Blankfort takes on Chomsky

Jeffrey Blankfort, relentless critic of the Israel lobby and what he sees as the failure of the left to properly engage the question, has written a long-awaited critique of Noam Chomsky’s views. Blankfort writes:

The 2005 edition of Left Curve has been published and most of it is now available online including my latest article: “Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict.” I am aware that its contents will be controversial but I hope it will stimulate further critical analysis of Chomsky’s writings and statements on that issue, an analysis that, given his status among progressive thinkers and activists, is long overdue.

  1. Blank vs. Chom: you decide
    You know, The Chom is held in such demigod-like reverence by the leftoid legions, that I would enjoy seeing him deflated a little–if it were by anyone other than Blankfort, who seeks to exculpate US imperialism of its crimes by scapegoating the Jews (oldest trick in the book), and is manifestly incapable of arguing honestly. For those masochists who waded through this self-righteous if ill-conceived exercise, I offer some responses:

    The Blank begins by assailing The Chom for opposing sanctions against Israel. Chom says blaming Israel lets its imperial underwriters off the hook. Drawing an anaology to Poland’s crushing of the Solidarity movement in the early ’80s, he states: “It’s like putting sanctions on Poland under the Russians because of what the Poles are doing. It doesn’t make sense. Here, we’re the Russians.” Responds The Blank:

    What role the Soviet Union had in that has been debated, but it should be obvious that there is no serious basis for such a comparison.

    Oh? Why is it “obvious”? So much easier to just say it is “obvious” and move on than to actually make an argument. It seems to me a few paragraphs back Blank was blasting Chom for using the word “obvious” in this disingenuous manner. They seem to be birds of a feather.

    In retrospect, however, it was no surprise. In the Eighties, Chomsky placed Israel’s relationship to the US in the same category as that of El Salvador when the Reagan administration was backing its puppet government against the FMLN. Not embarrassed at having spouted such nonsense, he still repeats it.

    Does Blanky care to explain to us unenlightened souls WHY it is “nonsense”? It does not appear so nonsensical to me. No analogies are ever perfect, but both situations fall into the same broad “category” of a US client state doing dirty work with US taxdollars.

    The Blank actually claims (on no evidence) that a Chomsky statement accusing Labor and Peres as well as Sharon of being “war criminals” was “comforting to the eyes and ears of Israel’s supporters in ‘the left.'” Huh?

    More from The Blank:

    If we follow Chomsky’s “logic,” it would be an injustice to bring charges of war crimes against Indonesian, El Salvadoran [sic], Guatemalan, Haitian, or Filipino officers, soldiers, or public officials for the atrocities committed against their own countrymen and women since they were funded, armed and politically supported by the US. Perhaps, General Pinochet will claim the Chomsky Defense if he goes to trial.

    I thought The Chom was just quoted calling both Peres and Sharon “war criminals” a few paragraphs back. Huh?

    The Blank calls for “Exposing and challenging the pro-Israel lobby’s stranglehold on Congress and its control over US Middle East policies which is accepted as a fact of life by political observers in Washington and elsewhere, but not by Chomsky.”

    Which “political observers” exactly? The Liberty Lobby? Is even Blanky-boy arguing that those wily Jews “control” US Middle East policy? We are in Iraq ONLY because of the Israel lobby? That’s what the word “control” implies. It denies that ANY other influences or considerations are at play.

    In an attempt to deflate the “Strategic Asset” theory, The Blank quotes a former Senate staffer: “The strategic service that Israel is said to perform for the United States–acting as a barrier to Soviet penetration of the Middle East–is one that is needed primarily because of the existence of Israel, but for which the Arabs would be much less amenable to Soviet influence…”

    Yeah. So? If it weren’t for Washington propping up dictatorships in Central America, the Soviets never would’ve got their foothold in Nicaragua in the ’80s either. Does this mean the Somozas were secretly “controlling” US foreign policy? And I thought The Chom was talking about “indigenous” threats to US interests in the Middle East (a word he used in a quoted passage from his book The Fateful Triangle). Washington was just as afraid of radical Arab nationalists seizing the oil as of the Soviets gaining a foothold. Jeez, the US finally went to war with Iraq only AFTER the Soviets had virtually disappeared as a world power in ’91, and only invaded Iraq after the Soviets had disappeared completely.

