that is funded by the government. In England the monarch is the head of the Church of England. Other churches might be tolerated but they don’t get funding and were often constrained regarding their freedom of worship. For example, for a long time Catholics were not allowed to build churches in England. The Bill of Rights said, none of that here, all churches stand on a level footing in the USA.

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  13. Mitch says:

    Syrian President Bashir Assad, responding instantly following departure of the U. S. Under-Secretary of State from Damascus, invited the Iranian president to his capital. The Assad-Ahmadinjead press conference can be described most tactfully as a roast of the Obama administration. The two presidents announced removal of travel visas, meaning that Iranian terrorists are free to travel to the borders of Europe and Israel. Assad, not ordinarily known for humor, said of U.S. hopes of separating Syria from Iran that “[w]e must have understood Clinton wrong because of bad translation.” The Iranian president reliably played straight man: “The Americans are forced to leave the region, leaving their reputation, image, and power behind in order to escape. The U.S. has no influence to stop expansion of Iran-Syria, Syria-Turkey, and Iran-Turkey ties. God willing, Iraq too will join this circle.”
    This was right after Obama announced return of u.s ambassador. Obama has also given syria new plane parts and sensitive communication systems and word is Obama is offering Syria to enter IMF and gets nothing in return.
    But Samantha Power, Obama, Clinton jump on Israel at first oppurtunity and say nothing to syria. Samantha Power in 2002 said force should be used against Israel.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/obamas_iran_policy_collapses_t.html
    Condemn Israel and get closer relations with Syria.

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  14. questions says:

    “Netanyahu said he was blindsided. It’s probably true in the narrow sense. The move seems to have been part of a competition between two of Netanyahu’s right-wing Sephardi ministers from the religious Shas Party over who can be the greater champion of building homes for Sephardi orthodox Jews in East Jerusalem. It is a measure of how much Israel takes our support for granted and how out of touch the Israeli religious right is with America’s strategic needs. ”
    From the link DonS put in. Friedman thinks Netanyahu was out of the loop on this one.
    By the way, DonS, yes Nadine is reflexively conservative. Many people are.

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  15. DonS says:

    “The Bill of Rights forbids any law concerning the Establishment of religion. There is no mention of “separation of church and state”. It’s just not in there. What the Bill of Rights forbade was the Establishment of the Church of Virginia, for example.” (Nadine)
    Have others noticed that Nadine continues to stake out positions that are not just right leaning but radically fringe. Not that this is a crime. Liz Cheney after all is entitled to her wacko hate-filled lies too. Now one could argue that she is just making an argument over ‘interpretation’. But why bother to choose contentious and fringe interpretations to make a point if your not reinforcing them? As the Texas text book hijacking shows we appear to be entering a period when the John Birchers and similar hate groups are again feeling their oats. We’ll see how long it takes to relegate them back to the margins where they belong.

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  16. questions says:

    Happy pi day to those who celebrate this most secular holiday, by the way.

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  17. questions says:

    Note by the way that the interpretive work is a continuing process. Newdow lost his case this past week. Of course, he’s likely right that our currency shouldn’t acknowledge a deity, and our pledge to the demon and secularized state should also not acknowledge a deity. But sometimes a deity isn’t a deity, I guess. And besides, could you imagine the ruckus if suddenly our currency, not only no longer backed by the gold standard, is also no longer backed by the God standard? Wow, we’d collapse just like that! And the children. SOB. What of the children singing about “dawnzers” and praying to “Harold” (the name of God), and pledging allegiance (whatever that is) without their GOD??????????
    So all is not lost for religion in America, Nadine. All is not lost. You can always go to Texas and pray to a quarter in a classroom in front of a flag!

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  18. DonS says:

    Even Tom ‘suck onthiws’ Friedman thinks the Obama adminstration, and Biden in particular, should have reacted more forcefully to Israel’s provocation during his visit:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/opinion/14friedman.html?hp

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  19. questions says:

    Re-interpretation is fine if it has an argument behind it. You’re happy with the end of the separation doctrine because you agree with the Texas Board that America is a Christian nation. Fine.
    So America is Christian, T-Jeff is persona non grata. Using the documents surrounding the Constitution is unacceptable. Neighborhood nukes can’t be regulated. The plain meaning of the text is clear. “Establishment” is a truly clear word, and if Texas teaches that America is a Christian nation, that isn’t “establishment” in any sense of the word.
    Your counterargument that, “See, this is all because of interpretation (boo, hiss) misses the boat, though. Because you can’t talk about what “establishment” means unless you, ummm, well, talk about what “establishment” means. “What a thing means” is a way of saying “interpretation.”
    When we interpret, we set boundaries around evidence, and we make arguments for those boundaries. I would put any MB (member of the board) from Texas outside of the “founders” and I might be quite happy to include inside the boundaries letters from T-Jeff, or a couple hundred years of precedent, or the text of the Constitution which does indeed use that pesky term “establishment.”
    *****
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    *****
    Now, what does it mean to “establish” a church? Well, calling the US a Christian nation and teaching the same in text books seems to me to be a push in that direction. What’s a “church?” Is it just the building, so then “establishing” means putting up a building and naming it? Or is it a more overarching term, so “establishing” means giving lots of support, emphasis, help, and official love to something as general as “Christianity” or “Protestantism”?
    Again, ya gotta interpret. I go with broader readings of this stuff. Maybe you go with narrower ones. So it’s only if Texas board builds a building, names it “The Official Texas Board of Education Official Texas Southern Baptist Church of El Paso That All Students Must Attend Or Die” or whatever, starts sermonizing and collecting money.
    But there’s enough of a history of what “establishment” means that goes beyond putting up a building and naming it that I would worry very much about a school official who thinks that “establishment” is a very narrow term.
    A broad notion of “establishment” protects the religious-minded, protects the secular-minded, keeps us out of Protestant/Catholic and interdenominational Protestant wars. It’s supported by precedent. T-Jeff seems to like the strong separation doctrine, so it’s got some serious credentials.
    What more would you ask for?
    You always have to interpret. Law is coded in language and language is inherently ambiguous. There are very strong arguments against the Texas board dude. The problem, dear Horatio, is not in our interpretations. It’s in our interpreters. And their political commitments and demagoguery.

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  20. nadine says:

    Yup, it’s interpretation, questions. They object to an interpretation being taught as the only valid reading of the original text. That’s the thing about interpretations. They are subject to re-interpretation.

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  21. questions says:

    I believe the word of the day is, “interpretation.”
    Ain’t nothin’ in the Constitution about nuclear weapons. But I would hope that you’d agree that, umm, so-called “neighborhood nukes” (which Red Sox fans are tempted to use on Yankees fans) can be regulated by Congress?? Isn’t this one of those things it’s ok for Congress to do?
    We have to interpret words because words are ambiguous. There’s a long tradition of the Establishment Clause’s meaning “separation”:
    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.[30]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state
    That very same T-Jeff whom Texas has taken a mighty dislikin’ to!
    (Maybe it’s because they think T-Jeff is a rapper!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Pain
    They also left out hip hop as a “significant cultural phenomenon” — of course, it is significant, it is cultural, and mention of it might make some students feel included…..)
    By the way, according to Alexa dot com, we are all of us old men, grad school educated, no children, writing from campus. So now I know “Nadine” you are not what you claim you are! Probably you’re “Ned” and the husband thing is a ruse!

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  22. nadine says:

    questions, I had forgotten Texas’ outsize influence in texbooks, good point.
    But why “And by the way, another Tx. boarder came up with the truly beautiful line that paraphrased is: Where in the Constitution is there a separation of church and state? WOW!!”
    What’s the WOW!! for? The Bill of Rights forbids any law concerning the Establishment of religion. There is no mention of “separation of church and state”. It’s just not in there. What the Bill of Rights forbade was the Establishment of the Church of Virginia, for example. It never forbade laws forbidding shops to open on Sunday in observance of the Christian Sabbath, to give an example of religiously based laws. The principle of separation arose from arguments that religiously-based laws amounted to an implicit establishment of religion.

    Reply

  23. mitch says:

    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=170908
    The Zionist Organization of America also criticized Biden for his public condemnation of Israel.
    Biden’s public criticism violates his own “Biden Doctrine,” as stated in his November 2001 address at the ZOA Brandeis Dinner in Philadelphia’s Adams Mark Hotel, it said.
    In that address, then-Delaware senator Biden said, “Why is it that the one ally we have in that part of the world [Israel], that we have the right to publicly chastise them? We would not do that with any other friend… As much as the Middle East is always on our minds, the best thing we can do is keep it off the US and world press.”
    He also said that such criticism “emboldens those in the Middle East and around the world who still harbor as their sacred goal the elimination of Israel… It is not for you to tell them [Israel], nor for me, what is in their best interests. We should give them the right

    Reply

  24. LosGatosCA says:

    Two points.
    First, this situation was faultline in the 40’s, the 50’s, the 60’s,
    the 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s, the 00’s, and will continue to be
    forever. The Israelis have now gone native which is the big
    news in the past 30 years. The demographics are supposed
    to be the big news for the next 30.
    The boy who cried wolf and all that.
    Second, the Israelis are not interested in peace any more
    than the Palestinians are. It takes one to make an offer and
    two to tango. What does none make?
    The whole embarrass Biden with the settlements
    announcement was a sop to the American allies the Israelis
    trust – the rabid right.
    Life is simpler when you see that the collective stupidity of all
    these players is a feature, not a bug.

    Reply

  25. Neo Controll says:

    Thanks for the response Questions. Nadine does have a lot of information. Unfortunately it is in service of a very vile mind. You, on the other hand, seem well intended. On some level it is painful to note the juxtaposition.
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    NeoControll,
    Thanks for letting me know whom to write to and whom not to write to. Considering that you relegated me to the ash heap of history at some point, I’m not going to worry about what you relegate me to, now. Besides, I thought you didn’t bother reading my posts…..
    And in fact, I had Shas wrong and she knew more about that party than I did.
    I don’t mind having my mistakes corrected.
    As for my integrity and intellectual ability, I make no claims at all.

    Reply

  27. Neo Controll says:

    Questions, if you continue to act as if Nadine is someone to be listened to, engaged, even thanked, including her latest spew
    re: Texas book issue — reactionary, racist.
    re: Shas and East Jerusalem — reactionary, racist
    . . . you have serious problems with integrity and intellectual acuity.

    Reply

  28. questions says:

    From 2008:
    “The Council of Torah Sages of the Shas party, headed by former Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, has decided: Once government representatives start talking with the PA about splitting Jerusalem, Shas leaves the government coalition.”
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/125062
    How this kind of thinking might affect Netanyahu in 2010, I don’t know. But maybe the threat is real.
    Shas does seem to care less about territory, and more about race and class issues and the dominance of European Jews in Israel, so let the record be corrected on that point.
    From Wiki, the source for everything that may or may not be accurate:
    “They have never taken active measures to support the Gush Emunim movement and do not strongly favor the Israeli settlements, on which they are closer in policy to Agudat Yisrael than the Tkuma or Jewish National Front. Furthermore, it is also skeptical about Non-Observant Ashkenazi Jews being at the helm of State affairs, due to principly their ‘assumed’ reported discrimination against Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the early days of Israel’s Statehood, as well as opposing their non-Torah ideology. It defines itself as “social democratic” and has some leftist paper positions on economic issues. [1]
    Shas has at times been able to exert disproportionate influence by gaining control of the balance of power in the Knesset within the context of the traditionally narrow margin between Israel’s large parties, Labor and Likud, now joined by Kadima.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shas
    The point still stands that the parliamentary system is going to be Israel’s undoing.
    And it is interesting to think that maybe Netanyahu was actually surprised by this. But then, that’s what happens when you depend on fringe parties instead of forcing everyone into left/right two party systems.
    Thanks for the correction, Nadine.

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    Nadine, do you know nothing about the textbook business in the US? Texas buys textbooks as a single market for the whole state. It is the largest single purchaser of school textbooks. In order to be marketable in Texas, you have to write according to the Texas standards. The publishers write to Texas standards so they can sell there, and the rest of us are stuck with this drivel.
    The one balance against Texas is CA, but they have no money for textbooks, So Texas it is. For the decade. Unless you can convince your schoolboard to demand books NOT approved by Texas. We need a new market for school textbooks, because the current market is doing a disservice to all the Baby Rubins in the country.
    So Maryland textbooks are likely Texas approved! So Baby Rubin is gonna lose Jefferson cuz his daddy (I assume) is a conservative who has been with the dogs and fleas…. And by the way, another Tx. boarder came up with the truly beautiful line that paraphrased is: Where in the Constitution is there a separation of church and state? WOW!!
    And don’t forget, Texas banned Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
    http://www.amazon.com/Chicka-Boom-Book-CD/dp/1416927182/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268526443&sr=8-1
    And you can search inside, but it’s a little scary! You might not be allowed to visit Texas once you KNOW what’s in this book!
    Ahh, deep in the heart of Texas!

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “questions, whatever the merit of your argument about the power of fringe movements in Israel, they don’t apply to the current brouhaha at all”
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/182396
    Biden Came and Biden Went – Student March in Samaria
    Reported: 21:34 PM – Mar/13/10
    (IsraelNN.com) Thousands of school students from around Samaria, both religious and secular, are set to march Monday in northern Samaria, near the settlements of Mevo Dotan and Hermesh.
    Regional Mayor Gershon Mesika, referred to the renewal of the march, saying, “We are proud to renew the tradition of Gush Emunim marches throughout Samaria. Specifically in these days when some attempt to weaken us, we intend to connect more to the growing of Samaria, to faith and to action. We are very proud of the settlement enterprise, but especially proud of our young children, the glory of Israel. Biden came, and Biden went, but we will continue to flourish in Samaria.”

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “questions, whatever the merit of your argument about the power of fringe movements in Israel, they don’t apply to the current brouhaha at all”
    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=170908
    ADL ‘stunned’ by American tone
    By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
    14/03/2010 01:35
    Foxman dismayed at US’s “public dressing-down of Israel” over e. J’lem housing.
    The Anti-Defamation League expressed dismay on Saturday evening at Washington’s “public dressing-down of Israel” over new housing in east Jerusalem.
    “We are shocked and stunned at the administration’s tone and public dressing-down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem,” ADL’s National Director Abe Foxman said in a statement.
    He said Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley was especially harsh when he charged that Israel “undermined trust and confidence in the peace process, and in America’s interests” when the Interior Ministry announced the housing in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.
    Foxman said the US criticism was “especially troubling” because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had offered clear explanations of the announcement mishap both publicly and privately.
    ….further…
    The Zionist Organization of America also criticized Biden for his public condemnation of Israel.
    Biden’s public criticism violates his own “Biden Doctrine,” as stated in his November 2001 address at the ZOA Brandeis Dinner in Philadelphia’s Adams Mark Hotel, it said.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “questions, whatever the merit of your argument about the power of fringe movements in Israel, they don’t apply to the current brouhaha at all”
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3862084,00.html
    Yesha Coucil: Knesset should back PM, reject Clinton’s comments
    Published: 03.13.10, 22:40 / Israel News
    Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan said in response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh condemnation of Israel’s plan to build 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem, “all Zionist parties, both from the Left and the Right, should stand behind the prime minister at this hour, and reject Hillary Clinton’s intolerable comments.
    “This is a critical hour for our oath of allegiance to Jerusalem. The Knesset should unanimously announce that there will be no construction freeze in Israel’s capital,” Dayan added. (Shmulik Grossman)

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rarely dissappointing, Nadine always delivers a ration of shit. Just like clockwork.
    Want to become anti-semitic? Read a year’s worth of the obnoxious lying bigot Nadine’s bullshit.

    Reply

  34. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin points out that the announcement of new East Jerusalem apartments was made by a minister in the Shas party. Shas is a party of poor Orthodox Jews of Mideastern origin. The minister could care less about international relations or the fact that the apartments are five blocks over the old Green Line; he just wanted to announce to his constituents that he was looking out for them, bringing home the bacon, to mix a metaphor.
    Barry Rubin then observes that if reporters are too stupid/biased to recognize ordinary political hackery in an Israeli context, good luck on having them report accurately on any subjects that are more foreign or more complex!

    Reply

  35. nadine says:

    questions, whatever the merit of your argument about the power of fringe movements in Israel, they don’t apply to the current brouhaha at all.
    We are not talking about a West Bank outpost here. We are talking about building in East Jerusalem, which is part of Israel’s capital, which they annexed in 1980, which Israel has been building in since 1967, usually without objections. Israel has every right to build in East Jerusalem under Oslo, and Bibi never promised to stop. The percentage of Israeli Jews who fully support this is something north of 90%. This ain’t fringe.
    The Palestinians are just seeing their opportunity to throw a temper tantrum in hopes of getting freebies. They don’t want to negotiate (you never want to if you think you can get everything for free if you wait) so they will gladly seize on any excuse and magnify it to the max to run away from negotiatiating. Their aim is to delegitimise all Israel bit by bit: today East Jerusalem, tomorrow West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. They want everybody to buy the theory that Arabs can legitimately build and live anywhere in the Mideast, but Israelis only within an every-shrinking box, on Arab suffrance which (surprise!) never comes.

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    Oh, yes, questions, I read the NYT’s horror at the Texas curriculum being removed from the sole charge of the Left:
    “Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.
    Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

    In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. ”
    OMG! Putting in accurate historical information about internment camps in other countries, Soviet agents in the US and economists besides JM Keynes and Karl Marx! Oh, the humanity! Why, some student might get the idea that the United States is a decent place to live, instead of an unbroken chain of racism and slavery for which we should make atonement continuously! The horror, the horror!
    Actually the NYT article was pretty funny, though it didn’t mean to be. Their underlying assumption is that only radical leftists like Howard Zinn have the right to rewrite history along ideological lines. If anyone tries to right the balance along more centrist ideological lines, it’s an outrage.
    Unfortunately for Baby Rubin, he goes to school in Maryland.

    Reply

  37. mitch says:

    Haaretz reported Biden allowed Bibi’s staff to write Biden’s speech even after the mess up. Bibi’s staff had Biden put in the speech of Biden thanking Bibi for the clear up and it wouldn’t be built for a few more years and there was no crisis.
    Biden also invited Bibi over for tea in ten days for AIPAC conference.
    Bibi’s staff also had Biden put in his speech how israel was the best friend u.s had.
    Biden was played like a total fool.

    Reply

  38. mitch says:

    Biden allowed bibi’s staff to write the speech he gave saying israel was the best friend u.s had. Even after the slap they allowed bibi’s staff to control the whole speech.

    Reply

  39. mitch says:

    Yeah real fixer the U.S approach has been all over the place.
    First calling for full settlement freeze before knowing if you can get it. Then Clinton kissing up to bibi for a partial freeze.
    Then Clinton tried to force Abbas to say no to goldstone going forward without knowing this would make him look weak. This almost forced him to resign and make u.s look weak by not even being able to get abbas to do something.

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    And on the recent dissing/pissing match between Israel and Biden and Clinton, I wonder if the goal is to clear a space in which it becomes politically possible for Netanyahu to do something a little more positive.
    The political culture in Israel, the power of the fringe settlers, the weakness of the state in dealing with the fringe, the way that the center uses the fringe as a source of political power but then fails to discipline that fringe when push comes to shove… all very standard process. The Repubs have this problem with the religious right, Pakistan has this problem all over the place, Obama has this with the SINGLE PAYER ONLY left, and Israel, too succumbs. Gosh, you give somebody a little sense of political power and suddenly they want to dictate all policy and you can’t entirely say no because you were dumb enough to empower them so they could vote for you. (I think Machiavelli talks about this issue of empowering states/princes who suddenly overtake their benefactors.)
    I wonder if this little tempest in a thimble will provide just enough space for Netanyahu to be able to step somewhere without landing where a dog has gone before him.
    Might be nice if he could say, well, my hand is forced. Let’s get this show on the road. And if he could do this while STANDING STRONG, he doesn’t risk his political future, doesn’t tumble the house of cards that is the Israeli political system, doesn’t cause widespread panic, and maybe manages to do something vaguely humane in the process. Here’s hoping, at any rate.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    Ndine, it’s an important question how one knows the inner workings of anyone else’s psyche. And of course, at some level, we reach an epistemic limit right about the start of the hairline or the skull. So, no, I don’t really KNOW what goes through these guys’ heads. Nor, of course do I KNOW what goes through your head. And, if you push it just a bit in a Freudian direction, I don’t entirely now what goes through my head either (this is the space for the charge of “self-hating ethic”.)
    What would they say differently if they truly were anti-semitic? Well, they’d probably either be much more blatant about hating on people (which they aren’t) or they’d couch their language much more carefully and not back down quite so quickly when the point was called out over and over again.
    David Duke, if I have this correct, is pretty blatant. Many on the loony right are pretty blatant and unashamed. W and M backed down instantly. Not the mark of true anti-semitism.
    Maybe some of my reading of this point is generational. I don’t see anti-semitism under every rock. I don’t do the anxiety thing about Israel’s existential existence thing either. And I see the logic of the text as flowing from their realism and the sense that they seem to have that there are A)real, determinable national interests B)a natural foreign policy that C)is distorted/perverted by the demands of an effective D)citizen group — they likely wonder honestly just how much input citizen groups should have in the policy process. This is not an anti-semitic thing, it’s a “limits of democracy” thing and is in keeping with legitimate political discourse. Note that you have your own points you’d like out of the public discourse such as the multi-culti issues. Multi-culti-ism is a democratic response to democratic pressures not so much on the political system as on the educational and socio-cultural system. And you would like this debate ended in favor of a kind of expertise of judgment.
    So, in the end, I can’t KNOW what evil lurks in the heart of men as I am not the Shadow. But I don’t see anti-semitism so much as I see a foolish commitment to an incomplete, ill-defined, poorly constructed world view.
    And by the way, I’d like to dedicate this link to Baby Rubin and his future social studies text books brought to you by the GREAT STATE OF TEXAS! Woohooo!
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/12/845649/-Texas-Board-of-Education-vs.-America
    “9:30 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with “the writings of”) and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson’s ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don’t buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar’s problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.”
    Jefferson is O-U-T!!!!!!!!
    What will Baby Rubin do now?
    I think the phrase is, if you lie with dogs, you get fleas!
    The right’s coalition with the religious right is not serving the other goals of the right, now, is it?

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Clinton should decline the invitation to speak at the AIPAC convention. But she won’t.
    She will cowtow and mewl her unshaken subservience to Israel in the usual ritual at the AIPAC slobber fest. Then she will get back to work marketing future wars with Syria and Iran, reading from the Israeli Handbook On Frying Muslims.

    Reply

  43. mitch says:

    On Friday, Mrs. Clinton told the prime minister that the United States expected Israeli officials to take “specific actions” to show “they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process,” Mr. Crowley said.
    He declined to say what those actions were, though other administration officials said the United States hoped Israel would do something drastic enough to send a signal to the already reluctant Palestinian Authority that it was committed to the peace process.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/world/middleeast/13diplo.html?src=me
    So the consequences are they hope Israel does something. Wow real tough.

    Reply

  44. mitch says:

    U.S moving 800 millions worth of weapons from around the middle east to be stored in israel that israel can use.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1141745.html

    Reply

  45. David says:

    They’ve got steam now (3/12/10) thanks to Likud arrogance and the decision to insult Biden and again tell the Obama adminstration to go to hell. Obama, Biden, and Hillary can all claim the mantle of friend of Israel, so when they go into smackdown mode, which is now clearly justified in the minds of everyone but the pro-land grab Israeli zealots, they cannot be called enemies of Israel. Biden got it right in his comment that sometimes it takes a friend to deliver hard truth. I do not like much of anything about most of US-Israeli conduct in the Middle East. I also do not like the bomb throwers who have given Israel political space to wage war on the Occupied Territories. Even less do I like the circumstances under which Israel was founded. I also find Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pro-violence fundamentalism reprehensible, and am troubled that the pro-peace aspects of all three theologies have so little sway.
    But I do see possibility that did not exist before, and it is courtesy of Bibi and Likud’s raw land grabs and utter disregard for Palestinian rights, but even more so that the fools chose to insult Biden and the Obama administration. Bibi has flipped off Obama one too many times, and in a too-high-profile way. Sad that it takes something like this to open up the possibility of more just treatment of Palestine, and after unconscionable treatment of the residents of the Occupied Territories, but it is actually the exception to humankind’s history when anything that might actually point toward more just, more peaceful ends is ever even a possibility. Just ask the Native Americans. Mostly we indulge in wars, resource exploitation, and injustice for whoever is in the way of our collective wants (“vital national interests”). But sometimes, just sometimes, conditions and events converge in a way that points in a better direction. This could damned well be one of those moments.

    Reply

  46. mitch says:

    Jpost reporting Biden apologized to Netanyahu at the dinner for the condemnation.
    During that time, Biden met with his staff at the David Citadel Hotel and was in touch with Washington to decide how to respond to the Ramat Shlomo announcement. Netanyahu’s associates said the dinner was still warm in more ways than one, and that Biden was apologetic about condemning the building project.
    http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=170829
    8th paragraph from bottom

    Reply

  47. ... says:

    nadine quote “There has to some limit to how many times they can pick things out of context that ‘just happen to fit’ into anti-Semitic tropes before they run out of the benefit of the doubt.”
    can we extend this same idea to those who are always claiming anti-semite in everything they see, hear or touch too? a limit would be a great idea… from my pov, you reached your limit a very long time ago too!

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    “W and M aren’t anti-semites. They’re realists. They aren’t congressional scholars. They’re not historians. And they are cataloguers, rather than good analyzers. Doesn’t make them anti-Semites. They borrow tropes because of tin ears, not because of actual hatred.) Note also, Walt is Hahvahd, Mearsheimer is from the U of C.” (questions)
    If they were anti-Semites, what would they say differently? There has to some limit to how many times they can pick things out of context that ‘just happen to fit’ into anti-Semitic tropes before they run out of the benefit of the doubt.
    Perhaps as a mental exercise, you could substitute lists of examples of welfare fraud by people of color in place of the lists of the machinations of THELOBBY, and see if W&M would be cleared from charges of racism as easily as they have been of anti-Semitism.

