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Is Obama’s Upcoming Israel Visit as Fictitious as That of The Rolling Stones?

1:25 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rolling Stones - Jewish-Press Punked

I.  A whole lot of people hooked on Ziocaine got punked last week by a prank article published in The Jewish Press.  The article touted an upcoming concert in Israel by The Rolling Stones:

Despite a barrage of attacks from British, European and U.S. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, the Rolling Stones will perform their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”

Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.

The hoax article went further into details of the fictitious concert series.

Unsurprisingly, some took the bait in spite of a disclaimer (“This has been a Purim prank…”).  My favorite:

Some of the web sites or publications falling for it were jns.org:

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

and Abby Martin’s favorite fake news source, Allgemeiner, about whose punking Phan Nguyen wrote, “the reliably unreliable Algemeiner“:

Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.

“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side. All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s lead singer, according to the Jewish Press.

and my favorite, the amazing Pamela Geller, who was in ecstasy over this, in her original post that lauded the Stones’ courage:

ROLLING STONES TELL JEW-HATERS TO KISS THEIR ……. ADDS ANOTHER DATE TO ISRAEL TOUR ON ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY

and:

It is so delicious to see very cool people standing against savagery, thuggery and injustice. I’d wish I could get to Jerusalem just to see this show.

When Geller’s punking was exposed by commenters to her post, she lied and turned on them. According to Phan Nguyen:

Thus—essentially saying, “I was testing you”—Geller pretended to be in on the joke. However, there are several reasons why this is implausible:

1. Geller acknowledged that it was a Purim joke. But by the time of she had posted her story on February 26, Purim was already over. It would be like making an April Fool’s joke on April 2.

2. Geller didn’t quote directly from the original Jewish Press article but instead based her post on Robert Miller’s Joshuapundit article. To this day, Miller appears unaware that the story is a hoax and his post stands uncorrected. There is no indication that Geller had seen the original article in The Jewish Press before she posted.

3. Despite claiming that she was proving a clever point, Geller later removed the posting from her website and also deleted her tweet referencing it. What’s the point of making a point and then deleting all references to the point?

II. So The Rolling Stones aren’t going to Israel in April, after all. How about Obama in March, especially if he doesn’t have an Israeli Government with whom to meet?

President Barack Obama’s historic first visit as US leader to Israel this month could be in jeopardy after Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to plead for extra time to cobble together a new coalition government.

The Israeli prime minister was granted a two-week extension by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, after missing Saturday’s deadline to reach agreement with rival parties following January’s inconclusive general election.

He now has until March 16 to form a government – otherwise Mr Peres will ask another party leader to lead coalition talks.

White House officials have said Mr Obama will call off his visit if no government is in place by then.

The US president is scheduled to arrive on March 20 for a two-day trip that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah.

If you find Israeli party politics bewildering, you are not alone. I suppose Netanyahu himself is bewildered by the maze he helped build, and in which he is now all but trapped:

Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu won 31 of the Knesset’s 120 seats – an eroded lead that forced him to cast a wide net for partners while juggling their disparate demands.

During the 28-day period, Netanyahu managed to forge a pact only with the party of former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose six-member faction “The Movement” has given him 37 seats, way short of the minimum 61 needed to confirm a new coalition.

In a brief statement following his meeting with Peres on Saturday night, Netanyahu hinted that at least one potential coalition partner refused to sit alongside others.

Netanyahu has faced demands from the parties that placed second and fourth, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), to slash mass exemptions from military conscription and cut welfare stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

In coalition talks on Friday with Bayit Yehudi, Netanyahu’s chief negotiator said the right-wing party was unwilling to sit alongside ultra-Orthodox parties but Bayit Yehudi officials denied this.

At Mondoweiss, Annie Robbins has provided an excellent, detailed analysis of Netanyahu’s pickle, which most likely adds up to no Israeli ruling coalition by the date set for Obama’s trip.  She observes that in spite of gains by moderate factions in the January election, the hardliners seem to hold the last trump.  Playing it – accepting the notion of outright annexation of Palestine without giving the non-Jewish Palestinians any citizenship rights – will isolate Israel internationally, certainly from Europe and most of Latin America.

Pressures on the disagreeing parties to come up with something so as to avoid a cancellation or rescheduling of Obama’s trip are probably there, but insignificant.  One shouldn’t forget that there is far more antipathy toward Obama in Israel than there is, even among white GOP conservatives and Tea Party fanatics, in the USA.

hat tips to Phan Nguyen and Annie Robbins

Is Bill Maher Coming Around on the Israel Lobby’s Influence?

5:19 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I’m not a fan of Bill Maher.  His movie Religulous, left out how the nuttiness of some practitioners of one major religion, influence the politics of Israel, for instance.  His reputation for being a mild misogynist is pretty firmly established.  He’s somewhat of an Obamabot.

Back in 2010, he confronted Oliver Stone, when the latter was defending Palestinian rights under Israeli occupation:

Maher’s argument in the above case was effectively countered by Stone, who brings up AIPAC. Rachel Maddow sat on her thumbs throughout the whole exchange on Israel-Palestine. Maher’s problem in the exchange, like that of so many, is to obfuscate when it comes to individual Palestinian rights per se.

Yesterday on his show, Maher, defending Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, seemed upset about undue influence by people and organizations supporting Israel over U.S. policy making. The GOP being the case:

The two segments show possible signs of evolution by Maher in respect to the conventional narrative about that pesky little country.

What do you think?

Will Newt Have to “Reinvent” The Palestinian People for Today’s GOP Clownfest Debate?

2:55 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

This past week GOP presidential candidate hopeful Newt Gingrich, from his new perch as alleged frontrunner, made two controversial statements regarding Israel and the Palestinians.  Here was Wednesday:

Newt Gingrich told a gathering of Jewish Republicans Wednesday that he would name former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton to be his secretary of state if elected president, and would immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mr. Gingrich showed his trademark flare for provocation as he spoke at a presidential candidates’ forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, pledging not to let President Barack Obama dodge his invitation to debate and invoking Mr. Bolton, who advocates an interventionist foreign policy and hawkish stance toward Iran, a longtime antagonist of Israel.

On Friday, Gingrich claimed that the Palestinians are an “invented” people, in an interview with the Jewish Channel Cable Network:

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state,” he said. “I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.”

The promise on Bolton prompted some to question whether or not Gingrich may have violated some law by offering up Bolton’s name.  He had not.  He’s not the first presidential candidate to promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, either.  Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made the same campaign promise, only to forget about it once elected.

Gingrich’s statement regarding the Palestinian peoples’ authenticity has elicited some severe criticism from Palestinians in the occupied territories:

The Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, demanded that Gingrich “review history.”

“From the beginning, our people have been determined to stay on their land,” Fayyad said in comments reported by the Palestinian news agency Wafa. “This, certainly, is denying historical truths.”

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, accused Gingrich of incitement. “Mark my words … these statements of Gingrich’s will be the ammunitions and weapons of the bin Ladens and the extremists for a long, long time,” Erekat told CNN.

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a top official in the PLO, said that Gingrich was seeking a “cheap way” to win Jewish and pro-Israel voters in next year’s election.

Sen. Carl Levin, from Michigan, a state with many relocated Palestinians, was critical:

[Levin] said “Gingrich’s cynical efforts to attract attention to himself with divisive and destructive statements will not help his presidential ambitions since they are aimed at putting the peace between Israel and the Palestinians that Americans yearn for even further out of reach than it is today.”

The presidential hopeful, Levin said, “offered no solutions — just a can of gasoline and a match.”

The reactions prompted his campaign to have to issue a clarification today:

Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman issued a clarification Saturday afternoon. “Newt Gingrich supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will necessarily include agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the borders of a Palestinian state,” the spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said in a statement.

“However, to understand what is being proposed and negotiated you have to understand decades of complex history, which is exactly what Gingrich was referencing during the recent interview with The Jewish Channel.”

The competition among GOP presidential race candidates to show who is most loyal to the Jewish State is keen.  Remarking on how ridiculous some GOP statements of fealty to Zionism have been, one @chucktodd tweeted:

Will someone one-up Romney and pledge to give their inaugural address FROM Israel?

Israel has come up more in these debates than it did in the 2004 and 2008 national election cycles. Many have predicted this would happen, as the GOP candidates seem to feel compelled to outdo each other in criticism of Obama’s policies regarding this conflict.

The goal of these candidates, in bringing up Israel, is not so much designed to court Jewish Republican voters, but to court Christian Zionists.  78% of American Jews voted for Obama in 2008, and most will vote for him again. Fundamentalist Christians who believe in the necessity of repopulating the “Holy Land” with Jews to facilitate the coming of the end times represent a high percentage of the GOP voters who will determine their party’s candidate in the caucuses and primaries.

I’m wondering if Gingrich is going to get off scott free on his statements and misstatements this past week.  Ron Paul, who was banished from the Republican Jewish Coalition debate, for having been critical of Israeli policies in the past, will probably lead attacks on Gingrich, but may steer clear of this set of issues.

Gingrich really is a target-rich candidate for a host of reasons.