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Max Blumenthal Shares Lessons from U Michigan Divestment Campaign

7:30 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Max+Blumenthal+in+Anchorage

Author, journalist and videographer Max Blumenthal participated in the debate before the University of Michigan’s Central Government Council, on March 25th, regarding possible divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine, and repression of Palestinian society. He was the leadoff presenter for Michigan Students Allied for Equality. Blumenthal spoke for just under thirty minutes. It is one of the most powerfully passionate speeches I’ve ever heard on Palestinian rights and what that should mean to colleges in the United States, whose investments are intertwined with elements of the illegal occupation by Israel of the West Bank, and with the draconian blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Here is Max Blumenthal’s March 25th presentation:

Today, Mondoweiss carried an essay by Blumenthal, titled “‘A Painful Price’: The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond.” In the article, he describes the intimidation tactics used against some of the student coordinators for Michigan Students Allied for Equality. His findings are somewhat disturbing. In the midst of accusations against a number of the student activists of intimidation, the activists are themselves undergoing organized intimidation tactics:

During SAFE’s week-long sit-in, a close-knit group of pro-Israel students filed a series of incendiary accusations against SAFE members, accusing them in formal reports to university administrators of delivering anti-Semitic tirades laced with antiquated terms like ‘kike’ and ‘dirty Jew.’ At the same time, Facebook profiles belonging to SAFE members were invaded by a mysterious account named ‘ZPC Viper Matrix.‘ Personal information of SAFE members, their families, and Palestine rights supporters across the country including American Studies Association President-elect Lisa Duggan have appeared on the Viper Matrix Facebook page, often in distorted form alongside derogatory comments, prompting several students to cancel their accounts.

Among those who told me their profile photos and personal information were uploaded at the Viper Matrix page was Sharifah Abdallah, a Palestinian member of Loyola University’s Student Government Association who has actively supported Loyola SJP’s divestment campaign. ‘People are scared in my community,’ Abdallah remarked to me. ‘Unlike other Palestinians from the diaspora, we return frequently to our land. So these tactics are designed to silence us by making us afraid that we won’t be allowed back in to Palestine.’

Blumenthal, in his Mondoweiss article, recounts many other intimidation episodes. Please read it. Especially chilling are Blumenthal’s concluding paragraphs:

As divestment resolutions are introduced at new campuses each month, pro-Israel partisans appear determined to introduce more counter-measures. In a recent editorial for the Jerusalem Post, former advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Caroline Glick demanded that universities that allow Palestine solidarity activism on campus ‘pay a painful price.’

‘Only the threat of civil lawsuits, federal investigations of civil rights violations, and alumni threats to withhold gifts will force university administrations to take action against the anti-Semitic thugs that are instituting a reign of terror at university after university,’ Glick wrote.

Declaring Northeastern’s suspension of its SJP chapter to be ‘minimal,’ she called for the mass firing of campus police officers who enforce university rules around Palestine-related events. Finally, Glick demanded that Students for Justice in Palestine be ‘permanently barred from operating on campus.’

Though they are far from realizing their draconian goals, Glick and her allies are setting a clear precedent at Northeastern, Michigan, and beyond.

Wednesday, writer and recent University of California Santa Cruz graduate, Rebecca Pierce, wrote, also at Mondoweiss, about current tactics being deployed by militant expansionist, exceptionalist Zionists, against Middle East Studies programs at American Universities:

On March 19, Louis D. Brandeis Center President Kenneth Marcus keynoted a Washington DC panel organized by the hardline pro-Israel Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). It was titled ‘Politicizing Education: Title VI of the Higher Education Act.’

Speaking from an ornate room in Washington DC’s Russell Senate Office Building, Marcus described the seminar as ‘the first public event inaugurating phase two of Title VI reform.’ Sitting alongside him were Campus Watch Director Winfield Myers, National Review Online columnist Stanley Kurtz and Tammi Rossman Benjamin, Amcha Initiative co-founder and a member of the Brandeis Center Academic Advisory Board. The panel was introduced and moderated by Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET and a member of the Islamophobic Clarion Fund’s advisory board.

Using the seemingly benign terminology of ‘Title VI reform,’ Marcus and his fellow panelists laid out the blueprint for a right-wing pro-Israel attack on federal funding for Middle Eastern studies programs. By using amendments to Title VI of the Higher Education Act that were originally created to police programs deemed too critical of of US foreign policy following 9/11, Marcus and his allies are seeking to pull federal grants from Middle Eastern studies programs they deem overly critical of Israel.

Blumenthal, in his article, describes such tactics as “a desperate but determined fighting retreat.” He is correct in this characterization. In the struggle by students nationwide, in Canada, in the United Kingdom and in Europe, who support Palestinian civil rights, the victories by these activists are growing in number. At the University of Michigan, the student activists failed to get their resolution passed. But each week, more and more campuses are taking up this matter, some with marked success.

Expect the Zionist tactics to get more nasty and desperate by the month.

Scarlett Johansson Breaks Up with Oxfam, Leaves Note on Pillow

8:32 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Scarlett Johannson in a shoulderless black dress, hands on hips.

Johansson chooses Sodastream over Oxfam.

Wednesday evening, actress Scarlett Johansson brought the nine-day dilemma over the conflict between her seven-year relationship with the global relief organization, Oxfam, and her new commercial relationship with the Israeli company, SodaStream, to a conclusion with this announcement:

A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has ‘a fundamental difference of opinion’ with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

‘Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,’ the statement said. ‘She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.’

