Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 14, 2013

NYT: "Don't Trust Our Editorials"

As the News York Times now admitts one can not trust anything written in a New York Times editorial. (Are the news-pages any better?)

April 16, 2009 - Editorial: Roxana Saberi

Iran’s government needs to release Ms. Saberi and end this dangerous farce.
...
A former F.B.I. agent who went missing in 2007 while on a business trip, Robert Levinson, is also believed to be imprisoned.

September 18, 2009 Editorial: Iran’s Captives

[Iran] must free Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent missing since 2007.

October 23 2009 - Editorial: More Iranian Injustice

... Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent has been missing since 2007. These victims of Iran’s autocratic leaders must be released.

November 11 2009 - Cruel, Pointless Games

Tehran’s latest outrage is to accuse three American hikers, held for more than three months, of spying.
...
Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent who traveled to Iran on a business trip, has been missing since 2007.

Now we learn: A Disappearing Spy, and a Scandal at the C.I.A.

The New York Times has known about the former agent’s C.I.A. ties since late 2007, when a lawyer for the family gave a reporter access to Mr. Levinson’s files and emails.

Posted by b on December 14, 2013 at 04:22 AM | Permalink

Comments

JTA roundly classifies Levinson as "an American Jew". Nobody else has ever specified his faith or ethnicity, AFAIK, his wife is named Christine (not a Jewish name), and his 7 children have variously married out, but Jew he is, nonetheless.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 4:54:02 AM | 1

Rowan, please stop this stuff. Whether or not Levinson is a Jew or not is irrelevant. It seems quite clear at this point that he is an agent for the CIA. That should be sufficient. He is an agent that is working against Iran on behalf of the US government.

I have no idea who captured him, maybe Iran or some other agency, but it seems clear that he is an active agent. If the Iranians can trade him to help their cause or if some other group can do so then that will be that.

Unfortunately, Rowan, your comments in general come across as very antisemitic. Jews are not our problem whatever you might think. The problem is Zionism and American imperialism. Try to keep that straight.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 14, 2013 6:41:59 AM | 2

It's not irrelevant, your instructions to me are offensive, and you do not have the authority to instruct me to do anything at all. Bernhard will doubtless find ways of letting me know if he feels the same way you do. I consider the very term 'antisemitic' to be almost completely drained of meaning by people like you, who obediently extend it to anything that intimates that there is a Jewish sectional interest in espionage, in finance or anywhere else.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 7:32:59 AM | 3

Rowan Nice to see you state it so clearly. Any form of racism which includes antisemitism should not be accepted.

I do hope that b agrees with that.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 14, 2013 7:49:06 AM | 4

The NYT doesn't care looking ridiculous, and this reminds us of our politicians whose double standards even since the beginning are exposed (changing on a monthly basis) even more than they were about the Palestinians

A commentator on rt seem to have a very plausible explanation:
http://rt.com/news/syria-kurs-qaeda-kidnap-218/
..Les gisements de gaz repérés au large des côtes israéliennes, palestiniennes, libanaises et chypriotes ont accéléré la nécessité impériale d’arriver à une paix de soumission au Proche-Orient. L’impossibilité d’imposer une loi pétrolière libérale et décentralisatrice en Iraq a rendu nécessaire, pour les intérêts des pétroliers et de leurs financiers, de créer un couloir entre la Méditerranée et un futur état kurde d’Iraq souhaité par ces intérêts puissants qui domine la géopolitique depuis 100 ans et conforme à la stratégie Likud de division du Moyen-Orient (publiée en 1982), sans s’aliéner la Turquie qui craint, depuis le traité aboli de Sèvres qui visait son démantèlement par les vainqueurs de la Guerre européenne devenue mondiale, toute émergence d’un pouvoir régional kurde autonome.:In 1899 Deutsche Bank got a concession for the Anatolian rail with a 2x20km wide strip for exploration, production and marketing of oil. Few weeks before a still orphan European War, private & state interests were cooperating & fighting for access to oil concessions in Mesopotamia. Today in Syria & Iraq, the imperial quest for control of Med connected cheap oil areas is still using undercover subversion & "others"s war.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 14, 2013 8:04:47 AM | 5

The WP is fine with ridicule too
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-willing-to-support-a-syrian-rebel-coalition-that-would-include-islamist-groups/2013/12/12/e400fc86-636d-11e3-aa81-e1dab1360323_story.html

someone comments: This is the most retarded article in the history of journalism.Pls notice that Islamists Front include organizations already on the US terror list.How much more stupidity we have to tolerate from WP?

Posted by: Mina | Dec 14, 2013 8:07:24 AM | 6

Rowan, Toivo is right. The incident with that idiot Proyect a couple of days ago should have made it clear how eager those wishing to discredit this valuable forum-of which yours are an important part- rush off grinning to spread the news that we are all tainted by racist poison.
The victims, in the end, of your self-indulgence (for that is all that it is, I am sure that you know better,) are the causes of international peace and social justice which, in a small but significant way this unique blog advances. The fact that it emanates from Germany does not make the task of malicious slanderers, yes Louis, I mean you, any harder.
We all ought to make it as hard to discredit our ideas as we can, should we not?

Posted by: bevin | Dec 14, 2013 9:07:14 AM | 7

No, he's not right. Consider Alan Gross in Cuba: another Jewish-USAian agent who blunders & gets caught. Consider for heavens sake, the WSJ's Daniel Pearl. Don't you see the pattern? At the very least, these Jewish-USAian secret agents are incompetent cowboys; at the most, they are stooges, or conceivably ringers (eg identities substituted). And meanwhile the 'Free Jonathan Pollard' campaign is kicking into top gear and screwing what look increasingly like promises out of Obama. I have no doubt that I am seeing a strategy. A Jewish strategy, whether you gloss it as 'Zionist', USraelian (my favourite, a word I made up myself cos I got so sick of seeing "the US & Israel"), or just Jewish-USAian. None of this is accidental. If you don't like my style, complain to Bernhard about it. But don't try to intimidate me on here.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 9:52:24 AM | 8

ToivoS | Dec 14, 2013 6:41:59 AM | 2
You've posted some appallingly dishonest claptrap here, but that piece of highly selective, knee-jerk gate-keeping takes the cake.
Anti-semitism is what Jews have been doing to "Bedouin" in Palestine for 60+ years.
Ditch your Hasbara Handbook and try not to forget again.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 14, 2013 9:59:21 AM | 9

"those wishing to discredit this valuable forum-of which yours are an important part- rush off grinning to spread the news that we are all tainted by racist poison."

They're going to do that in any case.

If he discovers your hand in his pocket, scream "Thief!".

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 14, 2013 10:02:04 AM | 10

RB, but what about Atzmon, Neturei Karta and others, who revile Israel, but self-identify as Jews. Are they beyond the pale?

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 14, 2013 10:13:11 AM | 11

Nobody is 'beyond the pale'. You are reading something into my comments that I did not say. Everybody has to be evaluated in context, that's all.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 10:15:41 AM | 12

Well Rowan I don't like your style, and I'm complaining to you about it.
As to the pattern. Yes, I see it: the US employs spies and agents to subvert and sabotage. As to their religions I imagine that most of them, currently, are muslim, with christians coming close behind.
If you find it intimidating to be told that you are perilously close to substituting racism for reason, perhaps you ought to be.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 14, 2013 10:17:19 AM | 13

"You are reading something into my comments that I did not say."

Not reading, asking. What the heck is a "Jewish strategy"? A strategy peculiar to Jews which they can't shake however hard they try?

And, shirley, Bibi is beyond the pale.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 14, 2013 10:29:08 AM | 14

@RowanB

Toivos is living in his ideological world. He can most of the times have a credible analysis, but when it comes to Iran's "political prisoners" during the 80s or 90s or to what he considers "mixing" up Judaism with Israel, he starts jumping up and down and proffering irrational sentences. This is most likely due to his affinity with the Bolsheviks, which had plenty of politburo high ranking members coming from ethnically Jewish background.

The core of the problem regarding the link between Judaism and Israel is in my opinion that Israel insists in defining herself as a state for The Jewish People. The sufficient and necessary one. Once someone define something in such an absolute term it will end-up sooner or later becoming an entity with a Totalitarian existence. If Israel instead of that would have defined herself as a country similar to Switzerland in Europe, neutral, demilitarized, seculat and multiethnic, I think it would have been strategically in a much more viable situation now. The same political position can also be implied directly from the official statements of the IRI.

