National Journal Blog, 13 March, 2009

NJlogo The NJ decided this week to hold a conversation on the avenues open for communication on the subject of US/Israeli relations. 

Unfortunately, the early comments on this from some supporters of Israel make it clear that any attempt to speak freely on this subject will subject commenters to charges of anti-Semitism.  Boundaries are specified in their comments.   Rules are laid down for the maintenance of a muffled zone on this subject,  It is clear from these comments that the question is being used as a trap laid for any who wander into it.

I had thought not to walk into the trap, but so many reject that idea that I have changed my position.  We will compile opinions on the issue of the NJ weekly subject and after a couple of days I will post a link at that site to our discussion of the question as well as my own opinions.  pl

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55 Responses to National Journal Blog, 13 March, 2009

  1. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Two prolix idiots. Two straight shooters. The first pair obfuscates with copious piles of noisome bullshit. The second duo gets right down to it, and says what they came to say. Their respective methodologies are revelatory, and in my book, probative regarding veracity.
    For a glimmer of hope, I offer this link to TomDispatch:
    It ain’t over yet. Bullies just lo-o-ove to try and keep you backin’ up. But that model comes a cropper when they encounter a refusal to be bullied.

  2. J says:

    That unfortunately is what the Zionist are counting on, that you will become ‘tired’ of being called anti-semite. They do the same to those Jews who dare to say that Zionism is NOT Judiasm and that Zionism and the Zionist State of Israel is an anathema to the Holy Scriptures. Zionism is full of hate, meanness, and will stoop to any depth to achieve their nefariousness, no matter how many they have to hurt/maim/kill in the process. Non-Jew or Jew, to them it doesn’t matter, only that their objectives be achieved, which when distilled into its purest form is — power, absolute power over everyone and everything. No dissent tolerated, no discussion tolerated, no medium tolerated. Reminds one of what was once called Totalitarianism distilled to its purest form.

  3. Gene says:

    You are not alone! It’s happening all over the Western world: FranceCanadaUnited Kingdom.
    Did I mention Canada?

  4. different clue says:

    Getting name-called is surely no fun, but perhaps if one does not even bother responding to the namecallers; one’s energy and time remains conserved. Jersey Jeffersonian may be correct. If venues like the
    National Journal offer you and/or others a place to state all the not-off-limits-anymore contours of the debate; more and more people will show up to learn the contours and join the debate on those terms. And they can ignore and non-respond to the namecallers. The visiting reader will be able to weigh and assess the value and motivations of the various contributors.
    It might even lure out of terrified hiding the Lesser Israel zionists, the J Street Projectors, and so forth; and embolden them to state their case and hold up
    their end of the power struggle with the Greater Israel zionextremists.
    And the reader can thereby decide over time if the distinction between Lesser Israel zionist and Greater Israel zionextremist
    is real or bogus.

  5. johnf says:

    All not necessarily going well in Israeli/American relations. Israeli chief of Staff Brigadier General Ashkenazi cuts short his visit to Washington, while denying there was any problem. They’d been talking about Iran, then he upped sticks and flew home.,2506,L-3687471,00.html

  6. johnf says:

    Also, one cannot wait for the first meeting between Clinton and Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Lieberman. The body language will be subtle. Worthy of the Three Stooges at their most subtle.

  7. curious says:

    more and more people thinks the wackos aren’t helping.
    Yesterday’s post focused on the change in the White House. This article in Ha’aretz by Gershom Gorenberg, discusses change on Capital Hill:
    Congress’ attitude toward the Arab-Israeli conflict has begun to shift. The conservative line of AIPAC, the veteran pro-Israel lobby, is no longer the only understanding of how to support Israel. The principle of two states for two peoples has become conventional wisdom on the Hill, as someone with a close knowledge of Congressional discussions of foreign policy recently told me. That’s the same principle that Netanyahu refused to endorse during his talks with Tzipi Livni.

  8. Medicine Man says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I won’t lob inanities at you or recite things you doubtlessly already know in this missive, but the fact remains that fondest desire of the Likudniks in Washington is to slander and intimidate all opponents of the Israel right wing into silence. Whatever your motives are, you have essentially given them what they want by retiring from these discussions.
    I can’t say that I blame you. The preface that National Journal put before that panel very clearly shows how much discussion of Mr. Freeman’s assailants they will tolerate. The effort to frame the discussion is brazen and unsurprising. Were you to participate and speak your mind, I’m sure the response of the editors at the National Journal would be equally unsurprising. A little thinking about this and the source of your fatigue grows apparent.
    Regardless, I worry when I see a man of your background retire from this spectacle. I’m not sure if I would have the moxie to face these people if I had your microphone, but I do believe that the fledgling meme Charles Freeman hatched in his recent rebuttal(s) deserves to be propagated. The meme I speak of is the inaccuracy of the term “Israel Lobby”. Freeman is entirely correct when he calls his attackers the [Avigdor] Lieberman lobby. They aren’t an “Israel” lobby any more than I’m the Dhali Lama. They represent a branch of the Israel polity that is not representative of the American Jewry or a plurality of the Israel public. Any successful push back against this idea that examination of the American/Israeli relationship is equivalent to hostility to Israel is a small victory.
    I hope you will reconsider your decision not to contribute to this latest panel. I do respect your decision if you decide to let the merry-go-round turn without you for awhile though.

  9. mo says:

    That the Israeli lobby can decide who the President can or cannot appoint is horrendous.
    That they can get a warrior such as yourself to yield by attrition means that not only have they won, they have won big.
    There will be jubilation in their ranks today.

  10. FP says:

    You cannot and must not back down. The injustices will only continue, unless more people raise their voices to tell the thugs themselves to sit down and shut up. For decades, the opposite has been true.
    Here’s a timely commentary for you to read, sir.,0,5701821,print.story

  11. somebody says:

    I do not think this discussion is helpful at all, to name it “Israel” lobby, connect the lobby with Judaism and scapegoat it for desastrous US financial and military policy without analyzing the interests of the US military-industrial complex of which you, my dear Colonel are part of, comes down to anti-Jew prejudice in my code of ethics, too.
    I would start with Reaganomics and the US “win” of the Cold War.

  12. PirateLaddie says:

    It’s got to be tough, being a hard-core zionist these days. As a secularist, you can’t rely on eventual victory thru the flaming sword of G*d, and your favorite pack horse may be in the early stages of terminal decline. They must wonder how long the poor beastie can continue to carry the moral and ideological load, all the while the demographic tide is shifting against them. Well, at least they lasted longer than the Thousand Year Reich.

  13. steve says:

    Dang. You need to do what is best for you and your family, but I will miss your thoughts. Yours is a credible voice, not just that of some pundit, so I hope you decide to resume commentary, but not if it is harmful to you. As I only discovered your blog a year or so ago (thinks Ford), have you published your general thoughts on “the Lobby” somewhere? I an overview?

  14. Col. Lang, my vote is for you to speak your mind plainly and boldly as usual. If the readers at NatJournal can’t take it that is their problem.
    Is Edward Tivnan an anti-Semite for writing “The Lobby. Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987)???
    Is J. J. Goldberg an anti-Semite for writing his “Jewish Power. Inside the American Jewish Establishment” (Readinbg, MA: Addision Wesley,1996)?
    Or how about Israel Shahak and my friend Norton Mezvinsky for their “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” (London:Pluto,1999)?

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    Post your thoughts on the issue of US/Israeli communications here and I will link to thisdiscussion on the NJ site. I will also post my own opinion. pl

  16. David Habakkuk says:

    An eventual effect of this kind of fatuous accusation is likely to be to destroy the force of the taboo on anti-Semitism, something which it is enormously in the interests of Jews everywhere to maintain. As Anatol Lieven put it, back in 2003:
    ‘Its overuse, whether from cynicism or hysterical conviction, runs the risk of producing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sooner or later, what should be a charge of crushing seriousness and moral weight will become a mere marketplace insult, and will produce in its targets just a shrug of the shoulders.’

  17. Will says:

    it does no harm to sit out a debate occassionaly lest one be typecast.
    On the other hand, as Tina Fey playing Palin made perfectly clear on SNL, one can answer the question he wants not the one asked.
    Whis is Michael Scheuer did. He shrugged off the Journal’s metes and bounds as well as the term “Israeli Lobby” and used his own term “Israeli Firsters” and proceeded to hurl some bombs all around. Michael is the former CIA head of “Alec Station,” the unit in charge of UBL.
    In fact one of his books was recommended by UBL as offering a good explanation why Al Ka?eda fights!
    From the Nat Sec Journal
    “This is a good question, but the discussion will be feckless if it avoids what the moderator refers to as intimations that may be “ugly.” Well, friends, ugly is here and it has been here for decades. There is indeed an identifiable fifth column of pro-Israel U.S. citizens — I have described them here and elsewhere as Israel-Firsters — who have consciously made Israel’s survival and protection their first priority, and who see worth in America only to the extent that its resources and manpower can be exploited to protect and further the interests of Israel in its religious war-to-the-death with the Arabs. These are disloyal citizens in much the same sense that the Civil War’s disloyal northern “Copperheads” sought to help the Confederates destroy the Union.”
    Read his Wiki bio- short but incendiary.

