Just Start Wearing Purple

David Frum, reasonable conservative:

A new pro-Israel group has launched one of the hardest-hitting commercials of America’s 2010 campaign season. It will run in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Sestak faces Republican Pat Toomey in a battle for the Senate seat formerly held by Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter.

Over images of masked gunmen and grainy footage of anti-Israel protests, a narrator’s voice demands: “Does Congressman Joe Sestak realize Israel is America’s ally?

“Sestak raised money for an anti-Israel organization the FBI called ‘a front-group for Hamas.’ Sestak signed a letter accusing Israel of ‘collective punishment’ for blockading Hamas in Gaza. Sestak refused to sign a bipartisan letter affirming U.S. support for Israel.

“Call Joe Sestak: Ask him to stand with Israel.”

That’s tough medicine, and a departure from the traditional behind-the-scenes advocacy of groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The departure signals a coming shift in the American Jewish community. While most American Jews vote Democrat, those Jews most passionately involved with Israel have felt ever-increasing mistrust of Barack Obama, his administration and his party.

The anti-Sestak ad, for example, was produced by the newly launched Emergency Committee for Israel (EIC). The EIC is governed by a three-person board: Bill Kristol of Fox News and the Weekly Standard; Gary Bauer, a stalwart of the Christian Right; and Rachel Abrams, a writer married to former senior Bush administration official Elliott Abrams. It is raising funds from donors increasingly alienated from the Obama administration, not usually by any one single big thing, but by an accumulation of ominous signals and warnings of trouble to come.

Yes- Bill Kristol smearing people is a real coming shift in the American Jewish community, David. And refusing to sign an AIPAC letter and noting that the Gaza blockade is collective punishment now makes you an Israel hater and a target for lunatic neo-cons. Apparently, David Frum and the Emergency Committee for Israel PAC are the only people on the planet who refuse to recognize the Gaza blockade is collective punishment. Israelis have no problem agreeing that it is:

As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.

***

However, in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

“A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare,'” the government said.

McClatchy obtained the government’s written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year.

Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, said the documents prove that Israel isn’t imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza. Gisha focuses on Palestinian rights.

Please spare me the bullshit that David Frum of January 2010 is any different than the David Frum of “axis of evil” notoriety. Anyone gleefully touting the smear efforts of Bill Kristol, Elliot and Rachel Abrams, and unhinged Christianist lunatic Gary Bauer is just as crazy as they come.

Nothing has changed except that Frum has recognized the Republicans have a marketing problem. That is all.

And does anyone want to just think for a second how batshit insane it is for proponents of a foreign country to be running ads in an election against someone running to be the Senator for Pennsylvania. Can you imagine this being acceptable if advocates for South Korea were running a high profile smear campaign against a candidate in a Florida gubernatorial campaign? Or if Saudi Arabia advocates spent millions on a PAC attempting to influence the Colorado Senate race? That alone is just crazy. And beyond even that, Admiral Joe Sestak is a man who dedicated his entire adult life to the service of the United States military- and now these crazy, extremist, pro-Israel radicals have the nerve to smear him?

*** Update ***

And, as Matt Duss notes, now that Israel is easing the blockade (in part because the entire world recognized collective punishment when the Israeli’s drew their attention to it with the bungled overreaction that was the flotilla raid), they essentially share the same position as Joe Sestak.

As always, Israel’s worst enemy is her “best friends” who blindly and uncritically cheerlead.

94 replies
  1. 1

    Isn’t this ad in violation of law? I know someone here can remind me which law. I saw someone on another website(or maybe even here) mention it. Something about these guys registering as agents of a foreign country. Something those Russian spies were charged with before they were sent back to Russia.

  2. 2
    Chyron HR says:

    While most American Jews vote Democrat, those Jews most passionately involved with Israel have felt ever-increasing mistrust of Barack Obama, his administration and his party. were Republicans to begin with.

  3. 3

    Blatant scare tactics from ads like these once worked wonders for the war party, until they no longer did. All people see and hear from them now is Iraq and George Bush. The air waves were inundated with such ads in 08, but they did not help wingnuts.

    Now if they made ads showing Bank CEO’s wearing black masks and suicide vests and somehow friendly photoshopped Sestak into them, that could be a winner in 2010 and 12.

    Smells of gooper desperation, and similar hubris that got us into costly quagmires the public is sick of.

  4. 4
    kid bitzer says:

    “Please spare me the bullshit that David Frum of January 2010 is any different than the David Frum of “axis of evil” notoriety.”

    yup. and since this was sullivan’s first choice for replacement blogger during his leave,

    please spare me the bullshit that andrew sullivan of January 2010 is any different than the andrew sullivan of “liberal fifth column” notoriety.

    (not that you, j.c., push that line).

  5. 5
    MTiffany says:

    ….noting that the Gaza blockade is collective punishment now makes you an Israel hater…

    Then I am an Israel hater and damned proud of it. And lots of my friends fall into that category too, come to think of it.
    And pretty much everyone I know thinks that the greatest danger to the continued existence of the state of Israel doesn’t come from Hamas, but from AIPAC and chickenhawk American Christian neonationalist neocon neonazis.

  6. 6
    Mark S. says:

    Does Frum always get flamed in his own comments?

    Here’s Frummy touting a Jamie Kirchick column that argues gays should support Israel’s policies in Gaza because . . . HITLER!

