Tzipi Livni Shows Prime Ministerial Stuff on J Street Conference

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Livni Letter to J Street.jpg
The more I listen to Congressional Opposition chief John Boehner as of late, the more I wish he could find the dignity and common ground for big objectives that Israel’s Opposition Party Leader, Kadima Party chief Tzipi Livni, has just demonstrated in a knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park letter to the executive director of the self-described pro-Israel, pro-peace group, J Street
Monopolies don’t like competition — and there is a concerted effort underway now by a giant political monopoly in the ‘friends of Israel arena’ to squelch alternative voices and players. This isn’t good for the current incumbent, nor for the new entrant to the marketplace, nor for American or Israeli interests either.
In a surprisingly stumbly showing, the charismatic Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has decided to let an underling rather than himself catch the goings on of the J Street conference that is drawing more than 1,500 attendees and whose headliners include both Obama National Security Adviser and 4-star General Jim Jones as well as former Vietnam War veteran and US Senator Chuck Hagel who is said to be President Obama’s next chair of the President’s Federal Intelligence Advisory Board, a post held by Brent Scowcroft during the first term of the George W. Bush administration.
Ambassador Oren is reportedly a great guy — but great people tend to rise to represent issues and people above silly rifts and divides. If Jim Jones and Chuck Hagel can support this new American outfit’s work, Oren should think hard about putting down too solid a line he won’t cross. . .
abas-livni.jpgPARTICULARLY BECAUSE TZIPI LIVNI has sent in a remarkable letter of affirmation to J Street, recognizing potential differences but affiriming a shared strategic vision for the best interests of Israel.
The text of the letter posted above reads:

Leader of the Opposition
MK Tzipi Livni
Jerusalem — Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mr. Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director, J Street
Dear Jeremy,
Thank you for your invitation to J Street’s first national conference. Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow me to take part in this event but, as you know, “Kadima” will be well represented at the conference by senior members of the Party.
I would like to congratulate you on your inaugural national conference. I believe most American Jews support Israel and want to see it thrive as a Jewish and democratic state. Like you, I believe ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by realizing the vision of two nation state living side by side in peace and security is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, the Palestinians and the region as a whole.
In my view, the discussion which the pro-Israel community of what best advances Israel’s cause should be inclusive and broad enough to encompass a variety of views, provided it is conducted in a respectful and legitimate manner. Along the way, we may not agree on everything but I do believe that we must ensure that what unites us as Jews who are committed to Israel’s future as a secure, Jewish, and democratic State is far greater than what separates us.
I wish the organizers and the participants much success in the upcoming conference.
Sincerely,
Tzipi Livni
Head of the “Kadima” Party
Leader of The Opposition
State of Israel

Standing ovation to Tzipi Livni for this thoughtful and politically meaningful expression of support for J Street’s work.
What really moves me about this note is that the tone and posture of this letter is characteristic of someone who really can and should lead a nation. It’s someone who can see beyond factions to what the aspirations of the whole nation need to be.
I hope Ambassador Oren finds other ways to find his way back to being an Ambassador for not just one wing of Israel but for all of the legitimate dimensions of Israel. I have strong confidence that he will — and I think Tzipi Livni has shown him the way to do it.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

171 comments on “Tzipi Livni Shows Prime Ministerial Stuff on J Street Conference

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    POA..thanks for the link to the article about Israel paying internet users to be trolls and mouthpiece their talking points…tends to validate your feeling that some commeters have made a career out of posting here.

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    “You`re instinctively provoked because they bitch about AIPAC?
    On a personal level, I appreciate this, but on a a political level, it`s
    incomprehensible.
    One may ask what comes first here: AIPAC`s defense of indefensible actions by
    Israel, or the tone of those who react against the despicable defense? Or do you
    feel that anti-Semitism is the root cause of the nasty tone here on all levels? ”
    Remember that my reading of AIPAC is not your reading of AIPAC. I don’t spend time at their website. I don’t defend their positions. Hell, I probably don’t even know all of their positions. My guess is that POA is far more “up” on AIPAC’s goals in the universe than I am. One watches one’s sworn enemy like a hawk. For me, AIPAC is not the center of the universe. It’s an aging lobby group that does all the same shit that lobby groups do — exaggerate claims to justify donations, spend money on expense accounts, put some people on TV or on op ed pages, come up with talking points, attract new members and struggle to keep old ones…. MJ had an interesting note recently — he wrote that AIPAC had become more and more about AIPAC itself and less and less about Israel. This is a typical institutional pattern. So who really cares about AIPAC? I know P/OA do. You do a little. W and M have made an industry out of it. Some websites are off the deep end….
    All of this stuff is so typical, so institutionally pre-figured that no, I don’t really flip out. I also don’t think they determine US/ME policy. And I don’t think disbanding the organization and blotting it up from the universe would accomplish a fucking thing aside from giving some post card writers and e-mail senders a little more free time.
    As I’ve said over and over, the pressures are myriad, the determinations of votes are complex and nuanced, there’s just a lot going on.
    You seem to be caught, Paul, in this double bind of wanting very much for POA’s common sense American thing to be spot on — it has to be AIPAC because it’s all so fucking irrational otherwise, and then offering a milder case where AIPAC is there, more there than I think, but less there than POA, and then getting irritated that you go even an 8th of an inch in my direction so back to closer to POA….
    If W and M are merely saying that THELOBBY has some undetermined effect, fine. I think they go further. I suppose I’m going to have to sit down with that fucking book I have avoided paying for as not wanting to give them money…. Maybe my library has a copy…. I think they try to make a stronger case for something akin to the Argument from Design than I would make.
    I’m an atheist, so intelligent design of the universe doesn’t make sense to me. Intelligent design of US/ME policy, equally, isn’t the best account. There are evolutionary pressures, all sorts of factors that generate a complex system, small payoffs in corners, and so on. Out of all of this, we get what we call a coherent policy. And as it seems to cohere, we feel a need to give it an architect. In this case, the architect is THELOBBY. I’m just not into this way of thinking. Complexity of system does not necessitate an intelligent designer.
    ****
    As for your last point about forcing them to make a deal — if the cultural changes don’t accompany the force, then the force backfires. The US now has, I think it’s 30, states with anti-gay marriage language incorporated into state constitutions. Now, clearly being pro-gay marriage is where justice is. There’s simply no doubt about this and there never should have been. BUT, by pressing on the early side of the cultural shift in attitude, we have managed to harden 30 states’ resolve to “fight the gay agenda.” What a fucking mess this will be to undo.
    History is littered with such reactions. When cultures catch up, change is easy. You go too soon and the reaction is horrific. People will get what they want, they will fight against clear notions of justice and defend what they consider “justice” because they don’t know what justice is. People are fucking idiots.
    So apply this to Israel. We force change through withholding support, we send the country rightward OR we send the people rightward. There are more settler attacks, more crazed nuts, more suicide bombers…. The potential for damage is far greater than you seem to give credit to given this “why don’t we just force them” possibility.
    Force isn’t going to work. Once again, third way, choice architecture, culture building, slow, late justice with lots of suffering.
    The NY Times had a piece yesterday about how fucking miserable Gaza is — it’s hitting simultaneously across the world that Gaza is fucking miserable. The slant in the piece is that a lot of people voted for Hamas because they fucking HATE Fatah’s corruption. Fine. But then a few quoted actually thought Hamas wasn’t going to win, that next time they wouldn’t vote, that they never thought they’d be where they ended up, they want to run their businesses, complete their educations, have a regular life just like the rest of us want. Now, this is AIPAC-owned NYT, so likely it’s completely false anything about the misery in Gaza, the incredibly high literacy rates, the decent infant mortality rates (all of this to demonstrate that there’s a viable country-in-the-making with a population just like ours, only better on the literacy front probably — we’re supposed to identify with Gaza and want good things for them — but don’t forget that AIPAC pwns the NYT so you’d never actually read something like this in that organ of Mossad….)
    Sad that this is the process. Tragic even. Proof possibly that at the game level Israel is right (NOT at the HUMANE level — there’s a clear distinction I draw quite sharply….) If Hamas faces a choice between perishing forever (to invoke Schmidle/WigWag) and adaptation, maybe they’ll adapt.
    Maybe a new party will emerge that is not Hamas and not Fatah. That will help people live and flourish. This I dearly wish. Out of the despair of war generally eventually comes the saddest peace, that of so much loss that no more loss is tolerable. It’s a horrible image, but it is how war typically ends. As I said a year or two ago, we’re a fucked up species.
    Now how you get from my views stated again and again that Israel is a fucked nation, that the treatment of Gaza is inhumane, that real change needs to happen to the idea that I work for AIPAC, I have no fucking idea. But there you go. There are mysteries in the universe.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    “MCs come in many stripes including those who would vote pro-“LOBBY” no matter what,
    those who would vote against, those whose votes are determined by their districts,
    and those who might well be swayed by lobbying pressure. Just a simple list like
    this shows that it’s unclear how “significant” lobbying is.”
    The point of this paragraph is that lobbying cannot affect those who will not be affected by it. If you’re ideologically committed or if you’re district runs a particular way, you’re vote is pre-determined. This point so narrows the effects of lobbying as to make the system much less grand than it might seem.
    The way to determine to the limits we have what the lobbying effect is, is to go through all the tally work. It’s dreary stuff, but it’s what needs to happen.
    So before one goes off into lala land, one ought to find the scholarship.
    The scholarship on lobbying shows a fair amount of murk, and a whole lot of nuance about when effects are more likely stronger or weaker, where the effects can be felt, and so on.
    Why this is so hard to understand, I simply don’t get. A typical 19 year old college sophomore poli sci major would get a few weeks of this stuff in a Congress class. It isn’t rocket science or “theoretical math” or physics taught by a “Caltech professor” or whatever passes for acceptable around here. It isn’t gut feeling either. Or “common sense.” If you have a “gut feeling” that today, you can beat gravity at its own game, you probably need a class in physics. If you have a feeling that AIPAC is behind every rock, maybe you need that 200-level Congress course.
    It’s a fairly modest point all in all. There are limits to what lobbying has been found to accomplish, there are nuances, variations from bill to bill and district to district and member to member. Generalizing over all of this is a mistake as you misdiagnose and therefore mistreat.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    “If the only point is that one can see no other justification for US ME policy aside
    from AIPAC’s inimical influence, then I have problems again.”
    I agree with you there.
    “As always, any lobby is one of MANY factors and all the factors need to be given
    their due.”
    We agree on that.
    “MCs come in many stripes including those who would vote pro-“LOBBY” no matter what,
    those who would vote against, those whose votes are determined by their districts,
    and those who might well be swayed by lobbying pressure. Just a simple list like
    this shows that it’s unclear how “significant” lobbying is.”
    I`m sorry, but this is cheap talk from the bla bla department. What do you mean by
    airing these banalities? That the issue is so complex that we`ll NEVER get any
    clarification as to the significance of ANY lobby? Or that we PERHAPS in an
    undetermined future – thanks to impeccable scientific methods and excellent data –
    will be illuminated? And in case of the first option, that we should stop discussing
    the issue, because it will never be proved, or – in case of the second option – that
    we should politely and patiently wait until “science” has proved something regarding
    their influence?
    And BTW: are you so naive that you don`t think that there are highly unscientific
    foundations and motivations behind the scientific researches of this kind of mine
    fields – even judgements, political interests and bias? “Science” is not some kind
    of neutral, final answer to these questions.
    “If the only point is to bitch about the wickedness of AIPAC, then I have problems
    with the tone and the underlying sensibility.”
    Think about it this way: While other commenters here are bitching about the
    wickedness of AIPAC – watching how AIPAC systematically defend ALL ASPECTS OF the
    bombing of Gaza, the settlements, the harassment of Palestinians, the blockade, and
    how they demonize the Goldstone report, J Street, Obama etc. etc. – you have bigger
    problems with the tone of the critics?
    You`re instinctively provoked because they bitch about AIPAC?
    On a personal level, I appreciate this, but on a a political level, it`s
    incomprehensible.
    One may ask what comes first here: AIPAC`s defense of indefensible actions by
    Israel, or the tone of those who react against the despicable defense? Or do you
    feel that anti-Semitism is the root cause of the nasty tone here on all levels?
    I certainly don`t think so. (Although I admit that the attacks against you have
    often been wildly unfair, paranoid, and over the top. As you know, I sometimes have
    tried to address this in my comments).
    However, you have never been clear as to whether you feel comfortable with AIPAC`s
    defense of crimes, abuses and humiliation of the Palestinians. You`ve only said that
    their activities are 1) legal and 2) insignificant. And warned that altering status
    quo with regard to IR is very dangerous.
    Yeah. Sure.
    Don`t you think some of the “tone” and “sensibilities” here stem from that fact? So
    far, your rigorous “scientific” arguments supporting your claim that AIPAC is
    insignificant hasn`t exactly been convincing.
    It`s as if you react on outdated instincts; you FEEL provoked – as if you ask
    yourself (and I`m just guessing here): “Will the attack on AIPAC eventually lead to
    a flood of resentment against Jews?”), but are unable to support your instinctive
    reactions with the evidence you ask your opponents to provide.
    If you had made the distinction I suggested in the post above, I think you would
    have avoided this kind of dilemma (assuming that my hunch is correct).
    “To be honest, what I think pisses people off about my posts is that I don’t just
    accept the “simple” moral truth that that which is contemptible and worthy of
    condemnation must instantly be condemned rather than analyzed and responded to with
    nuance.”
    Well, that`s an interesting statement. To a certain degree, I think you`re right.
    But you frequently go further than that. You flatly deny and diminish certain
    influences – like AIPAC (without delivering clear evidence backing up your denial
    and diminishing activity). And – since you mentioned Dan – just to provide an
    example of unscientific, I would say rather irrational approaches: when WigWag
    absurdly accused Dan K of anti-Semitism in one of their many discussions last year,
    you INSTINCTIVELY defended WigWag and his accusations – but where was the proof, the
    science, the exact measurement, the evidence? I doubt that I`ll ever forget that
    one, because it was so unreasonable, absurd and mean. I`ve read quite a lot about
    anti-Semitism during my medium-long life, and happen to know a couple of things
    about this ugly phenomenon. I couldn`t even see any serious – not to speak of
    credible – attempt to prove your or WigWag`s case in that discussion. Very
    unscientific indeed. Provoked feelings.
    You are rarely more scientific than anyone else here, Questions. You react with your
    guts like everyone here, and ask for “science” when your guts reactions demand
    science. And then your brain goes bananas, just like mine…
    And if you didn`t notice: there were more guts and feelings and impressions in your
    take on W&M on this thread, than anything resembling evidence. As a matter of fact,
    I was the one attempting to provide some evidence as to what they actually said. But
    hey, we all are to some extent “irrational”. That`s just human nature…
    “Because my justification for the status quo is not likely AIPAC’s. I worry about
    making Israel all the more fucking insane and racist and rightwing and, umm,
    slaughter-ish to coin an odd term.”
    I`ll give you that, Questions.
    “I worry to some extent about a free for all against Israel (which does serve as the
    home for a bunch of my cousins).”
    Also highly understandable.
    “I don’t think it’s politically possible to do much about the defense industry’s
    love of arms deals, so it’s not like P/OA’s fervent wishes will come true anyway.”
    But why blame anyone for trying?
    “Hence, building trust between two sets of crazed populations is the task at hand.”
    Perhaps. But more than that. Perhaps even trying to force them to make a deal. I
    honesty don`t know the right strategy here.

    Reply

  5. Outraged American says:

    Brava Pauline and brava Karen Kwiatkowski (and yes Questions, I
    have interviewed the latter. Remarkable person who was working
    for Bill Luti at Feith’s Office of SPECIAL PLANS (how Orwellian is
    that?) in the Pentagon so got to see Feith’s shenanigans firsthand.
    Girls rule.

    Reply

  6. pauline says:

    questions, how about one more long post? You want to be “fair and balanced”, especially with all your wordy blah-blah-blah, right?
    “War and Decision: Doug Feith Explains”
    May 2, 2008
    by Karen Kwiatkowski
    Doug Feith has collected his memories from inside the Pentagon, circa 2001-2005. Henry Kissinger blurbs for the back cover, “Even those, as I, who take issue with some of its conclusions, will gain a better perspective from reading this book.”
    I have probably read more of Feith’s 674 pages than Kissinger did and strangely enough, I find myself sharing the old devil’s take, just this once.
    On page 3, I gained my first ah-ha moment. Feith relates that upon being notified in Moscow that a second plane had struck the towers in NYC, he heard Bush say on CNN “Terrorism against our nation will not stand.” Feith immediately thought of Iraq, because Bush the younger had eerily echoed Pop’s words during the long U.S. mobilization for war against Iraq in the fall of 1990. Lesser mortals would qualify their personal list of countries the United States should bomb with actual events, real threats, and even the odd fact. But Doug Feith immediately grasped (and agreed with) the true Iraq-oriented intentions of our 43rd president, the latter fresh from the second grade and My Pet Goat. The Number Three suit in the Pentagon had his marching orders.
    Who knew it was that simple? There was a time I laughed at Straussian esotericism as a guide for foreign policy, but no longer!
    Fact-checking as I read, I am stopped briefly on page 4 where Feith writes that, “the 9/11 attack took the lives of 189 people working at the Pentagon.” Now, I don’t mean to set off the 9-11 truth movement, but is Doug Feith suggesting that in addition to the 125 Pentagon workers burned, crushed and suffocated to death on 9/11, the 64 passengers on Flight 77 were also Pentagon employees? Think of the implications, but I digress.
    Look, numbers aren’t his thing. He’s an idea guy. For example, he believes in a global, comprehensive, multifaceted war on terror, and understands that, “[L]aw enforcement is merely an after-the-fact apparatus.” Feith gives interesting eyewitness testimony of the various Yes-Men in the administration, including then-JCS Chairman Hank Shelton during a meeting two days after 9/11. Bush asked, “Can we do the Afghanistan and Iraq missions at the same time?” Shelton answered “Yes.”
    One might have thought that Shelton would have answered, “What Iraq mission, sir?” or perhaps the slightly more suitable, “Huh?” But one must recall that in February 1999, under a different President, then-JCS Chairman Shelton had conducted a press conference that went something like this:
    Q: People in the Arab world and Islamic world, they are wondering whether the United States have the right to, I mean, to make the plans to overthrow the regime in Baghdad. You know, it is not according to international law; it is not according to anything. But it is an American plan to just overthrow the regime. What’s the opinion about that, and what’s the American strategy towards the Iraq regime in the coming period?
    Gen. Shelton: Thank you. I think that not only our American leadership but the leadership throughout the international community – based on Saddam Hussein’s actions and the way that the Iraqi people have suffered under his leadership – all believe that Iraq would be better off if there was a change in the leadership, a change in the regime. We have made it clear that we would be willing to support those groups, both internal as well as external, that are opposed to Saddam Hussein, because we think that the Iraqi people deserve better. Now, we all also agree that we think that Iraq as a nation should continue. We’re not advocating a splintered Iraq. But we will continue to provide whatever support we can to those that would like to see a regime change.
    Reading Feith’s memoir reminds us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I don’t want to set off the “9-11 Changed Everything” crowd, but apparently they don’t follow their Pentagon briefings very closely! Regime change is regime change and it’s one of the few reasons still given by our government for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Feith does a good job of detailing the many Republicrats and Demmicans who supported more war with Iraq, and others, throughout the post-Cold War era.
    Doug Feith grew up in a liberal family enamored of Franklin Roosevelt, and later, LBJ, yet he and his liberal classmates voted a pro-Vietnam War teacher as “most intelligent.” Big governments and big wars don’t scare Doug Feith and implicitly, at a young age, he understood the integral nature of the warfare-welfare state. Typical of many neoconservative republicrats, Feith also worked for Senator Boeing (Scoop Jackson) and came to know the likes of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and even worked on Admiral Elmo Zumwalt’s failed campaign in the late 1970s to become a Democratic Senator of Virginia. I don’t want to set off the New World Order conspiracists, but we learn that it was Zumwalt who recommended Doug Feith for membership in the Council on Foreign Relations.
    At the ripe age of 23, Feith tells us he was invited to join a new lobby, as a charter board member. That organization was JINSA, and the year was 1976. Chapter 2 of his memoir is entitled “Personal Trajectory.” Apparently Feith was a precocious youth, devolving only years later into the remarkably incompetent and competitively stupid Pentagon bureaucrat that Tommy Franks had to work with.
    But being stupid is not a crime, and Feith is certainly right about government price controls, when he writes that “gasoline lines occur only when governments try to control oil prices.” It was this kind of pro-market attitude that brought him into the Reagan administration, but Feith doesn’t go far enough in his assessment of the existent unfree market. U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, since before the time of his heroic FDR, has been a way our government has tried to “control” oil prices. It is a costly way to do business and the cost is largely unseen and often unmeasurable. It is a government subsidy, an effective price control, counted in vague defensive terms, exacted in hubris at home and anger abroad, accruing a moral and constitutional debt for all Americans.
    Feith shares many unimportant things in his memoir, and of course, this is the charm of the genre. But the gaping holes in his history are themselves quite telling. His “personal trajectory” fails to mention his removal from the National Security Council staff and briefly denies the loss of a security clearance in 1982. It details very little about the fifteen years he spent (between September 1986 and July 2001) working with Jerusalem attorney Marc Zell on “public policy issues.” Strangely, Zell is not even listed in the index, nor could I find him mentioned anywhere except as the nameless “friend” with whom Feith founded his law firm, Feith and Zell. We still know little about Marc Zell, an important character in Feith’s life and career, quoted extensively here. Feith also mentions little of substance in the heated congressional confirmation debate that occurred after he was nominated to be Bush 43’s Under Secretary for Defense Policy. For Feith it was pure party politics; as the President of the Arab American Institute pointed out in testimony before Congress and in an op-ed after Feith’s confirmation, there were serious national security issues at stake. The Office of Special Plans gets less than two pages, and curiously Abram Shulsky is indexed in the book only once, as a staff advisor, and is not mentioned as director of the OSP. Well, actually, Abe is mentioned twice; his review of the memoir is acknowledged and appreciated. Larry Franklin, an employee of Feith who was arrested for passing classified information to Israel, via AIPAC, is not mentioned in the book.
    Gaping holes aside, the book clears up some concerns I had, as follows:
    * How did the shapeless and cerebral Feith get hired by mercurial and impatient wrestler Don Rumsfeld? By Feith’s own telling, Rumsfeld was profoundly unimpressed by Doug Feith in the interview room. However, in spite of Feith’s poor performance in his interview, “the portrait painted by my colleagues over the years, Wolfowitz, Ikle, [Senator] Kyl, Perle and others persuaded him.”
    * How did Feith get a post-Pentagon appointment at Georgetown teaching national security and anti-terrorism after leaving the Pentagon after the Iraq mission was accomplished? Turns out, in 1976 Feith had worked an internship at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for a guy named Robert Gallucci. In 2004, Ambassador Gallucci was the dean of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and he decided to hire Doug Feith.
    * What was the goal in Afghanistan? He writes: “the fundamental strategic goal of our attack was never to punish the Taliban, but to pressure state supporters of terrorism globally and thereby disrupt terrorist planning and operations” (p. 125).
    * Did Feith really believe that Saddam Hussein and al Qaida worked together, or that there was a 9-11 link with Iraq? He writes:No one I know of believed Saddam was part of the 9/11 plot; we had no substantial reason to believe he was. Nor did we have any intelligence that Saddam was plotting specific operations with al Qaida or any other terrorist group (p. 215). According to this exhaustive study by the Center for Public Integrity on who said what and when, while in the Pentagon, Feith must have led a life of studied isolation. He knew no one in the administration, in mainstream media, in Washington, or in the rest of the country, and he apparently had no idea what he himself was saying in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
    * What was the real problem in the decision-making relating to the Iraq war? He writes: When leaders decide that war is necessary, communicating that reasoning is a critical element of strategy and statecraft. The Administration’s public statements were the basis on which the American people and their representatives in Congress supported the war. [There were] “flaws in that presentation”(p. 228).
    * Why did we go to war in Iraq? He writes: In my view, the reason to go to war with Iraq was self-defense (p. 235).
    * How is the occupation going? He writes: [The 14-month occupation ended in June 2004 and was] “in my view, unnecessary” (p. 497)
    * What is strategy in war? He writes:”Every strategy is an experiment, and one has to be ready to modify or abandon the hypothesis if real-world events contradict it” (p. 123).
    * What is your judgment of President Bush? He writes: “[Bush] approached his national security responsibilities with solemnity, awe, and love for the Constitution. He faced grave problems and made difficult decisions with strategic insight and nonpartisan concern for the best interests of the country” (p. 526).
    This type of mulishness, and mulish writing, continues throughout the memoir. You’ve been forewarned.
    Several questions I had were not addressed. I’m curious about how and when the base building decisions were made, and the new strategic CENTCOM footprint (vacating Saudi Arabia, and surrounding Iran with permanent bases, lilypads and launching pads). We recall the travails of Army Corps of Engineers contracting officer Bunny Greenhouse when she pushed back at granting “emergency” sole-source Iraq construction contracts to Halliburton on a non-emergency five-year basis. Even though this is a major area of concern for the OSD policy directorate, Feith says nothing.
    How did we build the bases without a status of forces agreement? No one seems to know the answers, except maybe Thucydides, who understood that the strong do what they will, while the weak suffer what they must.
    Doug Feith has done his part to try and reshape the record of the last days of the American empire. Hamid Karzai was welcomed back by all Afghans as a democratic leader, and easily re-elected in 2004 (we dare not say how we got him elected or why). The war on terror is comprehensive, endless, defensive, and constitutional. War is the choice of presidents and kings and pharaohs, and they must convince people and the congresses to go along with it, and support it enthusiastically, and pay for it with their blood and their treasure. Saddam could have hurt us badly, and by implication if a weak, sanctioned, sick, unarmed dictatorship of 26 million people halfway around the world can gravely threaten our way of life, well. You can see we need to be very afraid and we better trust the fine people appointed by the president to keep us safe.
    Luckily, Feith’s Orwellian rewriting of history is flawed by his own lack of awareness of American history, his misunderstanding of the Constitution, and his curious lack of insight about who he is and what he represents, in a historical sense. Iraq in particular was a grave threat to no country, not even Israel, as the government of Israel is happy to remind us.
    Feith suggests we conducted a preemptive defensive war against terrorism in Iraq. But the United States has steadily militarily colonized southern Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq not to defend against terrorism or anything else, but to defend favored regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel, and to ensure sustained global demand for reserve dollars. Invasion of Iraq to create a safe haven for our own forces had been considered in certain circles even back when anti-communist Wahhabists were on the CIA payroll.
    Had Feith discussed some of this thinking, and if possible, related it to terrorism, the book would have been more interesting, and more relevant to both the past and the future. Had he been more frank, and yet less catty about his observations of other key players, that would have given the book some unique value. As it stands, the book seems to be shoddily prepared and taped together, dusty and dated before it is even unwrapped, unsatisfying and aimed at an audience that already knows the punch line.
    Perhaps, in this contrived and pained insiders retelling of the Pentagon’s lurch to war, the medium is the message. If so, the war on terror may be on its way to the deep discount bin, and that would be a very good thing.
    LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power.
    source —
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski202.html

    Reply

  7. pauline says:

    questions, don’t trust the source?
    “WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2004 (JTA) — The FBI’s investigation of the American Israel
    Public Affairs Committee did not go into high gear until more than a year
    after the Pentagon’s top Iran analyst allegedly passed foreign policy
    strategy information to two AIPAC officials.
    The investigation only intensified in July 2004, when the FBI allegedly
    directed the same Pentagon analyst, Larry Franklin, to conduct a sting
    operation against AIPAC officials, providing them with purportedly
    classified information to pass on to Israel, according to sources close to
    the investigation.
    A month later, the FBI raided AIPAC offices, confiscating files from two
    senior staffers.
    On Dec. 1, the FBI returned to the headquarters of the pro-Israel lobby,
    searching staffers’ offices. The FBI also issued subpoenas to four AIPAC
    staffers to appear before a grand jury at the end of this month.
    Journalist Sy Hersh has reported that in 1970 while Richard Perle
    was working for Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington, Perle was caught
    by an FBI wiretap discussing classified information with an official
    at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. And according to the New
    York Times, in 1978 CIA Director Stansfield Turner asked Sen.
    Jackson to fire Perle after Perle was named as a recipient of an
    unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    “When you add your expressed wish for status quo in US ME policies (which, viewed
    isolated, is an honest opinion) to your vigorous denial of significant AIPAC
    influence – are you surprised that people get suspicious?”
    Yes, I am surprised. Because my justification for the status quo is not likely AIPAC’s. I worry about making Israel all the more fucking insane and racist and rightwing and, umm, slaughter-ish to coin an odd term. I worry about alliance issues. I worry to some extent about a free for all against Israel (which does serve as the home for a bunch of my cousins).
    I don’t think it’s politically possible to do much about the defense industry’s love of arms deals, so it’s not like P/OA’s fervent wishes will come true anyway. But I wouldn’t wish it anyway.
    I think third way cultural change, generational change, exits from game theory, setting up options so that the more peaceful stuff is easier to choose, working on confidence-building and so on are all avenues to be pursued.
    It is only through deep cultural change that any policy change will be meaningful, sustainable, and real.
    It is only through trust that there will be such change.
    Hence, building trust between two sets of crazed populations is the task at hand.
    And this is the AIPAC line? Well, then AIPAC isn’t so awful I guess.