    The Blank assails The Chom for quoting (again in Fateful Triangle) longtime Washington Senator Scoop Jackson saying Israel’s task was to “inhibit and contain those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab states…” The Chom’s crime is apparently failing to let the readers know of Jackson’s “hawkish pro-Israel background.” Does The Blank really think we don’t know Scoop Jackson was an ultra-hawk? This only LOANS credibility to his statement on how the Beltway hawks view Israel as a strategic asset!

    The Blank:

    “To which we may add,” Chomsky wrote in the preface to the new edition of Fateful Triangle, “performing dirty work that the US is unable to undertake itself because of popular opposition or other costs.” Chomsky is still writing as if it were the Seventies or Eighties; there apparently is no limits [sic] to the “dirty work” the US will do for itself these days.

    The Iraq atrocities notwithstanding, the US is still playing “good cop” with the domesticated Arab regimes (which is now all of them). The Israelis, with their nuclear arsenal, are still needed as the Bad Cop waiting in the wings.

    The Blank favorably quotes Harold Brown: “The Israelis would say, ‘Let us help you,’ and then you end up being their tool.”

    Too perfect! The former Secretary of State–of the Carter administration, no less, which had been humiliated and destroyed by blunders in the Middle East–scapegoats the all-powerful Jews for unpopular US policies, thereby revealing with stark clarity how Israel is indeed a “strategic asset” for propagandistic as well as political/military purposes. And Blankfort applauds! Not because this poor player has shown his hand, but because Blankfort buys the propaganda! Pathetic!

    You know, I’ve only made it around halfway through this disingenuous diatribe, but that seems quite enough, for now at least. I imagine I will be drawn into an interminable pissing match with The Blank when he replies here accusing me of being pro-Israel (just like The Chom, who calls Simon Peres a “war criminal” and is passionately hated by real Zionists)…

    1. Blank vs Chom and Whiner

      This is even more pathetic on your part than I would have expected and with few exceptions it could have been penned by David Horowitz. That you didn’t finish it and yet decided to write a critique says more about you than it does about the article. I know you have not forgiven me for only being saddened after attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers and not being as outraged as I am by atrocities committed by the Israeli army against Palestinians.

      I suppose, with your accusation that I am “scapegoating” Jews, you are intimating that I am a self-hater or beyond the pale, an anti-semite. It is your Jewish chauvinism in the face of reality that I find appalling, that when pushed against the wall of your belief system you seem even more willing to protect Israel than Chomsky. I also know you are bright enough to see why comparing Israel’s relationship to the US with that of Poland to the old USSR is absurd without taking up the space listing the reasons. That you don’t or pretend you don’t see it is a symptom of a much deeper problem for which I suggest you get some help.

      1. Maybe some Thorazine will stop my whining
        Actually, I really do fail to see why the Poland analogy is “absurd,” but I guess it is easier to just dole out condescension than to explain. On the subject of Poland, it was the fave tactic of the Soviet commissars to assign a psychological pathology to political dissidents, as Blankfort seems to in his last line. So maybe he buys the Moscow line circa 1981 that Solidarity were a bunch of CIA pawns who deserved no better than martial law. Is that it?

        Finally, I suggest we call in David Horowitz to see if he really agrees with my analysis that Israel is a criminal surrogate state for U.S. imperialism and that Jews are playing dupes for Goy Power by supporting it. Anyone have his e-mail address?

        1. Blankfort, Chomsky, Weinberg
          Although Chomsky’s position on Israel is far more critical, despite its flaws, than Blankfort asserts, as Blankfort has pointed out Bill Weinberg indeed seems to be attempting to mitigate the moral culpability of Israel and the American Jewish establishment by claiming Jews are “scapegoats” for WASP power. As a Jew I find this effort to maintain the post-war narrative of Jewish innocence offensive–it diminshes the moral agency of Jews and places them in a special category where they can permanently escape the burden of freedom and moral responsibility.The Zionists should not be exculpated for their acts of dispossessing the Palestinians of their homes in 1948 and subjecting them to unrelenting State terrorism since 1967. The Zionists are responsible for the original dispossession just as European/ Americans were responsible for the dispossession and extirmination of American Indians. It’s called colonial-settler imperialism. At any rate in both 1948 and 1967 it was the Zionists who were the war criminals, not the US. The latter were at most accessories.
          Chomsky descrition of Israel as a “client state” is as Blankfort points out misleading. The US is certainly an “enabler” but as far as the Palestinians go, the US is not the primary perp. Chomsky’s terminology lacks the kind of clarity one would expect of him–although Blankfort’s critique is selective and subjective in his presentation of evidence, thus unfairly claiming Israel bears no moral responsibility.

          One of Jeff’s strongest points is his analysis of Chomsky’s position on divestment, which is by any anti-imperialist standard virtually incoherent. Chomsky claims there should be no divestment unless the Israelis want it! Which of course is like claiming there should have been no divestment in South Africa unless the white settler-colonialists asked for it. Chomsky talks about the necessity of pressuring Israel to go along with the international consensus. But how? And even if the US WERE to attempt to influence Israel–inconceivable at present, how could this be achieved w/o sanctions of the kind endorsed by Presbyterian Church. Chomsky’s refusal to go along with this strategy is a major cop-out, and does lead one to suspect that he is so emotionally conflicted over Israel that he is fails to articulate a coherent strategy.

          Finally Blankfort is on solid ground when he shows that the US government has frequently taken positions AGAINST its own interests because of the extrardinary power of the Jewish Lobby in the US. His analysis of Bush 1 conflict with the Lobby is astute and enlightening. However his analysis of Bush 2 is unconvincing. Dubya hardly needs to have his arm twisted. And one member of his Administration said not long ago: “We are all Likudniks now.” Jeff fails to recognize that Bush is the first neo-con President.

          Chomsky is conflicted but Weinberg is unequivocal– attempts to exculpate Zionists and the Jewish Establishment!! This places Jews in the positions of victims yet again–the perrennial pose for many Jews, it provides alibis for their crimes, and it undermines the responsibility Jews in groups like JATO feel to expose the Jewish establishment and hold it responsible for its crimes against the Palestinians. It does no no good to say: “it’s not the fault of the Jews. It’s all those vicious WASPs who are responsible for the oppression of the Palestinians. Jews are the victims again.” No, Jews are the oppressors this time. And the Palestinians are “the Jews of the Jews.” This is why it is so important that Jewish groups like JATO oppose the actions of Constantinian Judaism, and stand up for the victims of Jewish power.

          1. “settler-colonialism” vs. hallucination
            Same old same old. Such predictable responses always leave me wondering whether you folks are arguing disingenuously or really don’t get it.

            I said not a word to “exculpate” Zionism of any of its real crimes–certainly not the ethnic cleansing of ’48, which took place decades before Israel became a U.S. client state.

            What makes you think you have the right to lecture me about “settler-colonialism”? Has Seth seen the rigorous reportage on this website of land-theft from Palestinian farming villages by the Apartheid Wall? I am not seeking to “exculpate” Zionism of “settler-colonialism”, but of “controlling” (TM Blankfort) Washington.

            It is my adversaries who are seeking to “exculpate” imperialism. The notion that Washington acts against its own imperial interests because of the “extrardinary power of the Jewish Lobby” is bunk. Acknowledging that says absolutely nothing about the oppressive nature of Zionism, or the justice of the Palestinian cause. Get it yet?