Earlier this month, The Avengers and Her actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

Oxfam announced late last week that it was in discussion with Johansson:

While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador,” it added.

‘Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.’

Johansson responded to Oxfam without directly addressing the most pressing of Oxfam’s problems with the conflict:

SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

The workers do not actually enjoy equal rights with their Israeli employers:

One mid-level Palestinian employee who spoke to Reuters outside the plant, away from the bosses, painted a far less perfect picture, however.

‘There’s a lot of racism here,’ he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. ‘Most of the managers are Israeli, and West Bank employees feel they can’t ask for pay rises or more benefits because they can be fired and easily replaced.’

snip:

Israeli labor watchdog Kav LaOved says a lack of oversight over enforcement of minimum wages and worker rights in West Bank factories reflects Israel’s pro-settler policies.

‘The government wants incentives for Israelis to come and build and expand there. The government has demonstrated very clearly that companies in the West Bank will be allowed to have cheap labor,’ Kav LaOved head Hanna Zohar told Reuters.

Early this morning, Oxfam responded to Johansson’s pillow note, changing her page there to reflect that the relationship is over, while at the same time saying nothing new.  A row developed over the early part of this week, with Oxfam America concerned that putting pressure on Johansson over an issue concerning Israel might hurt fundraising activities in this country: Read the rest of this entry →

Is Scarlett Johansson’s SS Super Bowl Deal Blood Money? – UPDATED

11:27 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Scarlett Johansson endorsing Apartheid

Actress Scarlett Johansson‘s next premiere will be in an ad aired at Super Bowl XLVIII, on February 2nd, during the 4th quarter.  The sponsor, Sodastream, is an Israeli company whose main facilities are illegally located in Area C of the Occupied West Bank of Palestine, in the industrial zone known as Mishor Adumim.  Her involvement with a company being boycotted by the Global BDS campaign and others has garnered some attention since the relationship was announced earlier this month.  Most criticism has centered around Johansson’s volunteer role as a spokesperson and activist for Oxfam, a 72-year-old NGO that works to “find solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world.”  Oxfam regards Israeli industrial activity in the Occupied West Bank as illegal.  Such conflicts with Oxfam volunteers have come up in the past:

Oxfam objected in 2009 when another ambassador, the American actress Kristin Davis, agreed to endorse Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics company that also has a factory in a West Bank settlement. After a wave of negative publicity, Ahava and Ms. Davis quickly parted ways.

 Oxfam is in touch with Johansson about the conflict.  Her niche at the NGO’s web page had this added late Wednesday:

We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice. As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty, and she has helped to raise critical funds for life-saving and poverty-fighting work around the world. We deeply value her support.

Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues.

Up until late Thursday the story hadn’t been covered by any major U.S. media outlets. The Electronic Intafada and Mondoweiss have both run a number of articles on this through the week.  But Thursday, the New York Times posted a detailed article on-line about the controversy.  Super Bowl commercials are big deals in the advertising and endorsement worlds.  Sodastream has posted Youtube and other media promoting the upcoming commercials:

I have a number of questions on this that haven’t yet been answered:

1.  Was Johansson aware of the true state of affairs for the Palestinian workers at the Mishor Adumim factory when she signed on with Sodastream?  Last year, Sodastream posted a video touting the boon Sodastream’s illegal facility is for Palestinians who are employed there.  An anonymous worker refuted the claim at Electronic Intifada:

A professionally-produced video recently appeared on YouTube, taking the viewer on a carefully-constructed tour of the production facilities for the Israeli companySodaStream, manufacturer of carbonated drink machines.

The 8.5-minute video focuses on the firm’s factory located in Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone of the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, and its Palestinian workers. The underlying message throughout the video is that the company’s settlement factory is a “fantastic sanctuary of co-existence” and, despite being built on stolen Palestinian land, is beneficial to the Palestinian economy and workers.

The video was recently shown to M., a Palestinian employee of SodaStream who has worked on the assembly line at Mishor Adumim for a long time and lives under Israeli occupation in the West Bank. M. spoke to The Electronic Intifada on condition of anonymity.

His immediate reaction to the blissful setting presented in the video was one of shock.

“Lies”

“I feel humiliated and I am also disgraced as a Palestinian, as the claims in this video are all lies. We Palestinian workers in this factory always feel like we are enslaved,” M. said.

2.  Was Johansson aware that this lucrative product endorsement would most likely lead to a severance of her relationship with Oxfam?

3.  When working with Johansson on coming into a contract, was she informed by Sodastream’s agents, who must have been aware of a potential hazard, of the huge possible liability to the actress’s future career being their spokesperson represents? They certainly should have done that.  Johansson may be under pressure from her team for more public exposure, but Sodastream is under intense pressure.  Partially from BDS effectiveness, partially because the company’s model may have flaws, their stock is down 50% for 2013.

I’ve been a fan of many of Scarlett Johansson’s roles since The Horse Whisperer and Lost in Translation.  If she had better agents she might have won a major film acting award by now.

Whether or not she was a victim of people running her career here or knowingly has become a major spokesperson for Israeli apartheid will probably become known within the next ten days.

Too late to pull the ads.  Can Scarlett handle this upcoming blood money role well enough to actually do something positive for Palestinians living under apartheid in the weird zone her employer exploits 24-7?

UPDATE:  Friday 3:20 pm Alaska Time:

Scarlett Johansson has issued a statement which has been printed at Huffington Post.  It is brief and quite vague.  She does not appear to be ready to back away from SodaStream:

While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air.

