The Logic of Opposition

AIPAC isn’t going to oppose the Hagel nomination, yet another indicator that he’s going to be the next Secretary of Defense. AIPAC’s position is a hell of lot more sensible than Jen Rubin’s trip down the rathole of putting Hagel’s nothingburger comments in the context of the persecution of European Jews in the 30’s. Unlike Bibi Netanyahu, at least AIPAC seems to understand that there’s no upside in making a bunch of noise about an odds-on favorite who’s going to have four years to make your life miserable.

Speaking of opposition, what are we to make of Oregon Republican Rep Greg Walden’s decision to introduce a bill that will close the platinum coin loophole? Granted, he’s probably a moron, but at least one member of the House Republican caucus believes the loophole exists and could be used.

73 replies
  1. 1
    some guy says:

    the Jewish lobby is furiously backpedaling, now that it is clear hagel will be nominated. Just the dead-enders left now.

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    Can’t wait to hear what staunch defender of the worldwide Jewish community, Pam Gellar, thinks about this. I think she’ll support Hagel. ;)

    Also, Obama should say he’s already minted the coin, but has not yet decided if he wants to use it. The Wingnuts will freak.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    Was in the car yesterday and heard Elliott Abrams on NPR. He said that Hagel needed to prove he is not an anti-Semite. He referenced some reporter who said he or she was told by someone else that Hagel said something against Jews. Seriously. Is this guy in high school? “I heard that Suzy said that Mary said that Billy said that David said something mean about Betsy.” The reporter got him to confirm that’s what he was saying, but he still said Hagel was anti-Jew.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    I don’t like the use of the term “Jewish lobby” for reasons summed up admirably by commenter Amy C in last night’s thread on this topic:

    There are tons of Jews for whom AIPAC and its allies do not speak. Therefore, they are not the “Jewish lobby,” even if they have successfully given Fred Kaplan and others that impression. And I’m not okay with shrugging my shoulders and saying its AIPAC’s fault that people say “Jewish lobby.” AIPAC is all kinds of wrong, but it’s still a lousy term.

    And Kaplan is right that “Jewish lobby” is not an inherently anti-Semitic term, of course. It’s just thoughtless.

    That seems about right to me. For every nut like Rubin and Kristol, there are 10 American Jews who don’t follow the Likud line and reliably vote Democratic. I don’t like to see them tarred with the same brush.

  5. 5
    SenyorDave says:

    Granted, he’s probably a moron

    In a sane world, the mere fact that this person is a Republican congressman would elicit such a comment should be a reflection of some type of bias or lack of professionalism, but in the real world it is pretty much a given that it is true.

    He is basically a boiler-plate Republican, voting for all the typical GOP talking points. I used this web site to look at his voting record, it’s a great site.

    http://votesmart.org/candidate.....reg-walden

    Sometimes I forget how evil the GOP is as a national party these days. Virtually everything they are for hurts the middle class or poor, or helps the wealthy or big business (ideally for them is when both happen at the same time). That is not an exagerration, just read the votes on almost subject.

  6. 6
    red dog says:

    Why do Jews always feel they have to make the rest of us feel guilty for something? My former sympathy has turned to dislike over the last 20 years. Lessen the aid to Israel and watch the wailing.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    Someone ought to roust ol’ Pat Buchanan out of hibernation, so we can have a reminder of what an actual Villager anti-Semite sounds like.

  8. 8
    Jamey says:

    @some guy: Let’s be fair about this. Do you actually mean a “Jewish” lobby, or a pro-Israel lobby. They are not one-and-the-same. And in many cases, not even remotely close.

    But, yeah, red dog, “the Joooooooooz!”

    Edit: Beat me to it, Betty Cracker!

  9. 9
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Over the past couple of months, I’ve read a few articles written by folks inside of Israel that encouraged their government to stop trying to run the US govt. They counseled that in the long run, interfering with the US functioning wouldn’t be very useful, anyway, and would just irritate everyone.

    And besides, I suspect Israelis know the difference between disagreeing with Netanyahu and actually being antisemitic.

  10. 10
    Betty Cracker says:

    @red dog: Replace “Jews” with “blacks” in that sentence, and you could run for Exalted Cyclops.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    The background, context, and opinion shared in this post is exceptional.