            Contrary to Seth’s arbitrary assumption, Chomsky goes further than I would in the “strategic asset” thesis: I support calls for an economic boycott of Israel, for instance. Chomsky’s stance is by no means above challenge. But he is far closer to the mark than Blankfort.

            I never said a word about “WASPs.”

            I wholeheartedly support JATO, and have promoted their work on both this website and my radio show.


            1. Blankfort, the Lobby and Jewish Innocence
              ON Blankfort and the Lobby

              BTW I left out a few words in last post.. Thus I meant to state that Jeff was selective in his presentation of evidence thereby unfairly claiming that Chomsky does not hold Israel morally accountable. Chomsky’s statements as Bill points out hardly constitute an exculpation of Israel.But they sometimes resemble the comments of those who seek to place the MORAL responsibility for Israel’s actions primarily upon the US.

              I did not read the piece Bill wrote on the Wall. However his position here is jumbled. OK I was careless. Bill did not use the term “WASPs.” Rather it was “Goy power” he invoked. He said that the Zionists are allowing themselves to become “dupes for GOY power.” I fail to see the difference. He repeatedly talks about “scapegoating the Jews.” By which he seems to mean blaming Sharon and Wolfowitz and AIPAC for the direction of the US Mideast policy. Are they THE Jews? This is the same kind of tactic the Zionists use:Anyone who attacks THEM is really anti-Semitic, i.e. anti-Jewish–or a self-hating Jew. One gets again the impression that the analysis of many leftist Jews is influenced by a message powerfully imprinted on all Jews’ brains at a tender young age: Jews are innocent. Eternally innocent. In Bill’s case and that of other critics of Israel this premise has been transformed in the face of Israeli ethnocide (I won’t use the term genocide in order to avoid emotional complications ) to: “Israel is MORE innocent.” That is:More innocent than the goyim who control the US. Thus Israel–and its Lobby– must be construed at worst as a passive pawn in the hands of US imperialism. Its culpability lies only in acquiescing to the demands of US imperialism. If you construe the relationship in a more dialectical manner then you are ipso facto,Bill implies, a self-hating Jew or a Jew hater. Thus Bill writes:”Will the Israeli leadership ever realize that playing attack dog for US imperialism is utterly counter-productive to the longterm survival and security of their own state?” But it is the expansion of the State that is the goal of Israeli leadership. The goal of a corporate capitalist state should never be confused with the “longterm” security of its citizens. Uri Avnery knows that.His analysis of current developments is similar to Jeff’s in some ways. It was obvious back in the 50s when Ben-Gurion was already plotting to covertly install a “friendly” regime in Lebanon. (See Israel’s Sacred Terrorism by Lydia Rokeach.) Bill writes as if the problem is mere ignorance or naivete ( a form of innocence) of the Israeli leadership. Sharon and Peres are no more naive than Bush or Clinton. Once again the psychological imperative to assert Israel is more innocent obscures the manipulative role Israel has played since the Balfour Declaration in obtaining imperial support for its dispossession of the Palestinians– this is not peculiar to Weinberg. As Blankfort has shown itr is common on the left. It is axiomatic for Tikkun. Yet the ethocide of the Palestinians cannot be laid at the feet of the US. They are accessories–not the primary perp. Of course Bill admits as such re 1948–since the US was not Israel’s patron back then but his lack of an historical analysis is salient. For example throughout the 20s and 30s the Zionists were plotting to establish a Jewish state. When Ben-Gurion accepted a lesser offer from the British he responded to his critics: “Don’t pay any attention to what the goyim [or the Jews]say. Pay attention to what the Jews do.” This pattern repeats itself again and again.

