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New Israeli government controls the agenda

The media focus on the Summit meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin has to a certain extent crowded out news about the new government in Israel, headed by hardline nationalist Naftali Bennett. In those media outlets that are actually discussing the change there is an odd sort of perception that Israel’s new government will have to adjust to the new regime in Washington. That would imply that the Israelis will have to mitigate some of their more outrageous behavior to accommodate themselves to Biden’s intention to take actions that will be disapproved of in Jerusalem, to include a possible rapprochement with Iran over its nuclear program and a White House reengagement with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015.

The New York Times has an interesting article written by its Washington bureau diplomatic correspondent Michael Crowley with contributions from its new correspondent in Jerusalem Patrick Kingsley. The article is entitled “Shift in Israel Provides Biden a Chance for Better Ties” with a sub-heading that reads “The departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister is a relief for Democrats, but Iran and the Palestinians could test Mr. Biden’s relations with a fragile new Israeli government.”

The article argues that the fact that Biden did not call Netanyahu for three months after his own inauguration but called Bennett within three hours is significant. In the phone call Bennett reportedly blamed Netanyahu for “poisoning” the relationship with the United States, which should surprise no one as that was one of the issues hammered at repeatedly by Bennett during his own electoral campaign.

But one has to look beyond that and ask where is the evidence that Netanyahu’s admittedly acidic personality and arrogance led to any retribution by the White House, either under Barack Obama, Donald Trump or Joe Biden? It was generally reported and probably quite correct that Obama deeply disliked Netanyahu, even once being caught on an open mike speaking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and regretting the fact that he had to interact with the petulant Israeli Prime Minister every week. Yet Obama then turned around and did something that no American President had ever done, arranging to give the Israeli’s a guaranteed $38 billion in military assistance over the course of ten years. The money was not conditional on Israeli behavior, did not reflect actual US interests, and was then sweetened by another half billion per year to support the Jewish state’s Iron Dome air defense system.

In 2015 the Obama Administration did indeed enter into the JCPOA, a multilateral agreement to monitor and limit Iran’s existing nuclear program, a move that was strongly opposed by Israel, but the only time the White House actually demonstrated any annoyance with Israel was when it abstained on a United Nations vote critical of the Jewish state’s settlements shortly before Obama left office. And it should be observed that Obama was duly punished by Israel for his bad attitude, with Netanyahu showing up at a joint session of Congress to denounce the impending Iran pact in March 2015. Bibi received twenty-nine standing ovations from a completely brainwashed gathering of the “peoples’ representatives.”

And then there is Donald Trump, who was probably the most pro-Israeli president in US history. Trump promoted Israeli interests repeatedly, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, de facto approving eventual incorporation of the Palestinian West Bank into Israel, and assassinating a senior Iranian general while also turning a blind eye to illegal settlement expansion and bombing attacks on both Syria and Lebanon. The US also repeatedly used its United Nations veto to prevent any criticism of Israel and its policies. Trump’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was notorious for his pander to Israeli interests, approving harsh measures against Palestinians and war crimes directed against its neighbors, so much so that he was perceived as a spokesman-apologist for Israel rather than the US.

Not much “poison” in the relationship as reflected by facts on the ground, is there? The money kept flowing, the political support hardly wavered, and the United States government at all levels could hardly stop gushing about how the Jewish state was a “democracy” and a “close ally,” both of which assertions were and are not true.

So now we come to Biden and talk about a reset. The Times oddly concedes that “The change in government in Israel will hardly wipe away deep differences with the Biden administration: The right-wing Mr. Bennett is ideologically closer to Mr. Netanyahu than to Mr. Biden. And it did not make the longstanding issues in the Middle East any less intractable. But the early interactions suggest a shift in tone and an opportunity, analysts said, to establish a less contentious relationship, with potential implications for dealing with Iran, the Palestinians and the wider region.”

Excuse me, but Bennett ran on a very hard line. He opposes any nuclear agreement with Iran and will not permit anything like a Palestinian state. He has been in office only a short time and has already approved airstrikes against targets in Syria and Gaza as well as a march by thousands of settlers through Palestinian East Jerusalem calling for “Death to Arabs.” A change in tone might be welcome, but as the United States already supinely agrees to support everything claimed by Israel, what will it mean on the ground? Nothing. And the “contentious relationship” is likewise hard to find. The thunder heard along the Potomac several weeks ago consisted of Congress and the White House’s synchronized chanting of “Israel has a right to defend itself!” And then there is the Iranian nuclear deal, which seems to be slipping away as Secretary of State Tony Blinken seemingly adds “conditions” to US reentry. So what are, in reality, the deep differences between Jerusalem and Washington that will be more manageable with “better tone?”

The Times argues perhaps more credibly that the damage has been done re the Israeli government relationship with the Democratic Party itself. It says “Mr. Biden has long considered Mr. Netanyahu a friend, albeit one with whom he often disagrees. But many administration officials and Congressional Democrats viscerally disdain the ousted Israeli leader, whom they came to see as a corrosive force and a de facto political ally of Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump.”

Excuse me yet again, but such thinking is pie in the sky. To be sure a handful of Democratic Party progressives have come down hard on Israel’s recent slaughter of Gazans, but those who have any real power in the party have not voiced a single criticism of the war crimes committed. Biden might have been able to intervene to shorten the conflict, but he did nothing in reality to put pressure on Israel. His view of the Palestine problem is to give them a state though he is inevitably fuzzy on the details and will put no pressure on the Israelis to take any peace initiatives. In short, he and the Israelis will likely work behind the scenes to reduce the tension so there is no more mass killing and therefore no more negative media. If they are successful, that will make the Palestinians go away.