  12. 12
    Napoleon says:

    And Rubin further trashes the reputation of the WaPo.

    As to the coin option this piece does a better job at totally demolishing the legal and economic objections than anything I have seen yet:

    http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/3630.html

  13. 13
    RP says:

    @Betty Cracker: Exactly. I’m Jewish and AIPAC doesn’t speak for me. “Jewish lobby” isn’t that big a deal, but it’s a little obnoxious, as post #6 illustrates perfectly.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    Elliot Abrams needs to prove he’s not a warmongering chickenhawk first.

    All Neocons are dogshit, but he’s among the smelliest sacks of dogshit that make up the Neocons.

  15. 15
    patroclus says:

    Barney Frank is back-pedalling too, so I’m guessing it’s a done deal. I never really liked Hagel as a Senator until he turned on the Iraq war – I’d rather have a liberal Democrat there.

  16. 16
    eric says:

    @RP: It really is the “More Jewish Lobby”, as in “we are more jewish than you because we support a one-state Israel and because we are more jewish than you only we can speak out on anti semitism, so that we can call everyone else out when they ‘attack’ pro-Israeli (read: apartheid) policies as the anti-semites or self-hating jews they are.”

  17. 17
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    F’in christ. Yesterday it was the Hobby Lobby, and today it’s the Jooish Lobby. Any more quasi-religious bullshit on tap for tomorrow? Will the inside of a hotel be sued by Muslims for being too anti-ruggish?

  18. 18
    Jamey says:

    Instead of depositing the trillion-dollar platinum coin in the Federal Reserve, Tim Geithner should look into depositing it at my bank. That way, he gets free checking, VIP online banking, and unlimited ATM withdrawals out-of-network.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @red dog: I blame their mothers. Douche.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    @Jamey: now there’s a suggestion, but won’t there be fighting over which branch gets the toaster?

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @RP: By my age, accent and ethnic background, people could easily assume I’m a homophobic, gun-fondling, Obama-hating teabagger. They would be wrong.

  22. 22
    Maude says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    The term Jewish Lobby gives me shivers.

  23. 23
    Pillsy says:

    A quick guide for folks following along at home:

    1. Objecting forcefully to Israeli policies and US support for same: not anti-Semitic.

    2. Complaining that you dislike Jews because they’re constantly trying to make you feel guilty: totally tucking anti-Semitic, dude.

  24. 24
    Face says:

    @Jamey: I joked with a coworker that he should buy a Slurpee with it just to watch the clerk’s face as she tries to calc the change to give back.

  25. 25
    eric says:

    @Maude: as a jew that opposes Israeli one-state apartheid, the term has a ring of truth in that American-jews throw around their judaism as a weapon against jews and non-jews alike when it comes to opposing the human rights violations going on daily. trust me, there is nothing like sitting in on a conversation among jewish professionals and stating your support for a two-state solution and a rejection of Israeli human rights violations. the response goes far beyond “political” and is quite “personal” aimed directly at my own jewishness or lack thereof.

  26. 26
    West of the Cascades says:

    @scav: The Supreme Court always gets the toaster.

  27. 27
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @RP: #13

    I’m Jewish and AIPAC doesn’t speak for me.

    What? Not every Jewish person is a Likudnik? Wow!

    :-)

  28. 28
    SenyorDave says:

    @Jamey: How about one hand of blackjack. If he wins, that would take care of a couple debt ceilings. maybe let it ride, and if he wins four hand in a row, he can pay off the whole debt with the $16 billion.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @Jamey:

    Let’s be fair about this. Do you actually mean a “Jewish” lobby, or a pro-Israel lobby. They are not one-and-the-same. And in many cases, not even remotely close.

    Word.

    AIPAC is a “Jewish lobby,” but so is J-Street. Arguably, it’s even an Israeli lobby. I’m not going to diss them by using the word “Jewish lobby” as a synonym for AIPAC.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @eric:

    as a jew that opposes Israeli one-state apartheid, the term has a ring of truth in that American-jews throw around their judaism as a weapon against jews and non-jews alike when it comes to opposing the human rights violations going on daily. trust me, there is nothing like sitting in on a conversation among jewish professionals and stating your support for a two-state solution and a rejection of Israeli human rights violations. the response goes far beyond “political” and is quite “personal” aimed directly at my own jewishness or lack thereof.

    Same basic principle as “if you don’t support a conservative Christian theocracy, deregulation, union-busting, the destruction of the safety net and every last war we will ever want to fight, you’re not a Real American.”

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @West of the Cascades: but there’s Boehner’s tan, which made me wonder.

  32. 32
    redshirt says:

    I’ve been in several Jewish lobbies. They were all very nice.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @eric:

    Hence the term “self-hating Jew” for anyone who happens to be a Jew who dares to question Likudnik policy, to include the apartheid “solution” to the “Palestinian question.”

  34. 34
    Chris says:

    @redshirt:

    Your Internets are in the mail.

  35. 35
    eric says:

    @Chris: yes, but if you have not experienced it, it is a very visceral and personal reaction that is very scary. You get the sense right away that you have taken a significant professional risk.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    @eric:
    The term has a broader context and you know that.

  37. 37
    IM says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    Hobbit Lobby?

    Demanding a Shire of their own?

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @IM:

    No, demanding 2nd and 3rd Breakfasts before the 1st Lunch.

  39. 39
    Jamey says:

    @redshirt: The Jewish Lobby has the power, but the Zoroastrian Vestibule is where the real work gets done.

  40. 40
    eric says:

    @Maude: with all due respect, the way they throw around their judaism, it is a quite apt term. I understand the historical significance of the term and why it makes people queasy. But right now Israel is creating a human rights disaster daily so that right wing jewish settlers will support the coalition government. So, in the end, much of Israeli settlement and Palestinian policy is being set by a hyper-religious jewish sect. It is a jewish policy through and through and that it is what makes it so insidious to the rest of the jews around the world. I understand why the term bothers people, but I use the term in much the same way african americans can use a term that I cannot

  41. 41
    IM says:

    Greater israel lobby is most precise.

  42. 42
    redshirt says:

    @Jamey: No one dares whisper of the influence of the Anglican Nook.

  43. 43
    IM says:

    @Jamey:

    What about the Bahai basement?

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @IM:

    Muslim mezzanine? Baptist belfry? Wiccan watercloset?

  45. 45
    IM says:

    Actually I hoped AIPAC would fight and lose.

    Well a little trashing of the isolated neocons is innocent fun, too.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    Granted, he’s probably a moron, but at least one member of the House Republican caucus believes the loophole exists and could be used.

    Georgia Republicans believe the government is planning to implant chips in everyone’s head, and even had a schizophrenic woman testify in front of the Georgia legislature that this had been done to her.

    I’m not quite sure this is the example of rationality you think it is. Republicans believe all kinds of insane things and frequently try to introduce legislation to prevent them. (See also Oklahoma passing a ballot initiative to prevent sharia law from being implemented or all of the chatter about the “Amero” replacing the dollar.)

  47. 47
    Maude says:

    @eric:
    What about Zealot? Isn’t that more accurate?
    You are talking about Israel. I was talking about the world.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    @redshirt: Only to be expected that the Meso/South American Pagan option is called the Kindle then.

    ETA: and may Tloc forgive me for implying he prefers something other than the water and hot tar form of worship and implying he’s a wicker man on his days off.

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @IM:

    Actually I hoped AIPAC would fight and lose.

    This only proves that AIPAC are RINOs and not True Friends of Israel. Antisemites too.

    (What? Everyone else is being purged as Ideologically Impure, I wouldn’t put it past them to do it to AIPAC).

  50. 50
    Nina says:

    The atheists just get a gazebo because nobody wants them in the building.

  51. 51
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @red dog: Hey, where’s a good place to buy white sheets? I figure you would be the guy to ask.

  52. 52
    handsmile says:

    David Addington, chief legal henchman to Dick Cheney, was recently appointed to head the legal studies center of the Heritage Foundation. Though he was one of the principal architects of the “Unitary Executive Theory,” published reports state that Addington is concerned about “overreaching claims of the executive branch” and “Obama’s taking questionable steps on expanding the powers of the White House.”

    So I guess the wingnuts are truly worried about this platinum coin thing.

    Perhaps Addington will soon join his necon confederates (e.g., Dan Senor, Danielle Pletka, Elliot Abrams) on non-Fox media broadcasts to dispense sage counsel on matters of the day. I imagine their recent re-emergence on those airwaves is due to the upcoming inauguration of President Romney.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    @handsmile: Yoo’s already chimed in with his alarms over the dreaded executive in unitards no?

  54. 54
    scav says:

    @Nina: well, clearly they’re not in the foxhole.

  55. 55
    Schlemizel says:

    Speaking of what our dear friend Bibi thinks is smart politics, has there been any noticeable fallout from his high-handed campaigning for the guy would would baptize Bibi post mortem?

  56. 56
  57. 57
    muddy says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches: I like the atheist atrium, it has a nice fountain.

  58. 58
    El Caganer says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Funny, you don’t look Hobbyish.

  59. 59
    Paul says:

    Objecting forcefully to Israeli policies and US support for same: not anti-Semitic.

    Good luck with that. Due to our deficit, I have advocated that we either cut or eliminate our foreign aid to Israel. As a result, I was called anti-semitic. The term anti-semitic has become so overused that the word has lots its meaning. Hell, even Jon Stewart was called anti-semitic for having a segment critical to the government of Israel. It is really hard to be a friend of the state of Israel when its supporters so carelessly throw around loaded words without second thoughts.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @Chris: I certainly do not see it that way. The only Jewish lobby is AIPAC, to a very good approximation. On second thought, the ADL chief who only notices abhorrent holocaust references when not made by Republicans, is another.

    To the extent that various Jewish organizations have been turned into likudnik/GOP lobbyists, is the degree to which they conform to Chuck Hagel’s problem with the Jewish lobby.

  61. 61
    red dog says:

    @eric: My thoughts exactly. There seem to be unwritten rules about who is allowed to say what concerning Israel and it’s policies, citizens, ex-citizens, action committees, lobbies and religion. I for one am at the point of not giving a shit about hurt feelings of other being so politically correct.

  62. 62
    Pococurante says:

    @some guy:

    the Jewish lobby is furiously backpedaling, now that it is clear hagel will be nominated. Just the dead-enders left now.

    Hagel has been on record for years as a true Zionist. AIPAC knows this and that’s why they didn’t want this fight.

    Another reason AIPAC didn’t want this fight is that they know the damage the ultra orthodox extremists are doing to Israel as a democracy, something that is far more important to American Jews like myself than whether Hagel said something that might hurt the extremists feelings.

    BJ has become too polarized. I miss they way it was even just a half year ago. Not everything is extremely defined to one side or the other.

  63. 63
    KXB says:

    It is quite true that AIPAC does not represent the opinion of the majority of American Jews. However, that is like saying the NRA does not represent the majority of law-abiding gun owners – it is beside the point. The point is that like other lobbying groups, AIPAC is very effective in getting their point across in political and media circles. They are very effective in keeping Congress in line.

    AIPAC has effectively made criticism of any Israeli policy out of bounds. You may have some criticism here and there in academic circles, or from government officials after they retire. But when it is time to write policy, AIPAC still wields extraordinary clout.

    Given that Hagel used the term “Jewish lobby” one time in his public career, that may understandably make some Jews a bit uneasy, but only if you ignore the rest of his career.

  64. 64
    Pococurante says:

    @Paul:

    Due to our deficit, I have advocated that we either cut or eliminate our foreign aid to Israel. As a result, I was called anti-semitic.

    Hmm. How many other countries in your post did you call out for the same treatment?

    The USA government gives money to quite a few countries that are more vicious and oppressive than anything Israel has done even in the years since the collapse of Oslo. Hopefully your Modest Proposal was more circumspect than just singling out Israel.

    @KXB:

    AIPAC has effectively made criticism of any Israeli policy out of bounds. You may have some criticism here and there in academic circles, or from government officials after they retire. But when it is time to write policy, AIPAC still wields extraordinary clout.

    Examples, specific examples, please. Bonus points if you can find counter examples.

  65. 65
    Paul says:

    @Pococurante:

    Hmm. How many other countries in your post did you call out for the same treatment? The USA government gives money to quite a few countries that are more vicious and oppressive than anything Israel has done even in the years since the collapse of Oslo. Hopefully your Modest Proposal was more circumspect than just singling out Israel.

    Nope. Just Israel. As you might already know, other than Afghanistan there is no other country that receives more US military aid than Israel.

    For obvious reason, I didn’t include Afghanistan as we already are on our way out of there. Any why would I include countries that receives less aid? I assume you have heard of the 80-20 rule. Once the aid to Israel has been cut/eliminated, then we can talk about the next country eventhough they only get less than half of Israel’s aid.

    And BTW – why would it matter if I only included Israel or not in terms of being called an anti-semite? Do you then also think Jon Stewart is an anti-semite for being critical of Israel? Is anybody who is critical of the government of Israel an anti-semite in your opinion?

    Do you think it is fair that Israel gets all this military aid why at the same Congress is considering reducing medicare benefits for Americans here in our own country?

  66. 66
    Pococurante says:

    @Paul:

    And BTW – why would it matter if I only included Israel or not in terms of being called an anti-semite? Do you then also think Jon Stewart is an anti-semite for being critical of Israel? Is anybody who is critical of the government of Israel an anti-semite in your opinion?

    Well now that you admit singling out Israel, and are doubling down that they deserve being held to a higher standard than any other country the USA works with regardless of their character…

    Jon Stewart doesn’t single out Israel. He mocks bullshit from anyone and everyone.

    Your last sentence is nonsensical. I haven’t accused anyone of being an anti-Zionist let alone anti-Semite. I don’t know and really don’t care if you one, both, or neither.

    No, you’re simply another run of the mill petty hypocrite. Hiding behind Israel is, I’m sure, a pretty typical dodge you pull in any situation where you want to be a hypocrite and are too insecure to just come out and take ownership.

  67. 67
    Paul says:

    @Pococurante:

    Wow. From name calling to not even reading my post. How typical…

    Have a great day!

  68. 68
    KXB says:

    @Pococurante:

    They brag about it themselves:

    Real Insiders by Jeffrey Goldberg
    The New Yorker
    July 4, 2005

    aipac’s leaders can be immoderately frank about the group’s influence. At dinner that night with Steven Rosen, I mentioned a controversy that had enveloped aipac in 1992. David Steiner, a New Jersey real-estate developer who was then serving as aipac’s president, was caught on tape boasting that he had “cut a deal” with the Administration of George H. W. Bush to provide more aid to Israel. Steiner also said that he was “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton Administration over the appointment of a pro-Israel Secretary of State. “We have a dozen people in his”—Clinton’s—“headquarters . . . and they are all going to get big jobs,” Steiner said. Soon after the tape’s existence was disclosed, Steiner resigned his post. I asked Rosen if aipac suffered a loss of influence after the Steiner affair. A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. “You see this napkin?” he said. “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/archi.....z2HPcnWm56

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Pococurante:

    Well now that you admit singling out Israel, and are doubling down that they deserve being held to a higher standard than any other country the USA works with regardless of their character…

    So can we now admit that Israel is not, as people love to claim, because they’re a civilized First World country, but that they’re a tinpot dictatorship like Syria and that our support of them is analogous to our support of apartheid-era South Africa?

  70. 70
    WaterGirl says:

    My pet theory for why AIPAC suddenly decided they would publicly stay out of this fight?

    I suspect that AIPAC provided some or all of the funding for the incredibly expensive ad that the Log Cabin Republicans took out against Hagel in the NYT.

    Maybe it’s a coincidence of timing, but fIrst I saw that people had started asking questions about who had funded that ad behind the scenes, then I noticed that AIPAC suddenly changed its tune and was going to stay out of this.

    Pure speculation on my part, but I do wonder if I might be right.

  71. 71
    TribalistMeathead says:

    Wait, why doesn’t the Washington Monthly get clicks?

  72. 72
    jc says:

    I suppose Hagel isn’t too horrible a choice. But Obama couldn’t find a qualified Democrat for the position?

  73. 73
    sparrow says:

    @eric: Yes. And this applies to non-jews as well. My husband was very naive when he was younger and permanently pissed off a few powerful people in his field by speaking too freely about what he thinks is going on in Israel (these were not evenly remotely anti-semitic remarks, just comments against the policies of Israel). Of course this is going to be a small minority of people, but his experience was enough for me to just avoid the subject altogether among work colleagues, even if they seem to be liberal. And I don’t bring it up among my jewish friends either. I just don’t want to go there, And I feel guilty because I think there’s a lot of wrong stuff going on, and I can’t speak about it even if someone else brings it up. I’m not sure there are any other subjects where this is true to the same degree.

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