              Of course the US would NOT be supporting Israel if it was calling for a socialist revolution. There has to be some sense of a harmony of interests. I think Jeff plays that down–Israel’s allure as the antagonist of Arab nationalism decades ago. However WHAT is in the interests of US capitalism? Was invading Iraq? Highly dubious, considering Eagleberger, Scowcroft and a bunch of Generals opposed the war at first. The Likudniks in the Bush Cabinet (many former advisers to the Likud Party in Israel) and Sharon sold it to an eager Dubya as in the interests of the US–despite its obvious disadvantages. Clearly the Jewish lobby pulls both the Congress and now the Executive to the right. Here I disagree with Jeff. I don’t think Bush- 2 ever had a serious conflict with Israel–he is the first neo-con President. The Likudniks have managed to pull the entire country to the Right. Even Kerry originally was inclined to criticize Bush’s Israel policy. He actually talked abvout sending Jimmy Carter to the Mideast to negotiate a treaty. The Jewish Lobby made it clear that such talk was unacceptable and Kerry started praising Sharon. This incident reinforces Jeff’s point about the influence of the Lobby. Congressman Moran was correct: Had the Jewish establishment opposed the war on Iraq, it would not have occurred. Thus even the definition of US national interest is influenced by the Lobby, which of course is now augmented by Christian Zionists. This is a wealthy highly organized lobby that has prevailed even when US Presidents were inclined to rein in Israel–as Blankfort shows in his analysis of Bush Pere..Weinberg’s insists that Israel MUST be construed as merely a tool of US imperialism–otherwise one is supporting anti-Semitism!. His analysis is based on a willful blindness to the enormous power that a group of right wing Jews have managed to assert over the direction of US policy. For the left to adopt a policy based on wishful thinking about Israeli innocence–an a priori position,not based on empirical data– in the name of combating anti-Semitism is ludicrous. Left wing Jews can defeat anti-Semitism not by insisting that poor naive Israel is a mere pawn of the US but by distinguishing being Jewish from being a Zionist.

              1. Just keeping moving the goal-post, guys
                Maybe the slow-minded won’t notice your logical prestidigitation.

                I never attempted to lay the primary blame for the dispossesion of the Palestinians at the feet of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. funds it, so it shares much of the blame; the Israelis are the direct perpetrators, and I never said otherwise. I said (for the umpteenth time) that Israel doesn’t “control” (TM Blankfort) U.S. foreign policy.

                The same game pseudo-left Jew-haters (or self-haters) always play nowadays: they insist their bizarre theories are “anti-Zionism” not “anti-Semitism”, and as proof they generously offer to absolve those Good Jews who express the proper degree of contrition for the (imaginary) crimes of the Bad Jews.

                Not buying it.

                1. It is not just the Israelis
                  There is also a second group who are direct perpetrators of violence and hatred to an insane degree that it boggles the mind. As a victim of this form of racial hatred, I have a right to identify it. The reality is that in the United States some of the worst proponents of racial hatred are members of American Major Jewish Organizations. If you want to see proof of that, just go to the next Salute to Israel Day Parade or watch any from a score of Hollywood Movies from Jewish Directors and Producers. Simply put, the racism of the MJO’s is extraordinary, for even the US, which is an extraordinarily racist country. And if you deny it, you at least have to come with me to the next SPME conference and see it for yourself.

                  This is the point that we are trying to get across, that there is no clear demarcation between Israel and its champions in the US, they are both direct perpetrators. And Israel doesnt “control” US foreign policy, but rather there are competing interests, some maybe capitally driven others may be ideological or combinations of both. But the net result is that these people are effective and they are violent, does that mean they have universal power, NO! Does that mean they can push things through that antogonizes other competeing interests, Yes! A great example is the burying of Israels Arms sales to China.

                  And as for Anti-Semitism, what is amazing is how Bill, you have failed to identify that Arabs are the modern day Jews. First, there is consensus among liberals (Michael Moore and his ilk) and the Neo-Conservatives that it is the wealthy Arab dictorships that control US policy. Implying that we should overthrow them and take their oil.
                  The Oil Sheik has replaced the European Banker, the Sauds have replaced the Rothschilds. Second, racism towards Arabs and Palestinians in particular is rampant throughout the Western World. In Europe they are seen as a “demographic problem” and in the US and Israel they are considered a “direct threat” to the existence/security of the state. This has created a problem where they have few places to go when the US and the Israelis are slaughtering their families, as has been the case for the last 30 years.

