Israel’s Chorus Sings Again

Less than total loyalty to Israel is un-American

By Philip Giraldi

August 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Congress is on a one-month summer recess. You would think that given the recent turmoil over the bill to eliminate Obamacare and the upcoming debate over tax policy the nation’s legislators would be back in their home districts talking to the voters. Some are, but many are not. “More than fifty” Congressmen are off on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel to demonstrate that “there is no stronger bond with any ally we have.” Yes indeed, a congress which cannot pass legislation to benefit the American people finds that it has only one voice when it comes to our troublesome little client state that also doubles as the leading recipient of U.S. tax dollars in the world.

How do they do it? They do it by relentless courting of the congress critters and media talking heads, all of whom know how to repay a favor. Some readers might be asking how Congress (spouses included) can accept these free trips from a foreign government? The current trip is estimated to be costing $10,000 per person. Well, the answer is that they can’t do it directly, which would be illegal, so the clever rascals at the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have created an “charitable” foundation that pays the bills. It’s called the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). AIEF is a tax exempt 501(c)3 foundation that had income of more than $80 million in 2015. As it is tax exempt that means that its activities are, in effect, being subsidized by the U.S. Treasury so the congressmen are being “charitably educated” while they are also being wined and dined and propagandized in part on the taxpayers’ dime. A couple of the congress critters hardly hit the ground before they were singing the praises of their hosts, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy crooning “We have shared values! Shared security interests! No stronger bond!” And plenty of feel-good all around as Israel is “The Only Democracy in the Middle East!”

Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has had his head up the Israeli derriere for decades, was also quick on the uptake, enthusing how support for Israel is completely bipartisan, “We are not here as Democrats and Republicans, we are here as Americans who support Israel’s security, its sovereignty and the safety of its people.” And as if it is not enough to go around bragging how one is subordinating U.S. sovereignty to that of Israel, the gnomes are hard at work back at home preparing to pass into law the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which will criminalize for many Americans their First Amendment right to criticize Israel, and a completely bipartisan bit of new legislation being pushed by the Israeli government that will take away aid currently given to the Palestinians as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to provide subsidies to help support the families of those individuals being held prisoner by the Israelis. As most aid actually goes towards training Palestinian security forces that are intended to prevent terror attacks against Israelis, the bill is as wrong-headed as can be, but it just goes to show how far Congress will go to punish Arabs on behalf of Israel.

And finally there has been a series of Israel-centric attacks on leading members of the Trump Administration. A month ago, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2016. The report, as always, describes threats of violence in the Middle East from an Israeli perspective, but it was honest enough to also include two sentences that state that

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians…and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive. The PA has [also] taken significant steps…to not create or disseminate content that incites violence.”

B’nai B’rith immediately blasted the report for “parroting the false Palestinian narrative” and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) demanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resign because the report was “bigoted, biased, anti-Semitic, Israel hating, error ridden.” ZOA went on to praise the co-chairman of the Republican Israel Caucus, Congressman Peter Roskam for demanding that the State Department correct the “numerous mischaracterizations” in the report.

Tillerson has long been a target of the American-Jewish media because of the perception that oil company executives are traditionally not friendly to Israel. There have also been claims that he is “less hard” on Iran than the Israel Lobby would like. But what Tillerson is really experiencing is the hard truth regarding Israel: that its Lobby and friends in congress are both unrelenting and unforgiving. Even when they get 90% of the pie they are furious over someone else getting 10%.

Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has also been under siege for the past several weeks and his “loyalty” to Israel is now under the microscope. McMaster made the mistake of firing three National Security Council officials that were brought in by his predecessor Michael Flynn. The three – Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Rich Higgins, and Derek Harvey – are all regarded by the Israel Lobby as passionately pro-Israel and virulently anti-Iran. It was therefore inevitable that McMaster would take some heat, but the “speed and intensity” of the attacks has surprised even The Atlantic, which failed to note in its thorough examination of the development that while much of the anger flows from extreme right-wing sources there is also considerable pressure coming directly from friends of Israel.

It is interesting to note just how and by whom the argument against McMaster is being framed. Caroline Glick, an American-born Israeli journalist who might reasonably be described as extreme right wing, has led the charge in a posting that described McMaster as “deeply hostile to Israel.” She cites anonymous sources to claim that he refers to Israel as an occupying power and also has the audacity to claim that there once existed a place called Palestine. Oh, and he apparently also supports the nuclear agreement with Iran, as does Tillerson.