I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day. As part of my efforts as an Ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.

I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future.

I’ll provide any further updates in the comments.

Former Ambassador Asks U.S. to Criminalize Support for Boycott Against Israel

11:25 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

From the Trinity Alps:

Phosphorous rains down on Gaza

Israeili phosphorous rains down on Gaza

More and more American and foreign academic organizations are looking closely at passing resolutions in support of Boycotting, Divesting from and Sanctioning (BDS) Israeli educational organizations and institutions, for their involvement in the illegal occupation of the West Bank, and for those institutions’ lack of concern for educational infrastructure in the Occupied Territories and in Gaza. This past week, two important American academic organizations have passed motions supporting Global BDS of Israel, and advocating the end of relations with Israeli academic institutions and organizations. Back in April, the Association for Asian American Studies voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Last week, the large and influential American Studies Association passed a resolution calling for academic boycott:

A powerful group of US scholars has voted to launch an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities. With a membership in the thousands, the group has become the largest academic collective to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The American Studies Association (ASA) announced Monday that its nearly 5,000 members voted in favor of the boycott by a 2-to-1 margin on Sunday night. A total of 1,252 members voted on the issue, with 66 percent voting ‘yes’ and 30 percent voting ‘no.’ Three percent abstained from voting altogether.

The boycott calls on US schools and academic research groups to end all work with Israeli groups. It does allow individual Israeli scholars to still attend conferences and speak at American universities, as long as they do not do so in any official capacity of the government.

Yesterday, the Native American Studies Association passed a similar motion:

Another small North American academic association – the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) – decided this week to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Ohio State English Prof. Chadwick Allen, president of the association and coordinator of American Indian studies at the university, wrote on the association’s website that the move followed a “member- generated” petition asking that the group “formally support the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural Institutions that was initiated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

Some academic organizations have decided not to boycott Israeli academia. The American Association of University Professors (a group I have been a member of) voted against academic sanctions last spring. But the issue is still being debated there, with a recent volume of their journal being devoted to the subject. The Modern Language Association will take up BDS at a January meeting:

Read the rest of this entry →

Book Salon Preview: Goliath, Life & Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal – Part Two: The Book’s Reception – Updated

3:28 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Join the FDL Book Salon with Max Blumenthal, hosted by Edward Teller this Saturday at 2:00pm PST.

Max Blumenthal’s new book, Goliath:  Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, was released October 1.  It is his second book. Republican Gomorrah:  Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party was his first.

Goliath cover

Some supporters of Israeli politics have lobbied harsh, questionably accurate criticism at Goliath.

Released in September, 2009, it became a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller. During the author’s book tour for Republican Gomorrah, Blumenthal was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air, on CNN’s Morning Joe, and numerous other prime author venues. Reviews of the book, almost universally favorable, were printed in such mainstream outlets as Harper’s, the Los Angeles Times, truth-out and others. Considering how difficult it is to get our mainstream media to look deeply into inconvenient aspects of fundamentalist Christianity, and how that plays out in GOP ideology, Republican Gomorrah was surprisingly well covered by them. Firedoglake hosted Max for a book salon session.

That coverage of his second book is far less universal is no surprise to those of us who have observed the rollout of books critical of aspects of Israeli society, or which look closely at the unhealthy role Zionists play in internal American politics. For instance, in 2007, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, was widely reviled in articles and reviews. However, in the six years since publication, the book’s impact has been seen as seminal, in forcing more and better informed open discussion of that lobby’s influence. Five years after publication, author Walt wrote:

[D]iscussions of the lobby and its impact have moved from the fringes of U.S. discourse to the mainstream. Today, one can read or watch people from Jon Stewart to Andrew Sullivan to Glenn Greenwald to David Remnick to Nicholas Kristof acknowledging the lobby’s role in shaping U.S. Middle East policy. Editorials in mainstream papers like the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times call for the U.S. government to adopt a tougher approach toward the Israeli government. More and more news stories on U.S. Middle East policy refer to the ‘Israel lobby’ as a serious political force, and not always in flattering terms. Even hard-line neoconservatives like David Frum now acknowledge the power of groups in the lobby, as in Frum’s recent complaint that Sarah Palin failed to appreciate the political benefits she could gain by choosing to visit Israel under the auspices of the Republican Jewish Coalition, instead of going on her own. Of course, our book and article are surely not the only reason for this shift in discourse, but we probably played a role.

A fairly modest claim.

Blumenthal has not been invited back on to Fresh Air or Morning Joe. Or on to any mainstream venues normally available to authors of his high caliber upon launch of a new book. Nor will he be, even if the book becomes a best seller, which is fairly likely.

The push-back against Max Blumenthal for Goliath is reminiscent to the reception of The Israel Lobby. One might say, though, that the militant Zionist hits against the new book are informed somewhat by what Zionist commentators have learned from Walt and Mearsheimer’s book.

The most savage attack on Blumenthal’s book was published in the November edition of  The Nation, which is also publisher of Goliath. Progressive-ish writer and commentator, Eric Alterman, in an article called “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,” castigated it with one-liners like “this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.” Alterman’s article was immediately criticized for its inaccuracies and invective, perhaps most thoroughly by journalist Phan Nguyen, in an article initially published at Mondoweiss. I wrote about Alterman’s hit job and Nguyen’s comprehensive responses here, back on October 19th.

Alterman won’t let things go.  Though he has failed to respond to Nguyen’s throughly researched critique, he has responded to the author’s rebuttal to the initial Alterman articles panning the book and its creator, concluding:

Literally nothing this fellow writes can be taken at face value. He shames all of us with his presence in our magazine.

One of the fascinating details of the lengthening Alterman-Blumenthal exchange at The Nation is that all of Blumenthal’s articles have allowed reader comments, but none of Alterman’s provide that feature.

Alterman also noted:

Blumenthal’s letter is no less dishonest and disingenuous than his dreadful book (a book, I hasten to add that has received virtually no attention in the print media, save in my column). I will answer each and every one of his charges in the order he makes them and then I hope and pray I will finally be done with this mishegas forever.

I really doubt that, Eric.

Between now and Saturday’s book salon with Max Blumenthal, there may be other reviews of the book, or negative articles such as those accumulating by or because of Alterman. I’ll update this post if that occurs.

UPDATE ONE:

1).  Eric Alterman is claiming that Max Blumenthal’s Dad, Sydney Blumenthal, is attacking Alterman in emails.  Yet Alterman, when asked to disclose the content of the alleged attacks, has refused to cooperate with the reporter to  whom he is complaining:

Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, has reportedlyundertaken an email campaign to defend a controversial book written by his son that compares Israel to Nazi Germany.

The book, written by Max Blumenthal, accuses Israel of being a fascist country and has chapter titles explicitly comparing the Jewish State to Nazi Germany, such as “The Concentration Camp” and “The Night of Broken Glass.”

According to the Nation columnist Eric Alterman, who harshly reviewed the book, long-time Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal has sent “nasty emails” to “our mutual friends and professional acquaintances” attacking him for “telling the truth about his son’s book.”

Alterman’s refusal to disclose specifics:

Alterman declined to give additional details on the contents of the alleged emails, telling the Free Beacon that “private emails deserve to stay private.” He said he only mentioned them in his column because “it was necessary to answer one of Max Blumenthal’s myriad charges.”

2).  Alterman is interviewed by The Forward‘s J.J. Goldberg:

There’s an unpleasant little debate sloshing around the Web lately that tells you all you need to know — and perhaps more than you want to hear — about the current state of relations between Israel and the left.

The debate revolves around an unpleasant book published October 1 by Nation Books, titled “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.” The author is Max Blumenthal, gonzo journalist, video provocateur and son of onetime Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal. The book is the product, the author says, of four years’ work, including more than a year living in Israel and the Palestinian territories to study the facts on the ground.

As his title makes clear, he didn’t think much of the place. He’s written a collection of 73 short vignettes, weaving together reportage, history and interviews to show the suffering and unbroken spirit of the Palestinians and the callous cruelty of the Israelis. Lest anyone miss the point, many of his chapters have titles like “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of Broken Glass,” “This Belongs to the White Man” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.”

The hottest debate, though, isn’t over the book itself. It’s about a magazine column devoted to the book. It appeared October 16 in the left-wing weekly The Nation, whose publishing arm put the book out. It’s by Eric Alterman, the magazine’s sharp-tongued media columnist. Its title: “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook.”

A prolific author, academic and liberal pundit, Alterman is regarded as a chronic Israel-basher by the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd, while devoted Israel-bashers call him a “member of the Israel lobby.” He stipulates that Israel’s “brutal occupation” inflicts “daily humiliations” on the Palestinians, but says Blumenthal “proves a profoundly unreliable narrator.” The book, he writes, shows “selectivity” toward truth. Its chapter titles are “juvenile,” its accounts “often deliberately deceptive.”

Sheldon Adelson Wants Obama To Nuke Tehran

1:54 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

After watching the crowd react to Sheldon Adelson’s proposal Tuesday evening to nuke Tehran, I started to visibly shake.  I haven’t been this upset in a while.  Maybe it is because one of the books I’m reading right now is Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser, about how close to accidental thermonuclear war we’ve sometimes come.

As appalling as Adelson’s statement was, what got me shaking was the incontestable fact that the audience applauded the following utterance, as the President of Yeshiva University, Richard M. Joel, JD, sat there mutely.  Here’s what Adelson was applauded for saying (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

I was upset enough to call the office of President Joel.  I was told he had not responded to Adelson’s call for thermonuclear genocide.  So I wrote him the following open letter:

Mr. Richard M. Joel, JD
President, Yeshiva University
500 West 185th Street, Belfer Hall 1200
New York, NY 10033

Dear President Joel,

I have just finished watching a video segment posted on Youtube of part of a seminar in which you participated Tuesday evening, at Yeshiva University. One moment bothered me to the point I find myself distressed.

One of the participants in the event was Sheldon Adelson. He made the following statement (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

+++++++

I am appalled that you so willingly sat there mutely as Mr. Adelson’s horrific statement and proposal, which would kill millions of people, was applauded so enthusiastically by students and guests at your institution.

I called your office today, Wednesday, October 23, to ask whether you had issued any sort of statement distancing yourself from Mr. Adelson’s suggestion of a horrific act of war against a sovereign nation with which we are currently negotiating. I was told you have not issued any such statement.

I am asking you to make such a statement soon, sir.

Very Truly Yours,

Philip Munger

I’ll let you know if the distinguished university administrator responds. Here is the video of the exchange, initially posted by Phil Weiss, at the blog Mondoweiss.  The troubling statement and response begins just after 5:15:

What would the media response have been had a prominent American Muslim been able to draw such applause from a university audience for recommending using a thermonuclear weapon on Tel Aviv?  The University would be castigated, the president who failed to condemn such a threat then and there, fired or forced to resign in disgrace.

If you want to write to President Joel, here is a link to his office email.

Eric Alterman, the Smearmeister, Attempts to Slime Max Blumenthal

1:06 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alterman vs. Blumenthal

Mini pundit, Eric Alterman, has a long history of simply smearing journalist colleagues, when he can’t come up with a persuasive argument against their views.  Here’s Alexander Cockburn, over a decade ago, recounting one of his experiences with Alterman:

On the last Nation cruise I was on a panel about nuclear proliferation. (Yes, even afloat off Baja California, the liberal conscience is always on guard duty.) Trying to juice up the panel a bit, I remarked that there was one bit of proliferation that seemed to me indisputably okay, which was when the Soviet Union acquired the know-how to make A and H bombs, thus ending the US monopoly on Armageddon, and in my view making the world a safer place. (My position, very shocking to Jonathan Schell, is that every country should have at least one thermonuclear device, if necessary donated by the World Bank along with the “national” flag.)

Nation and MSNBC mini-pundit Eric Alterman was chairing the session. He immediately shed any pretense of neutrality. Was Cockburn, he snarled at the audience, seeing something commendable in the transfer of atomic secrets to the most evil man the world had ever known?

Which shows just how dumb Alterman is, since at least 2/3rds of the audience of Nation seniors, the only subscribers who can afford to pony up for these cruises, were either in the Communist Party or in close sympathy with it. A chill silence greeted Alterman’s ill-mannered interruption and then one old boy piped up angrily and said that it was the Red Army which saved the day for the Allies at Stalingrad. Then Jonathan Schell remarked that my position was identical to that of Sakharov.

Alterman ended up looking silly, and so I wasn’t too surprised when one of the Nation guests sitting next to me at dinner reported Alterman was going around saying I was an anti-Semite.

I have no idea how Alterman got from the subject of Soviet possession of nuclear weapons to anti-Semitism, but Alterman seems to gather comfort from hurling that term at people whose views don’t mix well with his own.

Alterman is a longtime detractor of Ralph Nader, being one of those who persist on blaming the Bush years on Nader:

Nader confused me by buying 1,200 copies of What Liberal Media? and distributing them to every student and faculty member of the Medill School of Journalism. He sent me a mimeographed note saying something like “What do you think of that, Eric?” I think the same thing I thought of the Iraq war, the destruction of the environment, legalized torture, domestic spying, the attack on the Constitution, on choice, on sex education, on science, etc. … “Thanks, Ralph.”

His blasts against Nader are often viewed as unreasonable.  Commentator John Walsh:

Since the documentary lets all sides speak their piece, two of Nader’s principal detractors, Todd Gitlin and Eric Alterman, are given considerable time to dispense their venom. In fact, after a half hour of interviewing, the director had to beg Alterman to talk some more, getting another five minutes out of him. This has not prevented Alterman from claiming that he was not given adequate time to spew his opinions. Both Alterman and Gitlin come across as very bitter men, capable of nothing more than ad hominem attacks on Nader. It is quite a disgusting sight, enough to forever disabuse one of any trust in these fellows.

Alterman has defended Israeli forces killing innocent Palestinian civilians, airily stating:

…I don’t have a moral problem with it.

Hamas is clearly at war with Israel. Hamas feels empowered to strike Israeli civilians inside Israel proper and not just on the war zone of West Bank. Sheik Salah Shehada could have protected his family by keeping away from them. He didn’t and owing to his clear legitimacy as a military target, they are dead too.

So tough luck, fella.

War is hell.

Journalist Phan Nguyen, commenting on Alterman’s most recent attack on author Max Blumenthal, notes:

In other words, Alterman justified the bombing with the following three points:

1. Since Hamas targeted Israeli civilians, the Israeli military had the right to kill Palestinian civilians.

2. It was Shehada’s fault for living with his family that resulted in his family being killed by Israel.

3. “War is hell.”

Alterman’s recent smear against Blumenthal is published in the November 4th edition of The Nation, where Alterman has been a writer for decades. The Nation is also the publisher of Max Blumenthal’s second book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, which was released on October 1st.

Alterman is the first well-known commentator to damn Blumenthal’s book.  In reviews by  Publishers Weekly, M.J. Rosenberg, Al Monitor, and Huffington Post, the book has been either praised or given context that observes the quality of the many, many portraits contained in the volume’s 73 chapters.

Criticism of Alterman’s rant has been effusive from the anti-Zionist left, and from some who are more neutral on the issues dividing Alterman and Blumenthal.

The most direct replies to Alterman’s Nation essays on this have come from Alterman’s Brooklyn College colleague, political scientist Corey Robin:

Even if you haven’t read Blumenthal’s book, it’s not hard to see that Alterman is writing out of an animus he can’t get a hold of. His prose gives him away.

Alterman writes, for example, “And its [Goliath’s] larding of virtually every sentence with pointless adjectives designed to demonstrate the author’s distaste for his subject is as amateurish as it is ineffective.” A writer more in control would have seen that it’s not possible for an adjective to be both “pointless” and “designed to demonstrate the author’s distaste for his subject.” Also, that it’s not wise to lambast the use of adjectives with a sentence deploying three of them—and then to follow that up with a sentence using two more.

As it happens, however, I have written about Max’s book on my blog, and Alterman’s portrait bears little resemblance to the book I read.

Where Alterman finds only “juvenile faux-cleverness,” a “case against the Jewish state” that is “carelessly constructed,” reporting that is “technically accurate [!], but often deliberately deceptive,” arguments that are “simplistic and one-sided,” and “a profoundly unreliable narrator” who “nastily and condescendingly mocks” other reporters—more cowbell, baby!—I found a trove of patient and persuasive on-the-ground reporting (Blumenthal spent a year in Israel and Palestine and several additional months in the region), almost all of which Alterman ignores. Had he allotted less space to those adjectives and more to an engagement with the book, Alterman might have come up with a credible critique.

Here’s a link to Corey Robin’s initial review of the book.

I’m not finished with the 473-page book.  It is a compelling read, and I would have finished by now, had I more time away from work duties.  The book it reminds me the most of that I have read is Robert Fisk’s magisterial 2005 book, The Great War for Civilization:  The Conquest of the Middle East.  Both Fisk and Blumenthal present an extremely rich, almost cluttered set of episodes, in interlinked sets of chapters, as one subject after another is relentlessly, sometimes almost pitilessly pursued.  And like Fisk, Blumenthal’s remembrances and interviews are potent illustrations of the topics they seek to illuminate.  Perhaps Blumenthal’s is the better in terms of describing contradictions people expose as they open up to his questions.

The blog that has covered the Alterman fracas most thoroughly is Mondoweiss.  So far, they have published these articles on it:

Corey Robin calls on American Jews to reflect on their ‘power and status’ and deep differences with Israeli Jews

For Eric Alterman defending Israel trumps longtime friend and employer

‘The Nation’ tries to balance pro- and anti-Israel voices inside the lib-left

What Eric Alterman most unreasonably failed to do in his review was tackle the basic premise of Blumenthal’s book:  That Israel was founded on a deeply racist colonial expansionist agenda; that ethnic cleansing is inseparable from Zionism; that this has always caused a cognitive dissonance among liberal and progressive Jews in Israel (let alone here or in Great Britain); and that with Israel’s inexorable ideological march to the fringes of the far right, the place is losing whatever soul it might once have possessed.  Alterman blinded himself from taking a responsible step by not addressing these inconvenient facts.  Even without Alterman’s invective, that in itself is quite a smear.

You can join Max Blumenthal here at the Firedoglake Book Salon, on Saturday November 2nd.  I’ll be hosting.  Maybe Eric Alterman can join us, to provide the depth to his review the review itself so fully lacked.

Here is the video the New York Times recently commissioned from Blumenthal (with David Sheen), which it then refused to run:

Thoughts on Careless or Irresponsible Use of the Term “Anti-Semite” – Updated

11:33 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Michael Walzer, political philosopher

Three recent events have brought an onslaught of hurling the term “anti-Semite” toward a number of people who certainly do not warrant such an epithet:

1)  The October 5th, 2012 letter by fifteen leading Christian clerics to the U.S. Senate, requesting the latter body investigate the legality of U.S. military aid to Israel.

2)  Objections from an array of people in U.S. public life to the mid-November 2012 bombardment of the Gaza concentration camp by Israeli forces.

3) The possible nomination by president Obama of former GOP U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.

The last of these three instances has evoked an almost shocking level of vitriol directed toward a public figure who has been what most regard as a voice of sanity in the midst of crazed rhetoric toward Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or the Palestinian people themselves, by uber Zionists.  Perhaps the best known example of this malevolence was in an article by Daniel Halper in the Weekly Standard on December 13th (emphases added):

In response to reports that Barack Obama is likely to choose Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, a top Republican Senate aide emails, “Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite.

When asked to elaborate, the aide writes, “Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is.”

I wrote about this at Firedoglake on December 15th, in a somewhat humorous piece, but the anonymous quote cited by Halper is just one of many hits against Hagel that went beyond careless or irresponsible, and into libel territory.  The list of his detractors is long, and getting longer by the hour.  Yet the list of his supporters seems to be lengthening even more rapidly.

Beyond my concern for the sliming of Hagel by use of the anti-Semite libel is a tangential concern that came to my attention from an exchange in the on-line journal Dissent Magazine, between University of California sociologist James B. Rule and Princeton University political philosopher Michael Walzer.  The Dissent article is behind a paywall, but the blog Mondoweiss carried a synopsis of it on December 17th that revealed claims of anti-Semitism by Walzer toward the July 6th vote at the Presbyterian General Assembly, to boycott products from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  Walzer’s protest shows careless and irresponsible accusations toward an entire Christian denomination, which, in my mind, is an egregious fault for such a noted academic and scholar (emphasis added):

Now, I have been reading recently about the effort, narrowly defeated, to get American Presbyterians to divest from companies doing business in Israel. The debate about divestment was fierce…. I couldn’t find a single item describing Presbyterian engagement with any other contemporary state or society. I Googled “Presbyterians and China,” looking for some protest against the settlement of Han Chinese in Tibet, a project on a far larger scale and much more effective than anything the Israeli Right has been able to do on the West Bank. I could not find a single item. Not a word. Jim Rule probably doesn’t find this “jarring.” But I do; I was uncomfortable reading the Presbyterian debates, while I am, most of the time, at ease in a synagogue.

Philip Weiss, who published the Mondoweiss synopsis editorialized on Walzer’s statement:

So he is saying that the Presbyterians went after Israel because they don’t like Jews, and that scares him.

The utter carelessness of Walzer’s claim was easily revealed by commenters at the post.  Here is part of a comment by Hostage: Read the rest of this entry →

Is Obama REALLY Going to Nominate Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary?