  7. 7
    matoko_chan says:

    Frums basic problem is that conservatives have culled the population for low information voters (read low IQ) for a half century.
    So the GOP is now being subjected to the tyranny of the stupid that they imposed on the whole country for years. Consider the last 50 years of memetic selection in the conservative base.
    Selection for voters who can be scammed into voting against their economic self-interest, who are sufficiently undereducated to not understand ToE and basic meiosis, who are highly xenophobic, who despise science, intellectuals and acadame and whose religiosity index is extremely high.
    Its like biomemetic engineering to produce a tractable population that is extremely permeable to fearmongering and demagoguery….selection for malleable and stupid.
    Now Frum and Weigel and Douthat’s collective problem is that the base is too stupid to be reasoned with. They can’t turn off the racism to be able to lure hispanics into the party. They have pretty much given up on blacks.
    But unfortunately hispanics and jews are highly sympathetic to oppression of blacks, and even worse, the youth demographic is completely anti-racist.
    But I don’t get why hypersapients like TNC and Sully say we should try to help horrorshows like Douthat and Frum and Weigel and McMeghan.
    I say let them burn.
    Something else will evolve to fill the GOP niche.

    There is more and more fMRI data on between group differences in brain function and efficiency….its just a matter of time before conservatism gets correlated with lower IQ and g.
    The only question is what will happen then?
    Will there be IQ riots or will people just quietly change their voter registration?

  8. 8
    kdaug says:

    Can you imagine this being acceptable if advocates for South Korea were running a high profile smear campaign against a candidate in a Florida gubernatorial campaign? Or if Saudi Arabia advocates spent millions on a PAC attempting to influence the Colorado Senate race?

    And yet, that’s precisely what the Citizens United ruling does – there is NO stipulation that the corporate cash has to come from a US company at all. S.A.’s Aramco has the same right now to buy into our elections as any shell company the DPRK wants to set up.

    It’s the genius of the Supreme Court writ large.

  9. 9

    Yee—up….
    Now that Davy’s toeing the line again, does that mean that he gets his AEI money back again? Or are there even more boots to lick?

  10. 10
    bobbo says:

    Nothing has changed except that Frum has recognized the Republicans have a marketing problem. That is all.

    Exactly. Which is why his post reads more like an advertisement than an argument:

    That’s tough medicine, and a departure from the traditional behind-the-scenes advocacy . . .
    The departure signals a coming shift in the American Jewish community. . . .
    It is raising funds from donors increasingly alienated from the Obama administration, not usually by any one single big thing, but by an accumulation of ominous signals and warnings of trouble to come.

    None of that is fact-based. It is all marketing: the more we say it, the more we can convince people it’s true. Frankly, I don’t think it will work. Does anyone choose their senator based on his/her position on Israel? I don’t think it’s even in the top 20 criteria.

  11. 11
    joe from Lowell says:

    The front page of the Boston Herald yesterday had gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill slamming out-of-state groups for running ads against him.

    These people running ads against Sestak aren’t even Americans.

  12. 12
    shortstop says:

    not usually by any one single big thing, but by an accumulation of ominous signals and warnings of trouble to come.

    Ah. Nothing we can put our fingers on or take the trouble to cite; still, an accumulation of, you know, ominous signals. Warnings of trouble to come, even.

    How very Fox News of you, Mr. Frum.

  13. 13
    Rommie says:

    Um, yeah, they have the nerve to smear him. Isn’t this a SATSQ when it comes to saying ANYthing to win?

  14. 14
    batgirl says:

    Um, David, the board of the EIC shows no shift. If just shows the same old unholy alliance between neocon Jews (who never supported Obama) and fundamentalist Christians. Nothing new here.

  15. 15
    lawnorder says:

    Hehehe, I see some of the Gogol Bordello’s music made an impact on you John ;)

  16. 16
    Little Dreamer says:

    Let’s get one thing clear here: These Republicans who seem to care so much for Israel only do so because it’s a stepping stone to advance their own religious fantasy. The Bible states that one day the Temple of Jerusalem will be rebuilt and someone will sit on the throne and reign, but if that someone does not accept Christianity as the one true religion which he is supposed to be the head of, you can be damned sure these Republicans would be screaming to force that person out (with guns and bombs and a third, fourth and fifth world war against Israel, if necessary) so Jesus can sit there (even though Jesus is not a Jewish construct, and the idea of a triune god or a human son of God who is also a god is spoken of very negatively in the “Old Testament”).

    This is all about advancing a religious ideology, nothing more.

  17. 17
    Comrade Kevin says:

    All your sanity and wits they will all vanish
    I promise, it’s just a matter of time…

  18. 18
    me says:

    @MTiffany: Then you must be an anti-semite (or self-hating jew if you happen to be jewish). Although, I must be too.

  19. 19
    Little Dreamer says:

    @bobbo:

    To an extremist Christian fundamentalist, it’s in the top 5.

  20. 20
    ktward says:

    JC: Nothing has changed except that Frum has recognized the Republicans have a marketing problem. That is all.

    Indeed.
    Cross-posted here:
    http://www.frumforum.com/the-n.....ent-124523

    Frum: While most American Jews vote Democrat, those Jews most passionately involved with Israel have felt ever-increasing mistrust of Barack Obama, his administration and his party.

    Evidently, Frum believes his statement succinctly characterizes a reactionary, activist “… New In-Your-Face Israel Lobby”.

    Uh-huh.
    FWIW, a few factual observations and reality-check:

    1) Read Forward rather than Frum if you want the latest on Israel-US relations, particularly where American Jewry sentiment is concerned.
    http://forward.com/articles/129353/

    Considering all the threats Israelis face right now … you might think the last thing they’d be looking for would be a fight with their closest ally, the American Jewish community.