McMaster’s other crimes consist of allegedly altering the agenda of Donald Trump’s recent trip to Israel in ways that are somewhat arcane but which no doubt contributed to Glick’s sense of grievance. What is most interesting, however, is the unstated premise supporting Glick’s point of view, which is that the United States national security team should be subject to approval by Israel. Her view is not dissimilar to what lies behind the attacks on Tillerson and the real irony is that neither Tillerson nor McMaster has actually demonstrated any genuine animosity towards Israel, so the whole process is part of a perverse mindset that inevitably sees nearly everything as a threat.

We Americans are way beyond the point where we might simply demand that Israel and its partisans butt out of our politics. Israel-firsters are literally deeply embedded everywhere in the media, in politics at all levels, in academia, and in the professions. They are well funded and highly disciplined to respond to any threats to their hegemony. Their policy is to never give an inch on anything relating to Israel and their relentless grinding is characteristic of how they behave. The Israel Lobby controls Congress and can literally get any bill it wants through the legislature. And it also has its hooks in the White House, though the unpredictable Trump obviously makes many American Zionists nervous because it is rightly believed that once the president takes a position on anything he cannot be trusted either to understand what he has committed to or to stick with it subsequently.

So what is to be done? To match the passion of the Israel Lobby we Americans have to become passionate ourselves. Do what they do but in reverse. Write letters to congressmen and newspapers opposing the junkets to Israel. When a congress critter has a town hall, show up and complain about our involvement in the Middle East. Keep mentioning the pocket book issues, i.e. how Israel costs the taxpayer $9 million a day. Explain how its behavior puts our diplomats and soldiers overseas in danger. The reality is that Israel is built on a lot of lies promoted by people who frequently cite the holocaust every time they turn around but who have no actual regard for humanity outside their own tribe. The hypocrisy must stop if the United States is to survive as a nation. Pandering to Israel and engaging in constant wars to directly or indirectly defend it, be they against Iran or in Syria, will wear our country down and erode our freedoms. We are already on a slippery slope and it is past time to put our own interests first.

This article was first published by Unz Review 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Support Information Clearing House

Your support has kept ICH free on the Web since 2002.

======

Click for SpanishGermanDutchDanishFrench, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

Advertisements

Three More Senators Sign on as Co-Sponsors of Israel Anti-Boycott Act

Three more US senators have added their names as co-sponsors of S.720, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a bill that would make it a felony for Americans to support a boycott of Israel. The latest three senators to add their names are: Steve Daines of Montana, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. All three are Republicans.

According to the ACLU, should the bill be signed into law violators could be punished by hefty fines and up to 20 years in prison.The addition of Daines, Flake, and Shelby brings the total number of co-sponsors to 48. Had Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York not withdrawn as a co-sponsor, the number would now stand at 49. However, as I noted in my most recent post on this issue, Gillibrand withdrew her name after taking heat from her constituents.

You can go here to see the total list of senators who have signed on as co-sponsors. The bill was originally introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) on March 23, 2017.

So far, the House version of the same bill has picked up 249 co-sponsors. That’s 31 more votes than it needs to pass. Unless a miracle happens, the bill is pretty much a done deal in the House. You can go here to see the list of representatives who are willing to trash the First Amendment to the US Constitution in order to please Israel and its lobby.

Be that as it may, I would encourage people to look over both lists, and if your senator or representative happens to be among the co-sponsors, to give him or her a call. The fact that Gillibrand withdrew her support shows that complaints from constituents on this issue can make a difference.

First Amendment

May 28, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Eve Mykytyn

Partially in response to the polarizing presidency of Mr. Trump, and also, I think, in response to a desire to reach the “right” results, there has been an increasing tendency in the United States to try and limit free speech.  In earlier generations, the left was more in favour of free speech and the right was more willing to suppress it (eg, the flag burning and pornography cases).

Now this seems to be a tactic favoured by many without regard to political affiliation, although of course, the speech they would choose to suppress may be quite different. Two recent examples come to mind, the treatment of demonstrators at Trump rallies and the treatment of Charles Murray at Middlebury College. Why listen and engage when you can simply attribute words to the other side and then oppose them?

