ماذا في زيارة بومبيو وإعلان ترامب غير الكلام الانتخابي؟

مارس 23, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يصعب على كثيرين تصديق التفكير بأن واشنطن لم تعد تملك إلا الكلام. ويعتبرون هذا الاستنتاج استخفافاً في غير مكانه بالقوة العظمى الأولى في العالم. لذلك لا بد من الدعوة للتدقيق التفصيلي بما تحمله وتريده واشنطن من زيارة رئيس دبلوماسيتها إلى لبنان. وما يريده رئيسها من الإعلان عن موافقته على ضم الجولان إلى كيان الاحتلال. فواشنطن تحزم حقائب الرحيل العسكري من المنطقة تسليماً بمحدوديّة قدرة القوة العسكرية على التأثير في معادلات المنطقة المتغيّرة بعكس اتجاه ما تريد. وبالمقابل الكلفة المرتفعة للاعتماد على القوة العسكرية. والعقوبات التي تنتهجها واشنطن لإضعاف محور المقاومة دولاً وحركات تتسبّب بالتعب لأطراف المحور لكنها لا تغير في السياسات ولا في المعادلات. والذهاب فيها بعيداً لتصبح مجدية يستدعي تعميمها على دول مهمة بالنسبة لإيران مثل تركيا وباكستان والعراق والصين وروسيا وأوروبا. قبل الحديث عن معاقبة الدولة اللبنانية. وفقاً لتلويح وتهديد وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو.

– يعرف بومبيو أن لا نتيجة ستحققها زيارته إذا كان الهدف زعزعة مكانة حزب الله اللبنانية. فالمعنيون في لبنان بملف العلاقة مع حزب الله. كالمعنيون في واشنطن بملف العلاقة مع «إسرائيل». والأمل الأميركي بنتاج لبناني يشبه الأمل اللبناني بتبدّل أميركي تجاه حقوق لبنان ومصالحه وسيادته المهدّدة من «إسرائيل». وفي واشنطن قلة ضئيلة تشارك اللبنانيين بتوصيف الأفعال الإسرائيلية باللاقانونية. كما في لبنان قلة ضئيلة جداً تشارك الأميركيين بتوصيف مواقف ودور حزب الله سواء في مواجهة «إسرائيل» أو الإرهاب باللاقانونية أو اللاوطنية. وكما الغالبية الأميركية تنظر لموقع ومكانة «إسرائيل» بحسابات داخلية. تفعل الغالبية اللبنانية تجاه حزب الله. وكما «إسرائيل» جزء من النسيج السياسيّ الأميركيّ وتوازناته. حزب الله ببعده الإقليمي جزء من نسيج لبنان السياسيّ وتوازناته. وبمعزل عن الصح والخطأ والحق والباطل. لا وجود واقعيّ لمن يتخلّى عن «إسرائيل» في واشنطن لإرضاء لبنان أو سورية أو العرب. ولا وجود واقعي لمن يخاطر بالتآمر على حزب الله في بيروت حتى لو كان الثمن إرضاء واشنطن. طالما أن معادلة واشنطن هي أنّها بعدما فشلت في قتال حزب الله بقواها الذاتية. وفشلت قبلها «إسرائيل». جاءت تطلب من اللبنانيين فعل ذلك لحسابها وحساب «إسرائيل».

– من دون أن ينتبه بومبيو. لبس ربطة العنق الصفراء والبدلة السوداء. مجسداً برمزية لباسه في اللاوعي. الحزبالله فوبيا. أو رهاب حزب الله الذي يسكن مخيلته. ولكنه وهو شديد الانتباه كان يدرك أن زيارته لبيروت ليست لتحقيق نتائج من الغرف المغلقة. كما هو حال رئيسه وإعلاناته المتلاحقة. فحزم حقائب الرحيل من المنطقة. يصيب «إسرائيل» في صميم شعورها بالأمان والاستقرار. وواشنطن لا تستطيع البقاء حتى تحقيق ضمانات الأمن الإسرائيلي في سورية ولبنان. وليست بوارد خوض حروب هذا الأمن الإسرائيلي. لذلك فهي تعوّض على «إسرائيل». بإعلانات متدرّجة. ما كانت في الماضي طلبات إسرائيلية ملحّة وفقدت اليوم قيمتها العملية والواقعية. فتمنحها الاعتراف بالقدس عاصمة لكيانها مع الإعلان عن نية الانسحاب من سورية. وتمنحها الاعتراف بضمّ الجولان إلى كيانها مع اقتراب ساعة الانسحاب. وهي تدرك أن زمن تحويل القرارات الأميركية قرارات أممية تغير الوضعية القانونية لمفهوم السيادة قد ولّى إلى غير رجعة. وأن زمن قدرة «إسرائيل» على ترجمة القرارات الأميركية كغطاء لتغيير الواقع الميداني مستحيل في القدس والجولان.