2:22 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Chuck Hagel

According to reports beginning on Thursday, Obama is considering nominating former GOP Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel, for Secretary of Defense:

After a high-stakes game of musical chairs on Thursday, the stage could be set for Chuck Hagel to take over the Pentagon.

A Hagel move into the Obama administration was first signaled by a White House leak that he’d been fully vetted and reached the top of President Barack Obama’s short-list to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Hagel is serving as co-chairman of The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and is chairman of the neo-liberal Atlantic Council, among other duties and activities. I perceive him as too realistic about policy toward Iran and Israel to make it through the nomination process, should the so-called “Israel Lobby” stand against him.

The first sign that this non-existent lobby might be concerned about a Hagel nomination surfaced Thursday evening, at the White House Hanukkah Party:

On Thursday night, hundreds of American Jewish leaders visited the White House to celebrate Hanukkah, but many also came with a less celebratory agenda: They were there to deliver a warning to President Barack Obama about the potential nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel.

The buzz around the former Republican senator from Nebraska — seen as a top contender to lead the Department of Defense — has Israel supporters worried. Hagel has been a frequent target for Jewish Democratic and Republican groups for more than a decade, even as he is close to Obama, having been a supporter in 2008 and an appointee to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

“He was one of these worst senators in his party in memory when it comes to Israel,” said one Jewish Democratic operative. “It’s a terrible idea.”

By Friday, friends of the imaginary “Israel Lobby” were openly characterizing Hagel in the most unflattering terms.  Some had the courage to attach their names to their statements.  This one did not, probably because it was so over-the-top (emphases added):

Some Jews and supporters of Israel voiced major concerns about the possible nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Defense Department, taking to Twitter and the blogosphere this week to slam the Nebraska Republican.

“Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite,” a senior Republican Senate aide told The Weekly Standard. The aide continued, “Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is.”

Whether or not the totally-fucking-made-up “Israel Lobby” is the “us” the anonymous threatener means is up to you.

Helping fan the flames Friday was Stephen Walt, co-author of a book the above staffer no doubt places in the fiction category, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.  Walt praised Hagel as a possible choice:

So the Beltway world is a-twitter (literally) with the rumor that President Obama will nominate former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) to be the next secretary of defense. This is a smart move that will gladden the hearts of sensible centrists, because Hagel is a principled, intelligent and patriotic American who believes that U.S. foreign and defense policy should serve the national interest.

The reaction to the endorsement of “the worst kind of anti-Semite” by the author of the 21st century version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was met by heavy, but totally unorganized resistance by spontaneous objection from supporters of the Greatest Democracy in the Middle East.  Here’s Front Page‘s Daniel Greenfield (emphasis added):

[T]here are behind the scenes issues and screwing a constituency does not make for good feelings.

The last time this happened was over Chas Freeman Jr, currently doing interviews with Russian propaganda channels about the evils of Israel. Hagel isn’t as terrible a candidate as Freeman, who took money from China and Saudi Arabia, and suggested that China didn’t go far enough in Tienanmen Square, but he’s bad enough.

And when your loudest endorsement for Defense Secretary comes from Stephen Walt, it’s not exactly a good sign for your prospects.

And here’s from the Republican Jewish Coalition’s twitter feed:

Chuck Hagel gets a vote of confidence from the author of the infamous “Israel Lobby” bookhttp://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/13/top_five_reasons_obama_should_pick_chuck_hagel_for_secdef … cc: @SenatorCardin

Although some anti-Semitic Israel haters have claimed in the past that the RJC is part of the hysterically imagined “Israel Lobby,” a check of their series of tweets on Hagel clearly show this is not the case:

Obama’s Top Jewish Democrat Opposes selection of anti-Israel Chuck Hagel. Calls Hagel “concerning” to Jews http://goo.gl/PJkZN 

 Retweeted by RJC National

Expand

RJC #News release: Hagel Nomination Would Be “Slap in the Face” for Pro- #Israel Americans http://www.rjchq.org/2012/12/rjc-appointment-of-hagel-would-be-a-slap-in-the-face-for-pro-israel-americans/ … #jcot #tcot

ICYMI: Likely Sec of Defense Chuck Hagel is paid to advice a bank under investigation for violating Iran sanctions http://goo.gl/tuqaY 

 Retweeted by RJC National

Expand

A handy checklist for the rumored Chuck Hagel appointment.:http://moelane.com/?p=68434 

 Retweeted by RJC National

Expand

How would Secretary Hagel deal with Iran? He shares some thoughts here: http://www.acus.org/event/iran-issue-brief-launch/transcript … (Hint: “the Brazilian-Turkish point”)

That’s just a sampling from their feed, which is spontaneously continuing to run one tweet after another about this possible nomination.  The blog Mondoweiss, is keeping up with pro- and anti-Hagel developments, which will probably deepen over the weekend.  From The War Over Hagel is On:

The war over Chuck Hagel’s possible appointment to be Secretary of Defense has begun in earnest, but right now at the fringe: leading the attack are neoconservatives at the Weekly Standard and the Republican Jewish Coalition who surely hope to nip this idea in the bud lest a Republican who has been openly critical of Israel gets a top policy job.

Following an earlier anonymous threat he published from an alleged congressional staffer to paint Hagel as an “anti-Semite,” neoconservative godfather Bill Kristol has published “a fact sheet circulating widely on Capitol Hill” (who knows what that means?) that seeks to portray Chuck Hagel as an Israel-hater who would appease Iran. Some of the fact sheet’s assertions will please those who seek a balanced American policy in the Middle East.