The edges of free speech have always been difficult, that is, commercial speech limitations (for instance commercial false advertising or ‘news’ articles that are really advertisements) or free speech that includes or directly incites prohibited actions (throwing a bottle at a policeman conveys speech, but is still prohibited).  But the opposition to free expression I’m trying to get at here is not a within such difficult categories.

My brilliant young friend, who has a PhD in physics, challenged me, “I am outcome driven,” she said. “I don’t want people to preach against vaccines when the outcome may be that children die.” I tend to agree with her about vaccines, but I would not attempt to silence those who disagree.

First. I would have no idea what would be a reasonable way to prohibit speech I don’t like. Should the police track down these people and arrest them? Do our jails need more prisoners who have committed a nonviolent crime? Should we hold internet sites responsible for all speech? This seems to lead inevitably into a discussion of anonymity and government intrusion.

Second.  Who should determine what is ok speech?  The government? Trump? Obama? The FBI? The NSA? Scientists? Or only scientists who opposed using their gifts to create nuclear weapons?

Third. The outliers are sometimes right. Dr Kevorkian forced this country to consider assisted suicide. He earned the name ‘Dr Death’ from his campaign to use death row prisoners as voluntary experiments for various medical procedures. By any standard he was an odd and unappealing character. But he managed to force us to confront a difficult issue and think about how we wanted to handle it.

The anti vaccine people funded scientific research  into vaccines and potential causes of autism and those studies disproved the link. Just because autism manifests itself around the time children are vaccinated does not mean vaccines cause autism, but it was not an unreasonable hypothesis. And the autism studies partially so-provoked found a surprising link to paternal and maternal age that proved more promising. So even if you disagree with them, they ultimately may have helped push us to forward.

Fourth. No reasonable person likes the idea of name calling or so-called hate speech.The problem is that hate speech is difficult to define, even if we knew how to enforce prohibitions. Can a pink person claim to hate all pink people? In a private conversation? In an e mail? On a sign at a demonstration? On the pink people’s website? On his own website? What if the pink person is criticizing other pink people in an attempt to improve them?  Do the same rules apply when a purple person criticizes pink people? Does it matter whether purple or pink people constitute the dominant culture?

This is not purely theoretical. The US government and New York State (among others) have, at various times, tried to prohibit speech against Israel as anti Semitic. (They did this by prohibiting state funding or business with any group thatadvocated boycotting Israel saying that such advocacy was “abusing Jewish students.”) Like many, but perhaps not most Americans, I do not see the two as the same. Israel is a foreign country and Jews are an ethnic group in the United States and elsewhere. In this case, by trying to prohibit constitutionally protected hate speech, New York is clearly denouncing political speech as well. And it does prompt the question, do we now attempt to stop ‘hate’ speech against all groups?  Why this group?

In the Netherlands, a country that attempts to limit ‘hate’ speech, Siegfried Verbeke was convicted for simply publishing Robert Faurisson’s 1978 work questioning the authenticity of the Diary of Anne Frank. The court stated that, “By raising doubts as to the authenticity of the diary within the context of REVISIONISM …the brochure far exceeds the limits of what is acceptable within the framework of freedom of expression.” The court did not dispute the truth of the research, the legal problem was the context of hate.

And how can it be otherwise? Speech occurs within a context, and often that context includes advocating a political position. This is different than a clerk who insists she is exercising her freedom by refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay people or election officials who try to make it difficult for Blacks to vote. The clerk and the election officials are free to say what they want (so long as what they say does not impede the ability of others trying to exercise their rights), but they are obliged to obey the laws whether they like them or not, as we all are.

I would hope that ‘the marketplace of ideas’ would ultimately serve to help us discard ideas that are dangerous or wrong. If not, to the extent that we are a democracy, we have agreed to live with the decisions of the majority BUT with the most important of protections, the bill of rights. It is worth reminding ourselves that the bill of rights was specifically designed to protect minorities from the will of majorities. There is a reason freedom of speech appears in the first amendment. There are limits to the extent we are allowed to police each other.

Americans are blessed that we have a first amendment. Although it has been imperfectly and sporadically protected, it is there at least as an aspiration.

“But at least let us have no more nonsense about defending liberty against Fascism. If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”  George Orwell, in his brilliant proposed preface to Animal Farm. Sadly, usually omitted from the book.

http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go

%d bloggers like this: