This is as good as talk radio gets. Our friend, the great Phil Weiss on Radio Open Source with Chris Lydon to discuss the implications of the Arab revolt and the changing discourse in the American Jewish community.
In that radical handbook on the workings of American society, the Wizard of Oz never recovered once Dorothy pulled back the curtain of her own innocence. One would like to believe that AIPAC will never recover from a brutal spring that has exposed its real interests to the American public. Even supporters of the Jewish state have criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for fully taking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s side in his battle with Barack Obama over settlements, and during its recent annual conference, the lobby looked wobbly and defensive.
Yes, there was the usual procession of weak-kneed politicians professing love for Israel, not to mention AIPAC board members explaining how they cultivate “relationships” with the powerful. Yes, Sen. Chuck Schumer gave a bloodcurdling yowl, Am Yisroel Chai—the Jewish people live!—as he pledged to be Israel’s guardian. But a large shift in American policy and opinion has left the lead institution of the lobby exposed, and worse, mocked.
AIPAC was taking on water before its VIP-studded conference began in late March. Important supporters of Israel in the media, including Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and David Remnick of The New Yorker, questioned whether reflexive support for Israel’s right-wing policies served the American interest, echoing the view of Gen. David Petraeus that the Palestinian problem is our problem in the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East.
Investigative journalist Philip Weiss discusses Netanyahu’s right-wing biblical rhetoric in response to Obama’s groundbreaking Cairo speech, the U.S. media’s long-awaited questioning of Israeli settlements, Israel’s accelerating departure from Western values and the sub-human living conditions forced on Gaza residents.
Philip Weiss is an investigative journalist who has written for The Nation, New York Times Magazine, The American Conservative, Jewish World Review and other publications. He is the author of American Taboo : A Murder in the Peace Corps and writes the blog “Mondoweiss“.
Philip Weiss discusses all the implications of the Jane Harman wiretap story the MSM hasn’t run with yet, the evidence of Israeli attempts to dominate U.S. policy decisions on Iran to start a war, the J Street lobby’s moderating influence and how Israeli leaders are oblivious to the political re-evaluation of Israel by American Jews.
In an apparent acknowledgment that the Freeman controversy has once again confirmed John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s thesis, apologists for the Israel lobby have renewed their assault on the two professors who first drew attention to its power. The effort I believe is meant to preempt people turning to their book for answers by tainting their reputation. Since the right has little credibility on this, the charge has been led this time by ‘liberal’ Zionists such as David Rothkopf and Jonathan Freedland. My friend Phil Weiss recently posted a brilliant defence of Rothkopf’s scurrilous attack on M&W by Middle East scholar Jerome Slater. I am hoping to find some time so I can respond to Freedland’s equally specious arguments.
In the year and a half since the publication of John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s Israel Lobby, the attacks on the book’s main arguments as well as personal attacks on its authors have intensified–even as Israeli policies and behavior towards the Palestinians have become more disastrous than ever, and even as the lobby demonstrated its muscle in its successful effort to induce Obama to abandon support for the appointment of Charles Freeman as Director of the National Intelligence Council.
Investigative journalist Philip Weiss discusses the aftermath of Chas Freeman’s withdrawal from NIC chairman consideration, the alienation of liberal American Jews from the Israeli government, the opportunity to break up the monolithic AIPAC lobby and the conflict between Zionism and democracy.
My friend, the great Philip Weiss, states the obvious in his review of Juan Cole’s book. With all due respect, I found Cole’s evasions of the lobby question, and his curious insistence on wielding a club while ‘engaging with the Muslims’ world rather insulting. Both on Democracy Now and the Colbert Report his performances were anything but impressive. Frankly, it is very unlikely that I’d bother reading his book if his media performances are in any way a reflection of the book’s contents.
I’m going to order Juan Cole’s book today. I have the typical American understanding of the Muslim world –pretty small–and admire the engagement and seriousness that Cole has brought to this issue again and again. That’s why I’m addicted to his blog.
But let’s talk about the Israel lobby and the Iraq War. Reading MJ’s synopsis, I find Cole’s view unpersuasive. I don’t think the oil companies had any interest in the Iraq War. Saudi Arabia didn’t want it. Just ask Chas Freeman, the former ambassador, who vehemently opposed the war. Realists hated this war. John Mearsheimer was for the Gulf War out of an American interest that included oil, Saudi Arabia was for that war. Both were against the Iraq war.
Using the oil companies as a motivator strikes me as a lazy leftwing parking job. Everyone’s going to believe it on our side because we all hate the oil companies; but the evidence isn’t there.
Charles Freeman Jr.’s withdrawal of his acceptance of a high-level intelligence position in the Obama administration was a national-security drama more riveting than an episode of “24.” The moral was clear: even a president who owes his job to a progressive movement in American politics could not support a longtime public servant who had made the mistake of criticizing Israel. Fierce advocates of the Jewish state, notably Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Lieberman and Reps. Eric Cantor and Steve Israel, played important roles in Freeman’s exit, while present and former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee flitted in and out of the wings.
The message to all office-seekers is obvious. “They want to kill the chicken to scare the monkeys. They want other people to be intimidated,” Freeman told The American Conservative just before he withdrew his name to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. He went on, “If the administration does not stick with me, then it’s destroying the argument that the Israel lobby is only a mythic entity and does not control the public space. … It will show the world that it is not able to exercise independent thinking on these issues.”