    Reply

  9. pauline says:

    Hey, questions, two of your AIPAC all-stars!!
    Bradblog says —
    “Jordan’s piece is well reported and includes, for the first time to our knowledge, several forms of denials of Edmonds allegations by some of Bush’s key State and Defense Department officials — such as Richard Perle and Douglas Feith — who, she says, were participants in espionage plots against the United States in order to share military and even nuclear secrets with Turkish and Israeli government operatives.”
    http://www.military.com/news/article/ex-fbi-translator-claims-spying-at-dod.html

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Actually, a Ph.D. in vote tallying wouldn’t be a bad idea!
    If you want some kind of lay sense that there might be influence, have it. If you want to know whether or not the influence is a)determining of policy b)causative rather than reactionary c)a serious political issue that needs either legal recourse (that’s the whole foreign registration thing which DonS still hasn’t explained) or serious political correction (changes in lobbying practices) then I think there’s a higher standard of proof that needs to be maintained.
    I find a kind of slippery slope between the lay version of reality and bad policy. We make laws without good information, and in this case the laws would bear on the Constitution in some pretty significant ways. So I would err on the side of the Constitution’s protection of speech, assembly and redress. These are the underpinnings of our government and we ought not toss them aside without some seriously careful thinking and the analysis of a whole campus full of Ph.Ds in vote tallying. And not even if it might make for better ME policy. We should not be tossing out the Bill of Rights for anything.
    If the only point is to bitch about the wickedness of AIPAC, then I have problems with the tone and the underlying sensibility.
    If the only point is that one can see no other justification for US ME policy aside from AIPAC’s inimical influence, then I have problems again.
    I accept that you are not P/OA etc. But every post is read here by every poster and so at some level we are always addressing everyone. I do not confuse you with the more extreme posters, but we certainly have enough differences that I don’t distance all of you as much as I should. For that I am sorry.
    As for significant political influence vs. total control, I’m all hung up on “significant” because I’m a)not sure what it means b)unclear about the direction of causation c)and not really convinced that if there were no AIPAC at all we’d be doing anything any different. (You were expecting ANYthing different? From me??!)
    The I-lobby rhetoric really does hearken to some unsavory stuff and was really an ill-chosen phrase. It’s also ill-defined. There’s too much that travels in tandem with THELOBBY to separate it out. And I really think W and M should have had better radar for this.
    They could have made some interesting points about the policy process and the inexpertise and accidents and oddities and generational problems and so on that plague our system. Instead they named this phantom unsavory group and give it more power in shaping policy than I think is due. As always, any lobby is one of MANY factors and all the factors need to be given their due.
    MCs come in many stripes including those who would vote pro-“LOBBY” no matter what, those who would vote against, those whose votes are determined by their districts, and those who might well be swayed by lobbying pressure. Just a simple list like this shows that it’s unclear how “significant” lobbying is. That’s why you do all the DW-NOMINATE stuff and tallying I outlined somewhere above. That’s why people get Ph.Ds in poli sci and specialize in Congress and get off on reading up on votes, entering data into computers, running a variety of SPSS functions, and printing up charts and graphs. And then, mercifully, they write actual paragraphs that say what I’ve said over and over.
    Spend a week reading Nate Silver over at 538.com. Read over archives. It’s such standard poli sci analysis. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone freaks about it.
    I take policy-making insanely seriously. Really, I’m insane. I accept that. So within my insanity is a deeply felt need to get terms defined properly, to minimize the effects of judgment as there are many judges whose judgment I distrust like you wouldn’t believe. I want policy to be made with a deep awareness of its effects.
    To be honest, what I think pisses people off about my posts is that I don’t just accept the “simple” moral truth that that which is contemptible and worthy of condemnation must instantly be condemned rather than analyzed and responded to with nuance.
    I do nuance. P/OA don’t do nuance. You often find nuance “foggy” and Dan Kervick is impatient with such a wide variety of things he feels impede his sense of progress that sometimes I’m really surprised. He attacked the TPM people (I assume DanK is Kervick) and he’s attacked posters here — all for this sense that they aren’t helping his project. So there’s my reading of some of those who are after me. I won’t bother with JamesL since for him I simply don’t have a soul.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    I said: “What is provocation nr 1 from you, is that you have insisted for more than a
    year now that AIPAC and other similar pro-Israeli lobbies do not possess a
    significant
    political influence on US ME policies.”
    Correction: Not “insisted (…)”, but VIGOROUSLY DENIED their influence.
    When you add your expressed wish for status quo in US ME policies (which, viewed
    isolated, is an honest opinion) to your vigorous denial of significant AIPAC
    influence – are you surprised that people get suspicious?
    Questions, I think you in the future should make the basic distinction between
    “significant political influence” and “total control”. The former represents sound
    judgement; the latter conspiracy theories. Seriously: Attempts to bagatellise their
    influence make it appropriate to ask if you are dishonest or foolish – or both.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Questions,
    if you yourself are certain that you are not WigWag/Nadine/Sweetness/Varanasi, I assume
    that you could use some of your latent common sense and judgement – and perhaps conclude
    that I am not POA or Outraged or anyone else here, except for myself? I may provide a
    Norwegian link if you don`t believe me. I actually sign with my own name (Except for
    “Paul” instead of “PÃ¥l”, for the sake of convenience). So I would prefer that you
    address issues you have with other posters here directly to them, and not to me.
    “…and until the cause/correlation issue is settled through carefully designed studies,
    there’s no way to know what the influence is, even if one harbors suspicions.”
    In most of the interesting and vital issues, dear Questions, you will NEVER reach
    absolute certainty before it`s too late. This is not an argument against honest and
    careful research, but simply a fact of life.
    Let me use an illustrative, admittedly extreme example from history, but COMPLETELY
    UNRELATED to what we are talking about (i.e. AIPAC etc). From my reading, I can`t
    remember exactly when the allied forces possessed sufficient real and exact
    knowledge/evidence about Holocaust – intentions, plans, as well as the event itself. Was
    it 1941? 1942? 1943?
    Still, there were reasons to be seriously worried and alarmed long before that – due to
    a combination of statements, speeches, propaganda, alarming events, unconfirmed rumors
    etc. etc., if you connected the dots and tried to apply sound judgement. Something was
    really, really rotten in the state of Germany at the end of the 1930`s with regard to
    the treatment of Jews. It`s easier to see this in retrospect, but god bless those who
    tried to warn the public.
    How much evidence and exact knowledge do you need to be seriously worried about certain
    events unfolding? The cultural revolution in China in the 1960`s…Pol Pot…US politics
    and interventions in Latin America in the 80`s… The inner life of CIA until the
    hearings in the 70`s – and now… How much evidence, what kind of evidence do you need
    to get worried about something apparently happening in front of your eyes? How many
    Phd`s do you need to study before expressing your suspicions and worry?
    In the political sphere, you often have to do that, try to use your sound or unsound
    judgement, make estimates – and waiting for absolute certainty is frequently just as
    foolish as relying on myths. As human beings embedded in real life, you have to try to
    use sound judgement – and take the risk of getting it wrong from time to time.
    “But I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion of “undue” influence as influence is how
    the US political system works. It’s a reactionary system that rests on the application
    of pressure. Thus whatever influence there is, is likely “due.””
    You are apparently referring to the legal aspects here – within the democratic framework
    in the US? That`s not my issue. I am just saying that it certainly looks like they have
    a huge influence on US politics – not claiming that it`s illegal. Neither do W&M claim
    that. Whether this influence is negative or positive for America is a different issue –
    I say it`s negative; you probably say it`s not.
    But that`s beyond the frame of our discussion. MY question to you re. AIPAC has always
    been: how can you deny that AIPAC is very influential on US foreign policy? It`s so
    fucking obvious that they are influential – within the political, historical, cultural,
    religious, and demographic environment they are operating in!
    “But the watered down version of W and M that you seem to think is faithful to the
    text…”
    Seem to think? What I did was to quote extensively from their texts, for heavens sake.
    If they have “watered it down”, when did they do so? I documented that their definition
    of the “lobby” in 2009 was identical with their definition as early as March 2006, in
    their original article in the London Review of Books – even before the book was written
    or published. Watering down from what??? Did they perhaps present a monolith view of
    “the lobby” in their book? You`re welcome to document this, by quoting other excerpts
    from their text (perhaps from the book?) if you think that my quotes were not
    representing the content or spirit of their texts. I remember watching Walt saying
    basically the same thing in a Hard Talk interview on BBC TV the year the book was
    released.
    Now, referring to our discussion on this thread: who is giving some documented evidence
    here – with regards to what W&M actually say and said – you, or me? And who is treating
    their claims based on “intuition” and rumors and impressions – you or me?
    If you realize that you are not identical with WigWag or Sweetness, you should also try
    to grasp the fact that Walt & Mearsheimer are not identical with POA or Outraged.
    Perhaps it would then occur to you that it`s not as if W&M are watering down claims by
    Outraged Americana and others, but perhaps that Outraged and others are exaggerating and
    transforming the claims made by Walt and Mearsheimer.
    Give it a thought, please.
    FYI: What I think is particularly outrageous for many people here – believe it or not –
    is not so much your opinion that one should be careful to change status quo in US ME
    policies. What is provocation nr 1 from you, is that you have insisted for more than a
    year now that AIPAC and other similar pro-Israeli lobbies do not possess a significant
    political influence on US ME policies. WigWag seems to agree with most posters here that
    AIPAC is very influential (within the democratic framework). This is not evidence in
    itself. But still worth noticing, because WigWag has admitted to me that (s)he
    occasionally works for AIPAC. You on your side have more or less demanded a Phd in vote
    research, Congressional processes, Hume-inspired philosophical cause/correlation
    reflections and game theory from people to prove that your absurd claims are wrong.
    This is the main provocation that creates distrust in your arguments at TWN.
    More judgement, please!
    And with regards to what Walt and Mearsheimer actually said: more documentation and less
    “intuition”, please!

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    Paul, if you read POA enough you start to think — or at least I start to think — that he thinks that AIPAC controls the universe, that Israel can make websites come and go, that in the name of Israel and Israel alone, Jewish people all over the place create cultural products that betray America, that I’m in the pay of Israel, that I have no humane sense (on this he seems to agree with JamesL) and somehow AIPAC, THELOBBY or Israel is responsible for this state of affairs in my soul. Add in OA, and, oh my….
    Is this really a parody of P/OA, or is it representative of what gets posted here?
    And as I’ve said over and over, policy studies and congressional study do not conclude what common sense readings conclude. There’s a lot going on from the beginnings of an idea to an actual bill’s being passed and a lot of that is simply not lobbying. Until all the other factors are taken into account, weighted properly, and until the cause/correlation issue is settled through carefully designed studies, there’s no way to know what the influence is, even if one harbors suspicions.
    I have never denied “some” influence. But I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion of “undue” influence as influence is how the US political system works. It’s a reactionary system that rests on the application of pressure. Thus whatever influence there is, is likely “due.”
    The problem really is that POA doesn’t like the outcome and so he argues against the pressure. If the same pressure system gets us a decent public option with the opt out clause, POA might like it (maybe not given that he’s a libertarian and would be happy with the deaths of those who can’t manage market-based insurance and care).
    If this same pressure system gets us the end to DADT, we’ll be singing in the streets. Remember, POA hates AIPAC, and many on the right hate what they bizarrely term “the gay agenda.” They can list groups, lobbyists, talking points, policy outcomes, voting records and the like. They can scream “disproportionate influence compared to their percentages in the general population,” they can scream about Hollywood and New York, come to think of it.
    But the fact is that there’s more to changing policies towards gays than the “gay agenda.” There’s the right of any group to petition Congress, to assemble, to solicit funds and disburse them according to current statute and so on. If the laws change, there will be many factors, the biggest of which for DADT are the dismissals of gay Arabic linguists and the general readiness of the population as the most homophobic among us have died, and much of the rest of the population has adjusted.
    If there were actual evidence for the common sense perception that AIPAC is some version of monster or other, I’d be happy to agree. But the watered down version of W and M that you seem to think is faithful to the text doesn’t really say much beyond, “Hey there’s this lobbying group and there’s this citizenry who push for a policy we don’t like very much. Since we think the policy is bad, this amorphous mass of people who like Israel (and hey, we like Israel too) must have some kind of disproportionate power somehow.” What does that really mean?
    The structures are in place in this country for pressure to be applied to MCs. Reelection is the major goal. Money is the means to reelection. So there’s lots of soliciting of money, lots of pressure. But there are also voters. And if the voters are paying attention and the MCs fuck up, there’s hell to pay. If the voters are asleep, then the MCs do what they want. When there’s pushback on all sides, the effects of money seem to disappear. When the vote is unheard of, the issue obscure, it looks like money plays a bigger role.
    The best way to deal with getting a constituency to vote out a bastard, then, is to let everyone one know about the votes. But, let’s face it, Israel-support is a political force in the US and so P/OA’s screams and screeds aren’t going to do much to awaken a sleeping contituency.
    I get the feeling JStreet and third way politics and appealing to Nadine’s sensibility will go much much much farther.
    But then, why should I care given my general disdain for life on the planet evidenced by the cheerleading I do for Mossad and the IDF. (Woohoo, I just got another bonus check for getting the two key terms mentioned in one sentence.)
    Remember only a fool or a liar could think that third way politics, cultural shifts, the dying off of a generation, burn out, empathy, game theory and escapes from game theoretic situations via choice architecture could help anything at all. Only a fool or a liar or both…. Which is why I guess the opt out for health care is such a popular idea.
    Only fools and liars think choice architecture helps…..

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    “…and not wander in a mind maze questioning everything”
    Or: questioning everything simultaneously. That gets you nowhere.
    Personally, I would prefer multiple citizenship; being a citizen
    of all the countries in the world (Israel, a future Palestine, USA
    and India included). But I know this is a utopian dream.

    Reply

  15. Outraged American says:

    There is, in some people, an ability to synthesize information
    and not wander in a mind maze questioning everything.
    I think it’s called empiricism. Or as I said before “horse sense”
    In terms of average Americans who lobby for AIPAC, I would
    venture to guess that a good amount of them are Jewish
    American and are thus by Israel’s laws, dual citizens.
    Despite that I’m a native of the country, I can’t hold citizenship
    in both India and the US under India’s laws.
    Not to be a nationalist or anything, because without nations and
    jingoism we probably wouldn’t have wars, but I do think it’s
    healthy to make a commitment to the community and area you
    live in to better it rather than advocate for another part of the
    world. Especially if that advocacy involves killing millions of
    people, as would be the case of Zionist Americans no matter if
    they’re Jewish or “Christians.”

    Reply

  16. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Questions,
    this has been a quite interesting discussion, although I`v often felt that you address
    all kinds of claims that I have never made – and sometimes claims that no one here have
    made – like: “You’d have to show, somehow, that people get all their information from
    the AIPAC website and that they have no independent thinking ability whatsoever. I’m not
    convinced of this. You’d have to show that AIPAC controls every news source in the
    country”
    I have never seen anyone here delivering such absurd claims (although a couple of
    posters admittedly have been close to saying so) – and certainly not me.
    All I have been saying on this thread (as far as I can remember) boils down to this:
    1) Do you really think that AIPAC and other similar US lobbies don`t have a strong
    influence on US-Israel policy?
    2) Walt and Mearsheimer don`t regard “The Lobby” as a monolith – it`s a “shorthand for
    the loose coalition of individuals and organisations” – and they don`t think that it
    “controls” US foreign policies or the media. Thus the “monolith” argument doesn`t apply
    to W&M.
    3) You also have to consider political influence of a kind that is very difficult to
    measure the way you measure votes etc.
    4) A certain amount of judgement and common sense is unavoidable in these kind of
    issues. This does not imply saying yes and amen to pure “intuition” and no to analysis,
    arguments and research.
    I think that was all I said. But you go all over the place, arguing against the
    “monolith” view, the “total mind control” view and a lot of other more or less crazy
    claims – as well as more reasonable claims that I myself don`t share.
    In any case – thanks for an interesting discussion. And I hope you`ll take “judgement”
    more into consideration in the future then you`ve done until now. A small dose of common
    sense doesn`t hurt either. I love watching and committing attacks on common sense
    perceptions. However, sometimes common sense happens to be correct.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Paul, the problems are as follows: No, this isn’t a university forum. But people make broad claims all over the place and don’t back them up, and the claims they make are strong, significant, fraught. I feel some responsibility (despite JamesL’s insistence that I have no feeling for other human beings) — I feel some responsibility to suggest pretty strongly that there are some serious problems with many of the wilder claims. And if those wild claims don’t at all apply to you, then I’m not really addressing you.
    Second, there’s such a jumble of AIPAC as lobby with direct effects on legislation and AIPAC as conglomeration with indirect effects on people’s views of Israel such that everyone is deceived into thinking that up is down and left is right or whatever. I think these two issues need to be dealt with separately and so I separated them. AIPAC as lobby with direct effect on legislation needs to be analyzed the way congressional scholars analyze lobbies all the time. There are reasonable research tools, protocols, data sets and so on to make the job doable, if tedious and not at all something I would enjoy doing. (I note that the causation/correlation issues may well be unresolvable, by the way, and that judgment may be all that covers the final leap.)
    The cultural pressures of AIPAC need to be dealt with as cultural studies deals with cultural artifacts. It’s certainly a loosey-goosey field, and TRUTH isn’t going to emerge, but as you point out, something like judgment will come out of it. But the judgment that comes out needs to be rational and based on something like evidence even if it’s not the same kind of evidence that gets used in the “hard” sciences. There are arguments to be made, there are influences to be identified and cited. But the level of discourse here doesn’t reach that. What passes for evidence around here is “I interviewed so and so who said,” “I just have some questions,” the AIPAC website itself, my membership in the hasbara, my having gone to school on a matchbook, and the like. None of this stuff counts as actual evidence.
    So if you want to show that somehow THELOBBY has some kind of deleterious effect on how we Americans think about anything, you really have to do more work than typically gets done here. You’d have to show, somehow, that people get all their information from the AIPAC website and that they have no independent thinking ability whatsoever. I’m not convinced of this. You’d have to show that AIPAC controls every news source in the country (except I guess the ones POA uses because he certainly sees the truth unlike anyone else in the entire country. Lucky him. I wonder how he escaped the AIPAC’s drugging of us all…..)
    And on top of all of this cultural stuff, you have to show that there is absolutely no justification for current US/I/P policy aside from AIPAC’s direct link to Mossad. and even here, the project fails.
    US ME policy may well be inhumane. It often is. All over the world. We’re quite a killing machine when you get down to it. But that just goes to show that AIPAC might be less causative.
    US ME policy might be overwhelmingly Cold Warist. US policy all over the place is Cold Warist. It doesn’t take a theory of AIPAC to show that that generation has a huge sway on the the rest of us. They will die off eventually.
    US ME policy might be too one-sided. But it doesn’t take AIPAC to make that happen. We often are too one-sided.
    If there’s a pattern emerging here, it should kind of look like US ME policy is all too typical rather than exceptional at all.
    And if you want to dig in and DO SOMETHING about it, the place to hit isn’t Israel and it isn’t AIPAC and it isn’t the names in a list of Hollywood movers and shakers, all of whom I guess are “Steins” or something, and all of whom attend the same synagogue, because all Jewish people do all the same things all the time. We’re quite a monolithic ethno-religio-political TRIBE as OA terms us. I know that when I want to take up a political view and call it my own, I go to a secret link on the web and click and it gives me the official Jewish line on every issue….. YIKES.
    Back on topic — if you want to do something useful, you have to identify the problem properly. The whole shape of US policy has problems. ME policy is but one example in a pattern of abuse, most of which has not a fucking thing to do with Israel.
    But people here focus like laser lights on Israel and the Steins. Not that you do, Paul, but it isn’t absent from the posts here. So if sometimes my remarks seem directed at you but misdirected, probably they are aimed more generally.

    Reply

  18. DonS says:

    better late than never, OA.

    Reply

  19. Outraged American says:

    I actually worked on a script called LEGALESE, trying to market it.
    I also worked selling WAG THE DOG, which was made.
    I never really got the whole concept of the tail wagging the dog
    till after September 11, when I started researching “why they
    hate us”
    When I was traveling the first time, from 1988-1991, taking a
    backpack around the world, except for Africa and South
    America, I found that just about everyone hated Americans, and
    I was at that point so ignorant of US foreign policy that I had no
    idea why.
    I met sheepherders at the very tip of the south island of New
    Zealand who knew way more about US foreign policy than I did.
    And I would say that I am an average American in regards to
    that.
    We’re so propagandized from the moment we step into
    kindergarten that we’re “the land of the free and the home of the
    brave” that we endorse atrocities like invading Iraq twice, killing
    Muslims on the other side of the world, and wreaking havoc in
    Central America, without blinking an eye.
    People die every single day to have the rights we gave up
    because of Sept. 11. We’re dumbfucks.

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    as you`ve said before: we have to fight senility by activating our brain cells…
    ————————————–
    Questions,
    most of your reply address discussions you have with DonS, POA or others. I am not
    involved in arguments about legality or foreign powers here, nor do I regard AIPAC
    as a monolith (as I pointed out several times above: W&M explicitly distance
    themselves from viewing what they shorthandedly call “the lobby” as some kind of
    monolith).
    My “cultural” examples were not meant as directly applicable on AIPAC – just
    examples of unmeasurable versus measurable political influence.
    “As for the measurable stuff, it’s far more important than you give credit. To use
    an analogy once again, if your doctor says, “Take this pill. Common sense tells me
    it’s good for you,” would that make you take it? The effects of pills can be
    measured by using double-blind testing of a significant number of cases.”
    With all due respect, I said the opposite of what you claim: “Of course you have
    to measure a lot of important things that are measurable, but also to a certain
    degree rely on judgement and an amount of common sense. You can`t expect any
    waterproof evidence in much of this stuff.”
    Believe it nor not, but even doctors have to rely on judgement every single day –
    although the measurable stuff, diagnosis methods etc. is crucial in their work. If
    they didn`t respect the highly important stuff you are able to measure during a
    diagnosis, they would be very bad doctors. But if they didn`t also use a certain
    amount of judgement and common sense – they would actually harm of kill a lot of
    patients. Ask any doctor, and (s)he will confirm this.
    As you may know, for many decades, pharmacologists usually preferred to use men to
    test side effects of medicines. The results were more predictable – thus more
    exact etc – so they ignored many of the complicated, confusing and unpredictable
    effects these medicines had on women. Regardless: these medicines had certain
    effects on women too – although more difficult to measure and determine. You
    sometimes remind me of these scientists when we discuss “political influence”.
    BTW: do I have to remind you that this is a political debate, and not a university
    forum where we discuss the most rigorous methods available to achieve exact
    results in scientific political research?
    Questions, all in all you sound like some scientist claiming that phenomenons like
    the threats of a lobby, the speeches of a demagogue or the fear spread by
    terrorism is simply non-existent. And why the hell is it so? Because none of this
    stuff can pass the scrutiny of your strict scientific methods determining cause
    and effect.
    No, I guess some of it can`t. But the effects are evident anyhow.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What a load of horseshit. Does anyone REALLY take this jackass seriously?

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    And DonS, you actually do need to be a lawyer to understand the law. It’s sad, but true. Law is complicated in its language, it’s altered by its use over time and all of that fits in to what a court might say about the interpretation of a law. Congressional intent seems to matter, too. And there are issues about how to determine congressional intent. How much extraneous matter counts….
    So I’d really love to hear from you just what’s been settled and/or ignored. I’m no legal researcher. And I’m having a hard time with the statute as it is written in the one language I’ve never really wanted to study, legalese.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    But what is lobbying? The point seems to be to indicate that when AIPAC-certified lobbyists contact congress members and their staffs, they are lobbying (that’s what lobbying is), and they are making this contact at the *DonS-insists* behest of a (cue the scary music) “FOREIGN” government and so they should be restricted. Given the language of the statute, I’m unclear, but DonS is a lawyer sentencing me to my own legal research even though I’m not a lawyer. Apparently the matter was settled a long time ago.
    Anyway, lobbying is a direct contact between an interested party and a government official about an issue or a vote or a concern. So dealing with lobbying is one issue. And this one issue needs to be run through the vote tally wringer regardless of POA’s citation of the AIPAC website. (I wonder if POA would list all of his fuckups on his resume as he was trying to get a job, or only his successes…. Could you imagine AIPAC’s listing its failures on its websit. That would get the donations flowing for sure….)
    On the other hand there’s all the cultural and speechifying stuff. How you could EVER regulate this stuff out of business I have no idea whatsoever.
    Commercial speech has some protections in this country but far less than political speech. We simply cannot regulate political speech even when we hate hate hate the speech. Every now and then we go through more restrictive periods, but man is the Constitution clear about political speech. Most likely the Supreme Court is going to allow that hideous piece of hitjobness against Hillary Clinton count as free speech rather than as electioneering and the movie theaters will become the next destination for hatchet jobs on candidates. It’ll be interesting to see how many people fork over 15 bucks to see their most hated candidate slammed.
    So anyway, if control of political speech is really really limited, what does one even say about AIPAC? Of course they can send out action alerts or whatever. Of course they can encourage membership. Of course they can encourage their members to write e-mails and letters and make phone calls. Of course they can have a completely domestic version of themselves that utterly follows the Act cited above. And my guess is that they basically do have the legalism down — but that’s a guess. I’m not a lawyer. I do wish a lawyer would be willing to post something about the Act so that I’d know just what it’s been taken to mean over the years.
    So what’s the objection? AIPAC is completely within its rights to do what it does.
    Does AIPAC control discourse about Israel in the US? Not that I’ve encountered. I don’t think there’s anywhere near the monolithic construct that POA sees. But then he thinks Israel makes websites come and go and he seems to think I’m paid by Israel or by AIPAC to cite congressional scholarship and Nate Silver’s work over and over.
    Cultural influence is, like all things, multifarious, complex, and subject to individuals who process their experiences. I’m guessing that AIPAC has a lot less impact than you’re guessing, but even granting your very strongest case (a useful thing to do whenever there’s an argument), even granting AIPAC’s uncanny ability to get every single editorial stance in the country in line with the official AIPAC line, where is the lawbreaking? What sanctions could there be? What should be done? They could break their operation into a clearly domestic side that merely deals with Congress and that would follow the Act cited above, and a completely rhetorical side that takes marching orders from Mossad. And there’d be nothing illegal so long as they don’t blackmail.
    If it sells newspapers or advertising to toe the AIPAC line, then it does. If it stops selling newspapers and advertising, then the line will change. But I forgot, Israel controls all the businesses in the US that ever advertise in newspapers. OOPS! My bad! Maybe there is no way out…..!
    As for the measurable stuff, it’s far more important than you give credit. To use an analogy once again, if your doctor says, “Take this pill. Common sense tells me it’s good for you,” would that make you take it? The effects of pills can be measured by using double-blind testing of a significant number of cases. That’s how we figure out how many people might be helped by the new AIDS vaccine. (In this case, a read of the numbers is bleaker than everyone had hoped. At least they re-read the damned numbers instead of inoculating people and having them infect more people while thinking they were safe.)
    In the same way, there are things a little like double-blind studies in vote tallying. The work is really tedious, and it is imperfect, but so is medical research.
    You figure out the most likely ideological position for a vote. If conservatives WOULD vote for it no matter what, you subtract lobbying’s effects from the result because lobbying has no effect on ideological commitment (this is what the DW-NOMINATE score deals with.)
    You have to figure out a bunch of stuff about the district — PVI gives a bit of the info — the dem or repub leaning nature of the district based on previous votes. So you’ll have a decent sense of what the effects of the home crowd are. It’s a useful bit of knowledge.
    Then you toss in the amount of money involved — if no money went, then direct lobbying didn’t do anything as there wasn’t much. And not just the amount of money, but the dependence on that particular source of money. 1% of your money comes from AIPAC, not very important. 50% of your money comes from AIPAC, hmmmm.
    And you look at individual vs. bundled donations as the meaning is different. One lists one’s work place on the donation form. I did. But I didn’t give at the behest of anyone at work. It was independent and therefore the workplace was irrelevant. This issue needs to be factored in as well.
    You look at jobs issues — are there other good reasons for the MC to have voted this way.
    You look at re-election concerns. Is there a quality challenger in the wings? What kind of positions need to be taken in order to make the challenger’s bid ineffective?
    You look at the kinds of votes and at the shaping of the legislation before it hits the floor for a vote. Lots of places for potential influence, but that doesn’t mean the influence happened.
    So put all of this and more into the stew pot (other branches, local media, instigators in the district)… and you can come up with a decent reading on the effects of lobbying on a vote. You have to do this for a bunch of MCs as you need to figure out how many votes might have been shifted by lobbying and how many votes simply make sense based on ideology and the district.
    In the end, you can have something measurable, reasonable, even if not perfect. And it may well contradict common sense. The AIDS vaccine didn’t work well. Many “cures” for cancer seem good but then the stat work shows a 5 day extension of life for 100,000 dollars. Common sense is not the best guide to action absent good information. And there is limited information about lobbying’s effects no matter what P/OA and DonS claim.
    And as for the non-measurable stuff like the general cultural sense of Israel, what would you do to regulate that?

    Reply

  24. Paul Norheim says:

    “As for the corruptive influences of the biggest lobbies, there is so much difficulty
    here that likely it’s insoluble. (…) The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech,
    not action. So we’re really stuck.” (Questions)
    Ok, so you`re stuck. I don`t know what to say.
    “BTW, political influence of course is measured in vote tallies — if the votes didn’t
    go the way influence pushes, there’d be no cause for investigation into influence.”
    Questions, I think you operate with a too narrow definition of “political influence”.
    There is a big spectrum here, from exactly measurable to not-measurable influence. (You
    who appreciate the complexities of all things should appreciate this).
    A couple of randomly chosen example from the very vague side of the spectrum: Martin
    Luther King`s “I had a dream” speech certainly was politically influential, although the
    actual influence/impact is very difficult to measure, and impossible to measure exactly.
    Bob Dylan had political influence in the 1960`s. His cultural impact, together with the
    impact of others in his generation, is undeniable, but some of this was converted into
    the world of politics (indirectly, unmeasurable, and probably with even plenty of
    unintended consequences).
    Advertising for Coke or MacDonalds has political impact – it sometimes even provokes
    anti-Americanism.
    Hollywood has political influence – on lots of levels, and probably in all kinds of
    directions.
    The same goes for, say, Obama`s Kairo speech – of course on a much lower level then MLK
    (at least until some of his words are backed up by actual policies). Still, his speech
    had influence – even unintended influence; for example scaring some Israelis into
    believing that the POTUS supported “the other side”. This may be converted into votes,
    or into certain governmental actions – and if it does, the actual influence will be very
    hard to measure, but it still may be there.
    Of course you have to measure a lot of important things that are measurable, but also to
    a certain degree rely on judgement and an amount of common sense. You can`t expect any
    waterproof evidence in much of this stuff. Of course, you should frequently question the
    basis of your judgements and “common sense”; you have to interpret, and reinterpret,
    approach stuff from all kinds of angles etc. But you don`t get nearer to the actual
    phenomenon by only depending on the measurable stuff, and acting as if the less
    measurable stuff doesn`t exist or is irrelevant. It is relevant, although hard to
    measure, like so many important things in life.

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    Do your own damn research and educate yourself. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the matter. Just open minded. It’s been settled for decades, but politically convenient to ignore.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    POA, do you really trust the AIPAC website to give you the truth about anything? You’ll take their word on ANYthing? You go right to the propagandists’ own machine to find out what is happening in the world?
    Why not try spending maybe a day or two reading through 538.com’s archives? Nate Silver does stats. He puts together all sorts of vote tallies with the DW-NOMINATE scores and the PVI scores…. This stuff is standard fare for congressional research. I really don’t see how you could have a problem with it, call it bs or anything else. It’s what people who study Congress do. And without the data on votes, how the hell can you say what caused a vote?
    And DonS, I’m no kind of lawyer at all, and though I occasionally use Wiki as a starting point, I never use it as anything definitive. In this case, the statute and a good lawyer’s interpretation is what is needed.
    Since you have a law degree, please go a line or a few at a time and tell me what it all means and why it means that. I really don’t do well with legal jargon. The statute comes with numerous definitions, too, that should be covered. It’s all in the link.
    Are there other statutes that cover lobbying as well, or is this it? Has Congress exempted anyone ever besides what’s above? Was this law aimed at Communists or at some other group and so it would be going against congressional intent to apply it to AIPAC? Do AIPAC lobbyists really count as foreigners under this? Do they take direct enough guidance from the Israeli government or is there a buffer zone that keeps the statute away? If I were to go to my MC and talk about liberalizing Cuba-relations, would I have to register, or only if Castro himself told me to do this, or only if Castro himself paid me to do this? I’m unclear about the boundaries.
    I honestly don’t know the answers, but since this is your field, or at least, since you’re a lawyer, you would have a better sense of this than I do. I’d love to know. It would clear up some issues for me.