  18. Cieran says:

    I think our host is showing signs of the latest and most important development in US/Israeli relations, that of Semite Fatigue, or SF.
    SF occurs when rational and intelligent people tire of listening to the vapid special pleading that characterizes the US voices of the Lieberman Lobby, and choose to remove themselves from the resulting discussions.
    In this case, the big loser is the National Journal, which is the poorer because its ill-considered rules for discourse preclude a candid discussion of the problem at hand. The last thing any periodical publication needs in this economic climate is fewer readers, but that’s what the Journal will get for its efforts at stifling discourse.
    Americans are beginning to show widespread symptoms of Semite Fatigue, and that epidemic of SF will cause serious problems for Israeli interests in the long term.
    I have to admit that I’m showing such symptoms myself, in that lately (e.g., post-Gaza), whenever I read anything written by the current crop of Israeli apologists, their blatant exceptionalist pro-Israel/anti-everything-else bias causes one visceral reaction in my body politic, namely an irresistible urge to ask this fundamental question:
    … so what part of “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” didn’t you understand?

  19. Bill W, NH, USA says:

    If you are critical of Israeli policy you are an anti-Semite or, in the case of Jewish people being critical – you are a self-hating Jew. If you are a Ron Paul supporter, then it’s Paultard. If Palestinian, you are a less than human animal. On other sites where I’ve posted I’ve been called both an anti-Semite and a Paultard, amongst other things. All you can do is to respond by saying that name-calling is a childish endeavor and point out that there’s no need to debate with children and move back on to the truth.

  20. J says:
    NLG Members in Gaza Document Executions of Civilians, Blocking of Humanitarian Aid, and Destruction of Civil Property
    No matter how the Zionist State Of Israel tries to change the subject (charges of Antisemitism, self-hating Jew, etc.), it’s all about their inhumanity to their fellow man and their Zionist quest for Totalitarianism rule.

  21. Leanderthal says:

    Here’s my two cents for your evaluation and consideration. I think we need to fight back.
    It’s much too easy to forget events that have tragic consequences when the news is full of the newest and latest examples to disturb us. But what the hard line Israel-Centric Lobby did to Charles Freeman should not be so easily relegated to old news.
    Here is Glenn Greenwald’s important expose’ on what happened to Charles Freeman at the hands of what he calls the “Israel-Centric” mob, and even more importantly how that attack bodes ill for the U.S. and it’s foreign policy, especially with respect to the Middle East.
    Anyone who’s even only slightly concerned that to dare to question any of Israel’s actions disqualifies one from even appointed positions in American government, should read this in it’s entirety, and also read Roger Cohen’s most recent columns on Iran, including today’s (3/16/09) column, in the New York Times.
    The Israel Policy Forum, including the writings of M.J. Rosenberg, is also an important source of moderate and reasonable views and information about Israel and its relationship with the U.S.. Mr. Rosenberg is disturbed that the right wing Israeli point of view gets more attention than the moderate view in the MSM, and that Congress seems regularly to side with right wing, AIPAC backed views as well.
    The Israel Lobby, that which backs the hard line Likud party, is a powerful cabal, and it’s actions need to be exposed for what they are, a dangerous impingement by a foreign government on American policy.
    The scurrilous attack on Charles Freeman is just the latest, but arguably the most scandalous,treatment of any who have had the guts to stand up to those who hold Israel blameless in all things.
    I recommend consulting the writings of Roger Cohen, Glenn Greenwald and M.J. Rosenberg, three who brave the fury of the Right Wing faction in Israeli and American politics.
    Peace in the Middle East, if it were possible even given the most objective of approaches, is impossible so long as Israel can continue to tie the hands of the American government in formulating open handed policy in the region. Hard line Likud Israel and it’s Israel-Centric American Jews and sympathizers are keeping the American fist clenched tight, in spite of Obama’s ofter to be open handed if those who oppose Israel will unclench their fists.
    This is an irony with tragic consequences.
    Leanderthal, Lighthouse Keeper