 

It is interesting to observe that the many atrocities carried out by Israel and its surrogates in Lebanon and Palestine through the years, which have killed thousands of civilians, have not aroused the ire that is being witnessed as a result of the recent attack on Gaza, which killed less than 300. That many of the dead were children and infrastructure in the already devastated Strip was deliberately targeted explains part of the anger, but there is something more fundamental brewing. People, even in the brainwashed United States and Britain, are tired of Israel’s brutality and have become immune to the excuses made for it by those in power. How many times can Nancy Pelosi repeat “Israel has a right to defend itself” when television viewers can themselves see the disparity of the punishment that is being meted out to Palestinians who have virtually no means of defending themselves? And how can Joe Biden and his cast of foreign policy imposters continue to assert that Israel was attacked when it is clear to many that the Jewish state deliberately provoked the fighting by its encouragement of armed mobs of settlers marching through Palestinian neighborhoods and calling for “death to Arabs,” not to mention the home demolitions and expulsions taking place to make room for Jews and the deliberate disruption of religious services at the al-Aqsa mosque on one of Islam’s holiest days?

In truth, Israel’s track record since it was created is not good. More than 800,000 Palestinians were expelled during the state’s founding, still more since the West Bank and Golan Heights were “acquired” in a war of aggression in 1967, and an estimated 100,000 Palestinians and Arabs have been killed by its army and police since 1948. The attack on Gaza last month featured the deliberate targeting of homes that wiped out entire families. Meanwhile, the much reviled “terrorist group” Hamas was established in 1988 with the support of Israeli intelligence to undercut the authority of the PLO, but now its alleged “extremism” serves the Israeli government as a useful tool to discredit the entire Palestinian freedom movement. Ironically, of course, Hamas has now morphed into the national liberation movement for the Palestinian people.

There have been large demonstrations in Western cities demanding Palestinian rights and an end to the oppression, though little of that has been reported in the U.S. media in particular for the usual reason, i.e. organized Israel Lobby pressure combined with Jewish ownership and management of many media outlets. The uncritical relations that most Western capitals have with Jerusalem, based largely on fear of being labeled anti-Semitic, are being scrutinized more than ever. In the U.S., Harvard Professor of International Relations Stephen Walt has called for an end to the “special relationship” with Washington because “The benefits of U.S. support no longer outweigh the costs.” Actually Walt is wrong as the so-called benefits received from completely uncritical support of Israel NEVER outweighed the costs to the United States.

And ordinary working people are also beginning to share the outrage. Last week the longshoremen’s union in Oakland refused to unload a ship belonging to the Israeli Zim line while other unions have passed motions condemning the Israeli apartheid state. There have been calls to extend the boycott of Israeli products to include the businesses owned by those Jewish billionaires who are known to be major supporters of Israel and its lobby. Black spokesmen have observed that their tactical “alliance” with Jewish groups that excuse the brutal Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians is not any longer acceptable.

Even the national media took a step back as they covered the recent slaughter of Gazans. The new New York Times correspondent in Israel Patrick Kingsley has to everyone’s surprised delivered some remarkably honest reporting. In short, overall, the tide may be turning.

Perhaps the clearest indication that the love affair with Israel might be ending comes from the U.S. Congress, where the mudslinging over a foreign policy issue has reached an intensity not seen in many years. Israel’s surrogates and most Jewish groups have joined in the fray, responding fiercely to criticism of Israel that actually appears to have gained some traction. The latest smearing of critics of Israel began in response to a comment by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who questioned Secretary of State Tony Blinken during a June 7th House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, asking what the State Department response would be to the International Criminal Court’s investigation of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the U.S. in Afghanistan as well as Hamas and Israel in the Gaza conflict.

Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, followed up with a tweet asserting that “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” She included the video of her questioning and stated that “I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.” It was a good question, forcing Blinken to lie about how they could obtain accountability by resorting to Israeli and American rule-of-law in the courts.

The friends of Israel quickly struck back. A joint statement signed on by twelve Democratic Party congressmen who self-identified as Jewish, accused her of “Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided. Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice. The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the U.S. and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”

Congressman Brad Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, signed the joint statement and also issued one of his own: “It’s not news that Ilhan Omar would make outrageous and clearly false statements about America and Israel. What’s newsworthy is that she admits Hamas is guilty of ‘unthinkable atrocities.’ It’s time for all of Israel’s detractors to condemn Hamas. And it’s time for all those of good will to reject any moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel on one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other.”

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also got into it, tweeting “Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent. Speaker Pelosi’s continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists. It’s time for the Speaker to act.” The National Republican Congressional Committee also demanded that Omar be stripped of her House committee assignments due to her anti-Semitism and three GOP House members issued on Monday a press release condemning Omar and her associates for “trafficking in anti-Semitic rhetoric” and “inciting anti-Semitic attacks.” One of the three, Representative Michael Waltz of Florida, also dubbed the so-called Squad group consisting of Omar and her friends the “Hamas Caucus.”

 
Biden’s Russophobia means the Summit will fail

With the exception of his perseverance in a long overdue withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden has been assiduously pursuing policies that make the world a more dangerous place for Americans, up to and including opening up the country’s southern border to waves of illegal immigration. Ironically, if an opinion poll were to be taken in the United States it would likely show that most respondents regard the Republicans as America’s designated conflict-friendly party based on the fact that the GOP is considered to be more “conservative” and therefore more likely to resort to force. But that assumption is not actually true as the Republican Party historically has been reluctant to embrace foreign engagements while presidents like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and even Donald Trump were measured in their responses to developing international crisis situations. Trump, for all his aggressive language and several missteps, actually started no new wars and may even have been genuine in his desire to extricate from foreign conflicts only to be circumvented by his advisers and the entrenched government bureaucracy. He was widely condemned as a “Putin puppet” even though the bilateral relationship actually worsened during his time in office due to his inability to overcome the Establishment forces lined up against him.

Historically speaking, it is the Democrats who can be credited with conniving to enter both the First and Second World Wars while more recently entering into wars that served absolutely no national interest in places like Libya and Syria. They can also get credit for increasing the use of one-off cruise missile attacks supplemented by terrorism-like tactics that might reasonably be construed as war crimes, to include killing civilians using drones based solely on the target fitting a “profile.”