                2. “Self-hating Jews”–He said it.
                  Yes I know you said that Israel doesn’t control American foreign policy. But you reduced the debate to 2 choices: Israel controls or Israel does not control American policy, and have resisted any complexification of the situation. Further you are insisting on making acceptance of your position the litmus test of whether one is anti-Semitic– just like the Zionists, even the left Zionists like Lerner.

                  I was waiting for it: “You are self-hating Jews.” Bill thinks he can banish Jew-hatred (a weak force in THIS country) by
                  vilifying those who advance certain theories. Note how he also invokes the spectre of conspiracy theorists (“bizarre”) to further discredit us.

                  Israel AND the Israel Lobby has a powerful influence over US foreign policy. I argued that their influence lies partially in their ability to equate Israel’s interests with that of US imperial interests, through the ability of neo-con ideologists to use their intellectual skills to sell their interpretations as fact. There is nothing “bizarre” about that theory. It is impossible to assign a precise or predominating weight to Israel’s influence–thus to say Israel “controls” US policy might be misleading.(I don’t think Jeff even goes that far.) However Israel’s influence–exercised largely through the extremely well organized wealthy Lobby–is clearly decisive. There would have been no invasion of Iraq if not for the neo-cons. Even Thomas Friedman said that–in an interview. No invasion also if Iraq did not have oil. But the first assertion Bill evidently considers evidence of anti-Semitism or self-hate. The second is within the realm of pc leftism.Thus he buries his head in the sand, while hollering “conspiracy theorists,” “self-hating Jews” etc.

                  I am not a self-hating Jew. I honor the highest ideals of the Jewish culture/religion. But I’m not going to conceal the power that a cabal of right wing Jews, and a powerful Lobby, have managed to gain over the US government.(“Shhh, don’t say it in front of the goyim!!”) Nor will I or presumably other Jews like Blankfort be silent on this issue because David Horowitz or Michael Lerner or Allen Dershowitz or Bill Weinberg says this is Jew-hatred. (Noam Chomsky BTW to his credit never made such an allegation about Lobby theorists.)

                  1. Maybe its shortened from Michael Morenstein…
                    Seth: No, you’re not a duck. You just quack like one.

                    Zaid: You’ve gone so far overboard with the Jewish Conspiracy stuff that I am no longer sure it is worth arguing with you. But as a one-time (and perhaps current?) friend, I am much more insulted at how little attention you have been paying to what I publish in this newsletter than I am by your recent penchant for scatological put-downs. I have been making the point that “Arabs are the new Jews” over and over again for years. Funny–I get endless shit from the leftoid legions for calling out Michael Moore’s demonization of Arabs in Farenheit 9-11, but then I don’t even get credit for it! I have always argued that “classical” anti-Semitism and contemporary anti-Arab racism are genetically linked phenomena. The fallacy (shared by the Judeophobes and Arabophobes alike) is that just because one exists, the other doesn’t. On the contrary, the prominence of one should be seen as evidence that other isn’t far behind.

                    “American Major Jewish Organizations”? “Jewish Directors and Producers”? What’s with the upper case fetish, Zaid?

                    1. Conspiracy
                      First the upper case fetish is due to me not knowing how to write, between proper nouns and improper nouns.

                      Let me explain to you an amazing conspiracy, there was a group of European Jews that assembled in the late 19th century for the purpose of establishing a movement to colonize historic Palestine and displace the existing population. The movement is called Zionism and its purpose if to establish a state exclusively for the Jewish People. Zionism has followers throughout the world, and have a long track record of distorting history and disseminating virulent anri-Arab racism.