    Reply

  49. Paul Norheim says:

    “If you’d prefer, I won’t dedicate the next installment to you!”
    I appreciate your concern. I agree that those who advocate for a
    change of policies, obviously should reflect upon the possible
    outcome and unintended side effects of such changes. But that
    should be an obligation for everyone reflecting upon foreign
    affairs in war and peace. As for US policies in the ME and in
    some Muslim countries outside the region, my impression is
    that the unintended consequences during the last decades more
    often than not were more significant than the achieved
    objectives. Iran and Afghanistan are perhaps the most
    prominent examples – both with roots in the cold war, as you
    have often pointed out.
    Going out soon, having a beer with some old friends from Oslo,
    and won’t have more time commenting today at least. And
    tomorrow I’ll hopefully receive my new large keyboard to
    connect to and play synthesizers and piano from my Mac. If so, I
    won’t be much to see around here fore a while.
    Perhaps you could dedicate the next installment to Nadine and
    WigWag, and see if that changes your perspective ever so
    slightly?

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Re the morals issue — the thing is that if the authors think that “dual containment” is a perfectly fine thing, which they certainly seem to, then anyone with a morals-based argument regarding the I/P situation needs to be really careful making use of the part of W and M they like — THELOBBY — while dismissing W and M’s central concern which is that there’s a distortion of our policy and “dual containment” is where we should be.
    Remember the real issue isn’t THELOBBY, it’s distortion or perversion of a more natural policy. Given that this more natural policy they argue for is responsible for those half-million dead Iraqi children over lord knows how many years of sanctions (I think this number is probably really suspect because it’s a number I saw for years, literally, during the sanctions). I think it’s incredibly foolish to argue for distortion/perversion of a natural state, and I think anyone who leans on W and M is stuck with this notion as well. I don’t know how much you get to pick and choose. The distortion/perversion point IS what the book focuses on. Then it just gives vast numbers of examples of distortion/perversion to highlight its case.
    I don’t see how you can accept the distortion/perversion argument and then reject the “dual containment” solution. What is the policy in the ME if it’s “even handed” — what does that even mean? For W and M, it means dual containment of Iran and Iraq, and I’m just getting to what they think of Syria and Lebanon.
    All of the nations in the region are brutal, retrograde, deeply problematic, structurally disastrous, divided, unstable, and not exactly the nations you want to hang out with. So when they single out Israel as the most problematic, I dunno. I have a problem with that. And when they see some other more natural policy, again, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
    So there are fundamental problems with their basic outlook. There are certainly fundamental problems with their research methods. And I would guess that these two issues will lead to, umm, fundamental problems with their conclusions.
    Is the book brave or foolhardy? Aristotle notes that bravery is the mean, foolhardiness and cowardice are the extremes. I think the book is foolhardy. I don’t think they cleansed anything, aired anything out, did themselves or the discourse any favors.
    I could certainly imagine a book that criticizes Israeli behavior for a host or perfectly reasonable reasons, that wonders why US policy is as it is, that looks at what it would even mean to “crack down,” that wonders what all international acts of charity and state building are all about, that wonders quite honestly what the “proper” sources of all sorts of policy are (should we have citizen rule only for redistributive policy and not at all for IR? Should there be no citizen input at all for any policy? Should only the charitable loving Christians make decisions? These questions could be asked and thought through in a readable, well-sourced thoughtful book that wonders what we should be doing.
    Fact is, so far, I have seen so little proper thinking in W and M as to make me wonder how anyone could think this book does anything brave or correct, come to think of it.
    Is there room for criticism and suggestions for changes in policy? Of course. And the work should be done. Without anti-semitic tropes lurking. With proper congressional scholarship. With an understanding of historical research. with a sense of the complexity of historical events. With care. And with careful scholarship. None of which these guys provide.
    I will eventually continue with the postings, thanks for the response! If you’d prefer, I won’t dedicate the next installment to you! You’ve done your bit to half-defend the publication of the book, while being willing to admit that it might have flaws. And that, at least, I appreciate.
    Nadine, there’s some rule (like the inverse ninja rule) that notes how many postings it takes in a thread before Nazism comes up. Let’s try to break that rule and leave Hitler et al out of it. W and M aren’t anti-semites. They’re realists. They aren’t congressional scholars. They’re not historians. And they are cataloguers, rather than good analyzers. Doesn’t make them anti-Semites. They borrow tropes because of tin ears, not because of actual hatred.) Note also, Walt is Hahvahd, Mearsheimer is from the U of C.

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    I have discussed the validity of these claims on and on with
    Questions before, and have no intention of boring the readers by
    repeating myself.

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    “Now the “Lobby” issue. As we all know, this is a minefield. I’ll not go into the scientific methods and validity of their arguments. It’s no surprise that you, Questions, think that they should have asked experts on congressional processes etc. to contribute. Their book is not the last word on this subject. But as I see it, Walt and Mearsheimer are doing everybody a favor by their approach. If they had not touched it, the field would encourage more conspiracy theories and suspicion.” (Paul Norheim)
    So, to summarize: It’s a minefield. I won’t discuss whether W&M’s methods and arguments are valid or not. But they did everybody a big favor to touch the subject anyway, otherwise the field would encourage even more conspiracy theories.
    Not from Harvard scholars, presumably.
    You sidestep question’s main objection to the work, which is that it has an illogical and invalid style of argument, thus admitting the possibility that questions is right. However, you seem to think W&M have done us a favor even if their arguments ARE bogus.
    How can bogus arguments do anyone a big favor? Arguments which accidentally, on purpose, or maybe accidentally-on-purpose fit into half a dozen ancient anti-Semitic tropes? That’s a good addition to public discourse? Think about who is the real recipient of this “favor”. Geez, what’s their next favor? Paraphrasing Mein Kampf? Why not, if neither the invalidity of their argument nor its offensiveness weigh against it?
    What happened to the old standard that scholars should publish responsibly and use valid arguments? or that this responsibility was especially strong when publishing material that is apt to be misused by demagogues? Bogus arguments that lend support to bigotry are not only not productive, they are counterproductive.
    Saying that scholarship is useful whether its main argument is valid or bogus is like saying currency is valuable whether it is legitimate or counterfeit.
    Counterfeit currency is only valuable if you intend to defraud someone.

    Reply

  53. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok, Questions, I guess I owe you a response. Here are a couple
    of thoughts right now.
    First the humanitarian/moral argument.
    We are not dealing with absolutes here, but let me use an
    example:
    Person A is a “realist” who believes that US ME policies favor
    Israel to the detriment of core US interests – among them, say
    oil and gas.
    Person B is a compassionate moralist, and believes that US ME
    policies favor Israel in ways that make the Palestinian
    population suffer.
    Person C is first and foremost concerned with peace and
    stability, and believes that US ME policies favor Israel in ways
    that destabilize the region and threaten world peace.
    Person D is an American patriot and nationalist, angry because
    US foreign policies are influenced by “foreigners”.
    Of course all four of them may refer to Walt and Mearsheimer to
    show how the US favors Israel and the factors enabling these
    biased policies – regardless of the actual concerns of W & M,
    and regardless of possible outcomes of the policies W & M
    themselves may prefer.
    We are not talking about priests in a church here, but about
    political arguments, philosophical definitions, and descriptions
    of policies. The validity of their arguments and descriptions
    regarding US bias are not based on the actual concerns or goals
    of the authors, or whether these concerns and goals are shared
    by others who also happen to think that US ME policies are
    biased.
    ———————————-
    Separated from that issue, it is of course both interesting and
    perfectly valid to discuss or question W & M’s “realism” . Is this
    an immoral approach? Do we get an adequate understanding of
    IR by assuming that states are rational actors? How do we
    define “national interests”? And so forth…
    But the degree (or lack) of compassion of the authors is largely
    irrelevant as to whether US policies favor Israel and the degree
    and kind of pressure enabling this bias.
    ————————————
    Now the “Lobby” issue. As we all know, this is a minefield. I’ll
    not go into the scientific methods and validity of their
    arguments. It’s no surprise that you, Questions, think that they
    should have asked experts on congressional processes etc. to
    contribute. Their book is not the last word on this subject. But
    as I see it, Walt and Mearsheimer are doing everybody a favor by
    their approach. If they had not touched it, the field would
    encourage more conspiracy theories and suspicion.
    W & M make a bold effort to define a phenomenon that is less
    than, and different from a conspiracy, and larger than a single
    lobby organization or group of strict lobby organizations, to
    describe a significant and constant pressure on different levels
    of US policies, leading in a specific direction.
    How do you do that? They are not particularly happy with the
    term “lobby”, but they define the complex elements contained in
    this word, and decide to use it – probably both due to rhetorical
    economy and for polemical reasons.
    Yes, I would guess for polemical reasons too. However, my
    simple, but I think very important point here, is that they define
    it in ways that invite their opponents – among them Questions –
    to analyze it and disagree.
    With this approach Walt and Mearsheimer have cleansed the air,
    and in my view enabled an open debate where rational
    arguments and facts may have more weight than fear,
    aggression, imagination and suspicion. By making a clear
    attempt to define, instead of being deliberately vague while
    discussing the heart of the matter, they allow us to see the
    imperfections and problematic aspects of their definition. Their
    pamphlet does not contain the ultimate Truth. And their goals
    (“American interests”) are not my goals. But I think parts of their
    important book is inspired by the tradition we call the
    Enlightenment, mentioned several times above on this thread,
    inviting others to disagree with them – and not by the
    authoritarian, obscurantist and irrational spirit so prevalent on
    both sides of this conflict.

    Reply

  54. samuelburke says:

    hopefully israel will not have the u.s to kick in the teeth anymore
    after this process has run its full course.
    andrew sullivan has this at the atlantic.
    Did Netanyahu Know?
    11 MAR 2010 12:48 PM
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/
    did-netanyahu-know.html#more
    “Joe Biden was kicked in the balls as he came to Israel with a
    simultaneous “fuck you” by the Israeli government announcing
    new settlements – 1600 houses – in East Jerusalem. The
    immediate spin was that Netanyahu was blindsided by the
    actions of his Interior Department and was embarrassed. But
    Haaretz reports today that these 1600 are just the beginning:
    Some 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods
    beyond the Green Line are in various stages of planning and
    approval, planning officials told Haaretz. They said Jerusalem’s
    construction plans for the next few years, even decades, are
    expected to focus on East Jerusalem.
    Most of the housing units will be built in predominantly Jewish
    neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, while a smaller number
    of them will be built in Arab neighborhoods. The plans for some
    20,000 of the apartments are already in advanced stages of
    approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder
    have yet to be submitted to the planning committees.
    But Laura Rozen, always worth reading, sees skepticism in
    Israel:
    Many observers were skeptical that Netanyahu was as in the
    dark about the plan as he claimed to Biden.
    “Either one believes Netanyahu and his friends in government
    (saying it is all misunderstanding and bad timing),” wrote
    Jerusalem Post blogger Shmuel Rosner. “In such case, one
    should be concerned by Israel’s chaotic decision-making
    process on delicate matters.”
    “Or, one might choose not to believe,” Rosner continued. “One
    might think Netanyahu isn’t telling the truth, or that [Interior
    Minister] Yishai is bluffing. If it’s the former, one will conclude
    that Netanyahu has no intention of seriously exploring the just-
    announced peace negotiations. If it’s the latter one will realize
    that Shas and Yishai are strong enough to toy with Netanyahu as
    much as they want – as much as embarrassing the American
    [Vice President]! – without paying a price. Not an encouraging
    thought.”
    I cannot read Netanyahu’s mind. But I can observe Israel’s
    actions. They intend to occupy and colonize the entire West Bank
    for ever. They may allow some parceled enclaves for
    Palestinians, but they will maintain a big military presence on
    the Eastern border of West Bank, and they will sustain this with
    raw military power and force. I certainly cannot see any other
    rationale for their actions these past few years that makes any
    sense at all. Many Israeli politicians now use the term
    “apartheid” for this future.”

    Reply

  55. PissedOffAmerican says:

    While the jackasses of the Wig/wag/Nadine ilk vomit forth with their accusations of anti-semitism, the more insipid apologists such as questions continue their “nothing to see here folks, move on” mantra.
    But reality dispels both strategies, described above. The FACTS on the ground, and the OBVIOUS and insidious influence the Israeli lobbies have on United States’ foreign policies….
    http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2010/03/11/israels-lobby-imposes-crippling-sanctions-on-america-again/
    Israel’s Lobby Imposes Crippling Sanctions on America — Again
    by Grant Smith, March 12, 2010
    The Israel lobby’s campaign against US and international corporations doing business with Iran is gearing up this week. The tip of the spear is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee sponsored expansion of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996. If signed into law by president Obama, the legislation would institute onerous new monitoring to ensure exports never enter Iran, along with mandatory divestment from and penalties for any corporations discovered doing business in Iran. A new type of “office of special plans” at the Treasury Department that AIPAC and its think tank lobbied to create by executive order in 2004 is also on the warpath. Stuart Levey, the head of the office of “Terrorism and Financial Intelligence” is traveling to Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman “pointing out that they face dramatic risks by doing business with Iran.” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon finished a long set of meetings urging the US National Security Council to impose harsh sanctions on Iran.
    The New York Times started the week with a list of corporations doing business in Iran and their US government procurement revenues. Most companies on this list long ago appeared on hit lists compiled by AIPAC for quiet divestment campaigns in state legislatures across the country. The New York Times ominously highlights in red any company that may be a “possible violator of the Iran Sanctions Act.” National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, after reading it, was apoplectic. He fretted aloud on the air whether US companies and subsidiaries on the target list were “betraying their country’s national security interests.”
    continues…
    http://www.aipac.org/1680.asp#33942
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Speak at Policy Conference 2010
    Clinton will address more than 6,000 conference delegates.
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed that she will address a plenary session at AIPAC Policy Conference 2010, which will be held March 21-23 in Washington, D.C. This will be her first policy address on the U.S.-Israel relationship since joining the Obama administration. Secretary Clinton joins a list of other dignitaries who have confirmed their attendance, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Amb. Michael Oren, Col. Richard Kemp and Prof. Alan Dershowitz.
    End AIPAC excerpt.
    So, Israel shits in Biden’s hand, and Hillary reacts by announcing she will observe the required ritual of pledging subservience and fealty to her Israeli masters. This is our Secretary of State? This is how we demonstrate to the world our “super power” status?
    Meanwhile, AIPAC writes legislation for our so-called “representatives”??? Who runs this fuckin’ monkey farm in DC, Netanyahu? A few zionist fanatics are pulling Washington’s strings, and so called “americans” point the fingers of accusation at the american’s that decry such corrosive influence? Or some detached from reality insipid little jackass would have us ignore whats glaringly paraded right before our very noses?
    We are considering Muslims to be a danger to us domestically? Maybe we oughta reconsider, and look at who is REALLY endangering our security here.

    Reply

  56. samuelburke says:

    “Israel indicts soldiers for using human shields, but says
    Goldstone had nothing to do with it
    by ALEX KANE on MARCH 12, 2010 · 7 COMMENTS
    Wait a second. I thought Richard Goldstone’s United Nations
    report on the Gaza assault was “a distorted, false, and
    irresponsible report.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/03/israel-indicts-soldiers-for-
    using-human-shields-but-says-goldstone-had-nothing-to-
    do-with-it.html
    From Haaretz:
    The Israel Defense Forces prosecution on Thursday filed an
    indictment against two combat soldiers suspected of
    inappropriate conduct during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip
    in 2008.
    The soldiers, who served as staff sergeants in the Givati Brigade
    during Operation Cast Lead, allegedly forced a 9-year-old
    Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might
    contain explosive materials. The bags turned out to be harmless.
    The soldiers, who breached the army’s rule against using
    civilians as human shields during war, will be tried for violating
    their authority and for inappropriate conduct. An Israeli military
    official said the soldiers could face up to three years in jail.
    The incident in question occurred in the Tel Al-Hawa
    neighborhood in south Gaza City in January 2009, toward the
    end of the war.
    The military said it opened the investigation after the incident
    was brought to its attention by the United Nations, but
    emphasised it was “completely unrelated” to a report issued by
    United Nations investigator Richard Goldstone.
    The Goldstone report (pages 218-232) examined four similar
    cases of Israeli soldiers using Palestinians as human shields.
    Mondo published Goldstone’s findings on the case of Majdi Abd
    Rabbo.
    Here’s more from Goldstone:
    The Mission received allegations that in two areas in north Gaza
    Israeli troops used Palestinian men as human shields whilst
    conducting house searches. The Palestinian men were allegedly
    forced to enter houses at gunpoint in front of or, in one case,
    instead of soldiers. The Mission investigated four cases. One
    incident took place in the Izbat Abd Rabbo neighbourhood and
    another in al-Salam neighbourhood, both east of Jabaliyah,
    close to the border with Israel. Two incidents took place in al-
    Israa neighbourhood, west of Beit Lahia. The Mission visited each
    of the locations and interviewed a number of witnesses. In each
    case, the Mission found the allegations to be credible.
    […]
    In more general terms, the Mission notes that the statements of
    the men used as human shields by the Israeli armed forces
    during house searches are corroborated by statements made by
    Israeli soldiers to the NGO Breaking the Silence. The soldier
    providing testimony 1 speaks of the “Johnnie procedure”: “It was
    the first week of the war, fighting was intense, there were
    explosive charges to expose, tunnels in open spaces and armed
    men inside houses. […] Close in on each house. The method
    used has a new name now – no longer ‘neighbour procedure.’
    Now people are called ‘Johnnie.’ They’re Palestinian civilians,
    and they’re called Johnnies […] To every house we close in on,
    we send the neighbour in, ‘the Johnnie,’ and if there are armed
    men inside, we start, like working the ‘pressure cooker’ in the
    West Bank.” This soldier then mentions that some commanders
    were “bothered” by the fact that “civilians were used to a greater
    extent than just sending them into houses.”
    http://irmep.org/ila/economy/06201984.pdf

    Reply

  57. samuelburke says:

    i want to dedicate this to americas friend in the middle east.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7545.htm
    “BRIT HUME, HOST: It has been more than 16 years since a
    civilian working for the Navy was charged with passing secrets
    to Israel. Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to conspiracy to commit
    espionage and is serving a life sentence. At first, Israeli leaders
    claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but later took
    responsibility for his work.
    Now Fox News has learned some U.S. investigators believe that
    there are Israelis again very much engaged in spying in and on
    the U.S., who may have known things they didn’t tell us before
    September 11. Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron has
    details in the first of a four-part series.
    Published: 12/12/01 FOX News. Part 1 of a 4 part series: Part 2-
    Part 3 – Part 4
    These items have since been removed from the FOX News web
    site:”

    Reply

  58. samuelburke says:

    justin raimondo over at antiwar speatheths so enjoyeth.
    double reverse hasbara.
    “US policy in the region is not only impervious to partisan
    politics, it is invulnerable against any consideration of American
    interests. Unlike our other satraps, Israel is accorded not mere
    respect, but deference: they’ve been given a blank check, and
    they fully intend to cash it.
    The reason for their arrogance is the unrivaled power of Israel’s
    potent lobby in the US, a well-coordinated and generously
    financed interest group that doesn’t brook any disagreement or
    deviation from its relentlessly consistent advocacy of the line
    that what’s good for Israel is good for the US. That this has
    never been true, and is even less true today, hasn’t stopped the
    entire US political and journalistic establishment from
    strenuously trying to enforce this fact-free orthodoxy — and
    smearing anyone who dares disagree as an “anti-Semite.”
    This smear-and-fear strategy hasn’t worked so well lately, due
    in part to the efforts of professors John J. Mearsheimer and
    Stephen Walt, whose book, The Israel Lobby, shattered the taboo
    against even mentioning the often decisive power of what is
    among the most powerful lobbies in Washington. Mearsheimer
    and Walt, however, appeared with their trenchant critique at a
    time when the objective conditions lent them momentum: after
    9/11, it was imperative that al-Qaeda be deprived of the
    Palestinian issue, as part of a larger effort to win over the
    Muslim majority worldwide. The breakdown of the unwritten
    code that used to restrict the policy debate naturally followed.
    The old narrative – let’s call it the “Exodus” narrative — which
    portrayed Israel as a beleaguered and victimized nation,
    heroically fighting – against all odds – to preserve the beacon of
    democracy in a sea of autocracies and Arab revanchists, is no
    more. In its place is what we might call the “Israel-gone-
    bonkers” trope, and it goes something like this: while the Israelis
    used to be the unalloyed Good Guys in the region, something
    happened on the way to the peace process that drove them over
    the edge. Maybe it was the pressure of being subjected to
    constant attacks, or simply the result of demographic changes in
    the electorate: in any case, for whatever reason, the Israelis
    seem to have gone nuts – and are damaging their own interests
    in the process.”
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/03/11/biden-in-
    israel/

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    “Do you think nobody notices who were the chief sponsors of Geert Wilders’s trip to the US last year? Horowitz? Pipes?” (Dan Kervick)
    Got it, Dan, you think that because Geert Wilders was invited by Daniel Pipes to give a speech in the United States that means the Zionists play an important role in exacerbating religious tensions in Europe.
    I suppose it was all those Jews in Holland who are responsible for his political parties big win in the bi elections last week. After all, when deciding who to vote for, voters in that nation are notorious for consulting Pipes and his ideological allies.
    In case you didn’t notice, Geert Wilders was invited to give a speech in the Chamber of the British House of Lords last week. Afterwards he gave a press conference on the grounds of the British Parliament. Wilders actually showed his film, FITNA, in the House of Lords Chamber.
    How does this sentence strike you,
    “As for promoting conflict among Europeans, I will point chiefly to the incessant efforts among British peers and other racialist and sectarian haters to alienate Europeans from their Muslim citizens.”

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    Hey Paul, while you’re out there somewhere, any thoughts on the W and M Report?
    After all, the series is dedicated to you!

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    Let me add one thing: You may approve or disapprove of
    printing cartoons ridiculing Islam and the Prophet in big news
    papers. Did mainstream papers in the United States like NYT,
    WP, or LAT print those cartoons? Not as far as I am aware of.
    Did Fox show the cartoons on TV? I don’t know. And personally I
    dispute the wisdom of doing so.
    But several big newspapers and magazines on both sides of the
    political spectrum did so in repressive European communist
    dictatorships like Denmark, Norway, and France.
    And when they published them and Muslims all over the world
    protested, the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of these
    Stalinist countries strongly defended the bolshevistic rights of
    the editors to publish these cartoons in the name of freedom of
    expression.
    Political correctness?
    Beyond the pale?
    Many on the left approved, and many disapproved of publishing
    the cartoons – and the same disagreement was reflected on the
    right.
    As to breaking the taboos and not adhering to political
    correctness on these matters, one may say that these events
    suggest that communist Europe so far has been willing to go
    further than the freedom loving capitalist states of America.
    Who knows: Perhaps even Nadine would feel that she could
    opine more openly about the Arabs in Denmark and Holland
    than in the United States?

    Reply

  62. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, I happen to live somewhere on this horrible continent
    called Europe. I can assure the readers of the Washington Note
    that in stark contrast to Nadine’s propagandistic claims, it
    makes no sense to claim that “Europe” suppresses discussions
    of all the usual issues and problems concerning the Muslim
    minorities and their relation to their host countries – like
    democratic principles, freedom of speech, culture clashes,
    respect for the laws in the host country, gender issues,
    extremism, religious symbols etc. etc.
    These discussions take place on a daily basis on European TV
    channels, in newspapers and blogs, as well as in bars and cafes
    and homes. On a general level, it is highly misleading to claim
    that they are dominated by political correctness or
    “suppression” the way they were in the 1990’s or 1980’s – at
    least in Scandinavia, Germany, UK, France, and Holland, to
    mention the countries I am most familiar with.
    If Nadine can’t resist the temptation to create fictions about
    scary and exotic places, I would strongly urge her to focus on
    the culture and mindset of the inhabitants on Mars, instead of
    imagining how horrible the conditions may be in well known
    European countries.
    Teabaggers and others who use Fox News as their main source
    of information may find her claims credible. But many
    Americans know better. And Nadine and the many rightwing
    bloggers and pundits in America should not forget that thanks
    to the advanced educational systems on our continent and the
    invention of something called internet, a handful of Europeans
    are even capable of understanding what these propagandists
    and fear mongers write about them, and compare their fictions
    with the facts on the ground.
    Also here in Europe we have strong disagreements on these
    issues, but to claim that we “continue to suppress discussion of
    the Muslim minority as ‘beyond the pale’ is utter nonsense.

    Reply

  63. nadine says:

    Dan, do you think nobody in this country notices that the Left and Islamists are working hand-in-hand to turn criticism of Islam into a hate crime called Islamophobia?
    The Left does their bit by calling anyone who criticizes Islamic radicalism, or suggests that Muslim immigration should be limited, a fascist and a bigot; the Islamists do their bit by making examples of offenders and killing them, or trying to, like Theo van Gogh or the Danish cartonist. Or by dragging them in front of kangeroo court ‘human rights courts’, as was done in Canada to Mark Steyn.
    You hear and see the media self-censoring themselves already out of fear. The BBC, for example, treats Islam with a cringing deference which it never extends to Christianity or Judaism. I once heard them give a self-described “history” lessen of Arabia with examples drawn from the Koran, which they treated as history.
    Never in a thousand years would the BBC treat Genesis as history, but then Christians don’t threaten to kill Biblical scholars who examine the texts with a critical eye. Enough Muslims do for the BBC to adopt a preemptive cringe.
    The Left won’t defend free speech concerning Islam or Muslims, so it’s left to the right to do it. This has very little to do with Zionism, unless you think Zionism now holds the copyright on free speech.
    Europe had better watch out. The more they continue to suppress discussion of the Muslim minority as ‘beyond the pale,’ the more likely they are to have real fascist parties arise in response.