It might be reasonably argued that Washington has only one really important bilateral relationship and that is with Russia since Moscow alone has the capability to destroy the United States. There too it was the Democrats who seemingly deliberately sought to turn a post-Cold War reconstruction of Russia into a looting of the country’s natural resources combined with an encroachment of NATO right up to the Russian border, both initiated and implemented under Bill Clinton. The relationship has been suffering ever since, nearly leading to war when Barack Obama’s Administration spend $5 billion overthrowing a government friendly to Russia in Kiev in 2014. Russia has repeatedly claimed, not without some justification, that successive American administrations have continued that process, using various means to undermine and replace the Putin government.

The Democrats also were the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which was sponsored by Russia-phobic Senator Ben Cardin and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012. Using the Act, the US asserted its willingness to punish foreign governments, particularly Russia, using sanctions and other means for claimed violations of human rights. Russia reacted angrily, noting that the actions taken by its government internally, notably the operation of its judiciary, were being subjected to outside interference. It reciprocated with sanctions against US officials as well as by increasing pressure on foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups and western media operating in Russia, which meant that the Act was actually counter-productive. Tension between Moscow and Washington increased considerably as a result and Congress subsequently approved a so-called Global Magnitsky Act as part of the 2016 annual defense appropriation bill. It expanded the use of sanctions and other punitive measures against regimes guilty of egregious human rights abuses though it has never been applied against well documented serial human rights violators like Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was also sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and was clearly intended to threaten Russia.

More recently there has been the totally fabricated Russiagate that was intended to place the blame for Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Donald Trump on the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the pro-Democratic Party media has been working hard to come up with other “news” pieces that depict Moscow as the enemy du jour, including the now discredited claim that the Kremlin has been paying Afghan fighters “bounties” to kill American soldiers.

Now Joe Biden is preparing to meet with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16th and the prospects are not good even if one discounts Biden’s having labeled Putin as a “killer” lacking “soul” as little more than hyperbole. The meeting was requested after a phone call to Putin arranged by Biden in April, at a particularly tense moment when Ukraine was threatening to retake the Crimea from Russia, using its supply of lethal weaponry from the United States to do the job. Washington and the NATO alliance also declared that their support for Kiev was “unwavering” even though they recognized that Ukraine would have little to no chance of defeating the Russian army. The Kremlin responded to the threat by rushing troops to its border and the US sent warships to Turkey to enter the Black Sea, though it quickly withdrew them when Putin made clear that their appearance offshore of Russian territory would be considered a major provocation.

Some rational voices in the US government are, however, prepared to step back from the precipice. William Burns, currently Director of the CIA and Ambassador to Russia under George W. Bush, reported concisely how Moscow viewed the Ukraine situation. He observed in a cable entitled “NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES” that “Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia…” But even the New York Times is having difficulty in finding a positive outcome that will result in better “management” of the bilateral relationship, reporting that “The meeting comes at the worst point in Russian-American relations since the fall of the Soviet Union about 30 years ago.”

To be sure the spin surrounding the meeting has been intense, with the US media running stories about new cyberattacks on America’s infrastructure, attributing them to Russia with scant evidence, while Putin responded by declaring publicly that he does not expect any breakthroughs, observing that the fractured bilateral relationship has unfortunately become “hostage to internal political processes in the United States itself.” Putin has said repeatedly that he wants his country to be treated with respect by a US that perversely perceives itself as “an exceptional nation, with special, exclusive rights to practically the entire world…I cannot go along with that.”

 

Israel is undergoing a change of management, with reliably hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being replaced by extreme nationalist Naftali Bennett. Bennett has at intervals favored the disenfranchisement of non-Jewish Israeli citizens and the ethnic cleansing of all non-Jews from historic Palestine, killing them if necessary. He opposes the creation of any Palestinian state and routinely describes Palestinian protesters as terrorists while stating his belief that they should be shot on sight. He has also boasted of his shooting Palestinians during his military service, saying at one point “I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absolutely no problem with that.” He was heavily involved in “Operation Grapes of Wrath” in Lebanon in the 1980s, where his commando unit killed numerous civilians, and takes pleasure in recounting his participation in Israel’s war crimes.

All of which means that there will be no respite from the brutal Netanyahu reign of terror which has been prevailing on the West Bank, in Gaza and also in Jerusalem itself. If anything, the pressure on Arabs forcing them to leave will intensify. Evidence that the recently negotiated cease fire was little more than a pause in the plan to mitigate international pressure before continuing to make the former Palestine Palestinian free is already available. Israeli police and army units have been arresting hundreds of Arabs, many of whom are Israeli citizens, not because they have broken any of the “rules” imposed by the Netanyahu government, but as a preventive measure to have them identified, allowing them to be safely locked away when the next round of fighting begins. Eighteen hundred arrests have been reported since unrest began in April, but the figure is probably much higher than that. An estimated 25% of those who are detained are children and 85% of those children arrested report that they were physically abused. Also, at least 26 Palestinians have been killed while resisting. It has been claimed that the police, embarrassed by being ridiculed by protesting Palestinians, are “settling scores” and “closing accounts,” frequently using savage beatings during arrests and as collective punishment to break the Arab resistance.

Israeli police have also been active at and around the al-Aqsa mosque, where they have been denying Muslims access to the holy site while promoting sightseeing visits by Israeli Jews. This is a clear violation of the rules established for access to the mosque and it sends a strong signal to Palestinians that there is more to come and the intention is clearly that they will eventually be removed by whatever means necessary from Greater Israel.

The Director for the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (ADALAH) Hassan Jabareen observed recently how the violence over the past month was deliberately provoked by Israel both to shore up Netanyahu’s electoral prospects while “the massive arrest campaign announced by Israeli police…is a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel. This is a war against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists, and minors, employing massive Israeli police forces to raid the homes of Palestinian citizens.”

The Israelis, who clearly have a sense of humor, called the first phase of the mass arrests “Operation Law and Order.” The raids themselves have been carried out inside Israel itself and on the West Bank. Those Palestinians who are citizens of Israel have what has frequently been described as “second class rights” in the country’s judicial system. Although Israel claims its Arab citizens—roughly 20% of the nation’s population—have equality under the law, even the pro-Israel US State Department has repeatedly accused Israel of practicing “institutional and societal discrimination” toward its Arab citizens.