                      Now that you have reduced my own personal experience of continuously being treated like untermenchen by members of these organizations; which has included receiving death threats and being subjected to vitolic racist statements that are rare even in America, I can go tell you to unequivically go fellate yourself. Furthermore that you effective use the bludgeon of Anti-semitism to disregard my own experience under the tyranny of Jewish Fascists both here and in the Occypied Territories is doubly insulting. It is revealing that these accusations are made to effectively silence the Palestinian experience, in any serious anti-racist movement there would at least be some critique about the excercise of priveledge given the power relationships that exists among Jews and Palestinians. However in the case of the Palestinians and the politics of anti-Semitism none such exist and thus they are run roughshod over, by both the Jewish fascists on the right and the deniers of Jewish fascism on the left.

                      With regards to you writing about Arabs being the new Jews, I find it really difficult to believe that you can actually claim this while considering the fact that Zionist Institutions hold quite a lot of responsibility in creating this situation, specifically with regards to how Arabs are depicted in American cinema, is anti-Semitism.

                    2. If my yoga was better, I would fellate myself
                      “Silence” you? I thought I was giving you a forum. Pretty ironic to complain of me “silencing” you in a post on my website. I could hit that “delete” key anytime; I have resisted the temptation despite being told that I “stink like shit” and can “go fellate myself.” I’ll also note that I have (repeatedly) invited you onto my radio show. Funny way of “silencing” you.

                      How have I “reduced” your experiences? I have received death threats galore from Jew-haters, including charming messages on my answering machine saying I should choke on zyklon-B. I do not try to conflate you with these scum. You seem to have no such equivalent scruples.

                      Nor am I trying to exculpate Jewish organizations of stirring up anti-Arab hatred. Once again, Zaid: do you actually read this newsletter? Or are you just talking out your ass?

              2. Brilliant deconstruction by Seth
                Seth does a brilliant job deconstructing Weinberg — and Chomsky and Blankfort. I could read him for pages and pages. Well done.
                I’d like to see this opened out, into a article or essay.


                1. NY Times Editorial Blasts Likud Occupied US Congress
                  May 9, 2005
                  Another illustration of power of Israel Lobby

                  A No-Confidence Vote for Mr. Abbas

                  Published: May 9, 2005

                  A few months ago, President Bush announced that he would ask Congress
                  for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic and
                  security reforms. Following on his word, he did just that, in his
                  budget proposal to Congress.

                  But last week when the House approved $200 million of the aid, it
                  attached enough strings to strangle those good intentions. President
                  Bush had requested that the first $200 million go directly to the
                  Palestinian Authority, whose new president, Mahmoud Abbas, has been
                  struggling to rein in extremist factions. But in what one Palestinian
                  advocate correctly called a “vote of no confidence” in Mr. Abbas, the
                  House stipulated that no money could go to the Palestinian Authority.
                  It approved $150 million, to be channeled instead through American aid
                  agencies, nongovernmental organizations and philanthropic groups.

                  Adding insult to injury, the House then gave $50 million to Israel to
                  build terminals for people at checkpoints surrounding Palestinian
                  areas. House lawmakers directed an additional $2 million to Hadassah,
                  the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. So a quarter of Congress’s Palestinian aid disbursement so far is actually going to Israel.

                  The Senate should turn this around. If not, we sincerely hope that the
                  administration figures out a way to get some of the remaining $150
                  million in promised aid – to be sought in a separate budget bill later
                  this year – to actual Palestinians.

                  1. Clarity counts, thank you
                    Now let’s see, did the Times say “Occupied U.S. Congress” or “Another illustration of power of Israel Lobby”? No, that would appear to be your commentary. You should be clearer about these things if you are going to persist in posting here.

                    Anyway, I thought the Times was part of the Jewish Conspiracy… Didn’t someone around here just point out that they’re (gasp!) Jewish-owned? Pretty funny to be running to them for vindication.

                    1. anti-semitism
                      Is it anti-Semitic of Seth to call it a “likud occupied US Congress?” even after that editorial?