– من بيروت يخاطب بومبيو الإسرائيليين، مؤكداً وفاء أميركا بالتزاماتها لهم ومعهم. وهو كرئيسه يخاطب الناخب المؤيّد لـ«إسرائيل» داخل أميركا أكثر من سواه. ليقول إنه أفضل رئيس أو مرشح رئاسي في تاريخ أميركا يقف إلى جانب «إسرائيل». ولسان الحال الأميركي. «لا خيلَ عندك تهديها ولا مالُ فليُسعف النطق إن لم يُسعف الحال».

Related News

Advertisements

Hot Off the Press: Israel’s Three Largest Banks Pay Hundreds Of Millions In Fines For Helping US Citizens Evade Taxes

March 17, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

btnmoney-laundering-benjamins-640.jpg__640x360_q85_crop_subsampling-2.jpg

By Eve Mykytyn

Following a few mild words of dissent by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the US House of Representatives was almost united in affirming the special relationship between Israel and the US. See, for ex.  So how is “our most reliable and most important ally” treating us? If ‘our’ includes the US treasury, the answer is that Israel’s banks have been accused of and have admitted to actively colluding with wealthy US taxpayers to avoid US taxes.

On March 12, Israel’s third largest  bank, Mizrahi Tefahot, agreed to pay $195 million to the United States to settle charges that the bank knowingly aided tax evasion by US citizens from 2002 until 2012.

Israel’s largest bank, Leumi paid a $400 million dollar fine for similar “criminal activity” that spanned the period from at least 2000 to 2011. Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank is presently negotiating a settlement with the US Justice Department. The total settlement from all three banks will amount to over $1 billion.

As conceded by the banks, these tax avoidance schemes have been going on for decades. Israel’s Supervisor of Banks, Hedva Ber, noted the longevity of this practice: “Twenty years ago, Israeli banks did not ask customers about the source of their money and did not ask if they had paid taxes or not.” But the issue is not limited to banks failing to inquire about the source of funds, these admissions of actively aiding tax evasion show that “Israeli banks…..for decades helped Diaspora Jews evade taxes and launder money on a major scale.”

According to Hevda Ber, for many years Israeli banks provided essentially the same services to foreigners that Swiss banks gave, minus Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws. Actually, according to the settlements and to criminal cases against US taxpayers, Israel’s banks not only did indeed offer American customers secrecy for bank accounts, (Leumi admitted to failing to send statements to the US addresses of over 2400 customers) but also provided ways for US citizens to bring untaxed income back to the US without paying US taxes.

For instance, for over twelve years in the 1970s and 1980s, the Antar family, owners of the discount electronics chain Crazy Eddie, laundered money through Bank Leumi. Sam Antar  described to The Times of Israel how he and his family transferred a total of about  $10 million in unreported cash by handing a briefcase full of cash to a Bank Leumi employee in New York and then receiving an equivalent suitcase the next day on an El Al flight to Israel.

Here was the challenge of withdrawing that money as described by Anton.  “Say I had $10 million in Israel, and I needed to use that money over here in New York. They couldn’t wire me the funds because the account is secret. This money is hidden from the US government to evade income taxes.”  So, according to Antar, Bank Leumi in New York would give him a low interest rate loan secured by Antar’s assets in Israel. The paperwork for the loan concealed the fact that Antar had money deposited in Israel.

Similarly, and according to court documents, Elie Waknine, of Huntington Beach, California, held millions of dollars in an account at Bank Leumi.  Waknine’s tax returns falsely claimed he did not have any foreign accounts.  Bank Leumi did not send bank mail to Waknine’s home in the United States. Leumi allowed Waknine to access his accounts through certain ‘loans’  issued by Leumi’s U.S. branch that were secretly secured by funds in his undeclared accounts in Israel.