Posted by: ATH | Dec 14, 2013 11:14:24 AM | 15

Bevin, you seem to be incapable of thinking clearly. I don't just mean expressing yourself clearly, I mean thinking clearly. You think you are thinking, but you are just stringing together inadequate and mutilated ideas, to put it spinozistically. 'Their religion' is utterly irrelevant. The people we're talking about have no 'religion'. These are US Jews; they marry out, it would appear, by preference, which by definition a religious Jew won't do. Doubtless they have their own variegated pseudo religious bullshit, composed of inadequate and mutilated ideas like your own, but I am not going to waste time on it. Now, if you cannot accept a simple request to stop trying to intimidate me with your sanctimonious (and frankly, very cowardly) waffle, I shall just ignore it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 11:18:57 AM | 16

Frankly you seem to be attempting to waste as much fucking time as possible on all this bullshit Rowan.

Your acting the "intimidated victim" to people who know you quite well is completely ridiculous. But its a common tactic of the "salvia-smoking Englishman" I heard.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 14, 2013 11:31:02 AM | 17

Re Rowan, Toivo et al

Interestingly, the Haaretz front page headline of the story reads:


Missing American Jew in Iran was on unapproved CIA mission

For whatever reason, they choose to mention the guy is Jewish, and it isn't the first time. The article is lifted from AP, and not behind their pay/registration wall if you wish to read it.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 14, 2013 11:49:23 AM | 18

No, Lysander; the article is lifted from AP, but the headline is their own. However, judging simply by the order in which the stories appeared, they lifted the headline reference to his Jewishness from the JTA, which I gave the link for in the very first comment, which started all this argument. Though it is extremely irritating, I don't think it's a complete waste of time. Dragging the question of what I smoke or don't smoke probably is a waste of time, but the dispute about whether Levinson's Jewishness is relevant to the news stories about him, is not. The very fact that it causes these thought police robots to react as they do, shows that it isn't. BTW, I should have specified 'modern' US Jews when I said their 'religion' is utterly irrelevant, since obviously 'US Jews' includes various enclaves full of Hasidim, in upper NY State and suchlike. It goes without saying that they can't become secret agents; part of their religion is to wear clothing and hair and etc that makes it unmistakably clear that orthodox Jews is what they are. To make it very clear, I am talking about a breed of ostensibly 'assimilated' US Jews who can and do acquire powers and responsibilities far beyond their aptitudes (eg as secret agents) because everybody is frightened to tell them they're incompetent and unqualified. And hence, in some cases, they turn out to be double agents, working for the Mossad, and in other cases, they simply come spectacularly unstuck in 'enemy' countries and either vanish into somebody's dungeons or reappear with their heads cut off. They're cowboys, and that is why they keep getting caught. They shouldn't be given these jobs, but if you follow the news you will know that every time they don't get the jobs they want, they complain of antisemitism. Yes, I mean in the CIA, in the FBI, in the Justice Dept, and in places like that. And if all this offends bevin's cowardly sense of what should and shouldn't be spoken of, then screw'im. End of discussion, at least as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 12:04:01 PM | 19

Oh gaaaawd........

Here we go with the 'ol meaningless accusation of "anti-semitism" leveled at Rowan. What a load of crap.

As long as Israel defines itself as "the Jewish State", than its murderous and illegal policies of blatant racist hatred cannot help but be considered policies supported by "jews". Compounding this impression is the relatively silent opposition American jews wage against the despicable policies practiced by "the Jewish State".

Perhaps if "Jews" truly wish to see the end to anti-semitism, than, in the majority, they need to dissent against the policies of "the Jewish State". Instead, the vast majority seem to embrace and defend the despicable policies of "the Jewish State". In many ways, the phenomena of "anti-semitism" is a self-inflicted dynamic suffered by the Jewish people due to the actions of "the Jewish State".

Frankly, if I was Palestinian, I'd hate "jews" too. With good reason.

You can pare the whole blame down to "zionism" if you're intellectually dishonest, but not if you stop being PC about it, and speak truth to power. But the majority of Jews seem to support the zionist nature of modern Israel, so they cannot escape blame by simply pointing a finger outward and spitting the term "anti-semite" at those critical of the racist murderous illegal actions of "the Jewish State". Nor can they blame zionism for global anti-semitic sentiments when they refuse to decry the policies and agendas of zionism.

The accusation of "anti-semitism" is a time-worn and ineffective tool used to defend the indefensible. Its mis-use has robbed it of all its meaning.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 14, 2013 12:49:05 PM | 20

Remember the US and the Talibans? It's the same screenplay
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/89105/World/Region/Syrian-Islamist-rebels-to-meet-US-officials-Opposi.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Dec 14, 2013 1:02:58 PM | 21

first off - thanks b for the article telling us something that most people really ought to know by now! the nyt and wapo are essentially nothing more then propaganda tools, especially when it comes to some topics..

interesting conversation going on here.. i think i see some of the dilemma. it seems to me israel wants to define itself as a 'jewish' state, not a zionist state.. meanwhile many people want to identify as jewish but not always also zionist. this all seems to work in favour of being accused of racism if one talks about a persons jewishness, as opposed to talking about a persons affiliation with zionism.. how does one keep the 2 separate? i think the lines have been intentionally blurred as well. it seems rowan would like to address this in a head on manner, whereas most others would like to define the problem as the politics of zionism.. i am not sure how you keep the 2 separate and i think this blurring has typically worked in israels favour in that they and anyone who is jewish can claim someone is 'antisemite' if they are opposed to the state of israel. i like the soft approach myself of staying focused on zionism being the root problem as opposed to people being 'jewish'.. knowing someone is 'jewish' isn't enough information for me to know they are 'zionist' too. thoughts?

Posted by: james | Dec 14, 2013 2:35:36 PM | 22

"....knowing someone is 'jewish' isn't enough information for me to know they are 'zionist' too"

Are they willing to criticise the zionist injustices committed by "the Jewish State"? Few that I've met display such a willingness. Of course, there are exceptions, even Jewish organizations devoted to end these injustices. But they do not wield the power in numbers, or influence, as the jews and jewish organizations that support the despicably racist and inhumane policies practiced by Israel.

Perhaps its really very simple. One need only ask the question...

Could zionism and its agendas survive without the support of the majority of jews in Israel, and, by extension, the majority of jews in the United States??

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 14, 2013 3:28:20 PM | 23

Could zionism and its agendas survive without the support of the majority of jews in Israel, and, by extension, the majority of jews in the United States??

I doubt that the majority of Jews in the US support Zionism 100%. It is rather a party who support AIPAC. Others are happy to integrate into US society.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 14, 2013 4:07:19 PM | 24

"I doubt that the majority of Jews in the US support Zionism 100%. It is rather a party who support AIPAC. Others are happy to integrate into US society"

You can't "integrate into US society" yet still embrace zionism?

I doubt 100% as well, as I clearly state in my comment above yours. But you believe the majority of American Jews do not support Israel and its policies? I doubt your argument. AIPAC, first of all, does not exist, will not exist, if it is not supported strongly by the jewish community, and more importantly, by community synagogues that influence the positions of its congregations. When was the last time you visited the AIPAC website? It is impossible to do so without noticing the strong and successful outreach AIPAC extends towards the jewish community.

I feel safe in opining that the majority of American Jews DO support Israel's zionist agenda.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 14, 2013 4:20:30 PM | 25

i agree with poa..
take a look at how max blumenthals book 'goliath' has been received... the forward defines it as an 'anti-israel' book! no mention of being opposed to zionism or racism - just 'anti-israel'.. it seems the labels israel or jewish are good covers for zionism and racism expressed by jewish people especially those inside israel..
http://forward.com/articles/186557/max-blumenthals-goliath-is-anti-israel-book-that-m/?p=all

Posted by: james | Dec 14, 2013 4:31:16 PM | 26

...After Libya and Syria, disaster magnet John McCain, an al Qaeda hugger, rushed yet for another photo opportunity, this tiem to Kiev, Ukraine, to put his weight on the side of the EU "enlargement." He is there also joined by Islamist fundamentalists from Crimea (who also fought for al Qaeda in Syria) and the Ukranian neo-Nazis whose hero is Bandera, once a CIA agent and before a war criminal who fought alongside the Nazi SS.