    You might think that, but you’d be wrong. The Knesset is currently hard at work stirring up the most serious crisis in Israel-Diaspora relations in a decade.

    The issue, as usual, is conversion. A key Knesset committee approved a bill in mid-July that would tighten ultra-Orthodox control over conversions to Judaism and push the main streams of American Judaism — Reform and Conservative — further than ever from Israeli legitimacy.

    2) Unlike other inarguably prominent, deep-thinking Cons the likes of Chris Buckley and Gen. Powel, I seriously doubt that hardcore ‘Nation Building’-neocon/’Israel First’-zionist Frum ever remotely considered voting for Obama. (To my knowledge, he’s never ‘fessed up either way.) That said, Frum can hardly be considered a voice of reliable authority when it comes to Dem Jewish voters.

    3) I’m continually struck by this particular Frum disconnect: he spares zero criticism for fringe GOP voices the likes of Palin, Limbaugh, Paul and Angle, but he remains wholly unquestioning and uncritical when it comes to the far-right leadership currently at Israel’s helm.

    So.

    Make no mistake: despite his US citizenship, Frum’s first and foremost loyalties remain firmly with Israel, regardless of Her current policy direction, and no matter how deservedly controversial Her practices are relative to today’s critical geo-political context. In this respect alone, Frum is every bit as blindly and ideologically driven as are the born-again Christian fundamentalist creationist/Armageddon lovers. And because the Religious Right is an extraordinarily comfy vote-collecting bedfellow of the neocon/zionist contingent, Frum will never explicitly criticize their political aims.

    Hence, FrumForum. (Post GWB/Cheney, natch: a GOP-bucking, controversial FF would *never* have been launched during any neocon admin.)

    Here, Frum can conveniently invite other contributors to A) do some of the more RR-unfriendly dirty work he won’t ever do himself in order to maintain a safe distance of deniability, (e.g. Knepper) and B) to reinforce–under a pseudo-credible guise–his own ideo-driven neocon/zionist Anti-Muslim propaganda. (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali)

    But hey.
    Outside of all that bulls**t, FF’s all good.

  21. 21
    bkny says:

    have these bloodthirsty, israeli-firsters registered as agents of a foreign country?

    it’s astonishing what you can get away with once you’re an ensconced member of the village.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Anya says:

    John, I absolutely agree with your assessment of David Frum. He is no different than Kristol in his views. The only difference is, one is a Canadian, so he follows the polite Canadian discourse. He wants the American conservatism to follow the same path as Harper conservatism where you embrace all the nutty ideas you’re allowed, but not voice all of them in polite company. How can anyone call someone who accuses anyone who disagrees with Israel of anti-Semitism, a serious thinker is beyond me.

  24. 24
    Little Dreamer says:

    @ktward:

    ::thumbs up:: That was a great post!

  25. 25
    Polly says:

    “…how batshit insane it is for proponents of a foreign country…”

    The crazed neocons are proponents of the Likud party and Netanyahu, not so much the state of Israel. Their love of violence and hatred of all things Arabic hurts the nations of Israel and the U.S.A.

    You’ll find rational discussions of Israel’s problems, with many sides to the debate, in the Israeli media. There’s little rationality or debate abt Palestinian/Israeli problems in our media. The neocons have poisoned our media with this meme that any criticism of Netanyahu/Likud is anti-semitic.

    It’s batshit insane for one segment of the Republican party to be advocating for a foreign political party.

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    Oh, Juan, shut it, you retro jackass.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    Wait a sec.

    “Gleefully touting?” Where the fuck are you getting that from?

    Unless you’ve got a photo of Frum with a huge grin on his face as he was writing that, I think you’ve got a big unsubstantiated assumption there. I’ve read a fair amount of what Frum has written over the last year, and I would have reached a diametrically opposite conclusion. I would have said that as between Sestak and Toomey, Frum would absolutely view Sestak as the lesser of two evils, and would decry the EIC ad as a further debasing of our political discourse.

  28. 28
    shortstop says:

    You’ll find rational discussions of Israel’s problems, with many sides to the debate, in the Israeli media. There’s little rationality or debate abt Palestinian/Israeli problems in our media.

    This is a key point that keeps getting lost in the discussion: Likud and Israel are not synonymous, but the loudest “pro-Israel” voices in the U.S. are all pro-Likud. What an irony that Israelis have a far, far more frank discussion of the enormous flaws in Israeli foreign (and domestic) policy than Americans can have right now. Israeli’s gargantuan flotilla fuckup may have changed that marginally, but the pushback from the right has been swift and vicious.

  29. 29
    bkny says:

    honestly, this can’t be going over well with pennsylvania citizens — can it? i can’t possibly believe that rural pa folks are going to be open to this message.

    one post i read about this suggested sestak could put an immediate end to this by responding ‘that’s ADMIRAL Sestak to you’. god, i would cough up a contribution if he would get in a posiiton to say that to kristol’s or abrams’ faces. those fucking cowards have the blood of thousands on their hands from central america through the middle east. and gary bauer is one of the prissiest little shits i’ve ever seen.

  30. 30
    Juan says:

    Retro.

  31. 31
    eemom says:

    @Juan:

    Oh yeah, THAT helps. Idiot.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Unless you’ve got a photo of Frum with a huge grin on his face as he was writing that, I think you’ve got a big unsubstantiated assumption there.