    Reply

  64. ... says:

    poa, questions got excited at the thought i noticed they were channeling abe foxman directly…

    Reply

  65. ... says:

    “As for promoting conflict among Europeans, I will point chiefly to the incessant efforts among Zionists and other racialist and sectarian haters to alienate Europeans from their Muslim citizens.” (Dan Kervick)
    wigwag calls this comment dimwitted, when in fact this is the track that wigwag and nadine have been taking here at twn… better try a different tack when the rock gets turned over that you’ve been hiding under wigwag…

    Reply

  66. Carroll says:

    What was that wiggie stuff about zionism and Enlightenment?…my eyes are too glazed over to go find it.
    But I think wiggie does believe stuff like below although she doesn’t want to say it “too” out right. It’s funny because it’s the exact same idea some gentiles take up about the supremacy of the white christian race. All that insight into anti semitism?….it comes natural, she understands it because she’s on the other side of the coin.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/jew-be-not-proud-15313
    I’ve just published a book that attempts to explain Judaism’s view of life in the universe in terms of a few deep images, which have grown and deepened over thousands of years into brooding, beautiful thunderheads. But along the way I also make these assertions: the Jews are the senior nation of the Western world. Judaism is the most important intellectual development in Western history. The best ideas we have come straight from Judaism.
    The book has been bitterly attacked (by Jews) for arrogance and chauvinism. No surprise; every book is attacked. But these attacks are notable for their tone and for the suggestion some imply that my assertions are too wrong even to consider and must be sent back (so to speak) unopened. Now, if you compliment someone, he might find your compliments unmerited or undiplomatic or in bad taste–or, if you yourself are included in them, boastful. But he’s unlikely (ordinarily) to react with bitterness or fury. Nevertheless: some Jews are unusual in their tendency to respond to praise with a burst of machine-gun fire.
    That the Jews are the senior nation of the Western world is a fact of history: no other nation has survived since pre-classical antiquity as a coherent group with continuous religious, cultural, historical, and linguistic traditions. That Judaism is the most important intellectual development in Western history can only be a subjective idea, “not meant [the book says] to provoke Christians or Moslems or anyone else but to provoke thought. … Those who disagree with my judgment should offer their own candidate for `most important intellectual development’ and compare. … The point of the game is not the decision but the process of reaching it. “ (My reasons follow.) That “the best ideas we have come straight from Judaism” is an assertion based narrowly on a certain group of statements from the Bible and one from the Talmud.
    Of course, my assertions might be wrong; but some Jews see them as not merely wrong but crazy, destructive, unworthy of serious consideration. Why?
    In some cases the answer is, at least in part, Jewish self-hatred–which is a well-studied sickness. No people singled out for hatred and violence from age to age can resist flirting with the idea that its enemies might be right. It’s inevitable, also, that some Jews in every generation will suffer from sparrow-think: the conviction that your only defense from predators is to blend into the background.
    Moreover, it’s bad manners to boast or to draw attention to your accomplishments. And many Jews are obsessed with good manners, because wherever they are—even, some of them, in their own state—they feel like guests who must always be on their very best behavior.
    But nowadays there’s more at issue than these ancient plagues. PC and multiculturalism play a special role among Jews
    It’s true that, to virtually everyone of European or Mediterranean descent who is proud of his national or religious or cultural community, the spirit of the age whispers “sit on it.” If some young Jews are indignant at any assertion of Jewish greatness, some young Americans are likewise about America, and some young Europeans have evidently lost the national or cultural will to live. (Dissolving your nation like salt into the EU Sea is one easy route to national suicide.)
    Not only is everything Western presumed guilty, but abstractions and generalizations are evil in themselves, lest someone whisper that blacks are like this or women like that. Of course thinking without generalizing is like walking without moving, but virtuous young people know that it’s far better not to think than to think wrong thoughts. “If your thinking offend you, cut it out” is the motto of modern education. In House of Meetings (2007), Martin Amis’s narrator remarks of European young people that “they’re so terrorstricken by generalizations that they can’t even manage a declarative sentence. ‘I went to the store? To buy orange juice?’”
    But multiculturalism among Jews has a special, tragic resonance. It is a wickedly tempting overdose of morphine to a patient who has suffered too long.
    Jews have said they are God’s chosen people–and many are desperate to unsay it. History has proved their chosenness again and again; the Jews are God’s lightning rod, and mankind has struck them with explosive rage in every generation—rage at the idea that man must not be a mere animal satisfying his animal wants; that man doesn’t merely live but performs in a theater of God and must judge himself by God’s own standards. Rage over the invention of conscience. The Jews have paid dearly for their influence, their importance, their centrality to the history of the West and the world. Can you blame them for wanting, desperately, that soothing syringe-full of oblivion? Multiculturalism is uniquely appealing to Jews in its idea that, after all, all nations are the same, all are equally good and equally bad; multiculturalism is the perfect way for Jews to atone for the sin of chosenness. The last thing Jews want is to hear that they have been vindicated by history, have been right all along, because that means they must go on living. Must go on being Jews. And in every generation, b’kol dor va’dor, evil men will rise up against them and against their children.
    Of course boasting is bad whoever does it. Chauvinism is bad. Arrogance is bad. But it’s also bad not to know who you are. The Jews owe it to their ancestors, their children, and their own selves to know how they have changed history. Having figured it out, they must speak of it without arrogance or preening, but they must speak. Young Jews in America are increasingly in danger of valuing at zero the continued survival of the Jewish people—or of valuing it at the price of some folk music, some recipes, a few stale crumbs of Yiddish and a pocketful of loose Chanukah gelt.
    So I say again: the Jews are the senior nation of the Western world. Judaism is the most important intellectual development in Western history. The best ideas we have come straight from Judaism. My reasons are in the book. If you disagree, tell me why these ideas are false, not how much you wish they were.

    Reply

  67. Dan Kervick says:

    On Turkey and the Armenians: I am totally unqualified to comment on those events since I have never actually studied them. But the consensus among qualified historians, so far as I can tell, seems to be that it was an actual genocide. So I accept that judgment from my ill-informed spot in the cheap seats of history.
    I also think that the events in question happened a century ago. For what it’s worth, I think the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre was an actual massacre, that the Nazi Holocaust was an actual holocaust, that the Gun Powder Treason was an actual terrorist plot, that the Nakhba was an actual disaster, and that the Mongol sack of Baghdad was an actual slaughter, that Nanking Massacre was an actual massacre, that the Albigensian Crusade was an actual massacre and that the Sabra and Shatilla massacre was an actual massacre. I look forward to more Congressional Declarations on the Past as a constructive means of avoiding passing health care reform, financial reform or any other meaningful social and economic legislation.

    Reply

  68. Carroll says:

    >>>”For this lucid counterpoint, Steve Clemons says you play a useful part”<<<<<
    Steve is giving a platform to the other side.
    The non realist fanatical side.
    Wonder why? LOL

    Reply

  69. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, you must think I’m a moron.
    Do you think nobody notices who were the chief sponsors of Geert Wilders’s trip to the US last year? Horowitz? Pipes? Do these names ring a bell? Do you think nobody has paid attention to the rise of the “eurocons” and taken note of their steady stream of anti-Muslim polemics and literature, along with their very special love for one particular Middle East country?
    If you want zionists to get a clean bill of health as far as anti-Muslim goes, then why don’t you call up as many of your buddies in the pro-Israel community and and tell them to run – fast and hard – as far away from the new European fascist right as they can get. And tell the neo-fascists who swoon in ecstasies over the awesomeness of Israel, “thanks, but no thanks.” Otherwise, take your lumps.
    In the interest of fairness, here is a story about a German-Jewish leader denouncing the new right haters that so many American zionists seems to have no trouble admiring and associating with:
    http://www.thelocal.de/national/20091202-23675.html

    Reply

  70. nadine says:

    “Pro-Arab organizations are also no match for the major groups that make up the Israel lobby. There are a handful of pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian interest groups in the United States, but they are smaller than AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations, not nearly as well funded, and nowhere near as effective.”
    Yeah, and your point is… umm, what? In a pressure system, pressure works. But somehow the pressure becomes a perversion in this one instance?”
    questions, the trope is usually described with the following short conversation:
    a: “Jews steal.”
    b: “But other people steal too.”
    a: “Ah, but we are talking about the Jews.”
    It’s a very old and easily recognizable anti-Semitic trope.
    Also, it is news to me that the Saudi lobby is “not nearly as well funded” as AIPAC. I wonder if we could find some numbers? Of course, much of the Saudi money is spent in the form of patronage jobs for retired diplomats who are their friends, so you would have to measure the revolving door.

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  71. kotzabasis says:

    It is not surprising that Kervick after losing so much blood from the hammering nails of WigWag would make such an intellectually bloodless counter-riposte to the latter’s concrete and cogent argument. To back up his phantasms of “Zionists undermining European Unity” and the resurgence of Enlightenment in Europe, what does he bring up, the “Erdogan exchange with Peres” and the “racialist and sectarian haters to alienate Europeans from their Muslim citizens.” The so called “attempt by Zionist activists to drive a wedge between the US and Turkey, to quote Kervick, even if it was true, has nothing to do with the major premise of his contention that Zionists were undermining Europe. Further his argument that Zionists promote conflict among Europeans against their Muslim citizens is staggering in its vacuity and lack of contact with the real world. The Europeans are in conflict with their Muslim citizens not because of racialism and sectarianism but as a result of the great threat of internal and external Muslim terror. To suggest that the reasonable fear and concern that Europeans have against Muslims after the murder of their filmmakers and threatened lives of their cartoonists by Muslim fanatics has its roots in racialism, sectarianism, and ethnic chauvinism spawned by Zionists, shows how completely Kervick is detached and uprooted from reality.

    Reply

  72. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wig-wag has become no more worth reading than Nadine is.

    Reply

  73. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel Rules Out Concessions for Peace Talks
    Palestinian Negotiator Says Talks Won’t Be Renewed Unless Settlement Construction Stops
    by Jason Ditz, March 11, 2010
    Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum
    Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed reports today that President Abbas had decided to halt peace talks with Israel unless the Israeli government abandons construction in East Jerusalem settlements.
    This effectively means the end to the peace process, before it has even begun, as Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon later declared that not only will Israel not abandon the plan, they will never again offer any concession for peace.
    The concessions so far, to the extent that any have been made, amounted to an announced, albeit extremely limited, settlement freeze in the West Bank (not including occupied East Jerusalem). Even this freeze has largely been ignored by the government, which has approved a myriad of settlement construction since the announcement, culminating with this week, when the announcement of pending indirect peace talks was met with several announcements of new settlements.
    The US criticized the settlement announcements, but Minister Ayalon insists that the only real objection was that it coincided with Vice President Biden’s Israel visit, causing no end of embarrassment.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/03/11/israel-rules-out-concessions-for-peace-talks/
    This is what happens when you REWARD these murderous sacks of shit with praise and billions of American taxpayer money, after they commit war crimes of unspeakable proportions.
    And where the hell is our Secretary of State??? Hiding under a rock somewhere, no doubt, trying to figure out how to blame this on the Palestinians.

    Reply

  74. WigWag says:

    “As for promoting conflict among Europeans, I will point chiefly to the incessant efforts among Zionists and other racialist and sectarian haters to alienate Europeans from their Muslim citizens.” (Dan Kervick)
    This remark, Dan, is simply dimwitted. There is no evidence that European alienation from their Muslim neighbors has anything to do with Israel or with Zionists. European alienation from Muslims is an entirely homegrown phenomenon and is rooted in the same racism and bigotry that caused internecine strife between Christian sects for a thousand years and later led to the extermination of European Jews.
    It’s not Jews, Zionists or Israelis who are calling on Europeans to ban Minarets, publish cartoons that Muslims find offensive or ban head scarves. Muslims can wear head scarves in Israel and the United States and the big bad Zionist Lobby that so many dumb or bigoted people find objectionable has ever tried to intervene to prevent it.
    The Europeans on the other hand think up new ways every day to make their Muslim neighbors feel less at home.
    You’ve become the poster child for Walter Russell Mead’s argument, Dan. You can blame the Zionists for just about anything. So now that we know you think Zionists are working to exacerbate tensions between European Christians and European Muslims; what’s next? Will your next comment enlighten us about how global warming is really a Zionist plot?
    You’ve turned yourself into a caricature.
    By the way, Dan, you’ve never told us whether you believe that the Turks committed genocide by murdering 1.5 million Armenians.
    You’re not a genocide denier too; are you?

    Reply

  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, who turned Questions’ spigot on? Its a gal’ durned flood.

    Reply

  76. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “My advice is this; ignore the nitwits and stick to substance. Doing that makes you in the minority around here, but who cares?”
    Wig-wag, giving the ignorant bigot Nadine advice.
    Nadine has really brought wiggie out of her shell, hasn’t she? I think we all owe Nadine a “thank you” for yanking Wig-wag’s covers off. I haven’t seen Wiggie standing so overtly exposed since she attacked my partner, or became fixated with rebutting my posts by commenting about penis size.
    Marcus, Sal, Nadine, Wiggie…..
    What can anyone say that hasn’t been said. Isn’t there an old saying about birds and feathers??? No lets see, how’d that go……????
    Sometimes I kinda think that old saying woulda been more apropos if it was about snakes and scales.

    Reply

  77. DonS says:

    Dan Kervick’s post speaks volumes. Wig wag is foxily disingenuous. She adopts a nonchalance, except when driven to emotional extreme, that belies her very controlled and calculated aim. We have come to know that as having a bottom line, in foreign affairs, revolving around the State of Israel.
    Wigwag, you provide a very pointed counterpoint to the thrust of foreign policy discussion on TWN, which centers around the interests of the United States, and the re-establishment of a sane foreign policy for a US that is in decline thanks in no little part to actors motivated in great part by a narrative originating in Israel-centrism — from the neocons on down to the christiansts.
    For this lucid counterpoint, Steve Clemons says you play a useful part. And indeed you do as far as articulating the zionists’ viewpoint that, in nearly every measure, is antithetical to American interests. Were it not for you, and a couple of the other Israel firsters, this would seem to be a comment section devoted to quibbling about the edges but with a decided edge for an aggressive American foreign policy that promoted American interests.
    Finally, this focus on foreign policy is not about what Israel or the Palestinians do or dont do; not about who is right and righteous in the estimation of history. This discussion as framed on this blog is far more about what can possibly redeem a declining American credibility and stature in the world. There used to be a modicum of honesty and decency to that. You and your ilk don’t give a good goddam about restoring decency for America. In the end, your agenda in foreign affairs is to defend and promote Israeli interests. And, far be it from the AIPAC- inculcated mantra — that the interest of the US and Israel coincide — a pernicious lie has rarely been told.

    Reply

  78. Dan Kervick says:

    “I think that’s an entirely unfair characterization. While it is true that I did cut and paste the Mead piece on a thread about Israel-Palestine I don’t see anything inappropriate about that and I hardly make a habit of it.”
    As you know WigWag, you posted your excerpts from and comments on the Mead article on two separate posts. The first was the post about Jonathan Guyer’s cartoon on “breaking up” with Obama. It was not a thread about Israel, except to the bare extent that almost every thread here is ultimately turned into a thread about Israel. Apparently you were frustrated by your inability to start a row on that thread, so dropped the same content onto this one too.
    As to whether this kind of thing has become a habit, I will point to a post by yours of the same shabby propagandistic ilk on February 23rd near the very top of a thread about an agreement between Sudan and Chad, a venue you decided was eminently suitable for cutting and pasting a yellow journalistic personal broadside against the Leveretts.
    I have shut down a lot of my foreign policy commentary at TWN and elsewhere because I tend to think these days that I do more good by keeping my mouth shut than by opening it, and also because I am much more interested lately in non-political matters and just don’t have the time. I just don’t have as much time on my hands as I used to. So I’ll have to be fairly brief.
    As I have said many times, what Europeans decide with respect to Turkey and the EU is Europe’s business. I have no interest in putting together bills of particulars either for or against Turkish accession to the EU, for or against Turkish culture, for or against the conquest of Constantinople, for or against the Janissaries, for or against the dervishes, for or against the Ottoman administration of the Balkans, or for or against Turkish delight. I have read quite a bit in the past about the Ottoman empire, but don’t have the foggiest idea how to epitomize six centuries or so of Ottoman civilization in a few bloggy paragraphs.
    However, I am very concerned about the Turkish relationship with the US. The attempt by zionist activists to drive a wedge between the US and Turkey, a recently flourishing and self-evidently punitive campaign that can be dated quite precisely to the Erdogan exchange with Peres, is very, very, very bad for the people of the United States. If successful, it may well lead to the United States suffering profound isolation from the Middle East, and losing one of its chief diplomatic bridges into that region. Now perhaps Israelis would prefer an America that is as isolated from the rest of the world, and as contemptuous of it, as they are. Misery loves company. But I view such an outcome as positively dangerous to most Americans, especially those of the next generation.
    As for promoting conflict among Europeans, I will point chiefly to the incessant efforts among zionists and other racialist and sectarian haters to alienate Europeans from their Muslim citizens. This campaign is likely to end very badly and violently for very many people, and the people who are pressing that campaign and promoting sectarian rivalry and ethnic chauvinism, whether Muslim extremists on the one hand, or European or Jewish chauvinists on the other, will bear a good part of the blame for the bloody repeat of history they are egging on.
    I am not going to engage in a long debate with people who are determined to insult my intelligence. WigWag, you apparently want us to believe that your manifest lawyerly campaign is the result of a string of coincidences driven by your meandering intellectual “interests”- just a few musings from the “that’s very interesting department”. Humbug. At least Nadine doesn’t attempt to dissemble or obscure what she is up to.
    It is simply absurd to say that Zionism is a product of the enlightenment. Zionism is a product of the nineteenth century counter-enlightenment reaction and partakes of the same nationalist and racialist repudiation of universalism and cosmopolitanism that lead that earlier generation of westerners into two hideously violent conflicts.
    On Mead: For a supposed member of the foreign policy congnoscenti, he seems oddly uninterested in whether the US policy toward Israel is actually wise, and is more interested in hiding behind its popularity. The rest of the article seems to be a rehash of Robert Kaplan’s book The Arabists. Yawn. Like almost every other discussion on TWN these days, I have had that conversation about 100 times already.

    Reply

  79. samuelburke says:

    Rachel Corrie’s Family Finally Puts Israel in the Dock
    By JONATHAN COOK
    Seven years after Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist, was killed by
    an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, her family was to put the
    Israeli government in the dock today.
    A judge in the northern Israeli city of Haifa was due to be
    presented with evidence that 23-year-old Corrie was killed
    unlawfully as she stood in the path of the bulldozer, trying to
    prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes in Rafah.
    Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy, who arrived in Israel on
    Saturday, said they hoped their civil action would shed new light
    on their daughter’s killing and finally lead to Israel’s being held
    responsible for her death.
    http://counterpunch.com/

    Reply

  80. samuelburke says:

    Israel is judged differently, and rightly they ought to be; according
    to Christian mythmaking, Israel is the Lords nation.
    if only for that.
    as representative of the Jewish Diaspora Israel has gone rogue.
    Israel does not want to be judged.
    what say ye?

    Reply

  81. questions says:

    …, to the extent that you disagree with my reading of W and M, and please note that I’m READING the book, feel free to quote passages right back at me and argue, using lots and lots of words so that I understand you — argue that I have the text wrong. It actually takes a lot of words to do this kind of arguing, so if you’re not up for it, that’s ok. Maybe you could ask someone else around here who is ok with words to give you a hand. Take some passages, type them out. Maybe use the shift key, even! And then explain why I have something wrong, and W and M are right. Try to be complex! Carroll don’t got that part down.

    Reply

  82. questions says:

    Oh noooooo, ch. 4 continues aaarghhh — it was a section break, not a chapter break. So sorry to get your hopes up only to dash them on the rocks of another post!
    140: “Why is the Israel lobby so effective? One reason is the wide-open nature of the American political system….
    “The lobby’s effectiveness also reflects the basic dynamics of interest group politics in a pluralistic society. In a democracy, even relatively small groups can exercise considerable influence if they are strongly committed to a particular issue and the rest of the population is largely indifferent. Even if the group’s absolute numbers are small, policy makers — and especially members of Congress — will tend to accommodate them, because they can be confident that the rest of the population will not penalize them for doing so.”
    Ok, so THELOBBY is using our democracy against us — our open society is perverted by, umm, open use. And our democracy is perverted by, umm, strong desires that overcome the non-caring of others.
    First they normalize then they pathologize. Then they sort of apologize, but then it’s back to pathologizing again…. Is it any wonder this book was bashed?
    141 — we get the special qualities of the major Jewish groups — unusual expertise, and no effective opposition and the Arab Americans haven’t done as much.
    So let me get this straight — people either don’t care or don’t bother to organize against THELOBBY and THELOBBY is full of overly well-educated Jewish people so they have an unfair advantage….
    “Pro-Arab organizations are also no match for the major groups that make up the Israel lobby. There are a handful of pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian interest groups in the United States, but they are smaller than AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations, not nearly as well funded, and nowhere near as effective.”
    Yeah, and your point is… umm, what? In a pressure system, pressure works. But somehow the pressure becomes a perversion in this one instance?
    142 — “Moreover, because Arab Americans come from a variety of countries and backgrounds, and include Christians as well as Muslims, they are unlikely to speak with a unified voice on Middle East issues. Indeed, they sometimes hold sharply opposing views.” Goes on to note ethnocentrism biases.
    So the Arab Americans who could put pressure on don’t work together to put pressure on NOT because they don’t have money or training but because they aren’t a GROUP — but the pro-Israelis, who also aren’t a group (remember the lack of monolithic-ness) still manage in some miraculous way to act as a monolithic group. Where does this stuff come from? And note that there are Christians on both sides. Shouldn’t the Arab Christians love their neighbors and help their Arab Muslim fellows? Or maybe all of these categories just fall apart on medium-close inspection?!
    142 143 — oil isn’t much of an issue people.
    144, “The Israel lobby, by contrast, is a manifestation of the political engagement of a subset of American citizens, and so its activities are widely and correctly seen as a legitimate form of political activity.” This in contrast to the Saudis who have to hire professional lobbyists to do things like get the AWACS sale to go through.
    So Saudis don’t have US citizens to lobby. US citizens do lobby for Israel. Hmmm, must be illegitimate all over again.
    145 — “Little direct evidence of such behavior” that we do stuff in the ME for oil. So all you oil people, W and M disagree. I don’t know enough about this aspect of things to say much. the issue of oil’s being on the world market is in here.
    And then we get to the question of DUAL LOYALTY which is a burning issue here!
    147, “Any notion that Jewish Americans are disloyal citizens is wrong. We fully agree with Malcolm Hoenlein, who directs the Conference of Presidents, that ‘it is safe to say that American Jews are among the most patriotic and loyal of American citizens.” As we have made clear, those who lobby on Israel’s behalf are acting in ways that are consistent with long-standing political traditions. Indeed, political life in the United States has long proceeded from the assumption that all individuals have a variety of attachments and loyalties — to country, religion, family, employer, just to name a few, ant that American citizens will create formal and informal association that reflect those loyalties and interests.”
    Very very nice. Then they quote a whole BUNCH of Jewish people who do talk about how they have some loyalty to Israel. Defend and normalize, attack and pathologize. It’s like there are two books interlaced, one says all the nasty shit and the other denies it. 148-150 is all the love Israel stuff. Oh my.
    It’s such a simplistic reading. They note that there are all sorts of multiple identities and loyalties and that every citizen has these feelings, but there’s one that’s not so good….
    The alternative was worked out by that guy Plato in that book the Republic — he had a whole system in place to make us loyal to the state and not to our families or to anything else — not even to our own lives. It was kinda gross, and it didn’t work as we find out in Book VIII!
    Conclusion:
    150 — “The Israel lobby is the antithesis of a cabal or conspiracy; it operates out in the open and proudly advertises its own clout. In its basic operations, the Israel lobby is no different from interest groups like the farm lobby, steel and textile workers, and a host of ethnic lobbies, although the groups and individual who comprise the Israel lobby are in an unusually favorable position to influence U.S. foreign policy. What sets it apart, in short, is its extraordinary effectiveness…..” (Somehow the title, “League of Extraordinary Basterds” comes to mind. Didn’t see either movie, but there you go.)
    And in the next chapter, 5, we find more of that cabal shit — control over the media that’s not really control, control over academia that’s not really control…. UGH.
    Break time!

    Reply

  83. ... says:

    on 2nd thought questions.. no need to read foxman either, as it sounds as though you are quoting him almost directly in your run down on w and m anyway….

    Reply

  84. questions says:

    …, thanks for the suggestion. Reading Foxman has never actually occurred to me. I’ll take it under advisement. But for now, I’m reading W and M and reporting on it. When you see a post from me, just skip over it! It’s easily done, and it’ll make you a whole lot better informed to avoid reading about W and M! If you’ve read the book, feel free to quote from it and disagree with me. Dialogue is nicer than monologue. And since I’ve so dizzified and wearied Carroll, there’s no one to keep me company.
    Has no one else read this book?