The Times of Israel notes that the fact that three of Israel’s major banks have been under criminal investigation by the US Justice Department for allegedly helping thousands of US citizens launder money and evade taxes has garnered remarkably little public attention. The Jewish press covered the  Mizrahi Tefahot settlement, but the New York Times gave only a short summary and I could find no mention in the Wall Street Journal.

In comparison, the  2016 Panama Papers leak of offshore bank account holders led to street protests around the world, the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, and countless investigations.

According to David Shuster, a lawyer who represents a number of American citizens who had undisclosed bank accounts in Israel, the lack of publicity is understandable because none of the actors involved are interested in the limelight.The Department of Justice’s goal is tax enforcement and the banks are “going to say as little as possible. The more they say, the more evidence can be brought against them.”

Mr. Shuster may be right, but he fails to account for the dearth of reporting about Israel’s banks as compared to the Panama Papers or even the recently uncovered money laundering activities of certain European banks. I suspect in the present atmosphere of heightened paranoia over anti Semitism, the press may be reluctant to touch a financial scandal in which most of the participants are Jewish. Maybe they have taken into consideration that much of the outrage over Omar’s observations about Israel was over her accusation that “it’s all about the Benjamins.”

Source: https://www.evemykytyn.com/


My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

Donate

It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

ROBERT BRIDGE | 14.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

It’s Not ‘Anti-Semitic’ to Question the Influence of AIPAC in American Politics

Freshman Democrat lawmaker Ilhan Omar triggered an earthquake in Washington that split the political aisle when she touched the forbidden third rail, which is any discussion of the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence on the US political system.

During a bookstore event hosted by Busboys and Poets, Omar told the assembled guests: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why it is okay for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy.”

Judging how she prefaced the remark, with a lengthy discussion about “the stories of Palestinians” and how she was being regularly accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ to end all debate on the decades-old standoff, it was clear what lobbying group Omar was referring to.

It was the second time in as many weeks that Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslims to serve in Congress, was accused of allegedly espousing anti-Semitic comments.

In early February, Omar had responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald who said it was “stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” followed by a musical emoji.

When pushed by another Twitter user to say who she thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, Omar responded simply, “AIPAC!”

In fact, Omar was wrong. AIPAC does not raise funds for candidates. But its members do, with the group’s powerful endorsement.

On March 3, Omar tweeted to her fellow Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, that she should “not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee…”

Such complaints have been heard before.

In 2014, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney told Press TV that her campaign funding suddenly went “kaput” after she refused to sign a “pledge of allegiance” to Israel while she was in office.

“I refused to toe the line on US policy for Israel,” she said.

On another occasion, in 2006, academics John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt published a paper in the London Review of Books, entitled “The Israeli Lobby and US Foreign Policy.” In it, the authors discussed the influence of pro-Israel organizations in the United States, with primary emphasis on AIPAC, which they described as “the most powerful and well-known.”

Omar’s string of remarks quickly sparked similar debate, but this time inside of the Democratic Party. This demonstrated the potential future impact of a new generation of multiethnic lawmakers, many of whom, as Muslims, are increasingly frustrated by the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and their inability to discuss it.

Omar, however, was quickly upbraided by senior Democrats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) called out the freshman lawmaker, saying her “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive… and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

Although Omar did offer contrition, she refused to budge on “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics,” mentioning the NRA, fossil fuel industry and AIPAC. It seems like a fair criticism, all things considered.

Following the high-profile fallout, the House Democrats passed, with remarkable alacrity, a House Resolution that condemns anti-Semitism as “hateful expressions of intolerance…and anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities.”

The resolution, while intended to tamp down messages of hate, conspicuously failed to mention Omar’s purportedly anti-Semitic remarks, focusing its attention instead on “white supremacists” and “white nationalists,” who were not even remotely mentioned by Omar during her bookstore comments, thus prompting 23 Republican lawmakers to reject the resolution.

The partisan smashup helped to deflect attention away from the main point of contention with regards to Omar’s claim, which on the face of it does not sound radical: Does the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), as well as the other powerful lobbying groups, hold too much sway over US foreign policy? Should AIPAC be ranked as an agent of a foreign power working on behalf of Israeli interests in the US?

Mearsheimer and Walt certainly thought so. In their paper, they quoted a 1997 article in Fortune magazine, which asked members of Congress to name the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind only the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association (NRA). The authors were quick to point out, however, that there was nothing inherently wrong about the way AIPAC operates. “For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise the Lobby are doing what other special interest groups do, just much better.”