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    Simplified ‘Foreign Agents Registration Act’, for the obtuse:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Agents_Registration_Act
    Cutting through the exemptions cited by Questions, above, any average law student– certainly any honest DOJ attorney — can quickly see, re AIPAC, they don’t apply.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here we find a couple of handpicked AIPAC “experts” briefing “Hill Staff” on the finer points of Israeli propaganda. I’m sure we can rest assured these two “experts” are giving the “Hill Staff” a completely unbiased and fact filled “briefing”…
    http://www.aipac.org/1680.asp#30241
    David Makovsky Briefs Hill Staff on Peace Process
    Leading Middle East expert David Makovsky addressed nearly 50 congressional staffers on Capitol Hill on Friday about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, highlighted the improved security situation and economy in the West Bank amid supportive steps by Israel and the United States. Makovsky said that while the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank has improved security and is trying to build institutions, its refusal to negotiate with Israel until the Jewish state meets a number of preconditions is not the way to create a better future for the Palestinian people. Makovsky also said that efforts to reach out to Hamas by the West will only serve to undermine the efforts of the PA. The briefing was hosted by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with AIPAC.
    Iran Expert Addresses Hill Staff on U.S.-Iran Talks
    Dr. Patrick Clawson addressed congressional staff about the Iranian nuclear program.
    A leading expert on Iran addressed nearly 70 congressional staffers on Thursday about U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program and the importance of sanctions on the regime. Dr. Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, discussed recent U.S. talks with Tehran and asserted that U.S. sanctions serve as powerful leverage over the regime. Clawson warned that Tehran will seek to use talks with the United States and other member of the P5+1 to continue its nuclear program and stave off tougher sanctions. Clawson said the regime is extremely fearful of the continuing protests and that combining sanctions related to its illicit nuclear pursuit with penalties tied to the regime’s human right abuses could be effective in increasing pressure on the regime. The briefing was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmkerican says:

    “What there needs to be is an independently arrived at blablablah….”
    Is there no end to the amount of crap that flows off of the keyboard of this jackass???

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    POA,
    You miss the point about “vote history,” as usual.
    What there needs to be is an independently arrived at list of votes that are AIPAC supported or AIPAC rejected (meaning that there’s an official AIPAC line.)
    Then, each member’s vote on each bill must be recorded.
    Then each member’s AIPAC money-intake must be cross-listed with the votes.
    Then you need to show that the money caused the vote, and NOT an in-district jobs program, an already-determined ideological stance, or the like.
    In short, you HAVE to isolate the cause of the vote and that cause has to be AIPAC.
    Oh, and for real high quality science, you need to show that in the absence of lobbying, the votes are the opposite. It’s kind of like identifying the placebo effect when you do a drug study. In the absence of an actual drug, some people improve anyway. So in fact, the effect you’re seeing may have nothing to do with the drug. It might be random noise.
    You gotta eliminate the random noise from the vote tallies.
    This is actually what congressional research is about. Vote tallies, cross-listing, measuring against DW-NOMINATE scores and PVI scores and all sorts of other similar measures and lists of pressures.
    Congressional scholars spend their days in this happy pursuit of knowledge.
    So there’s absolutely NOTHING useful in an AIPAC- generated list of votes. All interest groups generate these lists and they pick their votes carefully. Then they put out lists of “pure” supporters with 100% support, and bad bad bad people with lower percentages…. Liberals do this too.
    Oh, and you have to look at procedural cya votes as against votes on actual bills.
    It’s really a complex field.
    Oh, and there’s a ton of data analysis and computer shit to do, too.
    Hence, I have my doubts about W and M.
    But thanks for looking to AIPAC for their trenchant analysis.
    I get a bonus check every time someone from here clicks on the AIPAC website.
    You know, they have your IP address!

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here we see yet more examples of AIPAC “impotence”.
    http://www.aipac.org/For_Hill_Staff/LegislativePriorities.asp
    Legislative Priorities;
    Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act
    The legislation would limit Iran’s ability to import and produce refined petroleum products.
    House and Senate lawmakers are advancing legislation that would reinforce American diplomatic efforts with Iran with the threat of tougher sanctions if Iran rejects U.S. overtures and continues to enrich uranium in defiance of the international community.
    The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194 in the House and S. 908 in the Senate) could have a dramatic effect on Iran’s economy – Tehran imports nearly 40 percent of its gas and diesel needs – by limiting Iran’s ability to import and produce refined petroleum products by strenghtening the president’s authority to impose sanctions on companies helping Iran in these areas.
    The legislation was introduced in the House by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and in the Senate by a broad group of 27 senators. The lead Democrat is Sen. Evan Bayh (IN) and the lead Republican is Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ). AIPAC strongly supports this legislation and urges House and Senate members to cosponsor it.
    Legislative Details
    Bill Summary: House (PDF, 47K) | Senate (PDF, 47K)
    Text of Legislation: House (PDF, 220K) | Senate (PDF, 175K)
    Cosponsors: House | Senate
    Related Materials
    The Iranian Threat
    Congressional Action on Iran
    Iran Sanctions Enabling Act
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks Israel’s destruction.
    The House has overwhelmingly passed the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (H.R. 1327) by a vote of 414-6. The legislation authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies investing in Iran’s petroleum and natural gas sector and protects fund managers who divest from such companies from potential lawsuits.
    The lead cosponsors of the House bill are Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). The Senate bill (S. 1065) was introduced by Sens. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Robert Casey (D-PA).
    AIPAC strongly supports this legislation and urges senators to support it when it reaches the Senate floor.
    Legislative Details
    Bill Summary: House (PDF, 45K) | Senate (PDF, 45K)
    Text of Legislation: House (PDF, 170K) | Senate (PDF, 170K)
    Vote/Cosponsors: House | Senate
    Related Materials
    The Iranian Threat
    Congressional Action on Iran
    Letter Urging Implementation of Existing Iran Sanctions
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has refused to yield to international demands.
    Fifty House members sent a letter to President Obama that urges him to implement existing sanctions laws on Iran as a way of further pressuring the regime. The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Klein (D-FL), calls on the president to apply sanctions first passed under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1995, which authorizes the president to sanction entities that invest more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector. The previous two administrations did not impose sanctions under the law. “Given Iran’s continued violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions ordering a halt to uranium enrichment activities – and the recent breach of the two-week deadline to inspect Iran’s underground facility at Qom – we urge you to consider full implementation of the ISA,” the letter states. AIPAC strongly supports this letter.
    Legislative Details
    Text of Letter: House (PDF, 1029K)
    Signatories: House (PDF, 11K)
    Related Materials
    President Obama to Tehran: Comply With Your Obligations (PDF, 95K)
    Security Assistance for Israel
    Foreign aid helps Israel acquire crucial military equipment.
    President Obama has requested $2.775 billion in security assistance for Israel as part of the fiscal year 2010 foreign aid bill. The aid request reflects the second year of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2007 to gradually increase U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet increasing threats.
    In June, the House and the Senate passed an emergency spending bill that includes $555 million for Israel, a portion of President Obama’s total request. The remaining $2.22 billion was included in the annual foreign aid bill approved by the House on July 9. On the same day, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill, and a vote by the full Senate remains pending.
    American security assistance is essential in helping Israel face a potential nuclear-armed Iran, rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, a rearmed Hizballah and conventional threats from Syria. AIPAC strongly supports this vital security assistance to Israel and urges members of the House and Senate to support it and the overall fiscal year 2010 foreign aid bill.
    Legislative Details
    Vote: House
    Related Materials
    Boost in U.S. Aid to Israel Vital Amid Increasing Threats (PDF, 269K)
    U.S. Foreign Aid: Serving American Interests (PDF, 203K)
    Key Provisions of U.S. Security Assistance to Israel (PDF, 39K)
    Increased Threats, Increased Costs: Israel’s Urgent Defense Requirements (PDF, 1870K)
    Letters Urging Arabs to Take Peace Steps
    Lawmakers are urging Saudi King Abdullah to take further steps for peace.
    Members of the Senate on August 10 sent a letter to President Obama emphasizing the need for Arab states to take dramatic steps that demonstrate their commitment to peace with Israel. The letter, signed by 71 senators and spearheaded by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and James Risch (R-ID), cites the example of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat, whose historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977 ultimately led to peace between Egypt and the Jewish state. A similar letter in the House to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, sent on July 31 and spearheaded by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Edward Royce (R-CA), received 226 signatures from House members. AIPAC strongly supports these letters.
    Legislative Details
    Text of Letters: House (PDF, 736K) | Senate (PDF, 1091K)
    Signatories: House (PDF, 19K) | Senate (PDF, 13K)
    Related Materials
    Bold Steps by Arab States Needed to Meet Obama Challenge to Promote Peace (PDF, 319K)
    Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects his country’s nuclear facilities.
    Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) have introduced legislation that seeks to back American efforts to engage with Iran by expanding the threat of economic sanctions to limit Iran’s ability to import and produce refined petroleum. The Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act (H.R. 1985) would require the president to impose two or more sanctions from a menu of penalties to any person or entity “engaged in an activity, including production, brokerage, insurance, and tanker delivery services, that could contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum resources.” AIPAC supports this legislation.

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    EXEMPTIONS
    § 613. The requirements of section 612(a) of this title shall not apply to the following agents of foreign principals:
    (a) A duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign government who is so recognized by the Department of State, while said officer is engaged exclusively in activities which are recognized by the Department of State as being within the scope of the functions of such officer;
    (b) Any official of a foreign government, if such government is recognized by the United States, who is not a public-relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee, or a citizen of the United States, whose name and status and the character of whose duties as such official are of public record in the Department of State, while said official is engaged exclusively in activities which are recognized by the Department of State as being within the scope of the functions of such official;
    (c) Any member of the staff of, or any person employed by, a duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign government who is so recognized by the Department of State, other than a public-relations counsel, publicity agent, or information-service employee, whose name and status and the character of whose duties as such member or employee are of public record in the Department of State, while said member or employee is engaged exclusively in the performance of activities which are recognized by the Department of State as being within the scope of the functions of such member or employee;
    (d) Any person engaging or agreeing to engage only (1) in private and nonpolitical activities in furtherance of the bona fide trade or commerce of such foreign principal; or (2) in other activities not serving predominantly a foreign interest; or (3) in the soliciting or collecting of funds and contributions within the United States to be used only for medical aid and assistance, or for food and clothing to relieve human suffering, if such solicitation or collection of funds and contributions is in accordance with and subject to the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 9 of this title, and such rules and regulations as may be prescribed thereunder;
    (e) Any person engaging or agreeing to engage only in activities in furtherance of bona fide religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts;
    (f) Any person, or employee of such person, whose foreign principal is a government of a foreign country the defense of which the President deems vital to the defense of the United States while, (1) such person or employee engages only in activities which are in furtherance of the policies, public interest, or national defense both of such government and of the Government of the United States, and are not intended to conflict with any of the domestic or foreign policies of the Government of the United States, (2) each communication or expression by such person or employee which he intends to, or has reason to believe will, be published, disseminated, or circulated among any section of the public, or portion thereof, within the United States, is a part of such activities and is believed by such person to be truthful and accurate and the identity of such person as an agent of such foreign principal is disclosed therein, and (3) such government of a foreign country furnishes to the Secretary of State for transmittal to, and retention for the duration of this subchapter by, the Attorney General such information as to the identity and activities of such person or employee at such times as the Attorney General may require. Upon notice to the Government of which such person is an agent or to such person or employee, the Attorney General, having due regard for the public interest and national defense, may, with the approval of the Secretary of State, and shall, at the request of the Secretary of State, terminate in whole or in part the exemption herein of any such person or employee;
    http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fara/links/indx-act.html#611b
    Link to the Act. If anyone understands this, please translate. There are a lot of definitions to go over slowly and then a lot of restrictions and some exemptions. I didn’t go to law school so that I’d never have to read stuff like this!

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Questions, you missed or avoided the actual point I raise”
    What else is new?
    Heres another “point” questions conveniently ignores….
    http://www.aipac.org/Legislation_and_Policy/US_MiddleEast_Policy/default_1913.asp
    In this jackass questions’ fantasy world arguments of bullshit and obsfucation, he would have you believe that there is no “vote history” that buttresses the assertion of AIPAC power over the legislative process. In fact, AIPAC has even assisted in penning the wording on some of these bills.
    Questions is every bit the liar that Nadine is. A bit slimier, and a bit more sly, but surely no less disingenuous.

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    Well, as I said, I don’t know much about the Act. End of story. But I would guess that foreign and domestic are not so easily figured out. End of story. And I would guess that if the group is chartered in the US and the officers are US citizens, and the post card writers are US citizens, and the people up on the Hill are US citizens and the things they talk about are, umm, weapons programs and statements of support of US citizens who support another country…then maybe it’s not so clear. End of story.
    If you detect a clear violation of the law, maybe you should contact the DOJ? Or is it not so clear? My guess is the latter, but maybe it’s the former. As I said, I’m not super familiar with the requirements of the Act such that I’d know if there’s a violation. And unlike you, I’m not a lawyer, so I would really have a hard time evaluating the boundaries of “foreign” in all of this.

    Reply

  35. DonS says:

    Questions, you missed or avoided the actual point I raise. It is a legal and financial one, not a speculative question about possible influence. AIPAC and many Israeli-interested fund raising groups are direct creations of or intertwined with elements of the Israeli government. This is not a question of nuances or debate. AIPAC is a lobbying group, no question. It should be brought under Foreign Agents Registration Act. End of story.

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    BTW, political influence of course is measured in vote tallies — if the votes didn’t go the way influence pushes, there’d be no cause for investigation into influence. The whole point here is that a lot of things push a certain direction and some people have settled on some of these as the chief ones to be dealt with whereas I reserve judgment and suggest that congressional scholars also reserve judgment on this issue. It just isn’t clear, even when one is suspicious, how the causal chains run.
    If that’s the official hasbara line, then I guess they get at least one thing right! Thanks DonS for your support. I get a bonus check every time someone outs me as obviously hasbara! Woohoo! Drinks on me tonight folks!

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    Paul think of it this way, to make an argument, you need evidence. The evidence of a lobby’s corruptive influence isn’t a “feeling” that it’s corrupt and it isn’t a set of votes that go a certain way. It’s data that show that with lobbying the votes go one way, and without, the votes go the other way, and it’s a reasoned argument that shows that there aren’t other more proximate causes for the votes to go the way they do.
    It’s not rocket science, and it’s not from my matchbook college degree (actually, it was from a cereal box, Jolene. I was rejected from 23 matchbox colleges. Oh well.) In fact, it’s how evidence works.
    As for the corruptive influences of the biggest lobbies, there is so much difficulty here that likely it’s insoluble. There are Constitutional rights to speech, redress of grievances and assembly and even religion. Lobbying fits under this stuff. The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech, not action. So we’re really stuck. Should we try to “fix” lobbying through restricted speech, or through the “foreign lobby registration act” — how to tell domestic from foreign is beyond my pay grade — we end up limiting some stuff that is so totally basic to the constitution and so totally basic to free communication that we will be in worse trouble as a democracy.
    The usual way out for this kind of situation is MORE OF THE SAME — more lobbying on the other side, better organization of constituents, more political culture, more participation, more more more. And that happens from time to time on huge issues. Obama’s run for the presidency got a lot of people involved. Health care is pushing people. Issues that freak enough people out do indeed cut through the bullshit and we hear about them. Not everything does because a lot of people are indifferent to issues that don’t touch them directly. And it makes sense at some level not to require participation on the part of the uninterested.
    The other side of the fix is disclosure. Money trails should be screamingly obvious so that citizen journalists, professional journalists, bloggers and research assistants, untenured profs and others can connect the dots. Oh, and primary challengers, too.
    The beauty of the system here (and I do indeed love much of what we manage institutionally, though clearly not as much as I love AIPAC!!!!!!) the beauty is that disclosure and political action are utterly within the reach of the people.
    The sad part of the system is that justice is delayed significantly when you have to get so many people on the same page at the same time. There are endless issues I’d deal with if a)I had a magic wand b)I were the tyrant of the universe c)it didn’t occur to me that living in a democracy both sucks and rocks simultaneously c)in fact we have to let old people just up and die so that we get a new political culture every generation and we can dump huge quantities of what used to pass as wisdom.
    Democratic justice is tardy. And that really sucks for the victims of injustice. I’ve had relatives die for lack of good health care, for too much smoking, for all sorts of unfortunate and preventable events, preventable only under a different notion of justice.
    As regards the foreign lobby registration issue, I’m so far out of my field on this one that I would ask for someone else’s considered discussion. I’m not going to comment much on something I have no background in. Send a link, I’ll read up….

    Reply

  38. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yaaaaawn. Burp.
    Perhaps a liar AND a fool.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    Questions, now that you have spent seemingly inexhaustible rhetoric deconstructing the idea of the power of an all-encompassing Israel “lobby” — while brilliantly setting out all the areas in which that lobby functions — perhaps you could address one omission. That is the failure of the US government to enforce the Provisions of the Foreign Agents Registration Act requiring specific entities tied to foreign governments to be identified and follow certain procedures. Reviewing the provisions of that act clearly bring, e.g., APIAC, within it’s meaning. Many entities with tentacles less directly linked to the government, but clearly subsidizing the policies and acts of the state of Israel exist of course.
    Your views, or the official hasbarist line, are solicited.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    “My best reading of the situation is that AIPAC runs together with a bunch of other
    desires — defense, jobs in districts, and so on — and it rides the waves.”
    I think I have made it clear that I agree with this. Yes, it rides the waves. (But it
    also pushes and threatens…)
    “Do you even have a policy stance towards lobbying, come to think of it?”
    I`m and outsider here, but since you asked, my impression is that the role the biggest
    and most powerful lobbies play in US politics in general is in many ways very
    unfortunate. Especially the money aspect, but in the specific case of AIPAC also the
    ideological blackmailing factor (like accusing people like former President Jimmy
    Carter of being an anti-Semite, as well as threatening members of Congress and the
    Senate of the same sort of stuff with no substantial reason). I believe that the most
    influential US lobbies are corrupting your democracy. I have no answer as to how to
    avoid this, but from a distance, it seems to me that many of these lobbies are grave
    corrupting factors in your political system, and obstacles to a better environmental
    policy, health care system, Middle East policy, and a lot of other aspects vital for
    the welfare of US citizens and populations abroad affected by US policies.
    “I’m always open to correction — and the correction I’ll accept is one with a whole
    lot of vote counts and reasonable correlations and statistical corrections as needed.
    I won’t accept P/OA’s screams or even your calm and mellow and easy-going accusations
    that I use strawmen arguments.”
    OK. You seem to ignore the ideological role lobbies like AIPAC have in US public life
    – as if political influence was restricted to votes and elections. But never mind. I
    don`t do a “whole lot of vote counts” and “statistical corrections”. If that is what
    is required to debate whether AIPAC or a given US government has any influence, I
    guess our discussion is over.
    In any case, I`m sure Nadine, POA and Outraged will be happy to count votes and do
    statistical corrections with you.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    Big Pharma and tobacco kill people locally! But they stand for tobacco farmers and cigarette manufacturers and drug makers and researchers and labs and CEOs and CEOs and CEOs. There’s death all around and around and around. But still, there have been successful anti-smoking campaigns and there are big taxes on tobacco and lots of lawsuits for both industries now. That’s kind of how the system here works.
    Note that the Senate is powered by rural states, and tobacco is a rural state product. Tobacco is also used by vast numbers of people who will defend to their death (literally) their right to use tobacco products. Note that the US tried banning alcohol and got organized crime as a bonus!!!! So where’s the power?

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    Jolene, thanks for the kind words. Yes, indeed I do love AIPAC more than I love anything else in the whole world. After all, AIPAC signs my paycheck every week.
    Paul, yes, I’m writing to you and not P/OA. And I don’t think that the influence of THELOBBY is outsized, damaging, or much of a problem at all, probably because I don’t think there’s oh so much influence in the first place. Doeesn’t that view just come screaming out of my posts here? It’s not a “strawman” argument. It’s an argument that says look at all the scholarship on lobbying, note the myriad influences on decision-making, apportion them and see that lobbying is but one influence. There are all sorts of moments of push back, losses for the “bad guys” — even W and M don’t think THELOBBY always wins. Do they win disproportinate numbers of times? Do a vote count and see what else is going on with particular votes.
    Really, the vote counting stuff is so important when you do congressional research.
    So come up with a list of AIPAC votes and correlate with: money, home district factors, media factors, the desires of the president at the time, the zeitgeist of the country, and whatever else needs to be there. Then compare that to a list from other lobbying forces and see where the percentages fall. If AIPAC gets 70% of what it wants when all is equalized, and Tobacco gets only 22%, then there’s a case to be made for outsized lobbying effects. But if they both get 22 or 70, then maybe something else is going on.
    My best reading of the situation is that AIPAC runs together with a bunch of other desires — defense, jobs in districts, and so on — and it rides the waves.
    I’m always open to correction — and the correction I’ll accept is one with a whole lot of vote counts and reasonable correlations and statistical corrections as needed. I won’t accept P/OA’s screams or even your calm and mellow and easy-going accusations that I use strawmen arguments. And I won’t accept Jolene’s nonsense about my loyalties and loves.
    Lobbying is a single push on legislation, not a determining one in many cases, and not worth all the panic it seems to give rise to. It’s part of the American political system, it’s basically in the Constitution because it’s protected free speech AND it’s a request for redress, so it’s not going away, and in fact a system without lobbying would be horror itself — imagine no citizen contact with legislators??? (That’s for Jolene and my loyalties!)
    American citizens contact legislators and if some of them get ideas off the AIPAC website, that’s not my problem. I don’t actually read the damned website (they e-mail me my marching orders twice a day.) And I wouldn’t regulate websites at this level no matter what. That would be a violation of net neutrality at some level.
    In my view, US/I/P policy is determined largely by forces other than lobbying. Would I like to change some of those forces? Sure. I’d love less defense industry pressure on jobs in districts — I think the defense industry’s position as a huge welfare and science research force is deeply unfortunate. I’d love less Cold Warism. I think it was a stupid way to divvy up the world and it is still a stupid way to divvy up the world. If we were to think less in terms of Cold Warism, we’d all be better off. I think there is a lot of anti-Arab/anti-Muslim feelin and I think that’s deeply unfortunate…..
    Once again and again and again, if you don’t diagnose correctly, you don’t fix correctly either. If we say THELOBBY is the major problem and we restrict lobbying, we’re violationg the Constitution, we’re criminalizing political speech, we’re restricting the stuff that’s supposed to be free and open under our Constitution. I actually take this stuff seriously. (Hence, Jolene, my love is all for AIPAC before all else. And Israel too.)
    If we say lobbying is the problem and we restrict lobbying, but we do nothing about all the other factors that go into the policy stew, why, then, we’ll still have the policy stew. And what will be the next suggestion?
    Lobbying doesn’t drive policy all by its little own lonesome — of course you DON’T say that, but you still find lobbying to be so problematic that, umm, it shoud be restricted? Do you even have a policy stance towards lobbying, come to think of it?
    In the end, once again, lobbying is less of a problem than other issues. US/I/P policy has lots and lots of equally important or more important causes. US/I/P policy needs work. The work will happen the way it always does. People will slowly change over generations, someone will have a great idea, some emergency will arise and there will be sudden change….

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    An BTW, AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups in the United States actually are
    different from “big pharma or tobacco or whatever”, perhaps less in methods
    than in goals:
    The former lobbies push for things like dismissing the Goldstone report and
    against freeze of settlements, while big pharma and tobacco don`t give a
    shit about those issues.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    “That THELOBBY pushes MORE than or differently from big PHARMA or TOBACCO or whatever?
    What’s the difference? Each of these is one factor among so many that singling it out
    and saying it has unique explanatory power is just absurd.” (Questions)
    “unique explanatory power” is just another strawman of yours. Most of us talk about
    too much influence, damaging influence – and not about “unique explanatory power”,
    which is an absolute category created by your imagination.

    Reply

  45. Paul Norheim says:

    QUESTIONS: “As I said above, power is a far murkier concept once you stick your head
    into it. (…) a common sense response that says something like: Power is the ability
    to do whatever the hell you want and Bush did whatever the hell he wanted and so he
    was POWERful, and AIPAC does whatever the hell it wants and so AIPAC is
    POWERful……”
    PAUL: Again, Questions, a classical strawman argument . Those who believe in “power”
    as “the ability to do whatever the hell you want”, are children, idiots, victims of
    primitive phantasies, mythological concepts of power. I thought we could transcend
    those kind of fantasies here… You know very well that neither I nor the majority of
    commenters here define power as “doing whatever you want”.
    QUESTIONS: “So, in terms of the power of any leader, Machiavelli probably has some
    insight. Fortune covers some 50% of the situation and skill gets the other 50 or so.”
    PAUL: Didn`t I somehow touch this kind of stuff upthread when I said: “OF COURSE
    lobbies (…) even have to face coincidences and unexpected events”?
    QUESTIONS: “So I’ll turn the question around to you — is this power? What is power?
    How does power coexist with luck and with skill and with other institutions and with
    compromise and with deal making and so on?”
    PAUL: Exactly the kind of stuff I addressed in my comment above. I quote: “OF COURSE
    power and influence do not operate independent from the actual environment, the
    material, ideological, psychological, individual and institutional circumstances
    surrounding them!”
    QUESTIONS: “There are real questions about Bush’s ability to lead and whether or not
    he was the de facto president. There are real questions about whether or not Cheney
    destroyed segments of the US Constitution — the very document that legitimized his
    office.”
    PAUL: My question referred explicitly to the “Bush administration” (as a shorthand, if
    you will) – not George W. as an individual or in his role as President. We all know
    that Cheney had considerable influence within that administration, and others too.
    ————————————-
    So why don`t we discuss this as grownups, Questions, instead of you inventing
    strawmen, and having a dialogue with your fictive opponents?
    If you`ve read my comment at 6:12AM, do you sincerely think that I believe that the
    influence of lobbies has no limits? That I define “power” in a modern complex society
    as achieving exactly what you want to achieve? That I don`t realize that institutions
    interact with their environment in multiple ways? Well that was my point in that post,
    to clarify that I obviously don`t regard “power” as some kind of enigmatic force
    emanating from some isolated magical entity, independent of the surroundings.
    Power is relative. And there is a potential scale from “absolute power” to “no power”.
    My question was: “Do you think the Bush administration had ANY significant influence
    and power in America and other parts of the world from 2001-2009?” You obviously
    oppose the fantasy that the Bush admin. possessed some kind of absolute power. But
    from there to claiming that the Bush administration had no influence on events is
    quite a stretch. Did you say so? Or did you say something else? Although I am trained
    to read texts, I don`t have a clue what your answer was to that question, because you
    were busy constructing and arguing against strawmen.
    That means – sorry to repeat this – that your answer was just —- strawmen + fog.
    You`re not even willing or able to admit that the Bush admin. had some influence on
    certain events, because Lady Fortuna, institutions, the weakness of the president etc.
    etc. makes it hard to achieve any kind of conclusions – is that so?
    Come on, Questions – don`t make a fool of yourself.
    ——————————————————
    And now I see that you`ve written another comment. You say:
    “Seriously. How. Can. Anyone. Reduce. Political. Decisions. To. THELOBBY???????”
    I believed that you were having a dialogue with me now, with Paul Norheim, and not
    Outraged American.
    You also say:
    “MC ideology plays a role. MC staffers play a role. The media play a role. Potential
    challengers play a role. Lobbying plays a role. Personal experience plays a role.
    Instigators play a role. Other branches of government, the Constitution, laws of
    various sorts, all play a role. The states play a role. Constituents play a role.
    Fundraising plays a role. History plays a role.”
    Sure. They all play a role. They all have some influence, some power – don`t they?
    Take the media. They played a significant role in the preparations for the invasion of
    Iraq. Does this mean that they “were behind” the invasion? Of course not. There were
    plenty of other forces and influences and circumstances. But US media had some
    influence. And so has AIPAC and the other lobbies. And some lobbies have more
    influence than others. Why are you so eager to deny these simple facts?

    Reply

  46. Jolene says:

    Questions,
    Did you study Lobbying 101 at the National Defense University or was it your matchbook cover college? And your degree must be. . .BS?? What makes you a self-proclaimed lobbyist expert?
    Your long postings tell me you love AIPAC more than the USA.

    Reply

  47. questions says:

    And one more thing…..
    The nuanced readings of lobbying’s effects on votes runs something like this — when votes are not publicized, not interesting to constituents, not subject to vast public debates, lobbying has more influence because the MC isn’t getting push back from constituents, the press, possible primary and gen. elect. challengers, other lobbyists, and home-district instigators of one sort or another.
    If a lobby pushes only those votes that no one gives a fuck about and WINS EVERY TIME, is that power? Or is that pressing only when you know you’ll win already?
    When the vote is public, debated, screeded about, when it draws contention, when primary challengers are popping up everywhere (see health care reform), lobbying’s effects lessen significantly because there is so fucking much push back everywhere that the poor hapless MC can’t do a damned thing.
    MC ideology plays a role. MC staffers play a role. The media play a role. Potential challengers play a role. Lobbying plays a role. Personal experience plays a role. Instigators play a role. Other branches of government, the Constitution, laws of various sorts, all play a role. The states play a role. Constituents play a role. Fundraising plays a role. History plays a role. The most recent book and MC has read probably plays a role. Sexual desire probably lurks there for a bunch of votes as well (since it’s always lurking it seems.)
    So out of all of this, how can ANYone say — ooooohhhh, boo-ghostie — it’s THELOBBYYYYYYYYyyyy shrieks and moans of the dead in the background…….
    Seriously. How. Can. Anyone. Reduce. Political. Decisions. To. THELOBBY???????
    And once you’re past the reduction to absurdity, how do you set the percentages of these factors to determine that AIPAC is somehow different? That THELOBBY pushes MORE than or differently from big PHARMA or TOBACCO or whatever? What’s the difference? Each of these is one factor among so many that singling it out and saying it has unique explanatory power is just absurd.
    And so I still maintain that W and M miss the boat by singling out THELOBBY when policy is determined by a vast array of pressures. It’s a vast political system we have in this country.

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    Boiled down answer — Machiavelli’s The Prince runs through governing strategies given a wide variety of scenarios — you take over a hereditary system, you’re new, you’re old, there’s a republic to take over, there are language differences, there are shared or different customs, powerful families or not…. Each of these take overs requires very very different actions and skill sets. In-coming princes need to know how much violence to use, how to set rivals up against each other, how to deal with other rival city-states and so on.
    Towards the end of the book, Machiavelli notes the actions of Lady Fortuna. Fortune covers some 50% of the situation and skill gets the other 50 or so. Super skill might be able to deal, perhaps, with a little more of what Lady Fortuna tosses the prince’s way. But Lady Fortuna is there.
    So, in terms of the power of any leader, Machiavelli probably has some insight. There’s a lot of luck, a lot of coalescing of interests, a lot of push back from all sorts of quarters that makes it pretty damned hard for a ruler to get done what he wants. Bush failed on privatizing Social Security, but he got his war. And his war was ruinous. Bush got the Medicare Part D reform through and his party isn’t thrilled with this huge expansion of government benefits — and he only got it through by having the government pay whatever the drug companies wanted to charge for meds — so it was a giveaway to corporate America. There are real questions about Bush’s ability to lead and whether or not he was the de facto president. There are real questions about whether or not Cheney destroyed segments of the US Constitution — the very document that legitimized his office.
    So I’ll turn the question around to you — is this power? What is power? How does power coexist with luck and with skill and with other institutions and with compromise and with deal making and so on?
    As I said above, power is a far murkier concept once you stick your head into it. You want an easy answer, but there isn’t one. You want a common sense “English” definition of “power” and a common sense response that says something like: Power is the ability to do whatever the hell you want and Bush did whatever the hell he wanted and so he was POWERful, and AIPAC does whatever the hell it wants and so AIPAC is POWERful……
    BUT, I don’t do things this way. A huge amount of the Republic is given over to trying to figure out if “justice is the advantage of the stronger”– that is, is “justice” all about doing whatever the hell you want and how is “justice” related to power and strength and desire and ruling and beating the shit out of people…. And in the end, Socrates seems to think that desire is a problem and justice has a lot more to do with self-control — with NOT doing whatever the hell you WANT to — than it does with desire.
    So once again, tell me, what’s power? I just don’t do easy commonsense stuff because it always falls apart on examination. But clearly many here want easy answers that fit their worldviews. AIPAC is POWERFUL, in this view, again because it does whatever the hell it wants and its wants are formulated outside of the realm of possibility and so it isn’t governed by institutional limitations. It’s the unmoved mover. It makes things happen. It always gets its man….
    And this simple view of AIPAC misses out on a lot of reasonable work on Congress, a lot of thinking by a lot of really brilliant people over a couple thousand years of thinking. Forgive me, really, but I think Socrates and Machiavelli have better insights into these issues than do P/OA. And I think congressional scholars who do the vote count work have better insights into these issues than do W and M. And I think there are numerous issues that get lost in the intense desire to find that the only cause of US/I/P policy is AIPAC or THELOBBY as shorthand for a ragtag bunch of space wanderers….
    (It WAS boiled down, but then I added water to the pot….)