As a consequence, Palestinians who are arrested are indicted, charged and in some cases detained indefinitely under existing state of emergency and anti-terror legislation. A common charge is “incitement” which requires little or nothing in the way of evidence. Many of the arrested Palestinians have in fact been released after payment of exorbitant bails, averaging about $1,000. One Palestinian activist reportedly paying $7,400 to be set free.

It should be noted that the armed Jewish settlers who rioted in the lead up to last month’s fighting, destroying Palestinian homes and other property, have not been identified and detained by Israeli authorities. Activist Remi Kanazi notes how “Apartheid inside Israel is when Jewish Israeli mobs chant ‘Death to Arabs’ and brutalize Palestinians in their neighborhoods, while the cops do nothing, only for those same cops to conduct mass arrests of Palestinian citizens two weeks later.”

Outside of Israel proper, other Palestinians, who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority or who have United Nations documentation, have no rights at all under Israeli law and are being detained at will and, in many cases, indefinitely, without any access to legal counsel or to family members. Most of them were not doing anything illegal, even by Israeli standards, when they were arrested. They were guilty of being Palestinian.

In one example of how the process works, well-known Palestinian activist Iyad Burnat, who had previously been arrested at age 17 and imprisoned for two years for having thrown stones at Israeli soldiers has been targeted. He lives in Bil’in on the West Bank and has had his two sons abducted from their home in recent night invasions by Israeli security forces. Abdul Khaliq, 21 years old, was taken away on May 17th and Mohammed, 19 years old, was abducted on May 24th. They are being held in the Almasqubia detention center in Jerusalem and have been denied any contact either with their parents or legal counsel. The Israeli authorities have provided no explanation of why they were arrested in the first place.

In another recent example of the brutality of the Israeli police, al-Jazeera reports in detail how thirteen-year-old Mohammed Saadi was kidnapped, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with a gun to his head by five policemen working undercover in his hometown of Umm al-Fahem. Saadi was among thousands who gathered for a funeral procession held for Mohammed Kiwan, a 17-year-old boy who had been shot and killed by Israeli police a week earlier.

 
$1.2 billion more is on the way!

Now let me get this straight. A nation bullies and harasses a much smaller neighbor which eventually leads that neighbor to strike back with largely home-made weapons. The larger and more powerful country, armed with state of the art killing machines, attacks its basically unarmed opponent and kills hundreds of civilians, including a large number of children. It also destroys billions of dollars of infrastructure in the poorer and weaker neighbor. Almost immediately after the fighting stops, senior legislators from a third nation that had nothing to do with the war apart from supplying the larger nation with weapons appeared on the scene and promoted the lie that the larger nation had actually been the victim of an unprovoked attack by the “terrorists” running the small nation. They did so publicly while meeting with and endorsing the actions of the government officials from the large nation, which, it would seem, is about to be investigated by an international body for war crimes. They were joined by an ex-officio former foreign minister of the third nation who likewise echoed the propaganda being put out by the large nation. Several of them also promised to provide military assistance worth $1 billion so the large nation could rearm itself.

Of course, I am writing about how Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Bill Hagerty traveled to Israel over the Memorial Day weekend and bowed and scraped before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and company. During his meeting with Bibi, Graham even held up a sign reading “More for Israel.” They were joined in Jerusalem by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was in town visiting with his old friend Yossi Cohen, head of the Israeli Intelligence service Mossad, who is retiring soon.

I sometimes wonder what the Founding Fathers would think about senior legislators ignoring their constituent duties so they could instead travel overseas to pander to the corrupt rulers of a foreign nation that exhibits none of the civic virtues that the Constitution of the United States once embraced in establishing a new republic? Cruz, for example, is a particularly ambitious slimeball who clearly sees his future in the tight embrace of the Israel Lobby. He was recently on the receiving end of some bad press when he abandoned his home in Houston, at the time suffering from a prolonged electricity crisis due to storm damage, to take his family to Cancun. Cruz is a senator whose main job is promoting himself.

Cruz used the opportunity provided by his presence besides the exalted Netanyahu to denounce President Joe Biden for his Administration’s failure to help Israel while it was under attack by the terrorist hordes. Before he left for Israel he stated that he intended “to hear and see firsthand what our Israeli allies need to defend themselves, and to show the international community that we stand unequivocally with Israel. Far too many Democrats morally equivocated between Israel and the terrorists attacking them, and fringe progressive Democrats went even further with wild accusations and conspiracy theories.”

After a day spent touring Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system before viewing damage in Ashkelon in Israel from the Gazan rockets, which he commemorated with a weepy self-video demonstrating his empathy for the Israeli dead, he said that Biden’s calls for Israel to seek a cease fire had “emboldened” the “Hamas terrorists.” He elaborated that “The longer Joe Biden shows weakness to Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran, the more you’re going to see terrorist attacks escalating.”

But it was Lindsey Graham who has to be awarded the prize for being completely oleaginous in the presence of Netanyahu, holding up a sign reading “More for Israel” while practically swooning in the presence of the great leader. He said, with a grin, “The eyes and ears of America is Israel. Nobody does more to protect America from radical Islam than our friends in Israel.”

Flattery will apparently get you everywhere you want to be as Graham is surely aware that Israel is a strategic liability for the United States and its brutality is in fact a recruiting tool for radical groups. Holding up his sign, Graham then asked, “So what can you expect, my friends in Israel, in the next coming days and weeks from Washington? More.” For the home audience he then elaborated on a tweet what “More” would mean. “Great meeting this morning in Jerusalem with Israeli PM Netanyahu. ‘More for Israel’ to help protect and defend from Hamas rocket attacks.” Graham later reported to Fox News that Israel would be sending Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Washington to negotiate the request for the $1 billion increase in military aid to restore its “deterrent” after the savage bottle rocket attack by Hamas. He elaborated “It will be a good investment for the American people. I will make sure in the Senate that they get the money.”