    Reply

  85. questions says:

    Indeed, Sweetness!
    And now for the next installment in the continuing saga of questions reads a book….
    Ch. 4, “What Is the ‘Israel Lobby’?”
    p111, “The interplay of factions was famously extolled by James Madison in the Federalist No. 10, and the influence of different interest groups has long shaped various aspects of American foreign policy, including decisions for war.”
    So it’s normal.
    graf includes NRA, tariffs, note that some interest group preferences are not good for the whole of the country, petroleum interests…. and then we should watch the Israel lobby just as closely as we watch these other groups. Fine. But of course, around here, we seem to watch the Israel lobby all the more.
    112 –“Were it not for the lobby’s efforts, the strategic and moral arguments that are commonly invoked to justify unconditional American support would be called into question more frequently and U.S. policy in the Middle East would be significantly different than [sic] it is today.”
    I’m not sure how they know that policy would be different, I’m not sure they can know that they’d like this new version, I’m not sure that there’s a “natural state” of policy that would be achieved absent THELOBBY. But they seem to think there would be a natural state. I’m guessing that there’s a cognitive fallacy that runs something along the lines of thinking that absent some particular cause, there would be no other cause to take up the space. Or maybe I just gave some psych grad student a dissertation topic!
    “We use ‘Israel lobby’ as a convenient shorthand term for the loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. The lobby is not a single, unified movement with a central leadership, however, and the individuals and groups that make up this broad coalition sometimes disagree on specific policy issues. Nor is it some sort of cabal or conspiracy. On the contrary, the organizations and individuals who makeup the lobby operate out in the open and in the same way that other interest groups do.
    “Using the term ‘Israel lobby’ is itself somewhat misleading, insofar as many of the individuals and some of the groups in this loose coalitions do not engage in formal lobbying activities…. Rather, the various parts of the lobby work to influence U.S. policy in a variety of ways, much as other interest groups do. One might more accurately dub this the ‘pro-Israel community’ or even the ‘help Israel movement,’ because the range of activities that different groups undertake goes beyond simple lobbying. Nonetheless, because many of the key groups do lobby, and because the term ‘Israel lobby’ is used in common parlance… we have chosen to employ it here.”
    So they don’t think it’s a great term, but why has that stopped anyone? And besides, the help Israel movement sounds too benign? “Community” is also friendly. Lobby ain’t. Connotations, connotations. Fact is, when you’re from Hahvahd, you can coin all the terms you want!
    p 114 — lots of attempts to decide who’s in ane who’s out of THELOBBY — “To be part of the lobby, in other words, one has to actively work to move American foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. For an organization, this pursuit must be an important part of its mission adn consume a substantial percentage of its resources…. David Sanger or…Bruce Jentleson should not be seen as part of the lobby…. Charles Krauthammer…clearly is”
    I think that the criticism from the original piece about how it was impossible to tell who was part of the lobby got to them. Still, this definition is weak. Rather than say, “Anyone who registers as a lobbyist for the following n groups is a member of THE LOBBY” they give this kind of mushy definition. It’s less mushy than it used to be, and now I guess I finally know that I’m not actually a member of THELOBBY — cuz, gee, I wuz up last night worrying….
    p. 122, “As noted above, the lobby is not a centralized, hierarchical movement. Even among the Jewish elements of the lobby, there are important differences on specific policy issues.” Somehow this sense of no monolithic quality ends up lost. Not sure where it goes, but it does. Possibly because they stick with the notion of THELOBBY, they can’t really get away from the connotation of a monolithic policy apparatus. Possibly they actually think there is a monolithic policy apparatus.
    128– fights among LOBBY groups for who’s the most anti-anti-Semitic — this is profoundly normal interest group behavior, but they don’t seem to point that out. Fundraising is the point of, well, being a group that raises funds. That’s why Obama is going to take away all of our guns according to the NRA. The same Obama who has declared that he found an individual right to own guns in the same Constitution I’m struggling with!
    129 — the infamous list….131 more list
    “This summary by no means exhausts the interrelated affiliations within the neoconservative movement, but what may seem to some like a shadowy conspiracy (or even a ‘right-wing cabal’) is anything but. On the contrary, the various think tanks, committees, foundations, and publications that have nurtured the neoconservative movement operate much as other policy networks do. Far from shunning publicity or engaging in hidden plots, these groups actively court publicity for the explicit purpose of shaping public and elite opinion and thereby moving U.S. foreign policy in the directions they favor.”
    Now, where in heaven’s name would anyone get the idea that there’s something shadowy or cabalistic going on around here? Hmmm. I will think about this.
    139 — the infamous Christian love thing. “such as Christ’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’….” Geez (!!) the Jews don’t do that, do they?!!
    That’s ch. 4. And now we all know what THELOBBY is, who’s in it, and what the Christians do.

    Reply

  86. ... says:

    questions, why not just stick to reading the likes of abraham h. foxman and skip any overviews on him while yer at it…

    Reply

  87. Sweetness says:

    Carroll writes: “There is no such thing as ‘versions of historical
    understandings” except to people like yourself and those who want
    to rewrite history for whatever reason. There are documented
    historical facts/actions period.”
    Well, this about says it all.
    Carroll needs to sit next Drew who thinks the Constitution says
    “one thing” and needs no interpretation.
    And next to Nadine, for that matter, who has the same attitude to
    the things she reads.

    Reply

  88. questions says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
    Here’s a wiki list of cognitive biases. It might be a fun parlor game (if I had a parlor!) to match the biases to moments in THEBOOK!!!!!

    Reply

  89. questions says:

    This time, you really are being helpful! Thanks!

    Reply

  90. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions, Mar 11 2010, 2:52PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Watching you chase your tail is making me dizzy.
    And a waste of time.
    Carry on without me.

    Reply

  91. questions says:

    And Carroll, I’m so uninterested in “debate teams” I can’t tell you.

    Reply

  92. questions says:

    And one really quick thing I noted this morning — they are utterly caught up in what is called the selection bias. That is, they focus on a series of events or cases without noting that they have selected positive events and ignored non-events.
    The one time they break from this pattern is when they are characterizing the number of anti-Semitic events in Europe. Suddenly, the number of possible events comes into play. They give the total population in order to provide a context for the number of actual events. This context shows that there’s not a lot of anti-Semitism in Europe.
    WTF. They don’t give any context for the number of times academia doesn’t freak out, they don’t give any context for the number of times the NY Times prints a news article or a candidate for Congress says or does something…. Nope, they harp on anecdotes without giving the larger numbers. EXCEPT when it suits their purpose to give the larger number….
    They note that when AIPAC targets an MC, the MC doesn’t always win or lose the AIPAC way. They don’t give the percentages of total donations that are AIPAC-related, so we never know how valuable that money is, they barely note that something other than AIPAC can make a candidate win or lose — like being mismatched to one’s district or in a change-year or whatever. And they freak out about fairly small amounts of money in Senate elections — statewide elections are expensive but they don’t give the total spending in the statewide elections, so that some-number-of-thousands seems like a lot of money. But again, we have no context. Ugh.
    BUT we sure do find out how many non events there are regarding Euro anti-Semitism.
    Poor poor scholarship.

    Reply

  93. questions says:

    Oh lord, Carroll. No. The book is simultaneously about a lot of things. Books are complex that way, really.
    The point about morality is this — some posters here condemn Israel for being immoral in its treatment of the Palestinians and at times some of these same posters refer to W and M to prove their anti-Israel points. The problem is that W and M are not at all into human rights concerns regarding international relations, so referring to their reading of the ME when they don’t at all care about the morality issue is problematic.
    There are all sorts of versions of historical understanding, and any simple, simplified list chronicling deeds so misses the explanatory boat as to be utterly useless. The kind of history one reads from, say, a Texas State Board of Ed-approved middle school text book might give very little analysis and might only chronicle. I wouldn’t be surprised. But chronicling does not give context, meaning, understanding, or wisdom. So W and M have none of these qualities in their book, as the most analytical they get is to chronicle. Indeed, there really is no analysis.
    But it doesn’t matter to you, of course, because what they list is stuff that makes you positively glow. It comes through over the internet! My computer screen seems brighter when your posts come up!
    Events are not what historians “do.” They attempt to explain, find patterns, give contexts, understand. W and M fail on these grounds. They have a set of actors who cause everything, they have their simplified explanatory mechanism (realism and the cabal that isn’t a cabal really) and off they go to the races.
    It’s not good history. It’s not good scholarship. It’s not good explanation. It’s not good analysis. But they sure do have a lot of lists!
    I’m through ch. 5 and will post eventually — I have way too many post it notes to make the next installment complete. A whole lot of questionable passages. But the pattern remains the same. List, qualify, insist. List, qualify, insist. DEMONS, oops we all do it, DEMONS….. Lather rinse repeat.

    Reply

  94. Carroll says:

    questions..I’m afraid you would be kicked off a debating team.
    The Book is not about morality, not about W&M’s personal morality, not about Palestine.
    The Book is about the Israel and the Lobby’s influence on US policy. That’s all it’s about.
    Stick to the subject of the book.
    And ……”Carroll, we could read the same COPY of THEBOOK and still not be reading the same book. You stop at the litany and the listing and the chronicling and you’re satisfied because that’s your version of historical understanding.”
    There is no such thing as ‘versions of historical understandings” except to people like yourself and those who want to rewrite history for whatever reason.
    There are documented historical facts/actions period.
    You might debate all the motives and actors in those actions and the results of historical events, but that’s it.

    Reply

  95. ... says:

    Dan Kervick, Mar 10 2010, 11:27PM – thanks for your post dan, as i think you are bang on for the comments contained within it…
    wigwag quote “Is their a bigger threat to enlightenment ideals or cosmopolitan internationalism than the various pathological ideologies so prevalent in the Muslim world? You see, Dan, it’s not the Zionists who want to destroy enlightenment values; in fact Zionism is a child of the enlightenment.”
    many here would disagree with you on this wigwag.. if zionism is a child of enlightenment why is it not embracing all of the values you associate with enlightenment, protection of minority rights, pluralism, tolerance and etc.. using white phosphorous, stealing others land, wanting to negate the goldstone report is definitely not enlightened, and these are just a few examples… shutting gaza off from the rest of the world in a prisoner like setting is not enlightened either… of course you are full of it, something i have come to expect from your posts here…

    Reply

  96. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag, they will call you a bigot for this, just like they call me.” (Nadine)
    Who is “they” Nadine; five or six dimwitted commentators at the Washington Note?
    What “they” say doesn’t interest me; they’re not people I know, like or respect. They’re just a bunch of anonymous people who like to write comments at the same blog that I like to write comments at. This isn’t a community; it’s a comment section.
    Although I disagree with you frequently, I enjoy reading your comments because they are thought-provoking and interesting. They are also invariably substantive. Sometimes you even get me to change my mind; and that’s not an easy thing for an old codger like me.
    My advice is this; ignore the nitwits and stick to substance. Doing that makes you in the minority around here, but who cares?
    The good news is that on things that matter, we may be in the minority at the Washington Note but our views have prevailed where it really matters.
    I know some people have a hard time understanding why our views on the Middle East in particular have prevailed so thoroughly. If they read the Walter Russell Mead articles maybe they would find out.

    Reply

  97. nadine says:

    “Enlightenment values are as prevalent in Israel as they are in Europe. How many of those values exist in the Arab world? Does tolerance; does religious freedom? does freedom of the press? does freedom of speech? does pluralism? does protection of minority rights?” (Wigwag)
    Wigwag, they will call you a bigot for this, just like they call me. Don’t you know it is not permitted to notice that the Arab world does not uphold Enlightenment values? That it is an act of “Orientalist cultural imperialism” to even think they should? Which is why it is not permitted to notice they don’t — it is the only way to resolve the contradiction of a) upholding Enlightenment positions yourself and b) respecting the multi-cultural ‘otherness’ of the non-white/non-European-based Muslim world.

    Reply

  98. WigWag says:

    I presume, Dan that you have decided to castigate what you believe my motives are because you are incapable of responding to the content of my argument.
    Yes, I’ve had alot to say about Turkey recently, but the number of posts written about Turkey by Ben Katcher have increased dramatically here as of late; I just happen to be interested in Turkey.
    All of my comments about Turkey have been substantive, though I don’t dispute that I have a point of view. I’ve suggested several things about Turkey that I have elaborated on in great detail: (1) that Turkey’s economic prowess and prospects are dramatically exaggerated by many commentators and that it is a far less developed nation than many think. (2) That one of the many reasons so many European nations oppose Turkish assession to the EU is that Turkey has a uniquely brutal history in Europe and that the nations colonized by the Ottomans were left far more destitute and conflict-ridden than nations colonized by other European empires. (3)That Turkey’s treatment of its ethnic minorities is unusually bad, especially its treatment of the Kurds, the Alevi and the Orthodox Christians. (4) That for a nation that was so incensed by Israel’s treatment of Gaza, Turkey seems unconcerned with the humanitarian implications of its war against the Kurds that has resulted in 30 thousand Kurdish deaths, and the banning of the Kurdish political party. (5)That a nation that indicts its Nobel Prize winners (and allows them to be physically attacked) for talking about all of the aforementioned points and a nation that bans “You-Tube” is far less progressive than many people believe. (6)That a nation that murdered 1.5 million Armenians and then denies its genocidal behavior is not a nation worthy of respect.
    It hardly seems to me, Dan, that any of this is out of bounds for discussion; especially on threads in which Turkey is the subject. As I said, I am interested in Turkey and I like writing about it. Is that okay with you?
    By the way, I have said that I find the willingness of Israel’s American supporters in the United States to advocate that the Armenian Genocide Resolution be voted down in the past because Turkey was then aligned with Israel, despicable.
    You also say,
    “The claim I made is that there are many Zionists who are anxious to undermine European unity and the European Union, and seize on opportunities to do so. That’s not the claim WigWag really wants to talk about.”
    Actually I would be delighted to talk about it, Dan. In fact, I asked you for an example of Zionists trying to undermine European unity; I can’t think of any; if you can you should provide examples. I also cited numerous conflicts in Europe in my response to your comment and I asked you which if any of these conflicts Zionists were seeking to exacerbate. If you can highlight even one example of a European conflict or crisis that Zionists are attempting to make worse you should tell us what it is. It’s not me who doesn’t want to discuss it, Dan, it’s you.
    Of course that’s fine; there’s no reason to discuss anything that doesn’t interest you. But I don’t think there’s any wrong with me pointing out in the comment section of a blog designed around a discussion of foreign policy issues that your claim was unsubstantiated. In fact, it was worse than unsubstantiated; it was wrong and it serves as a perfect example of what Mead was talking about.
    And by the way, if you have an example of anything that I have said that suggests I oppose European unity, you should point that out as well. For the record, I don’t care about European unity one way or the other but I do think that European behavior now and in the past has been both immoral and feckless; I’ve tried to back up that claim with examples that you and others may or may not find convincing. By the way, the same is true of my comments about Jimmy Carter, Zbignew Brzezinski and their creation of the Taliban in Afghanistan. You can agree or disagree; you can think the evidence that I provided was convincing or unconvincing, but I don’t think you can object to my saying what I think, or claim that I didn’t attempt to back up what I was saying.
    Which brings me to the Mead piece.
    You say,
    “The new WigWag has also succumbed to an old Washington Note plague and discourse-destroyer: the habit of bombing threads with off-topic cut-and-paste articles and links in a full-spectrum, multi-thread propaganda barrage. When called on this, our intelligence is insulted by being told these articles are not put forth to advance and agenda, despite the obvious uniformity of the direction in which they point, but are just relayed because they are so interesting or fascinating”.
    I think that’s an entirely unfair characterization. While it is true that I did cut and paste the Mead piece on a thread about Israel-Palestine I don’t see anything inappropriate about that and I hardly make a habit of it. In fact, other than providing a link or two (which you do yourself) here and there, I hardly ever cut and paste comments from others in the comment section of the Washington Note. Mostly what I do is read the posts and add my substantive comments; I would stack up my record on that with the record of anyone who participates in the comment section of this blog.
    I can only conclude one of two things, Dan, you are either incapable of rebutting the substantive comments that I make or you are disinterested in doing so. If you are disinterested, that’s fine. I presume that like me, you are only here for the fun of it. If responding to my comments doesn’t strike you as entertaining, there’s no reason for you to do so. If you are incapable of rebutting my comments because in your heart of hearts you know they are correct and that causes you to experience cognitive dissonance; well I know how unsettling that can be.
    Is there an “old” WigWag or a “new” WigWag; I don’t know.
    But I do know that the “old” Dan Kervick mostly limited himself to making substantive remarks. Apparently the “new” Dan Kervick succumbed to an old Washington Note plague and discourse-destroyer: the habit of bombing threads with attacks on the motivations of other commentators instead of responding to the content of what they said.
    Or maybe you’re just having a bad week.
    I do have to say that there is one thing you said that put a real smile on my face. It’s this,
    “There are a lot of geopolitical reasons for that antipathy, but it strikes me that there is one chief impulse: the success of enlightenment ideals and cosmopolitan internationalism anywhere, particularly on such a large and important scale as Europe, is a threat to those who want to drag the world back down into the reactionary holes of their vindictive and desperate tribal nationalism.”
    Is their a bigger threat to enlightenment ideals or cosmopolitan internationalism than the various pathological ideologies so prevalent in the Muslim world? You see, Dan, it’s not the Zionists who want to destroy enlightenment values; in fact Zionism is a child of the enlightenment. The major threat to the enlightenment that you and I both value is the Palestinians and their Arab kinsmen and their Muslim co-religionists. Enlightenment values are as prevalent in Israel as they are in Europe. How many of those values exist in the Arab world? Does tolerance; does religious freedom? does freedom of the press? does freedom of speech? does pluralism? does protection of minority rights?
    Remember, Turkey bans “You-Tube”
    But for some reason, you thought it wasn’t sporting of me to bring that up.

    Reply

  99. questions says:

    DonS, they did no one any favors, no skunks in the room and no documentation. They didn’t do the requisite legwork, they used lists with no context, and on and on.
    There’s nothing groundbreaking in this non-study. And they don’t “hint” at anything.
    And they buy into a huge number of anti-semitic tropes in the process. Ugh.
    And the whole big scary foreign power’s influence AMERICA meme I could do without as well.
    What are oil prices? Grain prices? The banning of GMOs? Banking regulations? Immigration or immunization laws?
    Every country affects the domestic policies of all the other countries on the planet. No nation is an island, not even actual islands are islands.
    There are so many false categories, so much POA-style anal anxiety (literally on this one), so much bad thinking, poor construction of categories, bad argumentation…. Aaargh.
    So, DonS, I’m not sure what you think I got of your question about my being a Zionist shill (I just figured it’s the usual crap I get around here for not simply bashing what is popularly bashed), but I am sure that this book is utterly flawed, deserving of a very careful textual exegesis on the way to dismissing it for being so flawed as to be useless, or so immoral as to require complete debunking. But this must all be done with textual care. So I read, I quote, I argue against. I read, I quote, I argue against. Eventually, I’ll be done with this project and move on.

    Reply

  100. DonS says:

    Sweetness, my point was germane to Questions, and he got it.
    As to M & W, they are quite mainline in their criticism, even go overboard to bring their analysis of the Israel within parameter relevant to all lobbies. They hint at problems and nuances. They are well aware of the environment in which they published, and pulled many punches. Yet they were excoriated as anti-semites by the usual gang. Whether or not their political analysis corresponds to yours or mine, their documenting of the way a foreign power has influenced US policy to the detriment of this country was groundbreaking. They threw a skunk in the room and paid the price.

    Reply

  101. questions says:

    mr burke,
    i do not think every critic of is is illegitimate and i do not have problems with criticizing israel’s mistreatment of palestinians. what i have a problem with is a set of arguments that w and m make, a poor method they use, and the wrong set of criticisms. do you understand that they are not humanitarians and that they support the us’s policy of wicked treatment of iraqis? do you understand that realism as a doctrine cares only about a poorly constructed and very narrow notion of national interest and that if w and m thought that the us benefited from israel, then the palestinians wouldn’t matter at all? does this register with you?
    it’s fine to criticize israel. israel has earned a huge amount of criticism. so go ahead and criticize. but don’t use w and m and morality in the same sentence. they don’t go together.
    and further, note that i generally don’t argue that people are anti semitic so much as i note that they borrow tropes that are deeply associated with real anti semitism and maybe they should adopt better argument strategies. it’s a very different point.
    i think w and m have a lot of problems in this book and so their fundamental criticisms are misdirected. they aren’t moralists, they don’t care about human rights. they care about national interest — which in my view is ill-defined and indeed, is impossible to define as there are many segments of a nation with very different interests. who’s to say which segment’s interest is the national interest?

    Reply

  102. samuelburke says:

    “Once again, bad bad Israel bad, the baddest bad in the whole
    bad world, except that everyone does it except that when Israel
    does it, it’s BAD.”
    do you know why israel is so bad-because they do it in the
    name of the jewish people and do it because of the holocaust,
    so the people who were herded like cats in europe during ww2
    are now doing the same despicable herding and corralling to
    the palestinians.
    maybe you could ask everyone who rails against israeli lobbying
    in the united states congress exacly why they rail against it and
    you can then dismiss the old anti semitic canard that you have
    learned to use as a beating stick against those that criticize
    israel.
    “RABBI STEPHEN WISE
    As late as 1943, while the Jews of Europe were being
    exterminated in their millions, the U.S. Congress proposed to
    set up a commission to “study” the problem. Rabbi Stephen
    Wise, who was the principal American spokesperson for
    Zionism, came to Washington to testify against the rescue bill
    because it would divert attention from the colonization of
    Palestine.
    This is the same Rabbi Wise who, in 1938, in his capacity as
    leader of the American Jewish Congress, wrote a letter in which
    he opposed any change in U.S. immigration laws which would
    enable Jews to find refuge. He stated:
    “It may interest you to know that some weeks ago the
    representatives of all the leading Jewish organizations met in
    conference. … It was decided that no Jewish organization would,
    at this time, sponsor a bill which would in any way alter the
    immigration laws.”
    …”Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung,”‘ Hashomer Hatzair, December
    1936. Originally published in 1917, Brenner, Zionism, p. 22.”
    http://jewsagainstzionism.com/

    Reply

  103. samuelburke says:

    Elephant admits it is in the room
    by PHILIP WEISS on MARCH 10, 2010 · 2 COMMENTS
    “A headline in Haaretz says: “Jewish lobbying sways EU against
    support of Goldstone Gaza report.” (Turns out the report is
    inaccurate, happily.)
    But note the frank reference in an Israeli newspaper to Jewish
    lobbying. (Paul Woodward picked this up.)
    And note in that anti-BDS program coordinated by the Israeli
    government, there are a couple references to the importance of
    lobbying. Lobby academic journals… lobby the U.N.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/03/elephant-admits-it-is-in-
    the-room.html

    Reply

  104. questions says:

    And just briefly —
    Anyone who thinks W and M make any kind of case for morals in international relations policy — you’re off your rocker.
    These guys think that dual containment for Iran and Iraq is fine. Dual containment is the sanctions and let them fight each other to the death policy. They smile at this. Remember this is the half million dead kids thing. They don’t mind another half million or more. As long as US national interests are served, dead kids are just dead kids….
    The ONLY reason they have an issue with US ME policy is that in their reading of US national interests, there’s no good reason for what we do now.
    They have no real concern for the treatment of the Palestinians. No love of human rights doctrine. Their concern is mere calculation of interest.
    So you should think twice about your love of this book. It doesn’t do what you want it to do, unless you, too, don’t care about the dead kids.
    Were Israel thought to serve the master, then they’d be fine with whatever Israel does to the Palestinians. That’s what realism is about.
    Remember, they agree that states do really nasty things, and that’s ok.

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  105. questions says:

    DonS, for heaven’s sake, what is a Zionist shill? I’m not paid by the government of Israel (can we be done with that meme?) and I’m not in love with Israel’s behavior vis-a-vis the Palestinians. I also HATE HATE HATE bad arguments. Like you bedfellows comment. I don’t care if Nadine agrees with me on some point or other. I don’t care if you do or if Carroll does (not likely!). That proves nothing, and if you spent at least a year in law school as I suspect, you should be able to understand this point.
    My problem with W and M is that they provide really bad arguments for a pre-determined position. They substitute chronicling and lists and their realist framework for analysis. They don’t do the congressional legwork which is painful and not something I would be willing to do either. But at least I know that the quant work exists and that it’s worth doing even if I personally don’t want to go through the data bases, pick out votes, do the tallies, compare the voting records to district information, get the money issues together, compare the money to the voting records…. This is what Nate Silver’s research assistants are for!
    So, DonS, once again, we don’t really see the same things…..
    And Carroll, we could read the same COPY of THEBOOK and still not be reading the same book. You stop at the litany and the listing and the chronicling and you’re satisfied because that’s your version of historical understanding. Same as your list of quotations. Thing is, a list isn’t “history” or historical analysis. Chronicling went out as a mode of historical analysis a long time ago — for good reason. A list doesn’t explain. It’s a list. A grocery list doesn’t tell you what you’re making for dinner or why. A list of Israeli misdeeds doesn’t say anything about why Israel either does or should or doesn’t or shouldn’t get US support. W and M don’t explain “unusual” with any context at all. They don’t EXPLAIN much of anything. They chronicle and they list. And they contradict themselves all over the place. You don’t mind this problem because you love the list. It gets your blood going.
    And as for “The ‘book’ was not meant to be an academic study” — well, THEBOOK is not any kind of study. It’s a poorly designed and poorly executed self-contradictory rhetorical mess. Footnotes do not speak for themselves. And congressional structures need to be elucidated in far more detail than W and M provide. So THEBOOK ends up being something far less worthy than it could be. And it attracts you. I wonder what Walt would think of that.
    “got sold and got read by as many people as possible” — yup. Glad that lots of people are reading lists and thinking they’re getting some kind of truth. Great thing, this!
    It’s not that it’s an overview and simple — it’s that it’s really on the frontiers of immoral to publish such a poorly written self-contradictory mass of prose on a subject that is of world historical import.
    “masterful job” — huh? They contradict themselves all over the place. They don’t argue. There’s nothing masterful about the book. They use poor evidence, they don’t critique their own framework or show where alternative readings might be valid, they don’t use up to date research. They argue that the morals issue fails but then they cite dual containment and accept it. The tensions in the book are everywhere. And it’s not because they pull their punches. It’s because their case is incoherent in its current structure.
    There might very well be ways to argue that we don’t have our I/P policy right. And in fact I would be happy to argue this very point. But my method would certainly not be the W and M one!
    …, you are always on the mark when you worry about the number of words I use!!!! Such cogent criticism!!!!!

    Reply

  106. Dirk says:

    An Oxford style debate broadcast on NPR last night posed the question “Should the US distance itself from the special relationship with Israel”. Initially the proposition had 33-For 42-Against 25-Undecided. After the debate the audience voted again with 49-For 47-Against 4-Undecided.
    http://www.pr-inside.com/by-a-razor-thin-margin-diverse-r1718458.htm
    I was stunned and elated. Checking on the Internet the debate was actually held 12Feb10 instead of yesterday after the most recent slap at the US.
    It looks like word is getting out, given the surprising before debate polling, and people can be convinced when given the facts.