How much better? Well, consider that in 2016, during a breakdown in relations between the Obama White House and Israel over the question of nuclear talks with Iran, AIPAC helped persuade the Republicans to let Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address a joint session of Congress – without the foreknowledge of then President Barack Obama. As a thought experiment, try and imagine the same privilege being extended to any other leader in the world. The reason it is difficult to imagine is because it’s never been done before precisely because it’s unconstitutional.

“Democrats accuse Boehner of ambushing the president as the Republicans push – with the backing of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington – to strengthen sanctions against Iran,” as the Guardian reported.

Another example came with the push for war against Iraq following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 against the United States. An article in the Forward admitted that as “President Bush attempted to sell the … war in Iraq, America’s most important Jewish organizations rallied as one to his defense.” As Mearsheimer and Walt pointed out, this lobbying influence on behalf of war did not flush with the opinion of the US Jewish population.

“Samuel Freedman reported just after the war started that a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52% to 62%. Thus it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on “Jewish influence,” the academics argued.

Indeed, as Paul Waldman argued in The Washington Post, in the United States today, “a ‘supporter of Israel’ is much more likely to be an evangelical Christian Republican than a Jew.”

Whatever the case may be, the essence of the question remains the same: Does AIPAC, as well as many other lobbying groups, wield too much power in the US political system? The question cannot be casually brushed aside as ‘anti-Semitic,’ any more than questioning the power of Big Pharma, for example, could be dismissed as ‘anti-Doctor,’ or the power of the NRA as ‘anti-Cowboy.’ It makes no sense, and unfairly accuses people who are asking legitimate questions of the most loathsome charges.

With the face of the American political system changing along ethnic and religious lines, it is critical that such issues with regards to political influence get a fair hearing.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Why are Palestinian voices often marginalized?

Why are Palestinian voices often marginalized?

MSNBC discussion of Ilhan Omar

MSNBC’s coverage of the controversy over Ilhan Omar and Israel has not included Palestinian perspectives

Progressive activists in North America have been inundated for weeks now with analysis and commentary about what happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. The cracks that opened up in the seemingly impenetrable wall of the pro-Israel lobby are indeed a good thing; now, the opportunity should be taken to highlight why Zionism constitutes a supremacist ideology. But one voice that consistently seems to be missing from most of this debate is the voice of Zionism’s primary victims, the Palestinians. Once again, the Palestinian narrative is marginalized and not considered pivotal to the “issues of the day”. Now is the time to challenge one of the basic thrusts of the Zionist lobby, which has always been to block out Palestinian voices and accordingly nullify their humanity.

In an article in Mondoweiss on February 19, 2019, cofounder Philip Weiss wrote: “The Jewish divide is the reason there is a debate. People defer to Jews on this issue…Now we are giving them permission to wonder.” And he is correct that the divide in the American Jewish community has been a propelling force to push this issue forward at this particular time, but let us consider the implications of what that means. “Now we are giving them permission to wonder” – not the Palestinians, not the hundreds of deaths on the Gaza border, not the horrific siege on Gaza, not the millions of refugees. Not even the two very young Palestinian children that died just last week in a blaze in alKhalil/Hebron as Israeli authorities blocked the fire trucks from reaching them.  Those things may have helped deepen the divide Weiss talked about, but only because of the steadfastness of the Palestinians and the horrible price they have had to pay.

The Palestinians are still relegated to bit players in their own tragedy, at least in North America, and that has to change. “People defer to Jews on this issue…” – again true, and any Palestinian activist can confirm that for you. How many times has an analysis from a Palestinian been ignored only to be embraced when espoused by a progressive Jewish ally? Not because the second presentation was more articulate or more carefully documented, but simply because of whose voice it was. Not only must this change but progressive Jews must understand and accept the responsibility they now carry for ensuring that the parameters of this debate are expanded and correctly assessed. If indeed their voice is more privileged and more listened to, then that includes a duty to change the boundaries and not allow the old Zionist narratives to prevail. There is no genuine debate without Palestinian voices and without challenging the whole premise of the roots and trajectory of Zionism.

This is not to say that there haven’t been extremely positive developments, like the statement a few months ago by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in the U.S. that “unequivocally opposed Zionism”.