                    2. Yes.
                      “Occupied”? You have utterly got to be kidding me.

                      I might as well stop wasting my breath. You people are simply never going to get it.

                    3. Compassion for the factually challenged
                      And if I wasn’t compassionate to a factually challenged fellow human being, I would suggest that you practice holding your breath at increasingly longer intervals. I don’t agree that Congress is Likud Occupied Territory, that’s far too narrow a description. It’s Israeli Occupied Territory and if you would care to debate your position on issue vs. mine (by phone) on your radio program, your home turf, I would be very happy to oblige. Maybe you have more cajones than Chomsky, Beinin, Bennis and Zunes, all of whom who have either refused me or in Zunes’s case, run and hid, but I doubt it.

                    4. That’s “cojones,” Señor Spelling-Challenged
                      No thanks. Its not a deficit of cojones, but a surfeit of principles. There is some stuff I don’t wish to legitimize with “debate.” I wouldn’t put a xenophobe anti-NAFTA exponent like Pat Buchanan on my show, and for the same reasons I won’t give air-time to Judeophobe “anti-Zionism.” Besides, the vile Ralph Schoenman airs your POV (and then some) on BAI every week, and at a time slot when far more people listen. I have absolutely no responsibility to contribute to this noise pollution. If you want to accuse me of censorship go right ahead, but its gonna look pretty transparent to do so in a post on my website.

                    5. Mea Culpa, Vindication? Bill’s simplistic conspiracy theory
                      Well Bill I guess I overestimated your readers. I presumed they would know that the NY Times would not refer to Congress as “Likud occupied,” that they would infer that was my commentary on implications of Times editorial. But perhaps your readers think the NY Times editorials are written by “self-hating Jews,” and clandestine “conspiracy theorists” who impetuously blurt out that Congress is influenced by Likud-oriented Israel lobby. Of course you know The Times writers would never say THAT, but evidently they put 2 and 2 together and concluded Congress was preventing any kind of peace settlement. As to calling Congress “occupied territory” that is merely a metaphor indicating the extent to which Congress is controlled by Lobby. Do you have allergy to dramatic use of language? How would you interpret Congress’s latest move? Was that taken to protect the interests of US imperialism?. I.e. Bush himself is endangering US ruling elites by seeking to subsidize and control PA?

                      Sorry Bill-fans for my faux pas– that was MY statement about Likud. The actual editorial is below my statement: “Another illustration of power…”

                      I’m surprised Bill you do not know more about the principles of making an argument. A scholar for example will quote those whose bias runs counter to hers in order to corroborate her point. There is nothing “funny” about running to The Times for “vindication”–no more than quoting CIA reports to demonstrate Bush policy is increasing Islamicist terrorism. As opposed to quoting Al Jeezera. Would it be more persuasive to you if I quoted Fidel Castro on these matters? In the future I’ll do that Bill,if you prefer. Evidently you’d also prefer I’d not quote any “real” Jew–as it somehow offends your sense of propriety. Since I’m a “self-hating Jew” in your mind I ought NOT to be quoting The New York (Jewish) Times for “vindication.” That’s just not fair. (Unless they’re also self hating Jews.) Of course I never thought I was seeking “vindication”–merely to corroborate my point, in the manner scholars typically do.

                      As to analysis: the Times has always favored the Israeli Labor Party bantustan approach–as I believe Jeff could confirm (is that better: to quote ANOTHER self-hating Jew for “vindication”?), as opposed to Likud Party’s more extreme approach. Thus the Times is now on the margins of the Israeli Lobby which is now dominated by Likud, as Eric Joffie– President of Reform Judaism–has pointed out recently. Bill would prefer to attack caricature of anti-Lobby “conspiracy theory” than to acknowledge the Lobby’s control of Congress. The latter is obviously anti-Semitic.

                      Now that The Times has implicitly criticized Congress subordination to Lobby does that mean that their editorial Board are comprised of self-hating Jews?