    You’re kidding, right? How about David Frum gushing about this very group and ad at Sully’s:

    Probably much of the press attention will go to the group’s directors, which include Bill Kristol. But the real news is the group’s director: Noah Pollak, a friend of mine, and a brilliant advocate for rethinking Israel’s self-defense in a new media era. As a blogger, he proposed that the Israeli Defense Forces aunch their own YouTube channel, which did enormous service rebutting falsehoods during the Gaza campaign.

    It’s long been a thesis of mine, to adapt Clausewitz, that modern warfare is PR by other means. Pollak understands this truth (wrote his Yale thesis on it) – and friends of Israel will be excited to watch his deployment of the truth in the critical days ahead.

    Here’s a link to the committee’s first ad, which will run in Pennsylvania.

    That enough for you?

  33. 33
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    @John Cole: I see no photo of Frum laughing maniacally while stroking a white cat, so no, it’s not enough.

    We gotta give right-wing propagandists the benefit of the doubt, donchaknow.

  34. 34
    Svensker says:

    @burnspbesq:

    .

    I would have said that as between Sestak and Toomey, Frum would absolutely view Sestak as the lesser of two evils, and would decry the EIC ad as a further debasing of our political discourse.

    If you go back to Sully’s first vacation day and one of Frum’s first posts, you’ll see him talking about how great the EIC is and how important the work they’re doing is.

    edit — see John beat me to it, with the details.

  35. 35
    Svensker says:

    And, as Matt Duss notes, now that Israel is easing the blockade (in part because the entire world recognized collective punishment when the Israeli’s drew their attention to it with the bungled overreaction that was the flotilla raid), they essentially share the same position as Joe Sestak.

    OK, blah, blah, blah. Why should it frigging matter what Joe Sestak, American, admiral, etc., etc., thinks about frigging Israel? Why should we give a shit? He’s an American. If he thinks that Israel is a hideous place with smelly people, or if he thinks it’s a charming place with gorgeous women and dashing men, why should we care? What does he think about Trinidad? Or how about Latvia? Why do Americans, who have no connection to this FOREIGN country, have to care about frigging Israel? And not only care, but care in the right frigging way? Whose country are we living in? Whose people are our Senators supposed to be looking out for?

    Is it just me? Am I the only one who has had it up to here with the all Israel all the time stuff? Am I losing it?

  36. 36
    Cat Lady says:

    @Svensker:

    I’ve been waiting for 40 years for someone to explain to me, like I’m 5 years old, why I, a non-Jew, should care about Israel and how I’m benefitting from my country’s lockstep support. I’m still waiting.

  37. 37
    PaminBB says:

    Don’t forget that Sestak beat Arlen Specter, friend of Israel, in the primary.

    Even the Powertools though acknowledge that Pat Toomey is probably too far right for most Jews, but instead hold out hope that folks will just sit home.

    I have yet to see this ad, despite living outside of Philadelphia, so I have to guess that it’s not quite on the air yet. Toomey has been advertising, pointing out that Sestak is “liberal”. I presume this is supposed to be scary.

  38. 38
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Svensker:

    Unfortunately, from a Biblical perspective, Israel is the promised land and if they believe in God, it matters to many people. It matters so much, even when many people don’t even have clue one of what the truth is (I have to say, I have a hard time keeping my eye on the ball and I have spent quite a bit of time studying this stuff).

    As someone said above, Israel and Likud are NOT one and the same, but most people don’t understand that. The Bible says one should support Israel and most people don’t study religion deeply and just accept that the state of Israel in all of it’s manifestations is a God-sponsored entity. There is good and evil in everything, including the Jewish state.

  39. 39
    kdaug says:

    @Cat Lady: I think it’s because we helped create it.

    Our hands are dirty on this one, whether I like it or not.

  40. 40
    ktward says:

    Footnote to
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-1894297

    For non-ideologues, the often elegant rhetorical waters over at FF become muddy at times: very much unlike RedState idiocy, while somewhat fondly reminiscent of earlier DKos.

    But Cole is absolutely correct, in that this ‘new’ Palin/Limbaugh/GOP-bashing Frum is NO different from GWB’s axis-of-evil speechwriter.

    Frum is today a US citizen.
    Nevertheless, he is now, as always, a hardcore Zionist: ideo-principled, unobjective, uncritical, and altogether devout in rationalizing anything and everything that is in Israel’s interests. US interests are, to Frum, a worthy consideration only as they support/advance Israeli considerations.

    Where US/Israeli interests do not politically intersect, Frum now magically–and seductively–appears reasonable. A ‘conscientious objector’, as it were.

    If you should venture over to FF, be careful about buying into its smooth, articulate crap, is all I’m saying.

  41. 41
    ktward says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Thanks, genuinely, for the ‘thumbs up’.
    For whatever reasons, I suspect you and I both uniquely understand the very real home-soil threat to Democracy that the RR presents. (Unlike the boola-boola threat of Sharia law. Can’t help but chuckle over that kind of crazy.)

  42. 42
    Ed Marshall says:

    David Frum is a reactionary, tribalist, Israelphile and that differentiates him from the democratic party by absolutely nothing. Votes about Israel in the legislature resemble the results of Stalinist politburos and no one dissents. This is a multi-pronged problem but it’s not a strictly “conservative” one.

    David Frum is interesting to me, because he’s got enough intellectual heft to understand that on domestic economic policy he can look at the data and understand that while his preferred policy ideas may have had some positive effect on economic growth they have without a doubt resulted not in what he imagined: a rising tide raising all boats, but an unparalleled in history movement toward economic disparity. Your standard conservobot *likes* economic disparity. They see it as rewarding winners and punishing losers and in the conservative S&M style popular today that’s awesome. At least he can see that that’s horseshit.

  43. 43
    JWL says:

    The single, most effective rebuttal to AIPAC propaganda made in my lifetime is that right wing Israeli policies damage the national security of the United States. To have that simple truth even whispered by the Obama administration a few months ago was a breath of fresh air.

    Talking turkey is the only way to combat the status quo, especially with the even greater floods of cash soon to subvert what passes for political dialogue in this country even further (as hard to believe it can grow any more twisted, it both can and will). Which is exactly what Sestak should now do. His credentials are his credibility, and he now stands poised to deliver a knock down blow to the agents of Israeli intolerance. The days of their-way-or-the-highway must end. The stakes are too damned high for American politicians to continue their kowtow to the radicalized partisans of a foreign government.

  44. 44
    Svensker says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    There is good and evil in everything, including the Jewish state.

    Of course there is. I just don’t understand why everyone in America has to stand up and salute when it comes to Israel. No one gives that same consideration to, say, Sweden. If I had to choose a rich country with single-payer health care and a large middle class to send my tax dollars to, why can’t I choose Sweden instead of Israel?

    Or, I have an idea, why not keep our tax dollars HERE at home and get single-payer health care for ourselves? What? Oh, you’re right, that would never work.

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @PaminBB: Liberal ain’t what it used to be.

  46. 46
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    I understand what you mean with “Israel isn’t the Likud”, but your average Labor voter is more or less in line with everything you think is wrong. Even Meretz will always fall in line with whatever is going on: tearing up the West Bank, bombing Lebanon, bombing Gaza, etc… until it’s over and then maybe Meretz says they got tricked.

    Unless you count Israeli Arabs (I don’t know why anyone would, the history of the Knesset is a long sequence of deals that make sure they have no electoral voice) Israeli Jews who would feel at home with us are a good portion of Tel Aviv, some intentionally built mixed communities of lefty Jews and intellectual Arabs, and a few socialist minded kibbutzim. You are talking about less than 20% of the Israeli Jewish population. For one thing Ashkenazi Israelis can vote with their feet and the people with consciences left en masse during the 80’s and the first Lebanon war. They were replaced by a bunch of the sort of people who *liked* what was going on and emigrated and took their place. Then the Russians came and about all they give a damn about is kicking the Muslims in the teeth.

  47. 47
    JasonF says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I’ve been waiting for 40 years for someone to explain to me, like I’m 5 years old, why I, a non-Jew, should care about Israel and how I’m benefitting from my country’s lockstep support. I’m still waiting.

    Because for all of its many flaws — and there are many — it’s still a democratic nation surrounded by people who wish to drive its people into the sea. I certainly don’t think we should condone much of what they do (a blockade of weapons is certainly justifiable, but the blockade as implemented is sickening), but I don’t think we should abandon them to their enemies either.

  48. 48
    Little Dreamer says:

    @ktward:

    The stupidity of their extreme fear of extreme ideas is only surpassed by their casual and passive acceptance of very real fears that don’t seem to phase them (or even make them curious to learn more) at all.

  49. 49
    Ed Marshall says:

    @JasonF:

    How do you figure? Israel obviously hasn’t been a democracy in any meaningful form since 1967. I’m not totally positive that’s a great reason in the first place, but it’s obviously not true.

  50. 50
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Svensker:

    If Sweden were the nation subject of a book about a God who could choose from among the earth’s inhabitants those that go to Heaven and those that go to Hell (even if only in a fictional account that was so old nobody was sure if it were true or not), it WOULD be!

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    Israel is America’s ally.

    I know this because a lot of Serious People say so.

    I haven’t figured out what Israel does for the United States, but it must be something.

    I also know we have always been at war with Turkey. Despite their providing material support to us since as far back as the Korean War.

  52. 52
    Svensker says:

    @JasonF:

    Because for all of its many flaws—and there are many—it’s still a democratic nation surrounded by people who wish to drive its people into the sea. I certainly don’t think we should condone much of what they do (a blockade of weapons is certainly justifiable, but the blockade as implemented is sickening), but I don’t think we should abandon them to their enemies either.

    I would say pretty much horse pucky to all of that. But even if I agreed 100%, I still don’t get why some Dutch guy in New Jersey needs to send tax dollars to Israel, needs to support Israel’s every move, must worship everything Israel does and risks being called an anti-semite if those things aren’t done. Same goes for a Moravian in Pennsylvania, or a Basque in Idaho. Explain to me why their lives need to be disrupted by this foreign country over there?

    If some Americans want to support Israel so much, let them do it privately. Don’t force the rest of us who don’t really care into your personal fight.

  53. 53
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    Shhh Ed, Jason is under a spell, he must not be awakened.

  54. 54
    Cat Lady says:

    @JasonF:

    Israel’s enemies are not my enemies. I hate what Israel stands for. I don’t care what happens to Israel. At. All.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    @JasonF:

    Because for all of its many flaws—and there are many—it’s still a democratic nation

    Israel is a democratic nation in the sense that the United States pre-1964 was a democratic nation, or South Africa under the Bothas was a democratic nation.

  56. 56
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    Just because a lot of people believe a thing is correct or true means it is??

    Hundreds of millions of people are Christians too, but I can show you countless reasons in the scriptures why they shouldn’t be. Think if I went around to Christians and told them about those reasons that they’d listen to me? Nope! I already know they wouldn’t and it isn’t worth my time and frustration. I’m not a proselyte and I don’t think it’s my responsibility to make sure everyone understands what’s written in a book that they can easily open and read for theirselves, but are too lazy to.