  22. Clearly the pro-Israeli elements in the US are driven by fear and “Never Again.” This is normal for intelligent and informed people. But the real protection of Israel and its people is not to prohibit free and open discussion. In a democracy (Republic) the facts cannot be hidden forever. The interpretation of those facts will be spun in every which direction. But what has really happened is that it is not debate now that is being censored but facts. That indicates to me an approach and death spiral for all of Israel and its people. It must be willing to withstand the barbs of those that interpret the facts differently than perhaps they would wish. What seem to be facts may not be but it is clear that financial and military props for Israeli are now sacrosanct in the US polity and even question the correctness of those props is discouraged. Also no Israeli action can be criticized by well-meaning people. NO country is always right. Look at US history since WWII and no one who is honest can conclude the the policy should be “My Country Right or Wrong.” Hope your commenting and debate continues. Once debate ends watch out because then those who really would like “Never AGain” to be replaced by “Once More But Better” to really come into their own. Majorities can be abusive to minorities, in Israel or the US, so then it is important that limitations on the majority such as legal civil rights and liberties, and open debate not be limited.

  23. Fred says:

    “That Obama permitted Freeman to step down so quickly and easily…” That is certainly not my take on the ambassador’s withdrawal of his name from consideration.
    As for Mr. Goure’s appologies to Captain Renault, I seem to remember the good captain packeting his winnings…

  24. par4 says:

    Call me anything but late for dinner.An expansionist,militaristic Israel is not working.They are going to have to get back inside their recognized borders and the Palastinians have to renounce violence to get an internationaly recognized state.

  25. ked says:

    Along with the LA Times article that FP references, I found Gelb’s column; to be instructive on the dynamics of “nationalist” lobbies.
    Light clarifies. I suspect the Zionist lobby is nearing their high-water mark with this little victory. Their incapacity for self-critique or flexability, coupled with faithful certainty & some considerable past success renders them blind to a turning point. Rather, they retreat to an ever-more-hardened position even as the untenability of that course becomes manifest.
    I hope you don’t retire from this particular fray – our ME policy crys for constructive critique – now more than ever. However, it is St. Patrick’s Day, so take a break (& have a Guinness… or 2… &/or a Jameson’s… or 2) & (if I may be so bold) afterwards take some more time to reflect upon it all at leisure (well, not The Troubles, that is too much to contemplate in parallel). Slainte!

  26. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Question Posed by NJ: How to Talk About Israel?
    Answer Offered by NJ: With Rational Discussion that Leads to Consensus
    NJ Premise: Charles Freeman’s position is not rational and therefore his or similar ideas could not contribute to a possible consensus on US policy towards Israel.
    As you rightly have pointed out the question as posed by the NJ is a kind of non-sequitur. Although they expect that the nature of the discussion to be offered by invited discussants will be directed to a “rational discussion and a possible consensus” on US policy towards Israel, the discussion is to be limited to arguments that exclude those made by Charles Freeman.
    I thought Irving Janis years ago pointed out the negative consequences of ‘group think’ on making quality decisions. That current day ‘thinkers’ might continue the practice is not surprising. That they might not be aware of what they are doing is also not surprising. The alternative that they are doing it deliberately in order to restrict the kind of information that flows into the decision-making process is a different kettle of fish. In either case, someone needs to call them out.
    Charles Freeman has successfully identified that there are people out there, now including the National Journal, who view his arguments about how to talk to Israel as out of bounds. If, however, we are going to produce the best answer to the question how can we do so if the discussion has a gatekeeper?
    Albert Einstein just had a birthday (130). In reading about him, I was reminded of the struggle Hitler Germany had in reframing the science of nuclear physics so as to use Einstein’s ideas without giving him credit for them. They really had trouble keeping their facts straight.
    Regardless, I’m glad you’ve decided to return to the fray.

  27. 505th PIR says:

    Zionists pursuing a race state and its ends. A bottomless ideological pit that the world dealt with in the 30’s/40’s. Considering history, their actions are tragically ironic. Different shades of the same monstor. They havn’t gotten to industrial scale murder yet, but have matched the other group in too many ways to give anyone comfort.
    Sadly, the overwhelming amount of decent, hard-working Jews and the rich theological and cultural heritage that is their historical birthright, get’s painted with the brush of Zionism. Like those citizens who ultimately stood up to McCarthyism, it is going to be largely up to non-Zionist Jews to stand up to these bullies.

  28. This is an interesting questtion. I think it must first be addressed by examining terms. Since the “anti-semitic” epithet is likely to be thrown around, it ought to be defined. I’ve seen and heard it used to describe everybody from Adolph Eichmann and yahoos who write rude slogans on the walls of synagogues to Rachel Corrie and the British lad who was drilled through the head while trying to shepherd small children home from school in Gaza. My point is that it’s used so ubiquitously that it has become meaningless.
    “Israel Lobby”, the term is one that cannot be ignored in any discussion of American-Israeli relations. The political, bureaucratic, and propaganda resources of the lobby are invariably and successfully brought to bear on any matter deemed to be important by the Israeli government. So, a discussion of relations cannot be honest without defining and identifying how it has steered American policy in regard to the Levant and, indeed, the entire Middle East over decades.
    Finally, a couple of basic questions might get the ball rolling. What are America’s interests and, therefor, strategic goals in that part of the world? And, has unconditional support of Israel contibuted or detracted from the achievement of those goals.

  29. JohnH says:

    Anti-Semite? Anti-Schemite! The Likudites have debased the term, rendering it meaningless. By crying ‘wolf’ repeatedly, fewer and fewer take them seriously every day.
    Why not respond in kind? After all, they’re just a bunch of latter day Joe McCarthys who bully others into denying their opponents jobs. (Ironically, many of the original victims of McCarthyism were Jews.)

  30. jedermann says:

    There is a strange similarity in the ease with which any honest and rational consideration of the state of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel can be sabotaged by throwing a few verbal incendiaries and the ease with which any progress at making a peace between Israel and the Palestinians can be destroyed with a little bloodletting. Israelis and Palestinians have been shaped by their struggle with one another and it would appear that they tend to deal with the rest of the world in the same way.

  31. Fnord says:

    As an old leftwing antinazi from Norway who used to travel in Germany and Sweden with AFA (Anti Fascistisk Aksjon) and have seen the real anti-semites, who now are fast becoming anti-muslims, the use of the term in the mouth of the hardcore zionists seems preposterous. It means that the term means nothing anymore to the internet-audience, and it has some very precise connotations originally. (I have met leftwing antisemites/antijews, in other words, racists now and then. They do exist, but in very few cases.)
    The way to talk about the Israeli problem, is in measured tones and with solid use of facts. And walk through the bullets aimed at you, eyes fixed 30 feet ahead.

  32. Charles I says:

    Gene, the debate is shifting Canada! The Toronto Star may have refused to publish the statement of “Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel’, but they published my letter below and its been on the web for more than a week.
    Re: Labels only obscure Mideast realities, Opinion March 10
    Decades of occupation. Colonial land theft. Extra-judicial murder. Kidnapping and illegal detention of thousands of men, women, children and duly elected legislators. Blockade. Starvation. All are war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and international law, not to mention activities Israel has undertaken in writing to end time and time again, over decades of relentless expansion under cover of endless “peace talks.” Pathological Zionism that is inexorably leading to the destruction of Israel.
    These aren’t labels. They are cold hard facts, long obscured by Israel, its enablers, protectors, spinners and apologists, but now revealed by the light of the latest criminal assault on Gaza.
    Charles P. Degutis, LLB, Mississauga

  33. Charles I says:

    This is the time for one and all to take the debate as far and wide as you can. Don’t stand down. Wear any slur of antisemitism with the pride that you didn’t wait until they came for YOU before you spoke up for the other. Stand your ground with Jewish interlocutors and demonstrate that ad hominem argument is the bane of Israel and fatal flaw in their argument: If they do not address the sticks and stones, names WILL only redound to hurt THEM
    Write all your politicians, hard copies, not email. Bore your friends. Ask them if they’d be as insensate to your arguments if back in the day the British Army had, as of this Saint Patrick’s Day, murdered 5,000 of the Irish since 2001, and then the RAF had had at Northern Ireland for 20 days.
    Do not shut up and sit down.
    The parameters of “debate” set out in the National Journal setup tell us all we need to know. It is not the time to either be silent or respect “authority”. It is the time to speak calmly but loudly, with moral authority.

  34. Snap says:

    Gaza war crimes prosecution?
    Chalmers Johnson will have another book to write on the blowback currently festering for the US.
    The new administration is in a real pickle here.
    There has been sufficient evidence put forth to suspect the use of white phosphorus in Gaza, among many other offenses. There is also a not so dismissable possibility that the United States used that gross offense in Fallujah.
    There is little doubt who manufactures and ‘distributes’ these and other hideous munitions, and the repercussions we can look forward to suffering as a result.
    Like so many apparent fronts in the aftermath of the Bush years, this one is going to hurt when the future ‘blowback’ pages are written.
    Rendition, torture and other illegal acts of barbarism are impossible to defend, in my mind. I expect that denials and a dose or two of Yoo will be the order of the day.
    We not only have the decades old problems to discuss here and attempt to understand, but the Bush/Cheney blowback for actions that are enough to induce vomiting.