The article’s comments cite more links to many articles and blog posts and tweets that are coming in against Hagel from people who have nothing to do with the purported “Israel Lobby.”

So, the question begs asking, “Will Obama actually nominate this guy?”

I seriously doubt it.  My wife, mom and I (we’re visiting my 94-year-old mom in Seattle for the Holidays) discussed this over coffee this morning.  They feel that Obama may be about to break from his habit of throwing somebody out there – Elizabeth Warren or Susan Rice, for instance – as bait, only to walk away from them, and nominate somebody else for the open position.

I’m not so sure.  I think Hagel is merely more chum, thrown off the stern of the FV Obama.

Totally spontaneously.

(semi-snark tag duly attached)

Photo by Nestlé under Creative Commons license.

In Front of Strange, Creepy Flag, HRC Announces She Is Running in 2016

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

HRC in front of creepy USAIsraeli flag

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke for a half hour or so at the annual Saban Forum, held this past weekend in Washington D.C.  New Yorker editor David Remnick, who attended the forum, cuts to the chase:

Hillary Clinton is running for President.

Remnick says a lot more than just that in a piece he had posted Sunday at the New Yorker web site.  He is not pleased with what he saw at the forum:

Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.

Remnick was clearly upset by what he saw.  He’s a very good writer when inspired or angered.  Here is his description of a laudatory film on HRC, presented to forum attendees:

Hillary Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, secretary of state. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”

The film was like an international endorsement four years in advance of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The tone was so reverential that it resembled the sort of film that the Central Committee of the Communist Party might have produced for Leonid Brezhnev’s retirement party if Leonid Brezhnev would only have retired and the Soviets had been in possession of advanced video technology. After it was over there was a separate video from the President. Looking straight into the camera, Obama kvelled at length: “You’ve been at my side at some of the most important moments of my Administration.” [emphases added]

Remnick was a bit disturbed by the closeness of National Public Radio‘s Robert Siegel to Israeli Foreign Minister and avowed ethnic cleanser-racist, Avigdor Lieberman:

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu was not at the Saban Forum, but his notorious foreign minister and hard-right-wing coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman was. Lieberman, who has a history of making vicious remarks about Israeli Arabs and a range of other subjects, is rarely made available for interviews with the foreign press; the chance of embarrassment and international incident is too high. But here he was, in D.C., as Clinton’s pre-dinner opening act. Lieberman, who was born in the U.S.S.R. and lives on a settlement, was interviewed onstage by NPR’s Robert Siegel.

“Everyone wanted me to be politically correct,” Lieberman said as he settled into a chair onstage. “I’ll do my best.”

And so he did. Lieberman avoided any language that would fly into the headlines as racist or xenophobic. A keen and intelligent interviewer, Siegel seemed uncharacteristically reluctant to press Lieberman very hard or bring up Lieberman’s history of indelicacies where Arabs are concerned. [emphases added]

Here’s the paean:

And here is her subsequent speech:

Philip Weiss, writing today at Mondoweiss, concentrated on parts of Clinton’s address:

At a time when Britain and France are considering withdrawing ambassadors from Israel over its latest settlement plans, Hillary Clinton addressed the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution Friday night and, declaring “America and Israel are in it together,” said nothing about settlements or occupation except when she three times praised Benjamin Netanyahu for a “settlement freeze.”

Weiss goes on:

She faults the Arab spring and praises rightwing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

She blames the Iranians for a skein of terror and “hegemonic” ambitions.

She blames Palestinians for the Gaza conflict.

…. her only references to settlements, [are] all praising Netanyahu and damning the Palestinians.

The usual demographic chatter, supporting Israeli discrimination against Palestinians:

“And without peace, the inexorable math of demographics will, one day, force Israelis to choose between preserving their democracy and remaining a Jewish homeland.”

Not once but twice:

“if you look at demography, you see the population shifts and the problems that that will cause for Israel.”

More from Weiss:

She speaks about Israeli settlements as if they are part of Israel:
“[I] walked along the fence near Gilo.”
She never uses the words occupy or occupation except in a favorable context:
“It gives Israel a moral high ground that I want Israel to occupy. That’s what I want Israel to occupy, the moral high ground.”

I commented at the Mondoweiss article, responding on whether HRC is running or not:

“Clinton won’t have much of a chance in 2016. She’s too old”

— Driving into town to go to a concert Saturday, the four of us talked about Clinton’s 2016 chances. That’s pretty much what I said too. I added that people are getting tired of the Clintons, even though Bill’s 2012 Democratic Party Convention speech showed he’s still got a spark or three of demonic life left.

The questions went on to “who will be the most likely 2016 Democratic Party prez contenders, then?” I suggested Rahm Emanuel, as he’s got the best operating money machine, even better than that of the Clintons.

The flag, morphing the American and Israeli flags into one banner, creeps me out. How about you?

At the same time Clinton and a host of others at the forum were further Israelifying the USA, here’s what was happening in the sane world:

According to three senior diplomats from various EU countries, Britain and France were coordinating their moves against Israel, which they will reportedly implement over the next few days, and have discussed the extraordinary step of recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for consultations. This step has never been taken before by these countries toward Israel. It would be so extreme that Britain and France may not take such action at this point but, rather, could invoke it in the case of further escalation of Israeli actions against the Palestinians. A final decision in the matter will be made today by the British and the French foreign ministers. [emphasis added]

I want my country back.