    People believe a lot of things and when enough people believe them they become “conventional wisdom” – me and conventional wisdom have a very strained relationship.

    I don’t have to believe a thing simply because most other people do.

  57. 57

    @JasonF:

    Because for all of its many flaws—and there are many—it’s still a democratic nation surrounded by people who wish to drive its people into the sea. I certainly don’t think we should condone much of what they do (a blockade of weapons is certainly justifiable, but the blockade as implemented is sickening), but I don’t think we should abandon them to their enemies either.

    I think this is reasonable, and what a majority of Americans think. I fully support Israel’s existence, but surely not a lot of their tactics. And I support your reasoned comment as well.

  58. 58
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    All I meant was “Israel isn’t the Likud” is a pretty common sentiment among people who I’m presuming believe that the militant, expansionist, project that the Israelis have been following since before 1948 are some form of aberration of labor zionism and it’s just really not.

  59. 59
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Cacti:

    I haven’t figured out what Israel does for the United States, but it must be something.

    Israel is always there for us when they need something.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    All I meant was “Israel isn’t the Likud” is a pretty common sentiment among people who I’m presuming believe that the militant, expansionist, project that the Israelis have been following since before 1948 are some form of aberration of labor zionism and it’s just really not.

    Rabin was an aberration, and one that was assassinated…

    by a fellow Israeli.

  61. 61
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Svensker:

    Hey, I agree with you, the problem is that there is this whole “God” and “morals” and “afterlife if you choose right and perpetual condemnation if you choose wrong” thing going on that makes people act insane.

    Even worse, these same people refuse to sit down and actually read the entire book that this fairytale is based on and check out for themselves if there might be falsehoods, or contradictions (hehe, they really don’t even need to read, if God is so powerful and omniscient, why did he need to create a NEW Testament? That one has always mystified me) to find out for themselves whether these stories might be wildly exagerrated, if true at all. Yet, these very same people have all heard the “thou shalt not” stuff and STILL do the things “thou shalt not” do, in spite of supposedly knowing better (people can’t really be THAT stupid en masse, can they be?) – but people are afraid of perpetually burning in Hell, and that fear drives them to do what the god-marketers say so that they think they can get a free ticket out of that burning torture, and one of those things is that they should give complete reverence to Israel and not question a single thing that nation does at all.

  62. 62
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I saw what you did there. ;)

  63. 63
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Cacti:

    This is heresy, but he wasn’t much of one. Rabin was a former general who put forward a policy of having Israeli soldiers pick out stone throwers in the first intifada and deliberately breaking their arms. You were usually talking about teenagers. His version of “peace” didn’t differ radically from Netanyahu’s version where he agrees to things he doesn’t mean to do and plans to offer a paper peace that allows him maximum wiggle room to continue the status quo under a bunch of legal sophisms interwoven in the deal.

    It’s just further proof of the nasty nature of the Israeli state of politics that his mild brew of dealing with Arabs led to his assassination.

  64. 64
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    Ed? I’m not a conventional wisdom person. I have a lot of knowledge I will never reveal to you (not my job) and I don’t think about this issue the way most people do. You can talk to me in conventional wisdom terms and I’ll just nod my head and say “yeah, and what does that have to do with me and what I said?”

    For me to explain to you what I mean, you’d have to have studied the things I have, and what I’ve studied is NOT conventional or widely understood at all. I could put you on a course to catch up if you wish to learn more, but, it would take you years to get there, so we’d have to postpone that conversation until you caught up. I don’t think you want to wait that long. Suffice it to say, just because others believe “Israel and Likud” are not one and the same doesn’t mean we’re saying the same thing at all. I put a simple statement out there, many religious people don’t understand it. Others do to some extent, and that’s fine. I am sure they don’t understand the full meaning of what I’m saying, and that’s okay too. I didn’t plan to give a lecture on the full meaning, just to put a simple statement out there.

    Christians are told they are chained to Israel and that all Christianity hangs on it’s goodwill towards Israel (funny that, considering the idea that Christians believe they are the NEW ISRAEL, and chosen while Jews are not and need to be saved by Jesus if they are to be accepted by God) and many of those believers are under the impression that they have to stand by every decision of Likud for that reason.

  65. 65
    Cat Lady says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    I didn’t know that. You know who else used to single out “resisters” and send them away to camps.

  66. 66
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    You are talking about dispensational Christianity and I have an Assemblies of God education through high school. I more or less lapsed into an agnostic/athiestist state when I became unable to juggle the obvious bullshit involved in being an end times, dispensationalist but you shouldn’t assume ignorance.

  67. 67
    MTiffany says:

    @me: Scary how big our club is getting, isn’t it?

  68. 68
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    I’m not talking about labor zionism, I’m talking about Christian fanatics who are a fair sized majority of THIS nation (the U.S.) – I’m looking at this from a whole different point of view. Christian fanatics don’t even know what labor zionism is for the most part. They know that God resides/resided in Israel, Israel is supposed to be the place were God (as Jesus) returns and the Bible says to take pity upon the people of that nation because they have a lot of enemies. (well that part is true, they do seem to have a lot of enemies, but perhaps it’s because they treated others like “goy” for so long that people got sick of that attitude?) The chosenness thing is a real problem. If someone tells me they’re chosen, I don’t see God in them at all, I see greed and self-rightousness, which to my understanding aren’t godly qualities at all! I walk right by those people and decide they can’t teach me what I need to learn.

  69. 69
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    No, I’m not talking about Dispensational Christianity.