Or Gideon Levy’s article in the Israeli paper Haaretz on Feb. 10, 2019, stating that “Its Leftism or Zionism…you can’t have both”.

“Liberal Zionists” or “left Zionists” are often described as those who support the basics of Zionism i.e. a national homeland for Jews in a Jewish-majority state, but claim that the Zionist project went awry in either 1948 during the Nakba or (more often) in 1976, during the further occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories.

The flaw with this school of thought has to do with ascribing noble motives to the origins of the Zionist movement, most notably that it was a reaction to anti-Semitism at the time. However, even if that were true, the solution cannot lie in taking another peoples’ land to impose your own state in which you will have to ensure a Jewish majority. How did anyone think this was going to be achieved?

Zionism was coined on the model of the European settler colonialist movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and shared the same basis of racism, supremacy and disregard for the indigenous peoples. Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, wrote in his book The Jewish State in 1896: “We should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” And the Zionist leadership of the day were more than willing to search for support from the most notorious and racist governments, be they Russian, British or otherwise. This tradition continues today as Israel and the Zionist lobby openly collaborate with extreme anti-Semites and racists as long as they are pro-Israel.

We can only move forward if Zionism is recognized as the settler colonialist movement that it is, and always was, from its inception. This heightened discussion about criticizing Israeli policy offers a historic chance to start redefining how this debate unfolds. However, the roadmap to any future of a just peace should include several key points. It must be acknowledged that the Palestinian narrative and voice is often marginalized, even by those who are supportive of their struggle. It is also imperative that Zionism is clearly called out as a form of racism, a racism that has done irreparable harm to the Palestinians for decades and is as insidious and dangerous as any other form of racism. And lastly, there is no possibility to reconcile the ideology of Zionism with principles of equality and justice; all efforts to do that will simply prolong the pain and suffering of the Palestinians, a people that have sacrificed enough on the altar of Western imperial greed and hegemony.

About Marion Kawas

Marion Kawas is a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, a member of BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish and cohost of Voice of Palestine.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: The Shameful Attack that Backfired

Global Research, March 13, 2019

What happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was troubling. On the one hand, because she dared to challenge the way supporters of Israel have worked to silence debate on US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she became a victim of incitement, and the target of legislation meant to shame her. At the same time, however, the heavy-handed tactics employed against her by some pro-Israel members of Congress backfired, exposing new fault lines in the US-Israel relationship.

The weapon of choice utilized by Omar’s opponents was to demonize her as an anti-Semite. Her “sin,” it appears, was her continued umbrage over the double-standard that exists in American policy toward Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

During Israel’s assault on Gaza, for example, she criticized the failure of the US media to pierce through Israeli propaganda and see what was actually happening to Palestinians in that impoverished strip of land. Once in Congress, she was deemed to have “sinned” again when she challenged the power of AIPAC to intimidate politicians and silence debate on Israel/Palestine.

New to Washington and the “acceptable language” one should use to discuss these issues, she admitted that her word choices had been unfortunate and apologized for the pain she may have caused.

Despite her apology, she remained a target. Because she is a hijab-wearing Muslim, who was critical of Israel, the GOP sought to exploit her in their continuing effort to drive a wedge between the Jewish community and Democrats. For their part, some Democrats reacted with hyperventilated outrage. Extreme language was used to denounce Omar. Her words were described as “bigoted,” “vile,” and, of course, “anti-Semitic slurs.”

Never, in all this time, was there a critical examination of what she actually said. In fact, she never accused the Jewish community of controlling the media (unless one assumes that Israel’s ability to dominate media coverage of events occurring in the occupation can be attributed to the Jewish community). Nor did she accuse the Jewish community of using money to buy influence in Washington (unless one suggests that AIPAC speaks for and acts on behalf of the entire Jewish community). It didn’t matter, her opponents continued to call her an “anti-Semite,” and did so with such frequency that the term stuck, putting her at risk to threats of violence from bigots.