Since the Senate Committee is packed full of Democratic Party Zionists, Graham knows for sure that his support for giving Israel the money will be approved in committee to go to the House for a final vote where it will be also be approved. And the White House is actually signaling that the Treasury check will be somewhat bigger, to the tune of $1.2 billion. A smiling Netanyahu demonstrated that he knows how to say thanks for the freebee, telling Graham “No one has done more for Israel than you, Senator Lindsey Graham, stalwart champion of our alliance and we have no better friend. You’ve been a tremendous friend and a tremendous ally.”

The third Republican Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, a former Trump Ambassador to Japan, is a bit of a non-entity compared to his superstar traveling companions, though he, like Cruz, is unfortunately on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has taken the lead on authorizing immediate resupply of Israel’s weapons. And he too got into the game of kissing Israel’s posterior, posting a media release on his Senate website saying “Cruz and Hagerty Land in Israel to Assess Damage from Hamas War: Americans watched in horror when Hamas and other Iran-backed terrorists in Gaza recently launched thousands of rockets at innocent men, women, and children in Israel. I’m joining Senator Cruz, my colleague on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to visit Israel and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies after they endured the worst terrorist attacks in recent years because I want to see firsthand what more the U.S. can do to strengthen our vital alliance with Israel at a time when terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah and terror-sponsoring regimes in Iran and Syria are making the Middle East more dangerous…”

Pompeo also did his bit, enthusing over his attendance at the retirement party for Cohen. He tweeted how it was “Great to be with good friends in Tel Aviv!” He clearly has acquired the presidential pretensions disease and knows which button has to be pressed first.

 
Attack on Free Speech and Association Fails Court Test

Abby Martin’s efforts must be applauded for she has won a major victory in the struggle to maintain freedom of speech in the United States.

Many Americans who follow developments overseas would concede that Israel and its supporters in the United States exercise a fairly high level of control over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Some are also aware of Congressional attempts to introduce legislation that would define criticism of the Jewish state as a federal hate crime. That would narrow the options for discussion, infringing on First Amendment free speech rights, and further tighten the grip on policy. It would also make violators of the new law subject to fines and even imprisonment at the hands of the Department of Justice, which has traditionally responded favorably on issues of concern to Israel and its supporters.

Still fewer Americans, however, are aware of the ability of the Lobby to promote legislation favorable to Israel and its perceived interests at state and local levels. Possibly the most insidious program being advanced by the friends of Israel is the attempt to make boycotts and public criticism of Israel a punishable offense. Legislation is now in place in many states that requires prospective recipients of government jobs, services or compensation to agree not to participate in boycotting or otherwise seeking to damage the Israeli economy. The details on how the legislation works and what exactly it covers varies from state to state, but the intention is to create disincentives for anyone who seeks to harm Israel as defined by Israel itself. It particularly targets the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is popular on many university campuses. And the prohibition goes beyond just sanctioning those who are taking action personally, as in a number of states one also cannot publicly or even privately encourage others to take action that might be damaging to the Jewish state. In some U.S. states, the recipient must even sign a legal document under oath indicating that he or she will not engage in anti-Israeli activity.

One might well ask by what authority state governments can demand that citizens not be free to discuss or even peacefully oppose the activity engaged in by a foreign government, particularly as the government in question is an apartheid regime that is a serial violator of international law and guilty of numerous war crimes. Indeed, many who have observed the corruption of constitutional government in the United States by Israel and its friends have asked just that and have predictably not received any credible response. Recently, some believers in the Bill of Rights have, however, gone one step further, going to court after refusing to swear fealty to Israel. Highly respected international journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin is one of the latest to do so.

Abby’s tale will strike many as bizarre, but it has been verified by multiple independent sources and is absolutely true. It demonstrates how in 21st century America government at all levels can strip citizens of their fundamental rights with the stroke or a pen and how the lawmakers will feel absolutely no remorse after they have done so.

In 2016 in Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed off on a law designated SB 327, which is similar to legislation currently active in at least thirty states. The bill is entitled “State Purchasing; prohibit the state from entering into certain contracts unless such contracts contain a certification; does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel” and reads “A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general authority, duties, and procedure relative to state purchasing, so as to prohibit the state, including all of its subdivisions and instrumentalities, from entering into certain contracts with an individual or company unless such contracts contain a certification that such individual or company does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel and will not conduct such a boycott for the duration of such contract; to exclude certain contracts from these requirements; to provide for definitions; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

In simple language, the law requires any person or company that enters into a contract with the State of Georgia worth $1,000 or more to sign a loyalty oath pledging not engage in political boycotts of the Israeli government based on its treatment of Palestinians.

Abby Martin had agreed to give the keynote address at the International Critical Media Conference that was to be held at Georgia Southern University in 2020, but her participation was canceled by the authorities controlling the University System of Georgia when she refused to sign the document. Her advocacy for BDS was already well known to college authorities when she agreed to speak. She responded with a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund seeking to overturn both the decision and the law, arguing that her speech was protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Last Monday, Judge Mark Cohen of the Federal District Court in Atlanta ruled in her favor, declaring that the University System of Georgia had violated Martin’s constitutional rights when it cancelled her speaking engagement over her refused to sign the state-mandated oath pledging not to engage in boycotts of Israel, which the court determined to be protected by the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

The Georgian government defense argued absurdly that it had canceled Martin’s speech because it had “an interest in furthering foreign policy goals regarding relations with Israel.” Dismissing that contention, the judge countered with “Defendants fail to explain how Martin’s advocacy of a boycott of Israel has any bearing on Georgia’s ability to advance foreign policy goals with Israel.” One might also add that the U.S. Constitution grants to the federal government alone the conduct of foreign affairs for the entire United States, so, in a sense, Georgia has no foreign policy.

The judge specifically cited how the law’s clear intention to stifle discussion of BDS “prohibits inherently expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment,” and therefore “burdens Martin’s right to free speech.” He also observed that requiring Martin to sign under oath to refrain from certain otherwise legal activity is “no different than requiring a person to espouse certain political beliefs or to engage in certain political associations.”