    Reply

  107. Carroll says:

    DING DONG ..the slur is dead.
    “Anti-Semitism Israel’s “weapon” over criticism, EU envoy says”
    EU special envoy for the Middle East peace process Otte, dismissed Israeli accusations over Turkey’s criticism as a weapon used too easily by Israelis.
    Wednesday, 17 February 2010 13:14
    World Bulletin / News Desk
    European Union’s special representative for the Middle East peace process, Marc Otte, dismissed anti-Semitic accusations over Turkey’s criticism as “a weapon used a bit too easily by Israelis.”
    Israel accused Turkey’s Erdogan of “being growingly anti-Semitic” since Turkish leaders and people condemned the killings and bombings on the occupied Palestinian territories.
    “First of all, I don’t believe that the government of Turkey is anti-Semitic,” Otte said on Tuesday in an interview.
    “I don’t believe that our governments or parliaments, when they criticize the behavior of Israel, are anti-Semitic. It is a weapon that is used a bit too easily by Israelis — dangerous,” he told Today’s Zaman.
    “There is anti-Semitism in Europe. I recognize it but I often say to my Israeli interlocutor, ‘When we criticize you for what you do,’ it is legitimate. ‘We don’t criticize you for what you are. We criticize you for what you do’,” Otte said in the interview, held during his visit to Ankara for talks with Turkish officials.
    Turkey strongly condemned Israel, that killed nearly 1500 Palestinians, a third of them children in the 22-day military aggression in Decemcer 2008 on Gaza and wounded more than 5000 Palestinians.
    Otte noted, “I don’t see any sign of anti-Semitism here. You have a Jewish community that is part of the national consensus. I say that I don’t think that the reaction of your government is founded in anti-Semitism. It is founded in the criticism of the behavior of a certain government.”
    Israel now faces UN war crimes report that particularly details Israel’s alleged war crimes during the Gaza offensive.
    The report, which was compiled by a panel led by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, had already been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, which sponsored the fact-finding commission.
    Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel’s conduct during the offensive, in which it concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeting Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, and destroying civilian infrastructure.
    Once-flourishing bilateral ties took a sharp downturn last year amid Israel’s war on Gaza and its persisting blockade of the impoverished Palestinian enclave.
    Ankara has said relations will continue to suffer unless Israel ends “the humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.
    Turkey demands Gaza borders be opened while Israel imposes siege into the occupied land home to 1.5 million people since June 2007.

    Reply

  108. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 11 2010, 12:00AM – Link
    ******EU ENDORSES GOLDSTONE REPORT******
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Be still my heart!
    Is this for certain?..please,pleae,please tell me this little sprig of justice trying to bloom is for real.

    Reply

  109. Carroll says:

    Just one thing to help you questions in reading the book.
    The ‘Book’ was not meant to be a academic study.
    It’s goal and purpose was:
    1) To break ‘the taboo’ on the Lobby and go mainstream.
    2) To make sure it sold and got read by as many people as possible.
    I agree that it’s really more of an ‘overview’ and seems a bit simple to some.
    The reason is ..see above again…it was aimed at “the average public” that wasn’t as familiar, if at all, with the details of the US-Isr relationship and the Israel Lobby
    If W&M had not “defused the bombs’..so to speak…before they threw them in this book it would have called another Protocal of the Elders and come under worse attack.
    They did a masterful job of accomplishing their goal and let the 115 pages of footnotes
    support the points made.
    That’s all they needed or wanted to do. It worked.

    Reply

  110. nadine says:

    Alright, Dan, keep living in your own world. Try not to look too surprised when nobody runs in the next election but AKP and some token opposition, with opposition media silenced. I’m sure you’ll look on the election as proof of the AKP’s popularity. Come to think of it, I heard such arguments about Saddam Hussein’s elections.

    Reply

  111. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions, Mar 10 2010, 7:35PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I’m gonna help you out with W&M, you seems to be floundering a bit.
    Chapter 3…’Dwindling Moral Case’
    Basically puts forth correctly that the US helped the Jews and thus helped create Israel because of all the displaced Jews after the war…out of our generosity and sympathy so to speak. In in Dc becuase of poltican pressure.
    He then shows how that rationale has been eroded by Israel itself…and America hasn’t been either respected or repaid in kind for our good deeds for the WWII Jews.
    Without getting long winded they cite some examples of Israel’s duplicity.
    Begin admitting that Israel attacked Egypt first with the idea even then of controlling regional power.
    (* the really good by deception stuff is further back in the book dealing with Isr throwing monkey wrenches in US relations with Syria, Iran and etc…not wanting the US to have any ‘friends’ but them in the ME))
    And the fact that Saudi has many times offered Israel full and normal relations with the entire Arab world for withdrawing from the occupied territories, just as they did in 2002 to 2007 and several times since then. It’s basically been a standing offer. And Israel won’t take it.
    They also explain how Israel’s “Basic Law on Human Dignity” sort of like our Bill of Rights was amended to edit out reference to ‘all citizen being equal and no discrimination”
    and etc before being passed in 1992…and that final ‘unequal’ version is the Law in Israel today.
    And it contains a lot of info with quotes from various Isr prezs over the years that agree that the “original aim” of Israel was to ‘own’ all of Israel.
    Covers some of the actors and propaganda used to convince the west jews were good and arabs evil and so forth.
    And then goes on to cover the Camp David myths.
    Some descriptions of the so called offer, that would have left the Israelis actually ‘in charge’ of Jordon River Valley and several other key resources…after they ‘turned them over’.LOL
    Quoted Ben-Amin saying if he were Palestine ‘he wouldn’t have accepted it either’.
    Quotes some polls…after 911 58% of the Newsweek polled believed our support of Israel had something to do with 911. 72% of security experts and 69% of foreign affairs professionals also believed that our support of Israel seriously damaged the US reputation around the world.
    You should skip ahead to Chapter 5 ‘Guiding the Policy Process”….some juicy stuff there.

    Reply

  112. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ******EU ENDORSES GOLDSTONE REPORT******
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/topnews/archive/2010/03/10/eu-endorses-goldstone-report.aspx
    Keep it up, Israel. It won’t be the anti-semnites that take you down, it will be the arrogant murderous radicalized fanatics you have at the helm that are going to spell your doom.

    Reply

  113. Dan Kervick says:

    “This sounds like pure realism to me, dealing with a country based on its behavior. A few years ago Turkey behaved like an ally. Now, it behaves like an adversary.”
    That’s idiotic. Only an America-hating Israeli could possibly make such an egregiously crude error in judgment.

    Reply

  114. nadine says:

    “The Turkey business is particularly invidious. A few years ago, the neoconservatives were just luvin’ Turkey, and telling us how important it was to maintain good relations with them – genocide or no genocide. Now Turkey is on the shit list. But Turkey is still Turkey.”
    This sounds like pure realism to me, dealing with a country based on its behavior. A few years ago Turkey behaved like an ally. Now, it behaves like an adversary.
    “The new democratizers in Turkey are pilloried because they wear Muslim beards and veils, while the old guard defenders of Turkey’s military-backed illiberal “liberalism” are held up by zionists as the party to support.”
    Islamists tend to run on the “one man, one vote, one time” platform. If you are ruling for Allah, by what right do you let anti-Muslim sinners replace you, just because you were voted out? That does not fulfill the will of Allah.
    The AKP is taking over the press and incarcerating their opponents. These are odd tactics to back as “democratizing”. At the least, keep your eyes open for the usual tricks of an emerging dictatorship.

    Reply

  115. Dan Kervick says:

    “You’re up, Dan.”
    I don’t think I am really, Sweetness. The claim I made is that there are many zionists who are anxious to undermine European unity and the European Union, and seize on opportunities to do so. That’s not the claim WigWag really wants to talk about. But I think the intense europhobia of neoconservative zionists and some of their fellow-travelers like WigWag, and their hostility to European unity, has been apparent for a long time.
    There are a lot of geopolitical reasons for that antipathy, but it strikes me that there is one chief impulse: the success of enlightenment ideals and cosmopolitan internationalism anywhere, particularly on such a large and important scale as Europe, is a threat to those who want to drag the world back down into the reactionary holes of their vindictive and desperate tribal nationalism.
    Ever since WigWag returned from a long Washington Note hiatus with a new rhetorical style, the shallow and transparent opportunism, crude propagandizing and obvious dissembling in the WigWaggian arguments have been embarrassing. For example, now we are informed that the miserable Europeans didn’t do enough to win the Cold War. But when it suited WigWag’s narrow political agenda to criticize Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski for chasing the Soviets out of Afghanistan, the great twilight battle of the Cold War didn’t carry much weight, and we were told about how much better Afghanistan was under the Soviets.
    And we all know that if Jimmy and Zbig decided to start hating on Muslims, despairing about rates of Muslim reproduction and calling for their indefinite detention, they would be rehabilitated lickety-split.
    The motive behind the rapid and embarrassing shifts of emphasis and concern are obvious: WigWag has only one narrow and sectarian issue left, and everything else is made to blow in the winds of on that one concern.
    The Turkey business is particularly invidious. A few years ago, the neoconservatives were just luvin’ Turkey, and telling us how important it was to maintain good relations with them – genocide or no genocide. Now Turkey is on the shit list. But Turkey is still Turkey. Turkey’s democracy has served at the pleasure of the military ever since Ataturk formed the Kemalist state. The new democratizers in Turkey are pilloried because they wear Muslim beards and veils, while the old guard defenders of Turkey’s military-backed illiberal “liberalism” are held up by zionists as the party to support. The efforts of the newer folks who actually made an effort to address the Kurdish problem and promote open religious expression in Turkey are undermined and subverted because they don’t render adequate service to Israel. But I heard rarely a word about the tribulations of the Orthodox Christians in Turkey – the ones that WigWag has suddenly discovered – when those tribulations were the work of the ultra-nationalist, militantly secular and conveniently pro-Israel juntas that guided Turkey before the Muslim majority got a justified political foothold. Efforts to democratize Turkey and root out anti-democratic cliques in a military establishment that has a proven track record of authoring frequent coups and political interventions are pre-emptively dismissed – without evidence – as purely political. This is all because enhancing the global position of the Jewish state and damaging Muslims as a group is given pride of place among zionists over all other political ends.
    The new WigWag has also succumbed to an old Washington Note plague and discourse-destroyer: the habit of bombing threads with off-topic cut-and-paste articles and links in a full-spectrum, multi-thread propaganda barrage. When called on this, our intelligence is insulted by being told these articles are not put forth to advance and agenda, despite the obvious uniformity of the direction in which they point, but are just relayed because they are so “interesting” or “fascinating”.

    Reply

  116. Sweetness says:

    So Don S,
    Not sure what your point is here.
    Are you saying that WM’s book is no longer suitable for
    discussion?
    Are you saying only one point of view (or range of views) on the
    book is legitimate?
    As academics, WM would hardly approve of the idea that their
    book shouldn’t be freely discussed or that only one set of views
    on it should be entertained.
    As I recall, Paul asked her to read the book to see what she
    thought, and she’s doing it. And she’s reporting back.
    What’s wrong with that?

    Reply

  117. ... says:

    questions quote “Brief report on W and M……..”
    glad that was brief, lol….

    Reply

  118. DonS says:

    Well, Questions, enjoy your new bedfellow.

    Reply

  119. DonS says:

    Well, Questions, enjoy your new befellow.

    Reply

  120. nadine says:

    “Once again, bad bad Israel bad, the baddest bad in the whole bad world, except that everyone does it except that when Israel does it, it’s BAD.” (questions)
    Thanks for the book report, questions.
    Let me fill in the missing link in their thinking: when everybody else does ‘it’, it is bad but insignificant, since it does not affect any other country’s right to exist, which is unquestioned. But when Israel does ‘it’, it is HORRIBLE, because it undermines or cancels out Israel’s right to exist, which is conditioned on Israel’s purity and inoffensiveness. So all the enemies of Israel need do to delegitimise Israel is declare that Israel is still behaving badly.
    DonS, a tendentious, illogical, biased pile of crap does not ‘break any new ground…of criticizing the sacrosanct LOBBY’, not in a good way. Which do you prefer, sound arguments, or crappy arguments that confirm your prejudices?

    Reply

  121. DonS says:

    Questions, folks here have bent over to give you much the benefit of the doubt as to being a zionist shill. What are you trying to do?” Have you got that great a martyr complex?
    When M & W published their material — in which it is/was widely acknowledged they pull their punches, for which they took criticism — they were breaking new ground in terms of criticizing the sacrosanct LOBBY, as you are fond of writing it.
    Now you may protest and retreat behind your pose of being the philosophically pure intellect offering your pure criticism.
    But don’t be surprised when folks start to see through your pretense, and give even less credence to your musings, since you have here quite clearly stated your CAPITALIZED prejudice. Maybe your not very good at recognizing the simple cues of human behavior.

    Reply

  122. questions says:

    And a quickie but a goodie,
    They (W and M) are shocked, shocked about the demographic arguments and how if anyone in the US gov’t made any untoward remarks about ethnic birth rates…. Were they around for welfare reform? It became government policy in the US.
    Stop with the shock already.
    And just to bring ch. 3 to a close:
    “We are left with a puzzle: either a relatively small number of true believers are exerting a disproportionate influence on U.S. foreign policy, or they have managed to persuade lots of other people — especially key politicians and policy makers — that these flawed rationales are in fact correct. Because the strategic and moral case is increasingly weak, something else must be behind the striking pattern of ever-increasing U.S. support. We address that issue in the next chapter.”
    Ok, so they can’t think of anything else besides: THELOBBY
    There’s no sense that Israel behaves just like other countries and is as useful an ally as is any other place holder on the planet?
    There’s no possibility that LEGITIMATE domestic preferences are being expressed?
    There’s no sense that the world could be as it is aside from OMG DISPROPORTION — but, what is proportion here? Are these two guys the ones with actual phronesis? They know the proper proportion? They know that if we half-dump Israel, then magically, proportion will appear, the moon will be in the 7th house and Jupiter will align with Mars?
    Thus far (end ch. 3) I am not impressed. I think their argument is weak, I think their misreadings are massive, I think they leave out a lot of information that would provide context and make that DISPROPORTION thing less of an issue. Good heavens, our Senate is disproportionate. Lots of things are disproportionate. Disproportion is not evil. So it’s not a great argument to say oooohhhh, it’s disproportionate — and it fits, like much else of their rhetoric, smack in with tropes they should be avoiding like H1N1.

    Reply

  123. questions says:

    I’m on a roll, a dinner roll, a whole wheat granola roll…. Or I’m getting sick of this project. But at least one more post for the night.
    p. 81, ch. 3: “On the contrary, we recognize that virtually all states have committed serious crimes at one time or another in their history, and we are cognizant of the fact that state building is often a violent enterprise. We are also aware that some of Israel’s Arab neighbors have at times acted with great brutality. We focus on Israel’s actions because the United states provides it with a level of material and diplomatic support that is substantially greater than what it gives to other states, and does so at the expense of its own interests. Our aim is to determine whether Israel deserves special treatment because it acts in an exceptionally virtuous manner, as many of its supporters claim. Does Israel behave significantly better than other states do?”
    Ok, so Israel is bad, but so is every country, but Israel is badder. And so its badness means we shouldn’t support it especially since SOME people think it’s good, but no nation is good, not even the Arab nations or not even the US itself (remember dual containment) and so we should not support Israel because Israel’s bad is badder than bad.
    ZOMG.
    The whole book thus far is like this. Somehow Israel is worse than anyone else who is exactly the same. But Israel is worse.
    There isn’t an argument here. There’s a litany of deeds, a suggestion that we all do them, and then a condemnation of Israel for doing them.
    Over and over, round and round again.
    84 — “There is not question that some Arab leaders talked about ‘driving the Jews int the Sea’ during the 1d948 war, but this was largely rhetoric designed to appease their publics. In fact, the Arab leaders were mainly concerned with gaining territory for themselves at the expense of the Palestinians, one of the many occasions when Arab governments put their own interests ahead of the Palestinians’ welfare.”
    So who’s the culprit this time? Israel is bad, but the Arabs are bad, but Israel is badder. But the Arabs wanted territory and used the Palestinians and used rhetoric, but when Israel does it, it means something worse….
    WTF.
    Is it just that they want us to be evenhanded among scoundrels? But if Arabs do what Israelis do, then it’s not like we should be supporting anyone? What are they actually saying? Give half the money to Israel and the rest to Syria and Lebanon and Egypt and Iran and Iraq (oops, not them, we’re too busy dual containing) — how does anyone choose?
    Is there really some pre-determined, set amount of money we should send?
    Their whole argument falls on top of itself as a house of cards does after a poorly timed and located spring pollen-induced sneeze. Ahhhh choo.

    Reply

  124. questions says:

    And then some concern trolling at the end of ch.2 — yes, this is only through ch. 2, and I’m not even dealing with every passage I have marked.
    “There is no question that Israel has derived substantial benefit from U.S. support, although one might also argue that this support has been used to pursue policies — such as settlement construction — that were not in Israel’s long-term interest.”
    Gee, thanks for the kind thoughts.
    “It is also clear that the United States derived some strategic value for its aid to Israel, especially during the Cold War. Yet these benefits cannot fully justify or explain why the United States has been willing to give Israel such consistent support over such and extended period……”
    Realism is clouding their minds. They can’t see a REASON unless there’s a cabal that isn’t a cabal but actually is.
    And besides, they must have them some serious Christian love for Israel. Or something. But they also have them some serious love for dual containment. Ugh.

    Reply

  125. Carroll says:

    On occasional I have called the Israelis the stupidest people on the face of the earth.
    I think I have to say it again.
    What were those idiots thinking?
    On both CNN and MSNBC the talking heads are telling millions of American people that “Israel slapped the United States in the face” re the Biden affair.
    Some say it as Israel slapped America ‘and’ Obama in the face.
    Let me see if this makes sense….they insult the only country on earth that stands between it and it’s total demise? And in a way that hits the airways and press of the entire world?
    While they are meanwhile spending all kinds of money and effort; from ads, to congressional bribes, to activist net minions, and campus students, to “promote” the virtues of and the case for Israel?
    One observation I most agree with is Andrew Sullivan’s.
    “Contempt… The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan takes the news as evidence that he’s “not imagining these things”; Israel really does have a “‘Go Cheney Yourself’ policy on the peace process,” and a “contemptuous attitude toward the US.”
    I have always had the same sense that some Jews and Israelis hate Americans, gentiles, Europeans and etc. really more than they actually “hate” the Musims.
    But they aren’t capable of taking on the gentile world so they are needlessly brutal about taking it out on the less powerful like the Palestines, Lebanon and so on.
    I could look at this kind of stupid and resulting fallout as being good for my corner’s view that Israel should be treated as any other country.
    BUT….being stupid ‘plus’ batshit crazy in the ME
    just guarentees disaster for everyone….so I’am not particulary celebrating this indication of their mental handicap.

    Reply

  126. Carroll says:

    On occasional I have called the Israelis the stupidest people on the face of the earth.
    I think I have to say it again.
    What were those idiots thinking?
    On both CNN and MSNBC the talking heads are telling millions of American people that “Israel slapped the United States in the face” re the Biden affair.
    Some say it as Israel slapped America ‘and’ Obama in the face.
    Let me see if this makes sense….they insult the only country on earth that stands between it and it’s total demise? And in a way that hits the airways and press of the entire world?
    While they are meanwhile spending all kinds of money and effort; from ads, to congressional bribes, to activist net minions, and campus students, to “promote” the virtues of and the case for Israel?
    One observation I most agree with is Andrew Sullivan’s.
    “Contempt… The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan takes the news as evidence that he’s “not imagining these things”; Israel really does have a “‘Go Cheney Yourself’ policy on the peace process,” and a “contemptuous attitude toward the US.”
    I have always had the same sense that some Jews and Israelis hate Americans, gentiles, Europeans and etc. really more than they actually “hate” the Musims.
    But they aren’t capable of taking on the gentile world so they are needlessly brutal about taking it out on the less powerful like the Palestines, Lebanon and so on.
    I could look at this kind of stupid and resulting fallout as being good for my corner’s view that Israel should be treated as any other country.
    BUT….being stupid ‘plus’ batshit crazy in the ME
    just guarentees disaster for everyone….so I’am not particulary celebrating this indication of their mental handicap.

    Reply

  127. questions says:

    73 — no one is ideologically driven — not the Soviets, not Saddam Hussein. The world is rational, full of self-preservers. No WMD attack is going to happen. And I guess there are no suicide bombers? I don’t know.
    75 Israel just isn’t loyal, so how can we be friends?…..
    77 “Israel is of course not the only country that spies on the United States, and Washington conducts extensive espionage against both allies and adversaries as well. Such behavior is neither surprising not particularly reprehensible, because international politics is a rough business and states often do unscrupulous things in their efforts to gain an edge over other countries. Nonetheless, the close relationship between Washington and Jerusalem has made it easier for Israel to steal American secrets, and it has not hesitated to do just that. At the very least, Israel’s willingness to spy on its principal patron casts further doube on its overall strategic value, especially now that the Cold War is over.”
    WHO THE FUCK WROTE THIS PASSAGE (sorry for the unprofessional expletive. Sometimes I can’t help it.)
    Once again, bad bad Israel bad, the baddest bad in the whole bad world, except that everyone does it except that when Israel does it, it’s BAD.
    ZOMG.
    And then to gloss over the IR issues behind trust and distrust, misperceptions, mutual spying… just so they can get another dig in. ZOMG. And I really mean that Z.

    Reply

  128. questions says:

    p. 59 — some scholars think we don’t need Israel anymore now that the Cold War is over. And these are real pro-Israel people, so there! Ha!
    They like the “dual containment” of Iran and Iraq — umm, isn’t this like, umm, the brutal sanctions and the funneling of money to the two countries to encourage war between them, and umm, those half million dead Iraqi kids and all???? Gee, and they have such deep moral concern? Oh, no, wait, they are realists. They don’t give a damn about anyone’s lives unless they can get in a dig about Christian love and the Palestinians.
    It pays to read carefully and make notes.
    p 60 Oil matters in the region. And here’s a good one — until Sept 11, 2001, the terrorism thing didn’t matter. Isn’t that the attitude that got the US into trouble in the first place?
    p. 62 — a misreading of “partners against terrorism” — it’s not that Pal = bin Laden, it’s that terrorism is multi-faceted, Israel has experience with the phenomenon, and Israel has so spies in convenient places.
    65 — a whole thing on why Israel is a costly friend — why the terrorists hate us cuz of Israel. So now we have to decide a couple of things — is terrorism real? If not, then this point goes down the drain just like that. If so, would bin Laden still hate us w/o Israel? Well, yup. Extractive industries in the Arab world fuck over a lot of people and cause a lot of social misery that in its own way feeds the terror thing. As long as the US wants oil, as long as the US wants stable wicked regimes in many ME countries, we’re going to have some serious problems.
    68, “US support for Isreal is not the only source of anti-
    Americanism, of course, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror and advancing other U.S. interests more difficult.”
    So, here we go again with the backtracking stuff. Lots of harping, and then a short, oh, we guess there are some other issues. But still, it’s Israel…..

    Reply

  129. questions says:

    And then in ch. 4 we are reminded of the Christian Zionists. But they have lots less power than the non-Christian Zionists. And some Jewish Zionists and not-so-Zionists are uncomfortable with the Convert Or Die thing. And anyway, the Christian Zionists have other issues to worry about besides Israel.
    Oh, and the Christians also have Christian doctrine that tells them to love thy neighbor so some of them don’t love what Israel has done to the Palestinians.
    ZOMG
    What does one make of this repeated structure, the carefully, or not so carefully, couched rhetoric. Christians love. Jewish people conspire. I’m not reading this into the book. It’s right there on the last couple of pages of ch. 4.
    Do these guys know how loaded their language is? Do they believe that Christian love is a larger force in the universe than any other conception of duty to mankind? Do they really have no other way to express this? Do they think that Pat Robertson, named in the book, is, umm, full of Christian love?
    Wow. I hope this book’s devotees around here read this stuff carefully and not merely with acceptance. The book really is flawed, and flawed in ways no review of it I’ve seen touches on. I haven’t read every review, but I did go through a number. No one touched on the method, the careful textual reading that needs to be done.
    And when they name some Christian names, they give a bunch from some other century. And toss in only a few contemporary ones. All the better to show that Christians can’t organize like Jewish people can. Or something. Who even knows.
    Simply wow.

    Reply

  130. questions says:

    Brief report on W and M — the main technique seems to be over and over to catalogue, to list, to try to shock…and then say, but this behavior is really normal except that it’s not.
    They go so far, in ch. 4, as to list every single neocon they can think of by NAME — shades of Nixon’s who’s a Jew???? OMG. It’s really pretty awful. Anyway, then they say it’s not an exhaustive list and it’s not a cabal and and and. And we’re supposed to be horrified by this non-cabal cabal.
    They do this kind of thing in every chapter. A catalogue, a qualification, and a suggestion that we should be horrified.
    They give details when details will help their case and they leave out context when it’s really needed for understanding.
    They talk about how much money AIPAC has and how it’s grown. They give no dollar amounts for actual lobbying activity and they give no dollar amounts for any other lobby. But then they qualify and say, hey, lobbying is American, lobbying is lobbying — except when it’s AIPAC but AIPAC is one lobby among many….
    They want to make the strong case, but they back off it trying to be something like fair, but the bias comes out anyway and makes for incoherence all the way through. This happens in every chapter I’ve read so far. A catalogue of horrors and errors, a brief mention that others do it too, but then a suggestion that it’s worse somehow when Israel lurks. Spying, lobbying, interest group politics, the notion that interest groups take on a life of their own or exaggerate in order to keep the bucks flowing in…. All of this is utterly typical and is the normal functioning of American politics –which they note, but somehow it’s positively demonic (my term) when Israel is involved.
    What a mess of a book. But the list of names, now that’s pretty bad.
    They fail to give context, as I noted, and detail for anything that might weaken their claims. Without knowing what typically is spent on lobbying, how can you judge any dollar amount? And without noting the date/value of the dollar, it becomes ever harder.
    They note that THELOBBY of course doesn’t get everything they ask for. They note that THELOBBY isn’t monolithic. Except, THELOBBY gets everything and is monolithic. OMG. Except that it’s not.
    They don’t, as I’ve noted again and again, do the quant work to find out where the money goes and what real effect it might have. They don’t list the horrors of any other pressure system to give some context for what THELOBBY does.
    Yuck.
    If I’m up for typing in quotations, I’ll get to that eventually. I have 50 or so post it notes marking irritating passages and I’m not sure how much effort I want to put in to mere typing of this stuff.

    Reply

  131. ... says:

    wigwag quote “It’s quite a legacy that today’s anti-Zionists have inherited.”
    to which i will add – it’s quite a legacy that today’s zionists have inherited….
    anti zionism is a result of zionism… the idea of doing away with both must be a frightening thought to those who’d like to maintain the status quo…
    i note wigwag continues with the perpetual ‘anti-semite’ mantra necessary to sustain when anyone challenges any of the bullshit coming out of israel or those apologists in the usa or anywhere else for that matter who always respond with the knee jerk ‘anti-semite’ cry…

    Reply

  132. WigWag says:

    I think, Sweetness that Mead is trying to make the point that American liberal elites both in the past and now have never understood how popular Zionism is in the United States and why it is so popular. The corollary to this is that the popularity of Zionism doesn’t spring primarily from American Jews but from American Christians.
    Mead is also saying that the American intellectual elite of the 21st century who are far more skeptical of Israel than the vast majority of Americans have much in common with the elites of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Of course the elites of days gone by could feel free to express their opposition to Zionism in the most vile, anti-Semitic terms. Today’s elites have learned the importance of couching their comments more carefully.
    Does Mead provide enough evidence to make his assertions believable? That’s a good question that people of good will can disagree about.
    My suggestion is that you read his most recent essay and come to your own conclusions.
    Cheers!

    Reply

  133. Sweetness says:

    Wig says, “What Mead may be suggesting (but to be fair, he doesn’t
    exactly say it) is that the off-spring of these missionaries were
    people and organizations that always has a strong streak of dislike
    for Jews and in many cases still do; the Anglican Communion, the
    Presbyterian Church, the National Council of Churches are but a
    few examples.”
    Does he (or you) provide any support for these assertions?
    Read the previous Mead pieces, but not this one yet.

    Reply

  134. WigWag says:

    Today, in a new post entitled “Don’t Blame the Jews” Walter Russell Mead continues his series of essays on Israel, Palestine and the bigotry and dimwittedness of so many anti-Israel commentators in the United States and Europe.
    Here’s the link,
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/03/10/dont-blame-the-jews/#more-3307
    Mead makes a number of interesting historical points that I have not seen commented on elsewhere. He takes both American Zionists and anti-Zionists to task for an appalling lack of understanding of how Zionism was viewed in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    Mead follows up on his claim of the nasty bigotry or “dumbness” of many of today’s leading realists by describing the anti-Semitism of 19th century missionaries who, in his words, “built a network of colleges and hospitals across what was then the Ottoman Empire and what today we call the Middle East.” The purpose of those missionaries was to encourage “Christian Arabs to play a larger role in political life and, the missionaries hoped, one day open the doors to present the gospel to the Muslims. Many of the great leaders of Arab secular nationalism, including the (French-educated) Michel Aflaq, founder of the Ba’ath Party that once ruled Iraq and still rules Syria and whose beautiful tomb in Baghdad… was built by Saddam Hussein, were Arabs of Christian origin.”
    Mead points out that the missionaries of the time weren’t the type of people we expect to do missionary work today. Mead says that “when we think of missionaries we tend to think of evangelicals from what we East Coast types call the boondocks when nobody is looking, and the heartland when we are running for office, especially in the Iowa caucuses. One hundred years ago, that wasn’t true. Missionaries for the mainline denominations — which were the ones who predominated in the Ottoman Empire and who controlled the great missionary institutions of the day — were often extremely well connected and were sometimes well heeled members of the establishment. Prominent business and political leaders sat on the boards of missionary colleges and missionary kids regularly returned for college at places like Yale before heading into careers in government service — and especially into the State Department.”
    Mead goes on to say that “the missionaries and their allies were liberal upper-middle-class professionals from the mainline denominations and their descendants and heirs are very much with us now — and they still tend not to like Israel very much.” What Mead may be suggesting (but to be fair, he doesn’t exactly say it) is that the off-spring of these missionaries were people and organizations that always has a strong streak of dislike for Jews and in many cases still do; the Anglican Communion, the Presbyterian Church, the National Council of Churches are but a few examples.
    It’s quite fascinating really; progressives like to think of the Christian fundamentalist community as the racist and bigoted believers; one logical conclusion of Mead’s comments is that these so-called progressives have it exactly backward; they need to look at themselves in the mirror.
    Linking the 19th and early 20th century missionaries with anti-Zionist activists of today, Mead says,
    “Then, as now, they were largely clueless about why the Zionist cause was so persistently popular in Congress; then, as now, they blamed it on the Jews. At that time, unlike today, these sentiments were often expressed in overtly and even virulently anti-Semitic language.”
    Mead goes on to make a number of other extremely interesting points. He provides proof that Zionism was really more a creation of Christian Americans than it was of the Jews (American Jews were far more focused on saving their European brethren from the gas chambers than they were about the creation of a Jewish State) and he points out that Zionism has always been an extremely popular movement in the United States especially with the majority of Christians if not with Christian elites. Mead mentions something that I never knew; the Balfour Declaration (the first time the British supported the creation of Israel) was endorsed by a resolution that passed both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously (67th Congress).
    Finally, Mead presents the harrowing results of anti-Semitism on the part of American elites; the refusal to abridge the immigration quotas of 1924 or to allow Jews trying to escape the Holocaust from entering the United States. It’s a damning accusation and a profound one; in a sense those American anti-Semitic elites became co-conspirators with the Nazis.
    It’s quite a legacy that today’s anti-Zionists have inherited.
    Mead sums up by saying,
    “Without an understanding of this history, I think it’s impossible to think clearly either about the realities of the Middle East or about the politics of Israel policy in the United States today. The missionaries never got this; their heirs still get it wrong.”
    Ouch!

    Reply

  135. questions says:

    Adding to my comment above, it might be interesting to look at Israel as a weak state.
    When a splinter group can wield enough power to make a country do some of the dumber things that countries do, when small groups or individuals can trump their leaders, when settlers can defy the law and not face repercussions, there are some signs of serious weakness.
    I’m certainly no expert on the politics of weak states, so if anyone has something to add to this, it might be interesting to see.
    Can a strong state be weak?

    Reply

  136. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions, Mar 10 2010, 11:53AM – Link
    Eventually, I will continue my on and off again series on W and M. I’m on ch. 4.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I’am gonna help you in that effort.

    Reply

  137. ... says:

    paul norheim 927am and 1056am… wigwag has resorted to these type of tricks countless times… thanks for articulating what i see here regularly…

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  138. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes: “But Dan provides no evidence or examples. In my response to him I cited conflicts and crises all over the world; if Dan thinks that Zionists are working to exploit any of the conflicts that I mentioned either in league with non-Zionists or by themselves, he should provide the particulars.”
    You’re up, Dan.

    Reply

  139. Charles Ward says:

    Biden’s the Democrat’s version of John McCain. Don’t expect anything other that what he’s been instructed to say.
    He’s always been an imperialist blow-hard, mainly intersted in his own career.

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  140. Paul Norheim says:

    “EU Parliament endorses Goldstone Gaza report
    By Cnaan Liphshiz , Haaretz Correspondent
    The European Parliament on Wednesday supported the
    implementation of the Goldstone report and said it was
    “concerned” about “pressure placed on NGOs involved in the
    document’s preparation.”
    Jewish leaders said they were “deeply disappointed” and puzzled
    by the motion.
    (…)
    The European Parliament’s resolution was a softened version of
    an earlier draft which called for implementing the Goldstone
    report. The draft was scrapped after European Jewish Congress
    Moshe Kantor warned party leaders that the resolution would
    damage EU-Israel relations.
    The final resolution, which passed through a majority of 335
    supporters versus 287 opponents and 43 abstentions, said EU
    member states should “demand the implementation of the
    Goldstone report’s recommendations and accountability for all
    violations of international law.”
    Kantor told Haaretz last week that if the European Parliament
    adopts the Goldstone report, it will be the “strongest
    endorsement the document has received so far.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155507.html

    Reply

  141. questions says:

    oops — should be “Chico Escuela”

    Reply

  142. questions says:

    Realism is simply ill-equipped as an explanatory mechanism for what’s going on in the I/P, and ideology doesn’t cut it either.
    There are a range of psycho dramas and political maneuverings and governmental structures that make conflict sustainable and stable in a funny way, and make peace difficult.
    Laitin notes a variety of political entities that found ways to change fairly significant aspects of their culture such as language when the incentives to do so are in place.
    What Biden et al need to figure out is what really are the incentives big enough to get people to change things that they are wedded to, that they profit from, that make sense to them, that they can push for political power.
    Starting with the Shas party, what could you tell them that would make them stay in a peace-negotiating anti-settler party? I seriously doubt that cutting off money would be productive given the quotations I pasted above.
    The Shas party is frequently the pivot point in the Knesset, just as this or that senator is the pivotal member number 60 or number 50 or 51 in the US Senate. That member determines the fate of legislation in this country and is extraordinarily powerful as a result. Shas seems to follow suit.
    So negotiation has to work with ultra right wing nut cases and far to the right anxiety patients and right wing religionists…. And, indeed, it has to do the same thing for the Palestinian equivalents.
    There is not matter of overarching national interest for politicians. If there were, the US would have great schools, transit, energy and industrial policies, wealth for all…. That’s the stuff of stable, healthy, happy polities. Instead, we have booms and busts, racial violence, we’re pitted against one another, we “fought” the Cold War and the Iraq war and all sorts of other useless wars. We funded the Contras, we knock out governments, we pick on Cuba….. Where oh where is the logic in any of this? Well, there isn’t any.
    So go back to the drawing board. Dump realism and start thinking process, politics, psychology. Nevermind Carroll’s nonsense about how false is Israel’s trauma — it’s not false, it’s foundational and it gives a whole helluva lot of space to the right wing splinter parties. The cultural sensibility of the US clearly allows for racism and classism and fear mongering. Israel follows suit. And this is the atmosphere in which we and they have to function.
    *****
    Eventually, I will continue my on and off again series on W and M. I’m on ch. 4. The next write up will be titled: As Chico Escuala Might Say, “Israel bin berri berri bad to US” — in which W and M list all sorts of misdeeds, swear that lots of countries do the same shit, but dammit Israel does this shit…. And in which W and M miss out on the inner workings of Israeli gov’t, the point of the Cold War and its aftermath, the fact that collecting allies is nearly always a done thing regardless of how betrayal-ish the allies are, the fact that it’s not like we get any better from, say, Pakistan, the fact that intranational persecution is horrific in many putative allies and that therefore their singling out of Israel does seem a little, ummm, overmuch. And by the way, they agree that “THELOBBY” might be an unfortunate term, but we have a farm lobby and a pharmaceutical lobby and a… so why not an Israel Lobby as well, even if there could be a better term. ZOMG.

    Reply

  143. samuelburke says:

    friends of IDf protest at the waldorf astoria.
    http://adalahny.org/index.php/photo-galleries/356-foidf-2010

    Reply

  144. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes WigWag,
    I have to admit that some of the recent developments on our
    planet frustrate me. They seem to be more in accordance with
    your dreams and wishes. I envy you. Can’t remember seeing you
    so energized and full of joy since Operation Cast Lead.

    Reply

  145. samuelburke says:

    Israel’s existential crisis comes to New York
    by PHILIP WEISS on MARCH 10, 2010 · 5 COMMENTS
    “Often these days I hear people talk about how much progress
    the left has made in breaking open the Israel/Palestine issue in
    the U.S., and yes I make this claim myself, but last night offered
    clear evidence that we are doing so. At the behest of 20-odd
    peace groups, several hundred people marched around the
    Waldorf Astoria silently as the Israeli military held a million-
    dollar fundraiser inside. Now and then donors in black tie got
    out of cabs, but here we were in single file, most of us wearing
    black, stretching all the way round the hotel and holding signs
    naming 5-year-olds who were slaughtered in Gaza.
    My guess is there were 700 of us. “We are marching single file in
    a silent, dignified, slow procession,” our organizers had written
    on the slips of paper they handed out, and though they couldn’t
    stop us talking, we did as they planned for two hours as night
    fell. Slide show here.
    The night was memorable for two things: the looniness of the
    counterdemonstators and a conversation I had about the
    possible end of Israel with a soulful Jewish friend.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/

    Reply

  146. Mr.Murder says:

    Many Arabs see Iran dragging the region into war, with themselves as collateral damage. From Tariq al-Homayed, the editor of Al Shark al Awsat, Feb 18
    By Arabs ypou mean Dubai, the host country of Halliburton, or Saudi Arabia, where Richard Halliburton once got closer to Mecca than any non muslim ever had to meet their ruler of the time and discuss the trans arabian pipeline?

    Reply

  147. Paul Norheim says:

    Obama may have been amateurish in his approach to the conflict,
    but with such unpredictable hosts as the Israelis, American
    experience and professionalism becomes almost irrelevant.
    Kissinger was perhaps correct when he claimed that “Israel has no
    foreign policy, it has only a domestic policy.” The fact that Avigdor
    Lieberman is in charge of an office lacking a policy doesn’t make
    things better.
    After the humiliation of Turkey and America, who’s next?
    In any case the extraordinary timing only underlines the
    substance.

    Reply

  148. WigWag says:

    “Dan Kervick talks about “some hard line Zionists” (among other unmentioned groups) identifying and exploiting potential sources of discord and conflict in Europe.” (Paul Norheim)
    No that’s not right, Paul. I don’t know what Dan meant, but I do know what he said. Here it is again (in paraphrased form),
    “The enemies of European unity are indefatigable and legion, and number particularly some hard line Zionist provocateurs around the world who, motivated by a program of tribal self-interest coupled to a spirit of vengeance and destruction, constantly work to identify potential sources of discord and conflict in Europe, and then provoke, exploit and intensify those conflicts.”
    Dan is suggesting that some number of what he calls hard line Zionists (motivated by nefarious self-interest) work to identify where European discord might exist and then attempt to exacerbate those crises.
    But Dan provides no evidence or examples. In my response to him I cited conflicts and crises all over the world; if Dan thinks that Zionists are working to exploit any of the conflicts that I mentioned either in league with non-Zionists or by themselves, he should provide the particulars.
    If there are other examples in Europe that I neglected to mention where Dan thinks “hard-line Zionists” are working hard to provoke more severe European internecine strife he should mention those as well.
    In fact, I’m afraid Dan is making Walter Russell Mead’s point for him. There is a tendency to blame both Jews and Zionists for problems all over the world; including problems that they are not even remotely connected to. Mead finds that tendency troubling and suggests that it is either “anti-Semitic” or “dumb.”
    I understand that for nice people like you and Dan, watching your preferred policies rejected and neglected is a frustrating experience. I’ve felt the same way myself on many occasions and I’ve been motivated to say silly things myself as a result.
    But while Dan is obviously one of the smartest regular commentators at the Washington Note; the comment we are discussing was, to use Mead’s terminology, “dumb.”
    ps: Dan also suggests that the “hard-line Zionists” working to sew strife wherever they go have allies at the Washington Note. He says, “We see that same program carried out here in the comments section of The Washington Note on a daily basis.”
    I don’t know if Dan is referring to me or not when he makes this comment, but I can assure you and him that my comments aren’t part of a “program.” I’m just here because it’s fun.

    Reply

  149. PissedOffAmerican says:

    A google search turns up no response from Hillary Clinton in regards to Israel flipping Biden the bird.
    Seems she’s too busy flitzing about the globe trying to market Israel’s policies on Iran. Who the fuck does our Secretary Of State work for?
    And when will Steve Clemons include Hillary Clinton in his list of worthy topics? Exactly what has this Israel licking crone done that is POSITIVE as far as advancing American foreign policy in the Middle East?
    What exactly are her “successes”, except further alienating Iran and Syria, erasing any prospects for constructive “engagement” with these countries, and doing Israel’s bidding while being completely subservient to Israel’s arrogance? Notice how she dissappears from the stage everytime Israel punks us?

    Reply

  150. questions says:

    “n an apparent snub Tuesday night, Biden pointedly arrived 90 minutes late to his scheduled dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and he sharply rebuked the Israeli step — which came just after the Palestinians agreed to a new round of indirect peace talks under U.S. mediation after a 14-month lapse.
    “The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now,” Biden said.
    “We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them,” he added, warning that “unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations.”
    Fayyad said the Palestinians appreciated “the strong statement of condemnation” by the U.S. administration.
    Israel’s opposition Kadima party said it is planning a no-confidence vote in the prime minister in parliament for “destroying” the Biden visit.
    The new construction plan also drew a sharp rebuke from Egypt, Israel’s closest ally in the Arab world, and from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
    “This is absurd. It is disdainful of the Arab and the Palestinian positions and the American mediation,” said Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
    Israeli media lambasted the move, calling it an embarrassment.
    “A slap heard round the world,” read the headline of a front-page commentary in Israel’s Haaretz daily.”
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/03/biden_says_palestinians_deserve_viable_state.php?ref=fpa

    Reply

  151. questions says:

    “In essence, Israel continues to prove Henry Kissinger’s pithy dictum: “Israel has no foreign policy, it has only a domestic policy.” On Tuesday, it was Interior Minister Eli Yishai who used the construction decision as a means of bolstering his own standing within Shas, coming as it did several days after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat sought to prove that he is the boss and came close to destroying dozens of Palestinian homes in Silwan.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155498.html

    Reply

  152. questions says:

    “What could officials here gain from what is, in effect, an Israeli version of the incitement the government so keenly – and correctly -decries in its Palestinian incarnations?
    It the same edge that Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud stood to gain by telling the Washington Post, “While we welcome Vice President Biden, a longtime friend and supporter of Israel, we see it as nothing short of an insult that President Obama himself is not coming.”
    It is the base sentiment that Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry has courted in trying to make Israel appear to loom large by treating dignitaries from overseas to petty indignities and frank disrespect.
    The profit, for the hard right, is political. It mines an emotional vein along a relatively small but potent segment of the Israeli electorate, which holds that to insult Israel’s indispensible ally is to assert the Jewish state’s independence.
    In their drive to expunge any trace of hitrapsut – groveling to the colonial master – there are those among the ostensible super-patriots of the right who revel in shots across the bow of the American ship of state.
    On the whole, the farther right one goes in Israel, the more pronounced the sentiment. Avowedly pro-Kahane extremists, now strong enough to have placed their own representative in the Knesset, have gained shock cred by lining highway underpasses with posters of the “Jew-hater Obama” photoshopped into wearing a Palestinian kaffieh.
    Harder to fathom was the Defense Ministry’s Monday announcement that work would resume on 112 homes in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit, units whose construction had been suspended under a White House-spurred settlement freeze.
    Chalk it up, if you like, to the powerful pro-settler presence in certain strata of Israel’s bureaucracy. Or credit the mercurial, not to say, erratic, policy style of Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak. Or accept the official explanation that the timing of the decision was coincidence, entirely unconnected with the vice-presidential visit.
    In the anarchic swirl of current Israeli governance, the correct answer may well be: all three.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155257.html
    A little nuance, local political culture, psychic dynamic…. Not the stuff of the realists, but the stuff of internal decision-making.

    Reply

  153. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The bigot Nadine seems to have radicalized the zealot Wig-wag.

    Reply

  154. Paul Norheim says:

    That’s a cheap and dirty rhetorical trick, WigWag.
    Dan Kervick talks about “some hard line Zionists” (among other
    unmentioned groups) identifying and exploiting potential
    sources of discord and conflict in Europe.
    You distorted this statement into: “the Zionists caused the
    conflicts” – in an attempt to make Dan look like a nutcase anti-
    Semite, believing that Zionism the root cause for every problem
    or conflict in Europe. And then you systematically ridicule your
    own creation
    As Kotz may have said:
    You devilish WigWag, you just nailed, terminated and put a
    strawman to dust!

    Reply

  155. WigWag says:

    “The enemies of European unity are indefatigable and legion, and number particularly some hard line Zionist provocateurs around the world who, motivated by a program of tribal self-interest coupled to a spirit of vengeance and destruction, constantly work to identify potential sources of discord and conflict in Europe, and then provoke, exploit and intensify those conflicts. We see that same program carried out here in the comments section of The Washington Note on a daily basis.” (Dan Kervick)
    I don’t know, Dan, I have a sneaking suspicion that not too many sophisticated people would agree with you that the problems of Europe have much to do with Zionist provocateurs; perhaps you can be specific and tell us what you are referring to.
    Are the problems of Belgium caused by Zionist provocateurs? What about the continuing problems in the Balkans? What about the problems confronting Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece (and Iceland if you want to consider that part of Europe); were they caused by Zionist provocateurs?
    Are the increasingly serious problem that native Europeans are having with their new Muslim neighbors caused by Zionists or are they caused by European paranoia; as you may know, Muslims are permitted to wear headscarves in both the United States and Israel. It’s the Europeans who want to ban Muslim regalia.
    What about the European monetary crisis; do you think Zionist provocateurs have anything to do with that?
    Perhaps you would like to share with us your evidence for Zionist provocateurs promoting tribal self-interest around the world. Are you suggesting that it’s the Zionists who caused the problems between the Turks and the Kurds; the Turks and the Alevi or the Turks and the Orthodox Christians? Are the Zionists responsible for the factionalism in Pakistan? Or perhaps you think the Zionists have something to do with the uneasy relationships between French and English speakers in Quebec or Roman Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
    One last thing; in one of your earlier comments you mentioned Elizabeth I, Machiavelli, Richelieu and of Bismarck.
    Not only is Richelieu turning over in his grave to see what’s happening in Europe and Bismarck plotzing, from whatever perch Elizabeth I is watching; she can’t be too happy either. But I don’t think she’s particularly surprised. After all, she had a famously bad relationship with both the French and the Spanish. In fact both the French and Spanish kings worked overtime to have the British monarch assassinated.
    Here’s a newsflash; that wasn’t the fault of the Zionists either. And it wasn’t even the fault of the Jews; after all, by that time they had been exiled from Spain, France and England

    Reply

  156. Dan Kervick says:

    I prefer the new European political mojo to the old martial mojo that has been lost.
    The European Union is not just a single isolated diplomatic achievement, but a whole series of diplomatic achievements that have been the work of two generations.
    The enemies of European unity are indefatigable and legion, and number particularly some hard line zionist provocateurs around the world who, motivated by a program of tribal self-interest coupled to a spirit of vengeance and destruction, constantly work to identify potential sources of discord and conflict in Europe, and then provoke, exploit and intensify those conflicts. We see that same program carried out here in the comments section of The Washington Note on a daily basis.
    It hasn’t always been this way, since Jewish intellectuals have also historically been among the chief promoters of unitarian, anti-nationalist and universalist ideals. But there are those who appear to believe that the solution to the problem of Jewish weakness in the world is to divide *everyone else* into weak, conflict-ridden and small tribal blocs, and those people appear to be in a political ascendancy.
    There is something tragically self-defeating in this drive toward destruction and fragmentation. It is not likely to end well.

    Reply

  157. samuelburke says:

    Is There a Mideast Solution?
    by William Pfaff, March 10, 2010
    “There nonetheless might be the ingredients of a miracle in the
    second proposal discussed at the Qatar meeting. In 1947,
    Palestine was partitioned and Israel created by the United
    Nations. Israel today is recognized internationally within its
    1967 borders.
    http://original.antiwar.com/pfaff/2010/03/09/is-there-a-
    mideast-solution/
    It is conceivable that the Palestinians could petition the UN, or a
    permanent member of the UN Security Council, to lay before the
    council its duty to complete its unfinished work from 1947: to
    set the borders of the state of Palestine that was meant to be
    jointly created with Israel, and to recognize its sovereignty
    within those borders. The United States, of course, has a veto in
    the Security Council.
    However there is a further consideration. The Security Council in
    1947 acted on the recommendation of the General Assembly. It
    is possible that a Special Session of the General Assembly could
    be convened to address the Palestinian petition.
    There is no veto in the General Assembly. John Whitbeck, the
    international lawyer who first raised this possibility in an article
    published in 2001, says that if “a constructive and principled
    General Assembly Resolution were passed on to the Security
    Council,” an American use of its veto against the Palestinians
    would at the minimum “cost it all remaining regional support
    for its war in Afghanistan.”
    It was, after all, the United States in 1950 that found a way, by
    means of a “Uniting for Peace” resolution in the General
    Assembly, to mobilize the UN’s successful intervention against
    North Korean aggression against South Korea, at a moment
    when Security Council action was blocked by a Soviet veto.”
    (c) 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

    Reply

  158. samuelburke says:

    Rachel Corrie was murdered by the idf.
    “The first witness to give evidence was Richard Purssell, a Briton
    who was an ISM volunteer along with Corrie. He described how
    he had gone to Gaza to see the situation for himself and to
    prevent the Israeli military from demolishing Palestinian houses.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/10/rachel-corrie-
    civil-case-israel
    He said the ISM told him it was a strictly non-violent
    organisation. “Our role was to support Palestinian non-violent
    resistance.”
    He briefly described the moment Corrie was killed. “Rachel
    disappeared inside the earth and the bulldozer continued for 4
    metres and then reversed,” he told the court.
    Corrie, who was born in Olympia, Washington, travelled to Gaza
    to act as a human shield at a moment of intense conflict
    between the Israeli military and the Palestinians.
    On the day she died, when she was just 23, she was dressed in
    a fluorescent orange vest and was trying to stop the demolition
    of a Palestinian home in Rafah. She was crushed under a military
    Caterpillar D9R bulldozer and died shortly afterwards.”

    Reply

  159. kotzabasis says:

    You devilish WigWag you just nailed, without once mentioning his name, the ‘realist’ and apparently knowledgeable on world events and movements Dan Kervick on the cross, with your indisputable facts of your last post above, about the political failures of the Europeans, with the exception of the European Union that Nadine mentioned, that would make Richelieu turn and Bismarck plotz.
    I wonder if Kervick bleeding profusely from your driving nails will still have enough blood in his veins to answer you back.

    Reply

  160. Carroll says:

    The Christians are coming! To the barricades!
    If I were a zionist or Israeli I would be more worried long term about the good Christians and the World Council of Churches getting me than the Muslims.
    The WCC has been doing this for several years and
    shows no signs of letting up on Israel.
    A religious war like zionist say I/P is because of crazy Islam fanatics but between Christians and Jews instead would be quite a upset to the US congress. LOL
    They would need a industrial quality extra super duper giant size washing machine to spin that one.
    http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441467&ct=8021695
    A group of activists hostile to Israel, including theologians and others in some prominent Protestant churches have launched a dangerous campaign to use theology to delegitimize the Jewish State and her supporters. They may be only days away from putting the policy of a large Protestant denomination on a collision course with Israel’s survival — unless we raise our voices in protest.
    This comes just as Israel’s right to defend her citizens is denounced as ‘war crimes and crimes against humanity’ by the UN’s Goldstone Report; when Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was verbally attacked at Oxford University with chants of “Slaughter the Jews”; and when screaming Muslim “activists” tried to silence or censor the speech by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, at the University of California, Irvine.
    But in 2008, church leaders supposedly seeking to balance PCUSA’a Middle East policies, instead, created a committee dominated by seven activists holding strong anti-Israel beliefs. The lone member sympathetic to Israel, quit in protest when he saw their radical agenda.
    Here’s what we know about their report from a press release leaked by the committee last month:
    •the report calls for the US to withhold financial and military aid to Israel
    •it apologizes to Palestinians for even conceding that Israel has a right to exist
    •it declares that Israel, if defined as a Jewish State, must be inherently racist
    •it embraces the Kairos Palestine Document, produced by Palestinian Christians, calling for boycott and sanctions against Israel and endorses full Palestinian ‘right of return‘ to Israel which would lead to the demise of the Jewish democratic state
    •it denies any connection between biblical covenants and the Jewish people. Israel’s history, it claims, begins only with the Holocaust, a nation mistakenly created by Western powers at the expense of the Palestinian people to solve the ‘Jewish problem’
    Adoption of this poisonous document by the Presbyterian Church will be nothing short of a declaration of war on Israel and her supporters.
    It will be negatively impact interfaith relations, and could have significant repercussions in the political domain, with 46 Members of the US Congress and Senate who are Presbyterians.
    And these initiatives, encouraged by the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, will cause a ripple effect on other denominations.

    Reply

  161. nadine says:

    “Nadine, your continuing propaganda that the Arabs have no desire for a change in the status quo, has been heard ad nauseum.
    What high price could you be alluding to? The terrible Iranian menace: 1/3 of the axis of evil unbound. Be very afraid. If any nation, it will be Israel to unleash the whirlwind.” (DonS)
    Ah, DonS, but Obama knew better. He knew that the Arabs wanted peace, so he asked them for token little symbolic gestures to change the tone. Now surely if Obama and you were right, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would have offered some little token gesture? it wasn’t as if they were being asked to make any tangible concessions. Heck, they weren’t even asked for any diplomatic steps. And here was their big chance, surely — the new American President with the Muslim background and the desire to reposition America as an honest broker. The different, dark skinned President who traveled to Cairo to say salaam aleikhum to them. When would they see a better chance for peace than that?
    They gave Obama nothing! They yelled at Obama and lectured him. Why? Because Obama was actually calling their bluff. The Arab regimes SAY they want peace with Israel, but it’s just a pose. Even if a regime might consider the idea of peace, they live in fear of the radicals who will kill them if they make any compromise. So nothing moves, and Iran, who funds the radicals, grows stronger and stronger, while the Arab regimes grow weaker and weaker.
    Face it, if Obama’s idea of the Middle East was even a little bit right, it might have worked a little. Instead he drove his Mideast policy car straight into a brick wall. It’s still sitting there, totaled.
    Many Arabs see Iran dragging the region into war, with themselves as collateral damage. From Tariq al-Homayed, the editor of Al Shark al Awsat, Feb 18
    “The notable thing is that [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad threatens Israel and the West… not with his own country’s weapons but in the name of ‘the resistance and the countries in the region’….
    “If a war breaks out, it will be an Iranian war, and Iran will be its target… Why [then] does [Iran threaten to] attack our region and our countries? This is not our war, nor are we working [to promote it]–this war belongs only to Iran and its proxies. As for us, we will be Iran’s victims whether it acquires nuclear [weapons] and whether a war breaks out [against it]…”http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3987.htm

    Reply

  162. nadine says:

    “Can you think of even one diplomatic accomplishment in the past fifty years that has its genesis in Europe?” (Wigwag)
    One – the creation of the European Union. The jury is still out on whether it can hold together or whether its debts will make it explode. Germany is very tired of always being told to foot the bill.
    At any rate, Europe’s responsible efforts are turned inward. Outwardly they just kibbitz, but take themselves seriously. They have not handled crises well even inside Europe, as the Balkan war demonstrated, or their paralyzed non-response to growing non-integrated Muslim enclaves.

    Reply

  163. ... says:

    where would israel and the zionists be without an never ending chant about ”’anti-semitism”… it is past ridiculous to bother challenging these bozos who always hold this up as something to respond intelligently to…. but i can see how it is a necessary tool to put down europe or the leftists, or the realists or anyone else that would get in there way… these folks appear to want to covet everything and anything through the same use of these dishonest labeling devices… pathetic….
    paul norheim – thanks for the laugh in your response… always a pleasure reading someone lighthearted and succinct as you often are….

    Reply

  164. Mr.Murder says:

    Biden is the most well spoken of clean, articulate statesmen, because he is dirty and straight to the point. He understands the components of complex policy still relies upon a framework of fundamental motivations.
    He must state it simple as can be, to all sides, that what’s in it for me is good for everyone.
    Honey or vinegar.
    He then lays out incentives, and reminds everyone that no matter what path is taken, heads will roll. The less heads that take a roll the better we’ll all become.

    Reply

  165. Mr.Murder says:

    “Apocalyptical salafists?”
    What does not destroy snark, only makes it stronger.

    Reply

  166. WigWag says:

    “But for the last 65 years, the Western Europeans have done their steering under American escort. They haven’t had to defend themselves at all. From their position of safety, they scold others for the impurity of using force.” (Nadine)
    That’s well put, Nadine. You’re right; if anything, you understate the case.
    Can you think of even one diplomatic accomplishment in the past fifty years that has its genesis in Europe?
    When it came to engaging in and winning the Cold War, the Europeans were largely spectators; the United States did all of the heavy lifting.
    Similarly, when it came to dealing with the disintegration of Yugoslavia, again the Europeans were mostly spectators. The War in Bosnia was resolved by an American (Richard Holbrooke) and the Milosevic expulsion of the Kosovar Albanians was dealt with by an American (Bill Clinton).
    And lets not forget that it wasn’t a European who brought peace (however uneasy that peace may be) to Northern Ireland; it was George Mitchell.
    Exactly what crises have the Europeans been able to solve without the Americans? They can’t even solve problems that exist in their own back yard such as problems in Cyprus or Gibraltar.
    And now they can barely even hold their Union together. Serbia/Bosnia/Kosovo are still a mess; Belgium is about to fly apart; ethnic hostility between Christian/secular Europeans and Islamic Europeans threatens to explode in nation after nation.
    Comically, it looks like even their most vaunted accomplishment, a common currency (the Euro) looks like it may not survive.
    Richelieu must be turning over in his grave; Bismarck must be plotzing!
    Is it any wonder that the recently freed Soviet satellite states like the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland all look to the United States for leadership? Is it any wonder that the former Soviet Baltic Republics have a far more positive view of the United States than they do of their European neighbors?
    It’s hard to imagine a more incompetent group than the Europeans, but it’s not entirely their fault; after all World War I and World War II robbed Europe of its mojo.
    Superimpose on this the anti-Semitism that Mead believes pervades Europe and the bigotry against Muslims that is becoming increasingly prevalent and it really makes you wonder if the Europeans have any sense at all.

    Reply

  167. Paul Norheim says:

    Always a pleasure to be terminated and put to dust by Kotz
    alongside Steve and Dan. As far as I remember, the last time Kotz
    put us to dust, we were “socialist millenarians”. This time we are
    “so called realists”. What label will he use next time he terminates
    us? Anarco-syndicalists? Apocalyptical salafists?

    Reply

  168. Carroll says:

    TWN seems to be getting a double dose of number 4 this week.
    I can’t wait to see what’s in number 6
    The manual describes seven propaganda techniques:
    1.Name calling: through the careful use of words, then name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.
    2.Glittering generality: Simply put, glittering generality is name calling in reverse. Instead of trying to attach negative meanings to ideas or people, glittering generalities use positive phrases, which the audience are attached to, in order to lend positive image to things. Words such as “freedom”, “civilization”,…
    3.Transfer: Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another. For example, a speaker might decide to speak in front of a United Nations flag, in an attempt to gain legitimacy for himself or his idea.
    4.Testimonial: Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse and ideal or campaign.
    5.Plain folks: The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a ‘regular guy’, who is trust-worthy because the are like ‘you or me’.
    6.Fear: See fear.
    7.Bandwagon: See bandwagon

    Reply

  169. nadine says:

    “Europe has a long, sophisticated and highly developed tradition of statecraft that has been perfected over many centuries and has stood the test of time. It is the land of Elizabeth I, of Machiavelli, of Richelieu and of Bismarck.” (Dan Kervick)
    If the Europeans are less enamored of Israel than the United States, weaker democratic traditions and greater fear of Islamic extremism, both internal and external, could also explain much, along with greater anti-Semitism. Neville Chamberlain should be on your list; he has more to do with present European politicians than Otto von Bismark.
    “Steering the ship of state through the rocky centuries is a stern and mercenary business. ”
    But for the last 65 years, the Western Europeans have done their steering under American escort. They haven’t had to defend themselves at all. From their position of safety, they scold others for the impurity of using force.

    Reply

  170. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 09 2010, 8:03PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It’s deliberate all right. Who could not know in a country smaller than New Jersey what kind of building is being done by the government.
    The insult to the US over settlements is to the Israelis the equivelent of one of those penis extender things sold on TV.

    Reply

  171. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 09 2010, 8:03PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It’s deliberate all right. Who could not know in a country smaller than New Jersey what kind of building is being done by the government.
    The insult to the US over settlements is to the Israelis the equivelent of one of those a penis extender things sold on TV.

    Reply

  172. kotzabasis says:

    Meads article terminates and puts to dust all those so called realists who have been vociferous with their inanities, like Clemons, Kervick, and Norheim, in this “interminable debate.” And one notices that the latter’s dismissive laconic response to this devastating critique of Mead proves definitively their intellectual incompetence to mount a serious argument against it.
    Nadine says that “Obama has 4% popular support in Israel.” What has happened to that “bull’s trail” poll on Israel of couple months ago showing great support for Obama that Clemons ‘considered it to be true and Kervick parroted it to be, without critical analysis, objective? So much for their analytical depth!

    Reply

  173. Dan Kervick says:

    “Europeans are far less sympathetic to the Israelis because anti-Semitism is still such a prominent feature of European society.”
    Maybe. But I suspect this puts too much weight on considerations of sympathy and antipathy.
    Europe has a long, sophisticated and highly developed tradition of statecraft that has been perfected over many centuries and has stood the test of time. It is the land of Elizabeth I, of Machiavelli, of Richelieu and of Bismarck. Europeans have successfully guided their societies into the 21st through many turbulent challenges and threats. They have survived. And despite continued harping from foreigners upon alleged European decadence, repetitions of similar appraisals that have been repeated ad nauseum throughout European history, the Europeans remain collectively the most prosperous and advanced civilization in the world. Sadly for the US, Europe shows today a greater capacity for renewal and innovation than the “younger” United States, which seems piously wedded to a variety of conservative traditions, legends and power arrangements.
    If the Europeans are less enamored of Israel than the United States, and more inclined to seek openings and better relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds, I suspect that is because American foreign policy is driven driven more by impulse, sentiment, and ideological affection, while contemporary Europeans are driven more by a somewhat less sentimental regard for self-interest, having learned several lessons from the extravagant and romantic adventures of the past. Steering the ship of state through the rocky centuries is a stern and mercenary business.

    Reply

  174. Paul Norheim says:

    “He spoke in that tone of patient, inexorable, commonsensical
    logic that seems equally distributed between long-tenured
    professors and certified lunatics.” (Johathan Raban)

    Reply

  175. nadine says:

    DonS, when a conflict is intractable, there is always a reason why. You like to pretend that the real reason there is no peace in the Middle East is that the Israelis won’t give back every inch of land they won after Jordan invaded them in 1967.
    If this were any other conflict, the two sides would be told to sit down, negotiate, and settle on a border, already. But I/P has its own rules, the first of which is that whatever line the Arabs are pushing is fine by the New Left, which extends Israel only a conditional right to exist.
    If the Arab regimes thought the I/P conflict was a threat to them, and wanted it solved, it would have been solved long ago. Just like Northern Ireland got solved as soon as Ireland and England both decided they were tired of the Troubles.

    Reply

  176. neo contoll says:

    Fromm wig wag’s mouth to your ears.
    All hail.
    Zionism 2.1
    –nchq

    Reply

  177. WigWag says:

    Mead ends his fascinating ruminations about the realists with a particularly trenchant observation,
    “But over the next week as I go forward with this subject I’ll try at least to make clear to Americans and others just why the United States has been and remains so supportive of the Jewish state. In part, however, the answer is this: western anti-Semitism, while still a force in American life, is for a variety of reasons weaker in the contemporary United States than it is in other parts of the Christian and post-Christian west.”
    It’s easy to see what Mead is driving at; Americans overwhelmingly support Israel while harboring serious suspicions about the Palestinians because, at least to some extent, anti-Semitism has been conquered in the United States. His corollary is equally clear; Europeans are far less sympathetic to the Israelis because anti-Semitism is still such a prominent feature of European society.
    It’s really quite a provocative assertion. There are reasons to suspect that Mead is right. After all, Europe murdered the vast majority of its Jews so who should be surprised that there are few Jews left in any European nation to tell the Israeli side of the story.
    Within 25 years of exterminating its Jewish population, many European nations began importing Muslims from the Islamic world to serve as little better than slave laborers. Naturally these new Muslims residing in Europe were prepared and capable of explaining the Arab side of the Israeli-Arab debate.
    What I think Mead misses is that the Europeans are becoming far less sympathetic to the Arab side of the story.
    Has Mead listened to what the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Estonians or Latvians have to say about the conflict in the Middle East? Has he read any of Prime Minister Berlusconi’s remarks about Palestinians or the remarks of the new power player in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders? Has he read about the vote that the Swiss just took to forbid their Muslim neighbors from building minarets? Has he read any of the speeches that the likely new British Prime Minster, David Cameron has made about Israel or the Palestinians? Has he compared the point of view of President Sarkozy about the Israel-Palestine conflict with the point of view of Sarkozy’s predecessor, President Chirac? Has he compared Chancellor Merkel’s relationship with Israel with that of her predecessor? Has Mead noticed what’s happened in Denmark?
    Mead is correct; the European left is profoundly anti-Semitic and has been for decades. But the left in Europe is barely relevant any more; the European left is in extremis almost badly as the foreign policy realists in the United States.
    As Europe lurches to the right and as relations between Europeans and their new Muslim neighbors continue to deteriorate (which they almost certainly will), the effect that this has on how the Europeans view the Israel-Palestine dispute will be palpable.
    While Europeans will never be as supportive of Israel as Americans are, and while Europe will never exorcise its historical hostility to both Muslims and Jews as Americans have, it is highly likely that Europe will be moving decisively in the direction of the United States on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    In fact, it already has.

    Reply

  178. DonS says:

    “Internal politics? Left hand’s not knowing what the right hand is doing? Strengthening Israel’s negotiating position?”
    “Who knows.”
    Take a guess, Questions. Just a wild guess, based on Israeli behavior for the past 60 years.

    Reply

  179. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What surprises me is the announcement of new settlements on the day Biden arrives. That’s extraordinarily bad timing among friends and close allies.
    Its not “bad timing”. It is purposeful arrogance and disrespect, aimed at demonstrating Israel’s power to bend the United States to it’s will.

    Reply

  180. questions says:

    “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was clearly embarrassed at the move by his interior minister, Eli Yishai, head of the right-wing Shas party who has made Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem one of his central causes.
    A statement issued in the name of the Interior Ministry but distributed by the prime minister’s office said the housing plan was three years in the making and that its announcement was procedural and unrelated to Mr. Biden’s visit. It added that Mr. Netanyahu had just been informed of it himself. ”
    ……
    “The announcement on the housing expansion was not the first time that Mr. Netanyahu has been blindsided by one of his more nationalist or conservative ministers or their aides. Earlier this year, for example, Daniel Ayalon, the deputy to the nationalist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, increased tensions with Turkey when he humiliated its ambassador to Israel in front of television cameras. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/world/middleeast/10biden.html?hp
    Internal politics? Left hand’s not knowing what the right hand is doing? Strengthening Israel’s negotiating position?
    Who knows.

    Reply

  181. DonS says:

    Nadine, your continuing propaganda that the Arabs have no desire for a change in the status quo, has been heard ad nauseum.
    What high price could you be alluding to? The terrible Iranian menace: 1/3 of the axis of evil unbound. Be very afraid. If any nation, it will be Israel to unleash the whirlwind.

    Reply

  182. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t find anything in Mead’s article that I haven’t read about 100 times before in this interminable debate.

    Reply

  183. DonS says:

    I know your serious. It’s worse than ’embarrassing’ and it would be the height of naivte to assume it was anything BUT intended. BBC has at least a story which indicates a reaction by Biden. All of which continues to make the US looks like, to use your word, ‘fools’. No one is the least surprise anymore. And the majority of Congress are in fact rooting for Israel. The US: the big paper tiger in regard to the pipsqueak Israel.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8558850.stm

    Reply

  184. nadine says:

    Actually, Obama was dumb enough to believe that Saudi Arabia and Egypt wanted to help diffuse the “tinderbox” of the I/P conflict. Obama didn’t even understand that the I/P conflict is not a tinderbox; it’s one of the pillars of their regimes and they have no interest whatsoever in resolving it.
    The most a President can do is deflect attention elsewhere, such as at Iran, which Saudi Arabia is rather desperately trying to call our attention to, as they are directly threatened. A President who understood what really motivates Saudi Arabia could trade action on Iran for quiet, behind-the-scenes, Saudi cooperation on I/P.
    But Obama has no plan for Iran beyond acquiescing to their nukes, which will effectively cede Saudi Arabia to Iranian hegemony. We may pay a high price for Obama’s ignorant hubris.

    Reply

  185. Paul Norheim says:

    No, DonS, I’m serious. The timing is certainly embarrassing for
    Biden, and I would assume that he and the White House are
    furious right now, because once again Israel makes the US look
    like fools. Intended? I don’t know.

    Reply

  186. DonS says:

    Nadine, you are so well attuned to the Israeli mindset that it really seems you belong there. With my blessing. You could still do your astro turfing. The connection is probably even faster than from whatever propaganda-strewn abode you now inhabit.

    Reply

  187. nadine says:

    Israel thinks that various Arab regimes get flattery and pleas from Obama, while Israel got orders and condemnation, even though Israel did part of what Obama ordered, and the Arabs did nothing. Obama has 4% popular support in Israel. Israel never agreed to stop building in East Jerusalem, which it annexed in 1980. Obama’s whole Middle East policy is in tatters. Obama can’t even get the Palestinians in the same room as the Israelis.
    Altogether today’s announcement is a very safe move by Netanyahu, which will help him shore up his coalition.

    Reply

  188. DonS says:

    ” . . . the announcement of new settlements on
    the day Biden arrives. That’s extraordinarily bad timing among friends and close allies.”
    Paul, you know the expression “tongue in cheek”? Right? I’m pretty sure you do. I hope that you are giving a primo example right here.

    Reply

  189. DonS says:

    There is no political reason Obama, if he were so inclined, would invest one ounce of capital in pressing for a ME negotiation/settlement. He has more than enough on his plate domestically. The only reason to work the situation is the very real strategic tinder box that it is. But it seems that dancing to Netanyahu’s tune is the only road to engagement, or the appearance of engagement. Obama has to date exhibited zero assertiveness and follow through. This is the equivalent of his, to date, approach to domestic policy management, which is low keyed to say the least. With even less pay off.
    And with AIPAC writing the script for the Congress, and SOS Clinton a questionable asset, it is far easier for Obama to just slough off any heavy lifting. . . and do a lot of praying.
    Policy trajectory? Compared to the general direction of previous administration? Even more obsequious and subservient (since Obama has to overcome, you know, that nasty Israeli press, that has found it convenient to label him not very friendly to Israel and, therefore, he needs to prove it just ain’t so). Enter Joe Biden.

    Reply

  190. Paul Norheim says:

    What surprises me is the announcement of new settlements on
    the day Biden arrives. That’s extraordinarily bad timing among
    friends and close allies.

    Reply

  191. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Nothing much has happened as of yet – so it makes one wonder whether dispatching Biden to the region is just doubling down and throwing more of America’s diminishing credibility at a failed approach”
    Nothing much has happened yet???? How about weekly displays of Netanyahu arrogance, always and inevitably followed by State Department cowardice? Whats that, chicken soup??? ALOT has “happened”. The Goldstone Report has been buried. Settlement expansion has increased exponentially. We voted to send Israel billions more in aid. The arms shipments continue. We continue to be Israel’s subservient vassal at the UN. Palestinian’s are still being targeted while tending fields or plying fishing grounds. Hillary Clinton has completely and utterly wimped out, turning a blind eye while Netanyahu shits in Obama’s face…..
    No Steve, thats inaccurate to claim “nothing much has happened”. A whole helluva lot has happened, none of it good, positive, humane, or moral.
    Ask the Palestinian’s if “nothing much has happened”. Try asking the ones that have been thrown out of their homes, or had their orchards razed, or their fishing boat sunk, or their child incinerated in white phosphorous, or their wife die for want of basic health care. They might just disagree with you.

    Reply

  192. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is a piece straight off the AIPAC site….
    Biden: Ties Between U.S., Israel “Unshakable”
    Biden and Netanyahu discussed Iran’s nuclear program, and Israel’s quest for peace.
    Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday called the United States’ bond with Israel “unshakable,” The New York Times reported. “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel in terms of Israel’s security,” Biden said. “None.” The vice-president continued, “I can promise the nation of Israel that we will meet, as allies, any security challenge that we may face.” Biden is in the Jewish state to discuss Iran’s nuclear program as well as negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA). The vice president praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to reach peace with the PA, even though its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, refuses to enter into direct talks with Israel. “The United States will always stand with those who take risks for peace,” Biden told the Israeli leader, adding, “you’re prepared to do that.”
    Heres another….
    U.S. Slams Goldstone Report at United Nations
    The U.S. has called the Goldstone Report ‘deeply flawed.’
    The U.S. deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Amb. Alejandro Wolff, on Friday strongly criticized the Goldstone Report in a special session of the U.N. General Assembly. Wolff noted that the Goldstone Report has an “unbalanced focus on Israel” and draws “negative inferences . about Israel’s intentions and actions.” He added that the report fails “to deal adequately with the asymmetrical nature of the Gaza conflict,” and neglects to “[appropriately assign] responsibility to Hamas for deliberately targeting civilians and basing itself and its operations in heavily civilian-populated urban areas.” Wolff acknowledged that “the Goldstone Report is also problematic in its many overreaching recommendations and its sweeping legal and political conclusions.”
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#34011
    Now, read Steve’s laughable and overly optimistic bit of fluffy wishful thinking contained above. Is Biden REALLY the Palestinian’s best hope to renew a “peace process”??? You gotta be shittin’ me.
    Israel has my country by the balls, and I for one am sick of paying for it. Biden is a fuckin’ joke, as is Hillary Clinton and the rest of these cowardly swooning embarrassments in Washington DC. Its pathetic watching Netanyahu shit on our gratuities and support while our politicians grovel and mince before Netanyahu’s arrogance. Honestly, its pathetic and degrading to everything this nation once stood for.

    Reply

  193. Paul Norheim says:

    Please explain this to me: Why on earth would a “sober, intelligent
    and moderate realist” feel the urge to respond to someone
    claiming that he’s either a moron or an anti-Semite? What kind of
    “challenge” is that?
    A claims that B – who happens to be tall and blonde – is actually
    short and dark, and some eager, childish spectators can’t wait for
    the latter to respond? Jesus Christ!
    Steve should do Mead a favor by ignoring his hysterical remarks,
    hoping that they are quickly forgotten. Even well-respected
    people say dumb things now and then.

    Reply

  194. nadine says:

    “What I’m curious about is how the sober, intelligent and moderate realists would respond to Mead’s critique.
    If they leave their response to the loud-mouths, than all we can assume is that in their heart of hearts these realists know that Mead is right.” (Wigwag)
    It will be interesting to see if any “sober, intelligent and moderate realists” rise to the challenge.
    The problem the realists have with the Middle East is that realists discount ideology; and of all the regions of the globe, the Middle East is the region where you can least afford to discount ideology in your analyses. Thus the realists are seriously unrealistic about the Middle East.

    Reply

  195. Paul Norheim says:

    “That commentator specifically calls realists on the Israel-
    Palestine conflict “anti-Semitic” or “dumb.” (…) I’m surprised that
    none of the credible realists have replied.”
    I am not. Because that was an extraordinary dumb thing to say.

    Reply

  196. WigWag says:

    Sorry, Paul, I am merely pointing out a very provocative essay by a well-respected commentator. That commentator specifically calls realists on the Israel-Palestine conflict “anti-Semitic” or “dumb.” By the way, Mead didn’t say “every single opponent in the I/P conflict ” is an “idiot” or” anti-Semitic”; his article specifically referred to the “realists.” Nor did he ever say it applied to all “realists” but he does unambiguously suggest that it applies to many “realists.”
    I’m surprised that none of the credible realists have replied. Admittedly the number of credible realists is incredibly small and admittedly they are surely busy people with a lot to do. But such a powerful critique from such a well-respected commentator leaves a real stain on the realist ideas; in fact, it’s devastating.
    Considering the fact that realism is in extremis anyway this is just more dirt being piled into the grave.