The entire affair came to a head when, at a town hall last week, Omar attempted to explain herself. Asked to address the controversy that had erupted over her advocacy of Palestinian rights, Omar’s colleague, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, spoke first noting that to her the question of Palestine is personal – her grandmother still lives in the West Bank and Congresswoman Tlaib desires that she receive equal justice and recognition of her rights to live in dignity. Reacting to what she had just heard, Omar said that she couldn’t agree with those who fight for human rights and dignity for others and yet exclude Palestinian rights and dignity. For her part, she said, the focus should be universal – leaving no one out. She then chided those in Congress who have pressed her to reject her commitment to call out Israeli abuses and ignore Palestinians rights. Because she is a Muslim, Omar said, her criticism of Israel has been automatically seen as anti-Semitic in order to silence her. Even more troubling she noted was that, as a result of the manufactured controversy over her words, the discussion became whether or not she was an anti-Semite, while ignoring “the broader debate about what is happening in Palestine.”

At that point, Omar said that she resented those who are pushing her to demonstrate allegiance to Israel. She concluded by saying that she wanted to have this conversation about “the political influence in this country that says it’s okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

The reaction to this newest “sin” was near hysteria. Without ever listening to what she actually said, some members of Congress accused her of saying that the Jews had dual-loyalty – despite the fact that she had said no such thing. They demanded that Omar be censured or removed from her committee posts. And the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee proposed a resolution that would have denounced anti-Semitism in a way that was clearly directed at the congresswoman.

What was disturbing about this proposed resolution was that none of “Whereas” clauses included had anything to do with what Omar actually said. She never accused Jews of “dual loyalty because they support Israel”; nor did she display “prejudicial attitudes” towards Jews; nor did she ever make “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews”.

What she did do was: challenge official American, and in particular, Congressional silence on the suffering of the Palestinians; the efforts by pro-Israel groups to silence debate on this issue; and the way that some have sought to create a virtual identity being pro-Israel and American interests.

Despite the obvious falseness of their claims, Omar’s opponents in Congress plowed ahead with their proposed bill in order “to teach her a lesson.” In their remarks rebuking Omar, they unwittingly made her point. One congressman said, “Questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.” Another said, “there are many reasons to support Israel, but there is no reason to oppose Israel.” While still another said that Democrats and Republicans, alike, are committed to insuring that the “United States and Israel stand as one.”

It is exactly this attitude to which Omar objected when she wrote,

“I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel…I know what it means to be an American and no one will ever tell me otherwise…I have not said anything about the loyalty of others, but spoke about the loyalty expected of me.”

Because Omar has touched what some have come to say is “the third rail of American politics” she was being exploited by some Republicans and hung out to dry by some Democrats. They put a target on her back. And haters were quick to respond with frightening death threats and shameful bigoted assaults on her as a Muslim woman. There is no question that these threats against Omar were the byproduct of the sustained campaign of incitement.

It’s important to note, however, that outside of the halls of Congress a different reality was unfolding. The attacks on Congresswoman Omar were rejected by many Democrats, including progressive Jewish groups, and a debate was sparked by the issues she raised and the over-reaction to them by Congress.

By week’s end, the entire effort appeared to backfire. Instead of being the “slam dunk” they expected, the proposed resolution ran into blocks. Some members objected to singling out of anti-Semitism, without also denouncing racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc. Others protested that Omar was being singled out and put at risk.  And a few of the more prominent Democratic presidential hopefuls (Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris) insisted that charges of anti-Semitism should not be used to silence debate on Israeli policy.

By week’s end, Congress passed a resolution denouncing all forms of hate or intolerance against any religious, ethnic, or religious community. Since it made no mention of Ilhan, it was clearly a loss for those who began the push to shame or punish her

Two final points must be made:

Firstly, Representative Omar is owed an apology. False charges and a manufactured crisis have sullied her name and put her at risk.

And secondly, it is clear that Omar’s courage has helped to open a door enabling a discussion of Israeli policy and the US-Israel relationship. While her opponents attempted to slam it shut, it seems that their behavior and incitement against her backfired stirring a debate that has helped to pry the door even further open.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from MPR News

Talking About Israel

By Philip Giraldi
Source

Ilahn Omar Carlos Latuff c6e3e

recent article by Andrew Sullivan in the New York magazine considers how one might discuss the issue of Israel and its powerful domestic lobby without being accused of anti-Semitism. Sullivan is a keen observer of the dynamics of American political power and the article pretty clearly lays out why the relationship with Israel is poison for the United States, but he cautions that words matter and one has to be careful about the packaging surrounding any critique of the Israel Lobby and its American Jewish supporters.