 
Israel and its friends demonize critics

Several things are happening simultaneously. Most important, Israel has lost the public opinion war in much of the world through its brutality during the recent attack on Gaza and it continues to lose ground even in the wake of a cease fire due to mass arrests of Palestinians and armed police intrusions in and around the al-Aqsa mosque. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is by its actions making clear that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine will continue at a time that he chooses. This in turn has produced a storm of criticism, including from Jewish groups and individuals, that is condemning the bloodshed and also sometimes explicitly seeking to distance Judaism the religion from Zionism, the political movement.

Some have suggested that we have finally reached a tipping point in which Israel has gone too far, evident in the Irish Government’s condemnation of Israeli “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the Dial that “The scale, pace and strategic nature of Israel’s actions on settlement expansion and the intent behind it have brought us to a point where we need to be honest about what is actually happening on the ground …”

The Jewish state has even succeeded in alienating many who are normally supporters in countries like the United States, quite possibly leading to an eventual shift in policy in Congress and at the White House. That view might be exaggerated given the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to make past atrocities go away, but it might obtain some back-handed credibility from the ferocity of the counter-attack being waged by Israel and its friends against the celebrities and politicians who have finally developed backbones and have spoken out in defense of Palestinian rights.

The Jewish state’s reaction to criticism is being fueled by repeated assertions that anti-Semitism is surging in the United States and Europe. The media has become relentless on the issue, which is in any even irrelevant even if it were true. Last Saturday, internet news site Yahoo featured links to no less than three articles on increasing attacks on Jews, two coming from NBC and one from BBC.

Despite the recent one sided slaughter in Gaza, American Jewish organizations even had the hubris to declare last Thursday “In light of the surging wave of antisemitic violence, “A Day of Action Against Antisemitism.” Frustration of many people with Israeli behavior is indeed increasing, but the assumption that any shouted insult or organized protest directed at Netanyahu and/or his gang of cutthroats at a time when they are mass-killing Arabs represents pure hatred of Jews is quite frankly unsustainable. It is hatred not of religion but of what Israel is doing, supported by Washington and Israel’s powerful domestic lobby, and most people understand clearly that distinction.

The underlying narrative being offered is that Jews are always the victims, even when they initiate violence, because, they would argue, they are only acting of necessity and preemptively as self-defense. That argument means that they are never guilty of what many might call war crimes, and they are adept at fabricating stories about their opponents labeling them as both terrorists and cowards willing to use civilians as human shields to protect themselves. This effort to burnish the apartheid regime’s record also means in practice that there have to be regular invocations of the tale of increasing anti-Semitism as well as direct attacks on anyone who dares to appropriate or in any way diminish the so-called holocaust.

Numerous critics of the Israeli bombing of Gaza have been attacked by the Israel Lobby and its allies in the media. The idea is to humiliate the critic and put so much pressure on him or her that he or she will actually apologize for what was either said or written. Even better, the Israeli partisans often push far beyond that point to obtain a complete recantation of what appeared in the first place. In the case of actors or entertainers, for example, the weapon used is obvious. If one wants to continue to be gainfully employed in an industry that is dominated by Zionist Jews it is necessary to either keep one’s mouth shut or quickly apologize claiming that one was “misinformed” or “misspoke.”

Several recent mea culpa’s for criticizing Israel have made the news as has also the virtual crucifixion of a congresswoman for her citation of the holocaust. Actor Mark Ruffalo may have believed that he was doing the “right thing” by speaking out on Palestinian suffering. He tweeted “Over 30 children killed. Mothers dead. Hundreds injured. We are on the brink of a full-scale war. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its Black people – it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call” and also in another tweet referred to the killing as “genocide.” He came under intense pressure and soon apologized, tweeting “I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide’. It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”

Ruffalo did not quite crawl on his belly to preserve his career, but the metaphor certainly comes to mind. And what Ruffalo experienced was a walk in the park compared to what was dished out to British pop singer Dua Lipa who was subjected to a full-page New York Times ad paid for by no less than “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network. The singer Dua Lipa as well as Palestinian-descended models Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid were accused of “anti-Semitism” after they expressed public support of the pro-Palestine cause. The Boteach ad claimed that the three women were “ignorant” and spreading “disgusting libel,” calling on them to instead “condemn [Hamas] now” arguing that “the three mega-influencers have vilified the Jewish state in a manner that is deeply troubling… Hamas calls for a second Holocaust.”

 
Biden Punts on Russia and Takes Some Heat on Afghanistan

Possibly the best news to come out of the past week has been the announcement of a possibly Egyptian mediated cease fire between Israel and Gaza late last Thursday. The fighting killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, versus twelve Israelis including two children and also did major damage to schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure in Gaza. It is being widely presumed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the plug on the “Guardians of the Walls” offensive because of concerns that Israeli Army brutality was inflicting serious damage on the hitherto favorable perception of the Jewish state in the United States. As U.S. support of Israeli initiatives for both the money and political cover that Washington provides is essential to the Netanyahu long term plan to annex nearly all of the West Bank, it would have seemed prudent to take one’s foot off the pedal until the expected next round of fighting.

Though it has not been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that President Joe Biden might have offered a considerable sweetener to Netanyahu to nudge the Israeli leader towards the cease fire. It appears to have come in the form of an offer to help pay for and assist the reconstruction of Gaza with one apparent condition, that Hamas effectively completely disarm by getting rid of all its missiles. Presumably U.S. or United Nations inspectors would make sure the job were done right, would share what they learn about Gaza’s tunnel system with Israeli intelligence, and the IDF in turn would find it much easier going the next time it chooses to attack. As usual, the American taxpayer would be victimized to undo the damage in paying for a significant part of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction tab.

But in terms of benefiting actual American interests, there has also been the Biden Administration decision to lift the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump on the contractors who have been working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. The Trump Administration, driven by its gaggle of neocon advisers, had declared that the pipeline was a “national security threat” and initiated sanctions on all parties involved, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while also appointing a special envoy to put pressure on the German government to renege on the deal. The pipeline was and is good business for Moscow and also for Berlin since the Russian gas is cheaper than other available supplies. It will cost $11 billion to complete, is over 95% finished and will reportedly create at least 10,000 jobs.

It initially looked as if Biden would continue the Trump policy. As recently as mid-March Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it was a bad deal because “this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.” He said he would do “whatever he can to stop [its] completion” and also warned that companies working on the pipeline must cease work immediately or face more “harsh” U.S. sanctions. Most of the companies were and are Western European and nominally NATO allies of the U.S. and Nord Stream 2 and while it appeared likely that the project would be completed for good economic reasons, the German government was reportedly undecided, afraid to confront Biden.

Washington was angered, at least in part, because it wanted to sell more expensive American gas to the Germans. Biden surprisingly has decided to abandon the bad Trump policy, which, inter alia also has given fuel to European anti-U.S. sentiment while serving unnecessarily to increase tension with Russia. The move was welcomed both in Germany and in Russia. The German Foreign Minister noted that it was a sign that Washington is now willing to work with its “partners.” It is an all too rare “win” for American foreign policy.

Now for the bad news. President Joe Biden has recently received an unexpected gift in the form of a letter signed by 126 retired admirals and generals stating that he is not qualified to hold office because of his health and because the 2020 election process was flawed. It also raises a number of specific foreign and national security policy issues, including the threat from China, the border crisis and increased censorship. One might expect that the letter originated in a circle of disgruntled Trump supporters and could therefore be ignored, but many of signatories are not known to be Republican Party supporters. Given that, the agenda just might be more complicated and its timing suggests that it might be linked to the United States proceeding with its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What might be referred to as the Establishment Foreign Policy as opposed to what sometimes goes on in the State Department and White House has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable and political reliable government in Kabul is completed. And to be sure there are many dissidents in Congress who see leaving Kabul as yet another avoidable defeat for the United States. Given all of that, several previous attempts by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. troops were successfully undermined by critics and eventually abandoned. Biden, however, appears to be sticking to his pledge to depart fully by September 11th and many tons of military equipment are currently being removed from the country.

This has produced multiple attacks on the intention to leave Afghanistan effectively in the hands of the Taliban. A humanitarian pitch has included stories on how women will suffer, being deprived of schooling and opportunity if and when the Taliban return to power. That claim is unfortunately true but the continued presence of a couple of thousand American soldiers at bases in a country as large and infrastructure deficient as Afghanistan will not reverse attitudes that are as much cultural and religious as political.

And the pressure on Biden to reverse the decision is growing. On May 25th, for example, the Center on National Security at Fordham Law in New York hosted a discussion panel looking into “Departure from Afghanistan: Envisioning a Responsible Withdrawal.” The panel’s conclusions were to say the least mixed and have already been used by critics of the Biden decision.

 
Israel’s Friends overwhelm Capitol Hill

Yes folks, there is an international conspiracy and it is all about “protecting” Israel. It operates through front and lobbying groups that uniquely promote the interests of a foreign country, Israel, even when those interests do serious damage to the host country where the lobbyists actually live. In Britain, for example, there are a Conservative Friends of Israel and a Labour Friends of Israel, comprising together 216 members of parliament and party officials. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been silent about Gaza apart from expressing “deep concern” and blaming both sides while Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has also been under pressure to say something, has focused on how four car loads of alleged Palestinian supporters in London may or may not have driven around shouting out “anti-Semitic” comments. Starmer, one recalls, ran on a leadership campaign pledging to root out “anti-Semitism” in the party as a response to previous leader Jeremy Corbyn’s apparently ill-advised public recognition that Palestinians are human beings. Also in Britain, contesting details of the standard narrative of the so-called holocaust can result in a large fine and even some jailtime.

In 2017, Al-Jazeera ran an undercover operation directed against various Israeli front groups in Britain and in the US which determined that officers from the respective Israeli Embassies, presumably intelligence linked, were meeting regularly with members of the alleged non-government organizations that had been set up to provide support for the Jewish state. In Britain, the interaction included explicit discussions on how to destroy the careers of politicians who were deemed to be insufficiently pro-Israeli. In the US the objective has been to disrupt the activities of pro-Palestinian groups, most particularly the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The pro-Israeli and anti-Arab initiatives were coordinated with and sometimes initiated by the Israeli Embassy officers, suggesting that they were actually intelligence operations.

That many American Jewish groups are collaborating directly with the Israeli Embassy raises two concerns. First, it is ipso facto a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which should require registration and complete transparency regarding one’s sources of income and interactions with the foreign embassy. And second, as many of the groups are in tax exempt status with the IRS as either charitable or educational foundations, that status should be rescinded given their foreign affiliation. Of course, the reality is that the Treasury Department has known all that and more for many years and has never taken any action relating to deceptive behavior by pro-Israel groups.

Elsewhere in Europe, “Holocaust denial” even if it only consists of challenging clearly fabricated “factual” details of the event can also land you in jail in Germany and France while criticizing the state of Israel is construed as anti-Semitism, a hate crime. Jewish groups have, in fact, promoted an official “International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance” (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which includes any criticism of Israel as a defining characteristic. The United States Department of State has accepted that definition and language.

Yes, the United States has an office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and it is always headed by a Jew, as has been also the office in the Justice Department that continues to be dedicated to rooting out 90 year old Nazis. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, most particularly in its Trump version, is so close to Israel that it might reasonably be regarded as part of the Israel Lobby. And the Democrats are not much better, though there has been some dissent from progressives, which has led to the creation of a Zionist pressure group within the party called the Democratic Majority for Israel. It exists to defend Israel against any and all criticism while also protecting the billions of dollars and other benefits that the Jewish state receives from the US Treasury and government annually.

One might speculate that there is a whole federal government infrastructure devoted to Jewish and Israeli issues. How did that develop? Well, of course, money is what has made it happen. American politicians have notoriously always been easily corruptible, all it takes is a little cash. But no one is allowed to point out that obvious truth as linking Jews to money is regarded, by Jews and their captive media of course, as some kind of “anti-Semitic trope.”