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    “By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.””
    In certain quarters, the close relations between the Bushs and Carlyle Group and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are a perpetual source for outrage. Yet here W&M imply that the Saudis are just babes in the woods who don’t know how to win friends and influence people in Washington, and you agree with them!
    Not very realistic, to say the least. Price Bandar wielded huge influence as Saudi ambassador for 20 years, not least with the State Dept whose employees ALL know that if they play ball now they will be richly rewarded when they retire. Many people said his influence was more like a Roman proconsul in the days of empire than an ambassador.

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    So, to boil this down, let me ask you a simple question, Questions – as an
    illustrative example:
    Do you think the Bush administration had any significant influence and power in
    America and other parts of the world from 2001-2009?

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    Before I saw your last comment to me, I was writing a response to your comment from
    yesterday re W&M. I think it may serve as a response to your response above as well.
    Again, you argue against strawmen (or OA or whoever…).
    OF COURSE power and influence do not operate independent from the actual environment,
    the material, ideological, psychological, individual and institutional circumstances
    surrounding them!
    OF COURSE lobbies take advantage of certain separate tendencies in the societies they
    operate in (Cold War, GWOT, whatever), and oppose other tendencies. They even have to
    face coincidences and unexpected events. And of course ANY powerful group is small if
    you consider ALL the influences and elements that together constitute a society or a
    country.
    Napoleon would not be powerful without an army, without taking advantage of the dramatic
    turbulence in France at that time. That doesn`t imply that he lacked power, or that he
    and those under him didn`t channel some pretty significant historical and political
    changes. He had such influence BECAUSE he played on, and channeled a myriad of different
    forces and tendencies. Alone on his island, he was powerless, because there were no
    strong forces that he could bend or channel in this or that direction.
    Who would have claimed that AIPAC or “the lobby” would have any significant power if
    they operated on and from the island Lamu (on the cost outside Kenya)?! (well, except
    for OA and samuelburke, of course)
    But your method and arguments tend to obscure the actual influence that some groups,
    institutions, lobbies, individuals and companies actually have in a given society. If I
    applied your method, I could end up with the surprising conclusion that the Bush
    administration didn`t have ANY POWER – because USA is so complex and consists of so many
    divergent influences and individuals and institutions that it`s impossible to state that
    any of them has any power.
    But that`s a pretty extreme claim: no government, no multi-national company, no lobby
    and no organization has ANY POWER, because their apparent power drowns in the multitude
    of other “influences” in the complex thing we call a society. However, your analysis and
    arguments go in that direction. To me, this sounds no less absurd than the claim that
    one particular entity (the government, the lobby, Satan, God, you name it…) controls
    everything.
    ————————–
    Now a short comment to the Hollywood issue: don`t you think that pro-Israel Jews in the
    Hollywood community (directors etc) as well as some non-Jews there with their films
    (especially in the 1980`s, but also before and after that) have reinforced Arab
    stereotypes identified in Said`s “Orientalism” – regardless of your general opinions on
    his book?
    Said`s point is that these stereotypes are very old (originating in Europe, and further
    developed in modern cartoons, films and popular culture in general). So Hollywood is not
    the CAUSE of these stereotypes, but it reinforces them – don`t you think?

    Reply

  52. questions says:

    Paul, on the W and M stuff,
    I have written repeatedly about this. I read the original LRB piece dead tree. I have read some interviews with them on their work, and a few critiques of their work. And I have posted here frequently about my disagreements with what I have read.
    I have read numerous posts here that do indeed seem to go farther than W and M are willing to go. I also have a different take on lobbying and Congress from what they have. As I’ve said over and over again, the causal relations in lobbying are muddier than the typical lay reading would suggest, and so scholars in the field are more careful than are typical lay readers.
    I even at some point linked to a counterpuch.org piece by a congressinal scholar laying out his research on THELOBBY and coming to basically these same conclusions. POA decided that that piece was not worth paying attention to because it challenged the W and M worldview, and POA has made up his mind. He, too, cannot see why anyone other than a dual loyalist hasbarite could think such things.
    I have also posted about other congressional scholars whose basic take on lobbying is where I get mine from, as I don’t do vote count work. the basic take in the field seems to be that it’s less clear, more murky and in need of many many distinctions….. It’s scholarship after all. Not ideology or screed-ism.
    I apologize if indeed I have blended P/OA and W and M over the time since I first read W and M. If their position is currently just as mild as it was when they first wrote, I have to say that I can’t quite see what the big deal about them is. There’s a lobby, AIPAC. There are citizens who are attentive up to a point and mobilized up to a point. Attentive publics have some influence on their legislators. There’s nothing earth shattering here. But these attentive publics are one factor among many that determine votes in Congress. Again, there are so many scholarly distinction to be made….
    Where W and M seem to go wrong is in thinking that there’s not much of anything else to justify current US/I policy aside from this fairly normal lobby. In fact there are institutional and ideological and security justifications all over the place. Lobbying did not cause that stuff, even if lobbying reinforces it. (Again, the causal mechanisms in lobbying are not clear to scholars even if they are clear to P/OA.)
    As for the POWER of THELOBBY, once again (and again and again), POWER is a murkier concept than one might like. But I’ve posted on this point before as well. You likely know my basic line at this point. There are some pretty major limits to what any LOBBY can do. The biggest limit of all is the reelection concerns of MCs. They can only push so far before they are primaried to the left or right and their constituents are given a choice to dump them. So there are lines that must be toed all over the place. A lobby that knows those lines will seem POWERful. But in fact, they are reading the constituency, they are gaming the alternatives, and they are supporting a relatively popular position, or one that many don’t care about at all.
    And here of course comes the HOLLYWOODISJEWISH thing — well since the whole media are under Jewish sway — no I don’t mean “Jewish” I mean Israeli — or whatever, no one can come to an independent thought about Israel…..
    Sorry, but no.
    Lobbying has limits. The POWER of THELOBBY has limits. Causation is unclear. W and M make assumptions they shouldn’t. Where their case is weaker, it’s probably closer to something reasonable, but then, it’s weaker and so is both less interesting and less able to explain much.
    And, indeed their definition of the loose conglomeration of LOBBYISTS many of whom don’t really give a fuck about Israel…. Oh my. There’s no monolith, no conspiracy, nothing out of the ordinary.
    There are so many distinctions to be made based on constituency differences, vote-types, primaries, effects of money on elections, whether money follows votes or causes votes, whether or not post cards and e-mails affect votes, whether or not jobs are involved, the attentiveness of the various factions….. All of this must be laid out in tedious detail for EACH MC. That’s congressional scholarship.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    POA,
    BAD BAD BAD stereotypes of practically everyone have come out of Hollywood for years. Communists, women, drug addicts, African Americans…. No one comes out well if you pay attention long enough.
    And I would guess that Hollywood’s main job is to move product, not to be sensitive to the delicate sensibilities of people like you.
    You wanna bitch about Hollywood’s stereotypes, then start with the people who go to movies. For we eat it all up. And when we don’t eat it, the producers and investors go broke.
    (My hasbara boss told me to write this piece up.)

    Reply

  54. Paul Norheim says:

    Just one last point, Questions:
    When W&M say that they “use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of
    individuals and organisations (…)[and that this is] not meant to suggest that ‘the
    Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central leadership” — then some of those who oppose
    their views AS WELL AS some of those who seem to support them, simplify this and regard
    the shorthand word “lobby” as “a unified movement with a central leadership” – the first
    because it`s in their interest to label W&M as anti-Semites, and the latter because they
    are actually anti-Semites.
    By reading what they actually said and still say about the “lobby”, it should be possible
    to avoid those traps. There is no conspiracy theory behind their analysis of this
    phenomenon, just a common sensical judgement – breaking a taboo and saying what is
    obvious.

    Reply

  55. Paul Norheim says:

    And what Olmert said in an interview in November 2008, referring to a “South African-
    style struggle for equal voting rights” if they didn`t succeed in creating a two-state
    solution, (the quote was provided by … above) is more or less identical to
    Mearsheimer`s conclusion in an article this fall, that was translated to Norwegian
    (can`t remember the title right now).
    My main point here is that there is a huge difference between, say samuelburke`s and
    OA`s positions, and Walt & Mearsheimer`s positions with regard to the status and
    influence of what the latter as a “shorthand” call the “Lobby” (although you may
    disagree with their general conclusions with regards to a change of US policy in the
    ME).
    My second point is that you have to distinguish between several different positions
    among the many commenters at TWN who are critical towards Israel and sympathetic towards
    Palestinians in the conflict.
    By the way: after reading more about J Street (especially the interview with Jeremy Ben-
    Ami), I am disappointed by their stated political positions. I hope their influence will
    reach a point of “unintended consequences” beyond their actual positions. We`ll see.

    Reply

  56. Paul Norheim says:

    “The W and M passage above seems to soften the line that either they already took or
    that was read into them, I honestly do not know which.”
    Questions: did you read W & M`s book or the original article in London Book Review – or
    did you only read some negative reviews, written by people who were provoked and angry,
    and who distorted their arguments?
    When you have argued against the power and influence of AIPAC, one of your favorite
    arguments have been that there are a lot of other powerful lobbies in America as well.
    But this is obvious! NOBODY has denied that (well, except for perhaps OA and
    samuelburke – I don`t know, but those guys seem to see Israel, the Lobby and Zionism as
    the root cause of evil in cosmos; a crazy and paranoid position in my view, as you
    know).
    The main, and very obvious point is that AIPAC is one of the most influential and
    powerful lobbies in USA – besides some other very powerful lobbies (NRA etc. etc). That
    is what many people here have been saying all the time, and what Walt/Mearsheimer have
    said all the time – not that it is some planetary spider controlling the whole world.
    I can`t see that W&M have changed position on this. Here are two quotes from the
    original article in the London Review of Books:
    “We use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and
    organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.
    This is not meant to suggest that ‘the Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central
    leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues. Not all
    Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby, because Israel is not a salient issue for many
    of them. In a 2004 survey, for example, roughly 36 per cent of American Jews said they
    were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ emotionally attached to Israel.
    Jewish Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies. Many of the key
    organisations in the Lobby, such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee
    (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, are run by
    hardliners who generally support the Likud Party’s expansionist policies, including its
    hostility to the Oslo peace process. The bulk of US Jewry, meanwhile, is more inclined
    to make concessions to the Palestinians, and a few groups – such as Jewish Voice for
    Peace – strongly advocate such steps. Despite these differences, moderates and
    hardliners both favour giving steadfast support to Israel.
    (…)
    In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or
    textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about
    American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobby’s
    activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of
    the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are
    only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By
    contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which
    makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.”
    Most people, including the above quoted Olmert – and even WigWag – seem to have no
    problem acknowledging this as an obvious fact. But you still do?
    And where are W&M “softening their line”? Isn`t this more something that is read into
    their position than their actual position – judged from the quotes from the original
    article and the excerpts I provided from an article from 2009 above in this thread?
    And isn`t the very existence of J Street an admission and confirmation that AIPAC has
    too much (and damaging) influence on US foreign policy in the Middle East?
    I believe you when you say that you read the original article in the London Book
    Review, but I have a suspicion that your impression and memory of what you once read
    have been distorted by the passionate debates after the book was published.

    Reply

  57. nadine says:

    Where did Barack Obama get the idea that Israel was founded because of the Holocaust? From his good buddy Rashid Khalidi, who else. Isn’t that what you Palestinians all believe now, Khalid? That there were no Jews in the Arab Paradise on earth called Palestine until 1947, when the Europeans stole it from you and gave it to the Jews. Who somehow wound up with a fully formed country and an invincible army in less than a year, after driving out the helpless natives.
    True, you have to excise about 80 years of history and rewrite the rest to believe that, but that’s not a problem for you guys. You’re nothing if not creative. I’m surprised you still admit the Holocaust even happened, and are not denying it like OA does. Get with the program, Khalid. Isn’t it standard to deny both the Holocaust (or diminish it to something too small to be worth noticing) and all of Jewish history? That’s the line the Palestinian Authority puts out: there was never a Temple, there is no Jewish History in Israel, the Bible happened somewhere else.

    Reply

  58. ... says:

    olmert seems to confirm w & m… hmmm?
    “In a remarkable interview last November, the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert cautioned that unless it could achieve a two-state solution quickly, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished”. The reason, he said, was that Israel would be internationally isolated. “The Jewish organisations, which are our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”
    Jewish communities in western countries have long been Israel’s trump card against international pressure, because they mobilise support for Israel and restrain critics by painting opposition to Israel’s policies as motivated by hostility to Jews – a toxic accusation in a world still sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust. But what was palpable during the Gaza conflict was the diminished enthusiasm of young Jewish people abroad for Israeli militarism, and the increasing willingness of many to openly challenge Israel.
    This change is personified by Jon Stewart, the Jewish-American comic whose Daily Show is the premier vehicle of contemporary American political satire. Stewart mercilessly mocked American politicians for their slavish echoing of the Israeli narrative during the Gaza conflict. “It’s the Möbius strip of issues,” he sarcastically enthused. “There’s only one side!” Clearly, the younger, hipper Jewish liberal mainstream exemplified by Stewart intends to judge Israel on the basis of its actions, rather than express morally blind ethnic solidarity.”
    http://tonykaron.com/2009/03/21/israels-apartheid-anxiety/

    Reply

  59. ... says:

    “Where on Earth did Barack Obama get this idea that Israel’s foundation was intimately tied to the Holocaust? Maybe it’s the fact that the first place Israel takes every visiting dignitary is to Yad Vashem, which as Avrum Burg has so eloquently argued, a visit designed effect what he calls the “emotional blackmail” that sears into the minds of the guest that Israel is the answer to the Holocaust, and that any criticism of the Jewish State must be muted for that reason.
    Or maybe it’s the fact that Israel’s leaders are always rabbiting on about every new challenger in the region being a reincarnation of Hitler. Begin said it about Arafat; Netanyahu says it about Ahmadinejad. For years, Israel’s leaders have spoken about the 1967 borders as “Auschwitz borders.” I could go on and on. The Zionist narrative as I was fed it growing up portrayed the creation of the State of Israel as a triumphant redemption from the horrors of the camps. And the same narrative became the organizing principle of Israeli education starting in the 1960s with the Eichmann trial, when as Tom Segev and others have shown, the Israeli state makes a conscious decision to emphasize the Holocaust as the basis of its national identity to keep people from leaving. Jewish schoolkids, many of whose families had never set foot in Europe, now make an annual pilgrimage to the death camps of Poland. Israeli air force planes fly over Auschwitz in symbolic claiming of the mantle of the survivors.”
    http://tonykaron.com/2009/07/16/obama-abe-foxman-and-israels-purpose/

    Reply

  60. ... says:

    the ethnic cleansing going on in israel wouldn’t have anything to do with it now would it?nah, israel practicing apartheid wouldn’t have anything to do with this… it is all about p.r.’s and whether one has done a good job on the pr front… good luck working on that front… meanwhile the white phosphorous is communicating something very real and different to those paying attention…

    Reply

  61. nadine says:

    “The W and M passage above seems to soften the line that either they already took or that was read into them, I honestly do not know which.”
    questions, the more accurate verb is not “soften” but “obfsuscate”.
    There’s a pattern here, and you can observe it with both W and M and now with Goldstone.
    First, make a big career-enhancing splash with a one-sided “report” that convicts Jews of controlling US foreign policy, in one case, or Israel of committing crimes against humanity. Don’t bother to assemble more than a veneer of evidence as your target audience doesn’t need or want much in the way of argument; it just wants to have its prejudices confirmed.
    Then, when your target audience (UNHRC or Leftist/Realist FP establishment) has taken you to its bosom and you’ve made a big controversy in the media, seek to reestablish yourself as a respectable, moderate guy by obfuscating or even denying that you said what you said. Go find a friendly interviewer who will help you reposition yourself and ask no tough quesitions.
    Thus W&M’s cloud of verbiage about the Israel Lobby just being one lobby among many, when the original report treated it as THE fp lobby in DC, as if there were no other; and Goldstone’s claims that he had so condemned Hamas and he shocked and saddened that the UNHRC didn’t condemn Hamas too. Goldstone made a few short and perfunctory denunciations of Hamas in his report. He knew perfectly well they would be ignored. They were there just so he could point to them later.
    It is a deeply dishonest argument. But the authors know the audience they were writing for won’t care in the slightest. Meantime they’re famous and their careers are sitting pretty.
    And archetypes that we thought were destroyed with the Nazi era, of Jews deliberately killing gentile children and of Jewish bankers controlling the world, creep out from under the rocks and back into respectable, so-called “liberal” discourse.

    Reply

  62. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I had a fifty nine chevy one ton, six cylinder 235 with a granny four speed, and I used to put it in first, let it idle, get out and stand on the bed and throw flakes of hay to the stock while it meandered around the pasture, driverless.
    To be honest, I wish I had that truck now, in lieu of my late model half ton. You could stand on a milk crate and do the entire tune-up on it without changing position. Had a carb, a basic ignition system, a basic cooling system, cylinders and pistons. What more is needed? Who can work on a modern vehicle anymore, except schooled technicians with a coupla hundred thousand dollars of diagnostic equipment?

    Reply

  63. David says:

    POA,
    Gonna have to go back and give some of that a listen. Like you, I have now idea how much of Albert Lee’s work I’ve heard without knowing it. Have a feeling my brother will know his work and have some of it. C&Ping your post to him.
    Speaking of flatbeds, a close friend in Hendersonville NC has a 1960 International flatbed that was an apple hauler. Even in ’60, those Internationals were really, really basic vehicles. It’s a six-banger that sits for very long periods, then he goes out, puts a charged up battery in it, primes the carburetor, and cranks it up. They did get the job done. You just didn’t get in a big-assed hurry.

    Reply

  64. Outraged American says:

    Geez, I thought you were smart-ier than that. Hollywood shapes
    public perception, Questions. Not just in the US.
    I learned PR from the master -the Jews control Hollywood and
    thus lads in West Texas are “influenced” from the time they are
    old enough to drive to the nearest cinema to hate Arabs and
    Muslims. But now they can get the Muslim-hating blockbusters
    online.
    Don’t try to bullshit someone who was taught how to bullshit
    from the Bullshitter of all Bullshitters. Lee Solters. Look him up.
    On a more fragrant note:
    POA, Monte Alban, a Oaxacan place in West LA, has goat stew
    that is delicious. It was named one of the best Mexican
    restaurants in LA by the LA TIMES IIRC. We used to live down
    the street from it and used to have the carne asada frequently.
    Their tortilla soup was…a wee bit better than Campbells.
    Umm,umm good.
    But the food I miss the most is Korean from Koreatown. Soot
    Bull Jeep. Heaven on a plate, except they don’t give you plates
    unless you ask for one in Korean. I’ve been going there for 18
    years and the same waitresses appear to have not learned a
    word of English. You ask them for a glass of water and it’ll be
    like, “Water?” bewildered look, then, “Oh yes, yes, we have
    water.”
    And then they’ll scurry off to return a few hours later with a
    lukewarm plastic cup of LA tap water.
    Soot Bull Jeep was named one of the 100 reasons to live in LA by
    LA magazine. I would name it, Puro Sabor (unbelievable Peruvian
    food) and Pho So 1 in Van Nuys, and Juanitas in Ontario/
    Pomona/ Claremont, the only reasons to live in LA.
    When I worked in the industry I went to all sorts of fancy
    schmanzy places, but nothing compares to cheap ethnic food in
    LA.
    Well, I did love Lawry’s and Woo Lae Oak, but the one in
    Koreatown, not the one in Beverly Hills, which has branded itself
    as “nouveau korean” –what a joke. Plain Korean Korean is
    amazing.
    You ever come out here POA and I’ll treat you to some great
    border Mexican, Carolina’s. easy e and I both love this place —
    my family has been eating there since it opened 35 + years ago
    and now it’s a local legend. The machaca burritos are to kill for.
    I’d kill for one right now, but I think I have some frozen so can
    just heat one up and dream of the Apocalypse, which is well
    nigh.

    Reply

  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So now, in questions schizoid manner of formulating thought, it is not “anti-semitic” to point out the heavy prominence of Jewish people woven throughout the Hollywood culture, it is simply “irrelevent”.
    But no, it is NOT irrelevent. Because as OA has accurately pointed out, whether you like her delivery or not, a damaging and prejudiced stereotypical image of Arabs has been carefully nurtured by Hollywood for decades.
    It is all about the ability to frame the narrative, and the Hollywood Jewish community has been doing so, to Israel’s advantage, for a long time now. And that is hardly “irrelevent”, as questions would have you believe.

    Reply

  66. ... says:

    i read pauls link to w and m’s rebuttal of robert lieberman. i agreed with their commentary… to re-paste their conclusion
    “Conclusion
    We do not regard our book as the last word on the Israel
    lobby or America’s special relationship with Israel. Indeed,
    we wrote it to encourage a more open discussion of these
    important but frequently taboo subjects. We did so because
    we believe the United States will not be able to address the
    various challenges it faces in the Middle East if Americans
    cannot have a candid and wide-ranging discussion of the
    different forces that shape U.S. foreign policy in this vital
    region, and whether the resulting policy makes good stra-
    tegic sense.”

    Reply

  67. questions says:

    POA, once again you’ve outed me!
    And the point about the ethnic identity of people in various businesses is that there is no point in pointing it out. There’s nothing genetic or meaningful in the drawing in to various sectors of the economy one ethnicity or another. So why worry about the ethnicity of Hollywood actors or those behind the camera? How could it possibly matter any more than the ethnicity of the people who run your local Chipotle?
    OA seems absurdly obsessed with Hollywood and ethnicity. But then, OA just basically seems absurd.
    And if you can’t tell the difference between counting the number of Jewish-sounding names in a guide to Hollywood and using the word “pork” then you’re worse off than I thought.
    Any responses to the Mears. excerpt Paul tossed in above? That one seems to have fallen off the map.

    Reply

  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The only thing I miss about LA is the food”
    Ah yes. Growing up, there was a little enclave on Ventura Blvd, all within blocks of each other. Helene’s Steak House, My Brother’s, and this other steak house, whose name I can’t quite recall right now. The latter one had a whole wall of various sizes and shapes of bells, and if a kid ate all his dinner, the proprietor would play a tune, using all the bells. (I remember now, it was called “Englebert’s Steak House”, or “Egbert’s”, or sumthin’ like that.)
    Oddy enough, one of the restaraunts still exists, and it is probably some of the best BBQ in LA. “My Brothers”. The same family own it, and the food hasn’t changed in fifty years.
    Shit, now my mouth is watering. I might hafta run to town for a Collosal. But maybe not. One of our customers just got back from a hunt in Arizona, and he gave me some elk; loin, filets, and burger. I feasted on the loin Friday night. Perhaps tonight I’ll try the elk burger. (Has anyone told questions that elk meat comes from elk? I hope not, because I think I’ll go ballistic when he tries to call the premise a “conspiracy theory”. Perhaps I better play it safe, and say the customer gave me some elk meat he got from shooting a moose while hunting for bear.) Shit, I didn’t even know there were elk in your state. It seems it took him over fifteen years to finally draw a tag for a trophy bull. And hot damn, he sure nailed a monster. I much prefer the meat of cow elk over bull elk, but don’t tell questions, Nadine, or Wiggie, or they’ll accuse me of being anti-feminist.
    Shit, I sure could go for a “My Brother’s” BBQ’d pork sandwich right now. OA, you’re a cruel person for so deviously inciting my salivary glands.
    OMG, did I say “pork”?? Cripes, is there no end to my anti-semitic rhetoric? Shame on me.
    (I wonder, is BBQ’d goat any good?)

    Reply

  69. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Martinis, eh??? I always figured him for a Whisky Sour kinda guy.

    Reply

  70. Outraged American says:

    POA, DO NOT make me hungry. I’ll eat the computer screen and
    Bibi w/ some wasabi, sauerkraut & the BLOOD OF PALESTINIAN
    CHILDREN to top it off.
    Threw that last one in there to see how strong Nadine’s heart
    is…
    The only thing I miss about LA is the food. And my friends, but
    they’re expendable.
    POA, you are going to have a heart attack if you keep eating like
    that. And those people running the restaurant, they’re not
    Muslims, Muslims don’t make pastrami, it’s a Mossad plot to
    silence POA.
    Probably orchestrated by Steve and Tipsy, who probably spent
    the weekend lying by a pool in Vegas drinking martinis while
    plotting to further cloud the non-existent debate on Israel’s
    WMDs by continuing to propagate the fantasy that Tipsy is a
    moderate.

    Reply

  71. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Along those lines, there is a local fast food chain, (I assume they’re local, as I do not know whether or not they are national or statewide), that has one restaraunt in Tehachapi, and at least two that I know of in Bakersfield, that are run, staffed, and owned by Muslims. (Nina and I jokingly call them the “Jihadi Burgers”. Their “Collossal Burger” is the ultimate juicy gut bomb, piled high with Pastrami over its double meat double cheese everything on it conventional burger). But in questions twisted little dark tunnel of denial, it is actually a “conspiracy theory” to point out that these local eateries are owned and staffed by Muslims. Or that the marble industry in Los Angeles was once almost exclusively comprised of Greek artisans. Or that the majority of sheep herders in Central California are of Basque descent. Or that the overwhelmingly highest numbers of gang members in California are of latino descent. Or that the most skilled woodcarvers and saddlemakers I know are also latinos. Or that the finest carpenter’s chizels are made in Germany. Or that the Japanese use a different set and tooth shape on their handsaws. Or that Chinese goods, particularly in the hardware industry, are of inferior quality than we manufacture.
    Yep, in questions twisted bizzarro world, any such observations are bigoted, whether the numbers and the facts support the assertions or not.

    Reply

  72. Outraged American says:

    Israeli police storm Al Aqsa mosque. This while Netanyahu
    decides to pay a surprise visit to the US & Iraq explodes into
    flames again.
    Hmmmmm….last time Sharon paid a visit to Temple Mount/ Al
    Aqsa with something like 2000 armed “body guards” he
    managed to ignite the second Palestinian intifada.
    Netayanhu is coming to Amur- cur ( SURPRISE — COMPANY!!!) if
    Obama doesn’t meet with him there’s going to be some sort of
    “diplomatic crisis.”
    Suddenly, Iraq is rocked by bombs, one of which went off at a
    ministry where victims of the Iraq invasion go to seek
    recompense.
    Now, we just gotta keep our troops in Iraq in case they’re need
    to attack Iran, whoops, I meant to make sure and bring
    “stability” to Iraq.
    Cui bono? Who benefits?
    By the way, I asked a few native Arabic speakers what the word
    “intifada” means. It means “shaking off” like a bird shakes water
    off its wings. A truly violent action.
    Violent clashes erupt at Jerusalem’s holiest site
    JERUSALEM – Israeli police firing stun grenades faced off Sunday
    against masked Palestinian protesters hurling stones and plastic
    chairs outside the Holy Land’s most volatile shrine, where past
    violence has escalated into prolonged conflict.
    A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields marched
    toward young men covering their faces with T-shirts and
    scarves, sending many of them running for cover into the Al-
    Aqsa mosque, one of the Islamic structures in the compound
    known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the
    Noble Sanctuary.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/yz44bc6
    Footage purported to be from inside the Al Asqa mosque:
    http://tinyurl.com/yzqkvqa
    Questions, I’m sure that there are remedial courses in arithmetic
    available in your community. Unless you live in DC, where the
    only thing anyone seems capable of counting is the cash flowing
    in from the lobbies.
    Should one go to Los Angeles, one would find that a
    disproportionate number of dry cleaning establishments are
    owned by first generation Korean- American immigrants. That’s
    a number that can be counted. NUMBER, not speculation,
    NUMBER.
    There is such a thing as the Korean Drycleaners Laundry
    Association of Southern California. Look it up if you don’t
    believe me.
    When two of my best friends’ father passed away (he was a
    Korean American drycleaner, one daughter went to Berkeley the
    other to UCLA) the KDLA held a banquet for his wake at this
    fantastic Korean restaurant called Buffetland in Koreatown, LA.
    Dry cleaning is a bit of a Korean-American mafia in LA. But
    don’t you worry your pretty little head about statistics and
    numbers, because the truth is always racist.

    Reply

  73. PissedOffAmerican says:

    John, look the “giyus.org” site over carefully, especially it’s “friends” list. Its amazing that a country that touts itself as moral, democratic, and law-abiding feels the need for such an army of propagandists. Surely some of these mouthpieces have directed their attention towards the knowledgable commentors here at TWN, who have refused to succumb to the blitz of pro Israel crap the internet is overflowing with.
    However, they would definitely be ahead of the game if they would weed out the bigots like Nadine, or the obsfucationists such as questions. Nadine’s efforts are so blatantly dishonest and bigoted that they actually do harm to the Israeli narrative. And questions’ unrelenting denial of reality lends a humorous air to their efforts, as if offering ridiculously asinine denials, couched as reasonable intellectual opinion, somehow lessens our ability to tell truth from fiction.
    The hasbarist movement would be well advised to tell BOTH of these mouthpieces to STFU, because blatant bigotry in league with descernable deception hardly constitutes the making of a credible or constructive team.

    Reply

  74. JohnH says:

    The United States is involved in exactly the same stuff:
    “The Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM)…began with a summit in December 2008, where the State Department partnered with MTV, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Howcast, AT&T, Jet Blue, Gen-Next, Access360Media and Columbia Law School, to identify, convene and engage 21st century movements online for the first time in history.”
    http://info.howcast.com/youthmovements/aym-about
    AYM has the word ‘propaganda’ written all over it.

    Reply

  75. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10671.shtml
    Internet users paid to spread Israeli propaganda
    Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 22 July 2009
    The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback and comment sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook may not be all that it seems.
    Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.
    Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilized soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.
    “To all intents and purposes the internet is a theater in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.
    The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.
    The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara,” officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organizations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.
    In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.
    “Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli foreign ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the foreign ministry developed.”
    Rona Kuperboim, a columnist for Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, denounced the initiative, saying it indicated that Israel had become a “thought-police state.”
    She added that “good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved.”
    Her column was greeted by several talkbackers asking how they could apply for a job with the foreign ministry’s team.
    The project is a formalization of public relations practices the ministry developed specifically for Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January.
    “During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers,” Shturman said.
    “We gave them background material and hasbara material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the internet.”
    The Israeli army also had one of the most popular sites on the video-sharing site YouTube and regularly uploaded clips, although it was criticized by human rights groups for misleading viewers about what was shown in its footage.
    Shturman said that during the war the ministry had concentrated its activities on European websites where audiences were more hostile to Israeli policy. High on its list of target sites for the new project would be BBC Online and Arabic websites, he added.
    Elon Gilad, who heads the internet team, told Calcalist that many people had contacted the ministry offering their services during the Gaza attack. “People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the internet.”
    He suggested that there had been widespread government cooperation, with the ministry of absorption handing over contact details for hundreds of recent immigrants to Israel, who wrote pro-Israel material for websites in their native languages.
    The new team is expected to increase the ministry’s close coordination with a private advocacy group, giyus.org (Give Israel Your United Support). About 50,000 activists are reported to have downloaded a program called Megaphone that sends an alert to their computers when an article critical of Israel is published. They are then supposed to bombard the site with comments supporting Israel.
    Nasser Rego of Ilam, a group based in Nazareth that monitors the Israeli media, said Arab organizations in Israel were among those regularly targeted by hasbara groups for “character assassination.” He was concerned the new team would try to make such work appear more professional and convincing.
    “If these people are misrepresenting who they are, we can guess they won’t worry too much about misrepresenting the groups and individuals they write about. Their aim, it’s clear, will be to discredit those who stand for human rights and justice for the Palestinians.”
    When this reporter called the foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.
    He declined to say which comments by Shturman or Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.
    Israel has developed an increasingly sophisticated approach to new media since it launched a “Brand Israel” campaign in 2005.
    Market research persuaded officials that Israel should play up good news about business success, and scientific and medical breakthroughs involving Israelis.
    Shturman said his staff would seek to use websites to improve “Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity.”
    David Saranga, head of public relations at Israel’s consulate-general in New York, which has been leading the push for more upbeat messages about Israel, argued last week that Israel was at a disadvantage against pro-Palestinian advocacy.
    “Unlike the Muslim world, which has hundreds of millions of supporters who have adopted the Palestinian narrative in order to slam Israel, the Jewish world numbers only 13 million,” he wrote in Ynet.
    Israel has become particularly concerned that support is ebbing among the younger generations in Europe and the United States.
    In 2007 it emerged that the foreign ministry was behind a photo-shoot published in Maxim, a popular US men’s magazine, in which female Israeli soldiers posed in swimsuits.
    Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.

    Reply

  76. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Oh, and POA, all dry cleaners are run by Chinese people and 7-11s are run by people from India and African-Americans score badly on standardized tests”
    Actually, both our local dry cleaners, and our local 7-11 are run by caucasians. Horse people, as a matter of fact. Local ranchers. And, you asshole, I have NEVER categorized blacks, here, or anywhere else. So shove your straw bullshit, will ya?
    Frankly, if you choose to ignore facts about Hollywood, its no skin off my ass. But its hardly “anti-semitic” to point out a fact about Hollywood.
    You seem to revel in offering asinine arguments that only propagandists such as this despicable Nadine bigot buys into.

    Reply

  77. Outraged American says:

    The AARP is no doubt massing a ground force of over 65-year-
    olds in order to invade Tehran.
    For Paul: the AARP is the national lobby for senior citizens, a
    truly dangerous group if you ask me, walkers are lethal weapons
    as are RVs.
    The NRA, National Rifle Association, fights for Americans’
    Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Most NRA
    members have never left their trailer park, much less their
    county, so I don’t think we have much to fear in terms of NRA
    members attacking Iran in a spontaneous fit of pique.
    But keep going Questions. Keep comparing these “powerful”
    lobbies to the Israel lobby, because the amount of money that
    the AARP and the NRA take from us in blood and treasure is
    immense when weighed against the teenie eenie amount of
    BLOOD and $$$ that Israel and her lobby SUCKers us into.
    Paul, explain again why the US should pay for Israel. I’ll send
    you a photo of my nephew’s or niece’s coffin(s) in return.
    Although my oldest nephews won’t be buried with the Star of
    David — they’re being raised Catholic. Nadine is screaming
    somewhere about assimilating Jews and cursing the fact that this
    doesn’t happen more often:
    At Least 136 Killed in Baghdad Bombings
    Provincial Govt Building Destroyed in Deadliest Attack in Years
    by Jason Ditz, October 25, 2009
    http://tinyurl.com/yjbgpa6
    Again, read “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the
    Realm” — the destabilization of Iraq was what the Zionists
    wanted from the beginning.

    Reply

  78. ... says:

    nadine calling dan a moron…..
    questions 10:49am post working to support nadine…
    poa’s general conclusion on questions again appears bang on…
    both nadine and questions are immune from an honest appraisal of the conflict in the mideast, in spite of the occasional moments of honesty from questions…

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    Oh, and POA, all dry cleaners are run by Chinese people and 7-11s are run by people from India and African-Americans score badly on standardized tests. Must be the blood or something. And feel free to add to the list of prejudices, biases, and other racial patterns you’ve found all over the place. Every one of them is probably well-founded and correct and worth pointing out because it’s really really meaningful that Tom Cruise is Jewish, and so is everyone else in Hollywood. Gee. I feel like I know so much more now about Hollywood.
    Do you NOT see what bullshit this is? Do you NOT see the racism inherent in thinking your “finding” is worth mentioning? Do you think you can argue against Nadine’s purported anti-Palestinianism while thinking what you think?
    Gimme a fuckin’ break.

    Reply

  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, settlement construction has been exponentially ramped up. One has to ask how much Hoyer and Reid had to do with this dynamic? Where would the settlement issue stand in negotiations if Reid and Hoyer had stood fast with their President?
    AIPAC asked for, and got, the complicity and support of these turncoat Democrats, who have just as much blood on their hands as the IDF soldier in the field does, in opposing Obama’s stance on the settlements. Yet there are dissembling jackasses and frauds, who, through any disingenuous and sleazy means neccesary, would have you believe AIPAC and its myriad of front groups, affiliates, and co-conspirators are impotent to affect United States’ foreign policies. It is the argument of a fool, or a liar.

    Reply

  81. Outraged American says:

    Paul, I have a ton of other things to hate, like the Patriot Act,
    which prevents me from flying to silly things like weddings,
    funerals, Burning Man, my mother’s bedside after her life
    threatening stroke.
    But it’s not going to kill millions if not billions of people.
    And it, the Patriot Act, is an offshoot of Israel’s War on Islam,
    redubbed in the US as the “War on Terror.”
    We used to have a thing here called the Bill of Rights, a truly
    remarkable piece of legislation that set the US apart from every
    other country.
    One horrible day in September of 2001, whether you buy the
    official narrative of the attacks or not, destroyed the Bill of
    Rights and replaced it with this nefarious and nebulous “War on
    Terror.”
    The official 9/11 report does state that Osama Bin Laden was
    inspired to fly planes into skyscrapers after watching footage of
    what Israel did to Beirut.
    What others believe — and there is ample evidence to prove a
    lot of this — is that Israel was actually involved in the 9/11
    attacks, or at least knew about them and failed to warn the US.
    I’ll repeat it yet again, Bibi Netanyahu said on the day of 9/11
    that it was a good day for Israel. Bibi had a weekly conversation
    with Larry Silverstein who rented out the World Trade Center and
    who made a bundle off of the attacks. The former according to
    Israeli paper Ha’aretz.
    As I’ve shown, the invasion of Iraq was not about oil, at least for
    the US, because the Chinese and British Petroleum are getting
    the contracts.
    Beyond that, as I’ve also proven, except for Saudi Arabia, our oil
    comes primarily from our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, then
    Nigeria and Venezuela. I quoted an official release from the US
    government on that.
    I have had five friends serve repeated tours of duty in Iraq and
    Afghanistan. Two of my former students have come back badly
    damaged.
    So on a very personal level, Zionism has ruined a huge portion
    of my life and those whose lives I care for. On a larger level it is
    pushing / lying / bribing/ threatening my country into a truly
    disastrous attack on people in Iran who right now are probably
    outside or inside enjoying their day.
    I covered Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Gaza Strip twice and
    Lebanon and Pakistan and Syria. I talked to people who had lost
    children or husbands or wives or their livelihood, their drinking
    water, the freedom to have careers and walk around without a
    hijab or a burka…
    Israel needs to go away. One state.
    And after it goes away, maybe we can restore the Bill of Rights to
    its former glory and live in a semblance of peace, and I can do
    thing like make an overseas phone call without worrying that my
    Australian’s cousin’s problems with his wife isn’t being chortled
    over by the FBI.
    BTW: Israel is running out of water. Expect another attack on
    Lebanon in…:
    http://tinyurl.com/yljeanx

    Reply

  82. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What horseshit.
    “Well, they might not be anti-semitic now, by golly, but if they don’t watch it, they’re gonna be!”
    Like I said, a fool, or a liar.
    Truth is, someone as rabidly anti-semitic as Nadine is Islamophobic would have been banned from posting here along time ago. The bigoted wretch snivels about “holocaust denial” while denying what is being done to the Palestinians, and making a mockery of their human misery. And she does this with the willing participation and encouragement of Wigwag and questions.
    And in question’s bizzarro world, Hollywood isn’t dominated by the Jewish community. Except it really is. It is a simple fact that insincere and disingenuous denial cannot erase. It IS NOT a “conspiracy theory”, it is a fact of Hollywood.Those of us that have worked within the Hollywood crowd, and those that still do, know it as a truth.
    And in questions’ bizzarro world, AIPAC does not have the power that we all know it has. His argument is laughable, ridiculous, disingenuous on its face, contrived and insincere.
    A liar, or a fool.
    Questions is every bit the propagandist that this bigoted wretch Nadine is. A bit sleezier in technique, a bit better at camoflauge, far less direct, but the two are birds of a feather.

    Reply

  83. questions says:

    DonS,
    Not “sucking” anything up, and it’s not a slippery slope argument. It’s more about giving space to OA and … and others to count the numbers of Jewish people in various industries and to tally the property they own and to make a range of conclusions based on those “findings”. If you don’t see problems with this pattern, then I guess you just don’t see problems with this pattern. I do, however. The rhetoric gives permission and the crap emerges and the defense, as always, is “some of my best friends are….”

    Reply

  84. DonS says:

    above correction: ” . . . IGNORE the broad, essentially accurate facts.

    Reply

  85. DonS says:

    Questions, you try to make a good point about slippery slopes and the fear of “real” anti-semitism. That’s all well and good if Israel did not play the “victim/Jew” card so very well. So you are just going to have to keep sucking it up and hope that “real” anti-
    Semitism doesn’t emerge here. Sorry that you can’t be the one to mediate “real” hatred from your “implied” hatred.
    Same for Nadine, and the others who might think poor little Israel get’s picked on. How the hell many times do we have to spell tail wagging dog before it becomes obvious, whether you call it the “Lobby” or whatever. And that’s an American dog, it’s treasury and it’s military, not to mention it’s soul. Too much type wasted on debating whether M & W used a fine enough scalpel in their work. Convenient, too, to analyze the minutiae and the the broad, essentially accurate, facts.
    I caught Goldstone on Moyers show a couple nights ago. One of the sanest most reasonable presentations — even-handed I might say — that I have heard. Interestingly, when asked why he seemed to come down so hard on Israel, he noted the obvious fact of proportionality of force that was wrecked by this advanced industrial country on a rag tag group. Now why can’t the MSM manage to note the obvious?

    Reply

  86. questions says:

    Paul, a year or two ago when Sweetness was still posting, S and I thought that the rhetoric around here was pretty uncomfortable, that it seemed to make space for actual anti-Semitism even if it wasn’t motivated by anti-Semitism. It was so obvious that the borrowings from actual anti-Semitic conspiracy theories were lurking just under the surface that I started posting simply because of that. All the tropes are there, even if they aren’t motivated by actual hatred in many posters. They open up space for the hatred to flow. The easy references to the blood libel and the money/control/power/disproportion/dual loyalty issues are right under the surface and they boil up because space has been made for them to boil up. Even when people don’t think they’re at all anti-Semitic because “some of my best friends are Semites,” let’s face it, there’s something weird going on.
    The discourse is fraught. The terrain is slippery. Words must be chosen carefully. Qualifications should be included every time w/o the tired “I have already said that I’m not…”
    Care must be taken, and it isn’t around here. The lack of care opens up discursive space for the spewing of some pretty nasty stuff.

    Reply

  87. questions says:

    The W and M passage above seems to soften the line that either they already took or that was read into them, I honestly do not know which.
    M asks above, why so much money sent to Israel, why an MC might say WHOA ARE THEY POWERFUL, what possible national security line is supported now that the Cold War is over, why would politicians feel the need to pander/sycophant-ize, and the really interesting quote…
    “we were not
    making a radical or counterintuitive argument. Other
    prominent interest groups—like the farm lobby, the
    National Rifle Association, the AARP, as well as some
    other ethnic lobbies—wield considerable influence over
    their respective policy domains, and they use similar strat-
    egies to achieve their goals. The key organizations that
    make up the Israel lobby possess the basic characteristics
    that make interest groups powerful in the United States,
    such as ample financial resources, a committed core of
    well-educated, politically active supporters, and lack of
    strong opposition.9 Thus, our account was consistent with
    the extensive literature on interest groups in American
    politics, as well as the literature on ethnic groups and
    foreign policy. It was also in line with a number of earlier
    studies of the lobby itself.10 ”
    So, they have some questions about THELOBBY, and then they note that THELOBBY is a lobby just like other lobbies and their discussion is just like the discussion of other lobbies. This is a pretty weak claim suddenly. JUST LIKE OTHER LOBBIES. Hmmm.
    So now let’s look at the other issues above one at a time….
    Why so much money sent to Israel — well, maybe because it’s not sent to Israel — 75% of it has to be spent in the US. Typical jobs programs in typical congressional districts across the country. When the Pentagon wants to cancel some unnecessary weapons program or another, it often finds it can’t because the production is in the district of an actual MC. The MC objects to the cancellation and calls in chits. No cancellation. Look up the base closing act to see how they did that one! Game theory all over again….
    Why so much money sent to Israel part II — information signaling in Congress. The MC who “knows” Israel says we need to send this money. This MC has expertise, sits on the right committee, and everyone else follows like sheep. This is how Congress works. Really. Lots of non-experts follow experts.
    Why might an MC say, WHOA ARE THEY POWERFUL — congressional scholarship puts anecdote and individual accounts of things in a different perspective such that you start to realize that people aren’t the best judges of their own actions. If you step back and look for patterns you see things that aren’t anecdotal. It helps. And by the way, would you ever say publicly about a money supplier — “Eh, it doesn’t affect me at all.” And by the way, II, what does “powerful” mean in this context in terms of votes and the like. All ill-defined.
    (Here comes a charge of fog…. But the real fog is the unanalyzed quotation in the first place.)
    What possible national security service is there now that the Cold War is over? Well, two or three things…. First, Cuba — that is, the Cold War is over only for some people. And the hangover we are suffering from the Cold War is institutional — that is, the patterns are there and they aren’t going to change overnight. It doesn’t take a conspiracy to show that once money flows a particular direction for a particular reason, the money will keep flowing even when the reason goes away.
    National security II — anti-Muslim feeling, terror fears and the like are the new Cold War (not so cold, maybe). Some people keep the money going because they think it’s rational to keep the money going. This isn’t a lobbying-effect. This is “strategic thinking.”
    National Security III, the alliance system is still in place and it matters to some people that it be kept. Not a lobbying-effect either.
    Pandering to THELOBBY — has a politician EVER hugged a baby, eaten disgustingly greasy food, shaken hands with germ-filled masses in crowds, gone bowling on camera, donned stupid-looking clothing to “blend in” to some bizarre local ritual, listened to a “plumber” named “Joe” bullshit his way through a ridiculous question, debated other politicians on national tv while being asked meaningless questions designed to humiliate rather than enlighten…….
    Pandering II — our whole political system is based on attraction of money, support, sex appeal, and the like. EVERYthing is pandering. That’s actually what vote-getting is. It just IS pandering. It’s a little gross and unseemly and greasy and fattening and humiliating. But that’s what it is to court voters and have them settle on YOU.
    Finally, the money quote is above. THELOBBY is actually a lobby and it affects policy just like all the other lobbies do — and indeed the effects of lobbying are still under study by actual scholars in the field. And since W and M are actual scholars in a different field, please don’t attack all scholarship as bullshit because you will simply undermine your support for W and M.
    W and M have a conclusion that some people love. And because they love the conclusion, they accept a somewhat flawed argument.
    There are many reasons for US/I policy to be what it is, and lobbying is merely a part of the whole story, and in my view, a smaller part than: JOBS in districts, informational signaling in Congress, the visibility and invisibility of a variety of votes, lingering Cold Warism, institutional inertia….
    What W and M really mean is that they disagree with US/I policy and they can’t figure out why anyone might disagree with THEM. In their analysis, the only way that US/I policy makes sense, then, is if THELOBBY works in some mildly conspiratorial way. But wait, THELOBBY is a lobby, so maybe we’ll dump the conspiracy thing and then all we’ve said is that people push for some policies and we think the policies should change…. Not a very strong claim suddenly. They actually could have, and should have, written a very different piece. But they aren’t congressional scholars so their policy history is weak.

    Reply

  88. nadine says:

    Dan, like HRW, you have converted human rights into an exercise to single out Israel with prejudice and show trials. You have perverted the very idea of human rights. You expend all your effort to protect those who are mostly guilty, so that the truly innocent suffer without a champion.
    The founder of HRW agrees, and has said so. What did it take for him to condemn his own organization in the New York Times? Quite a lot, one supposes.
    Israel has plenty of homegrown leftist human rights organization to watch its every move, like B’tselem. Strangely enough, despite all your screaming about how fascist Israel is, B’tselem operates openly and its members are not in jail Tell me, where is the Palestinian B’tselem? or the Btselem of a hundred other dictatorships? Not that you give a damn.
    Well, be happy, you moron. You lot have made certain, and I do mean certain, that Israel will stay in the West Bank for the next 10 years at least. They can’t afford another terrorist welfare squat shooting missiles from civilian areas at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with the world ready to condemn them in advance if they try to defend themselves.
    And since it’s perfectly obvious that the Palestinians don’t want a state next to Israel, it costs nothing for Bibi to say he’s all for it, which he has just done.

    Reply

  89. Dan Kervick says:

    As I mentioned last time you cried about Cast Lead, Nadine, the Goldstone report did not say Israel had no right to conduct military operations in its own self-defense. It only called attention to a sizable list of criminal deeds perpetrated by the Israeli government and some of its brave IDF gang-bangers in the conduct of those operations.
    I hear the poor lads were religiously tripping on some nasty rabbinical angel dust. The IDF rabbis gave the boys some bad drasha shit which launched them all the way past yiddishkeit into manic Jewdaimonia. They reportedly felt spiritually elevated and morally empowered as they tore after and into the Palestinians.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058758.html
    I don’t think Israel has to move anywhere, Nadine (although I am pretty sure there is some book of the Hebrew scriptures in which God gave Mars, and the rest of the known universe, to Abraham and his descendants). However, I do think the Israeli colonists in Palestine should move back to Israel. Then the Israelis can hug their nukes, and build a mile-high wall around themselves which Palestinians won’t be able to surmount with their rockets, pipe-bombs and rocks.
    Your sad story of persecution at the hands of the vile Palestinian bug-people who keep getting stuck in your bulldozer treads makes me feel I should spare a few minutes to weep for Israel. However, life is short. And it occurs to me that so long as Israel continues to gobble up Palestinian territory and push Palestinian Arabs out of it, then it stands to reason that the Palestinians are sometimes going to shoot back with whatever they have. Don’t like it? Take it up with your own government. But as long as you support despoilment and conquest you might as well be aiming the rockets at your own people.
    You must be happy that Netanyahu indicated today that he plans to keep up the good fight and keep scraping those smelly and unclean Palestinians off the ancestral soil of Judea and Samaria. So you will probably have plenty of other opportunities for more fun Palestinian eradication operations. Get your rabbis ready.
    For what it’s worth, here’s my advice about what you can do about your Palestinian infestation problem: Stop killing them; stop shooting them; stop bulldozing them; stop stealing their land; stop tearing down their houses; stop burning their skin and blowing off their limbs; stop changing Palestinian Arab place names to Hebrew names; and stop turning their communities into open-air Israeli prisons. Then get out of the occupied territories and sue for peace. If you do all that, and the Palestinians still keep attacking you, only then will I spare a tear for those poor, poor, poor Israelis and tell you to go ahead and let ’em have it.

    Reply

  90. Paul Norheim says:

    “Honestly Nadine, my life would be empty without you.”
    I think that`s a very precise definition of a “bloodsucker”.
    Te odio ergo sum – “I hate you; therefore I am”.
    If Zionism didn`t exist, Outraged would have to invent it.
    This applies to Nadine as well: her existence is apparently dependent
    on having an enemy, and defined by her concept of “the Arab”.

    Reply

  91. Outraged American says:

    Nadine asks where Israel should move to and suggests Mars. I’m
    waving my hand, except then we’d be at war with Martian
    microbes.
    Honestly Nadine, my life would be empty without you.

    Reply

  92. nadine says:

    “The Israeli policies of chief global concern are supported by the almost the entire political community in Israel. They are not going to change as a result of a mere change of Prime Minister.”
    Yes Dan, the entire Israeli community supported doing something to stop Hamas from shooting missiles into Israel, after waiting years, trying truces, etc, and enduring thousands of missiles. Don’t forget that this came after Israel withdrew from Gaza as the world had been urging it to do.
    I will ask you what I have repeatedly asked here, if Operation Cast Lead was an illegitimate response, what would the legitimate response have looked like?
    I keep asking this, and I get no answer (except one poster who suggested Israel move. Where to, he didn’t say. Wyoming? Mars?)
    Here is the question as phrased by Prime Minister Netanyahu:
    “The best way to defuse this issue is to speak the truth because Israel was defending itself with just means against an unjust attack. Serious countries have to think about adapting the laws of war in the age of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. If the terrorists believe they have a license to kill by choosing to kill from behind civilian lines, that’s what they’ll do again and again. What exactly is Israel supposed to do? ”
    So far, Israelis are hearing the world’s answer as “Jews have no right to defend themselves. Americans and British and Pakistanis can fight terrorists, and that’s okay, but the Israelis will always be branded war criminals even though they take far more care to spare civilians than these other armies do.”

    Reply

  93. Outraged American says:

    Darling Paul, for you Israel is a somewhat academic discussion,
    it’s not for us. Our kids will die if UsRael attacks Iran.
    I have this thing about biting insects I have what’s called in the
    South “watermelon blood” so anything that can bite me will. I’ve
    had to flee two houses because of fleas. Try to make that one
    up. I had lice in India, and the kids had it this summer. It
    sucks, literally. So I do think it’s an apt metaphor for the
    relationship between the US and Israel.
    POA and I aren’t the same person, rumors to the contrary, but I
    do think we both have just plain old “horse sense.” No mincing
    or dancing around a topic, cut to the chase.
    The disastrous second invasion of Iraq ( and now I’m thinking
    the first invasion of Iraq was also Israel caused, and George The
    First was a one-term president because he didn’t topple
    Saddam for Yisreal) and the invasions of Afghanistan and the
    attacks on Pakistan, are ALL tied to Israel.
    The latter two by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister
    himself, who in March said that Afghanistan and Pakistan were
    the biggest threats to Israel.
    The canard of “anti-semite”, which is ridiculous to begin with
    given that the Ashkenazim are about as Semitic as I am, has
    been hurled around US public discourse for decades, and has
    been used as a reason for doing things like guaranteeing Israel a
    supply of oil even when the US goes without.
    Paul, you take on Israel. Get Norway to bomb Iran. Syria,
    Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, why should one shitty little country
    control the lives of billions of people?
    Answer me that Paul,and keep calling me an “anti-Semite”
    because I need a good laugh at least once a second.

    Reply

  94. nadine says:

    Paul, here I try to be civil and what does it buy me? What I said of J Street is that it is an anti-Israel group that fraudulently calls itself “pro-Isrel”, takes Iranian government money, and opposes sanctions on Iran and is thus well to the left of Meretz. Your retreat into the tired old line, “we’re just criticizing Israel and you call us anti-Semitic” is pathetic. Calling for Israel’s destruction (with ensuing massacre and refugee crisis) is not “criticism”. Hyperbolic charges of “Nazi”, “genocide” etc are not criticism either, but a way for Europeans to try to shed their own holocaust guilt.
    I find it amusing that you think I have an anti-Arab bias. I think you have an anti-Arab bias. You don’t think they are responsible adults capable of making decisions; thus whatever their condition, it is somebody else’s fault. None of their actual words or deeds are worth noting.
    I think that is an incredibly biased way of being “unbiased.” It’s worse than the old colonialists in my opinion. They at least thought the wogs were capable of improvement! But to you, they are permanent helpless victims, whom you will champion, thus displaying your moral superiority.
    Plus it lets you treat the whole Arab world as “window glass” and concentrate your fire on Israel alone, context-free, which is your preference. It also appeases your local European Muslims. For now.

    Reply

  95. Dan Kervick says:

    It’s politically clever of Livni to reach out to J Street. Of course, Kadima is a center-right party.
    The Israeli policies of chief global concern are supported by the almost the entire political community in Israel. They are not going to change as a result of a mere change of Prime Minister.
    On the other hand, a change in Israel’s government to something slightly less embarrassing might help Israel diplomatically.
    From what I can tell, J Street doesn’t have a clue about how to bring about any significant change in Israel or Israeli policies. But they do provide a feel-good alternative for Jewish-American supporters of Israel who want to adopt a superficial “tough love” rhetorical posture that isn’t matched by any real action.

    Reply

  96. Paul Norheim says:

    My objection to anti-semitic expressions is not generated by guilt, but by disgust.
    For the record, I agree that Zionism in it`s current form is a potential threat to world peace – and
    certainly to peace in the Middle East. If I were an Arab, a Persian, even an American, I would
    probably regard it as an existential threat, due to Israel`s belligerent and paranoid attitude.
    However – although I know that some commenters here are annoyed by this, I`ll continue to
    object to the inclusion of metaphors like bloodsuckers, insects, lice, etc into the political
    discourse.

    Reply

  97. Outraged American says:

    Paul, I’m married to a Member of the Tribe, which would mean
    that I sleep with the enemy every night.
    I do need to amend my last statement: Jews have given America
    a lot. They are at the forefront of medicine, technology,
    education, the peace movement, and, as I’ve pointed out many
    times in the past, civil rights litigation, especially as it relates to
    Muslims. Eisenberg is the lead attorney on the Al Harriman case
    and Hafetz on Al Marri. Ratner at the Center for Constitutional
    Rights has been relentless on Guantanamo.
    I do make a very clear distinction between Jews and Zionists,
    which other posters don’t (Nadine? Nadine? Are your there,
    Nadine?). However, I do think that Zionists are the biggest
    threat to the world right now.
    I don’t share your European guilt about the Jewish Holocaust.
    Since coming to the US I have grown up and worked with Jews,
    and if they do indeed make up only 2% of the US population I
    know every single one of them. They’re thriving here.
    The biggest fears that the Zionists have is that Jews will
    assimilate — they need Israel to keep their own version of “Ein
    Volk” pure, but as a person of mixed race myself I could give a
    fuck. Literally. Remember, I know you have a short attention
    span, but I do sleep with a Member of the Tribe.
    Nadine’s head is about to explode, either that or she’s watching
    porn and lamenting her aged womb.
    I just saw my half-Jewish nephew yesterday, the one who is
    going to Georgetown if UsRael doesn’t decimate Iran and he gets
    drafted for NO FUCKING REASON BEYOND THAT ISRAEL IS AN
    AGGRESSIVE STUPID ASS BULLY FUNDED BY THE THUGS IN THE
    US GOVERNMENT.
    Explain to me Paul, why this young man, my beloved nephew,
    who I saw take his first steps and say his first word, which were,
    “Auntie Outraged American I don’t want to be brised” should DIE
    for Israel’s desire for hegemony, regional if not global.
    Again, I don’t share your guilt, nor do I think that the Jews are
    The Chosen, except perhaps that the Zionists amongst them
    have been chosen to destroy the world.

    Reply

  98. Paul Norheim says:

    “though I thank you for saying something, finally.”
    Finally? I`ve made this point frequently since I started posting here (2007), also in addressing
    specific comments and commenters.
    It is not a personal “issue”, as POA thinks – and I don`t enjoy addressing it. But this kind of stuff
    makes it very difficult to discuss the issues. But so does your abuse of the label “anti-semitism”,
    Nadine. Latest seen in this thread, when you quoted – approvingly, I assume – someone blaming J
    Street for anti-semitism. You seem to use that label on ANYONE criticizing the current Israeli
    government, which of course empties the word anti-semitism of it`s actual meaning.
    And, as … points out, your anti-Arab bigotry is just as nasty as the anti-semitism that originated in
    Europe. As a matter of fact, it`s just another branch of the same phenomenon. I`ve said it before,
    Nadine, but you and Outraged really make a nice couple.

    Reply

  99. ... says:

    nadine – open hatred of muslims is no different and that is what you advocate here regularly.. failing to note pauls inclusion of you in his post in a very derogatory manner is indeed revealing… it isn’t lost on anyone either…

    Reply

  100. nadine says:

    Paul, there was a time not so long ago when open Jew-hatred would not have been welcome in the discussions of the left. Now it is, and posters like OA back my argument – though I thank you for saying something, finally.

    Reply

  101. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Paul, I realize you and OA have “issues”. But I note she says the lice make her think of “Israel”, not “Israelis”. And I too have commented on the parasitic nature of Israel’s relationship with the United States. And it is not out of “anti-semitism” that I make such comments. Israel DOES parasitically exist through American charity and largess.
    Tell me, what do we recieve in return? Respect? Like Netanyahu has shown Obama? Like countless acts of espionage against us demonstrate? What EXACTLY do we get in return, Paul?
    Yesterday, I removed a bloated tick off of a stray dog that wandered onto the jobsite. I did NOT “think of Israel” as I did so. But in retrospect, it is easy to create the metaphor, in the respect that the tick was fat with the dog’s blood, and was not only giving NOTHING in return, it was also subjecting its host to a number of subsequent health problems just by virtue of its presence on the dog. The dog’s eyes were hazed and watering, and it was obvious he had health problems beyond the fact of the tick’s parasitical presence. Much like our own country, with many ills, yet still feeding the needs of Israel without mutual benefit. So yes, I understand OA’s metaphor, and don’t really disagree with it. Had she of described the people of Israel as “lice”, I’d be far less inclined to look favorably upon her comment. However, I believe that a huge contingent of Israelis see the Palestinians as being less no more than bothersome “lice”.

    Reply

  102. Outraged American says:

    I’ve interviewed Walt & Mearsheimer more than once.
    They are NOT anti-Jew. I challenged them on a two versus one
    state solution ( the latter of which I think is the only answer) and
    they were firmly for a two-state solution.
    In terms of US public opinion, please watch “REEL BAD ARABS”
    The entertainment industry, which is in a large part run by Jews,
    has demonized Arabs since even before the theocracy of Israel
    existed, around the time that European Jews started moving to
    Palestine.
    Maybe Questions can weigh in here about how entertainment
    shapes public perception of “the other.” Puking now. Actually
    I’m not. I love it when Questions and Nadine go kopf to kopf.
    But I’ll tell you, growing-up in podunk nowhere/ the Wild West/
    Arizona in the 70s, none of my classmates had ever met a
    Muslim, and it was the same for many of the Iraq/ Afghan vets
    I’ve been talking to lately, who come out of nowhere towns in
    Nothingville, yet we were indoctrinated by the movie industry to
    consider Arabs/ Muslims the baddies.
    And indoctrinated by our schools to consider the Jewish
    Holocaust the Worst Thing That Ever Happened Ever. This while
    our very own Vietnam Holocaust was raging.
    I have an old friend who’s an LT Colonel in the US Army. He was
    my physics lab partner in college. I got to see him last year
    when I went to his dad’s funeral. He told me a lot, like that
    troops in boot camp are trained to call Iraqis “Hajis” as a
    derogatory term to desensitize them to killing Muslims. He was
    also in Fallujah after our second attack in 2004 and was
    ashamed at what we’d done. We used white phosphorus too.
    As probably everyone here knows, a “Haji” is a term of respect in
    Islam, because it means that one has completed the Haj, the
    pilgrimage to Mecca.
    Why would some fresh scrubbed kid out of Why, Arizona ( and
    there is a town named “Why” in Arizona — it has a population of
    about 27 , most of whom are probably dealing meth to the local
    cacti) would hate Muslims?
    Sorry Paul, you take on Israel as your country’s cross to bear.
    The US has if anything been great to the Jews, what have we
    gotten in return? Name one thing beyond endless war.

    Reply

  103. nadine says:

    What a cloud of verbiage, which never comes close to addressing Lieberman’s main critique, which is that the “Israel Lobby” has a definition that covers the waterfront and its “influence” is credited every time some player displays what W and M consider a “pro-Israel” stance, without any demonstration of causality. Lieberman:
    “I treat Mearsheimer and Walt’s work as an exercise in the study of American politics, in which they attempt to mount an argument about the reasons for a particular set of American policy choices and the possible influence of an interest group in guiding those choices in the context of American policymaking institutions. My focus is exclusively on this part of their argument, and not on their assessment of American foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle East. I ask three sets of questions about their argument. First, what, exactly, are their causal claims? By what mechanisms do they suggest that pro-Israel individuals and organizations influence policy outcomes? What are their hypotheses about the forces that shape American policy toward the Middle East? Second, what does political science have to say about these mechanisms? Many of the political processes that Mearsheimer and Walt discuss have, of course, been the subject of extensive research by scholars of American politics. What guidance can the discipline’s state-of-the-art knowledge about policymaking in the American political system give us in evaluating their argument? And finally, what kind of evidence would be necessary to substantiate their hypotheses? Do Mearsheimer and Walt provide such evidence? What might systematic empirical tests of their claims look like?”

    Reply

  104. Paul Norheim says:

    Somewhere above, Outraged said:
    “…bloodsuckers…”
    “There’s an epidemic of lice in Phoenix schools, and it’s been
    going on for awhile. I have to check the kids’ hairs every AM I
    have them. For whatever reason, I think of Israel every time I do
    it.”
    ————————–
    Outraged has informed the readers of the Washington Note that she has kids, lives in
    America, lacks an olympic sized swimming pool in her neighborhood, and pays a lot
    of taxes. Apparently, she thinks that these hard facts somehow gives her a license to
    call the Israelis bloodsuckers and lice.
    Whatever Outraged says that may make sense (which sometimes happens), she
    effectively undermines by her frequent use of expressions from the old and well
    known vocabulary of anti-semitism. Nadine certainly doesn`t need allies when she
    has such opponents.

    Reply

  105. Paul Norheim says:

    Some excerpts from a recent article by Walt and
    Mearsheimer (defending their book against criticism
    from Robert Lieberman) may be relevant and clarifying
    in the debate about the “lobby”:
    The Blind Man and the Elephant in
    the Room: Robert Lieberman and
    the Israel Lobby
    John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt
    “It is hard to know what to make of Robert Lieberman’s
    essay. Not only does it contain numerous unsupported
    charges and internal contradictions, it is at odds with a
    wealth of evidence and prior scholarship describing the
    powerful influence that various pro-Israel groups exert in
    Washington. If the Israel lobby is largely irrelevant, as he
    seems to think, why was the American Israel Public Affairs
    Committee (AIPAC) ranked the second most powerful
    lobby in Washington in a 2005 National Journal survey of
    Congress, and why did veteran Congressman Lee Hamil-
    ton say “ There’s no lobby group that matches it . . . They’re
    in a class by themselves?” 1 If the lobby is so inconsequen-
    tial, why is Israel still the largest recipient of U.S. foreign
    aid (over $3 billion each year, or more than $500 per
    Israeli citizen) even though its per capita income is now
    29th in the world? 2 Why do the highest-level policymak-
    ers and dozens of prominent politicians from both parties
    attend the AIPAC Policy Conference each year? Further-
    more, why did Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack
    Obama each feel compelled to make pandering pro-Israel
    speeches there in June 2008?
    (…)
    Our book addresses two main questions. First, what
    explains America’s “special relationship” with Israel, a rela-
    tionship that the late Yitzhak Rabin once described as
    “beyond compare in modern history”? 7 Second, is it good
    for the United States and Israel? Our aim was not to explain
    why the United States supports Israel’s existence—a pol-
    icy that is not controversial and that we endorse—rather,
    we sought to explain why the United States gives Israel so
    much economic, military, and diplomatic support—for
    the most part unconditionally—and why key aspects of
    American foreign policy are conducted with the aim of
    making Israel more secure.8
    We argued that this special relationship is due primarily
    to the political activities of a powerful interest group—
    which we termed the “Israel lobby”—whose members work
    assiduously to promote unconditional U.S. support and
    whose influence has grown significantly over time. We did
    not argue that the lobby “controlled” U.S. Middle East
    policy, and we emphasized that it did not win every policy
    dispute. Nonetheless, we showed that the individuals and
    organizations in this interest group have successfully
    employed a variety of strategies to advance the special
    relationship and to influence American foreign policy in
    ways intended to benefit Israel.
    Although talking about the lobby and its influence has
    been something of a taboo subject in the United States—in
    part because some of its members are quick to smear any-
    one who questions the special relationship—we were not
    making a radical or counterintuitive argument. Other
    prominent interest groups—like the farm lobby, the
    National Rifle Association, the AARP, as well as some
    other ethnic lobbies—wield considerable influence over
    their respective policy domains, and they use similar strat-
    egies to achieve their goals. The key organizations that
    make up the Israel lobby possess the basic characteristics
    that make interest groups powerful in the United States,
    such as ample financial resources, a committed core of
    well-educated, politically active supporters, and lack of
    strong opposition.9 Thus, our account was consistent with
    the extensive literature on interest groups in American
    politics, as well as the literature on ethnic groups and
    foreign policy. It was also in line with a number of earlier
    studies of the lobby itself.10
    (…)
    Lieberman seems particularly bothered by our def-
    inition of the lobby. He says we “veer between two different
    portraits,” one in which the lobby is “a non-governmental
    entity (or set of actors)” and another where it is a “ruling
    elite that includes both government officials and people
    outside of the government who are connected to one
    another by shared social background, economic status, or
    network ties.” 15 He also claims that the term “pro-Israel”
    is inherently ambiguous, and suggests that these difficul-
    ties confound our attempts to demonstrate the lobby’s
    influence and render our argument unfalsifiable.16 He is
    mistaken.
    First, Lieberman misrepresents our definition by saying
    that we think the lobby “encompasses Israeli government
    officials.” 17 We never made such a claim. On the contrary,
    we made it clear that the lobby is comprised of American
    citizens and American organizations, and that its behavior
    is as American as apple pie. Individuals in the lobby do
    meet with Israeli officials on occasion, but we neither said
    nor implied that the latter were part of the lobby.
    (…)
    Second, we do not “veer between two different por-
    traits” of the lobby, and neither of his two alternatives
    accurately reflects our definition. Specifically, we made it
    clear that individuals in the lobby sometimes hold impor-
    tant positions in the government, so it cannot be said that
    we described the lobby simply as a “non-governmental
    . . . set of actors.” 18 Nor did we describe the lobby as a
    “ruling elite,” which is an inappropriate term for describ-
    ing most American interest groups, and especially one
    that includes people with such diverse backgrounds as
    Christian Zionists and secular Jews. Instead, we employed
    a straightforward, commonsensical definition that is con-
    sistent with the literature on interest groups. We defined
    the lobby as a “loose coalition of individuals and organi-
    zations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a
    pro-Israel direction.” 19 We pointed out that the term
    “lobby” was somewhat misleading, insofar as some mem-
    bers do not engage in formal lobbying activities. But we
    employed it as a “shorthand term” because it was consis-
    tent with common parlance, as in farm lobby, gun lobby,
    or environmental lobby. We also noted that the bound-
    aries of all interest groups are somewhat imprecise, although
    most have a core membership whose identity is not
    disputed.
    Third, we recognized that the term “pro-Israel” is ambig-
    uous; indeed, we made this very point in our book.20 To
    clarify the issue, we emphasized that “the various groups
    that make up the lobby . . . share the desire to promote a
    special relationship between the United States and Israel”
    and believe “the United States should give Israel substan-
    tial diplomatic, economic, and military support even when
    Israel takes actions the United States opposes.” 21 Of course,
    one of our central conclusions was that the special rela-
    tionship was in fact harmful to both countries.
    Nor did we argue that policymakers who support a
    “pro-Israel” policy initiative are necessarily members of
    the lobby.
    (…)
    There is really no mystery or “conceptual confusion”
    here. Like other interest groups, organizations in the Israel
    lobby try to get individuals who are sympathetic to their
    views elected to office or appointed to key positions in the
    executive branch. They also try to convince presidents not
    to appoint individuals about whom they have doubts. As
    we documented in our book, these efforts sometimes suc-
    ceed. When they do, these groups will be trying to influ-
    ence officials who share their broad perspective—and may
    even have belonged to the same pro-Israel organization(s)—
    and they will not have to deal with officials who might
    have reservations or even be opposed to the special rela-
    tionship. Does Lieberman deny that the lobby engages in
    these kinds of activities? And does he deny that they some-
    times affect the policy process?
    (…)
    The special relationship developed during the Cold War,
    when one could plausibly argue that Israel was a useful asset
    for containing Soviet influence in the Middle East. But the
    Cold War ended in 1989 and the strategic landscape changed
    drastically. As we document at length in our book, Israel
    has since become a strategic burden for the United States,
    which should have attenuated if not ended the special rela-
    tionship, at least if strategic calculations were driving Amer-
    ican policy. Similarly, although we believe there is still a strong
    moral case for Israel’s existence, the moral case for giving
    Israel unconditional support has been weakened by its pro-
    longed occupation of the West Bank and its brutal treat-
    ment of the Palestinians there and in Gaza.
    (…)For example,
    when discussing our point that support for Israel in Con-
    gress is due in part to the fact that some legislators are
    strongly pro-Israel, he writes that “the proposition that a
    small band of ideologically pro-Israel members of Con-
    gress has hijacked American foreign policy seems dubi-
    ous.” 46 We agree, which is why we never advanced that
    proposition. Furthermore, he claims that we believe “it is
    disproportionate representation on the relevant commit-
    tees that constitutes the critical ingredient of the ‘lobby’s’
    influence.” 47 But we did not say it was “the critical ingre-
    dient”; we merely noted that well-placed supporters on
    key committees are one reason for the lobby’s success in
    Congress, a proposition consistent with the existing liter-
    ature on Congressional behavior.48 In short, our argu-
    ment is that the lobby seeks to influence the policy process
    in several complementary ways, no one of which alone
    accounts for the special relationship.
    Congress and the Lobby
    Lieberman does not dispute our claim that “Israel is vir-
    tually immune from criticism” in Congress, but he suggests
    that there is a simple explanation: legislators reflect the
    public’s preferences. “Long-term trends in American pub-
    lic opinion,” he writes, “show that Americans have long
    consistently expressed substantial support for Israel.” 49
    Thus, “the burden is on Mearsheimer and Walt to show
    that congressional action on the Middle East is out of
    synch with the central tendency of national opinion.” Lie-
    berman fails to mention that this is precisely what we
    showed. As detailed in our book, the behavior of Congress
    is not in synch with public opinion. The American people
    are generally sympathetic to Israel, but they are much
    more critical of Israeli policy than their representatives are
    and they are far more willing to support a hard-nosed
    approach to dealing with Israel. Indeed, a 2005 survey by
    the Anti-Defamation League found that 78 percent of
    Americans believe that Washington should favor neither
    Israel nor the Palestinians, which effectively means that
    they do not support the special relationship.50 The Leba-
    non war in 2006 revealed a similar gap between public
    opinion and Congressional behavior.51 If Congress reflected
    the views of the American people, criticism of Israeli pol-
    icy would be commonplace on Capitol Hill and U.S. pol-
    icy itself might be substantially different.
    (…)
    Finally, we made it clear that the lobby does not win every
    time. Rather, it wins often enough to make it clear to most
    politicians that they are putting their careers at risk if they
    are perceived as anti-Israel. Or as Aaron David Miller recently
    observed, “ Today you cannot be successful in American pol-
    itics and not be good on Israel. And AIPAC plays a key role
    in making that happen.” 73 We discussed a handful of cases
    where pro-Israel forces targeted candidates successfully and
    showed that other politicians noticed. For example, after
    AIPAC successfully targeted Senator Roger Jepsen (R-IA)
    following his decision to support the sale of AWACS air-
    craft to Saudi Arabia in 1981, Senator Alan Cranston
    (D-CA) remarked that Jepsen’s defeat “has sort of struck
    terror into the hearts of senators about switching” on Mid-
    dle East votes. It is for good reason that J.J. Goldberg, the
    editor of the Jewish weekly newspaper the Forward, said in
    2002, “ There is this image in Congress that you don’t cross
    these people or they take you down.” All of these consid-
    erations explain why former Senator Ernest Hollings said
    upon his retirement in 2004, “You can’t have an Israeli pol-
    icy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.” 74
    (…)
    Shaping Public Discourse
    Lieberman also takes aim at our discussion of the many news-
    papers and magazines that “display a pro-Israel editorial bias,”
    and the think tanks that adopt the same perspective.76 Sig-
    nificantly, he does not challenge our description of the posi-
    tion those publications and think tanks take on Israel.
    Instead, he accuses us once more of “selection bias,” argu-
    ing that it is not clear whether our examples “are somehow
    representative of a larger phenomenon that cuts across the
    entire population of media outlets, think tanks, or other
    relevant venues.” 77 The implication is that we overlooked
    important mainstream media publications and think tanks
    that are critical of Israel and the special relationship.
    Lieberman offers no evidence to support this line of
    argument. The discussion in our book did focus on the
    country’s major newspapers, mainly because they exert
    greater influence on public attitudes, but also because of
    space limitations. In doing the research for the book, how-
    ever, we surveyed numerous newspapers across the coun-
    try and found no evidence that publications in smaller
    markets were systematically less pro-Israel than their big-
    ger and more well-known cousins. And nobody we know
    of suggests that is the case.
    Not surprisingly, Lieberman offers no examples of news-
    papers or mainstream commentators that contradict our
    basic point. His failure to do so is itself revealing: if there
    were lots of media outlets and pundits who were consis-
    tently critical of Israel, one would think that some of them
    would be well-known and he would have no trouble iden-
    tifying them. But as we noted in our book, there are at
    best a handful of mainstream media figures or outlets that
    offer more than the mildest criticism of Israel’s behavior
    or take a skeptical view of the special relationship, and a
    multitude of prominent voices on the other side. This
    situation, we also noted, is substantially different from the
    discourse in many other democracies, including Israel itself.
    We also surveyed all of the relevant think tanks inside
    the Beltway—which is where most of the foreign policy
    think tanks are located—and we noted that “there are a
    few smaller think tanks that are not reflexively pro-Israel.”
    Our point was that “the largest and most visible” ones
    “usually take Israel’s side,” and thus “the balance of power
    . . . strongly favors Israel.” We also discussed the presti-
    gious Council on Foreign Relations, which is located in
    New York City and which has become increasingly sup-
    portive of the special relationship over time.78 Once again,
    Lieberman provides no evidence that contradicts our
    description of the think-tank world.
    (…)
    Lieberman’s “Alternative” Explanations
    Lieberman concludes his critique by offering several “alter-
    native explanations” that might account for the lobby’s
    influence. As we noted earlier, this step makes no sense, as
    the main purpose of his essay is to argue that the lobby “is
    not the prime mover in shaping American foreign policy
    toward the Middle East.” 81 His aim should therefore be
    to identify the real driving forces behind the special rela-
    tionship, and U.S. Middle East policy more generally,
    instead of trying to explain why the lobby wields so much
    influence, a claim he challenges throughout his article. Yet
    here he focuses on the lobby and claims to offer a more
    sophisticated analysis than our supposedly “blunt interest-
    group approach.” However, his alternative explanations
    are in fact our own.
    First, he suggests that the lobby might be influential
    because of the way that the costs and benefits of the spe-
    cial relationship are distributed. He acknowledges that we
    made this point and quotes our statement that “in a democ-
    racy, 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.”
    Lieberman goes on to say “Mearsheimer and Walt are
    undoubtedly right that the benefits of pro-Israel policy are
    particularly concentrated among those American voters
    whose intense policy preferences . . . are thereby satisfied,
    while the costs of that policy are widely dispersed across
    the population, most of whom are consequently indiffer-
    ent to policy outcomes.” 82 Under such circumstances, he
    notes, one would expect little debate about the special
    relationship, which was of course another one of our key
    points. Thus, Lieberman’s first “alternative” merely restates
    our basic account.
    (…)
    Third, Lieberman suggests that another “alternative
    approach to conceptualizing the ‘lobby’s’ influence” might
    be to focus on how it shapes policy debates about Israel
    and the Middle East.85 This argument is yet another cen-
    tral part of our own explanation; in fact, we devoted an
    entire chapter to explaining how this process works. Lie-
    berman says it is “plausible to observe that American Mid-
    dle East policy is made in a context that discourages robust
    debate about the costs and benefits of support for Israel,”
    admitting further that it is “reasonable to hypothesize that
    pro-Israel actors, both inside and outside of government,
    make it very hard—or at least very costly—for public
    officials to be openly critical of Israel.” 86 This supposed
    “alternative” is our argument, of course, as even a cursory
    reading of Chapter 6 (“Dominating Public Discourse”)
    makes manifestly clear. In our words, “key elements in the
    lobby strive to influence discourse about Israel. . . They
    promote efforts to portray Israel in a positive light and
    they go to considerable lengths to marginalize anyone who
    questions Israel’s past or present conduct or seeks to cast
    doubt on the merits of unconditional U.S. backing.” 87
    In short, after directing a lot of ill-aimed firepower at
    us, Lieberman concludes his essay by recapitulating some
    of our main arguments and offering no new ones. We are
    gratified by his turn-around, but left wondering why he
    was so exercised by our book in the first place.
    Conclusion
    We do not regard our book as the last word on the Israel
    lobby or America’s special relationship with Israel. Indeed,
    we wrote it to encourage a more open discussion of these
    important but frequently taboo subjects. We did so because
    we believe the United States will not be able to address the
    various challenges it faces in the Middle East if Americans
    cannot have a candid and wide-ranging discussion of the
    different forces that shape U.S. foreign policy in this vital
    region, and whether the resulting policy makes good stra-
    tegic sense.”
    More here (it`s a very long article!):
    http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0047.pdf

    Reply

  106. questions says:

    POA,
    Your inability to think is really something. I don’t think that “dumping” Israel solves what you think it solves. That’s that.
    I also don’t think dumping white phosophorous is a laudable or acceptable action.
    BUT, I don’t think you “policy,” to the extent that you even “have” a “policy,” is going to stop the white phosphorous attacks. In fact, I think your “policy,” to the extent that you have one, is more likely to lead to more attacks. And certainly likely to lead to an intensification and acceleration just as the possible slow down in settlement activity led to a speed up…. Welcome to the wonderful world of game theoretic calculations.
    If I’m right about your “policy,” then who’s the immoral one?
    And indeed, radical politics finds its expression no matter what. To the extent that radicalism increases the power of an instigator, to the extent that radicalism feels good in a soul, radicalism will come out no matter what. It isn’t driven by any one single fact of the universe; rather, it is malleable. The US pulls out, radicalism will find something else to sustain itself.
    Look at the crazy radicalism in the US. People are relatively well-off. There’s no massive deprivation here, and still we have people blowing up buildings, threatening political leaders, freaking out on tv, freaking out about universal health care for heaven’s sake. That’s like, umm, the opposite of deprivation.
    The mess in Palestine needs to be dealt with as its own awful, tragic horror. The powers involved need to create some secure structure that will allow them to cooperate rather than defect. They need to trust each other, and more, they need to trust that the other trusts them — meta-level gaming is interesting. There’s a recent New Yorker piece (10/5 dead tree) on the financial markets that deals with this meta-level stuff.
    At any rate, the I/P mess needs to be de-linked from everything but its own tragic nature and it needs to be dealt with as a tragedy.
    I do not, for the life of me, understand how it is that you cannot see that one can disagree with your “policy” AND STILL think that the use of white phosphorous is wicked. But you seem to have this limitation.
    I just re-read your note and I think you really missed something — to the best of my understanding “casus belli” means “cause for war” and the point is that if radicals didn’t have the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians as a cause for their radicalization, they’d simply invent another cause. The end is radicalization itself and the ways that radicalization empowers instigators. (See the US right at this point for lots of examples.) The means is the I/P situation. We fix the I/P situation, there will still be radicalism.
    So those who are freaked about I/P because of the radicalizing effect are not going to get what they want.
    Those who are freaked about I/P because of humanitarian concerns are rightly freaked. But then I tend to think that there are a lot of horrific messes that need to come up as often. And I still think you won’t get what you want out of “dumping” Israel (in what ever version you wish to “dump” –whether threat or actual break or stopping aid….)
    So go ahead and explode again. You must have many many extra body parts since they keep splattering on your computer screen as you misunderstand what I write over and over.

    Reply

  107. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, here is the real J Street, as described by Ben-Ami. Isn’t it interesting that Nadine has such venom for an organization headed by a zionist that also disagrees with W and M, and DOES NOT advocate a cessation or lessoning of aid to Israel. AIPAC and J Street share goals, with slightly different reasoning on how to get there.
    http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/10/j_streets_ben-ami_on_being_a_z.php
    I don’t find either lobby as cause for optimism about the future of Palestinians, or any less founded in the bigotry that seems to permeate the Israeli’s lobby organizations, and fuel Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.

    Reply

  108. Outraged American says:

    Iraq was for Israel, not oil. Oil companies love dictators rather
    than messy things like “democracies.”
    The Zionists here, Kristol, Abrams, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, the
    Wurmsers, et. al., laid their plans out very clearly in the Project
    for the New American Century documents and the “Clean Break:
    A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” document written for
    former, and now current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin
    Netanyahu.
    This is Zionism 101 and many AWARE Americans are on to it.
    Israel’s time is running out, both demographically and in terms
    of Americans’ patience. Israel has bankrupted us, but rather
    than resting on the now worthless laurels of US dollar bills, is
    going for broke. Literally.
    Before these bloodsuckers get through with us, they’re going to
    make sure that as our dying act we attack Iran. At which point
    they’ll jump to China or India.
    I’d pay good money to see how the latter worked out. Actually I
    already have given that Israel sells our stolen technology to
    India.
    There’s an epidemic of lice in Phoenix schools, and it’s been
    going on for awhile. I have to check the kids’ hairs every AM I
    have them. For whatever reason, I think of Israel every time I do
    it.
    Maybe because after Avigdor, who I read is a second cousin to
    Joe Lieberman, but that could be totally a Fantasy Football team
    in some Zionist’s head, said in March that Afghanistan and
    Pakistan were the biggest threat to Israel. Then after the two
    countries miraculously became one, things like THIS start
    happening to innocent Pakistani wedding parties.
    Seriously, if I were an Afghan or a Pakistani, I would hold my
    wedding in Dick Cheney’s bunker. Maybe he could even officiate
    although we’d probably have to offer the flower girl as human
    sacrifice first.
    At Least 25 Killed in Pakistan Bombings
    (excerpt)
    17 were killed in a remote control bombing against a bus full of
    wedding celebrants in Mohmand Agency. Officials speculated
    that the bomb may have been intended for a different target.
    http://tinyurl.com/yjhpxyp

    Reply

  109. ... says:

    “This, as well as J Street’s other recent actions, convince me more than ever that this organization will not be part of the solution. It is at best Kadima to AIPAC’s Likud/Yisrael Beitenu. Which means in effect no difference at all. I think there are some sincere people who may have been attracted to J Street, but ultimately there’s no Zionist solution to the Zionist problem, just like there’s no racist solution to the problem of racism.”
    Is equality a ‘nightmare’ for liberal Zionists?
    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/10/is-equality-a-nightmare-for-liberal-zionists.html

    Reply

  110. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Is it really the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians? Or are these excuses and the same people would come up with new excuses for the same violence? I tend to think the latter. I think the Palestinian situation is a place holder, not the casus belli”
    Fuck you.
    When you and these racist abominations like Nadine make comments like that, it underscores the despicable nature of your arguments, rationales, and justifications. How ANYONE can be insincere about feeling sympathetic towards the Palestinians and their treatment at the hands of the Israelis is beyond me. You are certainly an amazing piece of shit for implying that our abhorance of frying people in phosphorous, or stealing their land, or depriving them of the neccesities of health and welfare is insioncere, and just an “excuse” for us to criticizse Israel.
    Again, fuck you. Comments such as yours don’t say ANYTHING about US, but instead say EVERYTHING about YOU. You and Nadine deserve each other. You might use slightly different semantics, but at the core you are more alike than different. It is scum like yourself that has plagued mankind with bigotry and war since time began.

    Reply

  111. nadine says:

    I don’t see W and M’s “THELOBBY” stuff as merely silly but sinister. It hits too many archetypes of world wide Jewish conspiracy to be innocent imo. The oldest hatred didn’t get that way without being adaptable, and I am sorry to see these trope regain respectability in places that used to rightly disdain them.
    “And now, POA is in a million little pieces, splattered across his computer and his study. Guess he’s not going in to work on Monday. Oh dear.”
    One can only hope.
    “I feel pretty strongly that game theory has useful insights”
    I think you are running a Middle East game theory where both ‘players’ are cardboard stand-ins for the real the people. It never works because it doesn’t model reality in any meaningful way. Even the assumption that both sides are looking for a solution is false. The Israelis want a solution that leaves them standing, and have always wanted one. The Arab states want the one state solution (no Israel) have turned no-solution into a pillar of their regimes.
    So there are a whole host of factors constraining the situation that you simply ignore, and by ignoring them you ignore the most important and obvious predictions concerning what will happen next if Israel does what you want it to do.

    Reply

  112. Tahoe Editor says:

    yawn
    This letter and a dollar bill will get her a coffee at 7-Eleven.
    There are no red states or blue states.
    yawn yawn yawn

    Reply

  113. questions says:

    I don’t think W and M suffer from any kind of anti-Semitism. I think there are a couple of issues — one is simply that they are both really smart people and really smart people feel comfortable jumping disciplines, and the jump doesn’t seem that far as both of them work across the hall or down the hall from the Congress-watchers in their respective departments, so they really feel like they have a handle on things I’m not convinced that they do. The U of C and Harvard can do that to a body.
    (Note that when I jump across fields I have no training in, I put qualifiers all over the place. I don’t know the math behind game theory; I find game theory quite a convincing story at this point, but I always note my limitations. W and M don’t seem to do this. Though I read the original article when it came out, not the subsequent book, so maybe they’ve qualified their views????)
    Second, both are trained to look at security issues from a particular vantage point and a particular generational outlook. Neither of these necessarily does good service to their analysis. But nor does their work show real signs of anti-Semitism.
    Their issue is that by supporting ONLY Israel, we in the US alienate a large number of potentially useful people around the planet. There may be something to say for this view, actually.
    But in my opinion, the support of Israel has a fair amount of reason on its side. It works politically (domestically-speaking), it works in terms of a kind of dependability of alliance, it works strategically — in my view at any rate.
    I don’t think that truly radicalized Islam is going to be any more comfortable with the US if we dump Israel, so that’s a fools’ quest. I don’t think we’ll get peace or coexistence with the really militant factions, and until the militance runs its course, probably we’re better off where we are. I don’t think we CAUSED the militance absent a lot of other issues, so backing off is insufficient.
    The real issue that has to be thought through, and that W and M seem not to work on (??) is whether or not there really could be peace if we “dumped” Israel. We seem to be ok with the Saudis and the Egyptians (though the Saudis did seem to be involved with 9/11 at some level or other….) Is it really our alliance with Israel? Is it really the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians? Or are these excuses and the same people would come up with new excuses for the same violence? I tend to think the latter. I think the Palestinian situation is a place holder, not the casus belli.
    Because W and M have a particular security outlook, they seem to think that the support of Israel is unidimensional, is the nearly sole cause of our ME miseries, and needs to be stopped.
    I remain unconvinced. But I also am pretty damned sure there’s not a whit of anything anti-Semitic in either one. There’s nationalism, rational calculation, and a pretty deep misreading (in my view) of how Congress REALLY works. So “THELOBBY” stuff just seems silly to me.
    But now POA is exploding, if he’s reading this…. Because, of course, he’s a W and M devotee, for W and M speak POA’s truth.
    But none of this changes the fact that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians really violates humane norms and really needs major shifts somehow. I feel pretty strongly that game theory has useful insights, though I’d guess that many of the policy people working on this have some formal theory training. It’s pretty standard fare. So who knows.
    And now, POA is in a million little pieces, splattered across his computer and his study. Guess he’s not going in to work on Monday. Oh dear.

    Reply

  114. nadine says:

    “Israel—casting out its own children”
    Khalid, you want Israel to cast out all its children. You want the whole country to commit suicide. So why should this bother you?

    Reply

  115. ... says:

    really interesting reading about albert lee and his touring with the everly brothers.. musicians often do gigs in other contexts and it seems to surprise those who know them for only a certain way.. many “older” name groups seem to continue on forever.. i did a few gigs a few years ago with the legendary platters… the band has 3 different branches! we had the ink spots opening up for these shows too!!

    Reply

  116. nadine says:

    Hi, questions, sorry if I got you wrong, it did sound like you were at least semi-approving of W and M. They don’t deserve it, imo. I don’t think they innocently conjured up the spectre of an all encompassing “Israel Lobby” calling the shots in DC.
    Neither does MJ Rosenberg who has now joined J Street. Is he anti-Israel, or being a lunkhead, has he been duped by Ben Ami pro-Israel protestations? Hard to say. Whatever “alternative” J Street is pushing, it is well to the left of Meretz. “We’re so pro-Israel, we favor Israeli national suicide, and btw we love Iran” is my take on their real message. Like I said, would … defend them if they were really pro-Israel in the slightest?
    Hard to have a normal discussion where posters like OA are just shaking with hatred for Israel. Their pretense that they care about the Palestinians is just tiresome. It’s easy to point out far worse suffering by the Palestinians and a thousand other groups outside of Israel, and they could care less…but mention Israel and rage-meter zooms to the top level.

    Reply

  117. ... says:

    Israel—casting out its own children
    by Mya Guarnieri on October 24
    South Tel Aviv, home to foreign workers and African refugees, is in turmoil again after Interior Minister Eli Yishai recently indicated that children of illegal residents will be deported by the end of the school year.
    They won’t be going alone—their parents will be deported, too—but that’s beside the point. Many of the 1200 children now targeted for deportation were born and raised in Israel. Some are teenagers who hope to serve in the army and join the Jewish collective they already consider themselves a part of. These kids have Israeli names, celebrate the chagim (holidays) and are culturally Israeli in every way.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2009/10/israel%E2%80%94casting-out-its-own-children.html#more-10361

    Reply

  118. Outraged American says:

    Definitive proof that Iraq was not about oil: China & BP are
    getting the contracts with US companies being shut-out.
    All those people — more than a million Iraqis, Americans dead
    in the ground or dead in their wheelchairs, Brits ,Poles, et al,
    and ad nauseam, died for no reason, not even something as
    stupid as a non-renewable energy source.
    The second Iraq invasion was not about oil, it was for Israel.
    Again, we could invade Mexico or Canada and be home on he
    weekends.
    I’m thinking though, that we could have cut a deal with China in
    exchange for her not pulling our treasury bonds — we get
    China Iraq’s oil and she doesn’t call in our debts.
    Kind of makes sense, in a brutal, blood-soaked way. But then
    the Chinese have always been known for their…compassion. I
    saw it firsthand in Tibet. The Tibetans aren’t saints either,
    although the rural folk were very nice. Then ones who’d been
    traders for generations could out bargain anyone on the Lower
    East Side of Manhattan.
    ARTICLE
    Pickens says U.S. firms ‘entitled’ to Iraqi oil
    Thursday Oct. 22, 2009
    (excerpt)
    “Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told a Washington
    conference on Wednesday that his government was happy with
    the energy auction it held earlier this year. The auction was the
    first chance for foreign oil firms to compete for Iraqi oil since
    the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
    We’re pleased with scale and participation of the IOC
    (International Oil Companies) and the transparent and public
    competition,” Shahristani said at a U.S.-Iraq business and
    investment conference.
    BP and the Chinese oil company CNPC were the only firms to win
    a contract in Iraq’s bid round this summer, the first chance for
    foreign oil firms to compete for Iraqi oil since the U.S.-led
    invasion in 2003. Seven other oil and gas fields failed to attract
    bidders on the terms Iraq offered.”
    (whole article)
    http://tinyurl.com/yzlb7ge

    Reply

  119. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, David, its true, I consider myself fortunate to have heard Albert in such venues. I actually met Albert’s wife first, at a private school function. Both of our daughters were enrolled at the school. I casually asked Karen what her husband did for a living, and she answered “He’s Albert Lee”. To be honest, I’d never heard of him, not knowing that I had probably heard his guitar playing on a hundred albums, considering all of his studio work for various artists.
    A few weeks later, Karen handed me a couple of tickets, that were for the Everly Brothers. Believe it or not, “Dion” was also doing that gig. It was surreal, like traveling back in time to the fifties. Blew my mind, for I thought the Everlys were long gone. But nope, believe it or not, there they were on stage at the Greek Theatre. And the band was tight beyond belief. Albert was touring annually with the Everlys at that time, although the Everlys stopped touring shortly thereafter.
    It never ceases to amaze me how many artists Albert has played with. Dolly Pardon, Emmy Lou Harris, Rondstat, Clapton, McCartney, The Crickets, Heads Hands And Feet, Wyman, the list goes on and on with the whos who of both rock and country. And Albert’s little known albums are fantastic, “Speechless” being a favorite of mine. Also, Albert’s single, “Just Because” is one of my all time favorite songs, its on the 1993 Live at Montreux album, that I think was just a promo release. On the same album, “Seventeeth Summer” and “Highwayman” are great, too. Then, of course, one cannot forget his tune “Countryboy”, that has to be one of the longest hot licks ever.
    Once, during the early nineties, I had Albert’s guitars stacked on an old flatbed one ton I drove, due to one of the fires threatening Albert and Karen’s home. I also had his nieghbor’s old flathead forty-five Harley buried in the middle of the massive stack of guitars. Shoulda got a picture. I imagine that old flatbed chevy, with Albert’s guitars piled on it, was undoubtedly worth more than a new Bentley.

    Reply

  120. David says:

    “Great choice, Paul. He’s the king of hot licks, for sure. Whats more incredible, is the ease with which he plays. He can be absolutely cooking, yet show no strain. I was real fortunate, before I moved up here from the Malibu area, the Lee’s and I struck up a friendship, and I got to see Albert play quite often in some pretty intimate settings.”
    OK, POA, now I’m seriously jealous.

    Reply

  121. Outraged American says:

    Israel wants free battleships from Germany. For Zionists, the
    Jewish holocaust is just the gift that keeps on giving.
    And before I get jumped, Jeremy Ben Ami, one of the founders
    of J-Street has written about how his father worked with the
    Nazi Eichmann to move Jews to Palestine. How does that jive
    with the whole “Final Solution” scenario?
    Rescue and Resistance
    By Jeremy Ben-Ami
    http://www.forward.com/articles/8395/
    I also just posted an article about how 1/3 of Jewish holocaust
    survivors live below the poverty line in Israel. Israel took the
    reparation money and kept it.
    Israel asks Germany for two warships: report
    Berlin – Israel has asked for Germany to supply it with two
    warships free of charge, a German newspaper reported Friday.
    The Israeli state hopes Germany would help strengthen its
    defence forces by financing the costs for the two state-of-the-
    art corvettes.
    The pair would cost hundreds millions of euros, daily
    Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung said, citing government
    sources.
    The ships, which are hard to detect by radar, are reportedly to be
    built by Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss shipyard, while the weapons
    are to be provided by the US. Israel reportedly wanted a sea-
    based missile defence system.
    Germany has previously helped equip the Israeli navy, and
    delivered three submarines in the years 1999-2000.
    Two further submarines are currently being built in Kiel, costing
    at least 500 million euros apiece, of which Germany is to pay a
    third.
    http://tinyurl.com/yz7yw6n
    I by no means deny that the Jewish Holocaust happened,
    although I do question the death toll: it just needs to be placed
    into context with all the other holocausts of the 20th and now
    21st centuries, and not give Israel and her Zionist co-loonies (no
    offense to the Canadian dollar) the right to start WW III.

    Reply

  122. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Laughable. Now the racist lyin’ wretch is channeling questions.
    Birds of a feather…

    Reply

  123. questions says:

    Maybe you haven’t been around here long enough…. I have ranted against W and M over and over. I agree the definition of “THELOBBY” is overbroad. I think they have Congress completely wrong as they are IR people, not Amer. pol. people and Amer pol at this point is highly specialized, highly data-driven, and not at all what they have written about.
    So I’m not sure where you’re getting a pro-W and M from me.
    I’ll note that the same issue of the Nation that Mr. Mondo published his piece in has a piece on the following pages by Helena Cobban and there’s a quote from MJ Rosenberg, former AIPAC guy, saying that W and M have the Congress thing wrong. (p. 20 of the dead tree edition) THELOBBY didn’t destroy MCs a la Findley’s and McKinney’s claims…. At least, not according to MJ.
    I’m not a hawk in any direction. I don’t even know what the phrase “American interests” means and I think you have to know what that means in order to be a hawk about defending American interests.
    So please tell me what prompted this post. Thanks.

    Reply

  124. nadine says:

    questions, Walt and Meashimer present a very shoddy exercise by creating an undefined all-ecompassing “Israel Lobby” and then assigning enormous power to it. They say, “We use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israeli direction.”
    Well consider how easy and undefined one’s entry to the Lobby is. Are you pro Israel from anwhere on the political spectrum, left to right? In. Rabbi Lerner? In. AIPAC? In. Christians for Israel? In.
    Are you steering US policy in a direction Walt and Meashimer consider “pro-Israel” because you are a national security hawk, for reasons you consider related to the national security of the US with no consideration for Israel? No matter, you’re still in.
    This “Israel Lobby” now covers more than half the political spectrum and is not only loosely organized, it doesn’t exist as a single lobby at all. But if you are looking for a setup to claim that the Lobby is all-powerful, you’re doing great, because some part of this “Lobby” supports nearly all policy decisions that occur.
    It also raises very nasty and well worn archetypes of Jewish conspiracy, which can’t be refuted because there is no “there” there – this enormous virtual Lobby doesn’t have an actual record of lobbying to examine, just the claim that they run the US from behind the scenes.
    Was it intentional? Nobody can say. But if it walks like a duck…

    Reply

  125. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Palestinians Behind Bars with No Recourse to Justice
    By Christoph Schult
    Palestinian prisoners in Ketzion prison in southern Israel. A number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel are not told what they have been accused of.
    October 23, 2009
    Hundreds of Palestinians are kept behind bars in Israel without charges having been filed and with no access to a fair trial. Not even their lawyers are allowed to look at the evidence. Some governments in the West have expressed their concern, but the Israelis haven’t budged.
    The cell is only a few square meters in size and there are no windows. A mattress lies on the floor; a hole in the floor for prisoners’ needs, cynically called a “Turkish toilet” is next to it.
    Mohammed Othman has been held in Kishon Detention Center in northern Israel for almost a month. But neither he nor his lawyer knows exactly what he is being accused of. Othman is locked up as an administrative detainee — called Maazar Minhali in Hebrew — and is one of around 335 Palestinians currently in the same position.
    According to a report from the human rights organization B’Tselem, more than a third of such administrative detainees remain behind bars for longer than six months, a further third longer than a year. Eight percent stay locked up for at least two years. The Israeli army has confirmed the numbers, but emphasizes that they have been dropping in recent years.
    Allegedly Incriminating Evidence
    Nevertheless, the practice is problematic for a democracy such as Israel’s. Military judges decide if the detention will be prolonged — and for the most part they merely rubberstamp the motions filed by the military attorneys, who, for their part, received information from Shabak, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. The allegedly incriminating evidence is not shared with the detainees or with their legal representation.
    The material is secret and cannot be shared with the accused due to “security concerns,” an Israeli army spokesperson said. He acknowledged, however, that such military hearings “are without a doubt subject to error.” In other words, one cannot speak of a fair trial.
    The Salem military court in the northern part of the West Bank has already extended Mohammed Othman’s detention three times. According to Israeli law, it is possible to imprison a Palestinian for 90 days without charge. And a judge in a military court of appeal can extend that period of detention for another 90 days.
    The latest hearing in the Othman case was on Monday of this week. While Judge Eliahu Nimni did not give the intelligence agents the 23 days they had asked for to interrogate their prisoner, he did rule that the detention be extended by 10 days. After hearing Othman’s lawyer’s testimony, Judge Nimni said that these 10 days were necessary to clarify the “suspicions” against the Palestinian. Letting Othman go would be a security risk, he said.
    Terrible Conditions
    The organization Addameer arranged for Othman to have a lawyer represent him. The 33-year-old complained to his attorney about the terrible conditions in prison, and said he was interrogated for hours at a time. On one occasion, Oct. 15, he was grilled from 1:45 p.m. until 1:20 a.m. When Othman fell asleep on his chair out of exhaustion, his interrogators poured water over his head, he says.
    Othman still doesn’t know what he is being accused of. He told his lawyer that he has not been confronted with any concrete dates, names or events. What do they have on him? SPIEGEL ONLINE tried to find out from the domestic intelligence agency. “We cannot fulfil your request,” came the written reply. A telephone enquiry to ask how this lack of transparency could be compatible with the rule of law met with the reply by a spokeswoman: “It is all going according to law and order. Trust us!”
    A number of Western embassies have had similar experiences. Sweden, which currently holds the six-month rotating president of the European Union, wasn’t even able to obtain a reason for the arrest. Sweden and other countries filed a protest.
    The Israeli army stated that administrative arrests target terror suspects. But in the Othman case, that is highly doubtful. He was arrested on Sept. 22 as he attempted to travel over the Allenby Bridge from Jordan into the West Bank. He was returning from a visit to Norway where, among others, he met with Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen.
    ‘Doesn’t Respect Peaceful Protests’
    Several Western diplomats have vouched for his innocence. Othman is known for his strict policies of non-violence. In his hometown of Jayyous, he has organized protests against the construction of the security fence with which Israel is attempting to protect itself from terrorists. Othman and other activists have focused their protests against the route of the security fence, for which the Israelis have expropriated land that belongs to the Palestinians in Jayyous.
    The fact that the Israelis have nabbed a supporter of non-violent protests has enraged some Western diplomats. “Many Palestinians are interpreting this as a sign that Israel doesn’t even respect peaceful protests,” a foreign observer said.
    The government in Jerusalem has shrugged off the allegations. It isn’t even clear who has political responsibility for the policy of “administrative arrests.” After SPIEGEL ONLINE submitted questions to the Defense Ministry, it was referred to the prime minister’s office, which in turn told the reporter to ask the Justice Ministry, which then sent the reporter back to the Defense Ministry. In the end, the Defense Ministry provided no response.
    http://uruknet.com/index.php?p=m59260&hd=&size=1&l=e
    And we send these racist nazis billions of dollars a year, arm them, and protect them from being held accountable by the world community. Makes ya proud to be an American, don’t it?
    Whats this bullshit about Israel being the “only democracy in the Middle East”? Do democratic societies embrace facism and bigotry?

    Reply

  126. Paul Norheim says:

    I`m watching the Rythm Kings right now on You Tube.
    I love the unpretentious style of these old boys – plenty of skills and experience, but no ego trips;
    they are beyond that. You can see that they`re in it for the music, the pure joy of playing
    together.
    Great stuff – and you`re lucky to have seen some of these people jamming in small bars.
    I think I can understand Wyman: bars are better than the huge stadions of the monstrous rock
    factory called The Rolling Stones… And that`s of course also the reason why The Beatles stopped
    performing in 66.

    Reply

  127. Dan Kervick says:

    That was great, guys. That’s the best I’ve felt all week.

    Reply

  128. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Great choice, Paul. He’s the king of hot licks, for sure. Whats more incredible, is the ease with which he plays. He can be absolutely cooking, yet show no strain. I was real fortunate, before I moved up here from the Malibu area, the Lee’s and I struck up a friendship, and I got to see Albert play quite often in some pretty intimate settings. There was a small bar in Agoura, the “Aqoura Valley Inn”, that Albert and some of his friends would get together for jams. I heard some great stuff there. A couple of times Albert’s England band played, (“Hogan’s Heroes”), and the Biff Babies got together there a coupla times as well. Emmy Lou showed up occassionally, as did Rosie Flores. The list goes on and on. Great fun times with UNBELIEVABLE music.
    Check out the stuff Albert is currently doing with Bill Wyman, “Bill Wyman and the Rythym Kings”.
    Whats more, his daughter Alex shows every promise of being as exceptional a musician as Albert is. She definitely has his talent. as did Rosie Flores

    Reply

  129. PissedOffAmerican says:

    More on this latest spy scandal. And despite questions’ intense fogging on another thread, it appears Israel is right in the center of it.
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/10/did_alleged_spys_work_for_israeli_firm_raise_red.php#more
    Sibel’s allegations are looking more and more worth serious investigation.

    Reply

  130. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, for those of you aware of Albert Lee, who many would claim is the foremost country guitarist of the day, it might strike you as a bit ironic that his childhood background is the gypsy community in the UK.

    Reply

  131. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking about music and infiltration: I once saw a Russian
    Balalaika Band operating in a hotel in Kampala, Uganda. They
    clearly mastered not only Russian songs, but also some british
    pop hits from the 1960`s and 70`s.
    Food for thought, don`t you think?

    Reply

  132. Outraged American says:

    Israel’s been attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
    shindig for years. Boyfriend, you need to read up on Israel’s
    antics.
    Et tu, Israel? Yup.
    Here’s another one from Gilad Atzmon:
    Backstroking the Jewish Tomorrow
    rusalem titled “Facing Tomorrow”, Israel’s leading politicians
    shared their vision of Israel’s future.
    Following the recent agreement announced by the International
    Atomic Energy Agency’s chief, Mohammad ElBaradei regarding
    Iranian Uranium enrichment, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak
    called on the international community “to give Iran a deadline
    for halting its nuclear program and impose additional sanctions
    against Tehran”. For some reason the Israelis are convinced that
    Nuclear energy is a ‘Jew only property’. The Jewish state insists
    on keeping its neighbours in a state of nuclear panic alert.
    http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/backstroking-the-jewish-
    tomorrow-by-gilad-atzmon.html

    Reply

  133. Paul Norheim says:

    Wow, Outraged,
    a Dixieland Band in Shanghai!
    That must be the final proof – but of what, exactly?
    Well, in any case, I`m impressed. “They could play the music and they clearly mastered
    the Dixieland style.”
    Say no more…

    Reply

  134. Outraged American says:

    Israel’s new host appears to be China.
    Good, maybe Israel will finally leave us in peace. Although, as
    my Dad would say, “What a hope” because once Israel jumps or
    crawls to her new source of moolah, she’s going to convince
    China that we’re broke and can’t afford to buy her cheap shit and
    get China to pull our treasury bonds
    Will Israel care that the US economy collapses because of the
    endless war she propagandized our public and bribed and
    threatened our government into?
    No. Israel is not a schmaltzer — she could give a flying fuck
    about the US or any other country she leeches off of.
    Autumn in Shanghai (by Gilad Atzmon a non-Zionist Jew/
    famous saxophonist)
    (excerpt)
    Many Israelis and Jews are visiting Shanghai in the last two
    decades, as China and Shanghai are the future and the Israelis
    know it very well.
    In the breakfast at the hotel I could hear a lot of Hebrew. They
    were not Israeli tourists. They were actually ‘selling and buying’.
    They were meeting local businessmen already at 8.00 am. But it
    wasn’t just business. The Israeli infiltration is noticeable on every
    possible level.
    In the bus that picked us up to go to the festival’s stage, we
    found an Israeli flag hanging under the driver’s front mirror. A
    quick inquiry with the assistance of our English speaking stage
    manager revealed that the band to play before us was an Israeli
    Dixieland band. I may as well mention that I myself have lived in
    Britain for 15 years, I travel around the world with musicians
    from many different parts of the world and I have never seen a
    single musician leaving nationalist souvenirs anywhere. For
    Israeli artists, so it seems, leaving their Star of David is
    apparently a common practice.
    I soon realised that I knew those Israeli Dixieland musicians,
    they were actually my old friends from Israel. Some of them
    were my teachers and mentors others had been playing in my
    band. Two of them were very close friends of mine at the time.
    Needless to say that it was very exciting to meet them after so
    many years. In fact they were very good at what they were doing.
    They could play the music and they clearly mastered the
    Dixieland style. On stage I heard one of my old friends telling
    the Chinese audience, ‘here we are, 60 years for the People’s
    Republic of China, 61 years for the Jewish State and all we really
    want is peace.’ Such a simple message, we the Jews and you the
    Chinese all share one simple belief.
    The Israeli horn player may not have realised that a few hours
    earlier the People’s Republic of China voted in favor of adopting
    the Goldstone report at the Human Rights Council. As far as
    China is concerned, Israeli war crimes should be further
    investigated.
    However, it is common knowledge that most if not all Israeli art
    exports are sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Israeli
    artists are operating as messengers of the Zionist propaganda
    and Hasbara lies. It is a pretty simple concept: as the IDF drops
    White Phosphorous on Palestinians or starves others, Israeli
    artists travel the world spreading a 1960’s message of ‘Sex,
    Love and Peace’. Needless to say, the people around me didn’t
    really buy it.
    Zionism, as we learn from Herzl and his too many followers, is
    all about tracing the bond between the Jewish national interests
    and world dominating powers. China is no doubt the rising
    power; it is in fact a rising sensation. In just one week in China I
    saw for myself the intensity of the Israeli activity on the ground.
    As we all know, some naive peace activists around put all their
    cards on a possible growing rift between Israel and the USA.
    They forget that Israel can easily change its leagues as they did
    rather often in the past. Israel is always building relationships
    with rising powers. The Israelis have already invested some
    enormous energy on India and China.
    entire commentary
    http://tinyurl.com/ykz9ojt

    Reply

  135. samuelburke says:

    Gabriel Kolko, author of the article “Israel: A Stalemated Action of History” at Counterpunch.org, discusses post WWII immigration restrictions that encouraged many European Jews to settle in Israel, the limited tolerance of Israeli citizens toward unrelenting state militarism, how Jews are more culturally defined by nationality than religion and the end of the U.S.-dominated unipolar world.
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/10/22/gabriel-kolko-2/#
    MP3 here. (23:29)

    Reply

  136. WigWag says:

    Thanks to Laura Rozen at Politico we now have more information about James Jones’ travels on the Arab/Jewish rubber chicken circuit.
    A couple of weeks ago he addressed the American Task Force for Palestine Gala; last week he appeared by satellite at a AIPAC workshop in San Diego; this week he’s appearing at the J-Street Convention; On Monday night he’s giving the closing address to the Arab American Institute’s Leadership Summit.
    I did want to apologize for a mistake I made in one of my earlier comments where I suggested that General Jones might show up at at the Mahjong tournament in the Clubhouse at my condo two weeks from Sunday.
    I was mistaken.
    Actually the President’s National Securty Advisor has agreed to be a judge at the Condo talent show in December.
    We have all kinds of terrific acts signed up so the General should have a great time. One of my neighbors will be juggling and another is a ventriloquist. We also have several great impersonators including one who does a fabulous Barbara Streisand and another who does a great Rodney Dangerfield.
    As for me, I signed up to sing “Hatikvah.” Now that I know that General Jones is taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with us, I’m going to practice extra hard.
    And for those concerned that there are alot of Jews in my condo complex but not too many Arabs; don’t worry!
    After he leaves us, he’s headed down to South Miami to sign autograhps at Marhaba (5701 Sunset Drive) which is a real life Hookah Bar.
    Wow! The General’s travel schedule is almost as rough as Steve Clemons’.

    Reply

  137. bob h says:

    It is deeply regrettable that the politics of the US and Israel have become so intertwined.

    Reply

  138. JohnH says:

    I agree with Wigwag about Hagel, a man without the moral courage to vote for the positions he advocates publicly. It sounds like he is a perfect fit for the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a group consisting largely of the usual suspects from the energy security complex and finance industries.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_Intelligence_Advisory_Board

    Reply

  139. Outraged American says:

    Israel & the US engaging in a joint missile defense drill in Israel
    w/ Israel likely to keep the weapons! When Johnny never comes
    marching home again, Hurrah, Hurrah.
    THIS ARTICLE IS A MUST READ — why have I not seen Operation
    Juniper Cobra anywhere in the media beyond a paper out of
    Asia? And what kind of name is “Juniper Cobra” for a military
    exercise anyway? India must be involved…
    Damn you Bill Clinton, for many things, but especially for the
    1996 Telecommunications Act. Although media consolidation is
    always good because a free country rarely needs a free press.
    And repealing Glass-Stegall, and bombing Kosovo.
    OK, there are a lot of things to curse Clinton about… pardoning
    Marc Rich.. “Welfare to work” without providing adequate child
    care and transportation….now I’m getting tired and depressed
    remembering the Clinton administration.
    On the bright side, if I remember the eight years under the
    Cheney Reich I don’t get depressed, I get suicidal. Which would
    make Nadine and her co-settlers dance the horah till the
    nursing home take away their canes and shuts-off the music.
    One party is what we have, the sooner we realize it the sooner
    we act to change ballot access laws and get other viable parties.
    THE SPY WHO LOST HIS THUMB DRIVES (Nozette)
    (Asia Times — GREAT paper–via antiwar.com}
    (excerpt)
    Israel also just happens to be where the US is jointly conducting
    one of the largest and most sophisticated ballistic missile
    defense drills that the world has ever seen. This “Juniper Cobra”
    joint military exercise now underway has a twist. After the drill
    is over, a lot of the US anti-missile weaponry and associated
    equipment will very likely be left behind to help defend Israel in
    the event of an Iranian strike over the coming months.
    whole article
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KJ23Ak01.html
    It gets better — READ THE ARTICLE — Nozette might have given
    or sold Bharat our technology too. Bharat would be India for the
    three of you who aren’t fluent in kitchen Hindi.
    I’m telling you the WWF match of all time will be India versus
    Yisrael. Equally as unscrupulous, and Inja will win, because out
    of the one billion people there she easily has 5 or 6 million who
    can match the Ashkenazim in brain power.
    And then, India’s got another hundreds of millions to use in
    trench warfare, or just all sing Hindi filmi music at the top of
    their lungs, which will cause cats to screech and dogs to howl
    worldwide.
    At which point India will rule the world as Wig Wag portends, but
    by song (if one could call Hindi filmi music “song”, and not an
    incredibly accurate representation of a cat screeching under
    torture) and not bombs.
    Brava Bharat. I knew there was some reason to be proud of my
    mother country.

    Reply

  140. WigWag says:

    “In a surprisingly stumbly showing, the charismatic Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has decided to let an underling rather than himself catch the goings on of the J Street conference that is drawing more than 1,500 attendees and whose headliners include both Obama National Security Adviser and 4-star General Jim Jones as well as former Vietnam War veteran and US Senator Chuck Hagel who is said to be President Obama’s next chair of the President’s Federal Intelligence Advisory Board…”(Steve Clemons)
    I’m not sure why, but Steve seems to want to us to believe that Chuck Hagel’s putative appointment to the Federal Intelligence Advisory Board is a “plum” assignment; actually it’s just the opposite. If anything, it’s an insult.
    On September 21st the Huffington Post looked into the status of appointments to the Board and discovered that nine months into his Administration, Obama hadn’t appointed even one member. That tells you all you need to know about what a vital role the Board plays in “advising” the intelligence community. Both the Huffington Post and CQ Politics expressed delight that the seats had not been filled; hoping that it was a prelude to Obama actually eliminating the useless group altogether.
    One knowledgeable commentator (Jeff Stein) described it this way,
    “But with all the added “oversight” since 9/11, does this president really need to maintain yet another intelligence panel that has largely served as a rest home for Washington insiders and fat cats?”
    Presumably Senator Hagel is being appointed because of his status as a “Washington insider” rather than as a “fat cat” but either way his appointment as Chairman of this panel is certainly a long way to fall for someone whose ambitions once included Secretary of Defense or State or head of the CIA. The best analogy for the let-down Hagel must be feeling, is thinking you’ve won a five night stay at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City only to discover that what you’ve actually won is reservations at the broken down and dirty Motel 6 out by La Guardia Airport.
    I don’t know if the Federal Intelligence Advisory Board is a “rest home” but I do hope that his appointment prevents the Senator from getting too bored in between his trips back to Lincoln for Cornhusker football games. As for J-Street, according to Steve they got the new chairman of the “rest home” to speak at their conference.
    Wow, what a coup!
    I asked my granddaughter what she thought of the Tzipi Livni letter to J-Street. She’s a junior at Princeton and sometimes she helps me submit my comments to the Washington Note. My eyesight isn’t the greatest and when my vision is acting up I have trouble reading the captcha. When this occurs, I might e-mail a comment that I write to her and she posts it for me under my name. She is very kind to do this for a demented old grandparent.
    Anyway, she told me that the rejection letter Livni sent to J-Street reminded her of the rejection letter she got when she applied to Harvard a few years back (trust me, Harvard’s loss is Princeton’s gain). Although she couldn’t remember her rejection letter verbatim, she told me it went something like this:
    Dear
    On behalf of the trustees and fellows of Harvard College thank you for submitting your application to attend Harvard as an undergraduate this fall. We have reviewed your application carefully and found your academic credentials to be very impressive. Unfortunately we are not able to offer you a place in the freshman class at this time.
    As you surely understand, our application process is highly competitive. We are able to matriculate only a small percentage of the applicants seeking admission and thus we must reject many meritorious candidates who would otherwise be qualified to join us.
    We wish you the best of luck in securing a place in the other academic institutions you are applying to and with all of your future endeavors.
    Sincerely
    The point is that a rejection letter is a rejection letter. Dressing it up in nice words to make it polite really doesn’t change anything.
    Steve bemoans the fact that Oren is sending an “underling” to the J-Street convention instead of attending himself.
    But isn’t this exactly what Livni is doing?

    Reply

  141. questions says:

    Problems are:
    One man’s “reasonable criticism of Israel” is another man’s “viciously anti-Semitic bile.”
    I don’t think highly of Walt and Mearsheimer because I see Congress’s functioning in a very different light from what they see. But I don’t think they’re anti-Semitic or even, really, “anti-Israel” so much as they are foreign policy people whose calculations are different from mine and who actually think the phrase “national interest” is coherent (which, as I have said frequently, I don’t).
    I don’t think JStreet is wildly anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. I think the emphasis on negotiated settlements, confidence-building, refusing to be blind to the costs of the current impasse that are borne by the victims of the current impasse — none of this is done out of hate.
    If you remember, one of the lines taken by the Republicans about dems and terrorism early on was something along the lines of “We want to DEAL with the terrorists. The Dems want to “understand” them and be nice….” Well, if you don’t understand your adversaries and what motivates them, you’re in trouble. So the dems were right, but were painted as weak and “therapeutic.”
    In the same fashion, as JStreet pushes for alternative readings, the traditionalists push back on the security front.
    No one is really advocating unilateral Israeli disarmament in the face of an implacable foe. What’s really being advocated is confidence-building games — which means that before a subsequent step is taken, some confidence has actually been built and the two or more parties to the game have bound themselves in significant fashion to the rules of the game. One round is worked out before the next is undertaken. That’s what “confidence-building” means. It doesn’t mean “give away the store and then curl up and die.”
    So this letter really misreads the situation in an unfortunate way. It refuses the chance for new definitions, new goals, new readings of purpose, all of which are necessary. And it levels pointless charges at those who want to work on a forward-moving forward-looking game.
    Again, I realize the fear behind this, and I know that fear is the strongest motivation of all. Fear beats desire for Hobbes, and rightly so — which is why one does the confidence-building and institution-building work first. We create the Leviathan so that we can survive, thrive, build, enjoy, live commodiously. I and P need a leviathan of some sort.
    Remember, the status quo isn’t very kind to anyone. Could you imagine either your kids (if you have) or your young relatives (if you have) or the people around you all having all this fear and hatred welled up inside? Could anyone really want that much hatred around?

    Reply

  142. nadine says:

    Candidly Speaking: Why make a fuss about J Street?
    By Isi Leibler
    This weekend J Street is launching its first major convention at which it claims 160 members of Congress and a number of former Israeli left-wing politicians will participate. Only 18 months old, J Street already boasts of a $3 million budget which, while minuscule compared to AIPAC’s $70 million, is nevertheless impressive. It also receives glowing liberal media coverage, especially from The New York Times.
    American Jews take pride in being an open and pluralistic community. So why make a fuss about an organization, even if it does engage in activities that many would consider offensive? Besides, blackballing such a fringe group would lead to accusations of attempting to stifle freedom of expression and transform it into a martyr.
    However, the fact is that no one is seeking to deny freedom of expression to J Street or other groups hostile to Israel. The issue is whether organizations should be able to exploit the Jewish community as launching pads to campaign against the Jewish state while presenting themselves as mainstream Jews.
    Most Jews would concur that a red line should be drawn between legitimate criticism of Israel and concerted campaigns to pressure the US or any government to force the democratically elected government of Israel to make concessions which could imperil the lives of its citizens.
    J Street has crossed that red line even though it continuously recites the mantra that it is “pro-Israel,” insisting that while it “disagrees with certain Israeli government policies our bottom line is that we always support the State of Israel and its future as a democracy.”
    Or to quote executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami “we are trying to define what it means to be pro Israel… you don’t have to adopt the party line.”
    Yet J Street has the chutzpa to openly campaign against Israel on the grounds that it possesses a superior understanding of what is best for Israelis. It obscenely spins this by likening itself to parents who are obliged to employ “tough love” with children who are drug addicts. It is surely unconscionable for Jews resident in America to lobby their government to pressure Israelis, contrary to their will, to take steps that could have life and death implications.
    In fact, J Street’s policies are more extreme than even their radical Israeli counterparts. During the conflict with Hamas, which was endorsed by all Jewish political parties in the Knesset, J Street proclaimed that Israel’s “escalation in Gaza would be counterproductive” and was “disproportionate.” It also alluded to a moral equivalency between the policies of Israel and Hamas, stating that it found difficulty in distinguishing “between who is right and who is wrong” and “picking a side.”
    Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the US Reform movement (who inexplicably will now be participating in the J Street convention) then described J Street’s views as “deeply distressing, morally deficient and profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and appallingly naïve.”
    J Street also “opposes the role of force by Israel or the United States” against Iran and even canvassed Congress to block a bipartisan resolution calling for tougher sanctions. It also urges the US and Israel to negotiate with Hamas. Despite President Barack Obama having done so, J Street chief Ben-Ami refused to endorse Israel as a “Jewish state” relating to it as a “Jewish democratic home in the State of Israel.”
    J Street also raises the issue of dual loyalties which has been resurrected by anti-Semites in recent times. Ben-Ami expresses concern about “the impact of Israeli policies on our interests as Americans and Jews,” suggesting that continued “blind” support for Israel would lead to alienation from the American public which would conclude that Jews display greater loyalty to Israel than America.
    J Street raised similar sentiments when it defended Obama’s initial choice of Chas Freeman, the fiercely anti-Israeli former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to become chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Not coincidentally, Stephen Walt the coauthor of the viciously anti-Israeli The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy publicly hailed the emergence of J Street as “good news.”
    An even more ominous cause for concern was the recent disclosure that Arab and even pro Iranian elements were funding J Street. One donor and member of the organization’s finance committee, Genevieve Lynch, was a participant of the National Iranian American Council. Judith Barnett, a former registered agent for Saudi Arabia, is a donor and serves on the J Street Advisory Council. Nancy Dutton, until 2008 an attorney for the Saudi Arabian Embassy, donates to J Street’s political action committee which has been financing anti-Israeli congressional candidates.
    IN SHORT, J Street has established a virtually consistent track record of hostility against Israel. One has yet to see it release a single statement backing Israel on any substantive issue. It vigorously campaigns to pressure the US government to be “tough” and force Israel to make unilateral concessions. It financially supports the election of anti-Israeli congressmen and raises the specter of dual loyalties. It continuously defames mainstream Jewish organizations, depicting them as extremists. It receives financial support and praise from Arabs and foes of Israel. To suggest that such an organization is “pro-Israel” is utterly preposterous.
    Today Israel is undergoing a critical phase in its relationship with the US. The pressures on the Jewish state are not limited to calls to freeze settlements. In the aftermath of the toxic Goldstone report, Israelis travelling abroad may now face the threat of prosecution. Israel also faces the challenge of defining defensible borders and addressing the danger of a nuclear Iran. In these and other existential challenges, Israel is largely dependent on US support which J Street seeks to undermine.
    There is no doubt that the vast majority of committed Jews are outraged by a Jewish organization whose principal raison d’être is to lobby the US to act harshly against Israel. The limited support J Street enjoys comes principally from those uninvolved in Jewish life. Indeed, Ben-Ami even told The New York Times that his members are comprised primarily of intermarried youngsters who attend “Buddhist Seders.” That probably explains why J Street could endorse the staging of the contemporary anti-Semitic blood libel play Seven Jewish Children.
    No one seeks to deny Israeli bashers freedom of expression. But there is a need to make the public aware that J Street represents an insignificant group of uncommitted Jews. It must be exposed as hostile to Israel and marginalized from the Jewish community. If Americans understand this, J Street’s ability to undermine Israel will largely be neutralized.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256150020158&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Reply

  143. Kathleen says:

    I heard Netta and Maya (the two young women from Israel who are refuseniks) in a recent trip to D.C. Of course NPR did not interview them.
    They were bright,brave young women with well informed, and strong opinions. Hope some day they will both become leaders in Israel. They are off to a damn good start.
    But one thing that Netta said is that she thought J Street stances were just a softer version of Aipac’s. I think one word she chose was “problematic” That she thought that J Street was another way to stall real solutions and failed to see much of a difference between Aipac and J Street.
    Was interesting to hear what she had to say. Too bad that not one of the MSM outlets had these two young women on to demonstrate there are other views in Israel .
    Too bad they were not contacted to speak at the J Street event

    Reply

  144. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Congressmen Press Obama to Enforce Iran Sanctions
    Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts continue, in defiance of U.N. demands.
    A bipartisan slate of fifty House members urged President Obama on Tuesday to implement existing sanctions laws on Iran as a way of exerting further pressure on the regime to halt its illicit nuclear work, Agence France Presse reported. “Given Iran’s continued violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions ordering a halt to uranium enrichment activities – and the recent breach of the two-week deadline to inspect Iran’s underground facility at Qom – we urge you to consider full implementation of the ISA,” the letter, spearheaded by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Ron Klein (D-FL), stated, referring to the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1995. That bill authorizes the president to sanction entities investing more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector. The previous two administrations did not impose sanctions under the law.
    http://www.aipac.org/130.asp#30152
    And what about the sixty some-odd UN Resolutions this nazi-like racist state of Israel is in violation of? Why aren’t we imposing “crippling sanctions” on them?? The hypocricy of these pieces of shit in Congress is appalling.

    Reply

  145. Robert C. says:

    I am sorry Steve, but you sound naive. No major party in Israel is willing to make any concessions. Oslo?…just a diversion for the huge land grab (ethnic clensing) that took place in the West Bank during the 1990’s. Livni is simply reacting to some very mild trends among Jews in the US…that maybe they ALL don’t love Israel. In the end, it is just smoke and mirrors.
    I challenge you to name one serious Israeli concession. Not a propsed concession, a real concession. Gaza?…well, if you feel following international law is a concession, you are drinking the kool aid and in the bag for Israel.
    Sorry, but Livni is punking you.
    Robert C.

    Reply

  146. nadine says:

    Kathleen, Valerie Plame is old, old, old news. Matthews should get the memo. Now that Eric Holder is Attorney General, outing CIA agents is now business for the New York Times and is a matter for approval, not outrage.
    Sounds like a knee jerk reaction to Dick Cheney giving a speech. The very fact that Matthews felt the need to respond to a speech by an ex Vice President testifies to the fact that Cheney is persuasive. The last time the Obama administration (of whom Matthews is a leg-tingling member) clashed with Cheney on national security, the poll numbers moved – in Cheney’s direction.

    Reply

  147. Kathleen says:

    Watching Chris Matthews again (best thing I have heard in a while)
    “leading off tonight, Release the tapes! When will Dick Cheney release his testimony in the infamous Scooter Libby case? When will we know how he defended his chief of staffs criminal behavior in the outing of a CIA operative Valerie Wilson that led to Cheney’s top guys conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice? And according to the prosecutor left a dark cloud over Cheney’s own head”
    Chris Matthews “release the tapes”
    Steve all one of the best Hardball programs ever. Ron Reagan and Chris Matthews punch Frank Gaffney our over the dinner last night where Cheney and Libby were honored
    Cheney criticizes Obama on Afghanistan
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/
    “why did you give a felon a trophy”

    Reply

  148. Lane says:

    Nice post, Steve. I see that J Street is making the usual suspects nervous. That in itself is encouraging to me. It’s time opinion in this country was represented by a spectrum even vaguely representing the breadth of opinion in Israel itself.

    Reply

  149. David says:

    WigWag,
    You are overlooking the fact that it is a written endorsement of the existence and activities of J-Street. For any political figure, that is a major act. And the fact that it is a letter to J-Street puts it at the top of the list as far a public pronouncement is concerned. The only counter argument that I can imagine would be that because it was not an oral public statement, no video clip of it exists. And that she is not a participant does matter. But to dismiss it out of hand seems to me incorrect.

    Reply

  150. JohnH says:

    It strikes me that Nadine has all of the stridency of someone bitter at being driven out of her homeland, older Cuban expats in Miami being a good example. Maybe she has some accurate premonitions…

    Reply

  151. JamesL says:

    “JERUSALEM – Israel and Iran took part in an international conference on nuclear disarmament last month in Egypt — a gathering that is now prompting media reports the two foes held direct discussions that included an awkward exchange on whether the Jewish state has atomic weapons.
    “An Israeli official confirmed Thursday the two sides attended the conference but denied they talked face-to-face. Iran also denied any direct meetings, which would be unheard of between the arch enemies.
    “However, Australia’s The Age newspaper quoted participants as saying that the rivals had a “very robust exchange” during the two-day event in the Egyptian capital. Israel’s Haaretz daily also reported Thursday the two sides met.”
    (snip)
    “According to Haaretz, Israeli delegate Meirav Zafary-Odiz, chief for policy and arms control for the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said at the Cairo gathering that Israel would only be prepared to discuss a Mideast nuclear freeze at some future date when the region is at peace.
    “Iran’s representative, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, meanwhile, asked Zafary-Odiz point-blank if Israel has nuclear weapons, the paper said. It quoted eyewitnesses as saying she smiled but did not respond.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091022/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_iran
    So Israel won’t admit it has nukes. And it won’t discuss a freeze until there is Mideast peace. And there will never be peace because Israeli’s in their DNA believes peace with Israel’s neighbors is impossible. Round and round, going no-where.
    Is it going to take Iran to force Israel’s nukes into the public eye, when the US has never had the willpower to do it? If so the world would owe Iran a debt of gratitude.
    John H is correct: Obama needs to either get out front of trends, or get out of the way.

    Reply

  152. nadine says:

    Wigwag, the supposed “pro Israel”ness of J Street can be judged exactly by its supporters. When people who loathe Israel so much that they are rooting everyday for Hizbullah, Hamas and Iran to bomb it are praising J Street, nobody should be fooled.

    Reply

  153. JohnH says:

    Great article in The Nation by Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss: Operation Cast Lead was the second bookend to the 6 Day War.
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091102/horowitz_weiss
    Wigwag’s musings about St. Crispin are largely irrelevant. There is no battle being fought on October 25.
    However, critical indicators are all moving against the survival of Israel in its current form:
    – Arab rockets are increasing Arab deterrence and reducing Israel’s room for maneuver with impunity.
    – The Goldstone Report has mostly stripped Israel of any remaining moral authority. Some suggest that Western reaction to Goldstone will prevent Israel from repeating Operation Cast Lead. Hopefully this will be true.
    – Significant emigration of Israel’s best and brightest.
    – Emergence of J Street and the BDS movement (boycott, Divest and Sanction) as alternative voices to AIPAC. Being pro-Palestinian is becoming a litmus test of progressive engagement.
    It will probably still be a long slog (not a St. Crispin’s battle). But Israel has now lost its moral authority and the PR battle. Unfortunately, regimes can be at their absolute nastiest when confronted with their imminent demise. This may in part explain the shocking levels of Israeli brutality in Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2009).
    Obama needs to get out in front of these trends, and help the Israeli regime and the Palestinian people both end their agony and usher in a new era ASAP.

    Reply

  154. ... says:

    wigwag, i think your first paragraph is a fair read on the picture as well… it is amazing how much attention israel gets when it comes to usa foreign policy…
    as for steve’s accidental description or orens position, one could just as easily be confused over whether we are reading an israeli foreign policy blog sometimes…

    Reply

  155. WigWag says:

    I think J Street is fine, but Steve is being disingenuous when he suggests that Livni’s letter to Jeremy Ben-Ami represents anything important; after all, for all Steve’s spinning, the correspondence in question is essentially a rejection letter. In essence, Livni tells J-Street; best of luck but I can’t make time in my busy schedule to show up. The Conference has been scheduled for months; as leader of the opposition Livni’s calendar just isn’t that full. If she wanted to be there she would. Obviously she doesn’t. J-Street is understandably trying to make Livni’s letter sound like some sort of victory; only the gullible will be fooled.
    As for the other “headliners” Steve mentions in his post, Jim Jones has obviously been appointed by Obama to serve as the official Administration toastmaster on the Arab/Jewish rubber chicken circuit. Jones recently appeared at the American Task Force for Palestine gala and he’s scheduled to appear at the next AIPAC gala. I wouldn’t be surprised to see in show up at the upcoming Mahjong tournament in my Condo clubhouse two weeks from this Sunday.
    As for Chuck Hagel, this is hardly a major “get” for J-Street. Hagel is little more than an ex-Senator from a small Republican State. I know Steve loves him, but when it comes to Middle East policy no one considers him to be a major player and that won’t change even if he is appointed to Federal Intelligence Advisory Board. The Board is essentially meaningless; if Steve doesn’t believe it, he can ask his friend Rita Hauser. She served on the Board too. Of course hardly anyone has even heard of her.
    If Senator Kerry shows up that will be more impressive. He’s already declined to give the keynote address but supposedly he’s trying to clear his schedule so he can give a speech. More likely he’s debating with himself whether he has any of the heroism left that served him so well in Viet Nam. If he does, he will make an appearance; if he doesn’t, he will find an excuse (like Livni did).
    I think it’s particularly interesting that the J-Street conference commences on October 25th. October 25th is actually a very consequential day in world history; it’s Saint Crispin’s Day and it also happens to be the anniversary of two rather spectacular battles where a small force fought as an underdog against great odds by confronting a much larger army. In one of these battles, the underdog won an incredibly surprising victory; in the other the underdog suffered almost complete annihilation. It seems to me that this actually presents a rather provocative metaphor for the battle between J-Street and AIPAC.
    The Battle where the underdog emerged victorious was the Battle of Agincourt (October 25, 1415) where a vastly outnumbered British expeditionary force led by Henry V confronted the Dauphin’s Army. The highly unexpected victory inspired one of Shakespeare’s most stunning soliloquies, the famous St. Crispin’s Day speech.
    The second famous engagement took place during the Crimean War during the Battle of Balaklava. The specific engagement was the Charge of the Light Brigade (October 25, 1854). The British, (who were aligned with the French and Turks) faced off against a Russian force that outnumbered them at least 10 to 1. Ironically the charge was a mistake; the order to attack had been rescinded but the message was never received. The underdogs were routed in one of the worst defeats in European military history. Alfred Lord Tenneyson immortalized the Battle in his famous poem.
    So the October 25th commencement day of the J-Street Conference is steeped in history. Will J-Street’s effort resemble the British at Agincourt or the British on the killing fields of Balaklava?
    Time will tell.
    For those rooting for J-Street to succeed I attach the St. Crispan’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V; for those rooting for J-Street to fail I attach Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade.
    Here’s a small sample of each.
    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.
    This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he’ll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
    William Shakespeare, Henry V
    Half a league half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred:
    ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns’ he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
    Was there a man dismay’d ?
    Not tho’ the soldier knew
    Some one had blunder’d:
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do & die,
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley’d & thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.
    Flash’d all their sabres bare,
    Flash’d as they turn’d in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army while
    All the world wonder’d:
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro’ the line they broke;
    Cossack & Russian
    Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
    Shatter’d & sunder’d.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.
    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    While horse & hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.
    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wonder’d.
    Honour the charge they made!
    Honour the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!
    Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

    Reply

  156. L. N. Kanal says:

    Please stop referring to Israel as a democracy. It can not be both a Jewish State with discriminatory rights for Jews from all over while denying its Arab Muslim, Christian, etc., citizens equality to imprtant rights including land, water etc. If American Jews keep wanting a Jewish state in Israel, they may end up with many Americans wondering why Jews should expect to have equal rights in the US should not be discriminated against, like they used to be some years ago. WE would not wantin America what Jews want in Isreal for themselves. IT is time to stop the fiction that a bunch of European Jews can throw out the natives of Palestine from their homes and then parade as ademocracy.

    Reply

  157. Hank Essay says:

    Steve, you may want to correct your reference to “the charismatic US Ambassador to Israel Michael Oren.”
    As you know, Oren is the Israeli Ambassador to the US, charasmatic or otherwise.
    Otherwise, a great and insightful post.

    Reply

  158. Outraged American says:

    OCD? Israel REPEATEDLY uses our kids and our tax $ to kill
    anyone she doesn’t like, which is a form of OCD.
    A rather violent form of repetitious behavior, endless war as
    opposed to endless hand washing, but a form of OCD none the
    less.
    As a US taxpayer, I would prefer that the Israelis exhibited their
    OCD by lining up their soda cans (my father-in-law does that)
    or Windexing their light bulbs rather than use my money to
    engender endless blowback on my country.
    From the UK TIMES:
    June 1, 2008
    Tzipi Livni: terrorist-hunter secret of woman tipped to lead
    Israel
    The frontrunner to become Israel’s next prime minister, Tzipi
    Livni, was a Paris agent for Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence
    agency, in the early 1980s when it ran a series of missions to
    kill Palestinian terrorists in European capitals, according to
    former colleagues.
    They say Livni, now foreign minister, was on active service when
    Mamoun Meraish, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation
    Organisation, was shot dead by a Mossad hit squad in Athens
    on August 21, 1983. She was not directly involved in the killing,
    in which two young men on a motorcycle drew alongside
    Meraish’s car and opened fire, but her role in Mossad remains
    secret.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/67tkw6
    And we need to cut Steve a break because that boy leads a hard
    life. One minute he’s face-to-face with that “turrorist” Meshaal
    trying to remember the Arabic he learned in 4th grade, while
    also trying to figure out how to score a speedball to keep going.
    The next minute Steve’s teetering out the window of a French
    chateau after imbibing too much of the local, whatever they call
    wine in France, and screaming to his gods, “But at least I went
    after Bolton.”
    Poor Steve. Too many assholes to hang-out with, too little time.
    If it were me I’d carry an air rifle and do a Cheney on every
    single one of them. BTW Steve, it looks like my dog might
    survive. Thanks for caring.

    Reply

  159. ... says:

    from the above link
    “There is still much more to learn about Israel, to learn about my society and about the Israeli decision makers, who invent restrictions such as: Gazan students are not to study in a Palestinian university in the West Bank, some seventy kilometers away from their home. Another ban: children above the age of eighteen are not to visit their Palestinian parents in Gaza, if the parents are well and healthy. If the parents are dying, Israeli order-abiding officials would have allowed a visit. If the children are younger than eighteen, the visit would have been allowed, as well. But on the other hand, second-degree relatives are not allowed to visit dying or healthy siblings in Gaza. It is an intriguing philosophical question, not only journalistic. Think of it. What, for the Israeli system, is so disturbing about reasonably healthy fathers or mothers? What is so disturbing about a kid choosing and getting a better education? And these are but two in a long, long list of Israeli prohibitions.
    Also, when I write about the progressively decimated and fragmented Palestinian territory of the West Bank, it’s not just about people losing their family property and livelihood that I write. It’s not only about the shrinking opportunities of people in disconnected, crowded enclaves. It is in fact a story about the skills of Israeli architects. It is a way to learn about how Israeli on-the-ground planning contradicts official proclamations, a phenomenon which collectivizes the acts of all Israeli governments in the past as in the present.”

    Reply

  160. ... says:

    nternational Women’s Media Foundation Honors Israeli Journalist Amira Hass with 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award
    Amira Hass is a regular columnist with Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper and the only Israeli journalist to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. On Tuesday, Hass was awarded the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour described Hass as “one of the greatest truth-seekers of them all.” Hass joins us to talk about covering the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Goldstone report on the Israeli assault on Gaza, and the need to understand the issue in the context of military occupation.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/10/21/israeli_journalist_amira_hass

    Reply

  161. JohnH says:

    Not surprising the Livni would reach out to J Street. The war criminals responsible for Operation Cast Lead need all the friends they can get…

    Reply

  162. Zathras says:

    Before the commenters who act out their OCD on the Middle East go into overdrive, Steve Clemons might want to revise his post here to note that Michael Oren is the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, not the American Ambassador to Israel.

    Reply

  163. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Monopolies don’t like competition — and there is a concerted effort underway now by a giant political monopoly in the ‘friends of Israel arena’ to squelch alternative voices and players”
    Gee Steve, a couple of your regular posters deny there is such a powerful “political monopoly”. Considering the many doors in Washington that you pass through, one would think that if this “monopoly” is as impotent as they would have us believe, you would not offer such “conspiratorial” observations.
    And as Don points out, Israel’s leaders are fond of selling us utter horseshit, whether it be about settlement expansion, war crimes, or Iran’s nuclear program. Who can doubt, if queried, Livni would deny that war crimes were committed during Operation Cast Lead??? If she sends a patronizing letter to J Street, does it lessen the import of dumping White Phosphorous on civilian non-combatants, or escalating construction in the settlements, prefacing a sham “concession” on Israel’s part about expansion??

    Reply

  164. Outraged American says:

    Tipsy was hardcore during this latest strafing of the Gaza Strip.
    Newsweek described Kadima as “right-wing” and a “Likud
    offshoot” in February of this year.
    Newsweek
    Feb 14, 2009
    (excerpt)
    “Israel’s political spectrum is now dominated by three right-
    wing groups: Likud, Kadima (the Likud offshoot founded by Ariel
    Sharon) and Yisrael Beytenu, a party of Russian immigrants.”
    (whole article)
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/184765
    Tipsy was a Mossad operative too, which is probably a
    requirement for the job of Israeli PM.
    I know I’m not the brightest bulb, but how can a state be both
    Jewish and democratic?
    Must read article on how the Israel lobbies/ propaganda outfits
    like MEMRI are funded from Inter Press Service via antiwar.com:
    Pro-Israel Group’s Money Trail Veers Hard Right
    StandWithUs — an “organization that ensures that Israel’s side of
    the story is told” — has become increasingly aggressive in
    challenging the “pro-Israel” credentials of moderate Jewish-
    American groups, going so far as to suggest that receiving
    money from Arab donors and supporters of Human Rights Watch
    undermines a group’s commitment to Israel and peace.
    J Street — the “Pro-Israel and Pro-Peace” advocacy group —
    faced criticism last week for accepting contributions from
    donors who have been critical of Israeli government actions.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/yzqs7og
    Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, yet her representative called
    out Syria (unproven), Iran (non-existent) Iraq (where are those
    WMDs? Dancing on the graves of over a million people, that’s
    where) Please.
    The chutzpah, it’s killing me. Sheesh. Wonder if you can grow
    Afghan poppies under a grow light… Gotta do something to
    replace the endorphins lost by not swimming BECAUSE MY CITY
    IS BROKE DUE TO ENDLESS WAR.
    Questions and Paul are going to waddle in here at any minute. I
    was a competitive swimmer in college and high school. I don’t
    like small pools. I don’t get anywhere close to the workout in a
    backyard hole or some slimy, one step away from a disco,
    “health-club” pool.
    But that doesn’t bother Questions, because she appears to be
    Israel Uber Alles in a sly way, or Paul because, aside from the
    five Norwegians in Afghanistan, his entire country is basically
    out of War Biz.
    But again, there’s a thing called numbers and they sometimes
    relate to money, a finite resource unless you’re the Federal
    Reserve or Goldman Sachs.
    Money has been diverted from my city for war. That money
    could have been used to do all sorts of things, like provide poor
    kids with one meal a day, greedy little things, or even just
    functioning schools.
    Money is always better handled at a local level. Phoenix doesn’t
    have the same needs as say, Sioux Falls. But the people of
    Phoenix probably have a much better grasp of what Phoenix
    needs than the people of Sioux Falls do, and vice versa.
    For instance, Phoenix frequently needs snow plows and not
    pools in July. Sioux Falls probably needs outdoor, Olympic sized
    lap pools in January, and not snow plows.
    But neither city needs their kids being slaughtered in foreign
    misadventures for the benefit of an arrogant, narcissistic, crappy
    little theocracy.
    And when we give our money to the Feds, WAR is what happens.

    Reply

  165. Outraged American says:

    Tipsy was hardcore during this latest strafing of the Gaza Strip.
    Newsweek described Kadima as “right-wing” and a “Likud
    offshoot” in February of this year.
    Newsweek
    Feb 14, 2009
    (excerpt)
    “Israel’s political spectrum is now dominated by three right-
    wing groups: Likud, Kadima (the Likud offshoot founded by Ariel
    Sharon) and Yisrael Beytenu, a party of Russian immigrants.”
    (whole article)
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/184765
    I know I’m not the brightest bulb, but how can a state be both
    Jewish and democratic?
    Must read article on how the Israel lobbies/ propaganda outfits
    like MEMRI are funded from Inter Press Service via antiwar.com:
    Pro-Israel Group’s Money Trail Veers Hard Right
    StandWithUs — an “organization that ensures that Israel’s side of
    the story is told” — has become increasingly aggressive in
    challenging the “pro-Israel” credentials of moderate Jewish-
    American groups, going so far as to suggest that receiving
    money from Arab donors and supporters of Human Rights Watch
    undermines a group’s commitment to Israel and peace.
    J Street — the “Pro-Israel and Pro-Peace” advocacy group —
    faced criticism last week for accepting contributions from
    donors who have been critical of Israeli government actions.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/yzqs7og
    http://original.antiwar.com/eli-clifton/2009/10/21/pro-israel-
    groups-money-trail-veers-hard-right/
    Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, yet her representative called
    out Syria (unproven), Iran (non-existent) Iraq (where are those
    WMDs? Dancing on the graves of over a million people, that’s
    where) Please.
    The chutzpah, it’s killing me. Sheesh. Wonder if you can grow
    Afghan poppies under a grow light? Gotta do something to
    replace the endorphins lost by not swimming BECAUSE MY CITY
    IS BROKE DUE TO ENDLESS WAR.
    Questions and Paul are going to waddle in here at any minute. I
    was a competitive swimmer in college and high school. I don’t
    like small pools, I don’t get anywhere close to the workout in a
    backyard hole or some slimy, one step away from a disco,
    “health-club” pool.
    But that doesn’t bother Questions, because she appears to be
    Israel Uber Alles in a sly way, or Paul because, aside from the
    five Norwegians in Afghanistan, his entire country is basically
    out of War Biz.
    But again, there’s a thing called numbers and they sometimes
    relate to money, a finite resource unless you’re the Fed or
    Goldman Sachs.
    Money has been diverted from my city for war. That money
    could have been used to do all sorts of things.
    Money is always better handled on a local level. Phoenix doesn’t
    have the same needs as say Sioux Falls. But the people of
    Phoenix probably have a much better grasp of what Phoenix
    needs than the people of Sioux Falls do, and vice versa.
    For instance, Phoenix frequently needs snow plows and not
    pools in July. Sioux Falls probably needs outdoor, Olympic sized
    lap pools in January, and not snow plows.
    But neither cities need their kids being slaughtered in foreign
    misadventures for the benefit of an arrogant, narcissistic, crappy
    little theocracy.

    Reply

  166. DonS says:

    Yes, it’s a nice generic letter of support. Yet, as they say in 12-step circles one must not just “talk the talk” but “walk the walk” as well. (and who can argue that Israel is not addicted to right wing behavior?)
    In the Gaza run up and invasion, I believe Livni initially took a calculated moderate position but quickly fell into line with the hard line and backed the actual deed. Now what does that say about one’s principles? But then, I am painfully aware that virtually the whole US Congress rose up to endorse the usurper Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
    Isn’t one of the real problems in resolving I/P the plethora of high sounding talk that masks violent action, maybe even intentionally?
    Politicians, what are they really good for?

    Reply

  167. Paul Norheim says:

    “Iran and Israel hold secret nuclear talks in Cairo
    By Yossi Melman and News Agencies
    Last update – 14:28 22/10/2009
    A representative of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and a senior Iranian official met last month
    to discuss the chances of declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, Haaretz has learned. This is
    the first direct meeting between official representatives of the two states since the fall of the
    Shah in 1979.
    The Iranian Atomic Organization on Thursday denied that officials from Israel and Iran recently took
    part in the Cairo conference, calling the report “sheer lies.”
    “There has been no meeting in Cairo,” the IAEO spokesman told the website of iRAN’S state television.
    Haaretz learned that Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control for the Israel Atomic
    Energy Commission, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy
    Agency (IAEA), met several times over September 29 and 30 and, together with representatives of other
    countries, conversed, presented questions and gave replies.
    The meeting was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo under the auspices of the International
    Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Also attending were representatives of the
    Arab League, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,
    along with European and American officials.
    The ICNND was set up by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and it is chaired by a former foreign
    minister of Australia, Gareth Evans, and a former foreign minister of Japan, Yoriko Kawaguchi. Former
    foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami sits on the advisory committee of the organization.
    The meetings were held behind closed doors, and all participants committed to complete secrecy, to
    allow a full and frank discussion. However, the fact of the meeting was leaked by Australian sources
    to the Australian daily The Age.
    The Israel Atomic Energy Commission confirmed that such a meeting did take place but refused to
    comment.
    The exchanges between the Iranian and Israeli representatives took place within three panel sessions,
    each dealing with one of the issues with which the ICNND is concerned – declaring the Middle East a
    nuclear-free zone, preventing nuclear proliferation in the region and matters of nuclear energy for
    peaceful purposes. The two did not meet or shake hands outside the sessions. In one of the
    discussions, Soltanieh directly asked Zafary-Odiz – and eyewitnesses say he spoke in an impassioned
    voice, “Do you or do you not have nuclear weapons?” Zafary-Odiz smiled, but did not respond.
    During the meetings, Zafary-Odiz explained the Israeli policy of being willing, in principle, to
    discuss the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone. She also detailed Israel’s unique strategic
    situation, saying regional security must be strengthened, security arrangements must be agreed upon
    and a peace agreement must be sealed before Israel would feel at liberty to discuss this topic.
    Zafary-Odiz said Israel lived in a complex geopolitical reality, noting that in three decades, four
    countries in the region broke their commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – Iraq, Iran,
    Libya and Syria. She said Israel takes a responsible approach to the nuclear issue as a whole, and
    that the far horizon of its vision did include the possibility of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle
    East, even if the chances for this were slim.
    Soltanieh defended his country’s policy, and said Iran was not striving for nuclear armament and did
    not endanger Israel. He said Israel did not understand the mentality and ideology of the Tehran
    regime. He said the regime did not oppose or hate Jews, but was merely politically opposed to
    Zionism. He said Iran’s growing arsenal of missiles was for defensive, not offensive, purposes.
    Israel and Iran have refrained from all direct and indirect diplomatic contact since 1979.”
    continues… http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1122798.html

    Reply

  168. GDriver says:

    The reality is that ISRAEL is arguably neither
    Jewish nor democratic.
    October 22, 2009
    http://bit.ly/kUNub

    Reply

  169. nadine says:

    You are one avid J Street fan, Khalid. Please tell us, which part of their “pro-Israel” platform do you support? I can’t wait to hear.
    Tzipi Livni has a wildly inflated ego and no political principles whatsoever. She was the perfect second fiddle to a crook like Olmert. Come to think of it, she’s a good match for J Street.

    Reply

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