    Reply

  197. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its actually quite comical seeing Wiggie jump on Mead’s blatherings like a randi cur on a handy bitch.
    For all of Wiggie’s hyping on Mead’s ruminations, they are just the same old packaged bag of horseshit we’ve been hearing for years. Criticize Israel, and you either don’t know the “facts”, or you’re an “anti-semite”.
    And the insidious influence of AIPAC and its various tentacles upon Washington DC? Just a figment of our ‘ol anti-semitic and ignorant imagination.
    If Mead is the only kind of rabbit Wiggie can pull out of her hat, she must be frantic indeed. Those boos and heckles on college campuses must be resonating louder than we thought. Humpty dumpty had a……….

    Reply

  198. Paul Norheim says:

    Nice try, WigWag.
    Labeling every single opponent in the I/P conflict either anti-
    Semites or idiots, by referring to one article. I doubt that you
    believe what you’re saying. You think Mead has a point – implying
    two options for our host, among others. Then you say: No, Mr.
    Clemons is not an anti-Semite, and he is certainly not stupid.
    Meaning that Mead does not nail it. So why this enthusiasm and
    malice? Just for the entertainment?
    In any case, thanks for polarizing the debate even more.

    Reply

  199. WigWag says:

    My understanding is that Mead is very well-respected. He’s on the Board of Directors of the New America Foundation; he’s a member of CFR; he’s written numerous books and articles; he’s won prestigious foreign policy journalism awards.
    Steve Clemons has spoken warmly about Mead in the pages of this blog and I think it’s fair to say that Mead is widely regarded as one of the most excellent commentators on foreign policy that we have.
    When someone with those credentials writes two essays on his blog which accuses “realists” of being “dumb” or “anti-Semitic,” that strikes me as interesting news.
    Personally I’m curious about what the more sober members of the “realist” school of foreign policy have to say about Mead’s severe critique of their views.
    Overwrought remarks in the comment section of the Washington Note aren’t particularly revelatory when it comes to Mead’s views. Nor are the comments likely to come from the more clownish elements of the “realist” world (Andrew Sullivan, Flynt Leverett, Steve Walt and the like).
    But as I am sure Mead would be the first to admit, there are a few intelligent, well-spoken and thoughtful “realist” commentators out there; Steve Clemons happens to be one but there are others as well.
    Mead isn’t necessarily correct in all of his assertions; a rebuttal would be entertaining and informative.
    I hope we get one.

    Reply

  200. Kathleen says:

    President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both demanded that Israel freeze ALL expansion of illegal settlements in Palestinian occupied territory. Today Vice President pledged allegiance to Israel and then Israel immediately announces the building of 1600 new homes in disputed and illegally occupied territories.
    How does that saying go ‘with friends like this who needs enemies” Israel just kicked the Obama administration in the face once again

    Reply

  201. JohnG says:

    What interests me is not the way rational arguments are dismissed as deeply-rooted bigotry.
    What I am curious about is why any sober, intelligent and moderate realist would bother responding to Mead’s screed drawn from the ADL playbook.
    And as alluded to by others on this comment section, we find hysteria in the comment section of TWN, in the form of hysterical logic: “If they don’t respond then they must agree” — how juvenile.

    Reply

  202. WigWag says:

    Your right, Nadine, the two paragraphs that you mentioned as well as several others in the Mead piece are truly emblematic of the depth to which Israel critics frequently sink. And of course, Mead is correct; nothing is more revelatory than the depth of the righteous anger that Israel critics feel down deep in the depths of their souls.
    But Mead is also right when he implies that Israel’s American supporters are truly blessed by the shallowness of their adversaries. In fact, it’s a close competition for who is more self-destructive; the Palestinians themselves or their supporters in the West who claim that they are more motivated by distress at how the Palestinians are treated rather than their own secret or not so secret demons.
    But what interests me, Nadine, is not the chorus of hysteria that Mead’s essay is likely to incite in the comment section of the Washington Note; after all, what could be less consequential than that. I’m not even particularly interested in what the loud-mouth famous pundits have to say.
    What I’m curious about is how the sober, intelligent and moderate realists would respond to Mead’s critique.
    If they leave their response to the loud-mouths, than all we can assume is that in their heart of hearts these realists know that Mead is right.

    Reply

  203. samuelburke says:

    hey hasbara gang, nobody buys your nonsense and you sound
    unbelievable ignorant…you are being used.
    “What I found telling was MoDo’s more recent column in which
    she came up with the following brilliant formulation that reflects
    on the pro-Israel voices so over-represented in the MSM
    punditariat:
    Obama created an obstacle for himself by demanding that Israel
    stop expanding settlements when it was not going to do so —
    even though it should — and when that wasn’t the most
    important condition to Arabs.
    Got that? Now I have no idea what Maureen means when she
    says that a settlement freeze “wasn’t the most important
    condition to Arabs.” Much that I’ve read seemed to suggest that
    the various Sunni Arab regimes were looking for precisely a
    freezing of further Israeli colonization of the West Bank as proof
    that Obama really was going to break from the whatever-Israel-
    wants policy of the previous eight years.
    But notice that it is Obama’s fault for asking an alleged ally
    merely to freeze – not reverse – construction settlement as a
    good faith gesture to the peace process and as a favor to the US
    in trying to recapture the role of an honest broker in the region.
    It is not Israel’s fault – even though Maureen thinks Israel should
    have done it.
    Nothing illustrates better the total bizarreness of the US-Israel
    relationship. No one in Washington – apart from a few Likudniks
    and Palinite end-timers – actually supports more settlements or
    any settlements i the West Bank. At the same time, Washington
    exercizes a UN veto to protect Israel from international law,
    funnels a vast amount of foreign and military aid to the country,
    helped finance the pulverization of Gaza last year, provides
    absurd international cover for Israel’s 150 nukes, has worked
    tirelessly to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capacity, and on
    and on.
    In return? Fuck you, Obama. To which the overwhelming
    response in Washington is: Obama screwed up.
    There is something completely awry here and it has rarely been
    more evident than in the last twelve months.”
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/t
    he-fundamentalists-of-israel.html#more

    Reply

  204. JohnG says:

    “Walter Russell Mead’s critique of the realists is truly devastating.” — indeed, Wig, he has left them face down in a pool of their own unrealistic, anti-semitic, bigotry-riddled blood. Will they ever recover from this? Only time will tell.
    Mead’s conclusions do not break any new ground. They are so weak and trite that it is not even worth wasting time to counter them. Just as the rantings of Glenn Beck sound like divine gospel to the “Republican Base”, so do the rants of the likes of Mead ring of “devastation” to the likes of Wig.
    Mead’s “thesis” is a cliche that can be distilled down to the two basic shrill arguments of the Israel First crowd — one, which is defensive (“double standard!”), and the other which is offenseive (“anti-semite!”).
    Mead’s most telling statement is this: “This was based on a completely unrealistic understanding of America’s leverage over Israel. Israel rejected the President’s demand out of hand, and the rejection set President Obama’s hopes for progress toward peace in the region back by at least a year.”
    The US has no leverage against Israel because, well, Obama and his band of idiot realists do not realize how much the legislative branch of our government is a “friend of Israel”.

    Reply

  205. nadine says:

    Wigwag, thanks for the Mead link. These two paragraphs describe many, many postings on TWN:
    “Furthermore, while I am reluctant to call out individuals, I believe that unconscious but real anti-Semitism informs many contemporary attitudes toward the Jewish state. I’ve run across a surprisingly large number of people who believe that Israel’s right to exist is conditional: that Israel has to earn and keep re-earning its legitimacy by behaving better than other countries. I have also been told many times that the Jews are not a “real” people.
    These views are anti-Semitic, pure and simple. The Jews are a real people, a nation, and they have the same right to self determination that other nations have. The Jewish state is the expression of their natural right to self-determination and whether that state behaves well or badly, wisely or foolishly, it has the same right to exist as Finland, the United States or Egypt. To deny the right of the Jews to a state is to deny them a basic human right on account of their nationality; I’m sorry, but this is anti-Semitic behavior. If you work very hard, and are very clever and exceptionally careful in your moral and political judgments, it is technically possible for a gentile to be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite, but this state of mind is not as easy to achieve as many people think. Many and perhaps most of those who insist so self-righteously on this precious distinction haven’t worked nearly hard enough to earn it.”

    Reply

  206. nadine says:

    “Biden: America’s Middle East Fixer?”
    Bwahahahahahaha! That’s a great joke, Steve, tell us another one.

    Reply

  207. Carroll says:

    Posted by Kathleen, Mar 09 2010, 2:23PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Am doing..while carrying out other warrior duties.
    Pass this over to Jane at FDL would you…it really pisses me off in light of the HCB and all the unemployment problems we are having here right now. It will be interesting to see if Ackerman gets this pork earmark for Israel.
    http://www.house.gov/list/press/ny05_ackerman/PR_032609.html
    American Friends of Ashdod Emergency Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY) – Medical Facility in Ashdod, Israel – $10,000,000 – Funding would be used to construct a medical center in Israel’s fifth largest city.

    Reply

  208. Carroll says:

    Given a choice between “I am a zionist” Biden.
    OR…..
    In New York with a group of supporters of Israel, one of whom suggested Hagel wasn’t supportive enough of Israel. Hagel responded:
    “Let me clear something up here if there’s any doubt in your mind. I’m a United States Senator. I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.”
    Which one would Americans pick to represent US interest in I/P?
    Furthermore there should be no Jews, whether hawks or doves,or any gentile religious fanatics who see Israel as their launching pad on doomsday, or any any politicans currently in office involved in the I/P talks.
    The US representatives appointed to deal directly with Israel for our part should be secular realist with no foreign loyalty or religious handicaps or personal political gain to influence their thinking or decisions.
    But in reality the whole thing should be handed off to the EC and the UN. The US has dirty hands and can’t negotiate it fairly.

    Reply

  209. Kathleen says:

    Clearly Israel does not want Peace. After V.P. Biden pledges allegiance to Israel. Just a few hours later Israel announces the building of 1600 new homes in land that they illegally annexed from the West Bank. There is no need to wonder why the Palestinians have been so pissed off for so long. Israel clearly does now want peace.
    Call your Reps. Cut aid to Israel
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/34265

    Reply

  210. WigWag says:

    Speaking of the Middle East, Walter Russell Mead has now expanded on this thesis that when it comes to the Israel-Palestine dispute, “realists” are either “dumb” or “anti-Semitic.” As I’ve said before, surely Mead doesn’t think Clemons is an anti-Semite (that accusation would be preposterous) but he’s not shy about suggesting that the opinions expressed by Clemons and those who agree with him are hard to reconcile with reality.
    Here’s the link,
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/
    Mead excoriates Walt and Mearsheimer almost by name (when referring to them he says “I suppose I had in mind the misguided book written by two prominent ‘realist’ scholars that appeared a couple of years ago on this subject.”) and he criticizes the delusional quality of Steve Clemons and others who recommended that Obama should pressure Israel into ceasing all settlement activity. Specifically Mead says,
    “I often hear self-described realists urging us to do completely unrealistic things when it comes to Israel… I remain genuinely puzzled why people who in other contexts have quite interesting things to say manage to trip up in such foolish and self-defeating ways when the I-word comes up…”
    He also says,
    “It’s also true that some of the people whose bad advice led President Obama into the biggest and most costly foreign policy blunder of his administration so far are often called ‘realists.’ For those with short memories, these are the people who seem to have persuaded the President to issue a public demand that Israel freeze all settlement activity. This was based on a completely unrealistic understanding of America’s leverage over Israel. Israel rejected the President’s demand out of hand, and the rejection set President Obama’s hopes for progress toward peace in the region back by at least a year.”
    While Mead doesn’t say it, the question arising from this critique is obvious; why would anyone even think about following the foreign policy advice offered up by this set?
    Mead is at his most interesting when he refers to the bigotry that he thinks is endemic to realists who focus so assiduously on Israel. Mead ridicules the realists when he points out,
    “Frankly, those who think they can make substantive changes in American policy toward Israel by attacking the Jews and the Israel lobby remind of some bulls I once saw at the bull fights in Madrid. Bull after bull went for the red cape, not the matador. Bull after bull went down in the dust as the crowds cheered and threw flowers. That is pretty much what has happened to those who want to distance the US from Israel; they go for the highly visible and attractive target of the Israel lobby, and time after time they go down. I don’t think this is smart, but don’t let me stop anybody’s fun.”
    Can there be any doubt who Mead is referring to when he says,
    “The disproportionate reactions to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians constitutes a genuine scandal and pretty much proves that anti-Semitism did not die when Hitler shot himself underneath Berlin. Russia treats its Chechens much worse than Israel treats its Arabs yet there are plenty of self righteous German leftists who want to disinvest from Israel but favor closer relations with Putin’s Russia. These people will hotly deny that they are anti-Semites and get all huffy and moralistic; I am not sure that the rest of us should take them at their word. The pious people in Turkey who have gotten so angry recently about Israeli actions in Gaza haven’t perhaps thought as deeply as they could have about Turkey’s record with the Armenians, Greeks and the Kurds. Although life is far from perfect for Arabs in Israel, Muslim and Christian Arabs generally have more freedom, dignity and equality in Israel than Christian Arabs, Jews and non-Arab ethnic groups enjoy in many Arab countries.”
    Specifically on the question of the bigotry of the realists Mead says,
    “I am especially leery when people who loudly and implausibly assert that anti-Semitism isn’t a problem anymore make harsh and unbalanced criticisms about the world’s only Jewish state… I’m not trying to grade the incommensurable suffering of people around the world, but if we compare the attention and care that the international community has extended to the Palestinians with our attention and support for other victims in other places, a disturbing pattern emerges. Whatever the wrongs of Israel’s occupation policy — and I agree that there are some — the Palestinians, especially in the West Bank but even in Gaza, live much better than many people in the world whose suffering attracts far less world attention — and whose oppressors get far less criticism. I would much rather be a Palestinian, even in Gaza, than a member of a minority tribe in the hills of Myanmar, or almost anyone in the Eastern Congo or Darfur. Millions of children in Pakistan and Indonesia have less food security, less educational opportunity and less access to health services than Palestinians who benefit from UN services (to which the United States is historically the largest single contributor) that poor people in other countries can only dream of.”
    Mead’s takedown continues with,
    “But even after making all the possible and necessary allowances, there is something disturbing about the widespread excessive fixation on Jewish shortcomings. Almost the whole world is barking obsessively and furiously at the Jews while ignoring equal or worse problems on every side. At worst and far too frequently, this is anti-Semitism in full career: virulent, murderous, irrational, vile. It must be opposed, and it must be called to account.
    I have no doubt that most of the official criticism that Israel receives from the European Union (to take one example) is hypocritical hogwash. If any democratic European country faced the same kinds of threats that Israel did — hostility from the region, a constant threat of suicide bombers, persistent legal and political efforts to delegitimize the state, periodic uprisings among ethnic minorities, and rocket attacks from areas just over its frontier — those tut-tutting moralists would show another side of their character and act at least as ruthlessly as Israel sometimes does. (And sometimes, as in Israel’s case, their anger and fear would lead them to do things that were unwise and self-defeating. No democracy under the threats and pressures that Israel has faced throughout its existence could avoid excesses and even crimes.)”
    Mead also excoriates the tendency of the realists to blame the Israelis instead of the Palestinians for the lack of progress towards a peace agreement,
    “…The belief that only Israeli recalcitrance prevents the outbreak of peace in the Middle East strikes me as delusional. We all want this horrible, draining and destabilizing conflict to end, but there is very little prospect for a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians anytime soon. The two sides share responsibility for this situation and to some degree both sides are trapped by a logic for which neither side is fully to blame.”
    Mead finishes with his money quote,
    “However, stridently emotional critics of Israel’s policies who spend more time and more energy on Israel than they do on other, more serious human rights abuses around the world and who come from countries with long histories of deeply rooted anti-Semitism (which includes for example virtually every country in Europe) should take a good hard look at that righteous rage. Yes it feels good to let that anger run free. But remember please that Satan likes to appear as an angel of light. Mistaking hatred and resentment for a disinterested love of justice is one of the most common and most destructive mistakes human beings can make.”
    Walter Russell Mead’s critique of the realists is truly devastating. He questions their intelligence, their objectivity and their decency. In his previous post on the subject he even questioned their mental competency.
    But of course that doesn’t mean that Mead is entirely right; it would be very interesting to see a rebuttal. So far, none of the famous realist bloggers have chosen to respond. Of course, before long we’re bound to see a response from the loquacious and clownish Andrew Sullivan but that obviously won’t be worth much; Sullivan is little more than the Howard Stern of the blogosphere. We’re also likely to see a response before too long from Steve Walt but given Walt’s embitterment and marginalization from all but a few sycophantic followers, that response is likely to be little more than tripe.
    It would be far more interesting to see a thoughtful response to Mead from Steve Clemons. After all, Steve is smart, moderate, articulate and sober. We also know that Steve Clemons and Walter Russell Mead know each other, respect each other and were one time colleagues.
    It is very obvious that Mead is calling Clemons and his ilk out. Will Steve chose to let the maniacs in the realist movement respond on his behalf or does he think a more intelligent response is needed?
    I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Reply

  211. Carroll says:

    Obama should have sent Chuck Hagle and James Baker.
    More and more astute and honest experts and long time observers are saying what has become obvious…that a settlement will have to be ‘enforced’.

    Reply

  212. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Israel-Palestine process has broken down. And George Mitchell does not understand that the time he keeps asking for is time the region does not have”
    “Behind closed doors, Mitchell tells foreign leaders and ministers about his experiences negotiating with the parties in Northern Ireland. What he does not realise is that that terrible conflict could have lasted through a couple more centuries of his patient deal-making and the world would still be getting on”
    Its inexplicable to me why we see nary a peep from Steve about Mitchell’s alleged criticisnm of the State Department, where he is reported to have decried State’s “bias” towards Israel. Mitchell can’t do jack shit withjout the support of State, and, thus far, its obvious he ain’t got it. And its interesting that whenever we see a tepid criticism of Israel’s actions from our State Department, it is always frtom the mouth of some unknown minion spokesman. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Clinton is separating herself from any statements or actions that are critical of Israeli arrogance, policies, crimes, or human rights abuses. Point of fact, her most publicized comments have been lauditory towards Israel, even complimenting Netanyu’s “concessions”, which we now know to be fictitious and non-existent.
    Its time to pull the covers on this charade. We are “mediating” with the same degree of “good faith” that the Israelis are “negotiating” with. All the cards are being stacked against the Palestinians, and Israel is being given free rein. The only place that unbiased mediation is occuring is in the imagination of think tanks such as the NAF, and in the fictitious essays of our nation’s media corps.
    And here on The Washington Notew, key factors are being IGNORED to Israel’s favor. On Turkey, Katcher has been extremely derelict in his avoidance of offering a COMPLETE overview of the current situation of Turkey’s estrangement from Israel and the United States, completely ommitting from his narrative Turkey’s stand on the Goldstone Report. And Steve seems loath to criticize the State Department, particularly Hillary Clinton, despite the dismal amount of progress made in the “peace process”, in no small part because of Hillary’s subservience to the Israeli agenda, and her failure to respond in kind to the arrogance and disrespect that Netanyahu has shown towards the United States and all we have done for Israel.
    Things are not looking good for the Palestinians. Despite Obama’s Cairo speech, and his now known as insincere concern for “the plight of the Palestinians”, Israel has actually become MORE emboldened in its theft of land and callous oppression of the Palestinian people. Netanyahu’s arrogance has been rewarded with a continued flow of arms, continued “aid” to the tune of billions, visits from American Congressman openly expressing servitude to Israel, and the shelving of a report documenting war crimes of epic proportions.
    When will Steve, and his compatriots in DC, finally admit to the obvious, and stop feeding us this fairy tale narrative of American good intentions? “I am a zionist” Biden ain’t going to do shit, except dance to an Israeli tune. Just like 99.9 % of Washington DC does, Hillary Clinton does, and Barack Obama has discovered he HAS to do, and, apparently, the NAF does.

    Reply

  213. samuelburke says:

    Steve, the reason why american politicians preen their israeli
    blue zionist feathers is because of the power of THELOBBY that
    doesn’t exist.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/03/lobbys-purchase-of-
    republican-campbell-recalls-its-purchase-of-obama.html
    “Lobby’s purchase of Republican Campbell recalls its purchase of
    Obama
    by PHILIP WEISS on MARCH 9, 2010 · 2 COMMENTS
    Alison Weir of If Americans Knew has published a piece on Tom
    Campbell’s back pages–the former California congressman who
    is now running for Senate. Note that Campbell obviously had
    realist bona fides back in the day, but has utterly abandoned his
    pro-Palestinian position. Campbell’s collapse is remarkably
    similar to Obama’s progress during the same period. Obama
    threw Khalidi and Abunimah under the bus; Campbell is
    throwing Weir under the bus. This is a story quite simply about
    corruption by the Israel lobby, of both parties.
    Weir begins with a stage she shared with Campbell in 2001:
    During his speech, Campbell described a telling incident during
    his Congressional career. The lobby had pushed Congress to
    give additional money to Israel on top of its uniquely immense
    annual allotment. Campbell proposed that this extra money be
    used instead to avert the de-funding of a program that worked
    to prevent blindness in Africa.
    Campbell said that many of his fellow Representatives privately
    told him they thought this was a wonderful plan, complimented
    him on his courage in proposing it, and said they didn’t’ dare
    vote for it. In the end, just 12 others cast affirmative votes….
    When it was my turn to speak, I described what I had seen in the
    Palestinian Territories, showed my photographs, and read a sort
    of letter I had written to the American people. To my surprise, I
    received a standing ovation from, it appeared to me, everyone in
    the room. One of the first on his feet was Tom Campbell.
    Afterwards, a friend asked him if he would write an
    endorsement of my presentation, which he graciously did. Later,
    when I founded If Americans Knew and we created a website, we
    placed his comment in the “About Us” section.
    Now, nine years later, this endorsement is being used to attack
    Campbell.
    Articles discussing it have appeared on numerous blogs and
    websites, including those of Commentary and National Interest;
    a Sacramento radio host and the Weekly Standard have
    interviewed me about my “relationship with Tom Campbell.”
    Some fanatically pro-Israel bloggers seem exceedingly focused
    on it, and on me.
    The reality is that I haven’t seen or spoken with Tom Campbell
    since the 2001 event.
    In the years since, I’ve been saddened but not surprised, given
    the reality and power of the pro-Israel machine in our society
    and media, to see him backpedaling on what seemed to be
    genuine efforts toward practical and principled positions. While
    he has not denied his endorsement of my talk, he responds to
    queries, “I never stated agreement with any statement made by
    Alison Weir.”
    Like virtually anyone who wishes to attain major office, Campbell
    emphasizes his bonafides on Israel, stating:
    · He has never voted against military aid to Israel;
    · He would support an Israeli military attack on Iran (even
    though it is Israel that possesses nuclear weapons, refuses to
    sign the non-proliferation pact, is in violation of a multitude of
    UN resolutions, and regularly attacks its neighbors);
    · He supports recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and
    moving the US embassy there; even though Jerusalem was to
    have been a shared city for the Muslims, Christians, and Jews
    who long inhabited it and for whom it is sacred, and even
    though a large portion of Jerusalem is, according to
    international law, Palestinian land illegally annexed by Israel. All
    previous US presidents have refused to do this.
    · He is even more pro-Israel than Democratic Senator Barbara
    Boxer, (which, if it is true, is a notable accomplishment.)
    …[U]ntil more Americans across the political spectrum wake up
    and make their desires known, the Israel lobby and its dedicated
    bloggers may ease their collective mind. Indications are that
    both parties are, once again, sewn up.”

    Reply

  214. ... says:

    “It’s interesting to find myself a small factor in the California race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. But before I get to that, it’s necessary to take a look at the campaigns themselves, and the system in which they’re running.
    An outside observer might be forgiven for being confused about which nation these candidates are seeking to serve. Rather than competing over who is the most loyal Californian and patriotic American, these would-be Senators seem often to be competing over who is the most supportive of a foreign regime (israel).”
    http://counterpunch.org/weir03052010.html

    Reply

  215. ... says:

    steve quote “A deal on an Israel/Palestine two track reality is also a vital part of demonstrating to a doubting world that the US can achieve the objectives it sets for itself and is able again to be a sculptor of global affairs.”
    steve none of the parties involved seem interested in this… it is all lip service and posturing in the name of peace, but nothing tangible from any of them….every one of them is expecting the worst while they are supposed to prepare for the best? it can’t work…. bidens trip to the middle east is already being seen as reassurance of ‘no space’ between the us political system and their undivided fealty to israel….
    the value in usa’s role as world cop continues on a downhill slope… perhaps the usa could consider a different role for itself? i suppose that is difficult when it has designed itself for war around the globe somewhere 24/7…

    Reply

  216. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Just as Biden arrives, Israel announces more settlement expansion, 112 units in the West Bank. Does anyone believe these sacks of shit in Israel are going into “indirect talks” with any intention of negotiating in good faith? We can be sure of one thing; We will hear nary a squeek of protest from these subservient cowards in our State Department, and one can just imagine the smirk on Hillary’s face as she gleefully observes Israel’s arrogance and disrespect for the President Of The United States.
    Send these arrogant monsters another billion or so, they’re getting low on white phosphorous.

    Reply

  217. DonS says:

    The news reports, of course, are that Biden has said there is “no space” between the US and Israel regarding Israel’s security (read “anything you decide to do is ultimately ok with us”). Now that he has stroked the obligatory AIPAC line, what else will he do? Realizing that this administration is apparently unable to 1) conceive of pressuring Israel 2) actually pressuring Israel, it seems like just more wasted and humiliated American prestige, from a stock that is running exceedingly low already. The more Biden [supposedly] begs the Israelis indulgence not to unilaterally attack Iran, the more the snigger behind his back and tell him he has to beg harder or maybe their “patience” will run out.
    I wonder if Biden will tell the Palestinian leaders that there is “no space” concerning their security either?
    Oh well, the news releases almost write themselves.

    Reply

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