Like a truffle seeking pig, McCain seeking the regime change photo op...you just know what he supports is vile
if i were the regime change ukrainian crowd...id keep whatsisface out of the group photos! bad PR
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=626582900731511&set=a.620915421298259.1073741828.620887914634343&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Dec 14, 2013 5:56:15 PM | 27

First off, I don't think anyone is saying that Rowan is an anti-semite to deflect from some critique of Israel, I think we're saying that Rowan's bringing up his opponents Jewishness or "jewish strategy" - or whatever the hell it was - during the course of an argument about the war in Syria is fucking bizarre. And misguided. And an obvious failure. You gave Louis a dodge.

"Could zionism and its agendas survive without the support of the majority of jews in Israel, and, by extension, the majority of jews in the United States?"

If the United States have the world's shittiest privatized health care system when 70% of the people want a single payer social insurance system, then the darkest parts of Zionism can probably be enforced by a small clique of Israeli scumbags. But no doubt huge numbers support it, just like loads of Brits supported the Argentine War. That's what people seem to do when they are just soaking in a sea of propaganda.

But that's what we have to break. And I don't see how you break up ethnic loyalty and jingoism by making ethnic arguments. There are plenty of good, righteous, arguments to make. The class one, the anti-imperialist one, the simple "what is happening in Israel is unjust" one. Instead, Rowan just seems to be "jews, jews, jews." I mean - the Jewish Telegraph Agency pointed out that someone was a Jew? Knock me over with a feather, Rowan.

Anyway, is it for Rowan (three time failed convert or not) to make when there are people like Atzmon to make it? Is it different for Bill O'Reilly to talk about failings in Black culture than Bill Cosby? We can have that argument too. I don't know the answer.

The problem is Rowan did his little jewish schtick when it isn't even remotely related to the discussion, which is what gave Louis Proyect the right to claim victory and ride away. Which is why I am so pissed off that Rowan would do something so idiotic while we had Lousy Louis in our grasp. And then to cry about "thought police" over bevin's internet admonition suggesting he could be a little more tactful means he's living in some kind of dystopia. That's just ... overly dramatic.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 14, 2013 7:58:16 PM | 28

Hmmm, I would suggest that arguments about Robert Levinson's religion/ethnicity is best directed to the Iranians, since they are the people who are holding him.

These are more facts: Levinson is an American, he is a Jew, and he is a CIA agent.

So the questions is whether the Iranians seized him because...
1) He's Jewish
2) He's American
3) He's a CIA spook.

I'd put my money on (3) but, hey, maybe that's just me.....

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 14, 2013 8:31:18 PM | 29

This thread has turned out to be an interesting discussion on antisemitism. I stand by my original comments but just want to make two points that should be perfectly obvious and have been made before.

First, antisemitism is a charge that the Zionist have used over and over again to try to suppress criticism against Israel. Personally I was accused of this crime when I suggested in my university that 911 was blowback for US support for Israel in its crimes against the Palestinians. This was something that affected my professional standing.

The second point is that Israel itself promotes antisemitism. As we all know the Jewish state of Israel faces a demographic dilemma. Their survival needs more Jewish immigrants. Without more Jewish immigrants they will need to engage in more rounds of ethnic cleansings to maintain their majority. If Israel can convince more European and American Jews that they are not safe in their native countries then they will increase the number of potential immigrants. That will also decrease their need to transfer their non-Jewish citizens which would internationally isolate them even more.

Those of us on the left must continue to resist any emergence of antisemitism in both the US and Europe for both of those reasons. We should know that Israel will encourage anti-Jewish prejudice for the two reasons I outline above. Please avoid joining Israel in that effort.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 14, 2013 8:46:27 PM | 30

Morsi andAl-Zawahiri revelations

Very well informed sources report on organized leaks of secret phone calls between Mohamed Morsi and Ayman Al- Zawahiri, leader of Al - Qaeda , causing embarrassment over a government , whether in the West , Israel or in some Arab countries . The United States has not breathed a word to comment on these shocking revelations showing collusion between a head of state exercise and the terrorist so-called public enemy number one, with an Egyptian newspaper of general circulation has just published the second part . Telephone conversations between the leader of Al Qaeda , Ayman Al- Zawahiri, and the ousted president Mohamed Morsi also demonstrate the involvement of Khairat Al- Shater , deputy head of the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood and that of Tahtawi , the former presidential advisor Morsi . This secret exchange reflects the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda and discloses , in addition, the use by the brotherhood of a network of highly specialized Communications , founded by an American company to prevent and control telephone to prevent spying on e -mails, which officials maintain that company , according to sources sovereign , a direct relationship with the strongman of the Muslim Brotherhood , Khairat Al- Shater . Devices intelligence were able to decipher the codes used by the brotherhood for telephone and e- mails with al-Qaeda , and discovered that the special satellite phones were from Turkey and had been given to Mohamed Morsi himself, who had in turn distributed to certain officials of the Presidency, including Ahmed Shiha , an adviser to former President and Ambassador Tahtawi , all phones used several times in their contacts with al- Qaeda. Sovereign sources say that since the advent of Mohamed Morsi in power, Ayman Al -Zawahiri became the head of Al Qaeda inside the Egyptian territory . Recordings of conversations and reveal for the first time, Pakistanis and Palestinians met Khairat Al- Shater , they had direct contact with Ayman Al -Zawahiri and they have been instructed 24 hours before the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Rafah. In addition , it appears that Al Qaeda is connected to Israeli networks from different locations within the Sinai , taking advantage of the difficulty of decoding the Israeli company to avoid censorship , but the devices Egyptians have managed to decipher three codes and monitor the links between the elements of Al- Qaeda and its subsidiary "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant " , since the takeover of Morsi .
Call 1 October 2012
etc
http://algeriepatriotique.com/article/revelations-sur-des-ecoutes-telephoniques-entre-lex-president-mohamed-morsi-et-le-chef-dal-q#.UqzrOVL86CU.facebook

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 2:48:10 AM | 31

"Give Proyekt an opening"? Are you saying that that turd has written a blog post featuring me? I can imagine how it would go, because all this is robot speech:

Typical of the antisemitic scum given aid and comfort by 'Moon of Alabama' is three-time loser in the convert game and admitted psychedelic drug user Rowan Berkeley, whose racist spewings include the allegations that Jews are pushy and that they're disloyal.

So, let him put it in Counterpunch. I shall rocket from my present obscurity to international celebrity/notoriety status overnight. Jewish groups some ninety geographical miles away will write to my landlords saying I'm a dangerous pest and should be thrown out of my home. People will send me hate mail, and if they are members of the JDF they will include luridly detailed death threats, rationalised as arguments that I deserve to undergo all the things I am supposedly encouraging unidentified violent haters to do to them (ie, the Jews). I shall earn a place on the Jewish (S)Hit List website. I never visit that site, but I know its selections are pretty strange, and of course much more violent in their language than anything I have ever written. Bernhard will have to train himself to ignore endless petitions to have MoA taken down. The hosting companies generally ignore them too. If he decides to ban me from MoA, I really will not mind. As I often point out, I've been doing this for ten years, and even if most people can't see through the jungle of semantics involved, I know exactly how to say what I mean, and avoid being manoevred into appearing to say what I don't mean. As for three failed conversions, I don't usually put it that way. The way I usually put it is that unlike the rest of you, I have done close-range sociological field research, insinuating myself into the Jewish world in the only way that a non-Jew can do it, that is, masquerading as a would-be convert. So, to stress it, unlike the rest of you, I actually know whereof I speak. And of course I have bought and read hundreds and hundreds of books. I even have a teach yourself hebrew kit, courtesy of the US State Dept's Foreign Service Institute. So I can speak and read a little hebrew. I often have fantasies of marrying a beautiful Jewish girl and settling in an exclusive, high-priced chalet in the western half of Jayloomia, to study kabbalah and write best-sellers about kabbalistic sex, but then who doesn't? Anyway, I am not an anti-Semite or a racist, in any sense that I understand these terms. Far from it. But I am damn well determined to call a spade a spade, when I see one. So let Louis write his fat old ass off, I shall rather enjoy the fireworks. I'm no longer either intimidated or confused by the endless bullshit these people talk.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 15, 2013 3:06:13 AM | 32

New UK drones “field tested” on captive Palestinians | @AliAbunimah http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/new-uk-drones-field-tested-captive-palestinians

why is it elected representative govts so often prove to house sociopaths?