Sullivan begins with:

“Let’s get this out of the way first: Using the phrases ‘all about the Benjamins’ and ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ when referring to the Israel lobby in D.C., as freshman Democratic representative Ilhan Omar recently did, is anti-Semitic. It should be possible to criticize Washington’s relationship with Israel without deploying crude and freighted language like this.”

And that is precisely where some critics of the Israel-America relationship might have a problem with observers like Sullivan as what for him passes as “crude and freighted” is for others frankness. Okay, “all about the Benjamins” is slang and the implication is that Jewish money is what has corrupted American politics and the media to stifle any honest discussion on Israel-Palestine and to skew U.S. government activity in the Middle East so that it favors what Israel perceives to be its own interests. This process operates right out in the open with Israel-firster Jewish billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban respectively serving as principal donors for the Republican and Democratic parties.

Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson b6f0f

This flood of Jewish money into foreign policy generation has done incalculable damage to the actual interests of the United States as Sullivan, to his credit, makes clear in his article. The point is that politics in America is all about money and Ilhan Omar was quite right to make that connection. Most congress-critters do not love Israel because they honestly like the hordes of lobbyists that it is able to send their way. In fact, many of them privately complain about the pressure, but they do love the campaign donations and the lucrative sinecure jobs in the financial services industry that come with their retirements. And they also know that if they cross Israeli interests while in office they will soon be unemployed.

And as for the “allegiance to a foreign country,” how else does one describe doing everything possible to favor a foreign state at the expense of the nation where one lives? Sullivan himself provides ample evidence in his article that the one-way relationship with Israel inflicts major damage on the United States and that the enabling of that process comes from a disciplined and well-funded lobbying effort that operates at all levels of government and also through the media. Is that not allegiance to a foreign country?

After expressing the “thou shalt nots” regarding Israel, Andrew Sullivan pulls no punches in his article, which should be read in extenso. He writes “The basic facts are not really in dispute. A very powerful lobby deploys the money and passions of its members to ensure that a foreign country gets very, very special treatment from the U.S.” and then goes on to detail exactly how Israel is a major liability to America. He discusses the $3.8 billion it receives annually in spite of the fact that is a wealthy country, its failure to support U.S. foreign policy objectives, its unwillingness to curtail a brutal occupation of the West Bank, its humiliation of President Obama because he entered into an agreement with Iran, and its nearly complete subjugation of Congress, congressional leaders and the White House.

Sullivan fails to mention how Israel also spies on the United States, steals U.S. developed technology and benefits hugely from beneficial trade agreements that kill American jobs. And there are also the “suspected but not proven” issues like Israel’s role in 9/11, its apparent manipulation of Jewish American officials in the Pentagon to start the disastrous 2003 war with Iraq, and its current clandestine agitation for Washington to attack Iran. Jewish billionaires also are the prime sources of “charitable” contributions that feed the illegal settlement outposts on the West Bank populated largely by fundamentalist Jews whose prime mission is to make the lives of their Palestinian neighbors so miserable that they will emigrate. That is sometimes referred to as ethnic cleansing. Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and David Friedman, the key components of the Trump Administration Middle East “peace” team, are all passionate about Israel and have all supported the illegal settlements. Friedman, in particular, has sought to eliminate the word “occupation” from official U.S. government descriptions of the Israeli activity in Palestinian areas.

Andrew Sullivan 1c6fc

And then there is the Israeli predilection to use unarmed Palestinian demonstrators for target practice and to bomb schools and vital infrastructure in Gaza, which once upon a time most Americans would have considered war crimes or crimes against humanity. Sullivan does mention how Congress is willing to pass legislation to restrict freedom of speech if such speech involves criticism of Israel, noting that the very first bill to come up in the Senate after the recent shutdown was supporting the punishment of those who advocate nonviolent boycotting of Israel. He might have added how Israel’s friends at state and local levels are pushing to rewrite world history texts to eliminate any references to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. And holocaust study is becoming mandatory in many U.S. school systems without any suggestion that the standard narrative might be in large part bogus. And then there are the holocaust museums springing up like mushrooms at the taxpayers’ expense. Is it all driven by money and enabled by the power that money buys to propagandize for Israel? And is it maybe just a bit of allegiance to a foreign country? Yes indeed, thank you, Ilhan Omar, for saying so.