  35. Will says:

    Ahh, the Liebermans, a rich term encompassing Fighting Joe and Avigodor the Emigrant from Azeribaijan. I prefer the “Israeli Firsters.”
    There is a new term that has supplanted anti-semitism, to wit: “new anti-semitism.” I gather it means those that don’t recognize the legitimacy of the colonization of gaza and the west bank and the Likud Charter.
    In all of this, we must ask what it means to be a real American. We have been all remade in the cast of Lincoln in the cauldron of a bloody Civil War. The Declaration of Independence was not a legal document like the U.S. Constitution which implicitly recognized slavery and inequality.
    The audacity of Lincoln was to adopt the language of the Declarationof the Independence after Sherman’s victories. His audacious move was later ratified by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution thereby wiping out the Dred Scott Case.
    Israel has no written Constitution. The Arabs within the so-called blue line (67 border) nor those under occupation (West Bank or Gaza) do not enjoy equal protection of the laws nor are they considered endowed by their Creator with equal (opportunity) for the pursuit of happiness.
    For those interested in trivia “happiness”was substituted for property rights as seeming as a less crass term.
    Alexander Hamilton Stephens, the VP of the Confederacy, wrote a book criticizing, from his viewpoint, the deficiency of the Dec of Independence re Equality.
    From my viewpoint, the 13th & 14th Amendments are the sine qua non and heart of America. Just as Napolean’s attempt to reimpose slavery in Haiti was a gross betrayal of Liberte, egalite, fraternite,so has our blind support of Israel.

  36. Nancy K says:

    Col Lang, my husband is Israeli, US Citizen also. He emigrated to Israel when he was 17 from England and fought in 67 and went back again in 73 or 74. It breaks his heart what Israel has become. He states this is not the Israel he knew. At the same time he does not want to hear bad things about Israel or the IDF, maybe how you don’t really want to hear negative things about Viet Nam. I think they are many Jewish Americans who feel very conflicted about what is happening, but they feel guilty about saying anything negative. One must never under estimate how passionatly the Jewish people feel about Israel and the horrors of the Holacaust

  37. Patrick Lang says:

    Nancy K
    I understand his feelings but I am compelled by conscience, however reluctantly, to tell the truth. pl

  38. Rider says:

    A recent article in Haaretz reported a study in Israel (and therefore presumably not anti-semitic) which raised the question whether an Israeli Jewish sense of victimization extraneous to the Mid-East conflict was itself perpetuating the conflict with the Palestinians by distorting collective memory and perceptions of events:
    I think the inescapable conclusion of the study is that it has done exactly that.
    This suggests that those who so readily resort to the charge of anti-semitism identify themselves in the process as those apt to offer the least reliable and least objective advice regarding American policy toward Israel, particularly advice as to how this policy may be in the best interests of the United States of America. So, why are we listening to their advice?

  39. fanto says:

    the lobby has a selective memory – e.g. when they misquote Freeman on China’s repression of dissent, they do not mention their one of their own – Kissinger – who rushed to China (with the German Schmidt or Schroeder) in the aftermath of Tiananmen – to reassure the Chinese governement that the West is still going to talk with them, ….
    It is hard to discuss with the lobby, but facts are not on her (I chose to make her female gender..) side

  40. Jeanne Capozzoli says:

    The Israel and the Israel Lobby has done horrendous harm to the United States. 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries hate us for giving Israel the money and weapons to steal Palestinian land and water killing them when they resist. Americans are beginning to realize that the Israelis are the real terrorists.

  41. Jeanne Capozzoli says:

    Sorry for the grammatical errors in my post. It should have read: Israel and the Israeli Lobby have done horrendous harm to the United States.

  42. fnord says:

    Nancy K: I think the most important distinction to make is to not confuse the terms “jew”, “judaism” and “Zionism”, or even “Israeli nationaist”. I avoid the “jew” word, because it is only applicable in cultural history (“Jewish kabbalists of Toledo”) and not as a current term. It smacks of racism, just like generalizing arabs or even muslims, as many do. Hannah Arendt have some words on the collectivization of Evil.

  43. Fred says:

    “One must never under estimate how passionatly the Jewish people feel about Israel and the horrors of the Holacaust”
    Just what was the involvement of the people of Palestine in the holocaust?

  44. Ian says:

    …the term “Israel Lobby.” It is our perception that it is not a useful shorthand, and it drifts toward something ugly. We try to avoid sloppy, loaded phrases like abortion lobby, gun lobby, Christian lobby or China lobby.
    This is actually quite sensible. Someone like Pat Robertson puts himself forward as representing Christians, but let me say as an Anglican that he does not represent me.
    However, there really is a Christian Coalition in the sense that people like me are relatively marginal in terms of influence in the public sphere. Likewise, there is an Israel lobby, in the sense that groups like APN (Americans for Peace Now) are extremely weak compared to groups like AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

  45. Ingolf says:

    Bravo indeed, and not only to the Colonel but also to David Habakkuk for his usual clear, serene and insightful contribution.

  46. LeaNder says:

    I do not think this discussion is helpful at all, to name it “Israel” lobby, connect the lobby with Judaism and scapegoat it for desastrous US financial and military policy without analyzing the interests of the US military-industrial complex of which you, my dear Colonel are part of, comes down to anti-Jew prejudice in my code of ethics, too. I would start with Reaganomics and the US “win” of the Cold War.
    Somewhat true. But the US-Israel-joined-at-the-hips meme propagators have been catapulted center stage after 911 in its exultation. As Eric Alterman phrases it here: 911 was perceived to be good for Israel. So shouldn’t it be possible to question their delighted anticipation? But ultimately we are to deny that reality. It was just too broad a movement up to academics offering basic parallels between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. …
    I think this reality should be allowed to discuss. You can’t force the whole world to perceive it according to your standards. How should that work, apart from the fact that it may well create what it means to fight. The term is nothing more than an attempt to describe this phenomenon.
    which you, my dear Colonel are part of And what do you make in this context of the many people in the US military questioning the logic of the war against Iraq? On what basis do you simplistically integrate Pat Lang into a unified “US military-industrial complex”? The military means obeying orders first of all, it feels a bit strange to make one category out of weapons production and the men in the military. True, much money is earned with war, but does the single man in the military have any influence on that? Generalizations are fine in every field except …? I found Pat Lang’s notes on his military experience most interesting. The fact that a soldier has to obey orders makes it even more urgent that their leaders respect basic ethic rules. Have you read his comments in this context?
    What I find puzzling is that in these strange times even an authoritarian like Charles Freeman (comments on China) sounds comparatively sane to me, compared to “liberal” pro-Israel hawks. As it more and more feels as if Israel and their hawkish supporters are the ultimate source of what feels like 19th century double standards in the larger discourse. Which makes it even more urgent to talk about it openly. To mention one minor detail, never would I have expected to see a respected German Jewish survivor turn into a rabid anti-Arab racist. It’s simply hard to fathom.
    What basically racist principles hides beneath the surface of the “good news” of bringing freedom and democracy at gunpoint to the ME, if not simply nuking Arab resistance into surrender?

  47. LeaNder says:

    There may be quite a few typos and other mistakes. After posting this catches immediately my attention:
    in its exultation
    in their
    with their joyful anticipation of WWIII/IV

  48. LeaNder says:

    Albert Einstein just had a birthday (130). In reading about him, I was reminded of the struggle Hitler Germany had in reframing the science of nuclear physics so as to use Einstein’s ideas without giving him credit for them. They really had trouble keeping their facts straight.
    Very, very much off topic. But I found it interesting to watch how easily post war German academics in the field of art were taken in by Nazi ruse.
    I studied Nazi feature films, especially Jud Suess, which along with the really vicious pseudo documentary “The eternal Jew” (Der Ewige Jude) was part of the Reich’s propaganda to accompany the mass transport of the Jews.
    The Nazis denied that they had used Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel. Thus it was repeated ad nauseam that Feuchtwanger was wrong, when he suspected they in fact had. And he is right. Since it contains one “moot” (no dialog) character that Feuchtwanger invented. There is simply no other source that contains this character. If you rely on Nazi statements you should at least know every detail of available sources and compare. Mind you they heavily distorted the source via the rape. The protagonist, a very popular German actor, committed suicide after the war. Interestingly Goebbel’s diaries show he probably was forced, while the elaborate tales or defensive strategies by the actor that plays all other Jewish characters cannot be supported via Goebbels diaries. Yes, life is unfair.
    This is material badly guarded by two German institutions and usually can only be rented for educational use, no matter who wants to educate himself. But is freely available on the net now with English subtitles.