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 6:46:54 AM | 33

Chuckling here...

I'm beginning to grow fond of this Rowan character.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 15, 2013 12:26:01 PM | 34

Ruralito

Atzmon doesn't self-identify as a Jew.


Johnboy, the American demographics have both Jews and Muslims at about the same levels of population. Guess which group has members far more likely to be government spies working against Iran.

alexno

It is not just AIPAC, you can go well left of Likudnik and still find American Jews tacitly or actively supporting measures of oppression against Palestinians.

As far as I am concerned, Jewish "assimilation" requires among other things, anti-Zionism, which requires an active belief that the area be transformed into a completely secular state without rabbinical law, pronto, full right of return of all the vanquished enforced.

Apply that definition to the activity of any Jewish American to ramifications of charges by the Syrian government and Hezbollah, for example, of any Israeli involvement whatsoever in the effort to overthrow Assad.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 15, 2013 2:02:20 PM | 35

@35, Well, an ex-Jew. The glass is half-empty.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 15, 2013 2:30:01 PM | 36

Brian
these conversations were published in october
http://www.emannabih.com/recordings-revealed-between-egyptian-ousted-president-alzawahiri-alqaeda-leader/
what happened since then?

Posted by: Mina | Dec 15, 2013 3:10:10 PM | 37

Even while Kerry was in Tel Aviv, the rabies ridden zionists were demolishing Palestinian homes on the West Bank. And how does this glib sack of shit Kerry react??? Well, he tells us out of the corner of his mouth that the peace negotiations are still on track, and that he expects an agreement by the end of next year. Continued settlement growth. Continued razing of Palestinian properties. How the hell can this posturing piece of shit be seen as an unbiased mediator?

Who is raising any sort of Cain about these continued Israeli bad faith activities?? Jews??? Show me any Jews that are speaking openly about the futility of "negotiations" while Israel shits on the entire process, and these assholes like Kerry bluster on with ridiculous, insincere, and disingenuous optimism???

There are those here that would have you believe that AIPAC exists in a vacuum, and that Jews are not to be held accountable for the actions of "the Jewish State". Bullshit. You think AIPAC became such a powerful entity without the support of the American jewish community? You think our media gives us such a skewed account of what is going on in Gaza and the West Bank without being empowered by jewish media execs, producers, and investors??

Without Jewish support, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "ZIONISM". Yet we are supposed to seperate the jews from the zionists? Give me a break. The Jewish State is running its own bathwater, and its only just that they should have to bathe in it.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 15, 2013 4:45:14 PM | 38

You think Rachel Maddow refuses to touch the issue of Palestine/Israel because she is a "zionist".

Then what is it? Who is behind her muzzling?

What, or who, muzzled Steve Clemons???

Whose money makes whores out of our politicians, who refuse to criticize or punish Israel for its illegal and inhumane policies???

What constituency requires our "representatives" to subjugate themselves to a foreign nation in order to BE ALLOWED to assume office?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 15, 2013 4:56:08 PM | 39

Rowan, the author of thi drivel should not pontificating about clear thinking:

"'Their religion' is utterly irrelevant. The people we're talking about have no 'religion'. These are US Jews; they marry out, it would appear, by preference, which by definition a religious Jew won't do. "

A Jew is a follower of the Jewish religion. You cannot say that Jews have no religion, because, if they have no religion they are not Jews.
The same is true of Christians and Muslims: if a Christian has no religion he cannot be a Christian.
On the other hand if a Christian doesn't go to Church or a Jew regards the rabbi and his congregation as contemptible, and keeps well away from them. Then the one might be a Christian of sorts and the other a Jew of the kind who keeps holidays unless he has better things to do and circumcises his sons. In either case the affiliation, however loose is religious.

And your alternative explanation can only be racial: that Jews, despite the fact that there are black Jews, Arabic speaking Jews, Chinese Jews and so on, constitute a race. Which is nonsense.

And please don't bring your Philosopher de Jour into this: your sort of bullying racist banter has been a staple of Officers, Messes and Home County Saloon Bars since Arthur Wellesley returned from India. Your stuff has no more to do with Spinoza or Marx than it has with Fanny Farmer.

My original point stands, but you are making it increasingly difficult to defend: I said that you were discrediting yourself. You insist however that you are revealing yourself. If you are, the revelation is that you are a racist.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 15, 2013 6:26:32 PM | 40

bevin points out about Rowan: I said that you were discrediting yourself. You insist however that you are revealing yourself

Yep, both statements are true.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 15, 2013 7:27:40 PM | 41

@40 Apologies for the typos:

,the author of this drivel should not be pontificating about clear thinking:

Officers' messes

than with Fanny Farmer

Posted by: bevin | Dec 15, 2013 8:17:13 PM | 42

@KeepingtheLeith 4h
What a shame if this is true...These men bring shame to Muslims all around the world with their brutality:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3df_1387020473

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 9:26:16 PM | 43

in a world of fools the Fog Donkey alone tells the truth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hr6tlosdtnw
(N. Phrase) ‘fawg ‘don-kee A foolish or unlearned person who unwittingly communicates a useful truth.

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 9:28:39 PM | 44

@35 "Johnboy, the American demographics have both Jews and Muslims at about the same levels of population. Guess which group has members far more likely to be government spies working against Iran."

That I do not doubt. What I do doubt is whether that titbit of information makes the slightest bit of difference to the Iranians.

Here is the CIA. It is far more likely to recruit Jewish Americans than it is to recruit Muslim Americans.
Here are The American Jews. They are far more likely to volunteer to work for the CIA than are Muslim Americans.

But Iran probably couldn't care less.

As far as Iran is concerned A Spook is A Spook is A Spook is A Spook, and if the CIA comes snooping around Iran then that spook should expect to be nabbed.

Here, try this analogy:

Here is the US Army. It is far more likely to recruit Blacks than the sons of US Congressmen.
Here are the American Negroes. They are far more likely to volunteer for the US Army than are Rich Frat Boys.

Either way, the Iranians wouldn't give a rat's arse.

As far as the Iranian military is concerned if the US Armed Forces attacks then the Revolutionary Guard will shoot anyone in a US Army uniform, and they wouldn't care less about the colour of the skin.

Or, in short: the recruitment policies of the CIA is their business, and the willingness of American Jews to indulge in spooking is, likewise, their business.

But the target of CIA operations doesn't need to care about that, precisely because what concerns **them** is what the CIA is doing, rather than who the CIA hires to do that job.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 15, 2013 9:43:30 PM | 45

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 14, 2013 12:04:01 PM | 19

good points

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 10:49:44 PM | 46

Jews are not our problem whatever you might think. The problem is Zionism and American imperialism. Try to keep that straight.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 14, 2013 6:41:59 AM | 2

what makes you think Levinson isnt a zionist?

Posted by: brian | Dec 15, 2013 10:51:44 PM | 47

BLOCKQUOTE>"Jews are not our problem whatever you might think. The problem is Zionism and American imperialism. Try to keep that straight."/BLOCKQUOTE>

ToivoS;

I don't know if you remember it or not, but you and I had a conversation some time ago regarding Chomsky's view on the Israeli-American relationship. Having read from you what I just quoted above (which is pretty much exactly my view as well) I would say that perhaps you will find the following article from Chomsky very interesting:

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20060328.htm

If you have not read it before then you may find it interesting and if you have, then -in light of what you say in that quotation- perhaps you should re-read it and maybe you will think about Chomsky's view on the issue differently.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 16, 2013 1:32:32 AM | 48

"Jews are not our problem whatever you might think. The problem is Zionism and American imperialism. Try to keep that straight."