Now it appears that a ceasefire is more-or-less in place but Israel’s ethnic cleansing that preceded its high-tech slaughter of Palestinian civilians who were being deliberately targeted has been perceived by the world, including many Americans, as particularly brutal. Which means the Zionist propaganda plus coercion machine has been working full time. Capitol Hill offices and the White House have no doubt been inundated with calls, emails and visits from constituents all singing the same song that was also being repeated by the President and Congress. It goes like this: “Israel is being attacked by Hamas terrorists and has a right to defend itself!” Sometimes there is a second verse which includes “The only democracy in the Middle East and America’s best friend and ally.”

Too bad that none of it is true, but the media also did its best to support the narrative by reporting how Hamas was launching “swarms” of rockets against Israel, making it appear as if a beleaguered Israel was valiantly defending itself against terrorist hordes. But the actual numbers told a different tale with only 12 Israelis killed after the violence erupted versus 232 Palestinians, including 65 children. Considerable infrastructure was also deliberately targeted and destroyed in Gaza versus limited damage in Israel while the calculated destruction of the building housing Associated Press (AP) and al-Jazeera should be seen as an attempt to eliminate any independent media observers on the ground in Gaza, even though AP predictably has hardly been critical of the Jewish state.

The Israel Lobby is, to be sure, expert at promoting and marketing its product. It is currently engaged in attacking celebrities and others who expressed any sympathy with the Palestinians while they were being slaughtered by the Israelis as anti-Semites. The larger and more openly combative Lobby groups like the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) have supporters in virtually every congressional district in the United States who can be called upon to get on the phone and start pouring out emails as needed. So every congress critter hears the call and knows what it means. And no one wants to have a hostile Israel Lobby on one’s back if there is any thought of being re-elected. In some cases, approaches include suggestions that significant donations to support one’s political campaign will either increase or be denied depending on what the legislator chooses to do or say.

 

There have been few surprises coming out of the violence that has erupted in Palestine and Israel. Israel, firmly in control of much of the media in the U.S. and Western Europe has chosen to depict it in simple terms: the Palestinian “terrorist” group Hamas has attacked the Jewish state which has taken proportionate steps to defend itself. This simplistic rendition of a much more complicated series of interactions has been picked up by many of the talking heads that pass for political commentary in the United States as well as by the completely corrupted Washington politicians.

Comments expressing any sympathy for the decades long plight of the Palestinians have been as scarce as the proverbial hens’ teeth, though such sentiment is growing even in Congress as Israeli killing of civilians increases. In fact, initially I could only find five statements coming from Democrats that in any serious way regretted the suffering being inflicted on Arab civilians in Gaza, in Jerusalem and on the West Bank. One consisted of remarks by Senator Elizabeth Warren regarding the series of thefts of Palestinian homes that sparked the recent violence. She tweeted “The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.” Senator Bernie Sanders also made the case for Palestinian suffering in a hard-hitting New York Times op-ed entitled “The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for Netanyahu.” He describes the Israeli Prime Minister as having “cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism.”

There also was Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s brief rebuke to New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, who had tweeted “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.” AOC responded “Utterly shameful for Yang to try to show up to an Eid [Ramadan] event after sending out a chest-thumping statement of support for a strike killing 9 children.”

A much stronger comment came from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who is of Somalian descent, who decried her own party’s unwillingness to confront the reality of the issue. She tweeted “No mention of Sheikh Jarra. No mention of the al-Aqsa raid. No mention of the 13 innocent children killed in air strikes. No mention of the ongoing occupation of millions in an open-air prison. You aren’t prioritizing human rights. You’re siding with an oppressive occupation.” Omar was subsequently accused by no less than ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being “anti-Semitic.”

And Palestinian descendant Rashida Tlaib, in a speech delivered before Congress, included “To read the statements from President Biden and Secretary Blinken, General Austin and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all. There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families being ripped from their homes in East Jerusalem right now or home demolitions; no mention of children being detained or murdered; no recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by Israeli police against worshipers kneeling down and praying and celebrating their holiest days in one of their holiest places — no mention of Al-Aqsa, being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray.”

None of the comments had any real impact on the White House and AOC’s was particularly maladroit as Yang is running for mayor in a city with a sizable Jewish population that he was pandering to, but he has nothing whatsoever to do with U.S. foreign policy. AOC should have aimed her criticism at her own party’s leadership, which she, of course, chose not to do.

Most commentary from America’s so-called leaders was more predictably bellicose. Jen Psaki, the White House press spokesman cited the view of President “I am a Zionist” Joe Biden, reporting that “The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waiver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Jerusalem.” This produced an absurd response from even more passionately Zionist ex-President Donald Trump, who characteristically was both aggressive and overflowing with ignorance. He tweeted “When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked. Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies. America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

But it was hard to beat the one liner by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has claimed the titled of “Israel’s governor” while also having his state issue license plates bearing the slogan “Florida Stands By Israel.” How about “Florida Stands By Americans” Ron? De Santis said “Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.” Indeed, the pithy line that “Israel has a right to defend itself” has been picked up far and wide in the U.S. Whether an unarmed Palestine has the same right apparently is not a matter of concern for many Americans.

Also coming out of Florida is a similar message from Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch who is promoting the argument “Please don’t be fooled by false choices: Israel or Hamas. If I am asked to choose between a terrorist organization and our democratic ally, I will stand with Israel.” Ted is himself Jewish and represents a largely Jewish constituency.

And Ted is of course interpreting the situation to suit his own preferences. Also, like many Democratic politicians, he is listening to the top political donors, a clear majority of whom for the Democrats are reportedly Jewish. Haim Saban, an Israeli-American Hollywood producer and major donor, says “I’m a Democrat, and unfortunately there is an extreme left wing of the Democratic Party that could use some education on what’s in our American interest. On Israel there should be no argument. It’s the only democracy in the region and our staunchest ally in the region.”

 
Philip Giraldi
About Philip Giraldi

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. In addition to TAC, where he has been a contributing editor for nine years, he writes regularly for Antiwar.com. He is currently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and resides with his wife of 32 years in Virginia horse country close to his daughters and grandchildren.


Personal Classics
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.