  49. LeaNder says:

    Nancy K: I think the most important distinction to make is to not confuse the terms “jew”, “judaism” and “Zionism”, or even “Israeli nationaist”. I avoid the “jew” word, because it is only applicable in cultural history (“Jewish kabbalists of Toledo”) and not as a current term.
    fnord, first I agree with your comment concerning the German neo-Nazi camp, who have been targeting Turkish (Muslim) houses with arson much longer. They obviously don’t mind to shift their image of the enemy on a new group. Other groups targeted are asylum seekers and especially blacks.
    As I was puzzled by the attempts to locate the ultimate antisemites, and the roots of antisemitism in the left camp which has gained momentum concerning the Jewish left. My personal youth hero was always Danny. And as long as I do not hear from him, the left circles he moved in, here or in France were predominantly antisemitic, I don’t believe it. The argument hides another phenomenon, that we often see shifts from the far left to the far right.
    Considering the term Jew versus Jewish. I have hesitantly started to use Jew as an equivalent for Catholic, Protestant, Muslim. Why should I allow the Nazis to erase a simple word from my vocabulary? The fact the words denotes won’t go away, if I do not use it. I still feel somehow guilty after posting something containing it. But I think we should move towards a normalization in this respect. We have to look more carefully at the context.
    There is a difference between a simple term simply denoting a religion and its misuse. The problem is not the word, the problem is its misuse. What did my fear to use it ultimately mean? I didn’t want to be perceived as someone with the Neo-Nazi mindset, but in doing so I surrendered to “their use”.
    Concerning “new antisemitism”, strictly based on the assumption that antisemitism is eternal, it feels dangerous in the Middle East conflict. ALTHOUGH there surely is scapegoating going on. One only needs to consider the larger implications to see that. I could give you many examples from the net.

  50. Cieran says:

    Let me take a swing at your question:
    On what basis do you simplistically integrate Pat Lang into a unified “US military-industrial complex”?
    I would suggest the bases were “expediency”, “confusion”, and “guilt-by-association”.
    Having gained the honor (and pleasure) of meeting our host in person, I can state with complete confidence that he epitomizes all that is right and good about the venerable institution of the U.S. military, and hence he personifies much of what is right and good about this great nation.
    I can also state quite categorically that he is anything but “industrial”. I get the sense that he’d prefer a sword to an ABM program, and that while he has incomparable skills in predicting the future, he would fit very well into any period of the past.
    But the original poster can’t smear Colonel Lang by dint of the term “military”, so the infamous hyphen was deployed to turn the honor of one man’s military service into the dishonor of the nameless, faceless, military-industrial complex.
    Thus the basis you ask for is simply that the original poster wanted mud to throw, came up empty, and went looking elsewhere to find some. Not what I would call informed and honorable debate, but then again, smear campaigns never are…

  51. J says:

    The ‘Israeli Lobby’ needs to register themselves under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and failure to do so on their part should be their criminal prosecution for treason and deportation. The Israeli Lobby ARE agents for a Foreign Government — period.

  52. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    IMO nothing is off topic when it comes to increasing our consciousness about how impaired we humans can become when we are asked to discuss contentious problems rationally with each other in order to reach mutually satisfying decisions based on our common reality.
    My example of Einstein seemingly dropped in as an after thought to my comment on the NJ Iraq question was my way of pointing this out. Obviously, LeaNder did not see it that way.
    At the time that Einstein’s work was being belittled in Germany for ad hominum reasons, he represented, and, for some still does, the best understanding of what is real in our world and what is not. That political ideology prevented Hitler’s government from exploiting this knowledge may have allowed us to win World War II. Regardless, it stands as a credible example, horrific though it may be, of how by insisting on a closed system where some kinds of data are allowed in and some are not, a government can deny itself access to the range of information it truly needs if it is to arrive at the high quality political decisions that are in its best interests.

  53. LeaNder says:

    Strictly alnval, I think the Nazis had two faces, I doubt they would have used Einstein’s knowledge had they understood it’s implications. Fortunately they had a whole lot of other problems.
    There is even a slightly funny story, I vaguely remember. They tried to develop mines resistant against any demining process. The project was immediately stopped, when they realized they would have the same problem. Took them quite some time.
    I think some/(however small their number) German academics surely didn’t divide their research between Jewish and non-Jewish discoveries. How could they, e.g. in the natural sciences?
    I am assuming you are aware of Lise Meitner the colleague of Otto Hahn or the lessWilhelm Traube for that matter.
    Otto Hahn surely was aware of the contribution of Meitner and Traube, do you think he would have allowed the Nazis to force them to ignore their mutual research because part of it was “Jewish”?
    Some have argued he should have shared the Nobel Prize with Meitner, but seems she didn’t completely agree with that.

  54. LeaNder says:

    they “wouldn’t” have used if …
    and the “less fortunate” Wilhelm Traube.

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