    Tell me Ed, who was Jechoniah and why does he matter? Then you might start to understand a bit about where I’m coming from.

  70. 70
    Ed Marshall says:

    Jechoniah was one of a long, long, list of people who probably never existed, are unsupported by any historical provenance outside of a book of tribal jingoism that was passed down orally and mutated half a million times in the process.

  71. 71
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    He’s also supposed to be an ancestor of Jesus and his name was supposedly cursed and none of his offspring could sit on the throne of Israel.

    Christians have this fantasy that they believe about this god/man Jesus who supposedly lived in Israel and they not only believe he is coming back, they seem to think it’s their responsibility to win Jewish hearts for him. This is a new boomerang introduced into a sky with a lot of flying objects already. The entire problem is so complex it would take me several hours to sit down and write out the complexities, but, suffice it to say, America (the nation that many of our citizens are currently confused on whether it was founded as a Christian nation or not – it wasn’t) houses a large population of Christians who believe that our foreign policy is chained to Israel in the same way that they believe their religious salvation is (which is also a lie, the entire Christian religion as we know it was invented by a thirteenth aposle never chosen by lot, named Paul, and he made up a lot of the traditions that current Christians regard as their religion). Never-the-less, our foreign policy is closely tied to Likud! We can’t even elect a president who doesn’t believe it should be, THAT is the real heresy!

  72. 72
    Little Dreamer says:

    I meant to write “apostle”, not aposle, so sorry!

  73. 73
    Svensker says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Well, gee, I guess I’m impressed. I am a Christian, although a Quaker one, and very liberal. I know some of my fundie relatives think that the modern day nation state of Israel is the same thing as the biblical Israel, but the mainstream Christians I know don’t think that. And I do know who Jeconiah was. But what secret knowledge do you have that you can’t possibly explain to us ignurunt fokes that would explain everything but we’re too foolish to understand? Course, if you tell us, it won’t be secret anymore.

  74. 74
    Little Dreamer says:

    So let’s review:

    America is filled with Christians

    Christians believe our fate is tied to Israel

    Jesus can’t be a “Messiah” because he’s the offspring of Jechoniah (if any of the book is real or true at all)

    Our foreign policy is chained to this religious view

    Israelis treat others like “goy” and hold dangerous foreign policy initiatives that could destroy our nation

    Christians are just FINE with this arrangement and someone who does not believe in Christianity cannot get a position in the top echelons of our government

    We are FUCKED!

  75. 75
    JasonF says:

    Sorry — didn’t mean to make a hit-and-run comment. I see a number of replies to my defense of Israel, but they seem to boil down to two concepts. First, Israel isn’t a democracy and second, even if it is, there’s no reason we should care about it.

    With respect to the first, I don’t see how Israel’s treatment of the people who live in the occupied territories makes it any less a democracy. Israel has an elected parliament, and if you’re an adult citizen of Israel, you get to vote. That’s a democracy.

    And yeah, people who live in the occupied territories can’t vote, but that’s because the occupied territories aren’t part of Israel. There’s this strange schizophrenia when it comes to the occupied territories by people on both sides of the issue. When it’s convenient, we pretend they are part of Israel. When it’s convenient, we pretend they are Palestinian territory and the Israelis are interlopers. And when I say “we,” I mean supporters of Israel and supporters of Palestine alike.

    Here’s the reality — the occupied territories belong to Jordan and to Egypt. The people who live there are not citizens of Israel. We shouldn’t act like they are so we can pretend Israel is an apartheid regime, and while there are many wrongs Israel has committed against the people who live in those territories, denying them an Israeli franchise is not among them.

    Which brings us to the second point: Israel is a democracy — so what? Why should we care about whether some people on the other side of the globe live or die? Well, why did we care when Russia invaded Georgia? Why do we care about China’s treatment of Tibet? Closer to home, why should I care that some kid I never met is starving on the streets of Cleveland right now, or some woman I’ll never meet is running away from an abusive husband in Seattle? We care about these things because when our brother is hurt, it hurts us, and in the grand scheme of things we are all brothers. No man is an island; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

    All of which is to say, the people of Israel have a right to exist, and a right not to be victims of genocide, just the same as the Palestinians. Playing Robert Taft and turning our back on the problems of Israel is as poor a solution as is Bill Kristol’s solution of turning our back on the Palestinians.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    This thread is giving me the skeevies.

  77. 77
    Mark S. says:

    @JasonF:

    And yeah, people who live in the occupied territories can’t vote, but that’s because the occupied territories aren’t part of Israel.

    The Jewish settlers living in the occupied territories can certainly vote.

    Here’s the reality—the occupied territories belong to Jordan and to Egypt. The people who live there are not citizens of Israel.

    Again, the Jews living in the occupied territories are Israeli citizens. And no, these territories do not belong to Jordan and Egypt.

  78. 78
    Svensker says:

    @JasonF:

    Well, why did we care when Russia invaded Georgia? Why do we care about China’s treatment of Tibet?

    I care as a human, but not as an American. And I don’t think our foreign policy should be hellbent on supporting Georgians or Tibetans, or anyone else outside our borders for that matter. We don’t know the details, we don’t understand the nuances, it’s not our business. The kid in Cleveland is an American, so helping him would be much higher on my priority list, which features family, neighbors, community, town, county, state, region and country. If there’s anything left over, I’ll donate it to Friends or Heifer or Oxfam or some other outfit that seems to me to be helping foreigners in a sensitive, mature way. Just because you think Israel’s hot stuff, don’t see why I have to. Not in a mean way — it’s just not my thing. Why does it have to be?