All of this warm and fuzzy feeling about Israel did not happen by magic. By one estimate there are 600 Christian and Jewish organizations in the United States that have at least part of their agendas the promotion of the relationship with Israel. Christian Zionists are formidable in numbers but the money, as well as the political and media access that drive the so-called Israel Lobby process, is Jewish. The directors and presidents of those organizations meet regularly and discuss what they can do to help Israel. How does one describe such collusion? Some might prefer to call it a conspiracy.

So how should one view the dystopic nature of the relationship with Israel? No one has ever described it better than America’s first president George Washington. In his Farewell Address he wrote:

“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest…So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”

Andrew Sullivan concludes with some optimism and also a warning, which should be heeded: “Can our current controversy lead to a less inhibited debate? I sure hope so. Will that actually happen? All I can say is that AIPAC will wield all the power it can muster to prevent it.” It is, to be sure, AIPAC versus all decent Americans and one has to hope that this time the voice of the people will be heard in defense of the actual interests of the United States of America rather than those of Israel.

More Power to You Miss Omar

More Power to You Miss Omar

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 10.03.2019

More Power to You Miss Omar

Eric S. MARGOLIS

“Tell me who you cannot criticize and I will tell you who is your master”. (Attributed to Voltaire).

Saying anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow. Any questioning of its behavior brings furious charges of anti-Semitism and professional oblivion.

I keep in my bookcase a cautionary book, ‘They Dared Speak Out’ written by US senators and congressmen who all lost their positions after rebuking Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians or daring to suggest that Israel had far too much influence in the US.

Journalists learn this first commandment very early. Criticize, or even question, Israel at your own peril. Until recently, we journalists were not even allowed to write there was an ‘Israel lobby.’ It was widely considered Washington’s most powerful lobby group but, until lately, mentioning its name was seriously verboten.

Now, young Democratic stars Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a feisty congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, have suddenly broken the taboo and said what dared not be said: there is too much rightwing Israeli influence and there must be justice for Palestine.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to the defense of Ilhan Omar against the usual charges that she is anti-Semitic. So have black groups and smaller liberal Jewish groups. The Democratic Party, that once received half its financial support from Jewish sources, . Its old guard is retreating and does not know what to do beyond issuing fiery denunciations of the heretical Miss Omar. The Democrat Party split comes just at a time when it is trying to bring down President Donald Trump.

Many people seem unaware that Islam is now America’s third largest religion and may soon surpass the number of Jews. In Canada, Muslims are already the second religion.

Ilhan is not anti-Semitic. I grew up in New York and New England where vicious anti-Semitism abounded. I know real anti-Semitism when I see it. But she is quite right in charging that vast amounts of pro-Israel money have bought Congress and the media.

Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel casino tycoon, has given well over $100 million to the Republican Party and its leaders. This money comes from legal gambling, a sickness that preys on addicts and the unfortunate.

In the 1700’s, Dr. Samuel Johnson well defined lotteries and gambling as ‘a tax on fools.’ Such is the source of Adelson’s billions and his influence over the US political process. He is also the primary financier of Israel’s prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who now faces serious charges of corruption.

Interestingly, Britain faces a similar political storm. Its left-leaning Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has called for justice for the Palestinians and a viable state for them. Britain’s pro-Israel groups and media have launched furious counterattacks on Corbyn and his allies, barraging them with false accusations of being anti-Semitic. This is utter nonsense. To find real anti-Semitism in Britain you need look into the recesses of the Conservative Party. I’ve seen its ugly face.

Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinians has sparked bitter anti-Israel sentiments across Europe. Not so much in America, where media leans far over to Israel’s side and evangelical Christians have been bamboozled into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow necessary for the Second Coming.

But young Americans, and even more so Europeans, are increasingly hearing the call of justice for Palestine. They want no truck with Israel’s right-wingers, whom many leftist Israelis, including the late great writer, Uri Avnery, brand ‘fascists.’

The prescient and courageous Pat Buchanan said it years ago: the US Congress was ‘Israeli occupied territory.’ His political career was ruined.

So was my mother’s career. She was one of the first American female journalists to cover the Mideast in the early 1950’s. After extensively reporting the unknown fact that there were nearly one million Palestinian refugees driven from the new state of Israel, she was silenced by advertisers pulling ads from the papers she wrote for and, finally, threats to throw acid in my face. Her career was ruined.

So I say to Miss Omar and the other brave ladies, full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. Do what is good for the world and your country. Break the hold of big money over our republic.

ericmargolis.com

%d bloggers like this: