Category Archives: AIPAC

Media Malfeasance Open Thread

The corporate media, as many of us have noted time and again, is a total disgrace. They covered up for the unqualified fraud George W. Bush, they shoehorned the unqualified fraud Barack Obama into office, and they are now covering for the patriarchy’s newest tool (pun most definitely intended) in an ever-more desperate and transparent manner.

Many on the left insist that the Israel lobby runs American foreign policy. Ever since 9/11, who actually runs it has been painfully clear.

Wuv, Twue Wuv

Wuv, Twue Wuv

and now:

American dependency on foreign oil is, indeed, a national security issue. Given that 15 out of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi Arabian, as is Osama bin Laden, why did we invade Iraq? Afghanistan I understood, because bin Laden and his Al Qaeda cadre were actually there at the time. But once the 9/11 mastermind escaped into the mountainous area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, it boggled my brain that the media was able to sell the neo-con, oil-centric agenda of an Iraq invasion at all. Even worse, the media never held BushCheney to account for allowing Osama bin Laden to escape in the first place, and in 2002, when Bush made the mind-boggling statement that he was not that concerned about bin Laden, we dissenters heard nothing but crickets from our teevees.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia (also called “Bandar Bush” because of his close ties with the Bush family) was privy to the plans for the Iraq invasion. In fact, he saw them before Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, did. Can anyone say the same about Ariel Sharon? And before the election of 2004, Bandar promised George that he’d lower oil prices to make the American economy seem strong, in order to help Bush win a second term.

When the media lies, we all lose.

This is an open thread.

Cross-posted at Partizane

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From the Department of No Shit Department…

comes this article on how Barack Obama may have trouble winning over Hillary’s voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio. (Ya think?) I’m not a big fan of “some dude on the street says” journalism, but I believe this particular article is interesting because of what it does and doesn’t say.

For example, Pennsylvanians are racists, don’tcha know.

Joyce Susick is the type of voter who might carry Barack Obama to the White House – or keep him out. A registered Democrat in a highly competitive state, she is eager to replace George W. Bush, whom she ranks among the worst presidents ever.

There’s just one problem.

“I don’t think our country is ready for a black president,” Susick, who is white, said in an interview in the paint store where she works. “A black man is never going to win Pennsylvania.”

Susick said her personal objection to Obama is his inexperience, not his color. “It has nothing to do with race,” she said.

If Susick is right about Pennsylvania voters, it presents a major hurdle for the presumed Democratic nominee. Democrats have carried Pennsylvania in the last four presidential contests, and Obama would have to offset a loss of its 21 electoral votes by taking Republican-leaning states from John McCain.

Although the writer admits that gauging voter sentiment on race is “notoriously difficult,” he has no problem entitling the piece “Racial attitudes pose challenge for Obama,” now, does he?

The Obama camp agrees, of course, that people who would vote for Clinton, but not him, are racists. Why not? It’s the option that allows Obama to take the least responsibility for his own alienating actions and radical associations.

“He just doesn’t appeal to me, and not because of race, definitely,” she said in an interview in which race had not been mentioned.

Such comments are all too familiar to Richard Akers, who phoned dozens of prospective Pennsylvania voters as an Obama campaign volunteer in April. Democrats often explained their opposition to Obama with “excuses that were not rational or valid, as I saw it,” said the retired bank director from Johnstown, another hotbed of Clinton support.

“To me, it was almost a code,” Akers said. “‘He doesn’t wear a flag pin.’ It seemed like code for ‘He’s not one of us.'”


Uh, Mr. Akers? It’s not code.

What it is, is the repetition of a narrative: Barack Obama is anti-American.

As I noted a long time ago, this narrative has been partially crafted by the right-wing scream machine (remember the viral email from the RNC about how Obama was a secret Muslim?), but unfortunately, it has been reinforced quite strongly by the actions of Obama himself. He doesn’t wear a flag pin, and, instead of saying “Oops! I forgot it today, thanks for reminding me!”, made up some ridiculous holier-than-thou excuse for not wearing it. The Jeremiah Wright mess, as I also predicted a long time ago, made a big impression on white working-class people.

But even some likely voters who are largely sympathetic to him are troubled by his ties, now broken, to a former pastor who cursed the United States and accused the government of possible conspiracies against blacks.

Kate Tanning, a Pittsburgh antiques dealer who was lunching with friends in Bedford, rejected Obama’s claim that he did not know of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s most bombastic statements even though Obama attended Wright’s Chicago church for 20 years.

“That’s the one thing about him I can’t believe,” she said.

No kidding! That’s because it’s not credible. Not even bitter racist hillbillies like Pennsylvania voters are fooled by Obama’s myriad flip-flops on Reverend Wright.

Unfortunately for Senator Obama, the challenges he faces winning over voters like these – I call them Clinton Dems – are great, and getting larger every day. As the GaffeTastic Express careens through the summer, I predict that the gloves will come off the McCainStream Media, and that more and more unflattering stories about Obama, and his chances in the General Election, will come out.

Is it too little, too late?

We’ll see. August is a long way away, and as we know, Obama and Hillary are separated by only 125 pledged delegates at this point. No one is the official nominee until AFTER the Convention. If you are a Clinton supporter and don’t think Obama can beat McCain, you can sign my petition (which I am sending to Howard Dean every week until the Convention), or check out the other activism opportunities over at The Confluence.

Fasten your seat belts – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Stupid Fever!

This campaign must be making me sick…anyway, here’s some good news that does not involve Election 2008.

Yes, you can be pro-peace AND pro-Israel. Just meet me on…J Street.

J Street represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own – two states living side-by-side in peace and security. We believe ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, the Palestinians, and the region as a whole.

J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including in Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialogue over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors when conflicts do arise. For more on our policy positions, click here.

J Street will advocate forcefully in the policy process, in Congress, in the media, and in the Jewish community to make sure public officials and community leaders clearly see the depth and breadth of support for our views on Middle East policy among voters and supporters in their states and districts. We seek to complement the work of existing organizations and individuals that share our agenda. In our lobbying and advocacy efforts, we will enlist individual supporters of other efforts as partners.

Good for them. It’s about time some rational voices countered the extreme right-wing influence of AIPAC on American politics.

Such a mitzvah!

ZOMG! Teh Joooz Are Taking Over the World!!!111!!!

That’s what I hear every time people say things like “Israel is running our foreign policy” and “We’re in Iraq because Israel wants us there.”

I admit, as a Jooo who lost relatives in the Holocaust, I’m probably oversensitive to anti-Semitism. But I’m also oversensitive to over-simplification. (Note…the title of my blog.) And this type of statement, if not intentionally anti-Semitic, is certainly guilty of being simplistic to the point of ignorance.

I find that what people typically mean when they say “Israel” in this context is in fact, AIPAC, the powerful lobbying organization that purports to represent Israeli interests. What it really represents is neo-conservative interests, of course, which currently reflects the severely right-wing alignment of the Israeli government.

Unfortunately, some people assume that all American Joooz and Israeli citizens automatically support the policies promoted by AIPAC. (Although I love AmericaBlog, I had to stop commenting there because this assumption is rampant in the community.) The reality is quite different, as this excellent article by Allan C. Brownfield states.

Beneath the appearance of continuing power and influence, it is becoming increasingly clear that AIPAC does not in fact represent the views of the constituency in whose name it claims to speak, the American Jewish community. Rather than supporting AIPAC’s embrace of the war in Iraq, a recent Gallup Poll placed the American Jewish community at the top of the list of “major” religious groups opposed to the war. The Reform movement—the largest synagogue denomination in the U.S.—has gone on record in opposition to the war. According to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, his group’s resolution fairly reflects the Jewish community’s attitude toward the war. “It is not us that are out of step with American Jews,” he said.

AIPAC’s role is coming under increasing scrutiny, spurred in part by the debate initiated by Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt in their in-depth 2006 study of the Israel lobby, which originally appeared in the London Review of Books (and was reprinted in the “Other Voices” supplement to the May/June 2006 Washington Report). Mearsheimer and Walt argued, among other things, that AIPAC had encouraged the U.S. to adopt policies that were neither in the American national interest nor in Israel’s long-term interest.

[snip]

In its March 17 issue, The Economist of London devoted a full page to a discussion of the “changing climate” facing AIPAC: “The Iraq debacle has produced a fierce backlash against pro-war hawks, of which AIPAC was certainly one. It has also encouraged serious people to ask awkward questions about America’s alliance with Israel. And a growing number of people want to push against AIPAC.…AIPAC’s ace in the hole is the idea that it represents Jewish interests in a country that is generally philo-Semitic. But liberal Jewish groups retort that it represents only a sliver of Jewish opinion. A number of liberal groups have started to use their political muscle—groups such as the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum. These groups scored a significant victory over AIPAC by persuading Congress to water down a particularly uncompromising bit of legislation, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, which would have prevented any American contact with the Palestinian leadership…The growing activism of liberal Jewish groups underline a worrying fact for AIPAC: most Jews are fairly left-wing. Fully 77 percent of them think that the Iraq war was a mistake compared with 52 percent of all Americans…”

Personally, I think there should be a law against any group that lobbies our government in the interests of any other government, AIPAC included. But in any case, it’s extremely unfair to think that AIPAC represents the true opinions of Israeli or American Jews. And considering the other voices that were clamoring for the war in Iraq – including those of the Saudi Royal Family and the multinational corporations thirsting for Iraqi oil and no-bid contracts – it is also unfair to attribute our presence solely to AIPAC or Israel.