  79. 79
    Svensker says:

    @Corner Stone:

    This thread is giving me the skeevies.

    Is that anything like skivvies? It doesn’t involve two fans and junk, does it?

    Speaking of which, the air conditioning calls. I’m off to cooler arenas.

  80. 80
    JasonF says:

    @Mark S.: The 1947 partition plan has been a dead letter for more than 60 years. The United Nations never recognized a state of Palestine, nor have they since (Palestine has observer status at the U.N.; it is not considered a state).

    From 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was officially part of Jordan and Jordan administered it. From 1967 onward, the West Bank has officially remained part of Jordan, though Israel has occupied it. It is not and never has been an independent Palestinian state, though I hope that someday soon it will be one.

    Your point about the settlers being able to vote is well-taken, and speaks to the “sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t” approach to the question of the territories’ relationship to Israel. But just about everything Israel’s done with respect to settling in the territories is contemptible.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Svensker: It’s nothing like skivvies, as I sleep au natural.

    Think about that for a second and you’ll understand what the skeevies are all about.

  82. 82
    Mark S. says:

    Just the mention of that fucking “Start Wearing Purple” song makes it go through my head for days.

    Start wearing purple for me nnnnnooooowwwww

  83. 83
    Mark S. says:

    @JasonF:

    Dead letter? Every President of the United States has endorsed the two state solution.

  84. 84

    @Little Dreamer:

    Actually this is false.

    The Bible only promises the land of Palestine to the Jews if they follow all 613 Mosaic Laws. Starting in Deuteronomy 4 God makes it clear that possession of the land is conditional on observance of the entire Law, and the subsequent invasions of the Assyrians, Persians and Romans and the dispersion of the Jews elsewhere were supposed to because of their disobedience to the Law.

    No modern Jew can obey all 617 commandments, and Israel couldn’t function if they were obeyed.

    Modern Israel is not a nation built on Biblical law at all. Modern Israel is supposed to be a secular state built on Jewish identity. Other than the name and the ethnicity of the people in charge, it bears no resemblance to the Israel of Biblical times and in no way meets God’s alleged conditions for owning the land.

  85. 85
    JasonF says:

    @Mark S.: A two state solution is something different from the 1947 partition plan. Nobody proposes going back to those borders. And while every president supports a two-state solution, no president has believed that there is actually a Palestinian state yet.

  86. 86
    Mark S. says:

    @JasonF:

    no president has believed that there is actually a Palestinian state yet

    Ha! Well, ok, you got me there.

  87. 87
    Little Dreamer says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Well, I don’t have a problem with that, but all those Bible believers who think Israel is the place where a Jewish Temple stood, where the Al Aqsa Mosque currently stands (and they think that mosque needs to be removed) are under the impression that Jesus (or Messiah if Jewish) is going to appear there and reign supreme. Christians also believe that Armageddon is going to happen very close to there and that the end of the world will be a result of those events.

    If Jews don’t believe it, why do they call it “The Return”? Why are they planning to rebuild the Temple? There is a huge push in the religious communities for Jerusalem to be treated as a place of religous significance for the world’s future.

    Our adherence to supporting Israel is based upon scripture, and no other reason. We constantly look away when Israel creates warlike situations, and many of those who are religious in this country refuse to even consider the plight of the Palestinians at all. They believe these Palestinians to be evil offspring of the Philistines in the Bible.

    I have the ability to question religion and I do. Unfortunately, many American Christians who are involved in religion don’t question, but instead, take the idea that Israel of old is now the same nation/state and is prophesied to be the place where Jesus will return and as a result, we have to do all we can to support that nation militarily, a dangerous proposition.

  88. 88
    joeyess says:

    The ad in question is not targeted at the American Jewish community. It’s targeted at the American Taliban.

    And we all know who they vote for.

  89. 89
    joeyess says:

    @Cacti: You win the internets for the week for that one.

  90. 90
    4jkb4ia says:

    If it is a close race, a letter like that might scare just enough people.

  91. 91
    priscianusjr says:

    @Cat Lady:
    Not that you should, but the fact is that a far greater number of American Christians than Jews are fixated on Israel. Granted, there are far more American Christians than Jews i, but absolute numbers win elections, and their organizations are certainly heavily into lobbying too. Maybe this will explain it to you:
    http://www.christianzionism.or.....gner06.asp

  92. 92
    4jkb4ia says:

    Reading skills are now sufficiently improved to see that that is a TV ad. This may not be new behavior for Bill Kristol, but to pay for an ad that will go over the air and reach an audience that isn’t exclusively Jewish with a right-wing message on Israel is a new thing in my experience.

  93. 93
    Josh says:

    Thanks, toujoursdan. Dreamer seems to be trying hard to connect religion, antisemitic myths about Jewish xenophobia, Israeli policy, and US policy; and they don’t fit. Jewish nationalism over the past century has not been driven primarily by the religious nuts who think “chosen people” means “better than everybody else” and who despise “the nations” (“goyim”). Although one of those nuts did kill Rabin. Similarly, Truman’s support for the creation of Israel was not rooted in a belief that the Revelation of John was coming true; neither was Einstein’s; neither was the Reagan administration’s.

  94. 94
    wherewithal says:

    Does it matter to any of the “Emergency Committee for Israel’s” supporters that they are LITERALLY occupying the same offices as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq which did such influencial lobbying in the run up to the Iraq war on false pretenses?

    Does it matter that the exact same people, notably Bill Kristol, are managing the committee?

    Let’s stop examining the track-record there but who, knowingly of those facts, finds this committee credible?

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