ToivoS;

I don't know if you remember it or not, but you and I had a conversation some time ago regarding Chomsky's view on the Israeli-American relationship. Having read from you what I just quoted above (which is pretty much exactly my view as well) I would say that perhaps you will find the following article from Chomsky very interesting:

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20060328.htm

If you have not read it before then you may find it interesting and if you have, then -in light of what you say in that quotation- perhaps you should re-read it and maybe you will think about Chomsky's view on the issue differently.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 16, 2013 1:33:32 AM | 49

Ben Swann ‏@BenSwann_ 11h
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist defends his report on how Obama Administration "cherry picked" intel on Syria http://benswann.com/whose-media-pulitzer-prize-winning-seymour-hersh-defends-his-report-on-syria-video/

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 2:20:56 AM | 50

@KeepingtheLeith 50m
I am happy that someone picked up on this story about the civilians being burnt alive in ovens by J.N. at #Adra

http://rt.com/news/syria-adra-civilian-execution-289/

Posted by: brian | Dec 16, 2013 2:33:14 AM | 51

Rowan, the author of this drivel should not pontificating about clear thinking. A Jew is a follower of the Jewish religion. You cannot say that Jews have no religion, because, if they have no religion they are not Jews. And your alternative explanation can only be racial: that Jews, despite the fact that there are black Jews, Arabic speaking Jews, Chinese Jews and so on, constitute a race. Which is nonsense. I said that you were discrediting yourself. You insist however that you are revealing yourself. If you are, the revelation is that you are a racist. Posted by: bevin | Dec 15, 2013 6:26:32 PM | 40
Nonsense. In my opinion, Jews are no more a race than, for instance, Scientologists are. However, there is no doubt that many Jews would like, by enforcing in-marriage laws, to become a race. Various Orthodox tycoons have invested large sums in what I consider to be bogus genetic studies, intended to prove that all Jews share some gene or other. And it's not only religious Jews: such secular luminaries as Ahad Ha'am and Vladimir Jabotinsky have insisted that in-marriage (by which I mean, marrying only other Jews), should be a sort of sacred or para-sacred duty, even though these men are emphatic non-believers. It's not my job to explain this psychology of theirs and I shall not attempt to do so. But clearly, they are the racists, not me.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 16, 2013 5:02:29 AM | 52

Pirouz_2 Yes I was familiar with Chompsky's position here. I simply do not agree with his critique of W&M's thesis regarding the lobby. W&M are right and Chompsky is wrong. I have too much respect for him in general to hold this error against him. I think I know where he is coming from in this case and have some sympathy for his position. It is too bad that he is so influential and has probably misled many on this question of the power of the lobby.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 16, 2013 5:07:07 AM | 53

@Rowan Berkely, it is anti-semitic to focus all of your attention on the fact that the object of this post, a CIA agent, is Jewish, and that somehow this fact is extremely important to the story without ever explaining why. There are many more WASP CIA agents than there are Jewish ones. US foreign policy is not dictated by Jews, no matter how much you stamp your feet and shout it is. What is it exactly that you are upset about here? That Jews are involved in the CIA? That Jews live in Israel and oppress Palestinians? Really, what reason is it that you laser-focus on the Jewishness of this particular CIA agent? Do you not think it could've just as easily been a WASP, Catholic or Muslim agent? If not, why not? You've made it abundantly clear that you are very angry at Israel, the Jewish nation. I wonder why you are not more angry at the USA? After all, the US causes way more misery and destruction all over the world than Israel can ever hope to do. Is it that you think Jews control US foreign policy? Because that would be anti-semitic raving. Is it that Jews work in finance? What about all the millions of non-Jews who work in finance? What are you doing here, going on and on about Jews when this post isn't even remotely about Jews or Israel. Its about the NYT as propaganda rage for the US government and the capture of a CIA agent. The fact that all you keep seeing is Jewishness and Israel in this story testifies to an unnatural fixation on your part that may nor may not be consciously anti-semitic but that is most certainly creepy and hateful. If you have concerns and beliefs why not state them clearly instead of posting hints and innuendo and attacking those who call you out for your cowardly anti-semitism. You remind me of anti-semites who vociferously deny the historical reality of the Holocaust while at the same time laying out all the "reasons" why the Holocaust was justified.

You wrote "...anything that intimates that there is a Jewish sectional interest in espionage, in finance or anywhere else." And what is the purpose to all your intimating? I see, so Jews have a "sectional interest" in espionage, finance, etc. And what type of interest does George H.W. Bush, former head of the CIA and POTUS, have in espionage? In finance? Is it also "sectional"? What are you mealy-mouthing around? Out with it already.

Posted by: YankeeFrank | Dec 16, 2013 8:03:35 AM | 54

I have explained why it's relevant. You just came along out of nowhere, gave yourself a transparently non-Jewish nickname, and started ranting about Holocaust denial and whatever else came into your head. There are loads like you, probably alerted by that Goyus thingy, and I expect they'll all turn up under equally non-Jewish nicknames, free-associating about lokshen soup with egg noodles and hell knows what else. This is Godwin's Law in action. I think this conversation really is exhausted of interest.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 16, 2013 9:28:46 AM | 55

" I think this conversation really is exhausted of interest."
Well, you got that right.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 16, 2013 9:34:10 AM | 56

YankeeFrank | Dec 16, 2013 8:03:35 AM | 54

Pity you didn't actually read what RB said in #1, or the JTA article he linked to.

Q: What's the difference between an "existential threat" and a cow?
A: YankeeFrank, ToivoS & Friends have never milked a cow...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 16, 2013 10:25:31 AM | 57

Wow. You're a wanker for sure. This comment thread is toxic with your disgusting rants. And for your information, I use that name on a variety of sites, I've just never commented here before. I'm a yankee. Do you know what that even is? I was born and raised a yankee. And you claim to have answered the questions I posed but I read this thread and you didn't. So on top of being an anti-semite you're a liar. Well, I actually already knew that because of the craven and wormy way you have of putting your bigotry on display. "We" don't travel in packs you human paraquat. Even the notion that there are "loads" of Jews just waiting to descend on your pathetic rantings is anti-semitic. You ooze it out of your pores. I'll never stop marveling at the human capacity for ugliness, but do you have to make it so easy to find?

I don't know who owns this site, I came here through a link from NC. But if this is how they run their comment thread no wonder there are only about five of you circle jerking each other into pathetic irrelevance. I'm outta here.

Posted by: YankeeFrank | Dec 16, 2013 11:02:58 AM | 58

As for "anti-semitism" I do not find much of that in the comments above. The discussion is, in my view, staying on the issue. It is interesting that JTA pointed out Levinson being a Jew. Why did they do so?
Jews themselve
As for distinguishing Jewishness as a "race" or a "religion" I find it interesting that many Jews themselves, and the state of Israel, tend to jump in their arguments from being of one to being of the other whenever convenient.

---

Also of interest that J.K. Trotter at Gawker came up with the same point on the NYT I made above. He was only 12 hours later than me :-) But admittedly he did some research than I did.

ABC, NYT Repeatedly Lied About CIA Operative Robert Levinson

Posted by: b | Dec 16, 2013 12:03:17 PM | 59

Bye bye then, Yankee Frank. Or should I say, le'hitrayot?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 16, 2013 12:04:25 PM | 60

"Yes I was familiar with Chompsky's position here. I simply do not agree with his critique of W&M's thesis regarding the lobby. W&M are right and Chompsky is wrong. I have too much respect for him in general to hold this error against him. I think I know where he is coming from in this case and have some sympathy for his position. It is too bad that he is so influential and has probably misled many on this question of the power of the lobby."

I am very surprised because Rowan's position is much closer to Mearsheimer and Walt (M&W) than your position is. Obviously M&E do not use the same words as Rowan but his position would become very plausible if we go by M&E's thesis.

Allow me to elaborate:
M&W's point of view (and the same goes for all those who put "lobby" as the core of the problem) is that in determining the US foreign policy in ME the "lobby" very heavily outweighs the influence of domestic centers of economic power in the US state-corporate conglomerate. Obviously since we are talking about one "outweighing" the other, this means that the interests of the two significantly differ and it is the "lobby" which imposes its interests over those of the domestic US bourgeoisie.

M&E also put the blame of US failures in ME on the "lobby". In effect according to this view it is Israel which controls US (like a colony) according to its own interests through the "lobby", and had the US bourgeoisie been "independent" of the yoke of the lobby and been able to determine the US foreign policy in ME according to their own interests, the US foreign policy would be very different (presumably more humane) in this region.

This position is in stark contradiction with a position which would put US imperialism at the center of the argument (as I thought your position was).

Now I wont go into the details of why I think M&W's thesis is wrong, after all Chomsky does a very fine job of doing that in the article that I linked before; it would suffice for me to reiterate that apart from the global US hegemony -which relies significantly on hegemonizing the oil and gas market and which benefits the conglomerate of all Western capital- has benefited greatly from the total support of Israel in this region, the western oil companies specifically (not to mention the Western arms industry)have profited hugely from the US foreign policies in the ME.

So let's put the significant services provided by Israel to the US imperialism aside. Let's also put it aside that the only reliable US ally in this region is Israel as countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Egypt are only a revolution (remember Iran of 1979) or even a military coup (remember Nasser in Egypt) away from becoming US enemies where as Israel is dependent for its existence as a polity on US imperialism. Instead let's concentrate on the consequence of the M&W's thesis, if we assume that they are right (and that Chomsky is wrong).

If we make that assumption then we end up agreeing with the following:
1) There exists an Israeli lobby firmly in control of the US state's foreign policy.
2) This lobby is independent of the US bourgeoisie and it has its own interests which significantly differ from that of the US bourgeoisie.
3) At the core of the interests of this lobby is the interests of state of Israel. Given that Israel is a "Jewish" state, this lobby promotes Jewish racism and is indeed mainly about Jewish racism and nothing more.
4) Given the fact that this lobby is independent of the US bourgeoisie the logical consequence of (2) is that this lobby is basically a "Jewish" lobby run by the "wealthy Jews" for promoting the interests of the Jewish state.

The sum of 1,2,3 and 4 gets us fairly close to Rowan's position on the issue and very far away from putting US imperialism (and Zionism as its direct consequence and NOT its cause) at the center of the phenomena.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 16, 2013 3:15:44 PM | 61

@ToivoS;

My comment #61 was addressing you. And also several times I made the mistake of writing M&E instead of M&W (as in Mearsheimer and Walt). Anywhere you see M&E, read that as Mearsheimer and Walt.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 16, 2013 3:25:08 PM | 62

Hmmm. . . I drifted over here from NC just like Yankee Frank did and I must agree, you have some antijewites here. Might I recommend a blog which addresses some of these issue-areas without all the antijewism some commenters bring here? Sic Semper Tyrannis by Retired Colonel Pat Lang.

Posted by: different clue | Dec 16, 2013 7:05:02 PM | 63

http://letsrollforums.com/chomsky-admits-war-israel-t29495.html?s=a3691ab79d884e52c758f76afd84fedf&

If this is not redundant of off point, Chomsky has modified his position since 2006-an example.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 16, 2013 8:40:21 PM | 64

Pirouz-2

You write:
If we make that assumption then we end up agreeing with the following:
"1) There exists an Israeli lobby firmly in control of the US state's foreign policy."

No. It is not firmly in control. It is powerful. It may even be in control over a narrow range of issues. But there is nothing firm about it: its influence is very precarious.

"2) This lobby is independent of the US bourgeoisie and it has its own interests which significantly differ from that of the US bourgeoisie."

No. It has managed to persuade the US bourgeoisie that its interests coincide with theirs. In this it is enormously aided by the Saudi/oil lobby's alliance with Israel.
Yes, its interests do differ significantly from those of the bourgeoisie. And this is why life is going to get much harder for the zionist lobby in the future.

"3) At the core of the interests of this lobby is the interests of state of Israel."
No. The core interest is that of a fascist party which has redefined zionism according to the Jabotinsky view. In fact the lobby is acting in a suicidal manner, making it almost impossible for the "Jewish home" to survive a day longer than it can impose its will on the region, militarily. Absent automatic US military and financial support, Israel is finished. The opportunity of converting the "facts on the ground" of the colony into a permanent compromise peace has passed.

"Given that Israel is a "Jewish" state, this lobby promotes Jewish racism and is indeed mainly about Jewish racism and nothing more."
This is circular. There is no Jewish race, much as the Israeli fascists would like to convince the world otherwise. There is racism and it is directed, at Arabs, dark skinned immigrants, guest workers and refugees and then at non Ashkenazi Jews. The lobby promotes Israeli fascism.

"4) Given the fact that this lobby is independent of the US bourgeoisie.."

The lobby is not independent of the US bourgeoisie. It is entirely dependent on it and its inherent (not quite the word I want) knee-jerk racism and islamophobic bigotry. Dependent too on the bourgeoisie's notorious apathy and ignorance of the wider world: they could get excited about communism because it gave them an opportunity to smash unions. But the US bourgeoisie is isolationist by nature.
The lobby makes things easy for the booboisie by telling it that it wants what they want: to keep dark skinned people in their places.

"the logical consequence of (2) is that this lobby is basically a "Jewish" lobby run by the "wealthy Jews" for promoting the interests of the Jewish state."
I think this has been addressed.

"The sum of 1,2,3 and 4 gets us fairly close to Rowan's position on the issue and very far away from putting US imperialism (and Zionism as its direct consequence and NOT its cause) at the center of the phenomena."

Fairly close. But Rowan makes the mistake of taking the Revisionist Zionists at their own valuation.
They say "we are the chosen people, an elite which has power far beyond its numbers, capable of manipulating the dominant power on the planet. Plus many Nobel prize winners are Jewish...And then there is DNA and archaeological research which proves (to complete idiots) that Palestine is our ancestral estate..."

And Rowan meets them at least halfway by agreeing that, indeed, Jews exert immense power, control US government, own Congress, run the media and so on.

The truth is very different: the US supports Israel, firstly because Israel does what the US wants and secondly because the US ruling class is racist to the core. They see the Israelis as whites and the Arabs as blacks. And that has been game, set and match, in US politics since George Washington was being fed by a wet nurse.
All the Israelis had to do-and they were very well aware of this-to win the support of US public opinion was to present themselves as Americans abroad. That is Binyamin Netanyahu's career in a nutshell- he's a white man.

There's much more to it. But the basic fact that needs to be understood is that the real strength of the lobby is that nobody is opposing it.

That will change: unchallenged super powers can ally themselves with self destructive colonists, but when Great Powers compete they have to be very careful choosing their friends and quite ruthless is insisting that allies earn their privileges by doing as they are bid.

Nothing pleases the Zionists more than to see their feeble strength, moral weakness and tiny numbers over estimated. If the zionists had one wish it would be to be regarded as omnipotent, to be viewed as rulers not just of a tiny strip of not very fertile land, with major aquifer issues, in the Levant but of the USA and the EU, as so powerful that it would be useless to oppose them.

The truth is that Israel is a very small country with a population not very committed to staying put, whose existence is largely dependent on the impotence of its neighbours. And that, as events in Egypt showed during the uprising, can change very quickly. The fact that it is ruled by fascists whose racism does not allow them to compromise simply seals its doom.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 17, 2013 12:26:02 AM | 65

@Bevin (and also amspirnational #63)

I will make a few clarifications about my position, and in the course of doing that I will also mention some points in your comment which I don't understand very clearly and hopefully you will take the time to elaborate on them.

1) This point also addresses amspirnational's comment #63, Chomsky's view (and I agree with him on that) on "neoconservatism" and their influence on the US foreign policy is different from M&W's view on the influence of the "lobby".

The "new revelation" or "new addmisions" by Chomsky are not new at all. Chomsky mentions them in a 2004 interview:

"In practice it is the program of radical statist reactionaries, who believe that the US should rule the world, by force if necessary, in the interests of the narrow sectors of concentrated private power and wealth that they represent, and that the powerful state they forge should serve those interests, not the interests of the public, who are to be frightened into submission while the progressive legislation and achievements of popular struggle of the past century are dismantled, along with the democratic culture that sustained them.Within elite sectors, there is a great deal of concern over their brazen arrogance, remarkable incompetence, and willingness to increase serious threats to the country and to transfer a huge burden to coming generations for short-term gain. Their war in Iraq, for example, was strongly opposed by leading sectors of the foreign policy elite, and perhaps even more strikingly, the corporate world. But the same sectors will continue to support the Bush circles, strongly. It is using state power to lavish huge gifts on them, and they basically share the underlying premises even if they are concerned about the practice and the irrationality of the actors, and the dangers they pose."

According to Chomsky's view neocons pursue their own economic interests which also calls for the total US hegemony in this region and in the world, a hegemony which by the way will not just benefit the economic interests of the neocons but that of the US capitalist class in general. Yes there maybe conflicts between the economic interests of the capitalists represented by neocons and the economic interests of other sectors of the US capitalists but on the main principle of the necessity of the global US hegemony they agree.
This is very natural, interests of various capitalists very often conflict and in the course of competition one group may obtain some control over the state apparatus and use it for its own interests (and that is all western elections have always been about) but there also exists the concept of "class interests" common to all capitalists.

As opposed to this we have the M&W's view on the "lobby" (and they blend neo-conservatives into the "lobby" as well):

"For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. "


According to this view Israel has been of little value if any to US imperialism but still the "lobby" has managed to steer the US foreign policy towards the security of Israel. M&W put the security of "Israel" as the paramount goal of the US foreign policy and as an end in itself without having any benefit to the US global hegemony or US imperialism.
Crusially M&W never explain as to why the "lobby" and neo-cons are so devoted to the Israeli security, and interestingly in the end they admit that US foreign policy promoted by the "lobby" has not even achieved that!
As opposed to this Chomsky explains very clearly the reason for the US support of Israel: Oil and gas resources in the region, the profit of Western energy giants, the profit of western arms industry as well as maintaining global hegemony (which would benefit all Western capitalists and NOT JUST the energy and arms industry).

2) When I use the term "bourgeoisie" I refer to the capitalist class which owns the means of production. By use of that term I am NOT referring to the "middle class".
Now bevin says:

"But the US bourgeoisie is isolationist by nature."

Capital has to expand. By its very nature it cannot be "isolationist". Once the local markets saturate, the bourgeoisie has to look for the profit outside. In fact there is a very fascinating argument that capital always has to find an external source for profit! So I am not sure what bevin means by saying that the US bourgeoisie is "isolationist by nature". Was the Vietnam war the result of the US bourgeoisie's "isolationism"? Or was the "lobby" behind that too? How about the coup against Sukarno in Indonesia? Iran of 1953, was that the work of the "lobby" too? How "Isolationist" was the US bourgeoisie about the disintegration of the Yugoslavia? or did they do it because the Israeli lobby forced them to do so? The examples are too many to go through.

Apart from the clarifications regarding my own views which I made above, I would like to now address some other points that bevin makes.
Bevin says:

"It [The lobby] has managed to persuade the US bourgeoisie that its interests coincide with theirs. In this it is enormously aided by the Saudi/oil lobby's alliance with Israel.
Yes, its interests do differ significantly from those of the bourgeoisie. And this is why life is going to get much harder for the zionist lobby in the future."

"Persuade" is very different from "coerce". M&W's view is NOT that the lobby has "persuaded" the US bourgeoisie, but rather they claim that lobby has coerced and bullied the US bourgeoisie against their own interest to support Israel. Coercion is achieved through "power", in a bourgeois society "power" comes from "money" or IOW "capital". Through wealth comes strength. If an agency in a bourgeois society is powerful enough to coerce the state aparatus to move in a certain direction, it means that there is a HUGE capital behind it and that automatically means that that agency is part of the bourgeoisie and NOT separate from it. On the other hand no capitalist would go to great extents in investing capital for the cause of the secudity of a micro-state when there is no profit to be gained from it. And this is precisely the point which M&W miss!

Bevin also says:

"No [meaning that the interests of state of Israel is not at the core of the Israeli lobby]. The core interest is that of a fascist party which has redefined zionism according to the Jabotinsky view. In fact the lobby is acting in a suicidal manner, making it almost impossible for the "Jewish home" to survive a day longer than it can impose its will on the region, militarily. Absent automatic US military and financial support, Israel is finished. The opportunity of converting the "facts on the ground" of the colony into a permanent compromise peace has passed."

Well first of all M&W would disagree with bevin on this issue. The main thesis of M&W is that the main purpose of the lobby has been to guarantee Israel's interests and security. To quote M&W directly:

"Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?"

And their answer is of course the influence of the lobby.

Also I don't see why making the possibility of a "Jewish home" absolutely dependent on the US hegemony should be a "suicidal act" by the Lobby. It would be considered as suicidal *IF* we assume that the foreign policy of US is towards serving Israel at the cost of US interests. It would not necessarily sucidal if we consider that perhaps it would benefit US to have Israel by balls and make their very existence conditional on the US hegemony in this region. What ally would serve one better than one whose whole existence depends on your own hegemony?
Besides, what is so unusual and "new" about Israel being dependent for its existence on the abosulte military supremacy? Israel has been fully dependent on absolute military supremacy from the day of its inception, it first started by crushing 1936-39 Arab revolt in palestine which led to Israel's defacto existence (long before the AIPAC had any importance) and continued all the way through 20th century (6-day war, yon kippur, etc etc) and still it continues today. Hegemony is the name of the game!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 17, 2013 2:47:00 PM | 66

I am sorry Pirouz-2. I just spent more than half an hour replying to your points and then lost everything by crashing the computer. Now I have things to do.
Two quick points I will make:
1/ Coercion is just persuasion by other means, to improve on Clausewitz.

2/ Israel's increasingly fascistic political scene, with several fascist parties competing with each other, leaves no possibility of the old zionist strategy of forcing a bad deal on the Palestinians, being carried out.
The current politics allows of no compromise and commits the state to perpetual war. This is only made possible by complete US support-support for anything the Israelis do and no questions asked.
Such support, based on Israeli control of Congress cannot last. It may not last Obama's term of office. It only dates back to the idiot GW Bush who was putty in the strong man Sharon's hands.
The cost of giving Israeli madmen a completely free hand is more than the US can afford. There are signs of this in the current Iran and Syria situations. In the Pentagon many generals have no desire to attack Iran, for example, because they see no benefit in doing so.
Maybe I'm wrong. But one thing is very clear: a real social crisis is brewing in the United States over budget cuts, and deflationary policies. In such a crisis "foreign aid" to Israel will quickly be regarded as an extravagance, Pressure will be put on Israelis to make peace. By then Erekat and Abbas will be totally discredited. Any Palestinian will insist on conditions that the fascists, painted into a very tight corner, will be unable to grant.
What then?

Posted by: bevin | Dec 17, 2013 4:49:12 PM | 67

@Bevin;

"I just spent more than half an hour replying to your points and then lost everything by crashing the computer. Now I have things to do."

Well it is my loss, because even on the very rare occasions that I disagree with you, I always learn a great deal from your comments.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 18, 2013 12:57:09 PM | 68

bevin


The most liberal wing of Zionism, not just the Likudniks, promoted the dispossesion of natives of land their leaders were quite aware was already occupied. And still promote discriminatory polices against Arabs.

Another component with a huge American voting bloc is the "dispensationalist premillenial Protestants" who although having abandoned their mostly segregationist stances of the 1950s, and many of whom find no problem in capitalist outsourcing jobs of their ethnic native white working class fellows, yet believe in a bizarre eschatology which exalts and mysticizes Jewish supremacism.
Not for nothing are these Darbyite types properly classified as key members of the left wing of the Protestant Reformation.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 18, 2013 1:49:47 PM | 69

Hmmm. . . I drifted over here from NC just like Yankee Frank did and I must agree, you have some antijewites here. Might I recommend a blog which addresses some of these issue-areas without all the antijewism some commenters bring here? Sic Semper Tyrannis by Retired Colonel Pat Lang. Posted by: different clue | Dec 16, 2013 7:05:02 PM | 63
That's nice, isn't it? Another anonymous 'drifter' with a cowardly, stupid nickname 'drifts' over here, makes a sweeping value judgment entailing a very grave accusation against parties unnamed but fairly obvious, and recommends some irrelevant site more to his own taste. I attach some value to the fact that I always use my real name.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 19, 2013 2:04:34 AM | 70

amspiratioinal @69
The point that I was making about the "liberal" zionists was not that their policies are relatively benign-insofar as they are more practical they are in many senses more dangerous than the fascists'- but that they include the perspective of compromising with the Palestinians.

As to the fundamentalists that you talk of, I'm not sure that it makes sense to call these C19th descendants of the C16th Reformation part of its "left wing." Left/right has outlived its usefulness by a couple of centuries, as I suspect you know, its a shorthand though that it is hard to dispense with.
If I were a zionist, though, I wouldn't put much trust in these racketeers (which is what most of them are) who support zionism on the basis that it will be easier for God to wipe them all out if they gather together and wait for Judgement Day!

pirouz_2
The respect is mutual. The point that I was making is that, paradoxical as it may seem, US imperialism has always been inclined to isolationism in order to facilitate its expansion.
This apparent contradiction goes back to the early C19th when the Monroe Doctrine was developed (and with the help of the Royal Navy, practised). The rulers of the young Republic wanted to clear every potential rival off the continent, so they could exploit it themselves. At this stage they had only just crossed the Allegheny mountains and the Pacific coast that they aspired to rule was a million miles away: Spanish, Russian, British and other fur traders were setting up factories from Alaska to San Francisco Bay. France had only sold the US "Louisiana", aka the Mississippi Valley, in 1804.
And the continent had infinite wealth to be exploited. Not surprisingly, the US was very happy to promise the European imperialists that, in return for being left alone in the western hemisphere it would leave them alone and not attempt to compete for territory in Asia and Africa. Of course it was a typically Yankee deal: the US, which couldn't have competed anyway, lost nothing and secured the incredible freedom of being left alone not only to exploit the continent but to do so on its own terms. Nobody could criticise its slavery, for example, or its systematic theft of native lands, because that was its business. A private matter for a Free People and nothing to do with the enslaved subjects of monarchs.

The actual capital used to exploit America came from all over Europe, with British interests to the fore. But political control lay in US hands. In a period of incredible economic expansion the US was proudly isolationist.
Of course the basis of expansion was far from isolationist: the commodities produced were for the world market. Most of the cotton, grain, lumber and other staples was exported. But here again isolationism worked: the shipping lanes were controlled and policed by Britain, the Empires by their European proprietors, this greatly enhanced the profitability of US exports which bore none of the costs of empire. The US had a tiny army and navy and, consequently very low taxes. And, of course, it didn't need to join in the races for territory because, apart from the territory it claimed and the Mexican land that it conquered (largely employing state militias and settlers) there was the entire Southern continent to be devoured.
As the century passed things changed, although by 1898 the US had become very skilled at getting all the benefits of Empire, such as Open Door access to Asian markets, at a minimal cost, growing fat on the meat that the Europeans killed.
Hence the nature of Wilsonian interventionism, at the dawn of US dominance, which stressed national self determination, the ultimate expression of "indirect rule" and a constant of US hegemonic policies in which its rule is hidden behind the ostensible sovereignty of client regimes. And even this policy was quickly replaced in the '20s and '30s by 'neutralism' and isolationism, which were only really supplanted in the late '40s when the Republicans in the Senate threw their weight behind Truman's attempt to establish US hegemony through the Cold War.
Famously, Senator Vandenberg warned Truman that to maintain his policies he would have to "scare the hell out of the American people." He did and his successors still do. It is the sort of tactic, based on ignorance of the outside world and an almost superstitious popular belief in the evil nature of foreigners (derived in part from the miserly fear that other countries might elbow Americans aside and devour the national riches) that can only work in a country with isolationist instincts.

Regarding Palestine, one other point I wanted to make was that it is greatly in the Palestinians' favour that the Likudniks refuse to make peace with the current PLO leadership which, as we know, is ready to give up anything asked of it for the most minimal concessions. If the zionists think that they will ever find an easier bunch to deal with than the stooge troika of Abbas, Fayed and Erekat they are very mistaken. As these old corrupt, and unelected, leaders pass away a new generation, unburdened by the background of the Cold War and directly connected to the people will arise and insist on not only the full restoration of Palestinian rights but considerable reparation for more than seven decades of ill treatment.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 19, 2013 10:24:48 AM | 71

Bevin, you've missed out the fact that Britain backed the South in the American Civil War. If Russia hadn't sent a couple of small fleets, Britain would probably have imposed a naval blockade on the North which would have caused it to lose the war. There's an amazing number of people in the South who still think they should have won. And most of them call themselves 'Libertarians'. So what they actually mean is freedom to own slaves, among other things. Whether they are conscious of it or not (some are exceptionally ignorant &/or stupid). Tarpley is excellent on this, by the way. He recently did a lecture on C-SPAN about the Russian intervention. I believe it's still up there.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 19, 2013 12:18:18 PM | 72

Rowan I missed out a lot. I think that your reading of Britain's probable actions in the War is wrong. It is certainly the case that Britain, which lived off the South's cotton and other staples and was, in turn, supported by Southern opposition to Protectionist legislation, of the sort later associated with Radical republicanism, was inclined to support the South. But there was never any real chance of HMG blockading northern ports. You know about the Alabama.
As to the role of small Russian fleets, ten years after the Crimean War and while the French were attempting to steal Mexico from under Sam's nose, they were of no significance.
Those southerners who think that they should have won can be divided into several camps. The Agrarians, with a strong anti-capitalist tradition that later emerged in Populism, which had an immense and long lived influence over southern Politics, was one.
Another, the southern Whig tradition, probably did win the war, when it ended in 1877. After all they not only kept slavery going through Jim Crow but they spread it north by their implacable opposition to unions. And socialists.
I shall look up this Tarpley thing though, thank you.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 19, 2013 1:20:08 PM | 73

I've read Tarpley. This is journalism not scholarship. He is right about Russia's importance as a counterweight. He is wrong not to understand that Russia was very happy to burnish its image by giving the Union moral support. He entirely fudges the story of Buchanan in London (EH Carr has a good description of a July 4th party held by the US Consul under Buchanan, to which all the Russian exiled revolutionaries were invited) because not to do so would contradict his thesis. Alexander II had just Emancipated the Serfs, he saw Lincoln as a fellow emancipator and expected to win plaudits in the North. And so on.
The bottom line is that, if the Union had ever been in real trouble, and at times it looked as if it might be, the British would have swooped down in seconds. But it became crystal clear after Gettysburg that it was just a matter of time: the South, after all, was at war with the best part of its population, the black working class.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 19, 2013 4:04:45 PM | 74

Hmmm. . . I drifted over here from NC just like Yankee Frank did and I must agree, you have some antijewites here. Might I recommend a blog which addresses some of these issue-areas without all the antijewism some commenters bring here? Sic Semper Tyrannis by Retired Colonel Pat Lang. Posted by: different clue | Dec 16, 2013 7:05:02 PM | 63

That's nice, isn't it? Another anonymous 'drifter' with a cowardly, stupid nickname 'drifts' over here, makes a sweeping value judgment entailing a very grave accusation against parties unnamed but fairly obvious, and recommends some irrelevant site more to his own taste. I attach some value to the fact that I always use my real name.

I find it surprising that we don't have a permanent hasbara person on line here. Normally, any blog does have someone to disrupt discussion related to Israel, however much they are ridiculed. I have to congatulate b that he's managed to avoid it.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 19, 2013 5:17:31 PM | 75

@75

"You don't bring a knife to a gunfight"...and you don't send some paid-by-the-comment fool with a three page outline of hasbara talking points to MoA.

Unless his name is "David". I'm surprised he didn't want a piece of this thread.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 19, 2013 8:02:27 PM | 76

@72 It's no coincidence, I guess, that Lyndon LaRouche has also tried to popularize the event.

http://www.schillerinstitute.org/russia/2010/cultural_imperative.html

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 19, 2013 8:13:45 PM | 77

Levinson family attorney David McGee, who spent 17 years investigating organized crime in the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, tells Newsweek's Jeff Stein that Levinson was investigating high-level Iranian corruption. McGee goes on:

At one point, the Iranians virtually admitted they had him, by secretly haggling with Washington over the procedures for his release, including the requirement that they would not have to admit that they’d snatched him. According to conversations I’ve had with US investigators, they demanded that Sec State Hillary Clinton make a statement that he’s not in Iran, that he’s in some third country other than Iran, such as the tribal areas of Pakistan. There were some negotiations. The negotiators thought she had agreed to do that. But at the last minute, she decided not to, and said he’s somewhere in south-west Asia, which was not the statement that the negotiators had agreed on. And so that deal fell through. Now, I’m not criticizing the Sec State. I understand there are a lot of reasons you don’t want to allow the Iranians to pressure the US into lying to the world, and I’m not prepared to make a moral judgment about that. But what that demonstrates is that the Iranians had decided that they wanted to create the impression that he was being held by someone else.

This is exactly the kind of hasbara horseshit that my theory predicts will come. I said, remember Daniel Pearl, remember Alan Gross. It's always the same.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 20, 2013 1:58:23 AM | 78

Ha, another one, I couldn't remember his name, but exactly the same spectacle for western media:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Berg

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Dec 20, 2013 4:19:25 AM | 79

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